The Man On Fire and The Astral Corpses

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 "Did you pick out some books?" Tierney asked.

The girl that was actually Rachel glanced up from the stack in her arms. Rachel watched herself. She could feel her movements to some degree, but it wasn't right. She wasn't really inside of herself. It only appeared that she was and she knew that it wasn't the truth, and she felt the flickering fingertips of the man on fire. She could see his black silhouette from the corner of her eye. She tried to look to see him and each time that she did, he fled, retreating back into her blind spot; the space where she couldn't see because of her missing eye.

"I found books," Rachel said.

She stood next to Tierney, as her mother chatted away and paid for her own stack of books. It seemed that Helene loved to talk to everyone. Each person she encountered, her lips became to whir along. Her energy was high and tight. It was so tight now that Rachel wondered if it might break. If her mother might snap right in two under the strain of her own energy.

"Yes, I've been looking for a book on Ouija Boards," Helene was saying. Each word came fast, directly on the heels of the word before it. "I need to know so much more before I attempt to use a Ouija Board. I don't want anything attaching itself to me. Someone in my family already seems to have that problem."

Rachel shivered and her insides started to freeze. They were hardening and turning as a chill bled throughout her.

"Remember that you have to end the session when you're done," the bookstore man explained. "If you don't end the session, spirits or demons can escape the board."

Rachel gave a small jump upon hearing the word 'demon'. All manner of horrific demonic images filled the inside of her skull.

"Whatever you are speaking to-"

Another spasm sped up Rachel's spine at the word 'whatever', as if there were all sorts of things out there in the ether that she had no notion of. That she had no way to identify.

"You have to tell it that you are ending the Ouija session," the man explained. "If the being doesn't move the pointer over to where it says "Good Bye" then you've got to do it yourself. Then flip the pointer over and take it off the board. You want to keep the pointer in a bag on the opposite side of the room from the board. Maybe even on the opposite side of the house."

The back of Helene's head bobbed up and down as she nodded.

"And sage?" she asked. "I should use sage to clean the board before and after each use, right?"

"Well, you can," the man said. "But I don't do it every time. I just do it when I a session goes wrong.


"You ever have a Zozo appearance?" Helene asked.

The man winced and gave an overtly dramatic shiver.

"Sure have. Sure have. Only with me he called himself 'ZaZa' and then the pointer started going through all the letters and numbers. Counting down..."

"Oh shit!"

"That's just what I said!" the man laughed. "Lucky my friend, Linda, knew enough to drag the pointer over to "good bye" and flip it over and end the session."

"Fuck," Helene said. "That would have been some scary shit."

"Yep. Glad I avoided all of that. Just be careful with the Ouija, okay?"

"That's what I'm doing the research for."

"Do you have a board already?" he asked.

Helene jerked a thumb back at Tierney.

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