The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 264

of him that he might shield her body
with his own, turned directly out of the village. He did not fire at
first hoping that they might elude detection and thus not draw the fire
of the Indians upon them; but he was doomed to disappointment, and they
had taken scarcely a dozen steps when a rifle spoke above the noise of
human voices and a bullet whizzed past them.

Then Billy replied, and Barbara, too, from just behind his shoulder.
Together they backed away toward the shadow of the trees beyond the
village and as they went they poured shot after shot into the village.

The Indians, but just awakened and still half stupid from sleep, did not
know but that they were attacked by a vastly superior force, and this
fear held them in check for several minutes--long enough for Billy and
Barbara to reach the summit of the bluff from which Billy and Eddie had
first been fired upon.

Here they were hidden from the view of the Indians, and Billy broke
at once into a run, half carrying the girl with a strong arm about her
waist.

"If we can reach the foothills," he said, "I think we can dodge 'em, an'
by goin' all night we may reach the river and El Orobo by morning. It's
a long hike, Barbara, but we gotta make it--we gotta, for if daylight
finds us in the Piman country we won't never make it. Anyway," he
concluded optimistically, "it's all down hill."

"We'll make it, Billy," she replied, "if we can get past the sentry."

"What sentry?" asked Billy. "I didn't see no sentry when I come in."

"They keep a sentry way down the trail all night," replied the girl. "In
the daytime he is nearer the village--on the top of this bluff, for from
here he can see the whole valley; but at night they station him farther
away in a narrow part of the trail."

"It's a mighty good thing you tipped me off," said Billy; "for I'd a-run
right into him. I thought they was all behind us now."

After that they went more cautiously, and when they reached the part of
the trail where the sentry might be expected to be found, Barbara warned
Billy of the fact. Like two thieves they crept along in the shadow of
the canyon wall. Inwardly Billy cursed the darkness of the night which
hid from view everything more than a few paces from them; yet it may
have been this very darkness which saved them, since it hid them as
effectually from an

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