Clara storms into my room and slaps me. My cheek stings, but my wailing never wavers.
“Would you shut up!” my sister shouts.
“Clara, stop it!” Mother runs in and pulls Clara away.
“Make her stop! I can’t take this shrieking anymore!”
I’m not shrieking. I don’t understand why Clara won’t listen properly, to hear the sad, terrible beauty of my keening wails, to know their intent.
I couldn’t stop if I wanted to, and I don’t want to. Important things need to be said, and I need to say them. I watch my mother and sister argue, and my song adjusts, becomes wilder and more desperate, nearly breaking my own heart with the aching sadness.
They leave, and my song modifies again, muted now and hopeful. A painful hope, that my song is not of a fixed future but a future that could be changed.
They close the door and I know they’ve locked me in again. That’s fine. I don’t need to move. I can continue wailing, my high-pitched keen traveling beyond my walls with no regard for a lock.
I know something is wrong, even more wrong than before, when Mother and Clara unlock the door and enter with three men in long white coats.
“I can barely hear myself think,” one of them mutters, and another answers, “No need to think, just get the job done.” And then they’re holding my arms to my side, and the third man is forcing my jaw shut and tying a cloth over my mouth.
My eyes widen and my keen becomes muffled and indecipherable. Tears well in my eyes and the wail presses against the cloth as the three men lift me and carry me out the door.
Mother and Clara stand back to let them through, and I alter my wail, truly a shriek now, but they turn their faces aside.
Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads ~ Mythical Prejudice (Poetry and Flash Fiction with Magaly): write a 3-stanza poem or a very short story (313 words or fewer) that explores prejudice from the point of view of a mythical creature who is part of our modern world.
A banshee shrieks or wails to herald death. They’re often feared, though they don’t cause death – they simply let people know it’s coming.