#43 – The empty store

They stole four empty, fifty-gallon wooden oil barrels from behind the market and carried
them to the warehouse. When they had them assembled, they spaced them out in a
square. Next they gathered four empty crates and placed one over each oil barrel.
Banda looked dubious. “It doesn’t look like a raft to me.”
“We’re not finished yet,” Jamie assured him.
There was no planking available so they covered the top layer with whatever was at
hand: branches from the stinkwood tree, limbs from the Cape beech, large leaves from the
marula. They lashed everything down with thick hemp rope, tying each knot with careful
precision.
When they were finished, Banda looked it over. “It still doesn’t look like a raft.”
“It will look better when we get the sail up,” Jamie promised.
They made a mast from a fallen yellowwood tree, and picked up two flat branches for
paddles.
“Now all we need is a sail. We need it fast. Fd like to get out of here tonight. Constable
Mundy’s coming back tomorrow.”
It was Banda who found the sail. He came back late that evening with an enormous
piece of blue cloth. “How’s this, Mr. McGregor?”
‘Perfect Where did you get it?”
Banda grinned. “Don’t ask. We’re in enough trouble.”
They rigged up a square sail with a boom below and a yard on top, and at last it was
ready.
“We’ll take off at two in the morning when the village is asleep,” Jamie told Banda.
“Better get some rest until then.”
But neither man was able to sleep. Each was filled with the excitement of the adventure
that lay ahead.
* * *

Novel Book: MASTER OF THE GAME

SIDNEY SHELDON
Copyright © 1982 by Sheldon Literary Trust

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