the banshee

Celebration noises blanket the atmosphere. A small reunion. Friendly chatter. Distant, warm, and bright.  I’m floating around in chaotic harmony.  Moving through this space purposefully unnoticed. My space. My home.

We’re all happy to be there. Happy to be sharing this space. Some of them know each other. Some meeting for the first time. But all of them are my friends. And we are all on the same page.

Relaxed. Laughing. Sharing stories. Sitting down in a small room at the front of the house. All lights are off. Except in this room.

A couple of them leave. But the good mood is bottomless and self replenishing. So their absence goes unnoticed. They’ll probably be back. They always come back.

We carry on. Moments pass and our friends remain absent. We are not concerned. We don’t mention their names. We continue to enjoy ourselves in this tiny bright room.

And then a woman walks in. Abruptly and in a panic. She’s pale with long grey hair. Who is this lady? She wasn’t invited. She doesn’t appear to be a threat. She’s here to warn us of something. Danger. Her speech is frantic.

‘The police are here. Out front. They’re investigating a car parked in front your house. A neighbor must’ve called 911.’

I gotta see what’s going on. I open the front window of this tiny room and peer out. I see a dark hooded figure grabbing someone from the car. And then I’m spotted. The figure points at me and starts coming my way.

Shit. My friends are in that car. They’ve got them. It’s all over.

I feel helpless. They’re coming for us next. What do we do?

Shhhh. Stop the chatter. Turn off all the lights. Play dead.

The clock ticks.

I have to see. I can’t just sit and wait. I have to open a window. Maybe a side window. Maybe they won’t see me.

I tip toe to the bathroom and crack the window. Crack the screen too. I see nothing. I hear nothing. I open it wider. Wide enough to stick my whole head out. Maybe they’re gone.

All of a sudden, the whole house starts to move. It’s rotating counter clockwise. The south window is now facing east. I can’t believe this is happening.

I can see the driveway now. It’s filled with police. No, not police. People dressed in black. Dozens of them. And there’s a hearse with a casket. An elderly man lays down.  Eyes closed. A woman turns around and angrily looks at me. Then tosses flowers on his body.

I’m still rotating toward them with my head out of the window. Watching this funeral in my driveway. I feel like I’m causing a disturbance. A woman runs through the driveway. She is screaming and crying out in agony. Sending chills through my bones.

The house continues to rotate. I get a better look at the guests. Some of them are famous. This anonymous man must have known a lot of people. Too bad I never knew him.

The house continues to rotate. South window now facing north. The grinding of bricks against the pavement is loud. Screeching. And the early morning darkness slowly fades to light. My eyes begin to open.

I’m awake now. I survived the night.

Now I wait to see who didn’t.

Cause that’s how this works.

And sure enough. Days later, I hear the news.

The man is no longer anonymous.

He now has a name.

Too bad I never knew him.

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