The silent alarm, p.1
The Silent Alarm, p.1Roy J. Snell / Young Adult
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_Adventure Stories for Girls_
The Silent Alarm
_By_ ROY J. SNELL
The Reilly & Lee Co. Chicago
_Printed in the United States of America_
Copyright, 1926 by The Reilly & Lee Co. _All Rights Reserved_
CHAPTER PAGE I The Prisoner in a Lone Cabin 9 II Strange Sentries 18 III A Darting Shadow 41 IV A Strange Escape 58 V Safe at Home 69 VI Confederate Gold 76 VII Mysterious Footsteps 93 VIII The Silent Watcher 112 IX Beyond Forbidden Portals 131 X A Mysterious People 149 XI The Guard of the Stone Gateway 166 XII The Mystery Trail 182 XIII A Tense Situation 196 XIV Hallie Kidnapped 212 XV By the Aid of a Coon 220 XVI A Perilous Glide 234 XVII The Last of Her Clan 244 XVIII The Strange Procession 253
THE SILENT ALARM
CHAPTER I THE PRISONER IN A LONE CABIN
In a cabin far up the side of Pine Mountain, within ten paces of themurmuring waters of Ages Creek, there stood an old, two roomed log cabin.In one room of that cabin sat a girl. She was a large, strong girl, withthe glow of ruddy health on her cheeks.
Her dress, though simple, displayed a taste too often missing in theCumberland Mountains of Kentucky, and one might have guessed that she wasfrom outside the mountains.
If one were to observe her, sitting there in a rustic splint bottomedchair; if he were to study her by the flickering firelight, he might havesaid: "She is a guest."
In this he would have been wrong. Florence Huyler was virtually aprisoner in that cabin. As she sat there dreamily gazing at theflickering fire, a man did sentry duty outside the door. He seemed asleepas he sat slouched over in a chair tilted against the cabin, but he wasnot. Nor would the occupant of that chair sleep this night.
Yet, had you said to Florence, "Why do they hold you prisoner here?" shewould have replied:
"I'm sure I don't know."
That would have been true, too.
"What can they want?" she asked herself for the thousandth time as shesat there watching the coals of her wood fire blink out one by one. "Arethey moonshiners? Do they think I am a secret agent of the revenue men?Do they want this," she patted a pocket inside her blouse, "or have theybeen hired by the big coal company to hold me until the secret of therailroad is out?"
When she patted her blouse there had come a crinkling sound. Ten newfifty dollar bank notes were pinned to the inside of the garment.
"If that's what they want," she said to herself, "why don't they demandit and let me go?"
She shuddered as she rose. The room was cold. She dreaded facing a nightin that cabin.
Having entered the second room, she closed the door softly behind her,then sat down upon the edge of the bed.
After removing her shoes, she glanced up at the smoke blackened ceiling.
"Hole up there," she mused. "I wonder if.... No, I guess not. Never cantell, though."
At once her lithe body was in motion. With the agility of a cat, shesprang upon a chair, mounted its back, caught the edge of the openingabove and drew herself up into the attic, then dropped noiselessly downupon a beam.
"Whew! Dusty," she panted.
Five minutes later she found herself staring out into the moonlight. Atthe upper end of the cabin loft she had found a small door that opened toa view of the mountain side. Having found this she opened it noiselessly.It would be an easy matter to hang by her hands, drop to the ground andthen attempt her escape through the brush. This she was about to do whensomething arrested her--a very small thing. On a narrow level space wherethe grass had been eaten short by cows or wild creatures, three youngrabbits were sporting in the moonlight.
"Shame to spoil their fun," she whispered to herself. "Time enough." Sheseated herself close to the opening.
A moment later she was thankful for the impulse that caused her to wait.In an instant, without a sound, the rabbits disappeared into the brush.
With a little gasp the girl closed the small door. Ten seconds later, bypeering through a crack, she saw a man cross the small clearing. It washer guard.
"Thanks, little rabbits," she whispered. "You did me a good turn thattime."
A moment later the man returned across the patch of short grass and oncemore the girl set herself to listening and watching.
"When the little gray fellows come back to play, I'll risk it," she toldherself.
As she sat there waiting, feeling the cool caress of the mountain nightair upon her cheek, listening, watching, she allowed her eyes to wanderaway to the half dozen little peaks that formed the crest of PineMountain.
"How dark and mysterious they seem in the night," she thought to herself."How--"
Her meditations were suddenly cut short. Her eyes had caught a yellowgleam that had suddenly appeared on the very crest of the highest peak ofthe mountain.
"Wha--what can it mean?" she whispered. "It can't be--but it is!"
Even as she looked, the yellow gleam blinked out for a second, glowedagain, only to vanish, then to glow steadily once more.
The girl's heart grew warm, her cheeks flushed. Whereas only the momentbefore she had felt herself utterly alone in an unknown and hostileworld, now she knew that on the crest of yonder mountain there stood afriend, her very best friend, Marion Norton. Between her and that peaklay many a long and tangled trail. What of that? That golden glow spokewarmly of friendship.
"The Silent Alarm," she murmured as she hastily drew from her pocket twodark cylinders. One of the cylinders she placed before her on the windowledge. The other she grasped at either end, drawing it out to four timesits original length. The thing was a pocket telescope such as is oftencarried in the mountains. From the ends of this she unscrewed the lenses.After that, lying flat upon the dusty floor that was all but level withthe sill of the small shuttered door, she glanced along the tube of thedismantled telescope. Slowly, surely, as if the thing were a rifle, sheaimed it at the distant yellow gleam. Then, without allowing the tube tomove, she picked up the other shorter one which had all this time restedon the window sill. Having placed the end of this against the end of thehollow tube, she pressed a button, and at once a needle point of glowinglight shot forth into the night. The second cylinder was a small butpowerful flashlight.
"The Silent Alarm," she whispered once more.
She had kept the small flashlight aimed at the distant yellow flash offire less than a moment when, with a suddenness that was startling, theglow on the distant mountain crest vanished. It was as if someone hadthrown a shovel of earth or a bucket of water upon a small camp fire.
The little tableau was not at an end. Florence, by moving her hand beforeher tube, sent out successive flashes, some short, some long. Now a shortone, now two long ones, now three short; so it went on for some time.
"The Silent Alarm," she thought. "I only hope she gets it right. Shemight try to come to me. That would be too terrible."
This had scarcely passed her mind when, of a sudden, from that samedistant hillside there gleamed a star. Or was it a star? If a star, thena tree branch must wave before it, for now it appeared, only to disappearand reappear again.
It was no star. At once, with a pencil and a scrap of paper, the girl wasmarking down dots and dashes, taking the message being sent by signalcode from the distant mountain crest.
As she scratched down the last dash, the star vanished, not to reappear.Once more darkness brooded over the foothills of Pine Mountain and thesomber peaks beyond were lost in the glooms of night.
For a time, by the steady gleam of her flashlight, the girl studied herdots and dashes. Then, as she closed her tired eyes for a moment, shemurmured:
"Oh! I had hoped for a real message, a message that would mean success."
As she opened her eyes she glanced down to the spot of golden moonlighton the grass. The rabbits had returned to complete their frolic.
"Time to try it," she whispered as she drew herself up on her knees.
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