Jeremy led Phoebe and George down Main Street to where his tow truck sat by the roadside. They climbed up into the cab. He put the old tank into gear, took a u-turn, and they were on their way home.
“Wait!” exclaimed Phoebe. “Turn left here.”
With a puzzled look Jeremy downshifted and turned up Oak Knoll Lane.
“I just want to reassure Glenda and Tiny,” Phoebe said. “They’re in a tough spot. Stephanie’s uncle was talking about a TV crew. This news will travel fast.”
“Why is it such a big deal?” asked George.
“As soon as they hear about a mob with torches and a haunted house and an innocent girl, we might have reporters combing the countryside.”
“A mob with torches!” cried George. “Fill me in!”
“You’ll hear it all,” Phoebe replied. She knocked on Glenda’s door.
“Oh my God!” shrieked Glenda. “Phoebe, George, Jeremy! What happened? Call your sister! They’re frantic!”
Tiny jumped into Phoebe’s arms. “You’re okay!” she yelled. “Mom, look, she’s okay!”
Phoebe called Penny and learned that her parents and Sammy had been released an hour ago. Photos of the afternoon’s arrests had caused an uproar.
“I saw your picture on TV,” said Glenda. “You sure look better now.”
“It must be Freddy Baez,” said George. “I gave him my memory card a few hours ago. I’m a photographer!”
Jeremy had been focused on the TV. “Here it comes!” he told them.
The room became silent as the newscaster spoke: “WBCS brings you more breaking news from Middletown in Half Moon County, where our reporters Stan Miller and Janet Rivera are already on the scene with live interviews from witnesses of today’s bizarre and frightening events. Here is Stan Miller reporting from outside the Middletown United Church. It’s been quite a day, Stan.”
The camera zoomed in on the well-known newsman standing on the sidewalk near the gate to the churchyard.
“Thanks Tim! We’ve got quite a story developing here. Town Police Chief Daniel Santiago has apparently just returned with the Reverend Tuck, minister of this church, and Dr. Geraldine Bear of Middletown Hospital, and a young girl from Half Moon High School named Abby Chapman.
Tiny screamed. “Abby! It’s Abby!”
“And here is Janet Rivera now with another live interview.”
The camera zoomed in. The smooth and attractive TV reporter stood at the churchyard gate with Abby, who looked skinny and shy, staring at the ground.
“Thank you so much for taking a moment with us,” the reporter began, leaning toward Abby with her microphone. “We understand you’ve had a trying ordeal, and we appreciate any help you can offer to clear up the rumors that have been circulating about this story.” The reporter smiled, and Abby managed a little eye contact. “Now, your name is…”
“Abby Chapman.” Her voice was thin and soft, but she looked up at the camera.
“I’ve been told by both the Reverend Tuck and Dr. Bear – both standing here with you – that they found you this evening in an abandoned house near the Forest Preserve. Can you tell us what happened this evening?”
Abby looked up and said, “I… I was staying in that house, living there you might say, because I have no other home here and my friends are here in Middletown. I wasn’t bothering anybody.”
“A crowd of men appeared out of the darkness and were yelling for me to come out. I was afraid. Then they lit a fire and carried burning branches toward the door…”
“Did you recognize these men?”
“It was hard to be sure of their faces.”
“And then what happened?”
“Suddenly Reverend Tuck and Dr. Bear appeared and yelled for them to go back or they’d regret it for the rest of their lives.” Abby’s voice was beginning to break. Her eyes were tearing up.
“And how did this end?”
“The rain came down with thunder and lightning, and the people ran away. I asked Reverend Tuck to bring me to the church here.” Tears began to roll down her cheeks. She looked straight into the camera and said, “I’m okay, Mom and Dad, I’m sorry I made you worry… I’m okay, everyone, and thanks to all who helped me.” She began to sob. Dr. Bear put her arm around Abby and gently escorted her back through the gate. Reverend Tuck followed.
Phoebe was thinking, “I’m feeling dizzy. This day has been too much.” Glenda and Tiny were crying. George’s eyes were wet, and he was trying to hide his face.
PHOEBE COMES HOME (Book I)
PHOEBE BREAKS THROUGH (Book II)
And The Upcoming...GHOST GIRL (Book III)
by John KixMiller
Breaking News illustration
by Lawrence Tate
Learn More About Phoebe And The Players In Middletown!