“Ice cream!” murmured Whopper. “Say, some ice cream would be great, eh? But we can’t have it out here, so what’s the use of talking about it? As for a speech, I haven’t got anything to say, excepting that I appreciate your kindness in naming the camp after yours truly. When I am a rich man and retired, and own a castle among the Thousand Islands, I shall surely call it—–let me see—–Snap-Shep-Giant Villa. There now, how’s that?”
“Fine!” was the cry.
“Hark!” added Shep, a moment later.
“What did you hear?” questioned the others.
“I thought I heard somebody calling. There it goes again. Listen!”
All listened, and from out of the forest behind them came a cry, followed by a blood-curdling laugh. Then they heard as plain as day these words:
“I am dead! He is dead! Who will bury me? I am dead! He is dead! Ha! ha!”
THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE
The four boy hunters were so astonished that for the moment they did not move or speak. The voice seemed to come from the trees behind the camp, and it was so uncanny and ghostlike it made them shiver from head to foot.
“It’s th—–the ghost!” whispered Giant at last. “Le—–let’s get out of here!” and he started for the shore.
“Don’t run away,” answered Snap. “I don’t believe in ghosts, and neither do you.”
After that the boys remained silent for several minutes, waiting to hear that mysterious voice again. But only the mournful hum of the breeze through a clump of cedars reached them.
“I believe I’ll investigate this,” said Snap, arising and reaching for a shotgun. “I don’t believe in ghosts, so there!”
“I’ll go along,” put in the doctor’s son.
“Please don’t leave me alone!” pleaded Whopper. “I can’t go and I don’t want to be left behind.”
“Giant, will you stay with Whopper?” asked the leader of the club.
“Yes, but I hope you won’t be gone long,” answered the small youth, in a voice he tried in vain to steady.
“If anything happens, whistle or fire a shot,” added Snap, and walked slowly to the rear of the camping place, with Shep by his side.
The two young investigators soon found themselves beside the spring, and here both stopped for a drink, for their throats seemed to be suddenly, parched. They looked on all sides with extreme care, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Once a bird flew up directly in front of them, causing them to jump and raise their guns. But they were not after game just then, so the bird got away.
“We certainly heard that voice, just as plain as day,” said Shep. “What do you make of this, Snap?”
“I am sure I don’t know.”
“Can somebody be fooling us?”
“I don’t know. It’s very queer proceedings, that’s all I have to say.”