Chapter 19 - Séance

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The books had been cleared from the dining room table and in the center sat the Ouija board. Four white candles surrounded it, and outside the candles lay a black bag and two small bowls—one black, the other red.

Luke had a large metal amulet hanging from a thick, silver chain around his neck. The amulet had a black phoenix etched into its surface.

We sat across the table from each other.

I looked at the board with trepidation. It was only another way of communicating with the spirits, right? I kept telling myself that and tried to believe it, but there was something ominous about the board. It felt wrong. Evil.

The wooden board had a polished surface that made it shine. Letters and words gleamed against the grain in sharp contrast.

I leaned in to get a better look.

In the top-left corner was the word yes. In the top-right corner was the word no. Below these two words were all the letters from the alphabet arranged in two rows, and each row was arched in a way that created a half circle. Beneath the letters were the numbers one through nine. There was no number ten, but there was a zero to the right of the number nine. And below the numbers was the word good-bye.

A pointer sat on top of the board—a heart-shaped piece of plastic mounted on three felt-tipped legs. At the tip of the pointer was a transparent circle that showed the selected letter or number beneath.

"We both place our fingers on the planchette."

"The what?"

Luke pointed at the white plastic pointer. "It's called a planchette. We ask questions, and the spirits answer by moving the planchette back and forth around the board."

Sounds easy enough.

"But before we begin, I have to do a few things." He rose and took out a green bundle of herbs about four inches long from the black bag on the table.

He saw me watching him. "Sage." He took out a lighter and lit one edge of the bundle. He let it burn for a few minutes before blowing out the flames. With the fire gone, the bundle emitted a thick, white smoke. "It's an old Native American trick. Sage cleanses the atmosphere."

I watched him make his way across the room. He held the sage up high and waved it as he walked back and forth. When he was done, he came back to the table and dropped the sage into the black bowl.

He then took the lighter again and lit each of the candles. Reaching into the bag, he pulled out a bottle full of red liquid and slowly poured the contents into the red bowl. Next, he pulled out two raven feathers and placed them on either side of the board. He placed two fingers from his left hand into the red bowl, closed his eyes, and wrapped his right hand around the medallion.

Luke said a few words in Latin, slowly withdrew his fingers from the bowl, and then spread them across the board, smearing reddish-black slime. When he finished, he sat and wiped his fingers on his pants.

He held out his hands across the table. "Now, we say a prayer."

I stretched out my arms and put my hands in his. Whatever was about to happen, I was glad Luke was by my side.

"You should never use the board alone. It's best if you use it with two people."

I'm never going to use this thing again if I can help it.

Luke tightened his fingers around mine and closed his eyes. "Let the flames of the candles protect us. Let the candles bathe the four corners of this room in light and force out negative energy. I invite spirits to come through who are helpful. Let those helpful spirits harm none." He opened his eyes and let go of my hands. "I need you to take a moment and think about your family."

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