dawned bright and sunny. The
members of the Belden clan were normally early birds, but Friday had been
an especially late night for all. Everyone
had been out, or at least up, until well after midnight.
the late night, Trixie woke up bright and early and started right
in on her chores. She decided
that, since she had energy to burn, she would be a bit generous with her
time. She fed the chickens and did Mart’s morning chores in the
coop. Then she dusted in the
living room. When she
finished that, she started making breakfast.
By the time she had finished, her parents and Mart were moving
Helen arrived in the kitchen, she stopped in her tracks.
The table was set, with fresh wildflowers in a vase in the center. There were freshly baked blueberry muffins, crisp bacon, and
mountains of scrambled eggs. The
smell of coffee brewing wafted through the sunny kitchen, and pitchers of
fresh juice and cold milk were set out on the table.
Trixie was standing at the sink, washing the cookware so there
would be fewer dishes after breakfast.
her mother enter, Trixie turned and flashed a cheery smile.
“Hi, Moms! I thought
you deserved a break today. Enjoy
moved to her place at the table, her face puzzled.
“Thank you, dear. To
what do I owe this honor?” she asked.
for being you,” Trixie replied, kissing her mother’s cheek while she
dried her hands on a dishtowel.
and Mart entered the kitchen and took their places at the table.
Mart appeared to be sleepwalking, but that had never stopped his
appetite. He piled his plate
high with food and began to shovel it into his mouth.
As Trixie sat down, Helen winked at her daughter, her twinkling
eyes warning not to mention who had made breakfast.
years of marriage had taught Peter to read Helen well, and he had not
missed any of the exchange with Trixie.
He quirked an eyebrow at his wife.
She gave him a small smile and shrugged.
Peter decided that his head hurt too much from last night’s
drinking for him to even begin to fathom what his daughter was up to now.
That would have to wait until after breakfast.
was an unusually quiet meal for the Beldens.
With Bobby and Brian not there, Peter having a hangover, and Mart
not really awake, Helen chose to enjoy the quiet.
She waited until Mart was nearly done, and his mouth was very full.
Then she spoke softly but firmly, “Mart, thank your sister for
choked on his mouthful of food, swallowed wrong, and began coughing.
His eyes watered while he struggled to clear his throat and regain
his ability to breath. Trixie
and Helen laughed out loud at this display.
Peter laughed as well, although he winced and held a palm to his
temples. The expression on
Mart’s fact was priceless!
looked at his mother in astonishment.
“What part did Trixie make?”
smiled and said simply, “Everything.”
looked at Trixie. Her cheeks
were red with embarrassment. She
was staring at her juice, while her fingers did a nervous little dance
along the rim of the glass. If
he wanted to tease the heck out of her, now would be the perfect time.
He mentally reviewed his extensive vocabulary of long and annoying
words. Then, for some reason
he could not explain, he changed his mind.
Trixie. This is really
good.” He smiled simply,
and then went back to his meal.
looked up quickly, surprised. “Y-you’re
welcome,” she stammered.
and Helen had been watching the exchange carefully, especially interested
in the mental battle Mart had waged before speaking.
His face was just as expressive as Trixie’s, and his thoughts had
been very clear to his parents. They
exchanged a look. And so
our children move on to another new chapter in growing up.
cleared his place and put his dishes in the sink.
“I’d better get out to the coop and take care of the
done already,” Trixie said quietly.
pairs of eyes stared at her in astonishment.
She looked up and caught their stares.
Flushing brightly, she said, “What?
I was up early and had some extra energy.
I couldn’t exactly make the beds while you were still in them!”
jumped up from her place. “Speaking
of which, I’d better get that done right now.”
With that, she turned and ran up the stairs, taking them two at a
a moment of stunned silence, Mart cleared Trixie’s place.
“I guess I’ll do the breakfast dishes, then.”
looked at Helen in confusion. “Who was
that, and where is my Trixie?”
Trixie finished her chores, as well as Bobby’s, she walked over to the
Lynch Estate to retrieve her little brother from his sleepover.
She walked the path through the woods, enjoying the sunlight
streaming through the gaps in the trees and the clean, fresh air.
Suddenly, she got an eerie feeling that she was being watched.
The hair on the back of her neck stood on end.
She stopped and peered into the surrounding woods intently.
Seeing nothing, she shrugged and went on.
Harrison answered the Lynches’ door for her, Diana was just entering the
two-story marble front hall. Seeing
Trixie, she smiled brightly.
morning, Trix. How was your
evening last night?”
thought about her night and smiled a secret smile.
For some reason she could not explain, she did not want to share
with her friend how she had actually spent her evening.
“It was, um, relaxing,” was all she said.
noticed the smile and knew there was more to the story.
She looked at her friend closely.
There was something different about Trixie.
If she had to pinpoint the moment of change, she would have to
guess it was the day Brian and Jim had left for college.
Di had expected that things would change with the two oldest
Bob-Whites gone, but would never have guessed quite the way things
would be different.
Brian and Jim away, Di had expected one of two reactions out of Trixie.
The first was that she would be out of control, because the older
boys were not there to rein her in and check her impulsive nature.
The second was that Trixie would seem lost and rudderless, because
she relied so heavily on Brian and Jim for support and guidance.
Trixie seemed at peace. She
was a sea of tranquility, exuding a confidence and maturity that had never
been there before. Deciding,
for the time being at least, that this was a good thing, Di thought it
best to let well enough alone.
I’m glad you got some rest. You
were beat when you left Wimpy’s.”
As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Diana remembered the
scene in Wimpy’s parking lot the night before.
She did not want to be the one to tell Trixie about it.
then, Bobby came barreling down the stairs with his overnight bag over his
shoulder. Di heaved a sigh of relief.
smiled at Di and said her goodbyes. “I’ve
got to get this monster home,” she chuckled.
laughed and waved as she watched them go.
Trixie walked Bobby back along the path to Crabapple Farm, a silent figure
followed along stealthily through the woods.
walked through the woods, deep in thought.
He was heading out to Mr. Maypenny’s to meet Dan, and had decided
to take a longer trail through the preserve.
He wanted to enjoy the warmth of the September sunshine, and to
clear his head from the mental fog that had engulfed him all morning.
the one hand, Mart had known he would miss Brian when he went away.
They were friends as well as brothers and spent a great deal of
time together. Even having
his bedroom to himself seemed weird – almost lonely.
the other hand, he had expected to feel free.
He would not have his big brother around to be sensible, tell him
what to do, and protect him. Mart
had begun to feel smothered. Although
he expected Brian to be protective and bossy with Trixie, he found it
annoying when Brian treated him the same way.
He wanted some breathing room.
when Brian left, Mart had suddenly felt responsible for things,
especially his sister. Not
that she’d managed to get herself in trouble in the last two weeks;
actually she’d been unusually quiet.
That was worrisome in and of itself.
And Brian wasn’t here, so Mart should be the one to worry about
it. Great, I get to be the
grown-up now. Just
what I wanted.
suddenly understood why Brian was always so serious.
It wasn’t fair, really. Maybe
college would be good for Brian. If
he didn’t have to watch his siblings, and set a good example all the
time, maybe he would loosen up a little.
he didn’t want to turn into Overprotective Brian, Mart thought about how
he could attack his Trixie problem from a different angle.
He needed to be able to talk to her, without fighting.
Of course, that would be a lot easier if he didn’t tease her so
much. He thought about
breakfast that morning. It
had actually felt good to just thank her instead of picking on her.
Maybe if he resisted the urge to tease more often, it would get
then he heard Trixie’s laughter echoing through the forest.
He looked in the direction from which the sound was coming and
glimpsed two blond heads bobbing along the trail as Trixie walked Bobby
home from the Lynches’ house. They
were chatting and laughing, enjoying the day and each other.
Mart smiled at the way she seemed to brighten the whole area with
her mere presence.
smile quickly turned to a frown as he spied another head through the
trees. He could not see the
person clearly, but it was obvious he was following Trixie at a discreet
distance. Alarm bells began
ringing loudly in Mart’s head as he moved to intercept the intruder.
twig snapped beneath Mart’s foot, and the stranger stopped.
He glanced around furtively, then began to slink back into the
shadows of the deeper stand of trees off the main trail.
Mart followed as quickly as he could, being careful not to attract
almost lost the stranger twice, but picked up his trail again.
He finally followed him to a secluded spot on Glen Road, just as he
pealed away in a non-descript small beige sedan.
Mart made careful note of every detail he could remember, including
the part of the license plate that was not covered by mud.
Face etched in a grim mask, he made a beeline for Mr. Maypenny’s
to discuss this development with Dan.
the time Trixie and Bobby got home, they had just enough time to change
their clothes before it was time to head to Mrs. Vanderpoel’s house.
Trixie grabbed her bookbag and they mounted their bikes to head
out. They waived to Mrs. Belden, who was watching them from the
two youngest Beldens reveled in the glorious late summer day as they
enjoyed their bike ride to the lovely yellow cottage Mrs. Vanderpoel
called home. Their knock at
the door was answered by the owner, a short, stout Dutch woman with rosy cheeks,
bright eyes, and a kind and generous heart that shone through her broad
smile. She hugged each of the
children as she ushered them into the house.
you come and help me in the kitchen.
We need to finish baking fresh windmill cookies while we make
lunch. Old Brom will be
joining us.” Mrs.
Vanderpoel grinned as Bobby whooped happily.
She turned to his sister, “Trixie, you go right on into Tad’s
room. He’s waiting for you,
and you two need to get to work on your project.
We’ll call you when lunch is ready.”
thanked her neighbor and headed down the hall in the direction of Tad’s
room. When she reached the
door she knocked nervously. She
had expected to be studying in the living room, not Tad’s
bedroom. Tad answered the
door quickly and welcomed her with a deep, elaborate bow.
to my humble abode, fair maiden,” he greeted her airily.
He stepped aside so she could enter the room.
giggled at his silliness. As
she walked past him, she breathed a sigh of relief.
In the middle of the room Tad had set up a card table with two
chairs opposite each other. On
the table he had spread out his French books and the directions for their
assignment. The room was neat
and clean, and a stereo played softly in the background.
Tad made a point of leaving the door wide open as he stepped over
to the card table.
initial wariness dissipated. They
weren’t going to be studying on his bed or anything, and he was making
every effort to make her comfortable.
She relaxed and went to sit at the table.
They quickly got down to work.
hour later, Bobby appeared at the door.
“Mrs. V. says lunch is ready.
Come and get it!” he fairly shouted, as he took off back in the
direction of the kitchen.
looked at her watch in amazement. “I
can’t believe we’ve been working for an hour already!”
smiled. “Yes, but look at how much we’ve gotten done.
This is going well.”
glanced around her at their various notes and things.
She smiled up at Tad and said, “You’re right.
We make a great team!”
they headed toward the kitchen for lunch, her words echoed in Tad’s
mind. His thoughts headed in
an entirely new direction, taking him by surprise.
a lively luncheon, punctuated by laughter and fun, Tad and Trixie helped
Mrs. Vanderpoel with the dishes. As
soon as they were done, she shooed them away.
“You kids go and finish your homework.
Brom and I will be out in the garden with Bobby if you need
pair headed back to Tad’s room and returned to their project.
An hour later, Tad declared that they needed a break.
“We’ve done so much already, and it’s not due for two more
we were on a roll,” Trixie pouted. Then she grinned and asked, “I’m actually enjoying
homework, and you want me to stop?”
returned her grin. He had
suggested stopping so they had an excuse to get together again, but he
didn’t really want her to leave. “Well,
maybe we can change subjects or something,” he suggested.
“I’m tired of French for today.”
wrinkled her nose. “The
only other homework I have this weekend is geometry, and I hate that.”
is that?” Tad asked curiously, leaning toward her.
shrugged ruefully, “I’ve never done well in math.
I just have this mental block, I guess.”
was amazed at how visible the sudden nosedive in her mood was.
The mere mention of math caused her self-esteem to crumble.
Something in her vulnerability touched him; he wanted to reach out
to her, hold her, and tell her how wonderful she really was.
he suggested, “Why don’t I help you?
I did fairly well in geometry last year.”
bright smile lit up her face. “Really?
You wouldn’t mind?”
laughed. “Of course not! You
said it yourself, we make a great team.
Surely we can whip a few math problems into shape.”
they worked on Trixie’s math homework, they wandered off into side
conversations several times. The
song on the stereo prompted a long discussion of music.
After getting back on track for a couple of problems, they drifted
off into an analysis of the previous day’s basketball tournament.
Trixie blushed at Tad’s compliments, and dove back into the math
they finally finished the problems, Trixie was amazed that she actually
understood the lesson. “Wow!
It’s like when all the pieces of a mystery come together.
It makes complete sense!”
excitement shone. Her blue
eyes sparkled brightly. Her
smile lit her entire face. She
radiated life, and joy, and happiness.
Tad compared this vision to her expression earlier, and was glad to
have helped her with the transformation.
He realized he wanted to continue to be a part of this electricity
a deep breath, he plunged right in. “Why
don’t we make a regular habit of this?
We can work on French together, and I can help you with your
studied his expression. She
had always needed help with her homework, and she had been wondering what
she would do with Jim and Brian away.
She knew Dan didn’t have a lot of free time, and she really
didn’t want to have to rely on Mart.
Deciding Tad seemed to genuinely want to help her, she agreed.
would be great, Tad. I could really
use the help.”
compared their schedules for the week.
Tad made mental note of her basketball “dates” with Chris Zack.
They agreed to get together Wednesday evening.
Trixie had gathered her things she went to retrieve her brother.
As they walked out to the garden, she and Tad were discussing their
study plans for Wednesday. When
Mrs. Vanderpoel heard about them, she insisted that Trixie come for
dinner. Trixie was only too
glad to accept. Bobby
frowned, knowing he wouldn’t be allowed to come then.
we do this again, Trixie?” Bobby whined.
“I had lots of fun today!”
jumped in quickly. “Of
course, Bobby. We’ll do this again next Saturday, so you can come too.”
he realized he was making plans for others without consulting them.
He looked around sheepishly, expecting to find condemnation in
their faces. Instead, Mrs.
Vanderpoel was nodding her head approvingly, a gleam in her eye.
Trixie was giving him a grateful look for having appeased Bobby.
Tad relaxed, and smiled inwardly.
Being nice to Bobby Belden was easy; if that’s all it took to get
Trixie to look at him that way, it was a small price to pay.
had filled Dan in on the man in the woods.
Dan had become anxious and planned to look for signs of intruders
during his patrols of the preserve. After
a quick phone call to verify that he was on duty, they drove in tense
silence to the police station to talk to Sergeant Molinson.
his office, Mart relayed his entire story of the man following Trixie in
the woods. He described the
beige sedan in great detail, including the year, make, model, and the
partial license tag number. Unfortunately,
he had not really gotten a good look at the man.
He gave the sergeant what information he could, based on having
only seen glimpses of him through the trees.
Molinson stared at him thoughtfully.
“Your sister isn’t trying to investigate this herself?” he
shook his head. “She
doesn’t know anything about it. I’m
sure if she did, she would be trying to solve this one on her own, but
she’s not even involved in a mystery right now.”
shook his head. “She really
is a mystery magnet, isn’t she?”
chuckled ruefully, “That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you for
years. She doesn’t even
look for this garbage; it finds her.”
chance you can keep her from going into the woods alone for a few days?”
the sergeant asked hopefully.
right,” Mart snorted. “The
best I can promise is to spy on her.
But isn’t that what I’m asking you to investigate?
People spying on her?”
know, if this were anyone else I would probably dismiss it as nothing,”
Molinson sighed. “Of
course, it would probably be something, and Trixie would end up
solving some major kidnapping plot for me.”
The three men laughed.
boys. You keep an eye on
Troublesome Trixie, and I’ll investigate from this end.”
He fixed them with a stern stare before continuing, “And if you
see anything at all, you let me know right away.”
and Dan nodded. They took
their leave of the policeman somberly, and headed off in silence.
boys were lost in thought as they drove out to Glen Road.
They headed for the stables, and saddled a couple of horses.
Regan noticed they were quiet, but thought it better to ask about
out on the trails in the preserve, Dan cleared his throat.
“So the first question is: Do we let Trixie know about this?”
head snapped around and he fixed his friend with an intense glare.
“Absolutely not!” he declared adamantly.
calmly assessed his friend. He
knew what Mart was thinking: I’ve got to keep Trixie out of trouble.
The problem was, that was always easier said than done.
but what about Honey and Di?” Dan asked.
“On the one hand, they are more likely to tell Trixie.
On the other hand, the more eyes we have watching, the less likely
we are to miss something important.”
was silent for a long moment, then released his breath slowly.
His mind was churning. “I
think, for the moment, that their blabbermouths are more dangerous than
their eyes are helpful.”
nodded knowingly. Okay,
we’ve decided what not to do.
But what do we do?
at the Belden house was an odd affair.
Mart was deep in thought, but would occasionally study Trixie
intently. Trixie seemed quiet
and content, but her thoughts were definitely elsewhere.
Bobby chattered on non-stop about his wonderful day, the stories
Old Brom had told, and the wonderful things Mrs. Vanderpoel had made for
Bobby exclaimed in joy that they were “doing this again” next
Saturday, the elder Beldens looked at Trixie for confirmation.
She seemed not to hear. She
had a far away look in her eyes, and a slight smile played at the corners
of her mouth. They looked
back at each other. Helen
smirked, and Peter rolled his eyes. It
took a considerable amount of willpower for Helen not to laugh out loud at
had not been paying much attention to Bobby, but he had tuned in just in
time to catch his last remark. Mart
observed the exchange between his parents, as well as the expression
on Trixie’s face. He
was Mart’s friend. He’d
had some trouble a couple of years ago, but he’d straightened himself
out. When his older brother,
Spider, had taken a job with the police force in White Plains, the Webster
boys had moved from Mrs. Vanderpoel’s warm and loving home in Sleepyside
to a small apartment in White Plains. Tad had been miserable.
Over the summer Spider had decided to commute to White Plains and
moved with his brother back to Mrs. Vanderpoel’s house.
had greeted his old friend with open arms.
He was actually glad Tad was back.
However, there was a big difference between being a good friend,
and being good enough for your little sister.
Besides, Trixie was only fifteen!
That was too young for him to have to worry about her dating,
three months older than Diana, dummy!
Mart’s stomach sank. He
definitely thought of Di as old enough to date.
But they were so different! For
one thing, Di was interested in boys and dating.
Trixie had never been interested in that stuff.
Has that changed, too?
she finished eating, Trixie got up to clean up her place.
Helen was just bringing in the lemon meringue pie she had made that
afternoon. Seeing that her
daughter was headed for the kitchen with her dirty dishes, Helen quirked
an eyebrow. “Not staying
for dessert, Trixie?” she asked.
Moms, thanks, but I’m just too full,” Trixie said absentmindedly.
“I’ve eaten so much today; I would really hate to pop the
buttons on all my new school clothes already.”
With that she headed into the kitchen, and started to wash the
jaw dropped. She recovered
quickly when she saw the equally stunned expressions on Peter's and Mart’s faces.
She narrowed her eyes at them both, and conveyed her message
clearly: Not one word, I
Bob-Whites gathered in the clubhouse that evening.
Honey was the last to arrive, and she rushed in breathlessly and
glowing with excitement.
I’m late,” she panted. “I
just got off the phone with Jim, and I lost track of time.”
was reading a book on the couch beneath the window.
Without looking up she asked, “Oh, really?
How did his date go last night?”
pairs of eyes stared at her in shock.
The silence finally caught her attention.
She looked up and glanced at them, noticing the question in their
I called Brian last night to ask him something, and Jim answered.
He had to go because he had a date.
I just wondered how it went!”
She rolled her eyes and sighed in exasperation.
“Never mind! Forget I asked!”
turning her concentration back to her book, Trixie proceeded to ignore the
others. She felt slightly guilty, because she knew she had implied
that Jim had brushed her off. That
wasn’t true at all, and she shouldn’t make it sound like he’d been
rude or anything; but for some reason she couldn’t explain, she didn’t
want to share her conversations of the previous evening with her friends.
They were private, and special to her.
The others wouldn’t understand that.
They would want to know everything they talked about, and
Trixie’s conversation with Brian was simply not going to be
fodder for a group discussion.
course, her friends misinterpreted her silence and assumed she was
bothered that Jim had gone on a date.
It was no secret that there was a special friendship between Trixie
and Jim. Everyone had
expected that sooner or later the two would end up dating.
Of course, they also assumed that Jim simply felt Trixie was too
young right now, or shouldn’t be tied down when he was so far away, or
some other honorable excuse. They
couldn’t understand that the truth was so much more complicated; neither
Jim nor Trixie could have explained it at all, if pressed.
But they understood each other, and that was all that mattered.
to bring the attention off of Trixie, Diana asked Honey what Jim had had
to say. Honey told them some of the stories of college life he had
shared. While seeming to
ignore the conversation, Trixie made note that they were some of the ones
he had already told her. They
also seemed to be less detailed in Honey’s version.
Knowing Honey, that did not mean she was glossing over them; she
was explaining things with every minute detail her brother had given her. It was with no small amount of satisfaction that Trixie
realized Jim had been much more open with her about his college
experiences than he had been with his sister.
went on to say that she had talked her mother into taking her to Boston to
visit Brian and Jim the following weekend.
“Of course, I didn’t have to do much talking.
She just wanted an excuse to go and check up on Jim for herself,”
groaned inwardly. Please,
please let them leave Brian alone on Friday night!
a few more comments about Jim, Honey finally got down to business.
“What was the point of this meeting, again?”
mean the meeting that hasn’t begun yet?” Dan drawled.
“If Madame President would get her nose out of her book, maybe
she would call the meeting to order.”
stuck her tongue out at him, making them all laugh.
After carefully placing her bookmark, she stood and walked to her
proper place at the table. She
grabbed her gavel and held it in the air.
She looked at Brian’s seat, then Jim’s, and sighed.
Then she pounded the gavel and called the meeting to order.
as I recall, we were supposed to have been coming up with ideas to help
the athletic department,” Trixie began.
“I know Coach Epperly is part of the committee that organizes the
huge basketball tournament every winter, and I know last year one of the
complaints was a lack of available refreshments.
I thought maybe we could talk to Coach and Mr. Stratton and see
about organizing the refreshments for the tournament.
If we split the proceeds between the athletic department and some
major charity, we could get a lot of support.”
she finally paused for a breath, Mart interrupted.
“Trix, that tournament is huge.
So big, in fact, that it requires three schools to host it.
How do you propose to manage that?”
looked at Mart, and he could see the wheels turning behind her eyes.
Dan rolled his eyes. Oh,
no, here we go again.
we could offer to coordinate. We
could approach the administration at Round Point and Central to see if
there are clubs there that would organize things at their site.
We could take in all the funds.
We would all be working for the same charity.
The portion that goes to the athletic department would be split
between the three schools. Everyone
looked thoughtful. “What if
the support is much larger at one site than at the others?
Is it fair that we all take an equal share if we are not doing
said, “Well, we could give each school as much as they make.
But a lot of the attendance at the games depends on which schools
are playing. In order to get
better attendance, the schools would fight over who got to host the better
teams, which would complicate the arrangement of the tournament.
It would all go much more smoothly if we all agree ahead of time
that we share equally.”
Trixie crowed. She could see
the excitement building amongst her friends.
She could feel the thrill of finding a way to help others.
This was almost as good a feeling as finding a mystery.
group proceeded to discuss their plans, brainstorm, and plot out meetings
with the necessary authority figures.
They needed to bring their ideas before the school administration
and the tournament committee to get approval before they could begin
soliciting help from their schoolmates or the students at the other
they wrapped up for the evening, Mart concluded, “As usual, the fair
Beatrix has proposed a most elaborate and convoluted method for benefiting
the disadvantaged element of our society whom she currently has the
aspiration to assist. And as
usual, we will end up her enthusiastic servants.
I suppose this should be a most satisfactory conclusion to our
congregation for this eventide.”
groans and laughter, the group straightened up the clubhouse to close it
up for the evening.
approached Honey hesitantly. “Hon,
what are you doing tomorrow?”
looked at her in surprise. She
was caught off-guard by her friend’s timid demeanor.
“I don’t have anything planned.
bit her bottom lip. “Well,
it’s just that we haven’t had much chance this week to spend any time
together. I was hoping we
could go riding or something. Just the two of us.”
smiled. “That sounds great!
I would really like that, Trix.”
visibly relaxed as she smiled back; she’d been worried about how her
friend would respond to her gesture.
Honey realized this with a pang of self-recrimination.
I really have been rotten to her this week, haven’t I?
laid her hand gently on her friend’s arm and spoke softly, “Trixie,
your school schedule, basketball, and study dates are not enough to ruin
our friendship. I promise. I’m
sorry I was making such a big deal out of everything.”
little blonde smiled softly up at her honey-haired friend.
“I will always have time for you, Honey,” she promised.
hugged each other before heading off home for the night.
he locked the clubhouse behind the girls, Mart felt the hairs on the back
of his neck stand up. He
glanced around nervously, then looked at Dan.
His best friend’s dark eyes stared back at him with the same
they walked the girls home, the boys continued to scan the surrounding
trees with searching eyes. Despite
their best efforts, however, neither one saw the silent shadow hovering
near the rear of the clubhouse.