by Scott Wydra
"You know I’m missing a date with a cheerleader for this silliness," Peter Dent told his younger sister while
standing outside the "Spooky Sconsdale".
The Spooky Sconsdale mansion loomed before the siblings like some kind of monster monolith of anti-life.
Paint that was once white, had transformed to a lifeless gray, peeled; the wind continued shucking the old
strips from the house. Most of the windows were boarded over as countless rocks (and pumpkins on Mischief
Night before Halloween) from local kids had punched holes in the glass. The rest were just rectangular
sockets. Annabelle could almost see squirms of maggots flailing about the empty windows like the house was
an ancient skull.
It was October 13th and a spray of rain fell, soaking through clothes.
Annabelle, being sixteen and thus more computer savvy than an IBM exec, entertained her older brother with
all she had dug up on the Internet about their town and the Sconsdale Estate. Twelve missing teens since
1954. Most were sighted somewhere near Bloody Mary’s mansion.
Anna had found Mary Sconsdale’s story on an urban legend web site. In 1954, it reported, Mary Lived in the
house which she inherited from her parents. On that January night, she had been raped, tortured, and then
murdered by two college freshman.
She was forty-six.
The legend of Bloody Mary was, was that in the bathroom downstairs, there is a mirror. A special mirror. The
mirror should to be a doorway between the world of General Motors, Burger King, and Miller High Life, and
that of the purgatory where Mary is said to be imprisoned. It is said that if one stands in front of the mirror
and says "Bloody Mary, I believe in you" nine times and on the tenth change it to "Bloody Mary, I don’t
believe in you" the gateway opens.
Anna thinks that’s where the kids went, into Bloody Mary’s one-of-a-kind hell.
And Pete thinks she’s lost it.
"Well, you picked a helluva night to come to this place," Peter said as the two walked up the broken
cobblestone path towards the splintering stairs. The famous Pennsylvanian fall scent permeated the air:
soggy, dead leaves that carpeted the ground. Not only deceased leaves swirled around their ankles in
miniature cyclones, but good old urban tumbleweeds, as well: newspapers, fast-food wrappers, shreds of old
A late-night bird chirped low, brooding, from a skeletal maple on their right.
Anna looked at her brother, her protector, the only one she had left now that their father had died of a heart
attack three years earlier. Peter was a tall, well-formed wide receiver for the football team with corn-colored
hair like Anna’s (although hers was longer and silkier, Thank you, Pantene).
Her hands and arms shook, and goose pimples sprouted from her skin like sand dunes across a barren desert
as they climbed the steps; Peter seemed completely composed.
The wind seemed to whisper conspiratorial murder secrets through the tree boughs as Anna turned the
doorknob. As the door opened with that horror movie squealing, they smelled rot, decay, and something even
Various pieces of dilapidated--but once rich and exotic--furniture were tumbled, busted, and thrown about
the grand entrance hall. Anna could imagine people, all clothed in nothing but the finest garments, dancing
around black-tuxedoed waiters; wives and mistresses spinning and spiraling around their men.
Anna tasted the dust and wetness on her tongue. All is silent in the halls of the dead, she thought. She
couldn’t quite remember where she had read that line, but it fit pretty neat. The only sound was the wind
choking and coughing outside and small ticking sounds that could’ve been rain pelting the house, or rats
skittering across the floors. Or both.
Some kid, most likely, tacked up one of those cardboard skeletons on the far wall between the dual spiral
staircases. A penis was drawn on the pelvic bone (how original); an arrow was staked through the wildly
grinning skull. A used condom hung from the feathery end.
In fact, used condoms--along with beer cans and bottles--seemed to be the principle decor of the room.
Anna shrugged her shoulders to help peel the damp t-shirt from her skin and then screamed. Peter jumped
and turned to her, expecting Freddy K. or Jason V.
Anna pawed at her right shoulder. She slung a plump, hairy spider to the floor where it exploded into chunky
bits. The color of the ooze that spewed out of its deflated carapace almost made Anna puke.
"It’s okay, Anna." Peter looked a little sketchy now. A street or two over from comfortable.
"Let’s just get this crap over with, huh?" Anna surveyed the place. She felt her long braid of hair flopping
around against her back as she looked. "They had a blueprint on that site..." Then she saw it. "Come on, the
bathroom’s that way," she nodded to their left.
They walked through the once-grand room, their feet crunching carcasses of long-dead insects. They both
shivered in their damp clothes.
They passed under the archway leading into the billiards room. The windows on the left were blown out.
Everything had a bedding of lifeless leaves. A pool cue rack on the wall had six cues stacked up; all broke in
half and sharpened to points. WATCH OUT 4 VAMPYRES, a sign above it read. It looked like it was painted
with cherry-colored lipstick.
While Peter--with a crooked smile spread on his face--studied the vampire stakes, Anna walked around the
Her footsteps, creak, thump, creak, thump on the uncarpeted floor. Then she stopped, staring down at the
leaf-littered pool table. The green felt looked like moss on a gravestone.
Creak, creak... Creak, creak.
Anna turned to see if it was Peter walking. He started to get back up from kneeling. She followed the noise
to a corner near the busted window.
Creak, creak... Creak, creak...
She actually saw the floorboards depressing and bulging. Anna suddenly thought for sure her bladder would
cause an unsightly accident. Her spine felt like it had been replaced by a stack of Sno-Cones.
"Peter, let’s go." Her voice tiny and tinny. "Let’s just see what we came to see and get the hell out of here."
She reached Peter and pulled him along, passing through a twisted set of French doors.
"You were the one that was so damn fired up about comin here," Peter said, taking his hand out of her soft
one. "Right about now, you realize, I could be--"
"Right through this room is the bathroom," Anna said. She knew how Peter would finish. He was sweet, but
he could be a straight-up pig sometimes.
Thunder growled outside like a timber wolf guarding its young. Anna pulled out a cigarette from her front
jeans pocket. A Bic from the other. The Marlboro and the lighter met in an enflaming embrace. She inhaled
deep, feeling calmer already, and coughed once.
"Shit, Anna!" Peter backed away. "I told you not to do that around me." He covered his mouth and nose in a
"I only do it when I’m nervous," Anna replied, her voice as shaky as the coffin nail between her manicured
The aroma of the mansion changed while they walked into the hallway that led to their destination. Now, if
possible, the scent grew dankier, mustier...
Along the hallway, pictures were hung of family activities. All showed old stories under a film of dust.
More creaking came from the walls. Wind like a ghost’s sigh blew from under the closed bathroom door; Anna
smelled the old-wet odor and coughed again. She dropped her cigarette and crushed it under her Nike
"I told you, you shouldn’t be smoking," Peter said, a thankful look on his face.
"I didn’t cough from the cigarette, numb nuts. Can’t you smell that rot from the bathroom?" Annabelle
grabbed the doorknob.
"All’s I smell is that damn cancer stick." He coughed, theatrically. "Maybe something else..."
A speedy clip-show of fragmented slasher flicks spun through her mind as she turned the knob. What will we
see behind this door, she thought. Despite the chill, sweat bubbled under her arms, at her temples, and in
other more uncomfortable places. She suddenly wished that she was out with her girlfriends at the movies,
watching the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie instead of feeling like she was in it.
The door opened and stopped against the outside wall. First thing Anna noticed was there were no windows.
She didn’t think she ever saw a bathroom without windows before. She could barely make anything out
because of the deep darkness. Just a line or edge or curve of something. She pulled her lighter out and
flicked it on.
Within the hazy halo of firelight, Anna saw a deep cast iron tub on the right. The floor’s alternating black and
smoky gray tiles were almost obliterated; shards crunched under her footsteps. A mouse or rat bolted out of
the room. Anna heard Peter shriek. She blurted a nervous laugh.
"I’m, uh, gonna wait out here," Peter said.
She turned to see how he was fairing. A spark of lightning emblazoned a jagged bright scar across the side of
his beardless face, and she saw fear there, as brilliant as the flash.
"It shouldn’t take too long," Anna assured him.
She turned again, and walked, moving that fuzzy orangish light in farther. The toilet, busted in half and
crawling with all colors of algae and moss, lay to her right. The sink, directly in front of her, was filled with
water the shade of devil’s blood.
Above it sat the mirror. The sink area was recessed, and a shelf lined each side. On each shelf was a
chromatic mountain range of clumped together candles.
She raised the lighter up to her face, the flame casting shadows that resembled dancing bats across
everything. There seemed to be a minute breeze tickling her face.
In the reflection she could see her comely, gray-eyed face. Her hair and ears were lost in the darkness, but
she could see the rest clearly. It still looked pretty, but weathered...yellowed. Probably because the mirror’s
filthy, she figured.
She lit all the candles and stuffed the lighter back into her pocket.
She assumed the candlelight would vanquish most of those spectral shadows, but they seemed to gather
more closely, like a blanket of hate and frigidity. She also thought the light would brighten her heart a bit.
She went O for two.
Anna started to flick her thumbnail against the bottom of her two front teeth, a habit that drove people
around her bonkers.
"Do it already, Anna. Please!" Peter made her jump and squeak; her nail snicked a tiny piece of flesh from the
roof of her mouth.
"Okay, okay," Anna replied, shaking her legs and arms like she might do before a high-dive.
She focused on the mirror. A breath of cold wind stung her cheeks. She inhaled, blew out.
"Bloody Mary, I believe in you." She heard her voice weak and hesitant.
"Bloody Mary, I believe in you."
She turned; saw Peter still in the same place. Back to the mirror. To her it looked like a cataracted alien eye.
"Bloody Mary, I believe in you." The sentence echoed around the room and her mind, swirling, fragmented, as
she spoke the litany six more times.
believe in you
you Mary Bluuuuuud
She filled her lungs one more time and spoke: "Bloody Mary, I don’t believe in you."
Everything seemed to happen simultaneously.
The door thunder cracked behind her.
Malevolent gray light flooded the room.
Peter yelled "What the fuck?"
Anna’s entire body felt as cold as grave dirt.
Fog smeared the mirror as if hot water had been running. Anna’s jaw fell open, her eyes grew to terrified Os.
"This can’t be happening," she whispered, as she heard Peter twisting the doorknob frantically and yelling.
The wind blowing from
(the mirror-world her world)
Somewhere carried an atrocious scent. There was only one word for that stench, and that was death. And
she didn’t have to smell it with her nose; she smelled it with her mind.
The fog began to sift and sway and split apart. Anna stood like a toy robot with dead batteries. She came to
expose an urban legend. Now, the urban legend had apparently exposed her. She tried to scream--her
throat, a tight pinhole. She tried to run--her legs felt muscle less.
She could only look into the mirror.
She could only look at Bloody Mary.
Mary sat in a rocking chair of beaten wood (Anna heard that creaking again). Thick-soled shoes tapped on
the ground--ground? what ground? Her support hose piled up above her ankles. A brief look at her calves
showed near-bursting purple veins. The hem of her faded black dress lay against her shins. Bloody Mary’s axe
rested across her lap; the handle settled on the arms of the chair. The bulbous head of her weapon poured
blood. There was no floor for it to puddle on, and the waterfall of garnet blood never stopped running. Mary’s
hands that petted the handle bulged with those same dusk-colored veins. She wore a cameo around her
membranous neck. The face set in ivory appeared to be a four horned devil smiling maliciously.
Then Anna saw Mary’s face. It was crackled like a piece of reopened crumpled paper. Her eyes were empty
wells where who knew what might slither out. Her hair was plastered to her skull. It was old-age gray with
vines of prehistoric green shooting through it like serpents.
"Why do you look at me so, child?" Her voice like a concerned grandmother.
"I--I--I..." Anna felt unreality cover her like a quilt stitched with madness.
(said the spider to the fly)
"to Mary." Her words were alluring. She lifted her left hand from her axe and beckoned. "I have many secrets
to share with you. Want to know what really hides in the shadows? Want to find out what reigns in the
coldest regions of lightless space? Come to me, child. I’ll show you wonders."
And Anna suddenly realized she did want to know. All of that and more.
She took a step and heard Peter yelling for her.
"For God’s sake, Anna, don’t! They’re lies!"
"I do not lie to pretty girls who come calling for me, Annaaaah..."
Mary began to stand. She held her ever-flowing axe horizontally across her thighs. The blood didn’t leave any
kind of trail; it drooled into nothingness.
Anna was mesmerized. She felt her arms raise toward the mirror. The fight was seeping out of her like so
much sweat. She heard the doorknob being twisted psychotically behind her along with slaps that could’ve
been Peter slamming his palms against the door.
The hypnotized teenager wasn’t sure if Mary was walking closer to her, or the mirror alone was bringing the
worlds closer. She heard a kind of slick sucking sound in her mind, along with Mary’s words:
"Sometimes lost children are never found. And sometimes found children remain lost."
Anna nodded her head slowly, stepping again, her fingertips wavering in front of the mirror.
Mary cocked her axe back like a lumberjack. Clotless blood flowed. Her solemn grin still on her face.
Peter’s hammering ceased.
The tips of Anna’s fingers were three inches from purgatory.
Please no I don’t wanna go please no Mary no! Anna screamed inside her head while her body quivered.
Another blast of rancid meat stench punched her in the face.
"Time for your paddlin, child." Mary’s voice--sweet and old-ladyish at first--changed. Now it grew guttural
and growling. Devilish.
It was like everything happened under water with time slowing down.
The bleeding axe head arched towards Anna’s neck.
A loud, wood-crunching explosion came from behind Anna.
The axe exited the mirror, and the glass bent with it like it was Saran-Wrap.
Anna heard a metallic clunk off to her left, maybe from the radiator. Her eyes were bloodless ovals of terror
as the dripping blade crept closer.
Out of the corner of her eye, Anna witnessed the doorknob stream across her vision and shatter Mary, her
axe, and the mirror into starry red fragments.
The pieces sprayed every which way, bounced off walls, clinked from the tub, turned into brittle by the
radiator. She felt pinpricks of pain splash across her face.
Anna screamed for help, for Peter, for God, for Jesus and all His apostles. Her hands covered her ears and
she yelled I won’t go! I won’t go! repeatedly.
Peter rushed to her, gripped her shoulders, and hugged her to his chest. "It’s all right, Anna. She’s gone
now." He hitched a heavy sigh. "I don’t know what she was, but she’s gone." He rubbed her shoulders,
petted her soft hair. "It’s over."
"I’m so sorry, Peter, for all this," Anna whined through her sobs. Her voice sounded weak and nasal. "If I
"It’s okay. Let’s just go the hell home and forget it ever happened." Peter laughed dryly. "Like anyone would
believe us, anyway."
He was turning her around.
Cackling, witch-like laughter filled the room. It seemed to permeate from the very walls. They both jumped
and held each other like Hansel and Gretel. They heard a barbaric sound like blades sliding across bare bone.
Their eyes were drawn down to the floor.
All of the broken pieces of the mirror slid back together, fitting perfectly where they once connected.
Mary’s reflection shown murderously in each mangled shard. Her grin displayed teeth like splintered glass. Her
eyes glowed like burning furnaces in hell’s basement. She was once more in her chair, axe across her lap,
rocking to a lunatic beat.
"Home?" she howled. "You are home, my children." She cackled again.
But her laughter could not compare to the utter horrific screams from the siblings as the busted chunks of
wood from the door that Peter kicked apart flew back into place, sealing their exit. Somewhere, inside or
outside the Sconsdale Estate, a wolf’s braying mingled with their cries.