Here’s a bit from A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE, a YA/NA paranormal suspense. I began it in 1968, and kept it set then, and now it’s considered historical. Day-yum.
Mitch Searches the Basement
excerpt from A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE
by Marian Allen
Suddenly, I missed Dr. Andrew. I told myself I needed to tell him I’d moved, in case he wanted to drop in for a chat, but I really just wanted to see him. Mr. Walton had got me feeling all creepy about the doc, and I didn’t like it. I needed to be with him a while, to reassure myself that he was one of the good guys.
I went down the foyer stairs into the paneled hall. Might as well get some of my idiotic spying done; at least I’d be able to honestly answer “yes” the next time Mr. Walton asked me if I’d had a look around.
All the doors opening off the basement hallway were locked and quiet or open and empty. I worked my way around, listened at the doors of the lab, where things seemed to be humming smoothly, and knocked on Dr. Andrew’s sitting room door. He didn’t answer, so I knocked again, louder, and called, “Dr. Andrew? It’s Mitch.”
“Coming.” His voice was muffled and distant. “Just a minute,” he said, louder and closer. He unlocked the door and let me in.
Say, Dr. Andrew, are you a devil-worshiper, or what? And then, out loud, I said, “I came to . . . uh . . . see if I could help you in the lab like you said I could.” My heart thudded as I asked, thinking of the kind of help Mr. Walton thought his son wanted from me.
He ran a hand over his limp black hair. “At the moment, I’d rather just sit and talk. I’m coming to the end of something, but I’m stumped on it. Dead stop. I need to relax, but I can’t leave it just yet.”
He flopped into one of his chairs and motioned me to another.
“Guess who’s here,” I said.
Dr. Andrew rubbed his eyes wearily. “I don’t know.”
“Grant Marsch, Boy Poet.”
He looked up. “Oh, yes. It is Friday, isn’t it? So he’s here. Have you met him?”
“Brief-lah,” I said, putting on the fakest accent I could invent.
Dr. Andrew grinned at me, and the dread Mr. Walton had infected me with blew away. “Don’t care for poetry? Or don’t care for poets? Or don’t care for Grant Marsch?”
“Oh, I like the stuff. I mean, some of it. He just rubbed me the wrong way, that’s all.” Doing what? How had he rubbed me the wrong way? By letting Aunt Missy make goo-goo eyes at him? So what was he supposed to do, slap her upside the head? I wasn’t being fair. “Bad first impression, I guess.”