Friday Night Games
by Anne Dafeta
Edited by Julia Rios
Adora felt it move beneath her fingers. She did. And she heard the voice clearly, the sound sharp and smooth. There were no distortions when it spoke, though white noise from the TV buzzed and was casting an eerie light across the room now that the show they were watching had flipped to this empty channel and the lights had gone out.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” Onome’s shaky voice said.
“Put on the light now,” Sarah’s voice, equally shaky, sounded beside Adora. “Wait,” Adora said, barely above a whisper. Her throat was suddenly dry. She leaned forward towards the board where the triangular wooden pointer was sitting on the word “Yes”.
“No, please stop. You should not be playing this game. I’m not doing again,” Onome said, her tone beginning to take on a new height of hysteria. She jumped up and reached for the light switch on the wall beside her. Flip, flip: the switch clicked back and forth. “They are not coming on. Why are they not coming on?”
It had been Sarah’s idea. They had gone to the mall, to shop and hang out. A movie was in the cards until Onome, back only that morning from a long work trip, decided she was too tired to do anything more than getting food for the week. Sarah had no Friday night parties lined up and complained endlessly about how boring the night would be, and Adora, content to have a quiet Friday in, made a trip to the game section to get the most gigantic jigsaw puzzle she could find.
There were many board games on the shelf, some familiar to her, like Scrabble, Chess, Monopoly, Battleship, and others not so familiar: Pictionary, Cluedo, Sweet Revenge. She was curious when she picked up the Cluedo pack, just to read. That was when the lone box caught her eye, sitting just a little bit away from the others like an ostracised child.
Ouija was not a game she ever expected to find in Lagos. Back in New York? Of course. Anna, her roommate in college, had all manner of books and things on the occult, and she practised her “craft,” as she called it, quite often. But Ouija, in a Nigerian store?
“What do you have there?” Sarah said, startling her. “Oooo, Ouija. Let’s buy it, please let’s buy it.” She was practically bouncing on the balls of her feet.
Adora could not refuse Sarah a thing. Something about how full of life she was reminded Adora of her own sister, Nneka. Just like Sarah, Nneka had been playful, adventurous, and a magnet for trouble.
Sarah batted her lashes, pouting in a ridiculous way that made Adora laugh. That used to be typical Nneka behaviour too.
Adora rolled her eyes. “Fine,” she said. “It’s not as if you will actually talk to anyone, anyway.”
As fate, and Sarah, would have it, minutes later they were paying for provisions, one jigsaw puzzle, and one Ouija board game. Adora nearly laughed at the look on the cashier’s face: Nigerians did know how to say God forbid with their expressions. Onome did not see the board before they entered the car. Good Christian that she was, her “God forbid” face formed in full force the moment Sarah whipped out the board, and it stayed on for the twenty minutes it took them to get home.
“Didn’t you guys hear it?” Adora croaked, looking from the board to the mirror and back. The mirror had been a last-minute addition to their game. Not that she believed in any of Anna’s ramblings, but Anna had vehemently warned her never to use a spirit board without a mirror, something about them being gateways that kept the spirits in.
“Hear what?” Sarah said, hurrying to join Onome by the light switch.
“God forbid, I did not hear anything,” Onome said, her voice climbing. “I will not hear things like that.” Then she entered into prayer mode: “I plead the blood of Jesus. I plead the blood of Jesus.”
Sarah’s own less sure, “blood of Jesus, blood of Jesus”, echoed alongside Onome’s voice. But they were distant. Far away from Adora. She was transfixed, staring at the board, afraid to move her eyes.
As soon as Sarah had asked from the sample questions that came with the game, “Is anyone there?” the triangle swung to Yes. However, Sarah’s laugh told Adora that she had moved it.
“Are you a friend?”
Again, that was Sarah.
Onome refused to join them, choosing instead to watch TV, and warning them so often she could not possibly have been paying attention to the show she was watching.
“Where are you?” Sarah asked again.
No answer, no movement. Adora guessed Sarah did not know what prank to pull when the answer was not a yes or a no.
“Do you know us?”
Sarah paused then and looked at Adora.
“What is it?”
She smiled coyly at Adora’s question. “Adora!”
Only then did it occur to Adora that Sarah thought she had moved it.
“I didn’t move the pointer thingy, Sarah.”
Sarah rolled her eyes. “Fine, let’s continue. Okay, umm, do you know—?” The instruction stated that they could use their names. “Do you know Sarah?” Sarah said.
“Do you know Adora?” Sarah tried again.
They both jumped away from the board just as the lights went out.
However, what Onome, or Sarah for that matter, evidently did not hear was the voice that echoed after the TV switched channels. “Dori moi,” it said.
Adora had not heard those words in five years because only one person would ever call her that: Dori moi, my Dori, my twin.
“Adora, please remove your hand from the board,” Onome cried.
But she did not.
Adora had seen something in the mirror; a face that looked so much like hers but wasn’t, eyes that shone grey in the dim light, and a smile broad, taunting, ready to flirt with the world. She had never really believed in anything spiritual or otherworldly, regardless of what Anna said. Still, the pointer had moved, and the voice had sounded, and the face had been there. And she needed to know.
Adora called out her twin’s name. “Nneka?”
The triangle spun around on Yes, and then the lights came on.