She lived deep in the forest in a tiny cottage and sold herbal remedies for a living. Folks living in the town nearby called her Bloody Mary, and said she was a witch. None dared cross the old crone for fear that their cows would go dry, their food-stores rot away before winter, their children take sick of fever, or any number of terrible things that an angry witch could do to her neighbors.
My stepmother was vile. I guess most kids think that when their father remarries. But in this case, it was true. She only married Father because he was rich, and she hated children. There were three of us – me (Marie), my middle brother Richard and my youngest brother Charles. We were the price my stepmother Gerta paid for being rich. And we were all that stood between her and inheriting Father’s money when he died. So she took steps against us.
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.
“Mary, Mary…” the half-heard whisper woke her in the darkness before dawn. Darkness. How appropriate. These days, it seemed as if her whole life was in darkness.
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.