SPIRIT OF THE GLASS

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By:  Gianna Maniego

“Ayoko. I don’t want to play. I’m scared!” Maita protested.  Maita wasn’t usually a scardy-cat, but what her best  friend was suggesting  was just too dangerous, in her opinion.

Camilla wanted Maita to join some girls class who  were playing with the Quija board that Steph brought to school that day.  It was early December, and the whole  school was preparing  for the Christmas  pageant. Most of the sixth graders were participants in the pageant. Some  were in the  choir,  some were  acting  as angels  and shepherds. Regular classes  were suspended  and  the whole  week was  devoted to rehearsals. The only  ones left in the classrooms were those who weren’t included in the pageant. They were  assigned to decorate the classrooms for the classrooms for the Christmas decorating contest.

Maita and her classmates  were in Room 36, the honors sections. As usual,  their  resident artist had everything planned ahead of time, so there was nothing left to do but  string up the rainbow-colored lights. Bored, some of the girls began bringing games to school.  Someone brought  playing cards; another brought a chess set. The braver ones brought GameBoys.  Those  were not  allowed, but since the teachers were also busy with the pageant, Maita’s classmates got away with it.  Pretty soon the classroom turned into  a recreation center, with groups of students playing in various corners of the room.

The most popular game at the moment was the Quija board. About 10 girls had gathered

around the rectangular-shaped board which was painted with the alphabet, numbers, the moon and  several stars. In the middles of the  board were two circles. Inside one circle was the word YES, and in the other, the word NO. The girls were interesting in hushed silence to Steph, who was explaining the rules of the game.

“It’s like Spirit of the glass. You ask a spirit to join you and then  ask it  questions, like “when will I get married?’ or ‘will I finish school?’ stuff like those. Tapos  hintayin  mo yung sagot ng spirit ( Then wait for the spirit answer). “She said. ” Paano sila sasagot  ( How will they answer)? Celine asked  skeptically.  “Pag yes, papunta papunta yung glass dun sa bilog na may nakasulat na YES. Pag NO.  dun sa kabila, Pag hindi masasagot ng YES or NO,  ii-spell out nung glass  yung sagot  ( if  the answer is YES,  the glass will  move to  the YES circle.   If the answer is no, it will go to the other circle. If the  question cannot be  answered by yes or no, the glass will go to the  alphabet or the numbers and spell out the answer). My ate once called the  spirit of Jose Rizal. He was lot of fun,  he kept speaking in Spanish, so  nobody understood most of  what he said,” Steph told her  enthralled audience.

“Ibig mong sabihin (Do you mean to say), the spirits actually get inside  the heart-shaped thingy and play the game with you? Hindi ako naniniwala ( I don’t believe that)! I don’t believe in ghosts… or spirits!” said Arlene, one of the  prettiest girls in class.  “It’s  just a game,” Steph  shrugged.

Isn’t that dangerous?  What if tayo ang i-possess nung spirit (what  if the spirit decides to posses one of us)? Emily butted in. “Puwede naman nating paalisin yung spirit. Sige na. Ano naman ang mangyayari sa atin ( We can always  tell the spirit to leave. Come on, what could happen to us)? we’re in School. There’s a lot of people around us. If  anything happens, e di tumakbo tayo ( we can always run away)! besides, It’s the middle of the day.  Evil spirits don’t usually attack  during the day, “Steph assured.

“Okey, I’m game!” said Lilibeth. She was always interested in ghost stories and loved a  good scare.

“Count us in!” said Camille, from the  other side of the room, Clamping  a hand  on Maita’s  arm she literally dragged her best friend to where Steph and the others were waiting “Okey. Lilibeth, Camilla, Maita and me. That’s four. I think we have enough players. Let’s begin,” said Steph, taking charge.  The four of them sat on the flooraround the Quija board, one on each  side of  it. Steph, being  the only one  who’s played  the game, was in front of the board. Maita, sitting  directly opposite her on the other side, had to read  the letters and numbers upside down. On Steph’s right  sat Camille and on her left sat Lilibeth. The rest of the girls  gathered excitedly around  the floor.  “Wait! Who are we gonna call?” Maita asked, slowly  getting into the spirit of the  game.  “Hmmm… what about Elvis? You know, to see whether he is really dead  or if he  is still alive, as what the  American tabloids  say?” Camille suggested. “Okay, we can try that,” said Steph, and in a  hushed voice , she slowly intoned  “We call the spirit of Elvis Presley. Please join us.”

Gingerly, she placed her right  index in middle fingers on the heart-shaped  “glass” and gestured for the other three  to do the same. When there were four sets of  index and middle fingers  touching  the glass, she asked, “spirit, are you there?” Nothing happened.

“Elvis  are you with us? Steph asked again, this time louder.  Still,  the glass remained unmoved “See?  Sabi ko sa inyo fake yan eh( I told you that’s a fake)!” cried  Arlene as the  rest of the  audience groaned in frustation.

“No  it isn’t!” Steph said indignantly. “maybe  Elvis  just isn’t available. Let’s  call  on some else!” ” “You  know what, a  cousin of mine told me she did  something like this  before in her neighbor’s house. Pero hindi sila gumamit ng  board na ganyan. Gumamit lang sila ng isang malaking sheet ng Manila paper, tapos may mga drawing lang ng mga letters, sun moon, stars ganoon tapos may YES saka NO sa gitna ( They didn’t use a board like  this though, They just used a big sheet of Manila paper and  wrote on it, then they drew the sun moon, stars and the words YES and NO in the middle). And they used a real  drinking glass that they turned  upside down, “Lilibeth related. “They called  on any spirit to come in,  and then this  spirit came in.  Sabi nung   spirit siya daw si Albert, isa siyang  minor  na devil  na narinig yung tawag nung mga  pinsan ko kaya  sumali siya sa kanila ( The spirit his name was Albert, and that he   was just a minor devil who  happened to be near  my cousin and her friends  when they  called for any spirit and decided to join in ).

“Nung una matino siyang kausap ( At first  he was very cooperative). He  answered their questions and all,  but later on.  he kept pushing the glass towards Monina, my cousin’s neighbor. When they ask why, he said he like Monina. Then all of a  sudden,  the glass would go the letters ‘H’ and ‘A’  Ganun lang, paulit-ulit. Yun pala,  tumatawa siya( Just like that,  it kept going on.  Then we  found out,  he was laughing)!” Lilibeth said. “Baka naman someone was pushing the glass. You know, playing a trick on  them, Emily said.

“That’s what my cousin thought . So she told  everyone to let go of the glass. It  still moved towards the letter ‘H’! They  all shrieked and ran  out of the room.  About  10  minutes later,  they all came back and  asked ‘Spirit, are you  still there? They  put their  fingers on the glass  and it moved  to the YES part, then moved  once more  to the letter  ‘H’ They all  shouted  again and ran out of the room. One of them turned the glass right  back up  to ‘release’ the spirit of Albert. But every time they asked  ‘Spirit, are you there?’ the glass would answer yes. It took them three hours  to get rid of the spirit,” Lilibeth told her now-creeped -out classmates.

“I don’t believe you!”  Celine sneered.

“I swear, I’m telling the truth!” Lilibeth shouted. “Sige nga,  what if  we call  on Albert?”  Steph challenged .  “NO!”

“Sige, sige (Yes, yes)!”

The  “Yes” prevailed, so Steph and the three girls gathered up their courage, closed their eyes, and called on  Albert the devil.

We call on  the spirit of Albert  the devil, “Steph said in  a voice that trembled  slightly. She was  scared but she didn’t want anybody to think she was. After all,  she was the one who  brought the Quija board to school.

Maita, Camille and Lilibeth slowly opened their eyes, and one by one placed their index and middle fingers on the glass.

“Spirit, are you there? Steph asked.  The glass immediately moved to the YES  circle.  “Tell  us your name,  spirit,” Steph commanded. The glass  inched its way to the letter A. The girls looked questionably at each  other. Were they actually able to call on the spirit  of Albert?  Someone  must be  pushing  the glass Someone’s playing a joke, Maita thought.  She peered closely  at the glass. The fingers were barely  touching it. She herself  was only resting her  fingers  lightly on top of it.  The glass began  moving to the other letters: L-B-E-R-T The glass spelled out the name of Albert.  They began asking it questions: Who  are you? How old are you? How did  you die? Where  are you now?

The spirit  answered obediently. Albert, a drug addict. Seventeen. Shot in the  head. in H…E…  As the pointer moved towards the letter L. several girls shrieked.  “SHHHH…. do you want the teacher to catch us?” Lilibeth shushed  them all  angrily.

“Sorry,” Arlene said sheepishly  Then the girls started  asking  questions like’ Will I ever get a boyfriend? and ‘will I make it to the  honor  roll this  year? At first , Albert answered obediently and promptly  and promptly. But later he became slow  in answering, like he was distracted by something.  answering, like he was  distracted by something. During a lull in the questioning, the pointer moved  toward Maita, then stopped  midway and headed toward  Arlene,  who was  on the right side of Maita. Curious, Lilibeth asked, “Anything wrong spirit?” By now  the whole  class was  crowding  around the  Quija group and  there  was dead silence, except for the voices of the four  who were asking questions.  The pointer immediately moved  toward the letters H and A it repeated this  three times,  more,  like it was laughing.

Lilibeth Asked  again,  “Spirit, why are you laughing?  N-O-T-H-I-N-G, the pointer spelled out.  Then it  pointed  at Arlene again.  “Arlene, I think it likes you!” someone blurted out. “Oh my God,” Arlene shouted, scrambling away from  the circle. She  fled to the  other side  of the room,  trembling  and almost in tears. “Spirit, do you like anyone in the room? Steph prodded. The pointer answered  YES.  “Whom do you like?” Camille couldn’t stop herself from asking, even as  she  felt goosebumps  rising  along her  forearms.  At first,  the pointer kept moving around the  board, undecided. Then it moved around again,  seemingly in search of someone. The crowd around the group  shifted  and  the pointer stopped  in front of a gap in the crowd. When the girls looked to see who the  spirit was pointing at, her their  hairs stood on end: the  pointer was directlu aimed at Arlene, who was  cowering  in the corner. Some of the girls rushed  protectively towards Arlene,  who by then burst into tears.

“Send it away!” shouted  Emily as she hugged  her sobbing  classmate. “Tell Albert to leave! now!”

So, Steph, Camille  and Lilibeth turned  back towards the board. Suddenly, they  noticed that Maita was sitting so still,  her eyes staring sightlessly ahead. She looked like  she was  catatonic. Camille nudged her gently, but Maita remained  in a trance. “Maita! Are  you okey? What’s  wrong?” all  three girls asked. Maita looked as  if she didn’t  hear a thing.

All of a sudden, the pointer moved towards the letter  H and A repeatedly. By this time, the whole class was  totally creeped out,  most of them pleaded with steph and the other to spend the malevolent spirit away. Steph finally  gathered up her  courage and said, “Thank you very much,  spirit.  You may  leave now.”

After about five minutes, she asked, “spirit, are you there?”

The pointer moved! It went to the letters H and A again. It was still  there and it was still laughing! Suddenly. somebody screamed!

“Arlene! Arlene! Wake up!” Emily cried, shaking Arlene’s shoulder. Arlene had fainted!  “Oh no! Maita!” shouted Camille.

Maita was slumped  over the board. She too had  fainted. Panic erupted in class.  Camille and Lilibeth  grabbed Maita around the  shoulders and tried  to shift her  away from the board. Steph also rushed to the side  of her friend, fanning her with a  piece of paper. The Quija  board lay abandoned. After a minute or so,  Arlene and Maita woke up.  “What happened?” said Maita.

“Hinimatay ka, hindi mo ba alam (You fainted, didn’t you know)?” Camille said,  her voice still panicked.

“I did? I don’t remember. The last thing I remember is the pointed going around and around on the board  and then I felt cold, like someone poured  water down my  back. What happened to Albert?” Maita asked. Meanwhile, Arlene had shaken off her stupor and was talking animatedly. “I felt something go through me. Like a cold  wind.  It felt  like ice.  Then I heard  a male voice laughing. That’s  the last thing  I remember,” Arlene said. Steph looked over at the Quija board. The pointer  stood curiously in the middle of it,  as if poised  to answer a question.  Reluctantly , she  went back  and,  putting her fingers on the pointer  asked, “Spirit,  are you still there?”

The pointer remained blessedly still.  Albert had finally left them alone.  Nobody tried to play with the Quija  board after that.

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