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Friday, August 28, 2015

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE ... # 211

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
# 211
warning...adult content




~
When Ghost finally fell back asleep, Steve went into the kitchen to fix them some soup. He was exhausted, but wanted food to be ready when Ghost woke up. As he stirred the pot on the stove, he could barely keep his eyes open. Everything he did seemed in slow motion. As soon as it was done, he went to lay down beside Ghost, just for a little while, he told himself. He listened to Ghost's raspy breathing, and fell asleep himself, for a couple of hours.

Ghost began to move around, after awhile, then woke to find he was drenched. His fever had broken, and now he was shivering in his damp clothes. Weak and woozy, he managed to find a dry t-shirt, and make his way to the bathroom. Steve had heard him get up, so he went to get their supper on the table.

Setting a bowl of the soup in front of Ghost, he urged him to eat it. "You need food in you, before you faint," Steve said.

Ghost put his face over the steaming liquid, and inhaled, which seemed to help his sinuses open up. He only took a few bites of the soup, finding it hard to swallow. "I can't talk," he whispered.

"I know," Steve said. "You don't have to talk right now." He was watching him closely, though.

"Why I'm sick all the time?" Ghost asked.

"Shh...it's just the way it is. Now, eat...and drink your water...you're dehydrated."

Ghost coughed and sneezed. "I'm so tired. My eyes hurt...my head hurts," he said with his eyes closed and breathing through his mouth.

Steve knew there wasn't much more to be done to make Ghost feel any better, so he just listened to his complaints and misery. He didn't want to admit it, but his own throat was starting to get that raw feeling, too. He tried to ignore it...to will it away.

"You gonna eat any more?" he asked.

Ghost shook his head.

"Then go get back in bed. I'm gonna turn in early, myself."

Ghost scraped his chair back, and shakily got up. Cracking his eyes open, he wobbled down the hallway to his bed. Sighing, Steve gathered up the dishes, planning on doing them in the morning. Checking the doors, he then turned out the lights.

"You want me to stay in here with you?" he asked. Ghost nodded, so Steve got in the bed, and tried to go to sleep. The wind had gotten up, and was again whistling through the windows, sounding eerie and mournful. He fell into a fitful sleep, and would jerk awake every time Ghost moved. It seemed like the longest night ever, or the shortest...he couldn't decide which, when the phone rang.

It was daylight, by now. Steve made his way to the living room to answer the incessant ringing. "What?" he croaked into the phone.

"Well, don't you sound chipper this morning," said Terry. "Y'all aren't up yet? Hell, it's almost noon, Dude," he laughed.

"Fuck you, Terry," Steve said, hanging up. It rang again. "You heard what I said," Steve began, but Terry started talking louder.

"Hey now, just a minute. Why you being so crabby? I was just teasing."

"We're both dying, Terry...for real. I'm sick as a dog, and Ghost has been running a fever for two days now. Leave us alone," Steve said, which started a coughing fit.

"Aww, poor babies," Terry said, "y'all just sit tight...I'm coming over. I ain't scared of germs." Then he hung up.

Steve stared at the phone, wondering if he heard right. "Damn him," he said, then went into the kitchen to make coffee. While he waited, he took some Motrin, and itemized all his aches and pains, starting with the top of his head, which felt like a bass drum beating inside his skull. He got meds and water for Ghost, and brought in a mug of coffee to him.

"Ghost, wake up. Take these pills, and I brung ya some coffee."

"Steve...I'm dead, aren't I?"

"No...so get up."

Ghost rolled over. With his bleary eyes, he looked at Steve. "You look dead."

"Yeah, you gave me your crap sickness, and I'm dead now. Take your meds, and drink your coffee...it's getting cold. You feeling any better at all?"

"No," Ghost whispered, still unable to talk much. "Did the phone ring?"

"Oh, yeah...Terry's coming over. He wants to see what he'll look like after he catches this crap, too."

Ghost managed a smile, at that.

"I'm gonna fix us something to eat," Steve said. Just as he got in the kitchen, though, the sound of Terry's loud car driving up, rattled the windows. Steve went to unlock the door.

Terry came in, took one look at Steve, and said, "Shit, you really are sick, Dude." He was carrying a large bag, which he set on the coffee table. "Sit down," he said. "I brought y'all some breakfast. I had to bribe that waitress over at the diner to fix morning food, seeing that it's lunch time, but I told her it was for y'all...and she gave me the works." He took the take-home containers out of the bag, setting them on the table.

"Ghost, where are you? Come and get it while it's hot," Terry yelled.

Ghost slowly walked down the hallway, holding onto the wall to keep from falling over.

"Damn, Ghost...you look worse than Steve," Terry said, going over to help Ghost to the couch.

"I can't talk," Ghost whispered.

"Yeah, well just eat, then. There's pancakes, grits, and eggs. I'll get y'all some milk," Terry said. He went into the kitchen.

Ghost leaned against Steve, his head on Steve's shoulder. His eyes were closed. Steve was leaning back, his eyes closed, too. Terry came back in, setting the milk down. He saw Ghost's camera there on the table, so picked it up and snapped a picture of the two of them.

"This is the picture of misery," he said. "Ok, guys, wake up...eat."

Ghost moaned, as Steve pushed him upright. "I hurt all over..."

"Yeah, well...eat and go back to bed, then. I'm gonna camp out here and take care of y'all. Don't worry about a thing...Terry to the rescue." He laughed.

Ghost coughed again. "We got germs...you'll get 'em."

"Yeah, well, then y'all can take care of me," Terry said.

They all managed to eat some of the breakfast. Terry decided to actually stay over, so went to clean up the kitchen. Coming back through the living room, he said, "Hey, look at me...playing nursemaid." He laughed, trying to get a smile out of them. He put clean sheets on the bed, and helped them back into the bedroom. "Y'all rest...I'll check on ya later. Holler if you need anything."

"Thanks, Terry," Steve said. He got under the blankets with Ghost. They were both asleep within seconds.

"Damn, I hope I don't catch it," Terry said.

Back in the living room, he sat down on the couch and pulled out his phone. He called Kinsey. "Hey, Dude...Terry here. Guess where I am?"

"You're at home?" Kinsey asked.

"Nope, over at Steve and Ghost's house. I'm their nursemaid for a few days. I'm staying over."

"Why, what's up?"

"Oh, man...they're both dying of something...so sick they can hardly move. I made them eat and they're taking something for the fever, but I ain't never seen two such pitiful people in my life. In fact, I took a picture when they were out of it."

"You need some help? I can come out there," Kinsey said.

"Naw, I'm probably gonna catch it, too. No need for you to expose yourself to the plague, or whatever it is. I'll call if it gets too bad."

"Ok, keep in touch," said Kinsey.

"Yeah, just wanted you to know what was going on," Terry said, then hung up the phone.

It was still a little windy and chilly outside, and he hoped it would blow away any cooties.

~
Next part coming soon!



Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE ... # 210

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
# 210
warning...adult content




~
Wracked with sobs, Steve was overcome from seeing the photos...the undeniable truth of what Ghost had gone through with Maxy. Rocking back and forth on the swing, he was saying, "I'm so sorry, Ghost. I did this to you. I'm the one who you were running from, and you ran right to another one of me. I'm no better than he is, Ghost. Forgive me...please..."

Jimmy did his best to comfort him, but Steve shook him off. "No, Jimmy...these pictures are the most horrifying thing I've ever seen...and it's my fault. If I hadn't killed Ghost first, then he wouldn't have been killed by Maxy."

Jimmy frowned. "What are you talking about, Steve? Ghost isn't dead...nobody killed him...he's right in there in the bedroom."

Steve raised his head to look at Jimmy. "Oh...oh...yeah I did...I killed Ghost. Go ask the old guys at the hardware store. They'll tell ya...they saw what I did. Go ask the mountain people...they know...and, they made him alive again." He stared Jimmy in the eyes, daring him to disagree.

"Ok, fine, Steve...you did, they did, he did...everybody killed Ghost. So, who is that in the bedroom, then?" Jimmy asked.

"Ghost," Steve said, "because he always comes back."

Jimmy didn't mean to, but he couldn't help it...he burst out laughing.

"Don't...Don't even, Jimmy!" Steve stood up, with anger in his eyes.

"Sorry, man...it just makes no sense to me," Jimmy said. "I know you're saying the truth...just let me process all this."

Steve was about to blow. His temper was right on the edge, but he managed to hold it in. He turned away, and slammed his fist into the porch railing. It hurt, but Steve didn't care. He'd hurt Ghost much, much worse. When he'd gotten control, he asked, "Jimmy, are you gonna catch that bastard and fry him, or what?"

Nodding, Jimmy said, "Yes, Steve, we've already started. The alert went out before I came over here. We'll get him."

"Ok, then, but if I see him first...he's mine," Steve said, deadly serious. "And, take that book with you. Go put it in the car...lock it away...I don't want Ghost to see it...or anybody to see it."

"See what?" Ghost asked, as he was coming out of the house, onto the porch. "What's going on?" He looked at Steve and Jimmy, trying to focus on their faces. He was looking pretty rough, with his tangled hair damp from sweating, and his face flushed. He coughed, and held his hands to his stomach.

"Nothing, Ghost...go back to bed. Jimmy and I were just talking," Steve said.

Blinking, to clear his vision, Ghost tried to remember why Jimmy was even here at the house. "Oh yeah, the camera thing..." he said. Coughing again, tripped on the photo album, as he shakily sat down on the swing. He picked it up, while Steve and Jimmy froze for a second. Steve then, lunged for it, but Ghost had already opened it.

"Hey, what is this?" He flipped a few pages, frowning at what he was looking at.

"Give me that...you don't want to see it," Steve said, grabbing for it again.

"Wait, Steve...this is...why are there pictures of...oh God...Steve..." He looked up at Steve, horror filling his eyes. "Why...how? Did you see these?" Ghost was breathing hard, as  he looked at more pages. "I don't even remember...but...it must have..." He looked confused.

Steve took the book now, closed it and gave it to Jimmy. "Ghost, Jimmy has to use that for proof, for evidence against Maxy, for what he did...for what he's still doing with that hidden camera we found. They'll catch him and put him in prison...forever.

"There's more, Steve," Ghost said.

"Huh? More..." Steve asked.

"Yeah, I think so," Ghost said. "I didn't know what it was, but now...well, I was laying down on the bed, and looking up at the ceiling. There's a hole up there. Go look."

Steve and Jimmy went inside and into Ghost's bedroom, to look for themselves. At first, they didn't see anything, but then Steve stretched out on the bed, to look at the ceiling, like Ghost had done.

"There it is...right over the bed, Jimmy."

"Well, I'll be damned," Jimmy said, when he saw it, too. "That thing's still running. I see the little green light." They both stared at it. "How do you get up there? Is there an attic door or something?" Jimmy asked.

"Yeah, there's just the rafters up there, but there is a little door in the closet ceiling, I think," Steve said. He opened the closet door. "Yeah, it's here."

"Ok, boost me up. I'll get in there and disconnect it," Jimmy said. When he was up there, he shined his police flashlight all around the area. He found the camera, and lots of wires leading from it in all directions. Each one ended at other cameras, pointing down into each room of the house.

"My God, Steve...there are six of them up here."

"What? Well get rid of them all," Steve said.

"Will do," Jimmy said. He scrabbled around, gathering them up. "Here Steve I'm gonna hand 'em down to ya."

Steve put all six cameras, and all the wiring, on the bed, as Jimmy handed them down. As they stood there, staring at it all, Steve wondered how long they'd all been here.

"Same as the first one we found, Steve," Jimmy said.

"But, we always lock the doors when we leave. It never looked like anyone broke in."

"I still don't get it, Steve," Jimmy said. "Why all the pictures, and now the cameras? You think it's blackmail, money, revenge...?"

"Yeah, revenge," Steve said, "because Ghost wouldn't stay with him anymore."

"Well, we'll get him...don't you worry about that. Do you have a box or something to put these in? I'll take them down to the station with me."

"Yeah, I'll go find one," Steve said.

When they came back outside to the porch, they saw that Ghost was still looking at the photos.

"Put it away, Ghost," Steve said.

""But, I don't remember any of this stuff...just the first few," Ghost said. "Did this really happen?'

Steve nodded. "Yeah, and why you don't remember it, is because he had you drugged. For a long time, it looks like. Those there are him putting something in your food and drinks. So yeah, it happened..." Steve spoke softly. "And he won't get away with it either. What he did to you, what he made you do, it was horrible and wrong, Ghost." He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Kneeling down in front of Ghost, he said, "I still think it started with me, what I'd done to you...so you had to leave. If I hadn't, you'd never have left and met this psycho. Oh, Ghost...I'm so sorry. I still don't deserve you. I know you said you forgave me, but...I can never forgive myself." Tears ran down his face.

Ghost ran his hands into Steve's hair, then raised his head to look into his eyes. "I do forgive you, Steve. I told you that. I'll always love you, even if you hurt me again. I'll love you. You can do anything to me...it don't matter, but...not him!" Ghost said, and kicked the photo album across the porch. "Not him! He lied...he said he loved me, and I wanted to hear that. I wanted someone to love me...but, it wasn't real...not real..." He took a shuddery breath, then sobbed.

Steve held him close, while Ghost let out his pain. Jimmy was feeling awkward, so took the box out to the car, and started writing in his notebook what had been found up to now.

Ghost was trying to get control now, but he could hardly breathe from crying and also being sick.

"I'm getting you some ice water and some Motrin, Ghost. You're fever is getting worse. We have to get it lower," Steve said, then went inside.

When he came back out, Jimmy told him he was leaving, and taking the cameras and photos back to the station to lock them up in the evidence room. "Guys, it'll be ok. We know what we're dealing with, so y'all can just chill for awhile. And, Steve...we'll get to that smoke another time...deal?"

"Yeah, Jimmy...thanks for everything. Let us know what happens, ok?"

"Yep, sure will. Ghost, I'm real sorry for what you've had to go through, but we'll see that bastard is put away. Don't worry." He got into his cruiser, and drove off.

Steve helped Ghost back into bed, and dabbed cool wash cloths on Ghost's face and body, trying to cool him down.

~
Next part coming soon!



Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, August 23, 2015

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE ... # 209

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
# 209
warning...adult content




~
"Steeeve," Ghost wailed, from his bedroom.

"What?" Steve yelled back.

"My stomach hurts...it's on fire."

"Tough...I told ya not to drink that crap, now ya just gotta deal with it," Steve said.

"But it hurts," Ghost cried.

Steve got up from the couch, and went to stand in the doorway of Ghost's room. He had to admit, Ghost looked pretty pitiful, lying there clutching his stomach, and gritting his teeth. Sighing, Steve asked, "What was in that potion you drank, anyway?"

"I don't know...the label fell off when I picked it up. All I saw on there, it said for fevers," Ghost said.

"Ok, hang on, I'll go find it," Steve said, as he went over to the back storage room. He hated going in there. It was musty, and the light was dim. He carefully stepped in, looking around. There it was. The label was on the floor. A few more steps, and he picked it up, just as he heard a scratching noise behind a shelf. He froze for a second, then got out as fast as he could, slamming the door behind him.

Back in Ghost's room, he tried to read the writing on the label. It was a faded to yellow piece of paper that had been taped to the vial. Miz Deliverance had written in her old-fashioned, spidery way: For Fevers, Sore Throats, and Aches...Contains Alcohol, Feverfew, Extract of Jalapeno, Cayenne Pepper, Vanilla, and Wintergreen. Take two teaspoons every four hours. Caution: will be hot & make you sweat out the fever. May be taken with milk & bread.

Steve read this out loud. "Ok, I'm gonna get you some milk and bread. That should help your fiery stomach, but you're just gonna have to put up with the rest. You OD'd on it, Ghost. You took too much."

Ghost just moaned. Steve went to get the milk and bread. "Here," he said, when he got back, and helped Ghost sit upright. Ghost choked it all down, then waited for the cramping to stop.

"Better yet?" Steve asked.

"Maybe a little," Ghost said, but lay back down.

Steve left him there, going back to sit on the couch. He turned on the tv, and stared at a football game, but couldn't concentrate on it. He was worrying about that package, again. After about an hour, he heard a car driving up. It was Jimmy.

Steve met him out on the porch. "Hey, what did you find out?"

Jimmy sat on the porch step. "Well, that was definitely a camera. We played back the tape on there...it showed his face, clear as day, when he turned it on and adjusted the angle. It was that guy, Maxy, for sure. The guy is an idiot...filming his own face like that. Then, it just showed y'all coming and going. Your sister was on it, too, so he must have put it up there sometime before she even got here...probably one time when y'all were out. It looked like day time. That was about it. He just got out of jail, not long ago, so guess this is the first thing he did."

Steve was frowning. "Yeah, he left that rose not long ago, too."

They were quiet for a few moments. Then, Steve asked, "Can you put him back in jail for this?"

"Yeah, sure," Jimmy said. "You'll have to file a report, and we'll have to catch him...but, yeah. You want to do that?"

"Damn right I do," Steve said.

"Ok, come down to the station, I guess tomorrow, and give your statement. Anyway, who is this guy, and why does he want to spy on y'all?" Jimmy asked. "I mean, I know why he was in jail, but why now?"

"Because he's an asshole, that's why," Steve said. "He's obsessed with Ghost. You know that whole deal, don't you?"

Jimmy shrugged. "Well, not really...just rumors, and then the fight."

Steve was surprised, but told Jimmy the whole story.

"Man, that is sick, Steve," Jimmy said. "Now it kind of makes sense."

"What makes sense?" Steve asked.

"This package y'all got."

"Well, what was in it?"

"It's...well, it's bad...you're not gonna like it. It's a photo album. Pictures I'm assuming were taken from a surveillance camera in his own house...from when Ghost was there," Jimmy said, shaking his head. "This guy is nuts, Steve...and, well...everything you've been telling me...only in pictures." He rubbed his hands over his face and hair. "Man, I wish you wouldn't look at them. Where is Ghost, anyway?"

"Oh, he's asleep. He's pretty sick, and he took some kind of old potion his grandmother had mixed up years ago. So he's sleeping it off," Steve said.

Nodding, Jimmy said, "Good...I wouldn't want him to see it either. It's gotta be even worse for him," he said in a round-about way of warning Steve. He went out to his car, getting the box out. Before handing it to Steve, he said, "Steve, we had to look at these...not because we're perverts or anything...just part of police investigation, ya know. This is proof...that sicko should be put away for good, and believe me, if I can do anything to speed that along, I will. And, Steve...I don't know if this was a one time deal or not, but we're trying to find out if he's done this before, out in L. A....and, damn...I don't want you to see this, and Ghost...oh my God...please don't be mad at him. We all know he's a good kid...just naïve and easily taken advantage of...and..."

"Jimmy! Just give me the damn thing. Quit rambling on." Steve said, and took the photo book from him. It was heavy. He was a bit hesitant after all the things Jimmy had said, but he steeled himself to what he'd see. Opening the tooled leather book, the first page was ok...just a picture of Ghost. Then the next page was of Maxy and Ghost, smiling for the camera, at the coffee shop. Then, there was one of them playing on stage.

"What's so bad about these, Jimmy? Ghost told me about all this. I don't like it, but it was a whole year they were together." He kept turning the pages, and the pictures started to get more strange. There were pictures that appeared to be taken from cameras in Maxy's house...hidden cameras put there in every room, that apparently only he knew were there. .

There were scenes of him and Ghost, doing regular stuff. Then it turned into photos of a more intimate kind...them kissing, and touching each other, and of them in bed having sex...lots of these. Mostly, Ghost looked happy in them, but Maxy looked greedy...even possessed.

Steve was frowning, and his breathing increased, just from seeing these. He ran his hand over his face and eyes, shaking his head.

"Steve, you don't have to..." Jimmy said.

"No, I'm looking at them all, Jimmy," Steve said, and continued turning pages. At one point, it seemed as if Ghost's expressions had changed to a more frightened look. Like he didn't enjoy it any more. There were others of bondage...of Ghost being tied down, and he could tell that Ghost was crying, being hurt. The next few pages showed just Maxy, in his kitchen, mixing pills into drinks and food...and he was grinning at the camera.

In later pictures, it seemed Ghost was sedated...his eyes half closed...no light left in them. Then there were more sexual pictures...and another person...a strange man appeared in the photos...just this man and Ghost.

"Jesus!" Steve said, closing his eyes. He didn't want to see more, but he felt he had to. He turned more pages in the album. There were more pictures of Ghost being sexually abused in different ways, by many different men. In some, Ghost seemed to be completely out of it...others showed him screaming, or crying, or struggling. There must have been over fifty of these kinds of photos.

In between, there were pictures of Ghost, with marks on his body...cuts, bruises, black eyes, blood...and in all, his eyes were sad, and dead. There were some others, showing them on different stages, their shows getting bigger and more elaborate, too. Then, toward the end, there was one of Ghost, as he had sneaked out of the bedroom, and another of him on the phone.

It continued through that night, and of the beating Maxy had inflicted on Ghost...and of Ghost lying there against the brick wall, looking dead. That was the final picture, but Maxy had written a few words...

In large block letters, Maxy had written...I love him..I killed him...now he is a Ghost...I will kill him again and again until he lives inside of me...here is our blood...together. There were drops and smears of dried blood on the page.

Steve let the book fall shut, and as it fell to the porch floor, he bent in half, head on his knees, and sobbed.

~
Next part coming soon!



Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, August 21, 2015

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE ... # 208

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
# 208
warning...adult content




~
Ghost shook his head. "It's a Christmas present, Steve...why would we shoot somebody for giving us a present? It don't look like it'll explode."

"Well, I don't care...it's  just sitting out there, left by someone that sneaked up in the middle of the night...couldn't even hand it to us like a normal person. I don't want to shoot anybody, either, and maybe we won't have to, anyway. The cops are coming, so we'll let them take care of it," Steve said.

"Ok, fine...I'll be in the kitchen. Let me know when Jimmy gets here," Ghost said, as he went to do guard duty at the back door. After a few minutes, he hollered in to Steve, "Do ya want another cup of coffee? I can bring ya one."

"Yeah, sure...might as well," Steve said.

When Ghost got his own cup of steaming coffee, he sort of stepped outside of himself, thinking how absurd it was, to be having a coffee break in the middle of a stand-off. He started laughing at how ridiculous the situation was.

"Hey, Jimmy's here," Steve said, as the police cruiser came to a stop on the gravel driveway.

Jimmy looked around the property, as he got out of the car, then went up to the porch. Steve opened the front door. "Be careful, Jimmy. That package might be a booby trap."

"Ok," Jimmy said, then pushed the package with his boot. Nothing happened, so he reached down, picked it up, and shook it. "Don't look like it's gonna explode, Steve. Want me to open it?" he asked. "Is there a note or anything?"

"Don't you dust for fingerprints?" Steve asked.

"Oh, yeah...well, we'll try that later. I don't see a card...who's it from?" Jimmy asked.

"Hell, Jimmy, that's why we called you...to find out." Steve said.

Jimmy gave Steve a look, "Y'all been smokin', this morning...all paranoid and shit?"

Steve shook his head. "No, not yet...maybe later. You can drop by, then, if ya want."

"Ok, I'll be off duty about five."

Ghost heard this and started giggling. Steve just invited Jimmy, the cop, to smoke weed with them, and he accepted. The whole thing was getting out of hand. Coffee breaks, getting high, exploding Christmas presents, guns...it was too much. He came into the living room, then out the front door, almost falling down from laughing. He felt dizzy, from being feverish, and drugged, and he still held the gun.

Steve and Jimmy ducked, as Ghost waved it around.

"Good God!" Jimmy yelled. "Quit waving that gun around, Ghost."

Steve went in low, tackling Ghost at the knees, knocking him down. The gun flew out of his hand, and bounced, as it went down the porch steps. Luckily, it didn't go off. Jimmy grabbed it, checking the safety. It was still on.

"Man, I could arrest both of you for having these," he said. "Y'all aren't even licensed...we've been through this, before."

"Look, Jimmy...there's somebody harassing us, and we gotta have protection. You know that," Steve said.

"Yeah, I know," Jimmy said, shaking his head. "Just be more careful." He looked down at Ghost, who was still laying on the porch, where he'd fallen. He was staring up at the underside of the porch overhang. "What's the matter with him?" 

"Aw, he's sick, and took some Tylenol. Now he thinks he's been drugged, and is seeing shit." Steve shook his head. "Get up, Ghost, you're fine."

"But, Steve...look...look up there," Ghost said, pointing up. "What is that?"

Steve and Jimmy looked. Frowning, Steve tried to make sense of what he saw. "Jimmy, what is it? It kinda looks like a...a...camera?"

"Yeah, I think so...one of those surveillance ones," Jimmy said. "There's a flashing green light on it, too. It must be recording us right now."

"Why is it up there," Steve asked.

"Didn't y'all install it?"

"No, never seen it before. Oh my God...we've been spied on," Steve said. "Jimmy, that crazy present person has been watching us. Get it down...check for fingerprints...do something!"

"Y'all got a ladder, or a chair I can stand on? I'll need a screwdriver, too...that things bolted on," Jimmy said.

Steve nodded. "Yeah...Ghost, get up...we're almost stepping on ya. Go get a kitchen chair."

Ghost got up and went inside, then coming back out, he had a chair, and a broom. "Here, can I smash it?" he asked.

"Not yet...and where's the screwdriver?" Steve asked.

"Oh, I forgot it," he said, going back inside.

"Jimmy," Steve whispered, "can it hear us, too?"

"Won't know until I look at it closer," Jimmy said. "Oh, get a plastic bag, too, so I can take it back to headquarters."

Steve yelled through the screen..."Ghost, get a Zip-lock bag...one of the big ones."

Finally, Jimmy was able to stand on the chair, and unscrew the bolts. "It doesn't look like it has sound, but I'll have it checked out," he said, zipping shut the bag, with the camera in it.  He started to leave, but then remembered the package. "You want me to take this, too?" he asked.

"Yeah, go ahead...just let us know what it is, ok?" Steve said.

"Ok. Now, be careful with those guns. I really don't want y'all arrested for murder," he said, getting back in the cruiser. "I'll be back when my shift is over."

Steve and Ghost watched him drive away. "Who do you think is doing this?" Steve asked.

"Maxy," Ghost said.

"Maxy...that piece of shit?" Steve said. "You're probably right. There was that rose he left, not long ago."

Ghost nodded. "He's still out there, too."

"And you know this?" Steve asked.

"Yeah, and he's gone, but not too far away...just over at the vampires old house. That's where he's camping out," Ghost said. "That's how he can sneak in and out of here so easy."

"You got your senses back, now?" Steve asked.

"Yeah, a little...the drug is wearing off."

"Well, good. Let's go in. There's no reason we should give him a clear shot of us," Steve said, opening the screen. They went inside. Steve laid the guns on the coffee table, and Ghost went to the back room, to look for a potion. In a little while, the phone rang. It was Jimmy.

"Hey, Steve, I got some info for ya...uh...and that package...well, ya gotta see what it was, and let's just say you won't like it. I'll bring it in a little while. My shift is almost over. You better roll up a few, 'cause I think you'll need 'em," he said.

Steve hung up the phone, just as Ghost came back with a dusty vial of some thick liquid. He held it up to the light bulb, in the table lamp. Trying to peer into it, he asked, "Ya think this is still any good?"

Steve made a face. "That's disgusting, and old as hell. You'll probably get sick, if you drink that shit."

"Hmm...I don't know," said Ghost, as he unplugged the cork top. He smelled of it...and gagged. "Here, smell of it, Steve." He held the vial under Steve's nose.

"Get that away from me," Steve said, pushing Ghost's hand back.

"I'm gonna hold my nose, and drink it," Ghost said, and before Steve could stop him, he did tip the bottle up, shaking the slow-running liquid into his mouth. Swallowing, then heaving, his eyes watered, but he managed to keep it down. "God, that was nasty." He shuddered.

Steve was still staring in horror. "Well, now you've done it...don't come bellyaching to me later, Ghost. He turned away, as the rancid smell wafted over to him.

"It's supposed to be for sore throats and fever...things like that, Steve. At least I think so. The label fell off. Ugh, I'm gonna lay down now. I'm getting hot and dizzy," Ghost said. He reeled down the hallway to his bedroom, and fell across the bed, staring at the ceiling.

Steve watched him go, and shook his head. Then, he got out his rolling papers, and the last bit of weed that Terry had given him. He thought about what Jimmy had said. It didn't sound good.

~

Next part coming soon!



Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE ... # 207

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
# 207
warning...adult content





~
"Bye, y'all, Merry Christmas," Steve said, as he left the club. The party had been fun, but he was ready to head home, and Ghost had already crashed. Getting in the car, he turned on the radio, to hum along to the music. He knew it wouldn't bother Ghost. Driving down the highway in his T-bird like this, reminded him so much of all the times before that he and Ghost would ride around, just killing time. "Good times..." he said.

Arriving home, he nudged Ghost awake. "C'mon, we're here," he said. Grabbing the box of gifts, he went inside, followed by Ghost, who didn't stop, but continued on to his bedroom, falling onto the bed. Spirit was hungry again, so Steve fixed him a plate of cat food, and scratched the kitty's ears. "Yeah, Spirit, it was a good time tonight. You finish your food, and I'm going to bed, too." He locked up, then looked in on Ghost. Shaking his head, he took off Ghost's shoes, and covered him with a blanket. Giving him a kiss on the forehead, he whispered, "Merry Christmas, babe."
~
During the night, Spirit alerted to a noise outside. He stalked quietly to the front door, listening. His fur rose up on his back, and he hissed. Then, as the noise stopped, he climbed into bed to snuggle with Ghost, until morning.

Not long after that, though, Ghost began having a bad dream. He thrashed around in bed, and spoke in a muffled voice. Spirit ran into Steve's room, and pawed and meowed until Steve woke up. "What's going on, cat? I'm trying to sleep," Steve said, but the cat wouldn't stop. Finally Steve was awake enough to hear Ghost. He got up to see about him.

"Ghost, wake up...you're dreaming," he said, as he shook him. "Wake up now...the nightmare will go away when you wake up."

Ghost did wake up a bit, but the nightmare kept playing in his head for a few minutes. "You ok, now?" Steve asked. "What were you dreaming about?"

Ghost shook his head. "I'm ok, but I don't remember what it was...just a bad feeling, and I was hurting all over."

Steve pushed back Ghost's tangled hair. "You want me to stay in here with you?" Ghost nodded. "Ok, it'll be morning soon...scoot over..." he pulled the blanket over them both, to block out the chill in the room. Ghost kept shivering, though.

Steve felt Ghost's forehead...and it was hot. "He's sick," he said to himself. "Ghost, you've got a fever...I'll bring you something."

"Ok," Ghost said, through chattering teeth.

Steve went to the kitchen, to get some Tylenol, and a glass of water, for Ghost. Just as he turned off the light, he thought he saw something move, out in the back yard. He looked closer, staring out the window, but didn't see it again. Shrugging, he left the room. "Probably tree shadows," he thought.

"Here, take these," he told Ghost. He helped Ghost sit up.

"My throat hurts," Ghost said, then took the pills, washing them down with the water. Laying back down, he said, "I don't feel good, Steve."

"I know, but try to sleep some more. The pills will help." Steve slid back under the blanket. He didn't mention what he'd seen outside.

"Where's my cat?" Ghost asked.

"He's over by the door. Here kitty..." Steve tried to get Spirit to come. "He won't come over here."

Ghost sighed, and mumbled something, as he was almost asleep, again. To Steve, it sounded weird...like Ghost had said, 'he's guarding me from being kidnapped'. "Huh?" he asked, but got no reply, now, from Ghost. "He must be dreaming, again," Steve thought.
~
The next morning, Steve got up first. Ghost's fever had come down some, and he was still sleeping, when Steve went to make the coffee, and some breakfast. When it was ready, he took a mug of it to Ghost, to wake him up.

"How are you feeling?"

Ghost opened bleary, bloodshot eyes. "Like crap," he croaked out.

"You look like crap, too. Here's your coffee. When ya get done, get up and wash your face. Breakfast is ready."

Ghost nodded, then after a few minutes, he did get up, dragging himself into the kitchen. He watched, as Steve fixed him a plate of food.

"Here ya go...and Merry Christmas," Steve said, trying to be cheerful.

Ghost eyed the plate. There were grits, scrambled eggs, toast, a glass of milk, and two more pills to take. He wasn't sure if he could choke any of it down, but he tried. He swallowed the pills, then took a few bites.

"Go on, eat it, Ghost," Steve said.

"I can't anymore..." Ghost said. He got up from the table, and went into the living room, heading for the couch, but first, he wanted to look outside, to see how the day had started. Opening the door, he stepped out on the porch.

"Steve," he yelled...or thought he did. It was barely loud enough for his own self to hear. He backed up through the door, and back into the house. "Steve," he tried again. Steve did hear him, this time.

"What? What's the matter...go back to bed," Steve said.

But, Ghost was pointing toward outside. Steve looked, as he came up to the screen door. On the porch was a package...wrapped in Christmas paper.

Steve pushed Ghost back from the door. "Get back," he said. He carefully looked all around the yard, and into the woods, near the house. There was nothing moving, or making a sound. He felt like someone was watching him, though. He could feel that someone was out there, waiting for him to come out and pick up the package. He didn't like to show he was scared, but he also didn't want to take a chance. No telling who put it there, or what kind of crazy was watching, from some shadowy hiding place.

He backed up, bumping into Ghost, and shut the door, locking it. Turning, he faced Ghost. "Get the guns, Ghost," he said.

"What...why?" Ghost began.

"Just do it...and make sure they're loaded. Someone is out there. I don't know who, or why, but we're not going out there. They may have their own gun...or maybe they booby trapped that package. It might explode or something." Steve's thoughts were running wild with sinister possibilities.

"Steve, you're scaring me," Ghost whispered.

"Go..." Steve said. "What if they rush the house...we have to be ready." He turned to look out the front window, at a hopefully safe angle. The lacy curtains blocked the view somewhat, but he kept looking.

Ghost came back with their guns. "Here...now what?" he asked.

Steve looked at him, his eyes wide. "Now...uh...we wait," he said.

"For how long...all day?" Ghost asked.

Blowing out a puff of breath, he said, "Ghost, I don't know...until they either go away, or show themselves," Steve said. "Don't you sense anything...who it is, or why that package is here...anything?" He looked at Ghost as if he should have the answers.

Ghost shook his head. "No, I don't...but my senses are out of whack. I'm sick, and drugged. I can't feel anything, right now."

Steve rolled his eyes. "Great...and you are not drugged...you had some Tylenol...over the counter medicine...what are you talking about?"

Nodding, Ghost said, "Yeah, drugs, Steve. You know they make me goofy. I told ya before, I need a potion."

"Well, tough...you just take Tylenol like everybody else...get used to it," Steve said.

"But..." Ghost started to argue.

"Stop it...stop arguing everything I say, Ghost," Steve gave him a look. "There's a killer, or kidnapper, or someone out there, and we ain't got time for this. Now, go get the phone...it's in my room. I'm calling the sheriff."

Ghost set the guns down on the coffee table, and went to find the phone. "Where in your room, Steve?" he asked, as loud as he could manage.

"Just look around...and hurry up," Steve yelled back.

Ghost finally found it, then gave it to Steve. "Ya want me to guard the back door?" he asked.

"Yeah, good idea. I think I saw someone out there last night," Steve said. He dialed 911. It rang several times, before being answered.

"911...what's your emergency?" the dispatcher asked.

"Yeah, we got a Christmas package on the front porch, and we're scared it's from a kidnapper, or some bad person, and it might blow up on us, if we pick it up...and I feel watched...like from the woods," Steve said, in one long breath.

"You what?" the dispatcher asked.

Steve sighed. Small town crap... "Is Jimmy there? This is Steve. We got a prowler...send someone out here...huh?...Oh we're fine, Margie...uh-huh...just send Jimmy out here, he knows where we live...yeah, we're still out here on Burnt Church Road...He knows it. And hurry, ok? We got our guns, and we'll shoot first, and ask question later, ya know," Steve said, then hung up.

"Are we gonna shoot somebody?" Ghost asked. "I'm not shooting anybody."

"You wanna be kidnapped...or blown up?" Steve asked.

~
Next part coming soon!




Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, August 16, 2015

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE ... # 206

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
# 206
warning...adult content





~
As the afternoon wound down, Steve went to admire his car some more. By himself, he let the memories come. First of them was the last time he'd driven the car, before today. The day he had the wreck...so drunk with liquor and despair of ever seeing Ghost again... and then the older memories...the good ones...with Ghost. He smiled at those good times.

Up on the porch, Ghost was on the swing with Linda. He was making the swing rock, as he overheard Steve's thoughts. Linda could tell there was something going on between them, at this very moment. Steve looked over to them, catching Ghost's gaze with his own. She'd never seen anything like it, before.

Then, Ghost began talking...to her...to himself...she didn't know, but she didn't interrupt. She'd heard Steve tell their story, and now she listened, as Ghost told his.

"Steve saved me in that car. I think I was dead 'cause I saw it all from another place. He was so scared. But, I was so hurt, and because he was with me, I wasn't scared...I was at peace. My soul was happy, because we'd finally found each other again." He sighed, remembering.

"Later, we were always riding around in it. It sometimes would break down, but Steve knows how to fix it. I'd sing to him while he worked. He said it helped. And that big 'ol back seat...uh...well, it's big...and, we've been in that back seat a lot..." His eyes were closed, and he licked his lips, and smiled. "Well, he loves that car, and I had to find it for him." He trailed off, then, curling up on the swing, with his head on Linda's lap. As he softly hummed a song, Linda smoothed back his hair, and stroked his temples. He was almost asleep, when Steve came up the porch steps.

"Don't go to sleep, Ghost, it's almost time to go," Steve said. "Linda, you've put a spell on him...ever since you've been here." He smiled, shaking his head.

"No...he's put a spell on me, Steve," Linda said. "You're magical, Ghost," she whispered.

Ghost smiled, and sat up, hugging her. "Thank you for listening, Linda."

"Ok, y'all, let's get our stuff and get going," Steve said, opening the screen door. Inside, he found a box, and Ghost and Linda put the gifts inside, to take over to the Yew. Then, they were on the road, headed for town.

Steve cranked up the radio, and they all sang along to the songs, on the oldies station. The car drove like a ship, floating on the ocean of the night's darkness...it was so smooth. As they arrived at the club, they could see that Zach's car was already there, and inside Zach, Trevor, Terry, R. J., and Kinsey were sitting at the bar, having a drink and telling stories.

"Hey, y'all," Terry yelled over at them. "Just in time for story hour," he laughed, already feeling his beers.

Steve carried the box of gifts over to the Christmas tree, adding them to the others under there. Linda and Ghost found a seat, and Kinsey got the drinks all around. The storytelling continued...each telling of when this or that happened, while they all chimed in with their own versions of the tales. Linda even told a few of her own.

"Anybody hungry?" Kinsey asked. "Let's go get a plate; I didn't cook all afternoon for y'all not to eat," he said, leading the way to the kitchen. He'd made spaghetti for the occasion, and everyone filled their plate, gathering again at a nearby table. The stories continued, amidst laughter and jokes.

Linda had only met Zach and Trevor once, at the show, the night she arrived, so hadn't gotten a chance to know them. And, they had a new listener to tell their stories to. She came to understand how they connected to Steve and Ghost. She was astounded at their story of the séance and the haunted house. She remembered the house...it had been a topic that many of her friends from school had talked about. Now she was hearing the real story.

They soon finished their meal, and Steve urged everyone to come see his T-bird, and so they all trooped outside.

"Never thought I'd see it again, Steve," Terry said. "In fact, it looks a lot better now...there ain't a bunch of trash in there," he cackled.

"Yeah, well, I'm gonna keep it clean, now," Steve said.

"Who's ready for presents?" Ghost asked. He headed inside, and they all followed, gathering at the Christmas tree. "Hey, there's a lot of presents here," he said, getting excited. "More than what we brung."

"Yeah, we put some under there," said Zach.

"Me, too," Terry said.

"Well, so did I," Kinsey said. "Who's gonna start?"

"Wait...I have to take a picture," Ghost said, running to get his camera. Everyone posed, and acted silly for a few minutes. Then Terry grabbed a gift.

"This one says it's to Kinsey...and what do you know...it's from me," Terry said, handing it to Kinsey.

When Kinsey tore off the wrapping paper, he found a photo album with all the pictures he and Terry had taken while on their vacation. "Hey, this is neat, Terry. We sure had a good time. Thanks, man." He got up to find his present from him, to Terry. "Here ya go, Terry, open it."

It wasn't a very large package, but when Terry opened it, he seemed stunned for a second. "What? How? Look, y'all...tickets to the rock concert over in Raleigh next month. Wow, this has been sold out for awhile...how did you manage to get these, Kinsey?"

Smiling, Kinsey said, "Oh, I have my ways. The promoter is an old friend of mine."

"Well, gee thanks...and there's two of them. Guess I'll have to find a date," Terry said.

Now, Zach reached into the pile of gifts, getting one out. "This one is for you, Steve," he said.

Steve took the package, opened it, and grinned. It was a set of guitar picks, in several colors, embossed with his name in gold. "These are so cool, Zach. I never had one with my name on it. Thanks."

"I have something for you Zach," Ghost said. He brought out the gift he'd bought at the New Age store awhile back. He then handed out all the other presents under the tree, for everyone to tear into.

Steve had held his gifts back for last. Then, handing them out, he said, "Y'all got the same thing from me, so open 'em all at the same time."

They tore into them, each wanting to be the first to reveal what it was. For a second, it was a flurry of wrapping paper flying through the air.

"Oh, wow, look at this," Zach said, holding up his keychain. Then, they all held up their own, so the others could see.

"Thank you, Steve...it's just what I wanted," Kinsey said.

"And, it's so useful, too," R. J. said. They all laughed at how corny that had sounded.

"These things real?" Terry asked, as he eyeballed the diamond chip.

Everyone got quiet at that statement, yet they all wanted to know.

"Hell, yeah," Steve said. "So, if ya go pawning it, make sure they give ya good money for it." He laughed.

They kept talking, after the gift-giving was done, then Kinsey went to get trash bags, for the clean-up. Ghost and R. J. went back for more dessert, and Steve and Linda went upstairs to get her suitcase.

"Steve, it's been so much fun here with you and Ghost, and your friends. I have to get back to my kids, but I am coming back here...just as soon as I can."

"Well, Sis, I'm glad you came, and I enjoyed it too. I was really nervous about it, but now, I can't wait for y'all to get back here," Steve said. She gave him a hug. "I think it's almost time for the bus, isn't it?" she asked, looking at her watch.

"Yeah, better get out there," Steve said. "What time does your plane leave from Raleigh?"

"About an hour after I get to the airport, so I'll have enough time to get checked in and all," Linda said.

"You're not afraid to fly?" Steve asked.

"No, why? I love flying on a plane."

Steve shrugged. "Oh, well, Ghost and I was gonna do that one time, but we got too scared, and so we didn't. It was a mess."

She laughed. "Well, someday maybe, y'all can try again."

They went downstairs, and she told everyone good-bye. She and Steve went out and over to the hardware store's porch, to wait for the bus. The bus did arrive on time, and Steve hugged his sister one more time, then waved, as she looked out the window. He stood there a few minutes, wishing she was already moved here.

Ghost came out of the club, and walked over to Steve. He hugged him, and put his head on Steve's shoulder. "Can we go home, now?" he asked.

Steve nodded. "Yeah, looks like you're pretty tipsy, and about to fall asleep, Ghost."

"Yep," Ghost giggled, and swayed, as they began to walk back to the club.

"Go on and get in the car. I'll get our stuff, then we'll go home," Steve said.

"Ok," Ghost said, as he climbed into the car, shut the door, and leaned back, half asleep already.

Steve went in, and gathered up their gifts. "We're going, guys. Linda got on the bus ok, and Ghost is already asleep in the car. Thanks for supper Kinsey, and everyone for the presents," he said.

"Y'all get home safe...and Merry Christmas," Kinsey said.

~
Next part coming soon!


Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, August 14, 2015

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE ... # 205

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
# 205
warning...adult content




~
"Sit in your car, Steve," Ghost said, "the keys are in there...start it up and let's all go for a ride. Come on, Linda." He opened the passenger side door.

"Yes, let's take a ride in this beautiful car of yours, Steve," Linda said, as she climbed into the back seat. Ghost got in the front, and closed the door.

Suddenly, Ghost had flashes of memories coming to him. The car felt exactly the same as it always had, and he remembered all the rides he and Steve used to take...all the times he'd fallen asleep in here, all the music they'd listened to, and played...and...all the times they'd made love in the back seat. He glanced back at Linda, and blushed a bit, thankful she couldn't read his mind.

Steve started the engine. "Listen to that...perfect," he said, and they began to move down the driveway. They drove around for awhile, up and down the highway. "I'm driving this baby into town, tonight," Steve said, laughing. "I love it, Ghost. You brought her home to me." He leaned over and kissed Ghost, as soon as they got back to the house. "I don't even want to get out, now."

Ghost and Linda got out, though. "Wait...I'm gonna take your picture, Steve...hang on a minute." He ran into the house to get his camera. Then, after taking several pictures of Steve and the car, and Steve taking pictures of Ghost and Linda with the car, they decided to go in for a cold drink.

Linda motioned to Steve to come with her into the kitchen, while she got glasses of soda ready for them. Ghost had flopped down on the couch.

"Steve," she whispered. "It's time to give Ghost his present."

"Oh, yeah...I'll go get it," Steve said.

"I'm going on out front," Linda said. "Y'all need to be alone for this one." She gave Steve a hug. "Take your time, hon." She smiled, then went on outside.

As she passed by Ghost, he said, "Hey, where's my drink?" He started to get up from the couch, but Steve stopped him.

"Ghost, wait a minute. I've got something for you to open, too. Stay there, I'll be right back," Steve said. He went into his bedroom and got the dark blue, velvet box out of his closet. Opening it, he smiled. He hoped Ghost would like it. He came back to the living room...Ghost was wide-eyed, waiting in anticipation.

Kneeling down, Steve clasped his hands with Ghost's. He cleared his throat, then said, "Ghost, I love you so much. You're everything to me. I've loved you since the day we met...probably before that even...and I'd die if you ever didn't love me back. Well, I'm not real good with this, but I feel it...inside. I hope you feel it, too."

Ghost nodded, and Steve continued. "So, this is something I want you to have. Please know I give it to you with all the love in my heart." He reached into his pocket, bringing out the box.  "For you, from me...open it." He smiled, even as his heart was pounding.

Ghost carefully took it. "Steve..." he whispered, looking into Steve's eyes. Steve nodded, "Go on..."

Slowly cracking open the box's top lid, he saw the beautiful, silver ring inside. It was polished until it shined, and there were two small diamonds set into the top, with tiny engravings of their names...one on each side of the diamonds.

"It's beautiful, and so shiny, Steve," Ghost said, in awe.

"Look inside the band," Steve urged.

Taking the ring from the box, Ghost read the inscription. It said 'forevermore' and had a heart on either side of the word. "It says...it says..." Ghost closed his eyes, and began to cry, he was so overwhelmed with emotion.

Steve reached up, caressing Ghost's face, and kissing him. "Do you like it, babe?" Steve asked, brushing the tears away.

Ghost looked up, with water soaked eyes, and nodded. "Yes, Steve. I love it, and I love you...forevermore."

"Put it on...I think it's the right size."

Ghost held out his hand, and Steve placed the ring on his finger. It fit perfectly. "I'm never taking it off," Ghost said. "Come on...let's go show Linda."

Steve helped Ghost up, and they went out on the front porch. Linda looked at them, knowing they were so happy to be together. "Look, Linda," Ghost said, holding out his hand.

She took his hand, admiring the ring. "Oh, Ghost, this is so beautiful," she said, looking up into his shining eyes.

"I know, and it's from Steve, and I love him so much, Linda," he said.

She gave him a hug, and held out her arm to include Steve, too. "I love you both, so much."

Then Ghost remembered something. "Oh, wait here," he said, then ran back inside.

Linda sat down on the swing, while Steve leaned on the porch rail, looking out at his car. Ghost came back, holding a gift, wrapped in foil paper. He handed it to Linda. "This here present is for you. It's from me and Steve. Open it."

Steve had no idea of what it could be...he'd not found anything at the drug store, earlier, even though he'd really tried to find something. He looked at Ghost, who just smiled a sneaky kind of smile, and Steve knew Ghost had read his mind, or his feelings, of wanting to give something to Linda...and had done something about it. "Ohh..." he thought, and Ghost gave him a nod.

"You guys shouldn't have," Linda said, as she carefully unwrapped the box. Inside she pushed aside the tissue paper, then caught her breath. "Oh...oh...it's so pretty...and look...oh, I love this. Thank you both, so much."

She first drew out a necklace. It was a pink Quartz crystal, on a silver chain. Ghost had drilled a small hole through it, with an ice pick, and had taken one of his grandmother's silver chains, to make it.  Putting it around her neck, Linda listened, as Ghost explained.

"It's a pink Quartz crystal, Linda. It means love...so you'll always have our love."

"Yes, I will, and strangely enough, it feels warm...I can feel the love it brings," she said, smiling up at Ghost and Steve. Then she looked in the box at the other gift, and picked it up. It was an antique, silver picture frame, that had been Ghost's grandmother's...newly polished, so it gleamed. Inside, Ghost had put a picture of himself and Steve, taken not too long ago. There was also Ghost's hand lettered poem/song lyric, written on parchment, at the bottom of the picture. It said...'Beautiful Love...Lost and Now Found... Linda means beautiful, and Love is in the hearts of these two Lost Souls...to have found our sister...at long last...Love...Beautiful Love'. She read it, and then Ghost sang the simple tune, in a pure, clear voice to her. By the end, she was in tears, for such a heartfelt, personal gift.

She grabbed them both in a hug, and said, "This is the best thing y'all could have given me. I love you both."

They sat in silence for a minute, with their own thoughts and feelings. Then Ghost got up. "I'm getting my drink...y'all want one?" They did, so he went inside to fix them. Steve went to look at his car, but Linda stopped him.

"Steve, you have the love of a very special young man."

"I know, Linda, I know. And, something else...I wanted to get you something, really bad, and I just wasn't finding any old thing this afternoon at the drug store. Ghost must have felt it all the way out here, and made this stuff for you while we were gone. I hope you know I feel exactly as he wrote. It's from me, too." he said.

Linda stroked his cheek. "I know it is, Steve. You are both so attuned to each other, there's part of both of you in these."

Steve nodded. "Yes..."

Ghost came back out. "Here ya go," he said, handing out the sodas. "When do we go to the party at Kinsey's," he asked.

Steve laughed. "Pretty soon, Ghost, pretty soon."