Chapter V. Locked In
 

"On, say, Bunny!" suddenly called Sue, as she followed her brother through the upstairs rooms, "wouldn't it be fun for us to live here?"

"Do you mean just us two?" the little boy asked.

"Yes," answered Sue.

Bunny shook his head.

"I'd like mother, and daddy, and Aunt Lu, too," he said. "It would be nicer, then."

"Oh, but sometimes they don't want us to make a noise," went on Sue. "And if we were here all alone we could yell and holler, and slide down the banister, all we wanted to. Let's slide down now," she said, as she went to the head of the stairs, and looked at the long, smooth hand- rail.

"Say, that will be fun," Bunny cried. "I'll go first, Sue, but don't come after me too close, or you might bump into me and knock me over."

"I won't," promised the little girl.

It did not take much to cause Bunny to change his mind or his plans when there was any fun to be had. For a while he forgot about looking for red paint to put on his face to make him look funny when he played Mr. Punch, with the hollow lobster claw on his nose. Just now the joy of sliding down the banister rail seemed to be the best in the world.

"Here I go!" cried Bunny, and down the rail he went, ending with a little bump on the big, round post at the bottom.

"Now it's my turn," Sue said, and down she came. Though she was a girl Sue could slide down a rail almost as well as could Bunny. In fact, she had played with her brother so much that she could do many of the things that small boys do. And Bunny surely thought that Sue was as good a chum as any of his boy playmates.

"Now it's my turn again!" exclaimed the little blue-eyed chap, as he went up the stairs, his feet making a loud noise in the empty house. For some time Bunny and Sue played at sliding down the banister rail, and then Bunny remembered what they had first come into the house for.

"Let's go to look for that red paint," he said.

"All right," agreed Sue. Her little legs were beginning to get tired from running up the stairs so often.

Back up to the second floor went the children, looking through the vacant rooms. But no paint pots did they see.

"I guess all the paint is outside," said Bunny. "We'll go down and get some."

"Maybe the man wouldn't like us to take it," said Sue.

"We'll pay him for it, if he wants money," Bunny replied, as though he had plenty. "Mother or Aunt Lu will give us pennies soon," he said, "and I can give the man mine. I only want about a penny's worth of red paint Come on, we'll go out, Sue, and get some."

"Yes, and then we'd better go home," Sue went on. "I guess it's going to be dark pretty soon," and she looked out of a window. It was getting on toward evening, but the children had been having so much fun that they had not noticed this.

Bunny and Sue walked through all the upstairs rooms of the empty house. In one Bunny saw something that made him call out:

"Oh, Sue, look! A lot of picture books! Let's sit down and read them!"

Of course Bunny and Sue could not read, though the little boy knew some of his letters. So when he said "read" he meant look at the pictures. The books were some old magazines that the family, in moving away from the house, had left behind. Bunny and Sue made each a little pile of the paper books for seats and then they sat there looking at the pictures in another pile of magazines on the floor beside them.

"Oh, look at this dog, riding on a horse's back!" exclaimed Bunny, showing Sue a picture he had found in his book.

"Yes, it's like in a circus," Sue agreed. "And see, here's a colored picture of a cow. Oh, I wish I had a drink of milk, Bunny. I'm hungry! It must be pretty near supper time."

"I guess it is," the little fellow agreed, as he patted his own stomach. "We'll go home, Sue. I wonder if we couldn't take some of those books with us?"

"I guess so," Sue said. "Nobody wants 'em."

"And, anyhow, we didn't get any red paint, though maybe I can find some outside," Bunny said. "We'll each take a book."

It took a little time for Bunny and Sue each to pick out the book, with the pictures in it, that was most liked. But finally, each with a magazine held tightly, the children started to go down stairs.

"Here I go!" cried Bunny again, as he straddled the banister railing. Down he slid, but this time Sue did not wait until her brother had reached the bottom post.

She put her own fat little legs over the rail, and down she went, bumping right into Bunny and knocking him off the post on to the floor. And, that was not all, for she fell right on top of him.

"Ugh!" grunted Bunny, for Sue was rather heavy and she took his breath away.

"Oh, Bunny, did I hurt you?" asked the little girl, as she got up. "Did I, Bunny?"

"Nope, you didn't hurt me, Sue. Falling down did--a little, but I fell on something soft, I guess."

Bunny stood up and looked. He had fallen on a pile of cloth bags which the painters had left inside the house. It was lucky for Bunny that the bags were there, or he might have been badly bruised. As it was he and Sue were not hurt, and, having picked themselves up, and brushed off their clothes, they were ready to go back home.

And it was quite time, too, for the shadows were getting longer and longer out in the street, as the sun went down.

"It was the front door that blew shut with such a bang," Bunny said, as he and Sue went down the long, front hall. "It was open when we came in, but it's shut now."

"The wind blew it, I guess," said Sue. "I wonder if you can get it open, Bunny?"

"Sure!" her brother said.

But when Bunny tried to open the front door he could not. Either it was too tightly shut, or else some spring lock had snapped shut. There was no key in the hole, but Bunny turned and twisted the knob, this way and that. But the door would not open.

"Let me try," said Sue, seeing that Bunny was not getting the door to swing open so they could get out. "Let me try."

"Pooh! If I can't do it, you can't," Bunny said. He did not exactly mean to be impolite, but he meant that he was stronger than his little sister and so she could hardly hope to do what he could not.

"Oh, but Bunny, what will we do if we can't get the door open?" Sue asked, and she seemed almost as frightened as the day when she had fallen down in the mud puddle when she and Bunny went to meet Aunt Lu.

"Well, if I can't get the front door open, maybe I can get the back one or the side one open," Bunny said. "Come on, we'll try them."

But the back door was also locked and there was no key in that to turn. Neither was there a side door. Both the front and back doors were locked.

Bunny looked at Sue, and Sue looked at her little brother. Her eyes were bright and shiny, as though she were going to cry. Bunny tried to speak bravely.

"Sue--we--we're locked in!" he said.

"Oh, Bunny!" she exclaimed. "What are we going to do? Oh! Oh! Oh dear!"