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Scary Mary
by Michael S. Collins

They weren’t evil children, but she swept in to punish them none the less. She came from the Sky, on a dark cloudy night, sailing in from parts unknown like a Demon Goddess. The children had needed a nanny, a teacher, someone to look after them while their mum campaigned for women’s liberation and their dad worked crushing hours in the local bank.

What they got was a lesson in terror instead. When Mary appeared.

She sang terrifying nursery rhymes, about what happened when you mixed spoonfuls of sugar, and jolly holidays. Nightmares abounded.

She terrified the children with her spells and magic. Her evil stare.

And then she killed the parents.

The children were petrified. Why had Hell’s Nanny stepped out on their windowsill, umbrella in hand, and come crashing into their lives?

What reason in the universe was there for such a visitation?

Wrong genre symptom.

The children had sung about the perfect nanny they wanted, but then due to a mistake in red ink, they’d got the serial killer witch from another story instead.

The witch herself was devastated when she learned she’d appeared in the wrong story. Completely cut up. Especially since she was a vengeance witch, and her victims needed to deserve their fates. Since she was in the wrong world by slip of pen, none of her victims had.

Not to worry, she soon made up for lost time.

“What do you think of Mum?” said the little girl, one afternoon, while having tea with Mary and her brother.

Mary inspected the mother carefully.

“A nice try” she said, wistfully.

The little girl looked upset. Mary quickly changed tack.

“Not to worry”, she said, “Everyone’s taxidermy improves with practise.”