The Bloody Mary Ritual retold by S.E. Schlosser We were having a sleepover at my house that Saturday night. Me and my four best friends; Alex, Bianca, Sabrina, and Lacey. We made cookies and watched movies and did our hair and makeup. By midnight, we’d run out of planned activities. It was time to improvise. “Let’s try that Bloody Mary thing,” Lacey suggested. Alex, who was sitting crossed-legged on her sleeping bag, said: “What’s the Bloody Mary thing?” Sabrina, who was lounging on top of her own sleeping bag on the far side of the room, said: “Come on, Alex. Everyone knows the Bloody Mary thing! You stand in front of the bathroom mirror with a lighted candle and say the witch’s name three times. Then her ghost appears, looking just the way she did when she died; all horrible and bloody with scars all over her face!” “She sounds gorgeous. Just why, exactly, do you think I would want to see the ghost of Bloody Mary?” Alex asked skeptically. “Why not?” I said from my place on the pull-out couch in the living room. “I’ve always wanted to see a ghost! It could be fun. Besides, I've heard she can tell your future if you summon her correctly.” “And if you don't summon her correctly - or if she's in a bad mood - the ghost of Bloody Mary will rip your eyes out and leave your face horribly scarred,” Lacey said dramatically. “Or you will be found dead with claw marks all over your face and body.” “Or you could be trapped in the mirror with Bloody Mary for eternity,” Sabrina added. “Ooo, that sounds like fun! Disfigurement, death or entrapment. What a fabulous way to spend eternity,” Alex said sarcastically. “Where do I sign up?” “It’s a load of crap,” Bianca said as she tried to balance on one foot on the arm of the pull-out couch. “It’s just a story told to scare little kids. Bloody Mary isn't real.” “I’ve heard its real,” I said. “My friend Katie tried it once and saw the ghost in the mirror. Bloody Mary told Kate that when she grows up she is going to become a research doctor who cures cancer and saves lots of live and wins a Nobel Prize.” “Hogwash,” said Bianca dismissively. “There’s only one way to know for sure,” said Sabrina. “Come on! Let’s try it.” I ran to the supply closet to get a candle and matches, and all of us, even Alex and the disbelieving Bianca crowded into our large downstairs bathroom. "This is a bad idea," Alex said nervously as we lit the candle. "Not it's not! It's the perfect thing to do at a sleepover," I said. "Like telling ghost stories. Only this one might be true. Here, you hold the candle." I thrust the flickering candle into Alex's hand. Once the candle was lit, Bianca turned all the bathroom lights. As we stood before the bathroom mirror, I told everyone the story of Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary was the name of an evil witch that live back in Colonial times. The witch used her black arts to make her young again by killing a bunch of young girls in her village. When the villagers discovered Bloody Mary was behind the murders, they burned her at the stake. Bloody Mary used mirrors to help her locate and enchant her victims, and she cursed all mirrors when the villagers executed her, so that anyone chanting her name three times would be pulled into the mirror with her to spend eternity in the flames! By the time I finished the eerie tale, all my friends were looking a little nervous. But we were excited too. Maybe we'd see a real ghost! The candle in Alex’s hand flickered a moment and then steadied as the five of us chanted Bloody Mary’s name 3 times in front of the bathroom mirror. I held my breath, not know what to expect, and wondered what Bloody Mary might say about my future. Maybe I would marry Robbie when I graduated from college! (Robbie was a cute boy that I liked in my science class.) The five of us waited tensely as we gazed without blinking at our faces reflected in the glass. The only sound was the ticking of the little wind-up clock my Mom kept in the bathroom. I strained my eyes, trying to see through the mirror into some nether realm that I both dreaded and hoped might be there. Finally, Bianca said: “Nothing’s happening. Let’s just get out of here." She reached for the doorknob and turned it. The door wouldn't open. The door wasn’t locked when we started the ritual. I knew this for a fact because I checked the door in case we needed to make a quick getaway. After all, there was the possibility – however faint – that it might not be just a scary story told to frighten little kids. I rushed to the door, pushed Bianca aside, and unlocked it. But when I tried the knob, the door wouldn't open. Something... or did I mean someone?...was holding it shut. Suddenly, Alex screamed and pointed at the mirror. I whirled away from the locked door and saw a glowing white figure staring at us from the mirror. Her face was twisted with malice and flames seemed to flicker around her. In one hand she held a bloody knife! It was Bloody Mary. We all screamed and my friends backed away from the mirror; all but Alex who stood frozen by the bathroom sink with the candle still clutched in her shaking hand. All of a sudden, Bloody Mary lunged forward, her knife-hand coming straight out of the mirror and striking Alex fiercely in the face. Long scratches appeared on Alex’s cheeks and she stagger backward with a gasp of pain; hands coming up to protect her face. A wave of heat and anger poured out of the mirror in a blast that blew us head over heals. My forehead struck the wall and I felt senseless to the floor. I woke in darkness a few moments later and groped desperately for the light switch. When I turned it on, I found Lacey unconscious beside me and Alex blacked-out beside the bathroom sink with deep scratches all over her arms and legs and face. Sabrina was huddled sobbing behind the toilet. I pulled her out, and gasped when I saw she was also covered in scratches. She'd been standing too close to the mirror and the ghost had knifed her too. I shook Lacey and Alex awake and the four of us clung together weeping and shaking with fear. “I told you this was a bad idea,” Alex gasped. My eyes widened suddenly when I realized there were only four of us crouching on the bathroom floor. “Where's Bianca?” I cried in alarm. I leapt to my feet and stared at the bathroom mirror, but it only reflected the wall and my frightened face. Oh dear lord, what if Bianca was pulled into the mirror with Bloody Mary? Would we ever see her again? What would I tell her parents? “Try the door again,” Alex gasped, lunging forward to grab the knob. It opened immediately. Apparently, the door was released from the lock spell as soon as Bloody Mary disappeared. We ran to the living room, hoping to find Bianca huddled in her sleeping bag. She wasn’t there. We searched all over the downstairs for her. I was about ready to wake my parents and confess the whole stupid mess to them when Lacey gave a yell from the laundry room. Bianca was lying unconscious beside the washing machine with blood and scratches all over her face. The ghost had scratched a message deep into the flesh of her right forearm. It said: "I AM REAL." My stomach lurched and I wanted to throw up when I saw Bloody Mary's message. Instead, I knelt down and shook my friend's shoulder, trying to wake her up. After nearly a minute of calling her name, Bianca finally opened her eyes. She groaned and rolled to a sitting position. “What happened to you?” I asked, dabbing at her cuts with a hand towel from the bathroom. “After that…that horrible ghost knocked the four of you down, it grabbed me by the hair and pulled me through the mirror,” Bianca said with a shudder. “I felt something scratching my face and hands, and I tried to fight back but I was knocked to the ground and dragged along a cold floor by my hair. The ghost tossed me into a dark room. I couldn’t see anything, but I felt the ghost clutched my arm and there was this terrible pain. That’s all I remember until I heard your voices and the light came on.” She saw the look on our faces and glanced down at her sore arm. She went so white I thought she would faint again, so I pushed her head between her knees until the dizziness passed. We cleaned up the blood on Sabrina and Alex and Bianca and then the five of us huddled in the living room for the rest of the night; too scared to sleep. We made up some story in the morning for my parents about bumping into the furniture while playing a game to explain the scratches on my three friends. No one showed them the message on Bianca’s arms. We’ve had other sleepovers since that night, but my friends and I never tried the Bloody Mary ritual again. Questions: Answer in complete Sentences 1. What is the main idea of the story? 2. Identify the protagonist, and explain what motivates him/her. 3. Identify the antagonist, and explain what motivates him/her? 4. Identify and explain the external and internal conflicts in your novel. 5. Identify and explain a theme that appears in the story? 6. Describe the setting and how it has impacted the story. 7. What is the point of view, and how does it impact the novel? 8. Does this book relate to something in your life, another book, a movie, a historical event, or a current event? Explain the connection?