For as long as I can remember, I lived a cautious life, strictly on the straight and narrow. “Never trust something you don’t understand, Sharon,” my grandmother’s words echoed in my head. We, the Braverman women, weren’t the kind of people who lived on the wild side. We never took chances; no risks for us - ever. It is fair to say that we didn’t embrace the name Braverman as we should have, but we weren’t men after all. Maybe it was best to leave the bravery of life to the men. That is what I thought until I met Jonah. Whenever I saw him, the little voice inside of me would whisper, “We’re just too different.” But everything I thought I was changed when he came into my life. I discovered a new version of myself, one that didn’t live in fear of the unknown but instead embraced it. I liked the Sharon that he turned me into. She was a Braverman woman who tiptoed on the wild side fearlessly.
Johan could get me to try things that I have never considered. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was reluctant when he suggested we break into the old Brooklyn home at night. The house had been left untouched for more than a decade after the whole family was viciously murdered there. People walked nervously past the house as if it possessed a murderous embodiment of the horrific crimes that took place within its walls. Small children were scolded by their parents if they even thought about approaching the house. Johan was the first person I had ever met who wanted to go into the abandoned house.
“Come on, Sharon,” he begged with a big smile, knowing very well that I wouldn’t be able to resist these charms for very long. Looking back, my grandmother was wrong. It isn’t the unfamiliar that we shouldn’t trust. It is the unease in our guts that we shouldn’t ignore. We arrived at the house on a Thursday night that was as ordinary as every other night in the small town where we lived. Even as we approached the porch, I felt an unwelcoming presence. Even though it was a warm spring night, the air here felt cold. The porch creaked as we walked to the front door, whispering words of warning that were ignored. The front door didn’t budge when Johan tried it first. He smiled at me, probably trying to assess my willingness to continue with this Godforsaken plan of his. Once he had the door open, there was no turning back, not really. Not unless I wanted to disappoint the only boy I had ever loved.
The air inside the house seemed different, thick, and suffocating. The rooms were dark and stuffy. Finally, we settled ourselves in the living room. Even though I felt uncomfortable when we came into the house, sitting here with Jonah, I felt exhilarated as the moonlight fell on his beautiful face. I assumed our night of romance would begin, but instead, he gave me a mischievous grin and said, “Look what I have.” Since the room was dark, I wasn’t sure what was in the box that he held, but it seemed heavy and bulky. It was only after he placed the board in front of me that I realized what it was. I had never seen an ouija board before, and it looked as intimidating as foreign to me, even here in the darkness.
Even though I’d like to think that the new Sharon was brave and bold, this was way beyond my comfort zone. As I began protesting, Jonah soothed me, trying his best to charm me into the madness of his plan. Every grain in my body fought against all of it. It was creepy enough being in a house where innocent people had been blunged to death, but now, summoning spirits, too? I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for any of it. Looking at Johan, I wanted to protest, get up and walk out, never looking back, but I couldn’t get myself to move. My feelings for him had weakened and possessed me, causing me to ignore the voices screaming for me to get out.
The wood felt smooth and cool under my fingers. The room was silent, except for the sounds of the candles burning festively and my beating heart. I felt sweaty and nauseous, but I closed my eyes and told myself that it would all be over soon. When the planchette started moving, I thought Jonah was behind it. I smiled at him, but he remained so focused on the board that I wondered whether it could be the presence of something else, something here in this room with us. The planchette moved swiftly from letter to letter as it spelled out M..U…R….D…E…R, I inhaled sharply as it continued, …E…R….I can’t really explain it, but suddenly I was no longer filled with fear. Instead, I was filled with sympathy. I felt sorry for the spirits sharing their stories—murdered in their sleep. The most brutal act while you are at your most vulnerable. It was only when the planchette kept moving over the letters repeating the word murderer over and over again, faster and faster in a more frantic motion that I started wondering whether perhaps they weren’t sharing their memory but rather warning me. Could the ouija board be part of his ritual, I wondered, feeling my fingers shiver on the planchette.
When I looked up at Jonah, my suspicions were confirmed. He looked at me in a way that he never had before. The handsome, lovely boy that I had fallen so hard for was consumed by a cruel, sadistic animal. I wish I could say that I was smart enough to escape the madman that had lured me here, but that would be yet another lie. As I lay bleeding out, I saw an old photo of the family that had lost their lives here. In the very center was a young boy, smiling, happily full of hope. Now, I realized that it was Jonah.
There is no longer day and night; time exists differently now. I await with the hopes that I will be able to help an innocent girl. I know it is just a matter of time before he brings another unsuspecting girl who had lost her heart here. When he does, I hope I will be able to warn her and guide her to safety. Maybe one day, he will bring the right woman into this house, one that will finally end all the torment that has been suffered here.