The night is especially silent and the moon is missing the company of its alluring stars. Sitting on the edge of a dusty old mattress, Evelyn Parker holds on tightly to the agate necklace her grandmother gave her less than a year ago. Tonight feels different than most nights and the overpowering feeling of distress overcomes Evelyn’s spirit.
“Are you ready?” The voice of a friend echoes through the abandoned house. Sarah Tipton stands at the bottom of the rotten old stairs with her hand gripping the end of the banister. “Hello? Are you ready or what?”
Holding the agate stone closer to her chest, Evelyn’s response echoes her uncertainty: “Yes- I’m ready.” With one last look at the night sky, she makes her way down the creaky stairs.
The girls’ five year tradition of coming to the abandoned cottage was getting a little old for Evelyn…at least, that’s what she hoped her mixed feelings were about. Telling ghost stories in an old house in the middle of the woods at night doesn’t exactly sound like a perfect slumber party.
Evelyn makes her way into the old dining room where all the girls sit around in a circle. She passes a cracked mirror on her way to the girls and jumps at the sight of something reflected in the mirror behind her.
“Come on Evie,” Sarah says. “Now is not the time to be scaring yourself. You have to share the terror with all of us.” She winks.
Evelyn looks at the mirror one last time before heading towards the circle.
“Come on,” Tiffany pats the floor beside her. “You can sit next to me.” Tiffany leans forward and lights a lavender and sandalwood incense in the center of the floor, then sits back up.
A cold breeze flows through the eerie home as it makes the worn curtains on the windows dance to the dark hymn of the night.
“Beautiful,” Tiffany whispers.
“Come on ladies,” Sarah says. “We need to get started before it starts to rain. I don’t want to get stuck in the mud when we’re back outside. Evelyn, it’s your turn to start off with a ghost story tonight. It better be a good one too, or else you’ll have to stay the night in this old hell house.”
Evelyn nods in agreement and clears her throat. “My ghost story for the night is about a dream a young girl once had.”
A questionable look forms on Tiffany’s face. “What? A dream? How scary can a dream be?”
“Tell me about it,” Sarah feigns a yawn. “I’m already bored out of my mind.”
“Well, just because it was a dream doesn’t mean that it’s not scary. Believe me, anything that comes to you personally through a dream should be considered scarier than a made-up story,” Evelyn argues.
“Alright,” Sarah waves her hand in the air. “You may continue.”
“Ok, as I was saying…”
The sound of footsteps make their way towards Evelyn’s back. “Boo!” Brittany Harrington screams in Evelyn’s ear in an attempt to scare the living daylights out of her.
The only thing she gets out of Evelyn is a slight jump.
“Oh, come on!” Brittany says, dissatisfied. “I didn’t scare you?”
“No,” Evelyn responds. “But I kind of was expecting someone else to appear behind me, since I saw the reflection in the mirror when I came downstairs.”
“What reflection?” Brittany asks.
Evelyn rolls her eyes at Brittany’s attempt to play stupid. “I saw your reflection in the mirror over there,” She points towards the mirror. “You were standing in the kitchen.”
“Um, no…I was never in the kitchen. I was hiding behind the stairs,” Brittany responds. “This better not be your attempt to try to scare me. You’re not really good at that.”
“Ok, whatever,” Evelyn smiles. “Sit down so I can continue my story.”
Brittany makes her way through the circle and sits down, crossing one leg over the other. She winks at Evelyn making an unnecessary yet suggestive comment: “I’m very flexible.”
The room fills with laughter for a few seconds and then back to silence as the girls sit up straight, finally preparing themselves for the story.
“Well, like I was saying before being rudely interrupted,” Evelyn glares at Brittany, “There’s a girl who has a dream scarier than any other dream she’s ever had. If I were to name her dream, I would call it, Soulmate. In her dream, her soul comes out of her body and interacts with her like a normal human being; they act like best friends. They dance around together and laugh at how silly they are acting. She couldn’t help but feel blissfully happy. In a way, she feels like she’s getting to know herself, inside and out. The only thing she finds odd about her dream is the fact that her soul is of Asian descent, and she was white,” Evelyn laughs as she shakes her head. “Either way, they are both happy to be together.”
“Ahem,” Sarah clears her throat as if trying to rush Evelyn’s story. Everyone could tell she was at the point of becoming inpatient. Knowing how bitchy Sarah can be when impatient, Evelyn skips to the interesting part of her dream.
“As they dance around they hear a voice. She can’t explain how she knows this, but she can tell it’s the voice of a demon, so they start to run. They run as fast as they can. They can’t tell where they are going, they just want to get away from the demon. At one point, she can feel her soul slowing down, lagging behind her and, well, eventually coming to a complete stop. She doesn’t know what her soul was doing, but something tells her to keep running. Visions start running through her head like a movie. She can see her soul speaking to the demon, making some sort of pact with it. Now she finds herself running away from both her soul and the demon. In her dream she already knows what her soul wants and how the demon is willing to help her out. It turns out that her soul wants to be her own person, she wants to have her own body, her own life. The demon tells her he will help her fulfill her desires. All she needs to do is find her way back inside the girl’s body and tear her way out through her stomach while killing the in the process. See, she can’t be her own person if the girl is still alive. Her body is considered to be a prison, and her soul was her captive. The sad part is, she really thought her soul was happy with her.”
“A lot of people think they’re happy together,” Brittany chimes in. “until one finally finds who they really are and wants out of their so-called relationship.”
“Yeah, exactly,” Evelyn agrees. “Well, either way, she continues to run in her dream. Finally, she comes up to her bedroom, her real bedroom in the real world. She tries hiding under her bed but she can’t quite fit underneath. She starts using her feet to push herself further and further beneath the bed. As she’s finally able to hide more than half of her body, she sees her soul’s feet appear at the foot of the bed. Her heart pounds like crazy in her dream and she can feel it, it feels so real. Her soul runs to the side of the bed where the girl is hiding and throws herself on the ground, slamming her left knee down first and then her left hand. Her hair touches the ground as she lowers her head to the side ready to show her face. She’s found her…”
“Well?” Tiffany asks. “What happened?”
“Nothing,” Evelyn responds. “The girl wakes up before she’s able to see her soul’s face, but she still wonders what would’ve happened if she had seen her face in the dream.”
Sarah rolls her eyes. “The girl already saw her face, duh.”
“Well, yeah,” Evelyn says. “She saw her face at the beginning of the dream when they were happy together. Something tells me her soul’s face was different after making the pact to kill the girl. Her soul had been tainted and there’s nothing she could do about it.”
“Oh please,” Tiffany laughs. “You’re saying that as if it were all real. That girl’s soul is fine, which makes this story not scary at all.”
“You seriously thought that would scare us?” Sarah laughs. “Maybe I’ll have my grandmother tell us a story next time. At least she has a shaky voice and can make anything scary, unlike Evelyn.”
Evelyn looks down at the floor slightly embarrassed. “Sorry to have disappointed you guys.”
“No worries,” Brittany replies. “You just need some practice.”
Positioning herself closer within the circle, Sarah lights two purple candles then moves to light two green candles in the center of the three circles drawn in the center of the floor. “Alright girls,” she smiles. “Time to call the spirits.”
The girls bring themselves to their knees and sit in upright positions.
Sarah extends her hand to Evelyn. “Agate necklace, please.”
Evelyn holds the gemstone as tight as she can before taking it off. She hands it to Sarah and immediately feels a sense of regret.
Sarah places the agate in the center of the altar and lights the spirit candle. The sandalwood and lavender incense lit a few moments before by Tiffany is taken by Sarah. She then takes the Lavender and Willow Bark incense that was previously lit by Evelyn and holds both up in front of a bowl.
“I’ve already marked this bowl for divination,” Sarah says while showing the bowl to the girls. “I have also brought the three casting stones.” She holds the stones in her hand, then casts the incense into a burner.
“Ok, girls,” Sarah says in a soft voice. “It is now time to open your mind, body, and soul…” she smiles at Evelyn. “Join hands as we welcome the spirits into our presence. Spirits of good will, I bid thee enter…The outer circle, the second circle, the inner circle. I am protected by this pentacle upon my breast.”
Evelyn squeezes Brittany’s hands as she starts to fear for her life.
“What’s wrong with you?” Brittany whispers. “Chill out.”
Sarah opens her eyes from her incantation. “Shh,” she says. “You know we can’t break our concentration. Now close your eyes.”
Brittany and Evelyn lower their heads and do as they’re bid. Sarah continues to repeat her incantation two more times. Tarot cards are used to introduce the spirit willing to make its appearance.
“Why is it taking so long?” Tiffany asks Brittany. Before responding, Brittany glances at Sarah to see if she heard Tiffany’s question. “I don’t know. Now shut up and concentrate.”
Evelyn can hear the girls speaking, but a pressure on her head gets her attention. She squeezes Sarah’s hand letting her know to look. “Sarah,” she whispers. “Look…” Evelyn looks upward hoping Sarah can see the hair at the top of her head being pressed down.
Sarah looks irritated when she responds to Evelyn. “What are you doing?”
“Can you see it?” Evelyn asks.
“I don’t see anything,” Sarah snaps. “I have to finish this or else I can’t make contact!”
One by one, Sarah pulls out her tarot cards and holds them firmly in her hand. Evelyn’s stomach starts to cramp up. She fears that something is trying to attack her and no one believes her.
“I-I can’t do this you guys,” Evelyn finally speaks up. She stands up and backs away from the girls, instantly breaking the protected boundary between the living and the dead.
“What have you done? Are you insane?!” Sarah yells.
Evelyn shakes her head.” I can’t sit here anymore,” she says.
“Why not?” Sarah asks.
“I just don’t feel comfortable. I need to get some fresh air.” Evelyn stumbles her way out of the abandoned cottage and rests against a wooden column on the porch. Brittany soon follows to check on Evelyn. “What’s going on?”
“I’m not sure,” Evelyn responds. “Tonight is just not a good night for me, I guess.”
Brittany looks down at Evelyn’s hand, which is firmly placed on her stomach. “Why are you holding your stomach?” she asks. “Are you not feeling well?”
Evelyn looks down at her stomach and responds, “It kind of hurts. I guess my nerves are really bad.”
Sarah bursts her way out of the house onto the porch. “Are you kidding me?!”
Evelyn tries to respond but the cramping in her stomach worsens making her bend over forward. The pain is becoming unbearable to take.
“Evelyn, are you ok? What’s wrong?” Tiffany fretfully asks.
“Oh, don’t pay her any attention,” Sarah snaps. “She’s just doing this for attention. Her ghost story wasn’t scary enough so she’s trying to scare us all now. Isn’t that right?!”
“No…” Evelyn responds through her tears.
“Leave her alone, Sarah!” Brittany pleads. She doesn’t know if Evelyn is lying or not. Evelyn isn’t known for pulling off bad pranks like this. She knows something is honestly wrong with her.
“Come on!” Sarah yells. “You can’t tell me you don’t see what she’s trying to do! She’s pretending to be in the stupid dream she spoke of.”
“No-No, I’m not…” Evelyn cries.
*tap, tap, tap…*
“What was that?” Tiffany asks as she looks over at the living room window. “Did you guys hear that?”
“Give me a break,” Sarah mumbles under her breath.
“Seriously.” Tiffany walks towards the window. “I thought I heard someone tapping on the window from inside.”
“There’s no one else here with us,” Brittany says.
“Great, are you trying to scare us too?” Sarah asks. “Let’s just go back inside and grab our stuff. This stopped being fun when Evelyn started crying out for attention.”
“Alright,” Brittany agrees. “Let’s go grab our stuff.”
“I-uh, I guess I’ll go back inside too,” Tiffany hesitantly agrees.
“Please don’t leave me alone out here,” Evelyn pleads. “I don’t feel so well.”
The girls make their way back inside the house while Evelyn remains outside alone. “It was my dream,” she whispers in hopes that one of the girls can hear her.
“Do you really think Evelyn is making all of this up for attention?” Tiffany asks Brittany.
“I don’t know,” Brittany responds. “All I know is that I don’t feel right being here anymore.”
Tiffany feels a cold chill overcome her body making her rub her arms. “I don’t feel right either.”
The sound of something moving in the kitchen catches the girl’s attention.
Sarah pauses from picking her tarot cards from the floor. “What the hell is that?” She looks at the girls. “Do you hear that?”
“Yes,” Tiffany responds. “I told you I heard something tapping at the window!”
“Calm down!” Sarah replies. “Let’s just get the hell out of here before more crazy shit happens.”
The girls grab their belongings as fast as they can and make their way towards the door. Before reaching the door, Tiffany sees a reflection in the mirror through the corner of her eye. She stops and looks straight into the mirror hoping it’s just her imagination.
“Ahhhh!” She lets out a terrifying scream when she sees what’s being reflected in the mirror.
“What?! What’s wrong?” Brittany calls out to Tiffany.
Speechless from what she is seeing, Tiffany points her finger at the mirror. Her face is pale as a ghost and her response sends a shock to the girls. “d-d-demon…”
Before the girls can react to what Tiffany has just said, a shrieking scream is heard from outside.
In the midst of the terrifying confusion, they had forgotten that Evelyn was still outside alone. Brittany and Sarah disregard Tiffany’s statement about seeing a demon and run to Evelyn’s rescue just to find her squirming on the ground in agony.
“Help me! It hurts!!!” Evelyn cries.
Before Brittany is able to reach Evelyn on the ground, Sarah holds her back. “Look…” She says.
“Look at what?” Brittany desperately questions Sarah.
“There’s blood on the ground next to Evelyn,” Sarah points.
The girls stand there in shock at what they are seeing. Evelyn’s stomach is being torn from the inside out. They watch as the skin from her stomach is ripped apart. Evelyn’s desperate cries for help are faint as blood fills her throat. The tapping sound returns once again from the living room window. The girls look at the direction where the sound is coming from and see the horrible sight Tiffany had seen less than four minutes ago. It’s a demon and the smile on his face expresses how pleased he is by what is going on.
“This can’t be happening right now,” Brittany cries. “What did you do during the ritual?!” She screams at Sarah.
“I didn’t do anything!” Sarah cries out. “I’ve never done this before! I thought it would be something different…I didn’t mean for any of this to happen!”
“You don’t even know what the hell is going on!” Tiffany yells. “Oh my god!” She points in Evelyn’s direction. “What is that?”
All at once, the girls pause in terror at what they are seeing. A hand appears to be forcing its way out from Evelyn’s stomach. One hand, then another. A human is making its way out. The head appears after both hands touch the ground. It’s covered in blood, but the girls can tell it is female. Her head comes out, then her neck, then her shoulders. She crawls out slowly from Evelyn, whom is still alive. The unknown woman turns her head towards the girls and shows a sadistic grin while whispering two words, “Soul…mate.” Knowing nothing can be done to save their friend, the girls start running into the woods away from the demon, away from the house, and away from their helpless friend.
“Help…help me….help…me,” Evelyn continues to plead as she extends her arms out to the girls that have now disappeared into darkness.
As her eyes glaze over, she falls with her back to the ground and releases her last breath.
Credit: M.S. Rivera