Carrie grew up in a small town that was just like any other small town. Her, her parents, and her brother Mike all led pretty average lives. She was entering her senior year of high school. She had already made big plans to move to New York when she graduated. She planned to get a place big enough so that Mike, who was only a year younger than her, could move in with her when he graduated. They had always been pretty close, even though she wanted to choke him half the time. He was her baby brother she had to look out for him. There was no way he could be trusted to live completely on his own. He'd fall flat on his face and end up back at home with mom and dad. So their plan was perfect and it gave her a year without him cramping her style. She could never get a date with him around.
He would tell her "That guy's a loser." or "I don't trust him, Sis." Most of the time she listened though, because most of the time he was right.
On Saturday Carrie got up and went downstairs for breakfast. Her mom was crying and her dad looked really sad. She asked them what was wrong?
They told her that her uncle, Jim, had died in California last night and they would be flying out to attend his funeral tomorrow morning. They told her she would be in charge until they got back, which actually meant keep Mike from throwing a party. She hugged them both and headed back upstairs.
She hated seeing her parents upset. She didn't really know her Uncle Jim very well besides what Dad said about him. It was never nice. They didn't seem to get along.
Dad said he was a "bad seed" and a "lost cause." Last time he came to the house he stole the silver butter dish mom kept on the counter. She heard Mike coming down the hall so she popped her head out to warn him.
He didn't like emotional situations very much. "Thanks Sis," he said as he spun around and went back to his room. She sighed, he was so predictable sometimes.
Mom wanted them all to have a family dinner that night since it would be a few days before they saw each other again. They laughed and joked. Dad seemed to forget he was sad about his brother for a bit and mom seemed happy he was happy. It was a great family night.
The next morning Mom and Dad came in and kissed her goodbye before they left to catch their flight. She told them she loved them and to have a good flight. They shut the door and she went back to sleep.
She woke up a few hours later to Mike screaming her name from the living room. She jumped up and ran downstairs.
"What?" She said staring at Mikes pale face. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
"Sit down," Mike said flopping onto the couch. Carrie sat down.
"Mike what's wrong? You're scaring me."
His eyes filled with tears as he turned on the TV. The news was showing pictures of a plane crash. She didn't understand.
"Mike what's wrong with you? Planes crash every day"
Then it hit her, Mom and Dad are on a plane. She looked at Mike.
"Is that Mom and Dad's plane?" She asked even though she knew the answer.
He shook his head yes. She started screaming and Mike hugged her. They sat there crying and screaming for a long time until they couldn't cry anymore. Carrie got up and called the police station. She didn't know where else to call. She had to let someone know that two of the people that died in that crash were her parents. After all, she was in charge.
Carrie planned the funeral and invited all the family. She couldn't believe this was how she was starting her senior year of high school. After the funeral, Carrie decided that she would get a night time job so she could stay in school and still pay bills. It was her job to take care of Mike now. She had to make sure they both graduated. That's all her parents talked about.
She didn't want Mike to get a job because he could barely keep his grades up as it was. He didn't like that decision but he didn't argue too much. He knew she was right.
The months slowly crept by. She and Mike both missed their parents a lot but they never talked about it. They didn't really talk at all anymore. She was always working, and when she was home he was always angry. She figured it would wear off eventually. Once he figured out how to handle losing mom and dad. She tried to just give him space.
Mike started taking off at night. She would come home from her shift at the diner and he would be gone. The first night she waited up for him all night. He finally walked through the door as the sun came up. She told him he was still going to school and he just looked at her and laughed. She tried to remind him that she was working her butt off to keep them in school and to make sure he graduated.
He responded with "Nobody asked you to," and walked away. She didn't wait up for him anymore after that.
A couple months went by like that. Sometimes Carrie wondered if he even still lived there because she saw so little of him. Then one night Mike came home and woke Carrie up. He was smiling from ear to ear.
"Sis! Come downstairs. I have a surprise".
Carrie got up and grabbed her robe. She followed him to the living room doorway and stopped. Her parents were standing in the middle of the living room, covered in dirt. They looked just as lost and confused as she was.
"How? Mike, what did you do?"
Mike smiled. "I traded my soul to the devil to bring them back Sis. Isn't it great!"
"What?!" Carrie said again.
She stared at what looked like her parents but they looked empty. Their eyes were blank, they didn't smile, and they reeked of death.
"Mike these aren't our parents. They look like empty shells. I don't know what you did but this is bad. Really bad."
Mike's smile faded. "Aren't you happy to see them, Sis? I just wanted everything to go back to normal. I wanted our lives back."
"Mike this isn't normal. If that was really mom and dad don't you think they would be hugging us and telling us how much they missed us. I don't know who they are but it's not them! These things are empty inside. Look" she said poking her mom's cheeks.
Mom didn't even blink. Mike began to cry and slumped down on the couch. Carrie came to sit next to him.
"Sis it has to be them. I traded my soul for them. I felt it leave my body when I signed his contract."
"Whose contract Mike? You sound crazy right now. How can someone take your soul? Start from the beginning and explain to me what happened."
Mike looked at his sister and then at his parents. It really wasn't them. Carrie was right. They looked like empty shells.
He sighed "Guess I really messed up this time huh Sis?"
"Just tell me what happened," Carrie said.
He sighed again.
"I was at a party last night and I drank way too much and started thinking about mom and dad. I was talking to some girl about it and I told her I would give anything to just have them back. As soon as the words left my mouth everything went black. A man appeared in front of me dressed in a black suit. He asked me if I meant what I said to the girl. I said yes and he said he could make it happen. He told me he could bring them back but in return, I had to give him my soul. I thought he was crazy but I went along with it and told him he could have it. Then we were standing in the cemetery in front of mom and dads headstones. He handed me a contract and told me to sign it and mom and dad would come back to life. So I signed it. I never expected mom and dad to pop out of the ground but they did! Then my chest started to hurt really bad. I fell to my knees and closed my eyes. When the pain stopped I felt empty but mom and dad were still standing there so I got up and led them home. They haven't said a word since they climbed out of the ground. He tricked me, Sis. I thought we would get our lives back, but I guess he just brought their bodies back. Makes sense though. How could he bring their souls back if he doesn't own them? But now he owns mine."
Carrie didn't know what to say. How could this be happening? She had always thought that the devil was just a scary story adults made up to make kids behave. Now Mike is telling her he's real and that he sold his soul to him. It was all just too much.
She sighed and said "Well let's get them to bed. Maybe they'll be more themselves tomorrow."
Mike helped her get their parents upstairs to their room. She washed Mom up and changed her clothes and Mike handled Dad. They laid them in the bed and left the room.
"I'm sorry Sis. I thought I was helping. I thought things would go back to normal."
"It's OK," she said, "we'll figure it out. Go get some sleep you've had a rough night. I love you, Mike."
Mike went to bed. Carrie went to her room and sat on her bed. What was she gonna do? The devil had Mikes soul and there were two zombies in her parents' bed. As hard as it was to lose her parents she knew they needed to go back to being dead. It wasn't normal for them to come back and she had a feeling it was dangerous. She decided she would deal with it all in the morning. Right now she just wanted to sleep.
When Carrie woke up the sun was shining brightly through her curtains. She sprang up from the bed when she remembered what had happened last night. She ran down the hall to her mom and dads room. The bed was empty. Maybe she dreamt it all. She went to Mike's room. He was still sleeping. She went downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs she saw a dark red stain that wasn't there yesterday. She touched it and it was warm and sticky like blood. Where did it come from?. She went into the living room. Mom and Dad both stood in front of the couch with a man in a black suit who turned to face her.
"Well hello Carrie," he said in a silky dark voice that sent chills up her spine.
"It was you wasn't it?" Carrie asked.
"Please no thanks are necessary," he said.
"Thanks!?" She blurted out. "Why would I thank you? You did this, you made this mess. And you stole my brothers' soul, whatever that means. Why are they covered in blood?"
He just laughed.
"I didn't steal your brothers' soul. He signed a contract. He gave it to me. And your parents well, they did some of my dirty work. It was part of the deal. I brought them back to life, I own them. Well, the bodies anyhow. And as for the blood, well your neighbors have been very bad and I needed a couple more souls. I own your brother too. You should join them."
"Never," she said, "and I will get my brothers soul back. You can't have him and they are not my parents".
He laughed again and then he was gone. She went into the kitchen. There was more blood on the floor. She followed the trail out the door and to her neighbor's house. Did he really make her parents kill her neighbor? The door was open so she went in. She found both her neighbors in a pool of blood with their heads bashed in. She did the only thing she could think to do. She dropped to her knees and prayed. If she was going to fight the devil she would need God on her side.
When she was done praying she got up and left the neighbors house. She knew she couldn't call the cops because they would have her committed. So, she just left the door open. Someone would find them eventually. She went back home and found Mike in the kitchen.
"What happened Carrie? Why are mom and dad covered in blood?"
"Long story," Carrie replied. "Get dressed we're going to church."
Mike looked at his sister puzzled.
"Church?" He asked.
"Yes, if we're gonna fight the devil we need all the help we can get. Go get dressed I'll explain on the way."
In the car? Carrie told Mike what had happened that morning. She told him she had a theory on why the devil brought mom and dad back.
"He needs physical beings to kill the sinners and collect their souls. So he is going to use mom and dad to kill sinners. I'm not sure how he chooses the ones to be killed but because he brought Mom and Dad back he can control them. He said he was going to use you too but I'm not sure how. We are going to church to get help. I know mom and dad need to go back to being dead but I don't know how to make it happen and get your soul back at the same time."
When they got to the church it was pretty much empty. A little old lady sat in the front praying and the pastor was on the altar. Mike sat down in the back row.
"I shouldn't be here Sis," he said, "the devil owns my soul. I'm going to burst into flames or something."
He had a good point so Carrie told him to go wait in the car. She slowly walked up to the front of the church. She hadn't been here since she was a little girl and her grandma would bring her to Sunday school. She didn't know what she was going to say. The pastor looked up from whatever he was reading.
"Hi there," he said "I'm pastor John. Welcome to our church."
Carrie kinda smiled and said, "Thanks."
"You look troubled. Are you looking for someone to talk to?" He asked. Carrie shook her head yes.
"I'm your guy," he said with a smile. "Let's go into my office and we can chat."
Carrie followed him to a little room off to the left of the altar. It was just big enough for a small desk, a couple chairs, and a stand-up fan. She sat down in one of the chairs as he squeezed behind the desk to sit down. She still had no idea what she was going to tell him, or where to even start. It sounded insane even in her own head. She started to cry. Pastor John sat and waited patiently for her to speak. She began to tell him everything that had happened since her parents had died. Pastor John sat and listened.
When she was done she said, "Bet you think I'm crazy huh?"
He stood up and told her to follow him. He led her down to the basement of the church. He flicked on the light and Carrie gaped. The basement was wall to wall with books. They weren't just regular books though. They were all at least 100 years old and they were all as thick as last years science book if not thicker. He walked to one of the shelves and pulled a book down.
"This should help you put your parents back where they belong," he said.
He walked to another shelf. He handed her three more books, a big glass bottle of holy water, and a crucifix.
"These will help you with the fight to get your brothers soul back. Getting the devil to relinquish his contract with your brother might be tricky," he said. "The devil does not play fair and he will not give up a soul easily. If you have any more questions please call me and I'll come right over."
"Thank you," Carrie said and headed back up the stairs. She walked up to the car and kicked the door.
Mike opened and asked,"What's all that?"
"Our saving grace," Carrie said and handed him the books. "Now let's go find a place to read."
Carrie and Mike drove to a park. Carrie started reading the book that would help put her parents back in their graves and Mike read the books on how to get his soul back. They were so busy reading that they didn't even realize how dark the sky had gotten. Out of nowhere, the man in the black suit appeared at the end of the picnic table. Carrie and Mike looked up at him. He was smirking at them.
"Do you really think these books will help you defeat me? I own him," he said looking at Mike. "There is nothing you can do that I won't see coming through his eyes. I control every move he makes." With a flick of his wrist, Mike jumped across the picnic table and grabbed Carrie by the throat. Carrie yelled and grabbed Mike's hands.
"Don't Mike! Fight him, you have to fight."
It didn't take long for everything to go black. When Carrie opened her eyes she was on the ground next to the picnic table but Mike and the man in the suit were gone. Great, she thought now he has Mike. How was she going to do this alone? She stood up and grabbed the books off the table. She had to take care of Mom and Dad first. The book had said that if she severed their heads and stabbed their hearts that they would die and never come back. She didn't like the thought of cutting her parents heads off but she kept reminding herself that they weren't actually her parents.
When Carrie got back to the house Mom and Dad were still standing in the same spot they were in this morning. It was like they were just robots waiting for their next order to kill. She wasn't sure if they would fight her when she tried taking their heads off so she sat them down on the couch and duct taped them there. She went into the kitchen and got the meat cleaver that dad always said would cut bone like butter. She was going to test that theory. It only took about four good swings and moms head went rolling across the floor.
"Well, dad you were right, just like butter." She said as she sunk it into his neck. Three swings and off came his head. She stabbed both of them in the heart with a steak knife.
"Please stay dead this time," she cried as she rolled them up in the living room carpet.
She dragged them out the back door and into the yard. She dug one big hole and rolled them in. She sobbed uncontrollably as she shoveled the dirt back on top of them. When she was done she sat on the steps and prayed some more. She couldn't help but laugh when she realized that she had prayed more today than she ever had in her life.
She went into the house and took a shower. She packed as much stuff as she could fit in a suitcase. Then she went to Mike's room and did the same. She carried the bags to her car and threw them in the back seat. Then she went back in for the books. On her way through she turned the gas stove on. As she walked out she lit a match. This wasn't home anymore and there was too much evil for anyone else to live here. She watched the explosion in the rear view with tears in her eyes.
Now that Mom and Dad were gone she had to figure out how to get Mike back. She went back to the church. Pastor John was just locking the door as she pulled up out front.
"Carrie. You're back. What can I help you with?" He asked.
She ran up to him.
"He has Mike. He made him choke me out and when I woke up they were both gone. How do I get him back?" He took the keys back out of his pocket and unlocked the door.
He led her back to the basement but this time he led her through another door into a smaller room that had weapons on the walls instead of books. But they were weapons she didn't really recognize and some of them looked so old that she was scared they would crumble if she touched them. He walked to a table on the far side of the room and opened a drawer. He took out a very small book and a knife.
"I don't think you're dealing with the devil himself Carrie, I think it's a soul snatcher. To summon him and your brother at the same time you must cut your hand twice with this and call you brothers name. He will smell the blood and think it is a sacrifice. When he passes into our realm your brother will be pulled with him because you are requesting him. The soul snatcher is the devil's playmate, so to speak. They come to earth and search for lost souls, such as your brother, to use to do unspeakable things. It is a form of entertainment for them. If you can kill the snatcher before it gives your brother's soul to the devil on the full moon your brother will be set free. The soul snatcher is not an easy entity to kill."
He walked across the room and pulled down a crossbow looking thing that had a crucifix-shaped arrow in it.
"This bow will kill him but you must hit his heart. The arrow was forged using holy water and blessed by a priest as it was created. We only have this one so you only get one shot. You can not summon him here as this is holy ground, but I wouldn't go too far if I were you. You may need a safe place to retreat to if you miss."
Carrie didn't know what to say. She was really going to do this. She was going to fight a soul snatcher. She was finally able to muster a thank you and headed out of the room and back up the stairs. She planned to go to the field that was next door to the church. She kept hoping she would wake up and it would all be a bad dream. She walked out into the middle of the field. She counted the steps it took so she knew how fast she could get to the church. 62. She laid everything on the ground and dropped to her knees to pray.
When she was done praying she laid all of her supplies out on the ground. She wanted to be ready when he appeared. She opened the book. The pages were blank but the cover felt like it was made of skin. She picked up the knife. It was silver and had what looked like horns etched into the side of it. Grabbing the blade with the other hand she yanked it down through the crease in her palm.
"One more time," she said out loud and pulled the blade once more through the palm of her hand.
The blood poured over the edges of her hand. She squeezed her hand in a fist and held it over the book.
"Mike! Mike! Mike!" She yelled picking up the crossbow and crucifix arrow.
The man in the suit appeared before her with Mike kneeling at his side. She took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, pulling the trigger as she did. The arrow went through his shoulder. He let out a cry like nothing she had ever heard. It sounded like 1000 people screaming in agony at the same time. Then he was gone but Mike still knelt on the ground where he had stood. He flashed behind her and threw her towards Mike. She hit the ground hard.
"Mike we have to find the arrow." She said as she got up.
She grabbed him but he wouldn't budge. She left him sitting there and ran in the direction she thought the arrow went. Just like that, the man in the suit was in front of her throwing her back towards Mike. She got up again and ran towards where the arrow would be. He flashed in front of her again but this time she grabbed his wounded shoulder and dug her finger into the hole the arrow had left. He let out another cry and was gone again. She spotted the arrow in the tall grass, ran over and picked it up. He flashed in front of her again. This time she stabbed at him with the arrow. She must have struck his heart because he gasped for air and threw her clear to the other side of the field. He shrieked so loudly she had to cover her ears. His suit caught on fire and then in a blink of an eye he was nothing but a pile of ash. Mike fell over on his side and started dry heaving. Carrie ran over to him. He gasped for air as he grabbed for her arm. Then just like that, he was still.
"Mike!" She yelled. He started to grumble
"Why are you yelling at me? Where the hell are we?" he asked. The last thing I remember is sitting in the park reading those books. Did you get him? Did we win?"
"Slow down," Carrie said. "Yes, we won. He's gone. Now get in the car, we're going to New York."
Mike was confused but he didn't question it. He got in the car and they drove through the night until they reached New York. Time for things to go back to normal.