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The Haunted House Symphony

The Haunted House Symphony

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Published by Sue Latham
Margo Monroe recently left her office job to become a full-time professional ghost hunter. She's tempted to dismiss her new client, Marsha, as a hysterical drama queen. But while investigating Marsha's Victorian mansion, they make an accidental discovery that hints at a hidden treasure. With the help of a restless spirit, Margo and her team uncover something that makes them overnight celebrities.
Margo Monroe recently left her office job to become a full-time professional ghost hunter. She's tempted to dismiss her new client, Marsha, as a hysterical drama queen. But while investigating Marsha's Victorian mansion, they make an accidental discovery that hints at a hidden treasure. With the help of a restless spirit, Margo and her team uncover something that makes them overnight celebrities.

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Published by: Sue Latham on Jul 13, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/23/2014

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The Haunted House Symphony
 
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Bettina - 1827
 Bettina clutche
 her father’s hand tightly. He seemed to be in such a hurry and she almost had to run to keep up with him. She longed to stop and look around, to take it all in. She’d never been to this part of Vienna before. The noise was deafening, the sights and smells overwhelming. It was the most exciting thing to happen to her in all her six years. But Papa said they didn’t have much time, and she tried her best to be good. Maybe if she behaved herself, he would bring her here again.  A carriage waiting at the curb caught her attention. A footman was helping a lady step into the carriage. Bettina had never seen such a lovely woman; her dress was so beautiful Bettina could hardly take her eyes o
 it.Bettina’s father jerked her arm roughly as a cart clattered by only a few inches from her nose, the horse’s hooves clopping rhythmically on the cobblestones. “Please, child, pay attention.”“Yes, papa,” she answered meekly. Bettina soon forgot her brush with catastrophe and they continued briskly on. They passed a bakery. Bettina longed to stop and gaze at the display window, which was full of delightful cakes and pastries. It made her hungry, even though she’d had a huge breakfast not an hour ago.  They approached an imposing building. A small crowd of people were standing in front of it in clusters of two or three, speaking quietly. Occasionally one of them  would gesture sadly toward a window on the second floor.“What’s going on here, Papa? Why are all these people standing here?”“Hush, child. They’re waiting.”“Waiting for what, Papa?”Papa sighed. “Bettina, must you ask so many questions? There is no time to explain now. We mustn’t be late.” He steered her past the anxious people and down a passageway. “Now remember
!
not a word of this to Mama.”In a small courtyard behind the house, a woman was waiting for them in a doorway. Her long, dark dress was clean but faded and fraying around the hem. A few tendrils of steel
"
 gray hair peeked out from her white ru
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ed cap and framed her bony face. She clutched a thin knitted shawl around her bony shoulders.“Herr Doktor Prantl.” She bowed slightly. “Please, dear lady, no one must know that I’m here,” answered Bettina’s father. He
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 glanced around nervously, but they were alone in the courtyard, which was as quiet as a cemetery. For a fleeting moment, Bettina wondered why no sounds of life filtered from behind the many closed doors and windows that overlooked the courtyard. But the woman spoke again and Bettina turned her attention to her. “Please, Herr Doktor. Take pity on a poor old woman. He won’t live out the week.  And what’s to become of me?”“Frau Sali, have you no family? No one to turn to?” The old woman closed her eyes and shook her head wearily. “I have no one, thanks to that mad Frenchman who wanted to conquer Europe. My poor boy.”“My sympathies, Frau Sali.”She sighed and hunched her shoulders against the cold. “It was a long time ago.” She  was silent for a moment, lost in her memories. Finally Papa said, “If you please, madame. The sooner we conclude this business, the better for all concerned. May I see it?”“Certainly,” she said, with a small curtsey and disappeared into the dark interior of the house. She returned a moment later carrying a flat parcel wrapped in paper. “Please, Herr Doktor. It’s only a matter of days,” she said, handing the parcel to Bettina’s papa. Bettina was astonished to see that her father’s hands were shaking as he opened the package and examined its contents. To no one in particular the old woman said, “I can’t bear the thought of what will happen to it once he is gone. That one that calls himself a friend
!
he’s no friend. He’s a…a vulture, that’s what he is.”“Frau Sali, surely you don’t mean Herr Schindler?” asked Papa, obviously astonished.“That’s exactly who I mean, Herr Doktor,” she replied bitterly, and pursed her lips tightly.Bettina watched, alarmed now, as Papa wiped tears from his eyes with his handkerchief. The only time she’d ever seen her father cry before was when her baby brother died. Bettina couldn’t imagine what could possibly be in a bunch of papers that would make her father cry.“My dear lady,” he said at last, his voice shaking, “do you know what you have here?”“Yes, Herr Doktor. I do know. And I also know that if you value it as I do, you will take it. For otherwise he won’t be cold in his grave before it vanishes. By that time I
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