Susanna and the Soul Savers

Note: Susanna Baltimore's sisters, Adelaide and Cecelia as well as her brother Lloyd have joined the ranks of the Soul Savers, named after Susanna and her adventures in exorcism—but one area is giving them difficulty. The place called "The Devil's Keep". It has been said to be cursed and people can go mad.

Chapter 1—When In Doubt, Call the Soul Savers

The Soul Savers had been continuing their supernatural adventures until the calls seemed to stop coming in for a while. It was a period of down time and Susanna and her siblings decided to clean out unwanted items that had been cluttering the Baltimore house.

During their yard sale, many happy customers who had called the Baltimore family for exorcisms asked for autographs as well as famous Baltimore family recipes. Then, they were approached by a kooky old woman who was babbling about some area called "The Devil's Keep". The most learned of the team, Susanna, had heard the legends of this area.

"It's been trouble for exorcists like you for millennia. Knowing how you love challenges, I would recommend that you steer clear of The Devil's Keep.", the old woman said, her deep gray eyes magnified by her bifocals.

"Is it because of the 'curse', Madam ? That's all based on superstition. There are no such things as 'curses', or 'hexes'.", Susanna said, astutely. Adelaide, the most superstitious of the group, was already shivering at the elderly woman's mention of the Devil's Keep. Cecelia, like Lloyd, was skeptical about places that were supposedly condemned by the superstitious credence of others.

"Yes. I warn you…Don't go there. I'd rather you stay away from that awful place.", the woman cautioned them once more. Adelaide leaned over to whisper in Susanna's ear.

"Perhaps it's better that we heed the old lady's words.", she said, shivering slightly.

" Adelaide ! We've never had any trouble before. Of course, we've all been frightened by vengeful poltergeists, but this area can't be any worse than what we've already come through together as a family. We're the Soul Savers, darn it ! We can cleanse this locale. The people will be more than thankful.", Susanna said, confidently.

"So what if this area is 'hexed'. The Soul Savers can redeem it.", Lloyd stated, practically boasting.

"Very well, but I wish you wouldn't. Oh, by the way…how much is this placemat set ?", the elderly woman said.

"$7.50, including woven coasters. Thank you for everything, Ma'am.", Cecelia said, closing the deal. The four of them watched as the old lady walked to her house. After a pause, Susanna broke the silence.

"Well, what are we waiting for ? Let's start doing some research on this supposed 'cursed' place and get to work. The Devil's Keep isn't going to redeem itself.", she said, determinedly. Adelaide had a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach. She knew that whatever she did, however, that Susanna would be preparing them all for the most difficult assignment they had ever been on.

Chapter 2—Prepared for Spiritual Warfare

Cecelia was the first Baltimore besides Susanna who had already gotten all the information she needed the night prior to the traveling they would soon embark upon.

Lloyd was a little slow in getting ready since he wasn't much of a morning person, but he was prepared as well for the arduous journey ahead. Adelaide was practically shaking so badly that she wasn't certain she would be able to make the trip with them. She knew she had to face her fears. It didn't matter if what the old lady said about the Devil's Keep was fact. She couldn't believe everything she heard, and she had to face her fears once and for all. She was the most afraid of the entire Baltimore family, but she knew that together they would be doing the population outside the Keep an invaluable service.

Susanna was packed with everything an exorcist needed: A Bible, Holy Water, salt, spirit detectors, and most importantly, faith. This place, the Keep, was in a locale steeped in strange folklore and superstition. It was abandoned by any trace of human life. If anyone had ever lived there, they had all perished. But, the Baltimore family could sense that there were spirits in the air, hovering about them. Many of them were well-meaning, unable to make it to the other side.

But, there were some that were poltergeists that only wished to be a nuisance. Then, something unexpected happened. One of the lost spirits accidentally possessed Adelaide. When the siblings spoke to her now, they knew that she wasn't herself…literally.

There were far too many spirits to cleanse from this area, and the Baltimore family was aware of this. Besides this, they had the matter of the youngest sister, Adelaide to attend to. Unfortunately, some of the spirits wouldn't allow them to leave the Keep. Lloyd, usually the most level-headed of the siblings, began to show signs of panic and worry.

"What are we going to do, Cecelia ?", he asked his elder sister.

"I'm not sure. Maybe Suzy knows.", Cecelia answered, looking at Susanna for a reply.

"We'll have to come back tomorrow. We've almost exhausted our energy. Perhaps George here can accommodate us.", Susanna said, hoping the spirit named George within Adelaide would be willing to come along with them.

"You seem like trustworthy individuals. I'm sorry if I've caused you any trouble. I never meant to get mixed up in a sticky situation like this.", George said apologetically. The siblings had to get used to Adelaide having a different voice for the time being but they would fix that with a quick "anti-possession" incantation when morning rolled around.

By the morning, George had thanked the Baltimore family and a willing Adelaide for all their trouble and quickly left. He was so pleased that it had dawned on him that he was deceased and could now join his family on the other side. The Baltimores had enough energy to return to the Keep and continue the cleansing rituals they had begun the day before.

Sadly, the Baltimore family had used up most of their Holy Water and salt to clean the area and were completely exhausted. Nonetheless, the Devil's Keep had been completely eradicated of spirits that had been lost or angry at their predicament. It would take the natives who lived around the area to realize that Devil's Keep was only a name. It was no longer an issue to those living outside of it. Some, pleased that the spirits were gone, moved into homes that were formally theirs. The other residents, more skeptical, had decided to venture back in once they were reassured that the ghosts were gone for good. Nonetheless, the Soul Savers had done their duty and asked for no payment. Simply seeing people happy and hearing the gracious words from the townsfolk were enough.

Chapter 3—Never a Dull Moment

Although the Baltimore family had another sale, they never heard from the kooky old woman again. Sadly, she had recently died and her spirit came to thank them for the placemats and the woven coasters. She thanked the Baltimore family for being so brave and cleansing a spiritual hotspot. So many exorcists before them had gone mad, or worse, had to be hospitalized in an asylum from possession. After she disappeared, strangely a tarot card fell off of Cecelia's deck. It was the grim reaper, upside down.

"New beginnings. Here we go again, everyone.", Cecelia said. None of them was certain where they would be going or what they would be doing, but a call from a mayor in another state proved that the life of an exorcist was never a dull one.

Epilogue

Of all the adventures the Baltimore family had faced together, the Devil's Keep had been the most difficult. They had been able to stock up on the items they needed to cleanse any area necessary, and they were never without candles to help a spirit find the Light that would lead them Home. Other calls from customers were challenging, but Susanna didn't understand how some people denied the existence of a soul or the afterlife when the evidence was all around them. Some matters she would never understand, they were simply mysteries without any solution but that was what gave life its luster and made it so magnificent.

August 29, 2005