“We must get out of this!”
“The place must be caving in!”
“We’ll be buried alive if we don’t get out!”
The falling of the tree caused some rocks to shift, and a moment later one fell close to the opening, blocking it completely. Then came an other shower of small stones and dirt. Bewildered and badly frightened, the boys ran to another part of the cave and hugged the big rocks. At that moment they all felt the cave might be their tomb.
“I—–I wish we had never co—–come in here,” groaned Whopper.
“I’d give all I am wo—–worth to be out,” answered Giant.
Snap and Shep said nothing, wondering what would happen next. A few more loose stones came down, and that was all.
“I believe the worst is over,” said the leader of the club at last. “The lightning knocked down a tree and that loosened those stones, that’s all.”
“That’s all!” cried Whopper. “Isn’t that enough? Did you want us to be buried alive?”
“I move we get out of here as soon as we can,” came from Giant. “Rain or no rain, I’m not going to stay in this cave any longer.”
“And I am with you,” added Whopper.
“It’s a question how to get out,” answered the doctor’s son. “That hole is shut by the rock that fell.”
“We’ll find some other hole, or else go below,” said Snap, who was as willing as anyone to leave the place.
They moved around, examining one spot and then another. At two points they saw openings between the rocks but they were mere narrow slits and not one of the lads could get through them.
“I guess we’ll have to go below,” said Shep, at last. “I hate to do it, too, for it will be no easy matter to climb out of that hole where we took the tumble.”
“It’s the only thing to do,” answered Giant. “Come on,” he added. “Staying here is making me nervous. If another tree should come down we might be buried alive.”
They went back, and climbed down to the cave below. They had now but one torch and this was almost burnt out. As quickly as they could, they hurried to where they thought the hole was located. Only a mass of rocks and dirt met their view.
“What does this mean?” cried Whopper.
“We have made a wrong turn—–this is not the spot,” said Giant.
“It looks like the spot to me,” added the doctor’s son, doubtfully.
“It is the spot,” said Snap, and his voice betrayed his great anxiety.
“Yes, but where is the opening?” questioned the others in concert.
“It is gone.”
“Yes, there has been a landslide or something, and the hole has been covered up!”
VISITED BY THE GHOST
For the moment after Snap made his dismaying announcement none of the young hunters spoke. Was it really true—–was the hole covered up, and were they buried alive under the mountain?