A Valentine’s Story
“For those who seek love in unconventional places.”
Kailee set the basement up as she always had; seven white candles, a ring of salt, and her Ouija board. However, today was different because it was Valentine’s day. This time, Kailee scattered some rose petals and lit some sandalwood incense. She placed some chocolates next to the Ouija board and even wore a pretty red dress. Kailee sat down and placed her planchet on the board. She knew it the game wasn’t meant to be played alone, but she had been doing so for quite some time now.
Settling down on the basement floor, Kailee made herself comfortable then put her fingers on the planchet. She began as usual, moving the planchet in a clockwise circle before resting it in the middle. Her stomach fluttered.
“Is anyone with me?” she asked.
The planchet was still.
“Is anyone present with me tonight?” she asked a bit louder.
She waited but no response came. Kailee waited then sighed, and as soon as she did, the planchet jerked itself to “yes.” The candles began to flicker and one of the seven snuffed out. Kailee smiled.
“May I ask who I am speaking to?”
Kailee already knew, or at least hoped it would be her new “friend.” The planchet moved. It touched each end of the alphabet in a figure eight pattern, a tell-tale sign of her friend. It was Aznm, a demon she called “Azam.” It had appeared after she had played a few times.
“Azam, is that you?”
It didn’t move.
“I know it’s you. It’s obvious.”
The air in the basement was already cool but somehow dropped to a temperature that made chill bumps appear on her arms. Kailee hear something fall off the shelf behind her. She turned to look but only saw the dark corner of the basement. Another candle snuffed out.
“What does my fortune look like today?” she asked in a higher, sweet tone.
The piece moved.
Kailee gave sour look.
“Come on, that’s not nice,” she said. “How about this, will I ever find love?”
The board answered.
“Wow. Okay,” she said. “A little strong but I get the message. ‘In Hell’ must mean you. Sweet.”
She took one of the chocolates she set out and popped one in her mouth.
“I know you can’t but I brought these for you.”
Something else crashed behind her and she whirled to see a paint can had dropped off the shelf. It rolled across the roll, making a clanging, scraping sound as it did.
“Is that you? Stop it. You know I’m not scared of you. Don’t mess up the basement again.”
Azam had done it all already. Creepy messages, turning on and off lights, throwing things. At this point, if he didn’t throw a knife, she wasn’t going to freak out. He would just have to listen her like every other night.
“I hate Valentine’s day actually,” she said. “No, not because I’m single, just because I’m tired of hearing everyone talks about it as if it’s super special. It isn’t really. If you have a partner, you should say you love them every day of the week, right?”
The planchet didn’t move. Kailee rolled her eyes.
“At least have some opinions.”
The board was still and silent but another candle went out. She frowned and tried to move on.
“Okay, fine. I’ll be honest with you. I played today because…I wanted to ask you something.”
The planchet suddenly began to move again.
Kailee giggled. It was Azam’s way of flirting.
“Maybe. But don’t interrupt. I’m nervous,” she said. “I wanted to ask…if you’d be my valentine?”
She expected some sort of sign. Maybe the candles would flare or a spectral cackle would rumble through the basement. She even expected the board to answer her in some derogatory way. Something should have happened but the basement was quiet yet again.
“Hello? Azam? At least have the courtesy to reject me.”
Another candle went out. Three were left. Kailee opened her mouth to tell Azam to stop but the hairs on the back of her neck stood up and a chill ran down her spine. She could feel something watching her. Something in the corner.
Kailee turned around. The basement corner seemed darker than it was before as if darkness had eaten part of the basement and there was no corner left. She squinted and peered into where she knew the corner should be, trying to make out what she was seeing. The three candles were still alight but even that did not penetrate the dark corner. Then, she finally saw it. Kailee saw a pale face hovering in the corner; it was as white as a sheet but very faint, as if it wasn’t quite done materializing into the basement. Kailee gasped at its sudden appearance. She felt her blood run cold at the sight of it. Nothing like it had ever appeared before. She had to take several breaths and calm herself down. One of the three candles blew out and she cursed herself for not bringing a lighter or matches.
“Azam?” she asked, rubbing her eyes to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.
The face didn’t move. It was triangular in shape and too high up, making whatever was standing there about seven feet tall. She studied its features. It looked almost like a normal face except it was far too pale and gaunt, the eyes seemed far too large, and its nose was short and pushed up with wide holes, like a skeleton. Its lips were so thin, she could barely tell it was smiling. Kailee cleared her throat and felt herself smile sheepishly back.
“Hi. This is our first time meeting like this,” she said.
The face’s smile grew wider, the lips pulling back from sharp pointed teeth, four of which were elongated like fangs. That’s when Kailee realized it wasn’t smiling, but bearing its teeth at her. She licked her suddenly dry lips. Behind her, she heard the planchet move. Her eyes darted to the side for a moment and when she looked back at the corner, the face had become more solid and visible; a white triangle of color in the pitch black of the basement.
“Nice trick. I know you can’t hurt me. You would have by now.”
Kailee laughed nervously and used her hand to feel for the board behind her. She took hold of it and dragged it around so that it was in front of her. She didn’t take her eyes off the face. Another candle blew out. One was left. The basement felt heavy with the darkness.
“This is our first date. It should be special.”
The planchet flung itself to “yes” without her touching it at all. She could barely see the answer from the edge of her vision.
“Should we play a game?”
It went to “no.”
“So then, what should we do?” she said in a small voice.
The planchet began to move quickly over the board. She glanced quickly, trying to keep the face in her peripheral, but couldn’t catch what the board was spelling.
The planchet moved again, too quick for her side glancing. Kailee barely had a chance to register what it said as her eyes darted between letters. She looked at the face in the corner, pursing her lips and very annoyed.
“It’s too fast. Just do it slower, no tricks,” she said.
It began to move slower this time. Kailee carefully read it out loud.
“D-o-n’-t,” Kailee said. “L-o-o-k.”
The piece kept moving.
A chill came over her and her stomach tightened. Kailee slowly raised her eyes.
Then the last candle went out.