Cult of Crime

Cult of Crime by Franklin W. Dixon Read Free Book Online

Book: Cult of Crime by Franklin W. Dixon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Franklin W. Dixon
Tags: Mystery
Holly’s wrist, and she was pulled from her feet and into the van.
    “We did it!” Frank exclaimed as he slammed the door shut. “Let’s go.” The van roared into the night, followed only by slugs from the guns of the Rajah’s followers.
    In the grass next to the Rajah’s home, Vivasvat nursed his broken hand. He sat there, crying until a shadow fell over him. The Rajah stood there, a curiously self-assured expression on his face.
    “This is your fault,” Vivasvat said. “If you had let me handle it - “
    “Everything that has been done has been my will,” the Rajah said. Serenely he drew a pistol from his tunic. It was the same pistol Joe had carried when he entered the camp.
    “I have no need of you anymore, my friend,” said the Rajah, looking down. “Now that Strand is within my grasp, I am afraid we must say goodbye.”
    The Rajah fired six times, and each time, Vivasvat jerked. When the last shot was fired, Vivasvat fell on his back, his mouth and eyes open. The Rajah tapped the body twice, but there was no response. He went into his home, shut and locked the door, and dialed the phone. After a dozen rings, someone on the other end answered.
    “Pickwee police?” the Rajah said in a grieved tone. “This is the Rajah. I regret to say that my commune has been invaded. One of my charges was kidnapped, and my assistant was murdered… . What? Yes, the murderer left his weapon here. I’m sure his fingerprints are all over it.”
    “His name? I only heard it once. But I believe he called himself Joe Hardy.”

Chapter 7
    “No ONE’S FOLLOWING us,” Frank said. He gazed out the back window of the black van, but only the gravel road and silent forest showed in the red glare of the taillights. Beyond that was nothing but darkness.
    Clouds had moved into the area, blotting out the moon and stars. If anyone was following them, they were doing it without lights, severely limiting the chances of catching up. Aside from dull thunder in the distance, the only sound was the ricochet of gravel off the van’s underbody as it sped down the mountain.
    “No readings on the sensors,” Joe said, glancing at the readout from their surveillance equipment as he drove. “There’s no one within half a mile of us, if the infrared scopes aren’t on the fritz. We did it!”
    “That was some stunt you pulled, brother, going in there in disguise,” Frank replied. “Why didn’t you stick to the plan?”
    “Sometimes you have to play these things by ear,” Joe said, laughing. “Go with whatever works, that’s what I say.”
    “It didn’t work,” Holly said, in a voice so low it could barely be heard. Both Hardys raised their eyebrows in surprise. Those were the first words Holly had spoken since they’d left the commune, but she wasn’t making any sense.
    “Shhh,” Frank said comfortingly. “You’re safe now, Holly. No one’s going to hurt you anymore. “
    “No, you’re wrong,” she said. She sat back against the wall and drew her knees up until they pressed against her chin. She wrapped her arms around her legs, and fatigue and fear reddened her eyes. “You’re wrong about everything. The Rajah hasn’t let us go. He’s toying with us. I know he is. Just like I know my father sent you.”
    Frank shook his head. “It’s not true. He doesn’t know we’re here, and neither does our dad. We came here because you needed help and we could give it. And you don’t have to worry about the Rajah, either.”
    “Yeah, you make too big a deal about him,” Joe said. “He’s not so tough.”
    “You don’t know anything about him,” Holly snapped. “He’ll catch me, and he’ll take me back, and he’ll destroy you. I should never have left the commune.”
    Joe smirked, though he made sure to keep his face turned away from Holly. She’s nuts, he thought. That creep’s got his followers so wound up they think he can do anything.
    “I’ll tell you what, Holly. There’s a village a little way down

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