Author: Matthew S. Cox
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: September 15th, 2016
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult
She saw it coming. She knew it would happen―but no one believed her.
Almost a year after tragedy shattered her family, sixteen-year-old Paige Thomas can’t break free from her guilt. Her mother ignores her, doting on her annoying little sister, while her father is a barely-functioning shell. He hopes a move to the quiet little town of Shadesboro PA will help them heal, but Paige doesn’t believe in happiness anymore.
On her first day at school, a chance encounter with a bullied eighth grader reawakens a gift Paige had forgotten, and ingratiates her into a pack of local outcasts. For weeks, they’ve been trying to cast a ritual to fulfill their innermost desires, but all they’ve done is waste time. After witnessing Paige touch the Ouija board and trigger a paranormal event, the girls are convinced another try with their new fifth member will finally work.
Once the darkness is unleashed, it’s not long before they learn it will give them exactly what they asked for―whether they want it or not.
A moment after Linda walked out, Mackenzie trampled down the steps with a battered cardboard box like the ones board games come in. As soon as she dropped it on the sofa, Paige stared.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” asked Sofia. “Mom thinks those things are evil.”
Mackenzie rolled her eyes. “She probably believes in the Bible too, right? It’s cardboard and plastic… made by Hasbro or whatever.”
“But you expect it to do something?” Paige pointed at the box. “So you believe in it.”
Paige glanced sideways at the girl tucked up to her. Ugh. Having one cling-on was bad enough. Did Amber feel like this when I wouldn’t leave her alone? Melissa took it hard whenever Paige ditched her. She shot a sour look at the rain-pattered deck through the glass doors. Maybe I shoulda gone with them. Mel’s so scared in cars. Renee strode back in looking much happier.
Mackenzie unboxed the Ouija and set the planchette in the middle.
“Again?” Renee plopped on the sofa.
“I wanted to try it with our new friend.” Mackenzie winked. “Come on.”
The girls took positions around the coffee table, most sitting back on their heels, though Sofia perched upright on her knees. Mackenzie directed Paige to the side of the table that aligned her with the top center of the board, facing it upside down. Santana took the left, Renee the right, while Mackenzie and Sofia shared the long side at the bottom.
“Okay, you know how this works, right?” asked Mackenzie.
“Duh.” Paige reached out and touched her fingertips to the planchette.
Renee, Santana, Sofia, and Mackenzie followed suit.
“I call out to any spirits nearby.” Mackenzie closed her eyes. “We want to talk to you. If you can hear me, come to the Ouija and speak to us.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Paige stared at the upside down skull-faced sun in the corner by her right elbow. The wood grain seemed to come alive, the darker streaks pulsating like capillaries. A sudden presence overhead made the ceiling feel as if it pressed downward. Faint hissing seeped through the painted drywall, as though someone far off in another room struggled to breathe. The cookies Paige ate churned, and a hint of chocolate burbled up in her throat.
Chocolate? She grimaced and swallowed. Those cookies weren’t chocolate.
“Is there a spirit with us?” asked Sofia.
The planchette crept an inch to the right, hovering in the dead space between QR and XY.
“That’s you,” said Santana. “Someone’s twitching.”
“Belief and desire,” whispered Mackenzie. “Come, spirits.”
Sofia poked Paige in the finger. When they made eye contact, the eighth-grader mouthed ‘you try.’
Suppressing the urge to roll her eyes, Paige took in a deep breath. Something might be upstairs… what was that feeling? “If there are any spirits here, please come talk to us.”
The planchette remained motionless. Four breaths later, she got a feeling as though someone had walked around behind her. Paige glanced over her shoulder, but nothing stood between her and the patio glass but empty carpet.
“Is there someone behind me?” asked Paige.
Sofia shook her head.
The muscles in Paige’s back tensed; the sensation spread down over her butt and into her legs, turning them numb.
“I feel you.” Paige closed her eyes. “I… think there’s a spirit behind me.”
A slight gasp in front of her had to have come from Sofia.
“Nice try,” whispered Santana. “At least you’re scaring the little one.”
A shroud of thick, icy air wrapped around Paige. She trembled as though she’d gone out on a December day in a bikini. Her teeth chattered. Leaden weight burdened her arms and legs; a growing pressure pinned her to the carpet. She tried to say ‘I can’t move,’ but only a weak wheeze came out of her throat. Frightened, she tried to scream, but wound up moaning.
“Whoa,” whispered Sofia. “She looks different.”
“She’s faking it,” muttered Santana.
The planchette moved.
“Hello,” said Mackenzie, once it stopped.
“I’m here,” wheezed Paige. What the… I didn’t say that.
“Are you a ghost or a demon?” asked Renee.
The planchette moved back and forth. Paige tried to open her eyes, but couldn’t.
“G… h… ghost,” said Mackenzie.
Sofia huffed. “Oh, like it wouldn’t lie if it was a demon.”
Paige’s hands slid back and forth, pulled about by the Planchette.
“L… I… A… R,” said Mackenzie.
“I’m not lying.” Sofia grumbled.
Inexplicable anger welled up inside Paige. Her arms got heavier.
“It’s saying something else,” said Santana. “Holy crap! Paige, your breath is fogging.”
“Wow…” Sofia sucked in air. “That’s so cool.”
“Nnnnh,” wheezed Paige. Help. Make it stop! “Mmmmngh!”
“Dude, knock that off.” Santana sounded frightened. “That ain’t funny.”
“D… I… A… N… A,” said Renee. “Oh my God, it’s Princess Di!”
“Was it an accident?” asked Santana. “Did the government kill you?”
The planchette almost pulled Paige over to the left it moved so fast.
“No,” said Mackenzie. She sounded hesitant. “T. Not… P. R. I… not princess.”
“Aww.” Sofia whined.
Paige’s lips curled into a snarl. Dizziness joined the anger. No matter how hard she tried to open her lungs, she couldn’t draw in any air. She struggled to move her arms, but they ignored her. Below the waist, her body had gone as numb and heavy as stone. Again, the planchette flew around. Paige forced her eyes open.
The pointer spelled out H E R E. Renee spoke the letters when it paused over each.
Mackenzie’s suntan ran away from her face.
D E A T H.
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour).
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