To the casual viewer on Mary’s home life, one couldn’t tell the probable abuse charges that could be leveled against Mary’s parents. One wouldn’t want to see and hear the other atrocities the two had committed, which they would have claimed to be helping their daughter prepare for a bright future, away from not only alcohol, but also drugs, sex, gambling and various other vices of human nature. The casual viewer, though, would have been aware of the obvious symptoms of abuse, which were displayed by Mary at an early age. Of course, none of this could ever happen, because nobody would ever get close to the paranoid couple and their daughter to casually view them. Even if somebody had the idea, nobody wanted to try.
So Mary was raised with these beliefs in mind, and when her parents were killed by, of all things, a drunk driver, she was placed in an orphanage, as she had no other family to be found. “Scary” Mary, as she was called by the other children, wouldn’t speak, wouldn’t eat, and would barely sleep. Her parents had frightened her away with such notions, and it had worked. Mary would be terrified of everything a human girl was supposed to do. Of course, this meant that nobody would adopt her, and Mary stayed in the orphanage for a time, not welcome by her peers or superiors.
At twelve, Mary’s third year in the orphanage, she was approached by a disturbed boy named Leroy Bright. Bright, after it was discovered he was abusing his younger siblings and cousins, was abandoned at the orphanage, where he continued his predatory ways. He took a liking to the mysterious girl named Mary. He was known by the older kids to be not picky with his “close friends”, especially those who were female, and warned the younger ones to stay away from him. When he got you alone, the older kids claimed, he would not be as nice as he appeared. The nuns had tried to get the police involved, but Leroy found a way of convincing them he wasn’t who they thought he was. Thus, the abuse would continue. He had even been linked to the rape of an adult woman on his sixteenth birthday, but the police had again never found a way to catch him, as DNA was not as prevalent then as now. For Leroy, Mary was the prize that seemingly couldn’t be won.
Leroy approached Mary the same way he approached all of his victims: with curiosity. He studied her, tried talking to her, but with no avail. He would ask about the strange tendencies “Scary” Mary had, and then try to exploit them. Again, Leroy was met with failure. This only intensified Leroy’s obsession with Mary, the forbidden fruit. He was determined to see what made her so special. Why she wouldn’t talk, yet still have a voice through the stories told about her. Why she wouldn’t eat, yet never become malnourished. Why she wouldn’t sleep, yet would never appear to have any exhaustion. Though Leroy Bright never would live up to his last name, he certainly was willing to try.
Mary was never affected by this sudden intrusion into her otherwise lonely life. She continued her odd behavior, never interacting with Leroy, which made even her most verbal opposition impressed. She, the girl who had no friends, thus no support, thus no help, was beating Leroy Bright. How could it be so? New rumors began to surface about Mary. That she wasn’t a demon, but an angel. That she wasn’t a terrifying alien waiting to steal their brains, but a robot, programmed for good and protection. Mary, as usual, took no notice of her enemies turned friends. Without saying a word, Mary’s status in the orphanage changed.
One cold December night, near Christmas, Bright decided to end his quest, once and for all. He had tried his usual methods, but they hadn’t worked like he hoped they would. He would have to move on to Plan B. Over the years, Leroy had encountered somewhat similar situations, and had resorted to his Plan B in the past. It had, unlike Plan A, a 100% success rate. Leroy’s plan would be simple, as it always had. When the nuns would take the younger children caroling for Christmas, he would strike. He would take Mary from her room, which no nuns would ever go near. He would take her someplace unseen, and then he would finally complete his nearly year-long quest. He would slay the dragon, he would eat the forbidden fruit, and he would win the prize.
Leroy put his plan into action the following evening, when the carolers left. He snuck out of his room, crept down the stairs on to the second floor, where the 12-15 year olds had rooms. Leroy made sure he hadn’t been followed, and slyly went to Mary’s door. He paused for a brief moment, and thought in his head how foolish he had been to not use Plan B earlier, and how clever he was for using it now. He turned the doorknob to her room, and snuck inside.
As he entered, Leroy found it was dark, as it usually was during Plan B. As he shut the door behind him, however, something odd happened. The lamp, which was the same in every orphan’s identical room, suddenly turned on.
There, on her bed where he had expected her, sat Mary, in a flower-print nightgown with a single butterfly on the chest. But around her, fourteen orphans, aged 12-18, stood. This meant, Leroy discovered slowly (he was never good at math) that every orphan that hadn’t gone caroling stood around his prize. As if, he had decided, they were guarding her from him.
Leroy Bright, again never the smartest, tried threatening the others, who at least two were of his past victims. This had, however, no effect on them. When Bright tried his most common response, physical contact, next, and it proved to be his undoing. He rushed at Mary, but suddenly fell to the ground. He discovered that he had been grabbed around the ankles by the other orphans. Two others grabbed his arms, and soon, he was held to the ground. One by one, the fourteen kids attached themselves to him. They held his hair, his torso, everything. When he thought they were finished, the tinier ones began grabbing his nose, his ears, and his lips.
Bright tried screaming, but his screams, equivalent to his victims, fell on deaf ears by the nuns. They were busy making cookies and watching old movies and knitting sweaters. Leroy Bright found himself being torn apart by the children, limb by limb. It would be the worst and last pain he would ever have in his life. He never saw Mary’s face during the entire incident, though if he had, he wouldn’t have been surprised by its expression: one of neutrality. The children put Bright’s remains in a box found in one of their closets, wrapped it in gingerbread men wrapping paper, and put a stamp on it.
The stamp read: “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL XMAS” in little red writing.
It was placed under the Christmas tree in the orphanage’s small living room. The nuns were none the wiser. The mess of blood in Mary’s room was covered with a rug. The kids found that they were willing to do anything for the girl who never spoke. They told Mary that come Christmas morning, the nuns would discover the gift who couldn’t keep on giving (because he was dead), and would immediately accuse Mary. They told her to leave the orphanage, which Mary did, slowly and silently.
Mary walked out of the orphanage’s back door, which led out directly into the woods. The other kids decided that if anyone would protect Mary, Mother Nature could. So Mary left, disappearing into the dark, snowy woods, accompanied only by her raggedy wool coat, two peanut butter sandwiches (which the others figured she would never eat) and a bottle of water (which the others figured she would never drink).
The kids never saw their idol again.