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HOME > Short Stories > The Golden Boys at the Haunted Camp > CHAPTER XIV THE END OF THE GHOST.
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CHAPTER XIV THE END OF THE GHOST.
 “I suppose we might as well go to bed.”  
It was shortly after eleven o’clock and Jack1 turned down the light as he made the statement.
 
“We’ll wait till twelve,” Bob yawned.
 
The minutes passed slowly. They were all, with the possible exception of Kernertok and Sicum, tired after their long tramp and both Bob and Jack were nearly asleep in their chairs, when the half hour struck. But a moment after they were wide awake enough, for the spot had appeared on the wall. At the same time raps were heard from behind the head of Bob’s bed.
 
“Come on,” Bob cried as he leaped from his chair.
 
Kernertok already had snapped a long leash2 to Sicum’s collar and was the first out of the cabin.
 
“Go find um,” he ordered.
 
There was no sign of the spot on the wall as Bob, the last to leave the room, turned his head for a glance back.
 
The dog, as though understanding exactly what was expected of him, put his nose to the ground and made a complete circle of the cabin. This he repeated again and again, each time widening the circle until he was at the edge of the woods. But he had failed to pick up the scent3 and announced the failure by a low whine4.
 
“Try um in woods,” his master ordered.
 
The dog led the way about thirty feet into the forest and then started off to the right. He had gone but a few yards, however, when he uttered a low deep growl5.
 
“He got um,” the Indian grunted6. “Go get um, Sicum.”
 
With a sharp bark of eagerness the dog bounded off in the direction of the hill only a few rods distant and Kernertok had his hands full holding on to the leash. The boys followed close behind using their flash light freely.
 
Straight up over the hill the dog led them without a pause and down the other side. A little way from the foot of the hill they struck a small brook7 and the dog stopped with a whine.
 
“He take to water,” Kernertok explained. “No smell um.”
 
They crossed to the other side and Kernertok ordered the dog to go up stream. They pressed on for the better part of a half mile but Sicum failed to again pick up the trail.
 
“Maybe he went down stream,” Bob suggested as they stopped for a short rest.
 
“We go back, try um down brook?”
 
“Do whatever you think best.”
 
“We try um little more,” the Indian decided8 after a short pause.
 
It was fortunate that he did so for in less than five minutes the dog had regained9 the scent.
 
“Good dog,” Bob declared as the low growl announced his success.
 
Through the thick woods the dog led them, tugging10 at the leash as though fearful that his quarry11 would escape him. At times the way led through thickets12 where they had to literally13 force their way while, in other places it was more open and they were enabled to make good progress.
 
“Hope he gets there soon,” Jack panted.
 
“Same here,” Bob agreed. “My legs are beginning to get tired.”
 
It must have been nearly two hours from the time they started and Bob judged that they had covered fully14 five miles when they reached the end of the hunt. Sicum stopped in front of what looked like a huge rock but the light from the flash showed that it was a small hill. The dog was sniffing15 at an opening, in the side of the hill, which looked to be barely large enough for a man to crawl into.
 
“He’s got a cave in that hill,” Bob announced.
 
“Looks like it,” Jack agreed.
 
“Him there,” Kernertok grunted.
 
“Then the next thing’s to get him out,” Jack proposed.
 
“Suppose you invite him,” Bob suggested.
 
“I will. Hello, in there. You might as well come out. We’ve got you trapped,” he shouted.
 
There was no reply and, after waiting a moment Bob said:
 
“He or it doesn’t seem much inclined to accept your invitation. Guess I’ll have to go in after him.”
 
“Yes you will, not.”
 
“If not why not?”
 
“Because it’s too risky16, that’s why.”
 
“Injun go in,” Kernertok grunted getting down on his hands and knees.
 
“Nothing doing,” Bob declared sharply catching17 him by the shoulder.
 
They had been speaking in whispers but now Bob said in a loud voice:
 
“Let’s go back and come and dig him out in the morning when we can see.”
 
“I guess that’ll be the best way,” Jack agreed quick to grasp his brother’s plan.
 
In a low whisper Bob explained his idea to the Indian who grunted a low assent18. But Sicum did not so readily fall in with the plan and it took the Indian some time to convince him that he knew what was best. The dog knew that his quarry was in that hole and he could not understand why he should leave it. But finally he allowed his master to lead him off into the woods but not without many a backward look and many a low protesting whine. It was a new experience to him, this giving up and it was plain that he did not approve of it.
 
“Never mind, old fellow, we’ll get him,” Bob said stroking the gray head.
 
They made much noise as they left but, after going only a short distance they crept softly back until they were only a few feet away from the hole, where they crouched19 behind a thick clump20 of bushes. Sicum, as though realizing that, after all, the game was not up, had ceased his whining21 and seemed content.
 
“We’ll probably have to wait till day light,” Bob whispered, “so I’ll watch here and you can get back a bit and get some sleep.”
 
“What’s the matter with you getting some sleep?” Jack asked.
 
“I spoke22 first.”
 
“Injun watch. Him no sleepy. White boys go get sleep.”
 
They refused at first but finally, seeing that the old Indian really wished them to consent, they yielded, but only after he had promised to call them in two hours.
 
They crept back a few yards and found a soft spot beneath the limbs of a huge pine and in less than a minute both were fast asleep. It seemed to Bob that he had just closed his eyes when he was awakened23 by a touch on his arm.
 
“Two hours gone,” Kernertok whispered.
 
“All right,” he answered sleepily, “but don’t wake Jack. There’s no need of both of us being awake.”
 
Kernertok grunted approval and threw himself on the ground while Bob crept forward until he was lying behind the bush. It was not absolutely dark for the sky was filled with stars although there was no moon. He could barely make out the outline of the hill as he peered through the bush. Slowly the minutes passed and he found it hard work to keep awake. But he knew that it would be only a little more than an hour to dawn and he resolutely24 fought off the desire to sleep. Once he thought he heard a movement near the cave but, although he strained his eyes, he could see nothing suspicious and he concluded that he had been mistaken. Of course he did not dare to use his flash light.
 
In spite of his resolve to keep awake he must have dozed25 off for suddenly he realized that the darkness had nearly gone.
 
“I’m a good one to put on watch,” he thought thoroughly26 angered at himself.
 
Although it was not yet fully light he could see the hole in the hill plainly enough and, all desire for sleep now gone, he watched eagerly.
 
“If he’s got away I’ll never forgive myself,” he thought.
 
Slowly the light increased until a beam of sunlight touched the top of the hill. He was about to creep back and awake the others when a sound caught his ears and, in another moment, he saw a face framed in the hole. It was not a wicked face but rather grotesque27. The nose was long and humped sharply while the eyes were small and set so closely together that the nose seemed crowded between them. The mouth was enormous and the skin looked more like leather than skin.
 
Although the eyes were small they looked strangely keen and he drew back fearing that they would penetrate28 his hiding place. After a long glance around the owner of the eyes slowly drew his body out and finally stood in front of the opening. He was a small man, almost a dwarf29 in fact and Bob could hardly repress a desire to laugh. His arms, abnormally long, hung well below his knees and his legs were so thin that it seemed impossible that they were strong enough to support the body. But what impressed the boy most of all were the massive shoulders, all out of proportion to the rest of his body. He was dressed in an old black sweater torn in many places and a pair of corduroy trousers which reached only to the knees. His feet were bare.
 
“What a wild man of Borneo he’d make,” Bob thought. “But I’d sure hate to tackle him. I’ll bet he’s stronger than an ox.”
 
For several minutes the strange creature stood looking about and then, to the consternation30 of the boy, he
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