Jamie felt like a piece of packaged meat from the grocery store, nestled in the open freezers for everyone to pick up and compare with all the others. Only, she wasn’t being handled by moms with tight budgets looking for the best deal on ground beef.
Suddenly, someone bumped into her. Jamie lost her balance and found herself tossed right into the hottest guy from school, Jason. She was speechless. Grinning broadly, Jason threw his arm around her bare shoulders and, with his finger, began to make soft, tiny circles on her skin. Jamie shuddered, but he didn’t seem to notice. Jason leaned close to her face, his breath reeking of alcohol, and he had to shout to be heard above the din. “Hey, toots, relax. You’ll get your turn. I mean, there’s plenty of me to go around. Ya just gotta be patient.”
A blond girl in a miniskirt and little else, captured Jason’s attention and Jamie was forgotten. Her skin was cold were Jason’s arm had been, but her face flamed. “Why did I let Megan talk me into borrowing this shirt?” she mumbled, trying, once more, to tuck the tiny black halter into her tight stretch jeans. But her jeans were too low and the hem of the shirt was an inch above her bellybutton. “I don’t even know why I let Megan talk me into coming to this party.”
But of course she knew why. She was there because her parents said she couldn’t come. She was wearing Megan’s shirt because her parents wouldn’t let her. She hung out with Megan because her parents didn’t approve of her. Jamie was tired of being the goody-goody Christian girl; she wanted to fit in. “No one else in the popular crowd liked or obeyed their parents, so she wouldn’t either. And Megan, the new girl who was rising in the ranks of the “in” group, would be her ticket to popularity.
“Suck it up,” she told herself. “This is what you wanted; enjoy yourself. Just a few more hours…” The thought was anything but pleasant.
Another classmate approached her with a drink in his hand. “Well…you clean up nicely.” Jamie’s cheeks burned as his eyes crawled down her body and up again to her face. “Very nicely.”
Jamie turned around and walked away, nearly colliding with Megan. Megan dug her pink nails into Jamie’s arm and stood on tiptoe to shout into her ear, “Jay, isn’t this party simply smashing?” Megan didn’t wait for her response. “And, I know how to make it even better! A séance!”
Jamie froze. “You mean, like, talk to dead people kinda thing?”
Megan rolled her eyes. “Of course! Call their spirits to come and speak to us!” She looked at Jamie with a malevolent glint in her cold blue eyes. Megan knew that Jaime claimed to be a Christian. This was a test of where her true loyalty lay: in her religion or in Megan. “Unless, you would rather go next door where, I’m sure, Miss Amelia Larkins is praying for our lost souls this very minute!” The shame of being associated with goody-two-shoes Amelia would be unbearable in the eyes of high school society, and both Megan and Jamie knew it.
The eyes that had been flecked with ice, now became the bluest part of a blazing, hot flame. But she only uttered one word. “Fine.” Megan pivoted her high heels and stomped away.
“W-w-wait M-Megan, wait!” Jamie pushed her way through the crowd, trying to reach Megan. “Megan, it’s…I guess I’ll…I’m just…OK…I’m in.”
Megan stopped abruptly and smiled, though it didn’t reach her, now, icy eyes. “Great. I knew you would come to your senses.”
Her conscience screamed at her to leave, but numbly, Jamie followed Megan.
They stepped into a room, sheltered from much of the party’s noise and lit only by six candles on the wooden table. Everyone stood around the table, clasping hands. Their eyes were fixed on the candles, their mouths moving, but no one made a sound. Megan and Jamie stood outside the circle, observing the eerie practice.
All of a sudden, the candles went out. There was no breeze. Everyone dropped hands and moved back, watching in fear and astonishment as the table rose a foot off the floor. The candles’ flames appeared again.
Megan screamed. Jamie fell to her knees, shaking. She raised her hands and cried out, “Jesus! Help us, Jesus!”
The table crashed to the floor, in a heap.
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