|Note: This story is a part of a larger series of short stories and flash fiction. You can find these stories on the Oubliette home page.|
The sounds of creaking wood surrounded Grace. She could not see anything in the darkness that surrounded her. She remembered she had a flashlight in her pocket and turned it on. She was in the living room of an unfamiliar abandoned house. She saw broken windows and plaster on the walls. She heard a cracking noise and swung her light to that spot. Nothing was there. She started exploring the room again but she sensed someone else in the room. When she turned to leave, she screamed and jumped backward.
Griswold stood in front of her. He watched her as she stood there. His skin was pale and his eyes were dark and sunken. There was something about his smile that gave Grace an uneasy feeling.
“Why Grace?” His eyes began glowing red as he reached for her.
Grace sat up with her heart beating fast. She struggled to catch her breath. Sweat dripped down her head and she shivered. She was in her own room back in bed with Chris. She could hear him breathing next to her. As she examined the room, her nerves began to calm down and the sense of doom faded. Satisfied that it was safe, she laid down and hugged her body close to Chris. Her hand draped over his chest.
She wondered if there was something wrong with her. The same thing happened three times to her the night before. Each time, she found it difficult to go back asleep. She slipped out of bed, leaving the feeling of safety that Chris gave her, and made her way to the living room where she found herself sitting at her laptop. The glow from the screen gave the room an eerie feeling.
Opening a browser, she navigated to an occult site where she inquired about alternative designs for spirit bags. She sighed as she scrolled through the responses. Most responses were not helpful and some were ugly and rude. She leaned back in her chair which creaked while she rubbed her eyes.
As she started to navigate to another site, a chat request popped up. It was Moriah. She did not know who Moriah was but she chatted with her regularly. She helped Grace with evidence review a couple times when she was not certain. It was Moriah who verified that the child spirit in the video was legitimate. She accepted the request.
Moriah: How did the investigation go?
GraceSHIPS: Not good.
Even though Grace did not lie, she did not want to talk about it.
Moriah: Sorry to hear that. You’re up late.
GraceSHIPS: I couldn’t sleep. Do you know of any different designs for spirit bags?
Moriah: What do you mean?
GraceSHIPS: I made a spirit bag for Chris but he refuses to wear it. He is concerned about cops. I need a design that does not use herbs.
Moriah: Can’t be too cautious these days. Why no herbs?
GraceSHIPS: He said it looks like marijuana.
Moriah: Okay, I can see that.
GraceSHIPS: Nobody is being helpful.
Moriah: It doesn’t make sense.
Moriah: The spirit bag keeps the herbs with the gemstones. They cleanse the stones. Without them, you just have stones and might as well wear a pendant.
Moriah: You cleanse it in sunlight or store in herbs at night.
GraceSHIPS: I didn’t know that. Thanks.
Moriah: Handmade is not necessary. Go to new age store and buy. I recommend black tourmaline.
Moriah: Can I ask you something?
Moriah: Why does Chris need a spirit bag all the time?
Grace sat and stared at the screen. She did not expect Moriah ask that question.
GraceShips: Just in case.
Moriah: Just in case of what?
Moriah: Grace did you do the séance?
Grace could not think of what to say. Moriah tried to talk her out of doing the séance. She said it was too dangerous. She just stared at the screen and did not respond.
Moriah: Shit… Did something come through?
Moriah: Grace? Please respond. This is important.
Moriah: Where are you? It’s going to come after you and your friends.
Moriah: You need help! You need to warn them!
Grace touched the laptop and turned it off. After softly closing it, she pulled her knees to her chest and sat silently. She messed up and she endangered the lives of her friends. It was her fault that Griswold was in the trouble he is in. Tears streamed down her cheeks.