Week Five (Part One)
I was not supposed to have lived through this past Tuesday night. We were working in Kendesnii yet again, but this time we stayed in an old cabin that was donated to the National Park Service by a woman who passed away named Betty Freed. The cabin was nothing more than a very large one-room house with a stove and fridge in one corner. There were also two small one-room huts similar to what we have in Boxtown, and I stayed in one with the other girl, Teshina. The boys, however, decided to sleep in the main cabin. That is, until about midnight on our first day.
After dinner we had a long conversation about ghost stories because the old Freed property is supposedly haunted. There is a long history of bizarre occurrences and creepy noises in that cabin whenever people stay there, but Wayne would not go into too much detail. All he would say is he never believed in the supernatural until he experienced it himself. So, of course, the boys became determined to call on Betty to pay a visit. Gavin claims he knows how to make a Ouija board – really he can cut out a piece of cardboard and write the alphabet on it – so they went to work on that. Barb and Wayne wanted nothing to do with their experiment so they went to bed.
I was in the bathroom, getting ready for bed myself, when I heard a commotion. I opened the door to a scene from a horror film. Sean was sitting on the floor in front of the makeshift Ouija board, laughing, while Gavin was pacing back and forth, wild-eyed, like a spooked horse.
“Rip that up! Rip that up right now. I’m done!” Gavin was screeching, only to make Sean laugh even harder. I looked between the two of them, doubting their sincerity.
“It moved! It moved after we took our hands off!” Gavin moved behind me slightly, as if I could ward off the bad vibes radiating from the pen marks on the back of a Cheezit box.
“Well, you can always sleep in the car if it gets too freaky in here.” Gavin nodded at my suggestion but Sean dismissed it immediately.
“No, we’re staying all night. I hope Betty comes. I can take an old lady ghost.”
I shrugged and said, “famous last words,” and left them there, wondering how long they would last.
Not very long, as it turns out. I found out the next morning that after a few creepy things happening – stoves turning on, the water heater starting up, weird noises, sleeping bags being rearranged, the board flying across the floor – they did actually end up spending the night in our van. They spent all Tuesday at work justifying their choice and talking tough about making it through the night the next time, but I could tell they were on the cusp of believing in Betty’s presence.
However, whatever lesson they might have learned Monday night was soon forgotten because they replaced their original ripped up Ouija board, with a new one the very next night. They didn’t tell me their plans to communicate with Betty again, but I learned very quickly when I heard frightened footsteps toward our cabin and fevered knocking on our door. Teshina answered and I knew before I saw or heard the two of them that something big had happened.
“Is Rose there? We need to see Rose,” came the frantic whispers from outside. They pushed their way past Teshina and crowded my bed where I was journaling. Sean thrust a shred of cardboard with scribbles scratched on it into my face. On it they had written Kil-ROSE-die; words that the Ouija board had spelled out. Apparently it had spelled my name three times, along with correctly guessing Teshina’s age and saying “no” when asked for forgiveness for being mocked. Even Sean looked petrified and he just kept pacing around the room, chanting, “I’m a believer. I’m definitely a believer now.”
“It’s going to kill you. Betty is going to come kill you tonight.” I have never seen Gavin look more earnest about anything. Worry creased his forehead and he stood before me, wringing his hands. Sean took a tiny circle of cardboard out of his pocket and handed it to me. He had scratched a tiny cross on it and he promised that it would help me. I chuckled slightly, but took it, secretly unwilling to take that chance. I never seriously believed anything would happen to me, but there was a tiny voice in the very back of my mind making me pause and consider the possibility that this could be my last night. It’s that same shred of uncertainty that makes scary movies entertaining (personally, I hate them). So after Sean and Gavin left, a half hour later and slightly more relieved, I went to bed mostly just curious to see what, if anything, would happen.
As it turns out, obviously, nothing happened. I slept soundly through the night in my bed, and the boys spent yet another sleepless night in the van. They eyed me silently over their breakfast, refusing to mention the previous night. But I could see that the portion of their mind devoted to believing in the supernatural had increased slightly.