Scary
Stories

Calling My Name

It was dusk and the darkness was closing in fast. I was fifteen and my parents rules clearly stated that I be in the house before the streetlights came on. I figured I was about two minutes from being grounded for two weeks, so I was really high stepping it down the last block to my house. I reached the driveway of our front yard just as the light on the pole across the street started to flicker on. My mom was standing on the front porch, hands on hips, smirk on face. She didn't say a word. She just gave me that "you're some kinda lucky, young lady" look and turned and went in the house. I stood in the empty driveway doing a victory dance, as I had been placed on punishment three times in the past two months for missing curfew.

While I stood there relieved to have escaped another two weeks of extra chores and solitary confinement, something caught my attention. It sounded like a whisper carried by the wind. I stood still and listened. It sounded like the desperate sound of someone calling my name. Just as I was about to write it off as my active young mind playing tricks on me, I heard it again. My eyes shot toward our door thinking that my mother was calling me but from where I was standing, I could see her standing in the hall talking on the phone and the voice seemed to be only a few feet away from me. I scanned my immediate surroundings for pranksters, as we had many teenage boys in the area who lived for that sort of activity. There was nothing. No movement. No people. No sound. "I'm going crazy." I thought as I shook my head and made my way up to the driveway.

As my foot hit the first step, the hair on the back of my neck rose as the sound of footsteps rushing with determined urgency, made their way up the driveway. I spun around to catch my stalker red handed. A gust of hot air blew over me and in the wind...my name. Loud. Forceful. Shrill. Evil. I screamed to my mom, who dropped the phone and came running onto the porch. My mother questioned my insanity, then ordered me into the house adding the treat of being grounded for disturbing the neighbors before she disappeared back inside.

Crazy. I thought as I stood on the porch and did a final surveillance of the neighborhood. My heart was still pounding so loudly that I could hear it thumping in my ears. My pulse was racing and I felt flushed. My senses we heightened and peered into now darkness not covered by the streetlight. I had an eerie feeling in the pit of my stomach and I could not get my breathing under control. The silence was broken by the sound of a dog barking a few houses over, which frightened me but seemed to ease the mood. I took a final deep breathe in an effort to calm the myself further and put whatever had just happened out of my mind.

I walked across the porch and grabbed the handle of the glass door and was again startled as footsteps started to climb the stairs. I waited until I heard it reach the third step, before I turned around. I was determined to catch whomever this was messing with me this time and if I waiting until they were halfway up the staircase, it would ensure they had no chance of getting away without being caught. As soon as I heard the creek on the third step, I turned around...darkness...but then...another progressing step. OH MY GOD! My mind screamed. This isn't real. It can't be real...another creeked step closer. The situation was quickly turning into a poorly scripted horror flick with me playing the part of the dumb teenage girl who gets attack before the opening credits. My breathing had almost reached hyperventilation stage by the time the invisible foot reached the last step. The silence of the night was broken by the labored raspy sound of my name wafting out of the darkness.

My flight instinct finally kicked in and I snatched the glass door open as fast as, my little arms would allow and ran in the house. With no logical reason, I locked the door and fixed my eyes on the area where someone should have been standing. I stood there trembling, incapable of rational thought. Whatever had just stood on the porch with me was very threatening and...it was still there. Glaring back at me...not moving...waiting. I reached over and hit the switch on the wall next to our front door and turned off the porch light. Within the darkness, there seemed to be an even darker area where the footsteps had come to rest. My eyes focused tighter as the darkness to the form of something close to human, but still not human. But then, as quickly as it had advanced onto the porch it made its way off.

But this time I could see it! It was if I were watching the silouette of a man running down our driveway...feet never touching the ground. As it reached the end of the driveway, it seemed to jump into the wind and disappear. I could hear my mom chattering on the phone in the next room and even the sound of some rerun being played on the television was audible now. Curiosity guided me back onto the front porch. Fear would not allow me to venture to far from the front door. I stared into the quiet of the night and let out a sigh of relief...it was obvious my mind overactive imagination had cause me to scare myself silly. I shook off the ebbie jebbies and decided to go and tell my mom about the weird experience I'd just had.

I raised my arms over my head to stretch, when I felt two hands wrapped around my throat and force my back up onto the glass door. My toes barely scrapped the floor, as I felt myself being lifted off the ground. I gasped for air as I struggled to get the invisible but very real hand from around my neck. My terror was intensified as I stared into the shadow holding me. It smelled like the dead mouse my dad had found behind our fridge and I could feel the warmth of its breath on my face. Fear was cause my heart to race at a dangerous pace, and tears were welding up in the corner of my eyes, my eyes started to roll back as if I felt my consciousness slipping away. My chest was tightening with every second that past and I was losing my will to fight with my unseen foe.

I meant what I said and I said what I meant...an elephant's faithful 100%.
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My body was going limp and my surrounding started to fade out. "Oh my god...I'm dying," my mind reasoned, as the memories of my life passed through my mind like pages in a scrapbook. Desperation and one last burst of energy force me to kick the glass door in an attempt to get my mother's attention and by the way what in the heck was she doing that she didn't hear all of the commotion on the porch? Finally, I could hear the sound of my mom's frantic footsteps racing toward the door, but the force holding me would not let up. It just continuously repeated my name over and over in that terrifying raspy, evil voice. The latch on the glass door clicked and I collapsed against the door before rolling onto the cold wooden porch and blacked out.

It was quiet, almost as if, sound did not exist...and it was dark...but there was peace. A peace that I hadn't known since my childhood, when I would lie in bed with my mom and she'd read my favorite book to me until I drifted off to sleep. It was the peace of not knowing the difference between right and wrong or knowing that there were consequences for your actions. Yes...childhood innocence, it was that kind of peace. I relished in the moment. So, this death I thought as I became accustomed to my surroundings. It wasn't bad at all. Other than the darkness, it was pretty pleasant. I peered into the darkness searching for the light, because that is what everyone says. There's be a long tunnel and at the end a bright light. You know, "go towards the light" and all of that nonsense. But I didn't see anything. Didn't hear anything.

Time past and I settled back into the calm content to do without the light as long as I could stay embraced by this peacefulness. Then out of nowhere, literally, sound seem to return...distant and from both directions. One sound was approaching me head on while the other seem to be behind me and they were both determined. I strained to make out what was being said, as they both sounded like distorted by the distance. I stared into the oncoming darkness, as the sound approaching from that direction sounded familiar...but not welcomed. Terror poured over me as I remembered where that sound had come from and it moved with the same speed and determination as it had when it rushed over me on the steps. My name...again it was name in the same spine tingling manner, but this time I had nowhere to run and hide.

Fear caused me to search retreat and made me turn around in the darkness to see this amazing light...a light...THE LIGHT. Yes, I'd be safe in the light...at least that's what the other voice said. I would be safe inside the light and it was telling me to RUN! RUN! And with every fiber of my being, I pushed toward the light, but it felt as if I were running in sand. I struggled to get one foot in front of the other to reach my salvation. I could hear the sound evil closing in and fear was quickly taken over causing my will to weaken. Panic caused me to stumble but determination allowed me to keep moving. The sound behind me grew closer and almost overpowering, but the light...the light still beckoned, pleading for me to run...calling my name in a manner that sounded like a sweet melody.

I was going to make it. It was only a few steps away. The glow was just touching my face and the voice was so sweet as it called out to me. I reached out my hand, desperate to touch the safety of that warm calming place...but then I heard it. The voice was in my ear...breathe on the side on my cheek..."Annngelll" it growled in a low unearthly tone. Then just as my fingertips became illuminated by the glory of the light, unseen arms folded around my neck and what felt like legs wrapped around my waist and I was jerked backwards as if we were pulled my some higher and much stronger power. I screamed, not only from fear but from pain. My fingertips felt like I had just stuck them into a volcano. I held my hand up to my face to see me fingertips glowing like embers in a fire.

My eyes shot back toward the light...that beautiful light and there I saw I him. He stood there in the entrance of the light as if he were trapped, unable to step into the darkness and he stood there with his head down. His attire was so white that it seemed to be glowing and his posture was that of a man defeated. At first, I thought he was crying because he couldn't save me, but then he held his head up and stared into me with hollowed eyes accompanied by a menacing smile. I was taken aback because he was as attractive as he was frightening. I could hear him in my head...charming...lulling...calling me back. I stared back at my fingers, the tips still glowing and in my mind I could hear his soothing voice telling me to burn IT...burn this creature that was fleeing with me and escape back to him...to the light.

The light was growing dimmer with every passing second and the desire to return to the light was creating a fire in my soul. His voice was still gently calling my name in my head and as the light faded I saw my chance to get back there, floating away. I dug my glowing fingertips into one of the arms wrapped around my neck. The thing let out a terrible howl but did not release Its' grip. My fingers seemed to ignite an unseen fire in the creature and It's entire being seemed to grow warm around me. It maintained It's grip but it was weakened and moved like a wounded animal running to save itself from a predator.

"Do you want me to help you?" I heard his voice clearly, but it was in my head. The sound of his voice wrapped me in delightful splendor. It sounded like salvation.

"YES!!!" I screamed in my mind, "Please help me!"

"Call me with your heart and I will come to you" his voice cooed with calming reassurance. I was confused but I wanted to oblige him in anyway that I could but I didn't know how. What did he mean to call him with my heart? As I pondered over his request he continued, "Welcome me into your heart and I will save you child." I didn't know what he meant, but I wanted him to save me from this thing. I took a deep breathe to clear my mind and just as I started to form the words in my mind...

"NOOOOO" the presence holding me cried out. The cry frightened me beyond belief and silenced any cry for help that I may have been forming. The creature's cry seem to shake the darkness and completely drown out the sound of Him. Suddenly, all fear of this thing was gone and a different kind of peace flowed into me. It felt like I was being requested from an unseen danger. There was a quick jerk as if we had come to a complete and sudden stop and then a violent thrust into the darkness as if I'd been thrown off a cliff. The light was gone and I was free. I was alone and I was falling...falling and into a different darkness...and this time..there was sound.
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I awoke on the couch to the sound of my mother saying that she was going to call the police. I blinked my way back to consciousness and found my dad standing over me. My parents flooded me with question about what had happened and as much as I wanted to tell my parents what had happened, I couldn't. My parents were already on my case about being late and my choice of friends. If I told them everything that had happened since I had made it into our driveway...well I could just hear the allegations of drug use. Plus, my dad didn't believe in any kind of supernatural anything and if I even started he would have had no time or patience for it. I decided to play dumb and act as if I didn't know what had happened. I decided to just say that I just couldn't catch my breath and had passed out. I didn't want my mom calling the police to come hunt down the phantom that had attacked her daughter. The explanation seemed to appease my parents but my dad made it clear that I needed to be in the house well before it got dark and made plans to visit Home Depot in the morning to purchase new lighting for the driveway.

Comfort was a stranger to me for the rest of the night. I couldn't get the earlier episode off my mind and every darkened hallway of our house rekindled fear within me. I lie awake in my bed with the television on but with the volume turned too low to understand what was being said but just loud enough to act as a companion. I had reluctantly turned off my room light, but had decided to leave the lamp turned on, on my nightstand. I had always been afraid to sleep in complete darkness, although I didn't know why. The one thing that I never did was sleep with the closet door open or my room door closed. Silly, I know, but nonetheless I could not find sleep if either of these two were out of placed.

My parents also sleep with their room door opened, and of course that was because of me. When I was small, I would always have a fit if they closed their door and I would scream the paint off of the wall if I awoke in the middle of the night to find their door closed. No wonder I don't have any siblings. Seriously, my mother can't sleep with the doors closed either. She says that she feels suffocated when the doors are closed. Something about her spirit not being able to roam free, while she slept or something. My mom was really spiritual, but she didn't believe in "God" or and higher power. At least she believed in something, my dad was a man of science and believed only in what could be proven by science.

From my bed, I could see my mom sitting on their bed reading over some papers. She had on her hideous reading glasses, hanging off her nose, and that infamous red pen that most teachers own. I smiled as I thought about how lame it seemed for a Psychology professor to be grading papers in red ink. Some psychological theory behind the use of the pen for grading, I'm sure. She had explained it to me before and every time her explanation had fallen on deaf ears. She had come in to check on me nearly every ten minutes and made it clear that I could come and talk to her about anything. It was still fairly early and I had skipped dinner. Eating was the last thing on my mind.

For some reason, I couldn't take my eyse off of my mom. I stared until my eyelids grew heavy and I drifted off to sleep. Sleep lead me to better places and happier times, as I found myself in the little park across the street from my grandma's house. I sat on the bench that I had labeled as "Our Bench" and I waited. It had been almost two years since my grandma had been killed in a car accident and I missed her terribly. Seeing her in my dreams was how I had decided to cope with her death or so I told myself. I waited for my nana to come to me in my dreams as she did from time to time but this time I was visited by someone different.

It was Him, the man who had called me toward the light. He seemed even more handsome than before, as he made his way across the playground. He moved swiftly but with what seem like no effort and was still dress in what look like an all white suit that was almost blinding in its splendor. I was mesmerized by his glory and I said out loud, "this must be my guardian angel". He was apparently appearing to me in my dreams so that I could thank him for saving me. Who else could it be? He was, after all, exactly what I thought a guardian angel would look like.

Happiness grew inside of me, as I relished the thought of getting to meet my guardian angel, even if it was only in my dreams. The closer he got, the more anxious I became. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting up to see Santa. He was only a few steps away, when he stopped and hissed like a cat. His eyes went hollow and as he stood there...blackened eyes fixed on something over my shoulder fear again mad itself known to me. Just then I felt a cold hand on my shoulder and turned to see a shadow wrapped in golden veil. With fiery eyes it peered into me and let go that godforsaken sound of my name.

I jerked awake...to the dark. The television was off, as was the lamp on the night stand and the only light in the room was from the street light outside that shimmered through the slits in the curtains. I rolled onto the floor desperate to reach the light on the wall. In the light, I scanned the room and to my horror found the closet door wide open and my room door closed...and locked. I frantically scrambled to unlock the door. I flung it open to see my mother racing across the hall. I was terrified, scared, afraid, and now I was safe. I fell into my mother's arms and I could hear the questions pouring out of her, but I wasn't listening to her words. I was lost in the salvation of her embrace.

"Angel, what is going on?" she asked holding my face in her hands, "You sounded like you were going to tear down the door."

"Who, shut my door! You know, I can't sleep with the door closed and somebody closed it-" I questioned as the tears started to build up in the corners of my eyes. How could my parents do something like that to me? They knew how I felt and still they had closed me in and locked the door no less.

"Angel! Angel, no one closed your door." My mom interrupted in a calming voice.

"Yes, they did. I never close my door and the tv was off and so were the lights!" I yelled almost hysterical at this point. I could hear my dad rushing up the staircase.

"What's going on?" He called out " Is everything okay?" There was concern and urgency in his voice as he stood on the landing between the first and second floor.

"Nothing, Honey." My mom reassured my dad, who just stood there winded and confused.

"Dad, did you close my door and turn out my lights?" I asked looking over the railing, desperate to know who had done the deed.

"No, Pumpkin. I've been down here all night. Is everything alright?" he asked maintaining his high level of concern.

" No. Somebody shut my door and turned off my lights!" I shouted, becoming more frustrated and upset with each denial reply.

"Sweetheart, you closed your door a little while ago." My mom said rubbing my shoulders in an attempt to get me to calm down.

"What?" I questioned in disbelief. I stared at my mother and the concern growing in her face scared me.

"Yes, Angel you got up and closed your door. Don't you remember? You smiled at me and said 'goodnight mom' Then you closed the door. Don't you remember, Sweetheart?"
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I was stunned speechless. I backed away from my mother's reach and just stared at her in disbelief, for what seemed like an eternity. The question of losing my sanity, at this point, was a very valid one. I looked over at my father whose face held the same concerned expression as my mother's. My mother's words sounded like the truth, but there was no way that I could accept as true, because they were so different from what I knew to be true.. The silence between the three of us, made me uncomfortable and for that moment in time words escaped me. I wanted to be defiant, to protest my mother's accusation that I had closed my own door, but I knew what would happen next. My mother would give me the "your sick" as in crazy look, that she gave her clients right before she administered the magic "sanity" pills. My mind started to rush back to what had happened earlier, in search of answers. The sound of my mother's voice faded into the background of my thoughts, as I mentally examined the events of the evening.

The conversation ended with me pretending that I remembered closing the door and saying that I must have closed it and then fell asleep without opening it, which was a complete lie. I just couldn't tell my parents what was going on, because truth be told I didn't really know what the true was. I had grabbed my favorite teddy bear pillow and climbed on the bed beside my mom, who was still grading papers. She usually would protest my being in her bed while she was working, but her concern for me allowed her mommy side to take over. She just wanted me to feel safe and lying in bed with her I did.

My mom decided to put her work away and devote her entire body of energy to nurturing me. She climbed under the covers with me and there it was...that peace...the same peace that could have sustained me for an eternity in the darkness. My mom raked her fingers through my hair and it was relaxing. She smelt, like Ivory soap and the scent carried me back to when I was five and would climb into bed with her after she had just gotten of the shower. All that was missing was the bedtime story and we replaced that with talk of school, clothes and boys, my new favorite pastime, even though I wasn't allowed to go on car dates yet. I finally found sleep and was relieved that no dreams, good or otherwise, followed me to "la la" land.

In the middle of the night, I was awaked by the sounds of footsteps climbing the stairs. I didn't think much of it and just brushed it off as my dad coming up for bed. The footstep seemed unfamiliarly heavy as they reached the top of the stairs and made their way down the hall. I couldn't help but wonder why dad was stomping down the hall. I decided to get up and go to my room, so that my dad could sleep in his own bed, but when I rolled over to exit on his side of the bed ensuring that I wouldn't wake my mom, I realized that my dad was already in the bed. I gasped in horror and the image of a burglar inside of our house sent me into silent shock mode. I sank back into my pillow, making sure I had a full view of the hall. I was trying to figure out a to wake my father without causing him make a sound that would alert the intruder that we weren't asleep.

My mom had closed my room door on her last trip to the bathroom, before going to bed. I held my breath, as the sound of my breathing seemed to be extremely loud. The footsteps stopped right outside my room door and I watched intensely as the door opened by itself. I gasped, and held the audibility of sound hostage internally freaked out as the light came on inside my room. It was almost like whatever had opened the door was trying to prove to me that it was really there. Then as if it had searched the room for me, the lights went out and the door was again closed by the unseen entity. Then the footsteps started across the hall making their way inside my parents room. I pulled the covers up over my nose and closed my eyes tightly and tried to wish whatever was happening away.

Something's in here. Something's in HERE. SOMETHING IS IN HERE!!! My mind formulated the thoughts but my mouth wouldn't project them. It was standing at the foot of the bed and I could feel it staring at me, but I refused to open my eyes. Things went from bad to worse, when IT climbed on the bed and started crawling toward me, before I could formulate another thought it was directly in front of me only a breath away. The recognition of the smell made me open my eyes and come face to face with the same darken entity that had attacked me on the front porch.

It rasped, "You...called...me. I'm here...for you." The evil in the voice was all I needed to pull the scream that was hiding within me to the light, but it was met with suffocation before it could escape. Not only could I not breathe, but there was also the feeling of a large cold hand wrapped around my throat. My back arched as I felt what could only be described as a cold hand reaching inside my chest and move around as if it were searching for something. My whole body began to tremble, from the cold and the use of my arms and legs was completely paralyzed. "You...will be...mine," it growled. I was filled with despair, as it seemed that my parents were oblivious to what was going on.

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The cold hand inside my chest reached deeper inside and wrapped its grasp around my heart. Its icy hand tightened its grip and it felt as if it were squeezing my heart in the palm of its hand, as It formed a hideous chuckle deep within it's throat. My will to live was slowly weakening and I could feel the darkness washing over me. But as I started to drift away, I could hear a faint melodic voice calling to me. I could not make out what was being said, but it sounded like reassurance...reassurance of my safety.

My eyes looked past the darkness holding me, to see a magnificent light growing. The thing that was torturing me became quickly aware of the light, but not in time enough to move away from its reach. The entire room illuminated as the light wrapped itself around the shadow and caused it to release me from its clutches. I fell back onto the bed and inhaled deeply, as feeling was restored to my weakened limbs. The shadow struggled inside of the light as if it were being held captive by something much stronger than it.

Then the light spoke softly saying, "you called to him and now he is after your soul, so your soul must run away from the darkness on this plain and run towards it on the next. I will keep you safe...for now"

"What?" I puzzled. "I...what...I didn't...I didn't...what's going on? Who are you?"

"Rest." Was the last sound to come from the light before it intensified and shot out of the room carrying the darkness with it.

The room was once again dark and the sound of my fathers snoring, which had been absent during the encounter, was once again audible. My mom shuffled around for a few seconds until she had found a more comfortable position. They had somehow slept through the entire ordeal. Logical reasoning behind what was happening to me gave way to fear of the unknown.

"Called him," I whispered under my breath, "I didn't call anyone." I sank back into the pillow and pulled the covers up over my head. What had really just happened? Logically, none of what was happening to me made any sense. Obviously this had to be some kind of psychotic episode I was having. How could all of this have taken place without waking my parents? It just couldn't be possible.

As I lie in there in the dark, shielding myself with a blanket, something that the light said sparked my memories of a game I'd played earlier today. The light had said that I had called the darkness and I suddenly started to realize how I may have done that. Earlier after school, I had gone to my friend Nicole's house. Nicole, whom I called Nic, was really into the paranormal and wasted a lot of time researching ghost, ghost hunting, ghost video, listens to something called EVPs, which I thought was a total crock, and talking with a bunch of looney tunes on some site called Ghost Place.

As soon as, we had gotten to her house she had ran to the computer to see if anyone had answered a question she had posted on the site before school. I love Nic, but I thought she was a total nut case sometimes. She had gotten an old Ouija board from a yard sell last weekend and she wanted some advice before she did anything with it. She had gotten a lot of responses telling her not to use it and it needed cleansing or some other such nonsense. I didn't believe in the nonsense with the Ouija board, because they sell them in Wal-Mart for goodness sakes. "It was just a game," I assured her and begged her to play with me.

She was convinced that she had brought something home with her when she brought the board home. I rolled my eyes, as she told me about hearing the footsteps late at night and the lights turning off and on. I couldn't control my laughter and proceeded to take the pieces to the game out. She had begged me to stop, but I was blessed with the gift of persuasion and quickly got her to change her mind. I didn't have any idea how it worked and just started reenacting what I had seen in movies. I placed the little triangle shaped piece, that Nic said was called a planchette, on the board and we both placed a finger on it.

"Is there someone here with us?" I asked aloud and we waited. I started giggling as the planchette started to move towards the word yes. Nic's eyes grew wide as she stared at me and I could tell that she was hoping that I was pushing it. I continued, "Who are you?" and I could barely control my laughter as it again began to move. I was so sure that Nic was moving it, unknowingly of course, that I dare not take what was happening seriously. It moved around the board spelling out the word H.I.M. Well, what kind of ghost name was that, I thought to myself. I was expecting something completely different. Then it had come to me to ask, "Can you show yourself to us?" and for a minute the planchette moved all around the board before it stopped completely and then slowly spelled out C.A.L.L.M.E.

Nic quickly removed her hand from the game piece and jumped up from the bed, where we had the game set up, "Stop it, Angel!" she demanded. "Something bad is gonna happen. Just put that thing away. Okay?" she pleaded.

"What?" I questioned with my finger still on the planchette. "I'm not doing anything," I continued, fighting back the laughter boiling up within me. I thought Nic was being completely childish and I found it impossible to hide my amusement.

"It's not funny. Please just put it away!" she begged once more. I looked at Nic, and realized that she was truly terrified. I decided it was time to put the board away, even though it was starting to get interesting.

"Okay," I giggled, but something got the best of me and I put a finger from my other hand on the planchette and whispered the word "him" and I swear the thing flew out from under my fingers and pointed to the word yes. I had tried to shrug it off but Nic had witnessed it move seemingly on it's on. She gasped in horror and I just smirked...there was obviously a legitimate reason for the piece to move. I'd probably unknowingly pushed it and it just happened to end up pointed towards the yes. I had even tried to convince Nic that I had been moving the planchette during our "session".

Now as I lie in the dark hiding under the covers like a frighten child, I wondered...had playing with that board really allowed me to call this darkness that was plaguing me?

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The next morning, I was up with the parents and that's saying a lot for me on a Saturday and also, considering the fact that my parents went jogging every morning at 6am. Not to be left alone in the house, I suited up for a run with my parents. An act that just about made my dad spit out his juice when I announced it at breakfast. My mom seemed overjoyed with the announcement and quickly started rattling off jogging tips, that I just could listen to that early in the morning. I discreetly turned the sound up on my ipod to drown out her voice.

We loaded up in the car and went down to the university gym where my mom was an associate professor of psychology. The university had an indoor track and my parents were like superstars when we walked in. All of the staff knew them by first name and they took every opportunity to introduce me to everyone they cam into contact with. I could hardly get to the the walking track fast enough.

My mom came over to me and started blabbling on and on about stretching first and how to do them correctly. Again, I turned the sound up even louder and proceeded to take off around the track without warming up. Running is supposed to help clear your head and help release stress, but all it did for me was help me raise questions about the strange things going on. I was running at what I thought was a good pace until my parents jogged past me smiling and waving. It would be my luck to be stuck with the fitness nut parents.

I laughed at them as they jogged past me and quickly were half a lap away from me. As my parents turned the corner and disappeared from my view into the tunnel behind the bleachers, I noticed a strange man standing off to the side of track near the same bleachers. He was dressed in dark colored suit and he was standing with his hands folded as if he were waiting for someone. At first I thought that he must be one of the administrators waiting to talk to one of the staff at the gym, but I couldn't figure out why he was wearing a suit. All of the other staff wore gym attire. As I got closer, I started to wonder why he hadn't spoken to my mother and father...they knew everyone at the gym. I shrugged it off...thinking to much.

As I jogged closer to the tunnel, I could see that the man was smiling and staring at me as if he were waiting just for me. I decided to pick up the pace so that I could speed right by him without having to speak or even look at him for that matter. He quickly walked over and stepped onto the track directly in my path. I stopped just short of crashing into him. I stood there both speechless and motionless...and somewhat terrified.

"I'm sorry." he said in a very charming almost seductive way. He stared at me for a moment , looking me over from head to toe. He bite his bottom lip before smoothly saying, "I thought you were someone I knew."

"It's okay." I replied and took at step back. He couldn't have been more that 19 years old, I thought now that I had a chance to see him up close. He was very attractive and his icy blue eyes were very enchanting, but still there was something very unsettling about him.

I started to move around him so that I could continue my jog when he said, "What is your name?" Then sensing my uneasiness he added, "If you don't mind me asking."

"...MaryBeth." I blurted after a brief pause. I had no intention of giving some stranger my real name, especially one as creepy as this guy. Then wanting to get away from him as soon as possible I said, "I'm sorry I gotta catch up with my parents. Bye." I stepped quickly to the other side and ran right past him.

As I had gotten a few feet away and into the tunnel, I started to feel safe he said "You called me...Angel." I stopped dead in my tracks as his voice changed to that same familiar evil voice that I had come to know so well.

I spun around and the word trembled from my lips, "wa wa what?"

"That's right." he continued and started to walk towards me. He continued, "I'm here for you." He quickened his pace towards me, with anger swelling in his eyes. His facial features seemed to be growing older and more menacing with every step. His eye color changed in a manner that was anything but human...they went completely black.

The tunnel behind the bleachers was a hall lite by a row of florescent lights and one by one they quickly started to go out. The darkness made it's way down the hall toward me. The words of the light came back to me like flashes of a bad dream "run toward the light on this plain". Run toward the light, I thought just as the light of above me went dark which caused me to kick it into high gear and make for the exit of the tunnel. The lights quickly all went dark and evil was dead on my heels.

"You can't escape me." He growled. I wanted to look back but feared what was really chasing me. "I am everywhere the darkness is." he growled in my ear and it seemed as if he was right beside me now pushing me towards the tunnel wall. I sucked in air hard as I tried to out run him. I could see the exit and it seemed only a few steps away and I let out a premature sign of relief. I made one last dash for the light and then out of now where it felt like I hit a brick wall.

I fell backwards on to the track, stunned by force of the invisible wall. My eyes blurred as they started to tear up. There was a shape pain in my skull as if I had been hit on the head with something. I strained through the tears to see the darkness standing over me. He place his foot on my chest and pushed down hard. He snarled, "Sometimes Angel...you get what you ask for." He reached down to grab me, when the lights started to popped back on and I could hear other people jogging towards us. Relief came over me as the pressure on my chest released and the darkness standing over me faded.

I quickly picked myself up from the ground and brushed myself off. I could tell by the voices of the approachers that it was my parents. I wipe the tears from the corners of my eyes and started to run in the opposite direction. I wanted to get as far away from them as possible, because I knew my mom would ask me questions that I didn't know how to answer. I ran off the track and went and sat at the juice bar. I ordered a strawberry smoothie and just sat there staring at the track, still sore from my attack. i was hurting so what had happened had to be real.

My parents went around five more times and on the sixth time they waved as they ran past me sitting at the bar. I rolled my eyes and continued sipping my drink as I spun from side to side on the swivel chair. I was filled with horror as the same guy who had stopped me on the track before, ran by me smiling his evil grin while speeding toward my parents. Without thinking, I jumped up in pursuit of my parents in an attempt to warn them of the approaching danger but they were almost at the entrance to the tunnel and the danger was closing in on them. This guy seemed to move with superhuman speed and in a blink of an eye he was on top of them. My legs burned and my chest ached as I pushed my body harder and faster than it had gone in a long time.

But I was too late, my parent had entered the tunnel with this evil dead on their heels. I called out to my mom in a last ditch effort to attract my parents attention, but it was too late. They were inside the tunnel and out of my sight. I got to the entrance of the tunnel and froze.

"MOM!!" I yelled into the darkness. Why was this tunnel dark again? The lights had come back on during my attack and now they were off again. The darkness was waiting for me. As I stepped into the darkness, I could feel the evil waiting...rubbing its hands together. "MOM!" I called out again. Fear made me to take a step back into the light.

"Mommy.." I cried out once more as I could fell the tears wailing up in my eyes. There was just silence and darkness. I took a few more steps back to see if I could see my parents exiting the from the other side. I waited...breathless. The energy from the darkness seemed to be growing and feeding off my fear. I closed my eyes determined to gather the strength to enter the darkness and find my parents.

I closed my eyes and took one last deep breath and mentally prepared for what was hiding inside of the tunnel, but then I heard my name. I looked across the track to the exit of the tunnel and saw my Mom standing there waving to me.

"Come on, Honey. We are getting ready to leave." she called out pointing toward the exit. I let out a sign of relief. I didn't have to go into the tunnel. Just as I turned to leave something inside the darkness reached out and grabbed me and yanked me into the tunnel.

The voice growled its evil down the hallway, "YOU ARE MINE ANGEL!!!!"
---------------------
Dragging, rubbing and pulling quickly brought me to the realization that I was quickly being pulled across the carpet. I could feel the exposed skin of my tummy starting to burn from being dragged with such haste that I thought my arm would pop out of its socket if the pulling didn't start. The growling of the shadow was hurried, as if he was is race against some unseen foe. The lights in the tunnel started to flicker of and on and the darkness would take the form of the young man in the light. Where was this thing taking me?

Then I heard the most beautiful sound to human ears...my mother calling my name. She sounded as if she were miles away. Her voice brought the darkness to a screeching halt. It growled deep in it's chest and stood motionless in the form of the young man even though the lights had stopped flickering and the hall was completely dark. Again, my mother called my name and this time I called back to her, which enraged the IT.

He reached down and wrapped long cold fingers around my throat and squeezed. He growled in a whisper, "No one can save you. NO ONE!" But the desperation of his actions told a different story. My mom had spooked him. The threat of her voice had left him frozen in this spot even though he hadn't loosen his grip on me.

My mom's voice was panicked now and she seemed to be passing right by me as she continued calling my name. The darkness still motionless held my neck so tightly that I could hardly breathe and I started to whimper within my throat, that sounded like a wounded animal. I frantically scanned through the corner of my eye trying to catch a site of my mom as she apparently passed by.

I began to twitch and squirm in an attempt to escape, which upset the darkness and he tightened his grip to contain me. The lights began to flicker again and in the light I caught sight of my mom and I struggled even harder. The lights flickered violently and the darkness was losing its grip. I pulled free of its grip and screamed.

The lights jumped on and for a split second the young man stood there grimacing at my escape. My mom spun around to see me lying on the floor. The young man faded away and I wasn't certain if she had seen him or not. She ran over and knelt by my side. She just stared at the spot the man had been standing in, before she gave me a quick once over to ensure that I was unharmed.

"Where were you?! I saw someone pull you into the tunnel. There was this guy...it was dark. I just was worried." my mom said frantically hugging me.

"Wait...you say him?" I asked stunned by my mom's admission.

"What...honey are you ok? " my mom said raking her fingers through my bangs.

"Mom. No...Wait. you said you saw a guy. What did he look like." I asked getting up from the floor.

"I...I just thought I saw someone in the tunnel when your dad and I ran through it. Then it looked like someone had grabbed you, when I was talking to you. That's all." my mom said still dusting my off and straightening my clothes.

My mom's explanation came as a ray of light on my sanity. If she had seen him then he had to be real. As we started to exit the tunnel I heard the voice again, but this time what it said was more disturbing than the way he said it and my mom seemed to hear it too. This time the voice said "Monica"...my mom's name.
--------------------------------
I had a million questions for my mom but I didn't want to upset my dad, by telling him I was attacked in the tunnel. My mom was pretty distant the entire drive home and my dad did most of the talking, for a change. On the ride home, I just stared at the back of my mom's head trying to will her to turn around, so that I could get a better feel for what was going on in her mind. I had planned to bombard my mom with questions and fill her in on what had been happening to me in the past 24 hours, as soon as I could get her alone. My cell phones started ringing in the tune of a song called "I Gotta Stay Fly" by a group called 36 Mafia. My mom hated that particular song and couldn't stand hearing my phone playing that ringtone.

"Angel, I told you to get rid of the that ringtone. That is such a vulgar song." My mom barked at me and I could tell she was not is a good mood for whatever reason.

"Sorry," I said rolling my eyes. I looked down at my caller ID and saw Nikki's number. "Hello! I was sooo gonna call you when I got home."

"I was hoping it wasn't too early to call. I've been up all night long." Nikki said still somewhat groggy from her apparent all nighter. "Some strange stuff has been happening every since you left last night."

"Like what!?" I questioned anxiously, wanting to hear that Nikki had been experiences similar to the ones plaguing me.

"Noises, footstep and..." Nikki said and then paused abruptly as if she was afraid to speak any longer.

"...and what, Nic." I questioned desperate for closure, "What happened."

"Well...I think...I think I saw something." She said and her voice trailed off for a second and she continued, "A shadow of a man...was-"

"Was what?" I interrupted, both anxious and irritated by Nikki's ***** footing around the issue.

"Nothing. Can you meet me at the park in like 15 minutes?" Nikki asked me. I could tell by her tone that she was scared.

"Mom, can I go meet Nikki at the park." I asked my mom, who I could tell had been trying to listen in on my conversation.

"Angel, I don't think that's a good idea after what just happened." she replied.

"But Mommmm" I whined.

"But nothing. I don't think-" My mom started.

"What happened." my dad interrupted, " Are you talking about last night?"

My mom looked back at me sitting in the back seat and I smirked waiting to see if she would tell him the truth or make up some story. After a brief pause, she looked at my dad and replied, "Well...yes. I just don't think she should be running off with what happened last night."

"What, she just couldn't caught her breath. She's a big girl. Besides the park is just a couple blocks away." my dad replied. Then he turned his attention to me, "Honey, ask Nikki if she wants us to pick her up and we'll drop you two at the park. That way your mom will feel better."

"Okay" I said and relayed my dad's message to Nikki. I hung up my phone and we made our way over to Nikki's house. My mom was steaming mad and if her eyes could have shot daggers my dad would have been swiss cheese. When we turned into Nikki's driveway she was sitting on the steps of her front porch. She ran out to the car and met up before I could get out of the car. She made the usual pleasantries, once she was strapped in her seatbelt. My dad made corny jokes the entire drive to the park and I could not stop shaking my head in embarrassment. Nikki giggled, which added fuel to fire of my dad's one man slapstick comedy.

"Dad, please." I begged as we pulled into one of the parking spaces at the park.

"You girls want me to come back and pick you up." He asked as we got out of the car.

Before I could say anything my mom and Nikki simultaneously said "YES!" Nikki's eyes shot at me and mine darted back and forth between her and my mom. They both had the same terrified tone and expression.

"You girls be safe." my mom said.

"Yeah, you girls be safe and Angel you call me when you guys are ready to be picked up." my dad added smiling and waving as we started to walk away from the car.

"Angel wait." my mom called and motioned me back to the car with her hand. Again I rolled my eyes thinking she was being a little overprotective, as usual. I walked over to the passenger side of the car where my mom was sitting. She reach behind her neck and took off her crystal medallion and handed it to me, "Put this on. It will keep you safe."

"Oh Lawd." my dad chimed in. "Monica, please don't start with that good luck crap." My dad was quickly silenced by a stern look from my mother. She stared at me with such fear that I I too became uneasy. I stared at my mom until my parents backed out of the parking spot and made their way up the street. I stood there until they were completely out of sight. Something had really spooked my mom and I made a mental note to find out what was going on with her later.

Nikki tapped me on the shoulder which made me almost jump right out of my skin. She laughed and we walked over to the swings to take our usual seat. This park had been a haven for us since we had met there when we were seven years old. It was so early that no kids were out yet, in fact no one was there but us. It was warm outside but it was very cloudy out and it looked as if it may rain later. I couldn't help but think that maybe coming to the park was a bad idea.

Once we sat down, Nikki became an open book. She started, "Last night after you left alot of strange stuff started happening. At first I thought that it was just my mind playing tricks on me but-"

"Strange stuff like what." I interrupted, "You said you saw a shadow of a man."

"Yeah, I did. I woke up and he...it...whatever it was, was standing in right beside my bed. I started to scream, but it..it" She said and then the sound of her voice was lost in the tears wailing up in her eyes.

"It what?" I said putting my hand on her's trying to console her, but wanting her to continue.

"Something attacked me! It grabbed my throat and started choking me! I couldn't get free. I knocked over a lamp and my parents can rushing in my room and it stopped. They thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy." she said and she was becoming hysterical. "I think we let something out playing with that Ouija board. I was reading up on it and we really shouldn't have messed with that thing"

"The same thing happened to me. Twice last night and today at the gym. I think we should use it to find out-"

"Angel are you crazy? We don't know anything about this stuff and now you want to go messing with that board again."

"So what. If we already let something out then we need to find out what it is and what it wants."

"I don't care what it wants. I say we destroy the board and that way we can get rid of whatever this thing is. It keeps calling my name when no ones around... just keeps calling and calling. I feel like I'm going crazy, Angel and I scared."

"I'm scared too, but what is getting rid of the board gonna do? We need to find out how to put this thing back in the board." We were silent for a few minutes and just stared into at some birds gathered on the grass. Then I added, "This thing can take human form...and I think my mom saw it too."

"What?" she questioned, "Your mom saw it. What did she say?"

"Nothing. She acted like she didn't want to say anything about it, but she was acting all weird and she gave me this." I said holding my necklace up so that she could see the little crystal necklace around my neck.

"What's that supposed to do?" Nikki asked holding the crystal between her thumb and index finger.

"I don't know but she told me it would keep me safe." I said and hunched my shoulders.

"Well, I won't feel safe until we get rid of that board."

"Why don't you just throw it away then?" I said growing tired of Nikki's whining.

"It doesn't work like that, Angel."

"Why not." I said rolling my eyes.

"This thing followed you home, even though the board is at my house. Angel, I think this thing is some kind of demon or something. "

"Nik, don't start that crap again."

" What crap?"

"That demon crap!"

"Well, what the hell is it then Angel. You don't believe anything. You're the reason I we're in this mess in the first place!"

"Me!"

"Yes you! If you just would have left that board alone."

"You said you were hearing footsteps and other crazy stuff before I ever pulled the board out, so don't try to blame this all on me. If you would have just left the board at that yard sale-" I fired back and stopped abruptly. I caught sight of someone approaching us out of the corner of my eye. "Holy crap, Nikki, that's him!"

I grabbed Nikki's hand and pulled her from the swing and lead her into a panicked walk-run looking back over my shoulder constantly to see how far behind us he was.

"Who is that?" Nikki asked fear creeping into her voice. She too looked back constantly to see how far away he was. "Angel he's moving really fast."

"That's the guy from the gym." I replied growing more nervous with each passing moment, "Hurry up Nikki." We crossed the street paying more attention to what was going on behind up instead of what was in front of us. We walk right into a little old lady and nearly knocked her down.

"Girls, girls what's the hurry?" she asked as we checked to make sure she was okay.

"Someone is chasing us...Are...Are you okay ma'am?" Nikki asked.

The old lady looked across the street to the approaching stranger. He stopped dead in his tracks. "Oooooh. You girls don't have to worry 'bout him." she said staring intensly at him with the confidence of a person with the upper hand. "I'm awful tired. Legs ain't what they used to be. Do you girls mind helping me get to daughter's? I think I walk a little to far from the house."

"Where does your daughter live?"

"She lives over on Sycamore Lane."

"That's over by my house." I replied. We both extended an arm to the elderly lady and began to walk with her towards my home. Walking with the lady made me feel safe and seemed to keep the stranger at bay. The old lady felt like comfort, spoke like love and her presence was just like my grandma's. We took baby steps the entire way to her daughter's house and we all laughed as she told us stories about when she was our age. I glanced over my shoulder to see that the stranger was only a few steps behind. The old lady sensed my nervousness and stopped us.

She turn around, placed one hand on her hip and said, "You will not harm these girls, today! It would be in your best interest to leave now."

"Get out of my way, Liza." he said, "Those girls are mine!"

"Don't bark at me! I am the light! Do you really want to challenge the light on this plain demon!"

"THEY CALLED ME!!!" he roared.

The old lady took a firm stance and replied,"And she called to ME!"
-------------------
He hissed, "[i]She[/i]...[i]she[/i] doesn't even know-"

"Knowing is no matter! Follow...Follow us, as you will. It matters not." The old lady smiled and folded her arms beneath her breast and added, "I must admit. Your skins on this plain just get better and better. You blue eyed devil, you." She cackled and even the He cracked a smile. There seemed to be some kind of sick love hate relationship going on between the two. It was more than obvious that they knew each other...and well.

"I wish, I could say the same for you Liza," he said pulling a handkerchief from his jacket pocket and wiping his brow as if the heat of the overcast day was getting to him. He continued, "but the little old lady...not a good look." He turned his attention to toward Nikki and myself and said, "See you ladies in the dark." He turned and walked away back toward the park and as he got halfway down the block, he faded into thin air.

"Holy Crap!!!" I yelled out and clasped my hand over my mouth, feeling like I had just been disrespectful in front of the old lady. Nikki just screamed and almost went into hysterics. I quickly placed a hand around her's shoulder and my other one over her mouth. I was afraid that someone would come running out of their house to see what the commotion was or call the police because someone was screaming in an otherwise quiet neighborhood.

"You right to be scared girl." the old lady replied, "The light can hold the darkness in this world but not for long and not in the next. You have called a powerful darkness to you and if not for the light your souls would no longer be yours. Cling to the light in this world and engulf yourselves in the darkness in the next. You can't escape the darkness...or the light."

Before we could ask her any questions she too faded into nothingness. Nikki and I stared at each other for a split second and through a nonverbal exchange made a mutual decision to run. Screaming was not an option, as fear had scared the sound right out of us. Mom. I had to talk to my mom. I just knew she had heard that thing in the gym. I just needed conformation from someone who was thinking rationally. We ran as fast as our legs could carry us, trying hard not to look back until we were standing safely bursting in my front door.

"Hey Squirt!" My dad greeted us as we ran through the door, "What's the big hurry?"

"Nothing." I managed to spit out between pants to catch my breath.

"I thought you girls wanted me to pick you up." my dad said grabbing his jacket from the coat rack. "I was just on my way out."

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"Well," he said sliding on his jacket, "since I don't have to pick you girls up...I thought I'd go hang out with your Uncle Buddy. He got a another computer and he wants me to set up the network for his home office. Then we're gonna, you know...chill. Isn't that what you kids call it?"

Nikki giggled, as she usually did when my dad embarrassed me with his attempts to use teenage lingo. "Ya dad...whatever. Where's mom? I really need to talk to her."

"Yeah, she's wants to talk to you too. She's upstairs." he said. Before he disappeared outside he added, "See if you can get your daddy outta the doghouse."

Daddy closed the door and Nikki and I ran upstairs looking for my mom. We found her in her room lying on the bed. She almost looked dead, lying on her back, eyes closed, hands folded across her chest. Why did she have to nap in that particular position? We figured that she was sleep and turned to go to my room to discuss what kind of paranormal voodoo crap we had gotten ourselves into.

"Do you ladies want to tell me what kind of trouble you've gotten yourselves in to?" my mom said spooking us, to say the least. She held her pose on the bed with her eyes closed tight.

"We're not in any trouble, Mom." I said with no attempt to hide the pity in my voice. I wanted her to open her eyes, so I could tell her about all of the bad things that had happened. I didn't even care that she wouldn't believe me. I just wanted to tell her. Tell her everything, so that she could make it better, like mommies are supposed to. Nikki and I just stood there looking at her lying there like the slumbering undead.

My mom continued to lie in her resting position and said, "If you girls aren't in any trouble, well then, why are you surrounded by darkness?"
----------------------------------------------
Not the least bit concerned with how nuts we'd sound to a psychologist, Nikki and I spilled our guts about every single incident that had occurred over the past day or so. My mom had gotten up from her death pose and was sitting up and was listening intently to every word. She seemed to very interested in everything we were saying and even asked for more details here and there. I couldn't tell if she was just humoring us or if she was genuinely interested in what we were saying. She asked us to continue with our talk of darkness and old ladies, while she went into her closet and brought out an antique jewelry box her mother had given her before her death. She came back and sat the jewelry box on the bed and took her previous spot on the bed.

"What's that?" Nikki asked as my mom opened the box so that only she could see its contents.

"I'll tell you in a minute," my mom said and continued searching through the contents of the box. Turning her attention towards Nikki she asked "What made you [i]buy[/i] that board?"

"Huh," Nikki responded

"Why did you buy that particular board?" my mom asked again, as if she already knew the answer to her own question. After Nikki responded with a look of confusion my mom changed her question to better coaxes an answer from her, "A better question would be...Did...you buy this board?"

"She bought it at a yard sale, mom. We already told you that part." I said confused by my mom's line of questioning. She just stared at Nikki as if she were reading her mind. It was a side of my mom that I'd never seen. She was like an entirely different person.

"I did...I mean...I was going to but..." Nikki stammered and became uneasy as if she were trying to tell part of the truth but at the same time conceal a lie.

"How did you come to acquire the board Nikki?" my mom asked, her voice still relaxed and her glare still fixed on Nikki.

Nikki's eyes darted back and forth from me to my mother and she could no longer remain still. She fidgeted and twisted her hair around her index finger. As she rocked back and forth it became obvious. She was lying about something. These were the tell tale signs that always got us caught when we got into trouble. She was the worse liar in the world.

Those plump juicy tears built up in her eyes and found their way down plump cheeks. Her hands trembled as she wiped away tear after tear. Her long hair stuck to the tear stained places on her face. Her behavior took me back to the time when an eight year old Nikki broke down and confessed that we had eaten an entire pan of freshly bake cookies after I had given a brilliant performance blaming my dog. A move that had caused her parents to ban her from coming to my house for an entire month. She snorted and made that disgusting snot noise and finally was able to say in a childlike tone, "I..I...stole it."

"Stole it!!!" I exclaimed. I really wished that she had kept that to herself. I continued, "What do you mean stole it? Wait...Wait! You don't steal! I can't even get you to sneak in the movies and now your telling me you stole something."

"Angel." my mom interjected.

"Who'd you steal it from? Did you steal it from the yard sale? Oh Lawd, this explains everything. This is like a punishment for stealing and now you drug me into this-"

"Angel!" my mom again tried to get me to stop.

"God don't like ugly, Nikki." I continued on my tangent, "Take it back. Take this too-"

"Angel, that's enough and I mean it!" my mom said glaring at me and for a second that mean old strict bat that I call a mother was back. She quickly regain her composure and turned her attention back to Nikki and said, "Nikki we all know that you would never steal anything. What made you take this board?"

Nikki still embarrassed and crying silent tears managed to say through her weeping, "I...I...did find it at a yard sale...but...but it wasn't for...for sale." She wiped her face and took a deep breath before she continued, "I was just gonna leave, but when the man walked away..." she paused and looked at my mother and then said, "It called my name." She paused, as if she were afraid to say anymore.

"Go on." my mother placed her hand on Nikki's thigh in an attempt to get her to relax and continued.

Nikki hung her head in shame and continued, "At first I thought I was hearing things, because there was no doubt that the sound was coming from the inside of game board...you know. I shook it off. Thought is was just my mind playing tricks and I started to leave. I really did, but I took like two steps and...and it sounded like it was in ear saying 'Nikki. Nikki. Don't leave me. Nikki. Nikki.' So I walked over to the where the man having the yard sale was standing on the other side of the yard and I begged him to sale it to me, but he wouldn't. He wouldn't even listen. Why did he have it out on the table if he didn't want to sell it?" She seem to asking herself the last question, as if she were searching for a way justify or maybe just understand her actions. Her mood was calmer, the tears had stopped and only embarrassment was left as she continued, "He made me so mad and I don't even know why. I left. I marched out of his yard, pizzed. I got half way up the street and I heard a little boy calling me and when I turned around this little boy was running towards me with the board. He was like 'You forgot your game' I wanted it so bad, that I just thanked him and took off down the street."

"Well...that's not stealing." I said as soon as she had finished, "I mean technically the little boy gave it to you. It's not like you picked it up and ran off with it."

My mom slapped my hands and said, "That is stealing. He said no and she took it, knowing that he said she couldn't have it."

"Ouch. The little boy [i]gave[/i] it to her soooo...Wonder what made him think it was yours. Maybe the man changed his mind and sent his son to give it to you. With all of the trouble we've been having, I can definitely see giving it to someone else." I replied.

"No. That guy did NOT want me to have it...and...I felt so guilty that when the noises and stuff started, I thought that it was my guilty conscious telling me what I had done was wrong. I wrapped the board up and put it in a bag and tried to take it back to the man, but when I got there, the house was empty. Some movers were out there getting ready to leave, so I asked about the man who used live there. They said he had died Saturday night, so I asked about his little boy...they said that the man lived alone and didn't have any children."

"Gawd, Nikki! That is another little tidbit of information you could have shared before we started playing with that thing." I said before falling back into the what seemed like hundred of pillows on my parents bed.

My mom rolled her eyes at me apparently tired of my smart remarks. She pulled out another crystal medallion necklace from her jewelry box and got up and fastened it around Nikki's neck. She wiped the tear stains from Nikki's face and lifted her chin between her thumb and forefinger and said, "The power of the darkness is stronger than the will of the average person. That board found itself to you for a reason. The same way it found itself to it's previous owner. Don't feel bad Nikki. That board and it's demon was coming home with you one way or another. Demons used Ouija boards to call people to it.I want you girls to wear these crystals at all time. Never take them off. Not even in the shower Angel."

"Why?" I asked.

"They help the true light find you in the darkness of the other plain."

"What does that mean? I keep hearing about this plain and that and other worlds. What is that exactly?"

"Well, I believe...I know that this world is not the only one. There is a place between Heaven and Hell. In this place there is darkness...and there is light. So many people who have near death experiences say that they see a light and they always go toward it, but they take for granted that the light is the way to heaven. "

"Isn't it." Nikki asked.

"Well, it would seem that way, because of all of the stories you've been told about the glorious light of heaven. Everyone always forgets that Satan was an angel before he was cast down to Hell. The most beautiful angel and was there when the bible was written therefore he knows it backwards and forwards and uses his knowledge and beauty to lead those who are blinded by the beauty of the light to guide them away from where they are supposed to be. No one wants to wait on the true light, so they make the mistake of going towards the wrong light. Handing themselves over to whatever demon is calling to them. If you wait in the darkness will hold you until the light appears of take you back to the light of this plain."

"I'm confused. How do you know which is which? What's about hiding in the darkness?" I asked as my mom confused me more than the old lady had.

"The darkness knows that people are attracted to physical beauty and so it wears the most attractive skin that it can find. For Nikki, it was an innocent child and it came to you as a handsome young man. But when it finds itself in the comfort of the darken places of our world then it can shed it's skin and almost show it's true self, but it can't use its full power. So you get doors opening and closing, things moving, footsteps, shadows and a more powerful being can even attack a person, as is the case here. When we cross over onto their playing ground, the tables turn but they still know how to draw humans to them...with the promise of Heaven in the light. The light in that world is like a bug zapper and we are the bugs drawn by the light. It's like a race between the angels and demons to get to a person's soul before the true light comes for them."

"How do you know all of this Mrs. Reynolds." Nikki asked.

"Yeah Mom," I co-signed Nikki's onto train of thought adding, "I thought you didn't believe in anything but science. How do you know all of this stuff?"

"Because ladies." she said placing her jewelry back in the closet, "I am one of the few who can walk on both plains."
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My mother's last comment ended our conversation of what had been occurring. I felt cheated but my mom clammed right up as if she had revealed something that she wanted to keep concealed. She asked Nikki to bring the board to her and Nikki was so ready to rid her house of it, that she had left immediately to go retrieve the board. She appeared so terrified when she left that I had offered to go with her, so she wouldn't be alone. She had assured me that she was going to be fine and that she would be back, as soon as, she got the board and that she wasn't going to waste any time getting back to our house.

I wasn't afraid like I had been before I had talked to my mom. Somehow even thought I hadn't gotten any better idea of what was really going on, I felt better just having my mom acknowledge and believe what was happening to me. She had made it all better, just like mommies are supposed too. My mom and I had eaten lunch together and made conversation about when my mother was my age. We talked about when I was little and how much I had grown up and it felt nice to forget about all of the evil that had been plaguing me.

Then out of nowhere she asked, "Angel, how well do you think you know Nikki?"

"I don't know. I think we know everything about each other. Why?" I asked.

"Just think about it the next time you see her." she replied and then went upstairs to finish her nap. She instructed me to inform her when Nikki returned with the board and to remember what she'd said. I too went up to my room to surf the internet. I caught up on the latest celebrity gossip and bookmarked some pages of clothes that I wanted my parents to buy for me. It had been almost an hour since Nikki had gone home to get the Ouija board and she still hadn't returned yet. It only took twenty minutes to walk to Nikki's house and back, and she said that she was just going to run in and come straight back. I was starting to get worried so I decided to call her house to see what was taking her so long. There was a lot of static in the line and I just could make out her mom saying that she had not to long left. I felt better knowing she was on her way back so I continued my search for my size sandals on the Macy's website.

Another thirty minutes past before the doorbell finally rang. I looked in on my mom who lying in her deathbed position napping. She seemed to be in a deep sleep, as she didn't move a muscle at the sound of the door bell. I stormed down the stairs. All I could think of was how inconsiderate it was of Nikki to have me waiting for an hour and a half when she said that she was going to come right back. For some reason Nikki continued ringing the bell over and over, but not with urgency. Almost as she was trying to be annoying. I couldn't believe her, first she makes me wait and then she has the nerve to be rude enough to play on the doorbell.

"What the heck is wrong with you?!" I snapped as I opened the front door. I was taken back as I stared at Nikki through the glass door. She looked liked she'd been attacked by someone or something. Her hair was frizzed with pieces of what looked like broken leaves as if she may have rolled on the ground. She had changed clothes and was now dressed in jogging pants and a hooded sweatshirt. She was standing there with her hands in her shirt pockets with her head down. I can't explain why but I didn't want to let her in.

"Aren't you gonna invite me in?" she asked as she raked her fingers through her hair. I gasped, because not only was the ring that her father had given her before his death two years ago missing, but she was using her right hand even though she was left handed. "Come on. Let me in." she added with a sinister smile.

"Nicole where's your necklace, my mom gave you?" I asked locking the glass door.

"What." she questioned and replied, "Oh, I left it home."

"Bullsh*t!" I replied, "Who are you?"

"Angellll. It's me Nicole." she said smiling, "Open the DOOR." Her last word gargled in a different voice. She cleared her throat as it were the reason for the change in her tone. She just stood there smiling looking like an entirely different person.

"NO!" I shouted thinking about the warning my mom had given me before she had lie down for a nap. I didn't know who or what this was standing in front of me but it wasn't Nikki.

"Stop being silly and open the door." she said pulling on the door handle. She became irritated by my just standing there staring at her and said, "Open the D*MN DOOR!" Apparently it was becoming hard for her to maintain the high pitch of Nikki's voice because her voice continued to slip into deeper octaves. She twisted her head to the side letting her long hair dangle freely over part of her face and affixed that sinister smile back on her face knowing that her cover was blown, she spoke in that familiar evil growl and said, "She can't protect you. No one can protect you. No trinkets can save you....Yooou are mine and it is only a matter of time. Just a matter of time."

"Where's Nikki?" I asked less frightened than before but still deathly afraid. I feared that something bad had happened to Nikki or that this thing standing in front of me may have done something to her. The desperation in my voice seemed like candy to it, as it closed its eye and inhaled deeply.

"The smell of fear....Love it." it said.

"I'm not scared of y-" I started.

"Then let me in. Call me...with your heart." It interrupted and giggled that hideous cackle of a laugh and continued, "You will call me to you...and I will come. Just like I saved your mother. Monica...an ancient darkness disguised as the light, she will bring you right to me." My hand clenched the small stone on the necklace. I could no longer contain the fear building up inside of me and I even started to doubt things my mother had told me earlier. It giggled adding, "Do you really think that shiny rock can stop me? You don't let me in now. She's already summoned my vessel to her and when it gets here...there will be nothing to stop me from taking your soul."

"GET AWAY FROM ME!!!" I screamed as I slammed the front door. I was trembling not only from hearing the words this thing was saying but it was also disturbing to hear this evil disguised as my best friend. I made my way to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of tea from the fridge. I wanted to wake my mother but at th same time I was afraid to find that the thing it said may be true. I thought about what my mom said about being able to walk on both plains and wondered what she really meant by that remark. My mom would not put me in any danger. She was after all, my mom.

After about fifteen minutes, there was a frantic knocking on the back door and I recognized it instantly as Nikki's "I've got something to tell you" knock. I was so anxious talk to her about what had happened with the demon disguising itself as her that I quickly flung open the back door to see my fashionista standing there and in heels no less. She was carrying a cloth shopping bag over her shoulder and I could see what I figured was the top of the board sticking out from it. I glanced at her fingers and there was her ring exactly where it was supposed to we on her right hand.

"Hurry up, let me in." she said as I opened the door to let her in. She gave one last look around before coming inside.

"You will never believe what happened while you were gone. Close the door and I'll tell you what happened." I said while waking over to get another glass from the cupboard. I continued, "I know you want something to drink."

"Thanks for letting me in," she started in her usual perky voice but my heart stopped when she continued in the growl of evil, "You are so niave." I spun around and there he was the handsome guy from the gym, "I like this look so much better. Don't you? Oh and Liza won't be joining us...you didn't invite her in." He crossed the room in one gigantic leap and wrapped his hand around my throat and squeezed lifting me off the floor. My feet dangled with my toes barely scrapping the tile on the kitchen floor. He smiled and stared into my eyes, his blue eyes piercing through me like daggers. My eyes widened as I gasped and struggled for air.He smiled as I began to go limp and said, "I'm going with you." He pulled me closer to him and lifted me completely off the ground to kiss me. He tightened his grasp around my neck making sure no air could enter. His kiss felt as though it were taking any breath that may have been holding in my lungs.

In my last seconds of awareness I could hear my mom telling me that she was able to walk on both plains. As I closed my eyes, some part of me raced upstairs to where my mom was lying on her bed and grabbed her hand. When I pulled her hand part of her sat up, as if I had grabbed hold of her spiritual being while her physical being stayed at rest. The eyes of her spirit self shot open and I cried out "Help me mommy" but something snatched me away and raced back down the stairs, pass my limp body on the kitchen floor and out of the back door. I could see my mother's spirit in close pursuit of whatever was pulling me away and she seemed only finger tips away when...

....DARKNESS!
-----------------------------
...then Light. Amazing, glorious, wonderful light...and urgency. I soon realized that I was still being carried away towards the source of the light with the determination of a person running out of time. The evil that had become so familiar to me made itself known by the smell of sulfur and smoke. It grunted as it shuffled me into a tighter position over its shoulder. I could hear, smell and after adjusting my eyes to the bright light, see but I couldn't feel anything. There was no hot or cold, no pain or pleasure just existence.

"The light will come for you"

The light will come for me...right. My mind relaxed as I remembered my mom saying that the true light would come for me. But if that was true, then why had the darkness come to retrieve me? The grunts and pants from my capturer grew louder and its speed increased with each passing moment. I just lie there thrown over it's shoulder with my arms and hands dangling. The speed at which this thing was moving caused my hair to trail behind us blowing in the wind. I managed to raise my head just enough to see something moving emerging quickly from the darkness that was shrinking behind us. It darted in and out of the light and it seemed to have some kind of wings. What is that?

I didn't have the energy or will to keep my head up any longer. I had such a feeling of despair that only seemed to grow as the we got closer to the light. In my mind, I could see the my grandma's funeral with my mother inconsolably crying and my father trying desperately to to comfort her. Tears and whimpering filled the room with such sadness that I had escaped through a side door of the church to get away from it all. My mind could not focus on any particular thing, as felt as if I were in panic mode while the world around me was crawling to a stop. Despair. There was nothing that I could do to bring my Grandma back and there was nothing that I could do to save myself from whatever was about to happen.

The racing came to an abrupt stop. I was thrown to the ground like a sack of potatoes. I landed on my back with the warmth of the light burning my cheeks. The light was almost blinding, so I used my hand to shield my eyes and saw the handsome man from my first trip to the darkness standing beside the young man who haunted me so much in the light. My fingers burned and glowed in the exact same spot as they had the last time I was in this place.

"I would help you up," the melodious voice of the handsome man calmly said, "but this is as far as I go. You are more than welcomed to come with us though."

I don't know why, but I wanted to go with him...badly. I scrabbled to get to a standing position hoping to take a second to clear my mind. I looked around and everything was illuminated, except for one small entrance that was completely darkened. "Where...what...who um." was all I managed to get out as confusion swept over me.

"She's not one for intelligent conversation." my capturer chuckled, "but she is the offspring of....Monica."

"Yes...yes she is." the handsome gentleman replied and looking at me, "Come on then dear. Let's go."

I wanted to ask a million questions, but his words sounded so enticing and the light, though warm, seemed so inviting that I reluctantly took a step forward. I felt like a child just learning to walk, as I swayed and stumbled a little, trying to keep my balance. "This isn't right, Angel." Those words just kept playing over and over in my mind, but I couldn't quench my desire to go with this intriguing stranger. I only had a few more steps and I would be with in reach of the object of my new found affection.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a dark mist materializing beside me. I turned in shock, as the mist quickly manifested into the shadow from my dream.

"NOW! COME NOW, ANGEL!" the stranger shouted sounding both angry and anxious, "HURRY BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!"

"ANGEL!!!" Shouted the shadow. It's voice. It's voice was warm and soft...and familiar. It was the voice of my mother.
-----------------------------
The mere sound of my mother's voice was enough to draw my attention away form the stranger for a second and apparently all that she needed was a second. She grabbed my hands and we were quickly hurling backwards away from the light. Everything became a blur and I began to hear the voices of people that were now dead calling my name. The voices all seemed to be coming from the direction of the diminishing light. I could hear my Grandma, and Nikki's dad, Skip...begging me to come back. I was confused. If Nana and Skip were there then it had to be Heaven, so why was my mom pulling me away from them, unless this was some sort of trick.

I decided to struggle with this shadow in an attempt to free myself from this deception. I pushed and pulled causing us to frail around and this thing to lose control. We slammed hard into what felt like a wall. Before I could get up and run the shadow was on me. I looked back and the light and could see the stranger closing in on us quickly. I again started kicking and fighting trying to escape. I screamed out in frustration as I lost my fight. The darkness swelled up and engulfed my like a dark cloak. The light diminished and the sound was shut out, but the rushing movement of the shadow could be felt.

Then we stopped, abruptly. The shadow released it's grip and I found myself surrounded by calm, quiet darkness. Once I realized that I could no longer hear the voices of Skip or Grandma I became so sad. I searched the darkness for a hint of the light, even though the darkness seemed much safer than the light. There was something in the light that was more appealing even though it seemed that something sinister lurked there. As I looked around I became increasingly aware of a particular area in the darkness. There seemed to be something growing inside of the this particular patch of darkness.

I strained my eyes trying to make out what was forming in the darkness. It started out as a fuzzy, hazey kind of dim light. It quickly grew into a blue haze that took the form and shape of a woman. I slowly moved toward the light drawn by it majesty and intrigued by its form. Its final form was that of my mom. It was the part of her that had chased me into the darkness.

"Mommy." I said relieved to see her, even though it was in the spiritual form. I quickly made my way to her and tried to wrap my arms around her. My arms went right through her. She didn't speak. She just motioned for me to go to a specific area in the darkness. I was confused but I trusted her and I just took her visual cue and went in the direction she pointed out to me. As I walked into the darkness, this elemental version of my mom glided beside me. We walked quietly and I felt surrounded by safety with her just walking beside me.

We walked for what seemed like an hour and I couldn't help looking at her. She was just as beautiful in her spirit form as she was in the physical. My emotions started to flow back inside me and sadness took over me. I started to sob in my throat and I could feel the tears starting to fall down my cheeks. My mother wrapped her flowing arms around me and I could feel her. I could feel her warm embrace and it felt like love. I stopped for a second and basted in her loving glow. This moment felt like Heaven, like what Heaven should feel like. Being surrounded by the love a person who loves you unconditionally even it when their physical being isn't present...their love is.

This moment of peace and love was suddenly interrupted by a terrible shrieking sound and a growing red light approaching us in the darkness. Again my mother pointed in the direction that we were going but her expression was panic stricken and frightened. She gave he a push that felt like an enormous gust of wind. I took this as a warning of approaching danger and immediately started running.

As I ran I could hear what sounded like a struggle going on behind me. I stopped and turned to see my mother's spirit holding back an ember colored apparition. She seemed to be struggling to keep it at bay and my first instinct was to run and try to help her, but what could I do? My hands had gone right through her and would probably go through the things she was fighting with. It was obvious, that she...they could touch me even though I couldn't touch them. The look on her face was screaming for me to run, so I did. The struggle became so frightening that the thought of my mother fighting to hold this thing back brought me to tears.

I as ran into complete darkness stumbling over myself, trying to get my emotions under control. All of a sudden I could feel evil barreling down on me. Panic shot through me and provided me a much needed burst of energy.
I could hear my own breath panting loudly filling my ears and drowning out the sound of the approaching doom. Just as I felt the evil directly on top of me...a drop. Out of nowhere the ground had disappeared beneath me and I was falling...falling into the darkness.
---------------------
I slammed down hard onto the linoleum floor of our kitchen, landing on my stomach and knocking what felt like all of the wind right out of me. My sense came back to me slowly, as I lifted my head slowly to survey my familiar surroundings. I lifted myself up slowly on my elbows and held my hand to my forehead to check for a lump because it was throbbing as if there should be one there.

Still not fully back to normal, I began to get up slowly, trying not to add further pain to my injuries. I sat up on my knees still stretching out my sore muscles and for no particular reason tilted my head to the side and glanced over at the floor beneath the sink and there it was. The vision of mortality that no person should ever have to witness. I crawled over towards the sink to further inspect the horrid sight occupying my vision. Terror and disbelief warred within me as I lowered my head so that I could view this thing at eye level. Waves of emotions poured over me as I made my disturbing discovery. It was what look like me…and it was dead.

Cold dark eyes unblinking filled with the terror of the last sight that had stood in my vision, mouth agape in the form of a silenced scream and the limp unmoving corpse of a girl caught completely off guard. Human curiosity caused me to reach out to touch this body that I had once called home. Panic suppressed all other feelings, as my hands glided right through the still body, just as my hand had glided through my mother in the darkness. I suddenly became so angry that I didn’t know whether to scream or cry, so I did a disturbing mixture of both.

My self pity was cut short as the frightening sound of something evil shrieked my name. It sounded like what I’d imagine some ancient evil to sound. It was a more a long drawn out howl that seemed somewhat unholy. It sent tremors of fear through every fiber of my being. It would not stop it’s relentless calling of my name over and over again…and it sounded as if it were coming for me. I listened helplessly but then…the sulfur and smoke wafted in out of nowhere and the memories of my capture in the gym shot back to me. “This is it.” I reasoned in my mind and prepared for the worse. I had narrowly escaped this thing too many times and it was more than evident by the lifeless corpse that my time was truly up.

Defeat allowed me to slowly lie down beside myself and wait for the inivitable. I closed my eyes and let my mind’s eye wander back to happier times with memories of my childhood. I remembered all of the times I spent playing dress up in my mother’s closet and the times spent lying in between my parents listening to my dad make up stories about how he walked 20 miles to school each day and was never late. I thought about the times Nikki would stay the night and we’d help my mom make the best cookies in the world and when my dad took me out on his boat fishing. He still told all of his friends about the rainbow trout I caught and threw back before he could get a picture. Finally, I thought about the last days of my grandma’s life and how alive she was. The night before she died, I lay in bed with her, as she stroked my hair while singing me to sleep.

Yes, this was the end for me. I could feel myself growing week and I had no will to fight any longer but then. I could feel something else coming…rushing to save me. My eyes shot open and I turned to search for it’s direction. But before I knew what it was or where it was coming from, the sensation of a force more powerful than any I have ever know grabbed me and tossed me up and the back down onto the floor.

I inhaled deeply as my eyes again shot open. This time I had landed on my back. I coughed uncontrollably as I got up on my feet. I searched frantically for my body on that had been on the floor. I patted myself all over and quickly realized that I was ALIVE!!! Woo! Thank You! I stared at my face in the metal toaster on the counter. I never looked so beautiful. I inhale deeply and the air smelled and tasted so sweet. I celebrated the moment with a little victory dance.

I had been celebrating for a few moments when a gust of warm air suddenly passed through me and rushed out of the kitchen and towards the stairs. “Mom.” I thought, quickly ending my dance and rushing up the steps behind whatever was in the wind. As soon as, my foot hit the top step I called out to my mother. I rushed down the hall and pushed open the door to her room and there she sat. Calm. Peaceful. Smiling as if she had just awaken from a good dream. She got up and passed right by me saying, “Hungry? I’m hungry. Let’s get something to eat.”

Later that night my mom and I got into a big argument over why Nix hadn't returned with the board. I was convinced that her mom had just made her do chores but my mom sensed something darker at work. I had held firm to my belief, but after I called Nix and she rushed me off the phone saying she was sick, only after I had asked her about the board. This was a girl who had kept me on the phone for two hours when she had the flu now she was rushing me off the phone for a head ache. I hated to admit it but, my mother may have been right. I was just glad she wasn't anywhere around when I had said that out loud.
---------------------------------------
The rest of the weekend went by without a call or visit from Nix. I called her several times on both her house and cell phone with her mother saying she wasn't feeling well on one phone and her goofy answering service message on the other. I decided against going over to see her, because if her mom was telling me she was sick then she really had to be. I spent the rest of the weekend avoiding my mother, which meant hanging out with my dad, my uncle and an enormous amount of coax cable.

My dad didn't believe in anything paranormal and that was something that I appreciated more today than ever. Listening to him and my uncle bicker over who'd inserted the wrong plug where was somehow soothing. Something else that I had noticed was that all of the weird happenings that had plagued me for the past couple of days had abruptly stopped. The house had been pleasantly...but strangely calm...almost too calm. My mom had been burning candles, sprinkling salts and chanting under her breath for most of the day, which was what drove my dad to leave the house.

We had spent too much time at my uncle's house, which was evident by the "when I was a kid" stories pouring out of my daddy and uncle. When we finally left my uncle's home, it was growing dark and I was in a hurry to get home and give Nix another call. We past the grave yard on our way home, and out of habit I looked out towards where my grandmother was buried. My dad instinctively slowed down, as I routinely asked him to drive slow when we reached this particular stretch of the road. The graveyard was really large and the rows at closest to the rode were full of empty plots. As usual, I didn't know what I was looking for but I was always searching whenever I passed the graveyard. I had pretty much gotten my eyes full of plots and stones when...just as we past the entrance I saw a tall slim girl dressed in a long black dress her long dark hair blowing violently in the wind.

Before I could form the thoughts in my mind my dad said, "Hey isn't that your friend Nicole."

"I think so," I said, squinting my eyes to get a good look at her.

"She must be visiting her dad's grave. Let's see if she needs a ride home." he said and made an illegal U-Turn and parked on the wrong side of the street. "Go tell her I said we'll take her home. It's getting late and Pam is probably wants her home before it gets completely dark."

"Okay" I murmured while getting out of the car. I walked around the front of the car with my mind mulling over just why Nix was in the graveyard this late in the evening...clean on the opposite side of where her dad was actually buried and more importantly, what she was doing there in the first place. Nix was terrified of going to her father's grave and to my knowledge she hadn't been there since he was initially buried. I approached Nix somewhat reluctantly, an uneasy feeling growing within my belly. It was growing colder with each step I took and I began to grow fearful of Nix altogether. As I got closer, I could see that she was crying. Concerned and extremely worried I ran the rest of the way, now desperate to see what was troubling her.

"Nix, what's wrong?" I questioned a very upset Nicole. "Nikki. Nikki, what's wrong? What are you doing out here?" My questioned went unanswered and she her crying went from gentle sobs to full out wailing. I searched around the graveyard again, this time searching for the source of the evil feeling that was starting to surround us. "Come on let's go. We'll give you a ride home." My words seemed to fall on deaf ears, as Nix stood planted firm in one spot staring down at an empty plot. I grabbed one of her hands and was shocked by how cold her hands were, but I shrugged it off and started pulling her with me back towards the car.

I tried to reassure her that everything would be alright and that she was safe. I didn't believe any of it and I certainly didn't think that Nix was buying it, because of all the excessive crying but my saying it made it easier to walk back to the car. Every time I looked over my shoulder she was still looking back at the empty plot. Her hands were...as cold as ice...the air surrounding her, in general, was extremely cold and her whimpering was creating an uncontrollable feeling of dread and gloom inside of me. I pushed those feeling to the back of my mind and plowed ahead dragging her behind me.

I can't explain the degree of relief I felt as I reached the exit and I smiled inside as I saw my dad waving us to the car. "You girls hurry up!" he called out and cranked the engine. Nix suddenly stopped short of exiting the cemetery. I turned to see her shaking her head "no" and decided to just completely ignore her behavior. I pulled her unwillingly to the car and shoved her in.

"What's wrong...Honey...Angel what's going on?" my bewildered father shifted his questions between myself and Nikki, who'd started back wailing uncontrollably. "Nicole, everything is going to be alright...okay. We're gonna get you home in a few minutes." I ran around and opened the door to get into the passenger side, but when the light came on in the car and I saw how much disarray Nix truly was in, I decided to ride with her in the back. I climbed in the back seat and again was a little spooked by how cold it was next to her in the backseat.

My dad made another U-Turn and headed in the direction of our house. He stopped at the stop sign located only a few feet away from the entrance to the graveyard. I was holding Nikki's icy cold hand in my mine, while my dad continued to assure her that everything was going to be fine, when Nikki finally broke her silence by screaming "Help me, Angel! Help me!." her voice trailed off and the interior light of the car popped on to reveal an empty seat where Nikki had been sitting.

The scream kind of just jumped right out of me, as I looked down and realized that I was rubbing an empty space where Nikki's hand should be. The despair and terror of her voice still ringing in my ear. My dad threw the gears in park and hopped out of the car, with me exiting on the opposite side. My dad quickly pulled the back door of the car open and examined the spot that had just been occupied by what we had both thought was Nikki. Nikki. We were both baffled as we looked all around looking for a sign of Nicole. I'd never seen my dad so shaken, but he was trembling. He motioned for me to get back inside the car. I took one final look. My eyes drawn instinctively toward the spot that had occupied Nicole's attention inside the graveyard and there she was staring at the ground. I didn't bother to mention it to my dad.

"Get in!" my dad yelled, "Angel, get in...let's go!" I quickly got in and my dad peeled off down the road, thinking out loud, "What the hell just happened back there? I mean..what...how? That was your friend Nicole, right? Of course it was..but, but...but how did. Oh my god. Just have to think. Just have to think rationally. Whoa!"

My dad carried on with his ongoing question and answer session the entire way home. Me on the other hand, my mind was occupied with thoughts of the last thing Nix had said. She wanted me to help her but with what. What was in that graveyard that had her so upset? Her dad wasn't even buried in that part of the graveyard and there was no visible grave there either. Some part of Nix needed my help but I had no idea why. I'd have to bite the bullet and talk to my mom and get her take on the whole situation. It should be easy to do, seeing as how my dad had made telling her what had happened his top priority. My mind continued to wander, as I glanced out the passenger window not really focusing on anything as we continued our ride home. We pulled up the last stop sign before reaching our house and crossing the street right in front us was a sight that made my heart sink to the pit of my stomach...it was Liza, the old lady, and the handsome young man, that I decided to start calling Luci, walking arm in arm. The both glared at me with devilish grins planted on their faces and a flicker of red glow in both their eyes. The "supposed" light and self proclaimed darkness...together. What was really going on here?
-------------------------------------------------------
Even after listening to my dad vividly explain what had happened at the cemetery, I couldn't believe that it had happened...and from the sound of my dad's voice neither could he.

"Ha, ha, ha Gary" my mom said in a sarcastic manner, "What did you two do...make this story up on the way home?"

"No...Monica...what?" my dad started clearly confused by my mom's reaction. All the way home he'd talked about how our little incident would be of great interest to my mom but now that she was sort of just shrugging it off as a joke, he was completely baffled. "This really happend! Angel, tell your mother this really happened."

My dad turned to me for confirmation of his story and I honestly didn't know what to say. I knew what I had seen but I was confused as to just what had actually happened. I don't know how the question came to me but something inside me wanted...needed to know so, ignoring my dad completely, I asked, "Mom...what's a double gangler?"

"Double gangle?" she puzzled, "Do you mean a Doppleganger?"

"I don't know...do I?"

"Why?"

"What is it first?"

"Doppleganger?" My dad questioned, "Isn't that the BS about the body double. It's when those "loonies" think they see themselves, when it really just someone who looks like them, and they see it as some kind of sign."

"Loonies? Well, your one to talk Mr. "the girl just vanished into thin air" but I'm not crazy." my mom replied.

"No, see that really happened. I saw it with my own eyes." my dad responded.

"Why is it only real when it happens to you? Everyone else is crazy or making it up" Mom questioned the tone of her voice changing from sarcastic to defensive.

"Monica, I am a man of science." and with those words from my father I knew just where this conversation would end up if I didn't intervene.

"Helloooo...my question first please. What is a doppleganger?" I interrupted and seeing my dad about to add another smart remark I added "MOM" giving my dad the evil eye.

"Your father is right...sort of" she started, "It is something like a body double. For instance, let's say you were out in a mall and catch a glance of someone who looks exactly like you...that could be your doppleganger."

"Whatever." my dad chimed in.

"Daaaad..." I started, "So it's just when you see yourself?"

"No.." my mom said cutting her eyes at dad, "Have you ever had someone come up to you and ask if you were just somewhere you couldn't have been and say 'I just saw someone who looks just like you'"

"Yeah...but..well" I said still needed further clarification. I decided to just go ahead and back up my dad's story. "well tonight when we saw Nikki in the cemetery...I mean...I know it was her. Her hands where so cold and she was crying and staring at an empty grave site. It's almost like she wasn't really aware that I was there and when I tried to get her to the car, she was hesitant...like she was tied to the graveyard or something."

"I'm not sure honey. That could have been a doppleganger or it could have been something else."

"Like what?" I asked.

"I don't know, honey."

"Well...is seeing one a good thing or a bad thing."

"Honey, your getting worked up over nothing here."

"MOM...is it a good thing...or...or a bad thing."

"It depends."

"On what?"

"It depends on who sees it. If someone else sees it then it's usually seen as a bad omen of maybe some bad luck. If you see yourself...some people believe it's a sign of one's death in the near future."

"Mom the only thing IT said was "help me Angel" and the voice was desperate and terrified. What does that mean? Is something bad gonna happen to Nikki?" The rest of the conversation became a blur as my mind raced through the possible scenarios of what could be going to happen the my best friend and just how I was going to stop it.
--------------------------------------------
For the first time in recorded history, I was anxious to get the school. I had called Nix 10 times before I'd finally gone to bed last night and twice before school with no answer. So this morning I was a girl on a mission, as I searched all of our usual stomping grounds before the first tardy bell rang. I couldn't afford another tardy, so I started making my way to homeroom, when I saw what looked like death warmed over in the form of Nix dragging down the hall toward our class.

"What in the hell are you wearing?" I blurted out before thinking about or caring how it sounded. Nix, who had teen diva queen status at our school was standing there in what looked like dirty powder blue sweat pants, an enormous CAROLINA t-shirt and what looked like the old sweat jacket that her dad used to wear. Her hair looked like a bird's nest held loosely together with a bright yellow scrunchie and her face was without a stitch of makeup...not even lip gloss and from the look of her cracked lips she could really use some.

At first, she approached me as if she had no idea who I was, but then as she got closer a sinister grin spread across her face. She cocked her head to one side as if, she had just now realized who she was looking at and said "Well, well look who it is."

"Nikki." I said not sure how to respond.

She peered at the little crystal that I was still wearing around my neck and giggled insanely, stretching her eyes as wide as her sockets would allow while throwing her head back. Her cackle was so other worldly that it gave me chills, but I stood firm trying not to show any emotion. Then as sudden as it had begun, her laughter stopped and with a stern look of displeasure she said, "Foolish girl. Do you honestly believe a shiny little pebble can protect you? If he wants you...then he'll have you and I'll wear your skin like I'm wearing this one." She then looked at me as if she were totally disgusted and added, "Of course that fat sack that you wallow around in is definitely not my style...this...this beautiful body is more my style...too bad I have to trash it?"

"What do you mean trash it?" I questioned.

"That, my dear, is none of your concern." she replied and grabbed the crystal between her forefinger and thumb and continued, "You need to be worried about your own chubby little neck. This certainly isn't going to save it...but you don't believe that anymore than I do"

The last tardy bell rang and with that I sighed at the thought of three days in after school detention. Now I was pissed. "Lucky for me I don't believe any of the is crap is happening. I don't believe your standing here dressed like a dirty college kid during midterms smelling like a football player's jock strap." I started and I felt the spirit of logic beginning to pour into me as I continued, "This is obviously the workings of a young teenage mind. I've been under a lot of stress lately and the death of my grandma has been weighing heavy on my mind. Just like the death of you father has apparently been heavy on yours. This all has gotten out of hand and that stupid Ouija board and all of the mystical implication of it's power is the simple, reasonable and definitely most logical cause for all of the "strange" happenings we've been happening. If you believe something has power, well then it does...because you give it power. So Nix, you better pull your sh*t together before I tell your mom that your experimenting with drugs or something...and with you looking like that...it won't be a hard story to sell." I had summoned the bull headed will of logic that is my father and this was the story he had given me on the way to school about what had happened to us in the cemetery. I was finished with this conversation and decided I better high tail it to class, not that it would matter since I was already late, so I turned my back on Nix in an effort to leave.

I had taken about two full steps away from her when this menacing voice crept over my shoulder and screamed "NO ONE GIVE ME POWER!" and Nikki grabbed me by my hair and slammed my head into one of the lockers on the wall. I grabbed my forehead and spun around. The dizziness lasted for only a few seconds, but that anger that flowed through me cause me to be irrational, as I balled up my fist and punched Nix dead in her left eye...just in time for the principal, Mrs. Waller, to witness it.

Suspended. I had never been suspended in my entire life. There was a silver lining in this grey cloud...Nix had been suspended also. Apparently, Mrs. Waller had seen the entire incident. After my mom had dropped me off at home, grounded me and given me the "if you leave this house" speech, which went into on ear and out the other. I waited fifteen minutes until I figured my mom was well out of the neighborhood, transferred our all calls to our house phone to my cell phone and made my way to Nix's house. Somewhere in that house there was a Ouija Board with my name on it...and I was going to find it.
-----------------------------------
I knocked on the Nix's front door still pissed that she had guts to slam my head into a locker. Any other day she was scared of her own damn shadow and now she had the b**ls to try to push me around. Still I felt kind of bad for punching her because I really didn't feel that she was herself. I don't think that I had ever seen Nix dressed like a homeless person before and smelling like one for that matter. Normally she spent 80 percent of her day telling me about combing my hair, straightening my clothes or trying some new make up on me...in short getting on my last nerve.

I must say, that I too had some nerve...knocking on the door of someone's whom eye I had just blackened. I quickly grew impatient, as my second set of knocks went unanswered. I walked over and peeked in one of the large picture windows assessable through by the porch that wrapped entire front of the house. I could see the television playing, but I couldn't make out exactly what was playing. A sign that someone was home...just not whom.

"Stop peeping in our window, MeatBbag." the remark startled me causing me to nearly jump out of my skin. The voice of Nix's older jerk faced brother Markcaused my mood to escalate from startled to relaxed to repulsed in a matter of seconds.

"What are you doing here, Jerkwode?" I questioned as I walked over and pushed past Mark to enter the house. Once inside I asked, "Where's Nix?"

"What do you mean where's Nix? She's in school...where you should be? What are you doing here...ducking school?"

"If I were skipping school, do you think I'd be dumb enough to come here and knock on the front door. Sheesh. You sure are dumb for a college kid." I quickly realized that Mark had no idea that Nix and I had been suspended for fighting. Maybe her mom hadn't gotten there to pick her up from the principal's office yet.

"Well what are you doing here?" He asked.

"Nix was supposed to meet me here so that I could get me Ouija board from her." I lied.

"Good." he said sounding somewhat relieved "I hate that damn thing. She's been playing with that thing all weekend."

"Do you know where she put it?" I responded anxiously.

"Yeah." he responded and just walked away, making his way up the stairs. Again, I thought he was pretty stupid for someone in their second year in college. Who ends a conversation like that?

"Hellloo....Dirtbag...what are you doing?" I yelled up the staircase just as Mark was making his way back down, with the board in hand.

"Here Weasle." he said handing over the board to me as he reached the bottom step. "This thing gives me the willies. Nix acts like she's obsessed with the damn thing. I figured it was some of your mom's crackpot voodoo crap."

"Whatever. Don't tell Nix that I already came to get this. I told her that I'd wait until she got here...but I have to put it back...you know before my crackpot voodoo mom notices her "crap" is missing." I said smirking.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah Weasle just get that creepy crap outta here." Mark walked me to the front door and shoved me outside. He was such a get. I imagined he treated me like a real brother would.

The walk home was a hurried one and I couldn't shake the feeling of being watched. The same feeling I had experienced the first night after playing with the board. I rushed up through the streets of our neighborhood feeling like some kind of fiend, as the colors of the landscape blurred together causing everything to haze over. My hearing was on high alert and in the distance...I could hear it calling. Calling my name. This time the voice was coming from all around me both near and far. In one instance it seemed miles away and the next it was whispering in my ear....cackling...screaming...whispering...calling...calling my name over and over.

...angel...ANGEL...Annngeeellll....ANGEL...ANGEL....ANNNGGGEELLL!!!!

"Don't stop! For God's sake just DON'T STOP!" I yelled out. Trying to drown out the sound. I clutched the board tightly under my arm and quickened my step from a fast pace to a light jog. I couldn't keep my eyes focused as I caught glances of people who seemed to be there one moment and gone the next. The constant calling of my name was driving me crazy and I searched for the source expecting to see the young man who had become the face of evil for me, but nothing...nothing but the horrible voices calling my name.
--------------------------------------------
The last block to my was truly the longest as the voices suddenly became more aggressive demanding my I attention, but I refused. "This is all in your mind" I told myself pushing through what felt like some kind of negative energy field. I suddenly felt as if someone had opened a floodgate of terrible emotions upon me causing extreme fear and grief to build up and pour out of me in the form a tears. The final steps brought with them heaviness and shortness of breath, as my fear turned to terror...as the voices of evil turned into the voices of loved ones.

"Angel, Sweetie" whispered the loving voice of my Nanna.

"Squirt!" called out to me the sound of Skip, Nix father.

"Nutmeg." the playful sound of my dad calling me by his nickname for me.

"Honey." called out my mom's voice.

The voices that I knew were the hardest to ignore, but I did just that as the long driveway leading up to my house came into view. A slight glimmer of relief spread through me. Before I could step foot onto our driveway, I began to be struck by invisible blows to my back then my chest...then I pushed from behind with a force that made me stumble to the ground and fall onto the driveway. The Ouija board slipped out of my hands and onto the driveway, breaking the case open exposing the front on the board with the planchette landing beside the board.

I stared at the board amazed at the craftmanship of this particular board. The case that carried the board was a made of a beautiful mahogany wood with carvings of what appeared to be an oak tree. The board itself looked as if it had been carved out of a thin but sturdy piece of tree bark and the letters and numbers look as if they had been burned into wood. The planchette matched the wood of the box and in the middle was the raised carving of the same oak tree that was on the carrying case. It was truly a beautiful thing to behold and in the same breath it was somewhat terrifying. It's beauty seemed to have been crafted to mask it's true evil nature. One thing was clear...this definitely wasn't the Parker Brother's board.

The board fascinated me, even as the sound of the voices continued calling me. I stared at it mesmerized and in awe not believing that I hadn't noticed it's beauty the first time I'd seen it. Slowly but surely the planchette started to slide toward the board. I watched in disbelief as moved onto the board and slowly spelled out A..N..G..E..L. I gasped and instantly told myself not to respond. Again..A..N..G..E..L. Suddenly my concentration on the board was broken by the sensation of something pulling me by my feet, dragging me towards the street. Startled, I grasped aimlessly at the driveway trying to find something to grab hold to that would stop my constant progression away from the house.

I flipped over onto my back causing the back of my shirt to lift. The loose sand of the cement driveway burnt my back. My arms flung violently over my head, as I the street grew closer with my feet lifted off the ground held by an invisible foe. I started kicking my feet violently in an attempt to break free with no such luck.

"SOMEBODY HELP MEEEEE!!!!" I screamed out in despair because no one was home and the neighborhood was silent. I continued to scream and cry for help as my attacker started dragging away from my house. I tried to lift myself enough to reach my feet with no idea what I would do if I could in fact reach them, but I was determined to not lie there being dragged away without a fight.

My salvation can in the form of my mother who grabbed my arms and started chanting some words that I didn't understand. Whatever she said cause my feet to be released and I couldn't back up on them fast enough. The look on my mom's face was just as terrified as mine as she placed her hands on either side of my face and just stared at me for a second before running her hands over my hair. I was speechless and at that particular moment so did she.

"I knew you wouldn't stay home." she said before hugging me. I couldn't say a word and I honestly didn't know what words to say. I had convinced myself that my imagination had gotten away with me and now I was having another one of these unbelievable episodes. I just brushed myself off and walked with my mother up the driveway to where the Ouija board lie with the planchette still in the same place.

"Well, well this is the source of all this evil." mom said reaching down to pack the board in it's case. I watched as she placed the board and it's planchette neatly inside it's mahogany case. Then she said, "I already dug the hole. Come with me, Nutmeg." Nutmeg. I was never so happy to hear a stupid nickname. Nutmeg and Cinnamon was what my dad would call my mom and I. He had been referring to my mom as Cinnamon ever since they started dating in college and when I came along the only other spice he knew beside salt and pepper was Nutmeg, hence the ridiculous nickname. To me, it has grown to mean that my mom was going to make it all better, as that has always been the case.

I couldn't help but stare back at the end of the driveway as what looked like some sort of transparent shadow people pacing back and forth. My mom rubbed my shoulder and said "Don't worry. They can't cross into our yard." To the confusion that was instantly planted on my face she responded, "...and you and your father thought I was crazy for putting that sea salt around the yard."
--------------------------
I stood behind my mom and watched as she placed the mahogany box inside a black velvet bag and tossed it into a hole she had dug in our back yard under an old pecan tree. She sprinkles some sea salt and some other herb over the bag before she started filling the whole with dirt. She did some more of her gawd awful chatting until she had filled the hole completely. Again, I couldn't find the questions I needed to ask to get the answers I wanted. I just stared at the patched of overturned earth and wondered if and how covering this thing with dirt was going to solve our problems.

Still, I shook off any concerns and questions I was harboring and trusted my mom. I mean, this voodoo ghost hobby stuff was all her bag. She tossed the last shovel full of dirt over the already filled hole, gathered her bag of spiritual goodies and made her way towards the back door handing me the shovel as she passed. "You know what to do with it." she said leaving me to put the shovel back in the garage.

"Dad is gonna be pissed." I said still frozen in front of the of the Ouija board's grave. I glanced around the back yard looking for signs of the shadows that had taunted me earlier. Nothing. The wind was calm and the mood of the day seemed to be...normal and normal never felt so good. Before I could get too comfortable with my pleasant surroundings the back door flew open and my mom shouted "You are still grounded, young lady!"

I had just finished cleaning the downstairs bathroom floor literally with a toothbrush, when there came a frantic knock on the front door. The urgency of the pounding caused me to react accordingly as I dropped the tooth and raced to the front door. I flung open the door to see Nix standing there looking like some kind of crazed maniac, hair nested on her head, eyes widen and she appeared to be out of breath. I unlatched to lock on the glass door but before I could open it Nix grabbed the handle and snatched the door open.

"Come in," I said sarcastically as she pushed pass me and into the foyer.

"Where is it!" she demanded in an angry tone.

"Where's what?" I responded trying hard to portray bewilderment. I latched the glass door and joined Nix in the foyer.

"Don't play stupid with me, Angel. Where's the damn board?"

"Why are you asking me? I don-"

"Don't even go there. You don't think my brother told me that you came and got my board today? Just give it back so that I can leave."

"I don't have it."

"You are such a f***ing liar, Angel" Nix said leaving me totally stunned because I was the one with the pottie mouth. I don't think I'd ever heard Nix drop the F-bomb. She was angry. The kind of angry that makes tears well up in your eyes because you don't know how long you can keep your rage under control.

"I don't...I mean I had it, but I set it on fire." I lied and prepared for the wraft.

"You what?" she questioned in disbelief.

"I had to. That thing was driving you nuts. You attacked me in school an-" I tried to explain.

"Attacked you!" Nix interrupted "It was you who attacked me! Look at my eye. YOU are the one who's nuts. Calling me 50 times a day, breathing on the phone, disguising your voice, hanging up then Calling my mom and telling her awful lies about me. Hitting me in the eye and now stealing my stuff. If anything is driving me nuts it's you!"

"Whatever. I'm not going to argue with you. I burnt it to ashes and that's that." I said somewhat confused by Nix's take on the past week's events. My words seemed to crush Nix emotionally as the tears started to flow down her cheeks like rushing streams. She wiped away her tears and turned to face den, where my mom had arrange various pictures of friends and family on her grand piano. I continued, "I'm sorry Nix. I didn't know what else to do. That thing seemed to be causing more problems then anything else."

"That THING was the only way I could talk to my daddy." Nix managed to say and I could sense the anger again building in her.

"Nicole, your father's...he's dead...remember." I said softly almost asking.

Nix turned slowly while saying in a somewhat annoyed manor "Don't you think I know that." she continued with the tears wiped away and a look of disgust planted in their place, "I know he's dead. Why do you think I need the board to talk to him, stupid?"

"Nix, whatever it is that is talking to you through that board is not your dad. I don't know what it is-" again I started and again I was interrupted.

"That's right, Ms. Angel, you don't know! Just because you think you know everything doesn't mean you do! I am so sick of you and your know it all behind." Nix interrupted again. She continued, "For your information, It was my dad that was talking to me. He knew things only my dad would know and he warned me...He warned me about you. He told me that you'd try hurt me..try to break us up and he was right."

"Nix, we're friend and I was only trying to help."

"Help? Please, you don't know the meaning of the word friend or help! From now on, I want you to stay away from me!"

"You don't mean that, Nix." I said walking over to place my hand on her shoulder.

She pulled away saying"Don't touch me. I don't want anything else to do with you." and with that she made her way out of the front door.

I raced behind her pulling at her coat tails. "Nix, wait. You don't mean that."

"I do mean it! You take the only way that I can talk to my father away from me and you think I still wanna talk to you. This friendship is over! I never wanna talk to you again."

"But Nikki-" I cried choking through the tears clogging up the back of my throat.

"But nothing. I hate you, Angel." Nix said making her way down her front steps, "Got that! I HATE YOU!!!!" I watched through teary eyes as Nix stomped down our driveway and headed off toward her house.

Was this what our friendship had been reduced to? Nix storming off vowing never to talk to me again, with me left in tears on my front porch afraid to go after her? I had done everything that I knew to do to try to get things back to normal and it seemed that every time I tried to make things better they only got worse. I couldn't stand the thought of Nix and I not being friend and part of me wanted to go out back and dig up the damn thing, just to make things better. I mean, how did I know her dad wasn't talking to her and even if he wasn't she thought he was and wasn't that, what really matter? I sat on our front steps and reverted back to the girl who cried so violently when she received the news of her grandmother's passing and that's what this felt like. It felt like the death of my friendship with Nix.
----------------------------
"Mooom" I whined. "Let's just dig it up and give it to her. She was so upset." I pleaded with my mom, shadowing her every step as she moved around the kitchen trying to prepare dinner.

"Honey, that's not a good idea." she said getting out her large pot she used to boil pasta.

"But why not? Nix was soooo upset. She said that thing helped her make contact with her dad, so she could talk to him." I pleaded with my mom.

"Angel, whatever that thing was that Nicole was talking to was not Skip." my mom demanded as she slammed the pot on the kitchen counter top.

"How do you know?" I snapped back.

"The dead do not suffer the living, Angel"

"What are you, Lord of the Rings? What is that supposed to mean?"

"It means that when you're dead, that's it. Everything that was worldly is forgotten and the only people holding on to the dead is the living. The living need to know that the dead are okay...that they have safely made it to some other place...some better place. The truth is that there is only eternal rest and peace for the dead. The other side of that truth is the darkness of evil. The evil that comes cloaked as a loved one or a familiar friend. That darkness preys on the needs of the humans to connect to the dead and it is that threshold that permits the deception of evil to take hold." my mom explained. An explanation that fell once again on deaf ears. I could care less about her philosophies on death and the other side. I just wanted to make Nix happy and get our friendship back. Darkness and evil....pffft...I had, had enough of this crap.

"Mom, I don't care about any of that." I said so frustrated that I could again feel the tears welling up. I continued, "I just want Nix to stop being mad at me"

"Honey in a couple of days, Nicole will have forgotten all about this."

"She said she hated me mom...hated me. If I could just give that thing back to her then she'd forgive me and.." I begged but it was obvious that my pleas were also falling on deaf ears.

"Honey!" my mom's loud demanding tone signified the end of the conversation for her. "I'm finished with this conversation."

"Of course your finished. It isn't affecting you personally. Your best friend didn't tell you she hates you!"

"You'd better watch your tone, young lady!"

"Why is your word always the last one? You never listen to what anyone else has to say. I'm not one of your crackpot patients paying you a fortune to tell me a bunch of crap I should already know! I'm your daughter and instead of helping me with my problems your just constantly causing more problems for me!" I shouted my voice growing louder with ever angry word spewed from my lips.

"I said that was enough. You had better close you mouth." My mother warned.

Her warnings went unnoticed as I continued my rant pushing every button I could find, "Enough! Your right it's enough. It's enough talking. I'm going to dig that thing up and give it to Nix!"

"Angel, your mother said that was enough! Now, apologize and march yourself upstairs right now, Missy." my father's voice interrupted our exchange.

"But Daddy." I whined.

"But nothing." he replied and continued "Apologize and get upstairs to your room."

I stood there so angry I felt as if I could burst at any moment. I refused to apologize to my mother because it was she who was in the wrong, not me. If she would have never asked Nix to bring the board to her then this probably wouldn't have happened. We all stood silent for what seemed an eternity, with my parents waiting for an apology and me determined not to give one.

"Well!" My dad shouted apparently pissed by my disobedience. But I had been bred from a line of stubborn women and I refused to back down. I just turned and marched out of the kitchen and upstairs to my room. I could hear my father saying, "Get back down here! You are grounded and confined to that room for two weeks young lady. Do you hear me? Two weeks!"

I heard him alright. I had been grounded so much that solitude was fast becoming a part of normal everyday life for me. I made sure to lock my door behind me afraid that my dad would come marching in wanting an explanation for my actions downstairs. I turned on my laptop and opened my instant messenger to see that Nix was online. I immediately tried to send her a message to tell her that I still had her board but was quickly met with a "this user is no longer on your buddy list" message. I closed my laptop, curled up into the fetal position on my bed and cried myself to sleep.

I soon found myself in a dream. I was walking toward the same graveyard that held the remains of Skip and my grandmother. As I got closer, I could indeed see both Skip and my nana standing beside their respective graves pointing toward a freshly dug grave a little further down the rows. I followed their direction making my way toward the open grave to find that a beautiful mahogany casket had already been placed inside. I gasped as I recognized the great oak tree carved into the top of the rich mahogany wood. It was the same one from the Ouija board's case. I shot a quick glance around the cemetery looking for Skip and Nana, but they were gone. I looked up at the tombstone that read: Our Loving Daughter and Sister, We Miss You More Each Day. The casket flew open and there lie Nix. Her hair parted on the side, neatly coiffed over her shoulders. Her make up was perfectly done with her lips curled up at the corners to mimic a smile. She truly looked beautiful and at peace. Her eyes shot open and she said, "Help me, Angel!"

As I shot awake, I could still her the sound of her voice echoing in my head. Panic stricken as I awoke again in the darkness. I stumbled over little gadgets and whatnots on my nightstand as I tried to find the light switch on the lamp. I clicked the light on the dim setting which lite the room to a low lighten not even as bright as the television would light the room. My reality was a still distorted as I made out a conversation between my mother and what I quickly guessed to be Nix's mom on the phone.

I heard my mom say, "Angel told me that they had another fight, after they left school but I haven't seen her since I've been home."
"Right"
"Right"
"Pam, I don't have any idea where she could be. I'll go wake Angel and see if she knows anything"
"Okay, I'll call you back" Then I heard her making her way down the hall to my room. She turned the knob on my locked door and knocked. I looked at the clock on my computer desk. 11:35p.m. flashed in red brightly.

"Angel, open the door. This is important." my mom called through the door. I got up and made my way to the door with the faint sound of what could only be described as someone panting and grunting ringing in my ears. My mom called out again, "Angel, I'm serious open the door."

"I'm coming, God" I yelled back as I tripped over my shoes trying to open the door. I unlocked the door and yanked it open. "What is it?"

"Pam called, said she can't find Nicole. Do you know where she might be?" My mom asked.

"Thanks to you she's not talking to me anymore, remember?" I smartly replied. I opened my door completely then turned to walk over to sit at my computer desk. My mom came in and sat down on my bed still carrying the cordless phone in her hand. She lay the phone on the bed and rubbed her hands together, something she always did before she delivered bad news. I propped my elbow on the desk and rested my cheek in the palm of my hand. I glanced out at the part of the backyard visible from my window. Again I could swear that I heard the sounds of someone panting and grunting, but I tried to pay attention to what my mom was saying.

"Pam said she found Nicole's window open and her gone." my mom continued. "She thought you might know something."

"I don't know what's going on with Nix. All I know is that she was really upset when I told her I destroyed her board." I said still the sound faintly ringing in my ear.

"Pam said you told her that Nikki may be experimenting with drugs. Is that true?"

"What?" I questioned shocked by my mom's accusations "I did no such thing. Even if I knew she was I wouldn't tell her mom. I'd tell you before I told her and we both know I wouldn't tell you."

"Pam said you call her this weekend and told her that." my mom repeated maybe hoping that I would change my story.

"Mom! I didn't tell her that okay. I don't know why she would say that. Maybe someone else called and said they were me. Anyway, Nix would never use drugs. She's president of the dang on S.A.D.D. club. I think she's just missing her dad...and with this voodoo crap ouija board crap I think she thinks she's found away to. I wish she would have never found that thing..." I finished with my voice calmly trailing off. I stared out the window at the tree also visible from my window and saw what looked like someone on all fours digging in our backyard. "Mom! Someone's in the backyard!"

"What!"

"Someone's digging in our backyard. Look!" I said as my mom made her way over to the window. Sure enough, we both saw someone digging in the spot that mom had buried the Ouija board.
"Oh my God!" mom gasped and said "I'm going to get your father."

"Mom wait." I said grabbing her wrist before she could move. She took as second look as I said "Look! It's Nix!"
---------------------------
The whole surreal scene of Nix down on here knees digging in our backyard like a dog searching for it's bone was too much for me to take in. I could hear my dad on the cordless phone telling Pam that we had found Nix and that she needed to come and pick her up. My mom ran over and grabbed Nix by her shoulders trying with all her might to pull her from the overturned earth. Me, I just stood there staring and the freshly re-dug hole, listening to different voice calling out Nix's name and in the distance one distinct voice calling my own. I concentrated on the melodious voice in the distance calling my name, warmingly, welcoming...intrigue caused me to give in the seductive voice and this voice only. It was trying to tell me something...something that I had to know...something that I needed to know. The sound wafted out of the hole, which now held my full attention as all surrounding distractions cessed to exist.

I was engulfed in the sound, as my name had never sounded so sweet. There had to be a message in the sound. I could feel it. But then there came the sound of another voice...a more urgent voice and a somewhat familiar voice and it's message was clear "Don't listen". It became loud and seemed to be approaching me from a place unseen in the same manner I'd been approached in the darkness. It was like it was trying to warn me but the sound of it's voice was so frightening that I lost the soothing sound of my name being called to fear. The voice grew closer and closer and closer and....then..."ANGEL!!!" was screamed in my ear as if someone was standing directly behind me. I screamed as I lost my balance and fell face down landing beside the open hole. I stared in amazed that Nix had been able to dig all the way down to expose the black velvet bag containing the Ouija board. Evil seemed extremely close, as I lay there staring into the darkened hole.

"ANGEL!!! What are you doing? Get over her and help me!" my mom said. I was caught off guard by the sound of her voice and rolled over on my side to catch sight of my mom struggle to get Nix under control. I reached down and grabbed the bag from the hole, determined to put an end to this madness. With the bag secured, I got up and ran pass my mom and her struggle to the grill neatly placed the under the kitchen window. I pulled the grill away from the house and threw open the lid. I sighed a sigh of relief when I saw that my dad had left his grill lighter laying on the racks inside. I had never been so happy that dad had ignored my mom's repeated warning against leaving the lighter in the grill. I threw the bag on the rack and grabbed the lighter fluid from a tray located under the grill, something else my mom ragged on my dad about. I didn't even bother to take the box out of the bag. I just doused the bag with lighter fluid, which seem to make to voices return...and this time they were angry.

"Sweetheart, what are you doing?" My dad questioned having gone over to help my mom contain Nix.

"Angel, Honey, don't do that!" my mom warned.

"Noooo!" Nix screamed, as if I was setting her on fire. There voices merged together and caused the back of my head to throb. The distraction of the voices, both the ones from the people I could see and the evil I could not made me sick to my stomach. I was determined to get rid of this evil and so without concern for anything other than it's destruction gave me the nerve I needed to set that baby on fire. An enormous fireball erupted from the grill, almost instantly once the lighter's flame hit the drenched bag. I used my arm to shield my face as I jumped back to escape the flames of the fire. Nix's screams escalated as flame after seemed to erupt like small explosions occurring over and over. I stared at the fire amazed at how it seemed to calm the voices that screamed in despair and faded off into the distance. Even Nikki's whimpering seemed to die down to a low pout.

My mom marched over and grabbed me by my arm saying, "You really shouldn't have done that, Angel!"

"Whatever." I replied as I snatched my arm away from her and went over to embrace Nix who was still sobbing on my dad's shoulder.

"I'm serious, Angel," my mom continued as she followed behind me, "there is are proper ways to destroy it and that was not it."

"Mom, I don't care." I replied wrapping my arm around Nix's waist. She had become surprisingly receptive to me and even lay her head on top of mine as she continued her whining. "I don't want to hear anything else about this spirits crap. It's over."

My mom opened her mouth to say something but was quickly cut off my dad before she could speak. "She's right Monica. It's late. Let's just get go inside and wait for Pam to come pick up Nicole."

"Fine." my mother replied visibly angry by my dad's response. My mom stormed off towards the house mumbling something something under her breath, as she crossed her arms and cut her eyes at my father as she passed him. Nix and I followed her towards the back door with Nix's crying slowly fading with each step. My dad stayed behind to, my guess, smother the fire once it died down.

Once inside, Nix seem to be slowly reverting back to her old self. In fact she seemed to be to confused as to what she was doing at our house in the first place. My mom was making chamomile tea when Nix leaned over and said, "Why are we up so late on a school night. I've got a squad meeting before school."

I was stunned speechless for a second then managed to say, "Nix, we're suspended...remember?"

"Suspended...what are you talking about? I've never been suspended in my life." Nix shot back her diva attitude and voice returning to there old status.

My mom catching the tail end of Nix's comments said, "Nicole, you and Angel were suspended today for fighting. Don't you remember?"

"Fighting?" Nix questioned totally caught off guard, "What? Fighting who? I've never been in a fight. Everyone loves me. Ol' Bad Mouth Betsy over here...well that 's another story."

"You pushed me into the lockers and," I hesitated for a second almost afraid to reveal the part of the story that would send Nix into shock. I glanced at my mom who was staring at Nix in disbelief before I continued saying, "I kinda punched you in the eye."

"What!!!" Nix shouted getting up to check her face in the toaster on the counter. Once she saw the dark circle surrounding her eye she gasped and said, "OH MY GOD!!! You hit me in the eye. I can't believe it! Why would you hit me in the eye? Oh God...you can't be cute with a black eye. Did Scott see it? He's never going to ask out a girl with a big ring around her eye. I can't believe you hit me in the eye! (gasp) How am I gonna get on Homecoming court with a shiner." Her rant was nonstop and had never been more welcomed. Her constant rambling about herself was a sign that she was truly back to the old Nix. She just continued fussing at me for giving her a black eye and asking me rhetorical questions about my friendship qualities as she repeatedly lifted our toaster to view her face in different angles.

"Nicole, Honey," my mom who seemed thoroughly amazed by Nix's complete memory lapse said, "What about talking to you dad? Do you remember that?"

"What?" Nix replied.

"You told Angel you were talking to your dad earlier."

"Um...Ms. Monica...my dad's dead...remember?" Nix said her eyes darting back and forth me to my mom. She looked at me, as if to say "Dude, what's wrong with your mom?" Just then my dad walked in, with Nix's mom pushing pass him to get to Nix. She hugged a confused Nix all while telling her about the help she was going to get for her and telling her she wasn't upset by her leaving. Nix and her parents stayed only a short while longer before saying good night and leaving. My parents and I went to bed soon after. I climbed into my bed relieved that our saga was finally over. I was glad I didn't have to go to school in the morning, as I looked at the clock and saw that it was 1:55a.m.

I was again awakened by the a disturbing unfamiliar sound. I sat straight up in the bed as I realized the sounds were those of what sounded to be something or someone moving the grill outside. At first, I lay back down convinced that I was still a little jumpy from what had happened earlier. Then I heard it again. This time I reasoned that the neighbor's cat must have gotten in the yard was crawling around on the grill. The next time I heard it, I was fed up as I looked at the clock and saw that it was 5:48. I got up from my bed and walked over to my window to see if I could see anything or anyone outside. I stared out the window searching for the cause of the irritating racket. For a few minutes, nothing happened and I was just about to stop my search and return to bed when I saw it. The grill started to rock violently from side to side at times lifting off the ground as if someone or something were trying to get out.
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The little girl in me caused me to run to my bed and hide beneath the covers. I closed my eyes tightly...and waited. I knew it was only a matter of time before the darkness would again find me. I was so tired of battling with whatever was controlling this thing. We had let something out...but only partially. Whatever it was needed us...needed me to help free it from that board. For me the wraft of this thing with minimal power was too much. I could only imagine what it could do if it were completely free.

The sound of the grill rattling continued for what seemed like another hour. I continued to lie there, head covered with my finger in my ears because again the darkness was calling. It whined and moaned, begged and plead...all while calling my name, over and over non stop. My sanity was all but gone and terrible vision came to me. The most disturbing was one of Nix submerged in tub of water with tiny air bubble escaping to the surface. In the distance I could here Nix's voice from the grave begging for help. Desperation gave way to irrational thought, as I reasoned with myself that if I used that board to find out what this thing needed then I could do away with it once in for all. That insane reasoning calmed the voices in my ears and before long I had drifted off to sleep, feeling like I may be sealing my own doom.

I was awaken by a phone call from my mom around 9am informing me that I was not on vacation and that she'd left a mountain of chores for me to complete before she return home. I decided, that now was just as good a time as any to get that board and find out who or what this thing really wanted. I didn't bother to get dressed since my night clothes weren't anything more than, sweat pants and one of my dad's oversized t-shirts. I threw on a pair of sneakers and headed out the back door.

Once I arrived at the grill, I noticed an irree calm in the neighborhood. There was no sound of birds, bees or any of the neighboring dogs. I took a deep breath and could swear that I smelled the scent of Nix's perfume. My eyes darted around the backyard in search of her. Nothing. Not even a breeze to carry the scent. Just then the grill rattled, spooking me at first, but then setting my mind back to the task at hand. I rubbed my hand on side of my sweats before attempting to lift the lid, but then again came the sweet scent citris that dominated Nix's perfume. I stood the with one hand on the handle of the grill and the other on the lid, as the soft pleas for help called to me from the direction of Nix's house. I immediately looked up...and there she was. The same Nix who'd stood by the grave site. The same one who cried when I tried to help her. The same one who'd screamed for help. She was wearing the same dress and her hair was blowing...without the presence of wind.

My attention was quickly captured by her, as I forgot about the grill completely and started to make my way over to the fence that divided our property from out neighbors. I had almost reached her when she turned and pointed in the direction of Nix's house. Then the world around me became more like a vision than any reality that I have ever know, as the surrounding disappeared and I could see clear to inside of Nix's house. There she was in the bathroom standing in front of her mirror admiring herself, while running water in the tub. Downstairs the darkness was winding through the house and making it's way toward her. The voices of every warning I'd received flooded my mind as I realized that I had escaped the darkness twice but Nix had only been threatened by it. The fingers that had touched the light when I was lost in the darkness began to burn as if they themselves were made of fire.

The grill again started rocking from side to side and this time it finally fell completely over, exposing its contents. The board lay there in the grass in perfect condition. The bag had been burned completely but there wasn't a scorched marking on the case itself. Before I could pick it up the case flew open and the planchette circled around the board violently before it stopped. Then the board moved from letter to letter almost to quickly for me to make out the message, but I did and it was horrifiying. S.H.E.I.S.M.I.N.E.N.E.X.T.Y.O.U....S.H.E.I.S.M.I.N.E.N.E.X.T.Y.O.U...She is mine. NEXT YOU!!!

My turned back towards Nix and saw that the darkness was up the stairs and making it's way toward her. "She is mine". The vision of Nix underwater rushed into my head and gave those words new meaning. I quickly reached down and grabbed the actual board from inside its protective case and the grill lighter and ran as fast as I could. I had to do something. I had to reach her in time. I had already seen it coming and now it was here and if I couldn't stop it, then it was going to be a terrifying reality. Nix was about to die.
----------------------------------
Running was leaving me breathless. I tried to remember the breathing techniques I had learned in Phys. Ed class. I inhaled threw my nose and tried a controlled exhale which quickly lead to an intense and excessive amount of mouth panting. My calf muscles began to burn from the strain I was putting them through. My chest muscles tightened and a sharp pinch in my side made me want to stop or at least slow down to a quick power walk, but fear and determination made me the energy I needed to push on.

Nix’s house was only six blocks and she was in extreme danger. I had seen the darkness coming for her and I had also seen the results of what would be if I couldn’t help her. It had been after her the whole time. Something in that board wanted her…needed her…and it called to her in a voice that she couldn’t resist…her father’s. It wanted her soul…needed her body…but for what and how did I tie into the equation. Was I merely being distracted so that this thing could get closer to Nix? The end was indeed near for Nix, but the truth was still nowhere in sight.

I reached Nix’s front porch completely out of breath with various parts of my body in pain. I rang the doorbell and knocked on the door. I called out to her almost screaming her name. I looked through the enormous picture windows and the house was calm…too calm. I jump off the porch and ran around to the side of the house to where Nix’s bathroom window was located and found her window half open. I continued to yell for Nix with no response to my pleas for her attention. I ran back to the front door, climbing the steps two and three at the time and rang the bell frantically, which kicking and beating on the front door. I turned the knob to make sure that the door was locked..it was.

I let out a laundry list of profanity as I again jumped off the front porch and ran around to the back door. I climbed the staircase to the deck in the same manner as I had climbed the front steps, tripping over myself a couple of times but maintaining my balance as I reached the top of the steps and ran across the deck and snatched open the screen door. I was still screaming for Nix, as I turned the knob on the door. To my surprise, the door was unlocked and my weight against it caused me to fall in onto kitchen floor. I scurried across the floor and quickly made my way to the staircase, screaming for Nix the entire time. I panted my way up the staircase, with just enough energy to skip the last two steps. I couldn’t even muster up enough energy to call Nix’s name anymore.

I was panting to the point of near collapse, as I made my way down the hall leading toward the bathroom. I stumbled down the hall, hoping to find Nix staring at herself in the mirror with her ipod blasting in her ears. I took in an enormous deep breath to get my breathing in control. I threw the board to the floor before I turned the knob and pushed the door open, as if I were the police coming to get there man.

Water covered the floor from the overflowing bathtub. The facuet was still running full open and one of Nix’s long legs was thrown over the side of the tub. I hurried across the floor, slipping and falling in the process. I quickly got to my knees and crawled across the water soaked floor and looked into the tub. The it was. The terrible nightmare that had awaken me, the disturbing vision of Nix submerged in a tub of water. As the bubbles floated to the top, I reached in, grabbed her under her the back of her neck and the small of her back and lifted her out of the water. Her small frame was heavy but manageable. I leaned back and pulled her with me until I fell on my back and she was completely out of the tub. I rolled her partially nude body onto the bathroom floor and positioned her on her back. My mind raced, flooded with various emotions as I tried to remember my CPR training.

“Okay…the victim’s on a flat hard surface.” I said as I fought back the tears building in the back of my throat. I checked her pulse…it was very faint, but it was there. My hope restored I continued my rescue efforts, squeezing my forefinger and thumb over her nose to seal it. I inhaled deep, covered her mouth with mind and blew two deep breathes into her mouth watching her chest to see if it rose with the breath. Nothing. I repeated this process three more times with no success. My lips trembled as I went down to deliver my last attempt before calling 911. I could feel the air escaping from the corners of my mouth, as I tried to compose myself one last time but my attempts to revive Nix were proving useless. I gave one final breath of air filled with all of the desperation pinned up in me. I released my hold on her nose and lay my forehead on hers as I realized that this was pointless. Nix was gone.

“Sh*t!!” I screamed out in frustration. The sound of the water rushing into the tub then spilling over onto the floor marked the diminishing of my senses and what seemed like my sanity. I propped up on my knees and sat back on my heals and just stared at her lifeless body there on the floor. I can’t explain why, because I don’t rightfully know what possessed me to do it, but I clasped both of my hands together and held then over my head and with every speck of energy and force that I could muster up, I slammed my hands down into Nix’s abdominal area. I don’t even know where the blow landed exactly but it caused her entire body to jerk. Water squirted up from her mouth followed by labored coughing which made me immediately push her over to her side. I hit her on her back a couple of times as she coughed and struggled to clear her lungs of water and replaced it with air. She coughed uncontrollably, as she tried to rise to a sitting position. I helped her reach a sitting position then grabbed a towel from the sink counter and draped it around her shoulders.

We were stunned speechless. We were both trembling and imagined that we looked like two wet cats sitting in the middle of small pool of water. The water was still running with the tub still overflowing and leaking out into the hallway onto the board. I reached out to touch Nix with childlike amazement, as the reality of what had just happened started to sink in. She too looked as if she was fully aware of what had just happened to her and she was terribly frightened.

‘Wh…how…what happened to you?” I managed to ask. Still shocked that she was living and breathing.

Tears welled up in her eyes as her trembling lips allowed a few words to escape, “Some…thing…pushed me. I heard…it was…in the hallway…and pushed me.” She struggled to get her thoughts out. She sobbed and I wrapped my arms around her trying to console her. I swayed back and forth in a rocking motion trying to calm her. It was all that I knew how to do to try to calm her. It seemed to work for a few minutes until she looked over my shoulder and saw the board lying on the floor in the hall.

She pulled away from me and in a very stern voice she said, “We’ve got to get rid of that thing right now Angel.”

“I know.” I agreed, “But first we better turn off the faucet and get this water up or you mom is gonna kill us.”
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We made our way back to my house to destroy the board once and for all. I picked up the overturned grill, and placed the board inside. Nix took the lighter fluid from the back steps and proceeded to empty the contents of the bottle onto the board. I lit a fire inside the grill and just like that the wood began to burn. We stood there watching and waiting, expecting something evil to happen but nothing. After all of the attacks we'd endured over the past week, we expected something violent to retaliate against us, when we tried to destroy this thing, but nothing.

We stood there staring into the fire to make sure the board would burn to ashes. As it burned it seemed be singeing a message into the wood. It was fuzzy at first but then the words "YOU ARE MINE" became very visible and sent chills up my spine.

"Do you see that!" Nix exclaimed as she pointed to the message plainly visible to both of us. I couldn't say anything. I just nodded my head in agreement while my eyes stayed fixed on the message. It stayed there for what seemed like minutes before the board burnt completely. I picked up a stick and stirred the ashes to ensure that the board was indeed gone. I picked up the little grill shovel and scooped the ashes into the box that once held the board. The hole that my mom had dug was still open so we decided that we'd place the box back inside it.

"Give me your crystal." Nix said while taking off her father ring that she wore on a chain around her neck.

I hesitantly took mine off to give to her and asked, "Why do you want this thing?"

"I don't know," she replied, "I just do." She kissed the ring on the necklace and before tossing it in she said, "Protect us daddy." Then she tossed in my crystal and said, "Okay, let's say the Lord's Prayer."

"What...why." I responded not able to draw a connection between prayer and the necklaces. "What is praying gonna do?" Nix shot me a sour look so I added, "What? You know how I feel about all of that bible stuff. I just don't believe-"

"Believe! Angel, I could care less what you believe in right now." Nix snapped and she glared at with a distinct look of disgust. She shook her head as if bringing herself back to reality and continued, "I'm sorry. I know you have issues with the bible, so how about I recite the Lord's Prayer and you recite Einstein's Theory of Relativity. I know you believe in that."

"What is the purpose of this?" I said as I got close enough to the hole to get a good look inside of it.

"We need to believe that whatever we say will protect us. For me, it's the teaching of the bible...and for you it's...the teaching of an Autistic genius."

"Ha, ha, ha...very funny." I responded, but at this point I was truly willing to give anything a try. So we stood there both reciting words that we believe in under our breathes. I actually ended reciting the words to a poem my mom used to read to me every night before bed, to keep the monsters away. We filled the hole back in and pulled the grill back into its spot under the kitchen window. We were walking back over to retrieve the grilling utensil and the shovel when I said, "This has been the weirdest two weeks of my life."

Nix stopped and looked around, as if she were looking for someone then said, "Do you hear that."

"What?" I questioned, as I didn't have the slightest idea what she was talking about.

She stood there listening intently to silence of the morning, before saying "That. You don't hear that." I shook my head as she continued. "It sounds like your mom, a man and a woman having an argument. Your mom is telling them that there was nothing she could do and what's done is done....now the woman is saying she'll have to find another way...the man is saying it's not time. You mom is really upset."

I didn't hear any of what Nix was talking about but when I looked up at our house...I saw it. The entire back wall seemed to have vanished and I see clear into our living room where this conversation that Nix was hearing was taking place. I see my frustrated mother pacing the floor, while a very beautiful young lady stood by the door as if she were keeping watch while an elderly man who looked a lot like Santa Claus sat on mom's good couch. I stared in amazement as the movement of their mouths went along perfectly with what Nix was saying.

"Angel...you don't hear that?" Nix asked one last time.

"No, but I can see it" I said calmly pointing toward the section of the house they where they were located.

"What?! How!"

"The same way you can hear them I guess. Something weird is going on here and I'm going to find out what it is."

"Pffft, not me. I don't want any part of anything that you are thinking about doing. You are constantly getting us into some kind of trouble. I've got bumps and bruises, not to mention a black eye...all thanks to you wanting to know the truth. I've lost an entire weeks worth of precious memories."

"Trust me, there was nothing precious about last week's memories. Besides, don't you want to know why this stuff has been happening to us."

"No."

"Niiiiix" I whined, "Come on. I wanna know what my mom is hiding. It's obvious she knows more than she was telling and you saw how upset she was about that board even though she said that she wanted to destroy it. If it was your mom, I'd help you find out what was going on."

"You'd help me because your nosey and you'd want to know what was going on." Nix sighed and gave in saying, "I don't how, or why for that matter, we are even friends. Let's go get ourselves into even more trouble. I don't know how I let you talk me into this stuff."

And just like that, Nix and I began our misguided adventure into the paranormal. From then on we found ourselves encountering stranger and stronger foes, with the evil of the darkness always just a step behind. With Nix's spiritual belief constantly trying to stir us away from harm and my blinding logic forever pushing us into dangerous situations, I'm surprised we survived our teenage years. Nix became fascinated with the paranormal and eventually began ghost hunting and gladly joined her with scientific gear in tow to prove that they did not really exist. We have yet to convince each other to abandon her beliefs, but we have managed to remain the best of friends.

I know you're probably wondering what happened with my mom...well that's another story;).

THE END