Shadows of The Past

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January 1917
Storyville, New Orleans
A Certain Sporting House

Candle flames flickered in a darkened room as three figures stood around the special seal they had drawn onto the wooden floor with chalk.

Now for the moment of truth...

"Come forth, Demon!" a brunette teenage girl said boldly, while her two friends gulped nervously. "Share with us the secret of—"

"What'cha doin'?" a small girl asked as the door creaked open, shattering their concentration.

"Eeeek!?" the brunette's two sidekicks shrieked as they held onto each other, startled out of their wits.

"Ughhh!" The brunette groaned in exasperation. "Charlie! Do you know how long it took us to set this up!?" she demanded incredulously as she put her hands on her hips and glared sternly at the five-year-old little girl.

"... No, but I know how long it'll be befwore ya can sit again if Madam catches ya," little Charlie said, frowning slightly.

She was being perfectly serious. The Madame of their house had not been pleased the last time she caught this same trio trying out a voodoo curse on a certain customer the other day. Unfortunately for Charlie, no one really takes adorable, pouting tots, who can't pronounce English properly, very seriously.

"Awwww~! 'Charming' Charlie's so adorable when she's upset~!" the two sidekicks cooed as they fawned over her, much to Charlie's chagrin. "Do you want some candy? It's rose flavored~!"

"Yeah~!" Charlie said happily. She flinched, startled. She'd let her guard down too much! "Ah! I mean, I want it, but I won't be bwribed! Y'all better stop dis befwore—"

"What's all this, then?" an authoritative voice asked sternly from the doorway.

They all turned slowly to face it's owner, praying that they had just heard wrong.
Alas, they hadn't...

It was the Madame...!

"M-M-Madame—!?" the brunette stuttered, horrified, as she broke out into a cold sweat.  "U-Uh... this isn't what it looks like...?" she tried, smiling nervously.

The Madame was not amused.

"You mean, you weren't performing some satanic ritual in one of my rooms, and you weren't trying to bribe a relatively innocent little girl to keep her quiet about it?" the Madame asked cynically as she raised an eyebrow at them.

There was really no response they could give to that rhetorical question that wouldn't just dig the three girls even further into their own graves, so they wisely chose to remain silent.

"Charlene, clean the chalk off of the floor, and then go to bed. Mr. Azzurra is coming to fetch you tomorrow morning, so make sure you get a good night's rest," the Madame said, smiling a little sadly at the young girl before dragging the three doomed teens from the room for further punishment.

Charlie sighed sadly when they were gone and glanced at the chalk drawing on the floor. She didn't want to leave. The women of this 'house,' as strange as they were, were all the closest thing she had to family now that her mother was gone...

Charlie sniffed as tears started flowing down her little cheeks, and she fell to her knees as she tried to wipe them away.

"Momma... I miss you... Momma!" she sobbed helplessly.

"My, my..." a deep voice said from somewhere in the darkness.

Charlie froze. She glanced around the room, looking for the person who had just spoken, but she was completely alone... and yet... she couldn't help but feel that she wasn't. There was another presence in the room with her. Charlie shivered. Had the demon summoning ritual actually worked...? It didn't feel entirely evil, but it didn't feel completely good either...

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