Posted in writing

Banshee’s Warning

The scream came.  It chilled me to the bone, because I knew what it could be.  Nobody else lives around these parts, really. The neighbors- they’re miles away.  It didn’t sound like an animal either, at least not like one I had heard before. Not even some beast on the brink of death would utter such a cry.  It had to have been a banshee.

The sound it utters can’t measure up to the horror of the message it brings.  She– it– whatever– would be out there, like some sort of specter, its existence simply something not of this world, and yet here it lingers.   Its presence, however, means that there’s death impending upon your household.  The bitch could barely even be considered akin to a god of death, rather just some sort of macabre messenger.

If only my husband were here, and not away in town.  Though, I doubt he would be able to do anything in this situation.  My kids had crept into the back corner of the room, huddling against each other.  They heard it too.  I told them they should not fear it, as it would most likely mean them no harm.  I didn’t know if that would be the case or not.  I wrapped them in a blanket, hoping to give them the illusion of safety.

In turn, I went around the house extinguishing the candles.  Should the banshee drop by and detect no life in our home, perhaps it would simply pass.  Again, I have no idea if this may have done anything at all.

As the sweet smoky smell of smothered wicks filled the room, I heard a loud clang outside the back window. The sound was corporeal, created by the sound of two solid objects colliding.  Yet, I was unsure of whether to trust it.  It sounded like the cellar doors had been lifted open in the wind, and banged back down by gravity… yet, the air outside had been completely still.

Fumbling around in the moonlight drifting through the window, I found my husband’s pistol buried in the back of the cabinet by the door.  I don’t know how to load it, but my husband always leaves a fresh set of rounds in it for times like this when he’s gone.  I didn’t think I would ever have to use it, and I found it hard to believe when I was doing it then.

With the heavy weapon in my hands, I stood and listened.  Something below the floorboards, down in the cellar, was on the move.  Opening the door with as much caution my shaky hand could muster, I exited the small house and crept around the backside to the doorway leading downwards.

The cellar door opened with a muted creak.  I stopped and listened again, the heavy wooden installation resting partway open in my hand.  Through the tiny window came a ray of moonlight, illuminating a tall figure shifting around the mason-jar filled shelves. Gun held up against my opposite wrist to steady the barrel, I pulled the door open more, this time with a loud creak.  The figure jumped and turned.

“You should’a just let me rob ya’.”  Bellowed the man, almost in a growl.  Before he could take a step towards me, I reflexively yanked the heavy trigger with a loud bang, followed by a breathy shudder from the man.  The sound of metal and wood hitting the floor came to my ears, as a hatchet fell from the man’s hands and into the light cast through the window.  The scream came again, this time distant, waning.

 

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