by W. E. Johns



8.         MORAN PULLS A FAST ONE  (Pages 120 – 133)


Frecks and Janet fly to Oodnadatta and the only living soul they see on the journey is a car driving in the same direction.  They land and park up but there is no sign of Dan Terry.  In due course the car arrives and it contains Raffety.  He sees the girls but ignores them.  Frecks tells Janet that she imagines that he is there to meet Moran.  Janet goes into town to see if Dan is there but returns without success.  At 3.55 pm, the connecting flight from Adelaide comes in and Moran is the first off.  Raffety speaks with Moran for a few minutes and then they get into their car.  Raffety puts the car into reverse and then “seemed to be having trouble with the steering”.  He reverses violently into Freck’s Desoutter aircraft ripping clean off, the wing strut.  Moran comes over and apologies and offers to pay for the damage.  “Frecks was white to the lips, and almost speechless with fury and mortification.  “You did that on purpose!” She forced the words through her teeth”.  Frecks sweeps away Moran’s offered card when he asks her to send him the bill.  “She nearly choked.  “I can’t get any spare parts here and you know it”.  Moran smiled sadly.  “Well, that’s too bad,” he observed.  Moran and Raffety drive off.  Frecks makes a careful inspection of the plane.  The fish-plate’s have been wrenched off, but the plate is only buckled and not fractured.  She thinks with some tools she might be able to fix it.  It takes her over three hours and it is not until 7.30 pm that she can test fly the plane.  Frecks insists on doing this alone, before flying back to Wallabulla with Janet.  Collecting Janet, they fly back and have to carry out a night landing, but the repaired wing holds up.  They find the house in darkness.  Aunt Mary’s grave no longer existed and was now just a heap of gravel.  There is a spear near the back door and a pool of blood on the kitchen floor.  Of Worrals there is no sign.  “We’re too late,” Frecks tells Janet bitterly.  “She’s gone!”