Author Topic: The Banshee- 358 words- Horror Flash Fiction  (Read 537 times)

Offline invisible.hand

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The Banshee- 358 words- Horror Flash Fiction
« on: June 18, 2019, 03:56:59 PM »
This is the first story in a collection that I'm writing. I'm really just wanting everyone's opinion.

An aged desolation,
She sits by Old Shannon’s flowing,
A mother of many children,
Of many children exiled and dead,
In her home, with bent head, homeless,
Clasping her knees she sits,
Keening, keening!
—John Todhunter “The Banshee”

The Banshee- she wails outside my door. Someone in this home will die, soon. I can hear her screams of anguish, they burrow into my mind, like a nail being driven into a plank. Madness is clawing at me, I do not know if I can stand this much longer. If only the one who is to die will just hurry up. It could be any of us, my mother tries to soothe us all by telling stories of her youth in Ireland. The Banshee, she said, wailed for five days before the death of her grandmothers. Another five days before her grandfather.
Alice asked Mother how do we know which one of us it is? Who does she wail for? Father, pacing the floor, looked at Mother; we all were thinking it. Little Alice, sweet little Alice, she had been sick since birth. A cold that never ended, her lungs weren't growing right in the womb the doctor said. It seemed that even out of the womb, they would not grow. The fresh air of the countryside is what she needed, the air would stimulate growth of her lungs, that's what Father said. But we had been here for two years, two long years and the cold still hadn't ended. Little Alice, most certainly, was the for whom the Banshee wailed.
But how does one tell a small child she is to die? The thought drives me deeper into my budding madness. I cannot handle the nightly screams anymore, it has been three days. I leave my family and take residence in a boarding house in town. Blessed sleep will surely come to me tonight.
As I lie down to sleep, I suddenly remember my mother's stories, five days the banshee wailed. Five days before my great grandparents were greeted by Ankoú. The thought of being greeted by Ankoú fills my mind.
The Banshee- she wails outside my door.

Offline Dustin91

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Re: The Banshee- 358 words- Horror Flash Fiction
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2019, 11:29:02 PM »
Hello invisible.hand,

Thanks for sharing. Your story kept me engaged to the end. I forgot I was reading for a second or two.

A couple comments, if I may:

- There is some room for improvement regarding punctuation.

- Little Alice, most certainly, was the one for whom the Banshee wailed. <---missing word

- The sequence didn't jive where my mother tries to soothe us all by telling stories of her youth in Ireland but then she goes on to tell the completely horrifying story of how the banshee killed her grandparents. How could this story possibly be construed as "soothing", especially given the family's situation?

- I also found it odd how the narrator could leave his family in such a state without a shred of remorse. Perhaps being followed by the banshee to the boarding house is punishment for his selfishness, but there are no real clues to help us arrive at this conclusion.

- Wouldn't it make more sense if it had been four days before the narrator leaves, instead of three? It's already been established the banshee waits five days to take a life. It makes more sense that the banshee would keen for four days, the narrator would leave, and the banshee would follow him, arriving on the fifth night, right on schedule.

I can't rule out the possibility that I'm missing some key folklore context, or that there is an unmentioned word limit for this flash piece which might cramp the story, but at any rate that's my impression of the piece.

Welcome to the Circle. I hope you'll stick around and share some more of your work. I recommend introducing yourself on the Welcome Board, and then taking some time to read and offer your thoughts on others' work. Proper etiquette encourages members to read and comment on 3 posts before posting a story of their own. Guidelines can be found in the Stickies posted at the top of the boards.

Hope this helps,

Offline invisible.hand

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Re: The Banshee- 358 words- Horror Flash Fiction
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2019, 12:14:39 PM »
Thank you for your critique! I want to clear up something, a Banshee does not kill people. A Banshee is nothing more than a harbinger of death. Her wailing/keening serves as nothing more than a warning that a death is going to happen.
I may have not clarified that very well in the story. But it does make more sense to have the Banshee wailing for 4 days instead of 3, especially with death occurring on the 5th day of the wailing.
Thanks again!