Echoes in the dark

North Portland 
If anything could be said for Lila, it was that she loved to be scared.

Not outright terror, but the safe, controlled scare you get from a roller coaster, or a horror movie. Something you can control, a nearly tangible feeling she could unravel with a few cute cat pictures. The thing about fear, at least to Lila, was that everything could be explained if you just took a second and thought about things rationally.

That didn't mean she didn't want to believe. Lila desperately wanted to believe in something, some sort of afterlife. She wanted ghosts to be real, and she wanted Mothman to really be flying around. She wanted aliens to circle the earth. But what she wanted more was proof. Tangible, irrefutable proof that wasn't faked with Photoshop or some sort of editing program. She wanted a personal experience that would solidify her suspicions.

Tonight was hardly different, though she did have a drink with her. She'd picked up a six pack of Angry Orchard and popped the top to one, taking a swig as she lit some candles around her. Just for more ambience, she lit a scented candle with a warm, sugary scent to relax her. She never followed witchcraft, so she had no idea how to "summon" a spirit, or even if it worked. But, she was settling in, and thought, "Why not?"

She sat on her couch, board on the coffee table. It was only her, so she placed her fingers lightly on the planchette and took a deep breath.

"I invite spirits who do not intend to harm me into this session. Could you please state your name?"

The contrast of light and dark was akin to blinking. Logan existed in the juxtaposition simultaneously, stretched like warm taffy that would occasionally stick to some nondescript pinpoint for an uncertain amount of time. He fumbled, flailed for a semblance of control, but could find no footing- no foot. No limb. No mechanics to discern a means of righting himself within what he was sure was some devilish plume or position within an intangible purgatory.

And then, he was as he remembered, pulled back into a warped echo of the world without notice or consideration, mind left to puzzle the pieces of himself into a portrait he could recognize.

"Could you please state your name?"

His hands felt tethered to the wooden board, fingers touching a pick-shaped piece of wood that was shared by a woman he didn't recognize. Instinct caused his arms to jerk away, but resulted only in pulling the restraint to the edge of the machination, arrowed edge settling over the word, NO.

It took a few seconds, but Lila felt the planchette move beneath her fingers. She watched, wide-eyed, as it moved to the word NO. She hoped, but never expected, the planchette to move. She looked up, keeping her fingers still lightly against the planchette, looking around. She expected to see the candles flickering, maybe a visage of a person in the corner of the room, but she saw nothing. The only giveaway that anything had happened was the placement of the planchette.

She took a few deep breaths, steadying her beating heart as much as she could. "Calm down," she told herself. She shifted a bit on the couch, sitting a bit more forward.

"I need to know who I'm speaking to. If you don't tell me, then you'll need to make way for someone else to speak to me. Spell your name out."

If she didn't get the ball rolling, she had to close the session. Whoever, or whatever, was communicating with her didn't seem particularly interested. Or maybe they didn't know how to spell their name? Her heart thumped in excitement. What if it was a child who had a hard to spell name? She'd have to wait and see.

The words were fragmented, her voice a long pull against the sinewy strings of an untuned viola. There were depths and breaths he could recognize, brows furrowing with an ingrained obstinacy.

A feckin’ spirit board.

He felt a puppet. A fool.

Some poor invalid fettered to the fantastical and twisted whims of the living. Anger was his instinct, but it fell broken against the void where his bear would have manifested.

It was within this wretched shadow that Logan found the means to acquiesce, after a lengthy pause within dark reflection, moving the pointer as bidden.


Lila felt none of the anger, none of the emotions whatever of whatever was trying to communicate with her. Had she known, it might have frightened her a bit, to know that her simple act of drinking and pulling out a ouija board was upsetting. The warnings online she read were of no consequence to her now. She was getting results, and, as the planchette moved once again, she felt a bit of vindication.


That did not ring a bell. She furrowed her brown and took another deep breath, waiting to the planchette to move again. When it didn't, she took another steadying breath and spoke again.

"Okay... let's stick to short answers here. Try to do one to three words, so you don't tired yourself out."

Shit, what can I ask them? I never thought about this.

"Do you know how long you've been dead?" Maybe if she could narrow it down, she could look through the obituaries and pinpoint who she was speaking to.

He felt a bairn.

Would that he could use his mouth to communicate, he would have had a few choice things to say, but his reticence didn't stem from a lack of ability, but will.

She seemed eager.

Despite how that made him feel, perhaps he was wasting an opportunity. To what ends, he hadn't yet crystalized, but if he could communicate...


He might discover a way to do more. Just maybe, through this lass's perversion, he could find the right witch.

Reinvigorated, Logan focused his energy on moving the planchette.

Portland. Recent.

He hesitated.

Family buried. Astoria.


Lila had looked at places in Astoria. She was on the verge of signing something until she saw a would-be neighbor walk outside in just his tighty-whities. She'd quietly told the apartment manager that she'd be looking elsewhere for a place. She'd only ended up in North Portland by a stroke of luck. All of the apartments there were crazy expensive, but she'd managed to find something she could work with. Sure, she went without a few things like extra food, A/C most days, and short cold showers, but for a place where her neighbors didn't commit nearly-public nudity, it was mostly worth it.

She thought about the next logical question on her mind, the only thing that she really wanted to know.

"Okay, McBane from Astoria who was recently deceased...why haven't you moved on?"

She didn't expect any huge revelations about the afterlife. As far as she's heard, most spirits were tight-lipped about what lies beyond the veil. She didn't know if that meant they didn't want to speak about it, or couldn't. Either way, she wanted to at least ask a question that might give her some sort of answer.

He watched as the thoughts flitted, followed the movements of her mouth and eyes to gauge where she might go, and how he might answer. What she conjured behind those auburn lashes, he could not say, but her logic, at least, seemed to follow a line he could decipher...

"...why haven't you moved on?"

Back to self-indulgence.

Logan could suffer the chink in dignity to play this little game. As long as it produced desired results, he would pander to whatever curiosity she wished to explore.

"Can't, he replied, glancing around, and pausing, as he considered what to do. He was taught of spirits, but the information he'd amassed through his experience wasn't the dramatic or fantastical sort. There was a reverence to his knowledge- a respect instilled through his clan and coven that forbade him from meddling. Well, now that he lingered from behind the veil, things were different, but what...

He moved his hands from the planchette, and stood, leaning over and towards a nearby candle. It took a few attempts- the right intention- but, eventually, the flame died with an abruptness that couldn't be the fault of any passing breeze. Palms pressed against the wood and phased through them before catching, furniture jerking sideways with enough force to knock the pointer from where it had rested.


Despite how he'd teased her, Marlene loved to watch movies of this sort. Christ...

"Need Help."

Shit shit shit shit SHIT SHIT SHIT

Lila watched as the candle, after flickering gently, was suddenly snuffed out. Her eyes wide, and used one hand to grab her drink off the table and guzzle half of it. She cleared her throat, looking at the planchette briefly before her attention was jerked to the table. It rocked, moving the planchette and nearly toppling her drink, but Lila managed to catch it.


Her heart pounded.


What was she supposed to do?

Shit shit shit shit FUCK

She pressed her fingers on the planchette again, taking another deep breath. If he was murdered, then surely he was looking for revenge? Or she, they, whoever. Truthfully, she assumed they were a man because McBane was something that evoked masculinity in Lila's eyes. She took another steadying breath before looking around briefly, expecting to see a shadow in the corner, something, but she saw nothing. Nothing but the creeping shadows created by the one-less candle in the room.

"Okay, McBane, I hear you. No need to wreck my living room." She paused again, thinking of how to word her question optimally.

"How can I help?"

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