The Devil exists and has to raise an army. Though he can get your soul, Satan can't make you join his ranks. So he has a new game to win the things he wants.
Outside the weather had gotten humid and hot, the sweat stuck the strands of hair on Kell's head against the back of her slick neck. Nightfall was coming soon, and though they weren't deep in the Louisana swamps they were deep enough.
She sat on the uneven porch of the hot exterior of the home, and could hearing the humming of voices from the inside. The sound ran down her back like ice water, and she tried her best to ignore it.
"Do you hear that chanting? It's the voodoo again." said her sister, a tiny replica of Kell. She had the same thin blonde hair and deep blue eyes. It saddened Kell to know that at the tender age of eight, her little sister already knew what their mother was doing inside.
When the child support check had came in the mail, Kell had known this was bound to happen. Their mother couldn't stay sober for more than a month, and now she was inside their low rent trailer sniffing powder up her nose and shooting liquid in her veins.
Tonight she had brought along her newest friend, a so-called satanic voodoo priestess and they we're busy raising the devil in the midst of a drug binge.
Kell pulled the water bottle of lemonade from the backpack she'd brought out to the porch when she had been told to "go play outside." She handed the drink to her sister.
This wasn't the first time that this had happened. "I know Callie, just ignore it and eat another sandwich." she said while pushing the aluminum foil wrapped peanut butter sandwich at her sister.
In the past fifteen years of Kell's life her mother had been no good. She hadn't been worth anything as a teenager, and she wasn't worth the garbage outside the trailer as an adult. She meant even less as a mother. She'd been a regular of the occult, trying to find a magical cure for all of her self-created problems. She sacrificed her body and youth for drugs, and her daughters to dabble in something that wasn't real.
Her grandparents had stepped in more than once, but each and everytime that CPS came around they would call first. That gave Kell's mom enough time to sober up and clean the house a little bit. It's surprising how often CPS can overlook a neglectful mother.
With childish curiousity, Callie asked "Do you think the Devil is going to get her?" The little girl was chewing at her lower lip, and even though their mother wasn't worth a tear, Callie didn't know that yet. Her eyes glistened over, and Kell could just imagine the picture of Satan that Callie had probably conjured into her head. The red skin, and animal horns that proturded from his skull, all the way to the cow hooves on his feet.
Hell was real, they'd been living in hell their entire lives, but her sister didn't need to worry about the Devil. The Devil had yet to make an appearance in her mother's life even though she often begged for him to do so. As if he would take mercy on her, or something. Mostly it was the drugs talking.
The chanting grew louder, and though Kell couldn't make out the words she didn't care to know them anyway. "The Devil doesn't exist." she answered Callie's question. She wanted to wipe the sad look from her sisters face.
She'd do anything to see Callie smiling and happy like the kids in the clothing store ads that often found there way from being thrown out a car window and through the trees to Kell's yard. She'd been a teacher, mentor, sister, and protector for more years than she could remember. She'd do anything for Callie.
She was the one steady force in her younger sibling's life. The one person that would stay when everything else fell apart. She didn't have the time to waste doing normal teenage things, she had a responsiblity to someone that was still too young to take care of themselves.
The night had fallen upon Louisana, and the two sat in silence and listened to the rythmic droning from inside the trailer. The humidity had finally let up, and Callie had stopped crying over the heat and had given up to just playing with an old barbie doll that had once belonged to Kell.
The slide of leaves alerted Kell long before Callie noticed the thick snake that was slithering close to the bottom stair of the porch. The snake wasn't dangerous, no more than an overgrown rat snake.
Kell watched her sister stop playing with the nearly bald barbie doll. The sound became more harsh as the snake first tried to flop his body into the bottom stair like he was trying to climb up onto the porch with them.
"Is that a snake?" asked Callie as she continued playing with her toy, her ears picking up the sounds instead of her eyes catching the sight. They had seen plenty of snakes in out here, but Kell had never seen a snake trying to climb the stairs. Especially when it was obvious the creature could hear people, and snakes we're supposed to be scared of people.
Another tremble of leaves grabbed Kell's attention and she noticed yet another rat snake . They were probably coming towards the trailer to get underneath where water collected and rodents lived.
Kell watched in awe as the snake near the bottom step tried several more times to crawl up, then she picked up the crinkled aluminum foil from one of the eaten sandwiches and threw the wad at the snake. "Probably, just don't look at it." The snake didn't hiss, but instead slide off into the woods.
They'd already spent hours sitting out there when Callie said her name. "Kell?" she questioned from her section of the rotted porch. Kell didn't look up, her eyes had closed while she had taken a little nap.
"Yeah Callie? What's wrong." she asked, her eyelips drooping downward and the glossy shine of sleep over her eyes. The wooden planks were uncomfortable against her back, but she had managed to find a good groove that she could rest into finally.
It had to be nearing closer to midnight, they should have just taken a walk to there grandparents house and fallen asleep there but now it was too late. The alligators could be roaming around now, and that wasn't something that Kell wanted to risk Callie with.
"Kell, why is there smoke coming from the bottom of the trailer?" asked Callie quietly. This time Kell's eyes jerked open with force and she saw the wifts of grey smoke escaping the broken trailer door frame. Swirls came from the bottom and fogged up the air around the front porch lights.
Kell jumped up quickly, knocking the sandwiches and lemonade off her lap and onto the ground, "Smoke!? Get out into the woods Callie! I'll call the fire department!" she said with unease as she pushed her younger sister down the stairs of the porch and into the grass where she would be safer. Out here it could take nearly half an hour for the fire department to arrive, by then anyone inside would have burned to death.
There was no telling what had started the fire. It could have been any matter of things like candles, or the stove, it could even have been a cigarette that had been left burning on the couch. "What about mom!?" screamed Callie when Kell tried to jump off the porch and go with her.
Kell should have known that Callie wouldn't have let her leave their mother, even though she wasn't worth risking Kell's own life. "I'll get her." Kell muttered as she dashed back up the three stairs to the porch and touched the door knob. The knob wasn't hot, and therefore Kell pushed the door open and a wall of smoke belched out of the door frame.
The only thing that she could see was the rolling clouds of smoke, she couldn't feel the heat of the flames. She couldn't even see any bright flames licking through the smoke. "MOM!" she shouted out once, as she searched madly through the front room. She ran into the coffee table while blinded by the smoke, yet that didn't deter her. She ran into the kitchen, and still no flames. The sight that did take the words from her mouth, from her mind was the three bodies that were laid out at odd angles on the floor.
None of them were dressed in the clothes that her mother had been wearing, and when she touched the first body she noticed the splatter of red that trailed out from the river of blood underneath the first body. How had they not heard this going on?
"Mama! Where the hell are you!?" she shouted out several times. The smoke began filling her lungs, and her were burning red. As she ran from room to room, she found no one else. Her mother was gone.