OUT OF THE FOREST
The lightning lit up the yard again. The wind blew the tops of the trees over sideways, and their branches moved like snakes berserk in the air. The fire steamed and hissed, and slowly went out. The wind blew the rain into their faces as they huddled together around the open door.
“Heavens above!” cried Phoebe. “Thank God you’re here!” Her sense of relief was so powerful she felt she might burst open.
“That was a near thing,” said Jeremy in an awed, dazed voice. “But where are the police?”
“It’s a good thing we didn’t just sit back and wait for them to arrive,” put in Geraldine.
“No police,” admitted Phoebe. “I saw Geraldine on my left, but I couldn’t just yell, ‘Geraldine!’ so I thought of police.”
“I did send for them, you know,” said Jeremy. “George is supposed to bring police to the end of Bridge Avenue.”
“I’m still worried,” Phoebe told them. “Do you think that crew has had enough? They could easily wait for us down the road.” Phoebe could just make out Tuck’s face in the darkness. He was frowning and staring into space.
“I’ll tell you one person who’s had enough. Me! Reverend David Tuck! I’m going to walk up Bridge Avenue with Abby by my side to my church, so help me God! Just try to stop me. Just try to stop me!” With tears in his eyes he shook his fist toward the departed mob.
“Abby,” he announced. “I’m inviting you to return with me and take up residence in our gardener’s cottage, and with your help I’ll persuade every last citizen of this town to accept my decision. What are you doing in a place like this? You should have spoken to me months ago. But I must warn you, there will be a few rules, very strict rules I must say, and duties of course, but…”
“I accept. I accept! I’m going to grab a few things from my room here, and…” She threw her arms around Tuck, and turned and disappeared into the darkness behind them.
The fury of the storm was already tapering off. Abby returned wearing her backpack, and with an old duffel bag in her hand and a red blanket rolled up and tied to it with a piece of rope. She walked out into the rain, dropped her bag, and spun around with her hands in the air. “Oh I’m so happy! I’m so happy!” she said and burst into tears.
They all walked out and joined her, and soon were marching down the dark, muddy road together. Suddenly out of the darkness came the flashing lights of a police car.
George’s face appeared out of the window. “Phoebe! Abby! Jeremy!” he called. As the car pulled to a stop he jumped out to embrace his friends.
Chief Santiago leaned out of the driver’s window and asked, “Is that you Tuck? Dr. Bear! Well, well, there’s a story here. And who were those folks who scattered into the woods when I drove up past the bridge?”
“You’ll hear it all,” replied Tuck. They squeezed into the car and rode under flashing lights to Main Street.
“I’d love to invite everyone for dinner,” Tuck told them, “but I’ll have the newspapers and my church committee to think about. So we’re going to drop off Phoebe, Jeremy, and George right here. You’ve been wonderful, but we can’t have you socializing at the church or the cottage right now. I’ve got to manage some public relations. Chief, you and the doctor should come back with us, and I’ll give you a statement that’ll burn your socks off. Abby, prepare your mind to talk to some reporters. We’ll give you a few hints. Then we’ll eat and make a place in the cottage for you to sleep.”
“But when do we see Abby?” asked Phoebe. “We don’t want her to be lonely.”
“Everything in it’s own good time,” said Tuck. “We’ve got work to do. And Phoebe,” he added, “stay away from reporters unless you speak to me first. You hear? We’ve got a pretty complex campaign under way. Be careful. And that goes double for you two,” he said, pointing at Jeremy and George.
“Don’t worry,” said Jeremy, waving his hand.
“I think I’ll go into hiding for a few weeks,” said George with a straight face.
“Not a bad idea,” replied Tuck. “It’s no joke.”
“It’s all right,” Abby told them. “I’m ready for this. But don’t go away! Pretend that I’m with you, and I’ll be back soon.”
And so Phoebe and Jeremy said their goodbyes, and George gave Abby a long hug, and they stepped out onto the wet pavement. The rain had stopped, and a clean, cool breeze was blowing the clouds into the west. Stars were blazing in the black velvet sky.
PHOEBE COMES HOME (Book I)
PHOEBE BREAKS THROUGH (Book II)
And The Upcoming...GHOST GIRL (Book III)
by John KixMiller
Out Of The Forest illustration
by Carlos Uribe
Learn More About Phoebe And The Players In Middletown!