Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:57 am Post subject: The Camp's Strange V
The Camp's Strange Visitors
A. L. Burt Company Publishers
Chapter 9 - In The Quicksand (ending)
She ran over to the bank, and after much sliding and slipping finally succeeded grasping the biggest rock and clinging to it with one hand while she dug out the rock with the other.
After she had slid back down she examined her prize curiously for a few minutes. What kind of rock could it be? It was beautiful, as beautiful as a semi- precious jewel. Just suppose it wasn't a rock at all, but some kind of jewel!
Fired by this thought, she decided to look for more pieces of this unusual, jewel-like rock. She wandered on up the cut, her eyes fastened on the bank. Wasn't she going to be able to find any more? On she went, intent on her search.
At last, when she was about to despair of finding another specimen, she caught sight of a large mass of yellowish orange under some roots high up in the bank.
"It's by far the largest piece yet!" she exulted. "I'll get it if I have to hang to a root by my teeth."
Up she scrambled, clawing at anything and everything that offered a finger-hold. When she had almost reached her goal, she suddenly slipped, then half rolled, half tumbled into a small shallow pond below.
Dazed by the unexpectedness of her fall, she floundered about in the shallow water a few moments before getting to her feet. With her clothes dripping, she started heading toward the sandy shore.
Without any warning whatever she suddenly sank waist deep in the quicksand. Thrown off her balance, she instinctively threw out both arms to steady herself. Instead of regaining her balance, she toppled over frontward and both arms plunged into the quicksand.
"Oh!" She gasped, terror-stricken. "Quicksand! I'm in the quicksand! I've got to get out of this horrible stuff this instant!".
With straining muscles she pulled her right arm upward. It felt as if some terrible monster were gripping it. The harder she pulled the harder the monster jerked downward on her arm.
Ugh! At this rate her body -- her head -- would be pulled down into --.
She jerked frantically. Out came her arm to her vast relief. Now that she had it out she'd pull out the other arm. If she could get it out then maybe she could pull her legs out of that horrible mess. If she didn't, she might sink still deeper and be buried alive. Alive!
Shaking as if with the chill at this thought, she jerked her left arm upward. It came with such force that she toppled over again, and down sank her right arm into the quicksand once more.
Terrified as never before in her life she screamed "Help! Help!".
Oh! If the girls could only hear her and would come to rescue her right away! The chances were they were too far away to hear. She'd have to get out now. If she should sink much farther she be buried alive. A shudder shivered down her spine again at this thought.
She jerked more frantically than ever on her right arm, jerked it until it felt as if she were tearing it out from its socket. To her vast relief she finally succeeded in pulling it out.
Now for the left arm again. That left shoulder ached from her other efforts, but her arm must come out of that horrible quicksand.
Biting her lips in her determination to release her arms, she began pulling and jerking upward on it. Again and again she tried, only to fail. Then suddenly out came the arm with such force that she was thrown off her balance again and down went her right arm into the sand again.
Tears rolled down her cheeks. Oh, this was terrible! She couldn't get herself out. She must get help. Must! Right away!
She screamed at the top of her voice again and again and waited breathlessly for an answering cry. Surely they would hear her! But there was no sign of answer. They were still out of hearing distance. No telling when they would come this way.
"I'll be dead before they get here!" she gasped in despair.
The next moment she shut her lips tightly to check her sobs in order to tell herself sternly don't give up, keep on trying!
Twice more she jerked out first one arm then the other, only to lose her balance each time and have her arms plunge back into the quicksand.
In between her efforts she continued to shout for help with every atom of her lung power.
Chapter 10 - The Weird Cry
Almost at the same moment that Susan had sunk into the quicksand, Patty had finished fixing the stirrup strap for Hilda.
"Are you going to stay here with the other girls for a while?" Patsy asked her.
"Well, I'll ride on and catch up with Susan". She glanced down at her wristwatch. "Why, she's had more time to reach the cut. It took me longer to fix that strap than I thought. Tell the girls I will wait for them in the same place that you tied your horses yesterday, or in plain sight of that place".
With the parting wave of her hand Patsy hurried up to her horse, sprang upon his back and was off.
(A page of nature observations)
She breathed deeply of the fragrance of the pines and the sweetening Susaners and ferns. And that song sparrow that she could not see but could recognize by its clear flute like notes.
As she listened to it, another sound, a faint wailing cry, came to her ears. What had made that? There it was again. Weird. Scary sounding. Was it an animal a bird or a human being?
She rode a few yards further, then halted and listened to the eerie cry. Louder this time it was -- still louder. A sudden tremor shivered through her. That was a person! Somebody crying for help. Could it be Susan?
Forgetful of her resolve to ride slowly, she slapped the reins sharply against her horse's neck. He responded immediately by swinging into a gallop. Down the winding path he swung. Only once more did Patsy check his pace, and that was only long enough to listen with straining ears for the cry.
This time she was sure it was Susan's voice. Almost simultaneously it darted into her mind what must have happened to her. She was caught in the quicksand!
"Oh why did I forget to warn her again this morning about the quicksand of the that cut!" she scolded herself as she urged Fleet into a still swifter pace.
"But I warned her the day before yesterday" came her answering thoughts. "That ought to have been enough."
In spite of this thought, Patsy continued to feel as if Susan were caught in the quicksand then it was partly her fault. She must let her know this instant that she was coming to her rescue.
Just as she was about to call her, Susan's terror-stricken "Help! Help!" rang out distinctly. The the moment the sound had died away, Patsy shouted as loudly as she could "I'm coming Susan! I'm coming!"
"Thank goodness Fleet isn't lame," she thought as she urged him into a fresh burst of speed.
When she reached the clump of trees above the cut, instead of stopping as she had previously planned, she rode down the steep bank into the cut.
As she passed the site of the old washer, Susan's frantic cry rang out again.
As she rounded the next corner Patsy could see Susan standing in a queer, bent over position -- rooted to the spot as if she were made of stone.
"I'll get you out!" she called encouragingly.
"Oh I hope and pray you can! I've been here ages! Ages!"
Having ridden as near as she dared, Patsy slipped off her horse and tied him to protruding roots in the bank. Then she began searching about for something she could use with which to pull Susan out.
"I am afraid for you to try to pull me out, for fear you'll get stuck!" Susan called anxiously.
"I'm not going to get stuck. Don't worry." Patsy called back in as confident a tone as she could muster. But what could she use that would be safe? A pole or long bough would help, but a long, wide board would be better and a lot safer. It would take a very heavy weight on a wide board to make it sink into the sand.
She began looking about for a board. Surely there ought to be one around here somewhere. Oh, why couldn't she find one!
The next moment she remembered the old washer foundation. There were some boards around there surely. She'd run back and get one.
"I'm going to get a board to get you out with, Susan" she called over her shoulder. "I'll be back in a jiffy."
With that Patsy ran as fast as she could make her feet fly to the washer foundation. After searching for a few moments, she found a wide board which she thought ought to be long enough for her purpose. She grabbed it up quickly and started off with it. Though it was much heavier than it had looked, she struggled on with it. Perspiration began pouring down her face, her arms and her back. Her back muscles ached from the strain, but she kept on. She had to get Susan out of the quicksand.
When she neared the edge of the pond she started slowly and cautiously. She must not be rushed and get herself in the same predicament that Susan was in. She knew that the quicksand of this part of the country gave you no warning. You were into it before you could realize it. You sank swiftly, not gradually as one did in a quagmire.
With anxious eyes she estimated the distance to Susan. She must get that board close enough so Susan could reach it.
Taking a few more steps, she quickly placed the board into the edge of the water. A sigh of relief escaped her lips as she saw that the end of the board was in reaching distance of Susan's free arm.
"Catch, hold and pull!" she called, and adding quickly "If you can't make it, I'll pull you out." There was more confidence in Patsy's words than in her thoughts. Never having had any experience with quicksand, she was dubious about the outcome.
Thus encouraged, Susan grabbed hold of the end of the board with one hand and began pulling. So intent was Patty on watching her efforts that she forgot she was standing on the other end of the board. When Susan suddenly jerked it, she almost toppled off.
In spite of Susan's success in finally getting her other arm free, she was not able to pull her legs out.
"Oh, I can't get out after all!" she wailed. "And I'm scared for you to walk out here on this board. You might sink in this awful stuff too!"
"The board's so wide that I think it won't sink in with me. Here I come. Don't jerk at the board anymore."
Susan obediently stopped jerking and Patsy began moving cautiously on this wooden bridge over the treacherous quicksand. One misstep might send her into it, she thought, breathless with anxiety.
When she had almost reached the end of the board, she slid her feet further apart and braced herself as firmly as she could. Then stretching out her arms, she grasped Susan's hands in hers.
A little of the terror in Susan's eyes slipped out momentarily at this contact with human hands. Then it disappeared.
"Oh, I'm afraid I'll pull you in too!"
"I'm not going to let you," Patsy replied stoutly. "Do as I say, and if I can't get you out, I'm going after some of the workmen. Now hold tight and gradually work your feet as much as you can, back and forth, until you loosen the sand around them. I believe you made a mistake in pulling straight up, because this must act like suction and draw the sand closer to your legs."
Susan gripped Patsy's hands with all her strength and began working her feet and legs about as much as she possibly could.
"Oh, I do believe I can feel my legs getting loose a tiny bit," she exclaimed at last.
"As soon as they get a little looser, then I'll try helping to pull you up."
On Susan struggled in her efforts to free herself. After a few more minutes of this gradual loosening she told Patsy that she believed she was now ready to try pulling upward again.
Patsy nodded, smiling encouragingly, and pulled on her arms as steadily and hard as she could.
"Keep pulling!" Susan panted. "I believe -- I'm going to get --".
At the sudden thought that it might be better to save her breath for her efforts to pull out than to use it in talking, she stopped in the middle of her sentence. With renewed zeal she kept pulling, as did Patsy.
"Work for dear life!" encouraged Patsy, bracing herself anew as she saw, to her joy, that Susan's right leg was almost out.
As Susan felt her right foot slip at last out of the sand, her face brightened. As rapidly as possible she placed her foot on the board and began pulling harder on her other leg.
"You're coming!" exulted Patsy, steadying herself and pulling more carefully than ever. The next moment she cried joyfully, "Thank goodness!" as Susan set her other foot on the board.
"Thank goodness!" Susan echoed.
Barely creeping along, Patsy guided the weary but happy girl across the board and onto the dry gravel.
(End Extract) _________________ Danger Is My Homework
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