Read Doc Savage: Skull Island (The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage) Online
Authors: Will Murray
Tags: #Action and Adventure
Death’s Skull Island
A Doc Savage Adventure
by Will Murray
Based on a concept by Joe DeVito, creator of Kong: King of Skull Island
cover by Joe DeVito
Altus Press • 2013
Skull Island copyright © 2013 by Will Murray.
Doc Savage copyright © 2013 Advance Magazine Publishers Inc./Condé Nast. “Doc Savage” is a registered trademark of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc., d/b/a/ Condé Nast. Used with permission.
Front cover, back cover, and interior illustrations © 2013 by DeVito ArtWorks, LLC and Joe DeVito. All rights reserved.
KONG: King of Skull Island
© 2004 by DeVito ArtWorks, LLC. Characters and likenesses used by permission.
Dedication page image © 2000 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.
Based on a Concept by Joe DeVito, creator of
KONG: King of Skull Island.
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Designed by Matthew Moring/
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The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage
Special Thanks to James Bama, Jerry Birenz, John Bonness, Vicki Brown, Gary A. Buckingham, P.E., Nicholas Cain, Condé Nast, Col. Richard M. Cooper (Ret.), Jeff Deischer, Lester Dent, Dafydd Neal Dyar, Theresa Henderson, Richard Kyle, Dave McDonnell, Randy Merritt, Matthew Moring, Ray Riethmeier, Robert Seigel, Brad Strickland, Howard Wright.
Cover illustration commissioned by Gary A. Buckingham, P.E.
Respectfully dedicated to Merian C. Cooper, the visionary who conceived, co-produced and co-directed the original 1933 movie,
THREE PALE SEAGULLS circled the bald steel knob that was the summit of the Empire State Building.
Where hours before, a squadron of Navy Curtiss O2C-2 warplanes had buzzed and swooped through clouds of burnt cordite, now gulls ranged, emitting raucous cries, avid eyes gazing down at the red flecks of animal flesh that bespattered the skyscraper’s austere Art Deco battlements.
Wheeling, one swooped down, its long beak gobbling up a raw morsel.
Another attacked a gob of matter, carried it away triumphantly.
Lunging and pecking, they cleaned the carrion debris of combat from every ledge and cranny, these ghostly buzzards of the metropolis.
As morning continued its slow majestic breaking, they peeled away, satiated, broad wings sun-burnished copper, never to return.
In time, a warm rain began falling. What remained—red fluid and sticky specks of fur—began to run and drain away. Before the rain ceased, steel and granite had been washed off, cleansed of all trace of that which was already falling into legend….
FAR below, crowds clustered around the body of the vanquished.
Men in blue, their copper coat buttons afire, were busy unreeling kegs of barbed wire to cordon off the corpse. Press flashbulbs popped and were discarded, shattering on the wet pavement. Shoving bodies pressed closer, toppling the police sawhorses.
A police captain mounted a wooden keg. He lifted a megaphone to his face.
“Back, you men! Back!”
He might as well have been talking to a moving wall.
“You reporters have your stories,” the captain exhorted. “Go home. The king is dead. And he won’t be rising again.”
A scribe called out, “Captain, what are you going to do with it?”
“That’s for smarter men than me to decide, boyo.”
“What does the Mayor say about this?”
“Why don’t you ask him?” shot back the captain.
Another shouted, “What about the Governor? Is he in charge?”
“A bigger man than he is going to handle this. Don’t you quote me, either!”
The questions kept flying. Brickbats would have been easier to fend off.
“Is the new President coming to New York?” demanded a reporter.
“I ain’t heard that!” snapped the captain.
A shadow crossed the noon sky. A great aircraft, a tri-motor with wings as bronze as a Chinese gong, overflew the skyscraper. It circled twice, then droned off in the direction of North Beach airport.
The police captain gave out a windy sigh of relief.
“That’s all!” he snapped, jumping off the keg. “No more comments. Be off with yez!”
AN hour later, a gunmetal gray roadster nosed its way through the congestion of packed humanity. There were no cars on Fifth Avenue, nor for many blocks around. Jostling pedestrians gave way reluctantly.
The man behind the wheel showed unusual patience as he tooled his quiet machine toward the skyscraper entrance. Animated eyes swept the way before him.
They were the color of golden flakes, ceaselessly swirling. Sunlight, touching his close-combed hair, made individual hairs smolder like thin wires of bronze and copper.
Busy bluecoats removed sawhorses to allow him to pass, replacing them swiftly to block all egress.
When the sedan drew up to the entrance, the police captain rushed to open the door.
“Thank Heaven you’re here,” he greeted.
The bronze-skinned individual who stepped out onto the running board seemed to unfold, until he stood erect, a colossus of a man. He moved forward, his face a mask of metal. Steady eyes fell on the great corpse that lay still on the cracked pavement, whereupon they hardened into gold nuggets.
Two mismatched men rushed out of the building entrance. One was a slim dandy who brandished a dark, elegant cane. The other, a red-haired human gorilla with a bullet head, whose long, dangling arms waved excitedly.
“Doc!” cried the first man. “You missed the entire bally spectacle.”
“Yeah,” growled the second. “After the thing broke loose, it terrorized the city, then climbed to the top of the skyscraper. The Navy sent warplanes to knock him off.”
“They called the brute—”
The bronze giant waved their excited comments aside.
“Kong,” he said softly, sadly.
“Oh, you heard the radio reports?”
The bronze giant shook his head slowly. “I know this creature.”
The human gorilla’s blocky jaw dropped open. “Blazes! You—do?”
“Long ago, he saved my life,” intoned the metallic man.
Ham Brooks and Monk Mayfair lost all power of speech.
“And I returned the favor in kind,” said Doc Savage.
Book One: The
CLARK SAVAGE, JUNIOR, the scientist and adventurer who was rapidly becoming a legend in the world as “Doc” Savage, dropped the telephone receiver into its bronze prong with a clank.
“That was the Mayor,” he told Monk and Ham. “He has requested that we undertake the problem of removing the body.”
“Good thing it’s Sunday,” grunted Monk—formerly Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett Mayfair. “The office buildings are deserted, so it’ll be a snap to keep the streets clear.”
Ham—he had been Brigadier General Theodore Marley Brooks during the World War—looked at his platinum wristwatch and remarked, “Renny should be here before long.”
Monk nodded. “Between you and Renny, Doc, we’ll get this problem fixed up quick.”
Doc Savage said nothing. His golden eyes roved about the reception room of this topmost floor of the Empire State Building. He had only recently taken up residence here. The suite of rooms had belonged to his father, Clark Savage, Senior, whose recent passing remained fresh in their minds.
A model of a two-masted schooner stood on a pedestal as a reminder of the father’s long career roving the world, doing good and accomplishing wonders. Now it was the son’s turn to take up the family business—if business it could be called.
Doc’s bronze hand moved along the ornate top of the great Oriental table that served as a desk. Inlays of ivory and rare woods had been cunningly set into the polished surface. In reality, some of these were electrical buttons, which triggered hidden mechanisms.
“You all knew that my father was an explorer in his way,” Doc said quietly.
“Sure,” said Monk. “He was a great man.”
“Greater than any of us knew. He did much of his work quietly and without fanfare. He left his mark from New York to Chungking.”
“He was a noted philanthropist,” said Ham, eyeing the long slim barrel of his dark cane.
“He made and lost many fortunes,” agreed Doc. “But some of the greatest treasures he uncovered my father chose not to exploit.”
Doc Savage’s eyes grew reflective.
Getting up from his chair, the bronze giant went to a huge safe in one corner. It would have done credit to a bank. Giving the dial a preliminary spin, he worked the combination and threw the great steel door wide.
From a cubby hole, Doc removed a teak box. He set this on the great inlaid table. It was unlocked. He lifted the ornate lid.
From within he pulled a yellowed square of parchment, very aged, and showing signs of having been waterlogged.
“This is the only proof my father brought back from the island,” Doc said.
“What island?” wondered Monk.
Without answering, the bronze man set silver paperweights on each corner of the parchment.
“What is it?” asked Ham, dark eyes sharpening.
“Looks like a map,” grunted Monk.
“A kind of a map,” said Doc. “But it came into my father’s possession in a damaged state. See the blurry area? Squid-ink writing. Obliterated. The only part that was unaffected was a landmark drawn in a different ink, a vegetable preparation that resisted salt water.”
Monk and Ham crowded closer.
On the parchment, drawn in a reddish-brown ink that suggested dried blood, was a rough outline of a brooding death’s head set atop a promontory.
“A skull, for sure,” said Monk.
“A mountain peak in the shape of a skull,” said Doc Savage. “That was all my father had to go on. He called it ‘Death’s Head.’ But that was not its true name.”
“What was?” inquired Ham.
JUST then, a huge man charged through the door. He was a big hulk of a fellow, and from the ends of his beam-like wrists hung blocky fists the size of husked coconuts.
His pomade-smeared hair almost scraped the top of the door jamb.
“Renny,” said Monk, grinning.
“Holy cow!” exploded Renny, striding in. “I got here as fast as I could!”
“You are already aware of the nature of the problem?” suggested Doc.
“Man alive, yes. I already looked the big booger over. I’d suggest we haul him off the way you move a house. Place logs under him and set them to rolling.”
“How do you propose to get the creature’s body onto the logs?” challenged the bronze man.
“Crane. Riggers. Heavy tackle.”
“Can you think of one suitable for the task at hand? This is not a concrete block, but a formerly living body. Probably every major bone is broken, if not pulverized, by its fall. Moving it will be like hauling a very large sack of bone meal.”
Renny frowned. That meant he was happy, for he was most pleased when facing an engineering problem that forced him to use his brains in new ways. Colonel John “Renny” Renwick was one of the great civil engineers alive.