“Come on come on! Fives fives fives!” Sludge blew on the dice, rubbed them under his armpits, and then threw them across the table.

My laughter resounded along the walls along with Erick’s as the dice came up snake eyes and Sludge’s face went from adorably eager to utterly mortified. We snickered and sputtered and gasped ragged breaths of air while Sludge crossed his arms and slammed his small hands on the table. “Well, whatever,” he said, “It’s not like I needed to pay this month’s water bill anyway.”

Erick and I gleefully split the eight hundred dollars on the table. Three hundred of those belonged to Sludge. We sat around for a while, talking, eating the leftover chips and popcorn before I flapped my lips and said, “I’m bored guys, taking all of Sludge’s money does that to a man.”

Sludge stuck his tongue out at us, and Erick looked at the clock. “Well, it’s barely two thirty. The night’s too young to turn in.”

Suddenly, a strange smirk spread over Sludge’s face, “Have you guys heard about the blue flames game?”

“Sludge, not with your paranormal shit again,” Erick said, “You’re always talking about how you have methods to talk to the dead and rituals to communicate with spirits and all that bull. We went along with it the first few times, but now it’s gotten really old.”

“No guys, but this one genuinely works! I’m serious!”

We looked at Sludge. “Have you tried it out yourself?” I asked.

Sludge’s bright blue eyes looked everywhere but me, “N-no.”

“Okay, do that first, then come back.”

“But I don’t want to do it alone! It’s scary. It’s better if we do this together! Plus, it’ll be more fun.”

Erick and I looked at each other, then at Sludge. “Come on!” He said again, “I’ll tell you how to play, and then you decide if you want to, okay?”

We decided that was harmless, and Sludge launched himself into lore and mystery. After about five minutes of that, he got into the rules of the game, and after that, he looked at us expectantly. “So what do you think?”

The gist of the game was this: Once the lights are all turned off, one person uses a light source to guide a spirit into this world. The summoner recites something that sounds Germanic, moves the light in their direction, and if all done correctly, blue lights will appear. In the middle of the blue lights will be a spirit, and you’re allowed to ask it all you want. But if you make it angry, it will turn on you, and what happens after that is vague, but distressing.

“Some say the spirit will burn you with the blue flames, others say the spirit will pull you into the blue flames.” Sludge’s eyes were wide open, his hands were waving all over the air, “It’s entirely unknown, but if done correctly, you get to have the answer to whatever you want!”

I looked at Erick and Erick looked back at me. “I don’t know… I don’t like this.” He said slowly, “There are just some things that we weren’t meant to know.”

I agreed with him wholeheartedly. And even though I believed the whole supernatural thing was nonsense, the atmosphere had gotten surprisingly unsettling. I didn’t want to do this. In fact, I didn’t want to be in my apartment anymore.

“Then just don’t ask heavy shit!” Sludge smiled at us, “Come on guys, we can ask something simple, like, ‘When will we meet our soulmates?’ or ‘What grades will we graduate uni with?'”

The air was dry around us, the sound of the clock ticking was the only thing we could hear. In another place, in another time, I’m sure that Erick and I both looked at Sludge and said, “No way man, you’re crazy. Let’s just watch a movie or something.” But in this place, and in this time, we turned off all the lights, and sat in a circle.