Marianne Musgrove


‘I, Mackenzie Elizabeth Carew, do solemnly swear never to communicate anything about what happened tonight.’

That’s what I promised my sister Tahlia, and I’ve tried my best to keep that promise. It’s hard, though. Grandpa is acting so strangely since his accident. I’m sure Mrs B. suspects something, and Mahesh must think I’m weird for avoiding him. My best friend Annie is too busy hanging out with Regan and Tegan to notice. But someone will find out if we’re not super careful.

It’s lucky Tahlia has a plan . . .

The story begins


Tahlia said we couldn’t tell anyone. Not ever. Not Annie, not Mahesh, not Mahesh’s mum, not the doctor, not my teacher. We couldn’t even tell Lydia.

‘Especially not Lydia,’ said Tahlia. ‘You can never breathe a word of it. You know what’s at stake.’ She grabbed me by the arm and hauled me into my bedroom. ‘Get your lucky doorknob.’


Don’t Breathe a Word continued...

'Bossy boots,' I muttered, reaching under my pillow. The doorknob was made of glass. It had heaps of facets that made it look like a big diamond.

I called it lucky because the day I found it, I'd been walking in the park with Mum. It was one of the few memories I had of her.

'Repeat after me,' said Tahlia. 'I, Mackenzie Elizabeth Carew.'

I spat on the doorknob and held it against my heart. 'I, Mackenzie Elizabeth Carew.'

'Do solemnly swear never to communicate anything about what happened tonight. Go on, Kenzie, say it.'

I said it.

'And the rest.'

I closed my eyes and said the sacred words,

'May my nose fall off and my hair turn blue,

May I fall in a tub full of alpaca poo.'

Tahlia nodded. 'We have some major thinking to do.'

Chapter One: The Thing

Two days earlier.

Something's blocking it,' I said, giving the front door an extra shove. 'Something heavy.'

'Let me try,' said Tahlia, pulling me away. 'You probably didn't turn the key properly.'

I rolled my eyes and gestured for her to have a go. She was in such a mood today. Earlier, she'd told me off for letting on we were sisters in front of her dance-class friends. She said I'd done it deliberately. Okay, maybe I did accidentally-on-purpose drop by the studio and call her 'sis'. Really loudly. Anyway, we were sisters, whether she liked it or not.

She gave the door a good push. 'That's weird,' she said. 'It really is stuck.'


I peered through the window. I wasn't prepared for what I saw. 'Tahlia! Look!'

She came over to see for herself. 'No!' she cried. 'Quick! Go round the back and climb in through the bathroom window.'

'Around the back? Please, Tahlia, can't you do it? I'd have to, y'know, go past the Thing.' I drew back, trying to blot it out of my mind.

'What thing?' asked Tahlia. 'Oh, the Thing. Can't you just shut your eyes or something? I'm too big to fit through the window. Kenzie, please, before it's too late.'

I glanced through the window again. 'All right,' I said, taking a deep breath. 'I'll do it.'

Excerpted from Don't Breathe a Word. Copyright © 2009 by Marianne Musgrove. Excerpted by permission of Random House Australia. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.