Grand & Humble

Grand & Humble by Brent Hartinger Read Free Book Online

Book: Grand & Humble by Brent Hartinger Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brent Hartinger
on the pointer. He wasn’t going to have a premonition; he wouldn’t let himself. There was too much at stake.
    “Let’s see,” Amber said, thinking, putting her fingers on the pointer too. “I know! Will Harlan ever be elected president of the United States?”
    He glared at her across the board. This was her way of goading him after what he’d said earlier in the week about not wanting to go into politics. Not only had he never noticed how much Amber whined, he had also never noticed just what a colossal bitch she was.
    The plastic pointer jerked under his fingers.
    “Ooooo!” said Brian Meyer.
    “Harlan!” Amber said. “Knock it off.”
    Harlan wanted to take credit for moving the planchette, especially hearing the genuine unease in Amber’s voice. But he hadn’t done anything. He hadn’t even been thinking about doing anything. He’d been glaring at Amber at the time.
    The pointer jerked again.
    “Harlan!” Amber said. “Stop!”
    “I’m not doing it!” Harlan said, which was a mistake. Amber saw the look in his eyes. She knew he was telling the truth, that this wasn’t the setup for some hilarious gag.
    Then Harlan realized: if he wasn’t moving the pointer and if Amber wasn’t moving the pointer, who was?
    No, he thought. That was crazy. Amber had to be moving it. What other explanation was there?
    “It’s moving!” someone said.
    Sure enough, it was moving again, lurching awkwardly across the board. Everyone leaned forward at exactly the same time, even Ricky.
    The pointer slid at an angle, toward the upper-right-hand corner, the one with the moon. It really did feel to Harlan like neither he nor Amber was moving it. But wasn’t that what everyone said when they were using a Ouija board?
    “It’s heading for the ‘No’!” Jerry said. He spoke the rest of his thought directly to Harlan. “Sorry, buddy, looks like there’s no Oval Office in your future. But look at it this way—at least now you don’t have to worry about how you spend your weekends in college!”
    “It’s not heading for the ‘No,’” Rachel said. “It’s stopping at the letters.”
    The pointer was stopping, in the middle of the lower arc of letters. It came to rest so it was pointing right between the “T” and the “U”—the Ouija board limbo between letters.
    “What does that mean?” someone said.
    “It’s meaningless,” someone else said. “Ask another question.”
    “Wait!” Rachel said. The pointer was sliding again, but not far, just to the upper row of letters.
    “‘H,’” Brian read. The pointer had stopped right at that letter. There was no mistaking it.
    “‘H’ is for Harlan!” Jerry said.
    “Which would make sense,” Amber said, annoyed, “except for the fact that I asked it a yes-or-no question!” She talked down to the board: “Will Harlan ever be elected president?”
    The pointer started moving again, but now it wasn’t heading for either “Yes” or “No.” It was headingdown, toward the row of numbers near the base of the board.
    “This isn’t working,” Amber said, looking away. “Maybe I need a new partner.”
    “Wait!” someone said. “It is working. It’s stopping on a number.”
    “Two,’” someone else said. “H’ and ‘two.’ Amber’s right. That doesn’t make any sense.”
    But the pointer was moving yet again, not herky-jerky this time, but smoothly, evenly. It was heading back to the letters.
    Once again, everyone leaned in close.
    “O,’” someone read when it stopped again.
    Amber looked back at the board. “Wait a minute,” she said, thinking aloud. “H 2 O.’ Water!”
    “And Harlan’s a swimmer!” Rachel said. “That’s it !”
    “Except it’s still not the answer to the question I asked!” Amber sounded seriously peeved. And Harlan would have sworn that she had figured out the meaning of “H 2 O” just then. Which meant that she wasn’t moving the pointer, at least not consciously.
    They were both moving the

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