Cave of Danger

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“Well, hi, hillbilly.” Kurt’s grin shone as big and bright as the sun-gold letter L on his velour turtleneck. It was his same arrogant, sneering grin as always, except for the slight tint of embarrassment from having fallen.

Matt nodded warily and said nothing. He didn’t trust his voice. His throat felt tight, and his chest ached with anxious pressure as he watched the big four-letter athlete casually slapping dust out of his Levis.

He tailed me, Matt thought. He was hiding up there, watching. He saw me throw the rock, saw the crow fly up, heard me whoop and holler. When I started to move, he started to follow. And if he hadn’t slipped and fallen and been forced to show himself, I’d have led him right to the cave drop. Now how much does he know or suspect? Does he know enough about cave hunting to see the significance of that crow’s flight?

Kurt rolled his thick shoulders as he grinned. “Seem a little on the surprised side to see your old schoolmate, hillbilly.”

“It’s a crazy world all right. You never know.”

Kurt kept grinning, but his voice had no humor in it. It was deadly serious, even sinister. “I know you’re not claiming any cave in this country. I know that.”

“I’m going to find that cave all right,” Matt said.

“Maybe. But you won’t ever claim it.”