Elixir Doom – A science fiction tale by Ray Cummings.
Very strange. Five people unaccounted for. The pilots searched the pontoon. They got their fuel from the storehouse. There was no sign of disorder. Nothing wrong. They searched the little metal cottage. Its door had a smashed lock. Nothing else was wrong. The few small interior rooms showed no signs of violence. The luggage of Professor Alden and his daughter stood as mute evidence that the guests had arrived. The officers of the mail plane reported the condition of Pontoon 4 by radio to New York and to London; and in ten minutes, they departed. When they were gone, Pontoon 4 still lay silent and deserted. Drama had been here—tragedy doubtless—but it was over now.
Ray Cummings (August 30, 1887 – January 23, 1957), American author of science fiction, rated one of the “founding fathers of the science fiction pulp genre”. He was born in New York and died in Mount Vernon, New York.
Cummings worked with Thomas Edison as a personal assistant and technical writer from 1914 to 1919. His most highly regarded work was the novel The Girl in the Golden Atom published in 1922, which was a consolidation of a short story by the same name published in 1919 (where Cummings combined the idea of Fitz James O’Brien’s The Diamond Lens with H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine) and a sequel, The People of the Golden Atom, published in 1920. His career resulted in some 750 novels and short stories, using also the pen names Ray King, Gabrielle Cummings, and Gabriel Wilson.