Short Story

[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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[Old House, New Lives]

By Katy McDonald

Marline and John threw open all the windows of the house.  Pro of living in an old house: big windows.  Con of living in an old house: no AC.  But they had made the decision to live there, and now they had to live with it.

Not a bad decision, Marline thought to herself as she looked out over the green and blues from her attic window as the breeze began to cold the room.  Still, John had been strategic about getting them to move in when it was still bearable.   

Six months.  It had been six months, and Marlin still felt she couldn’t move in her own home.  The walls held so many memories; they had seen the lives of so many men and women. A few deaths, too, no doubt.  She shook herself, if she started to tell herself ghost stories now she would never get to bed.

She stepped carefully back down the steep steps.  John’s family had lived in the house for generations.  When his cousin moved out in the early fall, John had jumped at the chance to move in.  Marline was still unsure about her husband’s hasty decisions, but he was happy and promised their kids would be too.  Kids.  She smiled at the thought.  John still didn’t know how soon he would have to come through on that promise.

Katy Old House photo“Happy, Love?”  He asked from his place on the couch.  It had to be from the twenties.  It was hideous.

Marline turned her smile on him and dropped her hand.  “Couldn’t be happier.”  She grabbed her bag.  “I’ll see you after work, don’t get up to too much trouble.”

 

They were laying in bed.  Wind blow through their room.  The days were too hot and the nights were too cold.  Marline tried to sleep, but it was so hard.  She tossed and turned.  John always slept hot not matter what.

Finally, she gave up on the idea of sleep.  She grabbed her sleeping gown and walked down the kitchen.  The wind was blowing throw the whole house, that seemed about right.  Without turning on the light, she started making tea.  At least someone had thought about indoor plumbing and electricity.  

The street light shown into the window giving the whole room a light caramel feel.  The street was still.  Carm.  Good neighborhood.

Marline stopped.  The wind was blowing through the room.  It was blowing in her hair.  The pages of John’s book on the table were rolling over slowly.  The trees outside were still.  Like a picture.  Dead still.  She shook her head.   No thoughts like that were bad.  Bad thoughts.

The kettle started whistling, and she jumped.  She hadn’t been paying attention for it to get that loud….that fast.  

[Hollow Walls]

By Thalia Medrano

I think there’s someone in the walls. At first I considered the possibility that this was just an old house, and that the noises it made didn’t indicate anything remotely special. But the thing is, eventually I realized the house wasn’t actually making noise. Why I believed it was, I couldn’t tell you, I think my mind was scrambling for the best possible explanation for the sensation I was feeling, so it created whispers and creaks emanating from behind the plaster. But when you really pay attention, there’s nothing there at all.

Thalia wall photoOne could blame it all on paranoia, I suppose, and yes, I considered that possibility, too. How else would you explain this? I believe someone’s here with me, though I can’t see or hear them. But they’re tangible. You can feel the air moving around them. At one point I even considered it might be a ghost.

I gouged a hole in the kitchen wall with a crowbar when I was finally too curious to put up with it anymore. And what did I find but a very angry and malnourished raccoon, who had nested behind the cabinets. Upon calling animal control, I decided that was that.

But the feeling persisted. I punched holes in every room of the house, hiding them all behind posters after the fact in case anyone ever cared to visit. Wouldn’t want to worry them.

I ended up sitting inside the walls quite a lot after a while. By that point I’d given up looking for anything in particular, but the walls were cool and pleasantly dim and it was nice to know that there was a place no one else could find.

And of course I absolutely jinxed it by thinking that. On an afternoon on a Saturday I sat inside the wall for a while and eventually looked up to notice a girl, who, I should add, I had never met before, sitting next to me with a book in hand and a can of soda. Not a ghost, mind you, a real, physical girl, who apparently just enjoyed spending her time reading inside the walls of my house.

[End of the Year Road Trip]

by Katy McDonald

We were driving in the car, well I was driving, they were yelling at each they way they always do.  Screaming every brilliant topic into submission.  The back seat fell into a compatible quite.  Jamie and Sasha must have run out things to say, for the time being.  My shotgun rider, Margaret had miraculously drifted off half an hour ago.

The car passed a sigh, Marfa ½ mile.  Marfa that was a weird name for a town.  

My thoughts were echoed from the I assumed was asleep girl next to me.  “This seem a great place to spend the worst year in the history of… the history of what.”  She yawned.

“Time.”  Jamie.  “It was the worst year in the history of time!”

“Yeah.”  Sasha giggled.  “Twenty sixteen was one hundred percent the worst year of all time.”

I didn’t say anything.  Personally, I thought that was a hard statement to make, I mean we had only been around for twenty-two years out of history and we didn’t know about the years we had no written record of.  I had a feeling that some of the years from 1914-1945 were pretty rough.  But I was tired.

Marfa, Texas by Alejandro De La Cruz Follow, Creative Commons Copyright

Photo by by Alejandro De La Cruz Follow, Creative Commons Copyright

“Okay just hear me out,” Margaret said.  She must have seen the look on my face or something.  “So Britain left the EU!  Alan Rickman, David Bowel, Prince, and a bunch of other people who we all loved died.  Hurricane Matthew happened.  There was no snow like anywhere.  There were the attacks in France and Belgium.  Organ had an army control presence there for a bit.  There were wildfires everywhere, did I mention the snow! Oh, and America failed at the whole democratic thing we have pumpkin for president.”  (more…)

[CHECK!]

by Madison Hart

Meet Lisa. Lisa is your average woman. Except she makes a ton of lists…on sticky notes…everywhere. But this time, she put her 2016 goals on a nice sheet of crisp notebook paper. Tonight is New Year’s Eve. After a long, tiring day as a barista, she retires to her home office in anticipation of crossing off all her goals…

Let’s see… (rummaging through desk drawer), I know my nice neat list of goals is in here…somewhere (chucks stapler over shoulder, barely missing her cat) Ah ha! Here it is Mr. Fluffy (cat purrs) Now, I’ll just snuggle up in the big armchair by the fire and mark off everythiSticky Notes in Elevator photo by Pekka Nikrus, Creative Commons License
ng I have accomplished (sits with nose in air).

ONE. Baked cookies every Saturday

Oh ya! That was an easy one-CHECK!

TWO. Never missed an episode of my favorite shows

Barely (wipes brow), college almost got in the
way (perks up) CHECK!

THREE. Found Mr. Fluffy a friend

Um…well…Mr. Fluffy, you really should work on your first impressions (Mr. Fluffy hisses). Just saying…NOT CHECK!

FOUR. Remembered to floss at least once a week

They really should stock that near the gummy bears so I remember to buy more…NOT CHECK!

FIVE. Went to the Gym with BFF once per week

Whoops, ya, I ditched her after the first one…(lightbulb moment) That’s why she hasn’t called me…NOT CHECK! (Mr. Fluffy glares) Ya, ya, I know…bad friend

SIX. (Tries to smile and shake off impending gloom) Successfully completed first semester of Acting School. Well, I did successfully land the prominent role of background dancer #1. Oh ya! ( Pencil checks and Mr. fluffy meows) But, but—(hangs head and sighs) UNCHECK.

(Stares into fire for unknown length of time)

Goodnight Mr. Fluffy, I’m too downtrodden to stay up for 2017. (Throws list into fire) I think I’ll resort back to sticky notes. (leaves room)

(White cat with pink bow rubs against Mr. Fluffy) CHECK!

Not the End

By Caity Henderson

 

The beginning of the end

Everyone knows the sound from the hospital show when heartbeat peaks end and there is only a glowing green line. Funny that it happens like this just as she crosses over from one side to the other. The living to the dead. The end to the beginning.

And yet this is no TV drama. She is smiling though she does not breathe. I pretend to see a bead of light escape her lips. I have watched her spirit seep out of her for weeks now in (more…)

The Start

By Katy McDonald

 

She slid over the rooftops, as stealthy as her nickname made her sound.  Ducked under old pipes and aged vents.  In the falling darkness she shape was nothing more than an outline.  To the average person she could have been a cat or bird.  But I am not the average person and I had my orders.  I watched her slink to the glass roof top of the museum though the red sight of my riffle.

A number of things were recovered over her bag and laid them down, moved quickly and without much hesitation.  Every move had a purpose.  She gracefully slipped into the gallery. She avoided every obstacle and dogged every trap.  She was known for being the best at what she did.   (more…)