“Hey, Mel, look what I found,” Kira said as she held up the box. You could tell it was old, because it was made of splintery wood, and there were darkened spots, perhaps from water damage. It had a musty smell, kind of moldy, from having been in the attic for so long, but there were also undertones of something else, a scent Kira could not place. A cobweb wrapped around one of the corners of the lid.
“It’s so old,” Melanie said.
“I know! Isn’t it perfect?” Kira asked. She grinned deviously in anticipation as she brushed dust away from the lettering with the cuff of her sleeve.
“This doesn’t seem like a good idea….” Melanie said.
“Don’t be a baby, Melanie, it’ll be fun. You know we totally have to play it!” said Kira.
“I’m really not so sure about this… It always ends badly in the movies…” Melanie said.
“Well then it’s a good thing this isn’t a movie, right?” Kira said. She opened the box and set the board on the table beside her mother’s candle.
“I don’t want to do this…” Melanie continued to complain.
“C’mon, Melanie,” Kira said, “It’s both of us or neither of us. Don’t ruin my night.”
“Fine…” said Melanie. She rubbed her palms on her jeans, then she began tapping her toes habitually, alternating between her left foot and right foot. Heel, toe, toe, toe, right foot. Heel, toe, heel, toe, left foot.
Kira set the playing piece on the board and both girls placed their fingers on it. They began the séance. Nothing happened.
“Are you sure we’re doing it right?” Melanie asked.
“Yeah,” Kira said, “See, Mel, it’s just a game. You didn’t have anything to worry ab–”
Her voice trailed off mid-word.
The light started to hum quietly. Then it flickered and went out. The candle lit itself. Then the playing piece started to move.
“Are you doing that?” asked Melanie. Tremors plagued her vocal cords.
“Not me,” Kira said, “Is it you?”
There was no response.
“Melanie isn’t here,” said Melanie.
“Melanie, this isn’t funny. Don’t play like that.”
“Who said I’m playing?” said Melanie.
“I’m stopping. I’m done with this game,” said Kira, “This is stupid.”
“Don’t you dare take your hands off the board!” Melanie said. The candle flickered on and off.
The walls creaked.
An icy wind blew through the house, but the flame stayed still. Thunder cracked outside, and rain began pouring down, pounding on the roof.
“What the hell? What is going on? Mel?” Kira said.
“Melanie is not here,” Melanie said again.
“Shut up, Melanie! Stop it! Okay? I get it. You didn’t want to play, so now you’re messing with me, trying to scare me. It’s not working. Drop the act.”
“Didn’t Mother ever teach you not to be rude?” asked Melanie.
A choking sound started to come from Kira. Blood trickled from the corners of her mouth.
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” said Melanie.
Kira put her hands back on the board, but she continued to choke, spitting out mouthful after mouthful of blood. Her eyes began to gloss over, and she slumped onto the table. Her head slammed against the board, and it gradually darkened with her blood. Then she snapped back upright to sit unnaturally straight with her eyes wide and unblinking as she relapsed into a fit of coughs.
“See, I use my manners,” said Melanie tilting her head and batting her lashes. The playing piece began to move.
“For what?” Kira choked.
“Calling me out of Hell.”
Crimson tears leaked from Kira’s eyes as she stared across the table at Melanie.
The lights flickered on and off. Kira regained bodily control and squeezed her eyes shut, bracing herself for the worst. The flame began to wave. Thunder cracked. Lightning flashed. Everything went dark, and the world was silent. A strangled, half-finished scream hung in the air and all the lights came back on. The storm had stopped. The candle was out, but smoke did not linger in the air. She opened her eyes.
Melanie stared blankly at her; her eyes unseeing, her ears unhearing, her face still frozen in shock, but her expression would never change. A tall man stood behind her, staring at me. His eyes were dark and cold. Melanie’s skin had become a sickly pale color, and his hands dripped with her blood.
“My name is Ivan,” he said, “And it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve been waiting far too long for this day.” Then he pulled her head back, contorting her corpse into an almost-backbend, and opened her mouth wide with one hand hooked around her top teeth and the other hand hooked on the bottom, and a thick black smoke rushed out of her and swirled into the air. The picture window smashed and the smoke vanished. Her limp body dropped to the ground. She didn’t move any more.