“She was a little girl who lived back in the olden days in a big house. Her dad was rich and never around and her step mom was mean and always called her Ugly Mary. It started to make her go crazy! Then one night when she was washing her face she looked at herself in the mirror and saw a freckle. She tried to scrub it off, but it was a freckle, it was part of her face. So then she started to scratch at it and she scratched and scratched and her face started to bleed. Well, she kept scratching, not just at the freckle but at the rest of her face! And she was scratching and scratching and pretty soon she was screaming because her whole face was getting scratched off! Downstairs they heard the bathroom mirror break and Mary’s screams and when they went upstairs to see what happened the mirror was shattered, there was blood everywhere and Mary was gone! Now if you say her name three times in the bathroom mirror Bloody Mary will appear and scratch your face off too!” Billy cackled like a witch as his sister, Sally, screamed.
“Shut up, Billy!” Sally was really scared. Her big brother always did this to her, especially at night right before bed. “That story isn’t true!”
“It totally is!” Billy’s eye’s got really wide and his voice got quiet, like he was about to tell a secret. “Freddy’s older sister did it once.”
“Freddy doesn’t have a sister!”
“Not anymore!” Billy laughed and laughed and then they heard their Dad coming up to tuck them in.
“Quiet down you two! Billy quit scaring your sister.” Dad was tall, at least as far as six year old Sally could tell. He had neatly cut brown hair and a sly smile. His glasses made him look smart and Sally liked that she had a smart Dad; she just wished that she also had a smart brother. Billy rolled his eyes and left Sally’s bed and went back into his own room next door, the room closer to the bathroom. Dad whapped Billy lightly on the back of the head as they passed each other in the doorway, “You get into bed, mister, I’ll be there soon,” then he sat next to Sally as she pulled her My Little Pony covers up to her neck. “You know he’s teasing you, right? None of his stories are real.”
“Billy’s a jerk!” She said it loud enough for him to hear. She was still pretty scared, even with Dad here in her room.
“I know, I know. It’s ok.” Dad brushed her hair with his hand and tried to calm her down. “Sally eight year old boys have been telling that story to their kid sisters since I was your age, even longer than that. It’s just an old scary story and it isn’t true. Freddy never had a sister of any age.” Sally still didn’t look convinced. “And, the nice thing is, your brother’s bedroom is closer to the bathroom so Bloody Mary would get him first.” Dad tickled her when he said the last bit and that made her laugh. She felt safer and Dad was right, Bloody Mary would have to get Billy first and at least then she’d have time to run away. “Are you going to be OK?” Sally nodded and hugged her doll. Dad kissed her on the forehead and went to the door. “Good night sweetheart.”
“Good night Daddy.” Dad turned off the light and shut the door about halfway. “Can you leave the hall light on?”
Dad poked his head back in, “Sure thing honey. I love you.”
“I love you too.” Dad went in to say good night to Billy and Sally listened to him get in trouble as she closed her eyes and hugged her doll tight. Billy earned getting in trouble; she didn’t want to think about some scary girl who lived in the bathroom mirror! Sally fell asleep hearing the sounds of her Dad’s voice and her brother apologizing.
Sally twitched in her sleep at the sound.
Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.
She woke up, a little groggy, looking around for the source of the noise. She didn’t see it in her room, but it was dark. The hall light was out.
Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. There was a muffled voice too, it sounded like whimpering. Sally got scared, but wasn’t sure what to do. She listened and it seemed to stop. She sat up in bed and held her doll very close.
“Billy?” She whispered hoping it was loud enough for him to hear but not loud enough to get the attention of anything scary. There was no response. She tried again, “Billy?” Then she heard the soft whimpering again. Maybe Billy was having a nightmare? Maybe he scared himself? Sally got brave and started to get out of bed. She felt the carpet underneath her feet and pushed the covers off of her body. She stood up and started toward the door. Even though the lights were out she could see due to the light of the moon and street lamps outside of her window. It gave a very pale glow to all of the surfaces in her room and the hall where the door was open. As she got closer to the door she heard the soft whimpering again, it sounded like Billy was crying into his pillow. Then the noise again: Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Sally opened her door enough to get into the hallway. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. She rounded the corner to the door of Billy’s room. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. She saw Billy’s bed and someone leaning over it. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.
“Mommy?” But it wasn’t her Mom. The figured turned sharp and where there should have been a face there were just bloody strips of flesh, the creature’s hands were crooked into claws that dripped with blood and in the bed Sally saw what was left of her brother’s face and she screamed!
Her Mom and Dad came rushing into her room telling her it was OK, that it was all just a bad dream and she saw her brother yawning and wiping his eyes in the doorway trying to figure out what was wrong. It was all a terrible nightmare! A terrible, terrible nightmare and it took Sally forever to get calmed down. Her Mom slept with her that night and Dad had a stern talk with her brother about how mean it is to scare his sister. It was just a nightmare, just a nightmare.
The next morning was Saturday and the sun shone brightly into Sally’s window to greet her as she woke up. Mom was gone, but that was OK since it was day time. Sally could hear her downstairs in the kitchen cooking breakfast. The TV was on, it sounded like Billy was watching Power Rangers, and all was right with the world again. Sally got up and put her doll under the covers and tucked her in, she still needed some rest, and then went to the bathroom. Sally walked down the hall, past Billy’s room, turned on the bathroom light and closed the bathroom door behind her. There were no windows in the bathroom, just the light from the bulbs over the sink. She sat to potty and nervously looked over to the bathroom mirror. It looked fine, there were no cracks or strange reflections or scary girls in it. But Sally was scared to look away. As she finished she looked as quickly as she could to keep her eyes on the mirror as much as possible. Then she had to wash her hands. Sally went to the sink and stared herself in the eyes as she reached for the faucet. She stopped, and then she turned around and opened the door. She felt safer with the door open; there was a place to run if the door was open. She turned back to the sink, locking eyes with her reflection and washed her hands. She let out a big breath, dried her hands and turned out the light. She did it! And no scary girl showed up!
Sally walked down stairs and everything was as it should be: the TV was on, it was Power Rangers, Dad was at the table reading the paper and Mom was cooking breakfast. Wait, where was Billy? She walked a little further toward the TV and then Billy jumped out from behind the couch, his hands like claws and wearing a hockey mask! Sally screamed and ran toward Dad.
Both Mom and Dad yelled at him, “Billy!” Sally cried a little as Dad held her and Billy pulled off his mask.
“Billy, what have we told you?” Dad asked with a very disappointed look on his face.
“You go to your room, mister,” Mom was pointing at him with her spatula from the kitchen, “there will be extra chores for you today, young man.”
“Aw, c’mon! I’m sorry, Sally.” That was the worst thing that Mom could have said to him. There were very few things that bothered Billy and “chores” was definitely at the top of the list!
“No, right now, upstairs!” Mom was starting to walk out of the kitchen; Billy took the hint and booked it to his room.
Sally yelled up at him as he ran, “Maybe Bloody Mary will get you!” Her parents shook their heads and went back to a normal Saturday morning. There were pancakes and orange juice and My Little Ponies. Sally and Dad went to the park and played on the playground equipment. She saw her friend Jenny and they played in the sand. When they got home that afternoon it was still nice out so Mom brought her some lemonade while Billy raked leaves in the front yard with a sour expression on his face. Sally laughed because he had leaves in his shaggy brown hair. Mom helped her dress up one of her dolls and got the little plastic shoes on (they were always so hard for Sally to get on by herself). All in all it was a pretty wonderful Saturday.
For dinner they had one of Sally’s favorites, fried chicken. It wasn’t just her favorite; it was Dad and Billy’s too. Mom made really good fried chicken that tasted even better than the kind at the fast food places Dad would take them too when Mom didn’t have time to make hers. It was crispy and juicy and you could dip it in the mashed potatoes and gravy and make a “chicken-pop;” Sally made that up. Billy would always peel the skin off of his chicken and play with it before he ate it.
“Look, Dad, it’s like monster flesh, rawr!” He had a flap of skin stuck to his cheek and was making faces and sticking his tongue out like he was a zombie. Sally started a bit, it reminded her of her nightmare.
“Billy,” Dad took the chicken skin off of his face and started wiping the grease off, “stop playing with your food and eat it.”
“But Dad, I want to be a monster!”
“You are a monster; an eight year old monster who’d better eat.” Dad wiped his fingers and went back to his own food.
“Billy what has gotten into you lately?” Mom asked between bites. Billy didn’t answer he just picked up the chicken skin and shoved it in his mouth with a big smile. Mom and Dad laughed and Sally giggled a little. It was just a nightmare, it wasn’t real.
That night they watched a movie, “Finding Nemo” (it was the only one that she and Billy agreed on watching, ever). Then it was time for bed. Both Billy and Sally ran up to their rooms and put on their pajamas. Sally’s were pink and had a big grey silhouette of a cat on the front. Billy’s looked like a red and blue race car jump suit. When she had her p.j’s on and had put her clothes in the hamper she went to the bathroom to brush her teeth. The bathroom light was out. The hall light was on, but the bathroom light wasn’t and it was really dark past the door. Sally looked as hard as she could at the inside of the bathroom trying to see if she could make out anything wrong, especially in the mirror. She crept closer, not wanting to move too much just in case there was someone or something in there. Billy raced past her and bumped her! She screamed a little and he looked back.
“Sorry!” Then Billy flipped on the light and water and started brushing his teeth. Well, at least that probably meant it was safe in there. Sally went in and got her toothbrush and started brushing her teeth too. Billy finished, spit, and rushed out. As he was leaving he closed the door behind him and turned out the lights, laughing as he did it.
Sally screamed! She dropped her toothbrush on the floor and started pulling on the door knob and banging on the door, “Let me out! Mom! Dad! Help!” She kept screaming and pounding and started crying. Billy was still laughing. Sally could hear Dad coming up stairs and yelled at Billy to get away from the door. It opened and Dad turned on the light and picked her up holding her close as she cried.
“What the hell were you thinking, Billy?!” Dad was really mad. He didn’t like to use those words normally. “This is your sister and you are scaring the crap out of her!” Billy started crying too, softly at first, but it got stronger with each breath.
“I’m sorry,” he said through the tears, “I was just joking around.” He started sobbing.
“Well this is where your joking around got us. Get in your room.” Dad walked Sally back to her bedroom and put her on the bed.
“I dropped my tooth brush.” She said through sniffles.
“It’s ok, we’ll get you a new tooth brush and take it out of your brother’s allowance.” Dad sighed, “I don’t know why he’s doing this, but he’ll stop.”
“Promise?” Sally wiped her eyes with her sleeve.
“Promise.” Then Dad hugged her tight and Mom came in wearing her robe and sat on Sally’s bed. “I’m going to go have a talk with your brother.” Dad walked out with a stern look on his face.
Mom scooted closer to Sally and hugged her tight singing softly to her and rocking her. That made her feel better. In the room next door she could hear Billy crying and Dad being very angry. It wasn’t clear what Dad said he’d take away, but when he came out of Billy’s room and closed the door he was holding Billy’s Game Boy and a lunchbox full of Hot Wheels cars. She could hear Billy crying in his bed. Mom rocked her and she fell asleep.
The room was dark, pitch black, the kind of dark where you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. There was no noise, it was silent. It was too silent. Sally stood in her pajamas not sure which way to go. “Mom?” she called out. There was a hollow echo, but no answer. “Dad?” again and echo with no answer. “Billy?”
“Billy’s not here.” The voice was wet, wheezing. And came from ahead of her, at least she was pretty sure.
“Who’s there?” Sally called out, her eyes tearing in fear.
“Say my name…” the voice slithered.
Sally squealed in fear, “Who is it?”
“Say. My. Name!” The voice was direct and getting closer.
“I don’t want to! You leave me alone!” Sally started to panic and tried to run but didn’t know which direction to turn.”
“SAY MY NAME!” The voice was screaming now and coming closer, faster! Sally screamed and turned away from the voice and just started running. She ran into someone and fell back on her bottom. She tried to get up but she could hear the footsteps of whomever she ran into approaching. She tried to back up but the face, the horrible face she had seen in her nightmare before all bleeding ribbons of flesh hanging off of a ripped and gouged face with strings of bloody brown hair, came at hers from the dark, “BLOODY MARY!”
Sally screamed and sat straight up in bed! She kept screaming even as the hall light came on and Mom and Dad came rushing in, Mom hugging and rocking her and Dad frustrated and pacing the room. Billy managed to sleep through this one. Sally explained to Mom and Dad what happened in her nightmares. She described the dark and how it was super quiet and the scary voice that she heard. How it said that Billy wasn’t there. Mom and Dad exchanged a look and went back to consoling Sally. Dad slept with her that night.
Sunday morning Sally woke up and heard Billy crying in his room. She got up and grabbed her doll and peaked around the corner, his door was shut. She couldn’t see anything. She went down stairs and went to say hi to her Mom and Dad. Dad was sipping coffee and reading the paper and Mom was cooking eggs.
“Hi sweetie,” Mom said with a smile.
Dad got up from the kitchen table and walked over to her, “Did you sleep better?” He mussed her hair as he asked.
“Yes. Why is Billy crying?”
Dad made a bit of a sad face and kneeled next to her, “your brother is in trouble for giving you nightmares. He knows better and so he has to stay in his room without TV or his video games or the computer. You’ve had nightmares two nights in a row and he’s not supposed to scare you like that.”
Mom chimed in, “He needs to learn that it isn’t funny to scare you like that.”
“OK. I don’t want him to be sad, though.” Mom and Dad looked at each other with faces that showed how they thought her thoughtfulness was adorable and heartfelt.
“He’ll be OK,” Dad put his hand on her shoulder. “Right now I think he’s just upset that he can’t play Pokemon.”
Billy came down for breakfast and Dad kept reminding him that it wasn’t OK to scare his sister. He had chores to do again, which he hated, but by the end of the day he had his Game Boy back and was back to playing Pokemon.
That night when it was time for bed Sally put on her cat pajamas and went right into the bathroom to brush her teeth. As promised Dad got her a new toothbrush (with some of Billy’s allowance) and she started brushing. She looked down to spit and when she looked back up she saw Billy standing behind her! She screamed a little which surprised him and he jumped back a little knocking his head on the door jamb hard enough that he started to cry a little.
He fell to the floor and rubbed his head, “What’d you do that for?”
Sally got mad, “You scared me!”
“Nuh uh, I was just standing there waiting to brush my teeth!” Mom and Dad came up to see what all the ruckus was about.
“What happened?” Mom sounded exasperated.
Sally and Billy both started talking, “He scared me!” “She scared me!” “He was just standing there…” “I wanted to brush my teeth but she screamed and I hit my head…”
“Enough!” Dad was loud and it quieted them both immediately. “This needs to stop. No more scaring, whether on purpose or on accident. Finish getting ready, it’s time for bed.” Sally wiped her mouth and walked back to her room with Mom while Dad waited for Billy to finish brushing his teeth. Mom read her a book and kissed her forehead and turned out the light, leaving the hall light on. Dad put Billy to bed and said good night as he passed her room. She could hear them watching the TV downstairs and she fell asleep knowing they were still awake.
She was in the hallway and the light was dim. It was on, but it was as if the bulb could only make half the amount of light that it was supposed to. Her bedroom door was shut and so was Billy’s. she turned to face the bathroom and saw Billy standing there, stone still, in his pajamas just staring into the dark bathroom.
Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. The sound was coming from the bathroom. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. Sally was scared to get any closer but she didn’t know what to do about her brother. Skree. Skree. Skree. Skree. She crept up behind him, shaking as she moved.
“No Billy.” It was the voice. Sally froze in place and felt all the blood leave her body. “No Billy no more!” Then Billy’s body fell backward, landing face up on the ground. His face was scratched off and when Sally looked up she saw Bloody Mary in the mirror scraping at the glass to get out! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree! Sally screamed and screamed and the voice cackled and screamed back! The glass of the mirror tore like skin and Bloody Mary crawled out of the mirror her face sticking to the jagged edges of the torn mirror glass, pouring blood over everything, her clawed hands articulating on the faucet handles and her legs operating spider-like as she pulled them though.
Sally tried to pull away but Billy’s lifeless hand grabbed her ankle causing her to fall. Mary jumped from a crouched position on the sink to the door jamb and then to the ceiling in the hall, crawling across it and leaving trailed of blood drooling over everything. She was directly above the screaming Sally and turned her head all the way around to stare at her, “NO MORE BILLY!”
Sally screamed herself awake and she found herself standing next to Billy’s bed where Billy was screaming now too having been woken up by her screams. He had scratches on his face, nothing deep, but they were bleeding a little and there was blood and a little skin in Sally nails. Sally started crying and Billy did too as he pulled his knees up to his chest and got as far away from Sally as he could. Mom and Dad came rushing in turning on the light as they did. They found Sally sobbing with bloody finger tips and Billy crying with wide terrified eyes. Mom gasped and ran to Sally. Dad went to Billy and inspected his face.
“My God, Sally did you do this?” Dad looked scared too. Sally couldn’t stop crying and didn’t answer. Mom just shook her head. Dad ran into the bathroom to grab some cotton balls and hydrogen peroxide. He turned on the light and stopped dead in his tracks. Dad grabbed his mouth and backed out.
Mom asked, “Honey what’s wrong?” Dad didn’t answer. Mom left Sally and walked over to Dad, “What is it?” she looked in the bathroom and gasped. Sally didn’t want to be alone so she ran to her parents. Mom tried to cover Sally’s eyes, but Sally saw it, words scrawled in thin blood on the mirror: “Bloody Mary doesn’t like Billy”.
“Mom!” Billy yelled from his room. They all ran back to him.
Billy never scared his little sister again.