Bloody Mary

By Abby Armstrong

The Truth:  I could see a neck twisted in an unnatural angle by a ghastly noose, skin wrinkled painfully underneath the rope. I could see blood dripping down like strikes of lightning on the flesh. I could see her eyes, bloodshot and angry—uglier than I’ve ever seen before, as if the rage’s appetite was so large it turned its jaws to gnaw on itself. I could see her once white dress, now ripped and scarred with the terror of her victims. Where was her beginning? Would she ever know an ending? All I knew was that Bloody Mary was surely out to get me.  First off, I hadn’t agreed to do the dare. It was fifth grade year, and nearly all the girls in my grade had been invited to Ella and Lily Pruitt’s birthday. At some point in the night, our nerves high on cake and girlish giggles, someone had suggested that everyone play the game of Bloody Mary.  “Come on! What, are you a scaredy cat?” a couple of the girls taunted.  Yes. What else would I be? I wanted to say, but I chose to stay silent and wait guard outside of the bathroom. Because, of course, there needed to be someone guarding (it was honestly the best excuse I could come up with).  I listened to the hushed whispers and bickering before half a dozen girls managed to stay silent enough to start the mantra.  Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…. I heard the shuffling of feet as everyone spun around three times. I closed my eyes while they waited in the dark. I fully expected something to happen. But when nothing did, when a pile of girls came rushing out of the bathroom, laughing at how silly and stupid the game was, the evening shifted back to normal. Only, I couldn’t stop looking over my shoulder and staring for too long into every dark doorway. After all, Bloody Mary could be hiding anywhere. For weeks after the sleepover, I was petrified of seeing Bloody Mary in the dark. I kept a nightlight in my room, never stepped out of bed once the lights were out, and pulled the covers all the way over my head.  One night, a rough storm caused the power to flicker on and off. My family and I were all huddled in the living room, flashlights ready. My mom asked me to check my room for more flashlights. I didn’t want to go, fearful of the lights going out again and the dark coming to get me. Bloody Mary hides in the dark. She was waiting for me, I just knew it. Nevertheless, I went to my bedroom and began to check in my closet. I swore I could feel eyes on my back. I blinked and the room turned black.  A shrill scream burst its way out of my throat because I could feel wispy hands clasp around my throat, choking me with fear. The lights flickered back on. I was alone. Later, my parents asked me why I screamed so loudly. I told them I was just afraid of the dark because even uttering Bloody Mary’s name one time felt too close   The Dare:  Say Bloody Mary three times in the mirror (with the lights off ofc), then spin around three times. Take a deep breath and ask politely for your overactive imagination not to go haywire.