Disclaimer: Mary-chan’s call is a well-known Japanese Urban Legend, it is by no means something original that I came up with. I do own this (hopefully original enough) story though.
I stared at the digital clock on my desk, the glowing green LED showed that it was past 9 PM. I knew that I should be sleeping but somehow I just couldn’t relax enough to sleep. Well, I had just arrived to this new house so I guess I simply couldn’t get used to the awkward feeling yet. Father and mother had left to have dinner with father’s acquaintance from work meaning that I was alone at home but they should be home soon enough.
Our family moved from our Tohno home to Tokyo just a week ago due to my father’s job transfer and promotion. Of course, I also got enrolled into a new school as a transfer student. Fortunately, everyone in my class was nice and no one bullied me or calling me names for being a country hick. In fact, we had a plan to hang out tomorrow.
I let out a sigh as I looked around my room, most of the items are quite familiar but more than a few were new including the alarm clock and my new personal computer. Even though I’ve seen them every single day for the last week, I still couldn’t help but found something off about them… or more like that wasn’t there.
You see, when I was a child, I saw this extremely adorable doll in a toy shop. We would pass the shop everyday when I was going to and from school. In fact, I used to take the time to stop in front the shop everyday just to look at it.
Until one day, father came home from work with a bright expression, apparently he had received a bonus from his job and he had a present for me. He handed me a box wrapped in beautiful paper and inside was the doll that I had wanted since the moment I laid my eyes on it. I had been my treasure since then until….
I was broken out of my thought when an unfamiliar tone resounded from next to me. I turned toward the source and saw that it was my mobile phone, another new item that my father bought for me, it was an old flip model but it worked well enough for my need. I picked it up and looked at the screen but instead of a name or number, it showed “Private Number” instead. Out of curiosity, I flipped it open and pressed the speaker against my ear. From the other side, a small girl’s voice spoke to me,
“Hello, this is Mary-chan. I’m now in the dumpster, please find me.”
I instinctively knit my eyebrow as I opened my mouth to reply but before I managed to get a word in, the call had been abruptly cut. With a frown, I flipped the phone close before staring at it as I thought to myself,
‘Okay… that is a very rude prank call… it is bad enough that I couldn’t find Mary-chan but someone had to pretend about it was just plain cruel.’
Feeling even more terrible than before, I found it even harder to relax so that I can sleep when my mobile phone rang once again. Again, the caller ID showed the words “Private Number” but I didn’t care as I pressed the receive button. I pressed the speaker against my ear once again and sure enough the same small girl voice spoke,
“Hello, this is Mary-chan. I have just reached Tokyo, please pick me up.”
Just like before, the phone was cut off before I managed to get any word in. I felt my blood boil as I imagined the smug expression of the person at the other side of the phone. Not once but TWICE they send me a prank call pretending to be Mary-chan.
I put my phone on my lap as I crossed my arms, my brows knit together as I stared at it. The person would call again for sure and this time, I’d give him or her a piece of my mind. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the ring tone resounded once again and I picked it up the moment the first tone came. I checked the screen once again and sure enough, “Private Number” is there. I took a deep breath as I readied my response before I pressed the answer button but this time I screamed to it instead,
“Would you cut it out, already?!! I don’t know or care who the hell are you but I have had enough of your prank call! It is rude and extremely annoying!!”
I panted for a few minutes to catch my breath before pressing my ear against the speaker once again. Instead of apology, I heard the same voice spoke again.
“Hello, this is Mary-chan. I’m nearly at the convenience store at the end of the street, will you pick me up?”
I pressed the end call button before turning the device off completely. My anger was so great that I really wanted to throw the phone across the room. Fortunately, I managed to barely rein in the impulse as trying to explain to my parents why my new mobile phone were in pieces was certainly won’t go well at all.
At least with the device turned, I knew that the prank caller won’t be able to reach me anymore…. Or so I thought. As if to debunk my expectation, I heard the house phone rank instead and I desperately resisted the urge to scream. I decided to ignore the call and hoped that whoever was calling from the other side would give up soon.
Unfortunately, whoever was calling prove to be very determined to get me to pick up the phone instead as the ringing continued for minutes. I growled as I stood up and headed downstairs to pick up the phone. I raised the handle and put it on my ears as I shouted,
“I told you to CUT IT OUT!! Call me one more time and I’ll call the police on you!!”
I waited for response from the caller but instead of the voice of the prank-caller, I heard a different familiar female voice instead that caused me to realize that the person on the other side was not the prank-caller… but my mother as she spoke,
“What’s wrong, dear? Why are you shouting like that?”
I blushed as I hurriedly answer her,
“Oh, It’s just you, mom. Umm… Sorry about that… it’s just… someone keep making prank calls on me for the last hour. I mistook you for them….”
“Is that so… well, is that why your mobile phone is turned off? No wonder my call couldn’t get through. Well, I’m just calling that it seem like your father and I won’t be making it home tonight. Your dad’s car had an engine problem and refused to start so we will be spending the night in a hotel nearby and called a technician first thing in the morning.”
“I understand, mom.”
“Well, good night, dear. Don’t forget to lock the doors and windows, okay?”
“Of course, mom. Good night.”
“Good night, dear.”
I placed the receiver back on its place and released a sigh as I pondered,
‘Geez… that was awkward…. It’s all the fault of that prank caller… just who could it be anyway… sure, some of my friends back in Tohno knew about Mary-chan but… I can’t imagine them pulling this kind of cruel prank.’
My thought was broken by the sound of the house phone ringing once again. I wondered if mom had forgotten to tell me something as I picked up the receiver and put it over my ear once again. Contrary to my expectation, a familiar voice of little girl spoke to me,
“Hello, this is Mary-chan. I am in front of your door, will you welcome me in?”
Like before, the call was cut right after before I heard the front door bell ringing through the house as if on cue. I knit my brows together as I placed the receiver back on its place and looked at the wall clock hanging above the phone, the needles showed that it was nearly midnight.
‘Just who would visit us this late at night… and what is with this timing….’
I heard the doorbell rang once again and I sighed as I made my way to the front door. Once I reached it, I peeked through the peeking hole to see who was on the other side just to be in the safe side.
However, contrary to my expectation, I saw no one on the other side. I knit my brows again as I pulled back for a moment before I peered through the hole one more time and again, only the view of the house’s empty driveway was visible.
Wondering if it was a parcel delivery, I opened the door slightly before I pushed my head through the gap. I looked around but saw nothing that suggested anyone had been there, no parcel, nothing. I sighed as I closed the door once again and leaned my back against it as I thought to myself,
‘Great… as if prank calls aren’t enough… now I got ding-dong-ditched… this is ridiculous….’
Deciding to go back to my room, I switched on my mobile phone while walking up the stairs. Once I was inside, I glanced on the clock and saw that it has passed midnight and I really need to sleep. I barely took a few steps toward my bed when my mobile phone rang once again with the same “private number” on it.
I let out a sigh as I flipped it open and pressed the accept button but I didn’t put it on my ear anymore. Instead, I’m planning to just let whoever on the other side talked without actually listening to them.
As before, a girl’s voice came through the speaker. My eyes widen in shock as I heard them speak clearly despite the speaker being so far from my ears,
“Hello, this is Mary-chan. I’m right behind you, will you turn around?”
Suddenly, I felt a chill through my spine as I realized that the voice really did came from directly behind me. I slowly turned my head to peek behind me but again, I saw nothing… until I turned my body around completely and….
My eyes widen even more as I saw it… no… her… a small doll, can’t be more than 30 centimeters in height, she had a familiar cute red ribbon on her head, her long wavy hairs while somewhat dirty were unmistakably golden just as I remembered them to be, creamy face which also has some dark patches on it but in no way obscured its cuteness, a pair of blue eyes like jewels that were staring at me unblinking and most importantly, a cute red dress with white frills that I remembered having sewed them myself as member of handicraft club.
I was stunned, so much that I swore that I must had been standing there with my mouth open for minutes yet no word were spoken. Slowly, I came back to my sense as I slowly bent down and reached for it with trembling hands. I gently slipped my hand under the doll’s underarms and lifted it gently as I stood up until it was right on my eye level.
Somehow, a bizarre thought passed through my mind as I remembered the pranks calls which had been disturbing me all night. My voice trembled as I spoke to the doll,
“Mary…-chan? Could it be… that those calls were from you…? Did you really actually called me and told me your location for me to pick you up…?”
I didn’t know what I was expecting out of it, afterall Mary-chan is a doll. Still, I couldn’t help but wish that she could really answer my question but alas it seemed that whatever magic that allowed her to call me had ran out. Slowly, I pulled Mary-chan into a hug and before I knew it, tears streamed down my eyes. I was happy, really happy. Afterall, Mary-chan had come searching for me.
Suddenly, I remembered a piece of information from the time before I got Mary-chan. I had asked about her from the antique store owner and he told me,
“You see, little miss. This doll is special, she is at least 100 years old and it was said that it was created by a extremely talented doll maker who treated it like his own daughter.”
Another memory popped into my mind, this time it was a folktale told by my grandmother to me as a child,
“Have you ever heard of “Tsukumogami”? It is said that an item that has reached 100 years old will gain a spirit of their own. If their owner treated them well, then the spirit will me a benevolent one but if the owner treat it poorly, then the spirit will search for revenge to them.”