It was finally Friday the twenty-second and by now (just over one week) Oona considered herself fully integrated into the fabric of KC’s family and home. The week had gone more or less trouble free, and how inspired Oona felt now that everything had gone so rather well. There was some “good” news that after two weeks of waiting, KC’s husband had finally arrived home. His remains had been positively identified and arrangements quickly followed for the memorial service and burial which would now take place Sunday as they had hoped. Friends and family from far off places, among them Vicki and Anaïs, were either in transit or had already arrived in the area. She supposed the best news concerned KC who had been in denial until the closed casket arrived at Logan Airport, and who quite predictably landed her “dream job” at State Street Bank. KC expedited her plans to transition out of her local bank job, and on the very best of terms.
Oona was pleased that KC would finally return to her old career in Boston, that great city of impressive wealth peppered with unfortunates who slept rough in full view. And what an interview it must have been! Not only had KC hit a home run, as they say, Charley called it a real Grand Slam! And what a job! What an opportunity! The bank wanted KC so badly that they offered her an interim V.P. position right there on the spot. And while contingent on all the usual processes of new employment, the general terms and conditions of KC’s new job provided for plenty of pay, perks and benefits, far in excess of what she left behind years ago when she first put her career in Boston on hold to raise her family. Oona imagined the fragrance on KC, the intense object of her desire, when she returned from Boston each day; always so lovely in her smart, form fitting business suit.
At the moment, Oona felt great love for herself and for KC, and love for the children, all of whom had so far behaved splendidly for her. Today Thankful and Louis were home from school early, as was KC, and Charley had gotten a ride and was on his way. Oona even felt love for the All-American mutt named Stinkly, the black and white rat terrier mix that constantly jutted about with small dark eyes and a big wet nose. Stinkly: always with her pointed ears perked. How Oona so freely accepted that dreadful little creature.
“In a little while, the sun will be down and the séance room will be sufficiently dim. The time is right now for our first foray into the other world in search of your husband.” Oona drew a sip of her wine. “Our chain needs one more for the more powerful Group of Six, but for now the three of us – you, Louis, and I – will serve.”
“No problem,” KC whispered in unsolicited reply.
The antique Black Forest mirror from Virginia was securely in place on the wall nearest the séance table. The old tarnished mirror; with its sad and tired reflections on its grim dimness, had so far refused to brighten up for the room. But Oona was absolutely certain that the old mirror would come alive soon. In time that blotchy old thing would be rehabilitated as a projection screen of sorts for seeing him, as it had been used by Anton years ago for their collective benefit.
The Group of Three plus Charley were gathered in the old family room, and once the sun went down and the room grew necessarily dim, the three filed over to the séance table and seated themselves in silence. As instructed, KC and Louis responsively turned their hands flat against the table top, faced up toward the heavens.
“With all hands joined to one another upon the séance table, we shall be joined together as the Group of Three.” The table was draped in white with the crystal ball placed perfectly in its center.
Charley went about the séance room. He lit eighteen candles of various shapes, sizes, and colors situated all about the space. When Charley completed his task the boy looked over to Oona and, on cue he left the room through the red portieres with barely a sound.
“Getting people ‘in the mood’ is perhaps the most important function of a séance room and séance accessories,” Oona calmly and softly began. “Accessories imply a measure of strangeness or eeriness and more importantly indicate the paranormal and the solemn and serious business at hand. And,” she said with a smile, “Is there anyone of you who ever attended a séance without candles and a crystal ball?” Oona felt that her additional light-hearted words were warranted and would help set the proper atmosphere. “Who has a séance outside in the daylight or in the living room with all the lights on? This is not because the setting does not contribute to the success of a séance – it surely can and does – but because creating the correct mood is much more likely to achieve the objectives of the Group.”
Neither KC nor Louis spoke nor moved. They listened to Oona’s every word and sound which came from her mouth. In time KC and Louis grew sufficiently at ease for the Group of Three to go about its eerie business.
“Candles light dimly!” Oona suddenly commanded. And the eighteen candles dimmed in unison, as if by a single light switch. “Watch and listen. Watch and listen,” she instructed her accomplices. Her face looked contorted now in the relative darkness, as if there were deep creases in her otherwise flawless features. Her reflection showed deeply in the gleaming crystal, as if her soul were entombed in it.
“His presence has passed,” she announced. “The door is opening.” Then Oona drew a deep breath, as if she were already exhausted. “His present is past.” she said calmly. Then she pulled herself slightly back and away from the crystal ball and took a moment to take a deep breath and regain her composure.
“I do not know exactly what this means,” Oona declared. The witch held her silence for one long moment, and then continued. “Séances can be quite dangerous if you don’t know how to open the door properly, how to monitor what or who comes through that door, and how to close it when you are finished. I know that the door has opened, if only slightly. We must proceed now with extreme caution.”
“Why does it have to be dangerous?” Louis finally whispered as he nervously recalled his seemingly innocent pleas to his father and to Opa. Had his calls had any effect at all on things, he wondered?
“There are powerful forces of both good and evil which exist beyond our realm,” Oona responded. “Dark potencies can and do cause trouble, pain, anguish, and conflict.” Then, as if for added effect, she shot out, “Sometimes even death!”
“Oona!” KC unexpectedly scolded, and with that the otherworldly feel within their cabal was abruptly ended. The candles brightened, as if by the same invisible light switch, and an uneasy peace descended upon the now illuminated room. And at that moment Oona’s humanity was fully exposed.