Tired, weary, blood-stained, dirty, hungry and thirsty—that was the condition of all the fighters. And yet they would be ready to do it all over again the next day, after a little rest and food. And food they had, though not of the best.
“Sergeant Barlow and Corporal Dalton take listening post number seven,” the sergeant-major ordered two of the Brothers, after what passed for supper. “Be on the alert. The Germans will very likely try a counter-attack.”
Bob and Roger prepared for their dismal night trick. Franz and Iggy were sent to another part of the line, and Jimmy was on duty in the dugout, assisting the telephone operator.
The night settled down. It was comparatively quiet now in the trenches, in front of which barbed-wire entanglements had been hastily put up. The Germans had done the same, and between the stretches of wire another No Man’s Land had been established.
Worn and weary, Roger and Bob waited for what they feared might happen. But as the hours passed, and there was no sign nor movement from the German lines, they began to think there would be no fighting.
Suddenly, however, the blackness of the night was broken by the red glare of a rocket.
“What’s that?” cried Bob.
“Signal of some sort,” replied Roger. “Guess we’d better get on our feet. The attack may be coming.”
“Shall we go back and report this?”
“No, they must have seen it as soon as we did. We’re only to report if we see any of the enemy approaching this post.”
They waited. Another rocket—a green one this time—soared aloft. And then with a suddenness that was startling, a terrific firing broke out from the German lines. “Here it comes—the counter-attack!” cried Bob.
As he spoke he and his companion saw a dark, massed body moving toward them.
“Come on!” cried Bob. “We’ve got to report this!”
But before they had time to run back more than a few paces they were surrounded by an attacking party of Germans. On either side of Bob and Roger there was fierce fighting now going on. The two lads who had been on duty in the listening post felt themselves caught and their rifles wrested away before they had a chance to use them, and then they were dragged over toward the German trenches.
“What’s it all mean?” gasped Bob.
“We’re captured!” said Roger. “Keep still! Don’t give any information no matter what they do! Keep still!”
“I will!” said Bob grimly.
One of the Germans dragging him along cried out an insulting epithet and struck Bob across the mouth.
And then the captives were dragged away in the darkness.
The two Khaki Boys who had been on listening post duty were at once disarmed by the Huns, and fairly dragged along in the darkness over rough ground and among strands of barbed wire that scratched them, and over stones that bruised them.