THE AVENGER was on the prowl tonight. Swiftly, the word spread through the slimy alleys and the dark corners of the great city's underworld. Hard men who flaunted the police and scoffed at the law sought hurried cover as the word reached them. At fly-specked bars, in closed and shuttered rooms, men buzzed in furtive whispers: "What's he after? Has anybody got the dope? Who's The Avenger gunning for?" Those were the questions which flew around on the wings of fear.
Down at police headquarters, Inspector Cruikshank listened to the whispered voice of a stoolie over the phone and hung up with a worried frown.
"It's The Avenger," he said to Dolson, his chief aid. "He's on the hunt, They say he's out for big game. What the devil can he be after? What's on the books these days?"
Dolson scowled and scratched his right ear. "Who can tell, sir?" he growled. "It might be Gregorio Ruiz, or Nick Frogash—"
Inspector Cruikshank groaned. "I hope it isn't Ruiz. That devil is too big for us to tackle—"
"And for The Avenger, too!" Dolson broke in, "If Dick Benson is going after Gregorio Ruiz, there'll be fireworks in town tonight!"
"I better find out!" said the inspector. He flipped down the switch of the interoffice communication system and spoke into the box. "Get me Justice, Inc.," he ordered.
A moment later he had his connection, and a voice said over the phone, "This is Justice, Inc. Smith speaking."
"Listen, Smitty," said the inspector. "What's this I hear about your boss? What's he on to?"
"On to?" Smitty repeated, in a tone of surprised innocence. "Why, what in the world are you talking about, inspector?"
"Lay off, Smitty," Cruikshank growled. "You know damned well what I'm talking about. Word is traveling on the underworld grapevine that The Avenger is on the prowl. Now listen, I just want you to tell me one thing—is Dick Benson out after Gregorio Ruiz?"
"I'll ask him, the next time I see him, inspector," Smitty said, and hung up.
Inspector Cruikshank swore fluently as he cradled the phone.
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Great suspense fiction!