“You want to do what?” The young blonde stared at her best friend with disbelief. “You can’t be serious.” She turned her back and walked a few steps away before moving to face her friend once more.
“What’s so bad about that?” Casey stood and pace the floor back and forth in front of her friend. “I just want to talk to my mother.”
“Your mother is dead, Casey. You can’t talk to her no matter how much you want to.” Maria moved forward to embrace her friend. She stroked her long dark hair and patted her gently on the back. “I know this is hard for you. I get that, but turning to witchcraft and black magic isn’t the answer.
“A Ouija board isn’t black magic,” Casey said as she jerked away from the taller teen. “It’s a game.”
“If you think it’s a game, then how do you expect to make contact?” Maria turned a stern eye in her friend’s direction. “And you want to cast a spell? That doesn’t sound like you think it’s a game, Casey.”
“Well, what if I don’t? You don’t care. You still have your mother.” Casey’s words shot like arrows into Maria’s heart. The tall, lithe blonde stared at the ground trying to carefully formulate her next words. She knew they were going to be crucial. “Look, if you want to go through with this, of course I will help you. That’s what friends are for. I just don’t want you to be disappointed when it doesn’t work.”
“It will work, especially this close to Halloween” Casey returned with a look of hope in her eyes. It was the first sign of the feeling that Maria had seen in the two years since Casey’s mother passed away.
“Just let me talk to Father Jacob first to make sure this isn’t going to damn our souls or something,” Maria mumbled.
“Absolutely not, Maria. You know how priests are. They’ll condemn us for even mentioning such a thing.” Walking up to her friend, she looked at her eyes as she spoke again. “Either you are my friend or you aren’t. Either you help me with this or you don’t. It is just that simple.”
“There is nothing simple about this, Casey.” Maria grasped to find words to make her friend understand the gravity of her suggestion. Somehow, however, she knew that wasn’t going to happen. It came down to her helping Casey or letting her friend go it alone. The latter seemed too dangerous.
“I said I was in. When do you want to do this thing?” Maria’s eyes pleaded with Casey’s to change her mind. However, there was no evidence that any such thing was possible.
“Tonight. I want to do it tonight, in the cemetery.” Casey smiled triumphantly.
“What? Have you lost your mind entirely?” Maria started pacing too, her mind racing as it tried to find a way out of the mess she’d allowed her friend to create. “I’m not going to a cemetery at night, Casey, and I’m certainly not going to try to raise the dead there.”
“You just said you were in,” Casey shouted. “You can’t change your mind now.”
“I said I’d help you and I will. I just won’t do it there.”
“But the book said it was more likely to work at the person’s burial place. It has to be there,” Casey begged with her eyes turning sadder than Maria had seen them in a long time.
“I can’t,” her friend returned. “I love you like a sister but I can’t do it there. You’ll have to go alone.”
“All right, then,” Casey shouted. “Consider our friendship null and void.” With that, the petite brunette slammed out the door.
Maria wrestled with her decision for most of the day. Part of her wanted to protect her friend and support her. Another part of her knew what Casey was planning was wrong. As dusk began to fall, Maria’s mind snapped into place. She ran to the church in search of Father Jacob. Luckily, he was there.
“Father Jacob, I need your help,” the teenager pleaded as she entered his office without knocking. “Casey is planning to contact her mother tonight – in the cemetery.”
“Contact her how?” The elderly father looked more worried than disturbed at first, but Maria could see his mannerisms rapidly changing as he understood the gravity of the situation.
“Using a Ouija board and witchcraft. She found some spell in a book that she thinks will raise her mother from the dead after she contacts her with the board.”
“Spirits lie, Maria,” the priest stated. “It might not be her mother she contacts. It could be a demon.”
“Father, we’ve got to stop her. I tried but not hard enough. Please help me,” the teenager pleaded with everything in her body.
“Let’s go,” the old man said as he grabbed a bag from behind his desk.
The drive to the cemetery was a short one. Within minutes, the duo was scanning the graves for a trace of Casey Brown. At last, Maria spotted her friend and began running toward her. The sound of Casey’s voice echoed on the wind. She was saying something Maria didn’t understand at first. However, as she drew nearer, she could make out the words.
“Let the spirit of my mother, Rebecca Brown, come to me,” Casey recited as she threw some kind of powder onto her mother’s grave.
“Stop!” Father Jacob raised a hand to express his demand. He was shocked when Casey’s beautiful face turned toward him. It was contorted with something raw and ugly.”
Casey didn’t listen. She continued her weird chant and the spell she was casting. As Maria and Father Jacob reached the grave, they witnessed something they would never forget. A strange mist arose from the ground. It swirled and twisted before finally forming into a feminine figure.
“Mom,” Casey whispered hopefully at the figure. “Mom, you came back to me.”
As the figure continued forming, Maria noted something that Casey did not. It was complete, with two arms and two legs. Casey’s mother had only one leg. She’d lost the other in the Afghanistan war.
“Casey, that’s not your mother,” Maria shouted as she sprinted to push her friend out of the spirit’s path. The girls landed with a thud on the grave next to Rebecca’s.
“Be gone, you unclean spirit,” Father Jacob shouted. Then he began repeating words from the book he brought with him in the bag. He sprinkled holy water at the figure.
“No!” Casey shouted. “Mom,” she screamed as she tried to get away from Maria. But as the spirit finished forming, the pretty brunette saw the truth of Maria’s words. It wasn’t her mother. It was something else. She’d brought evil into the world.