Jane woke in a cold sweat, gasping as her hands reached for her throat where seconds before she’d felt something pressing down, choking the very life from her frame. Looking around her darkened room, she could only make out the low blue glow of her computers safe mode, a dancing cube bouncing to and fro on the screen.
Sitting up, she rubbed at her eyes and looked at the clock. Three fourteen in the morning… and on a school day. Groaning she fell back on her bed and just laid there atop her blankets for a moment, staring at the ceiling. Tonight had been such a fun night, and now it was turning into a never ending nightmare. She’d had a few friends over, nothing fancy, just wine and beers and cheesy movies they could all make fun of. Evan had shown up, which had made Jane’s night as she got in some face time with the runningback, away from all of the obnoxious cheerleaders that drooled over him. They’d laughed and joked around, played beer pong and generally had a good time.
And then Kevin suggested they play with the Ouija board he’d brought.
Jane had refused at first, knowing the sordid history of her apartment building and the man people that had died here. First from a tragic fire in the early 60’s, then a rash of suicides in the 70’s and 80’s. The nineties had been nothing but overdose after overdose for the people that lived in her apartment.
“No,” she’d said, shaking her head. “No way are we going to try and contact dead people in my apartment.”
“C’mon Jane, haven’t you ever wondered why some of them did it. I mean, why they offed themselves?” Kevin had asked, holding the board up.
“No, and neither should you. If you want to know that kind of crap then take the board to a haunted house and try it out there.”
“But this is a haunted house girl, why can’t we try it out here?” Evan had asked, earning a tick of annoyance from Jane.
“The difference between a haunted house and my apartment is I live here and don’t want to disturb anything else that might be dwelling here. So far the dead have been excellent roommates, and I don’t want to make the situation weird by forcing them to answer your probing questions.”
“Don’t tell me you actually believe in this stuff, do you?” Jake, a hearty frat boy six beers to the wind had asked, leaning over the edge of the couch.
“I’m not a firm believer, but I don’t want to find out the hard way, y’know?”
“I can understand that,” Evan had said, nodding. “If I lived here alone, I’d be afraid as well.”
“It’s not that I’m afraid you idiots, it’s that I don’t want to pull the proverbial lion by the tail. What if I do have ghosts here and they’ve just been sleeping or doing whatever it is when they’re not haunting? And then you break out a spirit board and go riling them up. You get to leave here tonight, I have to sleep here.”
“So? If they go homicidal on me, I’d rather not be on the receiving end of that thank you very much.”
But they hadn’t listened. When Jane had gone to the restroom, they’d set the board up and begun asking it questions. All they got were strange answers in return, along with please of “Help” and “Save Yourself”. When Jane had emerged from the bathroom to hear Jake spelling out the word “Beware” she’d shut down the entire party, kicking everyone out over the course of five minutes, breaking the Ouija board in half in the process.
During the cleanup of the parties aftermath, Jane would swear she saw something, or someone, lingering in the peripheral of her vision. Every time she would spin to look, she would just get a chill down her spine and feel cold spots all over her body.
Now, lying back on the bed, she felt at peace… tranquil. Standing up she stubbed her toe into a hardwood chair in the middle of her room, cursing the odd placement of the furniture, before moving back to her computer and moving the mouse to end the screen saver.
A word document was open, and as she read it she felt a sense of dread come over her, her joints locking up and her face contorting in pain as she read her own suicide note. The light flickered on overhead, revealing a noose tied off at her closet door handles, hanging from her ceiling fan, just above the dining room chair. As her body moved of it’s own accord she could feel silent tracks of tears streaming down her cheeks as she fought against the alien presence forcing her to stand up on the chair, forcing her to wrap the noose around her neck, tightening it just enough to where she could barely breathe.
“No,” she said, gasping for air. “Not like this.”
And then her legs kicked the chair out from under her, leaving her to dangle, the rope sealing her airways as she fought to free herself from her confinement, the malignant presence now lifted from her body and granting her full use of her limbs once more.
Her mind raced towards what she could do, how she could get out of this situation. But she felt hands pressing around her neck, over the noose. A sinister chuckle echoing in her ear as a wet tongue licked the shell of her ear.
“Why?” She gasped, her air running low.
The voice, dark and gravelly, whispered in her ear like a thousand needles in her heart. “So you can join the family. We haven’t had someone reach out to use in years.”
“But I didn’t do that, my friends did that!” She cried, clutching at the noose.
“Oh I know, and we’ll be getting our just desserts from them as well. After all, who do you think is going to find you?”