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HOME > Short Stories > The Golden Boys at the Haunted Camp > CHAPTER XIII ANOTHER TRIP UP THE MOUNTAIN.
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CHAPTER XIII ANOTHER TRIP UP THE MOUNTAIN.
 Eleven o’clock found the four friends, for the boys always considered Sicum as one of them whenever he was present, waiting in the cabin for the show to begin, as Jack1 put it. They had secured from Jacques an extra cot for Kernertok although the old Indian had insisted that a rug was a good enough bed for him.  
“Bet you nothing happens,” Jack said just as the clock struck the hour.
 
“If nothing does it means that somebody is on to our movements,” Bob declared.
 
“And the somebody is?”
 
“We won’t mention names, but I hardly see how it could be anybody else,” Bob replied and Kernertok slowly shook his head.
 
“Well, one thing is in our favor anyway,” Jack declared after a few minutes of silence.
 
“Meaning?”
 
“That nothing very drastic has happened as a result of the three warnings we’ve received.”
 
“But the end is not yet,” Bob cautioned.
 
“Maybe not, but I’m betting that those warnings were simply a bluff2.”
 
“I hope so,” Bob said soberly.
 
The half hour struck.
 
“Time for the curtain to go up,” Jack said as he turned down the light.
 
But nothing happened. The spot did not appear and no rapping was heard. Midnight came and then the half hour struck and still not sign of the ghost was manifest.
 
“I told you so,” Jack yawned.
 
“We’ll wait another half hour,” Bob proposed.
 
It was a long half hour but the clock finally struck and Bob turned up the light.
 
“Guess we might as well hit the hay,” he declared as he threw off his coat.
 
“Me for that,” Jack agreed. “But you wake me up if you hear anything.”
 
“I will,” Bob promised as he tumbled into bed.
 
But if any ghost came around that night he was very quiet about it for none of them was disturbed and the sun was shining in at the window when Bob awoke.
 
It was Sunday and breakfast was an hour later than usual so he decided3 to let Jack sleep. Kernertok’s bed was empty and Sicum was not in the room.
 
“Guess they’ve gone out for an early morning walk,” he thought as he began to dress.
 
It was only six o’clock and he knew that the old Indian was an early riser so he felt no alarm at his absence.
 
“It’s a peach of a morning,” he said half aloud as he stepped out and softly closed the door behind him.
 
For a moment he stood just outside drawing into his lungs great draughts4 of the crisp air heavily laden5 with the mingled6 scent7 of spruce and pine. Then he walked slowly toward the lake. As soon as he came around the corner of the big cabin he saw Kernertok and Sicum standing8 on the end of the wharf9 gazing out over the lake.
 
“She heap fine body of water,” the Indian said as he joined them.
 
“Sure is,” Bob agreed as he bent10 over to pat Sicum’s head. “But I hope we haven’t dragged you and Sicum up here for nothing.”
 
“We catch um ghost heap soon,” Kernertok assured him.
 
“I hope so,” Bob returned but there was no note of assurance in his voice.
 
For an hour they sat on the end of the wharf and discussed the situation and then Jack joined them.
 
“Why didn’t you wake me?” he demanded.
 
“Thought you needed the sleep,” Bob returned with a smile.
 
“Well, I got it all right.”
 
Jack sat down beside Sicum and began stroking his long ears, an action of which the dog thoroughly11 approved.
 
At half past seven the welcome sound of the breakfast horn broke up the conversation and they hurried to the big cabin.
 
“Any ghosts?” Mr. Sleeper12 asked as he entered a few minutes later with Mrs. Sleeper and Helen.
 
“Narry a ghost,” Jack declared.
 
“And it’s the first night they’ve missed isn’t it?”
 
“Yes, that is, since we’ve been here,” Bob assured him.
 
“Don’t you think it’s a bit strange?”
 
“Rather.”
 
The day passed quietly. In the afternoon they were all gathered on the porch of the Sleepers13’ cabin and Kernertok entertained them for several hours with stories of his early life in Northern Canada. Despite his broken English the old Indian was a past master in the art of story telling and he had an abundance of material to draw from and held his listener spellbound with his vivid word pictures of life amid the deep snows and rushing streams.
 
“He’s wonderful,” Helen whispered to Bob as they were going to supper.
 
“A wonderful man and a wonderful dog,” Bob assured her.
 
That night was a repetition of the previous one. The camp was as well behaved as any one could desire, much to the disgust of the two boys.
 
“It’s disgusting, that’s what it is,” Jack declared as he rolled into bed.
 
“And then some,” Bob agreed from his side of the room.
 
But Kernertok merely grunted14 as he stretched his long frame on his cot.
 
They were up bright and early the next morning and, after a plunge15 in the lake, Bob suggested that they pay a visit to the cave on Mount Katahdin.
 
“The mountain wouldn’t come to Mahomet, you remember, so Mahomet had to go to the mountain,” he laughed. “Well, the ghost won’t seem to come to us any more so we might as well go to him.”
 
“But why do you think he’s there?” Jack asked.
 
“I don’t, but we may get a clue. Somehow I can’t help thinking that the fellow they call Jim the Penman is in some way mixed up in the ghost business.”
 
“Well, it’ll get rid of the day anyhow,” Jack said, and Kernertok agreed that it was a good plan.
 
They started immediately after breakfast, telling the Sleepers that they were going to the dam and might not be back until night. The wind was blowing strong down the lake and Kernertok and Jack made the light canoe almost fly through the water.
 
“Haven’t seen anything more of those fellows have you?” Bob asked the old dam tender, who met them as they landed.
 
“No, but I seen a light up on the mountain, ’bout ten o’clock las’ night,” he told them.
 
“Did it flash as though someone was signaling?” Bob asked excitedly.
 
“Well, it did kinder seem so. Kept it up fer as much as ten minutes mebby more, then it went out an’ I didn’t see it agin’.”
 
“Then they must be back,” Bob said turning to Jack and Kernertok.
 
“Looks like it,” Jack agreed.
 
A moment later and they were making their way down the deep gorge16, Sicum leading the way.
 
“I’d give a cent to know if they were signaling to Mr. Sleeper,” Bob said to Jack as they walked side by side.
 
“Who else could it be?”
 
“Ah, there’s the rub,” Bob quoted.
 
“And there’s the balloon,” Jack added. “That must have been a signal and it doesn’t seem hardly possible that both parties are signaling to a third person, does it?”
 
“Hardly. But what possible connection can there be between them?”
 
“Ask me something easy,” Jack said as he wiped the sweat from his face. “Whew, but it’s hot.”
 
As soon as they reached the foot of the mountain they stopped for a rest and a council of war, as Jack put it.
 
“We’ve got to be mighty17 careful now,” Bob told them. “They’ll treat us rough if they get us in their power again. They’ll think we put the officers onto them and they’ll have little mercy.”
 
“None comes nearer to it I’d say,” Jack declared.
 
“We go heap quiet,” Kernertok advised with a solemn shake of his head.
 
“Frankly it’s my opinion that you’d better stay here and let me go up alone,” Bob proposed. “One can go with less noise than four, you know.”
 
“Not much,” Jack objected. “We’ll hang together in this.”
 
“White boy no go alone,” Kernertok shook his head and Bob did not insist, realizing that they were probably right.
 
It was a hot day and the climb up the mountain was hard and both boys were puffing18 when they reached a point only a few rods from the cave. But Kernertok was not in the least winded.
 
“Now we’re almost there,” Bob said as they came to a stop. “You wait here and I’ll creep up and see what’s doing. Oh, I’ll be careful and yell if they get me,” he added as he saw that Jack was about to object again.
 
Kernertok nodded assent19 and Bob crept noiselessly away. They had followed the path up the mountain but now he left it and stole around to the right so that he might get a view of the front of the shack20. He made not the slightest sound as he worked his way through the thick underbrush and soon was crouching21 behind a bush from which he had a good view of the shack by slightly parting a couple of branches. Not a soul was in sight and the place had a deserted22 look which went far toward convincing him that they had not returned. Still there was the light which the old man had seen the night before and he decided to wait awhile before coming to a conclusion.
 
For nearly a half hour he waited and then, just as he was thinking that he might as well go back to the others, the sound of voices off to his right caught his ear. Someone was coming toward him and he squirmed farther into the clump23 of bushes hoping that they would pass without seeing him. He lay perfectly24 still hard............
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