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Midnight Phantom
Chiller 27
(page 3 of 4)

Finger-line branches clawed me as we entered a thick tangle of trees. And there he was: The Phantom. A shadowy figure in a black cloak and high dark hat. His face looked as gnarled and ancient as the orchard trees.
The Midnight Phantom"He's digging a grave!" Shanna grabbed my hand. I could feel her trembling.
"Quiet," I warned. "Unless you want to be the dead body he buries."
"Dead body! You mean he could be a killer? Oh, no! Where's Taffy?" I shook my head. I hadn't seen Taffy since entering the orchard. NOT good.
I squeezed Shanna's head and watched in terror as the Phantom kept digging. My eyes had adjusted to the dark and I saw several gaping holes in the ground around him. One was long and deep; wide enough for a small person. LIKE ME.
Abruptly, the Phantom stopped digging. He bent down and pulled out a skateboard-shaped box. After brushing off caked-on dirt, he reached inside and grabbed something small, thin, and white like a small bone! Maybe from an animal or young child. And not just ONE bone. I could see a whole pile of them inside the box.
With my life flashing before me, a dumb argument just seemed plain dumb. So I turned to Shanna and whispered, "I'm sorry."
"I'm the one who's sorry." Her soft voice was sad. "I never should have asked you to cheat. Forgive me, and let's be friends again."
I nodded. "Best friends. If we get out of here alive." Then we both jumped when we heard a dog bark. "TAFFY!" we screamed.


Startled, the Phantom dropped his box. Small white bones spilled on the ground. "Who's out there?" he growled. "Show yourself!"


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