Today’s boot camp prompt is:
Write a story featuring a Ouija board, a search engine, and a self-help book.
Summer time is the worst for me. I like the cold of winter. I like sitting on the couch with a blanket wrapped around me and a warm cup of hot chocolate in my hands. I love the smell of snow. I love the way it covers the world and makes it feel like a completely different place. I love the way it feels when the soft flakes land and melt on my face. I like to hear the crunch of hard packed snow under my feet.
So as I sat on the sofa with the windows open and multiple fans strategically placed throughout the house blowing as hard as their hardware would allow, I tried to think of that beautiful time of year. A knock on the door interrupted my thoughts. I stood and put on shorts and a tank top before answering.
“Look what I have!” My over-zealous friend Katie said, displaying the wooden board dramatically in front of her. I turned and sat back down on the sofa. She shut the door behind her and sat on the floor in front of me.
“Come on. It’ll be fun! I found it at a yard sale. They only wanted a quarter for it! Can you believe that? It’s in such good condition. It’s practically brand new!” I slowly rolled off the couch and onto the floor across from her. I had never used an Ouija board before and honestly didn’t know much about them except that they were used to speak to spirits.
“Why are you so excited about this?” I asked.
“Because my mom would never let me have one as a kid. She called them ‘the devil’s tool” and wouldn’t allow one in her house.”
“And if I say the same thing?”
“I’ll call bullshit because I know you don’t care.” I shrugged. Fair enough. The truth was the truth.
“Why are you acting so blah?” She asked with slumped shoulders. She really was the yin to my yang; always bubbly, never a care in the world, excited about everything.
“I’m hot. I hate summer.” She rolled her eyes.
“But summer is when you get to go swimming and tan up and wear short skirts and less in general.” I stared at her.
“Are we simming right now? Where’s your tan?” She scowled at me.
“Summer just started, I haven’t had a chance to lay out yet. Now are we going to do this or what?” I shrugged again.
“Sure.” She clapped with excitement and set the board down with its planchette on top. She put her fingers on top on used her head to motion for me to do the same. I complied.
“What should we ask?” She looked up in thought.
“Why don’t we start with the basics? Is there a spirit in this room?” We sat quietly; our fingers resting gently on the heart shaped piece of wood.
“Please, if there is anyone here, let us know.” Katie was looking up into the air, waiting expectantly. The planchette did not move. “Your apartment is old. There has to be something living here.”
“Yeah. Me.” I replied wanting to laugh at her assumption that ghosts existed in every single old building.
We asked the same question in different ways for nearly 30 minutes before I called it quits. I stood and sat back on the sofa where I could feel the wind from the fans better.
“It’s just not going to happen I guess.” I said sinking into the cushions. Katie’s shoulders dropped.
“I was sure there would be a spirit here.” She stood and sat next to me.
“Not so close. It’s too hot for that.” I said pushing her a little.
“Maybe we didnt do it right. Maybe we need to wait until dark and light some candles or something.”
“I think if a spirit were around, it wouldn’t care what time of day it is or what lights are on.” She shrugged. It was like all the energy had been sapped from her. I reached over the arm of the couch and into a book caddy. I handed her a book.
“I think my mom should have given that to you instead of me.”
“How to enjoy the here and now: a guide to self-love and acceptance of the present.” She looked over at me incredulously after reading the title aloud.
“You know, because you’re searching for what’s in the past.” I laughed when she threw the book back at me.
“I thoroughly enjoy the present!” She grabbed the remote from the side table. “Although I may change my mind if I keep hanging out with you.” She turned the TV on and found a show for us to watch. While the people talked and the “studio audience” laughed at just the right moments (and Katie along with them), I grabbed my phone and did some research on this Ouija board.
“We didn’t say goodbye.” I spit out casually. Katie turned so violently she nearly slapped me in the face.
“So we left it open?” I shrugged.
“I guess. People are saying you need to say goodbye.” She jumped off the couch.
“What was this on when we stopped?” She asked pointing to the planchette.
“I don’t remember. I wasn’t paying that much attention. What’s it on right now?”
“The 1.” I’m not a superstitious person, but in that moment my chest tightened.