by W. E. Johns



3.     A SHOT IN THE GLOAMING  (Pages 35 – 48)


Worrals and Frecks fly in a Ranger aircraft, a twin-engined, six-seater float-plane, to Lake Desolation and glide down to land silently at the western end of the lake, running into a narrow creek.  Having spoken to Eddie Clarke they have the information they require.  Frecks wonders whether they will recognise Rumey and Shultz if they do see them, as although they had seen photographs, they were old photos of them, in uniform.  “If I find a woman with big blue eyes at Lake Desolation that’ll be good enough for me,” announced Worrals grimly.  “Whether she answers to the name of Shultz or not, I’m taking her south”.  Getting out and mooring the plane, the girls see a dark brown bear.  They unload their stores and erect their tent and get out their weapons, a Colt Buffalo rifle, a twelve-bore sporting gun and two Colt automatic pistols which they carry on them.  Frecks makes tea and the girls plan to walk to the other end of the lake tomorrow.  “That means a hike of twelve miles each way”.  Worrals wonders why Eddie Clarke wasn’t able to find any sign of an aircraft when he was searching for Larwood and Hedin.  If Shultz and Rumey had flown to Lake Desolation it should be there somewhere.  Frecks suggests they may have destroyed it, but Worrals is not prepared to believe they would burn their boats.  If they had gold, Shultz would eventually want to go to Berlin, Paris, London or New York.  “Silence fell.  The long-drawn twilight began to fade.  The air became frost, and the flickering fingers of the aurora borealis swept the northern sky”.  “At that moment, from far, far away, came a sound.  It was the report of a firearm”.  Worrals says they are still there.  That must have been either Shultz or Rumey, hunting for the pot.  “And I think it might be a good idea to load the guns – in case …”