“The Devil In Rutledge County” first appeared in LORE Vol. 2, #4, December 2013.
VICTORIA HOKE writes, draws, and codes in Los Angeles. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Drabblecast, and Three-lobed Burning Eye. She grew up in North Carolina and still gets cravings for hush puppies and butterscotch candy. She’s editor-in-chief of sub-Q, a new online magazine for interactive fantasy, science fiction, and horror. If you like stories that get under your skin, or you’d like to create some yourself, visit sub-Q for resources, submissions details, and a look at what they publish.
Your narrator – Laura Hobbs – works in infosec by day and is a random crafter by night. Twitter is her social media of choice, and she despises the word “cyber”. When asked nicely, she sometimes reads things for people on the internet. You can find her online at SOAPTURTLE.NET
It was my fault. It happened ’cause I prayed to the Devil.
Of course I prayed to God first. I prayed every night since I realized Pa was a drunk. Not a joker or a hothead or a layabout — a drunk. I prayed God would make him quit drinking. I prayed God would turn him back to the easy-laughing man who took us fishing on Saturdays.
I prayed whenever I heard Pa retching in the backyard at dawn.
I prayed whenever the constable’s boys dragged him home at midnight.
I prayed when Essie got bit on the heel by a copperhead, and Pa was face-down in bed, and there was only one other person we could turn to.