The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 81

arisen and come out of the mill. He called aloud for The
Oskaloosa Kid. Giova answered him from a small tree. "Climb!" she cried.
"Climb a tree! Ever'one climb a small tree. Beppo he go mad. He keel
ever'one. Run! Climb! He keel me. Beppo he got evil-eye."

Along the road from the north came a large touring car, swinging from
side to side in its speed. Its brilliant headlights illuminated the road
far ahead. They picked out The Sky Pilot and Abigail Prim, they found
The Oskaloosa Kid climbing a barbed wire fence and then with complaining
brakes the car came to a sudden stop. Six men leaped from the machine
and rounded up the three they had seen. Another came running toward
them. It was Soup Face, so thoroughly terrified that he would gladly
have embraced a policeman in uniform, could the latter have offered him
protection.

A boy accompanied the newcomers. "There he is!" he screamed, pointing at
The Oskaloosa Kid. "There he is! And you've got Miss Prim, too, and when
do I get the reward?"

"Shut up!" said one of the men.

"Watch this bunch," said Burton to one of his lieutenants, "while we
go after the rest of them. There are some over by the mill. I can hear
them."

From the woods came a fear-filled scream mingled with the savage growls
of a beast.

"It's the bear," shrilled Willie Case, and ran toward the automobile.

Bridge ran forward to meet Burton. "Get that girl and the kid into your
machine and beat it!" he cried. "There's a bear loose here, a regular
devil of a bear. You can't do a thing unless you have rifles. Have you?"

"Who are you?" asked the detective.

"He's one of the gang," yelled Willie Case from the fancied security of
the tonneau. "Seize him!" He wanted to add: "My men"; but somehow his
nerve failed him at the last moment; however he had the satisfaction of
thinking it.

Bridge was placed in the car with Abigail Prim, The Oskaloosa Kid,
Soup Face and The Sky Pilot. Burton sent the driver back to assist in
guarding them; then he with the remaining three, two of whom were armed
with rifles, advanced toward the mill. Beyond it they heard the growling
of the bear at a little distance in the wood; but the man no longer made
any outcry. From a tree Giova warned them back.

"Come down!" commanded Burton, and sent her back to the car.

The driver turned his spot light upon the wood beyond the mill and
presently there came slowly forward into its rays

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