The little girl sat on the swing of the garden, her head bent, her hair falling loosely over her face. He sat waiting as so few rigid creatures danced and played around him. They sang songs and sang her name, but soon removed she will disappear as night goes on. In the day as they slept she would leave the throne they had designed for her – their princess, a throne she hated still held her captive in their world.
A ray of the sun filtering through the overgrown trees and dense wild shrubs touched the child sitting alone in a place that seemed to have been left long ago. The little girl raised her head and as the sunshine brought color to her pale cheeks and warmth to her cold skin, she opened her eyes and smiled. She was dressed for church in a frilly pink dress, stockings, shoes and her little pink bag. He slid off the swing and walked to the foot of the stairs he called,
“Mum, dad, I’m ready.”
No one answered, no one had been answering for a long time.
“Where are you?” he asked quietly, “Why have you left me all alone?”
She couldn’t cry because she had no more tears, just sadness on her beautiful little face. Such a long time since that cold, dark night when the light from her eyes was fading and her cheeks were pale.
“Where are you mum?” she whispered. “Come for me please.”
He went through the rusted wrought iron gate, and waited for the neighbors, walking with them to church but no one knew it was there. No one could see the little girl who died twelve years ago from a mysterious illness that none of the doctors could have diagnosed.
People had spoken of strange voices and appearances in the dead of night but those stories were discredited by Madeline’s family, supernatural unbelievers. As her heartbeats became smaller and she became paler, she whispered incessantly about the strange little creatures with piercing eyes, dancing and laughing around her. The family had sat at her bedside in the hospital, praying until the last moment but could not save her. Broken by grief at the loss of their little girl, they had wandered away one by one. A house that was once full of love, light, warmth and comfort was now empty, dark and cold. Things, not human, continued to live there, holding captive the little girl’s soul so that it could not ascend to heaven.
If only her family had a belief if only her grandfather had adopted those beings to thrive and become rich from their evil magic. He was dead, taking his secret with him, not knowing it was something that had to be passed on to the young generation. The family who was unaware of the wicked entities the grandfather was dealing with eventually paid a heavy price for their ignorance and reluctance to believe.
The little girl, darling the family was the price.
She played alone in the house with her Barbie dolls, no one to invite to her tea parties and fashion shows and in the afternoons she stood on the corner of the street, the ghost child, watching everyone pass by, hoping that someone could see her, so she could know the family was still there.
No one did and in the twilight, every day, he would return to the house because they were always waiting.
Near December, on a cool afternoon, standing in the corner of the street, he heard a voice behind her calling her name in a surprised tone,
Madeline spun around and stared unbelievably at the beautiful woman standing there with dark brown hair.
“Did she just call my name?” I wonder.
Madeline looked back to see if anyone else was there, the woman was talking to her but there was no one else there, no one else in the corner of the street.
“Madeline.” She called again, “How are you still here?”
“Can you see me?”
“How can no one else see me, all this time and a stranger can? Are you a ghost as well? Did the evil creatures get you? ”
“I’m not a stranger, I’m your friend, Anjalie.”
Madeline looked at her more closely, “You can’t be, Anjalie is not big like me.”
“Yes, but you died Madeline. I didn’t. That’s why I’ve grown up. ”
A woman and a woman stared at each other for a long moment, painfully in Anjanie’s heart and opening her palm, showed Madeline, a white turtle dove.
“You gave me this for Christmas.”
“Anjanie… oh that’s it really, my best friend! Where did you go? I lost you. ”
“I’m so sorry Madeline, I couldn’t bear it that you were dead and gone, and I cried until I got sick.”
Anjanie had fallen ill since the tragedy because of her deep grief and her family feared she might meet the same faith as Madeline had sent abroad.
Now she was back for the first time.
She had visited her friend’s grave, still grieving for her untimely death and coming to her old home, was amazed at the sight of her ghost form in the corner of the street.
“How are you not afraid to talk to me?”
“I don’t know, maybe it’s because I missed you so much and I’m so happy to see you.”
There was no one else in the corner of the street for those few seconds to witness the strange reunion of two best friends – both in their own world.
They talked for a long while more as Madeline linked her story to Anjanie.
“I’ve been waiting for so long. Can you find and tell my family? ”
“Sure I will.” Anjanie promised her.
The creatures were very angry, they knew and that night they were poisoning their anger by screams, horrific screams that sent shivers down the spikes of those who heard it. Madeline could no longer leave, even in the daytime because even a ray of sunlight was no longer shining through the trees. People congregated in front of the house, talking in low rumors, they had known all over that evil living in that manor, now remote from dense, flowerless trees. Anjanie found her friend’s family and two days later they exhibited, visibly disturbing the story of evil in their home that spread like wildfire and the ghost of their little girl. After twelve long years, the child was now seeing her aging mother and father, and her sister and brother now adults. But no one could enter, the creatures would not allow it. It was now their home and the child was repaying for their grandfather’s debts, she now belonged to them.
“Madeline.” Her mother called out, “We are so sorry for my baby, so sorry we didn’t believe, we have come now to free you.”
“Thank you, mother” she whispered in her mind, and at her father’s request, she kicked her ball, and knocked the gate so they knew she had heard them.
Deporting the evil that had lived there for so long was not easy at all but the evil creatures were defeated and barred by days and nights of prayer sessions by famous shepherds.
Madeline’s soul was now free to ascend to heaven with the angels and sunlight streaming through the trees as she bade farewell to her family. They would not leave again but stay and restore the old house in her memory.
He smiled at his friend, “If you hadn’t returned and you couldn’t have seen me, I would still be trapped in those creatures.”
“It was God’s will, Madeline,” she said, tears in her eyes.
“Thank you very much my friend, goodbye.”
Madeline took the hands of the angels and in retrospect one last time of the people she loved so much, ascended to Heaven.