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told from a man by his reading habits. There were books by Bridgeman,
Zaindenburg and Loomis, almost everything on the shelves pertained to
art in some form or another - except for the last row. There were about
fifteen science fiction volumes, mostly collections of short stories,
from Asimov to A.E. van Vogt. He had a fleeting idea to start reading
the stuff in an effort to determine whether or not his strange dreams
came from somewhere within the pages, then he rejected it. It would take
a hell of a long while to even skim through that mass of literature and
he didn't have the time.
He shoved a copy of H. Beam Piper back onto the shelf and straightened.
To hell with it. He had the whole house to search, before he started
fumbling through something as far out as science fiction. He started
rummaging through the various rooms of the place with systematic
When he finished the search, it was noon. He knew a lot about the cabin,
but damned little about himself. The cramped, dismal attic contained
what was left of pictures, odd bits of furniture and clothes after the
local field mice and porcupines had their annual convention up there.
The three bedrooms revealed nothing except the usual gear to be found in
any bedroom, and of the downstairs section of the place, only the art
studio and the combination den-library was of interest. And even these
places shed no light upon the ghost of the man that haunted him. The
studio contained all of the trappings of an artist, even though it was
in rather battered up shape, and the den was a wall to wall replica of
what a woodsman might have owned. There were the books, the stuffed
heads and, of course, the guns.
The rack, on the far side of the room, contained a table with bullet
loading equipment scattered around it, with cans of DuPont powder on the
floor. Above it, in the gun rack were the weapons - enough to hold off a
small revolution. There were two handguns and three rifles and a
shotgun. He looked them over.
A Smith and Wesson .38, model 36 and a Ruger Blackhawk .44 Magnum that
looked like the old peacemaker model. One of the rifles was a Marlin
saddle carbine, model 336 and the other was a Winchester African rifle
with a .458 bore. The last gun on the rack was a Stevens .410 single
barrel shotgun. Nick grinned at the arsenal and took the .44 magnum down
from the rack to clean it. It wasn't in too bad of shape, even for as
long as it had remained idle; even the western style holster and gunbelt
contained enough oil to make them pliable.
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