Over and over it went, bursting into smoke and flames while speeding toward the earth.
There could be no doubt but that Tom would add another count to his score, though he was already reckoned an ace, being accredited with seven clear-cut victories.
But the other Hun aviator had taken advantage of the thrilling moment to dart in and deliver a hot fire. Jack could see the spurt of the machine-gun as it blazed away furiously, the two planes passing one another. He felt his heart in his throat for fear that Tom might be caught napping, for the distance was too great to make sure of what was happening.
Suddenly a cold hand seemingly clutched Jack's heart. Tom was falling rapidly! It was no nose-dive, but bore all the marks of either an engine gone dead or of some mishap to the pilot. So did gallant Tom's plane vanish from the sight of his horrified chum, being swallowed up in the dense volumes of smoke rolling upward from the battleground below. Jack's heart felt like lead in his breast.