It's Only A Game

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This story was contributed by ClarissaNorth

"Stop moving it," Carrie whispered, the shadows cast by the flickering candle flames dancing across her face. Her words were breathy and panicked. The rational, logical parts of her mind told her what she was seeing couldn't possibly be true, but her heart was icy with fear.

"I didn't," Laura hissed. The girl set her jaw and stared down at the board, all mass-produced printed letters and numbers, all cheap materials and peeling corners.

Beside her, Sophie giggled quietly. "Sorry," she said and arranged her expression into one of seriousness. "Sorry, I'll behave."

A sigh escaped Carrie's parted lips which soon turned into a long, measured, calming exhale. It wasn't yet Halloween, but the Ouija board they'd found in the thrift store had been too good to pass up. Their intention had been to wait until the party and freak out their friends en masse when they pranked them with smoke machines and spooky noises from their phones, but with each passing day, the urge to test it swelled inside of them until they couldn't hold off another moment.

The bedroom was hardly the sort one would hold a séance in. Far more Barbie than Chucky, the walls were white and covered with posters, the paint chipped beneath the yellowing tape where they'd been taken down and put back up as Carrie's interests had matured and shifted during her early teens. The single bed was buried beneath blankets and throw pillows, an impractical but plush and comforting paradise for any teenager, and the vanity mirror was surrounded by sun-bleached photographs of friends and family.

Carrie's doting mother had insisted that any candles be placed on dishes to prevent fires and wax spills, and so a selection of crisp white porcelain plates littered the floor, each holding clusters of mis-matched tea lights; some novelty and shaped like flowers, others scented, some glittery, and others cheap and quickly burnt down. The nearby trashcan overflowed with discarded homework drafts and empty candy wrappers which periodically crinkled and shifted in some impossible, unseen breeze whenever they posed a question to the board.

Their first question had been simple; Are you there?

The pointer had moved laboriously to Yes.

The girls had been quickly and effectively spooked. It didn't matter that one of them had moved the pointer, they were so invested in the game that the chills they'd felt were real, and they knew that the board would be a hit at the party. At that point, they could have easily put the Ouija board away, blown out the candles, and returned to an evening of complaints about their teachers and the costumes they intended to wear to the Halloween party. They should have taken the time to ponder on the questions and the staged special effects that they'd utilise to traumatise the student body when playing on the board in a large group, but, instead, they persisted.

Do we know who you are?

The pointer hadn't moved, remaining resolutely on Yes. The girls had withdrawn their fingers and huffed, each as disappointed in the other that they hadn't at least wiggled the pointer a little to indicate a new answer. They'd decided at that stage that they would need to punctuate yes and no answers with those requiring more effort to maintain the pretence that the pointer was being shifted by a supernatural force, rather than one fuelled by illegally procured beer.

Emboldened, it was Laura who asked, "Have you been dead long?"

With renewed vigour, the pointer shot across the board to No, taking their hands along with it, jerking Laura forwards violently. Laura, a keen member of the drama department and accomplished actress, appeared alarmed. It was at this point that Carrie had told her not to move the pointer, because there was no way anything other than a person could exert such force on the game.

"Okay, don't believe me?" Laura challenged Carrie. "Fine, I have another question. Did you die tonight?"

Yes.

"Right," Carrie said, "because when you die, the first thing you do is tap into a stupid Ouija board. This isn't realistic. We should've researched a real dead guy, a gruesome one, and staged it all."

"I mean, it depends what you died of and whatever, I guess," Sophie muttered. "Also, staged it? Really?"

"We can't stage it on the night of the party," Laura countered. "Other people will want to ask questions. We can't predict what they'll ask."

"Ask how they died," Carrie said. "Just so we can see how long it takes to spell it out."

"You ask," Laura countered.

"How'd you die?" Sophie asked the board, and the pointer began to move.

M-U-R-D-E-R

Carrie and Laura shot back from the board. Sophie remained; her index finger pressed tightly to the wooden pointer as it continued its journey over the letters.

B-A-S-E-M-E-N-T

"Stop it!" Carrie shouted.

I-N-T-R-U-D-E-R

"That's enough!" Laura screamed.

H-E-R-E

The door flew open and the candles bowed to the blast of air which accompanied the force. Only a few found the strength to defy the intruder, casting the room in a faint, red glow as the intruder stormed the bedroom, machete held high, and brought it down with enough strength to split Laura's skull. She fell onto the board, convulsing as blood poured from the open wound, seeping through the carpet they'd been so worried about marking with wax and concealing the letters on the board. The pointer floated idly back and forth like a boat let loose on a crimson lake. The figure planted a heavy boot onto Laura's back, crushing her spine as he utilised the leverage her body provided and tore the weapon free.

Carrie's pleading fell on deaf ears as the man drew up his arm before bringing the blade down in a clean motion, slicing through her throat like it was butter and spraying her blood over the wall and mirror. A shadow within the mirror darted backwards, concealing itself in the dark as the rampage continued until all that remained of the séance was blood and mangled flesh and one girl sitting in the dark, her finger on a floating pointer, her ghostly face slashed to ribbons.

"I mean, I did try to warn you," Sophie said. "If you weren't such selfish bitches you might have noticed how long it was taking me to bring back the soda. But, look on the bright side. They'll be telling one hell of a story at the party this year."



Clarissa North is a writer of adult and new adult romance, a cat enthusiast, and an avid tea drinker. Known for finding the human connections in her stories, her tales serve to remind her readers that love and life are shared experiences. Read more stories from Clarissa here .

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