[Trap of Loyalty]

By Madison Hart


She ambled past the row of headstones, some sunk into the plush grass, so old no one visited them. At the end, was one chiseled from marble, still new and glimmering in Madison ghost story photothe afternoon sun. Margaret Leland, born May 2
nd 1850, died June 21st 1902. She sighed, sinking to her knees and caressing the opulent marker. Ten years to the day, she thought. Checking her small chain watch she decided to head back home. It was nearing time for her husband to return from work. Dozens of faces flooded past her on the walkway, she smiled at each one, but no one noticed her. She arrived back at her house, entering through the kitchen door. Their few maids bustled about, preparing the meal for the master. They too brushed right past her without a simple hello. She glided through the doorway, tracing the details along the frame and fingering the cool gold of the hinges. The formal receiving room sat empty, one of her grandchild’s dolls carelessly strewn on the wicker furniture. Small giggles rang from the adjacent room. She parted the sliding doors. Two rosy cheeked faces turned to her, eyes wide and mouths ajar. The toys fell from their hands as the children ran screaming up the stairs crying “Mother, mother!” Her head hung low. She wasn’t sure she could take this misery much longer. Mounting the stairs, she climbed five before ducking into the little alcove and seating herself on the short seat. The light waned from the front of the house, so she turned on the dancing lady with flower-shaped bulb holders for hands. Her shadowy hand parted the lace curtain from the geometric crystal window. Here, she would wait for her husband to return so that she might be the first to greet him. She used to have several passersby wave to her from the street, but now, she was invisible. Ah, yes! Here was her husband. His tall, willowy figure ascended the steps and entered the house. She jumped from her seat, floating down the stairs, only to have her embrace interrupted by her two grandchildren and daughter. “Hello Papa, we missed you today!” She shrunk back into the alcove. Here she had sat for the past ten years–unnoticed. And for the next ten years I shall remain. Their marriage vows ran through her mind, “Till death do you part.” Yet not even death could separate true loyalty and love.

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