The Songstress

Reading Time: 2 minutes
(Image created by Anais Aguilera using Firefly.)

In the small town of Nowhere,
on a swampy river shore,
appeared a young woman,
covered fully in gore.
She danced through the streets
with a twirling step,
blood dotting the ground
wherever she leapt.

The townsfolk were aghast.
What a spectacle she made!
No one dared near her.
No one dared look away.

As dusk came upon them,
and the last rays died,
she warbled an aria
that could make angels cry.

The people gathered ’round
’neath the light of the moon
as the woman sang cheerily
her nightmarish tune
of disaster and plagues,
of murder and of pain.
She sang of all ills
that could be life’s bane.

The people ran home,
locked their windows and doors,
but no walls blocked the voice
that none could ignore.
Time slowed to a halt
as night stretched for days.
And the town became veiled
in a permanent haze.

“Someone must stop her!”
the townsfolk exclaimed.
But no one stepped forward
to confront the strange dame.
Through each sleepless hour
the lyrics haunted their minds.
And they broke down and cried,
“This will be for all time!”

Then, a small child—
a boy of just eight—
worked up his courage
and marched out his gate.
“Oh, do come back!”
his mother called out.
But straight to the songstress
he continued his route.

The woman ceased singing
as he drew near,
bowed like an actress,
and grinned ear to ear.

The young boy asked,
“What joy do you find
in a song such as that
with so cruel a rhyme?”

The woman replied,
“Do you know who I am?
I rule over all
from the holy to the damned.
All beings are mine
from land, sky and sea.
For I am Death,
and all things flow to me.”

She took the boy’s hand,
and he tried and failed
to break free of her grasp
as his eyes glazed and paled.

A calm came over him
and he started to smile.
“How foolish we are
to find those lyrics so vile!
It’s a love song!—
a celebration of blights
that bring us together
in eternal life.”

He danced with the woman
as she whirled all around,
and together they skipped
down the street out of town.

Clocks spun out of control
catching up with the days.
The sun rose and set
in brief flashes of rays.

Then time slowed down
to its usual pace.
And in every window
was a tired, relieved face.
Their suffering was over,
(though one mother’s had begun)
and they ran outside, cheering,
like a victory had been won.

From the edge of the town
the songstress called out,
“I’ll be back for you all,
let none of you doubt!
By then, like this child,
I hope you will see
Life brings all ills,
but Death sets you free.”


Edited by a Fallon Clark and Sophie Gorjance.

A. L. Munson is a SFWA associate member and an HWA affiliate member whose work has appeared in Brigids Gate Press’s Seers and Sibyls anthology and Cosmic Horror Monthly. You can find her at or on Twitter @A_L_Munson.