Voice from the cave, p.1
Voice from the Cave, p.1Mildred A. Wirt
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Voice from the Cave
_By_ MILDRED A. WIRT
_Author of_ MILDRED A. WIRT MYSTERY STORIES TRAILER STORIES FOR GIRLS
CUPPLES AND LEON COMPANY _Publishers_ NEW YORK
_PENNY PARKER_ MYSTERY STORIES
_Large 12 mo. Cloth Illustrated_
TALE OF THE WITCH DOLL THE VANISHING HOUSEBOAT DANGER AT THE DRAWBRIDGE BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR CLUE OF THE SILKEN LADDER THE SECRET PACT THE CLOCK STRIKES THIRTEEN THE WISHING WELL SABOTEURS ON THE RIVER GHOST BEYOND THE GATE HOOFBEATS ON THE TURNPIKE VOICE FROM THE CAVE GUILT OF THE BRASS THIEVES SIGNAL IN THE DARK WHISPERING WALLS SWAMP ISLAND THE CRY AT MIDNIGHT
COPYRIGHT, 1944, BY CUPPLES AND LEON CO.
Voice from the Cave
PRINTED IN U. S. A.
CHAPTER PAGE 1 AN UNINVITED GUEST _1_ 2 STORMY WEATHER _10_ 3 A JADE GREEN CHARM _19_ 4 NO CAMPING ALLOWED _27_ 5 OVER THE AIR _37_ 6 BREAKFAST BLUES _42_ 7 THE BEARDED STRANGER _49_ 8 KEEPER OF THE LIGHT _57_ 9 A SURPRISE FROM THE SKY _66_ 10 HELP FROM MR. EMORY _74_ 11 A MAN OF MYSTERY _83_ 12 CAUGHT BY THE TIDE _93_ 13 A HIDDEN PACKAGE _98_ 14 VOICE FROM THE CAVE _106_ 15 AFTERGLOW _114_ 16 SUSPICION _122_ 17 VISITORS NOT PERMITTED _130_ 18 INSIDE THE LIGHTHOUSE _139_ 19 A LOCKED DOOR _146_ 20 NYMPHS OF THE SEA _154_ 21 THE CARDBOARD BOX _161_ 22 UNFINISHED BUSINESS _170_ 23 NIGHT ADVENTURE _178_ 24 OUT OF THE SEA _187_ 25 A SCOOP FOR UNCLE SAM _198_
CHAPTER 1 _AN UNINVITED GUEST_
"Mrs. Weems, what can be delaying Dad? He promised faithfully to be homeby three o'clock and it's nearly five now. Unless we start soon we'llnever get to Sunset Beach tonight."
Penny Parker, in blue slacks and a slightly mussed polo shirt, gazeddisconsolately at the over-loaded automobile standing on the graveldriveway of the Parker home. Aided by Mrs. Weems, the family housekeeper,she had spent hours packing the sedan with luggage and camping equipment.Though the task long had been finished, Mr. Parker failed to arrive.
"Your father is a very busy man," Mrs. Weems responded to the girl'squestion. "No doubt he's been held up at the office."
"Then why doesn't he telephone? It's driving me crazy to wait andwonder."
Penny's freckled little face twisted into a grimace of worry. For weeksshe and her father, editor-owner of the _Riverview Star_, had planned avacation camping trip to the nearby seashore resort, Sunset Beach. Twicethe excursion had been postponed. Penny, who knew well her father's habitof changing his mind, was fearful that even now something would causeanother vexing delay.
"I'm going to call the _Star_ office this minute!" she declared, startingfor the house.
Mrs. Weems busied herself gathering up loose odds and ends that had blownabout the yard. She was cramming waste paper into a box when Penny bangedout the door, her eyes tragic.
"I couldn't reach Dad!" she announced. "He left the office more than anhour ago."
"Then he should have been home before this," Mrs. Weems agreed.
"Something's happened. Maybe he's been run down by a car--"
"Now Penny, stop such wild talk," the housekeeper interrupted sternly."You know better."
"But Dad was struck by an automobile last winter. What else could delayhim?"
"A dozen things," Mrs. Weems replied. "Probably a business engagement."
"In that case, wouldn't he have telephoned me?"
"Perhaps not. Now do stop fretting, Penny. Your father will be herebefore long."
"He'd better be," Penny said darkly.
Sitting down on the stone step by the door, she scuffed the toe of hertennis shoe back and forth in the gravel. Mrs. Weems who had cared forthe girl ever since the death of Mrs. Parker, gazed at her sternly.
"Now do stop grieving!" she chided. "That's no way to act just becauseyou're impatient and disappointed."
"But I've been disappointed three times now," Penny complained. "Weplanned on starting early and having a picnic lunch on the road. Dadpromised faithfully--"
A car drove up to the curb at the front of the house. Penny spranghopefully to her feet. However, it was not her father who had arrived.Instead, her chum, Louise Sidell, alighted and came running across theyard.
"Oh, I'm glad I'm not too late to say goodbye to you, Penny!" she cried."How soon are you starting?"
"I'd like to know the answer to that one myself. Dad hasn't put in anappearance. He was due here at three o'clock."
"Why, I saw him about twenty minutes ago," Louise replied, turning toinspect the over-loaded sedan. "My, how did you accumulate so muchluggage?"
Penny ignored the question to ask one of her own. "Where did you see Dad,Lou?"
"Why, riding in a car." Louise's dark eyes sparkled mischievously as sheadded: "With a beautiful brunette too."
"I am not. Your father was riding with Mrs. Deline. She's a widow, youknow, and has lived in Riverview less than a month."
Mrs. Weems, who had overheard the conversation, came over to the steps.
"Mrs. Deline, did you say?" she inquired, slightly disturbed. "I've heardof her."
"And so have I!" declared Penny with biting emphasis. "Why, that womanwould make the Merry Widow look like a dead number! She'd better not tryto sink her hooks into Dad!"
"Penelope!" the housekeeper reproved sternly.
"Well, you know what everyone says--"
"Please don't repeat idle gossip," Mrs. Weems requested. "I'm sure Mrs.Deline is a very fine woman."
"She's the slickest serpent that ever free-wheeled into Riverview!" Pennysaid heatedly. "I saw her in action last week-end at the Country Club.Why, she simply went out of her way to cultivate any
"Penny, your father is a sensible man," the housekeeper reproved."Unfortunately, it's a quality I'm afraid you didn't inherit."
Louise, unhappy to have stirred up such a hornet's nest, said hastily:"Maybe it wasn't Mrs. Deline I saw. The car went by so fast."
"Oh, I'm not worried. Dad can handle a bigger package of dynamite thanMrs. Deline. It just makes me irritated because he doesn't get here."
Tossing her head, Penny crossed to the loaded automobile where sheswitched on the radio. She tuned it carelessly. After a moment a blurredvoice blared forth:
Penny turned quickly to glance at the dial, for she realized that she didnot have the local station WZAM.
"Attention Comrades!" the announcer commanded again. "This is the Voicefrom the Cave."
There followed a strange jibberish of words which were in no languagethat Penny ever before had heard.
"Mrs. Weems! Louise!" she called excitedly. "I think I've tuned in anoutlaw short wave station! Just listen!"
Louise and the housekeeper hastened over to the car. Penny trieddesperately to tune the station in more clearly. Instead she lost itcompletely.
"Did you hear what that announcer said?" she asked eagerly. "Most of it Icouldn't understand. I'm sure it was in code!"
"Code!" Mrs. Weems exclaimed in amazement.
"I'm sure I didn't have one of the regular stations! It must have been ashort wave broadcast beamed at a particular group of persons. Theannouncer began: 'Attention Comrades!'"
"Can't you tune in again?" Louise demanded.
Penny twisted the dial without success. She was still trying when a taxicab drew up at the front door.
"There's your father now!" Louise declared.
"And see who's with him!" Penny added, craning her neck. "It _is_ Mrs.Deline."
Mrs. Weems, decidedly flustered, hurriedly removed her apron. In anundertone she warned Penny to be polite to the unexpected visitor.
Mr. Parker, a tall, lean man with hair only touched by gray, stepped fromthe taxi. The woman he assisted was attractively slender, and dressed inan expensive tailored suit. Her face was cold and serene, but so strikingthat it commanded instant interest. Penny's spirits sagged as sheobserved that the widow came equipped with luggage.
"Now what?" she muttered.
Mr. Parker escorted Mrs. Deline across the yard, introducing her first toMrs. Weems and then to the girls.
"Mrs. Deline is riding with us to Sunset Beach," he explained to Penny."She intended to go by train but failed to get a reservation."
"Coaches are so unbearable," Mrs. Deline said in an affected drawl. "Itwas so nice of Mr. Parker to invite me to share your car."
"I'm afraid it may not be so pleasant for you," Penny replied. She triedto speak cordially but the words came in stiff little jerks. "There's notmuch room."
"Nonsense!" said Mr. Parker. "Mrs. Deline will ride up front. Penny,you'll have to battle it out with the luggage."
By the time Mrs. Deline's suitcase and hat boxes were stowed away, therewas indeed little room left in the rear seat for a passenger. Penny'sface was very long. For weeks she had planned on a vacation trip with herfather, and now all her plans had been shattered.
"Will you be staying long at Sunset Beach?" she asked the widow politely.
"Probably a week," Mrs. Deline replied. "I've engaged a suite at theCrystal Inn. I'm sure I couldn't endure a camping trip. Mosquitoes--hardbeds--cooking over a camp fire--it all seems rather difficult to me."
"Oh, it will be fun to camp!"
"I'm not so certain of it myself." Mr. Parker assisted the widow into thefront seat. "Penny, why don't we ditch this camp stuff and try a hotelourselves?"
"No!" answered Penny fiercely.
"It would be a far more sensible arrangement."
"But I don't want to be sensible," Penny argued. "We've planned on thistrip for weeks, Dad."
"Oh, all right, if that's the way you feel about it," he gave inwillingly enough. "Only I never did care much for the rough and tumblelife myself. Are we ready to start?"
"Just a minute," Penny requested. "I have to get my pocketbook from thehouse."
She went indoors, her face as dark as a summer rain cloud. Mrs. Weems andLouise followed her in, corraling her in the kitchen.
"Now Penny, just a word of advice," the housekeeper cautioned. "Mrs.Deline seems like a very nice woman. I trust that you'll be pleasant toher."
"I don't see why Dad had to invite her! It's ruined everything!"
"Aren't you being selfish?"
"Maybe I am," said Penny. "But why should I be crammed back with the potsand pans and luggage while she sits up front with Dad?"
"Mrs. Deline is your guest."
"She's Dad's guest," Penny corrected. "Furthermore, I suspect she invitedherself."
"Whatever you think, I hope you'll keep your thoughts to yourself," Mrs.Weems said severely. "I'm really ashamed of you."
The deep scowl disappeared from Penny's face and she laughed. Wrappingher arms about the housekeeper's ample waist she squeezed until it hurt.
"I know I'm a spoiled brat," she admitted. "But don't worry. I'll pretendto like Mrs. Deline if it kills me."
"That's much better, Penny. At any rate, you'll not be troubled with hercompany long. You'll reach Sunset Beach by nightfall."
Penny made no reply. She turned to say goodbye to Louise.
"Wish you were going along," she said wistfully. "A vacation won't seemfun without you."
A staccato toot of the auto horn reminded Penny that her father and Mrs.Deline were waiting. Hurriedly she gathered up her purse.
"Have a nice time," Louise said, kissing her goodbye. "And don't let Mrs.Deline get in your hair."
Penny turned to make certain that Mrs. Weems was beyond hearing.
"Don't worry about that, Lou," she whispered. "Mrs. Deline's already inmy hair. What I'm really worried about is keeping her from building anest in it!"
Voice from the Cave by Mildred A. Wirt / Young Adult have rating 3 out of 5 / Based on18 votes