Written for the January WCC. I know this is like, a giant mess.


January 5, 2011

Decline

Peeling open the plastic wrapping eagerly, I slipped the thin, hard board from the box. Unfolding it, I saw two eyes gazing mysteriously back at me from a star-speckled background. Excitement leaped high in my chest, and I dumped the rest of the things from the box onto my bed. Out with it fell a wooden, rounded triangular shape with an eyeglass set into the centre of it. My first ouija board.

I smiled looking down at the curling, printed letters. Beneath the letters, on each side of the board was a capital Y and an N. Hearing my mom's footsteps making their way up the stairs, I shoved everything back into the box and hid it underneath my bed. My mom opened the door, her short blonde hair framing her tired eyes.

"Time for dinner, honey."

"Thanks mom." I hopped off my bed and made to follow her out of my room, taking one last glance at the eerie, staring eyes painted on the outside of the box.

They seemed to peer from beneath the darkness of my bed.

"So, tonight's that party at Sammy's. I can go, right? You said so last week." I paused, my fork full of food sitting mid air in front of me.

My dad pretended not to hear, reading a newspaper beside him. My mom kept chewing pensively.

"I suppose." she uttered.

"Thanks, I'll be home around eleven."

"How are you getting home?" My dad looked sternly at me over his reading glasses.

"Devon's giving me and Hanna a ride home."

After a moment's pause, he nodded and turned back to his paper.

Five minutes later, I was washing the dishes in the kitchen when my mom came up to me.

"Amanda, you aren't going to be drinking and... smoking are you?"

I gave my mom a skeptical look. "Of course there's drinking."

She sighed and admitted defeat, she'd already known anyways. "Well, alright. Don't come home puking! Are there going to be boys at this party?"

"Yes, but I know them all, it'll be fine! Get off my back, mum."

"Alright, you know how your dad is when you get home late."

I nodded and then headed to my room to get ready. I stuffed the ouija board and pieces into my oversized bag. I texted my friends until I heard a car horn outside. I ran to the door.

"Bye mom, bye dad!"

I saw Devon's dark blue Chevy Malibu outside and jumped in the back because Hanna had taken passenger. As soon as I got in she turned around to me.

"Did you bring it?"

"Yeah, it's in my bag."

I grinned at her, mostly in nervous excitement. Devon laughed, still rather skeptical about our devout belief in ghosts. Still, he remained silent as we backed out of my driveway.

After having picked up Devon's friend, we reached Sammy's house. She lived in a rich neighbourhood with tall, large houses. Hers included a deck, pool, game room and since it was the last on a dead end road, ample forest space. Me and Hanna promised to go to Blue Ghost tunnel at ten, along with Devon and a couple others. By ten I had limited myself enough to be only a little tipsy. I wanted to remember what happened tomorrow morning.

The forest was a spotty blue as we made our way towards the path in the woods. The five of us, including James and his girlfriend, Alison, marched in with just two flashlights, my bag and the beer clutched in James' hands. My nerves were jittery, crawling centimetres above my skin. I shivered a little.

The tunnel opening was completely black, and it was often too damp to settle down there, so we sat outside in a circle. While James and Alison left to explore the tunnel, we prepared the board. Sitting there with our fingers on the wood-glass ornament, I hesitated for a moment.

"Um, Hanna, what do I say?"

"I don't know... ask if something's there."

"Uh... are there any spirits here?"

Nothing. The board was still, and Devon had a skeptic gleam in his eyes, revealing just a sliver of a grin on his mouth. My arms felt shaky; I was nervous and scared, but I willed it to move.

"Can you tell us your name?"

Silence again. Just our breathing in the open summer air. I caught the scent of alcohol and wondered how much Hanna had drank. Her breath stunk. I cleared my throat again.

"Can you tell us anything?"

I waited again, looking down in concentration at our sweaty fingertips. In the smallest fraction of distance, our hands began to move, following the pull of the small triangle.

"T...o..." We stared in silence, waiting. "Tonite." I whispered.

"It said tonite? It couldn't even spell it right." Hanna whispered back to me.

But it kept moving, smoothly next to a y.

"Y-o-u-l-l. "

I crinkled my brow, "What?"

"You'll, like 'you will'." Devon said. His eyes were slightly bloodshot.

Next it moved.

"D-i-"

"Yo, you started without us?"

I jumped, my arm leaping away from the board. Hanna and Devon did the same, startled by my quick reaction.

I glared at Devon, "You did that, didn't you? It's not funny if you ruin it for us!"

I was mad at Devon, but he continued to insist that he hadn't done anything. Hanna thought it was real, though. And so, we left early.

On the car ride home, I was silent. So was Devon, but Hanna kept biting at her nails nervously.

"Devon, just admit it was you so Hanna can have her fucking sanity back. Jesus."

I was mad, fuming rather excessively as I sat in the back. The blood was pounding in my head, and my face felt hot from all the excess I'd drank when we got back from the tunnel. Devon was stiffly silent, though. He refused to say anything, and it only made me more angry.

"You know what? Just drop me off here. I'm getting out, Devon."

"What?" He glanced back at me to find my hand on his card door handle.

"Get your hands off of the handle!"

"Fuck you!" I didn't notice it until that moment, but I was clearly an angry drunk.

Then Devon's face lit up with the flash of headlights, and a horn blared from somewhere far away. I was thrown forward and then whipped back against my seat, my hands flying up to try and grasp for anything, but I couldn't, and darkness met me.

It had been two months since the accident, and the nightmares about waking up achingly sore with a pounding head hadn't stopped. At least once a week I'd relive that night in stark detail. Waking up sobbing, sometimes I'd just read until morning, trying to forget. I was so tired in school, I frequently walked into things and made the silliest mistakes. Everyone understood for the first few weeks, even the first month, but by now they thought I needed counselling.

I cried the first month. It was my fault my two best friends had died, all because of an argument over a superstitious toy. And no one blamed me because Devon had had alcohol in his veins. Not over the legal limit, but that's what they said. Now we were just another example of drunk driving idiots. Here I was, letting alcohol take the blame for my own hand.

These last few nights, I'd barely slept. I kept imagining dark figures rising from the shadows in my room. I kept thinking that if the ouija board was real, then I really had killed my friends.

I pulled myself out of bed, thankful for a nearly restful night, and made my way to the bathroom. I jumped when I saw two dark figures behind me in the mirror. I whipped my head around, nerves on edge. Seeing nothing I flicked on the light and in the blue of the early morning, it proved to be just that, nothing. I bit my lip, still jittery from both my recent lack of sleep and these strange things that had begun happening to me. After getting dressed with shaky hands, I grabbed my bag and walked out the door.

I breathed deeply, the fresh air and cool morning breeze calmed my nerves. Glancing at a shop window on my way to school, I saw again, two dark figures behind me. It looked like they were covered in dark blankets. I screamed and whipped around. Nothing.

My heart pounded rapidly in my chest, aching for release. I felt tears prickle at my eyes, wondering if I should die now. Wondering why I hadn't died. I reached my school, but I couldn't bare sitting in class with everyone's eyes on me, so I kept going. I'd reached the construction site where my dad worked.

"He's busy," said Frank, his supervisor.

I was standing on the second floor of the incomplete building, but many more teetered above me. I took the makeshift elevator up, enjoying the view as it creaked and groaned. I hoped my dad would let me skip school today, I wanted to finally take him up on his offer to see a doctor. They were both so worried, and my mom kept giving me these sad glances. I needed sleep and I needed to move on with my life. Looking over onto the river and the bridge, I saw a ship in the distance. It sailed smoothly, and the blue of the river was calming. I could feel that things would get better, soon. Hearing talking behind me, I turned expecting to get in trouble for being up here.

As I looked behind me, I lost my footing and finding myself face to face with complete darkness, I stumbled backwards onto empty air.

Voice stuck, jammed in my throat. I extended my hands as if I could reach the building in some naive hope of saving myself. I saw the monsters follow me down, floating like empty tarps, until I saw their hands outstretched before me and I heard their voices.

As my body sank and I knew the ground was near, I saw their faces nervous and smiling around the ouija board again. And so I grabbed those hands, desperate and greedy.


Note: Blue Ghost Tunnel is a real supposedly haunted place in my area.