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The Rainbow Riddle
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#17: Rainbow Riddle > Chapter 13: The Rainbow Riddle - Summary

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William Land (williamland) | 1235 comments Mod
Chapter 13: A Frightened Ghost

“Peter! Peter!” To Judy’s relief she heard a muffled answer. She asks Peter to bring a ladder if there is one to try to get in the window. Peter comes bringing Roberta’s suitcase instead. She may unbolt the door by the gentle art of persuasion, Peter tells her. “Then it is Roberta. And the thing the real estate man heard bumping down the stairs must have been the suitcase. But if it is Roberta, why doesn't she answer us? I should think she would realize---” “Silence,” Peter interrupted quietly, “is what anyone might expect of a very frightened little ghost. Put yourself in her place for a few minutes, Angel. Suppose you came home to an empty house. And then suppose a perfect stranger opened the door with a key. His footsteps must have sounded very loud echoing through the vacant rooms. They must have frightened Roberta and no wonder! We didn't help matters any, prowling around and talking to each other after he left. Then you made that unearthly cat call to see if your voice echoed. Well it did and Roberta probably heard it too. With her imagination, she might have dreamed up anything We might have been the bogey man himself for all she knew.” Judy agreed, they wondered if she had made the wailing noises to scare the other people away or if it was just because she had a genuine attack of hysterics. Although they call to her through the door, they don't get an answer. Judy says that she is afraid that something happened to her because of the crash she heard. “You're really worried about her, aren't you, Judy?” Peter makes sure his voice is loud enough so it could be heard through the door.’ They still don't get an answer although they keep trying. Judy thinks she hears a muffled sob. Judy begs her to open the door so they can talk things over, Judy, Peter and her. They won't blame her for anything and they don't even need to talk if she doesn't want to. Five minutes later of no response, Judy tried a nail file to turn the lock and discovers that the door isn't locked but it is tightly stuck. They get inside and do not see Roberta, the window is closed and locked on the inside. “That’s odd,” Peter said, when they heard a muffled sob which caused Judy to turn around. There in the bathtub, a white sheeted figure lay quivering. Judy’s breath came fast until she noticed the little shoe that protruded under the white shower curtain. “Peter,” Judy exclaimed, “it’s Roberta! The shower curtain fell on her, rod and all. ” Judy bent over the trembling girl to pull back the white covering and then drew away in alarm. Roberta’s face was almost as white as the curtain that had covered it. Peter lifted her gently. “Poor little ghost!” he crooned over her gently. “Judy, of all the ghosts we have tracked down this one is the most pathetic. The shower curtain gave her a nasty bump on the head.” Judy felt her pulse, it was very weak. “She’s is shock. That is one of the signs. I'll wrap my jacket around her to keep her warm.” Peter took off his too and asked her. “Can you speak to us, Roberta?” A contented murmur came from underneath the coat. “Glad you are here. I was scared. The house was full of whispers,. I thought they were ghosts. I hid in the bathtub. Then…” her voice was indistinct for a minute and then Judy made out “sounded like you. Reached out to open the door and something fell on me. My head hurts---here.” Already a blue swelling was forming on her forehead. Keeping her head low and without jarring her more than they had to, Judy and Peter carried her to the car and laid her gently on the back seat. “We are going to drive fast,” Peter warned Judy as he started the car. “Our next stop is Dr Faulkner’s office in New York.”

Poor Roberta. What a horrible experience! The Griggs was a bad home for her but still it was a home. Can you imagine coming back and finding that everything was gone? She must have been terrified.

William Land (williamland) | 1235 comments Mod
This is a horrible experience!

I can't help but feel that Roberta is going to need a therapist when she is older. Many of her life experiences have been frightening. I think she's become a person living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I also believe she will be strong enough to cope with her life's challenges. She proven to be very resilient.

Rebekah (rebroxanna) | 609 comments That is every child's worse nightmare. Coming home and finding your family has moved away. Poor kid. She is really going to need Dr. Faulkner's services after all this.

message 4: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 1011 comments But given Roberta's situation, It seems she was glad to be alone. Thankfully it was a short time. None of Roberta's story makes sense from beginning to end, but Margaret had to backtrack when the editors wanted Roberta written out. It is hard to fit something together in retrospect.

J. Michael | 130 comments Judy and Peter are such nice people. I'm touched when Peter croons, "Poor little ghost," over Roberta. And of course, having found her in need, they put her welfare ahead of every other consideration, including their honeymoon. They don't even discuss it. They just instinctively do the right thing.

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