By: The Earthotic Way
They bought the game without her parents’ permission. Hiding it was easy. They kept it wrapped in a paper bag and stored secretly against the side of the house. Where no one would expect to find it.
Ariel snuck the game inside while her parents were at work, nestling it in the back of her closet behind some storage bins. The Ouija board was safely in the house. Mission accomplished.
Ariel’s parents typically came home from work around 6:00 p.m. That gave them plenty of time. They took the game into the bathroom because it was the darkest room in the house in the middle of the afternoon. Plus, Mackenzie wanted to use a candle and the bathroom was the only place they were fairly certain they wouldn’t burn down the house.
After shutting the bathroom door, Ariel stuffed a towel under the crack to block out the remaining light. Mackenzie lit the Hawaiian Breeze scented candle she had found. Not necessarily the spookiest of scents, but the flickering flame cast the fiery golden light around the room and created the atmosphere both girls were hoping for.
They opened the box and took out the simple board. Ariel picked up the instructions and started to read.
“Don’t read the instructions, nerd!” Mackenzie said jokingly. “You’re not building a LEGO set or something.”
“I just want to make sure we’re not skipping a step,” Ariel replied.
“I don’t think it works like that. I think you just go.” Mackenzie was already laying the board out flat. “I like the arrow thing.”
“It’s called a planchette. It’s French for ‘little plank,’” Ariel said.
“How did you know that?” Mackenzie was used to her friend knowing facts about everything.
“It’s in the instructions.” Ariel smiled.
They put their hands on the planchette. “So, what do we do now? Do we just go?” Ariel asked. This part was not in the instructions.
“No. You have to call on spirits or something,” Mackenzie whispered.
“What kind of spirits? And why are you whispering?”
“I don’t know. And I don’t know.”
“We’re not going to, like, summon the devil or anything though. Right?” Ariel looked like she was about to be sick.
“Don’t be dumb. We’re not going to summon the devil. Besides, I don’t think there is a devil. It’s all just made up.” Mackenzie spoke with such confidence that for a moment Ariel didn’t believe in the devil either. “I’ll start,” Mackenzie continued. “Spirits… Spirits. Spirits!” she said, making each word louder than the one before. “Come into this house, enter this bath . . . um, room and answer our questions today.”
“Did you just make that up?” Ariel whispered.
“Yes. Just shut up. You’re messing up the mood.” Mackenzie closed her eyes and Ariel soon nervously followed. “Spirits! . . .”
“Why did you stop?” Ariel opened her eyes, ruining the mood.
“I don’t know what to ask. I guess I didn’t think this far.”
“Is there anybody here?” Ariel said in a tiny whisper.
The planchette moved just as firmly as if she had pushed it herself. The pointer stopped over the word “yes.”
“You moved it,” Mackenzie said.
“I didn’t. I thought you moved it.”
“You’re ruining the fun if you’re messing with it,” Mackenzie said.
“I’m not.” Ariel thought it was Mackenzie who was ruining the fun. She was glad Mackenzie didn’t seem to be that scared.
“You know what we should try? You know how in those ghost hunter shows they’ll record the silence and play it back later, and they can hear ghosts’ voices and stuff? Let’s record this!” Mackenzie was enthusiastic but her voice was hushed.
“I don’t have a recorder,” Ariel said, disappointed. She thought it was a great idea and could prove that she wasn’t messing with the board.
“We both do,” Mackenzie said, taking out her cell phone. Soon she had the recording app open and they started again. They asked again if anybody was there. This time, the planchette didn’t move and only sat in the middle.
“Maybe they’re bored with the question,” Ariel offered.
“Then let’s ask a different one.” Mackenzie cleared her throat dramatically. “Spirits, spirits, spirits,” she rattled these words off dismissively and stopped to giggle. “Is there such a thing as the devil?” Her voice was purposely bored, almost exasperated.
With a sudden jerk, the planchette moved across the board to “yes” then shot over to “no” and then came to rest on “maybe.”
The glass of the Hawaiian Breeze candle cracked loudly, spilling hot wax all down the toilet tank and plunged the room into sudden and total darkness. Ariel hopped up, swearing the only swear words her thirteen-year-old mind knew. “My mom’s gonna kill me!” she said, thinking about the spilled wax that had cascaded down the tank in a sheet of sweet-smelling mess.
“It just got too hot,” Mackenzie said. “I’ve had that happen before.”
“But it’s freezing in here,” Ariel said, noticing the cold for the first time. “Turn on the lights, will you?”
Mackenzie fumbled in the darkness until her hand found the switch. She flipped it on, forcing them to shield their eyes from the sudden stab of bright light. When the room came back into focus, the mirror was fogged up. Scrawled across the condensation was the word “yes” a dozen times. Then they saw the wax had fallen down the toilet tank in the shape of the letters y – e – s.
Both girls screamed and bolted for the door. The knob was slippery with condensation and they struggled to get it open. It finally gave way, and they were free from the bathroom only to run into a tall dark figure in the hallway. He wrapped his arms around them. Neither one of them could move. He was shouting something . . . something they couldn’t understand.
“Girls! Girls! Girls! What is going on!” Ariel’s dad shouted at the top of his voice.
The girls broke down sobbing. They showed him the bathroom and the wax. The game had been stepped on in the confusion and was broken. They tearfully explained everything.
That evening, Ariel’s dad took the game and put it in his barbeque grill. The girls watched as he doused it with lighter fluid and set it on fire.
“Mackenzie,” Ariel’s father said, “Did you ever record anything?”
“I don’t know. I was too freaked out to listen.” Her eyes were still red from crying.
“Can I see?”
She handed him her phone and he pushed play. The phone wasn’t set to speaker, so he had to hold it up to his ear. The recording played:
Do you think a little flame will hurt me? I’m not scared away so easily. What a lovely family you have. I’m very pleased to meet you.
“Could you hear anything?” Mackenzie asked.
Ariel and Mackenzie looked at his face. He didn’t speak. His face was pale in the night and the light roaring from the barbeque grill showed his features twisted into a mask of horror. They all turned and watched the board crinkle and burn and turn to ash. Each took turns shivering in the summer air.