Page 14 THE WAYNESVILLE MOUNTAINEER The mgotten Fleet Mystery" by Van Wyck Mason - CHAPTER XIII All at once the ex-soldier shrank silently back into the deep shadows of cabin 332 not 329. Anyone ad vancing on 329 would perforce go by 332 with his back presented. Mears might be trustworthy but well, experience had taught Colby that to be wary was to remain in healthy condition. A black blur passed the crack of the door through which Colby look d out on the passage. The prowl er proved to be Mears, who was moving quickly and very silently for one of his size. "Mears," Colby whispered and swung open the door a crack. The other wheeled, gun leveled, then relaxed and brought the odor of damp wool and stale sweat with him as he stepped into 332. "Miss Benny said you wanted me. What's up?" Colby cursed the dim light? of the cabin no telling just how much Mears knew. He drew near the big watchman and whispered, "Three men working a 'cet'lene torch in 313 cutting through a steel plate." Colby wondered whether the oth er would seem surprised or ask questions, but either Mears was one ot the most unemotional men he had ever encountered or the watchman already knew the an swer. The big man only gathered him self and whispered, ''That's funny what are we goin' to do?" "Well watch 'em let 'em finish the job, then when I give the word we'll jump 'em. Understand?' "Okay I'm out to get these birds." Inch by inch the two advanced until Colby, in the lead, was able to look into cabin 313 and beheld two sharply i dissimilar figures bending above a tongue of fierce, blue-white flame which a third man at a wide stretch of gray painted steel. The oily reek of blistering paint beat in Colby's face and made him want to cough. Beside one of those lanterns which must have first attracted Geneva Benet's attention stood a slender, pale looking man with gray hair and a mustache. This must be Ehrenbreit, Colby decided, for Ferguson was standing to the right, staring fixedly at the metal glowing white-red under the flame. Squatting on his heels and mani pulating the torch was the man called Tug a small, terrior-like individual with "professional cracksman" written all over his battered features. Already he had cut nearly through a plate from which the rivet heads had been removed. "Won't be long now," Tug grunt ed. ''Get ready to steady her, Fergie." At this Colby's late antagonist promptly caught up a pair of steel worker's nippers and, bracing his massive shoulders, took a grip on a single rivet head left in the cen ter of the plate about to be ampu tated. On the gray wall to the left Ferguson's grotesque silhouette mimicked the performance. "Ach! Be careful too much heat vould be dangerous" How tense were the German ex-convict's pallid featuressweat had converted them into a glistening mask. So intent were all three on Tug's labors that Colby could have stood in plain sight in the door. "Get set," Tug warned sharply. "She's coming loose any second." The reek of scorched paint and of hot iron grew very strong now and a heavy blue smoke went swirling out of the door top and along the steel plates of the pass age ceiling. Colby felt his pulse quicken when a little cry of triumph burst from the three and in mask and goggles Was directing Ferguson, not without effort, low- Protection of Property in War Time! In addition to the regular protection which you carry against ordinary hazards, you need War Damage pro tection. We can secure this type of policy for you from the War Damage Corporation, a government agency, which is the only way you can protect your property against War Damage. The L.N. DAVIS COMPANY Phone 77 INSURANCE Main St. ered to the floor a slab of scorch ed steel some two feet long by a foot vid "Ja! See? There iss the panel ing." Ehrenbreit's voice was thick with excitement, and be tried to reach inside. "Okay better let 'at iron cool off or yerll burn yer mitts into minute steaks." Methodically, the thug discon nected his torch to presently join his companions in peering at a section of wooden moulding which, originally painted white, was now sadly charred and blistered. "This iss the right moulding," Ehrenbreit babbled, his slender prison paled hand trembling as he pointed into the ragged black rimmed hole. "See? There iss even the little pencil cross I scratched on it. Ach, mein freunden, ve are rich all of us rich!" Ferguson roughly elbowed Eh renbreit and Tug aside to stoop and squint into that aperture which showed up black in the lamplight as an open barn door in a snow storm. ''By God, the Dutchman's right!" A queer sense of unreality grip ped Colby when the German, reach ing through the hole, began pry ing at the charred section of moulding. He wheeled and glimp sed Mears at his elbow, nervously wetting his lips and staring fixedly in at the lantern lit cabin with an ugly twist of his big mouth. Colby had to nudge him to attract his attention. Together they step pde into the door to be framed in the brass bound portal. ''Stand steady," Calby advised in a voice as chill as the snap of an ice laden branch. Because they had no choice, Ehrenbreit and his companions re mained frozen in their several at titudes, expressions of ludicrous amazement stamped on their faces. "Stand up. Search 'em, Mears." The watchman obeyed and soon tossed onto the floor a varied and plentiful supply of pistols, knives, knuckle dusters and black jacks. "Veil," demanded Ehrenbreit, his little steely eyes glittering with rage, "vhat do you vantt" "They're pals of Kraus," said the shortest of the trio. "Yuh are, ain't yuh?" "In a sense," Colby admitted. "Turn aroundback to us." "I knew I shoulda gone gunnin' for that interferin' tin soldier," moaned Ferguson. "Ye'd have been cold turkey if ye had," came Mears' unexpected remark. "What shall we do with Meeting tMe Challeimge Until now America's fighting forces have been on the defense . . waiting for more men and materials to reach strategic points so an aggressive offense could be put into effect. Today the offense has started to roll. Our army, navy and marines, fighting on many distant fronts, are making their might felt. Again the American Way is meeting the challenge. It was sincere cooperation between Government, labor and man agement that helped to prepare our fighting forces for the task ahead. Through this splendid spirit of joint effort the words "too little and too late" have become a forgotten phrase. We join the boys on our fighting fronts in congratulating in dustry's legion upon the part it is playing in preserving the American Way of Life, v.: Carolina Power & Light Company BUT U. .8. WAR BONDS AND STAMPS REGULARLY iron's SCRAP BOOK By USSF'1 IT (ONE DAY NEARER VICTORY) TJIURSDAY, SEPT 117' S XllnxkJ nr., 1 WkMOL 1 ttirf 1. IP WiUStcUi Uosf CM MA.KL f . BfcfWEEK tftOH BAM -fUt BEAK tottt 'em, boss?" "Well lock them up," Colby an nounced succinctly. "I suppose the Cecelie's brig is still in good shape?" "Yeh." Mears' heavy features relaxed. "Funny, I was looking at it only the other day. That's a good idea." "Too bad I missed you awhile back," Ferguson snarled when Col by motioned him forward. "Oh, so it was you who took that not alirfc at me?" Colbv silentlv offered the phlegmatic Mears sev eral apologies. "You're a pretty rotten shot then." He turned on Ehrenbreit. "How many men did Kraus have?" 'Ynii should know better than I," the German retorted bitterly. ''Ach that I should have been such a fool as to trust that Hans to stand guard." Emotions milled and surged in Colby's being. The feeling that a quarter of a million lay behind that charred bit of moulding was having a disturbing effect on him. How many thousands of men had died for a far lesser sum? ''Say, boss," Mears said, "you keep your gun on 'em and I'll take a look." "You'll do nothing of the sort," Colby snapped. "Well lock these gents up first, Mears, you lead the way and keep your gun on Ferguson- I'll follow with the other two." "But, boss maybe there's " But Colby snapped : "Do as I say!" Mears, mumbling to him self, obeyed, for Colby had a nasty glint in his eye. Some ten minutes later the curi ous little column's feet boomed and reverberated in the vast empty forehold which had once creaked under the riches of two continents. Colby had the sensation of being abruptly dwarfed how stiffly gray hair stood up on Ehrenbreit's slop ing skull how grotesque were Tug's "Klassy Kollege Kut Klothes," pinched in tight at the back and with impossible lapels. Was Mears going to turn uglyT As he tramped along over th splintered boards of the hold floor Colby did a little deep thinking. The brig, it seemed, was located underneath the crews' quarters a dreadful hole devoid of daylight and with walls of steel. Cramped and stuffy, it was barely large enough to accommodate the three scowling prisoners. "Say listen," hoarsely pleaded the sparrowlike burglar when Col by motioned him behind the rusty bars, "take the stuff, but .let us go it don't get you nuthin' to send us over th' road." "How about it?" Ferguson's heavy, sweating face appeared at the bars. "I know when I'm lick ed." "Let you g?" Colby's short laugh was metallic. ''And have you gunning for us? No, well just leave you here as a surprise package for the cops if they ever show up." "Surely, Herr Offizer, you vould not leave me in this hole?" Ehren breit protested desperately. "It iss disgusting it iss no place for a gentleman." "You're absolutely right," came Colby's imperturbable reply as he shot the control bolt of the cell door, which though not locked was well beyond the reach of the pris oners. , "That's why you're stay ing in there-" "C'mon, boss," Mears rumbled and plucked at Colby's sleeve. Havwnnd r.in p New Cars In Sepl of five nVwTrVZTJ the office of price ardnfptl North Carolina's aunt, v set at 616. A been assigned in J Buncombe got 12 t , I Transylvania 1, Jti BIRTH AXOUXCEMEJ "nounce the birth J son. John Pill. t?j " . " j.L 0 uwaras. It the Mercv Hnm;,.i ' Calif., on August lini ofMrTS1, Tom Edwards! He is a Mrs'Elwa.rds w the fa, jmss muarea Schreiber of Diesro. and sini v.. . Honolulu during the past months has been with her pai "Lets go back and take a look 1 "i mere moulding. ' "Boy, oh boy!" Fen, into a sudden "when I get outta hero rju i shore enjoy puttin' a slug throw yer belly." . Tug's fearful curses, rich tid threats of eme renrisaii i;J I erguson's and the forehold rd to tneir pungent blasphemies. In sharp contrast Ehrenbreit! slumped on the big bench between hands as thouirh a sudden and unfair blow of Fad He did not move even when 1 retreating feet of the victors died into silence. (To Be Continued) . M V r ,t sum: rli JfrJr XTVT " . mm Wear Leather For Health "Junaluska Cut Soles Make Walking Easy" Greetings From Haywood's Oldest Industry LAW RENCE England-Valton Division i t LEATHER CO. Junaluska Tannery Hkelwood

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