THE FATE OF A PRISONER
The Seminole headed straight out into the lake, its course evidently a little to the north of east. The steady throb of the engine exhibited no lack of power, the snowy wake behind telling of rapid progress. There was a distinct swell to the water, increasing as they advanced, but not enough to seriously retard speed, the sharp bow of the yacht cutting through the waves like the blade of a knife, the broken water churning along the sides. West clung to his perch, peering out through the open port, watching the fast disappearing shore line in the giant curve from the Municipal Pier northward to Lincoln Park. In spite of the brightness overhead, there must have been fog in the air, for that distant view quickly became obscure and then as suddenly vanished altogether. There remained no sign of land in sight; only the seemingly limitless expanse of blue water, not so much as a trail of smoke breaking the encircling rim of the sky.
Except for the occasional tread of feet on the deck above, and the faint call of a voice giving orders, the yacht seemed deserted, moving unguided across the waste of waters. No sound of movement or speech reached West’s ears from the cabin, and he settled down into moody forgetfulness, still staring dully out through the open port. What was to be, would be, but there was nothing for him to do but wait for those who held him prisoner, to act. He was still seated there, listless, incapable even of further thought, when the door was suddenly unlocked. He had barely time to arise to his feet, when the man with the red moustache stepped within, facing him, as he pushed tightly shut the door behind. The fellow’s eyes saw the severed rope on the floor, and he smiled, kicking the strands aside contemptuously.
“Smart enough for that, were you?” he asked. “Well, I would have taken them off myself, if I had thought about it. How did you manage? Oh, I see; rather a bright trick, old man. Feeling pretty fit, are you?”
West did not answer at once; this fellow had come with an object in mind, and his only desire was to baffle him. It was to be a contest of wits, and helpless as the prisoner was physically, he had no intention of playing into the other’s hands.
“I might be, if I knew what all this meant,” he said at last. “Haven’t you got hold of the wrong party?”
The man laughed, standing where he blocked all passage.
“I might have been convinced that I had an hour ago,” he answered coldly. “But since then I find I’ve made rather a good bet. I have the honour of addressing Captain West, I believe?”