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Once, there was a young girl by the name of Annabelle. She was only about seven years old but the other children were afraid of her. Annabelle liked to talk to herself. A lot. Often during recess at school, she would wander to the corner of the courtyard and begin talking to someone—or something—that the other children couldn't see.

Annabelle's parents worried about their young daughter. At home, they would hear her scurry up into the attic late at night when she should be sleeping. She could be heard shuffling through the old things up there that had been left by previous owners. They could hear her giggling sometimes and talking to someone who wasn't there. During breakfast, they would ask her who she had been speaking to the night before but they always received the same reply. "I was talking to Melody." When her parents questioned her about this, she would always tell them, "she is my friend," and say nothing more about it.

Whenever Annabelle would go to the attic at night, her mother would have the same dream. She was standing in the house she lived in waiting for something but she didn't know what. A small girl was playing in the corner. For some reason, she decided to put the young girl in the attic. She told her that everything would be all right if she was quiet. As she walked back down the stairs, a mob burst through the door. They grabbed her around the wrists and bound them behind her back. They informed her that she was under arrest for witchcraft and that her trial would be the next day. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror on the way out and she realized for the first time that she was not herself. The next thing she knew, it was a different day. The skies were cloudy and they threatened rain. She was tied to a pole in front of the local church. Her feet were getting hot and smoke was rising before her eyes.

Annabelle's mother would wake up sweating and wondering where she was.

One day, Annabelle's parents decided to talk to her grandmother about it. Annabelle's grandmother had grown up in the house and they figured maybe she would know something about its history that they didn't. "Oh yes, that house is quite haunted," said the old woman in response to her daughter's questioning. "You see," she continued, "many years ago, at least a good three hundred, there was a young woman about the age of twenty-seven. She lived alone in that house and the village folk weren't too fond of her. A lot of strange things happened at that house as well as in the town. Cows stopped giving milk. Chickens would learn to fly. Children would run away, never to return. Eventually, they blamed the poor woman. She was burned at the stake."

"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Annabelle's mother.

"I have a picture of the woman. Would you like to see her?"

"Yes I would."

The old woman produced a book from one of her many shelves. "Relena Gallows," said the old woman. To her astonishment, Annabelle's mother saw that it was the woman she always became in her dreams.

"There is another interesting fact that you might want to know, "said the old woman in an ominous way. "Just before Relena was burned, she began to cry. She said that she had a young daughter in the attic of her house. She wanted someone to care for her. The townspeople scorned her, saying that no man in his right mind would want a witch's body and she had just further proven her guilt. The flames engulfed Relena and when her body was nothing more than bone and ash, the townsfolk went to find this little girl. They broke down the attic door, which had been barricaded from the inside. They found the young girl in a small side room of the attic. She was whimpering to herself and calling softly for Relena. The townspeople decided that the girl had witch blood running through her veins since she was Relena's daughter and they executed her on the spot by cutting off her head. They left her there to rot but later they decided it would be best to burn her remains lest her vengeful spirit remain harbored in the house."

"That's terrible, mama," said Annabelle's mother. "But that doesn't help to explain what is happening to Annabelle."

"I don't know, my dear. I just don't know."

Annabelle's parents left the home of her grandmother, more perplexed than ever. That night, Annabelle's mother heard her young daughter ascend the steps to the attic. She decided to follow her and find out what was going on.

"I like that too, Melody," Annabelle's voice was heard to have said. Then Annabelle's voice took on a more ominous tone. "Why is it you never let me come to where you live?" she asked of her invisible companion. "You mean I can go tonight?" she asked after hearing a response that only she could hear. "Yayyyy!" she cried out.

A red glare suddenly began to glow from under the door crack in the far corner of the attic. Annabelle's mother screamed and shouted, "NO!" She ran and thrust open the door where she knew her daughter had been hiding to speak to her invisible friend. Her daughter was gone. In her place stood a girl of about the same age as Annabelle. But she was not Annabelle. "Hello," said the little girl. "My name is Melody." Annabelle's mother screamed and nearly fainted.

"What have you done with my daughter?" asked the woman in a tiny voice.

"She's where I used to be."

"And where did you used to be?"

"Burning,"said Melody. The little girl skipped out of the attic and on into the frontyard to play never looking back at the tears streaming down the woman's face. 

Witches, Ghosts and Other Haunts Vol. 2Where stories live. Discover now