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the devil

By , davisburg, MI
I heard the crash of thunder and tree branches scraping the side of my house. My eyes snapped open in a flash as quickly as the lightning outside. The wind was wicked, softly whistling. The rain was thrashing on the side of the house making a great racket. Sitting up straight in my bed next to my wife as she slept exhaling silently through her nostrils I started to have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. My eyes scanned the room; nothing seemed to be out of place. I couldn’t shake the weird feeling. I felt as though someone or something was watching me franticly looking around my breathing becoming heavy and my heart starting to beat harder and faster. The phone rang and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I rolled off the bed hitting the hard wood floor suffocating by the cloud of blankets that I was wrapped up in. Straining to reach for the phone; I could hear Annie’s voice.
“Honey, what happened?”
I was still trying to untangle myself, wrestling wildly with the cocoon of blankets. I grasped the phone and stared blankly at Annie, holding my finger up mouthing, “Hang on.”
“Hello?” I murmured, my voice sounding strange to me.
“You need to come down here to the church and fast; there is a little girl that needs some help from you. Please come down here right away. She needs your help, I need your help. I don’t know what to do. Please.” It was the assistant preacher Steve, his voice sounded desperate.
Over the next few minutes, I debated with myself whether I should go or not. I was uneasy about leaving the comfort of my home. The storm outside was increasingly getting worse. I opened the door and saw trashcans lying in the middle of the road and driveways. I saw tree branches lying helplessly on the ground that had been torn from the trunk. Foot deep puddles scattered the yard. I knew I had no choice but to slide into my dirty old work boots sling a coat over my shoulders and make my way down the block to God’s home. I wasn’t sure who the girl was that needed help but it was my duty to go, not only because I was the lead pastor of that small church in the middle of Kentucky but also because my grand-daddy had taught me that nothing was more important than watching over and helping your brothers and sisters in Christ. Into the dark night, down the road and around the corner I walked briskly.
I heaved the large oak doors open and walked into God’s home. I saw a woman crouched at the altar. Saying that her skin was as pale as paper would be an understatement, she was sickly looking as though death was eating her from the inside out. On the front row pew crouched a small girl, about my daughter’s age. Her face was mostly hidden by her hand and her knees where pulled closely to her chest. She shivered as she cried uncontrollably. I studied her grease stained hands and tattered clothes. She looked as though she had been beaten, there were cuts on her face, her right eye was swollen, and her arms were lined with bruises. I wasn’t sure which one Steve was referring to when he said that “there is a girl needed help”. They both looked as though they could use a significant amount of help.
My face must have shown my puzzlement because Steve began to explain.
“The girl claims that she is possessed by the devil. The little girl says that the devil inside her directed her to kill her step father because he was an evil man because he was under the control of alcohol. The devil inside her was named Sydney and Sydney proclaimed that it was the girl’s responsibility to release him from that evil.” Steve leaned over and whispered in my ear as he continued, “I didn’t quite know what to say after she had told me all that. It was a little overwhelming, so I called you preacher.”
The preacher thought to himself for a moment, it sounded like a split personality to me. The little girl having the “devil” inside of her that would take over her body and mind. The little girl could see this happening, but she couldn’t do anything about it. Then this other person or thing would completely take control of the little girl’s body controlling her actions. The only explanation that I could think of was a split personality.
* * *

Why was he staring at me? That question ran through the little girls mind. Excuse me for curling up in the corner trying to hide from the world. I wasn’t some cute panda beer locked away in the zoo for people to gawk at, I was a human. I didn’t need this preacher man to start in on me now with his judgmental looks, not even knowing a thing about me. I bet he wouldn’t criticize me if only he knew what I had been through; if he only knew that I had no other choice, no other choice at all.

Every morning I was woken up by my step father cruelly shaking me. I would then be directly ordered do all the chores and have breakfast ready at 9. When my mother would awake I could hear her groans from the bedroom. She was terribly sick and it was horrifying thinking of my mother in that condition. She only had a few more days of life, and if it was up to me I would have made them amazing. I wouldn’t lock her away in that filthy room, with cob webs stringing from ceiling to beside table while inside the hideous cancer was eating away at her body. I wouldn’t isolate her from the world like he did. His excuse was that her immune system was not strong and she could get sick form anything very easily, that’s why I wasn’t allowed to see her. But I knew her immune system being weak wasn’t the reason that he kept me away from her. The real reason was so that she would not see the proof of how poorly he had been treating me. She thought he treated me like an angel. He would make up stories to tell her about how good I was applying myself in school, and how athletically strong I had become because of all the school sports that I was involved in. He wasn’t treating me like an angel he was treating me as though I was lower than dirt, as though I was barley even human, as though I was his personal slave. He walked all over me. But it wasn’t him that made him do it; it was the alcohol, the evil inside of him.
He used to be different, normal, then one day he wasn’t the same. He had found the alcohol and it had ruined him. He began to beat me, put all responsibly on me; he began to wish that my mother’s sickness would worsen and that she would die. This wasn’t him speaking it was the alcohol that made him think this way and be evil, but I didn’t know how to stop it. I left the situation alone in hopes that things would work out without me having to intervene. After a few months, however, I realized that things were not going to get any better. The devil stated to speak to me, telling me I need to help him. His mind and soul needed to be released from this evil, and it was up to me to do something.

I was pacing back and forth in that small kitchen when I saw him out of the corner of my eye. I knew he had been out drinking again. No one comes home in his conditions without alcohol in their blood stream. In the moonlight he found his way to the front steps and stumbled up them. His shirt half unbuttoned, and he was missing a shoe.
“Hey you worthless child,” The evil was speaking. “Why do you look at me with such disgust? Don’t you know I could destroy you within seconds?”
His words were harsh and cut deep into my soul. That’s when I knew what I had to do; I was going to kill him. I had no intentions of sugar coating it, just plain and simple I would destroy the evil in him. He would no longer be controlled by the alcohol. One day in haven he would thank me for saving him, I knew it.
* * *

Later that evening, after hearing the story, the preacher collapsed in the chair in front of the large wooden cross to think.
I looked up at the ceiling and saw the cob webs, putting my hand over my mouth breathing slowly I prayed to the Lord above. I wasn’t completely sure what I was praying for, mostly help and a little sanity for this young girl and her mother I suppose. I heard shoveling next to me and my eyes sprang open. It was the little girl; she was sitting about a foot away from me. When I looked at her she lifted her eyes to my level, keeping her head tilted to the ground.
“He doesn’t like you,” Her voice was scratchy
“Who,” I replied reluctantly but curiously.
That’s when she turned her head to the right looking up to the wooden cross where a statue of Jesus hung.
I about cried, I would have cried if I wasn’t so frozen by the hundreds of mixed feelings that were running through my body. She turning her head back to me and began to speak,
“Sydney was going to kill him no matter what. She knew it was bad, and I knew it was bad but there was no stopping her. She does what she wants, and she thought that killing him was the only way to save him.”
I slid about a foot to the right, away from her. I felt although her weirdness was affecting me and if I sat to close it would rub off on me and I would not be normal anymore.
She kept her eyes glued on me.
“He would grab a hold of my skinny chin and brings his face close to mine. He would lower his voice, but keep it strong and stern. He would threaten my life. But all along it was his life that he should be worried about. His hand came down hard on the back of my head knocking both me and Sydney to the ground. That’s when it was all over. That’s when we killed him.”
Oh my! This girl had just admitted to a murder right in front of my face and she was only about 11 years old! She needed help, but I was too stunned. She killed a man, a grown man, and he admitted everything to me and to Steve! It all seemed strange to me, a split personality, the devil, the murder of a man. I couldn’t grasp what was wrong with her, and why was she sitting in an old church? She needed to be in the hospital with professional doctors.
* * *

The storm had subsided slightly. We were all still in the church, but no one had said a word for quite awhile. We had prayed, we had asked God for forgiveness and help, but now it was time to call someone. I got up from where I was sitting and exited the building, calling the cops. As she was being dragged out of the church doors I saw her face. It looked sad, but deed down she looked pleased with what she had done.
* * *
The last few hours raced through my head as I lay there in bed. Everything blends together like paint on a color wheel. That girl’s mind was so twisted that I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to help her, but for some reason I felt as though there was nothing that I could personally do to help her. I wondered if calling the cops and having her taken away was really the right decision. If I wouldn’t have made the executive decision to call the cops, if I would have given Jesus more time, could he have fixed her? I felt a cold hand tough my back which brought me back to reality. It was my wife’s sleepy hand comforting me.
“You did the best you could darling. It is life, you have make decision and weather they are right or wrong you have to except the decisions you have made, helpful or not, and make decision based on that decision and move on with your life.”
Somehow that woman always knew what to say. She was like my angel sent from above. I felt better falling asleep after that, but I still had nightmares. It was a horrible nightmare where I was that little girl’s step father.

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