• Published 9th Mar 2018
  • 2,530 Views, 56 Comments

Ouija - Knackerman

Apple Bloom reaches out to her parents across the gulf of eternity. Something else reaches back.

  • ...

Chapter 1

Apple Bloom sobbed in the candle light. As her tears fell on the ouija board, she hastily wiped the board clean with the edge of her blanket. She could still hear her family arguing down below. Granny Smith had stood up for her, but in the end it was Granny that had sent Apple Bloom to her room without supper. The hunger in the filly’s stomach, however, was nothing compared to the pain in her heart.

She’d done exactly as she had been asked. Everything had gone exactly as it was supposed to, up until the end when she had asked Applejack, “Remind you of somepony?” The cold stare her big sister had given her told Apple Bloom she’d said something very wrong. A chill had gone down her spine then, but she hadn’t been ready for the explosion of her sisters anger.

Applejack had been so mad she was almost speechless. Apple Bloom just didn’t understand. How had things gone so wrong?

She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself and still her sobs. Her teeth still chattered and she felt exhausted, but she had to know. Carefully, she laid both hooves down on the small heart shaped planchette. She cleared her mind of her tumultuous thoughts and spoke aloud.

“Ah did what ya asked and Applejack was very surprised,” she began stoically, but then quickly began to sob. “But now she’s mad at me. Ah must have done it wrong. Can ya tell me what Ah did wrong?”

It took a moment, but she was able to calm her shuddering breaths. After she regained her composure, she waited.

Slowly, imperceptibly at first, the point of the planchette began to wiggle across the board. Eventually it pointed to the word ‘NO’.

“Ah was afraid of that,” replied Apple Bloom. She felt a presence all around her. It had been comforting before, but now it felt cold. “Is there something ya think Ah can do ta fix this?”

Again, the heart shaped wooden piece pointed to the word “NO”.

Her ears drooped. She couldn’t help it. The sobs were coming so hard now they were giving her hiccups. More to herself than anything, she wailed, “What am Ah gonna do!?”

She wasn’t expecting an answer, so it surprised her when the arrow started flitting from letter to letter. It took her a moment to piece it together, but in the end it seemed to have read “STAY WITH US”. Apple Bloom felt a deep sadness spread through her heart.

“I wish that I could,” she whispered to the dark, “more than anything. But Ah can’t...”

Before she could finish the sentence the planchette began darting violently around the board. There was no mistaking what the board was telling her this time.


The wooden piece was moving so fast now Apple Bloom couldn’t keep up. She could see where the board was starting to smoke, as the friction began to heat up the wood. She took her hooves away from the game piece, and suddenly everything was still. The candle flickered gently.

There was no sound save for the night wind in the orchard outside and the creak of the old farmhouse settling. Even so, Apple Bloom was drenched in cold sweat. Nothing like that had ever happened before. The presence had felt so close, thick like smoke, as if it were all around her.

Tentatively, she reached a hoof toward the abandoned piece. She had to lean forward as she did so. Just before the tip of her hoof would have touched he smooth wood she felt someone’s breath, cold on the back of her neck.

She screamed and kicked out, flipping over the board and extinguishing the candles by accident.

Apple Bloom whirled in the dark, but as far as she could tell no pony else was there.

No pony at all.

She left the ouija board where it fell and carefully wrapped herself in her blanket. She tried to pretend it was the embrace of a loving pair of parents, but she was too scared and too cold to make herself believe it.

There would be no sleeping that night. Instead she just stared into the darkness, and felt the uncomfortable sensation that someone...

Or some thing was staring back.

It hadn’t started out like that. A few weeks ago, Fall had just started. The annual Running of the Leaves had just finished and as a result the ground was carpeted in lots of crisp and crunchy leaves in all the diverse colors autumn had to offer.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders had decided to have a sleep over in their club house to celebrate. They had been so busy recently between school, trying to help blank flanks discover their special talents, and working with ponies who already had thier cutie marks to help them better understand what they meant, that they hadn’t had any time to just enjoy themselves.

That was what that night had been all about. Good music, good food (provided by Sweet Apple Acres of course), and good company.

As the night deepened, however, it wasn’t a surprise that their playtime activities would turn to slightly more exciting, and maybe just a bit terrifying endeavors. Nightmare Night was the next big celebration on the horizon, so it was inevitable that the suggestion that they tell ghost stories would come up. Much to Scootaloo’s relief, however, Sweetie Belle suggested that they do something else instead. Something a little more grown up...

That was when she pulled out the ouija board. “Whoa, what’s that?” asked Scootaloo, both out of curiosity and to sound as enthusiastic as possible about anything other than telling scary stories.

“It’s a game my big sister Rarity used to play when she was our age,” replied Sweetie Belle with a slight squeak in her voice.

“How do ya play?” Apple Bloom had asked. It didn’t seem like there was much to it. The polished wooden board had numbers and all the letters of the alphabet scorched into it’s surface so they stood out bold and black. There were a few simple words too, like “yes” “no” “hello” and “goodbye”.

“It’s pretty simple,” admitted Sweetie Belle. “We each put a hoof on the planchette, that’s this wooden pointy thing here, and then we ask a question.”

“Okay... And then what?” inquired Scootaloo hopefully.

“Well then, if we get an answer, the planchette will point to a word or a letter and spell out another word,” replied Sweetie Belle excitedly. “You can ask all sorts of questions about the past and the future, even stuff that you don’t think anypony else would know! It’s really neat!”

“What do ya mean if we get an answer though?” Apple Bloom couldn’t help but ask. “An answer from who?”

“From the spirits on the other side!” Said Sweetie Belle in her best spooky voice. Sadly there was no clap of thunder to punctuate her sentence, and only the sound of noisy crickets as her friends stared at her, confused.

“You mean like... ghosts? We’re going to try to talk to ghosts!?” Scootaloo tried to sound nonchalant but there was an edge of panic in her voice.

“Ah dunno Sweetie Belle. That seems like it might be a bit dangerous ta me,” the farm pony had said. “Are ya sure that’s how it’s supposed to work?”

“Well... honestly, Rarity used to say that she’d catch her friends nudging the planchette towards certain answers,” confessed Sweetie Belle. “I’m pretty sure Rarity did too. It is just a game after all.”

Scootaloo looked visibly relieved. “So, any question huh? Past, present, or future? That could be interesting! Could I ask it if I make it into the Wonderbolt’s like Rainbow Dash?”

“Of course! We just have to set the right mood first,” saying that, Sweetie Belle blew out all of their lanterns with her magic, and then lit a few dribbling candles and placed them around the board which she had set up in the center of the club house. The effect was immediate. What had been a cozy club house moments ago instead took on an air of the arcane. Each of the girls felt like they had been transported to the study of an ancient wizard or some equally dark and powerful place where ponies might dabble with the realm of magic.

“So how do we start?” asked Apple Bloom in hushed tones.

“Just put your hoof on the planchette,” replied Sweetie Belle, trying to sound mysterious and failing because of it.

Each of the girls sat in front of the board and placed their hooves as instructed.

“So I guess I’ll go first,” Scootaloo giggles nervously. “Um... uh, if there’s anypony out there who might know... Will I ever become a Wonderbolt like Rainbow Dash?” She squeezed her eyes shut.

“The spirits aren’t supposed to appear in front of us Scootaloo,” chided Sweetie Belle teasingly. “You can open your eyes.”

“ I knew that!” answered the young Pegasus faster than she should have. “Besides, I wasn’t closing my eyes I was just... uh... blinking! Yeah, blinking nice and slow. Making sure I get a good blink in so I don’t miss anything!”

“Right,” Apple Bloom couldn’t quite stifle a giggle, despite a meaningful glare from Scootaloo. The girls sat for some time and nothing seemed to happen. “So... do we just wait now? How much time do we let go by before we give up and try another question?”

Before anyone could reply, there was the first timorous hint of movement. Slowly the wooden arrow began to slide across the board.

“Are you moving it!?”

“Nuh-uh. Are you moving it?”


“Well me neither.”

“You’ve got to be moving it!”

“Shh, you guys, it’s going to answer!”

The arrows point drifted slowly towards the word “yes” on the board. Scootaloo’s eyes grew wide with excitement and the other girls held their breath. At the last possible moment, the arrow jerked to the opposite side of the board and slid to the word “NO”.

Scootloo’s face fell hard, her jaw hanging open wide in disbelief. Sweetie Belle tried to hold it in, but she couldn’t suppress a snort before a torrent of squeaky laughter spilled forth from her lips.

“So you did move it!” Scootaloo shouted accusingly. “That’s not nice, or funny Sweetie Belle!”

“I didn’t move it, I swear,” gasped The unicorn fully between uncontrollable explosions of delight.

“Oh yeah, well why don’t we ask another question then?” Asked Scootaloo narrowing her eyes. “Will Sweetie Belle ever be as successful as her sister Rarity?”

This time there was no hesitation. Not only did the planchette point to the word “NO” repeatedly, it als quickly spelled out the words “NEVER” “IN” and the number “1” followed by the number “0” repeatedly and finally followed by the word “YEARS”.

“Hey, you take that back Scootaloo!” cried Sweetie Belle in a huff.

“Take what back? I didn’t say anything. It was the ‘spirits from beyond’!” shouted Scootaloo with a sneer, mimicking Sweetie Belle’s attempt at a spooky voice before sticking out her tongue.

“Would you girls knock it off?” grumbled Apple Bloom. “We’re supposed to be relaxing and having fun, not picking fights with each other!”

“Sorry Apple Bloom,” replies Scoots, genuinely.

“Yeah, sorry Apple Bloom. It was just a dumb joke,” added Sweetie Belle. “Why don’t you give asking a question a try. I promise I won’t move it this time.”

“Yeah, me either,” promised Scootaloo.

“Well Ah...” Apple Bloom hesitated. “Ah... Don’t want to ask a question. You girls go on.”

Scootaloo raised an eyebrow. “It seemed like you wanted to ask a question before. Why not go ahead and take a turn?”

“It’s embarrassing,” the farm pony admired as she looked down at her hooves.”

“Come on Apple Bloom! You can ask anything you want about the future or whatever and we promise we won’t tell anypony,” said Sweetie Belle encouragingly.

“It ain’t that,” mumbled Apple Bloom. “The questions Ah’ve got ain’t about the future... They’re about the past.”

The candles flickered gently. Neither of Apple Bloom’s friends knew what to say to that, so they just waited, hoping the silence would do more to coax an explaination from the stubborn filly than any amount of badgering or cajoling ever could. It took a few moments, but Apple Bloom let out a small sigh before confiding in them.

“When mah folks passed on, Ah was only a little foal, smaller than Pound and Pumpkin Cake are now. While we was all young when they left us, Big Mac and Applejack had already spent time with them. Lived with them. They knew them in a way that Ah never did,” she paused, her throat clenching up with emotion. “Ah just wonder sometimes if they even got to know me at all. If they even loved me, you know?”

“Apple Bloom, I’m sure your parents-“ began Sweetie Belle before she was quickly shushed by Scootaloo. The Pegasus filly shook her had sternly at the unicorn and placed her hoof firmly on the planchette.

“Ah guess that’s mah question,” finished Apple Bloom, placing her hoof on the heart shaped piece of wood and Sweetie Belle, reluctantly, doing the same. “Mom... Dad...” the earth pony had to clear her throat and wait for the tears to pass before she finally continued, “Bright Macintosh and Pear Butter, If you’re out there and ya can hear me, did you... did ya’ll love me?”

Nothing happened for a long time. Sweetie Belle moved to take her hoof away but Scootaloo glared at her until she held still. Then, just as even Apple Bloom was thinking of giving up, the arrow started to move. It didn’t move to one of the simple words like before, but started spelling out two words: ‘O’’F’’C’’O’’U’’R”S”E’.

Of course.

Apple Bloom started bawling. Sweetie Belle tore her hoof away as if she had been scalded. Scoots was actually the last one to touch the game, but even she looked mildly disturbed.

When she managed to calm down, Apple Bloom was able to say a few things. “Ah just can’t believe it. Thank you girls. It was mighty sweet of ya’ll ta do that for me.”

“To do what? I didn’t move that thing...” replied the pegasus filly, her wing feathers slightly ruffled from the experience.

“Me either,” added Sweetie Belle. “But it still moved.”

“Well Ah didn’t move it!” cried Apple Bloom, feeling somehow accused. Before anything else could be said, Sweetie Belle blew out all of the candles and relit the lanterns. “Hey whatcha doin’ that for.”

“I think that’s enough for tonight. It’s getting really late and we ought to turn in,” replied the unicorn.

“But you didn’t get a turn,” pointed out Apple Bloom. “Don’tcha want ta take a turn and ask a question.”

Sweetie Belle stared at the ouija board as if it might bite her. “No, that’s okay. I really don’t think I do.”

Later that evening, while the others were gently sawing logs, Apple Bloom wriggled out of her sleeping bag and over to the ouija board. It had been left where it had lain earlier, neither Scootaloo nor Sweetie Belle seemed to want to touch it after they were done playing.

Apple Bloom’s hooves, however, were itching to touch the smooth wood again. There had been something almost electric about how it had glided over the board earlier. She’d felt it then like she felt it now, a kind of static cling, a magnetic sensation.

She had to touch the board again.

Carefully, she lit a single candle and blocked its light with her body. She didn’t know if it would work with just her, but she wanted to avoid waking up her friends if she didn’t have to. So, placing both hooves on either side of the planchette, Apple Bloom whispered, “Mom... Dad... Are you there?”

There was no hesitation now. The arrow glided gently to the word “HELLO”.

In the candle-light, a wide smile of joy spread on the youngest Apple sibling’s face.