Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Banchee of Howells Mill Road

~~~You will with the Banchee chat and find her good at heart~~~
----------------------------------------------------------------------W.B. Yeats

He was dreaming of Madonna. For some reason, she weighed three hundred pounds and had a hair lip, but he was still aroused.

::Beep! Beep! Beep!:::

“Shit.” he growled as he hit his beeper and checked the number. It was the hospital. He rolled over and smelled the musky scent of his wife, snoring softly, and ruffled her blonde hair.


He rolled out of bed, pulled on his jeans and t-shirt before he walked into the bathroom to splash cold water on his face and brush his teeth. He dropped his head back and put eye drops in his eyes, squinted into the mirror and scowled.


Running down the stairs, he picked up his keys and headed for the garage. There was no need to leave a note for her, she would realize what happened when she got up in the morning. Such was the life of an “on call” emergency room technician. He hit the automatic garage door opener and rolled his eyes. It was raining - pouring- and it was black outside. It was the kind of heavy rain filled night that bounced no light from the high beams. The kind of night that sucked the soul right out of you.

He got into his truck and backed carefully out of the drive.

Howell’s Mill Road was a mess. The creek had risen in spots and the road was covered with standing water. Tree branches had fallen from the overhangs and he often had to swerve to miss a limb or an entire fallen tree. He put the car into third and carefully maneuvered past the fallen oak next to old man Daily’s place. Gritting his teeth, he made it to the bridge. It was too dark to see if the water was dangerously high, so he paused briefly and rolled his window down to listen for the sound of rushing water.

What he heard curdled his blood.

The wailing came from just ahead of him, rising in pitch and tempo and falling again. He checked his rear view to see if there was an emergency vehicle behind him. His sense of reason trying to overcome his absolute primal terror.

He put on the brake and sat there listening. He’d never heard a bridge give way before, maybe that was the noise? He turned on his high beams. They reflected fog back. He checked his rear view again. Nothing. And still the high pitched wailing continued. Whistling between his teeth, he put the truck into first gear and let out the clutch. He eased himself over the bridge and checked his rear view again.

There is a sharp right hand curve after the bridge on Howell’s Mill Road. One must be careful to stay on the right hand side and not drive left over the center line. Many an accident has occurred there. He navigated the curve carefully.

Then he saw her.

A young girl, standing in the middle of the road, her arms outstretch as if to find something palpable in the fog, screaming!

It wasn’t the kind of scream one would associate with fright or terror. It was a bemoaning sort of scream. Unworldly. The source of his horror.

He tried to avoid her, the car skidded. He pumped the brakes, but she seemed to move into his avoidance at every angle. He couldn’t tell if he hit her, he knew he should have, but his truck seemed to move right through her. Her wailing rushing over the hood, through the glass, into the cab, past his ears, through the back and out again.

He finally found his brakes and the truck stopped.

He hit his flashers and pulled the emergency brake. His head dipped as he struggled with the latch on the driver side door. He was having a bit of trouble opening it. Trouble or panic... one never knows.

Carefully opening the door and stepping out, he immediately checked behind the truck. Nothing. He checked the bed of the truck. He checked over the cab. He checked ten yards behind. He checked fifteen yards behind. But he could smell her on his skin.

Nothing, but the wailing had stopped.

Some things are never explained. Some things have to be experienced. Some things are better left untold.

I only know, when my husband came home that night, he had aged twenty years and his hair was completely white.


anna said...

Yikes! good halloween stuff Roberta. I would think there's a measure of some old ghost story in this. my skin is crawling

Susan Abraham said...

I'm sure this is fiction.

Great bit of story-telling! Not so much the sharp-paced plot which I thoroughly enjoyed but also the shiny vivid images.

take care

Minx said...

Neat Roberta, another side to your writing!

Roberta said...

Thanks Ladies! I was feeling a bit Halloweenie last night.

Shadowrite said...

NOW I'm ready for ghost stories around the fire and marshmellows melting in my mouth. Loved this Roberta.

Amin said...

Ooh, that was a bit hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck-raising.

I loved the ending, too.

dominic said...

Thanks, Roberta! You've just initiated the Halloween season!

Rich McDonough said...

"Some things are better left unsaid," indeed. Good story, Ro. I'm just having fun bouncing around the blogs of my old friends. It's really nice to have access to all this stuff. I'm enjoying it so much.