12th Pan Book of Horror by HERBERT VAN THAL

By HERBERT VAN THAL

1st Pan 1971 variation paperback vg situation. In inventory shipped from our united kingdom warehouse

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The ground hadn't changed, it was as firm as it was by the door, but the tracks began some distance away and continued in a straight line heading roughly north, and then they stopped. They went in the same direction that the dogs had attempted to follow the scent, and they began just about where the dogs had lost the scent. It was as if the trail had been deliberately left at this point, or deliberately erased on both sides, and the inconsistency was baffling. A creature able to move without trace wouldn't have blundered at random points, unless it was a deliberate attempt to lead its pursuers in a false direction.

He ran as fast as madness could propel him down the narrow lane. He had looked into the face of the killer, but it made no impression on his mind. His mind did not function, he did not feel anything as his instincts took possession of his functions. Perhaps the soundwaves of the feet that padded behind him reached his ears, but his ears sent no impression to his brain. His brain was screaming too loud to hear. He stumbled, but was running too fast to fall; came crashing up against the phone box and yanked the door open; hurled himself inside this cubicle sanctuary of society and pulled the door closed behind him.

The dogs had followed the scent to the point where the tracks began. No farther. They had not followed where the tracks were obvious in the ground, where the scent, if it existed at all, should certainly have been. Even Bell understood that there were implications to that - implications that led to far-fetched and mind-staggering conclusions. 'But an animal - or a man - can't simply cease to leave a scent,' Bell said. ' 'That's right. But if the dogs had followed a certain scent to this point - the scent that they had followed from the cottage, a strong and noticeable scent - and that specific scent suddenly changed -' Wetherby paused, not sure what he wanted to say, knowing what he thought, but hesitating to voice it.

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