It’s been three weeks since what I’ve learned from the Ouija Board experience. Angelica, my guardian angel, told me that I’d bound myself to Paul as he’d invited me into his home and that, so long as Paul remained content with the set-up for the time being I could slowly integrate myself into his body. I just had to slowly wear him down through what she called a “gradual haunting.”
I learned this meant that I had to become a general nuisance to everyone save Paul, and go to extra lengths to help Paul throughout his day-to-day life. I slammed doors, walked up and down the hall outside the bedrooms on the second floor and even went so far as to stop the clocks every time I felt most energized, generally around 3:30 in the morning. Angelica told me that I would have to drive away Paul’s parents, as well as his younger brother, Stan. I felt this was a little extreme, but Angelica insisted.
So I set to torturing Paul’s family. I began infiltrating the dreams of Paul’s mother Rosaline, stalking her throughout her thoughts as a masked figure wielding a wicked knife. Every night I would stalk her, growing ever closer until the gleam of my curved blade would flicker in her peripheral vision, right before forcing her awake, usually to a choked scream that would awaken her husband, Raymond.
Raymond was an easy target as he was deeply religious. I slipped into his thoughts and brought his worst fears of Hell to the forefront of his mind. Statues of the Virgin Mary wept black tears before him while he would receive visions of Jesus writhing on the cross, cursing his name. It got so easy that all I had to do was briefly brush his mind with my own to trigger these thoughts, sending Raymond into a deep depression and paranoid state.
The only one I felt bad about bothering was Sam. The young black-haired boy was barely nine-years-old and far too easy to frighten. I took to standing at the end of his bed, my body a shroud of darkness except for a pale white face. Every morning I would heat his room until he was sticky with sweat, waking him from fevered dreams of running from a man with a curved knife, only to see the man standing at the end of his bed for a brief moment. Before he could scream I would vanish, leaving him in a stuffy room with nothing but his nightmares to keep him company.
Paul was the only one flourishing under my care, though, a true rose growing from the muck that I was rendering his family into. I would induce deep sleep where he and I would speak at great lengths in a field of golden wheat, beneath an olive tree. He wanted to know of the world, and I was more than happy to share my experiences with him. While his family grew paranoid and lost sleep, Paul and I grew closer.
So close in fact that I could enter his body for brief periods of time while he slept. For the first time in centuries years, I was able to feel the cool night air against my skin, the sheer cloth of silk sheets, and taste the pure flavor of water once more.
All it did was drive me forward.
The entire time Angelica hovered nearby, never within sight unless I needed her, but never too far away… always lingering in the back of my mind like a tick draining blood from cattle. I could feel her growing pleasure with how I was treating the family, like a pressure in the back of my mind, and was often smiling with Paul despite our varied topics of conversations thanks in part to Angelica’s mood.
I spoke with her that night, putting Paul in a deep sleep before walking around the house. As I was moving the sharpened knives from the dishwasher to the sink, I saw Angelica’s frame appear over by the bar built into the living room. The whole house was built with an “artists” eye, whatever that meant, and often had strange additions in parts of the house that made for interesting conversation pieces. Walking over, I slip onto a stool next to her and smile.
“You’ve been doing good,” she said as she plucked an olive from her clear drink, tossing it past her plump lips to chew on thoroughly. “I’m surprised at how well you’re doing, truth be told.”
“Really?” I try not to sound offended but doubt creeps into my voice.
She looks over at me and smiles. “Don’t try playing coy with me, you can tell the truth in every instance and I’ll be truthful with you as well. We’re in this together.”
“In what? This haunting?” I asked.
She nodded. “I’ve been holding back as I’m going to be around to help you with step two of the haunting before I step up and begin my game of torture with the family.”
“What’s step two?” I asked, looking at her in confusion.
She smiles before downing the rest of her drink. “Possession. You’ve done it a few times so you’ve become close to the boy. Now you just have to start in on haunting him like you have his younger brother.”
“But then he won’t trust me!” I exclaimed.
“I’m not finished. Compose a neighborhood in his mind, where he’s being chased by you as the knife-wielding lunatic you seem to prefer. Over the course of a week or two chase him towards a house that you set up for me, and then allow him to enter. I’ll snare him up and leave the body for you to do with what you will.”
I look across the bar at the mirror, showing us both in our profane glory. I smile at my gaunt appearance, my strained eyes bloodshot and skin taut. A body of my own?
“And what would happen to Paul?” I asked, looking at Angelica through the mirror.
She shrugged. “I’ll eventually return to Hell, and bring him with me instead of you. One goes up, one goes down; that’s the rule.”
“So what, I’ll just have this body for myself until I die of old age?” I asked, looking up towards the stairs leading down into the living room where the original Ouija board experience was played out.
“Or until you get killed, or die by accident. Either way, once you die it’s back to Hell for you until we select you to do this again. The more people you turn away from God while in this world the faster your little cycles in between bodies will be.”
“God?” I asked, remembering the name from Paul.
Angelica nodded, smiling. “Oh yeah, ancient Greek… God is the antithesis to what we are. He runs Heaven, where good souls go when they die. Our department is Hell, where Greater Demons fight amongst themselves for dominion while Lucifer suffers in the Pit you were pulled from.”
“Oh,” I said. I stand up from the bar and walk around the countertop, taking several bottles and pouring them down the drain.
Angelica looks at me with a bemused expression. “What are you doing?”
“The father is harder to mess with once he’s had a drink or two. He’s been praying for this God person for strength, a fat lot of luck it’s granted him.”
“You just watch out,” Angelica warned. “If Heaven catches wind of this they’ll warn their representatives here on earth about all of this.”
“And they’ll what? Come in and send my spirit of mist and shadow back to Hell?” I sneered.
“They’ll do exactly that,” Angelica said as she evaporated in a cloud of burnt cinders and Sulfur.