By W. W. Jacobs
format by Captivated Chat
An unnatural look
In the dark room he found the talisman in its place, and a horrible fear seized him that the unspoken wish might bring his mutilated son before him ere he could escape from the room.
Even his wife’s face seemed changed as he entered the room. It was white and expectant, and to his fears seemed to have an unnatural look upon it. He was afraid of her.
The matches fell from his hand and spilled in the passage. He stood motionless, his breath suspended until the knock was repeated. Then he turned and fled swiftly back to his room, and closed the door behind him. A third knock sounded through the house.
(Loud knock resounds through the house)
Long loud wail
There was another knock, and another. Finally the old woman, with a sudden wrench, broke free and ran from the room. Therefore her husband followed to the landing, and called after her appealingly as she hurried downstairs. But he heard the chain rattle back and the bottom bolt drawn slowly and stiffly from the socket. Then the old woman’s voice, strained and panting.
But her husband was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If he could only find it before the thing outside got in.
A perfect fusillade of knocks reverberated through the house, and he heard the scraping of a chair as his wife put it down in the passage against the door. Finally, he heard the creaking of the bolt as it came slowly back, and at the same moment he found the monkey’s paw, and frantically breathed his third and last wish.
The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair drawn back, and the door opened.
A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The street lamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.