Photo by MARIOLA GROBELSKA on Unsplas
“Oh, guardians of the afterlife, we seek the spirit of Marilyn Monroe.”
Meg burst out laughing, and Rick gave her a stern glare, which she didn’t appreciate.
“Aren’t you supposed to use a crystal ball for conjuring up spirits, and not a beat-up, moldy old Weejy board?”
“It’s not a “Weejy” board, it’s a “Oui-JA” board. Sheesh,” said Rick. “And it doesn’t matter. Any occult object will do, as long as we believe.”
“Oh, okay, I see.” She couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of her voice, though she knew she was in the wrong. After all, she’d agreed to this ridiculous idea and hadn’t complained when he said he wanted to do it in the root cellar of their new old country home. It smelled musty and vaguely like manure, but it was, by far, the spookiest room in the house and thus the best location for their little séance. Still, she’d rather be upstairs watching SNL and eating leftover peanut butter cups from the earlier Halloween festivities.
“Don’t take your fingers off the planchette or you’ll break the connection.”
“I know what to do. It’s just that you didn’t tell me you wanted to conjure up some old blonde bombshell who died a hundred years ago. She probably looks like Norman Bates’ mom by now.”
“Shhh, I think I feel something.”
And there it was. The slightest tug on the plastic game piece.
“What the hell? Did you do that?”
“No,” said Rick, his patience wearing thin. “Now be quiet.”’
“This is getting—”
Something crashed in a far corner of the cellar, and Meg started to rise but Rick slapped a hand on her shoulder and pushed her down, careful to keep the other hand on the planchette. She was so tired of him manhandling her.
“Don’t get up. I seriously think we’ve got something here. Marilyn, is that you?”
The planchette whizzed up to YES on the board, pulling Meg’s unwilling hands with it.
“You did that. Stop it!”
“I didn’t, I swear.”
“Do you think I’m an idiot?”
Rick didn’t respond, but it didn’t matter because she knew the answer anyway. He’d called her an idiot at least once a day during the process of buying this house. What did she know about mortgage rates and closing costs? She would’ve been happy staying in the city apartment for a few more years. Out here in the country, she was miles from her friends, fun shopping, and the gym. Just this morning she noticed the beginnings of her first-ever muffin top.
“Marilyn Monroe, you are welcome and wanted here. Join us,” Rick called out in a ridiculously deep voice, drawing out all the vowels. Meg was beginning to think his Halloween candy came from the edibles store down the street.
“You said this was gonna be fun. This is not fun. You’re acting weird. Where’d you get this Ouija board, anyway? It doesn’t even look new.”
“Found it in the attic.”
“The attic? Ew.” She started to pull her hand away again and this time Rick pinched her fingers so hard her bones felt like they were going to snap like twigs.
“Let go of me you bast—"
A bright spotlight shot out from a dark corner of the ceiling, scaring the crap out of her. It was so shockingly intense that she covered her eyes, taking both hands off the planchette, but Rick did not complain. Her muscles tensed, she was about to bolt, but she was more afraid of the wrath of Rick than she was of the light.
“Marilyn,” he whispered. “It’s you.”
There came a loud bang and Meg uncovered her eyes to see that Rick’s chair had fallen to the floor. He was up, stepping into the brilliant glow. Amid the white light there was…something else…something that was also white, but more material, and flowy, like a skirt blowing in the wind. As Rick entered the incandescence his body sloughed away into so many tiny, luminescent particles and disappeared, taking the light with it.
Later, Meg would swear she saw a smooth, well-manicured hand reach out and take his as he entered the circle of light.
What can a girl possibly do when her husband wants to cheat on her with Marilyn Monroe, for God’s sake? Meg stomped on the planchette, ensuring, or so she hoped, that Rick could never return to this plane of existence. She didn’t know much about this supernatural crap, but she did know she was gonna put this creaky old barn on the market first thing in the morning and get the hell out of Dodge.
She went upstairs, plopped down on the couch, and tucked into the bag of Reese’s. She was just in time for Weekend Update.
Judith Pancoast has collaborated with Joe R. Lansdale and Keith Lansdale to adapt Joe's novella, "Christmas with the Dead," as a stage musical. Three of her short stories have been published in Northern Frights, the Journal of the Horror Writers of Maine.
9/3/2022 07:33:11 pm
I loved it!! Laughed out loud at “weekendupdate”!!
Anna Barnes Hall
9/3/2022 07:42:52 pm
Very impressed, and to think that you used to be my neighbor. Great job, Judy!
9/4/2022 09:53:18 am
Loved it! And I definitely didn't see the ending coming!
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