Posts Tagged ‘Banshee’

The Mores (Rewrite)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

“The dragon has scales like the black o’ night and teeth the size of yer forearm,” the merchant says.

 “No one said anything in the village,” I say.

 “They wouldn’t know, would they? It’s going on 50 years, since the last time he’s been seen.”

 “There would be stories if what you say is true.”

 “Maybe they didn’t want to scare you, lass, being new to the area and all.”

 “I don’t believe you.”

 With a tip of his hat, the merchant says, “Believe whatcha will.”

 The decaying smell of swamp assails me as I walk away. I do not fancy living here, and prefer living in a city. I miss the neighbors and the sounds. Here visitors are frequent because of Colby’s work, but it is not the same. Now this merchant brings tales of a dragon who hunted in this area. I do not like it, not one little bit. I enter the house, sit down and start reading while I wait for Colby to finish bartering with the traveler.

 The sound of hammer hitting steel signals the merchant’s departure. I put my book down, and check to make sure there is no trace of him or his wagon. Seeing none, I head to the forge.

 I watch my husband slam red hot steel with a hammer. The impact bathes the forge in sparks. The noise is deafening, but I can tell his focus is intense. The sight of him in a loin cloth with the front of his torso and arms covered in protective leather still looks strange. I watch the muscles in his back as he swings the hammer and pounds the metal.

 Colby sees me watching him, and I say, “Did you hear about the dragon?”

 “Yes, I expect he hears and makes up many stories while on the road.”

 “So you don’t believe it to be true?”

 He puts down his work, walks over to me and engulfs me in a hug smelling of fire and ash.

 “My love, do not fear the daydreams of some aspiring bard. He has little to do on the road but make fanciful tales.”

 “So you think it made up?”

 “Yes. he’s just an old man who spends too much time alone.”

 Colby’s reassurances put my fears at ease, and I kiss him deeply.

 “I love you,” he whispers.

 I say, “I love you too,” and smile.

 I finish the daily chores, and still have time to read before supper. I pull out my most treasured book, Magical Creatures. It is Colby’s gift to me from our wedding day. I turn to the page on black dragons and begin to read:

 Black dragons are a medium sized with a breath of acid. They prefer swamps, bogs and marshlands. They crave treasure and sleep for long periods of time. They are not as aggressive as the reds, but they are still evil.

 The weeks pass, and I forget about the merchant’s fantasies. Colby and I enjoy time together talking and reading. We buy books and spend the night discussing them at length. Our first year of marriage is glorious.

 It is a joy to have someone to talk with who cares for what I have to say. Men are so troublesome when it comes to listening to a woman’s mind. Colby is different; he sees me. He appreciates my opinions, and it is one of the many reasons I love him.

 On a drizzly twilight, a midwife confirms my suspicion; I am pregnant. Overjoyed, I run to the forge to tell Colby as the midwife leaves. She believes I carry a girl, and I worry that message will not be taken well. Men prefer male children, and I fear his disappointment, but I am still elated.

 “I’m pregnant,” I say.

 Colby turns and grins, “That’s good news!”

 “The midwife thinks it’s a girl.”

 His delight never falters, “We’re going ta be parents…”

 “I know!” I say as we embrace.

 We talk about names and building a crib. We discuss clothes and buying a cow. The excitement of the baby keeps us up late into the night, and we fall asleep holding each other.

 The next night when I call to Colby that dinner is ready, I hear something large breaking through the trees of the swamp. Upon hearing the noise, Colby and I go inside of the security of our home.

 “What is that?”

 “I have no idea, but it’s big,” Colby says as he draws his bow and scans the swamplands behind our home.

 Something twice the size of a wagon breaks through the tree line. The ebony dragon advances on its two powerful hind legs. Its wings curl to its sides, to prevent them from catching in the trees. The sight of it fills me with terror. It stops to look at the clearing around our home and lifts its head. Its nostrils flare and a foul stench overcomes me. It notices our movement, and rushes the house. Colby’s arrow hits the dragon in its right shoulder. The tip barely penetrates the skin.

 The dragon’s head lowers as he peers into the window. I hear a deep intake of air, and it snaps me out of my terror. Colby pushes me into the front of the house as the acid blasts through the small window. The spray covers the entire room and splatters onto Colby’s back. The smell of acid is so pungent I vomit in my mouth.

 Time slows down as we scramble to get away from the dragon. I hear the dragon’s claws raking the roof off the house. I see Colby struggling to stand, and then I see his back. The skin is gone, the muscle is exposed and I can see the white of bones clearly. In my shock it seems unreal, as if his skin is a shirt, and I need him to put his shirt back on.

 The dragon’s hole in the roof expands, and I expect another breath attack. Unable to open the front door, Colby uses the window beside it. The gruesome wounds on his back should have killed him, but he grabs me off the floor, and tosses me sailing into the front yard.

 “Run!” is the last word he ever speaks.

 Paralyzed in the front yard, I watch in horror as the dragon looms over my home. The drake’s acid strikes Colby. The acid flows over him like thick green drops of water. The shower melts off his face, leaving his skull and jaw open in a soundless scream of agony. I lay in horror as I watch my darling devoured by this enormous winged serpent.

 He is gone, and I am left with a hole where my heart used to be. Everything is gone. . .

 I wail as I understand he is gone, gone forever!

 I wail my voice ragged.

 I wail every time I relive his death, as he tries crying out to me.

 He’s gone.

 I wail. I know hunger and thirst and yet I wail.

 I wail as my mind loops through our life together, knowing that I will never experience moments like that with him again.

 I wail that he is gone. Truly, permanently gone. Never again will I see his smile or feel his touch.

 I wail at losing half my soul.

 No sound emerges and yet I try; even without voice my loss still needs out.

 I have no notion how long I sit replaying the final moments of his life over and over again. I try to yell and scream, but my body will not obey. I put every ounce of my pain and suffering into my scream. Everything falls away but trying to make my voice work again. The sorrow pounds me for release.

 I feel time pass and my body transforming. I concentrate on making my voice heard. I move but not with my legs; my body is no longer human. The oddity of it breaks my focus. The overgrowth of weeds mean several months must have passed.

 I move to the place where he died. I look down at the scarred stone and finally funnel all my grief and pain into noise. I sound much louder and stronger than I ever did while human. The keening sound of my cry shatters the windows, and some part of my mind knows me as the mournful spirit foretelling death. I am a banshee.

 I know things. I know how to cast magic. I know I do not have milk to nurture my daughter and need to find someone who does. About to give birth, my knowledge includes the time of my pregnancy. The art of how to mask my unborn child jumps to mind. I just need to find a wet mother with a girl child to replace.

 I search for homes not protected with iron, and find a defenseless cottage. The spell I weave puts their child in a form of stasis while mine can develop and strengthen. As I leave, the loss of my child overwhelms me. I wander lost, unable to find my home.

 I hear sounds of merriment and waves of anger hit me.

 How can they be joyous? How dare they?

I will make them pay.

 I enter the clearing and scream at them. I will end their happiness, and I give them all my mourning and anguish. My cry kills all ten of the fairies and turns them pure white.

 I did not want to kill them, and the shame of it brings me back to thoughts of Colby. I become engrossed in my thoughts again. I travel to where I lost everything, to the place that defines me: Boglamore.

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The Mores

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

By Mark Coveny (Published 1-23-2010)

An only child born to loving parents, I had few duties. The only memories I have of childhood are of my father’s book collection. At fifteen, Colby More courted me. An attractive son of a blacksmith, we both enjoyed reading. On our wedding day, he gave me a book entitled “Magical Creatures”.

 After the marriage, we spent several days traveling to our new home. We finally pulled up to a vine covered stone building surrounded by moors. The house looked old, dirty and rundown. The plaque at the gate read: “Bog La More.”

“This is our new home. I know it’s not much now, but it’s got potential.” Colby said.

 “I was gonna name it Casa La More, which means House of More, but since it’s in a swamp I thought Bog La More would be funnier.” He said with a chuckle.

 Stunned to silence, I noticed this hovel did not even have a roof. I glimpsed a mangled fence through the thigh-high weeds. I cringed at the sight of the broken and dirty windows.

“This could be the house of our dreams, I just need to do some work to get it back ‘n shape.”

 “Um, yeah.” I responded halfheartedly.

Over the course of the next months, Colby repaired the building and I cleaned. With the doors and windows fixed, and the walls changing color, the shack became a home. I began to take time on literature. I dreamed about what the home could become. The excitement about our future grew within me again. After finishing the house, Colby started work as a blacksmith.

Colby’s business became lucrative, and he bought new books for me to read. The townsfolk asked me to teach their children, when they found out about my reading. The children loved my stories, and I felt needed and a useful member of the community. Life is better than I ever expected, and Colby is my soul mate.

 I hear rumors about a black dragon in the area, but Colby discounted them as superstition. I trusted him with my life and believed him utterly. I have never seen a dragon and refused to believe anything bad could happen to us.

 After nearly a year of marriage, I became pregnant, and the news elated me. I fantasized about being a mother and raising our child. I found out the baby is OK from a midwife. My life, at this point, is exceptional.

Life came crashing down on me one drizzly twilight when reality met fantasy. Colby bought some fireworks from a traveling merchant that day. When the sun began to fall, he shot them off to celebrate our future child. The loud explosions are not enjoyed by all.

 “They are splendid my love.” I said.

 “They were expensive, but worth it.” He replied.

 I smiled at him. I stroked my belly, thinking of our child. I had only seen fireworks a few times in my life. Father told me Gnomes made them, but I never met one. Then I heard something large coming through the forest. It woke me from pondering baby names. Colby scooped me up and took me inside.

 “What is that?”

 “I have no idea, but it’s big.” Colby said as he drew his bow and opened a window.

 Something twice the size of a wagon broke through the tree line. The ebony dragon advanced with its two powerful back legs and wings curled to its sides. The sight of it filled me with terror. It stopped to look at the clearing around our home and lifted its head. Its nostrils flared, and a foul stench overcame me as it rushed the house. Colby’s arrow hit the dragon in its right shoulder. The arrow barely penetrated the skin.

 I heard a deep intake of air. It snapped me out of my terror. I knew I would soon burn in the Dragon’s fire. I ran to the front of the house. It sprayed not fire, but acid. It blasted through the small window, slammed Colby in the back and pushed him on top of me. I could hear the dragon clawing at the window and roof of our stone home.

 Colby opened the front window. This gave me a clear view of his back. The acid had melted his shirt and skin. With the skin gone, I could see the bones and muscles on his back. The gruesome wounds on his back should have killed him. He turned, grabbed me off the floor and tossed me sailing into the front yard.

 “Run!” He yelled from the window.

 Paralyzed, I watched in horror as the dragon loomed over my home. Everything slowed down as the drake’s acid struck Colby. The acid flowed over him like thick green drops of water. The shower melted off his face. Caught in a soundless scream of agony, all I could see of him now is bones. I lay in horror as I watched my darling devoured by this giant winged serpent. He is gone, and I am left with a hole where my heart use to be. Everythings gone. . .

 I sobbed at the loss.

 I began to cry.

 I wailed when I understood he is gone, gone forever!

 I wailed my voice ragged.

 I wailed every time I relived his death, as he tried crying out to me.

 He’s gone.

 I wailed. I knew hunger and thirst and yet I wailed.

 The loss is too much, everything else seemed meaningless now. There is no world without Colby.

 I wailed as my mind looped through the good times, knowing that I would never experience them again.

 I wailed as I thought of all the work destroyed.

 I wailed that he is gone. Truly, permanently gone. Never again would I see his smile or feel his touch.

 I wailed at losing half my soul.

 My throat quit working and yet I still tried to continue. Without words, other than pure sorrow, my loss still needed out.

I have no notion how long I sat there replaying the final moments of his life over and over again. I tried to yell and scream, but my body would not comply. I put every ounce of my pain and suffering into my scream. Everything fell away but trying to make my voice work again. The sorrow pounded me for release.

 I felt time pass and my body transforming, still I concentrated on making my voice heard. I moved but not with my legs, my body is no longer human. The oddity of it broke my focus. I wandered to the house and realized change. Unaware of the passage of time, the yard is overgrown, the house covered in vines. I remembered the first time I looked upon this place.

 I moved to the point where he died. I looked down at the scarred stone and finally drained all my grief and pain. I sounded much louder and stronger that a human voice. The keening sound of my cry shattered the windows. Some part of my mind knew me now as a banshee – the mournful spirit foretelling death.

 I knew things. I knew how to cast magic. I knew I did not have milk to nurture my daughter and needed to find someone who did. About to give birth, my knowledge included the time of my pregnancy. The magic of how to mask my unborn child jumped to mind. I just needed to find a wet mother with a girl child to replace. I started looking.

 I searched for homes not protected with iron. I found a defenseless cottage. The spell I cast put their child in a form of stasis while mine could develop and strengthen. As I left, the loss of my child overwhelmed me. I wandered lost, unable to find my home.

 I heard sounds of merriment and waves of anger hit me.

 How could they be joyous? How dare them!

 I would make them pay.

 I entered the clearing and screamed at them. I would stop their happiness. I gave them all my mourning and anguish. My scream killed all ten of the fairies and turned them pure white.

 I did not mean to kill them, and the misery of it brought me back to thoughts of Colby. I became lost in my thoughts again. On autopilot, I headed back to where I lost everything. The place that defined me: Boglamore.

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The basis for a tragedy is that life is unfair and unkind. There is neither justification or rationalization of the “why” when things like this happen. Haiti is an example of bad things happening to people for no reason.

When we look at the scared people it makes our hearts pour. We yearn for a reason, but there is nothing. Certainly there must be a cause and effect involved, we tell ourselves. As an atheist I don’t believe in Gods. For those of you who do, ask yourself, why would a benevolent being allow something like this to happen?

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Banshee’s Mourn

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

I stalked the family of three, as they trudged through their day time routines. I formulated a plan to steal a closer look at the infant. The search of the village over the past week left only this house and one other possibility. Salt deterred me from entering the other house. The salt also made it more difficult for my nemesis Boglamore to switch the infants in that home. I, as a fairy, loathed banshees, Boglamore was one of the worst. The pain of seeing Boglamore’s scream kill 10 of my fairy brothers still haunted me. I was close to catching the banshee’s offspring. I just needed to find the child. I believed, this house held the child.

I watched as the father of the family brought the sweet milk from his cow. It was the magic time for fairies: dusk. My power was strong now, but hunger would set in later. I could taste milks warm wholesomeness on my tongue. My mouth watered.

Stay focused! I told myself.

I watched the wife cook to pull my mind away from thoughts of milk. I floated within 4 feet of the woman undetected. I found the brown of the mother’s eyes unremarkable, but her hair was long, like wisps of golden smoke. The breeze through the window created the illusion of her hair barely hanging on, like the dying leaves of a tree in fall. I measured her normal human height. (it’s hard for a fairy to tell these things) She seemed plump.

She’s still heavy from the pregnancy. I thought.

I peered across the room at the soundless crib. A quick flight through the window would let me look at the infant. That’s the human type of blunder, not the fairy’s way. I finally came up with the trick. It’s fun to prank humans. Why hadn’t I thought of this before?

Stealthy I moved to a position in the field next to a cluster of grapevines. I waited for the husband to come near. He crashed down the row of grapes. I released my spell. The vines sprang forth to entangle my prey underneath them. I smiled as he tried to dislodge himself. The spell was subtle although ancient, the vines healthy and many, a human didn’t stand a chance. That will subdue him for an hour or more. I expected calls for help and rushed back to the house.

I smiled proudly as the sounds of a struggle grew. The mother dashed out of the house to check on the disturbance. Now was my chance. I sped to the crib. I tugged the covers down to inspect the child. I could see no outward appearance of defects, mutations, or telling Banshee features. I began to cast a spell to reveal the infants true form.

“Iszera batogaloo, misdara da revealous cretarsemba,” I cast, looking for signs of the banshee’s magical voice.

I concentrated to maintain the spell to see deeper, past any illusions. I felt fairy dust pour off my body. I cursed my slow fairy magic. It takes time to break a banshee’s spell, time which I did not have. In the back of my mind I knew the dust might give away my presence to the family. My worry was threatening to break my concentration, this spell is not easy.

When I heard the mother return from the field the spell broke. Hiding in the rafters of the house, I punched the wood. The mother checked on her babe. She finished the meal just before the father came in covered in leaves.

How had he freed himself so quickly?

The father gave the mother a tight hug. His kiss on her check was quick, but his gaze lingered on her even after he took his seat at the table. She filled his plate with large portions, setting it in front of him. Steam swirled off the plates with a gamey aroma of deer. My mouth filled with saliva again. I might do something stupid if I couldn’t control my hunger.

He inhaled the food, he couldn’t enjoy the feast she provided. Bits of food fell to the floor while he ate. The father then moved the table and pulled out the bed. The infant laid there still quiet. The male sat on the bed. He looked at the female with food hunger in his eyes. The woman smiled. Her hair cascaded across her face as she tilted her head. He growled at her showing teeth. She slid to him. He tackled her down on the bed.

“eep” she cried

The male stripped, and forced her into nudity even as she attempted to flee the bed. She futilely tried to free herself from his restraint. He pinned her arms above her head. He began nipping at her breasts.

This is some sort of attack. I thought.

The man forced the woman’s legs apart with his thighs. She watched him as prey watches predator before they strike. The mother wore a calm helpless look of resignation on her face. I know nature, the woman did not have long to live.

The death of this woman would make my mission easier. I struggled with indecision. I wanted to keep the woman alive, but her death would mean less humans to interfere. I decided not to break my morals. I cast a spell.

There was a knock on the door.

The man stopped the violence to look around. The color flowed back into his eyes. The male animal was perplexed by the knock, he didn’t seem to understand what it meant. I cast the spell again.

There was a knock on the door, again.

The males face flushed red. He jerked his clothes from underneath her, grumbling. He slapped the bed in frustration. The woman burrowed into the sheets for protection. The killing blow prevented! I was very proud of how I understood and handled the situation.

Humans are just like any other animals. I smirked.

The man ripped the front door open looking for whoever interrupted his sport. The house groaned under his strength. I now understood why the vines couldn’t hold this human’s strength for long. I prepared another spell against this beast just in case. The woman put on her clothes underneath the covers, while the man banged around outside.

“Who’s there?” He yelled repeatedly.

No ones there human, I thought.

“Come back inside, they’re gone,” the woman finally called.

The man stomped into the house. Slamming the door behind him made bits of dust fall from the roof. He blew out all the candles, slipped into bed, and drifted to sleep. The woman stared at his back for many minutes crying softly.

She should be happy, I just saved her life. I puzzled

As the woman fell asleep, I focused on the quiet baby, his eyes following me as I floated down to the crib. I locked gazes with the child. I drifted closer to see the intelligent gleam in this so called human. He did not make a sound. I wanted to know for certain that he is the banshee’s child.

“Iszera batogaloo, misdara –,” I began to cast

The banshee child’s scream was horrid, but not fully developed to it’s killing potential. I was forced from the sky like a pheasant shot with an arrow. Dropping from the air saved me from detection, as the humans shot up in the bed.

While the woman nursed the child, I crawled under the bed to recover. The man crashed back to sleep. I didn’t doubt the origins of this child now. I waited for the family to lay back down to bed.

I collected fairy dust I cast to the ground earlier, arranging the dust in a circle around the crib. I etched eight symbols in the circle with great detail. Eight fresh leaves, from the fathers clothes, worked well as the nature element present in all fairy magic. An hour from dawn I finished the circle.

Dazed with hunger, I scavenged what scraps I could from the floor to eat. The last gel like mass, of hard and cold deer stew resisted my throat. As I ate my mind cleared of everything but the spell at hand. The spell required perfection to place the human child in the crib. I was now mentally ready to weave my magic.

In a low voice I chanted, “barbalama, tusorulagosmar, tiscamakpeck, eeknarboo masgonar.”

Fairy magic grew around the crib. I could feel it working. I felt it seek where the true child was hidden. My magic found the child. A dim pulse of light returned the human child to the crib. The changeling imprisoned in my enchanted pouch.

I checked the pouch to make sure Boglamore’s infant was secure. The infant banshee could do no harm in there. The elder’s spell would make the child’s voice harmless forever, when I returned. The human lay in it’s rightful place. I headed to the barn for a warm glass of delicious milk. It was my reward for fulfilling the vow to my fallen kinfolk.

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Wikipedia on changelings  states that our society use to put children believed to be changeling into ovens, and fires. Children with physical or mental problems were beaten or killed in an attempt to “cast out the demons”. If you believe that this type of child abuse is in the distant past I suggest you check out these articiles.

Unsolvedmysteries.com has a page for Exorcisms that have ended in death.

Couple Bit Child More Than 20 Times in Fatal Exorcism from Tyler Paper in 2008.

How about letting someone die because you believe they are beneath you? Fox news reports also in 2008 Woman, Baby Die After Doctors Refuse to Treat Them in India.

Reference site: What’s the Harm. If you want to look at pages of dead children with supersitious parents. Also worth checking out: Things Atheist didn’t do and Still More Things Atheist didn’t do.

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