Cameron was my best friend since we were ten years old. We had met when I moved to a new school in the fourth grade and our teacher Mrs. Morris sat me next to Cameron, and we struck up a fast friendship. She was so cool that day because the other kids in our class didn’t want to bother with me, but Cameron scolded them for being mean to the new girl, and she became my hero instantly. She was just so cool at everything she did. I admired her, and Cameron taught me a lot about being cool which helped me fit in because I had always been a dork. She didn’t seem to mind that I was 10 and still played with Barbie dolls which were NOT cool by any means. She would come over after school, and we would play with them. Cameron always got to be the cool Barbie with the red car and the cuter Ken doll. I guess I should have seen all the classic signs of a frenemy then, but I honestly believed she just thought I was cool because I was exotic in my dorkiness.
It helped that she was beautiful even back then. She had long dark hair and green eyes. She always wore it up in a ponytail and the way it hung down her back ever so casually was part of her wicked charm. She was beautiful even when she wasn’t trying. I, on the other hand, had dark plain dark blonde hair, fair skin, dark blue eyes; and they were my only saving grace. I was a little rounder around the middle and shorter than Cameron. Cameron was tall and graceful and was a dancer.
But Cameron grew up spoiled and wore her cruelty like it was an accessory. She acted as the world owed her something. Her mother and father divorced shortly before her 8th birthday, and she rarely saw her dad. Her mom spent all her time away with numerous boyfriends and partying, so Cameron was left alone a lot. I can recall going over to her house when we were ten years old and her mom being passed out on the couch. God forbid you disturbed her mom because she would throw a screaming fit and threaten to lock Cameron in the closet if she woke her up again.
Cameron grew up fast and acted like it with absolutely no consequences. Her mother also let Cameron run wild with her credit cards and anything she wanted she got because her mother had a lot of guilt about Cameron’s father not being around. She wore the most beautiful clothes and spent hundreds of dollars on them. I, on the other hand, grew up with parents who made me work, so I babysat on the weekends for a family down the street. I scratched and saved and saved some more just to be able to keep up with the latest fashionable clothes so that I could be like Cameron.
I always felt like I had to be as perfect as she was. I even started dying my hair after she talked me into lightening it.
“Abby, if you go lighter it is just you, but a prettier version of yourself. Don’t you want to look pretty for once? I mean you are fine now as you are, but we all could do better.” She had said to me.
I remember her helping me dye it, and the bleach burnt my scalp. I pretended it didn’t hurt, but she had left it on the way too long as she had told me that it would be okay because beauty is a pain. I now know that is ridiculous.
In the summer we would lay out by her pool, and she would tan every time, and I would burn, and she would laugh and make fun of the fact I was so fair while she looked like a bronzed goddess. She got me a spray tan for my birthday which turned me orange. She seemed to think it was funny and told everyone how pathetic it was. Still, I didn’t seem to believe that Cameron meant any ill will, it was just how she was sometimes. I mean she wasn’t always like that, and I still trusted her with my deepest secrets because I genuinely believed she cared about me.
Everything changed over a year ago when we were Juniors in high school. Cameron, her boyfriend Devin, our two other friends Tracy, and Britney had been headed out to this party and Cameron got caught flirting with a guy that had attended the party from another school. Devin had enough of her and ended it then and there.
She did not take it very well and lashed out at him in front of us. She became obnoxious and even smacked him. I tried to console her, but she lashed out at me too. I didn’t take it too personally because I figured she was just upset and understandably so.
Devin was watching us and came over to me. “I don’t know why you are friends with her. She doesn’t care about you at all.”
“I have been friends with Cameron for years, that is just how she gets sometimes. I never take it personally.”
“Well, maybe you should because she treats you like shit.”
“No, she just likes things to be a certain way. She will tell me later and apologize.” It was right she often did treat me like crap in public, but then apologize later or tell me she was only joking and then all would be well.
“Abby, you are a nice girl. You need to find a friend that cares about you and doesn’t treat you like you are dirt.”
With that, he walked away. I knew deep down he was right, but you know how when you are in a situation you never see it clearly till it is over? That is kind of how this was for me.
Later that night Cameron got drunk, and I had to drive her home. She had left her phone in my car, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but she had taken mine. I was home by the time I realized this, so I just figured I would take it to her in the morning. They were the exact same phones and had “best friends” written on the cases. She had bought the special cases for us one day at the mall and thought they would be so funny and cute, so I figured she had grabbed the wrong phone by mistake.
I changed into my pajamas that night and got ready to watch Netflix in my bed till I fell asleep when I heard her phone going off inside my purse. I got up and went over to it to see if she had finally realized her mistake and was texting her own phone to get my attention.
I grabbed the phone and realized it was a text from Tracy that popped up on her screen.
HEY, HOW IN THE FUCK DO YOU DEAL WITH HER? It said. I went to put it down then saw another one. This time it had my name in the text.
I BET SHE HAS NO CLUE YOU HAVE BEEN FUCKING WITH HER.
ABBY IS SO STUPID LOL.
HOW IN THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN FRIENDS WITH THAT DORK FOR SO LONG?
DID YOU SEE HER TALKING TO DEVIN? I BET SHE WANTS TO SUCK HIM OFF.
I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE THINKS YOU ARE HER FRIEND. ARE YOU GOING TO GO FULL ‘CARRIE’ ON HER WITH LIKE PIGS BLOOD OR SOME SHIT?
The texts just kept coming.
GIRL, YOU MUST BE PASSED OUT TEXT ME TOMORROW.
I just looked at the text messages trying to figure out what the hell Tracy was referring. Cameron had been my best friend since we were ten how she could be faking it for seven years? Who would do that? I tried not to get upset and figured I would wait till I could talk to Cameron myself. Undoubtedly there was an explanation, or so I told myself.
The next day I texted Cameron on her phone and didn’t get a reply. I forgot about it as I had to go to my Saturday morning babysitting job. It entailed dealing with a mature 11-year- old named Stacey. Stacey’s mom worked every Saturday and didn’t trust her soon to be 12 years old on her own even for the few short hours that she had to work her retail management job.
Stacey’s mom paid me well, so I never complained, and Stacey was a good kid for being 11 and was pretty mature for her age. I was 17 and just hung out with her watching movies or whatever, and we just sat and usually chatted about boys or tv shows she liked.
It was a day like any other when I went over to Stacey’s house. Her mother laid out the 75 dollars on the kitchen counter for the 5 hours we would get to hang, and anything in the fridge was mine. Stacey and I did our usual and ate junk food watching movies.
“Abby you ever played with a Ouija board?” asked Stacey.
I looked at her and laughed shaking my head. “No, why do you have one or something?”
“Yeah, my best friend and I bought one last week at the mall. It is idiotic, but we thought that it could tell us about the boy she likes. It works too!” she said wide-eyed.
“I don’t believe you.” I teased her.
She stood up quickly and then went over to the loveseat and pulled out a brown case from underneath it. She came over and sat it down in front of me. I looked at the wooden carrying case that had a little lock flip lock on it to open it and etched on it the words “SPIRIT BOARD.” She opened it and unwrapped a thin wooden board with a happy sun in the top left-hand corner with the word “YES” under it and a solemn-looking moon in the right-hand corner with the word “NO.” In the top center, it just read “HELLO.”
In the center was the alphabet painted in beautiful calligraphy and just below were numbers 0 to 9 and at the very bottom were the words “Good Bye.” It was not menacing in any way and to be honest I never understood why people were so frightened of them.
Planchette was a simple upside-down heart shape with a magnifying glass in the center and little decorative curves drawn at the bottom that looked like vines. I looked at the artwork in front of me, and I looked up at Stacey.
“How much did you girls pay for this?” it looked way too beautiful to be afforded by girls as young eleven or twelve.
“Some guy said it was on sale for 30 so we put our money together and bought it. It is cool, isn’t it? Want to ask it a question?”
I smirked at her, and for my amusement, I nodded.
“How does it work?”
“You just have to put your hands on it very lightly, and one of us has to ask a question. Then you just sort of wait. You have to start with Yes or No questions first before it gets used to your energy.”
I sat up on the floor with her across from me, and we gently placed our hands on the board. I only had one question in the back of my mind, and that was about Cameron. Why did she want to hurt me?
“Okay, should one of us ask?”
“You must have already.” Said, Stacey, as I felt the planchette suddenly begin to slide across the board. It did not push to the word Yes or the word No instead it slid to the letter J. I wasn’t sure what it was trying to spell then Stacey took one of her hands off of the board and started to write down something with a pencil on a small pad of paper.
“What are you doing?” I asked her.
“It wants to talk to us instead. Whatever you asked it must be vital.”
I felt it slide to the letters E then A then L O U then finally landed on S.
“Jealous!” exclaimed Stacey in an excited tone like she was the winner of some game show.
I thought about it for a moment then it clicked I had been thinking of why Cameron had been mad at me. Jealous didn’t seem to make sense she was perfect after all.
“Who is jealous?” asked Stacey without me knowing what she was going to say.
“C-A-M.” it spelled as I looked down bewildered because I knew Stacey didn’t know anything about my questions.
“Cameron?” I asked puzzled, and then the planchette slid quickly across the board to the word YES.
“Who is Cameron?” asked Stacey
“My best friend.”
It hovered over the word yes for a moment then began to spell out D E V I N. I was even more confused, and I knew that Stacey wasn’t moving the planchette given she and I never really discussed any of my friends and the new toy of hers was very exciting.
“What does Devin have to do with this?” I asked
It stopped moving then as though it shut a door. We both looked at each other and then I heard it. There was a vibration coming from across the room from my purse. I stopped using the board and went to grab the phone. It was Cameron calling me from my phone.
I answered it. “Hey, Bitch! You stole my phone!” Cameron laughed teasingly. “When will you be around to drop it off?” she asked
“Oh, Hey I’m working now, but I can drop it off after.”
“Okay cool. I’ll be here. You didn’t read any of my text messages, did you? If Tracey texted me by chance just know she is a stupid dumb drunk because she never makes sense after seven tequila shots.”
“No.” I lied as I didn’t feel like confronting her over the phone in front of Stacey was appropriate. I figured I would get my chance later.
“Ask her about DEVIN.” Whispered Stacey as she played with the board giggling.
I grinned and then sighed. “So, did you hear from Devin?”
She instantly got defensive. “How the fuck would I do that? I don’t have my phone. Don’t be stupid Abby.” She said bordering on anger. I had touched a nerve. “Besides why do you care about Devin all of a sudden?”
“No reason I was just wondering, but yeah stupid.” I realized it was a stupid question considering I had her phone he wouldn’t be able to text her?
I hung up and then looked at Stacey she was cracking up.
“She sounded ANGRY! Who is Devin?”
“He was her boyfriend until last night.”
“Devin likes you not Cameron.”
I rolled my eyes at her “Don’t be ridiculous he is way out of my league, and I’m not his type. My friend Cameron is gorgeous, and I’m far from that. Besides it would be wrong, he was her boyfriend, and you don’t date your best friends ex.”
“Are you saying you think you are ugly?” asked Stacey genuinely confused.
“I’m no Cameron.”
“Do you have a mirror, Abby? You are so pretty, how do you not even see it? When I’m older, I hope I look like you.” she sighed.
That was the first time in my entire life I had ever heard someone call me pretty that wasn’t a parent or my grandma. I smiled and then began to pack up her board and my purse.
“What are you doing? We can’t possibly be finished now!”
I looked at the clock on the wall, and I knew her mom was going to be home soon.
“Your mom is almost home, Stacey.”
“Well, why don’t you take the board home. I feel like maybe it has more to tell you. It is okay just take it.” She smiled up at me.
“It is okay there is always next Saturday.”
There was a loud bang, and Stacey’s mom was coming through the door with bags of groceries and one of them had broken with cans falling all over.
I helped her with the cans then I grabbed my bag and purse and left to head over to Cameron’s house. When I got there, she was lounging by the pool in her backyard, and she sat right up when she saw me taking off her black sunglasses.
“About time.” She said handing me my phone and taking hers in her hand.
“It died huh?”
“No, I just shut it off to save battery.”
“Right.” She said looking down at it trying to turn it back on.
I grabbed mine and noticed the screen was cracked.
“Oh shit, I’m sorry about that. I think I dropped it when I was drunk last night.”
I knew better she had broken it on purpose by her tone.
I just shrugged “Shit happens. Good thing I have a free one coming soon.”
I sat down next to her in the chairs trying to muster up the courage to ask her about what I had seen when I heard them. Tracey and the other gang of girls we hung out with were coming toward us all in bathing suits.
“Get this party started!” yelled Tracey
Cameron stood up, and they hugged as though they had always been best friends. I suddenly felt unwanted and didn’t care anymore about Cameron’s devious plans.
I got up to leave, and then Cameron stopped me.
“Where are you going?”
“I have to get some sleep I’m just beat.” I lied.
“Oh well who needs ya!” said Tracey squirting me in my shirt and shorts as she laughed.
“Text me later.” Said Cameron and they all giggled at me as I left.
I drove home, and when I got there, no one was around. I went upstairs to my room and threw my bag on the bed hearing something hard inside it. When I looked at the bag, it was the carrying case for the Spirit board. I rolled my eyes and then laughed I knew Stacey had snuck it in to be nice but the last thing I wanted was to be alone with a Ouija board.
I pulled it out to get a good look at it and then I started to cry. I had no idea what Cameron had planned for me. I wished that things could be like they were when we were little girls because we had been so close back then. My tears hit the Ouija board, and I began to cry uncontrollably. All the pain and years of her bullying had finally gotten to me.
I looked at the board and picked up the planchette.
“So, you want to be my new friend?” I asked half amusingly.
I felt a slight vibration of the planchette, and it nearly jumped from my hands as it jerked toward the word YES.
I looked down at it then and felt it move, and I didn’t need a pen or paper.
It just looked at it.
I WILL BE YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND.
It slid to the SUN at the top of the board which reminded me of an emoji as it centered in on the sun face with its happy go lucky grin. The planchette moved over the little face magnifying it under the glass, so its intentions were clear. I concluded this was the spirit’s way of smiling at me.
“I don’t even know your name,” I said allowed still wiping tears from my eyes feeling entirely comfortable with this board and feeling less lonely and somehow loved by this being who wanted to be my friend.
WICKED WILLIAM it spelled out to me then it returned to the smiling sun.
I laughed and then I heard my mom’s car pull up. I was afraid she would see this board and disapprove, so I put it away quickly under my bed. I went to see my mom and find out what was going to be for dinner since Saturday nights was our night to order pizza and have mom and daughter time.
That night I fell asleep early as I was worn out with all the worrying about my friendship with Cameron. The next morning my mom woke me up for breakfast and I noticed I had 25 missed calls from Cameron. What the hell?
I grabbed my phone and called her to see what on earth could be the matter. She picked up on the first ring.
“I didn’t know who else to call. I did not sleep one wink last night. I had the scariest thing happen to me, can you talk Abby?”
She sounded genuinely frightened and not faking it or anything.
“Yeah for a few minutes. What happened?” I felt needed for the first time in ages by my best friend and to be honest it felt good.
“Abby this is going to sound crazy, but I was attacked by something in my sleep last night. When I woke, there was this dark shadow standing at the foot of my bed. I swear it growled at me and had these red eyes that glowed. Abby, I swear I’m not going crazy!” She began to sob over the phone.
“I don’t even know what to say, Cameron.” I genuinely thought maybe she was crazy perhaps with guilt over something she had done or was going to do.
“Abby, I didn’t know who else to call. My mom is gone again as usual, and she would have me locked up if I told her that. Can I stay with you at your house tonight? I am so scared right now! I can’t be alone Abby I can’t be.”
“I can ask my parents I’m sure they won’t mind.”
With that, I hung up and was on my way to tell my mom Cameron was coming to stay overnight when I remembered the spirit board under my bed.
I closed my bedroom door and locked it then got it out and sat on my bed.
It began to spell out words immediately, and at first, it moved too quickly for me to understand what it was spelling out.
“Slow down.” It began to slow down so I could read it one letter at a time, so I could slowly piece together what it was saying.
GUESS WHERE WICKED WILLIAM WAS LAST NIGHT
I just watched as my hand held the planchette as it glided up to the smiling sun.