Write a story featuring a Ouija board, a search engine, and a self-help book.
I sat in a circle all of us with our Camp Fire Girl vests on sharing ghost stories and gossip, sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor. The meeting was officially over, minutes recorded but there was always that little bit of time at the end before the parents came and picked us up. This meeting was at Susie’s house and her house was one of those old meandering type of houses.
The kind that were meant for ghost stories like Bloody Mary. There was a spooky old mirror in a quaint hall way that led to this little half bathroom. It was creepy because there just was no reason to have a bathroom there. It made me think of the Winchester house but less cool. No stairways with dead ends and upside down stairs. Just a weird old bathroom and an antique mirror.
“So, guys, what about trying to contact Bloody Mary? I mean, we could say her name like 100 times in front of the mirror. You know the mirror. The one near the end of the hall. Or, we could do something even creepier. We could use a Ouija board.”
“A what board? It isn’t satanic is it? My mom wouldn’t be okay with anything like that.” Isabelle looks worried, feeling her crucifix in her hand absently with one hand.
“I know,” says Becky. “I will look it up on Google with my smart phone. She pushes her glasses up her nose slightly punching keys lightly in her phone. “How do you spell it, Susie?”
“One moment,” Susie runs out of the room excitedly, arriving back a few moments later holding a board game in her hands. She sets it down carefully in the middle of the floor, while we stare at it.
“Wait, it is some kinda board game?” Isabelle sounds disappointed, wrinkling her nose.
“This ain’t no Monopoly. I can tell you that. My parents had a séance once. With lit candles and a bunch of people over. They made us kids go to bed, but I tell you, it was something. You could see the candle light dance and I heard strange voices.” We all leaned in a little, faces going “oooh” in unison.
Becky calmly looks at the board, typing in O-U-I-J-A in her phone. “Awh, a game put out by Milton Bradley Parker Brothers that is typically used to try and contact spirits on the other side.”
“The other side of what?”
“Isabelle, the other side, where people go after they are dead. Like your dog, Rover. When he got hit by that car last summer?” Susie explained with a malicious glint in her blue eyes. Susie enjoyed freaking Isabelle out. It was too easy.
Becky rummaged through her bag and pulled out a self help book titled ‘How to Deal with Fear of the Unknown.’ “My motto is always to come prepared.”
“Isn’t that the boy scout motto or something?” Isabelle says uncertainly accepting the book gingerly, looking a bit confused. “I hope my Aunt is here soon, “she eyes the clock uncertainly.
“So, what do you say girls? Wanna try it?”
“Bloody Mary was the daughter of Henry the Eighth and was known for her reign of terror against the Protestants.” Becky added helpfully still looking at her phone typing away.
I had sat quietly this whole time taking it all in. “Sure, let’s do it.” I say suddenly feeling brazen. All this talk with little action was beginning to bore me. “You got candles and a lighter?”
Susie jumps up and runs into the other room again coming back with some birthday candles and some matches. “Hey, Suse, where’s your mom at?” I ask wondering why the rest of the house was so quiet.
“You know, I don’t know. Probably outside in the garden. Maybe she is watching my baby brother.” She made a disgusted face. “I hate babies.” She added as clarification. “I’ll like him better when he turns five and goes to school.”
Susie lights the candles on a little metal box, melting the bottoms so they stay upright. “ouch,” she sucks in a finger from holding one of them a little too long. We watch the little flames dance, they won’t last long, these candles were pretty small. Susie carefully sets up a little card table and moves the tin on top of it, putting the board in the middle and we each pull up a chair from the other room, rickety mismatched chairs from random places. She put the device in the middle and there was the alphabet all too familiar to us written in big letters across the board.
“So we have to spell out a question that gives a yes or no answer.” Susie sits down carefully watching the expressions of the other girls as they fidgeted in their seats. “Shouldn’t we turn the light off too?” I add wanting it to be as scary as possible. Becky comes back in with some Mountain Dew. “Your mom wouldn’t mind, would she?” She looks toward Susie.
“Naw. “ Susie replies. “Now what should we ask?”
“I’m scared. I want to go home.” Everyone glares at Isabelle; I roll my eyes, cracking the can of soda open with a loud crack that makes her wince. “Sorry,” I say unapologetic, shrugging my shoulders.
We go silent for a minute looking at each other and the board. Finally Susie says, “Let’s ask the spirit if it is Bloody Mary.”
“Considering we are not in England, any spirit here would be unlikely to be Mary. I suggest we ask a better question.” Susie glares at Becky, sticking her tongue out in annoyance.
“You got a better question, Becky? What do you think we should ask then?”
“We should ask it if it is a friendly or malevolent spirit.”
“What’s malevolent?” Isabelle stammers out, shaking.
We all look at her, and she is rubbing her crucifix in her hand looking nervous. “It means, real bad, real bad, Isabelle. Like mean, only worse.” I add smiling.
“Oh.” She says hiding her head in her hands. “Come on Auntie.”
“Let’s all hold hands.” Susie suggests and we all comply for once. We then all put a hand on the little pointer device and spell out the question are you bad or not, because it is easier to spell than what Becky said. We wait a moment that seems like forever with one hand on the pointer. Then it starts to move. I hear Isabelle whimper. It goes slowly toward the Y. Then an E, then a S. Y-E-S. “Yes, what? Yes you are bad? Or yes you are not bad? That was a crappy question.” I say annoyed.
“I think it means, yes it is bad. I don’t want to do this anymore.” Isabelle lets go of the pointer abruptly and leaves the table almost tripping on her backpack. “Oh come on, Izzy, it is just a game for Christ’s sake.” Susie shrugs. “Whatever.”
“Hey she spilled my soda.” Noticing the green fluid all over my things and the floor. Suddenly a breeze gusts through and all the candles go out at once. “Uh, did someone leave a window open?” I say, suddenly feeling creeped out, feeling all the little hairs on my arm stand on end. “Susie?” I say when no one answers me. “Hey guys, this isn’t funny. I know I was kinda mean to Isabelle. But so were all of you.” Still silence. I look around, feeling the sticky soda with my hands.
“Come on. Turn on the light so I can clean this up at least.” I start to feel a little panicky. I feel sweat on my brow. “Guys? Guys!” I feel the chair near me as I stand up, I can feel the table in front of me. “Where are you guys? Why don’t you answer?”
I feel the pointer but don’t feel anyone’s hands but my own. I run into the tin with my hand and the candles are all knocked over and warped from the melted wax. I go away from the table feeling for the wall, looking for the door or the light switch.
I keep my hands on the wall, and eventually realize I am in the hallway. I can feel the mirror. The old style frame. The cool glass. I went the wrong way. But I knew there was a light switch by the bathroom. I kept feeling for the switch, and then I heard a noise. I turned my head. I called out again, “Guys, this isn’t funny.” It was totally dark here. And then I heard it.
Footsteps. Coming closer. “Uh, Guys? Susie?” I say, voice trembling. My hands were shaking now. I felt cold. So very cold. I put my hand on the glass again. Still at the mirror. Where was that switch?
The footsteps were getting loud, the person was stomping. “Hey, whose there?” I shout. No answer. I feel a cold breeze again only this is more of a gust, it pushes me. My back is now against the mirror. I can feel the cold glass through my clothing. I felt as though I could go through the wall. Like it was nothing. I suddenly felt trapped and truly afraid. I found myself looking out of the mirror into the dark hallway arms pulling me into the mirror, weird long dark arms. And then I was in the mirror looking out trying to call out to my friends but nothing would come out of my mouth except more darkness.