Adventures Into Terror #13: "The Man Who Talked To Rats!"

Adventures Into Terror #13
"The Man Who Talked To Rats!"
December, 1952

Story: Unknown
Art: Manny Stallman

While the city sleeps, one restless soul wanders along the waterfront...
His thoughts are on how he could possibly get his hands on the
inheritance.  Paul Crandall's train of thought is interrupted when he
hears a voice coming from the alley...  The rats have come from faraway,
just to learn that there are as many cats in the city.  As the full moon
hovers above him, Crandall can only stare, as the baldheaded man in the
green tunic smiles at his friends.

Paul Crandall continues to watch, fascinated and repulsed by this strange
sight.  The rats are hanging on the strange man's every word, but their
attention soon shifts towards the uninvited guest standing in the
alleyway.  The passerby is about to get devoured by the rats, for having
witnessed their meeting with their friend.

The baldheaded man in the green tunic will do nothing, but watch as his
friends have their fun with the unexpected guest.  Since the deed will be
done by the rats, it will not be seen as murder.  Crandall sees the
hunger in their eyes, as they close in on him, and wait for their friend
to give the word.  In desperation, he tries to strike up a business deal
for his own life.  He tells the strange man about his rich uncle, how if
the rats are sent to kill him, Crandall will be able to pay him any fee
he wishes.

Find this to be a fair deal, the baldheaded man in the green tunic asks
to see where Paul Crandall's uncle lives.  After wiping the damp sweat
from his brow, the ambitious nephew takes him to the estate.  The bedroom
is in the third room from the left on the second floor, and the uncle is
the sole occupant.  The strange man in the green tunic reminds Paul
Crandall that they've agreed on any fee.  All he wants is his inheritance
and the estate.  They will meet later after the deed is done.  Now, the
man who talks to rats is alone on the estate grounds...  His friends know
what they must do.  At the bidding of their friend... the hairy vermin
make their way through the windows.  Minutes pass, and the night's
silence is broken by the screams of an elderly man... EEEYAAAAAEEEEE

Two weeks later, the uncle is buried, and Paul Crandall receives his
inheritance.  The estate and three million dollars are now his alone.  He
considers himself lucky to have run into the guy in the alley.  If he
hadn't, Paul would still be broke.  KNOCK!  KNOCK!  Turning from the fire
place, he heads to the door, and opens it.  The man who talks to rats has
come for his fee.  Since he has done his part, Crandall is eager to pay
for the deed.  Not interested in money or valuables or a mansion... all
the baldheaded man in the green tunic wants is... food for his friends!
EEEYEEEAAAA  The rats leap in droves towards their next living repast.

Paul Crandall wanted a way to get out of the rat race, but he went down a
blind alley, instead.

As drawn by the artist, Crandall resembles Bela Lugosi, while the
baldheaded man in the green tunic looks like Boris Karloff.

The nephew gets away from a rat strike by striking up a bargain with
their friend, but strikes out in the end.

When Paul Crandall asks who is at his door, his visitor identifies
himself as "the man who talks to rats."

This may not seem as strange as being "the man who talks to ants" or the
man who talks to horses."

Still, I don't see this guy joining up with any groups... with the
possible exception of the Rat Patrol.

Steve Chung
"The Man Who Writes To Reviews!"