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Travis and his sister, Corey, can’t resist a good trick. When they learn that their grandmother’s quiet Vermont inn, where they’re spending the summer, has a history of ghost sightings, they decide to do a little “haunting” of their own. Before long, their supernatural pranks have tourists flocking to the inn, and business booms. But Travis and Corey soon find out that they aren’t the only ghosts at Fox Hill Inn. Their thoughtless games have awakened something dangerous, something that should have stayed asleep. Restless, spiteful spirits swarm the inn, while a dark and terrifying presence stalks the halls and the old oak grove on the inn’s grounds. Only Travis and Corey can lay to rest the ghosts they’ve stirred. This means discovering the secret of Fox Hill and the horrors visited on its inhabitants years before... Once again, Mary Downing Hahn has created a chilling and gripping ghost story in the tradition of The Old Willis Place, Witch Catcher, and Deep and Dark and Dangerous.
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Mary Downing Hahn, a former children’s librarian, is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories, including Deep and Dark and Dangerous. An avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her two cats, Oscar and Rufus.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The Jennings gang followed Miss Duvall and Chester, twittering about the grove and what they might see. Mrs. Jennings paused and smiled at me.
I know you’re a skeptic, Travis, but I hope you and Corey will join us tonight.
Eleanor is convinced we’ll have a better chance of seeing the ghost if your sister’s with us.” Don’t count on it,” I told her.
Mrs. Jennings sighed. Chester was very tactless at dinner, but then I suppose that’s how it is when you’re a genius.
The ordinary rules don’t apply.” With another smile and a pat on my shoulder, she hastened after the others, leaving a trail of sickeningly sweet perfume behind her.
Across the room, Tracy cleared tables.
The setting sun shone through the windows and backlit her hair, making it shine like fine threads of gold. She turned and caught me staring at her. What do you think of Chester and Eleanor?” she asked.
Bona fide nut cases, both of them.” With a serious face, she set her heavy tray on my table. If you’d been in the grove last night, you wouldn’t sound so smug.” More embarrassed than smug, I scraped the last bit of chocolate icing from my plate and licked it off my fork, tine by tine. It’s all fake,” I said. Corey and I wanted to make people think the inn was haunted so Grandmother would get more guests. She dressed up like a ghost and ” Tracy shoved her face so close to mine we were almost nose to nose. Which would have been a thrill if she hadn’t been so mad. There was something in the grove last night and it wasn’t Corey!” She snatched up my plate and fork, dumped them on her tray with a clatter, and huffed out of the dining room.
There I was, all by myself, surrounded by empty tables covered with dirty linen and crumpled napkins. It was obvious Tracy was never going to be my girl friend. Not only was I tactless and offensive, but I was shorter and younger than she was.
It was your imagination,” I called after her, but the only answer I got was the whop, whop, whop of the kitchen door swinging back and forth.
But what if it wasn’t?” the little voice asked, a little louder this time.
What if . . . What if . . . ?” Exasperated, I tossed my napkin on the table and went to find Corey. I wished we’d never thought of the ghost game.
As it turned out, Corey agreed with me.
I finally found her sitting on the patio in the dark all by herself. At first she refused to look at me or answer any questions. Why are you mad at me?” I asked her.
What did I do?” She turned to face me. I told you I wanted to read, but you made funny noises outside my door, threw apples at my window, and thumped on my wall. You even unplugged my light and my radio and changed the time on my clock.” I stared at her. Are you crazy? I knocked on your door once and you told me to go away and I did. I never made funny noises or threw apples or thumped on your wall or anything.” Then who did? Mr. Brewster?” Corey, I swear to you I did not do that stuff.” Oh,” she said sarcastically, then it must have been the ghost.” We looked at each other in the moonlight, electrified by the same thought. No joke,” I whispered. No.” Corey folded her arms across her chest and shivered. No joke.” Delicate shadows from the wisteria vine patterned the table and Corey’s face, shifting as the breeze blew. From somewhere in the darkness, an owl hooted and another answered. Much closer, I heard something that sounded like a muffled giggle.
Did you hear that?” I whispered.
Corey shuddered. A mouse,” she said.
A cat, a bird. Nothing to be scared of.” Admit it,” I said. You’re scared and so am I.” She shook her head stubbornly. Speak for yourself.” At the same moment, we heard a whispering sound in the bushes and then the giggle louder this time, followed by an eddy of cold air that tousled my hair and then Corey’s.
My sister jumped to her feet. Let’s go inside.” The two of us ran to the inn and dashed through the kitchen door, sure we were being chased by an invisible gang of ghosts. Mrs. Brewster was scrubbing the sink.
She frowned when the screen door slammed shut. What’s the big rush?” she asked.
A person would think something was after you.” Neither Corey nor I knew what to say.
We just stood and stared at Mrs.
Brewster, wishing we were safely home in New York or even at Camp Willow Tree anywhere but here.
I thought you two were out there with them so-called psychics.” She waved a hand in the direction of the grove, where flashlights bobbed about in the dark. They’re aiming to take pictures of things that don’t want their pictures taken,,” she muttered.
Grandmother opened the door to her apartment and poked her head into the kitchen. Corey and Travis,” she said, it’s time you were in bed.” At that moment, the power went off, and the inn became totally dark and silent no lights, no radios, nnnnno humming refrigerator. Not a sound.
Go get Henry,” Grandmother told Mrs.
Brewster. The power’s out again. I meant to get the wiring checked the last time this happened.” Grandmother had no sooner lit a candle than we heard a commotion outside shouts, screams, the sound of people running toward us as if they feared for their lives.
Tripping over each other in their haste to get inside, the Jennings gang poured into the kitchen. Behind them, Chester was yelling, We got an image!” Grandmother closed her eyes and shook her head. I don’t believe this.” In a louder voice, she repeated herself. I do not believe this.” Someone giggled, and Grandmother glared at me, her face stern in the candle light. This isn’t funny, Travis!” I didn’t laugh.” The guests milled around the kitchen, stumbling over things in the darkness.
Why are the lights off?” Mrs. Jennings cried. Please turn them on,” Mrs. Frothingham begged. We’ve had a terrible scare.” Serves you right, you silly old scaredy-cat,” someone whispered, causing an outburst of giggles.
Travis, apologize at once!” Grandmother said, shocked.
It wasn’t me!” I don’t care who said it,” Mrs.
Frothingham cried. Just turn the lights back on.” I’m sorry, but the power’s off.” Grandmother lit more candles. As the kitchen brightened, something scurried into the shadows, too quickly to be seen.
I can fix tea,” Grandmother offered. Some wanted tea. Others wanted something stronger. Two or three wanted to leave the inn at once. The only ones in need of nothing were Eleanor Duvall and Chester Coakley. They were ecstatic. Not only had they seen something, but they’d captured its image on video.
See?” Chester showed us a grainy image in the camera’s monitor. Whatever it was wore a long dress, and its hair was loose, but its face was too blurred to make out any features.
She came like a blast of cold air,” Miss Duvall said. Silent, not a sound, but emanating malice.” You probably saw the strobes light up,” Chester put in. She tripped the wires like I hoped and triggered the camera. It’s the best paranormal experience I’ve ever had and the best footage I’ve ever shot. Or seen, for that matter.” Mrs. Jennings clutched her teacup with shaking hands. I’m very glad you children were not with us,” she quavered. I’ll never get another good night’s sleep.” Her friends nodded and cooed to each other in soft, comforting voices. Mrs.
Frothingham sobbed into a wine glass.
The wives were done with ghosts. No one wanted to see another one. In fact, they wished they hadn’t seen the one they just saw. The husbands laughed and talked too loud, already beginning to doubt they’d really seen a ghost. The image on that videotape,” Mr.
Bennett said. It was probably the strobe lights. They caused a glare in the camera lens or something.” Trick photography,” Mr. Frothingham declared. Double exposures. Easy to fake.” Mr. Jennings was the only husband to disagree. No, it was the real thing,” he insisted, gulping down a glass of something that made him cough. I’m glad I saw it, but I don’t care to see another.” Just then, every light came on, almost blinding us with their brilliance. The refrigerator began humming, and the dishwasher started even though it hadn’t been running before the power failure.
Radios and TVs all over the inn came on, blasting noise at top volume. Mr. Brewster stood at the top of the basement steps looking gloomier than usual. I went to the fuse box,” he said, but before I so much as touched it, the power come back.” How odd,” Grandmother said.
Nothing odd about it, ma’am.” Mr.
Brewster shook his head. They been stirred up good and proper now.” Without another word, he trudged out of the kitchen, accompanied by a giggle that earned me a dirty look from Grandmother. I shook my head in protest, but she’d already turned her attention to Mrs. Brewster.
What on earth was he talking about?” Grandmother asked.
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Book Description Brilliance Audio, 2011. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1611069475