Bloody Mary

§00 — It required only a mirror. Initially, at least, it seemed like that, although it turned out there was more.
She had been known as ‘Hell Mary’ at times. There were many other names.

§01 — The ritual varied, but was never complicated. Its simplicity was essential. In that lay the danger, supposedly. The invocation could be realized almost by accident. It might begin as nothing more than a joke, or a dare. A disastrous non-seriousness is the core of the urban legend. The proximal agents, scarcely older than children, typically, are playing about with something they don’t understand. The Hell Prank is archetypal. Deadly foolishness, or worse, is not difficult to imagine, if only in broad outline. Teenage kids do it best. They’re trying to prove something, and then do, by mistake. Movie viewers like to watch them damn themselves. With younger children it’s more horrible.

§02 — Start at the exoteric level, at least in appearance. The point isn’t to make something happen, but rather the opposite. You are supposed to avoid the ritual, out of fear. It’s what might have happened, had you not been so chicken, that stokes the thrill. The dark potential preserves itself this way. It intimidates against disproof. This is where the legend and the real story part ways. They remain, nevertheless, confusingly entangled. Ironic twists thicken the obscurity. The legend itself has a real story. Actuality belongs only to the legend.

§03 — Divergence goes further than this. The legend is a central part of the real story. It’s the legend, alone, that protects Bloody Mary from examination. The ritual is structured as a challenge. An examination that is declined leaves its object, in principle, examinable. This is the ontological payload. Do you want to see what’s in this box? It could be something too horrific to bear.

§04 — Although the story is archetypal, there’s always a first time. Vanessa Sheridan had never heard it before. She’d never heard anything at all like it before. It thrilled and appalled her in equal measure. The idea split time in two. To go back was impossible. Innocence was Bloody Mary still unthought. Experience opened a new universe.

§05 — How had Christine known? This knowledge had desynchronized them. Even as the moment before sharing receded, it still separated them. They would always now, then, have been strangers. For such asymmetry ever to have been was enough. It could not be unmade all the way to non-being. Some echo of the gulf would always persist. What had once been friendship could never be anything so simple again. Perhaps it would be more. Their dark complicity was a bond. Bloody Mary connected them, even as she prized them apart.

§06 — Chris had called her Nessie at first, like the monster from the loch. She’d found it mildly annoying, but three syllables were too much to ask, and there was nothing else. So Vee had come as a relief.

§07 — Her tenth year would soon begin. Things would then start over, automatically. It was as if there had been time enough for anything to be learnt. That she still knew so little could only be an accident. She understood what such an accident meant now – by contrast – because she knew this.

§08 — They would do it, she was sure. The looming horizon was no less critical than death. At the end, Bloody Mary would step out of the mirror. Nothing more could ever happen. It would be finished.

§09 — Dusk was draining away into night. At one level – and perhaps several – she expected nothing to occur. There was no Santa Claus, Tooth-Fairy, or Easter Bunny. There was also, she was beginning strongly to suspect, No God. That was certainly her elder brother’s vociferously confident assertion. No God was, for him, a positive cosmic principle, equaling zero. It was not a deficiency, but an operator. For there to be no Bloody Mary, then, was by far the tidiest conclusion. Yet she was also sure it could not be so simple.

§10 — Ontology was not a word she yet commanded, and its absence gaped unrecognized within her. The spell she sought to cast upon her thoughts required it. She had to reach all the way down to the being of things. Whatever Bloody Mary was, or was not, she did not belong in the world. She was a rip, gash, or rending. She was of the substance that might be drawn by a blade.
“Cut it out,” Vee murmured to herself, when such thoughts wouldn’t stop, in order to continue them.

§11 — In the end it was not ontology, but rather sorcery, that was sovereign here. What could be called up? That was the question, and no other.
“It’s called invocation,” Chris had solemnly explained. “I invoke thee fell spirit.”
“Those are the words?”
“Once they were.”
“And now?” asked Vee.
“We have to find them.”
“Like a password,” Vee had said, understanding immediately.
Chris nodded. “Exactly like that.”
It would be difficult, then. But difficult meant possible. There was a way. Passwords were meant to be used. They were hidden only because finding them matters.

§12 — It seemed too much to ask that anyone could want it as she did. To want it absolutely, at any cost, when nothing about it could be commonly conceived as desirable, was suggestive of isolation. Such longings dismissed every ordinary idea of sharing. She’d thought about trying it on her own, but had immediately known that would not do. Company was necessary. In solitude, whatever happened could be mere madness, of the emptiest kind. Its credibility would be fragile, even to her. The event would remain stuck in her mind. That was not the destination.
To escape, it had to undeniably exceed her.

§13 — Astonishingly, there was Chris, so it would happen after all. Chris was committed, serious. She was patient, and knew how to concentrate. Most of all she was stubborn. Dogged was how Alex described her. She could be trusted not to stop. That was the important thing. Bloody Mary was a name for something indescribably bad happening, but that wasn’t the way to lose the game. The only way to lose was to stop. Chris understood that, or would act as if she did. She would keep going, further in.

§14 — They were waiting together, unhurried.
“What do you think?” Chris asked. She was talking about it, obviously.
Vee simmered in the question silently, her eyes closed. The excitement was painful, scarcely bearable. She couldn’t speak, at first, because too much would show.
“Nothing,” she said, eventually. “There’s nothing yet.”
“There’s no rush.”
“No rush, or anything else,” Vee joked. Humor cloaked solemnity. “There’s time.” There was some, at least.
It was still early. Perhaps half an hour of dusk remained. Bloody Mary would belong to the night. How could it be otherwise? Her complexion bled into ultimate shadow. Her gaze was abolition.

§15 — A sleep-over at Chris’ would be the occasion, if not this time, then another. There was no doubt about the room. It could have been made for Bloody Mary.
A huge old mirror dominated one wall. It was hard to understand how it could have been moved into the attic. It was as if the space had been built around it.
“Like a ship in a bottle,” Chris had said, sharing the same thought. The analogy was odd, and stimulating. Something that – upon reflection – didn’t seem to fit was the common element. It was inherently sorcerous in some way. At first it had to look like a trick.

§16 — Chris’ mom had required some persuasion. She suspected they were up to something troubling. Not that she would have come close to guessing what. There was a surreptitious undercurrent they were unable to fully conceal.
“Are you girls up to something?” she’d once asked. The obscurity of their secret permitted no question more exact. They’d been ‘all innocence’ in response. She had to smile. How bad could it be?
“I’m not really happy about you with candles up there,” she said. “Those old beams are like fire-wood.”
Such fears were so misdirected Vee struggled to control her expression.
Chris assuaged her mother’s concern without great difficulty. They would be careful, she had gently insisted. The candles were never left unattended. They were in tins.

§17 — It could only happen once, obviously – or even subtly. An end could not repeat. If Bloody Mary was not the end, she was nothing. Her finality would be her signature. Last things would crash in, to undo the illusion of the world. There could be no afterwards.

§18 — They were making their way circuitously to Chris’ place. The streets were unusually quiet. It threatened to rain, but didn’t.
“I’ve been thinking about blood.” It was chanted more than spoken.
Chris nodded. “Yes, me too,” she said. “Bloodiness is especially fascinating.”
“And multitudinous,” Vee added, using her favorite word. There was no need to explain why. So many types of bloodiness had swirled among their thoughts.
Bloody hell is such a strange oath.” It was odd and English to them, but then Bloody Mary was too.
“Does she bleed? Or is it only that she brings blood?”
“Bloodshed,” Chris mused. “She’s bloodshed.”
“The mother of bloodshed,” Vee suggested.
“Our secret blood mother,” Chris agreed. “Bloody Mary, come to us.”
“Blood,” they said together, stressing the plosives. “Let there be blood.”

§19 — Again they circled the question.
“What does her name really say?”
It was always the problem, carrying them forward, like a current. However its surface varied, in its depths it was the same.
Chris had returned from a family holiday in France months before. She had run to Vee immediately upon getting home, to excitedly share her linguistic discoveries. Mary, she had learnt, whispered of mother, of death, and of the sea. A murmur rippled it. As fine metal, tapped by a knife, it sang.
Now, when asking about her name, they explored for codes.
“There are secret echoes running through it,” Vee said.
“It has layers.”
The responsive nodding to each line would become more vigorous. “And what does she dream?”
This was the silent answer. She dreams this.
Through the thought she made contact, around the back. Soft, spine-prickling hints of cold lunacy crept in with the idea. They shivered in acceptance.
“What is madness, really?”
It was an enigma they agreed upon. Only a ritual could respond to it, because Bloody Mary was madness itself. She was the still eye of the cyclone, the absolute tranquility that lurked within delirium. The world’s insanity found shelter in her.

§20 — There was a window in the roof, letting in natural light. It had not been cleaned for a while. At night, dust-smeared splinters of starlight poked through it. A smudged moon fell through it heavily, to sink into the depths of the mirror. The heavens were re-written, vague and converse.
An old wooden chest served as a shrine. Over months, they’d collected things for it. The candles had come first. A closing church sale provided most of those.
The center-piece was an old doll of abnormal apparent maturity and creepiness which Vee had found in a curiosity shop. Unblinking gray eyes stared accusingly from her broken face.

§21 — Gripped by sinister excitement, she had taken Chris to the shop the next day. For weeks it was their hunting ground. It supplied the shrine with other things. They added a small collection of Victorian post cards, showing incongruously smiling visitors to ominous places. Then there came an ornamental knife, pieces from an old sewing kit, and some obscure surgical instruments. A long-stopped clock, fixed upon some forgotten midnight, dominated the edge of the composition. Every item had been painstakingly agreed upon. They’d taken their time, but never really disagreed. Those things which were right only needed to be recognized. There were enough of them by now. The pattern, while ungraspable, was complete. It released a mute call.

§22 — Their most important find was a second mirror. Placed across from the shrine, beneath the window, it exploded visual space into infinity. Within this endless room, it was as if anything that might possibly be seen now could be. The invitation was near-palpable. It silently appealed for occupancy. To be visually absorbed into it would be scarcely less soul-shattering than Bloody Mary herself. Almost, Vee felt, she could hear the utterly hushed whisperings of the boundless mirror-labyrinth. They spoke so softly they could only be remembered as imaginings. Her name had to be said, and also could not be said. The path was obliquely suggested, in this way.

§23 — Vee and Chris each lit one of the large candles. Simultaneity had been a ceremonial necessity, which could be left unspoken. They swapped subtle smiles at its perfect accomplishment, as they prolonged it. Their lives to this moment had been twin training disciplines. Convergence was completing itself.
They both knew it was time. After all, which it might nearly be, if not now, when? The question answered itself, in mute urgency. It had begun already.
In the mirror, the distended moon seemed to ache for abomination. Raw existence was pitched upward toward an unbearable limit. It throbbed at the brink of crisis. Some mad, absent music tormented it. They held each other for a moment, in psychological defense against the wild slashings of non-existent violins.
Chris was stretched by the ritual, tautened. Her eyes blazed with inexorable purpose.
Vee saw through her into darkness and absolute loss. The intensity hurt somewhere that felt beyond bodily location. She gulped back a moan.

§24 — Candle flames, mirror-multiplied without limit, jittered as if caught by an alien draft. A subtle chill seemed less in the air than outside it.
She would be behind them in a direction that could never be turned towards.
“Bloody Mary,” they intoned together.
The end was near.

October 31, 2019admin 18 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Fiction , Horror

18 Responses to this entry

  • TEHO Says:

    Excited for Wagner’s upcoming 2000 reply commentary on the short.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Same.

    [Reply]

    John Hannon Reply:

    Bloody Wagner.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 31st, 2019 at 9:46 am Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    More Protestant alienation and irritability! This is the Protestant AI, the corollary predisposition towards horror accompanying greedy, mechanical obligation!

    You’re sounding more and more like pseudonymous-Wagner.
    That’s okay, it’ll increase the speed at which you both lose your arguments, lol!

    It’s as I said on your first post.
    “The Weakest Link” and “There can be only one!”

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Haven’t fed the dogs for a while, so I suppose it’s natural the first thing they do when you get back in is bite you on the leg.

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    Pseudonymous-Wagner bitingly mentions my name, at times; I occasionally respond; sometimes, John Hannon does.
    It’s really you that is ‘getting back in’ to your own blog.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Quite (indefinite pronominal “you” i.e. me).

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    What’s wrong with writing, “when one gets back in”?
    It’s an obvious case of narcissistic fixation!
    Your nominal inability to actually refer to another!
    But the mitigation of your native mode of colloquialism does indicate the division of self-alienation which probably explains quite a lot!

    Posted on October 31st, 2019 at 11:27 am Reply | Quote
  • John Hannon Says:

    Some creepy jungle for this night when The Veil is at its thinnest –
    https://youtu.be/aIYxolV_eak
    Sub-bass deep enough to summon the dead.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 31st, 2019 at 4:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Jack Arcalon Says:

    It looks like an open ending but I think it means that actually the whole universe was destructed at the end . . .

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 2nd, 2019 at 3:23 am Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    Pseudonymous-Wagner is obviously this blog’s local squatter, somewhat disconcerted by its owner putting in an appearance. He seems to be engaging in a strategy of coy avoidance, attempting to carry on his monologue on other posts.

    To be able to think well, it helps to be a good person; petty, selfish people, are usually stupid people. The entire, contemporary history, of ‘Neoreaction’ and the ‘All-Trite’, has just been an ongoing confirmation of that.
    You question one or two conventions that they might take for granted and they’re all over the place, unable to reconstruct the radical logic supporting those conventions. The chatter of their incessant, supremacist declaration, is invariably and self-contradictorily, linked to their inferior contemplations.
    When talking of ‘Neoreaction’ and the ‘All-Trite’, you’re basically talking about stupid, sulky, and evil, people, increasingly inconsistent and resentful, limited to a relatively exclusive cultivation of dishonesty. In that, no doubt, they are somewhat exceptional, but not in anything else.

    [Reply]

    John Hannon Reply:

    Our friend has now got his own blog, nietzsche.news, up and running –

    https://nietzsche.news/2019/11/01/ausnahmezustand/comment-page-1/#comments

    (The fact that my comment there is still in suspension since yesterday suggests perhaps that he won’t be letting anyone do to his own blog what admin let him do to this one)

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    He only just announced it, the other day, so probably needs time to get up to speed.

    There’s been a running trend of criminal atrocity incitement in pseudo-Wagner’s comments, the production of which often seems to precede actual atrocity events around the world. There have been enough coincidences to merit caution.

    A few years back, someone who tracks the media productions and conflicts of various sorts of extremism, observed that considerable degrees of incitement were produced, but when atrocity occurred, the producers of incitement would try to backtrack and disown responsibility. Their primary motive was to monetise hatred, transactions of increasingly strong affect convert into correspondingly bigger profits.
    Sargon of Akkad; Paul Joseph Watson; there’s a long list.
    Is Nick Land on that list? Does his Twitter activity qualify? Even if he doesn’t generate financial profits, but does his production count as criminal incitement?

    [Reply]

    John Hannon Reply:

    Re. Sargon, here’s his latest video where he specifically addresses the issue of incitement you mention –
    https://youtu.be/e5bwwOkuLo0
    Sargon has never explicitly incited violence or abuse against anyone and is himself constantly abused online by the far right who detest his centrist, classical English liberalism/civic nationalism, and regard him as a gatekeeper and controlled opposition (whatever that’s supposed to mean).
    Also, having met Sargon in person a couple of times when I’ve attended pro-Brexit protests outside Parliament, I have to say what a thoroughly nice chap he is – friendly, polite, witty, articulate – just all-round good company, as are his support team.

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    No, he isn’t any kind of classical anything, let alone ‘liberal’.
    I don’t really know anything about politics but even I can see that Sargon’s self-characterisation is wildly inaccurate.
    He’s just another All-Trite moron, nothing ‘liberal’ about him at all. Neither in the so-called, ‘classical’ and British sense, or the dumbed-down, US American sense.

    He is engaged in normalising far right discourse for a number of reasons, not least of which is that it’s highly profitable. He earns around $8000 monthly, in donations.

    Why is Nick land pretending to be Daphne Du Maurier or Jane Austin?

    Posted on November 2nd, 2019 at 12:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • Not Spandrell Akshually Says:

    Artxell, you remain astoundingly sterile and pretentious. Have you considered just throwing in the towel and donating your brain to medical research? I think it would probably increase your expected utility, even if it was just ground up for snake feed or whatever (I can’t imagine anyone would be too enthusiastic about studying it, but even dried up, bitter theory nerds are entitled to dream).

    “Patience” was great akshually. I like to think Land is exploring what a therapy of cruelty would look like. That at least explains the thematic similarities between “Patience” and “Mermaids”.

    “Love whatever hurts the most.”
    “Nightmares are the world’s only real treasure.”

    These are some nice maxims, admin. I’m adding them to my collection “Towards a Therapy of Cruelty”, alongside many similar quotes and this beautiful shitpost from Wagner:

    “Phenomenology of crimethink in my head:

    1. Have thought
    2. Think “I shouldn’t say that”
    3. TRACKS SELF DOWN
    4. MAKES self say it””

    Hopefully if I gather enough the programme for some sort of anti-therapy will be revealed to me. Then I will have to figure out how to administer it to Artxell.

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    It’s an old saw of 20th century aesthetics: that art which is shocking and disturbing is precisely what requires investigation and analysis, enabling a kind of cultural psychotherapy, blah blah, et cetera.

    If the All-Trite and Neoreaction were going to be consistent about it, then they really ought to celebrate all that they politicise as horrific and shocking, such as ethnic otherness and immigration. They should face their fears with equanimity!

    “There, there, nothing to worry about! Nothing to be scared of! It’s just a little cathedral!”

    This, of course, would be the Nietzschean way of affirmation!

    Pseudonymous-Wagner is actually against Nietzsche, contra Nietzsche!
    It’s obvious, he’s named himself after Wagner, who Nietzsche went against.
    That choice of appellation could indicate Wagnerian reaction against Nietzsche?

    I suppose Nick Land is sulking and slumming in fiction as a reaction to his exit reasonings being demonstrated as fundamentally illogical and essentially irrational.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 13th, 2019 at 7:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • deinon Says:

    AQ332 = HELL MARY, HELL MARY…

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 15th, 2019 at 11:14 pm Reply | Quote

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