Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Clue of the Tapping Heels *excerpt*


CHAPTER XIX

An Unexpected Solution

Taking her flashlight, she went to the
third floor. As Nancy neared the opened trap
door, she became curious to know what lay
below.
“Which part of the kitchen had the sealed
off stairway opened into?” she wondered.
“Probably back of the cabinets.”
Although Nancy went all the way to the
bottom, she found nothing unusual except a
box of sandwiches which Gus apparently had
left there.
She turned back and came up. Just as she
reached the top, a man’s hand suddenly
knocked her flashlight down and someone
else dapped a hand over her mouth!
Nancy struggled, but was no match for
her two strong opponents. She was bound
and gagged, then made to slide down the
steps. The trap door was dosed and a heavy
piece of furniture pulled across it.

CHAPTER XX
Amusing Confession

The attack on Nancy had been so stealthy
and unexpected she had not had a chance to
see the faces of her assailants. She was sure
there had been two men.
“Who could they have been?” she
thought, puzzled. “Anyway, neither of them
was Gus Woonton. So I have other enemies
—possibly even Mr.Bunce!”
Suddenly a frightening idea came into her
mind. Had the men harmed defenseless Miss
Carter?
“Oh, I hope not.” Nancy almost sobbed.
“I must get out of this prison.”
Nancy worked at the gag in her mouth
and the bonds around her wrists and ankles
but could not budge them. She was about
halfway down the stairway. By lying on her
back, and using her elbows and feet to propel
herself, she managed to inch her way up to
the door.

“I’d better not try standing, I might lose
my balance,” she decided.
Carefully Nancy switched herself around.
Now, with her head pointed downward, she
tapped her heels loudly on the attic door. She
waited a minute, then tapped again. Silence.
“Oh, why did I let myself get into such a
5x!” Nancy chided herself. “But I musn’t give
up.”
The strong movement of her feet helped
to loosen the bonds on them a bit. Hopefully
she banged on the door again, but in vain.
“It’s no use,” she thought. “Even if Miss
Carter wasn’t injured by those men, she
couldn’t possibly get up here to help me. But
when she finds I’m not in bed and hears the
noise up here, maybe, just maybe, she’ll telephone
the police or drag herself up the stairs
by using the railing.”

Nancy continued to tap violently on the
door. By this time she was nearly exhausted
and had to rest a moment before doing anything
more.
Then suddenly she heard voices. They
were indistinct, but Nancy was sure they were
not men’s. With all the strength she had left
she tapped again furiously.
In a moment she heard running footsteps
on the attic stairway.
A voice came to her distinctly. “I don’t see
anyone,” Bess Marvin called.
Nancy’s heart leaped with relief. She hit
the trap door again. Within seconds the
heavy piece of furniture had been moved
away. The trap door •was lifted up. Five faces
stared down at her in disbelief. Bess, George,
Ned, Burt, and Dave stood there.
    Nancy was quickly lifted into the attic and
the gag and bonds removed. Bess flung both
arms around her friend, completely blocking
off any affectionate hugs the others might
have wished to give her.

George’s face showed anger. “Who did
this to you?” she demanded*
‘Two men came up behind me while I was
investigating this stairway.”
“I’ll call the police,” Ned said, but Burt
said. “You stay with Nancy. I’ll do it”