SPOTLIGHT – A Tale of the Scarlet Spirit: In the Clutches of Convicts
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Find out more about this e-book follow-up short story to REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST: 5TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION, featured previously on THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF!
ABOUT THE STORY
After killing a prison guard, two convicts are on the run, and the vigilante known as the Masked Ghost is nowhere to be found. Margaret Randolph must once again become the Scarlet Spirit in order to capture them and save the life of her friend.
After all the madness at the salon, Margaret and Vivian sought out lunch and fresh air. So they made their way to the roof garden restaurant atop the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for chef Louis Diat’s vichyssoise. Margaret briefly wondered what the other women thought of her outburst, but then made the decision that she didn’t really care. Vivian was more interested in talking about how Detective Monroe said she was beautiful even hiding in the drier. Perhaps there was hope for her yet; though of course there was no way she’d let him see her that way again.
“Vivian,” Margaret tried to broach a difficult question, “what I said back at the salon…”
“Are you worried about what Betty and the other women think of your little outburst? Don’t mind them, they’re all just busybodies. They will have forgotten it all before next week.”
Margaret was surprised by her friend’s response, and somewhat relieved.
“Besides, I know your little secret.”
“You do?” Startled, Margaret dropped her spoon into the soup. Had Monroe betrayed their trust by telling Vivian about the Masked Ghost?
“Certainly. You’ve been a hot head since we were kids, and you were always trying to protect the help unnecessarily.”
Margaret couldn’t believe how relieved she felt at Vivian’s conceited attitude.
“Now,” Vivian went on after slurping up a leek from her soup, “can you believe John actually said I looked lovely, even under the drier?”
Yep, this was her friend Margaret knew so well.
“Of course there is no way he’s ever going to see me like that again.”
Before they separated for the day, Vivian made a promise to Margaret.
“You don’t have to worry about your little hair dresser friend. I’m going to find out all about it when John takes me to dinner tonight. I’ll just nag at him until he has to tell me.”
Good for you, Margaret thought, but knew better.
After that, Margaret headed back to her Park Avenue penthouse apartment.
The phone in the hall was ringing when she entered. She ran for it, desperately hoping to hear from her husband, and nearly slipped across the polished marble floor.
“Haven’t set the city on fire yet, have you?”
It was her husband Donald.
“Where are you?” she asked, excited to hear his voice.
“We’re still at the lodge. I was surprised to find your father had a phone installed here.”
“He wants the best of everything.”
“I only want the best for you,” Donald replied. The words came across the phone line as if he was whispering them directly into her ear.
“Then come home to me,” she sighed across the miles in return.
“Well, I smell like a dog.”
“That never bothered me before,” Margaret joked.
“Maybe there’s hope for me yet.”
She smiled at his words.
“Don’t let Daddy get to you. He really does like you.”
“Am not so sure about that. He knows I hate guns. How is everything there? I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too,” she said with such a sigh to tell him just how much she missed him. “All is fine here, nothing I can’t handle on my own.”
They loved each other over the phone line for a few more minutes. As she hung up the phone she caught sight of herself in the hall mirror and put a hand to her new hairdo.
Nothing I can’t handle.
With that thought, she headed back out the door.
The small, old yellow taxi was sitting off to the side of her building. Cabbie always seemed to know when he was needed. Just like Daddy’s chauffeur, she thought, but more so. She never knew what his real name was, he was just Cabbie. One of several people throughout the city that she was discovering had been helped by, and in turn, helped the Masked Ghost in secret.
Having promised to look in on her, Margaret had asked for Sally’s address before they left the salon. When the taxi pulled up in front of the building, she sat and looked at it for a moment. The apartment building was in desperate need of a paint job, a window was broken, and garbage piled up beneath the front stoop. She realized that it reminded her of where her brother had been living just before his death. With their family money, he certainly didn’t need to, but he chose to live among those that he was helping, both as a journalist and as the Masked Ghost.
Sally Lowe obviously didn’t have family money to fall back upon. This really was her life, and perhaps the reason that her brother had been forced to become a thief.
Margaret felt eyes on her as she walked up the front stairs of the building. She didn’t belong here. Margaret probably shouldn’t have worn her Coco Chanel suit.
Sally Lowe’s apartment was on the third floor of the building overlooking the back alley.
“Sally, it’s Mrs. Randolph. Are you there?”
The fact the door was slightly open was her first sign of trouble. With the back of her hand, to avoid fingerprints, she cautiously pushed the door further open.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden first fell in with the masks as a child while listening to old time radio and the adventures of Green Hornet, The Shadow, The Lone Ranger and many others. They were soon followed by the four-color heroes of comic books, not the heroes of the modern age, but those of the Golden Age. Roy Thomas’ run on All-Star Squadron introduced Kevin to heroes long past. It would be those heroes he would dream of and want to write about; all that led to his pursuit of a career in comic books. He took art courses throughout his education – and his first professional job was as a background artist in the early issues of SUPREME for Image Comics – only to discover that no matter the media, he was a storyteller at heart.
He would never be far from his first love, the masked heroes. For over fifteen years Kevin has been illustrating and co-writing (with Shannon Muir) the online comic book FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY which can be found at http://www.flying-glory.com about the granddaughter of a golden age heroine known as Flying Glory. He has also written for television animation, including the Japanese series MIDNIGHT HORROR SCHOOL. He is a member of the Animation Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America. Kevin also digitally paints book covers, not only for his own books, but for other authors, including the cover art for Pro Se Productions’ NEWSHOUNDS. In 2015, he also contributed artwork for LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION for Airship 27.
Kevin’s first novel, CLOCKWORK GENIE, was released in 2011, followed in 2012 by REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST, his homage to the golden age pulp heroes that got him started. “In the Clutches of Convicts” continues the adventures of the Masked Ghost and his friends.
In 2013, his work appeared in two anthologies from Pro Se Productions. In BLACK FEDORA, he wrote about the villainous Maestro Mechanic in “The Man Who Stole Manhattan”, and in NEWSHOUNDS printer’s ink mixes with blood in the tale “Stop The Presses!”
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