Screams that Echo into the Night

I glanced at the night sky and sighed, I should have left for home earlier, shouldn’t have stayed behind to watch the brawl that had started unexpectedly over some spilt vodka at the tiny office get-together. Now I will have to endure another round of nagging as my wife exercised her right to speak nonsense that is the domain of everything female.

I shook my head in despair. Home was supposed to a peaceful sanctuary to escape to after the toil one endured at work, not a battleground fraught with peril at every turn of the clock. Women! Can’t live with them, can’t live without.

I drove my little car on the gravelly road and sighed when my house came into sight; the warm light shining out from the windows just an illusion to cover up the chill living indoors. If only Margaret had turned out to be as docile as she appeared before matrimony. Even the children had left home because of her constant tyranny.

That’s when I saw the woman. Garbed in white with a cowl covering half her face, the woman was bawling on the side of the road a little away from my house.

Stopping the car, I ran over to her and asked her, “Lady, are you alright? Are you lost?”

The woman shook her head and continued to cry as if her heart was breaking. I was getting mighty uncomfortable but I couldn’t leave her here like this when my house was just a few steps away from where we stood.

“Dear woman, please don’t cry. My house is that one, please come in and have some tea. I am sure my wife and I can help you out in your situation.”

The woman shook her head again and pointed to my house as she continued to wail and shriek in despair. A sense of foreboding crept into my soul as I turned my head and looked at my house.

Giving up soon on trying to calm her down, I got into my car and drove it into the garage behind my house. After that I raced to the door and rang the doorbell. My mind started to race with premonitions of things gone bad when Margaret didn’t open the door even after I rang the bell for the fifth time.

Finally, I dug out the spare key hidden behind the potted plants in the backyard and raced indoors once I had successfully opened the heavy oak front door. The house was still as a grave. The lights were shining brightly but my wife was nowhere to be seen, which was a mighty odd thing since she pottered around the house from dawn till the time she went to bed at night.

“Marge! Margaret! I am home!” I shouted out as my heart started to beat fast.

I was answered with silence. Something was definitely not right.

I tore through the house, calling out my wife’s name and finally located her in our bedroom. She was sleeping on our bed. I sighed out in relief. The woman must have grown tired from all the rantings and ramblings she did when I wasn’t at home and must have decided to take a small nap that had sucked her into deeper sleep.

I went over to her and shook her; I was hungry and she had had enough sleep already. When she didn’t stir, I reached out again and stopped in shock when my hands registered how cold her skin was. I frantically felt for a pulse and a breath and when I was rewarded by none a cry of despair left my mouth.

Now I realized who the woman on the road had been and why she had been crying so pitifully…

Banshees are female spirits in Irish Mythology, usually seen as omens of Death and messengers from the Otherworld, who wail and keen before someone dies, usually someone from an important family or stature.

Banshees are depicted in various forms in many different stories and myths, but the most famous ones are those of an ugly hag with long fingernails or a beautiful, ageless woman. Their screams and wails foretell death and they are usually attached to a family of importance. It is said that a banshee is formed when a young woman dies a horrible death, thus causing her soul to wander and wail when another’s death is imminent.

So if you see a strange woman wailing at the top of her lungs outside your home, be afraid, be very afraid…

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