EPILOGUE

The Shadow seemed to vanish into the darkness just a moment later, as he heard the wail of sirens from police cars approaching the house. Superman likewise thought it prudent to disappear, as he still needed to explain Clark Kent's absence during most of the evening's events. He flew to the New York offices of the Daily Planet, transformed himself into Clark Kent, and wrote a deliberately bland, unexciting story crediting Inspector Joe Cardona and his squad of detectives with extraordinary police work in finding Lamont Cranston. Cardona and his men had in fact arrested Schmidt and Renfield Lane, and with their full confessions, the police were also able to nab Dietrich's boatload of lieutenants and the Gunther Black gang, so the story was at least partially true. Honoring the agreement he and Lois had made with Burke, he repeated Burke's cover story in the Classic that Dietrich and his men were simply extortionists holding Cranston for ransom and omitted any mention of Dietrich's espionage plot. This story was eventually repeated by all the other New York papers.

To Lois he gave the far more exciting task of writing about the final battle between Superman, The Shadow, and Dietrich. "Witnesses said all three of them were in Dietrich's townhouse at the same time!" she said, amazed at the very thought. "Would've made a heck of a story to see firsthand," she added wistfully. "Where were you, anyway?"

"I told you," he said, feigning irritation, "I was at the New York bureau all night."

"Some reporter you turned out to be," she grumbled.

"I guess I just miss out on all the fun," he sighed. Let Lois get her big, splashy exclusive if it meant keeping his secret safe, he thought. He contented himself with reporting on President Roosevelt's dry, dusty speech to a roomful of stodgy bankers.

The next morning he and Lois were off to Grand Central Station to catch the train back to Metropolis. Lamont and Margo came to see them off. While the Lane sisters were saying their final, private goodbyes, Clark Kent and Lamont Cranston had a few moments together on the platform.

"So, Lamont, I suppose you and Margo will just go back into town after we leave?" Kent asked.

"No, Margo and I thought we'd go out to a little place on Long Island called the Holmwood Arms and spend a few weeks there. It's quiet and restful. The yogis in India taught me how to ignore pain for a short time, but all these adventures have left me pretty banged up and I need to take it easy for awhile."

"So that's it! I was wondering how you managed to come to my rescue after taking that beating from Dietrich and Black," Kent said.

"Yes, and if you don't mind my asking, there's something I've been wondering about you, too, Clark," Cranston replied. "Just what was that green stone of Dietrich's that nearly did you in? What on earth was it?"

"Well, you're not likely to find much of it on Earth, and that's just it. It's Kryptonite, a piece of my home planet. Ordinarily it's harmless, but in your atmosphere, under the influence of your yellow sun, it's lethal to me. My one vulnerability. What's yours?"

"Jealousy," said Lamont Cranston with a rueful smile.

"It's mine, too," Lois said, coming up behind them with Margo in tow. "Honestly, Margo, what did we ever see in a monster like Karl Dietrich?" She shuddered.

"I don't know Lois. It's like someone once said to me. Love makes you do crazy things sometimes."

The public address system announced the imminent departure of the Long Island local that would take Margo and Lamont to Holmwood. After one last parting embrace with her sister, Lois Lane was left standing next to Clark Kent.

"Well, Mr. Kent, I say it's time to go home. We've got an election to cover, remember?" she said.

"Sounds swell, Lois. Only how many times have I asked you to call me Clark? By the way, I hear they have a first class dining car on this train. Whaddaya say I buy you a sandwich and a cup of coffee?"

Lois Lane beamed at him. "I'd like that . . . Clark."

She kept smiling as they boarded the train and the Metropolis Flyer slowly pulled out of Grand Central Station.

End of Epilogue

THE END