From the time Gramm died eight months ago, my dream of contacting her grew daily until I could resist no longer.
My parents had bought a Ouija board for a long ago party, then Mom stashed it away in a cupboard from fear of calling up, as she put it, things that go bump in the night. Now I pulled the thin wooden board and heart-shaped plastic planchette from the box and told my best friend Emily what I wanted to do.
“Seriously, Steph?” she asked, her eyes wide, like she thought I’d lost my mind.
“It’s Halloween, when the veil between worlds is thinnest. If I’m going to reach Gramm, tonight’s the night.”
Fifteen minutes later, we’d created ambiance with some candles and incense, and curtains drawn across the windows.
We sat on the floor, our knees touching, the board balanced between us and our fingertips resting lightly on the planchette.
Almost giddy with anticipation, I began calling the spirits. “I’m looking for my grandmother, Mary May Smith . . . Gramm, are you there?”
Emily giggled nervously, a silly sound.
For the longest couple of minutes nothing happened, then the planchette slowly slid toward the upper left corner of the board. “YES.”
I thought the candles flickered and put it down to my overcharged imagination. “I miss you so much,” I whispered. “Do you miss us?”
Although I wasn’t sure this was actually happening, I fervently hoped the planchette would move back to “YES.” Instead, it meandered around the alphabet, slowly at first, then more decisively, spewing out letters that might have been words in some language, but made no sense to me.
“Stop it!” I snapped at Emily. “I can feel you moving it!”
“I’m not,” she replied. As proof, she lifted her fingers from the planchette, which continued until parking on the letter ‘e’. “It’s you, you’re doing it!”
“No, I’m not,” I objected. But what if I was, through the sheer power of wishful thinking? “Are you really my Gramm?” I asked.
As the planchette zigzagged toward the upper right corner of the board. I looked at Emily and nodded, and she understood.
Simultaneously, we released the planchette. As it made its own merry way to “NO,” the proverbial chill ran up my spine.
Emily screamed and shot to her feet, sending the board and planchette clattering to the floor.
With trembling hands I collected the game, shoved it back into its box, and flung it to the depths of the cupboard.
“What was that?” Emily’s voice penetrated the drumming of blood in my ears.
“I don’t know,” I replied, my own voice a terrified squeak. “But we’re finished with it. No harm done.”
“Right, whatever,” Emily said as she headed for the door. “If you decide to try that again, don’t call me.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t,” I promised her. But it was already too late.
The bumps and moans started at midnight, and that was only the beginning.