Thrice Is Nice

A re-telling of the Bloody Mary legend. Everyone thinks they know everything there is to know about the evil spirit and her victims. What if they're wrong...

*Project Remix Competition Entry (Creative Writing): Inspired by James Dawson's 'Say Her Name'*


1. Thrice Is Nice

Thrice Is Nice

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…


The words echoed on for eternity. They bounced off the hallway walls and resonated through that deep, dark space inside me.


Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…


My feet slammed against the linoleum floor of the deserted school corridor, the place that was usually full of the bright hubbub of life now eerie and dark and alone. Almost-silent, save for the triple repetition of those two words I tried desperately to escape.


Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…


I rounded one corner, then another. Lungs burning, empty of air. Heart too frozen in fear to pound and thump and scream against my ribcage.

Run. That was all I had to do. Run.

Get as far away from the group as I could before it could come for me. Before the invisible hands could reach out, grab me, tug me under their control.


I couldn’t let it get me.


Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…





The ouija board was always going to be a bad idea.

Not bad in the terrible sense of the word – bad in the fact that it was useless, an alphabet-strewn hunk of wood with a heart-shaped centrepiece that didn’t even succeed in looking either particularly paranormal or frightening. But still the group of teenagers insisted on trying it. As if a spirit on the other side had nothing better to do with their undead time than spell out their name like a small child.

Nevertheless, I didn’t stop them. Instead, I merely hovered on the edge of the little circle they had formed – the two girls and the two boys – watching with mild fascination and vast exasperation as they all placed their hands on the board.

Just as I had humoured them in following them to the abandoned high school at midnight.

Just as I had followed them for a long time before.

“On this night,” one of the boys began, his eyes flickering around the empty gym, “this Hallows’ Eve, we summon the spirit of Bloody Mary!”

The quiet whistle of a gentle breeze whirled through the gymnasium, but other than that…silence.

“I said, on this Hallows’ Eve, we summon Bloody Mary,” he repeated calmly.


“Hella’ biatch, we summon you!” the other boy cried out, slamming his fist against the ornately carved piece of woodwork.

From my place on the edge of the circle, I couldn’t help the smug smirk that slipped onto my face.

“Well,” one of the girl said, plucking her perfectly manicured hand back from the board and running her fingers through her poker straight blonde hair. “I always knew that this piece of junk would never work. Didn’t I tell you so, Lena?”

The other girl remained silent.

“Hey, earth to Lena, I told you so – didn’t I?” the first girl persisted. “I did.”

The second girl – Lena – didn’t respond but did keep her gaze solely fixed on me and my place outside the circle. Her blazing blue eyes were wide, steady and slightly weary, like a rabbit watching a jackal, ready to run if it had to but not willingly to skitter away and admit its weakness yet.

Of course she knew that it would never work.

I had been there three months ago when she had tried countlessly and hopelessly to summon the legendary spirit herself – and failed until she tried the oldest trick in the book. It had been that night that had bonded us together, she and I, and it had been upon her calling that I had come to the séance tonight. In an oddly strange way, it was nice to be invited to be amongst people – however inadvertedly Lena had gone about it. To escape my own little world of solidarity, of watching the rest of the universe whir and spin and blur on by, whilst – just like at the present moment – I stood on the outside, completely separated by an unbreakable barrier, looking in…

But tonight was different.

I could be involved in their conversations. Hear their laughter. Share in their jokes…and their screams.

“The ouija board may have been my idea,” the first boy said, standing up and haphazardly kicking the crappy woodwork under a set of bleachers in annoyance. “But at least I had an idea. What spur of the moment genius have you ever had, Crystal?”

The first girl huffed and rose to her feet. “Well,” she said. “that may be so, but I only came here to –”

“To impress you,” Lena cut in sharply. It was the first words she had spoken all night. In fact, the words made it into the elite selection of a hundred she had said all week.

The whole time she spoke, still sitting cross-legged on the hardwood gym floor, her gaze remained trained on me.

“Hot damn.” The second boy blew out a whistle as he stood, gesturing to the boy and girl. “I didn’t come here so you two could make-out in the caretaker’s closet. I thought we were going to do some real spirit summoning.”

“We are!” the first boy and girl cut him off at exactly the same time.

The second boy blinked, taken back by the outburst. Then, he clicked his fingers. “You know what, I think I read somewhere –”

“You actually read something, T. J?”

“Yes, I read somewhere that you can summon Bloody Mary by standing in a bathroom or something like that.”

Now, Lena chose to speak again. “No.”

The first girl ignored her. “Oh, I know what you mean,” she said. “The thing about standing in front of a candlelit mirror and saying her name three times, right?”


The sudden outburst startled the group – or at least it startled everyone but Lena.

Slowly, she rose to her feet. The rabbit was readying itself.

“Trust me; you don’t want to do that.”

To my surprise, a moment of stunned silence passed through the group. Nobody knew about the time that Lena had tried the trick before. Nobody but me.

And I wasn’t about to spill her secret.

“Why not?” Crystal asked.

“Are you scared?” the first boy queried.

“Is Lena-Baby-Boo ready to wet her panties?” T. J teased.

But Lena didn’t even warrant them with an answer. Instead, she did something which under normal circumstances would have been impossible. With that, the rabbit decided to run; she stalked straight out of the gym.

Any other time, I would have been felt compelled to catch up with and follow her. Not this time, though. This time, I stood beside the group – only an inch or so away but still separated by the most monumental difference from their clique – and watched as the expressions on their faces changed from bewilderment to disbelief to nonchalance. I wanted to do what Lena had done, to beg and plead and tell them that their was truth in the myth, life in the legend. That it would be better for all of them if they just left Bloody Mary alone. But I didn’t, I couldn’t. So, like a moth to a flame, I followed them to the bathroom.




I stayed until the last possible moment.

I regarded them gingerly as they checked the stalls were empty, switched out the lights and lit the candles. I kept my distance as the group of three huddled around the condensated mirror, their breaths foggy up the frosty glass. Only when they began to chant the chant – the same chant that had been said and repeated, used and abused, over and over and over again – did I try to escape…


Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…




I rounded another corner.

Left? Right? Up? Down?

The world was a whirlpool and I was choking in its currents.

I knew the truth, but denied its existence and its inevitability by proxy. Running hadn’t ever saved anyone before. Hadn’t saved the innocent, or the ignorant, or the ones like Lena and the group who just thought it was a big hoax.

It hadn’t saved me. Not on the night when the men with the stakes and the pitchforks, the ropes and the burning torches had come for me. Not ever since.

But it didn’t mean I wouldn’t try.

I refused to see them get hurt. I refused to any longer be subservient to the prayers and curses, the dark promises, that some poor, helpless, petrified girl had cried out as they had burned her alive at the stake. I refused to accept that those with bloody names played bloody games.

Running, running, running…passed lockers…passed doors…through walls…anywhere and anyhow to get as far away from the bathroom…


And that was exactly how I ended up right back inside it again.




Contrary to what you may think, nobody ever screams the first time they see my face in the mirror. Bloody, mangled and so very unlike them...

Consternation allows the body the sweet reprieve of being able to function. Just like how my will is bent and tempered by a force above my power, a control that believes it is honouring the final wishes of my deepest, darkest desires, the human body is unable to escape from the shock that it only takes an instant – a moment – for the mythical to become literal.

I open my mouth to say: “I don’t want to.”

But all that comes out is a godforsaken, bloodcurdling scream.

I try again: “Save me.”

That’s when my bloody hand escapes from the mirror and gouges out their eyes…

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