The full moon hung heavy in the night sky, flooding Willemina’s bedroom with a cool, silvery light that was battled by the warm glow of the bedside lamp. It seemed a fitting analogy for the contrast between the warm feel of life and the cool beauty of death.
Willemina knew she was dying. She should be frightened, she supposed, but she had lived a full life, and although there was no other person in the room at the hour of her death, she was not alone. Her bright eyes found the robed woman who sat at her side. Though her long, flowing hair was silvery in the dim light, her face was unlined. She regarded Willemina with a soft smile that warmed her cool blue eyes.
Banshee only appear dreadful to the living- with pale faces, and demonic red eyes. Those who stand on the border of the two worlds can see her true form. Attached to one family for the duration of her immortal life, her bond to the women in Willemina’s family was deep, like that of a mother or a grandmother.
Willemina relaxed into the silence that came after her last breath. The feeling of the beautiful woman’s hand in hers began to fade as she crossed over that threshold to what lay beyond. “God go with ‘ye mother,” the banshee said, in a voice like rain- cool, and soothing, and good for sleep. A single tear traced down her perfect cheek. “I will remember you when you leave this world.” Then Willemina was gone.
The woman placed a gentle hand on Willemina’s forehead, caressing her white curls fondly. Then she stood and pulled her dark hood over her silver hair. Gathering her power to her, she shifted to smoke, rising up through the roof of the house where Willemina had been born and had died after raising eight children, burying two husbands, and nurturing her children’s children’s dreams. A soft wail rose in her throat, and she mourned the passing of a woman who had no one to mourn her.
The neighbors shifted restlessly in their sleep, as the eerie keening sound reached them, miles away. A farmer, coming in late from his field, would recount the vision of the evil red-eyed, darkly hooded woman who hovered over the house, heralding death.