The Speed Demon
FRANK and Joe Hardy clutched the grips of their motorcycles and stared in horror at the oncoming car. It was careening from side to side on the narrow road.
“He’ll hit us! We’d better climb this hillside – and fast!” Frank exclaimed, as the boys brought their motorcycles to a screeching halt and leaped off.
“On the double!” Joe cried out as they started up the steep embankment.
To their amazement, the reckless driver suddenly pulled his car hard to the right and turned into a side road on two wheels. The boys expected the car to turn over, but it held the dusty ground and sped off out of sight.
“Wow!” said Joe. “Let’s get away from here before the crazy guy comes back. That’s a dead-end road, you know.”
The boys scrambled back onto their motorcycles and gunned them a bit to get past the intersecting road in a hurry. They rode in silence for a while, gazing at the scene ahead.
On their right an embankment of tumbled rocks and boulders sloped steeply to the water below. From the opposite side rose a jagged cliff. The little-traveled road was winding, and just wide enough for two cars to pass.
“Boy, I’d hate to fall off the edge of this road,” Frank remarked. “It’s a hundred-foot drop.”
“That’s right,” Joe agreed. “We’d sure be smashed to bits before we ever got to the bottom.” Then he smiled. “Watch your step, Frank, or Dad’s papers won’t get delivered.”
Frank reached into his jacket pocket to be sure several important legal papers which he was to deliver for Mr. Hardy were still there. Relieved to find them, Frank chuckled and said, “After the help we gave Dad on his latest case, he ought to set up the firm of Hardy and Sons.”
“Why not?” Joe replied with a broad
grin. “Isn’t he one of the most famous private detectives in the country? And aren’t we bright too?” Then, becoming serious, he added, “I wish we could solve a mystery on our own, though.”
Frank and Joe, students at Bayport High, were combining business with pleasure this Saturday morning by doing the errand for their father. Even though one boy was dark and the other fair, there was a marked resemblance between the two brothers. Eighteen-year-old Frank was tall and dark. Joe, a year younger, was blond with blue eyes. They were the only children of Fenton and Laura Hardy. The family lived in Bayport, a small but thriving city of fifty thousand inhabitants, located on Barmet Bay, three miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean.
The two motorcycles whipped along the narrow road that skirted the bay and led to Willowville, the brothers’ destination. The boys took the next curve neatly and started up a long, steep slope. Here the road was a mere ribbon and badly in need of repair.
“Once we get to the top of the hill it won’t be so rough,” Frank remarked, as they jounced over the uneven surface. “Better road from there into Willowville.”
Just then, above the sharp put-put of their own motors, the two boys heard the roar of a car approaching from their rear at great speed. They took a moment to glance back.
“Looks like that same guy we saw before!” Joe burst out. “Good night!”
At once the Hardys stopped and pulled as close to the edge as they dared. Frank and Joe hopped off and stood poised to leap out of danger again if necessary.
The car hurtled toward them like a shot. Just when it seemed as if it could not miss them, the driver swung the wheel about viciously and the sedan sped past.
“Whew! That was close!” Frank gasped.