It was just as Julius finished saying this that they received a sudden shock. A loud and thrilling sound, not unlike a human shriek, came to their ears, filling each and every boy in the car with a sense of unmitigated horror. It was so exceedingly dreadful that K.K. involuntarily brought the auto to a full stop, and then turned a face filled with mingled curiosity and awe upon his comrades.
TALKING OF GHOSTS
“That was no crow cawing, boys, believe me!” ejaculated K.K.
“Crow! Well, I should say not!” added Horatio instantly. “If you asked me right to my face I’d mention a donkey braying. Gee! but it was fierce!”
“But what would a donkey be doing away up here at the old quarry, where there hasn’t been a stroke of work done these many years; tell me that?” demanded Julius defiantly.
“I don’t believe it was a donkey,” said Hugh, shaking his head, as though he, too, found himself exceedingly puzzled; “but I’m not in a position to explain the thing. That was certainly a queer noise, for a fact.”
“Extraordinary!” assented Thad Stevens.
“Well, I should call it perfectly awful!” Horatio clipped in.
“Horrible would be a better word to describe it,” eagerly followed Julius, who, it must be confessed, was trembling all over; of course, not with fear, or anything like that, but just because of excitement, he assured himself.
“And,” continued the sensible Hugh, “if that’s the sort of noises these farmer folks have been bearing right along, I don’t wonder some of them have been nearly scared out of their wits. It was bad enough in broad daylight, with the sun shining; so what must it have seemed like in the moonlight, or when it was pitch dark?”
“Wow! excuse me from coming up here after dusk,” muttered Julius. “I’m no ghost-hunter, let me tell you. I know my weak points, and seeing things in the night-time used to be one of the same. They had a great time breaking me of it, too. Even now I sometimes dream of queer things when I’ve got the nightmare, after eating too big a Thanksgiving dinner; and when I wake up suddenly I’m all in a sweat, and a poor old moth fluttering at the window will give me a start, thinking it’s the tiger getting in my East Indian bungalow.”
“Well, what’s the program, Hugh?” asked K. “Shall I start up again, so we can continue our journey along this tough old road; or do you want to get out, and take a hunt around the quarry for the thing that gave those yawps?”
“Get out?” repeated Julius, in a sudden panic; “not for Joseph. Don’t count on me for any such silly business. I came up here to get walnuts and such; and I’m meaning to stick close to my engagement. Side issues can’t tempt me to change my mind. Guess I know when I’m well off.”
“It’s been several minutes since we heard that sound,” Hugh went on to remark; “and, so far, it hasn’t been repeated.”