Chapter 6 – The End
The next morning in the bar of the Happy Inn motel, Lamont Cranston, Margo Lane and Harry Vincent were all sitting around finishing breakfast and chatting.
"Yes, yes that's right Margo. The radio reported zombie-like creatures and dead bodies. All poppycock of course," Cranston declared, flashing a smile to Margo Lane.
"I don't know Lamont. Just yesterday the radio said that they had apprehended the killers. Are you sure it's over?" Margo Lane quizzed.
"Oh Margo, now don't be getting Lamont all scared and worried with stupid little ghost stories. He's on vacation," Harry cautioned.
"Scared? Why Harry, when we get back to New York, I'll show you who is scared," Lamont threatened jokingly.
Suddenly, John Rowe walked into the bar, giving a loud yell. "Harry, Miss Lane, Mr. Cranston… I'm all checked out and my bags are packed. I just wanted to come and say goodbye before heading back to the big city."
"Well I'm sure you'll be glad to get back to the norm," Cranston assured.
"I don't know Mr. Cranston, it has been kind of nice getting away from the big city. I'll have to do this more often," John Rowe uttered.
"Come back here, to Torrenceville," Harry asked.
"Well now, I don't know about here. I mean I've seen this place and once was enough. All this talk of murder and the macabre just really isn't why I go vacationing. We get enough of that in the big city."
"I know what you mean John," Margo chimed in. "At any rate it was wonderful to meet you. I have a feeling we may meet again in the future."
"Miss Lane, there's not a shadow of a doubt," John Rowe declared with a laugh. "Say, I better get going. My cab is probably waiting."
"Yes, I'll see you out old boy," Harry offered, putting his arm on John Rowe's shoulder.
"It was nice to meet you all. Take care Mr. Cranston, Miss Lane."
"You too John, bye now," Margo greeted.
"Have a nice trip Mr. Rowe," Cranston offered.
"I'll be back in a few minutes," Harry called out to Lamont and Margo.
With that Harry and John Rowe left the bar. They didn't need to hear details concerning the mission. To them, it was just work. But Margo Lane was a different story. She always knew that after a mission, she and Lamont Cranston would sit around and gossip long enough for Cranston to give the details on how the Shadow cracked the case. Usually with missions like this, there were always clandestine tidbits of information that the Shadow somehow knew, leaving his agents in the dark.
Margo had to know. Just what did the Shadow know about a case as mysterious as this one?
"Alright Lamont, there gone. Fill me in."
"There's nothing to tell Margo," Cranston declared.
"C'mon Lamont, I have to know. How did the Shadow do it?"
"Margo, that woman at the cabin, Delilah. She was positively insane. Claiming you can bring people back from the dead, it's proposterous. Her plan was to turn the entire town against itself, using something known in the eastern world as The Twilight's Kiss."
"The Twilight's Kiss, what's that?"
"It's a ritual that ancient mystics supposedly used to build armies for warlords and dictators, who were drunk with power. When I studied in the Orient, I learned the ritual and was taught that it was a fraud. It is a fraud, it doesn't work."
"So if it only exists as an ancient ritual, how did this Delilah know about it," Margo wondered.
"My guess is that this woman was a senile gypsy who learned of the ritual in her travels. She probably thought that a small, unsuspecting town in the southern United States would be the perfect target for her foolish scheme," Cranston guessed.
"Wow a gypsy. But didn't you tell me before that she had brainwashed the town?"
"Yes Margo. Her psychic abilities were very advanced. She did brainwash the town, as well as her so-called army. But those people on the hill, they were already crazy enough to fall for Delilah's plan. Had we waited much longer, the townspeople would have torn the town apart, reducing it to nothing, leaving Delilah and her strange cult, free to take over."
"So the murders were by accident," Margo inquired.
"Actually yes, in Delilah's sick mind, she believed that she really could revive the dead. When she failed the first time, she decided to keep trying. As the bodies started piling up, she became frustrated. She wanted so badly to have an undead army, that she brainwashed her cult into believing they were the undead. I think as time went on, she started to believe it herself. Had she not taken her own life, she would have been an interesting psychological case study."
"Oh Lamont, that's horrible," Margo scolded. "The poor woman was a victim of her own twisted mind,"
"Yes Margo, but had she survived she would have been placed in a hospital. She was too unfit for prison."
"Well like always, the Shadow made sure that justice was found," Margo declared.
"He did at that Margo, he did at that," Cranston agreed.
Suddenly Harry Vincent appeared, entering the bar at a brisk pace.
"Hey guys," Harry called as he entered the bar. "That's it for John. I better go get packed, if I'm to get back to New York by tonight."
"You're leaving today Harry? I thought you'd be staying for the rest of the week," Margo said in surprise.
"No Margo, he's got to get back to the city for whatever it is he does to occupy his time."
"Well we can't all be playboys Lamont. C'mon, you guys know what I do. I'm a salesman for hire," Harry reminded.
"Oh yes, that's right," Cranston remembered. Truthfully though, Cranston knew that the Shadow had appointed Harry a salesman, and that he didn't really have to work for a living. He was an agent of the Shadow, and all agents of the Shadow were of course financially set for life.
"Well, Lamont and I are going to be here for a few more days, then we'll return," Margo informed.
"Well you guys have fun. I'm off to my room to pack. I'll be down later to give my farewells," Harry promised, leaving the bar hurriedly.
Cranston and Margo had planned to stay a few days extra, so Lamont could regroup and take a break. He was in great need of a break from the city, and for now at least, from the Shadow.