The storm spit lightning bolts out of the sky and pitched hail with a mighty fist. Wind howled mournfully, pleading for an escape from the pounding rain. With a clap of thunder that shook the walls of the small house, all the power winked out, leaving three young female roommates in total darkness. Frightened cries mixed with the thunderous booms.“We’re going to die,” one of them announced, her voice shaking.
“Miranda, we are not going to die,” Quinn reassured her. “It’s just a thunderstorm.”
“People die all the time in storms. Haven’t you ever heard of a tornado?”
Quinn located her flashlight and flicked it on. She shined the light toward Miranda’s frightened voice that was huddled on the couch with her arms wrapped tightly around her legs. Her short black cropped hair was sticking up in every direction as though lightning had hit her. Quinn could not see her sapphire blue eyes, but she could see that they were wide with fear.
“Oh thank God,” Miranda said, her voice soaked in sarcasm. “Quinn has a flashlight. We’re saved!”
Quinn rolled her eyes and swept the light over the living room. “Where’s Stella?”
“Right here.” The answer came out of the darkness.
Startled, Quinn whipped the flashlight around. When it landed on Stella, chills scratched Quinn’s arms and snaked up her back to the base of her skull. She could feel her scalp ripple and the roots of her hair jerk to a stand. Across the room, she heard Miranda release a scared gasp.
Stella was standing a few feet from Quinn, holding an Ouija board. In the flashlights glow, her long blonde hair sparkled like Rumpelstiltskin’s straw spun gold. Her eyes were black marbles and her skin was similar to a ghost’s transparent body. She did not look like the golden goddess with green eyes that she had been before the power went out.
Quinn swallowed. “Are you okay, Stella?”
“Of course, I am,” she answered calmly. “I found this.” Stella held out the Ouija board. “I thought it would be fun to play with it.”
“I’m having a heart attack over here and you want me to play with a Ouija board?” Miranda demanded. She popped off the couch. “Okay!” She knelt in front of the coffee table and started to clear away the coasters and magazines.
Miranda was deathly afraid of storms. At the first sign of lightning, she would curl into a frightened ball or leap into a closet. But she loved anything that had to do with the supernatural. She once walked through a cemetery with a stick hoping to find a vampire, tried to cast a spell using a book she checked out at a library, and did a séance to summon her dead cat.
Knowing that she would not be able to get out of participating, Quinn went on a hunt in Stella’s room where she found candles of every color, shape, and scent as well as a lighter.
Cradling the bouquet of wax in her arms, she hauled them back to the living room where she spread them out and lit them one at a time until the whole living room was aglow with candlelight.
She joined Miranda and Stella on the carpet and crossed her legs under the wooden coffee table. “What do we do first?” she asked.
“We should say something,” Miranda advised and held out both her hands. Stella clasped Miranda’s hand then waited for Quinn to complete the circle. Quinn took their hands and, almost on cue, a streak of lightning brightened the room and a loud pop of thunder vibrated the windows.
Miranda jumped. Reassuringly, Quinn squeezed he hand. That was when she noticed how warm Miranda’s hand was, but in her other hand Stella’s hand was icy cold.
Miranda cleared her throat, hiding her fear, and started to speak, “We three, in this circle, evoke only good spirits. We wish to commune with you and promise we will not harm you. So mote it be.” She looked at Quinn and Stella. “Repeat that last part. It’s like saying amen at the end of a prayer.”
“So mote it be,” Quinn and Stella said in unison.
The three girls released each other’s hands and Quinn immediately put hers under the low table to rub the warmth back into the hand that had clasped Stella’s. Her fingers felt frostbitten.
“Alright, everyone, put two fingers from each hand on the pointer,” Miranda advised. Quinn took her hands out from under the coffee table and did as told.
“Are you ready,” Miranda wanted to know.
“Yes,” Stella said.
Quinn nodded reluctantly.
Miranda looked down at the Ouija board. “Is there a spirit with us?”
The pointer shot across the board to “yes”, yanking Quinn’s arms straight out.
“Holy crap,” Miranda whispered. For the first time that night, she jittered with excitement instead of fear. “What is your name?”
The pointer started to move slowly to “goodbye”.
“No, no, no,” Miranda begged, but the pointer slide off the board. “Damn.” She put the pointer back in the middle of the board with a sigh.
“Perhaps the spirit doesn’t want to talk about itself,” Stella told them.
“Then what would the spirit like to talk about,” Miranda wandered. “Politics? Celebrities? Fashion?”
“How about we ask the spirit what it wants to talk about.”
“That is actually a good idea.” Miranda waved her hands indicating for Quinn and Stella to put their fingers back onto the pointer. “Is the spirit that we were talking to a moment ago still with us?”
Once more, the pointer flew to “yes”.
“Okay,” Miranda licked her lips. “What would you like to talk about?”
The three girls watched as the pointer they touched cruised over the black letters and stopped on the “Q” then slid to “U”.
Quinn glared at Stella as the pointer moved toward the “I”. “You’re pushing it.”
“No, I’m not.” To prove it, Stella lifted her fingers off the pointer and put her hands in the air. The pointer reached the “I”, paused for only second before continuing.
Quinn met Miranda’s eyes accusingly. Miranda shook her head and slowly removed her own fingers from the pointer. Now, Quinn was the only one touching it.
Beneath her fingertips, she could feel a force pushing the pointer to the “N”. She snatched her hands away as though the pointer had suddenly become red hot. Her heart was jack hammering inside her chest because the pointer was moving on its own. It pulled itself to the “N”, jerked away and then back again, spelling out Quinn. Now her heart stopped completely.
“Maybe it’s not talking about you,” Miranda said.
“Who else would it be talking about,” Stella asked angrily. “I’ll ask.” Miranda delicately touched the pointer with the tips of her fingers. “Is the Quinn you’re talking about in this room?”
The pointer sped out from beneath Miranda’s fingers to “yes”.
“I don’t think it wants to be touched,” Stella whispered. She leaned in closer to the board and with her palms flat on the table asked, “What color hair does Quinn have?”
Quinn held her breath captive in her lungs and waited for the reply. The pointer zipped around the board.
“Red,” Miranda replied when the pointer froze, and Quinn touched her shoulder length red hair.
“And what color eyes does Quinn have,” Stella questioned.
The pointer went to the “H” and spelled out hazel.
Quinn suddenly pushed away from the coffee table and stood on wobbly knees. “This isn’t funny. I’m done.”
Miranda peered down at the Ouija board, her eyes ticked back and forth. “Wait,” she called out.
Quinn turned around. “Why?”
Miranda pointed at the board. “Because that’s what it just spelled. Wait.” Sure enough, the pointer was resting over the letter “T”.
Quinn looked at it. The pointer started moving again, spelling out “STAY”. Quinn’s mouth had become dessert dry, her heart was pounding, and her palms were sweating but she knelt back down, her eyes glued to the white pointer.
“Fine,” she told it. “I’m staying. Now what do you want?”
A burst of lightning blinded Quinn. She blinked rapidly in defense, and that was when she saw, seared into her eyelids by red and white dots, a face. Its mouth was wide open and it had teeth like a sharks. A clawed hand struck out at her. She flew backwards with a startled gasp fighting its way out of her throat, but one more blink and the face was gone.
A crack of thunder shook the ground beneath them causing the Ouija board to lift off the coffee table. It hovered an inch in the air. The flames all around them started to flicker madly, spinning around and around atop the candles they burned. When the thunder stopped grumbling, Quinn heard choking sounds. Her eyes flew to Stella. Her head had fallen backwards and her body was convulsing.
“Oh my god!” Miranda exclaimed as she went to grab Stella.
“No, don’t,” Quinn ordered. “Don’t touch her.”
When the convulsions stopped, Quinn watched Stella’s head roll back into place as a ghostly sigh seeped out of her opened mouth. Her eyes were all the way in the back of her head and completely white. They glowed in the darkness like two moons, and they were staring straight at Quinn.
“I know your fate.” The voice that came out of Stella’s wide lips was not her own. The voice was demonic.
“I don’t believe in fate,” Quinn answered stubbornly.
Stella leaned forward, her eyes gleaming in the light of the flaring candles. “You will.”
Quinn exchanged frightened glances with Miranda. “Okay. So what is my fate?”
Stella sneered at Quinn. For a second, Quinn swore her teeth appeared pointed and stained a hideous yellow. “You will meet a boy named Oliver with brown hair and blue eyes at a club called The Midnight Bar.”
Quinn cocked a brow. “Oh yeah? When?”
Stella slammed her balled fists onto the coffee table. At the same time, lightning exploded in their backyard and thunder collided into the house shaking it on its foundation.
“Tonight,” Stella shouted, her voice echoing with the screams of a thousand angry spirits. All the candles extinguished as if the flames were frightened away.
Black shadows pressed against Quinn’s eyes. The silence that followed screamed in her ears. Outside, the raging storm vanished within seconds.
Quinn held her breath. I am dead, she thought, the Ouija board killed me. Then the lights in the small house snapped on. She closed her eyes against the startling glare.
After a few seconds, she eased her eyes open and squinted as they slowly adjusted. Smoke was drifting from all the burnt candlewicks. Across from her, Miranda was visibly quaking, but Quinn’s eyes were on Stella who was looking around in confusion. Her eyes were green again, and her hair, though beautiful, did not look like it was from a fairytale.
“Why am I sitting on the floor?” Stella wondered aloud. Her eyes fell upon the Ouija board on the coffee table. “And why the hell am I near this thing?”
“You brought it out,” Quinn told Stella.
“Uh-uh. No. I don’t like these things. They scare the crap out of me.”
“It was your idea,” Miranda insisted.
“Then I must’ve been possessed because I hate playing with the Ouija board. When I was little, I freaked out and vowed to never touch one again.”