Atmosphere – Yesterday
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Yesterday was spent collecting items he never thought he’d need: Marlboro Reds, a water-damaged book, 3 different forms of illegitimate identification, an action figure with a lock of hair tied round its wrist, and lipgloss. The cigarettes from the store were easy enough, but the book, IDs, and toy had all been hidden an hour’s dig deep in a garage full of sentiment, and if that wasn’t enough, the lipgloss had to be stolen for the ritual to work.
The instructions are in plain English, strange for a book supposedly full of ancient and powerful spells, but he knows faith is imperative and so vacates the easy questions from his mind. With a clear head and empty lungs he stands the sacrifices on the points of the oblong chalk pentagram he’s drawn on the living room floor. He moves to the window, lowers the blinds; the Neighborhood Watch is known to make-up stories but video evidence of him trying to summon a spirit would be difficult to explain away.
It’s dark outside; he walks through the house turning off all the lights to make it match. Though he’s lived there for years his way back through the black is stumbled through, knee on table contact provokes a smash of glass and one less step than was needed on the stairs almost takes him to the ground.
He’s not thinking about falling as he sets his feet in front of the pentagram; on his mind is a screaming match, glitter-encrusted 5-dollar bill, thrift store jeans…it hadn’t taken long to memorize the incantation from the book but the way it comes out of his mouth is like he’s said it before bed every night for the past 9 years. The prayer lingers in the air, words heavy enough to sink through reality and leave holes that don’t heal.
Small tears in the space in front of him stretch into each other – he steps back – the void is menacing, saps the warmth from his skin, aggressively growing but stops – wavers at the edge of its seal as out from its depths arises a spectral silhouette.
The spirit’s silent procession is parade powerful, cannot be looked away from; the heat that was stolen from him makes thick waves around the pentagram, distorting the summon’s face.
Though the obstacle is impossible to see through, he needs to know the otherside, to know that he didn’t waste all this time. He resists the temptation to force his way through the barrier, instead opting for a single word inquiry. “Mom?” He sounds younger than he is.
The apparition towers over him, and speaks in a voice that he’s familiar with but hasn’t heard in such a long time that it might as well be new. ”You watched me steal how many times? And you’re still that bad at it?”
“No one saw me!”
“Cameras. You got charges coming in the mail.”
“…guess I shouldn’t worry about you not being you anymore.”
“Yeah, it’s me. Why go through all this trouble?”
“I’m confused all the time and I just thought…I don’t know. I’m sorry, I didn’t expect this to work.”
“It isn’t a forever type deal. If you need something now’s the time to ask.”
He smiles, is satisfied to simply be in her presence, but does have a single question on his mind. “What do I do now?”
“Why do you think I’d know the answer to that?”
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