“Billy, what’s going on,” Kim whispered into the phone. “You told Gillian she’d be fine.”
“Well, there’s a couple things she said that could be … well, it could be a concern. One, she said the planchette was erratic and made repetitive figure eights. That can be a sign of a malevolent spirit. Two, she took her hands off the planchette and they never said goodbye. Some people believe those things can open the gate for the spirit to cross over into our world. I’m not sure I believe all that but Gillian is pretty freaked out right now. If she decides to search the internet, her fears could manifest … even if they aren’t real, if you know what I mean. For example, if you break a mirror, you’ll be looking for signs of bad luck. When we look for bad omens, we usually find them or create them.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Kim murmured. “People who believe Friday the thirteenth is bad luck usually have a really bad day. I’ll keep an eye on her just to be sure.”
Across town, Kenj sat in the emergency room. She waited for two hours before a doctor came to remove the Hagadorn Needle from her palm. With the help of morphine, not only did she not care how long it took, Kenj did feel a thing when the instrument was removed. When she finally staggered out to the waiting room, she found Marie waiting for her.
“Hey, can you give me a ride home?” Kenj slurred. “The doc said I shouldn’t drive.”
“Of course,” the detective answered through a yawn. “I’ve been waiting for you the whole time.”
Once Kenj was settled into her apartment, Marie drove home. She was anxious to get out of her damp, mildew-smelling clothes and into a hot shower. The stink of stagnant sprinkler water had made her queasy. After hauling in the bag with the Ouija board into her room, she kicked it into her closet and slammed the door.
The warmth of a steamy shower beckoned her aching muscles and Marie hurried to heed the call. Enveloped in the heat of its embrace, she let the shower-spray massage her chilled, stiff neck and shoulders. Only when the warmth seeped into her core did Marie turn off the water, towel herself dry, and pull on a pair of warm pajamas. Exhausted and achy, she shuffled to her bed and crawled under the covers. Sleep came moments later.
A dull thud forced Marie to pry open her bleary eyes. Seemingly of their own accord, her legs swung off the bed, plunging her feet onto the cool, wood floor. The shock of cold pulsated through her nerve endings like a thousand needle-pricks stabbing into her brain. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and found herself in her kitchen. Damn, I must really be tired. I don’t remember walking in here. Too weary to retrace her steps, every cell in Marie’s body screamed for coffee. Even with an IV drip, I wouldn’t be able to get enough caffeine into my body, she thought while rooting through her cabinets for the magic beans that made her feel human. The shelves stretched out into oblivion but not even a measly ground remained.
Caffeine withdrawal jackhammered through the concrete-like shell protecting her brain, shattered fragments scattered deep inside never ending shelves and cabinets. She stretched her arm until her shoulder threatened to separate and still she couldn’t reach the back.
“Lucky me, I’ve got the cabinets to Narnia,” she scoffed. “Where’s the freaking coffee?”
Behind her, a garbled voice repeated her words. When Marie turned around, she was no longer in her kitchen but inside the morgue. Her Ouija board sat on a table surrounded by flickering candles. Am I dreaming? The words never passed her lips but the shadowy figures seated across from her at the table cackled as if she’d said it aloud.
Pulled by a force stronger than her, Marie’s fingertips settled onto the planchette. Rapid, jittery figure-eights pulled her arms along with the rhythm until the tiny plastic triangle slipped from her hands. In mid-air, the planchette froze, spun in the opposite direction, and embedded itself into Marie’s eye.
Screaming, she sat up, clutching her face. Warm, salty tears trickled down her cheeks but there was no blood. Her eye was fine and when the cries of terror ended. Marie was sitting in her bed, clutching her blankets. It was just a dream, her inner voice soothed. Laughing at her own silliness, her toes reached out for the coolness of her hardwood floors and stood. Her foot slipped, sending her sprawling head-first into the bed frame. Blackness overtook her before she hit the floor. Seconds later, she blinked hard to stop the room from spinning. Stabbing pain ripped through her left shoulder. Still face down on the floor, she reached over to feel for damages.
“That lump on my head is going to throb later,” she muttered to herself. “And damn, it feels like I’ve got an ice pick stabbing through my shoulder.”
Warm, sticky blood smeared the tips of her fingers but still Marie’s fingers probed the source of painShe plucked the offending piece from just below her collar bone and stood. In one hand she clung to the sharp piece that had pierced her and with the other she reached for the lamp on her nightstand. With one click, the room was bathed in a soft glow. She held the planchette in her hand. Blood dripped from the plastic triangle onto the floor. When Marie looked down, she was standing on top of the Ouija Board. A blood-curdling scream of profanities bubbled out from her core and she threw the planchette across the room.
“What the hell is this?” She muttered.
“What the hell is this?” She muttered.