Where Silence Fears To Tread by Jennifer Lott. Illustrations by Doriano Strologo.
Jennifer Lott has appeared in print in Neo-Opsis Magazine (“A Day in the Life”; Issue 18; December 17, 2009) and the Opus 5 Okal Rel anthology (“Pet Peeves”, Absolute XPress, 2011). Her first public foray into writing is her popular fan fiction Alternative Ending to the Animorphs. An early childhood educator, Jennifer writes mostly for children and young adults. She is currently working on the third novel in her young adult fantasy series.
Kelsey lifted her chin. She filled her lungs. She filled the room with sound, trumpet bell rising higher and higher.
Silence broke. It shrank to the furthest corners. A rising crescendo pinned it beyond hearing, beyond hurting.
Dug and Gladys were free. They tore back up the stairs.
“There really were ghosts,” Gladys gasped. “Let’s definitely wait for the elevator.”
Dug spun to watch shadow-cloaks drop off Vincent, Sunshine and Zale, as they too ascended the stairs.
Gladys looked them over suspiciously. “Are you ghosts too?” She poked her fingers into Zale’s chest.
She filled the room with sound, trumpet bell rising higher and higher.
“Ow, I’m solid. It was only a…a weird…” Zale trailed off, as if this was the extent of his insight.
Kelsey came up the stairs with her trumpet tucked under her arm. In her hands, she had Dug’s flute and Gladys’s clarinet.
“Thanks,” the two said, surprised as she gave each of them their instruments.
“Kelsey!” Sunshine berated her. “You didn’t bring back our instruments. I can’t believe you’d do that for them.”
Wetting her clarinet’s reed, Gladys blew a rude noise in retort.
Zale looked at Kelsey. “Would you mind finding my tuba?”
“Yeah and my saxophone,” said Vincent.
“My piccolo!” shrieked Sunshine.
Kelsey didn’t jump to do as they asked. She met their eyes and didn’t blush.
Her teammates, who weren’t used to this, looked helplessly on.
“Please?” Zale tried.
Kelsey stretched her arm out over the top of the stairs and felt the drummer-shadow reaching back, welcoming her.
“I don’t mind.” She gave her trumpet to Vincent. “Wait here. I’ll be back soon.”
Kelsey returned to the forbidden floor. The drummer threw a shadow-cloak over her body. Her vision dimmed, but she followed the beats, waving her shadow legs in time. She drifted into recovering Silence. And as she went, she made the boldest of trumpet blasts.