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| Home | Reading Room Tom Swift And His Sky Racer

Tom Swift And His Sky Racer
or The Quickest Flight on Record
by Victor Appleton

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Chapter Eleven

Tom Is Hurt

As Tom passed down the hall on his way to the side door,

from which he could more quickly reach the aeroplane shed,

he saw his father coming from his room.

"What's the matter? What is it?" asked Mr. Swift, and

alarm showed on his pale face.

"It's nothing much, dad," said the youth, as quietly as he

could, for he realized that to excite his father might have

a bad effect on the invalid.

"Then why are you in such a hurry? Why have you that

revolver? I know there is something wrong, Tom. I am going

to help you!"

In his father's present weakened state Tom desired this

least of all, so he said:

"Now, never mind, dad. I thought I heard a noise out in

the yard, and I'm not going to take any chances. So I roused

Mr. Jackson, and I'm going down to see what it is. Perhaps

it may only be Eradicate's mule, Boomerang, kicking around,

or it may be Rad himself, or some one after his chickens.

Don't worry. Mr. Jackson and I can attend to it. You go back

to bed, father."

Tom spoke with such assurance that Mr. Swift believed him,

and retired to his room, just as the engineer, partly

dressed, came hurrying out in response to Tom's summons. He

had his rifle, and, bad the invalid inventor seen that, he

surely would have worried more.

"Come on!" whispered Tom. "Don't make any noise. I don't

want to excite my father."

"What was it?" asked the engineer.

"I don't know. Burglar alarm went off, that's all I can

say until we get to the shed."

Together the two left the house softly, and soon were

hurrying toward the aeroplane shed.

"Look!" exclaimed Mr. Jackson. "Didn't you see a light

just then, Tom?"


"By the side window of the shed?"

"No, I didn't notice it! Oh, yes! There it is! Some one is

in there! If it's Andy Foger, I'll have him arrested,


"Maybe we can't catch him."

"That's so. Andy is a pretty slippery customer. Say, Mr.

Jackson, you go around and get Eradicate, and have him bring

a club. We can't trust him with a gun. Tell him to get at

the back door, and I'll wait for you to join me, and we'll

go in the front door. Then we'll have 'em between two

fires. They can't get away."

"How about the windows?"

"They're high up, and hard to open since I put the new

catches on them. Whoever got in must have forced the lock of

the door. There goes the light again!"

As Tom spoke there was seen the faint glimmer of a

light. It moved slowly about the interior of the shed, and

with a peculiar bobbing motion, which indicated that some

one was carrying it.

"Go for Eradicate, and don't make any more noise than you

can help in waking him up," whispered Tom, for they were

now close to the shed, and might be heard.

Mr. Jackson slipped off in the darkness, and Tom drew

nearer to the building that housed his Humming-Bird. There

was one window lower than the others, and near it was a box,

that Tom remembered having seen that afternoon. He planned

to get up on that and look in, before making a raid to

capture the intruder.

Tom raised himself up to the window. The light had been

visible a moment before he placed the box in position, but

an instant later it seemed to go out, and the place was in


"I wonder if they've gone away?" thought Tom. "I can't

hear any noise."

He listened intently. It was dark and silent in the shop.

Suddenly the light flashed up brighter than before, and the

young inventor caught sight of a man walking around the new

aeroplane, examining it carefully. He carried, as Tom could

see, a large-sized electric flash-lamp, with a brilliant

tungsten filament, which gave a powerful light.

As the youth watched, he saw the intruder place the light

on a bench, in such a position that the rays fell full upon

the Humming-Bird. Then, adjusting the spring switch so that

the light would continue to glow, the man stepped back and

drew something from an inner pocket.

"I wonder what he's up to?" mused Tom. "I wish Eradicate

and Mr. Jackson would hurry back. Who can that fellow be, I

wonder? I've never seen him before, as far as I know. I

thought sure it was going to turn out to be Andy Foger!"

Tom turned around to look into the dark yard surrounding

the shed. He was anxious to hear the approach of his two

allies, but there was no sound of their footsteps.

As be turned back to watch the man he could not repress a

cry of alarm, for what the intruder had drawn from his

pocket was a small hatchet, and he was advancing with it

toward the Humming-Bird!

"He's going to destroy my aeroplane!" gasped Tom, and he

raised his revolver to fire.

He did not intend to shoot at the man, but only to fire to

scare him, and thus hasten the coming of Mr. Jackson and the

colored man. But there was no need of this, for an instant

later the two came running up silently, Eradicate with a big


"Whar am he?" he asked in a hoarse whisper. "Let me git at

him, Massa Tom!"

"Hush!" exclaimed the young inventor. "We have no time to

lose! He's in there, getting ready to chop my aeroplane to

bits! Go to the back door, Rad, and if he tries to come out

don't let him get away."

"I won't!" declared the colored man emphatically, and he

shook his club suggestively.

"Come on! We'll go in the front door," whispered Tom to

the engineer. "I have the key. We'll catch him red-handed,

and hand him over to the police."

Waiting a few seconds, to enable Eradicate to get to his

place, Tom and the engineer stole softly toward the big

double doors. Every moment the youth expected to hear the

crash of the hatchet on his prize machine. He shivered in

anticipation, but the blows did not fall.

Tom pushed open the door and stepped inside, followed by

Mr. Jackson. As they did so they saw the man standing in

front of the Humming-Bird. He again raised the little

hatchet, which was like an Indian tomahawk, and poised it

for an instant over the delicate framework and planes of the

air craft. Then his arm began to descend.

"Stop!" yelled Tom, and at the same time he fired in the


The man turned as suddenly as though a bullet had struck

him, and for a moment Tom was afraid lest he had hit him by

accident; but an instant later the intruder grabbed up his

flashlight, and holding it before him, so that its rays

shone full on Tom and Mr. Jackson, while it left him in the

shadow, sprang toward them, the hatchet still in his hand.

"Look out, Tom!" cried Mr. Jackson.

"Out of my way!" shouted the man.

Bravely Tom stood his ground. He wished now that he had a

club instead of his revolver. The would-be vandal was almost

upon him. Mr. Jackson clubbed his rifle and swung it at the

fellow. The latter dodged, and came straight at Tom.

"Look out!" yelled the engineer again, but it was too

late. There was the sound of a blow, and Tom went down like

a log. Then the place was in darkness, and the sound of

footsteps in rapid flight could be heard outside the shed.

The intruder, after wounding the young inventor, had made

his escape.



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