WORRALS DOWN UNDER
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”.