When the veil is thin the spirits come in.
I became the owner of a Ouija board because my mother wanted it gone. I was home on leave and noticed, on the kitchen floor, a box of miscellaneous things. The Ouija was sticking up from the side. I'd often been drawn to strange things in life so I begged mom to try it with me. She refused at first, but eventually agreed. Since I'd never seen or done anything on a Ouija before, I just made things up as we went.
"Ouija, is there a spirit present?"
"Ouija, what's the spirit's name?"
"Ouija, what's the spirit's message?"
Well, mom freaked out and refused to play along. I'd known Anna was her mother's first name and she had passed away when mom was a little girl. I didn't know that "Be good" were the last words her mother had said to her. Mom insisted the Ouija be removed from her house, so I took it with me when I returned to base.
Years and a few promotions later I was stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia. It was great duty. I lived in base housing and worked just few blocks away. I was taking a break with a civilian "sand crab" friend of mine named Ian, who was in his fifties, had been born in Ireland, and come to the states as a young man. He had a mild Irish accent that I'd always enjoyed. He was a self-proclaimed expert in all things Celtic.
"Have you made plans for this Halloween?" Ian asked.
"No I haven't. It's just another day to me," I answered.
He said, "You need to get off base more, my friend."
Ian invited me to a party to celebrate something called "Samhain." He tried to explain all it's Celtic roots but nothing registered except it began at sundown and I wasn't required to wear a costume. I agreed to come because he was right. I hadn't been getting off the base enough.
Soon, it was Halloween. While donning my flight jacket I noticed the tattered Ouija board box at the bottom of a stack of magazines. I figured it might be good for some laughs so I dug it out, tucked it under my arm, and headed out.
I arrived a little after twilight and was happily greeted by Ian. He announced me when we entered his home, but everyone was more interested in what I held in my hands. I placed the Ouija on the table and told them to go for it. I shared how I'd obtained the Ouija, how I set it up, and the questions I'd asked. It didn't take long until an excited couple wanted to give it a try. They didn't get much action. Another couple tried it but didn't fare any better. Finally, I was invited to sit down.
"Ouija, is there a spirit present?" I began with a dramatic deepness in my voice. Slowly at first, then faster, the pointer moved over to YES. I repositioned the pointer.
"Ouija, what's the spirit's name?" The pointer moved in small but increasing circles, speeding up the wider they became. Then, it spelled out a name.
I could feel my pounding heartbeat. I realized it could be Phillip Bonner, my young uncle who had come home from Viet Nam and was recently killed when his semi was blindsided by a train. The signals had failed to activate.
"Ouija, what's the spirit's message?" The words had barely left my lips when the pointer started moving. It moved from letter to letter so fast my hands could hardly keep up.
A DEATH A DEATH ROBERT BONNER A DEATH A DEATH ROBERT BONNER A DEATH A DEATH...
The message repeated until I pulled back my hands. Robert Bonner was my grandfather's name. I'd talked to him on the phone just a week ago. He bragged about a physical he'd passed and, despite our recent loss, seemed to be in good spirits. I braced myself for one more question.
"Ouija, when will this happen?"
BEFORE MIDNIGHT CATHERINE WILL CRY A DEATH A DEATH ROBERT BONNER A DEATH A DEATH ROB....
That was all I could take. Catherine was my grandmother's name. I couldn't think. I was confused. I mumbled an apology and quickly departed. I left the Ouija behind and swore never to use one again. The drive home seemed to take forever. I just wanted to forget the whole thing but kept wondering if all this had really happened. My confidence in reality had been shattered.
I arrived home, walked in, and placed my keys and cell phone on the coffee table. I put Fleetwood Mac into my CD player and adjusted the volume to a soft level. I poured Jack Daniels on the rocks, kicked off my shoes, and unbuttoned my shirt. I noticed my photograph of Uncle Phil on the shelf and asked aloud, "Was that really you?" The song "Dreams" was the only sound.
I plopped down on the couch, took a deep breath, and felt the alcohol course through my veins. This has been the strangest...
I was startled awake by the ringing of my cell phone. I recognized my sister's ring tone and checked the time. Ten minutes until midnight. Staring at Uncle Phil's photograph, I answered with apprehension.
"Hello," I said with a trembling voice.
"Hi, Keith. I hope I didn't wake you, but I have some bad news."
"Grampa's dead?" I asked.
"Uh, yes... How did you know?" she asked.
Suddenly, Uncle Phil's photograph fell onto the floor with a crash.