‘The Banshee’ by Gloria Christie

She screamed, her banshee face raging all night, feeding on itself rather than depleting her. Then, when she awoke, she put on her façade and stepped out into the world.

It didn’t make sense. After three and a half decades of confronting the world sans makeup, just a hasty comb through her deep brown hair and a smear of blood-red lipstick, something shifted.

Mascara. Eye shadow. Rouge. Foundation. Perfume.

A woman who danced in the light of her friends. Witty. Interesting. Funny. Never alone. Brilliant, she soon adapted to meet her needs. Organizing campouts for thirty. All entertainment for her. Always for her.

When the banshee climbed back down her throat at night, she jumped inside of a book, able to leave this world. And leave those who needed her. Don’t touch her. Or the banshee will awake.


She wanted to be alone. Taking her camper to a lake. Her face aglow with her artistry. So not who she had been or would be.

Weekend after weekend. Nature held no interest for her. Yet, she returned to the lake. Those who lived with her, some just relieved the banshee had gone. Some knew. But they didn’t know what they knew.

The woman took what she wanted, men. Her husband was weak in the dim light of her shadow. But he knew.

Rather than confront the ominous power of her rage, he deflected. Tormenting the little one, he believed the offspring of another. Cruel. Never her father.

But he was wrong. This one shared his rarest blood type.

She had cuckolded him. He didn’t look at the favored child, the only one she liked. The one she dressed in red ribbons and curls. The favorite one was different from the others. She was of some other him, some other coupling.

All of the children had his negative blood type, she said.

She lied.

The favored child was positive. The other children knew. But one forgot.

The aware two watched as the banshee swayed to the lake’s bidding, taking whatever her own desires chose. Always abnormal. Always self-determined.


The banshee stopped abruptly. Returning to scream throughout the night, lashing out once again. The face adorned went away, its raw self there. Its hatred naked in the night. Fearsome as ever.

Endless nights, the banshee tormented those around her. Violent. Unpredictable. Incapable of and shunning love.

A year came around and the policeman of the village, the anointed keeper of peace went to investigate. At the lake.

Some unfortunate one found the teen dropout, decaying in the lake. His life bled away, a fish food shell.

The two aware children saw the newspaper and were stunned. They knew of the young man, a cast out. The news posited his unsavory friends killed him, and left him to rot. They exclaimed!

The banshee declared, “He was scum!” Then, she disappeared back into her book.

As if that warranted his death. One child forgot. The two aware turned to one another and saw. No doubt. It was her. Their mother full capable of murder, they knew.

The banshee screamed that night, no different from any other. No more terrifying. No less. Untouched by her action. Waiting another life.

Copyright 2016 by Gloria Christie. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

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