A long time ago, I lived in a small village in an Eastern country. Our village was secluded and we lived our lives guarded. During the day, we were active with every-day tasks to keep our village bountiful and organized. It was serene. But during the night, we were cursed.
When the sun begin to set, we all must packed up and border ourselves in our safe home. The windows are barred with wood and our village chief mandate that we must never venture out at night. For during that time, a wraith roamed the street.
I was always curious. Ever since I was young, my parent would tell me stories about the “bansì”.
The “banshee” was never seen, but always heard. For her cry were known to stop a man dead on his track. Fear took his heart and it would burst upon hearing the horrifying wailing of Death. The story goes that she was once a beautiful bride dressed in glory white. Her voice was a lovely hymn that was soothing to hear. She was to wed a powerful man, whom she clearly loved.
But she never made it to her wedding. She was so beautiful that she was the caused of Lust among many men. A group of scoundrels invaded her home the night before the wedding. She had tried on her new dress when the invaders assaulted her. She cried in despair as they tore her fine dress and further more tore her precious womanhood. Each taking turn and desecrating her temple body.
The trauma left her shaken and demoralized. When the villagers came to her rescue and chased away the bandits, they found her a shell of her former self. The groom himself came to her with sadden eyes. He proclaimed that her body is spoiled and he cannot take her as bride. This caused her to let out a cry of despair. The wedding was called off, as the villagers left her to her lone self in the hut that she lived.
But she continued to wander in the village, following her groom and seeking his warmth. She asked him for forgiveness, because it was not her fault. But the groom was cold hearted. He came from a powerful family, who also did not want him to accept her filth. Her beauty faded as she became haggard through her broken spirit.
She wailed in sorrow, rapping at his house, asking to be let in. She cried for him to Love her. Her distressed caused her hair to turn white. And she wore the same torn dress everywhere. She wailed throughout the night, rapping at his door. This angered the Father of the groom. The most powerful man in the village. He ordered her to be banished from the village.
Now, the villagers have taken enough of her sorrow and viewed her as an annoyance. They chased her out with hatred and cruelty. They beat her away like a dog until she was driven out. They warned her to never come back, for they will sentence her to death.
She cursed them for their cruelty. She shrieked with great fury at them, causing their ears to split. Her sonic scream damaged their spirit and caused their heart to burst. It was her rage that killed them.
She was not heard for many days. She disappeared into the woods. Until a year passed on the anniversary of her wedding night. She returned again, wailing her sorrow cries and rapping on her groom’s door. The Father, in anger, retrieved his blade and was ready to cut her to pieces. But when he opened the door, there was no one there. The wailing faded into echoes.
And another year passed, with the same result. Her rage continued to haunt the village, as they continue to hear the sound of her crying echoing in the street. And the rapping of her long fingernails against the wooden door.
The family had enough and they moved away. But the banished bride did not know and she continued to rap at his door. Only when the house was laid bare and empty of existence, did she moved from the house and began rapping on everyone’s door, looking for her husband. Her visits became frequent, and she would appear continuously. It was never a night she would stop her torment.
When I was young, and was just five years old, I heard the story for the first time. I was not afraid. I felt sadden for her fate. Our parents have taught us to always come home before dark. And we must always be in bed when the moon was at its highest. My mother had covered my head with many layers of fur and blankets. Our windows barred with insulated sheep-skin. My parents and I would huddle together in bed and layered ourselves to protect from the sounds. I was always given a warm mix of drinks that would always knock me right to sleep.
It was not until when I was a young teen, did I dared to stay up during the night. My parents, through their teaching, allowed me to understand the fear that the adults have been through. So I sat with them, all through the night. It was the same night of her wedding anniversary. A very harsh night every year. We sat listening to the soft wind. It was not long when we heard a soft wailing. And the soft wailing then became harsh shrieking.
The sound flowed through our home. The shrieking was like nails biting against steel. Our eyes held shut and our hands covering our ears. My heart leapt forward. I choked on my own vomit that somehow rose up through my chest into my throat.
But the screeching was momentarily as the sound passed our house and forwarding toward the next. I was almost relieved that the screeching had passed. But she gave out one final bellow of torturous sonic wave of her RAGE. The house trembled greatly and I was knocked to the floor. My ears popped and I lost consciousness.
The next morning, I found a despairing sight before me. My parents did not make it this time. Blood had seeped from their ears as their head imploded. I cried my sorrow. I wailed, softly. So softly that I could not hear through my muffled ear. I staggered out of the house, and I heard others crying. For Death had come and took with her others. This was our curse. The village we lived in.
But we continue to strive. For we have no other places to go. It was just normalcy for us. Nightfall meant to seek shelter from the “banished” bride and her rage.
Years passed and I became a young man. Each year, I followed the villager’s advice on how to sound-proofed my house. We created ways to sleep through the event. There were many herbal drinks that would knock a man out. Alcohol helps also. And goat-skin fur to protect our ears as we sleep through the night.
It was one night that have happened, that changed my perception of the Demon Bride. I was sound asleep, after having consumed a bottle of hard liquor. The house was insulated along with my windows. But I woke suddenly, as the alcohol ran its course. Sleep faded away and alertness overcame me. I thought I heard someone knocking. A light rapping at my window. The window was barred up with wood and a scratching was followed. Long fingernails rapping and scratching along the lines of the wood.
I was not afraid.
I proceeded toward the window and I bravely set my ears to the wood. The rapping stopped, and I heard whispering.
“Let me In.”
I stepped back, cautiously. Standing in the dark room, staring at the wood barred window. I put on some light clothing and made my way down the stairs. Suddenly, the rapping appeared from the back door where the kitchen was. It was as if the rapping was following me. In the cold kitchen, I listened for the whispering. I waited for the wailing.
But instead, I heard a soft voice singing a soothing melody. Her voice was like the wind, breezing into my spirit. She sang her sorrow. She called for her husband. My heart melted and my tears fell. I cried with her, almost to the point of my own wailing.
The sound traveled from the kitchen, toward the front door. And her nails scratching at the wooden entrance. She called to me. And like a Siren, she took controlled of me. I found myself moving toward the door, and my hands gripping the knob. Her voice rose into a higher pitch, beckoning and urging. Peaceful and comforting.
I released the lock and the door swung open. I was greeted by night. The cool wind kissed my cheeks. But the song that was sung faded into the wind.
I took a brave step forward, out into the Night, leaving my safe haven behind. I wandered the empty streets, listening to the wind. I wanted to hear her song again. I wanted to feel her sorrow.
I made my way toward the old abandoned house that was once the groom’s family home. It was rubbles now, but no one had dared torn it down. For they know that the banished woman will destroy the entire village with her horrible shriek. Perhaps they should have destroyed the house, so the banished woman will have no reason to return. How foolish of the elders.
I stopped in front of the gateway. Through the darkness of the house, I thought I saw a hint of white. The song rose through the rubbles of the house. A beautiful serenade. But the song was then interrupted by her sobs. Her sobs led to her wailing. And her wailing became violent as her voice picked up volume. The speck of white rose up from the darkness and I saw stringy white hair flowing within an eerie breeze.
I turned to run. And I ran as the wailing brought fear into my heart. I felt a violent gush of wind blowing against my back and I heard fluttering of cloth snapping in the wind. Her wailing approaching close and my ears started to ring. My breath caught in my throat but I pushed forward, aiming for my house. But a wave of sonic screech erupted inside my ears and I fell unconscious on the ground.
Morning arrived and the sun seeped into my closed lids. There were murmurs around me as the early morning risers gathered before my prone body. I felt someone nudged me with their foot. My eyes opened and I was greeted by many faces.
I gathered myself and muttered an apology for causing a scene. Their face revealed distrust. I returned home and made sure that my house was well insulated. I did not want to ever again venture at night. But I must have lied to myself. For when Night fell, I hesitated to go home and lock up as everyone else. I waited for the chief to be the last to shut in. As the village went dark and the villagers snuggled in their cocoons, I emerged from my hiding place.
I wandered the street. In the dark.
I noticed scratch mark on some of my neighbor’s door. I traced it with my own nails. It emitted a scratching sound. I heard shuffling inside and thought to myself, that house is not well insulated if I could still hear sounds coming from inside.
I ventured forward. I roamed the street, daring the banished woman to reveal herself. I sat in the village square and waited.
And then I was bestowed with a beautiful song. A song so soothing that I soon succumbed into slumber. I did not hear anything else beside the softness of her voice, singing musically with the wind.
I later awoke again by morning. But I was greeted by an angry mob, poking and pushing me awake. There was a commotion at one house. A woman was wailing sorrowfully as they brought out a body wrapped in white sheets. It was her husband whose heart had burst in his chest. The villagers then accused me of having responsibility with the death. The chief accused me of acting strangely and asked why I was sleeping in the village square.
I told him I had no idea what happen and blamed it on a sleeping disorder. I told them I do not recall stepping out of my house.
“The demon bride has put a spell on you!” accused one of the villages elder.
Now this caused the rest of the people to panic and cursed me. They want me banished from the village. The chief agreed that I cannot dwell in this village anymore. I grew angry and told them I have lived in the house for so long. My family was their friend. How could they do this to me?
But the chief had called five strong men to subdue me. He had decided to allow me to pack my belongings and leave. I was then forced back to my house and gather my personal effects. I stepped out of my house with just minor possessions. The villagers had waited to see me off. I noticed some were carrying household items that could easily be used as weapons.
I calmly said my goodbyes to those who knew me. But they have forsake me and denied my goodbyes. Their eyes revealed distrust and hatred, believing I am tainted and they cast their eyes down from mine. I was calm. But sadden, also. I told my friends that I forgive their insult and turned my back on the villagers.
I was escorted by the five men into the woods where the village ends. They escorted me further and further till the end of the woods where a stream divided the forest. I thanked the five men for their escort. They nodded to me with sullen eyes.
As we began to part way, I suddenly had a feeling of Dread. From atop the trees, I heard the faint flapping of cloths, snapping in the wind. Something fell from the sky, swiftly and seized one of the men, pulling him back up into the trees. His horrified scream scratch through the woods. We looked up and noticed a horrifying sight as a hideous creature tore into the flesh of the young man. Blood drips like raindrops onto the canopy floor. His scream died in a choke as the demon feasted. The four men screamed in terror and started to run back to the village.
I too screamed in fright and followed the men back to the village. We broke through the woods and into the village, where the crowd had not yet scattered. They saw our faces filled with horror. The chief grabbed one of the men and tried to calm him. The young man stuttered and revealed our discovery in the woods.
“Gwai!” he screamed. “< DEMON>”
The chief shook the young man in anger. He said that we were foolish for believing in such things. But I questioned why do they not believe in demon, but they believe in the wraith?
The chief reminded me that I am banished and he will send me out himself for bringing such disruption in the village. But before he could place a hand on me, I heard the sound again. The flapping of cloths in the wind. I ducked as a shape emerged from the woods and seized another villager and taking up in the air to feast atop of a tree trunk.
The village noticed the creature and chaos ensued as everyone ran for cover in their safe house, while the creature sprayed body parts and blood from its mouth. I too scurried back into my home and locked the doors and barred the windows.
Terrifying minutes passed, as my breath ran rapid. I dared myself to peek through the gap of the window. The street was deserted. But a minute later, the chief’s door opened and the brave man stepped out, carrying his fine bow. He was followed by other brave souls whose determination was to destroy the creature.
Four heroes among a village of cowards! I swung my door open and I too stepped out bravely. I joined the men, who eyed me with content. I was weaponless and appeared to them useless.
The chief accused me of bringing this atrocity upon the village. I revealed that I then would aide in ridding it. We faced the direction where we last saw the fiend. Our eyes took moments to adjust to the shadows. It was there. Sitting motionless between the branches of the tree. We couldn’t make out its feature. But when the shadow moved, we caught a glimpse of its rotting face.
It bore long, curve fangs that protrude from its bloody lips. Its eyes were emblem of fire. Stringy black threads hang from its exposed skull. Its fingers were long with even longer black nails, curved like talons. Its clothes were black and sodden with grime. It watched us like a hawk watching its prey.
The chief raised his bow, and let an arrow fly toward the devil. The creature flew forward. The arrow missed. And he was then above us, reaching with his curved fingers. A blade appeared from one of the men but sliced only air as the creature dug its talon into the face of the man. He screamed in pain as the creature swiftly ripped his face off.
More arrows flew at the fiend as it balanced itself in the air. It dodged this way and that way. Striking with its talon. It retreated backward in the air, toward the safety of the woods. But an arrow caught it in the chest and the fiend fell to the ground. The chief and the remaining men were upon it with blades slicing at its carcass.
But the devil got back up and grabbed another man and tore into his neck, slurping and lapping up the blood and flesh. The street echoed the man’s cry of agony. The chief kept shooting his arrow and keeping a safe distance. I watched cautiously. I retrieved the blade that fell from the first victim and came at the demon, jamming the entire blade into its back, which exited and penetrated the man it was devouring.
The demon released the man who was stapled to it. It leapt backward with the sword and also an arrow in its chest, once again trying to retreat. The chief’s arrows flew once again and I felt one zip past my face. The creature took flight and managed to hid itself in the woods, in cover. The chief wouldn’t allow the creature to flee, as he and the last man gave chase.
I followed, retrieving the other man’s fallen sword. We watched the trees, watching the demon’s silhouette moving from one tree to another. Arrows shooting only at shadows. But I could clearly hear the flapping of its cloth in the wind as it maneuvered within. As we got deeper and the branches of the tree blocked the mid-day sun, darkness aided the Devil.
All of a sudden, the demon flew right at us from the shadow and swept the last man. It shred through him with teeth and talons. It did not bother to devour the pitiful man, leaving the carnage behind as it disappeared into the darkness. The chief himself shooting his last arrow at the empty air. He cursed and grabbed the blade from my hand.
I had a bad feeling that the chief was not going to make it. And the Devil will take us all. It was then, as our heads were looking up at the trees, that the demon popped from the ground itself and took the chief right upward into the air. I dropped when I felt the earth opened up. I heard the sounds of scream and slurping as the creature devoured and feasted on the chief’s body.
I staggered back up, knowing that I was weaponless now. I made a run for the streams, but something dropped in front of my path. The mutilated body of the chief fell in front of me and I skidded in the damp ground. I stared at the accusing eyes of the chief, before gathering myself and continue my flight.
The flapping of cloths snapping in the wind followed me and grew louder and closer. A gush of wind nipped my neck and I dropped to the floor, tumbling. I felt heavy mass brushing my head and I saw the shadow shooting forward as the creature missed me barely. I continued to run.
Dear God, I ran for my life! Knowing that the Devil will devour me and digest my soul. I came to the stream, then and trudged through the flowing water. My body ached and I was extremely exhausted. My feet got caught in the sludge and I lurched forward with my face kissing the mud. I pushed myself up but I was weak and collapsed into the muck. I knew I could not make it.
I was filled with sorrow and regret for not living my life. My heart ached and I cried with dry tears. I tried to pray to the Gods to aide me. But I felt the piercing sharp nail of the gwai gored into my back. It ripped my flesh and I cried in agony. I wailed in terror. Then, I smelled the rancid breath of the fiend before its teeth tore into my neck and shredding a huge chunk.
I shrieked horribly. The woods echoed my cry back to me. It grew louder and stronger. A powerful surge of shrieking. The ground trembled from its pitch. I felt the demon’s weight off of me. My head barely lifted upward to catch a brief glimpse of white before my vision soon succumbed to dark.
I screamed. It was what brought me back from Death. My body burned with fire and I ached all over. I inhaled a huge gulp of air and let out another agonizing wail. I could not lift my legs or arms. I did not have the strength to lift myself off the ground. I laid on my belly in the swampy mud, soaked with my own filth. I have died, but yet I continue to exist. Only to live with burning agony.
My throat was dried and I thirst for something. I let out a dry squeal from the pain that throb my neck and back. My body soon felt light, as if I was floating. My vision slowly blurring, coming in and out of focus. Then, I lost awareness again.
Something sweet fell onto my lips, and my tongue quickly lapped the juice that flowed into my mouth. I stirred and I lurched forward to grasp at the nectar. Warm flesh pressed between my mouth as I extract the glorious liquor from its source. My eyes opened slightly, and focused upon the cave dwelling. I stared at the white flesh that was smothered on me, and I noticed where my mouth was feeding from.
She nursed me until I drank my fill. All the while, she hummed a soothing song to me. Her voice was so soft and beautiful. Her soft hands grasp my head and pulled me away from my suckling when I drank her dry. My head then was placed between her soft twin bosoms as she caressed the back of my head. She stroked my black hair with her long black nails, carefully. She continued to hum.
The wound on my neck tingles, but surprisingly it felt a lot better. My eyes opened but yet, I did not dare to look at my savior. She stopped humming. Carefully, I was laid back down to rest and I felt her body gliding away from me, into the shadow of the cave. I closed my eyes again and I sleep the little slices of death.
I awoke again, in the dark. But yet, it did not look dark in my new dead eyes. My savior’s presence was absent. With new energy and strength, I rose from the rock platform that was my resting crib, and moved eloquently within the shadows. I felt every particles of air rushing through me as if I was gliding. And there I was, out in the woods again. I emerged from the cave dwelling like an arrow flung from its bow.
The shadows reflected crystal brightness of multitude colors to illuminate the darkness. I stared at the black sky, which appeared like twilight. My ears picked up the crinkling sound of leaves falling. And there, I heard heavy breathing on top of a tree, several feet away. Heavy rasp breathing that revealed lustful hunger of all things earthly. Its hunger, that I could sense, was filled with malicious lust. The devil himself was driven with mechanical gluttony.
There was no soul in that creature. It lived to feast and destroy our flesh. I was filled with anger and disgust at that fiend. And I felt a need to obliterate its existence. I took to the trees, leaping gracefully from branch to branch. And I hunted for that demon that ruined me. I followed its raspy breathing, not aware that the devil might want to entrap me. Yet once again, I found myself under something’s control.
I stopped atop of a branch, looking through the many layers of leaves. It hid in the bushels. Its eyes well hidden from my view, but I could still hear its breathing. I stared at its direction for a long time, my body paused and ready to strike.
But suddenly, it fell atop of me and took me down spinning toward the ground. It dug its talon claws into my back again and twisted upward into my spine. I hollered with pain. But that was cut short when I landed on the ground with my ribs to break my fall. The force knocked the wind out from my lung and my shrieking cry was cut short. The creature tore at my back again, shredding my flesh and trying to finish me off.
Her shrieking cut through the trees and I felt its wave of energy rippling through my body. The creature staggered back but did not let me go this time. It took me with it, lifting my body off the ground with its talon still embedded in me. I moaned in pain as I caught a glimpse of white coming through the trees. She shrieked again, directing her energy blast at the creature.
White hair blowing behind her, she glided toward us. Her fingers stretched out, pointing her ten fingernails outward. The creature released me finally and I fell to the ground again, my ribs cracking. It leapt toward the wraith with its own talons stretching forward.
She blasted him with a shriek, causing him to become unbalanced in the air. She snapped her neck forward and her long white hair shot to the fore, catching the demon and wrapping around its neck. She snapped her head back, dragging the demon to the ground. The creature grabbed at the white locks and shredded it with its claws. The wraith lurched backward, loosing her balance.
The devil hopped forward and took her with its claws, gripping her thin neck. She choked a shriek. I came right behind the fiend and leapt on his back. I bit down upon its rotted neck and with great fury, I tore apart its repulsive flesh. Black liquor seeped from its wound and I lapped it up, tasting its bitter essence. I tore bits and pieces of its flesh, wanting to ravage its structure.
The creature released the wraith and tried to reach behind, at me. I felt its claws scratching my forehead. It struggled with me, on its back as I tried to choke it from behind and beating it with ferocity.
The wraith composed herself and took a gliding step back, readying a very powerful shriek. The fiend, distracted by me on top of it like a pesky mosquito buzzing in its ears.
Her shriek began low, as if coming from a distant memory. It built momentum from the ground up, as slight tremors rose from the earth. Then, the high piercing screeching reached to the sky and bounced from the woods. It grew deafening, a high velocity pitch that shuddered the trees. Time slowed, as the fiend and I froze from the sonic wave of the squeal. Our flesh rippled in its effect and my ears suddenly muffled. I dropped from the demon and covered my own ears, as my head and my stomach throbbed with anguish.
The fiend staggered from the rippling wave. Its eyes bulged from the piercing sound. It stretched its claw fingers forward, reaching for the wraith. But the wave pushed him back. Her pitch reached higher and stronger, taking with it, shreds of flesh from the fiend. Its skull exposed from the flesh that flew from its hideous face.
The banished woman shrieked continuously without a pause, pushing the fiend back and its sonic wave cutting the demon’s flesh apart. The devil still continues to fight forward, inching closer. It then leapt forward with new willpower and finally grasped at the wraith. Her shriek cut short and the air was still. The demon chomped down on her pale neck and ripped her flesh apart. She gagged from the open wound.
The fiend dug both its claws into her side to keep her in place, while its jagged teeth sawed at her open neck. Its tongue licking her pale blood that oozes from her gaping hole.
“Nooooooo!” I shrieked with new strength from within. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
I shrieked with great rage. The shrieking grew louder, the pitch piercing. Its waves rippling. I brought forth my inner strength and pushed forward through the screeching. A powerful surge split open and the trees uprooted. The earth ripped apart. The blast hit the fiend with great velocity and its flesh flew apart. The skeleton creature wobbled and releases the wraith, which dropped to the ground.
The devil turned to me, its shattered flesh hanging from its bones. It’s eyes bulging and its mouth sneered with curved fangs. A surprised look on its corpse face. I shot forward and penetrate its open skull with my fist. Its skull cracked from behind. The shaking skeleton creature dropped to the ground. I was upon the beast and pounded its skull and bones. I let my wrath take control and I smashed the creature to bits. It ceased to struggle from my beating.
The fiend became motionless.
The wraith also laid motionless, as I scampered toward her. Her white flesh ceased to glow. Her face was that of an angel. I never had the chance to look upon her face when she had saved me from my own death. Now, her face was calm and beautiful. Her eyes slowly opened and I took her head into my arms. Her flesh was cold, not warm as before.
“You’re not a ghost…” I said.
“Not yet . . .” she whispered, closing her eyes.
I cried for her, and I wailed my sorrow song. Her glow faded from her mortal shell, but my own flesh glimmered slightly. I held her for so long as day came, until she died in my arm. My own flesh turned pale and through my grief, my hair turned white. I wailed in the morning dawn. The woods echoed back my song.
© Copyright 2017 Sammy Wang Yang. All rights reserved.
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