Taming the Devil
by Chris Martin
Since her mother left and they moved into that old Victorian home, Martin saw his daughter, Eva, change drastically. She was once a sweet little girl, dancing and singing, but after her mother ran off to Vegas, Eva became angry and emaciated. Her voice was hoarse, though the doctors could not figure out why. Her skin had become pale and scratched up. Martin applied lotion to her at night. It was always so cold in that drafty old house, especially in Eva’s room. She cried so much her eyes were large green saucers. They seemed to glow as if they were backlit. What did Martin know after all about raising a little girl?
In the morning she fought with him viciously about going to school. She would moan and scream four letter words at him. She was so violent and so loud Martin swore once he saw her bet floating above the ground for a moment. What could he do? She had to go to school. The teacher even called him in for a conference, and said “She sits in the back and pants” Maybe it’s her thyroid.
Doctor after doctor found nothing wrong with her, just ADHD. She would not take her medication and threw up in his face thick green slime when he tried to make her. She growled and howled through the night. When he would crack her door to see his little girl, all he saw was her eyes glowing and sometimes her breath, in the cold.
The worst came when he mistakenly turned around in the parking lot of St. Paul’s Church. She had a seizure from what he could tell, biting her lip and screaming. The doctors again found nothing. It was awful. Maybe all little girls went through this phase, he didn’t know. Whenever they passed a church after that she freak out. It’s what gave him the idea ultimately.
At the supermarket he walked through the parking lot dragging her along. “Screw you,” she said, in her hoarse voice. “I’m glad your wife left you, she was a whore.”
“Be good sweetie,” he said.
In isle 6 he was getting milk, and he kept saying, “Stay out of that Eva. Stop doing that Eva.” He was so used to it he said it in monotone.
Then he saw her, a beautiful woman getting soy milk out of the fridge. She saw him too, and Martin felt the spark of attraction. It had been so long since he had been on a date, but how could be? Eva would never allow it. He talked with the woman, Karen, for a few minutes before Eva started screaming and wailing.
For the first time he felt anger, “Shhhhh, you,” he said pulling Eva, almost giving her whiplash. “You be quiet,” he said, “or we will start going to church every week, both Wednesday and Sundays.”
Her eyes widened, glowing green, she said nothing, crossed her arms and panted.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.