'"Again she hesitated, as though doubting the wisdom of further speech; but a brief scrutiny of Cairn's face, with deep anxiety to be read in his eyes, determined her to proceed.
"I had been asleep, and I must have been dreaming, for I thought that a voice was chanting, quite near to me."
"Yes—it was horrible, in some way. Then a sensation of intense coldness came; it was as though some icily cold creature fanned me with its wings! I cannot describe it, but it was numbing; I think I must have felt as those poor travellers do who succumb to the temptation to sleep in the snow."
Cairn surveyed her anxiously, for in its essentials this might be a symptom of a dreadful ailment.
"I aroused myself, however," she continued, "but experienced an unaccountable dread of entering my uncle's room. I could hear him muttering strangely, and—I forced myself to enter! I saw—oh, how can I tell you! You will think me mad!"
She raised her hands to her face; she was trembling. Robert Cairn took them in his own, forcing her to look up.
"Tell me," he said quietly.
"The curtains were drawn back; I distinctly remembered having closed them, but they were drawn back; and the moonlight was shining on to the bed."
"Bad; he was dreaming."
"But was I dreaming? Mr. Cairn, two hands were stretched out over my uncle, two hands that swayed slowly up and down in the moonlight!"
Cairn leapt to his feet, passing his hand over his forehead.
"Go on," he said.
"I—I cried out, but not loudly—I think I was very near to swooning. The hands were withdrawn into the shadow, and my uncle awoke and sat up. He asked, in a low voice, if I were there, and I ran to him."
Chapter II: The Phantom Hands, The Brood of the Witch Queen, Sax Rohmer