A Chilling Tale:
Ouija of Hell
Albert Map leaned back in his padded leatherette swivel chair and clicked the mouse button with an air of satisfaction. The proud words ‘Congratulations, you have won lot no. 37825001’ flickered across the screen, lighting the large social room of Albert Map’s renovated war barge with a pallid blue glow. Albert Map rubbed his hands together greedily. ‘A ouija board,’ he thought. ‘That’s got to be better than than Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter.’
It was nearing the end of October. A chill wind blew the dying leaves round the feet of Albert Map as he returned home from the Wirral Petrochemicals and Plastic Factory to his war barge moored on the Runcorn Canal. Albert climbed on the roof and let himself in by slicing a hole in the tarpaulin. There, waiting for him on the notdoor mat was a small parcel wrapped in brown paper. A strange exotic aroma came from the parcel, and the postmark ‘Widnes’ was marked at the top corner. Albert was beside himself with excitement, and went to make himself a cup of tea and have a post work shit. Then he sat down with a cup of tea and opened the parcel. There it lay in front of him. A genuine ouija board.
As soon as the ouija board arrived, Albert Map wanted to try it out. He didn’t fancy trying it out alone on the dark waters of the Runcorn Canal however, so he got some of his trusty friends on the blower. First of all he rang his faithful nephew and companion for many an adventure, Terence. ‘Of course Uncle’, Terence replied when he heard the news. ‘I’ll be straight over.’ 20 hours later Terence arrived.
‘What kind of fucking time do you think this is Terence?’ Albert Map asked him furiously. ‘I’ve got to be at work in 3 hours time.’
‘Never mind fatman,’ Terence replied airily. ‘Where’s the ouija board then?’ They turned, and there it was, sat on the table as if it had been waiting for them.
Albert turned the lights down low in the social cabin. Terence and Albert placed their fingers on the planchette.
‘This isn’t going to work Albert, I don’t believe in this balls’, Terence complained. ‘Lets play Halo instead.’
‘Hush’, Albert remonstrated with his impatient nephew. ‘Be silent. We must channel the spirits that are present in the boat.’
They were silent. All they could hear was the insistent sound of lapping against the boat sides. Suddenly Terence’s finger jerked. ‘Stop pissing about Terence,’ Albert complained.
But Terence’s face had gone white. ‘It works Uncle Albert. I can’t believe something you won off ebay actually works.’
They looked together at where Terence’s finger had pointed. ‘B.’
‘Who begins with a B?’ Terence wondered.
‘Ssh,’ whispered Albert.
This time their fingers moved together. They felt the planchette slip under their fingers to first one letter, then another in regular succession.
Then it slipped out of their grasp completely and fell on the floor. There was a pregnant pause. ‘Baghead?’ exclaimed Albert.
‘Maybe a baghead wants to get in touch with us,’ Terence suggested. Albert grunted doubtfully, but he picked the planchette off the floor anyhow, and they replaced their fingers. This time it moved almost straight away. C…A….R. ‘Baghead and Car?’ pondered Albert. They went outside onto the barge deck. On the far bank of the canal came an orange glow. From the barge Albert and Terence could dimly perceive the silhouette of a blazing silver Nissan and a group of whooping Runcornites dancing round the flames. ‘There’s bagheads, and there’s a car,’ Terence whispered hoarsely. ‘It’s just a coincidence’ Albert told him, ‘a car goes up in flames pretty much every day round here.’ They went back inside the barge. There, lying on the floor, was the ouija board, rent in two as if some enormous supernatural force had torn it and flung it across the room. ‘The spirits must be angry,’ cried Terence.
‘Bollocks’, said Albert angrily, ‘I’ve been ripped off again. Piece of shit ouija board,’ and he ran over to the computer and loaded up his ebay account. There was his seller, widnes_witch69, 1073 sales, 100% positive feedback. ‘100%’ muttered Albert Map, ‘not any more,’ and he quickly typed an angry comment about the quality of the ouija board and left negative feedback. widnes_witch69 dropped to 99.9% positive feedback. ‘That’ll teach people to rip me off’ said Albert, and went to bed thinking no more about it.
The next day Albert got back home from work and was planning to look on ebay for a inflatable submarine. As he logged on to his ebay account, he saw that he had been sent a message. It was from widnes_witch69. It read, ‘Since u have given me bad feedbk I have put a curse on thee. Tremble, Albert Map, and prepare to witness the consequences of you folly. If you would like to view other items to buy from this seller, please click here.’ Albert clicked on the link, and saw that widnes_witch69 was also selling three other ouija boards, some lavender massage oil and a broken Xbox 360. Albert Map laughed out loud. ‘Silly old broad,’ he chortled, and forgot about it again.
The next day Albert returned from work to find a white envelope lying on the mat waiting for it. The red stamp on the outside gave it away immediately. It was from the CSA. ‘Oh no, not the CSA’, Albert moaned. ‘What do those bastards want now?’ He ripped it open, and read it out loud.
‘Dear Mr. Map, we thank you for your continuing cooperation with us for the last eighteen years. It has however, recently come to our attention that you are the father of several other children in the Runcorn area. We have estimated the deficit that you owe us for these five additional offspring, and our calculations indicate the grand total to be in the region of £5 million. We have taken into account your current earnings, which, including the purchase of a weekly lottery ticket, which means that you are currently earning a weekly salary of £250-£40 million. We have used these figures to generate a mean weekly income of £800,000 and therefore have arranged for you to pay back this sum to the Child Support Agency in monthly instalments of £300,000. The riot squad will be round at the end of the month to collect first payment. Deserters may be shot.’
‘Deserters may be shot?’ Albert Map wondered perplexedly. ‘What the fuck does that mean?’ He rang the CSA and after a lengthy wait got through to an advisor. ‘Hi, yeah, I was just wondering about these extra sprogs I’m supposed to have sired.’
‘Good afternoon sir, just bear with me while I get this up on the computer’ answered the gorm on the other end of the phone. There was a pause. ‘Yes, just yesterday evening, several Runcorn women filed claims to the CSA about an absentee father called Albert Map.’
‘But that could be anybody’ cried the hapless Map. ‘I mean, just because this guy told these broads that he was called Albert Map, doesn’t mean it was me.’
‘I’m afraid if you’re going to be abusive sir, I’m going to have to put the phone down on you. If you have a complaint about the service, please put it in writing.’
‘Fucking mong,’ shouted Albert Map, and he slammed the phone down.
He sat in his cabin with his head in his hands. Why were the CSA suddenly accusing him of this? Who had pretended to be Albert Map, and why hadn’t he kept his flies buttoned up more often in the late 70’s? He picked up the letter again, and his eye caught the postmark. It was from Widnes.
Albert was riding his pumpkin decorated mega bike back home from another hard day at the Runcorn Plastics and Petrochemical plant (now merged with Asbestosis producing industries.) Albert loved his bike. Albert had always loved bikes. In fact, Albert thought, a nice ride round the Wirral would be just the thing to get his bit of bad luck out of his system. Albert rode aimlessly for a few miles, then to his surprise saw a sign approaching, ‘Welcome to Widnes.’ ‘Strange,’ thought Albert, ‘I hadn’t meant to drive into Widnes.’ He rode round the streets, and was about to leave the town behind him, when just on the outskirts, he noticed a Ford car dealership. A strange compulsion came over Albert. He suddenly felt as though he must park his bike in there and have a look round. As he dismounted, Albert saw a small man in a Matalan suit approaching him.
‘Ah, good day to you, good day,’ the man greeted Albert Map. ‘You’re looking for a car, sir.’ It wasn’t phrased as a question.
‘Er, no actually,’ Albert replied in some confusion, ‘actually I think I must have just stopped off to take a leak.’
‘But of course you will come and look at our fine cars’ the small man told Albert, with an inscrutable expression on his face, and led him over to the showroom. Every instinct Albert Map possessed told him not to trust this man, but in spite of this, every word the man said seemed to carry an irresistible compulsion. Albert followed him over to the row of gleaming cars.
‘What about this one?’ the man asked Albert. ‘Lots of room for adding fake pumpkins and cobwebs on this little beauty, Mr. Map.’ Albert looked at it. It was a midnight black, perfect for adding phosphorescent skull shapes and razzing round Runcorn in the dark with. But with his last vestiges of sanity, Albert remembered that he had no money, and everything he did have, he owed to the CSA. ‘I can’t, it’s too expensive’, he blurted out, with a strange feeling of shame. A fleeting spasm of annoyance flickered over the little man’s countenance. ‘A pity, a pity’ he said. ‘But still, perhaps I could do you a deal for that little bike of yours. It won’t get you one of these, but we do have a more affordable model, much more economical on the juice as well.’ He gestured to a row of strange cars, the like of which Albert Map had never seen before. They were strange dome shapes, like small glistening black beetles. They looked to Albert Map like something off Blade Runner or Syndicate, the late 1990’s real time shoot em up/strategy game. ‘Yes’ the little man said softly in his ear. ‘The Ford Kart.’
The little man took Albert over to the first one, painted in a strangely hypnotic iridescent green, and opened the driver’s door. ‘Perhaps you would like to take her for a test run?’ he suggested.
Albert Map felt like he was in a trance. ‘No, no need for a test run,’ he told the man with difficulty, as his tongue felt heavy and it was an effort to speak. ‘She’ll be fine. I know she will’, and he attached his hands firmly to the soft plastic on the steering wheel. The little man laughed softly to himself in the gathering gloom. ‘Just so. Then I’ll be seeing you around Mr. Map. Here are your keys’, and he dropped the silver keys into Albert’s lap. As if in a dream Albert drove off.
Albert had got nearly half way back to Runcorn, when he heard a strange rattling sound coming from the back of his Ford Kart. Albert was alarmed, and pulled over onto the hard shoulder. Smoke was pouring from his exhaust pipe. It came in great acrid billows. Even Albert, a seasoned worker at the Runcorn Plastics Plant could not handle this, and backed away, coughing. After a while he managed to get closer, covering his mouth and nose with his T shirt, and peered down to have a look at the exhaust pipe. As he did so, he watched in amazement as the exhaust appeared to slowly break apart. So the end of it was hanging down, held on only by a few viscous strands. ‘Glue!’ Albert exclaimed in horror. ‘The cheapskate cowboy’s sold me a car with a glued on exhaust pipe.’ Suddenly a blue flame appeared and ran up the remaining exhaust pipe. Albert started to back away. A fireball ripped through the Ford Kart as Albert threw himself to the ground. When at last the flames died down, nothing was left of the Kart. Not even ash remained. This had been no ordinary fire. Albert realised the full horror of his predicament. No kart, and no bike. He could not even claim insurance, since no one would believe his car had spontaneously combusted leaving no trace.
Albert walked to the nearest bus stop and after several hours, managed to get back to his barge on the Runcorn canal. The sky was dark and overcast as he crossed the slippery gangway over the oily water. Albert switched on his computer and logged into his e-bay account. There was another message for him from widnes_witch69. It read, ‘So Albert Map. By now, the powerful curse that I placed on you will have tainted your life. But this is only the beginning, I promise you. Unless you amend your feedback, and buy my broken Xbox 360 at the very reasonable Buy-it-now price of £200, the curse will grow in magnitude and terror.’
Albert Map sat and thought for a long while. His tea grew cold beside him as he pondered. Then at last he knew what his reply was.
So you were behind the unfortunate events of the last two days. To be honest, I hardly noticed any particular bad luck. I don’t think I’m going to notice much, even if you do curse me more. So you can stick your broken 360, and your lavender oils, you rancid old trout,
Albert watched for a while, then returned to the cabin and poured himself a stiff drink of delicious Damson Death. Then he noticed an envelope on the mat. He picked it up and opened it. It was from Runcorn Plastics Plant.
‘Dear Mr. Map,
It is with our sincerest regrets that we must inform you of your redundancy, effective immediately. Since we are a bunch of unscrupulous scoundrels with no regard for our employees, we calculate your redundancy money at £54.23 precisely. We…’