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Chapter 7

From Secret of Abotts Cave
By Max Elliot Anderson


By four-fifteen three bikes lay sprawled in Randy’s back yard.

Rufus went out in the shed earlier with Randy, but when the others arrived, Rufus left.

“How come your dog doesn’t stay around any more when we come over?” Stewart asked.

“I’ve always told you Rufus acts like he understands English. I think it has something to do with the first club meeting we had.”

“Why, what happened?” Jeff asked.

“Don’t you remember? We voted to make him our bomb-sniffing dog.”

Rufus wasn’t the brightest puppy in the litter. Randy always thought his dog was a few biscuits short of a full box. But every time the boys came over for their weekly meeting, Rufus ran recklessly off in the opposite direction. At least he had enough sense to know he didn’t care to get close to anything that might blow him into next week.

From inside the shed the boys chattered like they always did. Randy already had the scanner on with the sound turned up full blast. But so far they only heard that annoying static.

Stewart looked over at the scanner, then he looked up toward the ceiling of the shed and shouted, “Come on full moon, don’t let me down.”

Everyone laughed. They continued packing their sleeping bags, backpacks, and supplies.

“Where are we going to sleep?” Hal asked.

“It isn’t supposed to be very cold tonight so I thought we could make a campsite out by the woods not too far from the cave. That way we can start exploring first thing in the morning,” Jeff said.

Hal and Stewart started packing two ends of the same rope into their backpacks. It looked a little like a couple of people eating one strand of spaghetti at the same time. When they get to the middle there was going to be trouble. Finally Hal gave one last tug on the rope and the other half of it started coming out of Stewart’s bag.

“Hey,” Stewart complained, as only Stewart knew how, “what do you think you’re doing?”

They looked at the rope both were trying to pack and started laughing.

“It’s a good thing we aren’t getting ready to go sky diving,” Randy joked. “Because I wouldn’t want you two anywhere near my parachute.”

“Hurry up you guys,” Jeff insisted. “My dad’s going to be here any minute with his truck to take us to the farm. You’d better be ready or we’ll have to leave without you.”

“Don’t tempt me,” Stewart shot back.

They were down to just a few more things to pack. Randy tried to make sure everyone had equal weight to carry. Then he said, “There isn’t anything happening around here. I’m going to switch to the state police channel. I looked it up last night.”

“So much for our full moon,” Stewart grumbled.

The static pattern changed a little after Randy tuned in the state police. It seemed like nothing was going to happen there either. But then, all of a sudden they heard it.

First there were several tone sounds like an alert of some kind. All four sets of eyes turned immediately to that sound.

“What was that?” Stewart asked.

“Shhh!” the others went at the same time.

Dispatcher: "Adam 52, Adam 53. 10-93, alarm at Dominion State Bank."

Adam 52: "10-4."

Adam 53: "10-4." 

Dispatcher: “2Sam20, did you copy the traffic on the alarm?

2Sam20: "10-4, I’m 10-35 now.”

At that moment four mouths dropped open at the Hilton Park Road Detective Club.

“I don’t think I like this,” Stewart growled.

“Like it? I love it!” Jeff screamed.

Dispatcher: "2Adam 52 and 53."

Adam 52: "10-4,

Adam 53: "10-4". 

Then the alert tone sounded again like before.

Dispatcher: " All units, valid alarm, left west bound from the bank lot in a blue, older model sedan, no plate information, 2 white males, with ski masks, armed with shotguns, suspect #1, 5'10" med build, wearing blue pants and black shirt, suspect #2 6"2", slender, wearing white shirt and jeans. 

“Wow!” Hal said in a whisper.

“You said it,” Randy answered.

Adam 53: "10-23 will get further." 

Dispatcher: "copy, 52?" 

Adam 52: "10-4." 

Dispatcher: "FBI and King 16 will be in route." 

“Guys,” Jeff exclaimed, “this is big, I’m telling you…really big!”

Adam 52: "10-35.”

“It all happened so fast I didn’t have a chance to get the police radio codes I printed out. But one thing I heard didn’t need any code. She said the FBI,” Randy gasped in a trembling voice, “The F…B… I!”

Adam 53: “53 to station.”

Dispatcher: “Go ahead.”

Adam 52: I’ve got a 10-57 blue sedan over here at 19th Street West and Jefferson. Doors are open, no suspects.

Another tone came screaming over the scanner.

Dispatcher: “All units be advised, suspects have abandoned vehicle. Alert all jurisdictions, suspects are in another vehicle, headed for the Interstate.”

“They got away?” Stewart asked. “They got away.” He whispered.

“That means they could be anywhere,” Randy said.

“Yeah and I don’t think it’s such a great idea…us sleeping out in the dark on a farm someplace with bank robbers on the loose,” Stewart grumbled.

“That’s stupid,” Jeff said. “My uncle’s farm is in the middle of nowhere.”

“My point exactly,” Stewart said, folding his arms in defiance.

“By morning they’ll probably be a thousand miles away from this place,” Jeff assured.

Just then they heard the loud roar of an engine as someone pulled up outside the shed. Stewart ran in a corner and hid behind some boxes.

“What is wrong with you?” Jeff asked. “You’re shaking like a paint can in a hardware store’s mixing machine.”

“It’s the robbers. I know it is,” Stewart wailed. “You heard it. They’ve got shotguns.”

“So what?” Hal demanded.

“You don’t even have to aim a shot gun. When one of those things goes off it can hit everything in sight,” Stewart sputtered.

The door to the shed slowly opened. The grinding of the old rusty hinges only added to Stewart’s worries. All eyes were glued to those worn, weathered boards. All eyes, that is except Stewart’s. His were closed so tight it would take dynamite to get them open.

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