This is Annie Marshall's grave.
Annie lived and died over a hundred years ago, but her story lingers, thanks to the haunting strains of a violin that some say can be heard at midnight.
Annie was eleven years old when diptheria killed her.
Annie probably gets quite a few visits from the curious living souls this time of year. I can tell you from personal experience that walking up to Annie in the daylight, or in the dusk, is a strangely compelling experience. I can't tell you what it's like to walk up to her at midnight and hear the strains of violin music, though. Never have done that one yet.
You know what I think about when I walk the loop that comes past Annie? I imagine a real little girl, a practically homeless and oft neglected girl spending lots of her after-school time flitting around the graves and mausoleums near Annie. Can't you just imagine the thoughts of such a little girl, if she existed?
That's Annie. She's my friend. She don't talk much, but neither do I. We kind of like it that way. She done give me so many of them little bears of hers, I couldn't never not call her my friend.
I been wishing I had a dress like that, but Annie says she'd rather have some jeans and a t-shirt like mine. She didn't know little girls ever wore anything except dresses! Come to think of it, she didn't know little girls could ever be wandering around outside any time they please, either.
I like coming here. It's safe here where nobody can reach out and grab you. Ain't nobody trying to tell me to get outta the way. Ain't nobody making fun of my hair or talking about my mama's boyfriends. Shoot, ain't nobody here at all most days. And when they do come here, they's always whistling or singing to themselves, so I hear 'em and hide.
There's some good hiding spots over there by that stone house thing. Annie says there's dead people's bodies in there, but I don't care. I do wish they'd open their door and let me see inside sometime or another.
I hear my mama hollering for me. Shhhhhhh... don't you tell no one you seen me here. It's our secret. You, me, and Annie. Our secret.