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Henley Telegraph (1919) - Gas

"Gas" is a short story written by Alfred Hitchcock and originally published in the Henley Telegraph, June 1919.

The story was adapted in a film in 2006 by Sylvie Bolioli.


She had never been in this part of Paris before, only reading of it in the novels of Duvain; or seeing it at the Grand Guignol. So this was the Montmartre? That horror where danger lurked under cover of night, where innocent souls perished without warning — where doom confronted the unwary — where the Apache reveled.

She moved cautiously in the shadow of the high wall, looking furtively backward for the hidden menace that might be dogging her steps. Suddenly she darted into an alley way, little heeding where it led-groping her way on in the inky blackness, the one thought of eluding the pursuit firmly fixed in her mind — on she went — Oh! when would it end?

Then a doorway from which a light streamed lent itself to her vision — In here — anywhere, she thought.

The door stood at the head of a flight of stairs — stairs that creaked with age, as she endeavoured to creep down — then she heard the sound of drunken laughter and shuddered — surely this was — No, not that! Anything but that!

She reached the foot of the stairs and saw an evil smelling wine bar, with wrecks of what were once men and women indulging in a drunken orgy — then they saw her, a vision of affrighted purity. Half a dozen men rushed towards her amid the encouraging shouts of the rest. She was seized. She screamed with terror — better had she been caught by her pursuer, was her one fleeting thought, as they dragged her roughly across the room. The fiends lost no time in settling her fate. They would share her belongings — and she —

Why! Was not this the heart of Montmartre? She should go — the rats should feast. Then they bound her and carried her down the dark passage. Up a flight of stairs to the riverside. The water rats should feast, they said. And then — then, swinging her bound body to and fro, dropped her with a splash into the dark, swirling waters. Down, she went, down, down; conscious only of a choking sensation, this was death.

 — then —

"It's out Madam," said the dentist. "Half a crown please."

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