Frank had placed the captured revolver on the table, as he telephoned. He would have to fight with his bare hands. Well, he would not let the Mexican overcome him and regain possession of that radiophone unless he killed Frank first. With hands gripped about the other’s throat and legs twined about his body, Frank fought as he never thought he could fight. Morales was a heavy man, heavier even than Von Arnheim who had overcome Frank in that tempestuous fight in the darkness the night before. But his senses were still somewhat numbed from the blow on the head dealt him earlier by Frank, and the boy was fighting with a strength born of desperate resolve.
Frank’s grip on the Mexican’s throat tightened. Morales was unable to pluck those cruel hands away. His face became purple. His eyes started from his head. Suddenly he went limp beneath Frank, and sank to the floor.
Frank stood up swaying. The excitement and the strain of the combat had had their effect on him. There are mighty few boys of his age and build who could have gone through what he did and still keep their feet. Dancing points of light swam before his vision. He brushed a hand across his eyes to clear them. He reeled and would have fallen, but his hand clutched the table and steadied him.
What was it he must do? There was something which had to be done. Oh, if his head only would clear. Call Jack! Yes, that was it. Had to tell the old boy to go ahead—radio plant still Frank’s—enemy couldn’t get any warning from that Mexican fellow—had to tell him, had to.
Clutching the table, swaying, but with lips tightly pressed together and teeth clenched, Frank made his way to the microphone. Holding the headpiece to his ear, he set his lips to the telephone instrument and called:
“Jack, Jack, you there?”
“Yes, yes,” came back the anxious reply. “What happened?”
“It’s all right, Jack. Go ahead. I licked—him.”
The headpiece fell from his grasp. Frank sank to the floor.
It was there a moment later that Roy Stone found him, fallen in a heap across the body of the Mexican. Both were unconscious.
Stone was shaky himself. His battle with Von Arnheim had been a severe one, and the wound in his shoulder had started bleeding again. But as his gaze took in the situation, he turned to Tom Bodine, whose bonds he had cut on his way through the outer cave, and said in a tone of warmest admiration:
DANGER AT HAND
Bob as well as Jack had heard Frank’s explanation of the occurrences at the cave, for he also wore a headpiece as he piloted the airplane. And it was with warm admiration toward the absent chum who so heroically had thwarted Morales’ attempt to betray their hazardous expedition that he circled now above the two groups of lights which marked the Calomares ranch and radio station.