Judy Lang, age nine, is spending the summer vacation at her grandparents’ house in the country. Strange occurrences—toys mysteriously appearing, a strange voice beckoning to her, and finally the unlikely presence of a girl her own age. Judy listens in horror to the tales her new friend, Suzy, tells her about the people she was forced to live with—until that arrangement abruptly changed. Judy chooses to help Suzy deal with her impossible situation and hopes she will be able to help her through her troubles. They come up with a plan. Now, will it work, and will it bring Suzy peace?
A car drove past Judy and pulled into the yard in front of the house. An old man got out. He walked to the road and looked in Judy’s direction. Judy guessed this was Mr. Graymore. His wife, who’d heard the car, had stepped back out into the yard, and Judy saw the old man point toward her. The wife began talking and waving her arms. Judy couldn’t hear what she said, but, finally, the woman stepped into the road and shook her fist at Judy. The old man spun her around and pushed her toward the house. They kept talking to each other until they disappeared inside.
Now I know what everyone meant, thought Judy. What a shame Suzy had to come here to live. How could anyone have fun or be happy living with those two old monsters? She put Boots back on the ground, and right away the kitten ran off in the weeds to chase something.
Judy stayed in a sad mood for the rest of the day because of the Graymores. She didn’t feel like being outside any longer, so she played inside the house until dinnertime. She was afraid her grandparents would ask why she was so quiet and more afraid of what they might say if they found out she’d met the Graymores, but no one seemed to notice anything different in the way she acted. After meeting the Graymores, though, Judy couldn’t get Suzy Chapin out of her head for the rest of the day. What a poor unlucky girl, she thought, and it made her sad.