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Sunday, July 27, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(sixty second installment)

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
62nd installment
warning...adult content





As they drove down a dirt path that led to the campsite, they saw other people camping out in their tents and RVs. There were lots of woodsy areas and a small lake. It looked like just the place for them, as they planned on staying a few days before continuing on their trip.

Finding a good spot to stop, Steve asked, "So, ok, Ghost...do ya remember how to put up this old tent?"

"Hmmph," Ghost snorted, "I remember I saw that spider and you laughed at me. I never did put up that tent. You can just do it this time, and get a spider on you."

"No, it's your job, Ghost," Steve laughed as he teased him. Ghost gave him the finger, and Steve cracked up.

"Ok, fine, we'll do it together then," he said, as he got out of the car and rolled out the tent.

Ghost had moved back a ways, not helping. "I'm gonna just get the other stuff out of the car," he said, as he walked away.

He took his time rummaging around in the overstuffed trunk and back seat. Steve had finished putting up the tent by the time Ghost returned.

"You did a good job, Steve," he smiled his lopsided grin.

"Yeah, thanks for helping, you slacker." Steve grumbled, all hot and sweaty.

They pulled out the cooler of beer and sandwich fixings, and rested awhile. The other campers were lighting campfires and some kids were throwing a frisbee around. Steve had noticed some of the people had been watching him and Ghost. Of course they'd done some looking over at them, too, but nobody said you had to get acquainted with strangers in a campground.

Ghost, of course, never seemed to mind meeting new people. He could read people's thoughts anytime he wanted, but reading subtle signs of friendship or disdain, was not as easy for him. He always thought people were nice, unless they came right out and said mean things, or hurt him.

It always puzzled him when things didn't add up, people's actions and thoughts sometimes were two different things. Steve supposed it might have something to do with numbers, in a round about way.

So, Ghost went walking around, down to the water, just looking at the stars, and moon, and saying hi to people along the way. For the most part he fit right in for once. These other campers were more of the commune, hippie class of people, he'd say...wanderers, modern day gypsies, or something.

Steve sat at their campsite and just watched what was happening, and how Ghost interacted. Some of the kids got him to throw the frisbee with them for awhile. Their parents, of course came over to check out the situation. Steve tensed up, just in case something happened, but everyone seemed friendly enough.

The weird thing was, was that Steve himself felt like the odd one out. He was still in his usual mode of dress, not decked out in his club clothes, but just in jeans and black t-shirt with a band logo. To these people, though, that made him strange, he guessed. And, he didn't know how they'd feel or act if they knew he and Ghost were a couple.

Ghost returned then, and he chattered on about the people he'd met. "I told them we were gonna try to play at one of the clubs tomorrow night. Maybe they'll come see us."

"Did you say anything about us?"

"No, why? Guess they can see we're together, don'cha think?"

"I don't know, but you have to be careful about stuff like that...some people may seem nice, but may not like the way we live, ya know." Steve looked intensly at Ghost, hoping to make him understand.

"Uh-huh, I know, Steve, I'm not stupid. I know some people don't like guys being together...or even just me. They can tell, Steve. They always know. I don't have to tell them...and they either be ok, or hate me. That's the way it's always been." Ghost spoke softly, and looked down through the long strands of hair that fell in his face. 

"You should know how it is by now, Steve, and I can't hide all my life from something bad that might happen." He sighed, and bit his lower lip.

Steve pushed Ghost's hair away from his face, and raised his head to look him in his eyes. "I know, Ghost. I know...guess I'm just feeling different out here. We're a long way from home, and I want to be able to take care of you. So, I'm always watching how people react...ya know?"

Ghost nodded. They sat awhile in silence. Then Ghost asked, "Steve, do you feel bad about being with me?"

"What the hell are you talking about, Ghost?"

"You know...you know...shit, Steve...I've always been in love with you. I am the way I am. I don't know any other way, but...you've had girlfriends before - lots of them, and I know you slept with some of them...so, I don't even know what I'm saying...and now I'm embarrassed to look at you - for you to look at me," He put his head down on his knees and arms, letting his hair fall over his face again.

Steve was stunned at what Ghost had said. He'd never thought about it like that, ever. Now he was all confused. He'd always thought and felt like he was a straight, macho male. He'd had plenty of girls, and enjoyed their company, and he knew for a fact, that he loved Ghost with all his heart...and loved giving him pleasure, and receiving Ghost's love for him. So, now, what the hell was he? Maybe he was both...or maybe he was trying to prove he wasn't before. And, did it even matter? He knew he'd never have anyone but Ghost ever again, but he was still who he was, and that wouldn't change.

"Damn, Ghost," he said. "How can you even think I'd be sad or ashamed of being with you? I love you and want to be with you till the end of time. Yeah, maybe I did have girlfriends. I mean, the opportunity was there, and I'm sorry...I guess I never noticed you needing me...not like it is now. You never made any moves on me...God...I'm messing this all up. I can't say it right..." he was almost in tears.

Ghost still had his face covered, but Steve could see his shoulders shaking...he was crying.

"Ghost?" Steve put his hand on Ghost's head.

Ghost sobbed, "That's a shitty thing to say, Steve...you never noticed me?"

"No, no, no, Ghost. I noticed you...you've always been my best friend, my only friend, for real. Just, before , I didn't realize you loved me. At least like that."

"So, I'm just an opportunity in front of you, since you didn't have anyone else at the time? You know I never did it with anyone  but you, Steve. I didn't even know how, or how to get you to love me back. And then, that one time, the first time we kissed...and you didn't even remember it, and then said it was an accident, and you were drunk, anyway? ...You know I told Kinsey about it? He said he knew we were in love all along, even before we admitted it to ourselves. And, you were still denying it, Steve!

And now what? Is it real for you, now? Because, it's always been real for me...so real it hurts. Even now, I'm scared you're gonna wake up and say 'well it's been fun', and Steve, I think I'd die if that ever happened. I - would - die. And, how could you do that to me? I'd never, ever leave you, Steve. Even when I went away, I didn't leave you, really. You're always in here, in my head...in my heart...forevermore, Steve!"

"Oh, my God, Ghost! You're getting ahead of yourself...that will never happen, and don't say it's some kind of premonition, or some crazy vision. It - will - never - happen! I'll never leave you, either. I know I loved you from the very first. It just took awhile for me to realize you wanted it, too. Oh, Ghost...you're the one with the words. I don't know how to make it so you really understand. I love you more than my own life. There'd be no reason to go on, if you weren't here.

I'm never trying to hide our love for each other. I don't care what anyone thinks. We are who we are, and I'm usually feeling unworthy of your love. I don't deserve it, but I'm forever thankful that you see fit to love me, too."

Ghost reached over and took Steve in a big embrace, and they kissed. As Steve brushed away Ghost's tears, Ghost said, "Steve, will you play some songs for me? I need to hear you play, and I need to sing. I can't go to sleep without it." He sighed and leaned against Steve's chest. "Please?"

Steve nodded, yes, and reached for his guitar. "I'll play for you, Ghost, but quietly. I'll play for you forevermore, anything you want."

And so, he did, and Ghost sang, his beautiful golden voice reaching up to the stars. The other campers heard this, and were transfixed at the beauty of the starry night, and the amazing voice that sang them all to sleep.



Next installment coming soon!





Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(sixty first installment)

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
61st installment
warning...adult content





They drove up the gravel drive. They left most of their things in the car, as there would be no point in unloading, then loading up again in the morning. It was late, but Steve brought out Ghost's present. It was a digital camera. They'd never had a camera before, and this one looked easy to use, so he'd bought it.

"This is so neat, Steve! Now, I got a present and you got a present. Now, I can take pictures of everywhere we go."

Steve was happy that Ghost liked his gift, and they figured out how to use it, by taking silly pictures of each other. Then, Steve showed Ghost how to use the phone, and he seemed to understand to use the letters on it.

Now, they began packing; mostly clothes they'd need, some snacks, Ghost's backpack, stuffed full of the usual mish-mash of stuff, plus extra blank journals, and markers. They'd made plans for Terry to come stay at the house, whenever he wanted, as he got tired of living in his room behind the record store. "Just don't wreck the place, ok?" Steve had told him.

Finally, they went to bed, and were asleep as soon as they turned out the light. They wanted to leave early, and they were actually up and out the door pretty much as planned.

                                              CHAPTER 14

As they drove away Ghost looked out the car window and said, "Good-bye little house. We'll be back, I promise."

They would be driving for about two hours or so before reaching the mountain road that would take them to meet the couple, who'd been so nice to them. The closer they got, the quieter Ghost got. Steve noticed him, kind of looking sad.

"What's the matter?" he asked Ghost.

Ghost sighed and said, "Nothing."

But Steve figured Ghost was remembering his time up here. He knew Ghost remembered some of it - after he had gotten better, but all that had come before, how bad he'd been hurt, how he'd actually died for a little while...he didn't think Ghost knew any of that. At least consciously. There probably was a part of him that knew, that he could feel what happened.

"Look, Ghost," Steve said, "we don't have to go up here, ya know. It may be too much to take in, too much to remember stuff."

"I know, but I still want to see them, to show them I'm ok now, and that you found me."

Steve had sent a postcard to them, letting them know they'd stop by, so it wasn't a complete surprise, when they drove up the twisty road to the little community. There was no shot-gun welcoming committee, this time, as they drove up to the house.

When they got out of the car, the couple came out to greet them. Ghost hugged them both. Steve hung back, but they drew him in, too. The woman noticed the cast still on Ghost's hand, and looked at him with a question in her eyes.

"We was in the hurricane, and my hand got busted. Our whole house got crashed by a tree! But, we were ok, and our friends put our house back together."

She smiled, and said she was glad he and Steve were ok.

"We found the journal my grandmother had hidden. It said a lot of stuff I never heard before. It was bad stuff, and it made me sad," Ghost said softly.

"I know, Ghost," she replied. "I know the whole story, because I was here. It must have been a shock to hear about everything."

Ghost nodded, but couldn't make any words come out.

"I'm glad you know, now. You needed to hear it, even if it was heart breaking. But, now look at you. You're all grown up, and you and Steve are doing fine, and enjoying what you're doing with your music. I'm proud of the way you turned out." She gave him a warm, long hug.

They stayed long enough to have a huge lunch with them. She'd made pork chops and gravy, mashed potatoes, and greens from the garden. She'd even made biscuits...and there was fresh churned butter, strawberry preserves, and a jug of molasses for Ghost to dip his biscuit in. They were all stuffed.

Then, it was time to go. Ghost took pictures of them all, and the house, and the food...and they said their good-byes. The lady took Steve aside and said, "I trust you now. I know you love him, and will watch out for him. Take care of yourself, and take care of Miz Deliverance's ghost child." 

Steve nodded, "I will," he said. She hugged him again, then they were on their way.

As they drove down the road again, Ghost cried his sadness out. He hated good-byes, and this one was one of the most meaningful to him...his first home in the mountains. The place, and people, and experiences that had shaped him, at a very early age, had imprinted their stamp on him. He'd always be of the mountains, no matter where he lived.

~

They decided to keep going west, for awhile. They'd stop when Steve got tired of driving. They wanted to stay in a motel, sometimes along the way, but mostly they were going to use the old tent, and be camping out.

As Ghost looked out the car window, he sang made up songs about whatever caught his attention from one moment to the next. 

"Hey, Steve, when ya gonna show me how to play your guitar?" he asked.

"I did already, remember? You said it was too hard to get your fingers around the neck, and that it hurt." Steve laughed.

"Oh, yeah, well, maybe I want to try again, when this cast gets off of me," Ghost said.

"Ok, I'll show ya again, but right now, just keep singing your silly songs, they make me laugh," Steve said.

Ghost smiled, then continued singing.

As evening was turning the sky a deep purple, they came upon the outskirts of a medium size town they'd never heard of. They found a small camping area they could stay the night at, then went to find someplace to eat. They saw a couple of coffee bars, and regular redneck bars, so stopped in to ask if they needed a couple of musicians for a night.

The first one they entered was hardcore cowboy. It didn't seem like their kind of crowd. The next one was a mix of musical styles...mostly from the jukebox, but they advertised an open mic night for the next night. That sounded ok to Steve and Ghost. They planned on coming back.

The coffee bar was ok, anyone could take a turn singing, doing comedy, or reading poetry. It would be a quieter type of show, if they came here. They wanted to try it out, too. 

First, though, they needed to set up their tent. Steve drove them to the far edge of the town, where he'd seen the camping area.



Next installment coming soon!





Peace, Love, & Writing

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(sixtieth installment)

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
60th installment
warning...adult content





Before the first song, though, Ghost put his finger to his lips and shushed the crowd. This was unusual, as they always just started the songs. When there was silence, he said, "Hey, y'all...thank you for coming to hear us tonight. This here show is dedicated to everyone who helped to rebuild our house. It was the coolest thing ever, to see all that you did, in so many ways, to help us. We love y'all and Missing Mile, forevermore!" 

The kids all began clapping and whistling, as Steve took over the mic. "Ok, y'all, just  to let ya know, we'll be on the road awhile after tonight, but we'll keep in touch with Kinsey, and he'll keep a map on the wall to track our journey. So, come in and see where all we've been, and when we get back here, we'll sing to ya some more!"

He strummed the intro to their first song, and Ghost began to sing in the same mesmerizing, golden, gravelly voice everyone knew and loved. Steve played loud, and the kids were dancing and singing along. Kinsey could see the open rafters above, shake dust down through the filtered lighting, onto the crowd of sweaty bodies below.

The newly initiated were spellbound at what they were seeing. So this is what everyone had been talking about, they found out. Ghost would raise his voice in a golden shimmer, and then bring everyone back down to the low, gravelly growl with him, then he'd whisper some lyrics while Steve played a softer riff. The crowd was transfixed. On the new songs, Kinsey thought his heart would break, or melt, or burst with love for Ghost and Steve and their love story, as it continued.

As they played the last song, everyone was holding hands and hugging; tears were falling freely. They were swaying along with Lost Souls? with their lighters held up in the air. It was such a great show, no one would forget this night.

~

After the show, Ghost meandered through the crowd, as he received high fives, and congratulations on the show. Steve put his equipment away, then they met up at the bar. Kinsey handed them both a cold beer.

"That was an amazing show, guys," he said. "What are y'all's plans, now?"

"You know, Kinsey," said Ghost, "we're gonna go travel around."

Kinsey smiled, "Yeah, I know. When are you leaving, and where's your first stop?"

Ghost thought a minute. "Well, we're leaving in the morning. I think we're going to the mountain to see the people that helped us out, a long time ago. At least some of them did..." and he frowned, remembering a bit of what happened there. "Just for a little while, to say hi...that's all."

Steve came up and joined the conversation.

"Where we gonna stop after the mountain, Steve?"

"Not sure, yet...maybe we'll just throw a dart and see where it lands, then head that way," Steve said.

"Kin I throw the dart, then?" asked Ghost.

"Yeah, sure, that's as good a way as any. We have a big 'ol map to throw at."

"Maybe we kin just go to places that have funny names!"

Kinsey and Steve laughed. "Yeah, that'd be cool, too," Steve said.

After awhile, the party wound down, and Kinsey began to close up the club. He reminded them to give him updates along the way, and he gave them a small present.

"Steve, I got ya this - it'll help send messages to us back here, and also, if y'all need help, ok?"

He handed Steve a cell phone, and showed him how to use it.

"Kinsey, wow, this is great. We never had a phone, before." Steve said, as he looked at it.

Kinsey marvelled at how the smallest kindness to Steve and Ghost always brought out their gratitude. A phone most people would consider a necessity, was something they'd never considered ever having. Scraping by as they did, a phone was a luxury way out of these two's reach. He had a hard time remembering they were now millionaires, and he realized, they never remembered it themselves.

"Now, Steve, I want you to show Ghost how to use this. I know he can't use the numbers, but make sure you show him how to make a call to 911, or to me, using the letters, ok?"

Steve nodded, and assured Kinsey that he would.

Steve rounded up Ghost, who was writing on the wall again, and they said their good-byes to Kinsey. Kinsey hugged them both, and said, "Guys...please be careful. Take care of each other. I love you both and hate to see ya go, but I'll see ya when ya get back." And then they were out the door, headed home to pack for the trip.

On the way home, they talked about how the show went.

"We did good, Ghost," said Steve. "I think everyone had a good time."

"Me too, Steve. Everyone was dancing and singing along...and they liked our new ones, too. But, I'm gonna miss everyone."

"Yeah, but we'll be back...and we'll get to meet new people...it's gonna be great," Steve said.

"I'm gonna keep a separate journal for our travels, Steve. It'll say where all we stopped, and who we meet, and where we play our songs, and what we get to eat..." Ghost said, as he thought of his plans.

"That's a good idea, Ghost...and I have to show you how to use this new phone, too."

"Is it hard to figure out?"

"Naw, it's easy," said Steve. "You'll get used to it after awhile. Oh, I forgot, I got you a present the other day."

"For me...a present?" Ghost asked.

"Yeah, it's at the house, and don't bug me about it...it's a surprise. I'll show you when we get home."

"Ok, ok," said Ghost.



Next installment coming soon!




Peace, Love, & Writing 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(fifty ninth installment)

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
59th installment
warning...adult content






~

Then they were alone...just the two of them, and the rebuilt house. It looked almost the same. The covered porch was back, and another porch swing, new paint, new 'old' furniture scrounged from attics and thrift stores, and their salvaged things had been cleaned and put away. There was food in the kitchen, and sheets and blankets on the beds. Someone had even painted Ghost's warding off sign back onto the porch in front of the screen door.

When Ghost looked in his bedroom, there were even glow-in-the-dark stars painted on the ceiling. The walls were freshly painted, but now blank, and a new package of markers was on the table beside the bed. Only one sentence was written on the wall, now. It said, 'For you, Ghost and Steve, because we love you.' and had hearts drawn around it. It was signed by everyone who'd worked to make it their home again.

Steve heard Ghost crying, and went to see what was the matter. He was sitting in the middle of his bed, with tears falling through strands of his golden hair, that hung in front of his face.

"Ghost, what is it? Why are you crying?"

Ghost pointed to the wall. "Look what they wrote, Steve. I'm crying because everyone is so nice to us, and they really do love us."

Steve read the wall, then came to sit by Ghost, on the bed. He hugged him, and let a few of his own tears fall, to join Ghost's.

"Yeah, I guess they do."

~

As they got back into a routine, and settled in to the house again, they talked more about taking a long road trip.

"We'll always come back here. This is our home, Ghost. We can go see other places for a while, then come back here, then go again. It'll be fun."

"Yeah, and maybe we can play some places, too. But, you know what? I want to do another show here before we go, to say thank you to everybody," said Ghost.

"Ok, we'll set it up, then," Steve said.

~

Kinsey was all too happy to have them play at the club, before they left. He knew it would be a big deal for them, and for the rest of the kids, and even the others who'd helped rebuild the house...some who'd never come to see them play before. He began preparing for it, for the next weekend.

Steve and Ghost practiced their songs every day, and even in the nights - some were new ones, some were old favorites.

On the way to the sacred Yew that evening, Steve was thinking of their journey together, so far. He could see how they'd changed since they were kids, and also how they had not. He himself, a punk with an attitude and a cynical chip on his shoulder - mad at a world, that was quickly beating him down to a hard-hearted bastard, that hated everyone and everything.

And Ghost, who was never born, and was this pale lost soul, being bullied and hurt so much already at such a young age, but still had an open, loving heart to everything...and the magic that always surrounded him. That he saw fit to befriend himself, Steve, and share that magic with him...to basically love him and ultimately save him from himself.

Ghost nudged open Steve's dark side, and poured his golden smile and lightness into him...and his sky blue eyes promised his love, loyalty, and faithfulness...forevermore...forevermore...

He looked over at Ghost, who was hanging his head out the car window, letting the moon shine turn his hair sparkly silver. Steve shook his head and smiled. Ghost was still such a little hippie...tie-dyed t-shirt, baggy old Army jacket, with sewn on patches, raggedy jeans with marker writing on them...happy-go-lucky, no matter what. Then he looked at himself...still trying to be the badass rocker - dressed in black, boots with chains, leather jacket, and dark brooding eyes. How on Earth did the two of them ever get together?

"It was fate, Steve," Ghost said. "It was always meant to be. I knew you a long, long time ago, in another time and place. We loved each other then, too. And when I saw you, that first day I came here from the mountains, I recognized your soul. But, I didn't know how to make you see it, too. I'm happy you finally did." He sighed.

Steve was amazed, as usual, that without even trying, Ghost had heard all his prior thoughts. He pulled up into the parking lot of the club, and took Ghost's hand, pulling him to himself. "I love you, Ghost. you are my life." He kissed Ghost tenderly, at first, then fiercely, and didn't want to stop. But, it was time to put on their show.

Now they were energized, and both knew they'd have all the long night together. It was still a bit early to open the doors to the club, so they went in the back door, saying hi to Kinsey, as they passed by his office. He noticed their flushed appearance, and smiled...they never get enough of each other, he thought.

Steve went up on the stage and began to ready his equipment. It was just the two of them tonight. They had taped music from Terry and R.J., and they would do their own parts live. Of course Ghost always sang live. Ghost was at the writing wall, putting in today's thoughts. He wrote a long one, thanking everyone for their help, and that he'd miss everyone while they were gone, but that they'd be back before too long.

Ghost thought about the new songs they'd do tonight...what they meant to him and Steve, what the people would think of them...even though, they wouldn't get the same meaning from the words. Maybe, they would take from them some meaning of their own. They'd both written some parts of each song, and that was mostly how they'd sing them - in turn - on the songs, *"Killing Me Softly With His Song", and *"Need You Now". Ghost would sing *"If I Die Young" by himself, just to Steve playing on his acoustic guitar, and of course, as always, the last one would be *"World".

~

Kinsey opened the door, letting in the crowd that had gathered. Everyone was in a good mood, ready for the songs, and to show Ghost and Steve they loved them, by their presence here this night.

Back stage, Ghost was sipping a mug of hot tea, with lemon and honey, to ease his throat. He'd had Steve put a few tiny braids in his hair, with a blue bird's feather on the end of one. He wasn't sure, but it may have been the feather from the blue bird he'd seen at the old gravestone, that day long ago. At any rate, he considered it good luck.

Steve was doing last minute tuning on his guitars. Kinsey poked his head in and said, "Y'all ready? It's time." He went out to announce them. Ghost got a shiver of excitement, that ran like electricity through him. As they reached the door, Steve kissed Ghost one more time. Their shared thought was that their shows were to entertain everyone, but mostly it was for themselves...their love and their heartbreak, their hopes and dreams for each other. They knew Kinsey had figured it out, too, and that was fine with them, after all he was like family. Their lives played out on stage - a soundtrack of their journey so far.

As they walked on stage, the crowd of club kids erupted in happy applause. Even the older crowd at the back of the club, were clapping for them. Those who'd never heard their music before, were clapping right along, too, but were a little anxious about what they'd hear tonight. The kids had changed back into their usual club clothes. For this send-off, they were going to go all out.


~

*"Killing Me Softly With His Song", sung by Roberta Flack, released January 21, 1973, label - Atlantic, Composed by Charles Fox, with lyrics by Norman Gimble in collaboration with Lori Lieberman

*"Need You Now", sung by Lady Antebellum , from the album "Need You Now", released August 24, 2009, label - Capitol Nashville, written by Hillary Scott, Charles Kelly, Dave Haywood, and Josh Kear

*"If I Die Young", sung by The Band Perry, released on self titled album, October 12, 2010, label - Republic Nashville, written by Kimberly Perry

*"Hole in the World", sung by The Eagles, written by Don Henley, and Glenn Frey, released July 15, 2003, label - The Eagles Recording Company II, on the album "The Very Best Of"



Next installment coming soon!




Peace, Love, & Writing




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(fifty eighth installment)

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
58th installment
warning...adult content






Steve went out to tell Kinsey and Terry; he said they could leave, and he'd let them know when to come get them.

They'd given Ghost pain medication and a sedative, so he was pretty much out of it, almost asleep again. Steve told him what was going on. Ghost nodded, but was talking gibberish. Steve hugged him, then lay on the small couch, by the hospital bed. He was remembering the time he'd been in this hospital, after his wreck. Well, he got fixed up, and so would Ghost. They'd be back home soon.

The surgery went well the next morning. Ghost came out with a big cast on his hand and wrist; all the bones had been put back together, as much as possible. He was told he would probably have a crooked place or two in his fingers, but mainly, he'd heal pretty quick. His fever and the infection were going away now, and after two days, he was released to go home. Terry and Kinsey both came to get them.

~

Kinsey had gotten the extra room ready for them, too, so that's where the went. But, after a few days, both Steve and Ghost were getting restless. They were eager to start fixing up the house. Kinsey was getting anxious to have everything back to normal, too. He wasn't used to having house guests, but it would be quite awhile before the house would be ready to live in again.

Steve and Kinsey had hired a guy to remove the big tree that had fallen on the house. Ghost hadn't been back to the house, yet, so he badgered Steve to take him out there.

"You have to get your car, anyway," Ghost said.

"I know, and Kinsey said the guys got the tree out today. I'll get Kinsey to drive us out there in the morning, ok?"

"Yeah, but Steve, how are we gonna fix the house? We never fixed a house before."

"I don't know, Ghost, but guess we'll start by going through everything, and keeping what we can, then...then...well, we'll figure it out." He thought about his guitar...it was still out there in his car. He listened as Ghost sang some of their songs; Ghost made his own music. He sang a bit too, not liking how he sounded, though.

Kinsey came in, then, from the club, and Steve told him of their plans for the day.

"Sure, I'll drive you out there...and I've been talking about y'all's situation to some of the guys in town. Over at the hardware store, they all want to help y'all out...you know, with building supplies. I heard them say they knew some carpenters and roofers, and they're on board, too, soon as y'all are ready."

Steve was looking down at the floor, overcome. "I don't deserve anybody's help, Kinsey - especially from them. They still hate me, and it'd be awkward."

"Steve, they offered. I guess they don't hate you anymore, so I'd let them help, if they want to, or they may get offended."

Steve thought about it. "Yeah, guess we do need somebody's help, since me and Ghost don't know how to do it. But, we're paying them. We won't take charity."

"Fine, Steve, y'all offer, but if they refuse, then drop it, ok?"

"Yeah, ok," Steve said.

Ghost was quiet during all this, but now said, "I want to do something too, but what?" he pointed to his cast.

Steve jokingly said, "You can be the boss. You can tell everybody what you want done to the house...you own it, after all."

Ghost smiled. He liked that idea.

~

The next morning they all drove out there. Poking around in the mess was hard work, physically picking up broken and water-logged items, and emotionally, at what all was lost. Anything they could use was set aside. The rest went into garbage bags. By early evening, everyone was tired and ready to go get a cold beer, back in town.

"I didn't like doing that," said Ghost. "The house feels sad that it got hurt...that things are different, now."

Steve figured Ghost was really talking about how he felt. "Well, we'll repair it, and put other stuff in there."

"I know, but almost all of my grandmother's potions got broke. They were probably important. What if I need to take something...what will I do if I can't find any more? I don't know how to mix that stuff up."

"We'll figure it out, Ghost. Your friend, Miz Caitlin, probably has all of that at her place, anyway." But, what he really thought to himself, was good riddance. It was creepy old stuff, anyway. Ghost can just take pills, like everyone else.

"I guess so," said Ghost, "but, it's not the same."

~

Back at the Sacred Yew, everyone had a few beers and sandwiches, and turned in early. The next few days were going to be busy. The men were going out there to start the rebuilding, the next day.

As they prepared to leave, the next morning, there was a knocking at the club door. Kinsey opened it, to find quite a few young men and women on his doorstep. They all had on t-shirts and jeans, and were fresh-faced, and eager to tell him something.

Who are these kids, he wondered...then it dawned on him...these are my club kids. He hadn't recognized them at first, without their black, goth clothes and jewelry, and without their dark lined eyes, and spray painted hair. They looked so different.

One of them held out a large stack of money. "This is to help Ghost and Steve fix their house," the girl said. "We took up a collection, 'cause we love them, and don't want them to ever leave. We also have a bunch of stuff gathered up for them...like dishes, and sheets, and a couch, and tables, and an old bed...just lots of stuff...and clothes, too." She smiled, and then an older boy said they had tools and boards and lots of supplies, to help rebuild the old house. They were there to help, to do all they could to help out their hometown band, Lost Souls?"

Kinsey was speechless. He always knew these Missing Mile kids were truly good kids, no matter how they dressed. "Thank you all so much. Y'all are amazing. We can use all of your help...we're heading out there now, if you want to follow us," he finally said.

Ghost and Steve came downstairs to see what was going on. Everyone talked at once, all excited. It was beginning to seem like a big 'ol party. One by one, the loaded cars left the club, and caravanned out to Burnt Church Road. Kinsey had made sandwiches for an army, and Steve had his guitar along. Convening at the house, everyone got busy doing something.

There were deliveries of boards for walls, roofing materials, flooring, and of course, everything the kids had collected. Steve did whatever was asked of him, from nailing boards, to holding up wall panels. Whenever he wasn't needed for something, he played his guitar, and Ghost would sing to everyone.

Kinsey was proud of his little community - how they all came together to help someone in need. It took only three days to complete the repairs. Steve tried to pay the workers, but they brushed it off, just saying that they help their own citizens in need, and to just pay it forward someday. Steve was humbled and grateful, and Ghost was so happy and excited, he danced around hugging anyone who'd stand still for it.



Next installment coming soon!





Peace, Love, & Writing


Monday, July 14, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(fifty seventh installment)

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
57th installment
warning...adult content






They kept walking in that direction, until they could see the graveyard, and then, Kinsey and Terry on the other side. Terry and Kinsey rushed toward them. After seeing them alive, and that Ghost was hurt, the next thing they did notice was their lack of clothes. Steve had forgotten about being embarrassed. He was just happy to have been found.

Kinsey took Ghost from Steve. "Thank God you're alive. Where did y'all go?"

Steve explained about the cave, and how they'd had to get out of the house after the tree fell on it. "How does it look?"

Kinsey shook his head, "Not good, Steve. It may have to be torn down."

"No, we're gonna fix it," Steve said. 

"Sure, man," Terry said. "Sure, I'll help ya." He looked over at Kinsey and  shrugged. They knew they should just go along with whatever Steve said, for now.

"What happened to Ghost? Did the tree smash his hand? It's all broken and swollen up," Terry asked.

"Uh, yeah, I guess so...it was such a crazy night. Everything was falling and crashing. We just had to get out of there in a hurry," Steve said.

"Guess y'all didn't have time to get dressed, either, huh?"

"Yeah, didn't have time," said Steve, in a tone that meant - don't ask about it again.

All this time, they'd been walking back to the house. "We have to get Ghost to the hospital," said Kinsey. "He's got a bad fever, and probably broken bones in his hand."

"They continued to talk, finally coming to the clearing into the back yard. The house looked bad from this side, too. Terry and Kinsey kept going, supporting Ghost, then noticed Steve wasn't following behind them any more.

"Hey, Steve, where'd ya go?" Terry hollered.

They looked back to the edge of the woods, and saw Steve on his knees, hands covering his face. He was crying...huge, body shaking sobs. Terry ran back.

"What is it, Steve? What's the matter? Y'all are ok now, and we'll help ya get the house fixed."

But, Steve couldn't talk, couldn't explain. It felt like the past two years had just crashed down on him. He'd had to be strong, and keep it together for so long. He'd had to numb his feelings...no one should suspect that macho Steve had actual feelings. But, just now, he'd finally cracked, and the whole of it had been too much to hold back any longer. He thought he'd never stop crying.

"It's ok, man, it's ok," said Terry, not really knowing what else to do.

Kinsey had turned back to see what was going on. He'd sat Ghost down on the ground, but even in his far off place, Ghost could hear Steve's cries...could feel his anguish and pain for all that had gone before, and his fear of what would come. Even in his own pain, Ghost managed to get up and stagger back to Steve.

"Go..." he said to Kinsey and Terry, as he waved them away.

They backed up some, just watching. Ghost put his arms around Steve then, and talked softly to him. Steve heard, and the crying slowed. Ghost kept talking in soothing tones, telling him to cry it all out, to not worry about what comes next; no matter what, they'd be together and work out their pain. He told him he would never leave him, that he loved him. He kept brushing back Steve's hair, and wiping the tears away, as fast as they fell...his own joining Steve's in empathy.

Then, they both rose to their feet, and leaning on each other, made their way toward the old house, and their 'whatever comes next'.

Terry and Kinsey just stared in awe at the two of them. They were survivors. As they all reached the house, they were overwhelmed at the mess. It would take a lot of time and work to get it back to being livable.

"Y'all can't stay here...you're gonna stay at the club. There's an extra room upstairs by mine. Steve, look around...see if there's anything you have to have that's not ruined, then I'm taking Ghost to the hospital.

So, Steve and Terry wandered around the broken house. There was still water soaking everything, their clothes included. Most of their band equipment was still out in the car, so there wasn't much they'd need from the house right now. Ghost's Army jacket was soaked, but Steve picked it up anyway. It could be washed; his backpack was lying in a puddle of water. He took that too. It was supposed to be waterproof...his current notebooks and journals were in there...his older ones, he kept in the trunk of the car. That was all for now.

He remembered that in the car was a pile of clothes. They almost never cleaned out the car, and joked about being able to live on what was in there, including snacks, and bottles of water and beer. Steve dug out some clothes for them both. The car was ok, but was blocked from getting out, by all the tree branches. They'd get it later. The four of them got into Kinsey's car, and drove out to the highway. They were all going to Raleigh, it seemed.

No one said much on the way. Steve and Ghost were exhausted. They both dozed off, there in the back seat. Kinsey had to drive carefully, as the highway was still littered, in the storm's aftermath. The highway road crews were trying to clear it.

Terry checked to see if they were asleep. They were, so he elbowed Kinsey - he had something to say, and he said it quietly.

"Kinsey, I saw something weird at the house - in Ghost's bedroom. Did you notice the handcuffs attached to the bed railing?"

Kinsey looked over at Terry and shook his head.

"Yeah, they were locked closed, and kinda smashed up and bent, but still closed. What do ya think of that?"

Kinsey raised his eyebrows, and said, "Hmm, what do you make of it, Terry?"

"Well, what I'm thinking, and I may be way off, is that Ghost was handcuffed to the bed. You know...they might have been messing around with each other...and then the storm came, and they couldn't get to the key...and Steve had to bash Ghost's hand to get him loose. That's what I think."

Kinsey sighed. "Yeah, that's what it sounds like. Guess he had to do whatever he could to save themselves. Damn, these two go through so much shit. Looks like they'd catch a break sometimes...and guess I'm not gonna ask them about it, either."

"Yeah, me neither," said Terry.

~

They finally got to the emergency room, and checked in, filling out forms, and explaining their need for Ghost to be seen. The waiting room was pretty full, so they waited. When Ghost was called back, Steve went with him. They took x-rays, and then came the conference with the doctor. Looking at the film, Steve couldn't tell much, but the doctor pointed out all the broken bones in Ghost's hand. It was serious...Ghost would have to have surgery, as soon as possible, or he'd lose his hand. Already, the infection from the cuts, was doing damage. After an antibiotic shot, they admitted Ghost to a room...he'd have surgery the next morning.



Next installment coming soon!





Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, July 11, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(fifty sixth installment)

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
56th installment
warning...adult content





Ghost took a shuddery breath, but didn't say anything. He was having a weird feeling in his head, a precursor of something bad going to happen...like he might go into one of his freak out spells...and never come out of it, even if Steve tried his best to drag him back to reality. He was trying hard to prevent this happening, to push his mind in another directon, and he couldn't talk to Steve right now. It would scare him too much. So, he was silent on the outside, but on the inside, he was fighting the rising panic he could feel he was on the edge of falling into - a dark, dark place he may never come out of. He tried to get a vision of how he and Steve would get out of this mess they were in, but he just couldn't quite see it. It was covered with a gauzy film, out of focus.

Maybe they wouldn't make it out of this, not whole, anyway. Maybe a part of each of them would be lost forever...a subtle change in them...that they could never recover from the strangeness...forevermore...forevermore...
He needed to write that word down on his wall...but his wall in the bedroom was gone. It was gone forevermore, too. He cried for all that may be lost.

Steve could tell that Ghost had gone into a weird place...sort of asleep and dreaming, and sort of awake and muttering strange words, and crying. He kept hearing Ghost say forevermore, over and over. He was scared for him. He was scared for himself, but he held onto Ghost tight, and hoped that would help keep Ghost in this world, and not lose him to the other world...the one of Ghost's visions. That was all he could do right now. He began to think of the old house - practically cut in half by the tree, and full of water...and who knew what else, whenever they next would see it.

Well, we could fix it up, he thought. Put off our road trip, or just forget it and buy a new house. But, he knew Ghost would never go for that. So, to occupy his mind, he made a mental list of things they'd have to do. Then he started talking about the work out loud. Maybe Ghost could hear him, wherever he was right now, and it would ground him to the present.

"Hey,Ghost, guess we'll have to wait awhile on that trip. Gotta get the old house back together, ya know." He didn't know if Ghost heard him, he gave no sign he did, and the wind and rain were just as loud as it was before. But, he knew if Ghost wasn't totally lost in space and time, he could hear his thoughts, anyway.

Then he laughed at himself. Just awhile ago, he'd wished Ghost couldn't always read his mind, and now he hoped he could. "I can't even make up my own mind," he thought. So, he continued to talk and share his plans out loud, just in case.

~

Back in town, the storm was causing problems too, for Kinsey and Terry. They, of course, had known the hurricane was coming, and it was a big one. Still, the water rose just as high into the streets in town. They did use sandbags to prevent some of the water from coming into their businesses, and taped and put plywood up over the windows. Kinsey had his generator running. The power was the first thing to go. He also, had his battery weather radio on, too. He could kind of estimate how long the storm would last. He'd been through them before, so wasn't overly concerned, even though they'd urged everyone to evacuate.

As the eye passed over, Terry made his way to the Sacred Yew to check on Kinsey. He'd done all he could for the record store. It would either make it or not, but he needed company. He banged on the front door of the club, and finally Kinsey opened it. Terry was glad to see Kinsey had made coffee, and his lights were on, thanks to the generator power. They discussed the storm, and the damage they'd see when it was over. Kinsey related the updates, from the radio. Then, Kinsey wondered how Steve and Ghost were, out at the old house.

"Yeah, that old place is kinda rickety, anyway. It could have blown away," said Terry.

"Damn, Terry, don't even think that," Kinsey said. "Steve and Ghost were probably in there...it's the middle of the night. I hope they're ok. I'm going to go check on them as soon as I can."

"Yeah, guess we better," said Terry.

Eventually, the storm moved on up the coast, and as morning arrived, the people of Missing Mile came out to see their town. It would take a lot of work for the community to recover, and clean up the streets, repair roofs, and get back to normal. Kinsey went out to check his car, and to see if he could drive it down the road. It didn't look good. The streets were littered with branches and downed power lines, and someone's roof was in the street. Some people already had their chain saws out, clearing debris.

His car was blocked in, but didn't look too bad, and it started up ok. He'd have to wait till the streets were cleared a bit more. The sheriff was out taking stock, and as he walked by the club, Kinsey asked if there was any way to go out and check on Ghost and Steve. The sheriff said as soon as he could get through, he would. So, Kinsey and Terry began cleaning up around their places of business.

Later that afternoon, the sheriff came back by to speak with Kinsey. "Kinsey, one of my deputies went out there...said the house was pretty much demolished. A big tree fell on it, and it's also flooded really bad. He said he couldn't get too close, but he didn't see anybody...or any bodies. He hollered for Steve and Ghost...got no response."

Kinsey thanked him, and now was even more worried. There had to be some way to get out there.

~

Back at the little cave, Ghost was still in a weird, dazed condition. Steve could feel that he was burning up with fever, again, and his broken hand was swollen, bruised, and bloody. He, himself, had passed out for awhile, too. When he regained consciousness, it was getting dark again. They'd been out here forever, it seemed...a whole day, so far. He was hungry, too, but there was no way he could manage to get himself and Ghost back through all the trees and debris, in the dark. He'd just have to wait until morning.

He had not heard the deputy calling out earlier, and even if he'd been awake, it was too far...over a mile away. He did get up and move around outside the cave, and let Ghost stretch out awhile. They'd been cramped up in there too long already. After the rain, the heat came back. It was oppressive and heavy with moisture. The bugs were feasting on them.

"You nasty bloodsuckers," Steve said, as he slapped at them on both himself and Ghost. Then he realized they were both naked. They'd not had time to find and put on their clothes that night, during the storm...didn't even think of it. So now, he hoped when they got back to the house, they'd have clothes...that they didn't all blow away; and that they still had a house to get back to. He knew if someone did find them out here, he'd be embarrassed to be naked out here in the woods, but at least they were alive.

"Guess I'll deal with that when the time comes," he muttered.

He paced around outside the cave, keeping an eye on Ghost. He wasn't doing very good, he noticed. Still hot with fever, talking nonsense, and shaking, and he'd still not woke up.

~

The next morning, the streets in town had been cleared enough, that Kinsey knew he had to go find Steve and Ghost. He got Terry, and they started down the road. They still had to go slow, dodging branches here and there. Finally, they were at the old house. They just sat a few minutes in the car, staring at the big pine tree lying on top and in the houe. The roof was completely split in half, and there was still about two feet of brackish water, standing in the yard, and into the ravaged house. They could see how high the water had been, by the dirty marks on the outside walls of the house. They estimated it being within two feet of the roof.

"My, God, Terry," said Kinsey. "If they were in there...how could they have come through it alive? I'm scared to look."

"We have to, Kinsey," said Terry. "This is worse than I even imagined, but we have to do everything we can for them...dead or alive."

Kinsey nodded. They walked through the stagnant water, toward the house. With no need to use the door, as it wasn't there anymore, they went inside...afraid of what they'd find. The inside of the house was as they expected...total chaos. They searched everywhere, and called out for them, and were relieved when they didn't find them in that mess.

Terry shrugged, "Well, where did they go? Steve's car is still here...what do we do now?"

"Well, let's go out back. Maybe they made it to the graveyard," Kinsey said. They sloshed through the debris filled water, calling out as they went.

~

Steve knew he had to get back to the house as soon as possible. Ghost needed medical treatment, or he might not make it another day. They'd had no food or water, since before the hurricane. He couldn't even remember how long that had been. His mind was fuzzy about details now, as the whole situation sank in. Lack of food was making him weak. He tried to wake Ghost, and managed to get him on his feet. Ghost was sort of awake, and looked like hell...didn't seem to know what happened or where he was, but at least he was putting one foot in front of the other, while leaning on Steve. Carefully making their way to the house, as they got closer, Steve thought he heard someone calling for them.

"Hey, Ghost, they're looking for us. We're almost home," he said.

Ghost just stood there, looking confused. Steve hollered back as loud as he could, several times..."We're here...over here!"





Next installment coming soon!




Peace, Love, & Writing