Julia was ready. She had her three small sticks and 2cc of mouse blood. Well, it wasn’t exactly mouse blood, but she hadn’t been able to come up with a good reason why she needed 2cc of mouse blood. But she hoped watery ketchup should do.
She arranged the sticks in the pattern described in the book and sprinkled the ‘blood’ around them. She felt kind of foolish. It was good that she had locked her door and that it was still too early for James to be around.
James didn’t approve of her plan to summon the Grim Reaper. Although she pointed out to him several times that his own meeting had gone well. She had stopped asking him about the meeting and the Darkness when it was obvious that he didn’t want to say anything more or didn’t have anything more to add. But Julia had a lot more questions. If it had been her at the Grim Reaper’s table… well, there would have been a lot more questions.
Ritual complete, she sat back and waited. Was that a puff of dark smoke? She peered closer.
She waited. The smoke sizzled for a moment. This was it. She leaned forward. There was a smell of … she sniffed … barbecue sauce? Smokey ketchup? And then, with a small “pop” the smoke dissipated. She leaned back. Perhaps it had to be mouse blood?
I watched Julia. She was in the middle of her room leaned over something she had drawn on the floor and unlike all the other times, she hadn’t noticed me yet. I wish I could convince her to let it go. I was okay being a ghost. Maybe not okay-okay, but this was dangerous.
But Julia wouldn’t let it go. She’d finally stopped asking me about my time in the Darkness. She seemed convinced that I knew more than I was telling or, or that there was some detail in the path of the smoke or a gesture that I’d missed. The Grim Reaper had said – multiple times that he couldn’t help. So why was she so convinced he could?
I jumped at the sound and my attention turned back to whatever Julia was doing. Smoke drifted up to the ceiling.
“Oh darn, it has to be mouse blood after all,” Julia said. She must have finally noticed him because she turned and smiled. “I know,” she sighed and swept up the mess in front of her. “But James, I have to try.”
No, you don’t. I thought. But I didn’t say anything. I’d already tried that approach and she seemed determined. So instead I sat down on her bed. “Mouse blood?”
“That’s what the book says. I thought maybe ketchup would work.”
“Why mouse, specifically? Wouldn’t any blood do?”
She got that look in her eye then and I kind of regretted asking. She jumped to her feet and opened her laptop.
“Wait – ”
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Looking up how much 2cc is.”
“I need 2 cc of blood.” She entered her search. “Let’s see 1 cc is 1 ml and that’s 20 drops! Perfect. So I only need forty drops!”
“Um, Julia? Where are you going to find a mouse at this hour?” I really, really didn’t want to hear her answer. I knew I wasn’t going to like it.
“Any blood should work, you said.” She closed the computer back down and looked around. “I’ll be right back.” She nodded to herself more than to me. She had a wild look in her eyes.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked. This was a terrible idea I just knew it.
“It almost worked last time,” Julia said when I voiced my concerns. “You saw the smoke right?”
Julia came back with a knife in her hand.
I frowned at her. The knife was small but it looked awfully sharp. What if she really hurt herself?
“I’m not going to hurt myself.” She said taking in my expression. “It’s not that much blood. They take way more when you donate.”
“You’ve donated blood?”
“Well, not yet, but the Red Cross comes once a year to our school. Only seniors can donate though. So I can next year.”
I tried not to think about what she was doing as she sat down in front of her pile of sticks. This wasn’t going to work, I just knew it. Even if it has smoked with ketchup, that was a fluke – a trick of the candles. I watched as she put the knife against the palm of her had. She hesitated.
“Julia – ” I tried again, but she ignored me. I watched the knife bite into her skin and then red welled in the palm of her hand.
She hissed and set the knife down. Holding her hand over the sticks, the blood dripped down. I could hear her counting. “One, two…five…”
I wanted to turn away but I couldn’t. My heart was beating three times faster than normal.
The sticks started smoking like before. It smelt of cold and numbness. I knew that smell. It was the smell of darkness.
“It’s working!” She scrambled away from the smoke that was now billowing into the room. I was pressed against the wall. This was a bad bad bad idea!
I watched as a familiar figure coalesced from the smoke. He looked up at me through the smoke.
Then, with a small pop, I was back in my room. I couldn’t return to the house. He wouldn’t hurt her, would he?
* Floor poses by Flower Chamber: Rainy Gloomy Day and Concept. 1 Poses set.
* Julia’s laptop is the Bodkin Laptop Computer by Veranka
* Distressed furniture, floors, walls, and windows from Daer0n, mainly from the haunted house set
* This scene would not have been possible without Andrew’s Pose Player and Special Effects Mods
* Also the Teleporter Mod by scumbumbo so we could summon Death in style.
* Challenge details: CitizenErased14’s Ambrosia Challenge