Kelsey Galluppi grew up in Pennsylvania. She currently works as a nurse but is working on her Bachelor of Creative Writing in Entertainment and Media online at Full Sail University. She hopes to continue having short stories published in lit mags and at Scarlet Leaf Review.
The Spirit Room
Room 723 was not what Nora was expecting when she received the address from Monique. The hotel was run down. Housekeeping hadn’t been on the seventh floor in years. A stale odor filled the hall. Cockroaches ran across the peeling doorframe. Nora tapped on the door three times, as instructed. There was shuffling behind the door before it cracked open, revealing a sliver of a face. The chain was still in place, the door wasn’t opening any further. “What do you want?” she asked. Her voice was thick with a Haitian accent. The midnight eye open wide. “I’m Nora, a mutual friend directed me to you… You’re Angeline, right?” Nora said. The door closed and the chain was removed. When it opened again, it was just wide enough for Nora to squeeze through. “I am Angeline,” the woman said with a nod. She stepped back and let Nora into the dark room. The room had two beds aligned along the left wall. Both beds sheets were disheveled. In the right corner of the room there was a circular table with a black tablecloth on it. Ceramic statues of goddesses stood on it, shining in the candlelight. Sage burned so strong it gave Nora a coughing fit. “Sit,” Angeline instructed. Nora did as she was told. The urge to run out filled Nora’s chest as Angeline lit more candles and smudged the door with the sage. In white chalk there was a seeing eye drawn onto the back of the door. “Why have you come?” Angeline asked, sitting down across from Nora. “I need answers. Monique said you could help.” “It doesn’t always work,” Angeline warned. “And it will cost you.” Nora rummaged around in her bag and pulled out a wad of hundreds. “Will this cover it?” Angeline snatched the money out of her hand. She counted through it and then stuffed it into her bra. Nora’s life savings, gone, just like that. “It does. I must warn you though, you may not get the answers you want.” “I just want to talk to her,” Nora said. Her hands were clutched in fists, her knuckles turning white. “Please.” “Okay, let’s get started then.” Angeline rearranged the candles on the table into a star. She grabbed Nora’s hand and held it over the center of the pentagram. Angeline brought a bone handled knife toward Nora’s palm. Nora tried to pull away, but Angeline tightened her grip. “This is how it must be done,” she said. Nora tried to relax. She winced when the blade touched her skin and drew blood. Angeline turned Nora’s hand over and dripped blood onto the table, then put her head down and spoke Creole. When she looked back up at Nora, her eyes were rolled back, only the whites were showing. “You shouldn’t be here,” she sneered. Angeline’s voice was no longer her own. Nora was speaking to Lucy now. “Please, Lucy,” Nora said. “I just want to know what happened.” “How could you not know? It was your idea to go out that night. It was your idea to go downtown. It was your fault. All your fault.” Tears singed Nora’s face. “I didn’t mean to,” she sobbed. “It’s your fault! You’re the killer! You did this.” “I didn’t mean for this to happen,” Nora whispered. Her heart pounded in her chest. Lucy was her best friend; how could she have known something so brutal was going to happen when they got dressed up and went out that night. Nora didn’t know that they would be separated that night, she didn’t know that Lucy didn’t make it home until the next morning. “I’m dead because of you!” A wind slammed into Nora, blowing out the candles and knocking them over, breaking the pentagram and the connection with Lucy’s spirit. Angeline slumped over in her chair. “Angeline?” Nora asked, reaching out to nudge her. Angeline gasped. Her eyes were back to normal and they darted around the room. “You! You must leave. Right now.” Angeline jumped up and drug Nora to her feet. “But…” “No, leave. Now!” “What happened to the connection?” Nora asked, struggling to stay in the room. Angeline’s thin arms were tense, unmoving as she held Nora at bay. “There are bad spirits around you. You must go.” Angeline’s breathing was quickening, her forehead glistened in the dim hall light. “What does that mean?” Nora asked. She struggled to keep the door open, even using all her strength. Angeline’s black eyes had a wild look in them. Her gaze went left and right down the hall. “You have angered the spirits. You must go and never come back to this place. There is no hope for you now.” With one final shove, the door slammed in Nora’s face.