Maeve’s best friend, a lower parlor maid across town, owned an Ouija board so we raided the till for cabbie fare and Maeve came back with the thing. We set it up on a table in the drawing room. It was plywood painted with letters of the alphabet and numbers plus the moon and sun and the words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ and ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’ Maeve polished a drinking glass and then placed it upside down on the board at ‘Hello’. Maeve then told everyone the rules. “Don’t play alone. Don’t ask IT to come in as into this world, and always end the session by putting the glass on the word ‘Goodbye’ so nothing will linger here to haunt us.”
Mary appointed herself secretary and set a thick pad of paper and a pencil before her. “We already have ghosts so we don’t need another one!” Mary replied tartly as she arranged the pad of paper primly. I grinned. I could not help it. Mary glared at me.
“I am sorry Mary but you can be so funny in that bossy, bitchy, tart way you have!” I sputtered. “I swear you are the only person here who is not scared!”
“Who said I am not scared?” Mary said as she fussed. She held up the razor sharp pointed pencil.
“Planning to jab the ghost to death?” I asked.
“I should have brought two pencils in. What if this pencil breaks? I can hardly ask the ghost to pause while I sharpen it!” She jumped up and ran out to fetch more pencils.
We have to do it at night” Maeve said.
“Wwwwhy?” Alex asked.
“I don’t know” Maeve replied. “Because it is not allowed!”
Mary came back with a pile of pencils and she carefully arranged them by her pad of paper primly.
I drew the curtains closed and turned the gaslight on. It was dim and flickering. The gaslight never worked well in the drawing room. Then I closed the sliding doors. “It is quite as dark as night and at night we will have too much company if you know what I mean.” No one wanted to share the room with a murderous husband or his dead wife or his dead mistress or his child who was still alive but in an insane asylum and therefore as good as dead I suppose.
We all sat around the small table and put our fingers on the glass. Mary put her left finger on the glass. Alex stuttered that she had to use her right finger just like everyone else. “How can I write then?” Mary hissed. Everyone then looked at Maeve.
Then Maeve shrugged. “I just follow along. It was Rosemary who contacted the spirits from the Great Beyond.”
Everyone looked at me. “Why are you all assuming I can do this?” I asked. But then I sputtered. “Do I close my eyes or chant or hum or something?”
“Close your eyes and reach out to the Great Beyond” Maeve suggested.
So I closed my eyes and felt the perfect fool. “This won’t work. Move it!” I took Willie’s spot and sat down so I faced the mirror which was angled in such a way that even sitting down I could look right up into it. I stared at the mirror as the gaslight flickered dimly. Then I saw the child playing with her dollie on the carpet oblivious to us. There was a man standing with his back to the mirror staring at the child playing with her dollie. The furniture of the room was somehow different. It as the same drawing room but in different time. I saw the flutter of a woman’s skirts as she played the piano slightly out of view of the mirror. Then the music of the piano filled the air along with cigar smoke filled the air. The smell of rose water faintly filled the air too. I stared into the mirror, my face grimacing. I forced the man to turn around and look into the mirror and see me looking at him.
The murderer looked into the mirror and saw me. We connected at last. The murderer, a handsome man of somewhat oily cast in solid evening clothes and sporting a well trimmed beard smiled as he smoked his cigar. Oddly the mirror also snared my reflection sitting at the table apparently alone close to where the child sat on the carpet playing with her dollie. I saw myself, eleven, too tall, all long arms and legs, my face pale and bony, my hair as black tangle, my dark grey eyes so dilated they appeared to be black. The murderer smiled at me as if in acknowledgment. His hand, holding the cigar, did a slight salute before he resumed smoking. He chuckled self satisfied and fully in control. I mouthed ‘Fuck you!’ and he only chuckled again. Then suddenly the glass on the Ouija board —-moved……