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Wednesday, November 25, 2015


# 247 content

After Steve had made his phone call to Kinsey, he went back to Linda's motel room. Seeing that she and the kids were already asleep, he lay across the smaller bed, and shut his eyes...willing himself to go to sleep. He needed to forget what the day had been like, so far, but the images kept coming, over and over, like flashes from a scary movie. The drone of the air-conditioner finally lulled him into a fitful sleep. For awhile, all was quiet.
Stevie and Mandy were giggling and playing some game with their toys, and Linda kept shushing them, but it woke Steve up, anyway. Cracking his eyes open, he said, "It's ok...I'm awake."

"Sorry, I tried to keep them quiet, Steve," Linda said.

He lay there a few more minutes. Something was nagging at him; he tried to remember what it was. Then, he did recall a dream he'd just had, or at least parts of it. He'd heard tiny leprechaun voices all around him. They were saying they would grant him a wish, if he could find the pot of gold. He tried and tried...his wish was that Ghost would be ok, but he couldn't find it. He woke up to the little voices of Stevie and Mandy.

"I couldn't find it," he mumbled to himself.

"What?" Linda asked. "You couldn't find what?"

Looking over at her, he said, "The pot of I didn't get my wish." He saw that she didn't get it. "Oh, it was nothing...just a dream I had."

"Oh, ok, it sounds strange," Linda said.

Nodding, Steve said, "Umm-hmm, but I wanted to find it so bad. He got up to go wash his face, and try to wake all the way up. Looking at his watch he saw that it was almost five-thirty.

"Hey, Linda, I'm hungry. Let's go eat, then it'll be time to go to the hospital."

"Good idea," she said. "Let me get these kids into some fresh clothes, then let's go."

Driving through the town, they found a restaurant that wasn't too fancy, so they went in. They ordered their food, and talked while they ate.

"I want you to go in to see Ghost with me, Linda," Steve said. "I don't care what they say, we're all family."

"Yes, we are, and I will go in, but don't you want to go in first? I mean, they way things were left, I think maybe y'all should talk alone for a few minutes," Linda said. "And, really I can't leave the kids alone."

"Oh, yeah, you're right. I'm just nervous. What do I say? Or do I just pretend it didn't happen...what he said? Maybe he don't even remember it, either...I hope so."

"I know, me too," Linda said. "Just go in normal...don't say anything about it, ok. This is so awkward for you, Steve...and me, too. You and Ghost have gone through so much, but this here...this weird feeling of how to be with each other...." she said, sighing and shaking her head. "Well, it has to work out. However it does, we still all have to get home to Missing Mile together. It has to get resolved somehow."

"Yeah, I know," Steve said. He looked at the time. "Ok, so let's do this...ya ready to go?"

"Yes, come on kids, time to go," she said, gathering up their things, as Steve paid the bill.

"Where we going, Mommy," Stevie asked.

"Honey, we're going to the hospital again, to see Ghost."

"Oh, can he come home now?"

"That's what we're going to find out. We hope so. You and Mandy need to bring in a toy or coloring book to keep you busy for a little while, ok?"

They looked through their things, picking out what they wanted to bring in with them. Linda pulled up in the parking lot, and they all went inside.

"Ok, Steve, go up there first." She gave him a hug. She didn't say any more, but he knew she was hoping it would be ok with Ghost. She settled the kids, and then sat and stared at the tv that was bolted to the wall, not knowing or caring what was on.
Steve went up the elevator to the floor Ghost was on, then walked slowly to his room. The door was closed. Trembling all over, and his heart pounding, he pushed open the door. Tears stung his eyes, as he looked at Ghost. He was awake, looking up at the tv.

He had more color in his cheeks this evening, and the cuts to his face had been treated, and the stitches he'd gotten were covered, but he looked so alone and vulnerable in that hospital bed, wearing the flimsy, cotton gown. As Steve walked in, Ghost turned to see him.

The moment Steve was worried about, was now.

"Steve..." Ghost whispered. He smiled his crooked grin, and held out his arms to Steve, who rushed over to the bed.

"Ghost, Ghost," he cried, as he fell into Ghost's embrace. They hugged each other tight, not wanting to let go. Then they familiar, yet so new at the same time. "Oh, Ghost, I was so worried about you," Steve said. "I'm still afraid ...of what..." he started saying, but Ghost stopped him.

"I know, Steve. I'm sorry...I didn't mean it. I was just in such a bad place...I was hating myself, not you, and I know you could never hate me. Can you just forget it never happened? I been so worried, too. So worried that you'd never come back for me," he said, choking back a sob.

"Oh, Babe, I'd never, ever leave you...not here, not anywhere," Steve said.

"This day has been so long, Steve. I feel better, but so sad I made you leave."

"I's been the same for me, too," Steve said. They were quiet for a minute, just staring into each other's eyes. Then Ghost looked down.

"Steve, they made me talk to one of those people...the psy...uh...I don't know what kind, but those head people."

"They did? A psychiatrist?" Steve asked.

"Yeah, and they asked a lot of questions...about what happened...and why...and did I want to go to another place for awhile..." Ghost looked up at Steve. "They won't make me do that, will they? I just wanna go home is all."

"Of course not," Steve said. "They can't make you do anything, but...did it talk, I mean?"

Ghost nodded. "Yeah, 'cause it was bad, Steve. Things got so mixed up to me, and...and...I was in this dark place where I couldn't get out, and it didn't go away until I woke up here."

"Oh God, Ghost...I'm so sorry...and if I did or said anything to cause it...well, I'm sorry," Steve said.

"No, it wasn' was my craziness in my head. That's all...and Steve...I know what they think...and I know you want to ask, but you won't... I didn't try to kill myself. I'd never do that...I promise." His chin quivered, but he kept talking. "But, Steve, it wasn't an accident either. I hit that mirror real hard, 'cause I didn't like looking at me. All I see is ugly, bad stuff, and I just couldn't look any more." he took a deep sigh. "I forgot it was glass...I was hitting me. Then, I felt my head go crazy,and I fell down. That's all I know."

"Oh, thank God, Ghost," Steve said. "I mean, not that you're hurt and all, but well, you know...that it wasn't on purpose."

Ghost thought a minute. "The psy lady said I should see someone at keep working on feeling better about myself. And, the doctor said I need to take this other medicine now, too. These here ones." He handed Steve a couple of prescriptions that had been written for him.

Steve looked at them, and nodded. "Then that's what you'll do...take these, and go talk to someone at home."

"I know," Ghost nodded.

"Ok, so when can you get out of here?"

Ghost shrugged. "I don't know...they didn't say."

"Well, do you feel like you should stay, you know, to be stronger for traveling the rest of the way home? We don't have to be in such a big hurry that it would be bad for you," Steve said.

"Well, I feel ok to go, really. This place is not fun...they keep poking me and psy-ing me, and Steve, what I really want...I mean need?" He smiled, "I need a good cup of coffee. This here is crap, coffee. Can ya get me a good one and bring it?"

Steve laughed. "Yes, I'm sure I can."

"The doctor should be back in a little while. That's what he said."

"Ok, good. I need to talk to him, and get you outta here," Steve said, standing up to leave. "I'll go find coffee for you. Oh, Linda wants to come up to see ok with that?"

"Yeah, send her up," Ghost said.

"Ok, I'll be back soon," Steve said, kissing Ghost again.

He left almost dancing down the hallway. His heart was singing now...not lurching.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, November 22, 2015


# 246 content

As they drove back to the motel, Linda could tell that Stevie and Mandy were needing a nap. They could hardly keep their eyes open. Steve was staring out the window, lost in a fog of mental pain. She, herself, was exhausted. She couldn't help the thoughts that came to her.

She gave in to them for a few minutes...What have I gotten us into...uprooting the kids and moving across the country, leaving all we know...going into the unknown and unfamiliar...Is Steve and Ghost always in so much drama?...Where are we going to live, where will I find a job... Her mind was in turmoil over it all, going around and around. Then, there was the traveling, and they still had so far to go. Ghost's health was in jeopardy, too, now, and it was getting to be too much for her. She felt her eyes sting, as tears began to fall. She wiped them away, before Steve could see, at least she hoped he didn't see her crying. He didn't need her self-pity on his shoulders, too. Taking a deep, shuddery breath, she said to herself, "I will be strong. I will see this through."

She pulled the van into the motel parking lot, and switched off the engine. They just sat there a minute. "Mommy, are we home?" Mandy asked, still half-asleep.

"No, sweetie, we're back at the motel. We're going in so you and Stevie can take your naps," she said. Getting out, she helped unbuckle the kids from their car seats. In the room, she helped them get into comfortable sleep clothes, and tucked them in, kissing their foreheads.
"Y'all try to sleep for a little bit," she said. "Here's your doll, Mandy. Your uncle Steve and I will be right outside, talking."

"Ok, Mommy," Mandy said. Stevie was already asleep.

Steve closed the door, as he and Linda went out. "Ok...I've had my pity party,, we get busy," Linda said. "Here's my thoughts...see what you think," She cleared her throat, before speaking again. "You go to the office and tell them what's going on. Pay for the damages to the room...whatever they ask for, ok?" Steve nodded.

"Next, you have to go get your things from the room, and bring them over here."

"Yeah, I can do that," Steve said. He headed off to see the motel manager.

Linda checked on the kids, then freshened up a little. Running a brush through her hair, and splashing cold water on her face, helped revive her. Back outside, she met up with Steve, again.

"That's done," Steve said. "Now, the's gonna be hard to go in there, see...well, you know."

"I know, but you have to...I have to stay with the kids," Linda said. "You just try not to think about what happened earlier."

Steve nodded, as he tried to steel himself for opening the other room's door. He closed his eyes, as he opened it...immediately the stale air in the room engulfed him. He could see it all happening again. He went in, but left the door open. His eyes were drawn to the bathroom...this is where it happened...oh, God...Ghost's blood on the floor...shattered glass... A quick look only...there was none of their things in there. He hurried to gather up the few things they'd brought in, from the main room, then left, shutting the door behind him.

He didn't say a word, as he passed by Linda. He just went into her room and dropped everything on the floor, against the wall. He came back outside...he was breathing hard, and shaking all over. "That's all," he said.

"Ok, good," Linda said. "I know that was a hard thing to do, but you did it." She wanted to hug him, he looked so sad, but she knew if she did, he would probably break down completely.

"Now what?" he asked.

"Well, it's still a long time until seven o'clock. Maybe we should try to rest, too. I'm going to call Lisa, and tell her what has happened, then I'll lay down with the kids for awhile," Linda said. "Maybe you should call Kinsey? Let him know? Then, come rest on the little bed, ok?"

"Yeah, I better call Kinsey," Steve said. He took out his phone. They both made their calls.

Linda dialed her sister's number. "Hey, Sis, it's me. We're stopped a few days, here in Arizona. We were about to get into New Mexico, but Ghost had a bad spell, and is in the hospital."

"Oh, no...will he be all right?" Lisa asked.

"Yeah, I think so. They'll release him maybe tomorrow. I'm hanging in there. I'm tired...the kids are good. No complaints from either of them."

"Good, good, but I can tell by your voice, something's bothering you," Lisa said.

Sighing, Linda said, "Just the stress, I guess, Lisa. The uncertainty of it all...second know how it is. We're fine, but we'll be glad when we get to Missing Mile and can settle down somewhere."

"Ok, then, sister...I'll try not to worry. You keep calling me, though, even if just to say hi, ok?" Lisa said.

"Ok, I will," Linda said. "Love you."

"Love you, too," Lisa said. They ended their call. Linda went inside to rest, with the kids.
Steve had gone over to a little grassy area by the motel pool. Sitting at a picnic table, he made his call to Kinsey.  "Hey, Kinsey," he began, when the phone was answered.

"Hey, there Steve. Good to hear from you," Kinsey said. "Where are y'all? How's it going?" he asked.

"Oh, we're still in Arizona, but right near the border to New Mexico. We're gonna be here a little longer than we thought..." Steve trailed off.

"Ok, what's happened?" Kinsey asked.

Steve hesitated a second. "'s Ghost...he's in the hospital here..."

"Oh, no...what happened?"

"He had a...seizure...a bad one, Kinsey...and somehow fell into a mirror and got cut. He had to have a few stitches, but they'll be's...well, they're keeping him some more, because he was out of it for so long. They're making sure he's over it, ya know, got some more meds, and all." Steve stopped a few seconds, then blurted out, "Shit, Kinsey...I only seen him once this morning, and can't go back until tonight...and nobody's telling me anything." He tried to stifle a sob. "...and he's not ok, Kinsey..." he said, his voice catching. "He's just not ok...he said he thinks I hate him. And, the EMTs kept saying it was a suicide attempt, when he broke the mirror...and now I don't know what to think...or do...or say," he cried.

"Steve...get ahold of yourself," Kinsey said. "Did he say anything else...did he say why?"

"No, that's all, and they made me leave in a hurry. I don't know what's going on and I get no information at all. What should I do, Kinsey? I mean, when I see Ghost again. Just ask him straight out? What if he won't even want to see me no more?"

"Ok, Steve...I don't get what's going on, but it doesn't sound good," Kinsey said. He thought for a minute. "What do you think? Did it look accidental? You weren't there when it happened?"

"No, I was over in Linda's room, or car, or whatever...waiting for him to come out. Then he didn't, so we go in and he's...Oh, God...laying there on the floor, in the glass, and bleeding, and totally passed out. Then they came and took him...and Kinsey? I'm scared to say it, but there wasn't no way he fell onto the was bolted down."

"Oh, Jesus, Steve..." Kinsey said. They were silent then, for a minute. "What's Linda's take on all this?"

"I don't know, she didn't really say. She's so tired and all, and the kids...she's taking a nap right now...she just keeps talking about getting back on the road again."

"Hmm, well, Steve...y'all just go up there tonight and demand some answers from those doctors. And, I guess see if Ghost has come around to normal now. Sounds like just the after-business of the seizure, and the trauma of getting hurt, and medicines...I'm sure he didn't mean that what he said...there's no way, you know," Kinsey said.

"I know, Kinsey, but I'm so worried."

"I know, Steve, but you have to handle it, you and Linda both. And as soon as possible, get Ghost back home," Kinsey said. "Let me know, ok?"

"Ok, I will," Steve said. They hung up their phones. Steve rubbed his face, and prayed Ghost would be better tonight.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, November 20, 2015


# 245 content

The doctor continued talking to Steve, asking questions, and explaining some of the treatments Ghost would be receiving.

"Now, Ghost had cuts from glass. Do you know how it happened?" the doctor asked.

Steve shook his head. "No, I wasn't there."

"Ok..." the doctor wrote something on his paper. "The cuts are superficial, mostly, but there are two that needed a few stitches, but weren't too serious. What we don't understand, is why he has not been responsive. He hasn't regained full consciousness, though he is moaning, and mumbling your name, so far. Is he on drugs? Is he, or has he been suicidal?" He looked up, waiting for Steve's answer.

"What? No, no, no, none of that...ever. He has seizures sometimes. An old head injury causes them, and he takes medicine for it. He probably had one, and fell into the mirror." Steve took a second to think. "He loses his vision when it happens, but it always comes back...and usually has a bad headache...but, he's never been out this long before."

Nodding, the doctor said, "Now we're getting somewhere, Steve. That explains a lot. I'll tell my colleagues what is likely going on, and we'll be able to treat it. Thank you. As soon as he is stable, and in a room, you will be able to see him." He turned to go back through the double doors.

Looking over at Linda, Steve asked, "He's gonna be ok, right?"

She hugged him. "Yes, he'll be fine, I'm sure. Now we just have to be patient and wait." She led him over to the chairs.

An hour passed, then another. Steve paced and worried. Linda got the kids a snack, and coffee for herself and Steve. Other emergency cases came in, were treated, and left, but there still was no word about Ghost. After a little more waiting, the double doors swung open, and the doctor came to talk to them.

"Ok, here's the latest. I know you've been worried. Ghost has been admitted to a room." He gave them the location and room number. "He's regained consciousness somewhat...he's still groggy, and medicated, but is stable. You can go up and see him, but only for a short time. He's had a very serious seizure. We did a brain scan, and he'll be put on stronger meds after his discharge. He's still being monitored, of course. I expect at least one to two days here." He handed Steve a paper map, with directions to the room, then left. Steve stared at the paper, unsure what to do.

"Go on, Steve," Linda said. "I'm staying down here with the kids. They're not allowed up there."

Steve nodded, looking around. "How? How do I find him? Where is this room?" He looked so lost.

"Steve, just go over to the desk...ask the lady." She turned him in the right direction.

"Ok," he said, going over to ask. The woman took the paper map of the hospital rooms, and highlighted the path Steve should follow to Ghost's room. He thanked her, and followed the directions, finding it with no trouble. His heart was pounding, though, as he slowly pushed open the door.

"Oh, God..." he said to himself, as he saw Ghost lying there in the hospital bed. There was an IV hooked up to Ghost's arm, and his eyes were closed. He quietly went over to the bedside.

"'s me, Steve." he said.

Ghost cracked open his eyes a bit. "Steve?" he whispered, then tears ran down his face.

"Oh, Ghost, it's gonna be ok. The doctor said so, and you'll only be here a day or two...until you feel better." He took Ghost's hand, squeezing softly.

Ghost tried to talk, but was still having a hard time with his words. "I call you..."

Steve nodded. "I know...I heard you. I came as fast as I could."

"Why? You hate me," Ghost cried out.

"What? What are you talking about? Of course I don't hate you...I love you, Ghost."

Ghost shook his head, as much as the pain would allow.

Before Steve could say anything else, a nurse came in. "You'll have to leave, now...Doctor's orders...only a short visit for now. It'll be longer this evening," she said, as she ushered Steve out.

"I'll be back," Steve said, as he looked back at Ghost, and left the room. The nurse was sympathetic . She reassured him they were taking good care of Ghost, and he could come back at 7 p.m.  He retraced his steps back to the main waiting area, to find Linda. She looked up as he came back to sit beside her.

"How is he?" she asked.

"I...I don't know...I was only allowed in for like five minutes. He knew I was there, but he looked so..." He turned closer to Linda, laying his head on her shoulder, as tears ran down his face. She held him tight. After a few long minutes, he said, "He said I hate him. Why would he say that?"

Linda was at a loss for words. It didn't make sense to her either.

"He was calling for me, Linda, but when I went in, he said that to me. Then the nurse made me leave. I can go back at seven."

"Well, did the doctor, or a nurse say anything his condition or when he can leave?"

"No, nobody said anything...except come back later."

Linda sighed. "Well, we need to make some kind of a plan. We need to get something to eat, and I need to get the kids out of here. Come on..." She got up and went to Stevie and Mandy. "Let's go, you two. We're going for lunch," she said.

"Yay," Mandy said, as she jumped up and down.

"Where's Ghost...isn't he coming?" Stevie asked.

Linda tried to think how to explain it to them. "Not this time. The doctor wants him to stay here a little longer. We'll be back tonight, though," she said, as they walked over to Steve.

"Uncle Steve, why can't Ghost come with us?" Stevie asked.

Steve looked at Linda, but she shrugged. "Stevie," she said, "I just told you why, remember? Now let's go eat."

Driving around the town, they found a McDonald's, so pulled into the parking lot. "This will be fine, and the kids can burn off some energy playing in the kid's area." They ordered their food, found a table, and the kids ate everything. "Y'all must have been hungry," she laughed.

"Yeah, and can we go play?" Stevie asked.

"Yes, go on." She watched them head to the play yard. Then, she noticed that Steve had barely eaten anything. "Ok, let's talk," she said.

He looked at her, and his eyes said what he was thinking...then he said it out loud, "There's nothing to say, Linda. Ghost thinks I hate him."

"Now look here, Steve, I don't know why he'd say that. He's had a trauma, he's on strong meds...he could say anything, and not even know it. So, you need to pull yourself together, and forget about it, for now."

"But, do you think he...tried to kill himself?' Steve asked, hating that he even said those words. "I mean, it really didn't look like an accident to me...falling into the mirror, that was bolted to the wall? That would've been impossible, Linda...and those EMTs knew it, too."

"Oh, Steve, I know what it looked like, but we haven't heard it from him, and he may not even remember. So, we don't know...may never know. We'll just deal with the situation how ever it comes to us, ok? But, we do have to go forward...think it through..."

Steve nodded. "I know..."

"Now, I do know we have to go to the motel and tell the manager something," Linda continued. "And we'll have to pay for the damages to the room. You can stay in our room until we can leave," she said, trying to think of what else. "We'll get y'all's things from the other room, then come back up here at seven, see how things are going, and when he gets released, I guess get back on the road. She closed her eyes, and rubbed her forehead. "Steve, we're still so far from home...we can't give up now."

"I know," Steve said, giving her a hug. "God, I hope we can figure this out."

"Me too," Linda said.

"I'm sorry this trip is turning into such a disaster...this road trip, it's been mostly good, but more days on the road...I don't probably regret it already, and I wouldn't blame you if you turned around and went back," Steve said.

"Nope, I'm in it all the way, brother. Family sticks together, for better or worse," she said, smiling.

"No matter what?"

"No matter what," Linda said. "Ok, then, let's get going." She got up to go get Mandy and Stevie.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


# 244 content

Steve had gone to Linda's room to confront and comfort his sister. "Linda," he hollered, as he banged on the door. "Let me in. It's ok, but we need to talk about it."

She did let him in, but just for a minute. She'd turned on the tv for the kids, and made sure they were ok, then motioned for Steve to follow her out to the car. It was parked right in front of the motel's door, so she could keep an eye on the kids, through the window, while she and Steve talked.

"Steve, I'm sorry I ran out like I did. It was such a shock...and I didn't want to embarrass Ghost any more than I'd already done. I know you told me about what he'd been through, but my God, Steve...that poor child." She wiped more tears from her face.

"I know, Linda, I was there. I saw it happen to him." He closed his eyes, shaking his head. "I know I put some there too, and I'll never forgive myself...Linda, he's devastated . He never wanted you to see, and now he thinks you're scared of him...that the way he looks made you afraid of him...that you won't ever see him the same way as before."

"Oh, Steve, it was such an unexpected shock. I'm not scared of him...of course not. I love Ghost because of who he is, not what he looks like on the outside. And really, it wasn't as bad as I'd imagined. I mean, I could see the scars, but it was just that I wasn't prepared. Can you even understand what I'm trying to say?"

Steve nodded. "Yeah, I do, and they don't look bad to me at all. I don't even notice his scars. They've faded, but to Ghost, when he looks at himself, it's just as they were long ago. They are ugly reminders to him, where to me, they are proof he is strong, that he's a survivor."

"Yes, he is," Linda said. Sighing, she gave Steve a hug.

"Now you have to convince him you're not scared of him, and that everything will be as always between you," Steve said.

"I will, Steve, and I was just surprised. The scars were faded, and it was just that I'd walked in on him when he was undressed that I ran out so fast."

"Then tell him that, please. Reassure him," Steve said.

Nodding, Linda said, "Where is he? I thought he was coming out, so we could get going." She looked toward the door to Steve's room, next door to her own.

Shrugging, Steve said, "Yeah, I thought so, too. I'll go see." He and Linda went to the room, after making sure the kids were fine. Steve opened the door.

"Ghost? You ready?" He saw that the door to the bathroom was closed, so went over and knocked on it. "Ghost?" He tried opening the door, but it only opened a little ways, before being blocked.  "What the...?" he said as he pushed harder.

As the door opened more, Steve could see glass on the floor, and blood.

"Oh, my God...Ghost!" Steve yelled. He felt his heart lurch, as panic took hold. It was Ghost lying on the floor, that was blocking the door. Steve pushed his way in, and the room seemed to spin...he felt faint. "No, I won't faint", he told himself.

With his knees feeling weak, and shaking hands, he knelt down in the mirror glass, to help. "Ghost, what happened? Come on up from there, it's time to go," he said, knowing he was babbling, but he couldn't stop. Ghost moaned.

"Get, I'll help ya," Steve said, trying to sit Ghost upright, but he didn't respond.

Then, reality slammed back into focus. " 911," he yelled.

As Linda ran over to the door, to see what was going on, Steve yelled, "Don't come in. Just call..." But, Linda had already seen. She gasped, and couldn't look away.

"Hurry, Linda, call 911..."

She turned, finally, and grappled for her phone. With trembling hands, she punched in the numbers. "They want to know the address. Where are we? What's this place called?"

"I can't...I can't think..." Steve said

Linda looked frantically around the room, finally seeing a notepad on the night table, with the motel's advertising on it. She read off the address to the 911 operator.

"Ok, they're coming," she said, as she ran back to the bathroom. "What happened? What can I do? What are you doing?" she kept asking.

Steve looked up at her. He was cradling Ghost in a half-sitting position. "What?" The dazed look on his face, scared Linda as much as seeing Ghost. He was too calm, dazed, in shock, himself. This jolted her out of her own panic.

Feeling as if he was in some off kilter world, Steve couldn't make sense of it. Everything he said and did was in slow-motion...floaty...and sounds were muffled. He couldn't even hear what Linda was saying. He saw her mouth moving, but there was only a buzzing noise in the edge of his hearing. He blinked, and looked down at Ghost.

The next thing he knew, Linda was handing him a wet cloth rag; he'd not even seen her move, now this cold thing was in his hands. He dabbed at the small cuts on Ghost's face. "I need to take a nap..." he thought, then realized how irrational that thought had been.

Then, there was another voice inside his head...not his was Ghost. But, he'd not seen Ghost try to talk.

"Where are you, Steve? I can't see me..." Ghost's mind was pushing as hard as it could to get Steve's attention.

"Ghost? I'm right here...we're getting you help...just...just..." his voice faded away.

Linda had ran to the door, as she heard the sirens of the ambulance coming. It had only been a very few minutes since she'd called, but seemed much longer. As she let them in, time did another jolt, as it seemed to speed up.

The EMT's took over, and Steve stood watching, feeling in the way, and helpless to do anything. They were asking questions, and he was answering, but later wouldn't remember any of what he told them. After tending to Ghost, they put him on a stretcher, taking him out to the ambulance.

"I'm going with them, Linda," Steve said.

"Ok, I'll get the kids, and come too, in the van," she said. As soon as they'd left, Linda just stood there in the motel room a minute. It was too quiet, now. She turned to look back in the bathroom. It resembled a scene from a horror movie. Shuddering, she backed out, leaving the room, and going to her own room, and Stevie and Mandy. 

"Come on, kids, we're going." She loaded them up in the car, and drove to the hospital, using the directions the EMTs had given her.

In the ambulance, Steve just stared, as they worked on Ghost. He was overwhelmed with sensory input. Ghost looked dead...deathly pale, and the red of his blood still was seeping out from where the glass had cut him. The cuts didn't look serious, but the EMTs were  concentrating on them. The ambulance had a strange, yet familiar smell.

He couldn't place it at first. Then, he was the coppery, sweet smell of Ghost's blood. The same as that night long ago, in Ghost's bedroom...the night he'd killed him. He felt the bile rise in his throat, and barely managed to choke it down. "This is not happening...this is not happening..."

The ambulance bumped over the road,  speeding through intersections, and it's siren's blaring oddly muffled here inside. The whole thing was surreal to Steve. And, there was Ghost's voice, calling for him...over and his head.

At last they were at the hospital. Ghost was rushed away, even as Steve tried to keep up on his shaking legs. When he did catch up, he was told he couldn't be in the emergency room. So, he just stood there at the double doors, looking lost. Someone came up and took his arm. Looking around, he saw that it was Linda..."where did she come from?"

"Steve, come over here and sit down, hon," Linda urged. "They are helping Ghost. Don't worry." She glanced over at Stevie and Mandy. They had found a seat, and were watching the waiting room tv. A woman from the admissions desk called them over. Steve had to give her all the information needed to admit Ghost. He tried to answer them, and must have done ok, because they said he could go wait some more.

"Linda, what are they doing? Will they even come tell us?" he asked.

"I'm sure they will, Steve," she said. I hope they will... Not being blood related, it might be difficult to get information, she knew.

Steve could not sit still. He kept jiggling his leg, then getting up and pacing, looking at those double doors, where he'd last seen Ghost. After waiting for what seemed forever, a doctor came out, calling them over.

"Are you Steve?" he asked.

"Yes, how is he...can I see him?"

"I just need a bit more information first," the doctor said. "Let me see," he looked at his clipboard of papers. "The patient's name is...Ghost?"

"Yes," Steve said.

"And your relationship to Ghost is...?"

"We're married," Steve said.

The doctor looked up at him.

"I know what you're thinking, but we are," Steve said. "In our hearts, we are...please, can I see him?"

"I have a few more questions," the doctor said, looking back at his paperwork.

"Dammit! I just need to know if he's going to be ok, and to see him...why can't..." Steve was shouting. Linda put her hand on his arm.

"Steve, it isn't helping to get upset."

The doctor had stepped back, afraid he might get punched.

"She's right...calm yourself down. I know you're worried, and you'll be able to see him soon."

Steve took deep breaths, nodding that he understood.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, November 15, 2015


# 243 content

When Ghost got back to the motel room, he climbed into bed, feeling sleepy and satisfied, now. It was not long before he was asleep.
The next morning, Steve woke first. He lay there trying to remember the dream he'd had. He knew it was about Ghost...then he remembered.

"Hey, Ghost, wake up," he said, shaking Ghost until he did wake up. "I had a dream about you."

Ghost was barely waking up, as Steve was talking, but he knew this dream of Steve's was different.

Steve continued, "I dreamed you were walking in the desert, in the dark...and these...well...this is the silly part...these UFOs were up in the dark sky. They kinda glowed, and they were beaming a light down on you. It was kinda cool, but scary, too. I thought you were gonna get abducted, so I tried to warn you, but you just smiled, and kept walking. Well, that's all I remember. What do ya think of it...pretty weird, huh?"

Trying not to scare Steve, Ghost kept his voice low when he said, "Steve, that wasn't a dream. It happened just like that."

"Huh? What do ya mean?" Steve asked, frowning.

"Well, I did go outside, and I did talk to the UFO people," Ghost said. "I didn't see them, but I knew they were there. They even said they'd be waiting for me."

Steve was quiet for a minute, thinking about it. "You went out...last night...when I was asleep?"

Ghost nodded. "For a little while. It was just like your dream."

"But, how?"

"I don't know...your subconscious must have followed me, and sent the images to you, 'cause it was the same...except I didn't see anything. I just sensed they were there," Ghost said.

"But, how can I be seeing something I don't even believe is real?" Steve asked. "I don't get it."

Ghost shrugged. "Dreams are dreams, I guess. They don't have to make sense."

"Yeah, you're right, but heard them say they'll be waiting for you...where?"

"In New Mexico, I think. That's their UFO Base." Ghost said. He sat up in bed, leaning on the headboard. "They go all over, but always come back to base."

"Come're just making shit up, now," Steve said, skeptical, as usual.

Ghost shrugged. "Well, it's as good an explanation as anything else. See, we don't know if it's real or not, yet. Nobody does. So, that's just what I think." He smiled.  "Are we getting up, now?" He stretched, and yawned. "If we are, I need coffee."

Steve didn't answer. He moved closer to Ghost, slowly reaching his hand up under his t-shirt, which tickled Ghost's stomach, and gave him goose-bumps. Then, leaning over, he kissed where he'd just touched. Ghost drew in his breath, enjoying the sensation. He reached out his hands to clasp Steve's unruly hair. They didn't get out of bed for a long time.

Afterwards, as they dozed, there was a knock at the door. "Steve, Ghost...are y'all awake?" It was Linda. She kept knocking.

"You think I should let  her in?" Steve asked.

"Mmm-hmm, but put something on, first," Ghost said.

Steve laughed. "Oh, yeah...uh, just a minute, Linda," he hollered toward the door. He got up, and scrabbled around, looking for his clothes. Finally, pulling on some jeans and a t-shirt, he opened the door. "Hey, Linda," he said.

"You know what time it is, Steve?" she asked.

"No, why?"

Linda pushed past her brother and into the room. She came face to face with a mostly naked Ghost, who'd only managed to quickly pull the sheet over his private parts, as he was getting up to find clothes. She stopped immediately, seeing his frightened face.

In that second, before she murmured 'sorry' and turned away, the image of Ghost's scars was seared into her brain. She grabbed hold of Steve's arm, to steady herself, as silent tears sprang from her eyes. She stumbled to the door, and out. She knew now, why Ghost always wore clothes that covered him...from his funky cool socks, to his long sleeved, soft hoodies.

Steve was frozen to the spot he stood on for a minute. Should he go after a distraught Linda, or comfort Ghost, who was sobbing into his pillow. He went to Ghost.

"I didn't ever want her to see," cried Ghost.

"I know, I know, Babe, but she'll be ok...she already knew...she understands..." Steve said into Ghost's ear, as he held him close.

"But knowing and seeing is, when she sees me, she'll know," Ghost said, trying to control his crying. "She was scared of me, Steve."

'No, no, of course not...she loves you."

"But, she ran away...and now she won't be the same to me. She'll see this when she sees'll be weird, now..."

"Look at me, Ghost," Steve said, pulling him up, and wiping his face. "We're all family. It's better that she saw how hurt you've been. It brings family closer binds us like nothing else does. Sharing our lives...the good and the understand?"

Ghost nodded.

"Now, y'all need to face each other, and get past this, right now, or it will get awkward. So, get dressed, and come on out. I'm going to go see about her and the kids, then we need to get something to eat and get on the road, ok?"

"Yeah, I know. I'll be ok, just go and...and tell her not to be scared of me," Ghost sobbed, one last time.

Steve took Ghost's face in his hands, and kissed him. "I love you so much," he said. Then he turned and left to go to Linda.

When Steve left, Ghost got up and went to the bathroom to take a quick shower. He looked at himself in the mirror...really looked. He hated what he saw. He ran his hands over his scarred body...remembering...the many burn scars, from the long ago torturing from those boys at school...the places they'd kicked him, and cut him, and left him bleeding...his missing toe...the one on his head, that still showed a little, where they'd bashed his skull with the baseball bat...and...and the worst of all, the ones that didn't show...the ones Steve had put on him...the one under his hair, that was indented from Steve smashing his fist into his head over and over until his skull cracked again...and the ones on his heart...the most painful of all...from Steve. He still couldn't grasp why Steve loved him...why...after all this ugliness.

He could feel his mind taking a wrong turn somehow. He knew it was not the way to be thinking, but was unable to push the thoughts away. Maybe Steve was lying to him all this time...not loving him...just staying out of pity... "No! No! Please No!" Ghost cried out, and in that moment he lost control.

He drew back his fist and slammed it into the mirror, as hard as he could,  to erase the image of himself. Shattered glass sparkled, even as it cut his hands, his arms, and flew up, striking his face, as he watched the shards coming at him, as if in slow motion. He didn't even flinch as they penetrated his skin. He was too far into his psychosis, his seizure, to notice any pain.

As it continued, he sank to the floor, bleeding. Eventually, the convulsions stopped, but he did not get up. As he slowly came to awareness again, his head was pounding, and his vision was gone.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, November 13, 2015


# 242 content

They kept driving down Route 40, heading for the next overnight stop. Steve kept seeing notices for the Petrified Forest National Park. It was right on their way.

"You know what's coming up?" Steve asked.

"More desert?" Ghost said.

"Well, yeah, but there's a petrified forest up ahead. That sure would be cool to look at."

" scared?"

Steve laughed. "No, it's like trees that turned into rocks, like a long time ago."

"Rock trees? Tell me when we get to them. I'll take a picture," Ghost said.

"Ok, we'll pull over."

In a little while they came upon the place. "It didn't look so big on the map," Steve said. He slowed the car down, looking for a place to pull over.

"This place looks kinda scary. Whatever scared the trees, is scaring me, too," Ghost said.

"They didn't get scared, I told just happened after a lot of years."

"I don't care when they got scared...just what scared them."

Steve shook his head, knowing Ghost would carry on about it for awhile. He pulled over to wait for Linda to catch up with them.

"I have an idea," Ghost said, as he stared at the scattered, petrified logs laying around the area. "Get your guitar, Steve, I want to take a picture. When Steve had gotten it, they walked over to a fallen tree.

"Ok, now play something," Ghost said. "These here trees are rock stars." He took a few pictures.

Linda and the kids arrived, and the kids ran around from tree to tree. They were in an area off the main highway, back along the winding little road. No one else was around.

"Hey, that was a good idea, y'all had," Linda said. "Take my picture, too." She took the guitar, and posed. The kids wanted in on the picture taking, and so they all posed by the rock star trees. It was getting late, though, and there were quite a few miles yet to go before stopping at a motel. Before Ghost got back into the U-Haul, he reached out his hands, touching the tree.

"Thank you, rock tree, for letting us take your picture. I'm sorry you got sacared a long time ago. I hope we made you happy today." He smiled. As he got into the truck, Steve asked, "What did the tree say?"

"It said it had fun, too."

"Oh, well good. You ready to get back on the road?"

They drove for another hour or so. In the next town, they found a motel, and a place to eat. This time a fast-food restaurant.

"You know what?" Linda asked. "I think it's going to take longer than three days, Steve."

"Yeah, it looks that way, now, but I don't care, really," Steve said. "We're having a good time seeing parts of the country we'd never have seen if we'd gone by plane. You are enjoying this, aren't you?"

Nodding, Linda said, "Oh, sure I am, and the kids are, too. They haven't complained hardly at all about being in the car for so long. These little sightseeing stops makes all the difference."

They finished their meal, and headed back to the motel. Linda, in her room, got the kids ready for bed, then herself.

Steve and Ghost did the same, after watching TV for awhile. When the lights were out, Ghost began talking about UFOs. "Steve, are we gonna see  one? Do you want to see one? It's UFO country out there, now."

Wrinkling his nose, Steve said, "No, I don't want to see one. Only a few people get to see them Ghost...and nobody believes them, anyway. So we probably won't. Aren't they mostly seen at night? We're asleep at night."

"Well, I'm gonna stay up and look for one. Maybe I'll be lucky. I see dead people, so why not UFOs?"

"Ok, if anyone could, it would be you, I guess," Steve said.

"Yeah, and if I see one, I'll holler for you to  come look," Ghost said.

"But, I don't want to see one," Steve said, shaking his head.

"Why not?"

"Because they're scary, and maybe the aliens would take us away. They kinda do that, don't they?" Steve said.

"Hmm, well, sometimes, I guess," Ghost said. "I'm going outside after while, and call them to come.'

"What are you gonna say to them?"

"I'm gonna at least tell them we'll be in their state, and we want to see them. They can hear us, right?"

"Hell if I know, Ghost. I hope not...anyway, I'm going to sleep, I'm getting spooked, now."

"Petrified?" Ghost laughed.

"Yeah, like a log...see, I'm not moving...I'm a rock." He drifted off to a sound sleep.

Ghost tried to sleep, but it was no use. After a few minutes, he got up to look for a snack in his backpack. Finally finding a mostly uncrushed package of peanut butter-cheese crackers, he quietly went out the door. He munched on them, as he looked around.

The parking lot was lit by a few street lights, but over to the far edge, it was dark...only moonlight in the emptiness of the desert. This motel was the last one on the edge of the little town they were in.

"This is perfect," he said out loud to the night. Walking across the parking lot, he had a quick thought...that he should have left a note for Steve, but he didn't plan on staying out here for long. He kept going into the darkness. Finally about half a mile out, he stopped. There in the moonlight, he looked up at the stars.

They were really clear out here in the wide open spaces. At home, there were always trees that blocked his view. Scanning the sky, he looked for anything that was moving, hoping to see a UFO.

"Hey, y'all...if any of you are listening, my name is Ghost. I want to know if y'all are real. Show me. Come out of hiding so I can see ya." Then, he waited. He detected no movement, no beams of light, no noise.

"Ok, well, we're gonna be closer to where y'all hang out, in the morning, so when it gets dark again, I'll call for ya again, ok?" A sudden cool breeze ruffled his hair, and he imagined he heard something say..."We'll be waiting..." He grinned, knowing it was his wishful thinking, but secretly hoping it was real. He walked back toward the motel.

The neon sign was tiny from so far away, but a beacon to aim for. The whole way back, he felt something was watching him. He did not turn around to see, though.

"They're checking me out...seeing if I'm real," he thought. He sent a silent message through the air..."Yes, I'm real..."

Back at the motel room, he let himself in. Steve was still asleep.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


# 241 content

Steve and Ghost were hot and sweaty, when they got back to the visitor's center. They found Linda and the kids inside, where it was cool. She'd gotten them sodas, and she was talking to the curator.
Walking up, Ghost said, "I saw the real town."

"What real town?" asked the man.

"The one that's not fake," Ghost said, as he stared hard at the man.

Nodding, the man said, " have." He knew Ghost was right.

Stevie and Mandy ran up, handing Ghost and Steve a can of soda, that Linda had bought for them.

"Y'all ready to go?" Steve asked. The kids said they were, so they all went back outside to the car and the U-Haul. The kids ran on ahead, while Linda asked, "What were you talking about in there? A real town?"

"Yeah, the real ghost town," Steve said. "Ghost found it out past the one here, out farther in the desert. This one here is a replica of it...a really good one, but all new buildings that just look old. The real one is all fallen down."

"The spirits are still there," Ghost said. "I heard them."

"Oh, that's sad," Linda said.

"There was an old graveyard, too, and bones of some people that never got buried," Ghost said. "They didn't want to get trapped forever down there, but they did."

Linda was all caught up in Ghost's story. "Are you going to write the story, Ghost?"

"Yeah, I will," he said.

She smiled. "Good, because I want to read it." She got the kids settled back into the car, where they amused themselves with the little toys they'd bought in the gift shop. "We're ready. How many miles to our stopping place, Steve?"

"We're going to try for two hundred more miles, before it gets dark," he said. "That should get us into New Mexico, I think. We'll stop and eat, and get a motel for the night." He looked again at the map.

"That sounds great. I could use a shower," Linda said, and laughed.

They drove back to the main highway, where there weren't many other cars at this time of day. Steve tried to tune in a radio station, but all he got was static. Ghost was busy writing about the ghost town, but kept yawning and nodding off. The air conditioner worked good in the U-Haul, though, and Steve adjusted it to be colder, in order for himself to stay awake.

The next large town they came to, was Flagstaff, but they were not ready to stop for the night, as it was still quite awhile until dark. Besides, the kids were asleep, and so was Ghost. Steve kept seeing mileage signs to Winslow. That rang a bell...the Eagles song. He and Ghost sang that song all the time...*"Take It Easy". He perked up...he wanted to stop and see the famous corner. Calling Linda, he told her he was stopping up ahead. As they got close, he shook Ghost awake.

"Hey, wake up. Guess where we are?"

"What...where?" Ghost sat up straighter and looked out the window. "We're in the desert..."

Steve rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I know, but the next town is Winslow, Arizona." He was talking loud.

"Winslow?" Ghost asked. "Like in that song?"

"Yep, the very same...and we're stopping and standing on that corner. Get your camera ready," Steve said. He and Ghost were smiling big.

Soon, they were in the town. Steve drove around, down the main street. It wasn't a huge city, but he had to look for a sign that maybe would tell them where the special corner was. Finally, he saw one, and followed the arrows, turning up one street, down another. He knew this was another tourist stop, but he didn't care. This was the most excitement he'd had in awhile, and he wasn't going to miss out on it.

Then, he saw it. It was well marked, and other people were there taking pictures. He and Linda found a parking area, and they all got out to walk over and check it out. Ghost was snapping pictures of it, and other scenery. Finally it was their turn to stand on the spot. Ghost took their picture, then Linda took some, then Steve. A passerby took one of them all together. .

"Hey, Steve...I have an idea," Linda said. "Get your guitar, and you and Ghost sing that song...right here on the street."

"What? That might be weird," Steve said.

"Oh, please," Linda said. "It'll be neat, and y'all do it so good. These other people would love to hear y'all, I'll bet. That song is probably in everybody's head, anyway. Maybe they'll sing along."

The more Steve thought about it, the more he liked it. "Ok, I'll see if Ghost will," he said. "Ghost, come here..." he waved him over. "Linda wants us to sing the song, right here on the street. I think I want'll be fun."

"You mean for real? Like for these people out here?" Ghost asked.

"Yep, I'll get my guitar, and everything. Ya want to?"

Ghost grinned. "Hell, know I'll sing anywhere. Go get it."

Steve ran back to the truck, and grabbed his acoustic. Ghost was already rounding up an audience.

"Hey, y'all," he shouted. "Ya wanna hear that song, don'cha? Well, me and Steve are in a band, called Lost Souls, and we sing it all the're gonna do it for y'all." He kept waving people over, until there was a small crowd.

Steve didn't know if they needed a permit to sing on the street, but by this point, he didn't care. He tuned his guitar, quickly, and nodded to Ghost.

"Ok, ya' we go...sing it with us, if you want to," Ghost urged.

Steve began to play, and needing no microphone to be heard, Ghost started singing. His voice was loud and clear...mesmerizing, as always. Pretty much everyone standing around them joined in. The police security for the tourist stop, came over and joined in, too. Linda was taking pictures of everyone, and every thing. After singing it a couple of times, the crowd shouted and clapped, and cameras were clicking everywhere. Someone hollered, "Can you sing some more Eagles songs?"

Steve looked at Ghost, but didn't even have to ask, so he began another song. Ghost started right in. There was no stage, but none was needed. People kept singing along, for several more songs,  keeping the beat with their hands and feet. Finally, it wound down, and it was time to go. Lots of people thanked them for the mini concert. Steve and Ghost were pumped up...the show had revived them, and now they were ready to get back on the road. All they way back to the car, they kept talking about it.

"That was so much fun, Steve," Ghost said. "I'm so glad you stopped here."

"I know...and I think everyone enjoyed it," Steve said. "Maybe we should do it more often."

"Hey, yeah...that's an idea that could work," Linda said. "Just pick a town, and start singing."

"I'd do it, for sure," Ghost said.

"Can we come, too" Stevie asked.

Ghost laughed. "Sure...oh, better ask your mom, first."

"You kids will be in school, but if any of this happens, I might let you go to one or two," Linda said.

They stopped for gas, on their way out of town, agreeing to travel awhile longer, before stopping for the night. Ghost was humming, and writing in his journal, about the afternoon.

"What was your favorite part?" he asked.

"Oh, probably watching you," Steve said. "I always like that part seem so happy when you sing, Ghost."

"I am," Ghost said.


* Take it Easy, recorded by the Eagles, on the Album - Eagles. Released May 1, 1972. Recorded at Olympic Sound Studios, London. Label, Asylum. Written by Jackson Browne and Glen Frey.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing