“No, sir,” said he firmly, “you are in no condition to go chasing off down this rocky slope. The airplane isn’t going to fly away. It’s in a pocket in the hills that nobody is going to discover. And, anyhow, there is nobody around in this desert place to do any discovering.
“Moreover,” he continued, “it is almost morning now. We all have been riding all night and with this fight coming on top of everything else, we are thoroughly tired out. So, instead of any more conversation tonight, I propose that we turn in and go to sleep, leaving one man on guard. At the end of two hours he can call another fellow, and in that way we can all get four or five hours sleep. I’ll take the first watch and—”
At that moment a groan from one of the prisoners on the other side of the room interrupted, and with an exclamation Bob started forward.
“Good gracious,” he said, “I’d forgotten all about that chap. His arm felt wet and sticky when we were wrestling and I believe he’s the man Tom wounded with that first shot in the darkness.”
Bending over his late opponent, Bob noted a dark brown stain on the left shoulder of his coat.
“Only a flesh wound, I reckon,” said the other. “But it sure hurts. Are you going to leave me like this?”
“Of course not,” he said. “What do you think I am? Here, let me help you up and we’ll have a look at it.”
Bob assisted the other to a chair. His hands were then untied, the coat sleeve cut away and an examination made of his injury. It proved not serious. The man told Bob where to find a bottle of iodine. He winced under the sting of its application, but made no outcry. Then a rough bandage was made of clean handkerchiefs, and the boys stood back to examine their handiwork, for all had taken part in the operation.
“You’re some fighter, kid,” the other said approvingly to Bob. “But I reckon I’da got you at that if it hadn’t been for that arm.”
“Maybe so,” Bob modestly agreed. “You put up a stiff fight.”
“You’re an American, aren’t you?” asked Frank. “What’s your name? And how do you happen to be with these fellows?”
“Why not?” said the other, answering the last question first. “I’m a rolling stone and joined up with this outfit because it looked like something doing. And that’s what I want. As for my name, it’s Roy Stone. And you guessed right. I am an American. Born an’ raised in Wooster, out in Ohio.”
He paused and looked curiously from one to the other of the boys. Tom Bodine was examining the two other prisoners for possible injuries needing attention. Stone nodded toward him.
“I can place a fellow like that, all right,” he said. “Know this kind down here on the border. But who are you? You’re only kids. What’s your game? Are you with Obregon?”
“No, indeed,” said Bob. Turning to Jack, he whispered:
“Is it safe to tell him who we are? He’s an American. And, somehow, I have an idea he might help us.”