by Captain W. E. Johns



XIII.       IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE PAST  (Pages 148 – 159)


Worrals follows Hylda to a low door-shaped opening in the rock face which is obviously artificial and she follows Hylda’s torch light down a long passage and into a chamber.  Here she sees Hylda operating a hand-printing-press.  Worrals finds a heavy timber door and has to hide when Brunowsky and an Arab, the Zogorite Sheikh Ali, approach down the corridor.  Worrals has to hide in an ancient stone coffin and crush the bones of the ancient body underneath her.  “As she wriggled to get as low as possible she could feel the old bones crumbling beneath her weight; and even at that critical moment the incongruity of her position nearly made her smile.  The exigencies of war had forced her to share a compartment with the mortal remains of a man, or woman, who had died before the dawn of history.  It would be difficult she thought, to imagine anything more fantastic”.  Brunowsky opens the locked wooden door and Worrals hears a man with a slight American drawl and a woman speaking.  It is obvious that this is where the Bronfields are being held captive.  After Brunowsky and the Arab leave, Worrals sees where the key is kept and is able to enter the room and reassure Doctor Bronfield and his daughters, Helen and Daphne, that help is on its way.  Doctor Bronfield says that they have been held prisoner there for nearly three years.  Helen has a scar on her face which Hylda inflicted with a red hot knitting needle.  Worrals opens the door and then announces that something is wrong.  She takes her automatic and says “I’ll be back”.