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It's night and Thomas feels like he's been hiding in the woods forever.
On top of not being allowed to move or walk, Thomas is freeing.
Mr. Small is nearby, but Thomas can't see him in the darkness. Pluto and Mayhew are also out of his range of vision.
Thomas is wearing chains and has phosphorous tape (glow-in-the-dark tape) on his face so he'll glow like a ghost.
That's why he has to keep his head down until the Darrows come – otherwise they might see him glowing.
Since he's getting scared, and doesn't want to get scared, Thomas tries hard to think about everything they did today after they left Mr. Pluto's cave.
Here's his memory:
First, he and his dad had driven into Columbus, Ohio, a nearby city. They go to a theatre supply store and buy the supplies on Mayhew's list, including a pair of wings made out of a thin, shiny fabric.
Back in their town, Thomas and Mr. Small stop to buy groceries, and some dishes to take the place of the ones the Darrows broke.
Then they go to the hardware store.
Suddenly, they see three of the Darrows.
One of them asks Mr. Small if he's Mr. Small.
Yes, says Mr. Small, and asks who he is.
The Darrow does not introduce himself.
But, he tells Mr. Small he heard that there were exciting things happening at the Small's house.
Mr. Small says that yes, the fact that Mr. Pluto had to go to the hospital, and is spending the night there is exciting.
The Darrows look nervous and ask if there was any other kind of excitement at the house.
(He's obviously referring to the whole apple juice/flour/broken dishes mess they made of the Small's kitchen.
But, Thomas and Mr. Small play innocent, then say goodbye.
Now, here in the darkness, Thomas smiles at the memory.
Really, really uncomfortable from hours of being still in the dark, he feels like he's going to have to move in a minute.
Mr. Small is nearby, worrying about Thomas.
Like Thomas, he's wearing raggedy clothing and chains, much like a running slave might have worn.
In fact, he feels a little like a slave might have felt, hiding in the darkness, hoping not to get caught.
He also feels silly, and can't believe he let Mayhew talk him into this. He might get sick from being in the cold, and he shouldn't have let Thomas be a part of this.
While Thomas and Mr. Small are freezing, Mayhew is hot. Instead of wearing rags, he's wearing a suit, a gray-blond wig, a cream colored mask – his ghost-of-Dies Drear outfit.
He never thought he'd play this role – the role of a white abolitionist!
Pesty is hiding in a tree near Mr. Pluto's cave, and Mayhew wonders if she fell asleep.
Upset with himself, he thinks he shouldn't have let her be part of this.
Earlier, he'd given her a note he'd written – it was supposed to be from Mrs. Small, and she'd given it to the Darrows.
The note asked if Pesty could spend the night at the Small's house that night.
The Darrows hadn't answered the note, so Mayhew is assuming the Darrows don't mind.
Pesty is watching from the trees and is supposed to give Mayhew, Thomas, and Mr. Small the signal when she sees the Darrows approaching the cave.
Whoa, ho! Mayhew, Thomas, and Mr. Small hear the signal.
Mr. is waiting calmly and comfortably in a chair in the mouth of the cave.
But, he's a little worried that this joke is on him. Maybe Mayhew had called an ambulance, and he would soon be carried off to the hospital against his will.
He's also afraid that he might really see the ghosts of Dies Drear and the murdered slaves – he has before.
The Darrows had been pretending to be those ghosts for so long that sometimes Mr. Pluto can't tell the difference between them and the real ghosts.
Tonight he wants to scare the Darrows. If he can do that, they'll stop bothering him!
Speaking of the Darrows, here they come.
They are all three within Thomas's range of hearing. One of them is saying that it looks like Mr. Pluto is actually really gone.
As they near the cave, Mr. Pluto gets a quick idea.
First he takes off his shoelaces, then he ties an end of his blanket to each of his wrists with them.
Finally, he throws the blanket on top of his head. This way he can flap the blanket like bat wings.
Everything is completely dark as the Darrows reach the entrance of the cave.
They shine in the flashlight and they see a huge and horrible bat flapping its wings!
When they realize its Mr. Pluto they aren't any less scared.
He starts talking, calling to Mayhew, Thomas, Mr. Small, and Pesty by saying, "Come, my winged bird, my glory, nightbird! Come, all ye demons three who walk with me forever!" (18.64).
One of the men drops their flashlight, and it breaks.
Pesty is on the horse, which has been painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. She takes off the sheet that has been hiding it. She starts flapping the little wings Thomas and Mr. Small bought for her.
All the Darrows see is a glowing horse with flapping wings. Somehow it looks like the horse is moving up and down.
Uh oh. Thomas is scared, too. All the effects are a little too much for him.
He's supposed to be moving forward to scare the Darrows even more now, but he's frozen.
His dad urges him to move, and he does, reluctantly.
Soon, the Darrows are stuck between the ghosts (Thomas, Mayhew, and Mr. Small) and the demons (Pesty and Mr. Pluto).
When Mayhew, as the ghost of Dies Drear, starts making scary noises, Thomas gets really scared again, and he cowers.
To the Darrows, Thomas's fear probably makes things look more "real."
It looks like he's a little ghost being tormented by the bigger ones.
They start yelling, and begging Mr. Pluto to call off his demons.
They promise never to come back.
Now they are running, and Mayhew is laughing, but in his regular voice.
A Darrow stops and looks back. Mr. Pluto starts laughing in his regular voice, too.
He hugs Mayhew.
When the Darrows are gone, Mr. Small gets on their cases for laughing before the Darrows were gone.
Mayhew explains that it was important to let them know that they had been tricked.
This will make things all the more embarrassing for them, and they'll be more likely to keep the promise not to return.
Mr. Small helps Thomas get to Mr. Pluto's cave. He's shaking with fear, and really embarrassed for being afraid.