Jack leaned far over the windshield, his weapon leveled at Remedios.
“Up on the hood,” he shrieked. “Up with you, or I’ll shoot you full of holes.”
Remedios threw himself sprawlingly over the hood.
The bandits’ car had slowed almost to a stop, four or five lengths away. Frank released the hand brake, pressed the clutch into low with his foot, and shot ahead.
Shifting the clutch into high, Frank opened the throttle wide and the old rattletrap seemed fairly to leap ahead, its wheels spurning the ground. The lights of the other car which had theretofore seemed dimmed were switched to full brightness. Before the blinding glare in his eyes, Frank involuntarily ducked his head.
As his eyes left the road, the car swerved. A shot rang out from the car of the bandits, ripping high and doing no damage.
“Look out, Frank. Swing her over,” cried Jack in alarm.
Shouts of panic rose from the car of the bandits, too.
There was a crash, the flivver lurched, then sped on. As rapidly as possible Frank brought it to a stop and then stood up to look back and view the damage.
Mr. Temple and Bob, in the rear seat, already were on their feet. Jack stood beside Frank, peering into the shadows behind. The moon was in its first quarter, low down and shed only a faint radiance. But even by the wan light, it could be seen that something dire had happened to the car of the bandits. It stood sideways across the road, leaning drunkenly to one side. And to the ears of the boys came groans from a number of dark figures in the road.
Gabby Pete, temporarily forgotten by the boys in the excitement, galloped up, cheerful voiced.
“As neat a trick as ever I see,” he cried approvingly to Frank. “You tuk off their hind wheel jest like a knife cuttin’ butter. They’re tumblin’ around in the road, a half dozen of ’em. Hey, look out.” And Gabby Pete bent low on his horse as a bullet whistled overhead. Another and another followed, and there were shouts of vengeance, and imprecations.
“They’re a-comin’ to,” cried Gabby Pete, slapping Angel Face on the flank, so that the horse leaped forward with a snort. “I’m on my way.” And he disappeared into the darkness.
“We’re on our way, too,” cried Frank, opening the throttle and pressing down the clutch, as more bullets whistled overhead. “Give ’em a shot, Jack, and everybody stoop down.”
Jack fired off his revolver, shooting high purposely. He wanted merely to frighten their pursuers into desisting. Then the car gathered momentum, and was soon out of range. Presently Frank, who had been driving the flivver as fast as it would go, with the result that they were all tossed about while the car lurched precariously over the rutted road, slowed down to a more moderate pace.
“Anybody hurt?” he called. “They never touched me.”