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Unnecessary Tension

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Eight hours until dawn


The room was dark, despite the candles which Josh was lighting. Chris was reading from a dusty old book that was open on the table.

“So, it says here, to communicate with the spirit world you must free your mind of all preconceptions, drop all inhibitions, and generally give yourself over entirely to the will of others, sublimating your every desire to the whims of the spirit-master, which is me--”

Josh cocked a hand on his hip, giving Chris a dirty look before taking a seat opposite the blond.

“It doesn’t say that--”

Ashley whacked Chris on the arm.

Chris tried to feign seriousness, pretending to read from the book beside his left arm.

“And all present will remove their garments at my sole discretion--”

Josh made a noise.

“Chris come on this is serious…”

Chris waved his hands, then put his fists against his hips, deepening his voice.

“Oh, I’m deadly serious.”

He laughed malevolently.

Ashley rolled her eyes.

“Oh shush it. Let’s try this.”

“Yes, please,” Josh added.

“Ok then,” Chris started, “let’s see what happens.”

They all leaned forward slowly, placing their hands palm-down on the Ouija board.

“Ashley,” he continued, “since you’re a recent convert, why don’t you be our medium for today.”

She looked nervously at the blond, her doe-eyes widening.


She cleared her throat.

“Anyone there…? Will you reveal yourself to us…if you’re there…?”

She was hesitant, her eyes cast on the ceiling, as if expecting to see something appear.

They all stilled for a beat, then cautiously reached an index finger out, placing it on the pointer. Then suddenly, the little piece of wood began to move.

Chris laughed.

“Wait a minute--”

Josh looked at his comrades, “did you do that…?”

Ashley was shocked as she spoke, “I didn’t do anything!”

Chris shushed the other two, laughing slightly as the pointer moved about the board.

“It’s moving again!”

“H…” Ashley started.

Josh leaned forward slightly, “what’s it spelling?” There was a hint of offset nerves in his voice.

Ashley held her hand out to him, “hold on.”

“How’s this happening?” Josh exasperated.

Chris’ voice was hesitant, his brow cocked. “Are you moving it…?”

“I swear, it’s just moving.” The ginger sounded slightly scared.

The pointer was moving across the board maddeningly.

“Holy shit,” Josh whispered, sitting back.

“Help?” Ashley reiterated, looking around the dim library.

“…how are we supposed to help?” Chris sounded doubtful.

“I don’t know.” The ginger began. “What does it mean?”

Chris scoffed, disbelieving. “We need to know who it is if we’re supposed to help them.”

Ashley licked her lips, looking back up at the ceiling. “How can we ‘help’ you?”

Chris laughed yet again. “It’s moving again.”

Josh was genuine as he spoke. “Whoa…”

“What’s it spelling?” Ashely yelped, frightened.

“War…?” Chris tried as the pointer continued to move spastically.

“It’s moving fast…” Ashley whispered, curling in on herself.

“Warni” Chris tried again.

“Shit.” Josh sat back.

The ginger was even more frightened as she spoke. “oh my god…’warning?’”

Chris was hesitant as he slowly spoke. “I think…we…really need to find out who’s trying to communicate with us.”

Ashley gulped. “What are you warning us about?”

“Uh…” Josh glanced around.

Ashley whimpered. “Ohh here it goes-”

Josh nodded as the pointer moved. “Okay. ‘S.’”

“’I.’” Ashley read.

“’S.’” Chris added.

Josh managed “’T.’”

“’E.’” Ashley’s voice rose.

“’R.’” Chris finished.

“Sister.” Ashley was exasperated as she looked at Josh.

Josh looked terrified, his eyes wide. “Whose sister?” He looked to Ashley.

Chris spoke, disbelieving. “Oh come on, is this for real?”

Josh cut him off. “Shut up.” He turned to Ashley again. “Ask it whose sister.” He was beseeching.

“Josh…it’s…it’s gotta be…” Ashley didn’t want to say it.

“Yeah? Ok. Well.” Josh grappled. “Which sister is it then?”

Chris sat back in his chair, his voice dry. “Ashley, ask who it is…”

The ginger seemingly gulped. “Who…are we speaking to? Hannah…? Is that you?”

The pointer creeped across the board to “yes.”

“Oh god.” Ashley cried.

Chris sniggered. “This is messed up.”

Ashley look to Josh, concerned. “Josh…are you-”

“I’m fine.” He snapped.

“Are you sure, because we can stop-” she implored.

“No,” the brunet shook his head.

Chris’ voice was affectionate. “Dude it’s cool-”

Josh almost leaned across the table, persistent. “I want to hear what it says.”

There was a pregnant pause.

“I don’t know where to start…” Ashley’s voice was soft.

Suddenly, it dawned on Chris. “Think about it.” He gestured with his hand. “If this is actually Hannah, I mean, we can find out what happened that night…”

Ashley looked to Josh.


He cast his eyes down. “I can handle it.”

The ginger sat back. “Oh…kay…umm…let me think…Hannah…we miss you…and we want to know what happened to you… can you…can you tell us…what happened?”

Josh had looked off to the side.

Ashley began to read the letters to where the pointer moved. “’B--’” “‘E--’” “’T--’” Her voice cracked.

“Uh oh,” Chris breathed.

“I don’t like this,” Ash whimpered.

“Betrayed--” Chris finished.

Josh didn’t understand. “What does she mean-”

“It’s still going!” Chris exclaimed.

“Oh god--” Ashley shuddered. “’K—‘” “’I—‘” “’L—L—‘” “E—D’’” “No!”

Josh looked up, “Killed?”

Ashley began to panic. “We didn’t kill them! It was just a prank!” She was becoming hysterical.

Chris held out a hand to her. “Ash, calm down, okay?! Just—we need to find out more!”

The redhead was sobbing. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!!”

Josh was confused, his head tilted slightly. “Guys, guys…what do they mean?”

The blond let out a breath. “Ask them what happened. It’s the only way to know! Ask them, Ash!!”

Ashley tried to get a grip. “Okay. Okay. How did you die? Hannah, what happened to you?”

Josh looked around the dark space, the wind howling against the windows.

Ashley breathed. “L—I—B”

“Library!” Chris jumped on the word. “Maybe there’s something in the library here-”

“P—R—O—O” Ashley read.

Chris nodded. “Proof, there’s, there’s…there’s proof.”

“In the library?” Ashley interrupted.

The board began to shake beneath their hands.

“Watch out!!” Josh yelled, the pointed flying clean off the table, hitting the floor a few feet away.

Ashley screamed.

“WHOA!” Chirs exclaimed.

Ashley stood, covering her head with her arms. “Holy shit. Chris.”

Josh’s expression changed, his face contorting with anger. “You know what? No, this is bullshit. This isn’t real--” He stood.

“Josh--” Ashley beseeched him. “I don’t know what’s going on…”

The brunet took a heavy breath. “Listen.” He waved his hands, not looking at either of his friends. “I don’t know…I don’t know if you think you messing with me if somehow going to help me deal with my grief or whatever but this is not cool.”

He started towards the stairs leading out of the library.

“Josh no!” Ashley started. “You wanted to use the spirit board…”

Chris turned in his chair, speaking somewhat defensively. “Hey calm down, it’s not Ash’s fault!”

Josh looked at the pair, his tone clipped, clearly pissed off. “I don’t need this right now, okay?!! You guys are full of it!”

His figure faded into the blackness.

“Sh-” Ashley started. “Should we go after him?”

“Stay here, okay?” Chris got up from his chair and started down the steps, opening the door out into the black corridor.



Chris called, squinting in the dark. He heard a soft noise, and looked to see Josh’s figure through snippets of moonshine from a window down the hall.

The older boy was seated on the floor of the corridor, his knees puled to his chest, his breaths spastic and uneven.


The Washington took a shaky breath, not looking up. Chris crouched in front of him, rubbing a hand on the other’s knee.

“Are you ok?”

“How could I be ok?!”

Josh snapped.

“Apparently, I was just talking to my sister! And she’s dead! She’s dead, Chris!”

The blond gaped, trying to think of something.

“Man, fuck that shit, ok? We don’t even know if any of that was real.”

“It seemed real!”

Chris didn’t know what to say.

“Just go away! Go away and leave me alone!”


Chris sighed, standing.

“But I know you don’t really want me to. Do you want me to leave, Josh?”

There was silence…then a submissive “no” from the brunet.

“What do you want then?”

Chris’ voice was soft as he knelt back down.

Josh shook his head against his jeans.

“You’ll think it’s stupid!”

“No I won’t. I promise.”

Josh slowly looked up, his green eyes glassy with tears. Chris could see him swallow.

“I want…I to…kiss me. That’s what I want…”

Chris didn’t respond.

 “Please…?” Josh sounded pathetic.

The older boy practically emulated pain, and he looked off to the side, embarrassed.

“Just…never mind…forget it…fuck…go away…go away Chris”

“I’m not gonna go,”

Chris started, taking Josh’s hand. He pushed up between the Washington’s knees, leaning in, licking his bottom lip slightly before he pressed his mouth softly against Josh’s.

He enveloped the other’s chapped lips with his own, sucking softly on Josh’s bottom lip.

The brunet made a soft noise into his mouth, like a moan.

Chris put a hand on the side of Josh’s face, brushing off the tears with his palm. Josh slowly lifted his hand to Chris’ shoulder, gripping the corded green fabric. He slid his calloused palm up onto the blond’s neck, his thumb tucking behind Chris’ ear.

Chris pulled off Josh’s mouth to take a breath, moving his lips to the Washington’s neck, brushing some unshaven stubble.  Josh undid the closure on Chris’ sweater, moving his hand along the white fabric of the other boy’s tee shirt.


He breathed softly.


Josh’s breath bowed.

Chris’ hand slipped behind Josh’s knee, gripping the muscles behind his thigh tightly.

The older’s fingers felt along Chris’ chest, rounding over his back, tightening in his hair. Josh felt something of a pang in his gut, it felt like cables tightening.


His voice was breathy.


There was a noise from up the hall.


It was Ashley.


His lips were inches from Josh’s face.

“Are you ok?”

“Fine,” Chris called, smirking at Josh. He moved to stand when the Washington grabbed his wrist.

“Don’t leave me.”

“I’ll never leave you.”

He extended a hand to the elder boy, clasping his hand tightly, leaning back to pull him up off the floor. Chris found himself losing his footing as Josh’s weight mixed with his own and within moments the Washington was up against him, the blond’s back against the far wall.


Chris whispered.

Josh’s arms were caging Chris is, but the older boy moved them both to the sides of the other boy’s face, kissing him eagerly. Chris’ hands fisted the fabric of the elder’s shirt, pulling Josh even closer. The other’s hips bumped against his own, Josh’s kisses becoming sloppier and ravenous.

Josh was pushing Chris’ sweater off, running his hands up the other’s arms, pulling Chris’ arms up over his head, pinning them to the wall. Josh’s fingers intertwined with Chris’ as he continued to kiss the latter.

Their breaths were growing louder, deeper, pants and moans twisted up in ecstasy. Josh was sucking a welt into the flesh below Chris’ jawline. The blond’s breath hitched, his head tipping back.


His moan was a little louder than he had expected. He was shoving at Josh’s flannel, ripping the offending clothing away. He ran his hands up and down Josh’s chest and flanks, feeling the corded bundles of muscles move sporadically underneath his touch.


The elder’s breath was hot on Chris’ neck. Josh’s hips stuttered, overtly expressing his want to Chris. The Washington’s fingers dug into Chris’ side.

“God Cochise….”

Chris felt like his knees were going to give out, sliding down the wall. His ankle warped, offsetting their balance, Josh landing on top of him. The older let out a deep breath, his bottle green eyes trained on the blond.

“I-I can stop…”

“Never stop.”

Chris pulled hard on the front of Josh’s thermal, crashing their mouths together again. Josh moved his lips to Chris’ throat, a strand of saliva still connecting their mouths. Chris groaned loudly when Josh pressed against him, feeling the other’s erection straining through his jeans.


Chris’ foot slammed against the floor.


“Do you…just want to…I mean here…on the floor…”

Chris’ words were broken up by winded breaths. Josh maneuvered off him, pulling him off the floor.


“Where are we going?”

Josh smirked over his shoulder.

“You’ll see.”