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Charles’s phone buzzed for what Jack figured must have been the eighth time. Said roommate was digging through the closet and apparently hadn’t noticed

”Charles, your phone’s been going off,” Jack said.

"I know, they’re just paranoid,” Charles said, coming out with an armful of candles and a box of salt.

He paused in the threshold of the closet as he realized Jack was staring at him in bewilderment. “What?”

“What on Earth did you get those?” Jack asked.

“Some of the students with the Tamerlane Times think there’s a haunted building off just off campus. I thought they were just fishing for stories, but we tried a Ouija board and... well at first it was dull and didn’t really move around much. But after a few minutes it went absolutely wild, so they’re making me exorcise the building,” Charles elaborated, without saying where he had gotten anything.

Jack gaped as Charles shrugged and stepped over a Viking shield to get to his bed. “Sorry, you’re going to what ?!” Jack asked, his voice raising an octave.

At that moment, the door opened and John entered holding a water bottle. “Got holy water for you,” he said. Jack could tell he too was more than a little weirded out.

“Thanks!” Charles replied cheerfully as he finished packing the candles into his backpack. He slung it around his shoulders and took the bottle from John. “See you later.”

“Oh no,” cut in Jack, pulling on his shoes and jacket. “I’ve gotta see this. You coming too, Tollers?”

“I think I’ll pass,” John answered, “I’d rather finish my Viking costume for tomorrow night.”




The wind bit at Jack’s face as he and Charles stepped outside of Tamerlane U and fallen leaves swirled in circles around their feet. As they walked along, Jack found it difficult to keep up with his friend. Though he wasn’t too much shorter than Charles, Jack guess that the innate eagerness and energy combined with his long legs made him difficult to keep up with. The sky was grey and cloudy, and growing ever darker as night approached. The street lamps flickered on, framing their long shadows in an orange glow.

Jack jumped as Charles’s voice suddenly broke the silence. “The ghosts’s names appear to be Lester and Evelyn,” he explained.

“There’s two?” Jack asked.

“At least,” Charles said. He pulled his phone from his back pocket as it buzzed again.

“Good lord,” Jack murmured, wondering if he should have helped John with his costume.

It wasn’t long before they reached the house, where a group of fellow students stood outside waiting.

“Finally!” said one, “We were getting worried.”

“My dear, I’m still ten minutes early,” Charles said.

“Told you he’d show up. He’s an expert on this kind of thing,” said another.

Jack glanced askance at Charles, but he was pulling his supplies out of his backpack already.

“Now, the ghosts shouldn’t be able to really harm anyone, but unless you want a chill, I’d stay out until we’re done,” Charles said with a wink, then turned to Jack, holding out some of the candles. “Ready?”

Jack opened his mouth, then closed it and simply nodded. He took the candles and proceeded to follow Charles inside. The air inside was stale and stuffy, and about ten degrees colder. The only light inside came from the street lamps outside. Charles lit the candles and told Jack where to place them about the room.  

The hair on Jack’s neck stood up as he heard a low voice and smelled something funny. He straightened up and looked to Charles, only to recognize that it was him chanting in Latin while walking around the room and waving an odd looking stick with his long arms. Jack realized the smell was coming from it.

“Do you mind?” Charles asked, pausing his chant and handing Jack the stick.

“Sure... what am I doing?” he asked.

“Waving it clockwise,” Charles said, unspinning the top of the water bottle.

“Right,” Jack said, and copied what he had seen him do.

When Charles had finished sprinkling the holy water in the corners and on the edges of the room, he led Jack to the center. The air grew noticeably colder and both of them shivered. The thin curtains blew in a sudden breeze and Jack noticed with a thrill of adrenaline that none of the windows were open and they had closed the door.

Charles wrapped his slender fingers around necklace with a cross, that Jack hadn’t even realized he was wearing, and began chanting the Latin phrase again, “Ecce crucis signum, fugiant phantasmata cuncta.”

A separate breeze from the one at the curtains blew out the candles. All at once, the two companions were rushed from all sides by two bursts of freezing cold air. Jack felt as if an icy hand was reaching straight through his abdomen. Beside him Charles raised both his arms, and suddenly shouted simple two words: “ FUCK OFF !”

The wind stopped abruptly, and Jack looked at Charles in shock as he stood there with both hands raised in the air and middle fingers up.

“what the HELL ?!” exclaimed Jack.

“What?” Charles asked, letting his arms drop to his sides.

““You just told two ghosts to ‘ fuck off’ and they,” Jack threw a hand about the room in disbelief, “they did just that?!”

Charles shrugged one shoulder. “Yup.”

“Oh my word.”

“We didn’t even need the salt,” Charles mused, tossing the can of it in his hand.

“Well good, we can use it to salt chips that you‘re buying with our very strong drinks,” Jack remarked decisively.