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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:04:09
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Some voices were raised in protest, saying that it was a ruse to escape, while others urged that the women take the youth. Jeb Case stepped toward the subject of dispute. I'll settle it durned quick,” he announced and reached forth to seize the slim figure. With a sudden wrench Bridge tore himself loose from his captors and leaped toward the farmer, his right flew straight out from the shoulder and Jeb Case went down with a broken jaw. Almost simultaneously a car sped around a curve from the north and stopped suddenly in rear of the mob. Two men leaped out and shouldered their way through. One was the detective, Burton; the other was Jonas Prim.

Bridge awoke to find two men attempting to rain murderous blows upon his head. Wiry, strong and full of the vigor of a clean life, he pitted against their greater numbers and cowardly attack a defense which was infinitely more strenuous than they had expected.

Say,” said The Kid, after a moment's strained silence. Don't tell anyone, will you? If you'll promise I'll give you a dollar,” and he hunted through his roll of bills for one of that lowly denomination.

The boy had stood with his straight, black eyebrows puckered into a studious frown, drinking in every word. Now he straightened up. I guess I made a mistake,” he said, apologetically. You ain't tramps at all. You're thieves and murderers and things like that.” His eyes opened a bit wider and his voice sank to a whisper as the words passed his lips. But you haven't so much on me, at that,” he went on, for I'm a regular burglar, too,” and from the bulging pockets of his coat he drew two handfuls of greenbacks and jewelry. The eyes of the six registered astonishment, mixed with craft and greed. I just robbed a house in Oakdale,” explained the boy. I usually rob one every night.”

The General and Dopey Charlie didn't know what a moron was but they felt quite certain from Bridge's tone of voice that a moron was not a nice thing, and anyway no one could have bribed them to descend into the darkness of the lower floor with the dead man and the grisly THING that prowled through the haunted chambers; so they flatly refused to budge an inch.

Who are you?” asked the girl, a note of suppressed terror in her voice. You are not—?”

His cigaret drawing well Dopey Charlie resumed: This Oskaloosa Kid's a bad actor,” he volunteered. The little shrimp tried to croak me; but he only creased my ribs. I'd like to lay my mits on him. I'll bet there won't be no more Oskaloosa Kid when I get done wit him.”

Close the door,” directed Bridge as he crossed toward the center of the room to lay his burden upon the floor, but there was no response to his instructions—only a gasp and the sound of a body slumping to the rotting boards. With an exclamation of chagrin the man dropped the girl and swung quickly toward the door. Halfway down the hall he could hear the chain rattling over loose planking, the THING, whatever it might be, was close upon them. Bridge slammed-to the door and with a shoulder against it drew a match from his pocket and lighted it. Although his clothing was soggy with rain he knew that his matches would still be dry, for this pocket and its flap he had ingeniously lined with waterproof material from a discarded slicker he had found—years of tramping having taught him the discomforts of a fireless camp.


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