Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nancy Drew: Mystery At the Ski Jump


CHAPTER XIX
Zero Hour

THERE was no escaping from the man’s iron grasp. With her captor’s fingers firmly gripping both arms, Nancy stood helpless, while the other man
ran over from the statue. Roughly he stuffed a handkerchief into her mouth, tied her hands behind her, and bound her ankles together. Then the two
men carried her swiftly toward the woods.
“If only Ned or Chuck had seen me!” Nancy thought. “Here I am with friends so close by and I can’t even call for aid.”
Although Nancy could not see the men’s faces, in a few minutes she knew who her abductors were, for they began to talk freely.
“Say, Jacques, how much farther is it to that cabin?” the shorter of the pair asked.
Jacques Fremont! The man whose other name was Channing! The man at the skating exhibition in Montreal! If only the police had not been
obligated to release him!
“Just a little ways, Lake,” he replied.
Nancy caught her breath. So Dunstan Lake was a man, not a place!
Channing gave a sardonic laugh. “All we need to do is dump the Drew girl inside and lock the door. The place probably won’t be opened again
until summer.”
“What a relief to have her out of the way!” growled his companion. “We had an airtight racket until Miss Detective began snooping around, asking
for the Channings and Dunstan Lake. Although how she found out where we were, I’ll never know.”
“She’s clever,” Channing admitted. “But too clever for her own good. Now Miss Nancy Drew is going to pay for her smartness.
“Well, Lake, here we are. Suppose we see if this girl detective can solve the mystery of the locked cabin with both her hands and feet tied,”Channing continued with a harsh laugh.
The cabin was bitterly cold, even worse than outdoors, Nancy thought, as her abductors flung her down on a bare cot. Then, in the glare of a
flashlight, Dunstan Lake, a squarish man with a bulldog face and beady eyes, made a mocking bow.
“Good-by, Miss Drew.” He smirked. “Happy sleuthing!”
“Come along! Let’s get out of here,” Channing snapped impatiently. “It’s time we picked up Mitzi at the camp. She’ll be tired of waiting.”
Nancy shivered and closed her eyes despairingly as she heard the door slam and the padlock snap. She struggled to get out of her bonds, but it
was useless. Already her fingers were becoming cold. With every passing minute the cabin grew more frigid. Nancy wondered desperately how
long she could survive.
She knew that her only hope lay in exercise. She raised and lowered her bound ankles as high as she could until she was puffing with exhaustion.
As she rested a moment, the fearful cold took possession of her again.
Nancy decided to try rolling on the floor. She managed to get off the cot, and in doing so loosened the gag in her mouth. Crying loudly for help,
she waited hopefully for an answer. None came.
She rolled, twisted, and yelled until she was bruised and hoarse. Finally her voice gave out completely. Her strength was gone. She became
drowsy, and knew what this meant. Her body was succumbing to the below-freezing temperature.

CHAPTER XX
The Tables Turned

JOHN HORN trudged on as long as he could, then directed the others how to go. Dave and Burt, the first to reach the cabin, yelled Nancy’s name.
There was no answer.
Eagerly they charged up to the door. When they failed to open it, Burt said, “Focus your flashlight here, Dave.... Padlocked, eh?”
“We’ll try a window,” his friend suggested. “If necessary, we’ll break the glass.”
“Hey, is she there? Have you found Nancy?” George called as she and Bess came hurrying up to join the boys. Chuck and Ned were close
behind.
“We don’t know yet,” Dave said. “This door is locked. We’re going to try getting in a window.”
“All of them are boarded up,” Ned recalled. “But we’ll get inside if I have to tear this shack apart.”
George was using both fists to hammer on the unyielding door. “Nan-cy!” she shouted. “Nancy, it’s George. Can you hear me?” There was no
response.
Meanwhile, Burt and Dave were working on a window. “Here’s a loose board,” Burt yelled excitedly. “Pull!”
Snap! It came off so quickly they nearly lost their balance.Burt played his flashlight inside the cabin. He could not see much in the clutter of furniture.
Dave was already pulling at another board. Together the boys yanked it off and broke the locked window just as Aunt Eloise came up.
“Nancy!” she called fearfully, but the hoped-for response did not come. By this time Ned was through the opening and flashing his light around.
Suddenly the beam revealed the girl, lying on the floor, numb with cold and barely conscious.
“Nancy!” Ned cried.
“I‘m—so—glad—you—found me,” she whispered faintly. “I’m—so—terribly—sleepy.”
One by one the others climbed through the window. Seeing Nancy, tears streamed down Bess’s cheeks. “You’re—you’re all right, aren’t you?”
she sobbed.
Ned and Dave untied the ropes that bound Nancy’s hands and ankles.“Of course she is,” George told her cousin.
Aunt Eloise kissed her niece, saying, “Don’t worry, honey. We’ll get you out of here right away. George, where’s that Thermos bottle?”
Nancy was given a few sips of hot coffee then wrapped in the blanket and carried out through the window. Burt and Dave insisted upon riding Nancy back to the hotel on a “chair” they made by interlocking their fingers.
A sense of relief, together with the stimulant, brought some warmth to Nancy’s body. As the group neared the inn, she was able to talk again.
“As soon as we get inside,” she said, “call the police. Tell them it was Channing and his friend Dunstan Lake who kidnapped me. Lake is a man!”
“Oh no!” George groaned. “But don’t talk now. Save your strength.”
“I must say this much,” Nancy persisted. “Explain to the police that those men were going to meet Mitzi at a camp somewhere. Dunstan Lake’s a
short, ugly fellow with beady eyes.”
“I’ll tell them,” Ned promised.