Still Tom lay there watching and listening; by and by a puff of warm air blew across the sand,
when a thumping of louder thunder leaped from out the storm cloud, which every minute was coming nearer and nearer.
Still Tom Chist lay watching. Suddenly, the three pirates came out again from behind the sand hill, the captain leading the way;
the negro and white man followed closely behind him. They had gone about halfway across the sandy level toward the hillock
behind which Tom Chist lay, when the white man stopped and bent over as though to tie his shoe.
This brought the negro a few steps in front of his companion.
That which then followed happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly, so swiftly,
that Tom Chist had hardly time to realize what it all meant before it was over.
As the negro passed him, the white man arose suddenly and stood silently erect;
and Tom Chist saw the white moonlight glint upon the blade of a great dirk knife which he now held in his hand.
The white man took one, two silent, catlike steps behind the unsuspecting negro.
Then there was a sweeping flash of the blade in the pale light,
and a blow, the thump of which Tom could hear even from where he lay stretched out upon the sand.
There was an instant yell from the black man,
who ran stumbling forward, stopped, regained his footing, and then stood for a moment as though rooted to the spot.
Meantime the pirate captain had stopped, and now stood with his hand resting upon his cane, looking calmly on.
Then the black man started to run. The white man stood for a while glaring after him;
then he, too, started after his victim upon the run. The black man was not very far from Tom when he staggered and fell.
He tried to rise, then fell forward again and lay at length. At that instant the first edge of the cloud cut across the moon,
and there was a sudden darkness; but in the silence Tom heard the sound of another blow and a groan,
and then presently a voice calling to the pirate captain that it was all over.