The Project Gutenberg EBook of Castle of Terror, by E.J. Liston

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Castle of Terror

Author: E.J. Liston

Release Date: June 18, 2010 [EBook #32876]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at



[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Amazing Stories November 1948. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

What strange dimension was this where giants, gangsters, Lucretia Borgia, dwarfs and Rip Van Winkle lived at the same time?

"Too bad, Griffin," Hale Jenkins said to the man alongside. "Now if you'd have just stuck to bank stick-ups, you'd have been all right."

"Nah!" Bud Griffin said, his mouth twisted in a wry grin. "I'd have been all right if you'd have just stuck to being a traffic cop. But you had to show the Commissioner you were on the ball, so he sent you after me. That's all."

The light suddenly flashed over the pilot's compartment with its warning to fasten safety belts. A few seconds later, the stewardess came around with a smiling warning that they were coming over some bad pockets, and that there was no need to worry.

Both men fastened their belts, as did all the other passengers on the giant airliner, and after a while the elevator began its ride. Griffin reached up and pulled the air vent down, so that the cold air of the upper reaches at which they were flying could send its refreshing drafts of air down the vent. Jenkins had been airsick once and didn't want any more of the same. He followed Griffin's gaze, and looked into the grey fog of a huge cloud bank.

Jenkins, to get his mind off the possibility of getting sick again, took up where the other had left off: "Yeah. But like I say, you shoulda stuck to robbin' banks."

His lean, strong face with the unusual bone structure which made it a face of highlights and plane surfaces, broke into a wide-angled grin. He threw the shock of black hair from his eyes, and continued: "Guys like you never learn. Gotta work with a heater."

Griffin's opaque eyes shifted from the greyness which had encircled the plane, and met the dancing grey ones of the detective beside him. Griffin's lips mimicked the grin of the other. But his words were not so light-hearted: "Look, copper! You just got lucky. If it weren't for that dame.... Aah! I shoulda been smart. I shoulda known she'd of sung. No dame can keep her yap shut! But get this. We ain't in yet! So be smart and don't think Bud Griffin's fryin'. Not yet he ain't."

Jenkins was, for a detective, a rather amiable sort. In Griffin's case, however, he could not help but give an occasional needle. The hoodlum and murderer's bragging rasped on Jenkins' nerves.

"Now, don't blame the girl," Jenkins said. "She was just the last step in my trail. The guy who really talked was Bud Griffin. There's a character who'll never stop talkin'. If you hadn't talked to the bartender in that joint on the waterfront, I'd have never found out about Myrtle. But he knew Myrtle and the kind of girl she was; he knew she only went for the hoods who had dough, and no guy who drinks beer like you do and leaves no tips ought to have dough. So when Myrtle walks in with a platina fox jacket and says you bought it, he gets mighty suspicious.

"It was a cinch then, Bud. All I had to do was tell the girl she was going to be named as an accessory after the fact, and she spilled her load."

Pin points of flame suddenly danced in Griffin's eyes. His hands, lying quiescent on his lap, curled into balls of bone and muscle. Griffin had many weaknesses; of them all, anger was his greatest. For in the heat of anger he would do anything, and not care about the consequences. It had proved his undoing many times. His last surge of anger had resulted in murder during a robbery. The victim had resisted Griffin and had been shot in cold blood. As always, that anger showed in visible signs: there came the pin points of flame to the eyes, the clenching of fists, and an odd curling of the mouth. But Jenkins, either because he did not know of these signs, or because he was so wrapped in his own glory, did not notice the other's shifting movement.

When Griffin struck, it was with electric speed. Certainly, he had nothing to gain by his attack on Jenkins. For had he thought it out logically, he would have realized there was no way of escape. Even a fool would have realized that there was no way of getting out of a plane which was flying at ten thousand feet, and coming down alive, unless one had a chute. So it was sheer berserk anger which prompted the attack.

Griffin's right elbow shot up and sideways, and landed with telling force against Jenkins' jaw. At almost the same instant, he slipped loose of his safety belt, whirled on his companion and struck him two savage blows with his fists. Those blows stunned the detective. And like a snake in movement, Griffin's hand reached for the pistol in Jenkins' holster and drew it.

Dazed as Jenkins was, he tried to stop Griffin. The barrel of the gun slashed a furrow in his cheek for the try. The blow rocked the detective's head back, and allowed him to get out of his seat. In an instant he was in the aisle, leaping for the pilot's compartment. He had no plan; he wasn't even thinking. In the background of his mind he knew the panic he had created; he could see it reflected in the face of the woman in the front seat, in the wide, suddenly terror-stricken eyes of the man at her side. But what he was going to do when he reached the closed door that was his goal, he did not know.

There were screams and hoarse commands. From the rear, the stewardess shouted for him not to go beyond the door. Griffin reached it, whirled and faced the length of the plane, a snarl on his lips, and the .38 in his hand, a small-barreled threat of death to whoever was fool enough to attempt to stop him.

And there was one who was going to be a fool.

Whether Jenkins was just dazed by the last blow, or whether he really thought he could stop the other, is a matter of conjecture. But he rose to his feet and started forward in a stumbling run.

"Come on, copper," Griffin grunted, a terrible smile of anticipation on his lips. "I been wantin' to knock you off."

Everyone on the plane froze in horror as the gun muzzle came up. The finger on the trigger tightened in a sort of slow-motion action until it seemed as if the smallest pressure would set it off. And still Jenkins stumbled forward, until only a couple of feet separated the two. Then the grin became a snarl on Griffin's lips, and all knew the instant of death had arrived.

Jenkins must have felt it also, for he took the last few steps in a shambling, wide-armed leap, as if he were welcoming it. It was at that instant that the co-pilot decided to step through the door. The steel door slammed against the bent figure of the gunman just as he pulled the trigger. The gun went off with a roar, and Jenkins hit Griffin like a tackler slamming into a ball carrier.

But louder than the pistol's sound, was the sound from without the plane. It was as if all the fury of hell had exploded out there. The plane became a straw licked upward and outward, sucked downward and inward, in some vortex of sound and fury which was completely unrecognizable. It was as if some external force was venting its spleen on the craft. In the space of split seconds, in the time a picture forms in a mind, the plane and all its occupants lost their meaning.

There was a great rending sound and, following, the disintegration of the great ship into space.

Hale Jenkins felt himself spinning, whirling, falling into a vast empty fog. There was peace and contentment in that fog, and a sort of forgetfulness. There was nothing above and nothing below, just the grey murk. For a last instant of awareness, Jenkins saw not far from him the body of Griffin describing the same gyrations as his own. Then there was a wrenching at his bowels, a tearing at his brain, and unconsciousness slipped over him like the noose over the hanged man.

Odd piping voices penetrated into Jenkins' brain. He stirred and rolled over, and after a few seconds got his hands under him and pushed himself erect. He felt rather than saw the tree close to him, and put one hand out to its friendly trunk, steadying himself against it. His head came up after a second and his eyes cleared of the fog before them. He stared in disbelief as he looked out over a great valley.

In the distance, made plain by the brilliant light of the sun, he saw a tremendous castle with many-turreted immense sides. It shimmered and danced in the brilliant light, like a mirage conjured by a fevered mind. Yet he knew, without being told, that it was real—as real as the three tiny men who regarded him with passionately intent though oddly frightened eyes from a few feet off.

But sight was not the only sense of which Jenkins had the full use. He was aware of an odd, rumbling sound in the distance, as of thunder, yet not quite thunder. He noticed that the gnomes had also heard the sound, for their eyes turned from their intent regard of him, to the castle perched on the mesa in the distance. He could not see their eyes now, yet he was aware that they held fear—cold, numbing fear—fright so great it binds the entrails, makes a stone statue of a man, even a dwarf.

They held their poses even after the dying sounds of the strange rumble had passed in the distance. When Jenkins spoke, it took several seconds for them to bring their attention to him:

"Where am I and who are you?"

Their answering voices were childish pipings, making even less sense of a confused situation:

"I am Loti ..." said the smallest, who wore a fringe of beard from his forehead all the way around a pointed, slat-like chin.

"I am Gaino," said the second. He had a hooked nose so long it almost touched his chin.

"I am Mikas," said the third, who had a round face, a bulbous nose whose color was that of a ripe tomato, flapping pointed ears too large for his face, and a pair of perfectly round eyes.

"Yeah? But where am I?" Jenkins persisted.

"In the land of Gnat," all three piped in unison.

Slowly the brain-fog was clearing for Jenkins. The miracle of his landing safely was still not quite clear, nor could he understand the presence of these odd beings. But as reason returned to Jenkins, it told him something had happened which would perhaps be unexplainable.

He pointed toward the castle and said: "Who lives there?"

"Lucretia ..." they answered again in unison.

Now there's a familiar name, Jenkins thought, while at the same time a horrifying idea occurred to him. If it were Lucretia Borgia, he thought, then he might be dead. Suddenly, there was a spine-chilling roar, a vast crashing in the underbrush close by, and a tremendous boulder sailed by and disappeared over the lip of the chasm. Its crashing echoes could be heard for a long time afterward. When Jenkins recovered his balance, the gnomes had disappeared.

Jenkins' eyes narrowed in search of them, but after one look at the thick underbrush, he turned aside and began to search for a path leading either through the brush or down the steep sides of the cliff. There wasn't much choice, he discovered. In fact, there was no choice at all.

"Ho-ho!" a stentorian voice bellowed, seemingly from at his very heels. "Look what we have here!"

Once more Jenkins did a pirouette. Facing him were three men. They seemed to come in series of threes in this screwy place, he thought. But these were quite different than the gnomes he had first seen.

These were giants, all dressed in the same manner. Each wore the skin of a wild animal draped about him. Only their middles were covered, and their immensely broad and hairy chests and legs, which were like tree-trunks, stood out in naked and unpretty relief. They had not known the touch of a razor for a very long time. Their beards reached almost to their waists, while their heads were crowned with a tangled growth of wiry brush.

Each man was armed with a spiked club, on which he was resting as he regarded the stranger.

"He's mine," one said suddenly. "I saw him first."

"No!" the second said. "You're the youngest. I'm the oldest. I get him."

"And I'm the strongest," said the third. "I'll take him." The last one didn't wait for a reply, but leaped for Jenkins in a clumsy jump.

Only Jenkins didn't wait for him. He stepped aside as the giant came on, and as he went past Jenkins tripped him by simply putting out his leg. The giant went sailing off into space and as he stumbled over the lip of the chasm, his scream of fear was drowned in the roars of rage which came from the other two. They came at him on splay feet, their clubs raised high, their mouths opened and their eyes slitted in rage. But they were slow and clumsy, and Jenkins danced out of range.

The giants recovered their balance, turned and came at him again, this time from opposite sides. Jenkins waited until they were almost upon him before moving. The two had their clubs raised as they ran, and just as Jenkins leaped, they swung their murderous weapons. If it weren't for the deadly seriousness of the situation, Jenkins would have found vast humor in it. For in the swinging, both missed him, but one, the youngest, caught his partner squarely on the skull with the spiked club. The stricken one fell like an ox at the slaughter.

Slobbering sounds of rage came from the remaining giant. His beady eyes were red-rimmed, and his voice shook in passion as he charged again. And once more Jenkins danced away. But this time the smile was wiped from the Earthman's lips, as his moving steps struck against a protruding root, and he went sprawling backward.

Rage turned to triumph! The club came on high and began its descent. And Jenkins could only watch it in horror. The terrible club gained speed, size, terror in its immensity, as it descended. And Jenkins seemed chained to the earth by a power greater than his will. The club was inches away, and Jenkins closed his eyes to it and made a silent prayer.

There was a dull thud as the club dropped from the giant's hand to the ground. And another thud as the body of the giant landed with breath-taking force across that of the Earthman. Jenkins grunted in pain. He shoved at the inert figure sprawled across him and rolled it to one side. His breath whistled through his nostrils as he arose and brushed the dirt from him and he wondered dully how he had been saved.

"They are as children," a voice replied to his unspoken question. "And like children, they can't reason ..."

The whistle came from his lips this time, as he did a double-take at the figure which confronted him. She was standing not three feet from him, a tall, lissome figure, dressed in a sheer costume which hid her figure, yet left enough to be seen to entrance the eye. Midnight black hair, a beautifully carved throat, perfection for nose and lips, and eyes haughty as a queen's, made up the rest of her. He could only stare, open-mouthed in admiration, lost in her beauty.

A faint smile touched her lips as she advanced toward him. He caught the movement of others, also, and from the corners of his eyes saw that she had not come alone. Attending her were mailed bodyguards wearing sixteenth century armor.

"I thought the other came alone," Lucretia said, "but now I see I was wrong. He is up there. You will be there, too."

"Up there?" Jenkins asked somewhat foolishly, pointing to the castle in the distance.

"Yes. Up there. Come along, now." She turned and moved away from him, and the mailed men took her place.

This time Jenkins made no move of protest. The long swords and small knives these men carried in their belts made foolish any attempt to fight them.

It took a great deal less time to reach the castle than Jenkins would have thought possible. Yet, there were no means of transportation other than walking. The castle was much like one Jenkins remembered in a movie he had seen. A huge drawbridge swung down over the wide and deep moat before the perpendicular walls of the castle, trumpets sounded and mailed guards ran to appointed places at the castle's entrance. The beautiful creature nodded in acknowledgment of their salute as she stepped past them, Jenkins at her side and the eight bodyguards, two abreast, walking behind. Thus they proceeded up the long and narrow courtyard through another entrance, and into an inner courtyard which preceded the entrance hall proper to the castle.

Things happened at a greater pace from then on. At her signal men came forward, took Jenkins with them and, from then until his return to the woman, he was bathed, shaved, and dressed in a wondrously brocaded gown. When he returned, it was to find her in the immense banquet hall.

She motioned him forward and bade him sit at her right. His eyes went wide when he saw who was at her left—Griffin. And dressed in a gown similar to his own.

"Hi, chum," Griffin said. "Nice layout, huh?"

"I like him," Lucretia said, as she signalled for the food to be brought in. "He has such ill manners and such a boorish way of expressing himself."

Jenkins swallowed in haste as his eyes took in the rest of the company around the table. Never in all his days of police work had he seen such a collection of cutthroats. Yet they, as he, were dressed in finery that was worth a fortune. They saw his stare and answered him with wide grins, which somehow had the power to make his blood run cold.

"Aah!" she continued. "They like you, I see. Ah, well. It's company fit for a Borgia."

Borgia—Lucretia Borgia—the infamous poisoner—the most hated woman of her time. He turned for another quick look and wondered how a woman with such beauty could.... He shook his head violently. And again she seemed to read his mind.

"My beauty is something I had nothing to do with. Perhaps you may come to hate it."

Suddenly a vast anger filled Jenkins' breast. His nostrils dilated in passion, and when he spoke his voice was hoarse with it: "Look! I don't know what's going on. But whatever it is, I don't like it. Now get this! I'm a cop, and the character sitting alongside of you is my prisoner. And I'm going to take him come hell or high water!"

A ripple of laughter began which swelled to a roar as he finished. And the one who laughed the loudest was Lucretia.

"Now tell me, my valorous warder," she said in dulcet tones, "how will you do this?"

"I don't know," Jenkins answered darkly and somewhat foolishly. "But I'll manage. And another thing," he went on after a few seconds, "what's with this rigmarole you're playing?"

"Rigmarole?" Her voice broke into tinkling laughter. "Oh, come now! We don't play games here. I'm really Borgia. So let us sup. Talk will come later."

A servant had placed a dish before Jenkins from which the most appetizing odors arose. Saliva formed in his mouth, and his empty belly reminded him he hadn't eaten for a long time. He raised his fork and started to dig in, but the gesture was never completed. For suddenly he became aware that every eye was on him and that every mouth was twisted in a grin, that laughter hung silently on the air ready to explode at the right second. They were but waiting for him to taste the food.

Nerveless fingers dropped the fork, and Jenkins' gulp was audible. He knew why the grins and stares. The food was poisoned! Yet the others were eating, loudly, gaspingly, tearing at the food with fingers and jaws, eating as though it was the last meal they were ever to have.

"Come, man! Eat!" the woman said between mouthfuls. She, like the rest, held little regard for manners.

"I—I'm not hungry," Jenkins said lamely.

"Too bad. It's so good!" Lucretia remarked. Her eyes were daring him.

There seemed to be dozens of courses, and Jenkins' hunger grew with each serving. More than hunger seethed in his breast, however. Anger also gnawed at him. Anger got the better at last. He shoved his chair from the table, and it clattered backward on stumbling legs. All eyes turned to him as he stood, his hands on his hips, his head shoved forward, chin jutting out like a rock.

"I've had just about enough of this!" Jenkins announced loudly. "I'm going. And you, Griffin, are coming with me."

Gone now were the smiles; gone the laughter. The eyes were cold and oddly expectant. Jenkins grew aware of the tense silence. He grinned, and began to withdraw slowly.

"Okay," he said softly, "so I'll go alone."

"Not even that way," Lucretia said. "My guests leave only at my bidding."

As though her words were a command, two of the men at opposite ends of the table rose and started for Jenkins. Their hands were wrapped about the hilts of the short swords stuck in their belts. Jenkins continued to retreat slowly, though, until his foot struck against the chair which he'd shoved back. Then he moved like greased lightning.

His right hand swept around, gathered up the chair and flung it skidding across the floor, so that it wound up among the folds of the robe worn by one of the men. At the same time Jenkins leaped toward his other would-be attacker and chopped a right hook to his whiskered chin.

It was the signal for a general rush in Jenkins' direction, but Jenkins wasn't waiting. He hadn't even waited to see the effect of his hook. The instant the blow was delivered, he had turned and leaped for the wide entrance. He ran with all speed, his mind busy trying to remember the turns and danger points which might lie before him.

There was no need of that, he discovered. The shouting voices which bayed the alarm brought other guards to the chase. Jenkins came to a sliding halt as he made a turn in the corridor. The grin was still wide on his lips when his capturers brought him back to face Lucretia.

"I find it unseemly," she said as the guards forced him into a chair, "that a guest should feel so strongly about not wanting my hospitality. Surely, I have not been amiss in my attentions? If so, I must remedy that."

A roar of laughter went up at the words.

"Therefore," she went on, "we will do more than we have. Take him below and make him feel as welcome as he should have felt from the beginning."

Sweat streamed from the dank walls. Feeble light came from a pair of torches set into wall brackets, light which was offset by the heavy smoke the resinous torches gave forth. A dozen cloaked figures stood around the almost naked figure of a man chained wrists, ankles, and neck to the wall. Standing directly in front of the chained man, and facing him, was another man, with a look of cunning cruelty on his face. The one chained to the wall was Jenkins; and the man facing him was Griffin.

"Look, my friend," Lucretia Borgia said to Griffin, "all about you are the implements of the trade. Here," she pointed with daintily gesturing fingers to a many-thonged whip, "is a tickler to make this fool dance. And when he tires, why here," she pointed to something which looked like a coal scuttle, "we have a bucket in which he can rest his wearied feet. Of course you may have to heat it a trifle, but I'm sure he won't mind."

The others shouted in glee at the humor they found in her remark.

Jenkins listened in bitter silence. The only visible sign of his desperate feelings was a tiny trickle of blood which seeped from one corner of his mouth and ran down to the side of his chin. He had given up straining against the steel chains which bound him. They had been set too strongly into the wall. He prayed that he could take the physical tortures to be inflicted on him without weakening.

Then Griffin was reaching for the steel-tipped whip, and Jenkins braced himself for the pain.

"Make him dance!" Lucretia commanded. "Pride needs music...." She stopped suddenly and her head came up. The others also froze into listening attitudes.

Jenkins had been aware of the odd sound for several minutes. He had presumed that the others were too interested in what was going on down in the cold, dank dungeon to be disturbed by sounds from the upper world. The sound had a rumbling vibration, the rumble grew louder and louder, and suddenly there was an ear-splitting crash. Dust and chips flew from the walls.

"The giants!" Lucretia screamed in wild terror. "They are bowling again."

As one, everybody turned and began a pell-mell race for the stairs, until there was only the chained man left. And hard at their heels came another of the ear-splitting crashes. More chips flew, and now tiny streamers of water leaped from cracks which appeared in the stone. Again there was the roar, another crash, and Jenkins moaned in pain as a large chunk of rock struck his side and tore the flesh.

He strained against the steel chains which bound him until he thought his blood would burst the bounds of his veins. He pulled again and again and until he could strain no more, until he could only fall limply against his prison-links.

His mind was fevered and his thoughts jumbled. He had to escape somehow. Again there was heard that terrorizing crash. He gasped, and turned his head aside, as a torrent of water poured from a fissure in the rock close to his head and shot into his face.

He turned his head and felt the metal tear from the wall. His head was free. Like a madman, Jenkins tried again to loose himself. This time he succeeded. And where the chains pulled free, water dribbled from that spot.

With a desperate intensity, Jenkins made a superhuman effort and pulled at the chains binding his wrists. The chains came apart, tearing the flesh and leaving raw wounds. Wincing at the pain, he placed his fingers behind his neck and felt of the steel. After a few seconds of probing, he twisted at the nut, which separated from the bolt with a single easy twist. He did the same with the chain binding his ankles—and Jenkins was free!

The last length of chain fell into the water, which by now had formed a foot-deep puddle on the floor, and splashed loudly, as Jenkins raced against a new danger. Whatever was causing those crashing sounds was also weakening the foundations of the castle. Water was beginning to pour in a perfect torrent from many cracks. The stairs to the floor above was but twenty feet from where he had been chained, but even in that short distance the water rose another foot.

Jenkins took the wide stone steps three at a time, and raced like wild around the short curves. He had oriented himself as they brought him down, and he knew exactly where he was going. Danger lay at the very top of the stairs, for here they were heavily guarded. Yet, when he reached the head of the stairs, not a soul was to be seen.

He became cautious, then. Being weaponless, Jenkins knew he would have to rely on stealth. Slowly he advanced, until he was at the very threshold of the large banquet hall. Now he heard voices, voices raised in anger.

The loudest, most shrill of these voices, the one who commanded attention, was that of Lucretia Borgia: "You fools! Dolt heads! When this is over I shall have you all flayed alive. Did not any of you recognize the king of the giants as the one who was fighting the stranger? Now they are bowling against us. And who among us can challenge them?"

"I can, baby." Jenkins recognized that voice. It belonged to Griffin. "Duck pins, ten pins or any other kind. I'll match my hook with the best of them."

There was a short interval of silence. When Lucretia broke it, she spoke in more natural tones: "It isn't the giants I'm worried about. I have seen them bowl. They rely on strength only. The dwarfs are the ones I'm worried about. We beat them the last time because they used the man from Earth and we got him drunk. They are cunning little men. Are you sure, my friend, that you have the skill?"

But Jenkins didn't wait to hear the answer. He knew Griffin had the skill. For Griffin, in his varied and checkered career, had once won an A.B.C. tournament. It was the clue by which he had been able to trace Griffin in his chase across the continent.

Jenkins peered into the hall. The men were all clustered around the woman, listening intently to her words. Silently, he fled from the banquet hall, and in a single leap crossed the open courtyard. From there on he threw caution to the winds. Oddly enough he could have walked, for not a single guard was to be seen even at the gate to the drawbridge. Although the bridge was up, Jenkins didn't hesitate for an instant. He dived in, and the waters of the moat closed over him.

But the moat was not wide, nor was it too deep. Ten strokes and he was across. The moon flooded the night with light, and his path was clear before him. After reaching the opposite bank, Jenkins started for the depths of the forest. But just as he reached it an odd procession marched out.

At the head were the three dwarfs Jenkins had first met upon recovering consciousness. Behind them streamed a host of other dwarfs. And from what was evidently another path into the forest came another procession. Although this group was not as large in number, in size the men were gigantic. The two processions saw Jenkins at the same time, and both groups started toward him. Had it not been for the three little men, Jenkins couldn't imagine what fate might have befallen him.

"Ho!" shouted the dwarf called Loti. "It is the one who was taken to the castle. Come, my friend, we go to the castle. To bowl. For the good woman who rules there has made the mistake which might free us of her rule.

"She permitted one of our giant brethren to be killed by one of her men. And now we go to bowl against her champions. See, Mikas carries our ball."

Jenkins looked at the one to whom Loti had gestured, and saw that in truth the little man was carrying a bowling ball, a ball which was in no way different from those Jenkins had himself used in his world.

"Aye," Loti continued. "Now we have again the chance to rid ourselves of her shackles."

The leaders of the giants had joined them while they were talking. One of them interrupted: "Aye. Loti is right. We sent the boulders down against them from the heights. Now we go to bowl."

Jenkins grinned as he started back for that castle of terror which he'd just quitted. He blinked in surprise when he saw that the drawbridge had been lowered. The dwarfs and the giants were apparently expected, but they would certainly be amazed to see him.

"You!" Lucretia exclaimed when she saw him. "How did you escape?"

He shrugged his shoulders and stared coldly into her beautiful eyes. She frowned back at him, then turned and motioned for her men to follow. Their way was lit by torchbearers, and led up a winding path which ended on a level bit of highland directly behind the castle. Here was grass land smooth as velvet; here were the grounds of combat, bloodless but just as decisive.

There was a single alley, at the far end of which stood ten pins. Jenkins measured the alley with his eyes and figured it to be just about the length of a conventional bowling alley. The backstop was built up of earth and was soft enough so that the pins would not splinter on striking it.

"We all know the rules," Lucretia said. "To the victor goes the rule of our land. To the loser, slavery. Therefore, let us begin. Since I hold title, I choose to have my champion bowl last."

The giant's man bowled first against Loti. Just as Lucretia had said, he had speed but that was all. Loti had a much slower ball, but one that knocked down more pins on his hits. The giant got too many splits and railroads to be able to beat the little man.

Then, after a short wait, Griffin took the alley against Loti. And from the first ball, Jenkins saw that the little man stood no chance. Griffin's hook worked beautifully on the velvet grass lawn. He literally swamped Loti, whose shoulders slumped in weariness and discouragement as Griffin struck out.

"And so we remain slaves once more," Loti said, as the pin setter set up the last rack. "Once, when the man called Rip Van Winkle bowled, I thought we had a chance. But she got him drunk and we lost that match. Now this."

Lucretia was elated. As the last strike scattered the pins, she ran up to Griffin and planted a kiss on his lips.

"My champion!" she crowed. "Now we will take care of these big and little creatures once and for all. Once I was generous. Now I will be otherwise."

"Maybe!" Jenkins suddenly spoke. "But we're not through bowling. I am now of the people here, and I challenge the winner of the two matches."

Loti caught up the other's words:

"He speaks true. He has the right to challenge."

"Is it true," Jenkins asked, "that the winner has the right to give terms?"

"Aye," Loti said.

"Then let's bowl," Jenkins said.

He tried the grip of the ball Loti passed to him. It was a two-fingered grip, and just a little small. As the challenger, Jenkins had to bowl first. He measured the distance carefully, tried to figure the angle into the pocket, took a three-step run and let his ball go in a medium swing. The ball hooked in neatly, and left a four-seven split. A laugh arose from Lucretia's followers. But silence fell among them as Jenkins made the pickup.

"Nice shot, copper," Griffin said, as he stepped up to bowl, and made a strike. From then on, they matched strikes to the eighth frame when Griffin hit the head pin directly and got a seven-ten railroad. He picked up the ten-pin. Jenkins had gotten a nine count and made the spare.

In the ninth frame, Jenkins struck. Griffin stepped up, wiped his right hand carefully against the trousers he had donned, took aim with great care, and sent the ball down the side of the alley. It hooked in nicely and again hit the head pin directly, only this time the six, ten, four and seven pins were left standing. So badly shot was he by the bad break, that he fumbled the ball as he started for his second shot. But he recovered quickly and neatly made the spare, the four pin barely grazing the ten.

The score as they started the tenth frame was 206 for Griffin and 209 for Jenkins.

Jenkins knew he had to mark at the least to win, and a double to make it close if Griffin got a double. Minutes went by while Jenkins made his last sight. Then he took three quick steps and let the ball go. But just as he reached the foul line, Jenkins slipped. The grass had become slick with all the running being done on its surface. And the ball, instead of hooking, went straight in, and left a very bad railroad, the four-ten.

Griffin's sigh of relief was the only sound to break the silence, as Jenkins stepped up for his second shot. He knew there was but one chance to make it, one chance alone.

If he could but get the ball over just right, it could make the four slide over against the ten.

Thunderous roars rent the air, and piping screams of delight, as the giants and the dwarfs saw the dreaded four-ten split made! The strike Jenkins hit for his last shot was an anti-climax. The score stood at 249 for Jenkins.

"Nice shot," Griffin said as he stepped up. "But all I need is a double." He threw, and the ten pins fell. His second ball was also a strike.

"And just to show you how good I am," Griffin declared, as he held the ball for the last throw, "I'm going to make just four pins so you won't feel too bad."

Only he didn't! For what had happened to Jenkins, happened to him. His foot also slipped on the grass, and this time he got three pins. The score was tied.

Suddenly Jenkins sat down, removed his shoes and stood erect. He wasn't going to take a chance on his last ball, for that was the rule on a tie. One ball until the tie was broken, and a strike was just a strike. There was no question of what Jenkins threw the instant he released the ball. Right in the pocket!

Griffin's ball left the hard one, the ten pin. Griffin was still stooped, his hands on his hips and his face forlorn, when Jenkins' hand fell on his shoulder.

"I said I was taking you in, Griffin," Jenkins said. "And come hell or high water, I'm going to."

Griffin shrugged the hand off as he whirled on the other. "Don't be a fool!" he spat. "Do you think we're alive?"

"Rip Van Winkle was," Jenkins said, cryptically. "And I think we are, too."

"He is quite right, my friend," Loti said, as he stepped up to them. "I can send you back, both of you, back to the time and place of your leavetaking. This instant...."

Jenkins felt a wave of blackness wash over him, a terrible wrenching at his innards, and a sudden thrust. He opened his eyes and looked about. There was a pain in his left shoulder, and he could feel a sticky wetness running down his arm. Griffin stood before him, and in Griffin's eyes was a dazed look. Behind Griffin, the door to the pilot's cabin swung crazily. Before Griffin knew what hit him, Jenkins had leaped upon him. It took one blow, a terrific hook to the man's jaw, and Griffin slumped to the floor.

"What happened?" Jenkins asked as the stewardess bandaged his shoulder where Griffin's shot had caught him.

"Why," she said, "he shot, you went backward. Then, and it's the only way I can describe it, you both seemed to freeze up for an instant. The next thing I knew, you had recovered and the fight was over."

But Jenkins knew better. He knew that in those few seconds, space and time had changed for himself and Griffin, and it was a lucky bowling match which had brought them back.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Castle of Terror, by E.J. Liston


***** This file should be named 32876-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.