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professor augustus sfx van Dusen's

appearance was as strange as his name he

was thin with the thin shoulders of a

student and his face was extremely pale

his eyes were the eyes of a man who

studies little things they were always

half closed in concentration although he

wore thick glasses you could see that

his eyes were blue but his strangest

feature was his abnormally large

forehead on top of which sat a crown of

yellow hair together all these things

gave him a bizarre almost grotesque

personality professor van Dusen's family

came from Germany many of his ancestors

had been famous scientists he was the

logical result the mastermind and logic

was his passion he believed that two and

two always equal four except in unusual

cases when they may equal three or five

he believed that all things that start

must go somewhere and he was able to

concentrate all the mental force of his

ancestors to solve any problem the

public knew Van Deusen as the thinking

machine and perhaps this phrase

described him best of all he spent all

his time in his small laboratory where

he invented brilliant theories that

shocked scientists and had a profound

effect on the world the thinking machine

didn't have many visitors when people

did come to see him they were usually

scientists two of these men dr. Charles

ransom and Alfred fielding visited him

one evening to discuss some theory and

what it was exactly is of no importance

that is impossible

said dr. ransom nothing is impossible

said the thinking machine the mind is

master of all things when science

understands this it will be a great day

what about the airship ask dr. ransom

that's not impossible at all said the


it will be invented soon I would do it

myself but unfortunately I'm too busy

dr. ransom laughs I've heard you say

things like that before he said but they

mean nothing the mind may be master of

the material world but there are some

problems that cannot be solved by

thought alone give me an example

demanded the thinking machine dr. ransom

thought for a moment as he smoked well

what about the walls of a prison he

replied no man can escape from a cell

just by thinking about it if he could

there would be no prisoners

he continued let's imagine a case a cell

for prisoners who are condemned to death

these men will do anything to try to


imagine you were in that cell who do you

escape certainly said the thinking

machine of course said mr. fielding you

could destroy the cell with an explosive

but if you are a prisoner inside the

cell you can't have that

I don't need an explosive said the

thinking machine I would be just like

any other prisoner and I would still be

able to leave the cell you could escape

only if you entered it with tools said

dr. ransom the thinking machine was

visibly irritated lock me in any Cell in

any prison anywhere at any time wearing

only normal clothes and I'll escape in a

week he declared dr. ransom was

interested mr. fielding lit a new cigar

you're saying that you could escape from

the cell just by thinking about it

ransom asked I could get out are you

serious certainly I'm serious dr. ransom

and mr. fielding were silent for a long

time would you like to try it

ask mr. fielding finally certainly said

professor Van Deusen and added

ironically I have done more ridiculous

things than that to convince men of less

important facts of course it was an

absurd thing but they decided it at that


to begin now said dr. ransom

I'd prefer tomorrow said the thinking

machine because no now said mr. fielding

you will be locked in a cell with no

chance to communicate with friends you

will receive exactly the same attention

as a real prisoner a man condemned to

death you still agreed to do it all

right now if you want said the thinking

machine and he stood up the judge

selling Chism prison fine and what will

you wear very little said the thinking

machine shoes long socks trousers and a

shirt the guards will search you of

course they must treat me like any other

prisoner said the thinking machine and

so they made the arrangements they had

to obtain permission for the experiment

that all three of them were important

men and everything was finalized with a

few telephone calls the prison governors

could not understand why Professor Van

Deusen wanted to do it but one thing was

certain they had never had such an

important prisoner the thinking machine

dressed himself in the clothes that he

was going to wear in prison and called

his housekeeper Martha he said it is now

27 minutes past 9:00 I am going away one

week from tonight at half past nine

these gentlemen and one or two others

will have dinner with me here remember

dr. ransom likes carrots a driver took

the three men to Chism prison the warden

was waiting for them he understood only

that professor Van Dusen was going to be

his prisoner for one week he was not a

criminal but he must be treated just

like any other prisoner search em said

dr. ransom the guards searched the

thinking machine but they didn't find

anything the pockets of his trousers

were empty and his shirt didn't have any

pockets they took off his shoes and

socks and looked inside them nothing dr.

ransom regarded van Dusen's weak body

and his colorless face he was suddenly


about his idea are you sure you want to

do this he asked would you believe me if

I didn't do it the thinking machine

replied no all right I'll do it

ransom didn't like the arrogance in Van

Dusen's voice his sympathy for the man

disappeared he decided that the

experiment was a good thing it would

teach the thinking machine a lesson will

it be possible for him to communicate

with anyone outside the prison he asked

no it will be absolutely impossible said

the warden he will not have anything to

write with I'm the guards will they send

messages for him not one word said the

warden they will tell me anything he

says and they will give me anything he

gives them good said mister feeling of

course if he does not escape in a week

said dr. ransom and asks to leave you

will let him go

I understand said the warden then the

thinking machine spoke I have three

requests he said I would like some

toothpaste and also one $5 and two $10

bills could he bribe your guards for $25

not even for $2,500 in that case give

him the money said mr. fielding and what

is the third request ask dr. ransom

could somebody clean my shoes the three

men looked very surprised this last

request seemed completely absurd but

they agreed to it anyway after this they

took the thinking machine to his cell

they walked down a long corridor and

stopped at the third steel door here is

cell 13 said the warden this is where

condemned killers are kept no one can

leave it without my permission no one in

it can communicate with anyone outside

it is very near my office and I can hear

any noise that comes

it is this cell all right gentlemen ask

the thinking machine yes yes her her

fist replied fielding and ransom

together a guard opened the door and the

thinking machine walked into the dark

but no sooner was he inside

then the warden closed the door and

locked it with a double lock ransom

heard a noise from inside the cell what

is that noise

he asked through the bars rats the cell

is full of rats replied the thinking

machine the three men said goodnight and

we're turning to go when the thinking

machine called at what time is it


warden 17 minutes past 11:00 thanks I

will see you all in your office at half

past eight one week from this evening

said the thinking machine and if you do

not there is no possibility of that

chapter two Chisolm prison Chisholm

prison was a large building it was four

floors high and stood in the center of a

large open space the wall around it was

6 meters high and impossible to climb

even if a man managed to escape from his

cell he could not pass over the wall the

yard around the building was 8 meters

wide on all sides this was the distance

from the prison building to the wall

during the day prisoners used the yard

to do exercises but it was not for those

prisoners in cell 13 there were always

four armed guards in the yard one for

each side of the building at night

strong lights illuminated the yard and

the wall the wires that carried

electricity to these lights ran up the

walls of the building the thinking

machine saw and understood all these

things he had to stand on his bed to see

out of the small barred window it was

the morning after his incarceration he

soon realized that somewhere on the

other side of the wall

there was a river because he could hear

the sound of a boat and saw a river bird

in the sky from the same direction he

heard the sound of children playing

baseball so he knew that there was a

children's playground between the prison

wall and the river no man had ever

escaped from Chisolm prison and it was

easy to see why the walls of the cell

were perfectly solid and the bars on the

window were new and in any case the

window itself was too small to escape

through but this didn't discourage the

thinking machine he looked up at the

light and saw how the wire went from it

to the wall of the prison building he

realized that the wire passed near the

window of his cell that could be useful

cell 13 was on the same floor as the

prison offices a thinking machine

couldn't see the ground through the

window of his cell however there were

only four steps up to the office floor

therefore the cell must be near the

ground good the thinking machine

remembered how he had come to the cell

first there was the outside guards room

which formed part of the wall next to

the prison gates there was always one

guard at these gates who let people come

into the prison and then let them out

again when the warden told him to the

warden's office was in the prison

building from the yard you had to pass

through a solid steel door to get to it

the door had only one small hole in it

to see who was there then between the

office and cell 13

there was a heavy wooden door and two

steel doors in the corridors of the

prison then of course there was the door

of cell 13 there are seven doors between

cell 13 and freedom not the thinking

machine it will not be easy but there

are advantages I am alone here

nobody looks at what I am doing there is

one guard who brings my food three times

a day at six o'clock

in the morning at noon then again at

6:00 in the afternoon and then there is

the inspection at nine o'clock but that

is all there was nothing absolutely

nothing in his cell except a bed that

was strongly made and impossible to

dismantle there was no chair no table no

cup or fork or spoon nothing the guard

watched him while he ate and took away

his plate and spoon as soon as he had

finished the thinking machine considered

all these facts very carefully then he

began an examination of his cell he

examined the stones in the walls and

roof and the cement between them he

walked over the floor many times but it

was solid cement after the examination

he sat on his bed and thought for a long

time because professor Augustus SFX Van

Deusen had something to think about

suddenly he was disturbed by a rat which

ran across his foot and disappeared into

a dark corner of the cell the thinking

machine looked hard into the corner

after some time he saw several pairs of

yellow eyes looking back at him

then for the first time the thinking

machine noticed the bottom of his cell

door there was a space of about five

centimeters between the steel bar and

the floor the thinking machine walked

into the corner where the rats were but

he continued to look at the door the

rats were afraid and tried to escape

there was the sound of running feet and

several squeaks and then silence none of

the rats had gone out the door yet the

cell was now empty therefore there must

be another way out of the cell even if

it was very small he got down on his

hands and knees and began to look for

the opening finally he found it it was a

small circular hole in the floor about

four centimeters in diameter

so this is how the rats escaped

interesting he put his hand in the hole

it seemed to be an old drainpipe the

thinking machine sat on the bed and

thought for an hour then he looked once

more outside his cell window one of the

outside guards stood directly opposite

beside the wall he was looking at the

window of cell 13 when the thinking

machines large head appeared but the

professor didn't see the guard at 12

o'clock the cell thirteen guard brought

the thinking machine his food

it was horrible but the thinking machine

didn't mind he wasn't interested in food

he spoke to the guard who watched him

has he ate have they made any

modifications here in the last few years

asked the thinking machine not really

said the guard that built the new wall

four years ago have they done anything

to the prison building well they painted

the outside and then seven years ago

they had a new plumbing system installed

ah I see said the prisoner how far is

the river over there about a hundred

meters the boys have a baseball ground

between the ball and the river the

thinking machine had nothing more to say

but when the guard was ready to go he

asked for some water

I get very thirsty here he explained

could I have some water in a cup please

I'll ask the warden replied the guard

and he went away half an hour later he

returned with a small cup the warden

says you may keep this Cup he told the

prisoner but you must show it to me when

I ask for it if you break it I won't

give you another one

thank you said the thinking machine I

won't break it two hours later the same

guard was passing the door of cell 13 he

heard a noise and stopped the thinking

machine was on his hands and knees in a

corner of the cell there was the sound

of several squeaks the guard watched him

I've got you he heard the prisoner say

what have you got said the guard one of


you replied see the guard saw a rat in

the thinking machines hands the prisoner

carried it towards the light it's a

water rat

he said haven't you got anything better

to do than catch rats ask the guard it's

terrible that there are rats in this

prison said the thinking machine take

this one away and kill it there are many

more where it came from

the guard took the rat and killed it

later he told the warden about the

incident at the warden only smiled later

that afternoon the armed guard in the

yard outside cell 13

saw the prisoner look out and put a hand

through the bars of the window something

white fell slowly to the ground it was a

roll of linen from a shirt and wrapped

around it was a five-dollar bill the

guard looked up at the window again but

the face was no longer there with a

smile he took the cloth and the

five-dollar bill to the warden's office

there was something written on the

outside of the cloth in strange ink it

said please deliver to dr. Charles

ransom ha said the warden his first plan

of escape has failed but why did he

address it to dr. ransom and where did

he get the pen and ink to write with

added the guard the warden looked at the

guard and the guard looked at the warden

there was no easy solution to the

mystery the warden studied the writing

carefully well let's see what he wanted

to say to dr. ransom he said he unrolled

the second piece of linen well if that

what what do you think of that he asked

extremely confused the guard took the

piece of linen and read epi' say ott

didn't it me away to see see tea

Chapter three a message from cell 13

the warden spent an hour trying to

discover what the message was why did

his prisoner want to talk to dr. ransom

and where had he got the materials to

write he examined the linen again it was

a part of a white shirt but what had he

written with the warden knew that the

prisoner didn't have a pen or a pencil

so what had he used the warden decided

to investigate the thinking machine was

his prisoner if this man is trying to

escape by sending coded messages he

thought I will stop him the warden

returned to cell 13 he found the

thinking machine on his hands and knees

he was catching rats the prisoner heard

the warden and turned to him quickly

it's terrible

he said these rats there are hundreds of

them other men can live with them said

the warden give me your shirt here's

another one

why demanded the thinking machine you

have attempted to communicate with dr.

ransom said the warden angrily as the

warden of this prison I must stop you

the thinking machine was silent for a

moment all right he said finally here

take it

the warden smiled the prisoner stood up

and took off his shirt he gave it to the

warden in exchange the warden gave him a

blue prison shirt

the warden looked at the thinking

machines white shirt he compared the

pieces of linen he had with the shirt it

was torn in two places the thinking

machine watched him did the guard give

you those he asked yes he did said the

warden and that is the end of your first

attempt to escape the thinking machine

watched the warden as he looked at the

shirt he saw that there were only two

pieces missing from it he smiled what

did you write this mess

with asked the warden I'm afraid you

must discover that the thinking machine

said the warden became angry but he

didn't say anything more he made a very

careful inspection of the cell and the

prisoner but he found nothing nothing

that the thinking machine could use as a

pen and the liquid that he had used to

write the message was also a mystery

finally the warden went out of the cell

he took the thinking machines shirt with

him well he won't escape by writing

messages on his shirt

the warden thought on the third day of

his incarceration the thinking machine

tried to bribe the guard so that he

could escape the guard brought his food

and waited outside the cell door the

drainpipes of the prison go to the river

don't they the thinking machine asked

yes said the guard I imagine they are

very small yes they are too small to

escape through there was silence the

thinking machine finished his food and

he said you know I'm not a criminal

don't you yeah and I can leave the

prison if I want to yes well when I came

here I believed I could escape said the

prisoner will you help me if I give you

some money the guard was an honest man

no he said $500 said the thinking

machine I am NOT a criminal

no said the guard a thousand no if you

gave me ten thousand dollars I couldn't

get you out to get out you have to pass

through seven doors and I want to have

the keys to - the guard ran to the

warden's office and told him about the

prisoners offer plan number two fails

said the warden and smiled first a

message and then a bribe at six o'clock

the guard went to cell 13 again to bring

food to the thinking machine he stopped

in the corridor

there was a noise coming from inside

herself the guard walked very quietly to

the cell door near the bars he saw the

thinking machine at the window he was

trying to cut through the iron bars of

the window with a 5 the guard went back

to the office and told the warden the

two men went back to cell 13 walking

very quietly the warden looked into the

cell and saw the thinking machine still

at the window he entered the cell a

thinking machine turned round and jumped

onto the floor he tried to hide the file

in his hand give it to me said the

warden no said the prisoner there was

anger in his voice come on give it to me

no repeated the thinking machine very


search him said the warden to the guard

the guard searched the thinking machine

after some minutes he found a piece of

steel about five centimeters long in the

prisoners trousers few minutes later he

found another piece the guard gave the

pieces of steel to the warden the warden

looked at them you couldn't cut through

the bars on the window with these he

said yes I could said the thinking

machine in six months perhaps said the

warden smiling just wait you'll see said

the thinking machine once more the guard

searched the cell but once more they

found nothing

the warden stood on the bed and looked

at the bars of the window took the bars

in his hand and tried to move them they

were in movable he smiled and then got

down from the bed forget it professor

you will never escape from here

he said the thinking machine said

nothing he just sat on the bed with his

head in his hands

the warden and the guard went out of the

cell and closed the door he is mad to

try and escape said the warden but he is

very clever I would like to know what he

used to write that coded message it was

four o'clock the next morning when

terrible stream through the prism it

came from a cell near the center of the

building a sound full of horror and

great fear the warden heard it and ran

with three of his men into the long

corridor that went to cell 13 chapter 4

a strange voice as they ran they heard

the scream again the white faces of

prisoners appeared at cell doors they

were afraid it's that crazy man in south

13 the warden said he stopped and looked

into the cell that crazy man in cell 13

was sleeping comfortably in his bed they

heard the scream again it was coming

from somewhere above the warden and the

guards went upstairs there they found a

man in cell 43 directly above cell 13 he

was sitting in the corner of his cell

like a child what's wrong demanded the

warden said the prisoner what is it

demanded the warden again he opened the

door and went into cell 43 the prisoners

face was white with terror please take

me out he said what is it asked the

warden I heard something what did you

hear I can't tell you said the prisoner

please take me out of this cell put me

anywhere but take me out of you who is

this man

the warden asked the guard his name is

joseph ballard the guard replied and

what is his crime they say he killed a

woman with acid but they can't prove it

said the prisoner I can't prove it the

warden was silent for a minute listen to

me Ballard he said finally if you heard

something I want to know what it was now

tell me I could tell you ballard was

crying now where did it come from

everywhere I don't know was it a voice I

can't tell you said the prisoner you

must tell me said the warden angrily it

was a voice but

but it wasn't human said the prisoner a

voice but not human repeated the warden

he was confused

it was strange a very faraway like a

ghost did he come from inside or outside

the prison did it come from anywhere it

was here there everywhere for an hour

the warden tried to get the story but

Ballard became silent and didn't say

anything more

finally the warden went away he was very

confused Ballard sat at his cell door

until morning his white face staring

through the bars it was the fourth day

of the Thinking Machines incarceration

he stood at his cell window and threw

another piece of linen to the guard

outside and once more the guard took it

to the warden

the warden read the message on it it

said only three days more the warden was

not surprised by the message he knew the

thinking machine meant that there were

only three days more before he escaped

but how did he write it the warden

thought where did he find another piece

of linen where how he looked at the

linen it was white like the material

from a shirt he took the thinking

machines shirt and put the two original

pieces of linen on the torn places the

third piece was completely superfluous

but it was the same material where did

he get it and where where does he get

anything to write with later on the

fourth day the thinking machine spoke to

the guard outside his window what day of

the month is it he asked the 15th the

thinking machine made a mental

astronomical calculation good he thought

tonight the moon will not rise before

nine o'clock then he asked another

question who looks after the big lights

on the roof an electrician from the

company you have no electricians in the

building nope at the end

the afternoon just before he finished

work the outside guard saw the thinking

machines head again at the window he had

something in his hand which he threw to

the ground it was a five dollar bill

that's for you

said the prisoner once again the guard

took it to the warden he said it was for

me I imagine it's a present from him I

think you can accept it said the warden

then suddenly he stopped wait a minute

when the professor went into the cell he

had one five dollar bill and two $10


there was a five dollar bill with the

first message I have it here but now he

has given you another five dollar bill

it's impossible he has only two $10


perhaps somebody changed a $10 bill for

him said the guard

perhaps but tonight we are going to

search cell 13 again we're going to

search it as no cell has ever been

searched before so that night at 3

o'clock in the morning

the warden and his guards searched the

thinking machines cell again the warden

found the hole in the floor he put his

hand into it there was something there

he pulled it out a dead rat he threw it

to the floor and discussed but he

continued the search once more he

examined the bars on the window but

found them to be solid he then examined

the thinking machines clothes in his

trousers he found some money 5 $1 bills

said the warden he was very surprised

that's right said the prisoner but you

had two tens in a5 how do you do it

that's my business

said the thinking machine did any of my

men change this money for you no well do

you make it asked the warden that's my

business said the prisoner again the

warden was very angry

he left the cell and went back to bed

about an hour later he heard the scream


he got up and ran immediately to cell 43

where he saw Ballard his terrorized face

pressed against the bars of the door

screamed was it the voice again asked

the warden yes said Ballard what did it


said the prisoner it knew I threw the

acid in the woman's face and killed acid

repeated the warden more confused than


chapter 5 countdown to freedom on the

fifth day of the Thinking Machines

incarceration the warden looked tired he

wanted this thing to finish he wanted

his confusion to end but that day the

thinking machine threw another piece of

linen to the guard it said only two days

more this time there was a silver

half-dollar with it now the warden knew

he knew that the man in cell 13 didn't

have any half dollars

he couldn't have any half dollars just

as he couldn't have pen in ink and linen

but he did have them it was a fact not a

theory and that is why the warden looked

so tired then there was the voice that

Ballard had heard the word acid didn't

mean anything of course Ballard was

obviously mad but there were so many

things that didn't mean anything

now that the thinking machine was in the

prison on the sixth day the warden

received a letter from dr. ransom it

said dear sir mr. fielding and I will

meet you in your office

tomorrow evening if professor Van Deusen

has not escaped and we believe he has

not because we have not received a

letter from him we will meet him there

to yours dr. ransom

that day the thinking machine had three

more messages for the warden they were

written on the same linen and referred

to the meeting with dr. ransom and mr.

fielding on the afternoon of the seventh

day the warden passed cell 13 and looked

in a thinking machine was sleeping on

his bed everything in the cell was

completely normal

he cannot escape between now and half

past 8:00 this evening

the warden thought that evening after

six o'clock he saw the guard he's

everything all right in cell 13

he asked yes sir replied the guard but

he didn't eat much today the warden was

feeling happy when he met dr. ransom and

mr. fielding that evening at seven

o'clock he wanted to show them the

thinking machines messages he wanted to

tell them about the events of the week

but before he could speak the guard from

the river side of the prison yard came

into the office the light on my side of

the yard is broken the guard said oh no

another problem said the warden the

guard returned to his post in the dark

the warden called the electric light

company hello this is Chisolm prison he

said into the phone one of our lights is

broken could you send four men here to

repair it thank you goodbye

the warden went out into the yard while

dr. ransom and mr. fielding were waiting

the guard from the prison gate came into

the office in his hand was a letter dr.

ransom looked at the letter incredible

he said what is it asked mr. fielding

the doctor gave him the letter

yielding looked at it it's a coincidence

it must be he said it was almost 8

o'clock when the warden returned to his

office the electricians have arrived he

said they are working on the light now

the warden telephoned the guard at the

prison gate how many electricians came

in he asked

or was the reply all right you must be

certain that only four men go out of the

prison said the warden he put down the

phone and took the letter my god it's

not possible

he said shocked what is it asked mr.

fielding it's a letter from cell 13 said

the warden an invitation to dinner

what said ransom the three men were

silent for a long time

finally the warden called a guard go

down to cell 13 immediately he said and

see if the professor is still there the

guard ran down the corridor dr. ransom

and mr. fielding examined the letter

it's van Dusen's handwriting there's no

doubt about that said dr. ransom I've

seen too much of it at that moment the

telephone rang again it was the guard at

the prison gate there were two newspaper

reporters and they wanted to see the

warden the warden told the guard to let

them come in it's impossible he said

professor Van Dusen must be in cell 13

then the guard returned he's still in

his cell sir he said I saw him he's

sleeping there I told you said the

warden but if he is still in his cell

how did he send the letter there was a

knock at the door

it's the reporters said the warden come

in the door opened and the two men

entered good evening gentlemen

said one it was Hutchinson hatch the

warden knew him well and the second man

came in well I'm here

he said it was the thinking machine

the warden sat with his mouth open he

was paralyzed

how how how did you do it asked the

warden finally let's go back to the cell

said the thinking machine the men walked

down the corridor to the door of cell 13

look inside said the thinking machine

the warden looked inside everything

looked normal and there there on the bed

was the figure of the thinking machine

certainly there was his yellow hair

the warden looked again at the man

beside him I must be mad

he thought then he unlocked the cell

door and the thinking machine went

inside look here he said he put his foot

on the steel bars at the bottom of the

cell door and three of them fell out and

here too the thinking machine stood on

his bed and put his hand to the bars on

the window all of them came out so

what's this in the bed asked the warden

it's a wig the thinking machine replied

take the cover off the warden did this

under it was a coil of strong rope about

10 meters long a knife three files three

meters of electric wire a pair of steel

pliers a hammer and a pistol how did you

do it asked the warden you gentlemen

have an invitation to dinner with me at

half past 9:00 said the thinking machine

come on or we shall be late but how did

you do it the warden insisted you cannot

hold a man in prison who can use his

brain replied the thinking machine come

on or we shall be late chapters

how did he do it when dinner was

finished the thinking machine turned to

dr. ransom well do you believe me now

he asked yes I do

replied dr. ransom there was a long

silence like all the other guests ransom

was waiting for the explanation so tell

us how you did it said fielding finally

the thinking machine began the story the

agreement was to go into a cell in Chism

prison with nothing but the necessary

clothes and to leave that cell within

seven days I didn't know Chisolm prison

when I went into the cell I asked for

three things

toothpaste two ten dollar bills and one

five dollar bill and to have my shoes

blacked you agreed to these things I

knew that there was nothing useful in

the cell so I had to use these three

innocent things to help me escape but

anything is dangerous in the hands of a

man like me the first night I did two

things I slept and I ran after rats you

gentlemen thought I wanted time to

organize an escape with assistance from

outside the prison but this was not true

I knew I could communicate with anyone I

wanted to at any time the warden looked

at him for a moment the thinking machine

continued the guard woke me up at six

o'clock the next morning he brought me

my breakfast he told me lunch was at 12

o'clock and dinner was at six

I knew that between these times I was

alone so after breakfast I examined the

outside area from my cell window I saw

that it was impossible to get over the

wall but I knew that on the other side

of the wall there was a river and also a

playground the guard confirmed it so I

knew one important thing a person could

come near the prison on that side

without attracting the attention of the

guards but there was something even more


I saw a wire which went to the light on

the prison roof it was very near my cell

window I knew then that if it was

necessary I could cut off that light

then I thought about escaping through

the prison building I remembered the way

to my cell I knew that was the only way

out there were seven doors between my

cell and the outside it was too

difficult the thinking machine stopped

for a moment dr. ransom lit a new cigar

for several minutes there was silence

then the thinking machine continued when

I was thinking about these things a rat

ran across my foot it gave me a new idea

I saw there were at least six rats in

the cell but they didn't come from under

the door I ran after them and they

disappeared but they didn't go out of

the door so I knew there was another way


I looked for this other way and found it

it was a hole in the floor it went to an

old drainpipe obviously the rats came

this way but where did they come from

drain pipes normally go outside the

prison this one probably went to the

river or near it so the rats came from

that direction when the guard came with

my lunch he told me two important things

one was that there was a new plumbing

system in the prison the other was that

the river was only a hundred meters away

so I knew that the pipe in my cell was

part of an old system and I knew it went

to the river the other end of the pipe

was outside the prison walls but before

I could start work I knew I had to

distract the warden I wanted him to

think that I was trying to communicate

with you dr. ransom so I took two pieces

of linen from my shirt and wrote a

message on them do you have the message

warden yes

the warden looked at the coded message

but what does it mean

he asked read it from right to left

beginning with the tea said the thinking

machine don't consider the division in

two words

the warden read the message this he

began is not the way I intend

to escape the warden smiled but what did

you ride it with this said the thinking

machine he put his foot on the table on

it was the shoe that he wore in prison

but the Polish was gone the shoe polish

mixed with some water was my ink said

the thinking machine and the metal end

of the shoelace was a good pen the

warden laugh continued he said after the

message the warden wanted to search my

cell this was good I wanted him to

search my cell very often I thought he

won't find anything so he will stop and

leave me alone

the warden took my shirt away and gave

me a prison shirt without my white shirt

I couldn't write any more messages but I

had another piece of the same shirt in

my mouth where did it come from asked

the warden I saw that there were only

two pieces cut from the shirt and I had

both of them

you forget that shirts like mine have

three layers of linen the thinking

machine replied I took out the inside

one you didn't notice it now that the

warden was busy I started to work on my

real escape plan I knew that the pipe

from my cell went to the playground

outside the prison it is a place where

boys play baseball I knew many of the

boys there I knew that the rats came

into my cell from out there perhaps it

was possible for me to communicate with

someone outside I could use the rats the

first thing I needed was a long thread

so I used the thread from my socks he

pulled up his trouser legs a strong

thread at the top of his long socks was

not there then on one half of my last

piece of linen I wrote a message for

Hutchinson hatch he is a friend and

often helps me I knew he would help me

this time it was a great story for his

newspaper I tied a $10 bill to the

letter to attract attention people

always find money I wrote on the linen

if you find this message give it to

Hutchinson hatch he will give you

another ten

for the information then I wrote

instructions for Hutch I had to get this

note outside the prison there were two

ways but the best way was the rats I

took one of them I tied the linen and

the money to one of its legs and tied my

thread to another then I put it in the

pipe from the moment the rat disappeared

into that dirty pipe

I was nervous the threat could break

anything could happen

I waited I was holding the thread and I

saw that it became gradually shorter

finally there was only about one meter

of thread in my hand I knew that the rat

was outside the prison but would hatch

receive the message I had to wait I

decided to try some other maneuvers this

was to confuse the warden more I tried

to bribe the guard I tried to cut

through the bars on my cell window

the warden became very angry he took the

bars in his hands to see if they were

solid they were then that night I didn't

sleep the thread was tied to my hand

I waited for the signal from outside I

thought if hatch has received the

message and if he finds the drain pipe

he will pull the thread at half-past

three in the morning I felt something

pull the thread the thinking machine

turned to Hutchinson hatch now you can

explain what you did he said a small boy

brought the linen message to me I gave

the boy another $10 I got some string

and then some wire I went with the boy

to the playground I looked for the end

of the drainpipe for an hour then

finally I found it

it was about thirty centimeters in


I took the end of the thread and pulled

it three times

the professor pulled twice to reply

quickly I tied my string to the

professor's thread then I tied the wire

to the string professor Van Deusen began

to pull it all into his cell the wire

was the most important because it could

not break the thread was too weak it

could break easily with the wire I could

transport things to the cell yes

continued the thinking machine I was

very happy when the wire arrived in the

cell then we tried another experiment I

spoke to mr. hatch through the pipe he

heard me but it was not easy for him to

understand me I wanted some nitric acid

and I had to repeat the word acid

several times then I heard a scream from

the cell above me with the wire it was

easy to transport things to my cell and

it was also easy to hide them I could

put them into the pipe you mr. warden

found the pipe but you could not find

the wire your hands are too big

my fingers are longer and thinner so it

was easy for me in addition I put a dead

rat in the pipe you pulled it out

I remember said the warden the rat was

there to stop you investigating the pipe

said the thinking machine that night mr.

hatch could not send me anything useful

but he did send me change for $10 as a

test the next day I continued to work on

my plan for this it was necessary that

the guard outside saw me often at my

cell window to attract his attention I

threw messages to him I stood at my cell

window for hours sometimes I spoke to

him he told me that there were no

electricians inside the prison if there

was a problem with the lights they had

to call the light company this was

perfect for my escape plan there was

only one more thing to do before I

escaped once again I spoke to mr. hatch

through the pipe it was the fourth night

of my incarceration again mr. hatch

could not understand me again I repeated

the word acid three times it was this

that made the prisoner above me

confessed to murder the guard told me

the next day the prisoner heard strange

voices through the pipe he thought it

was a ghost with nitric acid it was very

easy to cut the bars of the window but

it was a long process the outside guard

saw me standing at my window he didn't

know what I was doing as he watched me I

cut the bars with a piece of wire

covered with acid on the night of my

escape I used the same

to cut the electric wire that went to

the lights the yard outside my window

was completely dark it was easy to

escape I also had a wig from mr. hatch

it was the same color as my hair yellow

I put it in the bed with some other

things that hatch sent me when the guard

passed the door he thought I was

sleeping but how did you get outside the

prison gate asked the warden

it was simple the thinking machine

replied as I said I cut the wire to the

lights before the guards turned on the

current when they turned on the current

the light on my side of the yard didn't

work the outside guard went to your

office to tell you and I escaped through

my cell window I stayed in the shadows

until the four electrician's arrived mr.

hatch was one of them when I saw him he

gave me some workman's clothes to put on

You mr. warden were standing only three

meters away then mr. hatch called me as

a workman and together we went out of

the gate to get something from the van

the guard at the gate knew that there

were four workers in the yard he saw

that we were workers so he let us go out

of the prison then we changed clothes

and came back in we went to your office

and asked to see you that's all and the

letter of invitation asked ransom I

wrote it in my cell with mr. hatches pen

said the thinking machine then I sent it

through the pipe and mr. hatch posted it

there was silence for several minutes

dr. ransom was the first to speak

incredible he said absolutely brilliant

but mr Fielding had two more questions

and what was the toothpaste for he asked

for brushing my teeth why did mr. hatch

come with the electricians his father is

the manager of the company said the

thinking machine but what if there was

no mr. hatch outside to help you every

prisoner has at least one friend who

will help him if he can what if there

was no old drainpipe in your cell asked

the warden there were another two ways

to escape said the thinking machine ten


later the telephone rang it was for the

warden is the light working now asked

the warden through the phone good the

wire was cut besides cell 13

yes I know what's that there are too

many electricians too went out of the

prison and there are three still inside

but only four men came from the light

company the warden turned to the others

confused the guard says that he saw four

electrician's come into the prison two

went out again but there are still three

men inside he said don't you remember I

was the extra man said the thinking

machine Oh said the warden I see he

turned back to the phone you can let the

fifth man go he's all right

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