With a deep sigh of relief, Roy sprang to his feet. ’We’re our own men again, Ken. Come on.’ He leaped lightly over the wall and raced away towards the trees. Ken followed.
They had no food, no weapons, they were miles from their own people, in the heart of the enemy country. Yet, for all that, there were not at that moment two lighter hearts in the whole of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
ABOVE THE NARROWS
An intermittent thunder of guns had been growing heavier for the past hour. Now, as the two fugitives crouched on the eastern side of a steeply sloping hill, they were so near that they could distinctly see the flashes from the muzzles through the darkness of the night.
‘That’s either Fort Degetman or Kilid Bahr,’ said Ken in a low voice. ’Ah, there are two. The right-hand one—the one to the south—is Kilid Bahr.’
“Then we’re opposite the Narrows,” Roy answered breathlessly.
“Just so,” said Ken, but though he spoke quietly enough, he, too, felt a thrill. For five long hours they had been pushing east, or rather south-eastwards. They had crossed the main road leading to Great Maidos, they had had hairbreadth escapes sufficient to last most folk for a lifetime, and now at a little after one in the morning, they had crossed the whole peninsula, and were facing the famous Narrows, with their double cordon of forts on both sides of the Straits, the nut which for so many weeks all the Powers of the British and French combined had been engaged in trying to crack.
[Illustration: “That’s either Fort Degetman or Kalis Bahr.”]
Opposite, a few scattered lights showed where lay the town of Chanak on the Asiatic side of the Narrows. From forts along that coast also, there now and then darted a spit of flame, while half a minute or so later the dull roar of the report would reverberate through the night.
“We’ve gone east,” said Roy slowly. “We’ve done what that chap in the plane told us to do. But I’m hanged if I can see how we’re to go any farther.”
‘Unless,’ he added thoughtfully, ‘we are going to swim for it.’
‘A bit far for that,’ said Ken. ’We are just thirteen miles from the mouth of the Straits, and though they say the current runs down at four miles an hour, I don’t think either of us could stand three hours in the water.’
‘Not me!’ replied Roy with a shiver. ‘Too jolly cold!’
‘We must get hold of a boat,’ said Ken with decision. ’That’s our only chance.’
‘Lead on, sonny,’ said Roy—’that is, if you know where to find one.’
’I haven’t much more notion than you, Roy. But there’s just this in our favour—that I know there’s a little cove south of Kilid Bahr. And as all the coast on either side is cliffs, the chances are that boats, if there are any, will be lying in that cove.’