“Well, I want to see him, but not at too close range,” answered the doctor’s son.
They soon discovered that the cave was very irregular in shape, running around under the mountain in something of the form of a double letter S. In some places the roof was far overhead while in others it came down in sharp rocks that they could readily touch with their hands.
“A fellow could camp out here, if he wanted to,” said Snap, as he gazed around in curiosity.
“Providing the bears did not disturb him,” answered Giant. “By the way, what are you going to do about that bear we shot?”
“Oh, we’ll go after him later on,” answered the doctor’s son.
“Perhaps he’ll get away.”
“I think we can trail him by his blood,” said Snap. “He was certainly wounded quite a bit. I think he is dead.”
They walked on through the big cave, finally reaching the other end. Here they saw a small hole, through which the rain was falling.
“That’s the way the bear got out,” cried Whopper.
“Just listen to the rain!” exclaimed Shep. “I am glad we are under cover.”
It was now raining furiously, while ever and anon they could see a flash of lightning and hear the crack of thunder. All were glad they were not on the mountainside.
“It’s dangerous to be in the forest during such lightning,” said the doctor’s son. “We might be struck, or caught by some falling tree.”
“We might as well remain in the cave until the storm lets up,” said Snap.
Around the small hole they found some more leaves and tree limbs, and after several failures—–for the leaves were wet—–they succeeded in building a small campfire. Around this they huddled and ate their lunch, in the meantime keeping on the alert for the possible appearance of the bear or of any other wild beast.
The rain continued to come down as heavily as ever after they had finished their brief meal, and growing impatient they began to wander around the cave, peering into this corner and that. Soon Shep found an opening which led to a cave still higher up, and through this they crawled.
“This must be the second story,” said Whopper. “See any bedrooms?”
This little joke made them all smile and put them a little more at ease. The upper cave was not as large as that below, and from an opening at one end they could look out on the mountainside. But the opening was near the top of a cliff, so getting out that way was impossible.
“I guess we’ll have to climb down again, to get out,” said Snap.
He had hardly spoken when there came a blinding flash of lightning, followed immediately by a thunderbolt that was deafening. The cave was filled with a curious smell, and Giant and Whopper were practically stunned for the moment.
“Gracious, that was a crash—–” began Snap, when he broke off short. A crash of another kind outside had reached his ears. A big tree standing directly over the cave was coming down, split in twain by the lightning stroke. It struck the top of the cave with tremendous force, causing a number of loose stones to rattle down on the heads of the young hunters.