by Capt. W. E. Johns



11.   A DESPERATE RECONNAISSANCE  (Pages 144 – 155)


Worrals says they are going to try to find out if the oasis is Cosmo’s headquarters dump and they must get some water …. “and when I say must I mean just that”.  The girls approach the oasis in silence, taking advantage of all the cover available.  They then both hide in the crown of a fallen date palm.  In the distance they see Cosmo standing on a box and handing out the contents of boxes that had been hidden under the sand.  Hoof thuds are heard and it is the Sheikh Abd-el-Katil arriving, he passes within three yards of our heroes hiding place, riding on a mule.  “He had followed them to warn the man who called himself Cosmo that they were government agents, and had last been seen heading towards the oasis”.  Worrals sneaks out of her hiding place and cuts open a tent with her penknife in order to steal water, which she finds contained in a two gallon petrol can.  When Cosmo and the Sheikh go into the same tent, Worrals gets out just in time and has to hold the slit together to avoid it being seen.  She overhears the conversation between the two men and Cosmo says that after another week it would not have mattered.  “Monday is the day”.  Cosmo orders everyone to search for the girls.  “Send everyone out.  Scour the country.  Search …” Worrals gets back to Frecks and, without being seen, they return to where their two horses had been tethered to thorn bushes.  They find the horses gone and the thorn bushes uprooted.  Taking their bags and their petrol can of water; they set off walking west into the desert, heading for the sea.