Published by: Holt, 1997

Awards: Society of School Librarians International Best Books, 1997-8. Tayshas List, 1998-9. Finalist for an Edgar Award.

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Copyright © Marilyn Singer 1997

Deal with a Ghost

(excerpt from Chapter 6)

She walked around to the other side of the building, where 513, the music room, was.  The shades were drawn, but she could see a light behind them.  “All right!” she breathed, relieved.  Someone was still there.  One window was partly open.  It had been stuck that way for weeks.  Mr. Benson hadn’t gotten around to repairing it yet. Through it she could hear the piano, muffled and hesitant, as though someone was trying to pick out a melody.

Deal raised her hand to rap on the glass. But then she wavered.  The would-be piano player was weeping.  For a moment Deal weighed courtesy versus need.  Need won.  She knocked on the window.  The piano plunking and the crying grew louder. She knocked again, and they were louder still.  Concerned now, she tried to open the other windows.  They were all locked.  Cursing loudly, she jerked roughly at the one that was stuck, and suddenly it slid up as smoothly as if it had been oiled.

The piano was crashing and discordant now; the weeping had changed to wailing.  The sounds rattled Deal’s teeth, rippled icily over her skin. She hesitated again, then bravely hoisted herself up onto the sill, raised the shade and jumped into the room.  She got just a hazy glimpse of the figure at the piano – a slight figure all in white bathed in a misty glow – before it vanished, plunging the room into darkness.