Chapter 8

Minutes later, the sinister figure of the dreaded Green Hornet crept around the outside of the church, looking for any entrance he could find into the basement. As he stalked in the shadows, he noticed a small, partially boarded up basement window. Peering inside, he noticed what were probably a dozen men sprawled out all over the basement floor. Only a few men were left, haphazardly firing their weapons into the air, as the Shadow was nowhere to be seen, however the Hornet could hear the mysterious and mocking laughter all over the room. Deciding it was time to act, the Hornet hurriedly removed the dilapidated boards from the window and climbed inside.

Once he had entered the place, he remained unnoticed on account of the loud and chaotic gunfire. He suddenly spotted Johnny Sapphire at the far side of the basement and stealthily ran up behind him, tapping him on the shoulder. As the surprised racketeer turned around, he jumped backward, loudly ordering his men to cease-fire. As the gunfire stopped, all became quiet. Sapphire spoke.

"Well, look who finally decided to show. You know, Hornet, I really want to thank you for delivering Britt Reid to us."

"Save it, Johnny," the Hornet replied, looking very angry. "What is this, some kind of double cross?"

"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," Sapphire argued.

"I delivered that publisher to you as a sign of good faith, and you go off and shoot up the place, trying to kill one of my guys."

"Oh, you mean that Shadow character. But, Hornet, he was going to interfere when I tried to kill Britt Reid. Besides, look what he did to several of my men," Sapphire countered, pointing out several of his men unconscious on the floor.

"I'm sure he acted in self defense, I mean judging by all of the ammo shells on the floor, your men were trying to kill him. Anyway, forget it" the Hornet said, not wishing to argue any further. "Show me Britt Reid. I have something to discuss with him."

"No problem, Hornet, he's in one of the storerooms."

"That's fine. Take me to him," the Hornet requested in an almost heated tone.

With that, the Hornet, Johnny Sapphire and the few remaining henchmen walked to the storeroom that was supposed to contain Britt Reid. As they opened the door, some of the henchmen discovered that Reid was gone.

"Look, Boss," one of them exclaimed. "Reid flew the coup."

"Go find the bastard," Sapphire ordered his men angrily.

"Not so fast. Nobody move," the Hornet demanded, pulling his gas gun. "I knew this was a double cross."

"Oh, come on, Hornet. We didn't double cross you," Sapphire said, desperately trying to sound convincing. "Anyway boys, go find Reid. He mustn't escape."

"No. If anyone moves, you get the gas," the Hornet declared.

"Well, Mr. Sapphire is the Boss. We gotta do as he says," one goon chimed in, attempting to leave the room.

Suddenly, the Hornet shot the man with the thick mist that was the Hornet gas, causing the man to drop to the floor. One of the other thugs instantly tried to retaliate, but was knocked backward by a mysterious force. Instantly, the fiendish black cloak of the Shadow materialized in the small storeroom, as if it had come from nowhere. As the shadow began his unsettling laughter, Johnny Sapphire rapidly gripped a diamond-handled revolver and began to aim, but the Shadow seemed to float forward, knocking the gun from his hand.

Another goon sharply lunged for the Hornet, but was met with a hard blow to the jaw. Without warning, a third crook attempted to grab the Shadow from behind but the Shadow's gloved fist gave a hard blow to the man's face. All of a sudden, it appeared that Sapphire was alone. The Shadow and the Hornet had neutralized every single hired thug. These two mysterious avengers of crime instantly united against the gangster, cornering him in the room. The Hornet shot his gun and the gangster was instantaneously enveloped in the gas, dropping to the floor.

From out of nowhere, they instantly heard police sirens. The Green Hornet smiled, as he knew that Kato must have tipped the cops off to the whereabouts of this wretched gang. As the sirens grew louder, the Hornet began to get slightly nervous.

"That's our cue to leave," The Hornet acknowledged.

The Shadow stood completely still, momentarily resembling a statue. As the room fell completely quiet, the Shadow suddenly disappeared. The Green Hornet grinned, placing a Hornet seal on Johnny Sapphire's forehead.

"That's one way of doing things," he uttered to himself, before quickly climbing up the makeshift crate stairs and into the ceiling, out of sight.

The next morning, Mike Axford and Gunnigan sat in Britt Reid's office at the Daily Sentinel, talking to their boss. Mike Axford was especially keyed up.

"We're putting this beauty of a story out in all three editions of today's paper," Axford exclaimed in his usual overzealous voice. "I can't believe that the cops said that they found the Hornet seal on that Sapphire guy."

"Well, it was a good story, Axford," Reid declared. "You deserve all the credit."

"Thanks, Reid," Axford obliged, "but I still can't believe that the Hornet captured you. You must have been so frightened."

"I will admit it was a bit unsettling," Reid chuckled, "but the good news is, we got our story."

"Sufferin' snakes, Reid, you could have been killed."

"Oh come off it Axford," Gunnigan chimed in. "The boss is all right now."

"That I am, Gunnigan. And you know, I like to believe that no crime in this city could ever be solved without help from the Sentinel. I have a great staff."

"Thanks a lot, Boss," Gunnigan and Axford said in unison.

Abruptly, Miss Case rang in on the intercom. "Mr. Reid?"

"Go ahead Miss Case," Reid replied looking at his two employees from across the desk.

"Henry is here to see you. Oh and he brought me a box of chocolates," the secretary giggled before signing off.

"Send Henry in," Reid said playfully. "You two need to get back to work," he pronounced with sternness to Axford and Gunnigan.

"That we do Reid, that we do." Axford said with glee as he and Gunnigan left the office and Henry Arnaud entered.

"Well, Mr. Arnaud, I must admit, I wasn't expecting to see you again," Reid greeted the familiar man with the familiarly odd mustache and the plain suit.

"Yes, well I just read your front page story and wanted to congratulate you and your paper for being the first to get all the facts," the tall man offered.

"Thank you. Did your investigation help bring any of these facts?" Reid inquired.

"Well, no actually. I abandoned the case and started another investigation. Mr. Reid, allow me to be blunt. I know who the Green Hornet is."

"You do? Well, that will certainly make a great story. Who is it?"

"It's you," the tall and odd-looking man uttered with a smile.

"Me? Now, that's a laugh if I ever heard one."

"Yes, it would be funny, Mr. Reid, but I'm not laughing."

"What proof do you have?" Reid uttered defensively.

I know about the secret building where you keep your car and I know about your assistant," Arnaud informed sternly.

"And what do you plan to do with this information, Mr. Arnaud?"

"Don't worry over it, Reid. I admire your courage. Your secret is safe with me."

"Well, while we are on the subject of vigilantes, I have to confess I know your secret as well," Reid informed with a shock.

"What secret is that," Arnaud asked with a grin.

"I know that you are the Shadow," Britt Reid paused for a moment. "Only, you are not just the Shadow, but a master of disguise. I know your mustache is fake. The truth is, I don't know your real identity, but I do know that Henry Arnaud is an alias you use. And this is just one of many I am betting."

"And how did you acquire this information, Reid?" Arnaud said with a sneer.

"My aid, Kato has been keeping tabs on you at your hotel."

"So, I suppose you are going to publish my secret?" Arnaud asked, snickering lightly.

"I won't tell if you won't," Reid offered with a smile.

"Deal," Arnaud declared, extending his hand.

With that, Britt Reid firmly gripped the man's hand.

"Just one thing I want you to do for me," Arnaud requested.

"What's that?"

"Take care of Lenore Case for me."

"Of course, I will," Reid promised.

"With these jewel heists solved, I guess I'll go back to where I came from."

"And where is that?" Reid asked.

"Only the Shadow knows," Arnaud said with a smile, straightening his suit and waving goodbye as he calmly left the office.

The End