Me

Fiction
Erin Nappe


“What do we do now?”

Shadows from the single candle flickered on Heather’s face. It masked the basement smell with green apple. She rolled her eyes at me.

“Nothing, Kristy. Just wait.”

I sighed. I was sick of waiting. My arms, and my butt, were starting to hurt. I drummed my fingers impatiently on the plastic pointer thingy.

“Stop it,” Heather hissed. “You’ll make them mad.”

“Make who mad?”

“The spirits, stupid.”

Right. The spirits. Like I really believed the spirits were going to talk to us on a piece of Parker Brothers cardboard.

We were sitting cross-legged on my basement floor, with the board between us. There was nothing much down there—a couch, an old TV, a box full of old toys. We thought the basement seemed like a good place. Heather had brought the board. She insisted she’d talked to lots of spirits. I wasn’t convinced. The silence was starting to make me jumpy, though.

“You know, in CCD, Sister Helen told us this is a sin,” I said, just to hear the sound of my voice.

“Sin, shmin,” Heather said.

“I don’t think it’s working any—”

The thing started to move under my hands, slowly at first, then faster, gliding around the board in a figure-8.

“Hello, are you there?” Heather said.

Are you doing that? I mouthed at her. She shook her head.

The pointer moved to Yes.

“Can you tell us your name?” Heather continued.

It moved in circles, around the alphabet, then stopped on M. It moved to E, and stopped.

“Me? Your name is Me?”

No

“Well, can we call you Me?” Heather looked cross-eyed at me, a giggle ready to burst from her lips.

Yes

“What do we ask?” I asked her.

“Whatever you want. I’ll start,” she looked back at the board. “When did you die, Me?”

The thing moved again. It felt charged. It felt… I don’t know… alive. It was creepy.

No

Heather wrinkled her eyebrows at me.

“No? You didn’t die?”

It moved to the center of the board, then back to No.

“You’re still alive?”

No

“Were you ever alive?”

No

She frowned.

“Have you always been a spirit?” I asked.

Yes

“Ok then Me, do you mind if we ask you some questions?” Heather continued.

No

I shifted. The basement floor seemed to be getting harder. The old carpet didn’t put much padding between us and the cement. Our shadows danced on the wall.

“Ask about Jason,” I said. Jason was in my math class, and I was hoping he’d be going roller skating on Saturday.

“Okay, Me, Kristy wants to know if she’s gonna play tongue hockey with Jason this weekend.” She giggled.

Heather,” I moaned. “Don’t be gross.”

The pointer moved in circles.

Yes

I blushed, then tried to think of another question.

“Me, what’s your real name?” I said.

Slowly, it started to move again. M-E-F-A-

It stopped.

“What’s going on?” I whispered.

“Sometimes they have trouble spelling,” Heather said. “Just wait.”

The planchette slid to S-T-O. It paused, then crawled over to F.

A

L

“Do you have any idea what it’s saying?” I asked.

Heather shook her blonde braids. “No clue.”

It sat still for a long time. Heather’s face looked creepy in the candle’s glow. “Me, are you still here with us?” I said.

Yes

It moved to the letters again, spelling out l-e-e-s.

“Lees?” I said. “What do you suppose that means?

Heather shrugged. “Can you see us?” she chimed in.

Yes

I shivered.

“How?” I wondered aloud.

The pointer moved furiously, spelling out n-a-k-e-d b-a-b-y.

Even though she was the one who warned me about making the spirits mad, Heather couldn’t keep from laughing. She actually snorted.

“Naked baby?” I said.

S-A-L-L-Y.

“Who’s Sally?” Heather said.

“I don’t know,” I said. I didn’t want to let her know I was a little freaked, but I was. “This is boring,” I said instead. “Let’s quit.”

“Okay,” Heather said. “We have to say goodbye. Is that okay Me?”

The thing started circling the board, faster and faster, until it flew out from under our hands, across the floor, without stopping on “good bye.” The candle went out, and I sucked in my breath, jumped up and ran for the light switch. I flicked it on. When the room filled with light again, and the dark scary shapes turned back into furniture, I looked at Heather and laughed. “What happens when they don’t say goodbye?” I asked.

“I dunno. Some people think they hang around for a while,” Heather said.

“Well, let’s put the board away and go upstairs,” I said. I turned around, to see where the pointer had landed, and I saw it.

Cold hands gripped my spine. I wanted to scream, but all that came out was a whisper.

“Heather—”

It was sitting on top of the toy box, naked, ice-blue doll eyes open and staring.

My old doll, the kind with eyelids that closed when you laid her down, and opened when you sat her up. Her name was Sally.

I bounded up the stairs, Heather following right behind me.

*

I snuggled under my covers, clutching my teddy bear, but I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw that doll. Heather had gotten up, and I heard her go into the bathroom. I guessed she couldn’t sleep either.

Sally had been inside that toy box for years, buried under countless other toys. She hadn’t been there when we went downstairs. It was impossible.

“Just go to sleep.” I told myself. “Tomorrow, you and Heather will laugh about this.”

The bedroom door creaked open again, and a shape loomed in the doorway.

“Heather?”

I hoped it was her. I didn’t want to be alone.

In the silence that followed, I listened to my own breathing. It seemed so loud, it filled the room. I squeezed my eyes shut, afraid to look.

Please let it be Heather. Please let it be Heather. Please let it be Heather…

“Yes Kristy,” breathed a voice that was not quite Heather’s. “It’s Me.”

pencil

Erin can be reached at billiard[at]toasted-cheese.com.

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