In ancient folklore, there’s a creature known as ‘The Banshee’. You don’t see her, but you hear her. And if you hear her, it means your death is imminent.
But that’s just an old tale, a story to scare children at night, just like Hansel and Gretel or Red Riding Hood. Right?
I read up on all the Celtic tales before my trip to Ireland, honestly hoping I’d see a Hellhound while I was there. My parents thought I was an idiot, the way I went on about these cryptozoological creatures, but I didn’t care. I’d hunted werecreatures, the Mothman, and chupacabras. This would just be a check on the list.
I was jittery with excitement when I was showed my room in the small, homely, bed and breakfast. My room was tiny, but the window… The window was perfect. I pulled back the curtains and admired the view, a dilapidated castle and the beautiful countryside. I was beyond thrilled to go explore. So when evening hit, I packed a flashlight, cellphone, and hunting knife and left. I had to sneak out because of the curfew.
Everything was just as beautiful at night as it was during the day, and I simply enjoyed the animal calls and cool weather. My search however, turned up fruitless.
The second night was far more rainy than the first. That would not deter me, however, I just slipped on a raincoat and boots and left again. I’d never found night to be eerie, but the calm the darkness brings was just… Absent. Everything felt absent. I heard nothing, saw nothing. It was just dark and cold. Something had scared the animals away.
The third night, I considered not going out. There was a sick feeling in my stomach telling me to stay, but I didn’t listen to it. It was lovely again, the moon was shining, but again, it was quiet. I sat still with my camera, waiting. Something cold brushed the back of my head and I closed my eyes. I wasn’t alone. Convincing myself it was just a bird, I stayed until the feeling was gone, then went back to my room.
With only two more nights before I head home and nothing to show for it, I went out again. There were quiet chattering noises, and the occasional screeching sound. Obviously some animal was nearby and getting used to my presence. Suddenly, though, it screamed, something inhuman. And I bolted, not looking back until I reached the B&B.
The last night of my stay, I decided not to go back out… That was, until I glanced out the window and saw a large black dog running towards the ruins.
I grabbed my camera and rushed out… I wasn’t going to miss this chance. This must’ve been what I had heard yesterday, and I’d freaked and left! I ran in the same direction as the creature, which I could still hear, howling. In an instant, the noises switched to behind me instead of in front. And they were drawing closer.
I was no longer running for the photograph of a supernatural cur. I was running for my life. When I stopped running, the noises ceased altogether. I slowly turned around, and I just began to cry, the sick feeling inside escalating. There was a woman there, dressed in what appeared to be a hospital type gown.
But she was on all fours, head craned to look up at me. Her eyes were black, her skin was as pale as her dress, and she was dirty all over, I wasn’t even sure what color her hair was. I searched my pockets for something… Anything… But I didn’t even have my phone.
She made a slight, disgusting movement towards me and made a chattering sound much like what I’d heard the other night. I couldn’t form any words but ‘no’, which I practically whimpered, over and over.
And she repeated it in the same breathy tone.
“No… No…” She warbled before screeching when I moved. I froze in place as she crawled over on hands and feet. It was then, when she was close enough, that I realized the dirt all over her dress and skin, wasn’t dirt at all. It was blood, dried and cracking, the smell was repugnant.
“No. Noooo!” She cooed at me, standing to match my height, awkwardly hunched as if she’d never stood straight before.
Her face was disfigured, as if her cheeks had been ripped open from mouth to ears, then healed over again. She unhinged her jaw and opened her mouth, taking one step closer to me, then dodged to the side, taking down the monster that had creeped up behind me.
She fought bloodily with the Hellhound, tearing it apart with long unkempt nails. But instead of waiting to see what happened next, I ran. I couldn’t watch. I made it back safely.
I’m typing this on the plane on the way home, in a state of confusion and disarray. I believe that she, that broken, terrified girl, was the Banshee. After all, I’d heard her scream.
But to hear the Banshee scream means your death is imminent, and here I am, and she is my Savior. She attacked the demon that was meant for m… Oh God. That smell… It smells like smoke, something is burning… Everyone is yelling… And everything just went black.