“But can we work it?” asked Bob.
“Let me take a look,” suggested Franz. “I saw something of ’em when they had me a prisoner.”
“Something good may come of that, after all,” cried Jimmy. “Here you go, Schnitz, take a look.”
This Franz did, and presently reported that there was no reason why they should not work the German gun. Accordingly it was freed from the dead Huns about it, and the ammunition was overhauled. There was also some ammunition for the German rifles that had fallen from the dead hands of their owners, and this, together with the guns, was collected.
In addition to this the lads had a few rounds left for their own rifles, though, as Roger had said there was very little available. They had fired fast and fiercely in the rush on the old mill.
“Let’s look around and see if the Huns had any food they didn’t gobble,” suggested Roger. “That ration of mine was only a sample.”
A look from the mill windows showed that the advancing German army had no present intentions, as far as could be judged, of attacking the red mill. They did not seem to be paying any attention to it.
So far there had been a total absence of either artillery or rifle fire. The advance had been made silently and comparatively quietly. On either side of the mill, in the far distance, and to the rear, however, were dull rumblings and booms that told of war’s activities.
Greatly to their relief, the lads found quite a store of food the Germans had put away, evidently in preparation for a long stay in the mill. It was not food of the best quality, but it was better than nothing, they all agreed. And there was water in plenty.
“If they come at us we’ll fight as long as we can,” decided Jimmy, which was the sentiment of all, “and we’ll live to the best of our ability meanwhile.”
“But they don’t seem to be going to attack,” ventured Roger. “They look to me as though they were settling down for a long stay. I can’t see ’em digging trenches yet, but maybe there are some already dug.”
While getting the food and ammunition in readiness, and dragging back the dead bodies out of the way, the boys occasionally looked from the mill windows. As Roger had said, the army appeared to have come to a halt, both the center and the wings.
The Khaki Boys had just finished binding up their minor hurts, and were talking of their chances for escape, when there suddenly sounded outside a whine, a scream and a mingled roar.
The next instant there was an explosion that threw them all flat from the force of the concussion, and a terrific noise deafened them. They seemed to be at the ending of the career of this part of the old earth as they saw the whole front wall of the red mill collapse, falling as though sliced off by a gigantic cleaver.
A STRANGE RESCUE