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CHAPTER XXV

THE HUNTING OF THE INVISIBLE MAN

For a space Kemp was too inarticulate to make Adye understand the swift things that had just happened. They stood on the landing, Kemp speaking hurriedly, the grotesque swathings of Griffin still on his arm. But presently Adye began to grasp something of the situation.

He is mad, said Kemp; inhuman. He is pure selfishness. He thinks of nothing but his own advantage, his own safety. I have listened to such a story this morning of brutal selfseeking He has wounded men. He will kill them unless we can prevent him. He will create a panic. Nothing can stop him. He is going out now furious!

He must be caught, said Adye. That is certain.

But how? cried Kemp, and suddenly became full of ideas. You must begin at once; you must set every available man to work; you must prevent his leaving this district. Once he gets away he may go through the countryside as he wills, killing and maiming. He dreams of a reign of terror! A reign of terror, I tell you. You must set a watch on trains and roads and shipping. The garrison must help. You must wire for help. The only thing that may keep him here is the thought of recovering some books of notes he counts of value. I will tell you of that! There is a man in your police stationMarvel.

I know, said Adye, I know. Those booksyes. But the tramp

Says he hasnt them. But he thinks the tramp has. And you must prevent him from eating or sleepingday and night the country must be astir for him. Food must be locked up and secured, all food, so that he will have to break his way to it. The houses everywhere must be barred against him. Heaven send us cold nights and rain! The whole countryside must begin hunting and keep hunting. I tell you, Adye, he is a danger, a disaster. Unless he is pinned down and secured, it is frightful to think of the things that may happen.

What else can we do? said Adye.I must go down at once and begin organising. But why not come? Yesyou come too! Come, and we must hold a sort of council of warget Hopps to helpand the railway managers. By Jove! its urgent. Come alongtell me as we go. What else is there we can do? Put that stuff down.

In another moment Adye was leading the way downstairs. They found the front door open and the policemen standing outside staring at empty air. Hes got away, sir, said one.

We must go to the central station at once, said Adye. One of you go on down and get a cab to come up and meet usquickly. And now, Kemp, what else?

Dogs, said Kemp. Get dogs. They dont see him, but they wind him. Get dogs.

Good, said Adye. Its not generally known, but the prison officials over at Halstead know a man with bloodhounds. Dogs. What else?

Bear in mind, said Kemp, his food shows. After eating, his food shows until it is assimilated. So that he has to hide after eating. You must keep on beating.[1] Every thicket, every quiet corner. And put all weaponsall implements that might be weapons, away. He cant carry such things for long. And what he can snatch up and strike men with must be hidden away.

Good again, said Adye. We shall have him yet!

And on the roads said Kemp, and hesitated.

Yes? said Adye.

Powdered glass, said Kemp. Its cruel, I know. But think of what he may do!

Adye drew the air in between his teeth sharply. Its unsportsmanlike. I dont know. But Ill have powdered glass got ready. If he goes too far

The mans become inhuman, I tell you, said Kemp. I am as sure he will establish a reign of terrorso soon as he has got over the emotions of this escapeas I am sure I am talking to you. Our only chance is to be ahead. He has cut himself off from his kind. His blood be upon his own head.


* * * | The Invisible Man | CHAPTER XXVI THE WICKSTEED MURDER