Suspense Short Story – OUIJA ADVENTURE
“I don’t like it.” Jennifer said with a strong undercurrent of suspicion and tension in her voice.
“Come on, Jenny, don’t be a spoil sport.” Imran pleaded with her.
“I agree with Jenny. We may be getting into something about which we know next to nothing,” said Sharad, concurring with Jennifer, which brought a nervous smile on Jennifer’s face.
“What’s wrong with you guys? A week ago we agreed to do this. Didn’t we? Why the cold feet now, Jenny and Shar?” Vikram was visibly annoyed.
“Yes, but…” Sharad mumbled.
“No ifs and buts Shar. Are you with me and Imran or not?”
A moment’s pause. “I’m in, guys,” said Sharad looking guiltily at Jennifer.
“No, Shar. I feel this is wrong.” Jennifer said nervously.
“Look, Jenny, you were all enthusiasm last week for doing the Ouija board. My parents are away for the weekend; will only return tomorrow morning. So, we have the house for ourselves. I’ve ordered pizzas, burgers, Cokes, Pepsis, the whole works. Don’t spoil the night for all of us, please.” Vikram insisted.
“It’s not that, Vicky…” Jennifer sounded unsure.
“We’ve always been ‘one for all and all for one’. Haven’t we, Jenny?” Imran joined Vikram in trying to convince Jennifer.
“What if something goes wrong?” Jennifer was doubtful.
“What can go wrong? It’s a simple Ouija board; we’ll call a small spirit or something, ask a few questions, that’s all; strictly fun. When it’s all over we’ll ask it to go away.”
Jennifer was lost in thought.
“Come on, Jenny, please…” The three friends cajoled her.
Finally, Jennifer conceded and reluctantly said ‘yes’, peer-pressure having got the better of her judgement.
The four close friends settled with their Cokes and Pepsis in the study of Vikram after finishing the pizzas and burgers. The illumination was low, all the windows were shut and drapes drawn. They were seated on the carpet in the centre of the room with a makeshift Ouija board prepared by Vikram on paper. It had the alphabets A-Z in upper case in two rows along the lower edge and the digits 0-9 along the upper edge. In between were drawn three large circles. The central one contained an “X”, the one on the left had the word “YES” written inside and the one on the right had “NO” written in it. Vikram placed a smooth, circular, ivory-coloured carrom striker on the “X” and turned towards his friends.
“OK guys, it is past eight o’clock. Shall we start?” Vikram asked his friends.
All of them nodded their heads, Imran and Sharad enthusiastically and Jennifer nervously.
“OK. Whom shall we invoke, I mean call?”
They discussed for a few minutes several alternatives of dead persons, including an old ‘cantankerous uncle’ who used to live in the house at the end of the street.
“Hmmm…No guys. They are no good. We need something good, I mean strong.”
Jennifer was really worried. “Vicky, I am afraid. This isn’t good. Let’s drop the idea and go back home.”
“Oh, shut up, you chicken. Don’t spoil the fun. What guys, any suggestions?”
Imran and Sharad shook their heads.
“OK, then leave it to me.” He thought for a minute. “I’ve decided. We’ll call Pazuzu.”
“Who’s Pazuzu?” They asked in unison.
“You haven’t read ‘The Exorcist’ or seen the film!” He looked at them scornfully.
Again they shook their heads.
“It is a ghost, a devil. It possesses a little girl. Two exorcists pray for a few days and drive it away.” What Vikram didn’t reveal was that the two priests die in the process. His friends nod their heads in approval.
“OK, guys, let’s start. Do as I explained. OK?”
They sat around the Ouija board and placed their right-hand index fingers on the carrom striker.
“Let’s close our eyes and concentrate and call for Pazuzu. Let’s chant the name Pazuzu till it descends into the striker and answer our questions. OK?” They all nodded in agreement.
They followed Vikram’s instructions and closed their eyes, concentrated and chanted the name Pazuzu, slowly and again and again. Nothing happened for some time. While the other three were restless and disappointed, Vikram persisted.
Half an hour elapsed.
…The windows opened with a bang and the drapes fluttered violently. A strong wind that rose from nowhere swooshed into the room and threw papers and small articles helter-skelter. The hot summer air inside the room became so chilly that their exhaled breath froze instantly. They shivered in the chill but Vikram urged them to continue.
“Are you here, Pazuzu?” Vikram asked.
Their eyes were glued to the striker. Nothing happened for a few minutes, while Vikram repeated the question. Slowly, the striker came alive and started sliding on the smooth white sheet of paper.
It came to a halt on the circle that said “Yes”.
A chill ran down the spines of the teenagers. They stared at each other.
Jennifer the skeptic asked, “How do we know that you are actually here? How am I to know that one of the others is not moving the striker?”
What happened next erased all doubts from their minds.
The striker flew off the paper surface at tremendous speed and hit a window pane, shattering it into a million slivers.
The friends were aghast, not knowing what to say or how to react. At last, realisation dawned upon them that they had meddled with something, which none of them even began to understand.
Jennifer screamed, “Vikram, ask it to go away.” All of them concurred.
“Pazuzu, go away; Pazuzu, go away…” They chanted in unison.
But it was too late…
There was a raw energy that engulfed the room. It was throbbing, humming and all the articles in the room seemed to come alive; books, CDs, clothes and several other objects were floating in air moving violently around the room.
“Pazuzu, go away; Pazuzu, go away…” They continued to chant in unison but to no avail.
It wouldn’t go away. The friends stared at each other for a solution to their problem but none had any.
Finally, Vikram screamed, “Let’s run from here, come on…” and they got up and ran to the door.
The door, which was open till then, shut itself violently with a bang, splintering the wood. The four of them were thrown to the floor by an unseen evil force. They heard a blood-curdling, hysterical and maniacal laughter.
And then they saw it; a smoky, ghost-like form with a man’s body, a lion’s head, an eagle’s clawed feet, two pairs of wings, a scorpion’s tail, the right hand pointing upwards and the left hand pointing down.
While the four friends cowered into a corner, screaming for their lives, the daemon moved towards them menacingly.
A year later…
“Here are the keys to the bungalow, Mr. Ramanna. Good luck.” Shravan Kumar shook hands and handed over the keys.
“Thanks, Mr. Shravan.” Ramanna, who purchased Shravan Kumar’s bungalow, reciprocated.
Shravan Kumar and Kajal drove away in their car, leaving behind Mr. Ramanna, his wife, Rajam and their two teenage sons, Pradeep and Praveen.
A year earlier…
When Shravan Kumar and Kajal returned from their week-end trip, they were shocked to find their house an absolute and bloody mess. Their son, Vikram’s room was a total chaos, things strewn around everywhere. They were shocked to find blood stains on the floor and walls and their son was nowhere to be found.
The police were called in, made elaborate inquires but reached a complete cul de sac. They discovered that, along with Vikram, his three teenage friends were missing too. The state-wide alert and search yielded no results. After pursuing the case for a year the police kept the case-file in abeyance.
The four teenage friends seemed to have simply disappeared without a trace.
“Come on, guys let’s get into our house…no, home…beautiful isn’t it?” Ramanna asked.
“Yes, dad,” screamed the children joyously while Rajam nodded and rested her head on Ramanna’s shoulder as they walked into the bungalow.
In a dark corner inside the basement Pazuzu chuckled…
Author’s remark: Through this miniature effort of mine I pay tributes to William Peter Blatty, the man who created “The Exorcist”, a cult classic and one of the most famous and controversial horror stories of all time, which frightens me even today.
Shyam Sundar Bulusu