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26

N ightingale kept his hands on Jennys shoulders as he followed her down the stairs into the bowels of the house

Theres no way were using the candles, she said, her voice still shaking.

The lights are staying on, promised Nightingale.

Shouldnt we get a priest to do an exorcism or something?

Its not a possession, said Nightingale. I know what to do.

How?

I read a book.

When they reached the bottom of the stairs Nightingale led Jenny over to the table and sat her down.

The Ouija board was lying on the floor in front of a display case that was filled with skulls. Nightingale picked it up and took it over to the table. As he put it down, Jenny leaned away from it.

It cant hurt you, said Nightingale. A cold wind blew from the far end of the basement making them both shiver. Ignore it, Jenny. Where did the planchette go? he asked, looking around.

Jenny shook her head but didnt answer.

Nightingale bent down and looked under the table but couldnt see it. As he stood up a large globe by a book-covered desk began to slowly turn. He went over to it and placed his hand flat on America. The globe stopped spinning but as soon as he removed his hand it began to turn again.

Jack, please said Jenny.

The globe began to turn faster and faster until the continents blurred into a beige mass. There was a thump behind them and Nightingale turned to see a book lying on the floor, its pages flicking by as if they were being rifled by an unseen hand. Another book fell from the top shelf and hit the ground with a dull thud. Then another. And another. Then books began to rain from the shelves, splattering onto the tiled floor.

Jack! screamed Jenny.

She stood up but Nightingale pointed at her. Stay where you are! he shouted. Stay in the chair!

A large leather-bound book flew towards Nightingales face and he ducked. It grazed the back of his head and thudded into the bookcase behind him. As he straightened up he saw the planchette next to one of the sofas, and he ran over and grabbed it.

The fluorescent lights overhead began to flicker as Nightingale hurried to the table and sat down next to Jenny. He slapped the ivory planchette onto the board. Your hands, Jenny, he said. Put your hands on it.

Jenny reached out and placed the fingertips of both hands onto the planchette. Nightingale put his hands on top of hers and together they started to move the pointer towards GOODBYE. Nightingale could feel the piece of ivory fighting against them as if it had a life of its own. He grunted and pushed harder.

It wont move, Jenny gasped.

Behind them books continued to tumble down from the bookshelves. Cupboard doors were throwing themselves open and then slamming shut, and papers were blowing off the desk and flapping around in the air.

It will, said Nightingale. Keep pushing. He looked up at the ceiling. In the name of Jesus Christ, I command all human spirits to be bound to the confines of this board. I command all inhuman spirits to go where Jesus Christ tells you to go, for it is HE who commands you.

One of the fluorescent lights made a popping noise and the tube shattered. Bits of glass tinkled down onto the tiles.

The planchette began to slide over the board, but it took all Nightingales and Jennys strength to keep it moving towards GOODBYE.

Nightingale took a deep breath. Jenny, you have to say it with me. Another fluorescent light exploded behind them.

I dont know the words, she gasped.

Just repeat after me, he said. We both have to say it. He began to recite the prayer again and Jenny followed haltingly. When they reached the end the planchette seemed to give up and they slid it across to GOODBYE. Nightingale sighed. Amen, he said. He nodded at Jenny.

Amen, she repeated.

Suddenly there was only silence. Papers fluttered to the ground and the doors of the cupboards remained shut. Nightingale looked over at the globe. It slowed to a stop.

Its over, he said. He took his hands off Jennys. She looked at him fearfully and let go of the planchette. It stayed where it was, obscuring the letter D.

Jenny exhaled and sat back. Is that it? she asked.

Nightingale nodded. I think so.

Think?

Its fine, he said. You can feel it, right? You can feel how the atmosphere has changed.

Jenny shivered. I want to go home, she said.


| Midnight | c