TOM IS RESCUED
The Deep Forest Throng needed no urging to flee from the place
of the mysterious explosion. Their prisoner, helpless as he had
seemed, had proved too much for them. Slipping and stumbling
along in the darkness, the masked lads had but one thought--to
get away before they saw more of that blue fire, and the force of
"Gee! My eyebrows are all singed off!" cried Sam Snedecker, as
he tore loose his mask which had been rent in the explosion, and
felt of his face.
"And my hands are burned," added Pete Bailey. "I stood closer
to the fire than any of you."
"You did not! I got the worst of it!" cried Andy. "I was
knocked down by the explosion, and I'll bet I'm hurt somewhere. I
guess--Oh! Help! I'm falling in a mud hole!"
There was a splash, and the bully disappeared from the sight of
his companions who, now that the moon had risen, could better see
to flee from their prisoner.
"Help me out, somebody!" pleaded Andy. "I'm in a mud hole!"
They pulled him out, a sorry looking sight, and the red-haired lad,
whose locks were now black with muck, began to lament his lot.
"Dry up!" commanded Sid Holton. "It's all your fault, for
proposing such a fool trick as capturing Tom Swift. We might have
known he would get the best of us."
"What was that stuff he used, anyhow?" asked Cecil Hedden, the
lad responsible for the organization of the Deep Forest Throng.
"He must be a wonder. Does he do sleight-of-hand tricks?"
"He does all sorts of tricks," replied Pete Bailey, feeling of
a big lump on his head, caused by falling on a stone in the mad
rush. "I guess we were chumps to tackle him. He must have put
some kind of chemical in the fire, to make it blow up."
"Or else he summoned his airship by wireless, and had that balloonist,
Mr. Sharp, drop a bomb in the blaze," suggested another lad.
"But how could he do anything? Wasn't he tied fast to that
tree?" asked Cecil, the leader.
"You never know when you've got Tom Swift tied," declared Jack
Reynolds. "You think you've got him, and you haven't. He's too
slick for us. It's Andy's fault, for proposing to capture him."
"That's right! Blame it all on me," whined the squint-eyed bully.
"You was just as anxious as I was to tar and feather him."
"Well, we didn't do it," commented Pete Bailey, dryly.
"I s'pose he's loose now, laughin' at us. Gee, but that was an
explosion though! It's a wonder some of us weren't killed!
I guess I've had enough of this Deep Forest Throng business.
No more for mine."
"Aw, don't be afraid," urged Cecil. "The next time we get
we'll be on our guard."
"You'll never catch Tom Swift again," predicted Pete.
"I'll go back now to where he is, if you will," agreed Cecil,
who was older than the others.
"Not much!" cried Pete. "I've had enough."
This seemed to be the sentiment of all. Away they stumbled
through the woods, and, emerging on the road, scattered to their
several homes, not one but who suffered from slight burns,
contusions, torn and muddy clothes or injured feelings as the
outcome of the "joke" on the young inventor.
But our hero was not yet free from the bonds of his enemies.
When they scattered and ran, after the vivid blue light, and the
dull explosion, which, being unconfined, did no real damage, Tom
was still fast to the tree. As his eyes became accustomed to the
semi-darkness that followed the glare, he remarked:
"Well, I don't know that I'm much better off. I gave those
fellows a good scare, but I'm not loose. But I can work to better
Once more he resumed the effort to free himself, but in spite
of the crude manner in which the knots had been made, the lad
could not get loose. The more he pulled and tugged the tighter
they seemed to become.
"This is getting serious," Tom mused. "If I could only reach
knife I could cut them, but it's in my pocket on the other side,
and that bond's fast. Guess I'll have to stay here all night.
Maybe I'd better call for help, but--"
His words, spoken half aloud, were suddenly interrupted by a
crash in the underbrush. Somebody was approaching. At first Tom
thought it was Andy and his cronies coming back, but a voice that
called a moment later proved that this was not so.
"Is any one here?" shouted a man. "Any one hurt? What was
fire and explosion?"
"I'm here," replied Tom. "I'm not hurt exactly, but I'm tied
a tree. I'll be much obliged if you'll loosen me."
"Who are you?"
"Tom Swift. Is that you, Mr. Mason?"
"Yes. By jinks! I never expected to find you here, Tom. Over
this way, men," he added calling aloud. "I've found him; it's
There was the flicker of several lanterns amid the trees, and
soon a number of men had joined Mr. Mason, and surrounded Tom.
They were farmers living in the neighborhood.
"What in the name o' Tunket happened?" asked one. "Did you
hit by a meteor or a comet? Who tied you up; highwaymen?"
"Cut him loose first, and ask questions afterward," suggested
"Yes," added Tom, with a laugh, "I wish you would. I'm
beginning to feel cramped."
With their knives, the farmers quickly cut the ropes, and some
of them rubbed the arms of the lad to restore the circulation.
"What was it--highwaymen?" asked a man, unable to longer
restrain his curiosity. "Did they rob you?"
"No, it wasn't highwaymen," replied the youth. "It was a
of some boys I know," and to Tom's credit be it said that he did
not mention their names. "They did it for a joke," he added.
"Boys' trick? Joke?" queried Mr. Mason. "Pretty queer sort
joke, I think. They ought to be arrested."
"Oh, I fancy I gave them what was coming to them," went on the
"Did they try to blow ye up, too?" asked Mr. Hertford. "What
th' name of Tunket was that blue light, and that explosion? I
heard it an' saw it way over to my house."
"So did I," remarked Mr. Mason, and several others said the
same thing. "We thought a meteor had fallen," he continued, "and
we got together to make an investigation."
"It's a good thing for me you did," admitted Tom, "or I might
have had to stay here all night."
"But was it a meteor?" insisted Mr. Hertford.
"No," replied the lad, "I did it."
"Yes. You see after they tied me I found I could get one hand
free. I reached in my pocket for my knife, but instead of it I
managed to get hold of a package of powder I had."
"Gunpowder?" asked Mr. Mason.
"No, a chemical powder I use in an electrical battery. The
powder explodes in fire, and makes quite a blue flash, and a lot
of smoke, but it isn't very dangerous, otherwise I wouldn't have
used it. When the boys were some distance away from the fire, I
threw the powder in the blaze. It went off in a moment, and--"
"I guess they run some; didn't they?" asked Mr. Mason with a laugh.
"They certainly did," agreed Tom.
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Room | Tom
Swift And His Electric Runabout