As if a great weight had been lifted, KC was relieved that the funeral events were finally over. And with so many people there to pay their final respects – to say their final goodbyes – just about everyone she expected had made it. One notable exception was Trixi. Her dear friend was delayed with her return to the States once again, due to ongoing family issues in Holland. Trix had made it as far as Schiphol Airport only to turn around and return to her sick grandmother in Purmerend. In any event, the young woman would arrive to visit at some point, as KC’s former baby sitter was scheduled to begin her college days in Boston, right after the holidays.
Drew’s death brought together pretty much everyone who remained in KC’s world. There were friends and family and work buddies on both sides of the aisle. There were life-long friends and people she had never even met. Anaïs and Vicki both made it as expected, though quite unexpectedly their stays would be brief. KC lamented the days when her friends were close enough to borrow sugar from or to come over for dinner or a drink. Yes, KC was afraid those times were gone for good. And while KC was deeply grateful for the marvels of modern day technology that enabled her to stay connected, she knew in her heart it would never really be the same. Still she lamented those wonderful, past times. Now with the added loss of her husband, her friendship void was never more evident. Oona helped greatly, but it did not entirely cure her feelings of emptiness or the cravings for her closest friends.
So, KC thought, what could be more appropriate now than to have a séance for Drew and pass the torch, so to speak, from three dear friends: Vicki, Anaïs, and Drew, over to Oona? And while her girls were in town, KC had had a grand old time with her dearest living friends.
And in order to take full advantage of Vicki and Anaïs, the séance was planned for Thursday night, the twenty-eighth. Friday was a travel day for both women. And both will be gone in a flash. As quickly as they had arrived.
Oona petitioned KC to allow Thankful to participate in Charley’s place, but KC strongly objected.
“It’s not the same,” KC said to Oona. “Louis was way different when he was five, and we didn’t séance for Anton. Remember? He came to us, to Louis! Anton was just…there. There in the Virginia house! No! No! No Thankful,” KC insisted. “She’s way too young for a séance!”
“And when would you have Thankful practice her craft?”
“Not now!” KC firmly stated.
“Not a problem, ma chère.” Oona said in return, and the matter was closed. And though her mind was not entirely focused, Oona knew she had to complete her preparations for Thursday evening so the promised séance could begin as planned. To accommodate KC’s friends, Oona scrapped earlier plans for the Group of Three to convene on Halloween Midnight, and use a much more powerful Chain of Six in its place, though earlier in the calendar.
Oona and the five others seated themselves around the table, as designated by Oona. Now KC cherished each moment of comfort through the amity among those friends seated around her at the great, round séance table. It was sundown, and the Group of Six: Vicki and Anaïs, KC and Charley, Louis and Oona, joined up in the séance room, now completely decked out with candles, incense, and plenty of atmosphere.
Vicki was clearly happy to be with KC and her family and had, so far, really enjoyed the company of Oona as well. Vicki was a bit giddy and seemed unserious about the whole affair. She was politely asked to take her drink off the table and just as politely complied. Anaïs was seemingly most impressed. She was full of questions and quiet, respectful inquiries. Her long black tresses were similar to Oona’s, and with the difference in age, this trait suggested almost a mother-daughter connection which was of course absurd. Charley was fixated on Oona, as always, and did whatever she instructed him, without question.
Thankful watched TV upstairs, snuggled on the couch with Stinkly. She deeply regretted she was not permitted downstairs while Oona and the others were there. Unattended, her mind drifted to other things.
“We’ve got to reach him, Oona,” KC suddenly implored. “I still can’t find the checkbook.” She took a breath. “And that extra house key? And the strong box is locked. He’s obviously hiding something.” KC had been drinking for a while. And at that time, with the complete comfort and ease she felt around her friends and family, KC was at that time most tender and vulnerable.
“Mom, can’t you get that stuff some other way?” Charley offered to his sobbing mother.
All eyes moved to Oona, who placed her arm on KC’s shoulders. With a somewhat tired smile, she nodded slowly and comforted her friend. Oona listened intently and said nothing to slow KC’s ramblings. Clad in a Roman-style toga, in stark contrast to Oona’s jet black hair, the white garment obscured her bare feet which were placed squarely underneath the table, her toes beautifully painted though out of sight. She looked closely at KC and then over to Charley, and then to the others. Oona was worn from the long day but was no less beautiful. Her gorgeously applied, green shadow about her black eyes and eye-brows commanded attention, and with a diamond stud in her nose and large golden hoops which adorned her ears, Oona addressed her friend softly, with gentle accents of sympathy.
“Séances, real ones...can be most unpleasant if the Chain is not careful, and (she looked to Vicki) not serious.” Again, Oona smiled her smile, and her small stud twinkled for the moment. “There exist a number of unfriendly astral forms on the other side; forms which can affect our minds and judgement, our health and well-being. Sometimes, even those around you can be adversely affected.”
“Then why even bother with this?” asked Vicki. Her green eyes and rich skin were quite beautiful, and her thick brown hair was without a doubt styled at a fine salon in her adopted City of London.
“I have done many, many séances, and with no ill effect,” Oona reassured her audience. “However, for a direct response to your question, ma chère, I advise you to ask KC.”
Vicki, saw the errors of her drunken words and bad timing. She looked away and the question went no further.
“Please join hands now and close your eyes.” Oona glanced around the table to ensure the obedience of her diverse group. “Candles light dimly,” she commanded, and immediately 36 candles from around the room dimmed in unison. “I shall now enter a trans-like state in order to convey messages from my spiritual director and guide, my leader; my Loa who may, by her good graces, communicate prophecies, advice, or even warnings.” Oona paused for a brief moment to ensure absolute silence. “Oh, exalted one, Erzulie,” she thundered, “my illustrious Loa, help guide us to the place where Andrew Gerhard Boehme breathes in death hereafter.”
There was total silence, as if the world stood completely still. “When contact is made, these candles shall blow…out,” Oona cautioned. Then, all at once each candle did.
“His presence has passed. His present is past,” Oona chanted. She looked to be in a full trance now, in commune with her Loa, her guide, to pull Andrew Gerhard Boehme from his place in the Hereafter. “Now into this room, may thy image be cast!”
“Dad’s Past,” cried Charley. He saw something in the old mirror.
“Silence,” Oona commanded. But quite suddenly the moment was gone, and the witch was quite visibly disappointed.
“Oona: No!” exclaimed KC. “Please let him stay,” she pleaded. “Let him stay. Drew is his father.”
“Of course he is,” Oona calmly stated. And with another deep breath she was careful not to place blame on anyone, lest she risk the end of the Group altogether.
Vicki was the first to rise from the table and find her drink, and from which she took one very long sip. KC and Louis were silent and Charley told everyone he was sorry, repeatedly. Anaïs was enthralled by the whole affair and she steadfastly remained ready for whatever would come next. KC finally rose to check on Thankful upstairs, and when she returned there followed a brief though powerful lecture from Oona on the necessity of silence around the séance table. After more than a few exchanges, the Group agreed to try again.
With Oona by her side, KC had no doubt she would have that opportunity once again. She wasn’t sure though if she really needed to reach him as much as she wanted to. And so there would be another séance, and another chance to reach her husband, KC mourned, if only to say one final goodbye.
In a few minutes the Chain was freshly empowered by Oona’s witchlike qualities. All hands vowed full subservience to her authority. Charley was selected once again to light the many, mostly white, candles which decorated the room’s perimeter. Some candles were very tall, others were very short, and most were somewhere in between. Only a few towered over the others. There were thick candles and thin candles, plain votive candles, and candles in uncommon holders made of glass or clay, or other ceramic material; a few were grouped together in vessels made for three. And as odd as the arrangement appeared, the display carried a certain rhyme of predictability.
Now, trans-like Oona secretly prayed to Erzulie to help her achieve her most important goals. Help me Erzulie! Again she chanted, “His presence has passed. His present is past. Now into this room, may thy image be cast!” She appeared in the low light of the candle-lit room as if blind and unaware of her surroundings.
“Behold now Andrew’s past!” Oona announced, and suddenly there appeared a grainy image of Drew which appeared on the finely carved mirror behind her. Then and there the antique could have been mistaken for a wide screen television. The Chain remained unbroken, though the séance table seemed to rise unevenly while Oona’s associates were in complete awe of the magic in the mirror. Drew’s image gradually grew clearer and as it did, the picture widened and a woman came into view.
“His past is present,” Oona said. “Into his world we now shall pass.”
And in an almost hurried sequence, glimpses of Drew’s unseen past flew onto the screen, and revealed what seemed a whole life’s story in fast forward, much of it in the most unflattering ways. One moment Drew appeared a lustful cad, and in the next quick instant he was a bumbling idiot. Here he appeared a clumsy flirt, and there he looked barely intelligent enough to tie his shoes or hold down a job.
A number of emotions raced through the hearts of the Six who were frozen to the images on the mirror. For Charley and Louis, it was Dad’s past, played out in pieces they never knew. Though often in vignettes of which they never dreamed, the brothers were bolstered by the bittersweet images of their father. Vicki and Anaïs had their own memories of Drew, and the short and scandalous stories came as a complete and unpleasant surprise. KC was awestruck and welled up with tears. Oona continued to silently call on Erzulie to fulfill her desires and her resolute nature brought on a dazed satisfaction. Perhaps a little more space between her and her dear, departed husband will help.
“And what do you think of that?” Oona finally said, as she emerged from her deep trance.
“That’s not the husband I know,” KC swooned. She rose from her seat and broke the Chain. The séance was officially over.
“That was so cool,” said Charley. “I never knew those things about Dad.”
Charley: please!” said Vicki.
“Don’t get agitated,” Charley quickly countered.
“Get out of here you little shit!” snapped KC and she burst into tears.
“Enough!” bellowed Oona. With some regret Oona saw the pain that the images had caused KC, and she looked away ashamedly.
KC glared now at Oona and was not sure what to make of the experience. Her mind and emotions were all a mess. The Group dispersed around the room and KC sat back down in her chair.
Oona spoke volumes with her coal-black eyes, and would only say, “How strange is this portal?” To herself Oona added, “As if a great book has been opened.”