“She looked the same. The blood, the terror, everything. Just without the voices this time.” I tell Miri as she searches thoroughly through her filing cabinets.
“Yes, but you say you heard some type of gas leak, or compressed air?”
“Yeah, you might want to have someone go check that room just in case. I didn’t hear it when I left but- “
“I don’t think that will be needed.” She says, finally pulling out a thin file. A grim look is covering her face as she sits down behind her desk. “God, I hope I’m wrong.”
She passes me the folder silently then leans back in her chair. Dread fills my stomach as my fingers play with the edge of the paper. Miri gives me a gesture to open it and I do, hesitantly.
There isn’t much inside besides a piece of paper and a photograph. The paper only has one short sentence on it.
“The Banshee; Harbinger of death”
I read it out loud, then look up for confirmation. Which I get almost immediately. My hands shake as I flip over the paper, looking for more words but there are none. The paper slips out my hands and cascades down to the floor.
My lips tremble as a photo appears in my line of vision. There’s droplets of blood and mud smudges on the corners of it. The photo is dark and for a moment I can barely make out what it is, but once I do my throat tightens.
It’s a picture of what I can only assume is a girl around my age. Her hair is dark and matted to her forehead. One of her eyes is rolled back in her head while the other is crookedly looking off into space. Echoes of quiet screams fill my ears as I look at her unhinged jaw, sitting painfully wide open. Her teeth are cracked and her tongue is swallowed at the back of her throat. If I look closely enough, I can almost see blood trickling out of her ears.
“What is this?” I ask, my voice barely a whisper.
“I think you know the answer to that.”
“Is this my future? If I’m this- this Banshee?” my voice is firmer now as I clap shut the file and plop it on her desk. “There’s nothing in there that tells me anything. Just a stupid picture and words that don’t make sense.”
“It’s the only information I have collected.”
“Why? What am I?”
Miri pauses, her tongue pops out to moisten her already wet lips. “You’re a banshee.”
“Really?” I exaggerate. “I didn’t get that from the paper you just handed me.” I can feel my sarcasm starting to drip.
“It’s a very rare and dangerous type of supernatural, Lark. Before the Awakening, banshees were still known to be born and recognized. They were just known by another name and they were only considered a danger to themselves.”
“What other name?”
I scoff aloud and stand up from my seat. Chuckling at myself to keep from completely freaking out.
“Oh, so not only am I wanted supernatural being but I’m also just insane. That’s great, yeah. That’s really flipping fantastic.” My heart rate is spiking and my hands are stinging, I don’t think I have any more callouses left to pick. “You said I’m dangerous… does that mean I’m a dark soul.
“No, of course not dear. The only time you are considered dangerous is when you scream, but if you can learn to control and contain it then-.”
“Wait, wait, wait, just wait. Can you maybe just go into a little deeper detail on what exactly I am, because I’m just a lot confused.” I say sitting back down in my seat and leaning forward a bit too much.
Miri sighs a deep breath and rubs her tight slit of eyes. “A banshee is -as the paper says- a harbinger of death. Able to foresee past, future and present deaths… at a price. The voices you hear are from beyond, a place I can’t quite describe nor envision. You scream not only to warn those around you of the death that is to come or near, but to cease the voices that seek to destroy you. There is such a thing as an evil banshee, though I don’t believe you have to worry about that. You contain none of the physical attributes.”
I take in the information slowly, sliding down further and further into my seat. Never in a million years would I have thought that this is what I would be. When this all first started, I thought I would be something cool. Like a witch or a pixie. Maybe even just nothing at all, that seemed fun to. This though, is on a whole other level.
“You said I’ll see this stuff at a price, what price?” I question, getting the sudden feeling that I’m being annoying with how many questions I’m asking.
At this point I’m no longer even in my chair. The floor has become my new sanctuary. This way I can feel a little more grounded, which is a little ironic considering how far under the ground we actually are.
“So that lady?” I ask, her terror-stricken face flashing before my eyes. It takes everything in me to not look around the room and make sure she hasn’t appeared again.
“A past or future death to come. There’s no true way of telling, but I’m sure you will know at some point.”
Miri comes around the desk and sits down next to me, giving me a few minutes to think over everything we’ve discussed. She lets me take my time, not rushing me in any sort of way. It’s nice that she realizes the same as me just how much of a bombshell this is. It’s hard enough to be a supernatural creature anyway, now I have to be some rare abomination.
“Tell you what,” She says after a long moment of silence. “A few of the guardians are needing to go get supplies tomorrow. You should join them. We usually don’t let newbies out for a few months just so they can acclimate, but I think you need a little fresh air.”
“Is it safe?” I blurt out in surprise.
“Oh, not in the slightest.” She wheezes, letting out a strange laugh I’ve never heard before. “Nothing to worry about though. Candace will cast a charm and we know of certain spots where SIFA doesn’t have magic detectors.”
I look around the room at the identical stone walls. Talking about the possibility of getting out here is making me jittery. I’m surprised anybody could survive long down here without going insane, and it’s worse for me because apparently, I’m more prone to it. Would going outside be worth it though, with the possibility of getting caught?
“This isn’t a prison, Lark.” Miri says to me, patting my arm. I can feel the coldness of her palms through my jacket.
“What if it happens again and I hurt someone?” I say, thinking back to all the people in the classroom. The glass sticking out of their skin and blood dripping out of their ears.
“Cala will be there so if anything happens, tell her right away and she’ll get you out of there.” Miri reassures, continuing to pat my arm. “Not being able to control the distruction around you doesn’t make you a monster. It makes you more human then you know.”