A PRISONER OF THE ENEMY
Never dreaming of the plot hatched out against him, Dick retired as usual that night. Now that the worry over the competitive drill was a thing of the past he realized that he was worn out, and scarcely had his head touched the pillow than he was in the land of Nod.
His awakening was a rude one. He felt himself raised up, a large towel was passed over his face and tied behind his head, and then he was dragged from his cot.
“Don’t dare to make a sound!” whispered a low voice in his ear. “If you do, you’ll be struck senseless.”
“Hullo, I’m about to be hazed,” thought Dick, and it must be admitted that he was far from pleased. “They think they are going to do something grand to the captain of the company that won the prize. Well, not if I can help it,” and he began to struggle to free himself.
But his tormentors were too many for him and almost before he knew it his hands and his feet were made secure and a sack was drawn over his head. Then he was raised up and carried away he knew not to where.
“One thing is certain, they are taking me a long distance from camp,” was his thought, when he found himself dumped into a rowboat. “Can they be going to the head of the lake?”
The idea of using the boat had been suggested by Jackson, who said it would bewilder Dick, so he would not know where he was being taken. And Jackson was right, the eldest Rover thought he was a long way from camp when he was placed on shore again.
His feet were now unloosed and he was made to march forward until the vicinity of the hermit’s den was reached. Then he was carried into the den and tied fast to a log erected near one of the side walls.
“Take the sack from his head,” came in the voice of Lew Flapp, and this was done and then the towel was also removed.
For the moment Dick could see nothing, for the glare of a large lantern was directly in his face. Then he made out half a dozen or more cadets standing around him, each with a red mask over his face, and a red skull cap with horns.
“Hullo, this must be a new secret society,” he thought. “I’ve been initiated into the Order of Black Skulls, but never into the Order of Red Skulls. Wonder what they will want me to do?” There was a moment of silence and one of the masked cadets stepped to the front.
“Prisoner, are you prepared to meet your doom?” was the question put in a harsh voice.
“Oh, chestnuts!” cried Dick. “I went through that long ago, when I first came to Putnam Hall.”
“Bow to your superiors,” said another voice.
“Where are the superiors?” asked Dick innocently. “I don’t see ’em.”
“The prisoner is impertinent! Make him bow!”
At once several sprang behind Dick and forced him to move his head up and down.