by Teresa Cain
This is not a game.
Treating occult affairs like a joke is a Very Bad Idea. These energies
you're messing with are real and misuse of them can have serious consequences.
Whether or not you believe in them doesn't matter.
"Now, we all have to hold hands, okay?"
Four nervously giggling sorority sisters and one not-so-giggly sister joined hands around the round table. The stoic - Tori - glanced around at the table and shook her head. This was so not going to be good.
"God, Tori... lighten up! We did everything you said."
Tori glared across the table at the sorority's queen bee: Allison. She hated Allison. If it was possible for a person to be a color, then Allison was a bright, cotton candy pink. And like cotton candy, just as fluffy. Allison had been the one to find out about Tori's scheduled séance that by rights she should have been doing alone in her room. At least she would have been doing it right. But Allison had her own stupid Hollywood idea of how a séance was supposed to go, and now she found herself stuck at a table with her sorority sisters, bound to a séance that was not going to be good. Not at all.
Allison had a $100 silk scarf ("From my New York shopping trip last summer!") wrapped gypsy-like around her head, clashing with her 20s flapper costume for the party at Phi Beta Delta later on. It was only one of many problems Tori had with the whole situation.
The candles were pink and strawberry-scented. Tori had tried briefly to make them understand that color was important, but Allison had scoffed and said the pink were prettier and smelled better. And every séance needed a Ouija board, and thanks to Hasbro and Toys R Us, this séance by golly had one. And they had a velvet cloth. Granted, it was actually a black velvet shawl and the only mystic symbols it had were the strange and wonderful symbols V-E-R-A W-A-N-G. Oh, and there simply had to be a crystal ball. It just wasn't a séance without a crystal ball.
That it's a fucking snow globe shouldn't matter one bit. Oh hell, it's even a unicorn snow globe. I bet big bucks her daddy still calls her "Princess" even though she's at least 22.
"The only spirit we're going to call up is the spirit of Strawberry Shortcake."
"God, Tori. Don't be such a little shit. You're the one who wanted to do a séance in the first place," Allison sneered.
"Not with all of you!"
"Come on, Tori," Heather said on one side of her. "It'll be fun and spooky. It's great for Halloween!"
"See? See? Right there! You should never do this for shits and giggles. This is serious stuff, guys!"
Allison laughed. It was a cold, derisive, humorless laugh. "Yeah right. It's just a party game. Now shut up and hold hands."
I do not want to be here if this works, Tori thought to herself as Heather and April grabbed her hands. I don't see how it could possibly work, but with it being Halloween and all... something is going to hear her. Let's hope it has a sense of humor.
"Ohhhh spirits," Allison quavered in a melodramatic voice. Tori briefly wondered if it would be possible to knock herself cold if she slammed her forehead into the table. "Ohhh spirits, hear us! Cooooome forth, o spirits! Answer our call."
O spirits, ignore this stupid bitch, Tori thought feverently, squeezing her eyes shut.
Allison moaned a couple of minutes more, and that was when Tori began feeling it. The mood in the dining room suddenly took on a chilly heaviness, and she was left with the feeling that most of the air had been sucked out. Damn! Stupid damn thin veil! Stupid clueless sorority bitches! If she lived through this, she was going to go straight home and kick her mother's ass for making her choose between joining the sorority or losing her college fund. She should have told her to stuff the fucking college fund.
"God, what's wrong with you?" Heather hissed as Tori stared sinking low in her chair.
"I'm surrounded by morons, that's what!"
"Shut up, Tori! I'm trying to contact the spirits here!"
Tori squeezed her eyes shut, the heaviness settling on her chest until her lungs felt crushed from it. "Well...you got one."
And then it spoke, in a voice like echoes from the tomb...
"OH FOR THE LOVE OF...!"
Five shrieking sorority girls tried to get up and run, but they couldn't even let go of each other's hands. It was as if they were super glued to their chairs and each other.
"WHAT. THE. FUCK?"
Allison cast desperate eyes across the table to Tori. "What do we do?"
"Why are you asking me, gypsy lady? You're the one who knows allllllll about seances."
"WHY DOES IT SMELL LIKE STRAWBERRIES IN HERE?"
"Get rid of it!"
"I didn't call it!"
"IS THAT A SNOW GLOBE????"
"Look, you wanted to ask the spirits questions, so ask it! But don't blame me if it rips your head off, Allison, because you asked for it."
"A FUCKING SNOW GLOBE... FUCKING HELL... I'VE SEEN A FIVE-YEAR-OLD PUT TOGETHER A BETTER SÉANCE. IT'S SAMHAIN, AND WHAT AM I DOING? I'M ATTENDING A SÉANCE HOSTED BY MARTHA FUCKING STEWART."
"Spirit, we demand that thee answer our questions," Allison said, and the quaver in her voice wasn't faked this time. Tori groaned at the wording. Demand, she said. She didn't have the first clue what she was doing, and she was going to get them all killed.
"SNOW - EXCUSE ME?"
Tori whimpered and tried to resume her scoot back under the table. No, no good. Her ass was glued to the chair.
"Um... questions?" Allison asked, her voice timid this time.
"OF COURSE. QUESTIONS. WHEREVER YOU FIND A SÉANCE WITH STRAWBERRY CANDLES, YOU'LL FIND A BUNCH OF CLUELESS AS HELL COLLEGE GIRLS WANTING TO KNOW THEIR FUTURE." The chandelier shook gently over the table, and Heather let out another shriek, drawing the entity's attention. "OOO, LET'S START WITH YOU, SWEETHEART. SO WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?"
"Me?" Heather squeaked.
"YOU. COME ON, YOUR HEAD WAS JUST BUZZING WITH QUESTIONS A FEW MINUTES AGO. SURELY YOU CAN THINK OF ONE."
Heather was shaking so hard Tori could actually hear her teeth chattering. There was also the smell of urine. God, someone had wet herself. Tori hoped it wasn't her.
"Uh... uh... umm... w-will T-t-t-ommy and uh-uh-I ever g-g-get m-m-m-m-m-m-"
"SPIT IT OUT."
"Married!" she cried, then winced back.
"OH WELL... I'VE NEVER HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE. YOU KNOW, USUALLY I JUST MAKE UP A BUNCH OF SHIT, BUT IN THIS CASE? THE TRUTH IS FAR MORE FUN. OKAY, LET'S SEE... WELL, FOR ONE THING, YOUR BOYFRIEND'S BEEN GETTING ASS-FUCKED BY HIS BEST FRIEND SINCE THEY WERE 16... AND HE'S COMING OUT IN TWO WEEKS AFTER THANKING YOU FOR BEING SUCH A NICE LITTLE FAG HAG, SO I MIGHT STOP WITH THE WEDDING PLANS IF I WERE YOU."
Despite the overwhelming, mind-numbing fear, Tori found herself wanting to laugh really bad. She sneaked a look at Heather and found the girl's face slack with shock. Hell, had it really been that much of a shock? He listened to show tunes.
The table was silent.
"I'M NOT LEAVING UNTIL I GET A QUESTION OUT OF EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU. WHICH IS FINE WITH ME. YOU HAVE TO SHOWER SOONER OR LATER, AND THAT'LL MAKE THIS ALL WORTHWHILE."
Well, she had prayed for a spirit with a sense of humor...
Its attention came to rest on Kelli. She could feel it. Poor sad, lumpy Kelli, who was the sorority's charity case that was supposed to keep the sisters from looking like a bunch of rich snotty bitches. It hardly worked. Kelli was in the sorority, but largely ignored by her fellow members. To be fair, Tori ignored her as well, but Tori ignored everybody. It wasn't personal.
Tori did not want to hear Kelli's question. And she certainly didn't want to hear the spirit's answer.
"WELL?" the spirit demanded. "HOP TO IT, BIG FUN."
Kelli's eyes dropped to the tabletop. "Will I ever find a boyfriend?"
"AHH... YET ANOTHER OLD FAVORITE. DON'T WORRY, LUV! YOU'LL HAVE LOTS OF BOYFRIENDS! A DIFFERENT ONE EACH NIGHT, AS A MATTER OF FACT. BECAUSE AS TIME WEARS ON, THE IDEA OF MR. RIGHT IS GOING TO BE WORN THIN BY LONELINESS AND SHEER DESPERATION, TO BE REPLACED BY MR. RIGHT NOW, AND YOUR NIGHTS WILL BE FILLED WITH A JOB AT THE DARKEST, DANKEST BAR IN TOWN. YOUR ROMANTIC VIEWS OF LOVEMAKING WILL BE SHREDDED BY THE REALITY OF QUICK THRUST AND HUMPS IN ALLEYWAYS AND BACKSEATS, BUT YOU'LL LIVE FOR THOSE FEW FUMBLING MOMENTS WHEN YOU ACTUALLY MATTER TO SOMEONE. WELL, AT LEAST ONE PART OF YOU MATTERS. YOU'LL HAVE A SERIES OF ABORTIONS, HATING ANY ACTUAL EVIDENCE OF YOUR ENCOUNTERS UNTIL FINALLY, SO DESPERATE FOR SOMETHING THAT WILL LOVE YOU REGARDLESS, NO MATTER HOW FAT AND SPOTTY AND OILY YOU ARE, YOU GO THROUGH WITH ONE PREGNANCY. AND THE BOTH OF YOU WILL DIE IN CHILDBIRTH. OH, AND NO ONE'S GOING TO BE AT YOUR FUNERAL EITHER, ESPECIALLY NONE OF YOUR SO-CALLED 'SISTERS' HERE. ANYTHING ELSE?"
Kelli was quiet and crying in her chair, and Tori could sense she felt the truth of the spirit's words.
"That's enough," she hissed, casting her gaze around the room as if she could see the bastard. "There was no need for that."
"SHE ASKED," the spirit replied, amused. "HELLO, LITTLE WITCH. I'D THINK YOU'D KNOW BETTER THAN TO PULL A STUNT LIKE THIS."
"I got dragged into it." She nodded at Kelli, still sobbing in her chair, choking on her future. "So did she."
The spirit wasn't interested in Kelli anymore. "YOU SEEM BRIGHTER THAN YOUR FRIENDS."
"Let's just get to my question so you can be on your way."
"OH LET'S. SO, WHY DID YOU WANT TO CALL THE SPIRITS, WITCH GIRL?"
The heat of her anger had burned out Tori's fear and she looked across the table with hard eyes at Allison. Allison, on the other hand, looked worried and still ready to wet herself. Maybe she already had. Maybe it was Allison's yellow-soaked costume that smelled so bad.
"Something bad was supposed to happen to me tonight," Tori said through gritted teeth. "Something Princess there dreamed up. Something to humiliate and put in her place the stuck-up goth freak that shouldn't even be in this sorority, except that her mom was in it before her. Something bad and ugly and criminal."
"I SEE. AND YOUR QUESTION?"
"What was it?"
design ©2001 by Cindy Rosenthal
The Seance ©2002 by Teresa Cain
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