Dust covered the rotting wooden floors of the long-deserted home. Bare tree branches scratched against the broken remains of glass windows in the upstairs bedroom. There was barely a sound throughout the abandoned house, except for the monotonous scratching and the slight shrill of a chilly wind as it blew through the empty rooms. Then suddenly there was a soft creak of footsteps from the bedroom closest to the winding staircase.
A girl in her mid-twenties with long, dirty, tangled hair crept her way out of an empty bedroom and into another. Her only source of light was a dim beam from the torch she held tightly in her left hand. A gun containing silver bullets was clutched firmly in her right. Her chewed nails were the only indication of nervousness about the task she had assigned herself. She had spent countless hours mapping, researching, installing simple motion sensors, and salting the house. One cut corner or slip-up and she would be in serious danger. Five prior tenants of the house were in the morgue, stone-dead, because of this bad-ass. Banshees were dangerous and unforgiving creatures, but an insane one was deadly.
There was a small cut on her wrist where she had inserted the O'Grady blood earlier. The tiny mark only proved she had spent many hours researching the attack in the local library, alas leading to the fact that banshees seldom showed themselves to people other than the descendants of the five major Gaelic bloodlines.
It was highly doubtful that something so fabled in history would fall for such a trick, but the girl was relying on the spirit's insanity to disorientate it into attacking. It was a gamble with high stakes, but it would be worth the risk. Come a week's time and the building would no longer exist - meaning the banshee would be free from whatever was tying it to the house, and able to attack anything or anyone it encountered.
The girl moved with an air of experience, grace and alertness. Every step demanded caution.
She froze as something snapped downstairs. After a moment of silence, she darted to the staircase and hid herself behind a decrepit section of wall. She risked a glance down the stairs.
The banshee had been tracked to the upstairs area of the house. What could possibly be lurking around the downstairs of a building she had so thoroughly investigated?
Whatever caused the noise was either hiding, or waiting.
Loud scratching sounds of wood scraping wood in the kitchen made her retreat her glance. She banged her head against the wall in disgust and frustration as she realized what was happening. It was a hell of a time for burglars.
Impatience stirred in her mind as she heard men's voices from the kitchen. For a second, she pondered whether or not she should shoot them - after all, they were breaking into an abandoned house, while risking the only available plan of hers to trap the banshee.
All that stopped her was the fact that any unnecessary noise - like a gunshot - would surely give away her position. Besides, she would rather let the men steal than have something more evil and deadly knowing where she was.
Whoever had just broken in was now moving around and making an unbearable din.
"You got anything?" a voice filled with uncertainty asked.
There was a pause, then a gruff voice said, "Something's coming up on the EMF… It's stronger out here."
Heavy footsteps were heard down the bottom of the stairs. Suddenly, a sharp set of beeps rang out as the motion sensors were tripped.
An overwhelming sense of panic choked the girl momentarily. The insane banshee would know it wasn't alone by now.
Something white swished past her ear. Three silver bullets shot through the air as the girl's reflexes reacted. The girl rolled out of the way as the banshee lunged at her. Its billowing white cape just missing her ear as it glided down the winding stairs. The two men scrambled up the steps, oblivious to the spirit.
Without hesitation, she leapt to her feet and ran after the banshee. Why it hadn't begun its death-inducing scream was an answer she already knew. It had already picked a target - if one of the men was a descendant of the Gaelic bloodlines then she was screwed.
A set of bullets hit the wall behind her, raining plaster over her head. The burglars didn't arrive empty-handed.
She ducked instinctively before diving for the stairs.
"Move it!" she ordered sharply and pushed one of the two men to the ground. He fell with a grunt.
The other man seemed startled as he turned around and cried, "Dean!"
The girl jumped the rest of the steps while reloading her gun. She burst into the kitchen and raised her weapon, trying to ignore the swearing from the stairs.
A single, dusty, cobwebbed table had been pushed astray from its original resting place under a window - newly broken by the intruders. The only other noticeable object was at the far-end of the large dark room - a heavy oak door leading to the basement.
There was another flash of white in a cobwebbed corner near the basement door. The girl let off a number of bullets, none of which hit their target.
"Drop the gun," a man yelled behind her.
She didn't listen. Instead, she froze and held her gun steady while trying to pick up any signs of movement in the corners of the room.
"I said drop the gun!" The man had a note of desperation in his voice.
The girl turned and saw two men in their twenties. One was holding a gun pointing directly at her chest while a shorter man stood behind him, blood gushing from a small cut below his left temple.
A light whistle was heard on the other side of the basement door and the hinges began to rattle. The girl and the taller man instantly trained their weapons on the door. The whistling stopped and everything became silent.
"Right," the short man growled at the other trembling man. "Dude, I thought you said that this place was-"
Suddenly, the door burst open and a roaring gust of wind pulled the girl into the deep, dark basement. The heavy door slammed shut.
In a state of panic, the girl realized that she was trapped. She had hoped that the banshee would choose her, but hadn't planned on being in the cold, light-deprived basement. The faint beam of light from her torch flickered then disappeared, throwing her into complete darkness.
Pounding erupted on the other side of the door.
She spun towards the sound, only to see the glowing, ghastly face of the banshee leering within inches of her nose. The mouth opened to reveal row upon row of tiny, sharp teeth. Saliva dripped from its gaping mouth onto the cold cement floor. The claw-like hands grabbed onto her shoulders, the sharp, broken nails digging into her flesh. Its wispy grey hair fanned out as the banshee let out a high-pitched scream.
The girl cried out in pain, covering her ears with her hands. Blood began to pour from beneath her palms as the deafening screech continued. Her heart raced and her head felt like it was going to explode. Pain ripped at her insides as she choked at the lack of oxygen in the room. Black dots blurred her vision.
The banshee's eyes boggled out of its skull as the scream reached a lethal pitch.
In utter desperation, the girl pulled her hand away from her ear and fired a single bullet into the banshee's skull. The screaming ceased immediately but the girl continued clutching at her ears. She swayed on the spot. The scream had left a loud, eerie ringing in her eardrums.
The spirit faded into oblivion. The girl tried to make her way to the door, but her legs wouldn't move. She sank to her knees and let the gun drop to the floor. She tried desperately to cling to consciousness, but the black dots continued to swarm. Her head felt heavy. She tried to stand up but her eyes closed and she felt her head hit the floor.
After everything, she was finally at death's door.
As the world began to fade, she dimly heard the sound of a door slam open and footsteps rapidly approaching her side.