In the morning, joined by Charles’s best friend, William, the kids return to the lakeside in hopes of finding Captain Kid. They do not find the captain but find his raft tied along the bank.

An attempt is made to pull the raft ashore, but the thing will not budge a single inch even though it’s floating and has no anchor. Undaunted, Dawn kicks off her sandals and goes out into the water to investigate. The others join her, and when they climb up onto the raft, they find that not only will it not move toward the shore but it won’t move at all.

Even with the four of them standing on the little raft, their combined weight doesn’t rock the boat—not one bit. That is when Dawn points with her toe, directing the boys’ attentions to the floor planks. In the floor, narrow grooves form a rectangle. Their youthful, detective minds identify the purpose at once: the raft has a secret compartment.

Then Charles remembers something Dawn said when they were still on the bank. When he’d pointed out the lack of human footprints in the muck along the shoreline—an idea that suggested the captain hadn’t come ashore—Dawn looked out at the immovable raft and muttered, “He’s hiding on it someplace.”

Hiding on the raft? That seemed impossible.

But now… impossible or not, Charles thought she was right.

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