Nurse Deborah finished giving shift report to the oncoming nurses and walked up to Doctor Bruce, who was writing an order for the drug lorazepam in a patient’s chart. The nurses’ station was busy as the shift change signaled a change in the day’s activity. Patients were waking up and the food cart with breakfast trays was rolling off the elevator.
“Are you finished?” Deborah asked, acting as though they were getting ready to go to a meeting.
He closed the chart and left it lying on the counter. “Yes.”
They walked to the elevator and waited for its door to slide open. After a nurse had walked out, they got inside and took it to the basement. They walked past the kitchen, the laundry room, and the storage room, until they came to the last room in the far corner, away from the chatter of busy workers.
“Who’s going to be the medium for the séance?” Bruce asked before he opened the door.
“Claudia is doing it because Ethel is at the reception desk.”
“I hope the manager isn’t joining us, we need to keep this private.”
“It’s just going to be the three of us.”
Bruce opened the door, and they walked into the dark room.
“Claudia’s not here yet,” Deborah said, walking to the table. She took a lighter from her white skirt pocket and lit three candles on the witchboard tabletop, next to a crystal ball.
Bruce walked up to her and put his hand on a breast. “I could take you right now, baby.”
Deborah unbuttoned the top button of his crisp white shirt. “Later, when we’re done. We have to take care of business first.”
“I see you have the candles lit,” Claudia said with her usual high-pitched voice as she walked up behind them. She closed the door, adjusted her shawl, and sat at the table. She pulled the crystal sphere toward her and then motioned for them to sit down. “What would you like me to see?”
Deborah squirmed in her chair and then said, “Well, we need you to put a curse on someone.”
Claudia took her hands off the crystal ball. “I do not do curses. Ethel and I only work with spirits from the light.” Her eyes narrowed and her voice lowered. “Why do you want to cast a curse?”
Bruce chuckled. “Deborah just misspoke. Curse is too harsh of a word. It would be more like a spell of protection.” He looked at Deborah, who was watching him intently, and then back at Claudia. “Do you do that?”
Claudia looked away from Bruce and began looking around the room, following something with her eyes. She pulled her shawl even tighter around her shoulders. “There is a darkness that is being attracted here, to this room, to this place.” She stood up and looked at Bruce and Deborah. “I think it is attaching itself to the both of you.” She walked toward the door. “It is in your best interest if you leave this room right now. That is what I’m going to do.” She paused and looked back at them. “I suggest you both do the same thing and leave this room until it has been cleansed.”
Deborah and Bruce watched Claudia leave the room in haste. Deborah got up, closed, and locked the door. They both looked around the room as the candles flickered and cast bouncing shadows on the walls. Even the mirror’s frame of intertwining snakes seemed to be coiling about themselves.
“She’s making it up,” Deborah said, sitting back down. “She just doesn’t want us to put a curse on someone. I don’t see anything bad in this room and besides, I think we can do it ourselves.”
“It won’t hurt to try,” Bruce said, moving his chair closer to Deborah. “I don’t want either one of us being accused of Susan Knight’s death. Margaret has to take the fall, not us.”
Deborah touched Bruce’s hand, and her voice softened, “You know, they say that sexual energy makes curses stronger.”
Bruce’s hand went to Deborah’s breast. “Let’s get this spell over with, before I explode.”
Deborah moved to Claudia’s chair and placed her hands on the crystal ball. “I’ve never done this before. I don’t even know what to say.”
“Just say what we need and be done with it.”
Deborah caressed the cold globe. “Should I ask for the good spirits or the bad spirits?”
“I don’t think good spirits perform curses so you’ll have to ask a bad spirit.”
“Like who? I don’t want the devil showing up.”
“Just make something up,” Bruce said. “That crystal ball and this room itself must have special powers because Claudia and Ethel keep using it for séances. You should get the spirit we need.”
Deborah smiled at Bruce and then turned her attention back toward the sphere in front of her. The light cast from the candles made the ball glow as if it were coming to life. She put her hands gently on it and looked at Bruce. “Put your hands palm down on the table while I begin.”
Bruce placed his hands on the witchboard, close to the pentagram carved in the center.
Deborah began. “I summon a spirit who can cast a curse on Margaret McGee.” She looked up at Bruce, smiled, and looked back at the crystal. “Is there a spirit who can help us who is in this room right now?”
The candle flames grew in girth and brightness as the room became darker around them.
“I’m feeling an electrical charge from this crystal,” Deborah said, excited. “I’m going to say the curse I looked up in a witch’s spell book when I went to a bookshop. I don’t remember it exactly, but it goes like this.” She gazed into the crystal ball. “Power of my will, get me what I want, when I want it, and what I ask. Say what you want, then say bring me my wish and summon evil to do my will so mote it be.” Deborah reached into her skirt pocket and took out a driver’s license that belonged to Margaret. She sat it on the witchboard, next to the candles. “I will that this Margaret McGee be held responsible for the death of Susan Knight. And that I, Deborah Franklin and my partner Bruce Hancock, not be held responsible and thus have no negative repercussions from the death.”
Bruce cleared his throat. “Summon evil? And where did you get her driver’s license?”
Deborah still held her hands to the globe as if glued to it. “I took it from her purse when she was in the bathroom.” She continued to look into the globe, her eyes widened. “I see . . . I see something.”
“What do you see?”
She smiled. “It’s more like I feel something. It’s like something is telling me in my head that in order for the curse to be sealed, we need to weaken Margaret’s energy.”
“How do we do that?”
Goosebumps formed on Deborah’s arms. “I’m really getting turned on from this.” Her breathing became shallow as she came close to panting. “We need to weaken the white light around her by . . .”
“By what?” Bruce did not take his eyes off Deborah, who was behaving like a real medium.
“We have to give our souls to the evil one and in exchange we will be granted this favor.” Her wide eyes were transfixed on the ball as if it had control over her.
“Give our souls to the devil?” Bruce inhaled deeply. “That’s a lot to ask. I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”
Debora’s eyes rolled up under her upper eyelids as she spoke in a guttural voice that sounded like it belonged to a creature from Hell. “If this curse—the curse that you have begun of your own free will—is not sealed, I will see to it that you live a life of Hell on Earth.” Then she screeched. “Seal the curse now!”
Bruce’s hands trembled, but he kept them in place on the board. “Okay, I’ll do it.”
Deborah’s eyes returned to normal as she massaged the globe as if she were making love to it. “We accept thy offer and give our souls to thee and vow to seal the curse now.” She looked at Bruce as if she was in a trance. “It is done. Everything is fine. All we have to do now is . . .”
Deborah stood and walked to Bruce, who was already unbuckling his pants. While the darkness of the room throbbed to their motions, it intensified the sensations felt, rewarding them for their perfect decision.