Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While/Chapter 24

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CHAPTER XXIV


"WHO IS THERE?"


Sue did not run into the cave after her brother Bunny. She stood, hugging her doll close to her, under a big, evergreen tree, so that only a few drops of rain splashed on her.

Bunny Brown, standing in the "front door" of the cave, as he called it, looked at his sister.

"Come on in, Sue!" he called. "It's nice here, and you can't get wet at all."

"I—I don't want to," Sue answered.

"Why not?" Bunny wanted to know.

"'Cause," and that was all Sue would say. Then it began to rain harder, and the drops even splashed down through the thick branches of the evergreen tree.

"Oh, come on!" cried BunnY. "It's nice here, and dry, Sue. Why won't you come?"

"'Cause I don't like those robbers!" answered Sue at last. 'Td rather stay out in the rain than go in with those robbers."

"What robbers?" asked Bunny, his eyes opening wide.

"You said that was a robbers' cave," declared Sue, "and I don't like 'em."

Bunny laughed.

"There's no robbers here. Sue," he said. "I only meant that this looks just like the pictures of a robbers' cave. There isn't any robbers here. Come on in. It's nice and dry here."

"Are you sure there's no robbers?" Sue wanted to know.

"Sure," said Bunny. "Listen!" He went back a little farther in the cave and cried:

"Robbers! Robbers! Go on away! That will drive 'em off, Sue," he said. "Now come on in."

The little girl waited a half minute, to make sure no robbers came out after Bunny's call. Then she, too, ran into the cave.

"Isn't it nice here?" Bunny asked.

"Ye—yes, I—I guess so," and Sue spoke slowly. She was not quite sure about it, "But it—it's dark," she went on.

"All caves are dark," Bunny Brown answered. "They have to be dark or they wouldn't be caves. Nobody ever saw a light cave."

"Well, I like a light cave best," said Sue. "How long has we got to stay here, Bunny?"

"Till Daddy comes for us, I guess," he said. "We can't walk back to camp all alone. I don't know the way. We'd get losted worse than we are now."

"Has we got to stay here all night?" Sue wanted to know.

"Well, maybe," said Bunny slowly. "But we could easy sleep here. There's some nice dried leaves we could make into a bed, and we've some of our lunch left. We can eat that for supper, and save a little for breakfast."

"What will we give Splash?" asked Sue.

She had looked over Bunny's shoulder as he now opened the lunch basket. There did not seem very much left for two hungry children and a dog. Splash was now nosing about in the cave. He did not bark, and Bunny and Sue knew there could be no one in the hole but themselves—no wild animals or anything.

"There isn't enough to give Splash much," said Bunny slowly. "But maybe he can dig himself up a bone in the woods. We can leave the crusts for him. Splash likes crusts."

"I don't," Sue said. "He can have all of mine."

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue had not yet learned to like the crusts of their bread. But Splash was not so particular.

The wind was now blowing harder, and the rain was flowing in the front of the cave. It blew in the faces of the children.

"Come on farther back," said Bunny, as he saw Sue wrapping her dress around her doll to keep off the rain.

"It—it's too dark," Sue answered. Bunny walked back a little way. Then he cried:

"Oh, Sue. Come on back here. It's real light here. There's a chimbly here and the light comes down it fine!"

"You come and get me—I can't see—it's so dark," Sue answered.

Bunny had left her standing near the front part of the cave, where it was still light, and he had run back into the dark part. There, half way back, he had found a place where there was a hole in the roof—a "chimbly," as Bunny called it.

Through this hole, or chimney, light came down, but between that place, and the entrance, was a dark spot. And it was this dark patch that Sue did not want to cross alone.

"I'll come and get you," Bunny called, and, a minute later, he and Sue were standing together under the hole in the cave roof. Some few drops of rain came down this chimney, but by standing back a little way the children could keep nice and dry, and, at the same time, they were not in the dark.

"Isn't this nice, Sue?" asked Bunny.

"Yes," she said. "I like it better here."

It was a good place for the children to be in out of the storm. They were far enough back in the cave now so that the wind could not blow on them, and no rain could reach them. Splash had come this far back into the cave with them, and was sniffing about.

Bunny walked around the light place, and found some boxes and old bags. In one of the boxes were some pieces of dried bread, and an end of bacon. There was also a tin pail and a frying pan. And, off to one side, were some ashes. Bunny also saw where a pile of bags had been made into a sort of bed.

"Look, Sue," said the little boy. "I guess real people used to live in this cave. Here is where they made their fire, and cooked, and they slept on the pile of bags. We can sleep there to-night, if daddy doesn't come after us."

"But I hope he comes!" exclaimed Sue.

Bunny hoped so, too, but he thought he wouldn't say so. He wanted to be brave, and make believe he liked it in the cave.

"I—I'm thirsty," said Sue, after a bit. "I want a drink. Bunny."

"I'll give you some of the milk, Sue. There's half a bottle of it left."

"I'd rather have water. Bunny."

"I don't guess there's any water here, Sue," answered Bunny.

Then he listened to a sound. It was Splash, lapping up water from somewhere in the cave. It did not sound very far off.

"There's water!" Bunny cried. "Splash has found a spring. Now I can get you a drink, Sue. Splash, where is that water?"

Splash barked, and came running to his little master. Bunny walked to the place from which Splash had come, and there he found a spring of water coming out of the rocky side of the cave. It fell into a little puddle, and it was from this puddle that Splash had taken his drink. Bunny held a cup under the little stream of water and got some foi Sue. Then he took a drink himself.

"Say, this cave is fine!" he cried. "It's got water in it and a place for a fire. All the smoke would go up that hole. We'll get Bunker and daddy and mother and Uncle Tad and come here and have a picnic some day. Don't you like it, Sue?"

"I—I'd rather be back at Camp Rest-a-While," said the little girl. "Can't we go?"

"I'll go and see how hard it's raining," said the little boy.

He went to the front door of the cave, and looked out. It was storming very hard now. The wind was blowing the limbs of the trees about, and dashing the rain all over.

"We can't walk home in this storm," said Bunny to Sue. We'll have to stay in this cave until they come for us."

"All right," Sue said. "Then let's eat."

The children ate some more of the lunch they had brought with them.

"Now let's make the bed," said Sue. "We'll sleep on a pile of the bags, Bunny, and pull some of 'em over us for covers. Splash won't need any covers. He never sleeps in a bed."

Bunny and Sue had often "played house," and they knew how to make the old blankets, and pieces of carpet they found in the cave, into a sort of bed. It was not so light now, for it was coming on toward night, and the sky was covered with clouds.

"If we shut our eyes and go to sleep we won't mind the dark," said Bunny.

"All right—let's," agreed Sue.

They cuddled up on the bags, their arms around one another, with Sue's doll held close in her hand, while Splash lay down not far from them.

Bunny was not sure he had been asleep. Anyhow he suddenly opened his eyes, and looked toward the chimney hole in the roof of the cave. A little light still came down it. But something else was also coming down. Bunny saw a big boy—or a small man—sliding down a grapevine rope into the cave. First Bunny saw his feet—then his legs—then his body. Bunny wondered who was coming into the cave. He made up his mind to find out.

"Who is there?" he suddenly called. "Who are you? What do you want in our cave?"

The figure sliding down the piece of grapevine into the cave, through the chimney hole, suddenly fell in a heap on the floor, close to where Bunny and Sue were lying on the pile of bags. Splash jumped up and began to bark loudly.