I didn’t see the knife or the arm that swung it. The arc of the blade as it sliced through the air made no sound as it pierced the delicate skin and right kidney of my mother. It was her whimper – the gasp and arching of her back that indicated there was a problem. I opened my mouth to scream but could not. My breath was concrete in my lungs; my voice frozen. I threw the blanket over my head and began to cry. I waited for my death and hoped it would be as quick as hers.
I had brought this terror upon myself. I was nine years old and full of the need for great adventure. I was renowned in the schoolyard for the bravery I showed against bullies. I was a foot soldier for the weak and defenceless. I wanted to prove myself anyway I could.
One day, after a rousing game of Red Rover, my friends and I sat in a circle. One little child with brown, stringy hair and huge blue eyes asked us if we’d ever heard the story of Bloody Mary. All of us proclaimed our ignorance and the little girl lowered her voice to tell a story of infinite horror; a murdered lady and a brutal curse!
“All you have to do is chant ‘Bloody Mary’ five times in front of a mirror. Her ghost will show up and kill you.” The bell rang and we disbanded. I never gave it another thought until I got home.
My bedroom was a pretty typical sanctuary for a girl my age except for one minor exception. I had inherited my mother’s dresser with mirror.
It sealed my fate.
Without a thought to the consequences I called on the evil spirit that night. I waited for mayhem and adventure but nothing happened – it was just a stupid story. Nevertheless, I sprinted to my bed. I tried to fall asleep but I became convinced that something stalked me in the dark. I cried out for my mother; my courage now a shrivelled fig leaf on my metaphorical gonads.
“What is it, Baby?” she asked as she stepped into my room.
She stood directly in front of the mirror and I did my best to warn her but I was too late. A gasp escaped her and she reached for her wounded back. I began to cry hysterically. My mother was dead and I was next.
“Carrie, Jesus, what’s wrong?” my mother asked in alarm.
In one breath I recited Bloody Mary’s story.
“She killed you” I whispered.
“I’m fine, Baby. I’m not dead. I just had a back spasm. No one stabbed me.”
I cried even harder – this time in relief. Bloody Mary hadn’t come to kill me…just to mock me.