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05.06.09, Félix


 Este livro foi escrito por Doranna Durgin e contém 368 páginas. Como seria de esperar, a história inclui espíritos. O deste livro não quer a ajuda de Melinda. Ele é um cantor. Canta canções de embalar a quem o ouve. Mas quem é que o ouve se ele é um fantasma? As crianças. O canto deste fantasma embala criança após criança, levando-as a entrar num sono profundo, assustadoramente profundo. Melinda também ouve o canto. Assim que se apercebe de que algo de muito mal está a acontecer ela tenta intervir.






     Sleep my child, and peace attend thee,

     All through the night;

     Guardian angels God will send thee,

     All through the night...


  All through the night...Melinda Gordon opened her eyes into bereft sadness. A sob filled her throat; her lashes stuck together with unshed tears. She lay in the silent darkness, struggling to separate the wash of inflicted, outside feeling from her own inner self. I'm in my wonderful bed with the castiron headboard, she told herself. I'm in my gorgeous old home, renovated by my amazing husband. The same husband who lay beside her, a warm, strong presence in the cool of this spring night, with a breeze from the barely cracked bay window blowing pale curtains into dancing shadows and drawing out a chill on Melinda's skin.

  The tears spilled over anyway, even though they weren't quite hers; she let them run down to the pillow, but couldn't stop her sudden intake of breath, or the sniffle that came afterward.

Jim's voice was quiet in the night. "Again?"

  She laughed -- a weak thing, not meant to convince either of them. "Looks that way."

  He shifted up to his elbow, looking down on her. After a moment, he used his thumb to wipe away the tear lingering in the corner of her eye. "Still don't have a handle on this one?"

  She shook her head, even so slightly. "Honestly, I'm not even sure this is a ghost reaching out to me. It feels more as though..." She hesitated, and shook her head again. "It's hard to explain. It feels as though I'm on the edges of something. As though...I'm coincidental."

  He laughed, and it was a lot louder than hers had been. "Trust me," he said. "You are anything but coincidental." And he gathered her up into his strong arms and kissed the damp edge of her eye, then rested his face against her hair and pulled them both back into sleep.

  Late, late, late! Melinda gave her reflection a dissatisfied look, leaning forward at the drop-front dresser across from the foot of the bed. Her eyes -- almond, long-lashed, and expressive -- were normally a morning routine no-brainer. A little soft mascara, a little smudgy liner, maybe some earthtone shadow. "The puffy look," she informed herself, "is not in. It will never be in." And she dabbed on a little more concealer.

  But only a little more, because really, it was a lost cause. She set the little pot of makeup aside, stood up, and gave herself a critical inspection. On this spring day, the outfit would just have to speak for her -- sky blue top with spaghetti straps and a wide ribbon gathering the empire waist, snug jeans with slim legs that showed ankle above strappy sandals. Long, dark hair drawn up in an offset ponytail and falling in waves, a jeweled-clip accent perfectly matching the blue of the top. Cheerful, bright energy -- and maybe it would be enough to fool her way through the day.

  And maybe tonight she would get the sleep she needed, after so many days of imposed sorrow brought her awake in tears that had at first been so obviously someone else's but now seemed more and more like her own.

  Determined to think of better things -- for there was nothing she could do for this unhappy spirit until she had more information -- Melinda smoothed down her top, turned on her sandaled heel, and put energy into her step as she skipped down the stairs and snagged up her big satchel of a shoulder bag -- going for practical today, a decision that might or might not have anything to do with the fact she was running late, late, late.


  Out into the bright, early morning, out to her jaunty red Saturn Outlook, and the remnants of the spirit's sadness slipped away. She slipped a CD into the player, sang along to the chorus of "Can I Go Now," and headed out from Hazen Street into Grandview. Delia had no doubt beat her to Same As It Never Was, Melinda's antique store, but she had keys, and Melinda would grab them coffee on the way in to make amends. And since she was running a little late, the line at Village Java wouldn't be as long. There, see? Everywhere, a bright side.

  Of course, she didn't find quite the parking spot she wanted, but a walk on a fine spring morning wasn't to be spurned. Especially a walk through the carefully tended town square, with its impressive war memorial, plentiful flower beds, and lush green grass -- not to mention the smiles greeting her from those hustling along the sidewalks who were obviously just as late as she. She carefully didn't look at the charming old still carried memory shadows of the doomed Flight 395, and she didn't need to face those today.

     Shine, little glow-worm, glimmer! 

  Okay, that perfectly suited the day she was trying to make. Perky and cheerful, with tones so round and full she expected to find musicians just aroundthe memorial. But so many years of experience lether matter how close it sounded, nomatter how clear and true the harmony, it wasn'tcoming to her through her ears. Not really. And noone else heard it at all.

  Wait a moment.

  She stopped. She closed her eyes. She let herhead tip back slightly.
     Lead us, lest too far we wander,
     Love's sweet voice is calling yonder!
  Perfect.Four part.Barbershop harmony.She said, "Oh, you must be kidding." And then, because she just had to, she turned around to find them. 

     Shine, little glow-worm, glimmer -- 

  Four of them. Four of them, beaming and delighted at the recognition in her eyes -- and apparently oblivious to the startling trauma wreaked upon their bodies. Broad red vertical stripes on their blazers, red bow ties, white pants with a crease pressed into the center of each leg, straw boater hats atop their heads. One of them -- of course -- had a handlebar mustache. One tall, one stout, two somewhere in between; two pale, one swarthy, one rich brown. They doffed their hats, held them before their chests as if readying for the big finish -- and then disappeared, just an instant of surprise presaging their abrupt departure.

  "Kidding," Melinda informed the spring air, "would have been okay, too."

  She made it into Same As It Never Was with coffee in hand, her mind's ear still echoing with the ringing harmonies of the old-time song, her thoughts racing ahead -- already picking at the puzzle of how she'd learn more about the four men with so little to go on. All four of them had died at one time...they had died in their barbershop quartet outfits. But that was old, she was sure of it. Classic. As was the tradition behind the outfit. The men could well have died a century earlier.

  So she needed to know more before she went poking around. Not to mention she needed to admit to herself that this sudden impulse to go straight to Penthius was an equally futile attempt to evade the effects of one ghost by burying herself in the needs of another. Or in the needs of four of them...

  She pushed through one of the double doors, expertly employing her elbow as she kept the two coffees steady. "Good morning!"

  Delia looked up from the counter where she multitasked: a cell phone at her ear, a tangle of tarnished jewelry at her fingertips -- delicate old stuff that contrasted with Delia's chic clunky look of the ay, bracelets and earrings and necklace all colorfully suited to her bold blouse, with its fitted upper bodice and flowing sleeves. "Melinda! I was just calling -- "

Within her purse, Melinda's cell phone rang. Delia snapped her phone closed; Melinda's silenced. Melinda said, "Ah-hah."

  Delia's eyes narrowed slightly. "You all right? You look -- "

  "I know, I know...tired. Sorry about the time..." She assessed the morning so far by an expert glance at the counter contents -- the jewelry, which meant there'd been time for make-work. There were also several sticky-note messages clinging to the counter beside the low-profile register, and otherwise...gleaming marble, with the leather pen holder off to the side, the trinket box at the corner, a small notepad and pen set neatly off to the side. "I brought amends." She pushed one of the giant Village Java cups across the counter toward Delia.

  "Tired? I was going to say stunned. But that coffee looks as though it has my name on it, so who am I to argue?"

  Stunned? Melinda couldn't help a glance over her shoulder. "I suppose you could say that."

  Delia got it right away -- a ghost moment. And she changed the subject right away, too. Melinda could see it coming in her expression -- the instant of discomfort, the slightly too-cheerful moment that followed with her next determined intake of breath. "So what's keeping you up at night? Or shouldn't I ask?" Her voice grew more natural -- and more wicked. "You and your honeymooning hubby..."

  Melinda laughed a protest. "The honeymoon was over ages ago!"

  Delia shook her head, patently unconvinced. "That's what you say...."

  "Hey!" Smiling, Melinda shook her finger. "We will now talk about something else."

  "Fine," Delia told her, and swept away from the counter with drama, coffee in hand. "You choose."

  "Oh my God, are we in third grade?" Melinda burst into true laughter, and Delia followed suit, and together they untangled jewelry until a van full of retirees who had seen far too many public television antiquing shows came in and haggled over pennies, eyes gleaming.

Melinda helped them load up their purchases while Delia bagged the last-minute item -- brandnew bags, they were, complete with hang tags printed with the same antiqued S set against a three-leaf clover that adorned the bag. Tasteful earth tones, a modest spray of flowers beneath the S, the store's name scripted across the top within a peach border...Melinda loved them. Nonetheless, as the van pulled away from the curb, she joined Delia in the doorway with a sigh of relief. "Okay, that was stunning, in a scary kind of way."

  "What's that?" A voice a little deeper than it had been only a few months ago spoke out from down th...