Welcome to the final instalment of Beware of the Ouija Board.
It’s funny how we desire to see the mystical in our world, and the second it materializes we search for a logical reason to explain it away. Some scientists have studied the paranormal activity of the Ouija board, and have determined the movement of the pointer can be explained by the ideomotor effect.Which means a person may be using their muscles to react reflexively on ideas at an unconscious level. What it boils down to is that the scientists think a person has subconsciously decided to take action and is directing the pointer to the answer. Having had some experience with the Ouija board, I disagree. That reasoning does not explain the freezing cold rooms, or the weird behavior of the candle flames, or interference with the lights, or being watched by ghostly apparitions.
The morning after Giselle and I popped our Ouija cherry I woke to the sound of a blaring horn. I slam my hand down on my alarm button and silence the beastly noise. I leap out of bed to greet the day, relieved that no evil spirit had decided to take over my body for the night. I throw off my PJ’s and quickly throw on my underwear. I choose a pair of Levi jeans from the drawer beside the bed and then speedily shove my foot into my jeans. I halt for a moment. An intense sensation of being watched overwhelms me. The prickling impression crawls up along the back of my neck. I reach around trying to rub it away. My eyes search the room like indecisive butterflies not knowing where to land. There is nothing. An unbidden fear snatches at my breath—You can’t see spirits. I swiftly jerk my jeans up over my hips, and zip, and button with fumbling fingers. I snatch a t-shirt from my drawer. It’s an Olds College T-shirt from my hallway group in residence. It spells, Equine Ave. on the top and has a picture below of a cartoon horse splay legged with an ice pack on its head, and half a dozen empty beer bottles scattered around it’s feet. Underneath the picture, is written, Brewed Mares, Equine Studies, Olds College. Yeah, we were the classy hallway organization.
The phone rings at the other end of the trailer. Its brash tone calls out insistently.
I race down the hallway coming to a quick halt beside the phone hanging on the wall. I yank the phone receiver to my ear suspecting the worst. It’s far too early for good news phone calls. “Hello?”
“Morning Deb,” says my boss, Terry. “Listen, I know it’s early but, before any other blabbermouth spills the beans, I figured I’d better be the one to tell you that the bank foreclosed on Crossman’s stable and house. I found out late yesterday, but I had to haul some horses from Lake View Farms to the racetrack last night. Sorry, I didn’t have time to call.”
“Oh. It’s okay,” I answer numbly. A twang of shock rockets through my chest. Shit. Does that mean I’m unemployed? “Does—“ I begin my question and lean against the wall for support. I just started this job a couple months ago.
Terry silences my words by continuing to talk, “You’re not the only one affected. The bank foreclosed on everything. This place is foreclosed on too.” He pauses. I can hear dragging deeply on his cigarette. “The good news is that bank is keeping me on to manage your stable and mine. So in the short term, it’ll be business as usual. At least for a while— Of course the borders at your stable will need to find new homes for their horses. In the meantime, I don’t want you to go on a runaway to find a new job. I’m in negotiations with the bank, and I’ll be signing an agreement to rent Lake View Farms for a three-year term.” He hesitates, I hear him inhale from his smoke again, and then his raspy voice continues, “Shelley, my right-hand gal down here has decided to exercise thoroughbreds at the track full time, so when the dust settles— I’d like you to come to work here for me. How does that sound?”
I twirl the phone cord around my finger. I tighten it to the point of being uncomfortable. “Good, I guess.” I feel a sudden affinity towards a calf in the calf roping competitions, my feet have been yanked out from under me, and I’ve been hogtied hand to foot.
Terry clears his throat loudly, and his voice becomes stronger, “There’s no easy way to say the rest, but here’s the bad news. You’ll have to keep your eyes open for a while. Crossman is spitting fire. I guess he went wild when the bank told him they were foreclosing on him and he was getting evicted from his home and property. He threatened to burn the stable down to the ground.”
“What? My stable?” I gasp. “The one I’m working at?” My finger turns purple as the phone cord restricts my blood circulation.
“Yup, and mine too. But don’t pay it any attention, the bank hired a security company to protect the farms— you’ll have a security guard patrolling the area twenty-four-seven.”
“A security guard? Really?” I rub my forehead feeling a ping of pain in my temple. “For how long?”
“As long as they need it.”
I picture the overweight, overbearing man who had lived in the fancy house just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the barn. “What a dick wad.”
“That’s a nice name for him,” remarks Terry with a chuckle. “He deserves worse. I’ll try to come up there later in the day, whether I actually do or not will depend on how everything goes here, and at the bank. The main thing is that you don’t worry about anything. Leave the worry to someone else— like me. Just remember, it’s business as usual. I’ll be the one breaking the news to the horse owners boarding at your stable.”
“Okay.” I agree, sounding utterly unconvinced. Leave the worry to someone else? That’s never been my style. He obviously doesn’t know me very well. I pop my head around the corner of the kitchen cabinets and check the clock on the stove. It‘s 7:00 a.m. “I gotta go, Terry, it’s time to feed.”
“You bet Deb. I better get going too. I’ll talk to you later. Goodbye,” says Terry.
I hang up the phone. Then I realize I didn’t say goodbye. That’s rude, I hope Terry doesn’t consider that rude. A flash of memory zips through my mind. My mouth drops open, while my heart thumps against my ribs. Shit! I didn’t say goodbye— We didn’t say goodbye. Giselle and I didn’t close the Ouija Board last night. I run a hand across my brow and wince. Dammit, I need this worry like a hole in the head. I have work to do. I have no time for Ouija bullshit. What a great start to the morning. Thanks, Giselle, now I might have nasty spirits and a firebug running around on the loose.
I stomp over to the cupboard grab a granola bar and stick it in my back pocket. I’ll eat it while I’m walking the horses out to the paddocks. I throw on my coat and boots and head outside to start my morning. I step outside and look down. The Ouija box is still there. Sadly no one had stolen it during the night. The top of the game box is covered with dew. I pick up the box and wipe the lid off with the sleeve of my plaid coat. I lift my gaze to the cloudy sky, and a raindrop plops into my eye. I release a weighted sigh and toss the box inside my porch. I can’t leave it outside— It’s not my property.
A few tiny specks of water soak into my coat as I traipse to the barn. It can’t even be called rain if you want to be technical. I’m being spit on. The clouds are spitting on me. It’s going to be a glorious day. I feel like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. I slide open the barn door, and I am greeted by a chorus of whinnies. Now there’s my happy thought for the day. My heart swells with affection, and I can’t help but grin at their dependableness. They know my routines as well as I do. I’m going to be just fine. I go about my schedule feeding and watering and then lead them out to their paddocks for the day. Then I coordinate my tools to clean stalls, I park the wheelbarrow at the entrance of the first stall and start forking the horseshit and wet straw into the cart. The radio is playing an upbeat song from the country band Alabama. The lights flicker, and the music cuts in and out. I poke my head out of the stall listening for thunder. There is none. I peek down the alleyway. I see a man in the shadows wearing a cowboy hat. I blink, and he is gone. I narrow my eyes squinting at the place where he had been. I know there was someone there.
I cautiously wander down the alleyway. I come to a halt at the exact place where he had stood. I was standing directly opposite to the entrance of the hot walker area. I glance at the closed door almost expecting it to be open. It was shut. Of course, it was shut. I always kept it shut no one ever used it now. A thought bloomed my mind, what if Crossman carried out his threat and hired someone to burn the barn down? My nerves dance in my body, I’m responsible for this stable. I grasp the cool metal handle and pull. The door slides open. It groans like a dying animal. I peer inside the darkened space. I can’t see shit. I stretch my arm inside and to the left feeling for the light switch. I locate it and flick it on. The bony limbs of the hot walker are now dimly lit. I peer around, and my anxiety eases. I’m the only person in the space. The lights die momentarily and then spring to life. They continue in this irritating fashion. I step into the area to have a better look around. I stop. My hand automatically flies to my heart. In the corner of the cavernous room, deep in the shadows when the light flickers out, I see a shadowy man holding a pitchfork. I jolt backward and bang into the edge of the doorway. My body freezes. I stare with unblinking eyes at this ghostly apparition. It disappears when the light flashes on and returns when it’s dark.
And then it grins.
My throat aches to scream, but my mouth will not move. I cringe against the door. To my unspeakable relief, the lights steady and the ghostly figure is gone.
I want to run away from this place. I want to pack up my things and throw them in a vehicle and drive away. But I have no vehicle and no way out. What I do have is responsibilities. I rub at my chest trying to massage the fear away. I huff in and out and finally manage a deeper breath. My muscles relax slightly, and I retreat from the hot walker room and close the door. I shake my head. It has to be my imagination. Nothing is going on here. I need to believe that if I’m going to continue my day. I head back to cleaning stalls—a wooden marionette on strings. I go back to my trailer for lunch. I traipse past the Ouija game lying on my porch floor. I ignore it as I do the catcalls from ill-mannered construction workers. I’m practiced at disregarding things I don’t want to see. I eat my grilled cheese while I watch an episode of the Flintstones. My gramps would have laughed at me— A grouchy sandwich was still my favourite lunch. Maybe I should call my grandpa up on the Ouija board. He would get rid of the badass spirit that’s been following me around?
The rest of the day I keep my focus on what’s in front of me. I refuse to use my peripheral vision. Terry never did show up that day, and neither did the security guard. I could have used the company.
By the end of my workday, I had come to the conclusion I needed to close the Ouija board. We didn’t do it last night. It had to be the reason I was seeing ghostly images.
I make a quick supper of chunky soup, grilled sirloin steak with vegetables. I force myself to eat, and then I wash the dishes feeling a mantle of dread laid across my shoulders. I didn’t want to touch the Ouija. But my desire to be rid of the unwelcome spirits was greater. I march into my porch like I’d been assigned a task from my dad. Show no fear, get the job done and there’s no sense whining— no one wants to listen anyhow. I pick up the box from the floor of my porch and carry the game into my living room. I may as well sit on a comfy seat while I’m being terrified. I unpack the game in a matter of fact way and light a candle. I keep the kitchen lights on, after all, there’s no one here to complain but me. I rub my hands together and put my fingertips on the pointer. I try to release some of my worry, heck, this may not even work with only one person.” Is there anybody here?” I ask. Sincerely hoping there was not.
The plastic is smooth under my fingertips, a simple inanimate object. There is not even a tingle of vibration happening. A clunking noise originates from the utility room, it sounds like a body falling to the floor. It’s just the furnace kicking on. My anxiety level rises. I think that is an appropriate state for anyone waiting to talk to the dead. I settle into a meditative state and bring my attention to the board. A tingling sensation begins to enter my fingertips.
“Bang, bang, bang!”
I jolt with a fright, and then swallow hard to dislodge my heart from my throat. I push myself to my feet and stomp towards my front porch. Who’s the lost soul knocking on my door at this time of night? It must be Terry, no one else would show up unannounced.
I flip the porch light on and fling open the door. “What—“ I begin. The question dies on my lips. A hulky male wearing a security guard outfit two sizes too small is perched on my front step. He has a high and tight military haircut accompanied by a thin-lipped uncertain grin.
“Hi,” he says. “I’m Paul, the security detail. I thought I should introduce myself and let you know Mr. Crossman is packed up and gone from the premises.”
Oh yeah… the security detail. I casually reach up and slide a hand across my face checking for remnants of dirt, or soup. I don’t even remember if I washed my face after work. I nod, “Great, I’m glad he’s gone. He was a douchebag.” I stick out my hand and introduce myself, “I’m Debby.”
He accepts my greeting and delivers a wet noodle handshake. “Yeah, I’m Paul— Oh, I said that already. Sorry.” He lowers his gaze and fiddles with his belt adjusting his flashlight.
“So you’re the security?” I say, a lame attempt at conversation. “Do you know how long you’re here for?”
He bobs his head happily. “Twelve hours, I do the night shift, and another guy will do the day shift.”
I laugh kind of obnoxiously, “No, I mean how many days?
He flushes and then shrugs, “I won’t know until my boss sends us somewhere else. It’s kind of a fly by the seat of my pants job.
I giggle weirdly, not knowing if that’s supposed to be funny or not. “Great— I mean it’s good you have a job.” My mind suddenly touches on the Ouija board sitting openon my table, and the shadowy form that I encountered during the day. “Hey,” I exclaim, “Where are you going to be tonight— in case I notice someone creeping around outside my place?”
He lifts his shoulders, and he looks more self-assured. He definitely appears more capable now. “I’ll be around, just holler, it’s a small area to patrol.”
I dip my head. “Deadly— Thanks Paul, and hey, thanks for checking in.”
He continues to linger on my top step.
I wasn’t sure what else he expected? I retreat further back into my porch and swing the door closed, so it’s hiding half my body. I hope he can take a hint. I smile and wave my hand towards the night. “I guess you probably need to get to work now?”
His body judders to life and heads down the steps.
“See you tomorrow,” I call out watching him disappear into the dark.
“Yeah,” he waves a hand. “That’s cool. Catcha tomorrow.”
I slam the door and lock it closing off the world outside. I return to the Ouija with breathless intent. Everything is positioned as I left it. The candle burns in a typical calming fashion, and the room is comfortably warm. I feel the tension in my body lessen. I flop on the couch and lean in closer to the board resting on the coffee table. I jump right in, “Are there any spirits here?” Within moments the weaker vibration from last night returns to the pointer.
It slides easily to the word, yes.
My chest puffs up with a glowing satisfaction and a cocky smile forms on my face. I didn’t need Giselle to make this work. The energy directing the cursor is swaying in a laissez-faire manner. It practically hovers over the board. I feel my ego swell with thoughts of being extra special. After all, I must be unique if I can manage the Ouija board alone.
“Is my Grampa Walter there?” I ask. The candlelight in the room brightens momentarily, yet the pointer sails to “No.”
“Has he moved on?”
The Ouija responds, “Yes.”
I feel a combination of disappointment and relief well up within me. I would have loved to chat with my irreplaceable Gramps. On the positive side, this meant he had moved on to where he was supposed to go instead of clinging to the energy of the living. By this time I had forgotten all about closing the board. I was firmly interwoven with the power of the Ouija. When I became self-aware, I realize, I’m exhausted. I lift my fingers off the board and check the time. It’s well past midnight, and if you had been there to ask me what had taken place—I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. It was three days and two nights until Robbi, and Giselle would arrive to play, and my good intentions about reciting the Lord’s Prayer or having my cross necklace handy had faded away.
The next morning I complete my chores in a daze. All I thought about was interacting with the power of the Ouija again. I played whenever I could. My fingers were on the pointer in the morning before work, on my lunch break, and in the evening late into the night. I learned to set the timer to keep me on schedule during working hours. In those three days during my Ouija addiction I may have seen, or even talked to Terry, or to the security guards that patrolled the property day and night, but to be forthright, I couldn’t remember. I functioned like a robot on automatic. The only time I felt truly alive was when my fingers were connected with the board.
Thursday evening arrives. I have a vague memory of talking to Robbi, but I don’t know for sure. The real world is like participating in a waking dream, and the Ouija was my actual life. I almost didn’t want Robbi to come, and that little fact was bizarre. Robbi was my most excellent friend from college. Have you ever experienced meeting someone for the first time, but the minute they walk away you can’t recall the color of their eyes or the shape of their smile? Well, it wasn’t that way when I met Robbi. I remember her eyes were blue, but not merely blue because they’d shift color like the shades of salty water along the ocean shore. She had a hint of a smile at our first meeting, and it was a small sarcastic grin to be sure. However, once I got to know her, she’d lower her guard, and her smile would sweep across her face— a sunrise lighting the sky on fire. Her most noticeable feature though was her shining mane of strawberry blonde hair which cascaded down to her ankles. She usually kept it in a braid, and it earned her the nickname, Punz— short for Rapunzel of course.
I prepare for my guests in a trancelike state. I set up the Ouija board with reverent care. I place the candles in position. Although I had found in the recent days that candles aren’t needed, the spirits will converse under any condition. As my mind lands on that thought, an underlying uneasiness expands inside my chest. I vaguely wonder if something is wrong with me. I try to focus on the feeling… but then as if I were an old woman saddled by dementia the thought I held is whisked away, and I can’t quite grasp why it had been so important in the first place.
At 5:30 I hear Robbi’s truck pull up beside the trailer. I move to greet her at the door. She bounces into my porch carrying a take-out bag from Arby’s. She raises it toward me. “Hi Honey, I’m home.”
I laugh. My stomach growls as I accept her offering. “Oh man, you’re the bomb, Rob. How’d you know it’s feeding time at the zoo?”
She draws in her brows and gives me an odd look, “Probably because the zookeeper called me,” she says following me inside.
I stop in my tracks and turn lifting my chin towards her. “Get real, Robbi, you’re messing with me— I didn’t call.”
She jerks back with a look of confusion on her face. “You did Deb. You called me at noon.”
I frown. “That’s strange. I don’t remember calling you.” I set the bag on the counter in a daze trying to remember the phone call. Grease spots seep through where the French fries have pushed up against the paper.
Robbi steps up beside me and gives her head a slow shake. Her braid bounces against the front of her shoulder. “I always knew this day would come.”
I set a plate on the counter and open the bag. “What day are you talking about?” I pause looking inside the bag. “And where’s your food?”
“I ate mine on the way,” she says. “And I’m talking about the day you lose your mind. All those times you’ve tumbled off the horses and smoked your head on the ground have finally caught up to you, huh?”
I nudge her with my shoulder, “Shut up… You’re such a loser.” I transfer my Beef and Cheddar bun, and French fries to a plate. “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
“You called me earlier.”
I think back through my day again — nothing seems clear. I glance at the Ouija board. My insides tremble. “Yeah, you’re right Rob. I probably just forgot.” I carry my plate to the table and sit down. “Do you want a drink?”
She grabs a glass from the cupboard, “ I’ll have water—do you want one? Maybe you need to hydrate your brain since it’s going to mush.”
I nod, chewing on a ridiculously large bite of my sandwich.
She brings our water to the table and settles into the chair across from me. Her eyes examine my face.
I try to wiggle out from under her stare shifting my head from side to side. I swallow hard. “What?” I ask. “Stop looking at me. You’re freaking me out.”
She slants forward and rests her arms on the table with a concerned expression. “Why do you look so terrible?” she asks in a caring tone. Then trying to lighten the mood she adds, “Have you been bar hopping without me?”
I cringe inside. Robbi is trying to figure out my secret. I scowl. “I’m so sure— Yes. I’ve been cruising the bars on my pedal bike.” I snap picking up a french fry and waving it around. “No, of course, I haven’t been to the bar. I’ve been here waiting for Crossman to burn the place down.”
“Someone’s testy,” she comments with scepticism in her eyes. “Yeah, you told me about the Crossman thing—“ Robbi narrows her eyes as she watches my face. “Do you remember telling me that?”
I didn’t remember that at all. “Yeah,” I lie. “Of course.” My face flushes.
“Yeah, right,” she says sarcastically. “Come on, spit it out. What’s going on with you?”
I chew on a few French fries. My eyes dart towards the game on the table. My friend is like a dog with a meaty bone. “I’ve been playing Ouija by myself,” I confess.
Her eyes widen, “What? I didn’t think that was possible.”
I shrug, “Apparently it is,” I say. The words are coated with haughtiness.
She wags her head in denial, and confusion clouds her eyes. “Why would you play it by yourself. You told me something took over the board when you played with Giselle.”
I shrug my shoulders again letting her words slip away, “I’ve been fine on my own.”
Her brow furrows and anger sparks in her voice, “Are you for real? You’re notfine. You’re losing your memory, and you look like a burnout who’s been living on the street.”
I giggle and reach across the table with an open palm, “Do you have a fix for a desperate burnout?”
She smacks my hand away. “There’s no fix for the hopeless.” Her attention shifts to the game on the table. “I’ve always wondered about the Ouija board— But considering what it’s done to you, I’m freakin scared now.” She wraps her arms around herself and shivers.
I frown. Robbi’s words wake me. I analyse her eyes, they’ve transformed to the color of the deep blue sea. It’s an honest concern. It’s not like my friend to admit to her fear. Maybe there is something wrong with me. I instigate an internal investigation into myself. At first, there is nothing because I’m checking for sections of discourse in separate parts of myself. Then I do a scan of my entire body. I discover I am swathed in an invisible shell of energy that connects me to the Ouija. The connection looks like an umbilical cord to the game. I recoil in horror. I mentally slash at the woven sheath. Thank God it’s easily torn. As I shred it into bits, it disintegrates like steam from a kettle. I suck in a gasp of air like a newborn infant. My surroundings crystalize into focus, and I am alive once more. I feel my blood coursing through my veins and warming my body. I am aware. I can feel again. My hand shakes uncontrollably on my lap. What was walking around in me for the last few days?
Robbi’s stares at me, amazement flashes through her face, “If I hadn’t have seen it myself I never would have believed it. You have color in your face. You look like yourself again— like the pain in the ass I’ve always known.”
My vision is obscured by a sudden swell of tears. I’m free. I didn’t even know I was captive. I glance at the board and wipe away my tears. A swift hatred forms in my heart. “I think it got its hooks into me because I didn’t close the board.”
The sound of tires on the gravel overrides my revelation. Giselle has arrived.
My face creases and I almost sob.
Robbi touches my shoulder. “We don’t have to play— We can hang out and watch a movie instead. Or we could try to sneak Giselle into the bar and check out all the hunks?”
I force a laugh.
An insistent rapping explodes on my front door.
Punz jumps to her feet. “I’ll get it.” Then she delays, “What’s your decision?”
I bite my lip. I really don’t want to touch that thing ever again, but often what we want doesn’t matter. “We have to play,” I say in a hard voice. “The board needs to be closed, or the door is open to the spirits to come and go as they please. “I’m fine now. You’re here, and Giselle is here I’ll be okay.”
Robbi leaves the room to answer the door, and I stay on my chair enjoying the sensation of solidness under my body. It’s vivid and real. The spontaneous memory of the ghostly figure in the barn invades my mind. I crush my lips together and my cheeks color. I was so stupid, I was playing with forces I couldn’t understand, and those forces knew how to play the game better than I.
I hear Robbi and Giselle exchanging names at the door. My furnace kicks in noisily. I flinch, and I feel as though I will be flinching for the rest of my life.
Giselle strolls into the room, her hair is wild and free, she’s wearing a black hoodie and a black pair of sweats. Her eyeliner is dark and thick. She sets a can of Coke down on the end of the table. Her gaze is fixed on the game. She squeezes her hands together with excitement. “Oohh man, I’ve been looking forward to this all week.”
Her enthusiasm is nauseating. I exchange a glance with Robbi.
My young friend notices our exchange and flicks her attention back and forth between Robbi and I. “What,” she says collapsing into her chair.
I tilt my head and sigh.
Her face stiffens. “Don’t play me for a loser. I can tell when something’s going on. What happened?”
Emotion wells up in me, and I press my lips together holding it in check. I cover my mouth with a hand.
“What?” she demands of me.
My hand drops away, I shake my head wearily wishing I could shake off my idiocy over the last couple of days. I raise my eyes to Giselle’s. “I’ve been playing the Ouija board by myself for the past three days.” I tuck my head into my chest and shiver. “Weird things started to happen to me.”
Giselle presses back into her chair. “Weird things like what?”
My nostrils flare. I fight to keep my terror under control. ”Like I started to see things—figures— a dark shadowy man.”
“You didn’t tell me that,” burst out Robbi.
I glance at my old friend and drop my head. Shame fills me.
“Where?” asks Giselle scratching her neck nervously, and red lines come alive on her skin.
I stare into nothingness. “In the barn a couple times— And— I didn’t see him in the house, but I could feel him here.” I rub my forehead with a shaky hand. “That’s when I realised we forgot to close the Ouija board. I thought I could close it by myself and then one thing led to another. I ended up playing Ouija all the time— I was obsessed. And then maybe partially possessed. I’ve been very confused over the last couple of days.”
“What do you mean confused?” questions Giselle suspiciously.
Robbi pivots around to the younger girl beside her, “She can’t remember things—she’s been all fucked up the last few days.” My good friend shoots me a hefty dose of pity. “It’s like she’s been in a trance or something— she was still trippin when I got here tonight.”
An unexpected anger bursts inside me. I jerk forward to defend myself, and glare at my two guests, “Hang on a minute— I’m still here you know, I can tell my own story.”
Robbi sniffs loudly, and gestures to me, “Be my guest, darling.”
Giselle scrutinizes me like I was a search and find puzzle, “ You look alright— maybe tired but alright.”
I grit my teeth. A sudden rage bubbles up inside me. Who are they to judge what I’ve been through? I leap to my feet and snatch a pen and paper from the drawer. I toss the writing tools on the table ignoring their stunned expressions. I close my eyes and press my fingers to my temples. I inhale and exhale deeply. I remind myself I’m okay. The unexpected hostility ebbs away. I drop my arms to my side, and they dangle loosely. I want this to be over. I capture Giselle with serious look and say, “Listen, the Ouija board is not a plaything. You need to understand that the only reason I’m okay right now, is that Robbi came earlier and started asking me the right questions. Something from the board wormed it’s way inside me and what was worse is that I had no idea it had influence over me.” This board is dangerous, Giselle. The face is, we need to say goodbye on the board tonight and shut it down for good.” I look from Giselle to Robbi. “Agreed?”
They both bob their heads in harmony.
We begin our session with the Ouija; the light in the room wavers with the sway of the candle flames. We are three strong. We have our symbols of positive power set on the table between Robbi and myself— a silver cross pendant, and the Lord’s Prayer written out on a piece of paper.
We place our fingers on the pointer and almost immediately there is the bristly feeling like that of static electricity in the room and under our fingertips. The object circles the board.
“What is your name?” asks Robbi in a pleasant voice.
The indicator moves across the letters and pauses on each selection before it continues on. It spells, “D-A-V-I-D.”
Robbi’s breath catches. Her eyes are bright as she watches the ever-flowing movement of the pointer. She throws me a glance, “Now what?”
“I think it’s the same low-level energy as the first time— keep going.”
Her shoulder slants toward me as though we’re in a conspiracy. “Can I ask anything?”
I nod impatiently.
Giselle just grins.
Robbi’s voice fills the room. “How did you die?” Her question sends a spasm of apprehension through my body.
I close my eyes briefly. I can’t believe my friend asked that question. It’s like asking a teenage girl if she’s having sex. Well, it’s kind of like that. We barely even know this spirit. We should have at least discovered its favourite color.
Robbi focuses on the board, one hand on the planchette while the other hand holds the pen poised over the paper.
The planchette moves swiftly over the alphabet hesitating on each letter, “M-A-G-I-K.”
“Magik,” I say, “It’s spelled wrong.”
“Maybe it doesn’t know how to spell?” suggests Giselle, “Maybe it’s too young?
“How old were you when you died?” inquires Robbi.
“Hmm,” hums Robbi. “Was it a long time ago?”
“Not sure,” it spells.
“Do you guys have any questions?” she whispers.
I shrug, and I wonder why we’re whispering. I’m certain the spirits can hear the blood running through our veins never mind a whisper.
“Is anyone else with you?” asks Giselle in a hurried voice.
The planchette speeds up and spells, “A-L-I-C-I-A.” It swings around in excited circles.
“Who’s she?” asks Robbi leaning in closer to the board.
The pointer slowly selects the letters, “She lived near here.”
“How did she die?” blurts Giselle.
It moves with quiet deliberation, “Car crash,” and then rotates in slow circles.
A wave of sadness overcomes me. “I’m so sorry. God— you both died so young.”
Robbi, and Giselle murmur in agreement.
“How old was she?” inquires Robbi in a caring tone.
“Why are you here?” I probe. “Why haven’t you moved on?”
“Blocked.”It spells out in an agitated manner.
Robbi frowns. “What do you mean blocked?”
“Bad thing.” The pointer instantly travels around the board like a deer running from a vehicle— in long linear paths, halting, and restarting, not sure of where to go.
Giselle slides her chair closer to the table. The legs drag with a noisy protest. She leans in bringing her face nearer to the board and breathes, “What do you mean bad thing?”
It whips along the letters going back and forth picking them out in swift defined motions. It spells, “U Know.” Then the cursor flies across the board, and its pointer settles on me.
My throat closes. I fall back against my seat. I whisper, “Me?” And all at once understanding crashes in on me. My chest tightens until it aches, and with great effort, I manage to give voice to my words, “You mean the shadowy figure I saw in the barn?” A nervous tic erupts in my right eye, and I try to blink it away. “Are you talking about the powerful energy that took over the board on the first night we spoke?”
The pointer pivots and swiftly slides into the word Yes, like a professional ball player sliding into home plate.
I close my eyes as I ask my next question. “Is it there now?”
The tightness in my chest eases, and I sigh with relief.
“Is there any way we can help?” asks Giselle. She is smiling, almost glowing with a sense of happiness.
I shoot her a quick look of disbelief. What the hell? Is she some kind of overage Girl Guide, this isn’t going to be like helping some old lady across the street.
“Keep it busy” spelled the pointer moving with gleeful energy.
Bang— Bang— Bang.”
I jerk involuntarily. It takes me a second to figure out someone is knocking on my door— My real live Earthy door.
The two girls look at me.
I raise my eyebrows. “I don’t know who it is.” I say, “But let’s close the board for now,”
Robbi nods in agreement, “David,” she says in a syrupy tone, “We have to go for a minute. Can you say goodbye?”
It spells, “U come back?”
“Yes,“ she replies.
The cursor moves to Goodbye and then stops. The energy is gone.
I pull my hands away. I feel a smile on my face. We could call it quits now. I bound out of my seat and head to the door.
“Hold on a minute,” I yell.
Robbi and Giselle hover behind me in the doorway to the kitchen.
I yank the front door open. A gust a wind sweeps into the room. It’s Paul, the security guard. His cheeks are rosy from the night air. The bulky coat, and the Elmer Fudd hat he’s wearing made him look like a St. Bernard. He shakes his head and the flaps on his Elmer Fudd hat flop. Yup, a St. Bernard. “Whew! It’s a breezy one tonight,” he announces as he adjusts the sides of his hat.
I nod in agreement, “Not surprising though— We live in the land of Chinooks.” I smile stiffly and search for more to say. “So, how’s it going out there? Is it all quiet on the home front?” I grimace internally— Home front? What the hell do you mean by a home front? Sure thing, Captain St. Bernard. We got it locked down here. No evil spirits are roaming free around my place.
Paul doesn’t seem to notice my awkward behaviour. “It’s going good, nothing happening out there. You are firebug free as far as I can tell.” He glances at the girls behind me and then continues on, “I thought I’d let you know the bank is only keeping security around for another week— You said you wanted to know?”
I blink. Did I say that? I can’t remember. “Oh, sure— Great.” I take a step back. “Umm, did you want to come in and get out of the wind?”
“Yes, that’d be excellent.“ He enters my porch and instantly dwarfs me. I feel like a child. He looks past me again at Robbi and Giselle.
“Oh. Sorry, I should introduce you.” I twist around and point, “This is Robbi and Giselle.” I rotate back to Captain St. Bernard and add, “This is Paul ladies. He’s the night guard keeping us safe from all evil.” I try to chuckle. It sounds like I’m choking on a chicken bone.
Giselle’s eyes light up, “That’s wicked, everyone needs protecting sometimes.”
I contemplate Giselle, and then merely wag my head, my brownish blond curls bounce against my shoulders.
Paul shuffles his feet in a lumbering motion and asks, “So what are you girls playing at tonight? It looked really dark inside when I walked past.”
I press my lips together.
Giselle blurts, “We’re playing with a Ouija board.”
His eyes widen slightly, “Really? Are you actually talking to the spirits?”
Giselle nods and her wild hair flutters about her face, “Yeah, we’re talking to a boy, he was just telling us about a girl who died in a car crash.”
The blood drains from Paul’s face. His head drops to his chest, and it wavers to and fro. It appears our friendly St. Bernard might spew.
I reach out and touch his arm. “Are you alright Paul?”
He raises his eyes to meet mine. “ Do you know the girls’ name?” he asks.
My intuition challenges me to turn the question back on him, “What do you think her name is?”
He waves his head for a moment and then finally answers, “I don’t want to know, but I need to know— Was her name Alicia?”
My hand falls away from his arm. “ How did you—?” I begin, and then I pause to reword my question. He needs to provide the information. “How old was she when it happened?”
His voice cracks, “She was twelve.” His eyes are haunted. “Too young, she was too damn young. Bloody freezing rain— My poor Uncle.”
“She’s moved on,” blurted Robbi.
I glance at my friend. Her face glows with compassion as she continues to speak, “She’s in the light. The boy said she’s moved on to heaven.”
I pivot back to Paul observing the pain on his face. This needs to be a healing story. “Yes, that’s right.” I agree.
Giselle alternates her gaze from Robbi to me and chooses silence.
Awkwardness fills the room, and this time I shuffle my feet.
Paul rolls his shoulders inside his coat and yanks down on his sleeves. He lifts his chin and offers us an earnest stare. “You girls stay sharp. The Ouija board can get people in deep shit.” He turns on his heel and grasps the doorknob refusing to look our way. “ I gotta go back to work girls,” he says in a muffled voice. Then he turns his head enough to see us out of the corner of his eye, “If anything happens just holler.”
He conquers the steps down in a hurry, and never looks back.
I shut the door and press my head against the wood. “Holy crap.” I say aloud. Not expecting any kind of response.
“Is it too late to go home?” asks Robbi in a light tone.
I swivel around. “It’s way too late.”
Giselle beams, “Holy frick, was that for real? He knew Alicia. Crazy balls,” she exclaims. Then she buzzes back into the kitchen shouting, “Come on girls, we better talk to David.”
Robbi and I are subdued. We meander back to our places at the table.
I’m unwilling to touch the board again. It’s the first time the boards been properly closed in days. The kitchen is a cozy space and the furnace blows lovely warm heat up under the table. I don’t want to talk with the spirit world anymore. I sink into my seat and catch Robbi’s eye. I see my thoughts mirrored there.
“Come on girls, get in the game,” gushes Giselle planting her fingers on the pointer. “We have to help David and Alicia.”
I’m feeling resistant. “How do we know that David is telling the truth?” I ask. “What if it’s the evil spirit pretending?”
Giselle stares at me like I’ve poked her with a sharp stick. “You’re being ridiculous. What about Paul knowing Alicia?”
I suck in a breath and find myself filled with emotion. “I don’t know?” I spit, “Maybe that thing can read minds.” My face flushes crimson. “All I know is that something had its hooks into me for the last three days and I’m fucking terrified.“ I stand and lean over the table. I glower at Giselle with hard eyes. My hands tremble as I continue on, “You wouldn’t take your game home. You’re the one that left it here. Something was watching me— and then when I went back to the board to close it—it sucked me in.” I close my eyes fleetingly and my emotions drain away. I slump down into my chair unable to stand a moment longer. “ Giselle—“ I say softly, “I didn’t knowI was being influenced. And If that’s not terrifying I don’t know what is?”
The young girl surveys me with her arms folded securely against her chest. “It’s because you played it alone,” she accused. “There are three of us now. Look at how friggin awesome it was before Paul showed up.” She eyeballs both of us with a determined look. “ We need to help those young spirits out.”
I feel myself sag inside. I turn my head and search Robbi’s face, “What do you think? It’s not like you to be so quiet.”
Her expression is thoughtful. “Have you ever gotten into a car and had the feeling there’s someone in the back seat, but you were afraid to turn around? I think we should turn around— We need to carry on.”
“Are you possessed?” I gasp.
She offers me a generous grin. “No.”
My ally is gone. She’s gone to the dark side. I need a lightsaber. I cover my face with my hands and groan.
Robbi pats my arm reassuringly, “Oh come now precious, just put your hand on the pointer and it’ll all be fine.”
And so we begin again.
The pointer leaps to life before anyone even speaks.
“ David?” questions Robbi.
“Are you ready for us to help you?”
I bite my lip. Once again I am connected to an energetic level which exists in a dimension alongside us. Most people will not willing break the barrier between worlds. They are wise. My guts churn and an ominous foreboding grows inside of me.
Robbi presses forward. “How do we keep we keep it busy David?”
“Ask questions distract” The spirit spells and then the energy disappears. The pointer is still.
I examine the words Robbi wrote on the paper. Her normally neat script is wobbly and nearly unreadable. She feels the weight of what has David asked.
“What did he spell Robbi?” asks Giselle. “I couldn’t keep track of the letters.”
Robbi takes a sip of water before she speaks. “David said—” she falters, and then briefly touches her lips with her hand to gather her composure. “He said to— ask questions distract.”
I shut my eyes. In other words, David is requesting that we become the bait. A shiver crawls up the side of my neck. I draw my shoulders up to my ears. I can almost hear the deep reverberating laughter of the dark spirit.
Giselle rocks uneasily in her chair. It seems the sensibility of fear has finally edged its way into her heart.
Robbi makes the conscious attempt to sit tall and strong preparing herself for what will come. “Is there any other spirit willing to speak to us?” she asks in a firm tone.
A noticeable chill invades the room. The fire of our candles dwindle. Worry is etched into Robbi’s face. She bends toward me. “Why is it so cold in here?” she whispers.
“Because it’s here,” I answer in a dreadful tone.
The fret in her face intensifies. I drop my gaze to the silver cross and the Lord’s Prayer beside my elbow.
My fingers tingle as I sensed the returning energy of the spirit world. It builds. I sense the wretched power within. Its gripping energy snatches control of the pointer and begins aggressive actions on the board.
I swallow at my fear. It goes down like a rock, and I push on, “Who are you?” I demand.
It snatches at the letters in a frenzy feeding, like a wolf gorging on a fresh kill. It spells, “U know.”
I puff for air. I breathlessly force the next question from my mouth, “Are you the shadow man I saw in the barn?”
The cursor flies to the word, “Yes.“
A tiny squeak of fright escapes my lips. I squeeze my eyes shut and then open them wide. “What do you want?” I demand.
The wind rises with my question. The kitchen creaks around us. The air outside reaches a crescendo. It slams into my trailer and we all jump. The windowpanes rattle in their frames. It’s as though something wants inside, but it’s too late something is already here. The pointer rips along the alphabet settling on each letter with a quick halt. It spells, ”You.”
The electricity in the cursor is magnetic. Our hands are held fast. It proceeds to dance in endless figure-eights.
My lips tremble. I push words reluctantly from my mouth. What do you mean?”
The pointer digs into the board with inexplicable power. It carves a trail to each letter spelling, “Need Body.”
Robbi didn’t need to write it down.
The pointer’s action is hostile. It swishes across the board drawing figure eights, and then returning to the letters to spell, “Need body,” over and over again.
My fingers are bonded to the cursor, and the energy is radiating up my arm. The room is freezing. I gasp in terror as my breath plumes from my mouth.
Robbi darts a frantic glance my way, “My hands are stuck.”
I turn my attention to Giselle. Her face is ashen and empty.
The air in the room grows heavy. It’s difficult to breathe. The flames of the candles shrink into the wax until they are nearly nonexistent. I see shades of the unknown coming to life. That which was once dead was now grasping for a return to life. The smell of our fear is ripe in the room. I watch Giselle’s empty eyes begin to fill with something else. I have to hope David and Alicia have escaped.
I reach over with my foot and tap Robbi on the ankle. She tears her eyes from Giselle to meet my own. “The Lords Prayer,” I hiss, “Say it together. “
She nods, her eyes feral with fright
We begin, “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”
The planchette sparks.
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done—“
Giselle groans. The spirits hold on her is weakening.
I rip a hand from the pointer. I stand and lean across the table. I grab Giselle’s shoulder and squeeze. A bolt of electricity travels up my arm and knocks me back to my seat. I wince. My shoulder throbs. I lift my gaze to Giselle— she is present.
Robbi and I continue our chant with power and focus in our words, “On Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses,”
Giselle joins our prayer, “ As we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil.“
The raging cursor slows, and the vibration fades. The candlelight brightens.
“For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
The pointer circles the board weakly.
“Whew,” sighs Robbi. “Well, wasn’t he just a friggin ray of sunshine?”
I can’t help but chuckle. And then I find I can’t stop.
Robbi joins in, and our laughter warms the room.
Giselle scowls at both of us. “What happened?” she asks.
Robbi and I exchange glances.
“I’ll tell you in a minute,” I answer. “Let’s say goodbye to the Ouija board first.”
This story combines all the experiences I’ve had using the Ouija board. The night I was zapped by an entity trying to bring a friend out of a trance was the last time I ever touched a board. Believe me, there are elements of our world that the living would be wise to leave alone. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.