Forty

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Maggie, Vivian, and I sat in a circle holding hands with Maggie's Ouija board in the middle on the floor. While we closed our eyes, Maggie said a quiet prayer asking for guidance and protection, thanking the spirits and calling out to her spirit guide, Estrella. I felt Ariana open one eye and then shut it again.

Laid out on the floor in front of Vivian was her small pile of colored gemstones and the other half of the necklace. Her notebook was in her lap open to a page with scribbled notes that I couldn't read.

"Everly," Maggie said quietly. "Just like last time, Vivian and I will use this board. While we do, it's important that you remain still and quiet. Since Leo isn't here, Vivian will write down the letters for us. Before we begin, do you have any questions?"

Ariana shook my head.

"Okay, good. Then we'll begin," Maggie said and placed her fingertips lightly onto the small wooden circle and then Vivian did the same.

"Spirits, we call on you today for your assistance. For there is a malevolent entity that has attached to our dear friend, Everly. Spirits, we need your help in freeing her from that evil entity! Please tell us if you are here!" Maggie closed her eyes as the circle went across the board under their fingertips. "Are you here?"

The circle shot up to Yes.

Ariana gasped and looked around the room. She must've realized she could no longer see other ghosts because she turned her attention back to the board.

"Can you tell us your name?" Maggie asked.

Vivian wrote down each letter the small circle stopped at. "Ariana."

"What?" Ariana said. "I mean, what? Is the spirit Ariana?"

Vivian narrowed her eyes at me. Maggie shushed me and continued.

"Ariana," Maggie said. "We'd like to-"

The circle kept moving, cutting Maggie off from finishing her question. Vivian feverishly wrote down each letter.

"Not Ariana," Vivian said, reading her notes back. "Danger. Ariana is here."

"You're not Ariana?" Maggie questioned. "Is she there with you? Are you in danger?"

The circle shot across the board again. Vivian read her notes back to us. "No. She is there. Danger."

Vivian shook her head in confusion. I knew Ariana wanted me to say something to her, but I remained silent. Maggie looked up at both of us.

"Do you mean Ariana is here? She's with us?" Maggie asked.

The circle shot up to Yes.

I could feel Ariana start to get tense. Vivian was staring at me expressionless, almost as though she was waiting to see what I did next.

"She's here and we're in danger?" Maggie was concentrating on the board.

Yes.

"We know that. That's why we are here asking for help. Everly is in danger and-" Maggie sighed as the circle started to move again.

Vivian read from her notebook. "Everly is stuck. You must help her."

"How is she stuck?" Maggie asked, confused. "She's right here. She's with us."

No.

Maggie chuckled softly. "Yes, she is. See? That's her right there. Everly, say something."

Ariana was staring at the board. Vivian nudged my arm. "Everly!"

"Oh, right." Ariana said. "Hello."

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