Dick felt angry and a bit afraid as the two men took no notice of his protests, but just dragged him away from the clearing where he had been mending the puncture in his tyre.
He thought of poor Anne up the tree and felt glad she was safe there and could tell the others what had happened. He hoped she wouldn’t have to wait too long for Julian and George to return. He was glad when the men stopped and he found to his surprise that a large car was blocking the path.
Roughly one of the men dragged open a rear door and Dick was pushed in. The man jumped in beside him and the other was soon in the driver’s seat and revving the engine angrily. Slowly the car reversed down the path until it reached a place where it was wide enough to turn. Dick was glad the men had not tied his hands or legs together as he was able to steady himself as the car lurched round corners and roared along the roads where it could get up some speed.
“Where are we going?” he asked. “You’re going to be in trouble for kidnapping me like this. For the last time I tell you I am NOT Richard – well not the Richard you are looking for.”
“Rooky saw you so don’t tell lies,” the driver said. “Just you wait until he gets his hands on you. You’ll be sorry!”
“He will know you have made a mistake when he sees me,” said Dick bravely, although he was feeling quite worried about what was going to happen to him.
“Shut up, you talk too much,” said the man who was sitting beside him ready to grab him if Dick made any unwise move.
The car purred on through the night. It was very dark although Dick knew there should be a moon later on. It wasn’t really very long before the car ran alongside a high wall and then drew up at some large iron gates. The driver hooted the horn three times and after a moment the gates began to open. The car moved forward and Dick craned his neck to see who had opened the gates. He could see nobody and as he watched out of the back window he saw the gates swing shut again. He felt a shiver run down his spine. It seemed so eerie, as if some invisible hands had been in control.
“Don’t be so silly,” he said to himself after a moment. “There must be some remote control working them.” The car drew up at a door and the driver jumped out and opening the rear door he tried to pull Dick out. “I can manage on my own,” Dick said, indignantly, and he walked towards the now open front door between his two captors.
In the hall stood a tall man smoking a cigarette. “So what’s all this about? Where’s Rooky?”
“Rooky caught sight of this boy, and he insisted we give chase,” replied one of the men. “We caught him, but got separated from Rooky. We didn’t wait around for him. He’ll make his way back as soon as he can. He can’t wait to get his hands on this rat.”
“There is other business to see to tonight,” said the man in an annoyed tone. “I’ll take care of this boy. Now off you go… Hunchy!” he called “Come here.” A short rather ugly man appeared from a nearby room. “Take this boy to the attic room at the far end of the corridor,” he said to him. “I must see to the gates.”
“Get a move on,” said Hunchy. “Mr Perton’s orders must be obeyed.”
Dick decided he had better co-operate. He was still confident he would be released when the mistake was discovered. He followed Hunchy up two flights of stairs and was shown into a bare room at the top of the house.
A chair and a mattress were all that was there. As Dick walked in, the door banged behind him and he was alone. He heard the key turn in the lock. He sat down on the chair and put his head in his hands. For a little while he sat there wondering what was going to happen next. It was quite dark now and he wondered if he would be able to see anything out of the window. He went across the room and tried to see through the rather grubby pane of glass. As his eyes grew accustomed to the faint light from a pale moon he could just make out a garden area but nothing more. He sighed. I wonder what the others will do when Anne tells them what happened, he thought. I wish I could let them know where I am.
Just then he heard a noise at the door. The key was turned and Hunchy came in carrying a blanket and an oil lamp. He was followed by a woman carrying a tray. She put it down on the chair and scuttled out without saying a word. “Thanks,” said Dick. Hunchy looked surprised but he also went out without saying anything, having dumped the blanket on the mattress and the oil lamp on the floor.
Dick looked at the tray. A cup of tea – well that was very welcome as it felt a bit chilly in this unused room at the top of the large house. He picked up the plate and looked at what was on it. Two large rounds of bread and cheese lay there. It didn’t look particularly appetising but by now Dick was very hungry so he tucked in and was surprised at how tasty the bread and cheese turned out to be. He drank the tea and put the tray down beside the lamp. He decided to lie down and see if he could sleep.
He had just put the blanket down on the mattress and was wondering whether to take his shoes off when the door opened yet again. This time Mr Perton came in. Before Dick could start trying to explain once more about the mistake there was a sharp noise at the window. Mr Perton looked round and frowned. He stood listening then there was another bang at the window. Mr Perton walked quickly across and looked out, then, giving a sharp exclamation he hurried from the room, locking it quickly behind himself before rushing down the stairs. Dick hurried to the window but he could see nothing. With a sigh he decided he had better try to get some sleep, so he lay down on the mattress and pulling the blanket over himself he curled up and tried to go to sleep.