A Halloween Story
Bloody Mary Whales
Old Man Whales was an evil man who loved money more than anything in the world, except his wife. In his lust for wealth, he supplemented his farm income by catching runaway slaves who were escaping to freedom through Indiana. Whales would chain the ex-slaves up in his barn cellar until he could collect the reward on them. When he couldn't find slaves, he'd capture free men and sell them into slavery.
When the Civil War ended slavery, it was a disaster for the evil Whales, who no longer had a profitable source of income to supplement his farm work. And then his beloved wife died childbirth. Overnight, Whales fell to pieces. He hated the child – a little girl named Mary - that had killed his wife. He neglected her, dressing her in rags, making her do all the farm choirs and half-starving her. In spite of this cruel treatment, Mary grew into a sweet girl who loved her wicked father.
As Mary reached adulthood, the resemblance to her dead mother was striking. Whales saw his dead wife every time he looked at the daughter who had caused her death. One night, after a hefty bout of drinking, Whales lumbered into Mary's bedroom and stabbed her repeatedly. Mary woke screaming and thrashed around in agony, trying to fight off her demonic father as blood spurted everywhere and bits of torn flesh littered the bedclothes and fell to the floor. When she was dead, Old Man Whales carried her down to the basement, dug an indifferent grave and tossed her body into it.
Two nights later, when Old Man Whales came back from doing his nightly chores, he found Mary standing in the kitchen, her nearly severed head lolling against one shoulder as she stirred an empty kettle. A pool of steaming blood lay beneath her feet, and bits of skin from her knife-slashed face were breaking off and falling into the kettle. "Faaaaaather...." Bloody Mary hissed. Old Man Whales screamed and leapt out the kitchen door. When he glanced over his shoulder, the apparition was gone.
A week later, Old Man Whales looked up from reading the newspaper to find Bloody Mary sitting in the chair opposite him, her knife-slashed dress covered in blood. Her tattered hands were busy knitting him a shirt. "Faaaaaather...." she hissed through knife-scored lips. Blood fell from her body like rain as she flew across the room toward him, knitting needles held like knives. Old Man Whales fled from the house in panic with two deep cuts scored across his back.
Old Man Whales cowered in the barn for several days, afraid to go near his house. After nearly a week of sleeping in the hay and eating raw food from the garden, he decided it was safe to return to his house. The spirit must be gone by now.
Old Man Whales hurried into the kitchen, eager for a wash and a shave after sleeping so many nights in the barn. He pumped an ewer of water and took it over to the little shaving mirror they kept on the far wall. When he looked in the mirror, Old Man Whales saw the glowing red eyes and knife-scored face of Bloody Mary. Her once-fair lips were split down the center and blood dripped from them as she smiled evilly. "Faaaaaather...." she hissed, raising blood-stained fingers. Her nails were long and sharpened like the claws of a beast. She reached out of the mirror and slapped her father twice across the face. Old Man Whales screamed, blood streaming from four slashes on his cheeks. He ran from the house and leapt into the safety of the barn, his heart pounding so hard his chest ached with it.
"Faaaaaather...." a voice hissed softly a few paces to his right. Old Man Whales screamed and whirled around. Blood Mary stood smiling at him through her blood-stained, razor-sharp teeth. Her tattered tongue was bleeding from several places as if it had been scored by a butcher's knife. She pointed above her head, and Old Man Whales saw a noose hanging from the rafters beside the ladder to the loft. The rope looked inviting, hanging there in a dust-speckled sunbeam. Obediently, Old Man Whales placed his hands on the rung of the ladder and started to climb.