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.
Yay I’m the first one to comment!!!! I got up from a nightmare to read a horror story – go figure! I have always heard about Bloody Mary and have been scared of it. I loved the story and I don’t usually read horror’s. Again Selma really well written, now when I go back to sleep I am going to have images of Bloody Mary, so you now have to write something cheery!
I love when you write stories like this!
You know what’s really…uh…funny? That has always been one of those urban legends that I simply cannot do. I’m too darn chicken!
Thanks for the early morning goose-flesh and adrenalin rush.
Must go cover all the mirrors in the house. NOW.
Oh Selma- why Bloody Mary! The haunt of all slumber parties! Even now when I’m in a room with a mirror I fear even thinking Bloody Mary three times. Now I have to be scared I’ll be sucked inside of the mirror forever. Thanks.
Well written and captivating as usual.
Wow….that’s some wake-up story to go with my morning coffee! Selma, this was a wild ride. I had never heard of Bloody Mary in this context before. You do have a way with this genre. Well done!!! Scary……..;)
THIS gave me the chills and nice case of the heebeegeebees! In a good way! Girl! You are so awesome.
That is simply fabulous.
I’d never heard the urban legend. You maek me want to write.
Also I need to invest in spell check. Gah!
I wish I’d left off reading this until daylight! 😀
I just realized that horror stories develop from one stupid, careless decision made by someone. Then it goes downhill from there. Also, there’s something here that reminds me of Carrie. Very creepy, indeed!
Ha… here I am sitting in the pub scoffing at the whole ridiculous idea… I mean really Selma… oh hang on… “Bartender, I’ll have a Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary… and… another one… please”
Now where was I…? Ah yes…
You’ve no idea how badly I want to do this now just to see what would happen. I’m also wondering what world lies hidden behind the mirror. You are SO good at spinning a scary story Selma, but then you are wonderful at writing ANY kind of story.
you go girl.. that was a hair raiser!!!! wow…..
TBALL – sorry about the scare. It is a great legend though, isn’t it? I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that movie ‘Candyman’ but they adapted the Bloody Mary legend for that. Very creepy!
LINDA – awww, thanks. I do enjoy writing in this genre. I don’t know what that says about me exactly, but….I do love it!
KAREN – I just can’t bring myself to do it either. I mean, what if it’s true? I really don’t want to find out. I am fascinated by mirrors and the role they play in the supernatural. Scary stuff.
LAURI – I was talking about superstitions the other day with my writers group. And we all agreed how much the Bloody Mary legend had scared us as kids. Even the sceptics amongst us said they wouldn’t be game to try it. So that got me thinking…..
GERALDINE – sorry about the early morning stimulant but I do love a reworking of an old urban legend. It’s so much fun researching it. Sometimes I scare myself! Yikes.
MELEAH – it is a spooky legend, isn’t it? I am so glad you liked it!
NAT – I would be thrilled if you joined us at some stage. Non-fiction is also welcome…..hope that some time I can tempt you.
TRAVELRAT – don’t look in the mirror. Don’t look IN THE MIRROR!!!!!!
CHRIS – well, if there is even a tiny nuance of Carrie in there I am thrilled to bits. One of my fave horror stories ever. You have made my day by saying that. And that is a very good point about one silly decision being the catalyst for the entire story. It is so true.
BEAR – well saying Bloody Mary three times in a row under those circumstances is completely safe. I think. Unless they’re doubles. LOL.
GYPSY – it is tempting, isn’t it? As I mentioned to Karen, the lore surrounding mirrors is fascinating. I think I’ll do another story about them. They can be used as a tool for divination – some fortune tellers use those little hand mirrors to see the future. And then there’s the 7 years bad luck if you smash one. You’re also not supposed to look behind a mirror because then you won’t be able to see your true self and the mirror image will be wrong. Creepy. Love it!
PAISLEY – so glad you liked it. I am really happy about that!
Selma, A very well written story. Great characterisations, Masterful creation of atmoshphere, suspense,and tone. Excellent pacing. Thanks,
Oops! atmoshphere, suspense should be atmosphere, suspense 🙂
I won’t be able to sleep after reading this. You told me to read it on purpose, didn’t you?
DAVID – thank you so much. Your opinion is very important to me.
MEL – just remember. Scary stories aren’t real. Real life is much scarier – look at Paris Hilton and Donald Trump. Feel better?
LOL…”The Donald” now that’s a horror story (especially his haircut)
I managed to write ‘Help! Get Me Out of Here!’ in mirror-writing, but for some reason, couldn’t paste it into the comments.
Don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a day or so … I haven’t disappeared into the mirror, just my computer is in for repair and I have to go to the Public Library for Internet access.
GERALDINE – I have nightmares about that haircut. Forget the shower scene in ‘Psycho’, imagine being The Donald’s hairdresser. Yikes!
TRAVELRAT – what a relief. I was beginning to think you’d done it. Sorry to hear about your computer. What a shame you couldn’t paste the mirror writing – that would have been brilliant!
Excellent story Selma – just top drawer. What a great take on the prompt. I enjoyed this tremendously. Well wrought, great suspense, and I just love how Bloody Mary can’t seem to make up her mind – first just the eyes, and then – what the heck – she yanks the miscreant into the mirror after all. Perfect. Girl, you really are a special writer – such skill and versatility. Thanks for the great read!!
KAYT – I do love the word ‘miscreant’, I love the slight touch of scorn it connotes. I must remember to use it in a future story. You have made my day with your comment. Thank you.
is this a true story???
cuz if it is im freaked out to go to the bathroom!
FAITH AND LILLY – it is an urban legend but most of those legends have some basis in truth. All I know is, I’m never going to say Bloody Mary three times while looking in the mirror. No way. Thanks so much for visiting.