by W. E. Johns



13.         THE SHOWDOWN  (Pages 200 – 211)


Frecks goes and brings Janet and Charlie to Worrals.  “Janet looked disappointed, crestfallen at the failure of her mission.  Charlie’s face registered no particular expression beyond the sort of morose resignedness usual with black faces in repose”.  “Dan was still away,” reported Janet wearily.  “I left a message for Dan that he is wanted urgently at Wallabulla”.  Janet explains that she found Charlie running down the track.  Charlie has said that he was made to dig opal all day and then carry the sack to the house.  Suddenly, in the distance they see two men on horseback.  It is Constable Dan Terry and a “blackfellow” – one of his trackers, a man named Sooty.  Worrals gives Dan a concise account of the situation and Dan gets out his revolver and walks up to the house.  “He’s going the right way to get himself perforated,” observed Frecks.  “I doubt it,” murmured Worrals.  “In the British Empire people think twice before they plug a policeman.  They might just as well commit suicide”.  Dan goes into the house but reports that it is empty.  Moran and Raffety have left via an open window at the far end of the house.  Our heroes then hear a car start up and realise that the two men are getting away by car.  Worrals comes up with a plan which is carried out.  Worrals takes a horse and rides with Sooty to the aeroplane some five miles away.  She then flies back and picks up Dan, Frecks and Janet, leaving Sooty to bring the horses back to the house.  By filling the gravity tank with petrol, Worrals says she should be able to get forty miles out of the aircraft and they can fly down the track and get in front of the car and then set up an ambush. Worrals doesn’t fly exactly down the track but takes a wide detour so those in the car can’t see or hear the aeroplane.  Finding a suitable place to land, an ambush is set and obstructions are put on the track.  The rough nature of the ground either side makes it impossible for any car to leave the track and by-pass the obstructions.  The car arrives and Raffety gets out to move the obstructions.  Dan confronts them both with his service revolver and tells them that he is arresting them both on suspicion of murdering Mary Carter.  Raffety pulls out a gun and fires at Dan.  Dan fires back but both men miss.  Moran reverses the car back up the track but Worrals shoots the nearest tyre.  Dan fires again at Raffety and hits him.  When Moran raises his gun at Dan, Worrals shoots at Moran, but misses, hitting the windscreen instead.  This spoils Moran’s aim.  Dan swings round and fires twice at Moran and Moran then flops back in his seat.  Wounded, he surrenders.  Moran starts to say “I’ll admit I was interested in the opal, but it was Raffety and Barola who killed -” but before he can finish he is shot dead by Raffety.  Moran “slumped like a wet sack falling off a peg”.  Dan disarms Raffety and they bandage his wounds.  Raffety falls unconscious and Dan decides to drive him to Oodnadatta.  Worrals turned to Frecks and Janet.  “Let’s get back to Wallabulla,” she said quietly.  “At last we ought to be able to get a night’s sleep in peace”.