from May, 1941 and Legions of the Accursed Light originally published in the January 1938 issue of the pulp magazine The Spider.' />

The Spider: C&G #8

The Devil's Paymaster / Legions of the Accursed Light

by Grant Stockbridge

The Master of Men returns with guns blazing in The Devil's Paymaster from May, 1941 and Legions of the Accursed Light originally published in the January 1938 issue of the pulp magazine The Spider.


At the merest whim of crime's new overlord citizens writhed in baffling, agonized death! Wholesale murder threatened; officialdom threw up its hands in mystified failure! Could The Spider, himself grievously wounded and trapped, remove the scarlet stigma attached to America's proud symbol of Freedom- The Statue of Liberty?

Jemmy Brice gave his silver dollar to his mother as soon as he reached home, and she put it in a worn black purse and tucked it into the pocket of her apron. It was still there some fifteen minutes later when Jemmy's left hand began to pain. He didn't mention it at first, not until the pain was too great to bear.

His mother took one look at it. "Looks like it's been poisoned," she said sharply. "We'll go over to the hospital right away! It's only a few blocks... and I've got your silver dollar."

Jemmy tried to protest, but his mother silenced him and together they trudged off through the rain. Jemmy didn't walk placidly. He took jerky steps. He kept flipping his left hand as if to shake away the pain. He held it out in the driving rain, as if water would cool it.

They were almost there when the pain began in his mother's thigh. When they did get there, the hospital emergency room was in a fury of activity. Just as she reached there, Mrs. Brice fell to the floor.

Originally published in the May, 1941 issue of The Spider Magazine.


Without warning the green death ray struck at New York City- burning to charred cinders the helpless humans who crossed its path! Upon America's proudest city, the Eye of Flame had loosed his fire-fiends, and now the triumphant underworld, freed from prisons by his hand, stalked unchecked among the smoking embers. Alone of all men, Richard Wentworth, in The Spider's weird disguise, dared fight for a doomed people against the mightiest menace the world had yet seen- a monster who had made millions out of men when he turned them into flaming torches!

Smithers was rushing on, frantically. "A girl I go with was Holtz's secretary," he said. "She told me about this ray. He turned it on rats and, in a few minutes, they were dead. She said the ray was accompanied by a faint greenish light. It could be intensified, in some way she did not know. At its greatest strength, the ray was almost blinding to look at and it seemed composed of both green and orange lights..."

The ceiling of the room was entirely green now. Its ghostly reflection began to touch the faces of the four, to brush the covers of the bed...or was it the reflection?

"Mr. Wentworth!" Smithers pleaded. "You've got to believe me! It won't do any harm to investigate, will it? Don't you understand, criminals killed Doctor Holtz to get hold of this ray!"

He emphasized his words with jerks on Wentworth's arm. His face was thrust up importunately at Wentworth and, abruptly, his eyes widened. He said, faintly, "Your face"

For an instant, the words did not penetrate, then Nita uttered a choked scream. At the same moment Wentworth sprang into action. He whipped Smithers from the bed to the floor, thrust Nita down, and cried a warning at Dr. Griggs.

"Down!" he cried. "Down, you fool! The death ray!"

The lamp made only a faint rosy splotch in a sea of green light that seemed almost tangibly, to fill the room. Wentworth had spotted its source now- the window that opened toward the river. As he stared, the light intensified so that it formed a green shaft slanting upward from the window, filled it from frame to frame.

Dr. Griggs stared at him, frowning, then his jaw thrust out and he strode straight toward the window! Wentworth flung himself across the room in a long low dive... too late. Griggs stepped full into the beam of the light, his hand reaching futilely upward to draw the shade. His whole body went taut, arched backward. His hands clawed before his face, and the scream that tore from his throat was choked and hoarse with pain. He tottered backward, beating at the air... and then his skin began to smoke. Fumes rose from his face and body as smoke rises from scorching toast, but the stench was the odor of burning human flesh!

Originally published in the January, 1938 issue of The Spider Magazine.

Year First Published:1993

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The Spider: C&G #8
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780786700400      ISBN 10: 0786700408
Publisher: Carroll & Graf  1993

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