Hello everybody! :) This is a story I started way back in March of 2014 that I STILL haven't finished. XD I thought I'd post it on here and see what people thought of it, if it was any good or not. It was supposed to be based on the Charlie Daniel's song The Devil Went Down to Georgia, but it sort of took off and left that idea behind. XD I'm trying to get it back on track, though, so if you like the song, don't worry, the story will (hopefully) start resembling it soon. :)

"Hurry up, you worthless drudge!" Sylvie winced as her father's drunken tones screeched in her ears, dispelling the peace of the garden. It was a warm evening in mid May, the splendid time of day when it wasn't really day at all, but not yet night. Birds were settling down, but the occasional night-loving bird trilled a few notes of song. A soft breeze was blowing, sending ripples across the pond that stretched below the small cottage, and carried the scent of water lilies back up to the young girl. Crickets had started their orchestra, and spring peepers added their peeping to the music. Trees rustled and whispered in the wind.

Sylvie sighed quietly. It was all so beautiful and tranquil - or would be, if it weren't for the smell of alcohol and the demanding voice of her father floating out the open door. She could almost see the fumes of his breath drifting on the air, and she knew tonight was not going to be one of the nights when he would listen to reason.

"Get a move on, girl! Dinner should have been on the table an hour ago! Should I have to get my own dinner when I have a grown daughter taking up space? Get in here, the soup is boiling! I don't like my soup boiled, and you know it! Move!" Gathering up the corners of her apron, which was filled with potatoes, Sylvie scrambled to her feet, hurrying into the cottage. Her father was sitting slumped in his chair, a brown bottle clutched in his hand, glaring at the vigorously bubbling pot hanging over the fire. He made no move to retrieve it.

"Don't just stand there!" he bellowed at his daughter as she emptied her apron. "You want the soup to boil dry? Trying to melt the pot, are you?" He took a pull at the bottle, some of the contents dribbling into his unkempt black beard. Sylvie's eyes watered from the smell, and she opened the one small window. Her father glowered at her from under his bushy eyebrows as she lifted the heavy pot off it's hook and set it on the table, fetching two wooden bowls. "Hurry up!" he growled as she ladled soup into the bowls. "I keep you and raise you, give you food and clothes and shelter, and you can't even do a small chore without messing it up or taking forever. Can't even go get some tubers out that dirty patch of ground of yours without falling into daydreams, or whatever you were doing."

"I was praying, Papa," Sylvie said quietly. Her father scowled.

"I thought you'd given up that nonsense. I won't have you believing in fairy tales and wasting your time dreaming about them when there's work to be done. A grown girl of eighteen should-"

"Sixteen," Sylvie said wearily. "I'm sixteen, Papa. And God isn't a fairy tale. He's real, very real. He could prove it if you'd just believe in Him." Her father gave a bark of harsh laughter.

"Believe in Him? When He can't even make my doll work, or help me with my magic? Pah!" He gulped his soup scornfully. Sylvie glanced over at the little table by her father's chair; as she had expected, there was a grubby deck of cards and a misshapen clay doll sitting there. She winced; the little doll had several strands of her golden hair stuck on it's head, and she lived in fear of the day her father managed to obtain the power to use it.

"But that's not what He does," she explained patiently. "That's nothing to His power. He does only good, Papa. Look out the window; all that beauty, all that life is His work." Her father snorted disdainfully, picking something from between his teeth.

"If He does all that, He can give me magic," he said gruffly. "I'll have no more of that childish talk. Wash the dishes now, and don't be all night about it." His daughter gathered up the dishes, her heart weighing heavily in her chest, and started washing them in the pan of water she had filled earlier. The old man sat hunched in his chair, muttering over his cards and occasionally snarling an oath. Sylvie bent her head to her work, avoiding looking at him. The only sounds in the little house were the slosh of the dishwater and the gravelly voice of the deranged man, which gradually trailed off.

Sylvie sneaked a glance at him; his head was bowed, the cards held loosely in his fingers, his chin sunk onto his chest. She let out a relieved breath and quietly put away the wooden dishes.

Going over to her father, she carefully pulled an afghan over him, slipping a pillow between his head and the chair. Turning away, her eyes fell on the little clay doll, and her stomach gave an unpleasant lurch. Picking it up, she carried it over to the table and sat down, turning it over and over in her fingers. She gave it a gentle squeeze, and it squished slightly; so it wasn't baked.

Sylvie pulled the blond hairs off it's head and carefully tossed them in the fire, wrinkling her nose at the smell. Taking the doll in both hands, she squashed it flat completely, then deftly reformed it into a little bowl, pressing small leaves and flower petals into the sides. She set it on the table and stared at it, her eyes filling with tears.

"Please God, do that to him," she whispered. "Take the ugly, flawed, damaged creature he is, and make him into a beautiful bowl. Fill him with joy, and the knowledge of Your love. Please God."

A tear dripped down her face and splashed on the table, and she uttered a tiny, shuddering sigh. Putting her head on her arms, she fell asleep.

Any and all reviews would be very much appreciated. :)