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“You brought a board game? I’m way over board games.”
“It’s not a board game. Check it out.” She turned the cover to face Simona.
“A Ouija board? What the hell did you bring that for?”
“You miss your brother, right? Maybe we can talk to him.”
“Are you high?”
“No, silly. I’ve seen my mom and dad use it, and they swear they’ve talked to my pops Kester.”
“What’s a pops Kester?”
Mary gave an exaggerated sigh. “My grandpap. Daddy’s dad. He died last year, and my dad bought this so maybe they could talk with him.”
“I think your dad is whacked, and you too.”
“Do you miss Stevie or not?”
“Yeah, of course, but that thing ain’t gonna bring him back.”
“I know that. But maybe you can see him. Or are you scared?”
“Of a Ouija board? Fuck, yes, I’m scared. You don’t get it; that isn’t anything to screw around with.”
“Oh, come on. You’re kidding, right?”
Simona chewed the end of one nail and studied Mary for a moment. “Okay. I’m going to tell you something. But you have to swear swear not to tell anyone, or I promise I’ll drown you in the toilet.”
“Sure, I swear. What is it?”
“I’m serious. I will be supremely pissed if you say one word to even your dog.”
“Fine, I told you I swear!”
Simona stood and locked the door, walked to her closet, and pulled it open. She then reached into the back of the closet and pulled out an old suitcase from beneath a pile of old sweaters.
Popping it open, she pushed aside some shirts, and pulled out three books of varying size and age. Setting them on the floor in front of Mary, she sat down and crossed her legs.
“What are these?”
“Look at them.”
Mary sat and leaned forward, picking up the first book and studying the cover. “Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult?”
Setting the first book aside, Mary studied the next. “Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications.”
“Sa-” Mary’s face blanched and she threw the third book down. “Satan’s Bible? Are you crazy? Where did you get these?”
“The internet, and keep your freaking voice down. I’m not into Satanism, or anything.”
“Well, then what do you have all these for?”
Simona leaned back against her bed, looked out the window and chewed her lower lip, and then turned to look at Mary. “After my mom died, I was lost. For the first couple months, it hurt so bad I didn’t really want to go on. Then, a friend of mine told me how lots of folks believe that we can talk to people who have died, and sometimes all you need is a medium to get in touch with them.
“So, I scraped together my allowance money for a while, and went to a medium. Well, she said she was, anyway. Turns out, all she did was mumble a bunch of general bullshit that anyone could say, and took my money. Since then, I’ve been studying on how to get in touch with spirits, and even tried holding my own seance. A few of my friends back in Greensburg helped me, and we did the circle, the candles, everything. Didn’t even get a whisper.
“Another guy told me about Ouija boards, so I started reading about them too. Trust me, that ain’t the way to go. You can accidently summon evil spirits with them, and maybe even the devil himself. That’s why I have the bible. If I ever figure all this out and connect with a spirit, I want to have some kind of protection, just in case it’s some kind of freakin’ demon.”
“Okay, so you tried all this stuff, and nothing worked, right? Why not give the board a shot? You actually think any kind of demon is going to be interested in a couple teenagers in a bedroom?”
“Yeah, maybe. What if one shows up?”
“Then you have your bible.”
Simona sat and looked at Mary, then at the box, subconsciously rubbing her hands on her thighs. Finally she said, “Thirty minutes. After that, we put the board away, and that’s the end of it. Agreed?”
“Cool! We need three candles.”
Simona jumped up and left the room, returning a minute later with three small candles in glass holders. “These okay?”
“Perfect. Set them around the room, but don’t light them. We have to wait until everyone’s in bed. Don’t want any interruptions.”
The wait seemed interminable. The two girls passed the time watching Simona’s television with the stereo on. They were visited only once by Rebecca, who picked up the trays, bid the girls good night, and closed the door after herself.
Mary got out the board and the wooden pointer she called the planchette and sat down cross-legged on the floor. “Okay, light the candles and turn out all the lights.”
Simona did as she asked, and then pulled the drapes shut, seating herself across from Mary.
“Now, for this to work, you have to believe. No spirits will show up if you’re a Doubting Debbie.”
“Fine, I believe.”
“Okay, put your fingers on it like this, and clear your mind. Close your eyes, and concentrate only on the image of Stevie’s face, nothing else. Just that.”
The room became still, and the two girls sat stone-cold still and waited. Whispering, Mary said, “Concentrate. Reach out to Stevie. Tell him to come forward, come to your voice.”
“You want me to talk?”
“Well, yeah, how is he supposed to know to come to you?”
Simona took a deep breath, and put down her feelings of doubt. “Stevie? Stevie, it’s Simona. I miss you. Can you come and talk with me?”
“Try again,” Mary urged. “Keep saying stuff.”
Simona peeked at her with one eye. “I feel stupid.”
“Stevie. Man, I’m lonely. Things around her suck, and I don’t know what to do without you here. Please?”
Silence again, and Simona could hear the wind picking up a bit outside the window. The tree branch that scraped her window during big storms scratched across the glass as though asking to be let in.
Simona opened her eyes and looked at the window, a crawling sensation in her stomach. “This is nuts. I don’t think–”
She caught a bit of movement out of the corner of her eye, and snapped her head around. The candle on the dresser was flickering, and as she watched, it slid two inches to the left.
“Did you see that?” she murmured.
“That candle moved!”
“Please. Just because I’m younger than you are, don’t try to sc—”
“I’m not! That candle moved!”
Just as Mary looked at the candle, the one on the nightstand flickered and went out. Then the one on the make-up table slid halfway across the table’s surface. Both girls froze, blank expressions stretched across faces that were suddenly the color of bleached parchment.
Simona whispered fiercely, “What the fuck is going on?”
“How would I know?” Mary hissed back.
The planchette flew straight in the air, flipped over once, and landed in the middle of the board. Both girls shrieked and scuttled backwards away from the board. It came alive again, slowly floated up into the air, stopped at eye level, pointed toward Simona and began to glide toward her, stopping when it was barely three inches from her nose. The terrified girl stared open-mouthed, her eyes fastened on the approaching piece until they were crossed. It then slowly turned and returned to a position directly above the board, lowering itself until it once again rested in the center. Silence reigned for several seconds, then Mary cleared her throat. In a raspy whisper, she offered, “Stevie? Is that you?”
The piece on the board immediately came alive, sliding across the board and coming to rest.
Scooting her butt across the carpet, Mary came to a stop three feet from the board and leaned over. She stared at it for a moment, then looked up owl-eyed at Simona. “It’s pointed at ‘Yes’.”
“So? Put that thing away!”
“But this is your brother!”
“I give a shit! Put it away now!” Simona leaned forward, plucked the planchette from the board, folded the board in half, deposited both in the box, and hurriedly slapped the lid on.
Leaning forward, she wrapped both arms around herself and started rocking to and fro.
Not knowing quite what to say, Mary glanced at her obliquely. “That was Stevie,” she mumbled.
Simona snapped, “How do you know? Because it said so? That’s it – we’re done.”
Mary looked nervously around the room. “You think it was a demon or something?”
“I don’t know, and I don’t plan on finding out. Let’s just watch TV.”
Teenagers – trouble just finds them, doesn’t it…
“Restless Souls: 3 Dark Fables – coming soon!