The Banshee

Grace Jordan

She was born 7 pounds 3 ounces, a healthy baby girl, already with a mop of red hair and powerful lungs. She had come from the rich soil of the earth and her parents were keen on showing off their prodigy. They liked to dress her up in polka dotted hats, push her on the fraying, red swing that fell over the koi pond, hold her soft hands as they cooed at her. The girl ate kiwi as green as her eyes and jumped in piles of crisp leaves that held maggots and worms  

  

Her early days were filled with adventures, sculpted by her parents like a Venetian bust 

  

That is why her parents said nothing when her hair had reached down her back and she started talking to the tiny hole in the wall behind the unbruised white nightstand and the withering yellow wallpaper  

That is why they turned a blind eye to her aptness for guessing whose soul the grim reaper would collect next and her sleepy ramblings of women with no hair   

That is why the truth was never spoken between the patriarch and matriarch of the family, not even when blood as red as a ladybug’s wings dripped from her eyes and smeared on her fingertips because the one in the mirror is not me  

  

Instead, they tore off the wallpaper and painted the room a baby blue;   

they cut her nails and took down the mirrors;   

they fed her a tiny sprinkling of a panacea mixed with her daily supplements and vitamins 

  

She was slowly subdued, a ghost of the girl with dimply cheeks. She smiled less and didn’t grow upset when her parents turned the lock of her room as the sun was crawling into bed. She kept her growing nails covered in her dress pockets and gazed at the koi fish with uncaring eyes.   

  

Her parents were satisfied, having grown weary of the cries of anguish and blood smeared walls.  

They let her be in her own quelled world, almost forgetting the midnight songs of fright.   

  

She eventually grew quiet.   

 

So quiet, that when she muttered of the next soul the grim reaper would possess there were no ears to hear it and when she returned to the earth from which she had come there was no one to pick up her bruised body and mourn it. 

Spring DEI 2022