This week at Search Engine Stories the prompt is – If Only……
For some reason it made me want to write a bit of horror.
This story is based on the Bloody Mary urban legend.
My name is Marti Gray. I’m seventeen years old and I think I’ve killed someone. I didn’t do it directly, I’m not a homicidal maniac or anything, but at the moment I feel as if I might as well be.
Whitney Johnson is always nagging me to do stupid things at school. She dares me to do things as if we were still ten years old. I dare you to steal all the frogs from Biology class, she says. I dare you to sound the fire alarm in the middle of an Assembly. I dare you to put superglue on all the toilet seats in the girls bathroom. She really is the world’s biggest idiot but is amazingly popular so her nagging has a bit of power. Sometimes I find myself doing the dares just to save face and retain some semblance of cool. Then I feel like the world’s biggest idiot for giving in.
For a long time I’ve been trying to come up with a dare to challenge her with, a dare so over the top and irrestistible she wouldn’t be able to say no.
I found the perfect dare one day in the library when I was reading this old dusty book about Urban Legends. There was a legend that really caught my eye – the one about Bloody Mary. You know how it goes – you stand in a darkened room, preferably a bathroom and look into the mirror while chanting three times:
Then Mary will appear in the mirror and scratch your eyes out or if you are really unlucky, pull you into the mirror with her where you are doomed to suffer forever.
I don’t usually give much credence to that type of superstition. I’ve walked under ladders and let black cats cross my path all of my life and have been fine, but something about Bloody Mary made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle just a little. I knew Whitney would love the dare.
For weeks I hesitated telling her about it. A little voice kept telling me not to do it. Every time I was in the bathroom the urge to just blab out Bloody Mary three times tormented me. I wanted to say it so that when nothing happened I could scoff and say :”Typical.’ But I realised I was afraid to. That worried me.
It was a fit of pique that made me stop seeing sense. One of Whitney’s airhead friends dared her to put salt in my chocolate milk at lunchtime while I wasn’t looking. It tasted so bad it nearly made me throw up, but it was their reaction that made me blow my fuse. High five-ing one another and doing that stupid Go Whitney dance they do. Incredibly irritating.
So I told Whitney about Bloody Mary. And I bet her ten bucks she wouldn’t have the nerve to do it. ‘Twenty and you’re on,’ she said.
She wanted to do it straight away but it wasn’t dark enough. ‘We’ll stay after school,’ she said. ‘I have the keys.’ Whitney has keys to one wing of the school as a result of one of her dares. She stole the master set from the office while the receptionist was helping someone with a nosebleed. She made copies and put them back the same day.
I don’t know if hindsight is colouring my memory, but the sky that afternoon seemed tinged with sadness. A bird, a tiny little wren with midnight blue wings, alighted on the tree outside the cafeteria and cocked his head at me as if to say:’You are above this type of thing.’ There was a slight chill in the air that cut across the football fields, jagged and strange. I wanted to run and never stop.
At 7PM Whitney posted me as lookout while she and her two inane friends, Tina and Shayla, stood in the bathroom with her. They were all giggling but Tina and Shayla sounded scared.
‘I’m doing it now,’ Whitney announced. ‘Quiet, please.’
Just before she said the words a weirdness filled my head, part disbelief, part trepidation. The way I feel when I wake from a bad dream and wonder for a few seconds if it was real.
I held my breath. Nothing happened. ‘That’s it then,’ I thought. ‘Total urban myth.’
I walked into the bathroom and saw Tina and Shayla cowering in the corner, clutching one another. Whitney was staring straight ahead into the mirror but the collar of her school blouse was stained with blood.
‘Whitney?’ I could hardly speak. ‘Are you OK?’
She turned, slowly, robotic, neck and shoulders stiff. Her eyes were completely gone, her face flooded with blood.
‘It was meant to not work,’ I screamed. ‘It was meant to not be real. Don’t worry, I’ll help you. I’ll call an ambulance right now. It’ll be OK. It’ll be OK.’
I fumbled for my phone. My fingers felt like lead pipes were attached to them. A squeaking vibration rose, the way a speaker sounds when it’s emitting a lot of feedback..
A hand, pale, cracked, blue veins bulging, reached out of the mirror and began to pull Whitney in. She screamed, thrashing about, fighting, but it was no use, Bloody Mary had her firmly in her grip. I tried to grab her but it happened too quickly. The mirror turned molten, fluid, and Whitney disappeared.
I ran to the mirror, banging on it with my fists. It was completely intact. Shayla and Tina were hysterical.
I called their mothers, got them taken home and spent all night online trying to find a way to get Whitney out of the mirror. But nothing is working, nothing is working.
If only I had listened to that little voice in my head telling me not to meddle with things I don’t understand. If only I had dared Whitney to do something silly like kiss a teacher. If only I didn’t have a dark streak in my heart that wanted to teach her a lesson, a part of me that hoped the legend would be real and she would be doomed for good.
Now I am doomed right alongside her. Searching for a way to release her. I arrive at school at dawn. I stay till midnight, seeking, ever seeking. But nothing changes. The surface of the mirror remains flat and cold.
Image by Moni-Bologna at Deviant Art.