The Spirits Know All, by Michael A. Kechula (flash fiction)

This story was previously published in Sonar 4 Magazine in 2008


Facing foreclosure on their house, Jim and Lisa consulted a Spirits Know All Fortune Telling Board to see if their luck would change.  When it said they’d win a million dollars in the lottery in three days, they were ecstatic.

“Is there anything else we should know?” asked Lisa, as their hands rested on the planchette.

The planchette spelled out:  WARNING.

“What’s the warning?”

The planchette spelled out:  WIN BIG LOSE BIG.

“Whadda ya think that means?” she asked Jim.

“Who cares?  In three days we’re gonna be rich!  Ya-hoo!”

“Do you believe everything it told us tonight?”

“Yep,” Jim said.  “A guy at Smitty’s Bar uses this board all the time. The spirits said he’d win a red Lexus convertible in two weeks.  And it happened.”

“Did he mention anything spooky?”

“Whadda ya mean?”

“Somebody said using this board let’s evil spirits in the house.  And once they get in, it’s hard to get rid of them.”

“Superstitious nonsense!” Jim exclaimed.

Next morning at breakfast, Billy, their five year old asked, “Where’s Gitmo, Daddy?”

“In Cuba.”

“Is that far away?”


“I was there last night,” Billy said.

“You mean you dreamed about being there,” Lisa said.

“No.  I was really there.”

“Oh my, what an imagination. So what were you doing there?”

“Helping to water board some bad guys.”

Startled, Jim asked, “Why’d you do that?”

“Sergeant LeHate said it was the only way to get them to talk.”

“Who’s he?”

“Pulling a three-inch, green plastic soldier from his pajama pocket, Billy added, “This is Sergeant LeHate.”

Jim and Lisa chuckled.

That afternoon, Billy’s kindergarten teacher called Lisa at work to relate a shocking incident.  A box of crayons were missing from the classroom.  When the teacher asked who took them, nobody answered.  But Billy said he’d find out by water boarding everybody in the classroom.

Though deeply perplexed, Lisa and Jim figured if they ignored Billy’s fantasies, they’d quickly dissipate.

Next morning, Lisa and Jim were shocked to see scratches on Billy’s face.

“How’d that happen?” she asked.

“I fell during bayonet practice in Afghanistan.”

“I see,” said Jim.  “And I suppose you and Sgt. LeHate were there last night.”


Jim, who’d served in the National Guard said, “Make believe this broom’s a rifle with a bayonet, and my easy chair’s a bad guy.  Show me how you’d attack him.”

Jim was astounded when Billy assumed the correct posture, raced toward the chair, let out an ear-piercing yell, and thrust the broomstick deep into the upholstery.  Unnerved by the demonstration, Jim called a psychiatrist.

“Sounds like a normal boy with a rich imagination,” the doctor said.  “Don’t be so anxious.  At his age, these things pass quickly.”

“But how could he know about water boarding and Afghanistan?”

Probably heard it on TV or a radio talk show.   As for the bayonet, he probably saw how it’s done while watching war movies.  However, if he starts to act out his fantasies bring him to my office.”

Next morning, Billy limped to the breakfast table.  His mom shrieked when she saw his blistered, bleeding feet.  They rushed him to a hospital emergency room.

“How’d this happen,” asked a doctor.

“Me and Sergeant LeHate were on a forced march last night,” Billy said.  “It was worth it.  We caught up to the enemy and killed them all.”

The doctor recommended a psychiatrist.  Jim mentioned he’d already consulted one.

That night Jim and Lisa won a million dollars in the state lottery.   To celebrate they ordered a super deluxe pizza and a six-pack of imported beer.

Filling Jim’s glass, she said, “Remember what the Spirits Know All Board told us?”

“Yep.  It was right about us winning big time!” Jim replied.

“I was talking about the other thing it said.  About winning big and losing big.  Listen…I have a funny feeling.  I want you to keep watch over Billy for a while.   Then when you come to bed, we’ll really celebrate.”

Jim let himself into Billy’s room, and headed for the closet.  Keeping the door slightly ajar, he sipped beer while his eyes adjusted to the dim glow of a night light.

Before long a glowing green mist entering Billy’s room.  Out of the mist stepped a six-foot, plastic soldier in full combat gear, carrying two assault rifles.

Aghast, Jim saw Billy jump out of bed and snap to attention.

Handing Billy a rifle, the soldier said, “Here’s tonight’s orders: we’ll attack a stronghold north of Baghdad.  But first we have to liquidate a spy.”

The soldier threw open the closet door, and pointed to Jim.  “Shoot this rotten spy!”

“But that’s my dad.”

“Shoot him now!”

Billy raised his rifle.

“Don’t do it, Billy” Jim yelled.

“Kill him, or I’ll drop your ass in the middle of a terrorist camp without a weapon!” the soldier shouted.

When Billy hesitated, the soldier grabbed him and started to spin.  Suddenly Billy and the soldier disappeared.

Frantic, Jim called 911.   The police didn’t believe his story.

He called the FBI and Homeland Security hotlines.  Both agencies warned him about harsh penalties for perpetrating hoaxes.

Next, he tried a radio talk show.

“Hear that, folks?” said the show’s host.  “We got another alien abduction by a green meanie.  But this one looks like a soldier and is made outta plastic. Sounds like this goofus forgot to take his meds.”

At her wits end, Lisa said, “Let’s ask the spirits.  They’ll know what happened.”

Their hands shook as the planchette sped across the Spirits Know All Fortune Telling Board.

“Why is it spelling ISS?” she asked.

“I don’t know.”

They asked again where Billy was.  This time the answer was ISIS.

“Oh no!” Jim screamed.  “ISIS is the most vicious terrorist group in the Middle East.”

While Jim was on the floor trying to revive Lisa, the planchette spelled out on its own:   WIN BIG LOSE BIG.

Michael A. Kechula’s flash, micro-fiction, and short stories have appeared in 157 magazines and 56 anthologies in 8 countries. He’s won 20 writing contests: 1st prize in 12 and 2nd prize in 8 others. Five collections of his stories have been published as eBooks and Paperbacks. In addition, he’s written 2 self-study books that teach how to write flash and micro-fiction drabbles. Both are available as eBooks and paperbacks. To read a free story or chapter in any of the above books, go to the publisher’s site at: Obtain eBook version from the same publisher. Obtain paperback versions from

Posted on July 19, 2016, in Issue 18: Mark My Words: Prophesy Signs & Portents and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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