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by Anne E. Johnson
Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal Mystery
Tags: Ghosts, spirits, school, sixth grade, locker, medium, séance, time travel, small town
RATING: L=0 S=0 V=0
Editor: Anne Duguid
Line Editor: Gloria Oren
Cover Designer: Kaytalin Platt
A hundred years ago, Corbin Elementary School's building housed Dr. Ebenezer Corbin's School for Psychical Research. It seems that a couple of old spirits are still wandering the halls. It's up to Rhonda Zymler to find out what they want.Ebenezer's Locker follows the adventures of Rhonda, a sassy sixth-grader who's having trouble finding her place and identity. Getting to know these spirits becomes Rhonda's quest. The more she digs, the more perilous her task becomes, and to complete it she must take two trips back in time. This story blends the realities of an economically challenged modern American town with supernatural elements. What Rhonda finds not only gives her life a sense of purpose but changes the fortunes of her entire town.
Last period on Fridays we had gym class. I didn’t mind it much for most of the year. But when the weather turned hot in May, I couldn’t stand all the running around. All I wanted was to cool down. It would have been different if we could have gone swimming after school. Sadly, there weren’t any public pools in Marklebury. We had to go all the way to Lancington just for a swim. So we got hot and stayed hot.
As usual, we changed into T-shirts and shorts in the girls’ bathroom. The high school had gym locker rooms, but we didn’t. Once we changed, we all tromped out onto the school’s back lot to jog in a big circle in the 90-degree outdoor oven. I was actually relieved when our gym teacher, Mr. Turner, sent me back inside to fetch the kick balls from the supply closet.
Breathing in the wonderful air conditioning, I opened the door of the little room and clicked on the light. Right away, I spotted the net bag with the kick balls. But as I reached for it, the door slammed shut behind me. And suddenly it was cold, so cold all my blood turned to jelly. Just as suddenly, I burned. Every bit of me sizzled. And then a strong wind started blowing from one side of the closet to the other, knocking me against a wall.
The light bulb swung sideways and lit up a row of boxes on a shelf. In huge red capital letters, words had been scrawled across the cardboard:
IT’S NOT E’S LOCKER. IT’S MINE.
The wind swirled into a hurricane. Baseball gloves, gym uniforms, and lacrosse sticks blew upward from the floor and downward from the shelves. Balls of all sizes, golf clubs, and bowling pins circled and crashed into each other. I covered my face partly with my arms, but I couldn’t stop staring at this magical storm. Over and over I screamed, batting bats and gloves out of my face.
A case of gallon jugs of cleaning fluid teetered on the brink of a shelf next to a box of bowling balls. Suddenly CRACK! The shelf came loose. Cleaning fluid bottles slid toward me. Bowling balls came hurtling down at me. I rolled up like an armadillo and hoped for a quick death.
And then total silence.
I wasn’t dead. I wasn’t even hurt. Just to be safe, I stayed balled up for a couple of minutes in case the tornado started up again or something else broke loose. But there was no motion besides my shaking body and no sound besides my gasping for air. Peeking out of my invisible armor, I looked for a pool of spilled cleaning fluid and chunks of cracked bowling balls on the floor around me. Nothing but soccer balls and baseballs. I glanced above me at the broken shelf. It was propped up with a golf club, and the heavy boxes had been pushed back to a safe position. Somebody had saved me from the angry ghost!
But who would save me from the angry gym teacher? The door of the supply room flew open, and Mr. Turner braced himself with both hands on the door frame. His mouth fell open so wide I could have fit a softball in it. There were several to choose from near my left knee.
From my position on the floor, Mr. Turner looked like King Kong. It didn’t help when he roared at me. “What is going on? I gave you a simple task. The kick balls are right in front of you. Why did you have to go messing the whole place up?”
King Kong must have noticed I was about to cry so he turned back into Turner. “Okay, okay,” he said in a softer voice. “You grab the kick balls and take them out onto the field. I’ll call Mr. Besserman to work on this disaster.”
I got up without meeting Mr. Turner’s gaze. My knees shaking, I dragged the heavy mesh bag of balls over all the loose debris and past him.“I hate ghosts,” I kept saying as I struggled with my load.
About the Author:
Drawing on an eclectic background that includes degrees in classical languages and musicology, Anne E. Johnson has published works on a wide variety of topics.
She's written non-fiction books for kids with the Rosen Group and feature articles for adults in serials such as The New York Times and Stagebill Magazine. Her short stories, in several genres and for both children and adults, can be found in Underneath the Juniper Tree, Spaceports & Spidersilk , Hogglepot, and elsewhere, and she has upcoming works in and several magazines and anthologies.
Anne lives in Brooklyn with her husband, playwright Ken Munch.
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Customer Reviews:MarvaD (Friday, 29 June 2012)
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