My partner Alan and I were guests of honor at our friend's suburban Chicago home one evening. A farewell party before we headed out West to Arizona. Our buddies shared stories with fond memories of us. One particular story, however, was not like the rest. It was chillingly extraordinary.
After grabbing another beer from the fridge, I returned to the living room. Where I heard Alan regaling everyone with a story about the time he was at one of the popular Indiana beaches along Lake Michigan.
Alan and I had only been together for six months, but we were like one of those longtime couples. The ones completing each other's sentences. That's what I did as I entered the room with my ice-cold Miller Lite in hand. Taking the reins and safely riding his story the rest of the way out.
I excitedly recalled how all those gathered at the beach on that early autumn night were singing along to the throwback song on the radio. Madonna's Like a Virgin. A dozen voices giving a spirited impromptu ensemble around the bonfire's glow.
Alan fell deathly quiet. As if I had put a spell on him. He appeared mesmerized while watching me passionately stand and deliver the final touches to the story he'd started. Someone proceeded to follow up our story by bringing forth another one.
That transition was Alan's cue to freshen up his Jack and Coke. He took hold of my arm and off we went for the bar set up in the kitchen.
My partner looked as if he'd seen a ghost. I asked if everything was alright. He hesitated. Then said, "I'm not sure." His quivering response startled me. Alan expressed his intent to discuss what he heard me share moments earlier.
He began by saying that he had not yet shown me photos of Liz and Tim; his best high school pals. Adding that they both had been living out of the country for several years.
He was baffled as to how I could've described those two particular friends on that specific night at the beach. Given that I'd never met them or known what they looked like.
I assured Alan that I felt certain I'd met them before. There were so many people with their toes in the sand circled around that crackling fire. But the only two I recognized were Liz and Tim.
My partner then inquired as to how I was able to recall many vivid details of that night. Being mystified at how clearly I remembered the Chicago Cubs blanket, the crescent moon in the sky, the wine bottles, and the backflips he'd done off the sand dune.
To which I succinctly replied, "You know me. I'm good at recalling details."
My response seemed to perplex him even further. He set his cocktail on the counter. Standing motionless. Almost in a trance. I sensed there was something else. Something that had him spooked.
Alan broke that momentary silence and said, "It's just not possible. It's eerie that you know precisely what took place on the beach. When you finished telling the story to everyone in the room, it was just like you yourself had really been there. Right there at the beach on that night."
All the hairs on the back of my neck and arms stood up after hearing him say this. I shivered and said, "You're frightening me right now. You make it sound as though…this didn't happen. Like it's a figment of my imagination."
Alan said, "You're right. It didn't happen. You weren't there that night. I wasn't there. Neither were Liz and Tim. Because all of it actually never took place. This is the first time I ever started to tell that story to anyone. Including to you. And somehow you finished telling it with complete accuracy."
He added, "You see. It was all from a dream I had last night."
Here's to thirty-one unexplainable nights of Halloween.
This Ouija board is brought to you by that guy of hexes and oh's. That cursed guy is Ron Blake and he can be found in the shadows of the ravens at firstname.lastname@example.org.