Miracle McCloy, our narrator, is getting ready for her first séance with her grandmother, Gigi, who is telling her the story of the day she was born for the umpteenth time: While pregnant, her mom was hit by an ambulance and killed, but they were able to rescue the baby. Hey, they don't call her Miracle for nothing.
Dane, Miracle's father, seems irritated by the discussion and asks to be excused from the séance preparations. He's a writer who had his first book published when he was a teenager, but has struggled with his work since the death of Miracle's mother. He disappears into his basement room.
Toole and Casey, Miracle's aunt and uncle, arrive as she's dancing around the living room to Dane's Bob Dylan tape. Miracle doesn't particularly like her mother's sister and her husband—Casey looks like a Barbie doll and kind of has an attitude, while Toole just plain scares her.
Seriously, though, Toole's a mega creep. He likes to hold Miracle upside down until it hurts, and tonight he even tells Gigi that she's too young to be at the séance. Fortunately, Gigi vetoes that call.
They get out the Ouija board and Gigi begins the ritual of calling her spirit guide so they can be put in touch with Sissy, Miracle's mother. When Gigi says they've established contact, they get an odd message: According to the Ouija board, there's trouble in the basement—Dane is gone.