Banshee

What good is a Banshee with no voice?

As she stood outside of the house in the dark, watching the family that sat around the fireplace through the windows which seemed lit up like beacons compared to the inky blackness of the night sky, she wondered for the hundredth time that night why it was she even existed. High above, stars twinkled like a multitude of diamonds but the moon was dark and the sky was blacker than usual as a result. Tonight, it was black like her soul, devoid of hope and full of a sense of uselessness. A Banshee’s job and sole purpose, after all, is to warn of impending death and doom. A Banshee with no voice is not very good at anything. 

Caille’s eyes, which were a brilliant emerald green but constantly red and swollen from crying, welled up with even more tears than they had held a moment before and they overflowed down her lifeless, pale cheeks like rivers of melting ice down the side of a glacier during an exceptional summer heatwave. The wind whipped her long, flame-red hair around the icy-white paleness of her slim body and the grey cloak she wore had long since ceased in providing cover or warmth. Fortunately for her, Banshees cannot feel cold, but unfortunately for her, they can feel sadness; it is their primary emotional state. A fresh wave of internal agony swept over her as she thought again of the family she was sent to who would likely not receive her warning, and it caused her to wail like only a Banshee can. 

Or at least that is what it felt like happened. Caille felt her jaw unhinge and her breath expel from her lungs with the force of a lament that can shatter glass like all her sisters could do. Not a sound came out. No glass shattered. No family member turned to stare out into the dark with a feeling of dread spreading from their stomach to their heart because the wail made them know.

The family began to move about, puttering about getting ready to go to bed. Her eyes rested on the youngest boy, just barely three years old, who had not been feeling well all night but did not want to say anything to his parents and miss out on the harvest bonfire tomorrow night. He was the reason Caille was here. He would not make it through the night. Death was right behind her in the night; she could feel his presence.

Caille snapped out of it and seized her opportunity. She began to dance and twirl in the dark of the night in hopes that as they passed the window the flash of ghostly white movement would catch their eye. If she could get one of them to look at her while she wailed, sometimes, she could get them to know even without a voice. It was her one hope, the one reason she had only mostly given up on her existence and not completely. Her movements were fluid but strange, like mourning in motion, a heartbreaking dance of desperation and grief. 

She was lucky tonight, although the boy would not be. The surreal dance did catch someone’s eye, that of the mother. The mother stopped in her tracks as she stared into the dark and seemed to look right into Caille’s bleak soul. Caille wailed with her whole being, albeit soundlessly, her hauntingly beautiful face exploding into a ghastly visage of loss and pain and an impossibly wide, unhinged jaw… and the mother fell to the ground with a keening wail of her own as she suddenly knew.

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