by Sandy Calico
Shadows quivered on the wall as the candle flickered, then fizzled to nothing. Amy screamed. Then Jasmine screamed. This made Ryan and Daisy hug each other and scream. Josh pulled his lighter from his pocket and lit it, casting a halo that illuminated his grin. He re-lit the candle.
‘It’s still too dark,’ said Daisy sulkily, pulling away from Ryan. ‘Have you got any more candles Amy?’.
‘I’ll go and have a look.’ Amy stood and adjusted her skirt. As she was walking out of the bedroom door she turned and asked with a wink ‘who wants a drinkie?’.
‘Yes!’ they all cried in unison. Josh picked up the glass that had fallen off the table when the candle went out. He placed it in the centre of the ouija board and asked ‘Who’s next?’.
Jasmine shook her long black hair. She had straightened it before she went to Amy’s and was extremely pleased with the result. ‘I’ll have a go,’ she said, smiling at Josh. Jasmine didn’t know what Josh saw in Amy, although she hadn’t know them long. She thought Amy was pretty in a boring sort of way, but never tried to improve herself with make-up or straighteners or designer clothes.
It was nice of them to ask her to come round though. Jasmine found it difficult to make friends. She and her mother had moved around a lot.
Jasmine shuffled closer to Josh and they put their hands on the glass. Ryan joined them, but Daisy said she’d had enough and would go and help Amy with the drinks.
Jasmine, Josh and Ryan chanted their favoured spirit-raising question: ‘Spirits tell us what our hearts know, spell it for us, fast not slow’. Jasmine smoothed her hair with her free hand and asked, in her huskiest voice, ‘Spirits tell me the name of my husband?’
For a second or two nothing happened, Jasmine subtley tried to move the glass to the letter J. It wouldn’t move. She pushed a bit harder, but still nothing. ‘Boys,’ she cried, ‘let’s do it this properly’.
At that moment Amy and Daisy returned with a tray. On the tray was a candle, a bottle of Vodka and a pair of scissors.
The boys sat back, as if waiting for a show to start.
Josh lit the second candle and placed it in the fireplace. The seance was forgotten as they took it in turns to take a swig of vodka. Jasmine hadn’t tried vodka before and coughed and spluttered as the harsh spirit burned her throat.
‘Oi, you got vodka on my top then!’ snarled Amy. ‘Sorry,’ said Jasmine, her cheeks flamed with embarrassment.
‘Not good enough,’ said Amy as she nodded to the others. Time then slowed for Jasmine. Josh and Ryan sat beside her and held on to one arm each. Jasmine tried to shake them off, but they tightened their grip.
Amy picked up the scissors.
‘What are you going to do?’ asked a terrified Jasmine. Amy laughed and made cutting gestures with the scissors.
‘I’m sick of seeing you flounce around school like you own the place, you’ve only been there a few months. All you do is throw yourself at Josh and I’m sick of it. You can’t just think you’re our friend because you follow us round. It doesn’t work like that. You need to be brought down a peg or two.’
Daisy gave a nervous laugh as Amy grabbed a fistful of Jasmine’s hair and hacked at it with the scissors.
Jasmine screamed and began to struggle. She kicked as hard as she could, knocking the vodka bottle over. The alcohol flowed out onto the carpet.
Josh jumped up to pick up the bottle. Jasmine took this opportunity to pull herself free. She managed to stand up. As she staggered out of the door she grabbed her coat. No one noticed the second candle had fallen and lay smouldering on the bedroom carpet.
Jasmine ran down the stairs and out of the front door. She ran across the park that separated Amy’s house from her own. Certain she wasn’t being followed she dusted herself off and felt her hair. It was as if it hadn’t been touched.
Candles burned in the windows of Jasmine’s house. As she approached the house, the front door swung open. Jasmine saw the flames that tore through Amy’s house reflected in her mother’s eyes. She heard the sirens. And she heard the screams.
‘Mum, I’m sorry, we need to move again,’ she said.
Sandy Calico writes short stories, songs and a blog when her children are asleep.