Curiosity takes young Marty Clifton and his friend, Bill Langford down a dangerous path when they decide to investigate a house where they think a prisoner is being held. The following is an excerpt from the book ‘Mister Marty’ in which the two boys form a citizen’s patrol to watch for crime in their community.
When they were up on the roof of the shed with the binoculars Bill took a good look at the house before explaining, “Here’s my plan. As soon as he takes off on his motorcycle, we slip in there real quiet and go around his stupid pitfall. We open the door real quiet and then close it real quiet behind us. I think I know where the room is that he keeps the prisoner in. I’m sure it’s the one that always has the light on. When we find the prisoner we turn him loose and then we get out of there.”
“I’m with you up to turning the prisoner loose,” Marty cut in, “If there is a prisoner, we just get out of there and go tell the Mayor.”
“Why not turn the prisoner loose?” Bill argued, “wouldn’t you want to be turned loose if you were being held prisoner in that house?”
“Sure, I’d want to be turned loose but that’s getting into stuff that’s none of our business. That’s for a law officer to take care of. Besides, if he’s in handcuffs, we don’t have any keys. No, Bill, we just find out what’s going on in there and then we turn it over to somebody else. A citizen’s patrol doesn’t try to be law officers, we just watch for people breaking the law.”
Bill didn’t raise any argument because the man wheeled his motorcycle out of the house right at that moment. “Quiet!” he hissed, “He’s coming out right now.”
They both watched closely, barely breathing, as the man carefully maneuvered the motorcycle around the pitfall and out onto the street. After checking the oil and the fuel, he swung astride of it and gave a couple of kicks to the starter pedal. He took a few seconds to make an adjustment to something and then gave it another kick. He sat and looked around while the motor idled. At one point, Marty froze in panic because the man was looking directly at them!
“He sees us!” he exclaimed, “We got to get out of here.”
Bill had kept the binoculars trained directly on him and calmly stated, “No, he didn’t see us. He looked over this way but not at us.”
“I got a bad feeling about this, Bill. I think we better call it off.”
“Dang it, Marty, we already made an agreement, now don’t go getting cold feet on me.”
The motorcycle engine cracked to life and the machine rolled smoothly down the street to the corner and out of sight. The two young detectives lay quietly and listened until the rumble of it had gone out of town and out of hearing. Bill tucked the binoculars inside his shirt and slid down the roof and dropped to the ground. Marty took time to thoroughly scan the neighborhood before reluctantly following. He was glad that daylight was fading so that they wouldn’t be so readily seen. Quietly, without either of them uttering a word, they made their way across the empty lots until they came to the street in front of the house. Marty stopped there and had to be urged to continue across the street. He was the type that usually took the lead but, tonight, he very willingly let Bill take that role. Bill very carefully kept close to the house and away from the pitfall. He stopped with his hand on the doorknob and waited for Marty to get close beside him. Very slowly and cautiously, he tried the knob and felt it turn under the pressure of his hand.
Marty nervously scanned the street and secretly hoped that the door was locked but when he heard the faint squeak of a hinge he knew that the door was opening. He turned toward the door and followed Bill through it with one last look out into the street. Bill closed the door, almost without a sound, and they were caught in the gloomy half-dark of the unlighted house. Marty was relieved to be inside where nobody could see them and know what they were doing but now he was fearful of the unknown hazards of this house. As their eyes adjusted to the dim light they saw a nearly empty room with only a couple of plain wooden chairs and one small table. They tried to tiptoe quietly toward the dim hallway but, with every move they made, came a complaining squeak or groan from the old boards of the floor. At every step, Marty expected to hear a challenging shout from somewhere in the dark depths of the house. The hallway was not quite so noisy and it was partly lighted by the light that spilled into it from an open door farther along.
For more about this fascinating novel take a look at Mister Marty by Jim Fuller. https://authorjim.wordpress.com/mister-marty/