Nancy Drew #55. Mystery of Crocodile Island. Carolyn Keene

George asked, “Do you suppose someone from Crocodile Island left E-fee here on purpose?”

Nancy shrugged. “If so, it’s a pretty poor way to treat the dog. He couldn’t swim back to Crocodile Island. It’s too far from here.”

Puzzled, Nancy and George walked on. E-fee bounded ahead of them. Presently he ran to a little clearing and began to bark frantically. The girls hurried to the spot where he was standing.

E-fee looked up at them, gave a few quick barks, then dug furiously into the sandy soil.

“Nancy, he’s looking for something,” George said. “Maybe his master is buried here!”

“Horror stories again, eh?” Nancy quipped. But she felt apprehensive herself.

E-fee did not stop digging until he had made a good-sized hole. Then he looked at the girls as if to say, “Go ahead. Take a look!”

Nancy and George stepped forward and gazed into the hole. To their amazement a pistol lay inside!

“Where did that come from?” George asked. “Do you suppose E-fee’s master put it there, and then went away, leaving the dog to guard it?”

Nancy thought a moment, then said, “It’s a good guess, George. Perhaps the men on Crocodile Island didn’t want E-fee there anymore because his barks attracted too much attention. Now that the island is closed to the public, I’d say they don’t want a dog calling attention to the place if something illegal is going on there.”

George got down on her knees and carefully lifted the pistol out of the hole. She examined it and found that the firearm was not loaded, and the serial number on it had been almost obliterated.

“Let’s take it along,” she suggested. “If nobody owns this island and a person comes here and buries a weapon, then it becomes the property of the finder.”

Nancy smiled. “I love your logic. We’ll take the pistol with us, but we’ll turn it over to the police.”

The girls filled up the hole, shoving the sandy soil in place with their shoes. Then they went on exploring. Nancy and George watched for anyone who might be on the island. E-fee followed. Since he did not bark, they felt reasonably sure they were alone.

Presently Nancy noticed that there were many twelve inch lizards running around. Some hid in the undergrowth, but a large number of them were at a fresh-water pond containing hundreds of mosquito larvae. The lizards were eating them greedily.

The girls were so busy watching the fascinating sight that they failed to notice a swarm of mosquitoes coming their way. Suddenly the mosquitoes enveloped Nancy and George, biting furiously! As the girls tried to duck, the insects sang, divebombed, and stung them.

“Oh, dear!” George cried out. “We’d better get away from here fast!”

With E-fee at their heels, the girls ran as quickly as they could. To their dismay the mosquitoes followed!

“This is awful!” George panted. “A real jungle attack. What’ll we do?”

“I’ve heard,” Nancy called out, “that the only way to get rid of these pests is to dive into the water.”

The two friends hurried toward the spot where they had entered the key. The going was rough. Despite the protection of their shoes they nicked their ankles on coral rocks and tripped on tree roots, which made them wince in pain. The mosquitoes kept buzzing around their heads, necks, arms, and legs, which were fast covered with bites.

The dog had long since outdistanced them and met the girls among the mangroves along the shore. When he saw them dive into the water, which was now deeper, he ran in after them. How good the cool water felt!

Nancy and George swam all the way to the Pirate. E-fee followed. When they reached the skiff and stood up, Bess exclaimed, “What in the world happened to you, and where did this dog come from?”

Without being invited, E-fee climbed aboard. Nancy said, “He’s a visitor from Crocodile Island.”

George explained about the jungle attack of mosquitoes, and how they had found the dog.

“Jump in, girls,” Danny said. “I have just the thing for you.”

He opened the first-aid kit and gave each girl an antihistamine pill, followed by a drink of water. Then he handed them a tube of medicine and suggested that they lather themselves with it

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Categories: Keene, Carolyn