It was late Friday evening. I’d just walked in the door after a hard afternoon shift at the local steel mill. My thoughts were only on the pizza I was carrying, a couple of cold beers, and the warm bed I would soon be sharing with my wife.
I don’t remember where she got the idea, but it was close to Halloween so I shoulda known she’d be doing something witchy. As soon as I sat down on the couch she came out of the kitchen carrying a shopping bag and sat down beside me, “Hi babe”, she said and leaned over to kiss me on the cheek.
“Guess what I have,” she asked while pulling a game board out of the shopping bag. “Want to have some fun?” she teased.
”Sure,” I said. (though I was too tired to even think of sex, let alone play a dumb board game) It had been a long, sweaty, hot day of shoveling coal into a blast furnace, but then a tired husband must please a bored wife if he wants any peace in the house, right?
“What’s that?” I asked in my best ‘trying to act enthused’ mode.
” A Ouija board.”
“Yeah, you sit across from each other with it on our laps and ask it questions. You hold one side of this thing, (she held a small rectangular pointer with three legs in her hand) and I hold the other,” she explained. “Then you ask it whatever you want to and it will move around the board spelling out an answer from the spirit world.”
“Ok great, let's eat first though, I'm starved. Then we can play a game if you want, OK?”
I got up, went to the fridge and grabbed a couple of Buds, and returned. We sat on the couch and watched Johnny Carson and gabbed about other stuff while we ate the pizza and finished off a couple more beers. Then came the evening's grand finale when Patti asked,” You ready now?”
Patti cleaned up our mess and went to the kitchen. She returned with one of our kitchen table’s chairs in each hand and positioned them in the center of the room so they'd be facing one another. Motioning for me to sit in one, she sat down across from me, opened the Ouija board, and balanced it across our laps. Then she placed her fingertips lightly on the sliding device and instructed me to do the same on the other side.
“Ready?” she asked.
“Sure,” I answered.
Patti went first. “How old am I?” she asked the ouija board. Slowly, with both of us holding the pointer, it moved to 2 then it moved to 1. “That’s right! See, I told you this thing works,” she exclaimed excitedly. “Your turn, ask it a question.”
”O.K. Mister Ouija, how old am I?” I don’t know how it did it, but the pointer started moving as if it was on it’s own. Sliding . . . Adding . . . 24.
”That’s right!” I mimicked Patti.
She looked at me and laughed before letting out a ghostly, “Ooooooohhh. This thing is alive, I can feel the spirits in the room with us.”
She took her turn. Once again she received a correct answer.
My turn. “Mr. Ouija, “What’s my mom’s name?” I asked. Slowly, as if having a mind of its own the pointer moved from letter to letter spelling it out . . . L.I.L.L.I.A.N.
I looked deeply into Patti’s eyes giving her my best inquisitor's gaze. “Are you making it do that?” I asked. (and I was serious)
“Nope, swear to God, I just had my fingers on the thing like you do, I never moved it, I was thinking maybe you were.”
Patti took her turn. Again, she received the correct answer.
My turn. “Mr. Ouija,” I asked the board. “Where’s my dad?” (Who had died a year earlier)
‘H.E.R.E.’ the board answered. That meant to me that my dad was right in the room in spirit form. By that time I was pretty wide awake, but now I was REALLY wide awake.
Patti, who by now was starting to get scared, said, “Ohhh man Jim, . . . do you think we really ought to be fooling with this thing? I’m starting to freak out.”
“Turning chicken?” I asked. “Let’s see if we can talk to my dad.”
“Alright, but then that’s it,” she said. “I’ve had enough and I’m going to bed.”
We began having an exclusive conversation with my dad. We asked him many specific questions. We received an answer for everyone. Sometimes things only he would know. As the night rolled on I believed more and more that I had contacted the spirit world and was now talking to my dead dad.
At first, we were communicating with just him, but soon strangers would butt into the conversation. It was as if there was a line of spirits on the other side waiting in line to talk to us.
Once Coleen arrived though, that was it. No other names showed up, even my dad disappeared. Every answer was now coming from Colleen. She had taken control of the board.
The fun was over for Patti. All she wanted to do was quit the ouija board, throw it out in the yard and go to bed.
“Let me ask it one more question then we’ll quit, OK?” I asked her.
“OK,” she answered reluctantly.
“Colleen, can you come to me in a dream?”
‘Y. E. S.’
“Will you come and talk to me tonight?”
“Alright, I’m finished,” I said looking up from the board. “I’m going to talk to Colleen in a dream. Come on let’s go to bed.”
Patti looked deeply into my eyes before asking, “are you nuts?”
“What’s the matter? You jealous?” I asked her.
”No, I’m afraid for your dumb ass,” she said quite seriously. “How do you know who you’re really talking to?”
”Aww shit, Pat, this is going to be really cool, besides do you think anything will actually happen?” I grinned. “Come on, let’s go to bed.”
* * * *
Patti’s deep breathing signaled she had fallen asleep.
I was lying there staring at the ceiling thinking maybe I goofed up cause I could have had sex instead. Minutes later a quick, cool breeze blew through the window behind our bed causing the thin curtain to blow straight out and start waving in the dark room. It stopped as suddenly as it had started. Outside the window, the night was calm and still.
Then I saw a light flashing in the half-bath across the room. It looked like it does when a car's headlights scan across your window. Only problem was we lived on a dead-end street in the country. There were no cars around.
I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I remember was standing in a large Grecian courtyard surrounding a beautiful white marble temple supported by large ivory columns. There were six columns spaced every ten yards or so aligned in a row, between the temple and me.
At the temple’s entrance stood a woman dressed in a flowing white gown that rippled in the cool breeze blowing off what I knew to be the Mediterranean Sea. As she stepped out of the shadows the sunlight reflecting off her long, blond hair created a halo effect about her head. Her radiant, expressionless face bore the exquisite beauty of a goddess. Even from that distance, I could clearly see her sensual, gray eyes staring directly at me.
Slowly she began walking towards me from behind the columns. Her image appeared, then disappeared, only to reappear again one column closer until there were no columns left.
She was now directly in front of me, smiling and seductive, coming closer still. Her eyes shone with the sexual intensity that comes upon a woman only in her most intimate moment. Her arms opened to embrace me.
I opened my arms to her in anticipation, but she was not stopping. She kept coming as if her goal was to walk into me, to become a part of me. Just one more step. I was filled with excitement . . . awaiting this new experience.
Suddenly I was awakened by a frantic wife.
“What the hell are you doing?” I asked. “I was right in the middle of a fantastic dream, and you woke me up. Dammit!”
“You’re out of your damn mind!” she said. “You were kicking and thrashing around yelling, NO! NO! NO! . . . so much you woke ME up!” She rolled over mumbling something nasty and fell back to sleep.
I sank quietly backward into my pillow and tried to fathom what had just taken place. Lying there I began to realize that something very strange had just happened. Something cold and sinister had come within a hair’s breadth of capturing my soul. I was, for the first time that night, really afraid.
The following Sunday found me, who’d never been in one before, walking down a church aisle towards the altar. I had never been big on religion, but logic told me that if darkness was real perhaps the Light was also. I needed to find out.
* * *
And the devil came not with a fork & tail, ugly and fire bright,
But as light and love, he appeared to me, in the guise of beauty in the night.