Western State College
Roosevelt Women's Dormitory
Sunday, February 10
"We!" Amber announced dramatically. "Are almost! Out! Of Wine!"
"Half the bottle's left," said Olivia. "And I'm done drinking anyway. I'm ready to hit the sack."
"Don't worry," said Lexa. "Sam went back to our room to get some wine coolers. She should be back in a minute."
The dorm room door crashed open. Samantha had forgotten the wine coolers.
"I checked out a Ouija board from the front desk!" she said. "Come on, everyone gather 'round!"
"Sam, you said you were gonna get wine coolers, remember?" said Lexa. "No one wants to play some board game."
"It's not a board game!" said Samantha. "It's a Ouija board! We are gonna commune with the spirit world!"
"We're not going to commune with the spirit world," said Olivia. "Ouija boards are a hoax. And there's no such thing as ghosts."
"You're no fun, Olivia," said Amber. "Gotta YOLO, right?"
"Oh my god, you just said 'YOLO' out loud," said Olivia.
"What is this?" asked Lexa. "This isn't something like Monopoly, is it? I hate Monopoly."
"Okay, watch, I'll show you," said Samantha. She opened the box, took out the board, and set it on the floor. "You've got the board, with the alphabet and numbers printed on it, along with 'Yes,' 'No,' and 'Goodbye.' And you have the mystical planchette, which the spirits move over the letters on the board to speak with us."
"Like a mouse," said Amber. "But for ghosts."
"But in order for the spirits to be able to use the planchette," said Samantha, "We all have to be touching it, to allow them to access our chi."
"Chi?" said Olivia. "You are bullshitting so hard."
"Who cares?" said Amber. "Come on, guys, let's play."
Amber and Lexa joined Samantha on the floor around the board. Olivia followed, reluctantly, a few seconds later. Each placed a finger on the planchette.
"So what happens now?" asked Lexa. "Wait, we're not gonna get possessed by demons, are we?"
"No, we're not getting possessed by demons," said Samantha. "That's just horror movie stuff. What we do now is humbly request the presence and wise counsel of the spirits."
"Oh, fuck me," Olivia grumbled.
"Greetings upon ye, O most wise and generous of spirits!" Samantha said dramatically. "I wouldst beseech ye to send forth one of your number to parlay with us. Maybe send Napoleon."
"Napoleon?" said Lexa. "Why Napoleon?"
"Shush," said Samantha. "Concentrate your energies on the planchette!"
After a moment of silence, the planchette began to move, sliding slowly across the letters on the board.
"I - A - M - N - A," Samantha read as the planchette moved.
"Oh my god," Lexa gasped. "It says 'I am Napoleon.' I can't believe it!"
"Oh, wow," said Amber. "What -- What should we ask him? I've never talked to a French emperor before."
"Hey, Napoleon, should I change my major to Biochem?" said Olivia. "Or just go pre-med?"
"P - R - E - M," Samantha read along. "Looks like he thinks you should be in pre-med."
"See if he'll spell L - O - L," said Olivia. "Why would a French general who died 200 years ago know anything about what major I should have? And why is he spelling this stuff out in English anyway?"
"Your negativity is going to drive the spirits away!" said Samantha. "You saw the planchette move by itself! The spirits can't stand your disbelieving attitude!"
"Can't we have a little fun for once, Olivia?" said Lexa. "Can't you just relax and enjoy talking to ghosts?"
"I can't relax around bullshit," Olivia said. "There've been studies done on Ouija boards, and they're just bull. The pointer doesn't move by itself -- it moves because we unconsciously move it where we want it to go! They've done experiments where they blindfold the participants, and the pointer doesn't move at all, because no one can see where the letters are!"
"Jesus, we could got some weed and wouldn't have had to deal with this drunk crap," groaned Amber. "Coulda been mellow and giggling, not drunk on bad wine and yelling at each other."
"And summoning a specific person right out of thin air?" said Olivia. "Even I know that's not how a Ouija board is supposed to work. You get whatever ghosts are nearby, Sam -- it's not supposed to be a phone book for contacting dead celebrities."
"You don't even believe in ghosts," Samantha said angrily. "All you've done is scoff and disbelieve. You're just afraid to admit that the power of the afterlife is real!"
"Listen, you guys need to calm down," said Lexa. "If I get written up again for noise, I'm gonna have to talk to the Dean of Students."
"It's a mass-produced toy made of cardboard and plastic," said Olivia. "If Hasbro could actually tap into the power of the undead, everyone would fucking know it already!"
"And yet, here we were, just minutes ago, talking to fucking Napoleon," said Samantha. "Anyone else you wanna talk to? We can call 'em up right here on this board."
"Oh, yeah," said Olivia. "Dial up Sherlock Holmes and let's have a chat with him."
"No fictional people, obviously," said Samantha. "I'm not a moron. But you think of someone who actually existed, and I can summon 'em on this board."
"Summon a cat," said Amber.
Silence hit the room in a shockwave.
"A cat?" said Olivia. "A cat can't... spell, for one thing."
"I seriously don't know if cats have spirits," said Samantha. "I don't know if they'd use a Ouija board."
"Try it anyway," said Lexa.
Again, all four turned to the board, placed a finger upon the planchette.
Samantha took a deep breath. "O most wise and generous of spirits!" she said. "We humbly request thee send forth unto us the spirit of --"
"A rhinoceros," Olivia interrupted.
"Are -- Are you just trying to be contrary now?" said Samantha.
"If we're gonna try to bring about the impossible, why not go for the most impossible?" said Olivia.
"You're the most impossible," said Samantha. "Can we just do this the right way now?"
"Did you feel that?" said Lexa.
"Sure, go ahead and summon your stupid ghost cat," said Olivia. "Not that I've ever heard of a cat who comes when you call it."
"I said, did the rest of you feel something moving?" said Lexa.
The other three looked down at the planchette.
"No, not the pointer," said Lexa. "I mean the --"
The walls shook as something big pushed itself against the dorm room door.
"The fuck is that," said Amber quietly.
And the walls shook again, much harder, much louder.
The medicine cabinet over the dorm sink popped open, dumping toothpaste and lipstick and deodorant onto the floor.
Other students were shouting in other rooms, in the hallway, in the floors above.
The door buckled, and all four jumped to their feet.
"Jesus fuck, what the fuck is that!" Amber shouted.
Lexa fumbled for her phone, switched the camera on, pointed it at the door. "Fuck me, fuck this, please, God, I don't want to die."
The door cracked straight down the middle.
"Samantha, you're still holding the pointer," whispered Olivia. "Drop the pointer!"
The crack in the door widened, and one of the hinges tore free from the door frame with a metallic spang!
"Samantha!" Olivia shouted. "Drop the pointer! Drop the damn planchette!"
The split in the door spread open wider. An icy wind screamed through the room.
A guttural bellow echoed through the room and down the hallway.
Samantha dropped the planchette.
For reQuest 2019
("I request Jet-Poop write a ghost story about a ghost animal.")