TITLE: Annie Steel and the Ghost of Willowbrook School
GENRE: Middle grade, realistic fiction
Annie Steel clapped her hand over her mouth. Ms. Caldwell gave Annie the Look. Annie shriveled in her seat. She hadn't just burped. She couldn't have. Impossible.
Someone started to laugh. Annie slid down even further so her nose was level with the top of the table. A second person laughed. A third. A fourth. Ms. Caldwell's mouth twitched up into a smile. Annie saw her bite her lip just before the entire class burst into laughter.
Steven Ash, who sat next to Annie, was shaking. She gave him the Look. At least, she hoped it was the Look. He didn't shrivel in his seat, but he finally stopped laughing and wiped his eyes.
"It wasn't me," she said. "I didn't burp."
"Yes, you did!" said Steven. "Everyone heard you."
"Nuh-huh. It wasn't me," said Annie.
"Was too." Steven snickered and flapped his hand in the air. "It smells."
Annie liked slimy anchovies more than she liked Steven Ash. He should move to Mars. Annie had a sudden inspiration. Steven was the biggest 'fraidy cat in the third grade. He'd even gotten scared at the Halloween party last October.
"I really didn't burp," she said. "It was the ghost. It made me do it. It floated into my body and made the biggest, loudest burp ever. I bet you're next."