It was the shrieks in the night that I wanted to address first. I could live with the bloodstained walls, the ghostly figures standing behind my reflection in the mirror, and the lights continually flickering like it was a party, but I needed my sleep.
I went to the toy store and bought a cheap Ouija board, made of plastic and cardboard. It was pink, too, because that was the only model they had in stock, and the box featured pictures of teenage girls asking silly questions along the lines of, “Who has a crush on me?”
Later. I promised myself. If it worked with getting me a night of undisturbed rest, then maybe I could spend a few minutes indulging in secret questions about my personal life. I couldn’t imagine any demons being attracted to the ridiculously girly thing tucked under my arm, so I was probably safe in that regard.
Home was an Edwardian bungalow. I had loved it so much when I first saw it, I had ignored the warning signs: like the way the real estate agent had refused to be alone and kept looking over her shoulder. In retrospect, I should have realized something was up. But I was caught up in admiring the original woodwork and the rich color of the brick, and didn’t pay her any mind. I guess you could say that I was too busy geeking out.
The housing market crashed before the ink was dry on the paperwork, and now I was stuck. No money to move, and no one to buy. I was the owner of a bona fide haunted house.
It had been months since I’ve slept straight through the night, and there were dark circles under my eyes. If those ghosts managed to kill me, I vowed, I was going to haunt them to see how they liked it.
I set myself up on the kitchen table. I wasn’t sure if the Ouija board would work with only one person, but I couldn’t turn to anyone else for help. It seemed like everyone I divulged my circumstances to either insisted that I needed to see a psychiatrist, or wanted to worship the Devil in my basement. There were a surprising number of really disturbed people in my social circle, to the point that I decided that I needed to reevaluate my life choices.
Later, after I had slept on it.
I put my fingertips on the planchette and said in my most authoritative voice, “I command you to speak! Who are you?”
The lights dimmed and the fixture started to swing, but the planchette remained completely still. I had the feeling that the ghosts were laughing at me.
I snapped. “Fine, guys, whatever! The fact is, I’m stuck here and you aren’t going to get rid of me no matter what. Could you just cool it during the night so I can get some rest? I’m going crazy here!”
This time, everything went completely still, and even the usual bumps that continually sounded in the background were silent.
“Thank you!” I exclaimed, and this time the planchette began to move. It was a strange sensation, as if my hands were pushing it despite my efforts to keep them limp, and I watched it slowly pick out the letters:
“It’s cool. You were probably just excited to talk to me, and wanted my attention. Right? You seem alright to me,” I said. I wondered if this was the beginning of a strange friendship with my ghostly roommates, but nothing else happened.
I kept asking questions for another half-hour, but got no other responses. I even, on a lark, asked if there was anyone who wanted to date me, but nothing. Sheesh.
I said goodbye, packed the board up, and went to bed. The next morning I woke up feeling better than I had in a long time, and all the usual hauntings picked right back up, including the ghastly image of a corpse glaring at me in the mirror as I brushed my teeth.
I could live with this.