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ND Mistery Stories #64: Captive Witness - Chapter 6
|Nancy Drew Mistery Stories #64: Captive Witness
Ned's face changed from a look of intense anxiety to one of such unrestrained happiness that all three girls began laughing.
"Very funny, Nancy Drew," said Ned. "Very funny. You are the worst tease I ever met. Now what would you do if I said no?"
Nancy wrinkled her nose at him. "I suppose I'd have to drop into a hole in the earth when Herr Gutterman came to pick me up. You wouldn't let that happen, would you?"
"Of course he wouldn't," George said. "He would follow you to the ends of the earth."
"To Vienna, anyway," Ned declared.
The young people split up, Nancy and Ned making their good-byes and explaining to Professor Bagley that they would meet him and the tour in Vienna on Sunday. At noon, they were both standing in front of the hotel with their bags.
Within a few minutes, a beautiful brown sedan pulled up with Herr Gutterman at the wheel. He was beaming happily as he fought his way out from under the steering wheel which pressed against his bulging stomach.
Hurrying around the car, he picked up Nancy's bags and placed them in the trunk. As he did so, Nancy glanced around for Ned. He was gone! And Herr Gutterman was opening the rear door and gesturing for her to enter and be seated.
"Oh," Nancy said, "could you wait a moment, please? I've forgotten something. Turning, she dashed back into the hotel where Bess and George were watching the scene through a window.
"Did you lose something, Nancy?" Bess giggled.
"Where is Ned?" Nancy cried.
"Oh, Ned!" Bess said. "You're looking for Ned?"
"Come on, you two, what are you doing to me?" She stopped. "Oh, I get it. He's getting even for my teasing this morning. Okay, I apologize. Now please tell me where he is."
Ned appeared, almost magically, at Nancy's elbow. "Oh, Nancy, I'm so sorry." He grinned. "I just wanted to make sure you really wanted me to go."
"Oh, you!" Nancy laughed.
The two young people hurried outside where Herr Gutterman waited impatiently. Nancy smiled at him. "Herr Gutterman, I hope you won't mind, but my friend Ned Nickerson also has to go to Vienna. I thought that with so much room in your big car perhaps you wouldn't mind giving him a lift, too."
"I'd very much appreciate it," Ned said, using his most humble tone.
The barest flicker of annoyance passed over Herr Gutterman's face, but he quickly covered it by laughing loudly, assuring Ned he was delighted. For good measure, he slapped him on the back—a bit harder than necessary.
With great ceremony, he ushered them into the back seat, then trotted around front and squeezed himself into the driver's seat. He called through the speaking tube into the rear seat. "You will pardon me if I do the driving myself until we pick up my chauffeur. He is on the other side of town."
"Perfectly all right," Nancy called, settling back in the plush interior. "What a beautiful car," she said. "I see that it's been freshly painted." Some of the paint had come off on Nancy's finger as she touched the door.
"Yes," Herr Gutterman replied, "I try to keep my cars looking new."
"Hmm," Ned said, "a refrigerator, a telephone, a television set. Herr Gutterman, you travel in style."
Nancy noted a clicking sound. Herr Gutterman had locked all the doors electronically. Well, thought Nancy, nothing unusual about that. Dad's car operates that way. Even so, the gesture made her uneasy.
As they crossed Salzburg and slowed down to enter an alley adjoining an old building, a warning sounded in her brain. A freshly painted car. Why? A ride to Vienna. Why? Hotel rooms just when they needed them. Why was this seemingly innocuous pest so solicitous of the Americans?
Nancy felt a shiver as Ned said, "Nancy, do you hear the engine of this car?"
They both realized, simultaneously, what this meant. "Like the black car," Ned whispered. "The same silent engine."
"It's the same car, Ned. They painted it yesterday. The paint is still wet—and the doors are locked."
Who was this Gutterman?
As Nancy asked the question, the car pulled up to a doorway and a man dashed out. Gutterman squeezed out from behind the driver's seat and the chauffeur slid in, turning to stare at Nancy and Ned. They gasped as they realized he was the short, wiry man with the pitted face—the man who had stolen the bus in Munich.
Now the fat man began to take off his coat. Underneath he wore great pads that, as he slipped them off, made him lose seventy-five pounds in appearance. Next he removed his wig and began tugging at his mustache. With blond hair, no mustache, and considerably lighter in weight, he was the same man who had attempted the luggage theft at the Munich airport.
"I can't believe it," Ned murmured.
"Well, we saw it with our own eyes," Nancy said. "And I thought I was so clever to get Herr Gutterman to drive us to Vienna."
"Yeah," Ned said. "Now what?"
"Relax, I guess," the girl detective said, "while we try to figure a way out."
"But there is nothing you can do, Nancy Drew," came Gutterman's voice through the communications system. "The doors are locked. The windows are tinted so that you can see out but no one can see into the rear compartment. I can see you by switching on a secret electrical impulse which clears the window separating us. All I have to do is press the button."
"Don't worry, Nancy," Ned whispered, "we've got to stop sometime, and there are bound to be cars nearby. Then we'll yell our heads off. Someone will notice us."
Nancy nodded and then, as luck would have it, they found themselves side by side with a police car at a red light. Instantly, the two young people set up the loudest racket they could.
"Help us!" Ned cried. "Help! Help!"
"We're being kidnapped," Nancy yelled.
But the more they shouted the less effect it seemed to have. The policemen sat, talking casually to each other. Not once did they turn in the right direction. At last, the police car drove away and Herr Gutterman's annoying voice broke in on them again.
"You shouldn't shout like that." Gutterman laughed. "You'll ruin your voices. It's futile, because the rear compartment is completely sound-proofed. I guess I forgot to tell you that. In fact, it is airtight. If air were not pumped in to you constantly, you could not breathe."
"What do you intend to do with us, Herr Gutterman—or whatever your name is?" Nancy questioned, looking at him, her blue eyes now like ice.
"Herr Gntterman is as good a name as any," their captor said. "My chauffeur is Herr Burger. As to what we will do with you, well, we will take you to a place where you will not be able to meddle in matters that don't concern you. Whether you ever come back, I have not yet decided."
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