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   Chapter 7 THE UNHOLY FIVE

Whispers at Dawn; Or, The Eye By Roy J. Snell Characters: 3733

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

During the course of their conversation about the open fire in Drew Lane's shack, Captain Burns took from his inside pocket a small package which proved to be five photographs pasted securely upon a strip of stout cloth in such a manner that they might be folded together in the form of a small book. "Ever see any of these?" he said to Johnny after spreading them out upon his knee.

For a moment Johnny studied the pictures thoughtfully. Then he gave a sudden start. "That," he exclaimed, pointing a trembling finger at the third in the row, "is the man who sat beside me in the auction-who got me to bid in that package!"

"Are you sure?" The Captain's tone was tense.

"Can't be a doubt about it. See that scar like a cross? Couldn't well miss that, could I? He's the one all right. And, though I could never prove it, I'd swear he was the one who struck me from the dark.

"And, by all that's good!" Johnny sprang to his feet. "I'll get that man! See if I don't! No man can strike me from the shadows and get away with it!"

"Well, I guess that makes your friend Johnny here one of us. That right, Drew?" the Captain rumbled.

Drew Lane nodded his head.

"Sit down, son," said the Captain. "I'll tell you what those pictures mean. Drew here and Tom Howe carry those pictures with them always. So does Joyce, though I don't know quite where-in her stocking perhaps."

Joyce smiled.

"We joke at times," the Captain went on, "but this affair is no joke. Those men are our assignment. They are to be our assignment until every man of them is behind bars or in his grave. You may join us if you will."

"I will." Johnny's voice was low.

The Captain extended his hand as a solemn pledge.

"You have a right to know," he went on, "just what men you are after, and what they have done.

"They are hardened criminals, every one, public enemie

s of the worst sort. A little more than a month ago they sealed their fate-they killed a policeman, the finest copper that ever walked a beat."

For a time the Captain stared at the fire. "My boy," he said at last, in a different voice, "I'm going to take you with me somewhere, sometime. The finest little family you ever saw!" he rumbled low as if talking to himself.

Then, with a sudden start, he repeated, "They killed a policeman. Of course a policeman's no better than any other man. But with us there's an unwritten law that no officer shall go unavenged.

"That wasn't all they did, this unholy five. They went to a banker's home at midnight and terrorized his family until morning. Man's wife was in ill health. But of course-" The Captain's voice rumbled with scorn and hate. "Of course you couldn't expect these robbers to take note of a little thing like that! What do they care for women and children?

"When morning came they took the man to his bank. They compelled him to open the vault. They took the bank's securities, more than two hundred thousand dollars worth. Then, of course, they went away.

"By some oversight, the bank's insurance had been allowed to lapse. Because of this heavy loss the bank was forced to close its doors. It was a working man's bank. Thousands of common folks lost their savings. These five men-no doubt they had a fine time with the currency they took!

"But the bonds-" His voice rose again. "The bonds are hot. We've kept them hot. They dare not sell them. And we'll get them back yet, see if we don't!

"And those are the men we're after!" he added a moment later. "Are you still with us?"

"More than ever!" Johnny's voice was husky.

Once again the Captain offered his hand. "You're a lad after my own heart," he rumbled. "I've two places I want to show you, and I'm sure you'll like them both."

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