You recite the spell once at a party, hold your breath, and then… nothing.
She never comes when others are around.
Years later you pass a mirror in the dark, see yourself in eclipse, and you remember. Maybe you smile. It’s then that you don’t say the name. You only think it, and that is so much worse.
She doesn't appear right behind you in the glass, a woman in a bridal dress, eyes torn out of their sockets, nails rimmed red. That’s not how she works. That’s not how she kills you.
Instead you might stiffen. You might hear breathing in your ear. Someone’s strange thoughts in your head. But they’re easy to dismiss. Once again you forget about Mary.
And for weeks after you walk across busy streets. You drive your car. You handle knives, razors, electrical wires. You cook oil in a pan until you can smell the meat sizzle. Every time you’re careful, of course. Isn’t everyone careful?
It isn’t a ghost, or a voice, or a seizure. It’s so much simpler. A nudge. A slip. A forgetful moment. When the truck is close. When the pan is hot. A single terrible movement of the wrist, and the screams bring them right to your door.
You scream alone, but there are thousands like you. And no one ever knows.
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