“All you fellows get out of here,” commanded Steve. “It might happen again, and you’re not doing any good here, anyway. The chest’s in the bottom locker in our cabin, Phil. Is it bad?”
“Don’t think so,” was the reply from the companion way. “Only a flesh wound, I guess. I’ll look after it.”
Steve had forgotten to try a second shot at the port, but Wink again let go at where the glint of a revolver muzzle showed and a cry of pain came across the water.
“Got him!” said Wink.
“You must have,” agreed Steve. “I hope you didn’t hurt him much.”
“Suffering snakes!” ejaculated Wink. “Why shouldn’t I hurt him? They potted Perry, didn’t they? What are we supposed to do! Lie around here and let them shoot us full of lead and just smile? Why, you pig-headed, solid concrete—”
But Wink’s flow of eloquence was interrupted by two shots from the Follow Me. There was a tinkling of glass as one of them smashed through the upper frame of the window on Steve’s side. The other ploughed into the chart-box. Wink instantly fired back twice, aiming at the two ports he commanded. “Harry’s boat will look like a sieve,” he chuckled as he broke his revolver and jammed fresh cartridges into it. “Get busy there, Steve!”
For answer Steve’s revolver spoke twice and the thud of the bullets came to them. “Got the boat anyway,” chuckled Wink. “We can scare ’em even if we can’t pot ’em! Better back up a little, Steve. I don’t want to bust our flag-pole.”
Once more the Adventurer increased the distance between her and the adversary, and once more the engine beneath their feet relapsed into a quiet purr as the load was taken off again.
“If it wasn’t that we’d bust the Follow Me,” exclaimed Steve savagely, “I’d ram them! They’re knocking our paint off and breaking our glass and raising the dickens!”
Wink glanced across the deck. Steve, his revolver laid on the floor beside him, was knotting a handkerchief about his hand with his teeth. “Hello!” exclaimed Wink. “Did they get you!”
“No, it’s only a piece of glass. It’s bleeding a bit, that’s all.” Steve gave a final tug at the knot and seized his revolver again. “I wish they’d show themselves!”
“They probably wish the same of us,” laughed Wink. “How long does this keep up? I’m getting hungry!”
“It keeps up until they give in,” responded Steve determinedly. “Below there! Tell Ossie to start on the dinner.”
“Dinner!” exclaimed Ossie from the aft companion. “Suppose they plugged a bullet into the galley?”
“Don’t be an idiot,” begged Steve impatiently. “You’ve got four inches of planking and a pile of rope and a refrigerator and a lot of other stuff between you and the bullets. Get busy and do your bit!”
“All right, Steve. I’d forgotten about the refrigerator. But you can bet I’m not going to leave the door open!” This jest was rewarded with a laugh from the others as Ossie pushed his way past them and dived hurriedly across the deck to the forward companion way. “Pistols and coffee for twelve,” he added as he disappeared.