His heart bounding with joy, Tom stepped through the thicket, going straight toward the sound of Fulsbee’s voice.
“I’ve got a knife in my left hand,” announced Fulsbee, as Tom neared him in the dark. “Turn around so that I can cut the cords at your wrists.”
In a moment this was done.
“You might stay here and help me,” whispered Dave. Tom nodded.
“Now, Black, you can be the first,” called Dave in a brisk, business-like tone. “Step up here and drop your weapons on the ground.”
Wincing under a bitter sense of defeat, ’Gene Black stepped forward. He was not really a coward, but he valued his life, little as it was actually worth. So he dropped a revolver to the ground.
“What I have to say to you, Black, applies to the others,” Dave continued from outside the thicket. “If any man among you doesn’t drop all his weapons, we’ll make it lively for him when we get him out here.”
A look of malignant hate crossed his face, then ’Gene Black dropped also a knife to the ground.
“Come on out, Black,” directed Dave Fulsbee. “Mr. Reade, will you oblige me by running your hands over the fellow’s clothing to see if he, has any more weapons.”
Tom promptly complied. A hasty search revealed no other weapons.
“Now, step right along over there, Black, where you’ll find two of my men,” nodded Dave Fulsbee.
Again Black obeyed. He saw, dimly, two men some yards further away in the darkness and joined them.
Click-click! Then the scoundrel cried out in the bitterness of his rage, for the two railway detectives had handcuffed him.
“You, with the black hair, next,” summoned Fulsbee, his vision aided by the lantern in the centre of the thicket. “You come here, but first stop and drop your weapons on the pile—–all the trouble-makers you happen to have.”
Thus they came, one at a time, the operator being the last of all. The crowd of prisoners under guard of the two railway detectives grew steadily, and each was handcuffed as he reached the detectives after having been searched by Tom Reade.
“Good job,” nodded Dave coolly, as he am approached the captives. “Now, we have you all under lock and key. My, but you’re a pretty-looking outfit!”
“Come on, men. March ’em up the track. Then we’ll come back, or send someone else after the dynamite and other stuff. That’ll be handy as evidence.”
Guarded by Fulsbee and his two detectives, the prisoners marched along a few rods.
“Mr. Reade,” called Dave, pointing, “you’ll find your horse tied to that tree yonder. I reckon you’ll be glad to get in saddle again.”
Indeed, Tom was glad. He ran over, untying the animal, which uttered a whinny of recognition. In saddle, Tom joined the marching party.
“You don’t seem to think us a very hard crowd to guard,” remarked ’Gene Black curiously. “Why don’t you call off the men you posted around the thickets”