Slipping into the spare room I lit some candles and slid the ouija board out of its dark blue and black silk cover, placing it gently on the ground. It was a thing of rare beauty if I said so myself. It was very old, probably over a hundred years and the exquisitely wrought gold writing on the dark brown board had been hand painted. In addition to the letters of the alphabet, the words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, ‘Hello’ and Goodbye’, were etched, one in each corner. The pointer, or planchette, was made from amber and glowed golden in the flickering light. The bed my visitor had bled in was a dark ominous rumple of sheets in the background and I did my best to ignore it. I had, shall we say, bartered for it in an occult market that had taken place in the infarcted heart of this demon ridden city, the Cowgate. It had cost something dearer than money and I hoped it was going to prove its worth for me at this ungodly hour. The more prosaic paper and lined A4 pad wasn’t as pretty but was equally important to write down any messages from the fetid darkness that was only too happy to infect our world with its insane whisperings.
I cleared my mind, going over some relaxation techniques that helped me focus on nothing. My body unclenched but there was a little voice screaming something incomprehensible at the back of my mind. I ignored it and tried again, thinking of a warm, cerulean ocean to clear my head and let me get into the dead zone. But there was nothing. No spirit wanted to come play with, or even terrorise me. The delicate tendrils of my thoughts were echoing around in a void where nothing was.
I don’t know how long I sat like that, but just as I was about to give up, I got a bite. It was big, powerful and I was going to need all my strength to reel it in. What I was doing was about as clever as going fishing in a coracle with line and tackle in a great-white infested sea, but in this line of work, intelligence was a distinct draw-back.
The room’s temperature dropped to below freezing and I shivered even wrapped in my bulky dressing gown. I could see the frozen vapour trail of my breath as it escaped. Sadly things weren’t going to be so simple for the rest of me.
The heart-shaped planchette began to move sluggishly as though it was wakening from a long sleep. I decided to oblige by starting with the easy ones.
“Is someone there?”
Trembling, the planchette agonisingly slowly crept toward the ‘Yes’ in the top right corner.
“Who are you?”
Rediscovering some latent vitality, the planchette sped up slightly spelling out:
WE NOT TELL.
Hmm. Not the best start to the conversation I was hoping to extract vital information from.
“Then why are you here?” I asked the void.
The amber planchette glowed in the candlelight, immobile for a few seconds and then whipped round the board with vicious jabs that left marks on the lacquered surface.
WATCH YOU DYE
was the message. Another spirit that couldn’t spell, for some crazy, irrational reason that irritated me more. Could it be the same one that had left the hand or was education for the dead an underfunded project. I didn’t think it was the same, the power needed to smash into my home through the wards was considerable. This thing, though powerful in its own right, was just a tiddling bottom feeder in comparison.
“That sounds like it might be fun,” I conceded in a conversational tone, “Any particular reason?”
WE NOT TEL
“Ah. You mean you don’t know. That’s okay, you-”
U SOON BE WITH DOWN WITH US. WE WATE FOR YOU EAT YOUR SOLE
The planchette went crazy, digging deep trenches into the board. The dead didn’t like to be patronised any more than the living, clearly. The pointer was going almost faster than I could note the letters down. I eventually gave up when I realised that it was vitriol and not usable information that was being spewed across worlds. I needed to keep my questions simple and to the point. It could be the spirit knew something I didn’t, or, equally likely it was just one of the many vindictive presences that said this to all the girls.
“You’ll be eating the sole of my boot you little-” I made an effort to calm down, this was going nowhere fast. I tried again: “Who left the hand-of-glory in my living-room.”
The planchette ceased all movement raising the hairs on the back of my neck and I waited for what I knew was coming. But as it turned out I didn’t.
VERY GOOD FREND
“You don’t know, do you?” I sighed, rubbing my eyes with my fingers.
“Then who is it?”
“Not tell, because you no know,” I snapped.
I left the room with the planchette still whizzing around the board. The spirit would either get bored with its game and leave or stay and haunt the house. It was a stupid thing to do and all the books told you never to do it, but I no longer cared because if it did, I’d be only too happy to personally hurl into the void from which there really was no coming back, without pity, without mercy, without a second thought.