Title: Playing with the Unknown
Author: T. Dunn
Characters: Teen Giles
Word Count: 937 Sorry tried to keep the count down but it is difficult.
Summary: It’s all fun and games until …
Disclaimer: I thank Joss Whedon for the character of Rupert Giles. I promise to return him to the sandbox more or less unscathed.
Rupert stormed off to his room after being told he couldn’t go out that evening. I couldn’t understand why after all it was Halloween, nothing ever happens on Halloween.
When he was sure his father was deep into research, he deftly went through his window. He had overheard his classmates talking about going to the park for a late night gathering and figured he’d crash the party.
Rupert spotted the group and approached cautiously. He knew he didn’t fit in but he was desperate to try. “Hey,” he addressed the group.
Tom, a tall teen with dark hair spoke first, “What do you want?”
“Just happened by, what you got there?”
“It’s a board for telling the future.” Ed explained.
Rupert stayed nearby and listened as Tom read the direction on how to use the item. “Place the board upon the knees of at least two persons, lady and gentleman preferred, but no more than four. Set the planchette, or tablet, upon the board. Place your index finger, of your dominant hand, lightly but firmly, upon the tablet. Try not to apply too much pressure as this will hinder the ease of movement. One person acts as the inquisitor and only one question at a time. The tablet will move to either a word or letters to spell out the answer.
Rupert couldn’t help but scoff at their belief in the object. “Ooo this is riveting.”
“Then get lost. No one asked for you to be here.” Tom snapped back.
Rupert stood, leaning against the slide, shaking his head. Tom asked if he was going to get a passing grade in maths and other insipid questions.
This went on for quite a while. Rupert decided what the hell; I can educate them on what this really is. He stepped toward the group, “Okay, now that you are through dicking around would you like to see how that really works?” Not waiting for a reply he pointed to one of the girls. “You can be my partner.”
Digging into the small knapsack he wore, he pulled out five candles. Rupert took charge of the group like he was born to it. “Here, place these in a star pattern around the two of us.”
“What are the candles for?” Ed asked as he began to follow the instructions.
“The board is a conduit to the spirit world and the candles help with focus of thought.”
Once the board and area were set up, Rupert and the young lady put their fingertips on the tablet. It started to move right away. Rupert raised his left eyebrow in suspicion, “'ello”
The indicator moved to the word ‘Hello’. He looked at the girl across from him and saw the surprise in her eyes. “Am I talking to a spirit?” he asked.
The girl started to take her hands away. “Hey don' go it's just getting' good.” She returned her fingers to the indicator.
“Who you are?”
“The indicator moved to the J then the A and progressed to the C and K.
Rupert looked up into the faces of his friends, “Ooo, everyone say hello to Jack.” Then to the board he asked, “So Jack what do you do for fun?”
His partner squealed in fright, pulled her hand from the tablet and jumped back away from the board. This caused the board to fall to the ground before Rupert had a chance to catch it.
“You did that. Tell me you did that.” The girl’s voice was weak and trembling.
Rupert gave a lopsided grin, “Of course I did. Are you all daft? This,” he pointed to the game board, “is just a piece of wood with letters, numbers and” he kicked the planchette it settled upside down next to Tom. “This plastic indicating device can no more contact the dead than a sideshow medium.”
The girl punched Rupert in the arm, “You bastard, you scared the hell out of me.”
Rupert rubbed his arm, “Ah come on; it was all in good fun.”
“That wasn’t cool.” Tom added to the complaint. “The idea wasn’t to scare anyone. You’re putting a drag on this; go on get out of here.”
“Fine, I was only trying to liven things up a bit.” Rupert strolled out of the park and back toward his house. So much for trying to fit in.
* * *
Rupert wandered into the kitchen feeling fuzzy brained. His father was at the table reading the morning paper. He glanced toward his son. “I am very grateful you listened last night and stayed in.”
Rupert didn’t want to be caught in a lie so he stayed quiet while his father continued. “It seems there were four murders last night, in the park. The victims, all teens, were slit from navel to throat. Their intestines were displayed in a macabre fashion, hanging from the play equipment and such. It appears the group were delving into things that should be left alone. The council is looking into it.”
Mr. Giles set the newspaper on the table then got up and left the room. Rupert glanced at paper; there on the front page, were pictures of the teens he had been with last night. At the end of the article was the author’s thought of a possible serial killer with ties to the style of Jack the Ripper.
Rupert felt queasy at the thought that he could have been amongst the victims. He thought he heard something but he was alone in the room. He heard it again, a maniacal laugh followed by a voice saying; now that was fun.