*Please be advised, these have not been edited. They are just as they were typed for the NaNoWriMo project.*
So if you’ve ever had children like mine, then you know stories aren’t limited to bed time. Especially at my house. So the morning rolled around (as it’s wont to do) and it was time for my boys to wake up. My youngest, after climbing grumpily from his cocoon of warmth pulled his arms into his nightshirt and asked, “Where are my arms?!”
To which I replied, “They’ve been eaten by the flesh eating banshee!”
After a small fit of giggles and laughter, my boys wanted to know more about this creature.
You see, long, long ago, there was a lovely woman. And madly, truly, deeply in love (insert ‘kissey, kissey!” from my five year old) with her beau. They were soon to be wed, but war struck their homeland and he was called off to defend their home. She waited at home, desperately fearing for his safety.
(“Why didn’t she just call him on her cell phone?”
“Honey, remember, ‘long, long ago?’… they didn’t –have- cell phones.”
“Oh. So why didn’t she send him a letter in the mail?”
“We’ll get there, just wait, alright?”)
Every day, she wrote letters to her love, telling him of the good things in their home land, hoping to brighten the days she knew would be terrible for him. And every night, she cried in fear that their good-bye the day he left would be their last.
One evening, the sky was crystal clear and the heavens appeared to go on forever before her. She looked at the stars in absolute wonder and saw a shooting star pass overhead clearly. Without thinking, she made a wish: “I would give –anything- that my true love return to me unharmed!”
Now frequently, it is said, that good fairies grant wishes. And just as frequently, it is said, that the Devil can’t resist desperation. Unfortunately for her, it was the latter listening that night.
Now the Devil is known for being cunning. And he’s also known for being wicked. It’s a common bit of knowledge that he enjoys the suffering of others. So it took him just a little bit to decide how he was going to grant her wish… in the most miserable way possible. And being outside of the time the rest of us live in, his mind was made up as she finished saying, “…true love return to me unharmed!”
In her mind, she heard the echo of a whisper, “anything?” and in her heart, she answered it, “Anything.”
(“She shouldn’t have done that.”
“Well, but she’s worried about her true love, and besides, she didn’t KNOW she was making a deal with the devil at the time.”
“I don’t like the devil. He’s really tricky.”
“That’s the truth, my love. That’s the truth. It’s a good thing to remember before you go making careless wishes, maybe.”)
Now it wasn’t long after that the letters she sent became fewer and fewer. Why?, you ask. Well, if you remember, she was sending him letter about the good things at home… but things were starting to go bad, and she didn’t want to burden him with troubles at home. See, it started with a terrible drought—the land just dried up and all the plants withered away and died—and with no plants to eat or water to drink, the livestock and farm animals began to wither up and die as well. And without fruits, vegetables, water or meat—well, the –people- began to die as well.
Now some few knew that death was clinging to the land and were fortunate enough to have family in other villages that they could go to, but, though they asked her to come with them, she would not. She wanted to stay where her love could find her when he returned.
Days passed into weeks, and weeks into months. The hunger became more than she could bear and she turned to cannibalism—consuming the flesh of the dead to stay alive. And all the while, the devil laughed in merriment at her plight.
“But did she ever receive letters from her love?”, you might ask. Well, she did at the beginning, but like hers, they’d become fewer and fewer until one day they’d stopped—and all she had to sustain her (other than the flesh of the fallen villagers) was her love.
And then the fateful day arrived. She stood in the window of her old home, watching, waiting, as she did every day, watching the rise of the hill for any sign. The man she loved returned to his village and his home. The war was over! She was about the rush out to greet him—when she saw that he did not travel alone. Riding a horse just a short step behind him was a beautiful young woman, from the land they had been at war with! And they rode together in an easy, familiar way. He must have said something funny, for the woman, threw her head back to laugh, then placed her hand on his arm—and the light caught the wedding band on her finger and flashed it brilliantly into the heart of the silent, unseen woman in the window.
She stood unmoving as they came closer and she heard the man she thought was her true love say, “And this is the village of my birth. I wanted to see it after I’d heard news that it had been abandoned. It hardly looks the same at all, from when I remember it…. Those were much happier days.”
They did not stop at her house, but passed without a glance. If they had looked, they’d have seen the jealousy and hate burning in her eyes as she watched them proceed to his father’s home.
They decided to stay the night. Just as the devil had planned. For you see, the devil had given her exactly her wish—that he should return unharmed… but she had not ask that he still love her.
And she plotted and planned to end their lives in revenge. She waited until the lights turned out and the house grew quiet, then she snuck inside, carrying a butcher knife. She slunk quietly, quietly up through the house, headed towards the bedroom she knew they would be in. She slipped in, silently, silently through the door they had not closed, and stood at the foot of their bed, preparing to plunge the knife into his deceiving heart—when the light of the full moon shone in through the window upon the married couple. He lay on his back, his arms wrapped protectively around his wife. She lay curled up to his side, her arm about him. And she knew in that moment that she still loved him and could not bring herself to do this terrible deed.
Instead, she turned and fled from their home running to the cliff above the lake, where she plunged the knife into her own breast and plunged into the water.
Now surely, an eater of the dead that the devil had spent so much time on would be destined for hell—but he had one more trick up his sleeve. He denied her the complete embrace of death and used her unrequited love against her as punishment for failing to kill the two innocents as he had planned.
And thus was she turned into the flesh eating banshee.
“Now, how about you find your arms and get dressed for the morning so you’re not late for school?”
....in retrospect, I might have to save this story for when my boys are a bit older...don't want to -completely- warp their little minds...
ah, who am I kidding. I'll probably read it to them tonight (;