“Come, help me carry him in,” said the man in the car. “He’ll be coming around all right in a few minutes, then we may have some trouble with him, for he’s the very devil to fight.”
Ted was dragged out of the car in no gentle manner, and carried into the house, which was unlighted save where the moonlight shone through the windows.
“Into the strong room with him,” said the man of the house.
Ted was carried into a room and dumped upon a lounge. Then a light was struck, and both men bent over the prostrate form of the leader of the broncho boys.
Both of them started back.
“Whew! You must have given him an awful dose, Checkers,” said the man of the house.
“Had to do it, Dude. If I hadn’t, I’d never got him here, that’s a cinch.”
“Well, get his gun off before he comes to.”
Ted was stripped of his weapons, a glass of water was thrown into his face, and he began to regain consciousness.
He had been shot down with an ammonia gun, and the powerful alkaloid gas had almost killed him. For a long time he breathed in gasps, but his splendid constitution pulled him through.
When they saw that he was recovering, the two men left the room, after examining the iron-barred windows, and as they went out they locked and barred the door behind them.
Murder in the haunted house.
Ted lay for a long time only half conscious.
But gradually his senses returned, and he opened his eyes to find himself in darkness, trying hard to think what had happened to him.
He knew that he had been felled by something powerful and terrible, that had knocked him in a heap so suddenly that he hardly knew what had happened to him.
Slowly the consciousness of it all came to him. Some one in an automobile had ridden alongside him and thrown ammonia in his face.
His eyes were still smarting with it, and he wondered, seeing no light, if it had blinded him, and he was now lying in the dark when there was light all around him.
He struggled with this thought for a moment, because the idea of going blind was terrible to him.
He wondered where he was, and felt around and learned that he was lying on a couch.
Then he swung his feet to the floor and sat up. The ammonia had left him still weak, but gradually he became stronger, and got to his feet and began to explore the room with his fingers.
He found a chair and a table, and presently came to the door, which he tried to open, but could not.
Passing around the room, he arrived at the window, and, looking through the glass, saw a star, and thanked Heaven that he could see.
He tried the fastenings of the window, unlocked it, and threw it up, stretching out his hand. The window was closed with iron bars.