Previously: Blue Baby, Baby Blue.
I suspect that the Maiden’s Gamble ritual doesn’t have any sort of historic or folkloric precedent; it seems to have been a product of Reddit, which means that it’s more like, say, 11 Miles or Channel Infinity than the Elevator Game or One-Man Hide And Seek. It’s an interesting story, though, in that it puts the reader in the shoes of the protagonist — that is, it stars you.
The rules of the game, though, can easily be pulled out if you do actually want to try playing it. Which, of course, isn’t recommended… but then again, you wouldn’t be here if you tended to go along with what’s recommended, would you?
A note: The Reddit post about the game has a few… odd stipulations in it. In this version, it’s strongly recommended that the participants be in a heterosexual relationship; additionally, the whole thing cleaves very closely to traditional gender roles: The woman is, by default, Participant 1, while the man is, by default, Participant 2. (This, I expect, is where the name of the ritual comes from.) It notes that the role performed by the genders can be swapped, as well as that participants of other orientations may attempt the ritual, but states that “these divergences can yield unpredictable results, and are highly discouraged.”
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
However, I think these stipulations are unnecessary in our modern world. If the ritual is meant to test the strength of your relationship, then I don’t believe it to be based on gender or orientation; I believe it to be based on trust, love, and the participants’ ability to work as a team. I would argue, therefore, that any “default” setting is bullshit. The “default” isn’t important — but what is important is that the players decide together who will be Participant 1 and Participant 2, that they be in total agreement about these roles, and that they be clear on and in agreement with what they each must do once they have taken on these roles. I strongly suspect the ritual would only yield “unpredictable results” if you went into the whole thing without there being the strongest of love and the strongest of trust between the participants.
I’d be curious, by the way, to see how this ritual might be adapted for those in polyamorous relationships; after all, a simple pair isn’t the only kind of loving, trusting relationship in the world.
But as always — regardless as to what type or kind of relationship you have — play at your own risk.
- Two participants. The participants must be in a long-term romantic relationship with one another. It is recommended that the participants share a home.
- A public restroom.
- A sharp object. A pocket knife is a good choice.
- Two time-keeping devices (one for each participant).
- A strong and unshakeable love for one another.
- A strong and unshakeable trust in one another.
Before You Begin:
- Decide which principal will be Participant 1 and which will be Participant 2.
- Make sure you are both in agreement, re: participant numbers and all actions required of each participant number.
- Proceed accordingly with the correct set of instructions for your participant number.
- Begin shortly before midnight.
- Take up your sharp object and one time-keeping device. Bring them to the public restroom in which you have chosen to perform this ritual.
- Before entering the restroom, say goodbye to your partner. Make it meaningful, and make it true. Communicate to them how much you love them. Communicate well, and communicate wisely, for this may be the last chance you have to share your heart with them.
- Enter the restroom alone.
- Enter a stall. Lock the door.
- At 11:59pm, use your sharp object to carve the following phrase on the inside of the stall door: “[Your partner’s name] loves [your name].”
- Rotate in place, moving counter-clockwise, and repeat the words, “My lover has another.” Speak these words a total of 66 times, revolving in place all the while. Complete this step before your time-keeping device reads 12:01.
- If there is no change in your surroundings: The ritual has failed. Do not proceed.
- If a long, red corridor appears behind you: The ritual has succeeded. You may proceed. Follow the corridor as far as you can. What other option do you have? The lock has vanished from the inside of the stall door; it’s on the outside of it now. It’s not as if you could leave, even if you wanted to.
- When you can go no further, wait.
- When 24 hours have elapsed, and it is midnight on the following night, travel back through the corridor and return to the stall.
- Begin shortly before midnight.
- Take your own time keeping device and go with your partner to the public restroom in which you have chosen to perform this ritual.
- When your partner says goodbye to you, listen to them closely. Take in their message, wholly and completely. When they enter the restroom, bid them farewell.
- At midnight, begin keeping track of the time.
- Go home.
- A person who looks like your partner will follow you home. This person will be the best version of your partner — the one who looks exactly as you wish they looked, who shares and supports all your interests, who caters to your every desire, who has no flaws whatsoever.
- This is not your partner. This is the Other.
- For the 24-hour period between midnight tonight and midnight tomorrow, the Other will follow you wherever you go. They will use any means possible to convince you to leave your true partner locked up where they are. Aren’t you much better off with the Other as your partner instead?
- Resist the Other.
- Be vigilant. The Other will not physically harm you, but they can be very persuasive. All bets are off, and every tool and strategy may be used.
- Do not underestimate the Other.
- At the conclusion of the 24-hour period, you have a choice: Return to the public restroom, enter it, find the stall with the lock on the outside of the door, unlock it, and open it; or, leave your true partner where they are and stay with the Other.
- It is NOT recommended that you stay with the Other.
- Make your choice.
The Moment Of Truth:
- Participant 1: When you hear the lock slide free, open the stall door.
- What do you see?
- If you see your partner, you have successfully completed the ritual. Your life together will be long and happy; fortune will forever smile upon you both; and through thick and through thin, your love will hold steadfast and true.
- If you see nothing but an empty room, with no way out and nowhere to go but back down the long, red corridor…
- I’m sorry.
- I’m so sorry.
It is NOT recommended that the following participants attempt this ritual:
- Participants who have been in a relationship for less than one year;
- Participants who have recently experienced severe difficulties in their relationship;
- Participants who own a business together;
- Participants who have one or more pets together;
- And/or participants who have one or more children together.
To attempt this ritual under any of these circumstances may result in catastrophic failure — and the participants aren’t the only ones who will suffer for it.
If You Successfully Complete The Ritual:
Do not return to the public restroom in which you performed the ritual ever again.
The Other will not be happy to see you.
[Photo via StockSnap/Pixabay]