Bibliophilic Blather is joining in on Neil Gaiman's All Hallow's Read this year by offering one audio copy and five ebooks of Michael Robb Mathias' award-winning horror tale, The Butcher's Boy. To enter the giveaway, click on the contest widget at the end of this post.
The contest will run from today through October 30. Winner will be announced on Halloween.
Today on Flash Fiction Fridays, we present an excerpt from The Butcher's Boy.
The Butcher’s Boy
By Michael Robb Mathias
Maggie couldn’t agree with Michael on who they were going to try to contact. Michael wanted to question Billy, while Maggie was interested in what one of the Buxly women, particularly either of the older of them, had to say. They ended up flipping a coin. Heads Michael picked, tails it was Maggie’s choice. At some point, during all of this bickering, Lucy found a place between them on the floor under the coffee table.
The coin landed on heads and Michael, of course, chose Billy. He also appointed himself as the moderator of the conversation they hoped to elicit. Maggie decided that she wouldn’t argue. She was actually a bit relieved that she wouldn’t have to talk to the creepy ghosts this time. She was also glad that she could feel Lucy’s warm comforting fur against her leg.
Michael turned off the television with the remote, leaving the living room dimly lit by the dozen candles that were scattered about on either side of them.
“Here we go,” Maggie said, putting her hand on the planchette. Michael put his hand on hers, and they began.
They did the figure of eight movement for a few awkward moments, then the motion smoothed out and they began to chant together.
“Bill-lee, Bill-lee, Bill-lee.”
This went on for about five minutes, and Maggie could see that Michael was getting frustrated. Finally, he said, “It’s not working.”
“Don’t give up,” said Maggie, keeping the movement going.
Michael sighed and resumed the chant.
They didn’t even get the rhythm of the planchette motion going before the candles flickered, and the room temperature dropped. It was suddenly so cold that they could see their breath billowing out from their mouths in foggy clouds.
“Say something,” Maggie whispered through her fear.
Michael blinked a few times and looked at her wide-eyed.
“Oh.Yeah. Billy? Billy, are you there?” His voice came out small, as if he were speaking to a large group of people for the very first time.
The pointer stopped midway through the curving loop of its pattern and moved straight to the “No” icon.
“Who is this?” asked Maggie. The power of the force holding the planchette in place was unnerving because, even had she tried, Maggie could not have moved it from its current position.
The pointer released from the “No” icon of its own accord and started back into the figure of eight movement for a moment before coming to rest on the letter “B.”
“Bee,” Michael and Maggie said in unison.
The pointer then went to “I.” Dutifully, they said the letter aloud as the pointer moved to “C.”
When the planchette came to rest on the letter “H,” Maggie said, “Bitch?”
A hiss resounded from somewhere beyond reality just as the planchette jerked up off the Ouija Board causing both Maggie and Michael to let go of it. It didn’t fall, but instead came to a hover between them.
Michael Robb Mathias is the author of the best-selling Wardstone Trilogy and the Dragoneer Saga. To learn more about Michael, please visit his website.
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