Titch’s Secret Society Chapter 22

CHAPTER 22

Wrecking the boats

    “What?” asked Gogs anxiously.

“Well, as I told you, when I was hiding behind those packing cases I almost cut through the strings on some of the parcels. When they started towing them out to sea the strings might have broken. It might have upset their plans a bit.”

“Good old Titch!” exclaimed Miff.

“Of course,” said Titch, “it might be someone else, but if those men are coming back we must prepare a reception for them.”

“What do you mean?” asked Gogs, his spirit reviving.

“Well, we can’t just let them come in and get away. Somehow or other we’ve got to wreck their boat and throw them into the water. Then we’ll keep them there until they tell us how to open that door.”

“But how can we do that?” queried Smudgie.

“Come here, quick,” said Titch in his most confidential voice. “They’ll be several minutes coming up the tunnel.”

“That won’t give us much time,” said Bunny anxiously.

“Enough to put my plan into action,” replied Titch. “Notice that this ledge goes right around the cave and ends on each side of the tunnel. Now, if some of us stand on each side, we can make  two chutes out of the corners of those packing cases and roll some of these heavy rocks down onto the boat. That should wreck it and throw them into the water. Then, if we keep a few of these long pieces of wood off the packing cases handy we can push the men back into the water if they try to get out.”

“Cool plan!” Miff exclaimed.

Titch rapped out his orders as the popping of the boat increased. “Bunny and Smudgie, go round to the left of the tunnel. We three will go to the right. Now, let’s break a few of these packing cases up to get some wood. Where’s your little axe Bunny?”

They each gathered some wide corner strips of wood and ran round to the entrance of the tunnel. Soon they were assembled on each side of the dark opening.

“Now put the pieces of wood end to end so that they slope down towards the opening,” said Titch.

By using some large stones which were lying about, the two chutes were soon arranged in place.

“I’ve got an idea too,” said Bunny. “Let’s wedge one of those thick logs just below the water where the entrance narrows. When they hit it that’s certain to give them a bit of a jolt.”

“Excellent idea!” cried Titch. “Come on Gogs, there’s a log near us.”

They left Miff holding the chute in place while they lifted the log and threw it into the water with a splash. By pushing and banging with the heavier strips of wood the log was finally wedged just below the water line.

By this time the noise of the boat was quite loud. “They can’t be far away now,” exclaimed Titch. “Let’s hold those rocks on the chutes.” They puffed and panted as they hauled the heavy rocks into place ready to roll. “You hold it in position,” he said to Miff and Gogs. Then shouting to Smudgie and Bunny, “You O.K. over there?”

They were. “Good. Now I’ll lean down a bit to get a good look down the tunnel. As soon as I see the boat, I’ll give the signal. Then you let them have it.”

The noise of the boat grew really loud and echoed as it neared the end of the tunnel. “Can’t be far now,” whispered Titch. Then he saw the shadowy shape of the boat some ten metres down the tunnel. Titch, from his point of vantage, could see the faces of the three men.

As the boat started to emerge from the tunnel it hit the submerged log. It bounced upwards and sideways. There was a loud crack as the timber splintered on the rock.

“Now!” yelled Titch, and before the boat could settle on the water again the two rocks crashed into it. The larger one tore a hole in the side of the boat right down to the water line. The boss of the gang and Lefty were thrown into the water by the impact. Mason, seeing the water gushing into the boat, stood up to try to jump onto the ledge, but a timely push in the small of his back by Bunny’s strip of wood sent him, with a cry of pain, to join his companions.

On surfacing, the three men swam to the side of the pool. Lefty put his hands on the ledge to haul himself out but withdrew them with an anguished cry as Titch brought down his strip of wood, with considerable force, right across his outstretched hands.

Mason, realising that the boys intended to prevent them getting out of the water, started swimming in desperation towards the other side of the pool. Noticing the move Miff shouted, “Gogs! Look! Run round and stop him” Gogs’ lanky legs took him to the other side in great bounds, his long hair flapping wildly as he went. Mason, on the other hand, was greatly hampered by the weight of his wet clothes.

When Gogs arrived, the man had started to haul himself onto the ledge, but, with great presence of mind for one normally slow on the uptake, he placed the sole of his very large foot on Mason’s forehead and pushed hard. He shot back so quickly that it was only by a few centimetres that Gogs avoided joining him in the cold water.

The men threatened and shouted as they thrashed abut in the water. Several times they swam to different parts of the ledge but each time a boy was there to prod them back in. Soon the three gathered in the centre of the pool hanging onto the log which, having been moved by the impact of the boat, now floated about.

Because of the shouts and the great noise of the splashing, the second boat, carrying ‘Fungus’ and his companions, was a considerable way up the tunnel before it was heard by Miff who was nearest to the tunnel entrance.

“Titch! Titch! The other boat is coming up now,” he cried.

Titch went running back to the tunnel entrance shouting an order as he went. “You three see they don’t get out. We’ll deal with the other three when they arrive.”

He panted up to Miff. “Come on, help me to get another rock ready on this chute. We’ll have to throw the other three into the water as well.” A good sized rock was heaved ready and waiting onto the end of the planks.

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