Oh come on, you call that a scary story? This one will truly shake you to the core. Now, a friend of a friend told me this happened to her second cousin. Tragic stuff.
‘Seriously? Bloody Mary?’ Samantha laughed. ‘Can’t think of anything better?’
‘Why, are you scared?’ Daphne playfully raised her eyebrows. Samantha’s face dropped and Daphne immediately knew the right button had clicked; no one wants to be called a chicken at their own sleepover.
‘You wish. Who’s up for this then?’, Samantha looked at the other three girls, her eyes burning into each one. The choice was simple – either do what the popular girl wanted or become a social piranha. Neither of them wanted the latter. ‘See Daph? We’re all brave girls here.’
‘Never doubted it’, Daphne’s face never faltered but her voice betrayed annoyance. Winning against Samantha was a challenge she liked to take on, and yet never won. All in the name of friendly rivalry.
‘Right, so I assume you all know how this goes?’ Samantha said when the girls trailed after one another into the bathroom, handing each of them a candle.
‘We need to call her name three times?’ Michelle, one of the girls, said.
‘I thought it was nine’, Claire, the other girl, countered.
‘It’s obviously thirteen, bad number and all’, Angie, the third girl, rolled her eyes.
‘It varies’, Daphne spoke before Samantha could. ‘But the number that appears most in different versions is five. Since we have the right number, who doesn’t each of us say it once?’
‘Surely it would work better with all of us saying it together’, Samantha said while lighting the candles. When she got to Daphne’s, there was a moment of hesitation. ‘Or are you afraid it will actually summon her?’
‘Together it is then’, Daphne smiled, the candle casting shadows on her face. Samantha turned away and squeezed herself in the between Michelle and Angie so she’d be right in the middle. The girls arranged themselves in a half circle in front of a square mirror, their elbows just about touching.
‘Alright ladies, shall we?’, Samantha stared each one down, Daphne being the only one to return the look. ‘What’s with the long faces? It’s just a stupid urban legend’, the other girls laughed but the sound fell flat. ‘Everyone on the count of three. One… Two… Three’, there was a second of silence that seemed to stretch out to eternity. Then Samantha’s lips parted as she spoke, with the others following just a fraction behind.
‘Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary’, Samantha stopped to catch a breath, the others trailing after her. ‘Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary.’
Silence. The girls looked at the mirror, the only thing staring back being their reflections.
‘Well, of course that wasn’t gonna do anything’, Samantha giggled. ‘Alright ladies, I don’t know about you but I could use some Ryan Gosling-’
There waa a crack and all the candles simultaneously blew out, bringing the bathroom to total darkness. Michelle shrieked and dropped her candle, splashing hot wax everywhere.
‘What the hell!’, Angie shouted. ‘You got wax on me, you idiot!’, she ran towards the sink.
‘Calm down, I’ll get first aid’, Samantha went to the door and turned the knob but it didn’t open. ‘What the-?’, she jiggled the door to no avail, then turned the lock but nothing happened. ‘Who jammed the door?’
‘You came in last’, Daphne almost whispered. Just as she said it, multiple things happened all at once.
The lights flickered as the mirror shattered, causing the girls to go into chaos. Angie backed away covering from the shards and bumped into Michelle, who screamed and slipped, bashing her head against the bathtub. Claire backed up against the wall and covered her eyes from the lights which now resembled a club rave scene.
‘God, she’s coming for us!’ Angie shouted as the lights turned off for the last time. Something cracked and tumbled, followed by a scream that seemingly came from underground. After that, silence followed, but there was no comfort in it.
The lights turned on. Angie and Claire looked up. Michelle rubbed her head, a bump already forming on it. It took a moment for the three to register the visual in front of them.
Samantha lied on the floor, painfully still, glassy eyes staring at the ceiling. There was blood all over, stemming from the wound in her chest. Daphne was looking over her, as if in a trance.
‘Daphne?’, Claire whispered and very carefully stretched out her arm to poke Daphne’s shoulder. Seemingly awakened, she looked down and after a drawn out moment, her face twisted into anguish.
‘Oh god’, she whimpered. ‘It was her! Bloody Mary! She did this!’
Angie looked at her, head tilted.
The Elves Reunion, a short story by Jennifer Weigel
I had heard tale that The Elves dwell in these woods. Many underestimate The Elves; they have a fondness of heart for Tolkienesque Middle Earth fantasy stories and tales where Elves are the most highly civilized, virtuous and intelligent. They forget that those are just myths, save for The Elves being cunning. Remember that the Pied Piper was an Elf, and the children he took were not destined for such a glorious fate.
My sister lost her firstborn to The Elves. She hadn’t noticed the Changeling until it was too late. Her baby had already long since been stolen away. She was so distraught she refused to eat or speak. She locked herself in her room. Or my family locked her into it as she succumbed to the madness. Such are the ways of the family, for all of our protection. We never question but follow as expected, as a means of self-preservation. It has kept us all alive.
But I couldn’t get the sinking feeling out of my stomach; the grief became too overwhelming. That is why I came here. I know I will not be able to rescue the child, nor my sister. But I seek to avenge their meaningless deaths. To ensure that it doesn’t happen again. My family will never act. I am tired of the Village Elders just shrugging these things off in hushed whispers and badly shrouded secrets. It happens time and again. We are all expendable. They never do anything.
So here I am, in the Elven wood. Alone. As soon as my family figures out that I’m here, they will disown me. They probably already have. Again, it is for our own protection. I’ll be just another casualty of The Elves. Everything is so structured, so regimented. Anyone who dares act in opposition to the rules vanishes. We are all so afraid.
I lay in wait. It’s just a matter of time before the portal appears. The Elves use the portals to travel across time and space. They appear where and when they wish. But this time, I will go through first. I know not what is on the other side, just that the portals allow only one to traverse in each direction. We will trade places, if only for a moment until another portal forms. Hopefully that will be enough time.
The trees shift and morph. Falling leaves drift slower and slower towards the ground. There is a stillness that I cannot fully express. My breath hangs heavy in the silent air. There is no sound, no smell, no taste. It is time. The hairs on the back of my neck and arms rise. I can sense the opening forming. There is an uncanny familiarity in this moment, as if I have been here before.
As soon as the portal opens, I dash through. But something isn’t right. No one came through from the other side. Or did they? I cannot tell. I am alone, in limbo between states of existence. The world spins around me. I can feel the drift. Is this what death feels like? Cold unbroken silence? I feel distant eyes upon me everywhere, all around me, in the trees, the clouds, pinpoints of light that shimmer through.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Maybe this is all according to plan. But who was orchestrating the exchange? My idea was only half formed in those passing pensive moments I am able to think for myself, few and far between. My family, the Village Elders… no one allows time for freeform thought. I hadn’t considered what would happen after the portal exchange. I never really got past step one.
A voice greets me from the trees. It is hauntingly familiar but seems only a distant memory.
“I’ve been expecting you.”
The world slowly comes into focus. Clarity restored, the leaves circle me in an embrace. My sister emerges, her dark eyes smiling. She cradles the baby in her arms.
“You made it. You escaped,” she sings.
“I didn’t see anyone,” I retort, skeptical. I hadn’t recalled having seen any Elves, dark nightmarish fiends that they are, wild, unkempt, uncouth. Savage beasts like Pan or Krampus. Is this an illusion? My sister seems so lifelike, so much herself. She is the joyful young mother I had known her to be. Filled with love and laughter. Light dances about her, and she shimmers.
“Not in passing,” my sister clarifies. “You have been living among them your whole life. I had done so as well until the baby was stolen. My heart broke; I had to follow after. That was when I learned the Truth.”
“Why do you think we are so sheltered? Why are we forbidden to do anything? They do so to protect us from the Truth about who and what we are,” she continued. “We’ve spent our lives evading that which we truly know ourselves to be. We were the stolen ones, not the other way around…”
I notice that the portal I came through is still open, reinforcing my idea that no one had passed through the other way. It is as if the portal was opened specifically to call me through. My sister extends her hand, beckoning me to join her. There is a gleam in her eye I cannot pinpoint. She seems happy, but something still isn’t quite right. I’m still uncertain why I am here, in this time and place, as if destined to be present in this moment, in this decision.
The Village has fallen away to the woods. There are no breadcrumb trails to follow home. The idea of home itself seems distant like yet another illusion. Nothing makes sense anymore. I am unsure whether I am coming or going. Two paths lay open before me. Which shall I take?
Eye Candy Jewelry by Jennifer Weigel
I have been getting ready for a jewelry show in February and thought I’d share some of the fun eye candy necklaces I’ve been working on. Do they thwart or attract the Evil Eye? I think that depends largely on the wearer’s intentions… Each is hand-beaded and features a spooky printed eyeball pendant as its focus.
And the piece de resistance… A RAINBOW Evil Eye necklace with magnesite stone skulls! I love these happy little deadheads – they are just too spoopy… I have seen these beads ranging in size from very small to huge and I love all of them.
I love using eyes in art in weird and unusual contexts in my art. They have so much presence and symbolism. They also bring a sort of surreal atmosphere to any artwork, which bears just a hint of spookiness regardless of context.
Other artworks & graphics by myself that prominently feature eyes have appeared here on Haunted MTL in Insomnia, Indecision, Illuminati, Carriage Factory art installation, The Watchers, The Red Key, and Shaman Sticks.
Wax Museum Living Dead Girls with Jennifer Weigel
Revisiting my costume modeling work, like my previous witch and skeleton sitting, I participated in a Living Wax Museum as part of No Craft Left Behind at Monika House over Halloween this past year. The premise is that participating performers each choose a historical figure, living or dead, and portray them. Anyone attending the event then asks questions to deduce who the living wax figures are. It’s a lot of fun, and also educational.
Here are some images of my outfit and props. Since I was a silent film actress, I decided to create intertitle signs to flash at audience members rather than talking, kind of like reading the snippets of conversation between scenes in actual silent films. See if you can guess who I am.
The intertitle signs from the Living Wax Museum read:
I was a silent film & stage actress.
I was 30 years old when I became famous.
I appeared in more than 40 films between 1917 & 1926.
I was known as the 1st “Vamp” for my femme fatale roles & am cited as the 1st sex symbol of the film era.
Magazines called me “The Arch-Torpedo of Domesticity”, “The Queen of Vampires”, “The Wickedest Woman in the World” & more.
My best known roles included Salome, The Vampire in A Fool There Was & Cleopatra.
I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Jewish parents Bernard Goodman, a Polish tailor, and his wife, Pauline Louise Francoise of Switzerland.
I moved to New York City in 1908 & debuted in The Devil on Broadway.
I was falsely hyped as born in the Sahara in Egypt “under the shadow of the Sphinx & the Pyramids” & I dabbled in the occult.
I was known for my kohl-outlined eyes & revealing costumes before the 1930s Hays Code for decency.
I was rumored to have trained with Sarah Bernhardt, received over 1,000 marriage proposals & had a sandwich in my honor.
Most of the films in which I appear were destroyed in the 1937 Fox vault fire.
I married director Charles Brabin in 1921 & retired from acting in 1926.
I died in April 1955 and am buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Ca.
I was named for the daughter of US Vice-President Aaron Burr, Theodosia.
My film name is an anagram of “Arab death”.
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