Excerpts from The Cave of Mystery
Just then there was a rumble on the road. Heads turned. An old car engulfed in dirt came to a sudden stop on the gravel, skidding and creating a dust storm. It was heading in the opposite direction from which the Smalls came. Doug noticed a Michigan license plate on the front of the car which looked like an old blue Dodge or Plymouth. Sam and his dad saw two men, both unshaven. They looked at Doug and Sam as if to say, “what’re you doin in our spot?” The men in the car quickly exchanged glances, said something to each other and sped off in a cloud of dust and spinning tires. They turned their faces away from Doug and the others as though they were afraid of being recognized. Sam and his dad wondered what that was all about. Sam made a mental note of the car and its occupants.
“Dusty, call the boss! Let him know a family’s by the cave.” said Russ.
Dusty got on his cell phone. “Hey boss. There’s a family by the hideout. What do you want us to do?”
“Get out of there right away and head back up north,” said the boss. “The hideout is well hidden. Not likely they’ll stay long if they’re on a trip. Get out of sight. We’ll talk later. Do as I say if you want the dough.” The call ended.
“If you find a good spot, yer really gonna be busy baitin’ the hooks and takin’ the fish off. If all five of you go, maybe it would be best if only two or three of you fished at one time,” said John. “Know what I mean?”
“Yes I do,” said Doug smiling.
Sam wandered over to look at the variety of lures in the different cabinets. “Hey dad, they have live bait here, some minnows and big ones too and then some funny looking things that I’ve never seen before. They’re kinda black but no fins.”
“Just a minute Sam and I’ll be with you.”
“Well, I got a bigger boat that will hold all of your family and it comes with a 25 horse Mercury engine so it’ll git you around real good. Ok?”
“John,” said Doug softly, “that will do just fine and thank you.” Doug began to move towards Sam by the bait tank but stopped and turned back to face John. “Last night you mentioned something about kids getting lost. Any word on if they’ve been found?”
Sam looked at his dad. “If you think the kids were kidnapped, maybe those noises I heard in the cave – ”
“Sam,” Doug interrupted, “don’t let your mystery book mind go crazy. We can’t try and guess what might have happened to the children. It would seem very unlikely that kids missing from Michigan would wind up in Wisconsin. What we can do is pray for that family and the two older children to be found and for God to bring that family together again. Imagine how you might feel if all of a sudden, your brother or sister disappeared. We’d all be heartbroken.”
“Dad,” said Rachael softly, “I would cry a lot and be very sad.” She got up and sat in her mother’s lap and hugged her.
“We would all be sad and we’d all cry. That’s why we need to pray for the family even though we don’t know them. We want God to comfort and encourage the parents and for the children to be found,” echoed Katie.
“Dad,” said Sam excitedly, “do you think that the cave we saw on the way up here is a clue?”
Sam went out of the store and saw the scruffy, bearded man get up off the railing. After walking a short distance, Sam turned and looked back. The man was following him…and getting closer. Sam then started to run but the man chased him and grabbed Sam’s left arm and put his left hand over Sam’s mouth and his right arm around Sam’s shoulder and neck. Sam’s heart pounded in his chest. The man started to drag Sam towards the car. Sam tried to yell for help but couldn’t with his mouth covered. He tried to twist free but the man’s grip was too tight.
“You’re right, Katie. Perhaps we’ll learn more when the Sheriff comes and provide them with clues,” replied Doug.
“Dad,” said Sam slowly. “The fish dinner tasted great but I think my stomach is calling for something more.” He looked at his sisters with a slight grin on his face.
Rachael rubbed her tummy and said, “Umm, dad, my stomach has the same problem as Sam’s.”
Got Doug up from his seat and moved to the bow of the boat. Katie pulled up the anchor so it was just above the water. Doug reached down and retrieved a jacket; green with white stripes. He put it down and then helped Katie get the anchor into the boat. Katie looked at the jacket and looked at Doug. It was the type of jacket worn to protect one from a breeze and cool night air; like a wind breaker.
“Mom, hang on to that. We may have found a clue to the kidnapping,” said Sam. “Dad, this could be really important.”
“Come on, Sam,” said his father. “It’s time to have fun and relax with your family. Forget about the mystery; tomorrow we go home.”
“But dad! We need to contact the Sheriff before it’s too late.”
Doug slowed as he approached the old Elk Road. He looked down the road and saw an unbelievable sight.
“Dad, dad, dad, turn onto the road! Somethin’ big is goin’ on there!” exclaimed Sam. “Flashing lights and all the police cars. And, they’ve got yellow tape around those bushes. We need to stop and check it out!”