Short Story
                                                                  By Viktor Wolfe

  “Quit moving the damn thing,” said Duane.

  “I’m not,” said Lynn, scornfully casting her eyes at her cousin.

  “Well, somebody is,” said Renee, her fingers shaking.

  All three of them had their hands affixed to the black shiny planchette as it circled around the Ouija Board
in counter-clockwise ovals. Duane had found it in an old antique shop outside of Athens, Ohio, where he
used to attend college but never graduated. The mangy proprietor with the droopy wrinkled skin and bright
blue eyes had said to use it with extreme caution if he should ever go it alone. But Duane never did. He
wasn’t stupid; he'd heard the stories before. The old man had told him the Board had been cut from an old
Spanish pirate ship back in the day, its letters and numbers carved by an old relic name Juan Guartem.
How he could possibly know that, Duane hadn’t a clue. Even though there were no authenticity papers, the
Board felt like a soaked piece of treated lumber—heavy. So it seemed authentic enough.

  The planchette was a spade-shaped piece of onyx a little bigger than a computer mouse with a small
round piece of magnifying glass secured at its center. It trekked around the Board, powered by the young
imaginations of the three trying to summon their dead grandfather, not yet gone two years.

  Because Duane really believed in this Board, he had set up his parents' formal living room for the
occasion, lighting over a dozen candles, closing and securing the door that led into the kitchen and the one
that led to the outside world. He wanted things done right, or at least close to right.

  “Is this you, Grandpa?” Duane asked, his voice unsure.

  The planchette continued to circle, then settled its glass eye on YES.

  Goose bumps flared down Duane’s skin. Even in the low light, he could see that his cousins were barely
grazing their fingertips upon the planchette's glossy surface. The force it took to move the thing with such
wide arcs … well, he had ruled out telekinesis; it was something kinetic not from this world driving the thing.

  “Oh, my God,” Lynn breathed, wetness glassing her eyes.

  Renee sat speechless, her eyes as wide as saucers.

  “OK,” Duane said quietly, staring back and forth between the girls. “No matter what, do not break the
circle. We need to make sure this is Grandpa before we go any further.”

  "H-how do we d-do that?" Renee asked.

  “I know what to ask it,” said Lynn. She swallowed thickly, then: “Grandpa … what did you call Gran when
you were alive?”

  The planchette picked up speed, racing a bit, then began to swing into wide figure-eights. Finally, it
began to spell out a word: M-O-M-M … All three watched with bated breath. The last letter would tell the

  The glass oracle settled over the Y.

  Lynn’s face twisted with anger. “You fucking liar!” she spat, prominent tears in her eyes. She darted her
gaze at the others. “Duane, this isn’t Grandpa! You know he called her 'Momma' not 'Mommy.' I refuse to
sit here another minute and … and ...” She couldn't continue. She stood up, taking her hands off the

  “Lynn!” Duane snapped. “Calm down, sit down, and put your hands back on the Board. Do not anger it!”

  “But that’s not Grandpa!” said Lynn, visibly shaking. "If you know that it's not Grandpa, then why go on
with this charade?"

  Lynn made a good point. “Because if you leave now," said Duane, "then we might not get this
opportunity again. We've each come too far to give up this easily. So let’s just relax a little, and see what

  Lynn lived in Columbus with her parents, and Renee lived close to Cincinnati, while Duane was in the
process of moving back home from Athens. Getting the three of them together proved more difficult than
originally planned. But they each loved their Grandpa to no end; they would've done anything for a chance
to speak with him again—even make contact via Ouija Board.

  Once Lynn settled her hands back onto the planchette, it began to circle again—angrily this time. They all
looked at each other without saying a word, their faces lined with worry.

  "This is freaking me out," said Renee.

  Every candle winked out just then, casting the trio in a plane of utter darkness. Both girls whimpered, and
then another sound came from the corner of the room, a low lolling sound.

  "Don't do anything," Duane said softly, listening.

  The sound drew nearer.

  Duane's goose bumps grew so rigid on his arms that they hurt.

  The sound crept closer, like a growing humming shadow.

  Duane swallowed the lump in his throat, feeling the girls' trembling through the vibrations of the
planchette. A quiet heat emanated at his side, like a presence standing there, reaching for him.

  And then the candles winked back on, thin tendrils of smoke curling upwards from their small flames. A
face appeared beside Duane, then dissipated. He suppressed a scream, biting his tongue, and pressing
his lips hard together.

  Movement came from behind the curtain of the front window. Duane saw the bottoms billowing.

  Renee snapped her head in that direction. She gasped, jerking her hands from the planchette.

  “Renee!” Duane barked. “Put your hands back up there! What the hell is wrong with you?”

  She turned toward Duane, her eyes watering. “I want to leave, Duane. Grandpa wouldn’t creep us out like
this! Besides, how can you explain the 'Momma/Mommy' thing?”

  "It was just a mistake,” Duane said, unsure whether he believed it or not.

  "I think I'd like to leave now," said Renee, her voice wavering.

  “If you don’t put your goddamn hands back on this Board,” Duane gritted slowly, “then I will tell your dad
where you’ve been sneaking off to at night.”

  Renee glared at her cousin through the gloom, her eyes narrowing. "How would you know where I go?"

  "Let’s just say I have a friend who knows you pretty well,” he said. “And he’s got pictures.”

  Renee considered for a hot second, then settled her fingertips back onto the planchette’s glossy surface.
The moment she did, footsteps sounded from above; a door squeaked open, then slammed shut, followed
by two more. And then a child's laughter echoed from within the walls.

  All three of them winced and broke out in goose bumps. Lynn's chin quivered so badly her teeth clacked.
"I just want to go home," she said, shaking her head, tears falling down her cheeks. "I didn't think this would
be such a big deal. I didn't think it would be real." Her eyes wavered in their sockets, tears on the verge of
spilling over.

  "Just a little bit longer," Duane urged. "You're doing good. Both of you." He steeled himself, then said,
"Grandpa, if this is you, then please give us a sign."

  The planchette stopped moving, its eye over dead space. All was still, even the air and the flames of the
candles. The three teens eyed the planchette disconcertingly, hearts thudding in their throats, waiting with
bated breath.

  “Grandpa?” said Renee.

  The planchette began to move. It stopped on the J, then swiftly moved to the U.

  Juan, Duane thought miserably.

  And then spindly decayed fingers sprang out from the glass eye like a creature trying to crawl out of a
sink drain, its razor-sharp nails digging into the tops of their hands, pinning them to the planchette.

  Their screams cracked in panicky streams, each of them pulling back with a fury, blood spurting across
their hands in dark red ribbons. But they weren't going anywhere, secured as if in an iron vice.

  "Duane!" Lynn screeched. "Get me outta here! Duane!" She pulled and pulled, blood burbling from the
holes in her hands where the rotted fingers had dug in, infecting her, singeing her. The smell of burning
flesh seeped upward.

  Duane had his own problems to contend with. But since he was the oldest, and since he was the male
and, therefore, the strongest—since this was all his idea, he did feel slightly responsible, feeling he should’
ve been able to protect them under any circumstance. He knew the risks; he was aware of the dangers.
But he never in a million years would’ve imagined anything like this.

  The planchette began to rise from the Board, stretching the six arms upward. When it stopped three feet
above the surface of the table, an image materialized from the Board itself—a blue head with hard yellow
eyes, a long pointed nose, and a snarling mouth full of yellow fangs with lengthy ropes of saliva drooping
from them. On its forehead was a carved pentagram that leaked dark blood. The head emitted a piercing
scream, spinning around in a circle, its ghastly yellow demon eyes boring into them as it passed.

  The teens shrieked, the cords in their necks standing prominent as blood ran down their arms in
spiraling rivers. But the demon's deep wail drowned them out. Whatever was buried into their hands was
eating them from the inside out.

  Renee screamed hoarsely, tears streaming in rivulets. Duane thought she looked exactly like a second-
grader who had just been paddled. But then she fainted, her body falling limp, her arms stretched tight
from the planchette as if she was hanging from a rope by her wrists.

  “Renee!” Lynn shouted, tears squirting from the outer corners of her eyes. “Wake up! Renee!" She
jerked her hands in a frenzy, pulling with all her might, but to no avail.

  Duane felt a squeezing pressure on his hands; any second now, his bones would start to crack and
crumble, then crush into chalk dust.

  “Duane! It’s smashing my hands!” Lynn cried.

  Duane pulled with all the strength he could muster, his forehead breaking out in a cold sweat. When he
saw the deep dark blood trail down his arms, his screams filled with panic.

  And then the demon head screamed again, a red, forked tongue lolling out of its mouth like a split
serpent’s tail.

  There was a rumble, a tremor, and then a tremendous, four-inch crack zigzagged across the middle of
the wall, trolling across all four walls, spitting plaster and chunks of wood in its wake. The demon head
shook back and forth so fast and violently that it became a blue blur. Doors repeatedly slammed shut. The
ceiling cracked and partially fell in, white dust falling on the teens like powdered sugar.

  "Duuuuuannnnne!" Lynn shouted. "What's happennnnning!?"

  The demon head fizzed out of existence, as if it had never been there at all. The stretched talons
entrapping their hands, retracted, and all three of them went sprawling backwards in their chairs, toppling
over, and spilling onto the floor.

  Renee came to, and all three of them scrambled to their feet, stumbling for the main door, gingerly
holding their smashed hands. But the door wouldn’t budge, the locks melted into the frame. Duane beat on
the small rectangle of glass as hard as the pain would allow. But it was like pounding on cement. He tried
the window. Same result—nothing! He picked up a chair and hoisted it at the window; it ricocheted back,
swinging toward Duane as if something had thrown it back with more force. Duane ducked, falling to the

  The girls tried the other door. But it wouldn't budge, either; the knob wouldn't even jiggle. Something
whispered at them through the crack. They jumped back, screaming, fully engulfed in panic.

  “What is happening?” Lynn screamed again, her stringy hair shaking into her tear-stained face.

  “Oh, my God,” Renee intoned, pointing at the table.

  Duane and Lynn twisted around. Rich blue light arced out from the Ouija as it hovered above the table,
slowly spinning as if on a turntable. Duane was the only one brave enough to approach it; the girls
clenched to one another by the front door, cowering.

  “What’s it doing?” Renee stammered.

  “I don’t know,” said Duane, shaking his head. He steadied himself, easing forward, his hand out in front
of him in case of attack. Or in case the chair came flying at him again.

  “I just wish the fucking door would open!” Lynn rasped, mascara running down her cheeks.

  The Board quit spinning; it sat stock still and silent like a picture on a wall. And then an explosion of
bright white light burst upward like an imploding star. Things started to work in reverse. The Board
became a strong vacuum, sucking down anything that wasn't bolted down, regardless of size: candles,
pictures, books, loose plaster from the walls, lamps; and then the chairs went, followed by the two small
end tables. The Board engulfed it all.

  Duane felt the tug on his own body. He grabbed hold of the front door knob, the girls grabbing hold of
him. "Whatever you do," he said, "don't let go."

  The suction strengthened, their clothes rippling mightily like in a gale force wind.        

  “What are we gonna do!?” Lynn cried around her whipping hair.

  “Just hold on!" Duane shouted back.

  And they did.

  The Board’s power increased. Their shoes and socks slipped off and were sucked into the Board.
Because of their weakened hands, the girls were quickly losing their grip on Duane. Their bodies lifted as
if in a tornadic wind. Within seconds they were horizontal like stiff flags, the wind raging.

  “I can’t hang on!” Lynn shouted, the muscles in her arms stiff and taut, straining.

  “Don't you dare let go!” Renee shouted back at her.

  “I can’t help it!” Lynn protested. And then she lost her grip. She flew through the air, screaming, a look of
wild death in her rounded saucer eyes. Her body hit the table with a tremendous force, her limbs breaking
at odd angles as the Board gathered her in like a rag doll, the front of her shins banging against her
forehead. The cone of dazzling blue light wavered, as if from an enchanted pond.

  Renee screamed, tears jutting from her eyes. She looked up at Duane pleadingly, her fingers dug into
the waistband of his jeans.

  “Don’t let go!” he shouted.

  Renee turned her head from him, perhaps offering a silent prayer to whoever would listen. Finally, she
zipped across the room like an arrow. She hit the table, like Lynn before her, and was gobbled up into the

  “Nooooooo!” Duane screamed. But he couldn't hold on for much longer himself. There was no escaping,
no fighting. If the Board wanted him, it would have him.

  Duane let go.

  Once the Board swallowed him whole, once the electric blue light wavered, the suction suddenly ceased
like a dissipating tornado, and all was quiet and still within the house.

  After a long moment of silence, the Board spewed out the remains of the teenagers in a violent outburst
of blood, bone, and gore, painting the stripped ceiling and hardwood planks below.

  An hour later, the doorbell rang. The door slowly opened, its hinges creaking softly. Three kids dressed
as a ghost, a jack-o-lantern, and a witch peered inside, each holding open a half-filled bag of candy.

  “Trick or treat,” the ghost said tentatively.

  Upon seeing the floating, spinning Ouija, the kids stepped inside, google-eyed, sweeping across the
threshold, and into the muck at their feet.

  The door slammed closed behind them, casting them in complete darkness.

  And then the Ouija glowed a sinister red, and began to spin.

                                                                                  # # #
About Viktor Wolfe
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