RASKOL EXAMINES HIS CLOTHING AS WELL, AS THE LIGHTING FROM THE KITCHEN WINDOW WOULD ALLOW. HE KNEW HOWEVER THAT HE WAS NOT EXAMINING HIMSELF AS CAREFULLY AS HE SHOULD. SOMETHING EYE CATCHING MIGHT REMAIN. HE STOOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE KITCHEN, THOUGHTS THAT MADNESS HAD TAKEN OVER, AND WAS UNABLE TO REASON, OR TO PROTECT HIMSELF, PERHAPS HE WASN'T DOING ALL, THAT HE SHOULD BE DOING . . . "My God! I must run away!" HE MUTTERED, AND RUSHED INTO THE ENTRYWAY, BUT THERE SUCH HORROR AWAITED HIM! HE COULD NOT BELIEVE HIS EYES, THE SAME ENTRANCE DOOR HE HAD RUNG WAS UNLATCHED AJAR BY A HAND'S WIDTH, IT WAS NOT HOOKED THE WHOLE TIME! THE OLD WOMAN HAD NOT LOCKED IT, PERHAPS BECAUSE OF HIM, NOR LIZAVETA LATER ON. HOW COULD HE HAVE FAILED TO REALIZE THIS. RUSHING TO THE DOOR HE HOOKED IT.
"But no, again that's not it! I must go, go . . ."
HE UNHOOKED THE DOOR, OPENED IT AND CAREFULLY LISTENS, FOR A LONG TIME. DOWNSTAIRS TWO VOICES ARE HEARD, SHOUTING, ARGUING AND SWEARING. "What's that about?" HE WAITED PATIENTLY. IT'S NOW QUIET. HE WAS ABOUT TO GO WHEN A DOOR OPENED NOISILY, ONE FLOOR BELOW, SOMEONE WAS HUMMING A TUNE.
"How is it they all make so much noise?" FLASHED THROUGH HIS HEAD. HE CLOSED THE DOOR BEHIND HIM AND WAITED. HE STEPPED TO THE STAIRS, WHERE NEW FOOTSTEPS ARE HEARD.
THE SOUND SEEM VERY FAR AWAY, THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS HE SUSPECTS. THEY MUST BE COMING HERE TO THE OLD LADY'S. WHY? THE STEPS WERE HEAVY, REGULAR, UNHURRIED. THE STEPS WERE GETTING LOUDER, BREATHING FROM THE APPROACHING MAN WAS GETTING LOUDER. HE WAS TURNING TO STONE. WHEN THE VISITOR APPROACHED THE FOURTH FLOOR HE SLIPPED BACK INTO THE APARTMENT AND CLOSES THE DOOR, LATCHING THE HOOK QUIETLY, COWERING BEHIND THE DOOR. THE VISITOR WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE NOW, JUST AS HE AND THE OLD LADY HAD BEEN EARLIER, BUT IT WAS HE WHO NOW LISTENS.
THE VISITOR WAS OUT OF BREATH.
"He must be big and fat," RASKOL THOUGHT, CLUTCHING THE AXE. IT SEEMS AS THOUGH HE WERE DREAMING, THEN THE BELL RANG FIRMLY.
WHEN THE BELL RANG, HE THOUGHT HE HEARD STIRRING IN THE ROOM. THE STRANGER GAVE ANOTHER RING OF THE BELL, WAITED A BIT, THEN BEGAN TUGGING IMPATIENTLY AT THE DOOR HANDLE WITH ALL HIS MIGHT. HORRIFIED, RASKOL WATCHES THE HOOK JUMPING, FEARING IT WOULD POP OUT OF THE EYE. HIS HEAD SEEMED TO SPIN. "I'm passing out!" FLASHED THROUGH HIM, THEN THE STRANGER SPOKE, AND HE IMMEDIATELY RECOVERED HIMSELF.
"What's up in there, are they snoring, or has somebody wrung their? Cur-r-rse it!" HE BELLOWED. "Hey, Alyona, you old witch! Lizaveta, you indescribably beauty! Open up! God, curse it all! Are they asleep or what?"
ENRAGED HE PULLED THE BELL TEN TIMES IN A ROW AS HARD AS HE COULD. HE SEEMED URGENT AND FAMILIAR WITH THIS PLACE. AT THE SAME MOMENT HE HEARD THE SOUND OF HURRIED FOOTSTEPS, SOMEONE ELSE WAS COMING UP THE STAIRS.
"What no body home?" THE NEW COMER CRIED I A CHEERFUL VOICE, ADDRESSING THE FIRST ONE, STILL PULLING THE BELL.
"How do you do Koch!"
"He must be very young judging by his voice," RASKOL THOUGHT.
"Devil knows I almost broke the lock," ANSWERED KOCH. "And how do you happen to know me?"
"Well I like that! Didn't I just beat you three times straight at billiards, the day before yesterday, at Gambrinus's?"
"A-a-ah . . ." "So they're not there? Strange. Terribly stupid, though. Where could the old woman have gone? I'm here on business."
"I'm also here on business, my friend."
"Well, what's there to do? Go home I guess. Bah! THE YOUNG MAN CRIED.
"Go home of course--but then why make an appointment? The old lady herself told me what time to come. The old witch sits here all day then suddenly fancies an outing."
"Maybe we should ask the caretaker?"
"Ash him what?"
"Where she's gone and when she'll be back?"
"Hm . . . the devil . . . ask him . . . But she never goes anywhere . . ." AS HE TUGS AT THE DOOR HANDLE AGAIN. "Ah, the devil, nothing to be done; let's go!"
"Wait!" the young man suddenly shouted. "Look: do you see how the door gives when you pull?"
"But don't you understand? That means one of them is home, in order to fasten the hook from inside, someone has to be home, understand? So they're sitting in there and not opening the door!"
Hah! Why, of course!" THE ASTONISHED KOCH EXCLAIMED! "But what are they up to in there!" HE TUGGED VIOLENTLY AT THE DOOR.
"Wait!" THE YOUNG MAN SHOUTED AGAIN. "Don't tug at it! Something's not right here . . . you rang, you pulled . . . they don't open the door; it means they've both fainted, or . . ."
"Listen, let's get go the caretaker; let him wake them up."
"Good idea!" THEY BOTH STARTED DOWN THE STAIRS.
"Wait! You stay here, and I'll run down and get the caretaker."
"You never know . . ."
"Maybe . . . "
"I'm studying to be a public investigator! It's obvious somethings not right here!" THE YOUNG MAN CRIED OUT RUNNING DOWN THE STAIRS.
KOCH STAYED TRYING THE DOOR ONCE AGAIN LOOKING AT THE KEYHOLE; THERE WAS A KEY IN IT.
RASKOL CLUTCHED THE AXE TIGHTLY, IN A DELIRIUM, READY TO FIGHT. THE IDEA HAD OCCURRED TO HIM TO SHOUT AND END IT ALL. "Just get it over with!" FLASHED IN HIS HEAD. "Ah the devil, he . . . "
TIME PASSES, KOCH BEGINS TO STIR. "Ah, the devil!" . . . HE CRIED IMPATIENTLY, ABANDONING HIS POST.
"Lord what shall I do!" RASKOL UNFASTENS THE HOOK, NOT A SOUND, HE LEAVES CLOSING THE DOOR TIGHTLY AND STARTED DOWN THE STAIRS. AFTER RETREATING THREE FLIGHTS HE HEARS A LOUD NOISE FROM BELOW, WHERE CAN HE GO, HE TURNED TO RUN BACK TO THE APARTMENT.
"Hey you hairy devil! Stop him!"
SHOUTING, SOMEONE BURST FROM A APARTMENT BELOW.
"Mitka! Mitka! Mitka! Mitka! Damn your eyes!" THE CRY ENDED IN A SHRIEK; THE LAST SOUNDS COMING FROM OUTSIDE; THEN IT WAS QUIET. AT THE SAME MOMENT, SEVERAL MEN TALKING LOUDLY BEGAN CLIMBING THE STAIRS. HE HEARD THE RINGING VOICE OF THE YOUNG ONE SAY, "It's them!"
COME WHAT MAY IN UTTER DESPERATION HE WENT TOWARD THEM. IN A MOMENT THEY WOULD COME FACE TO FACE--SUDDENLY SALVATION. A FEW STEPS AWAY WAS A WIDE OPEN APARTMENT, WHERE THE PAINTERS HAD BEEN WORKING, HE STEPPED INSIDE. IT HAD TO BE THEM RUNNING OUT SHOUTING. AS THE MEN WALKED PASSED THE DOOR UPSTAIRS HE TIPTOED OUT INTO THE TREES.
AT THAT MOMENT HE KNEW THEY WERE IN THE APARTMENT, FINDING THE DOOR OPENED AND STARING AT THE BODIES. THEY WOULD SOON REALIZE THE MURDERER SLIPPED PASSED THEM. HE DARE NOT QUICKEN HIS PACE WITH ABOUT A HUNDRED STEPS TO GO BEFORE TH FIRST TURN. AT LAST HE WAS AT THE SIDE STREET FEELING MORE DEAD THAN ALIVE; NOW HE WAS HALF WAY TO SAFETY. THERE WERE MANY PEOPLE ALONG THE SIDE STREET, HE WALKED AMONG THEM LIKE A GRAIN OF SAND. BUT ALL THESES TORMENTS HAD WEAKENED HIM, HE COULD BARELY MOVE. SWEAT WAS DROPPING OFF OF HIM, HIS WHOLE NECK WAS WET. HE WAS BARELY AWARE OF HIMSELF NOW, AND THE FARTHER HE WENT THE WORST IT BECAME.
HE WAS NOT FULLY CONSCIOUS ENTERING THE GATES TO HIS HOUSE, HE DID NOT REMEMBER THE AXE UNTIL HE WAS ON THE STAIRS.
EVERYTHING WORKED OUT WELL, THE DOOR TO THE CARETAKERS WAS NOT LOCKED, HE REPLACED IT MEETING NO ONE ON HIS WAY UP THE STAIRS, HIS LANDLADY'S DOOR WAS SHUT. HE THROWS HIMSELF ONTO HIS SOFA. HE DID NOT SLEEP, BUT WAS OBLIVIOUS. IF ANYONE HAD COME IN HIS ROOM, HE WOULD OF JUMPED UP, SHOUTING BITS AND PIECES OF WHAT WAS SWIMMING IN HIS HEAD.