It was while they were thus engaged that Brady's attention was attracted by the dismal flapping of huge wings.
Attracted by Brady's cry the others seized their rifles as they followed his wide-eyed, frozen gaze, nor was there one of them that was not moved by some species of terror or awe.
"Tyke me awy from this orful plice." Brady, recovered from the first shock, swore loud and luridly.
"Shut up, you fool!" growled Brady. "If you know so much, tell us what it was after bein' then."
It was Brady who showed the first signs of returning good spirits.
The others were listening to Brady's description of traffic congestion at the Rush Street bridge during the rush hour at night.
"I don't know about that," said Brady. "There was a woman murdered over on the prairie near Brighton--her throat was cut from ear to ear, and--"
By this time James, Brady and Sinclair were at his heels, each with his rifle in readiness.
"Wot was it after bein', do you think?" inquired Brady.
"It was the work of the banshee all right," muttered Brady. "It warned poor Tippet, it did."
A terror-stricken cry punctuated by the crack of a rifle brought Bradley, Sinclair and Brady to their feet in time to see James, with clubbed rifle, battling with a white-robed figure that hovered on widespread wings on a level with the Englishman's head.
Brady had gone on from eight to ten, followed by Sinclair from ten to twelve, then Bradley had been awakened.
The snapping of a twig aroused Brady out of a dead sleep, and as he opened his eyes, he saw that it was broad daylight and that at twenty paces from him stood a huge lion.
Brady stepped close in and finished him with a shot in the base of the brain lest his terrific roarings should attract his mate or others of their kind.
The two men circled about the camp twice and on the last lap Brady stooped and picked up an object which had lain about ten yards beyond the fire--it was Bradley's cap.