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Monday, October 20, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE... (eighty third installment)

83rd installment content 


They traveled on down the highway, through the night, coming into Knoxville, as dawn was breaking. Steve was yawning and could barely keep his eyes open. Ghost had fallen asleep some time back.

"Ghost, wake up," Steve said, nudging him. "I'm exhausted. I need to sleep. I'm renting a room here for a couple of days, ok?" 

"Ok, Steve, sounds good," Ghost muttered, his eyes still closed. 

A few minutes later they were in a motel room, and were sound asleep. The next morning, they figured they should do some laundry, and get organized for the rest of the trip.

"Look, Ghost, here's where we are now," Steve said, pointing it out on the map. "Here's all the rest of the country. Where should we go?"

Ghost looked mostly at the colors, then said, "Brown."

Steve gave him a look. "Brown?"

"Yeah, to a brown over there." He put his finger over on Arizona. Looking at the town names he got excited, when he saw Tombstone. "Here's a good one, and it can go in our book when we find a graveyard." 

"Is that desert enough for ya, then?" Steve asked.

"Guess so, but I like the name best."

"Ok then, let's go to Tucson and rent a car, then we'll drive over there to Tombstone and check it out. Maybe we can even find a ghost town somewhere, too." Steve said.

"For real? There's whole towns with ghosts in them?" 

"Well, just abandoned towns...nobody lives there anymore, but maybe there's ghosts."

Ghost had a worried look on his face, "Yeah, guess I'd like to see that." 

Steve shoved Ghost's arm. "You're weird, Ghost, ya know that?" 

"Yeah, ya told me before, Steve." He folded up the map. "So, let's get going."


They drove out to the airport, and Steve figured out how to leave his car there until they got back. As they walked through the entrance, they stared at all the people, and counters, taking it all in. They'd never been in such a place, before. 

* "Is this gonna be like the big 'ol bus station in New York?" asked Ghost.

"I don't think there'll be any homeless bums jumping out at us here...but, this sure is big," Steve said. "Where do you think we should go, in here?"

"I'll ask," said Ghost, as he headed off to the nearest counter, dodging people who actually did know where they were going. 

Steve followed, lugging their duffel bags, and trying to keep up. As he caught up with Ghost, he heard him asking where to get a ticket to Arizona. The lady was tapping on her computer, and talking fast. Ghost had already gotten confused, so Steve took over. Finally they understood they'd have to go to another counter, way off down the row, to get the tickets. 

"Don't walk so fast, head's spinnin' already."

"Well keep up, then. We have to hurry. She said there's a plane leaving pretty soon." 

They did manage to get their tickets and find the right gate. Steve had checked in their bags, but they carried on Steve's guitar and Ghost's backpack. On the other side of the security check-point, they found a place to sit down.

"We've got about an hour to wait, Ghost. I'm going to go find us something to eat. You stay here, ok...don't move, don't wander off."

"I'm not going anywhere, Steve...just...I'm getting nervous."

"Yeah, me too, but food will help probably. I'll be back in a little bit." He turned away to find a bathroom and a food place. He hoped he, himself wouldn't get lost.

Ghost sat there awhile, watching the parade of people pass by. He was getting restless, though. He began fidgeting, and could feel his eye twitching, and a headache coming on...and he was hungry. 

"Come on, Steve, come on Steve," he said over and over, out loud.

The loudspeaker announcements were blaring, and unintelligible. Ghost could feel his anxiety mounting. He couldn't block out all the thoughts of the people around him...all their fears and thoughts. It was getting to be too much for him. He tried leaning back in the seat, and closing his eyes, but he was still breathing hard, and could sense his panic increasing. 

And still, Steve wasn't back. "Where the hell are you, Steve?" he asked nobody, and continued to wait. He wanted so bad to get up and go look for Steve. He got his back pack, and rummaged through it. There was nothing to hold his interest. He didn't want to write, at the moment. His stomach was growling and he was getting light headed; he found no snacks in his bag. 

He decided to at least stand up by his seat. Maybe he could see over the heads of the crowd, and see if Steve was coming back. But, as he stood up, he could feel the whole place start to tilt, and he almost fell down. His eyes felt funny too, like huge...but he was having trouble seeing anything, just a big, blurry, noisy scene swirling all around him. His heart was pounding. He didn't know what to do.

He opened Steve's guitar case, just to see something familiar. Inside, he found the cell phone Kinsey had given them. That gave him the idea to try and call Kinsey...just to say hi, and to let him know where they were, and where they were going. He stared hard at the phone, trying to make the letters stop swimming around in his blurry vision. 

"I think I remember how to do this...he said use the letters," he said to himself, as he pushed the keypad in the order he remembered. He could hear it ringing. He heard Kinsey's voice coming out of the phone. 

"Hello, Sacred Yew, Kinsey here." 

Ghost was always amazed that it actually worked. He smiled and began talking in his round about way.

"Hey, Kinsey, can you help me find Steve? He went somewhere, and I think he's lost. He said he'd come back, but it's been forever. I'm still here, and this place is freaking me out. There's too much noise and people, and I'm so hungry I think I'm gonna faint."

"Ghost? What's going on? Don't talk so fast. Where are you, and where's Steve. Let me talk to him, now."

"I can't find him, Kinsey. I'm scared. I'm by myself, and we're gonna get on an airplane, and go see a tombstone, and...and...where's Steve? I need help!"

Kinsey could tell by the tone of Ghost's words, that he was about to lose it. "Calm down, Ghost," he said. "Let me get this straight. Y'all are at an airport, and Steve went somewhere and hasn't come back, yet?" 

"Yeah, and he was gonna get us some food 'cause we're hungry, and it's been forever, and he never came back. I'm still here where he left me. He said don't move, so I didn't. But I need to go find him, but I can't cause I'm all dizzy, and there's too many people."

Kinsey knew he had to give Ghost reassurance, and get him to calm down, before he really did go wandering off.  "Just stay where you are, ok? Steve will be back, don't worry. He's going to be back to get you." 

"Ok, Kinsey, but I'll probably be starved to death by then, and the plane I think already left without us."

"Where are y'all going anyway, on a plane?" Kinsey asked.

"We're going to Arizona to see the desert, but looking at graveyards, too...and other stuff. But we're scared to go on a plane, but Steve's tired of driving. Why won't he come back, Kinsey? I need him!" Ghost completely fell apart, then, sobbing and saying through his tears, "Where are you, Steve...I need you!" 

He had dropped the phone, and Kinsey couldn't yell loud enough to get his attention again, so he just kept listening to Ghost cry, and the airport noises. He hoped someone would notice, and that Steve would show up, soon.

Next installment coming soon!

*a reference to a story in the book "Wormwood" by Poppy Z. Brite, called "How to Get Ahead in New York"

Peace, Love, & Writing


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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

82nd installment content


"So, I guess it's like you hear; you act like, you know, same as him. I get drunk and beat people up. I don't want to, I don't mean to, it just happens, then I regret it."

Steve took a moment, then said, "Ghost, I know it sounds stupid or crazy, or, I don't even know. I feel like I still need to protect you from bad things like those kids back then - and now, but then why do I end up hurting you? Why? And how do I stop?"

Steve was openly crying now. Ghost held onto him, letting him get it all out.

"I don't know, Steve," Ghost said, as he rocked back and forth, holding Steve close. "I had no idea of all of that.Thank you for telling me that...for letting me in. I think I understand you better now, why you do things like you do. I can only be here with you and listen when you need to talk. I hope it helps you, but maybe you need to talk to someone who really knows how to help.

Steve nodded. "Maybe you're right. I do feel better, now that you know. It did hurt to remember all that. I haven't thought of that stuff in a long, long time. But, knowing maybe why I do things, doesn't mean I can just stop, but I have to try, somehow, because it's not working just going along doing it over and over.

I know I don't get drunk as much as I used to, since my wreck. That scared me so much, I promised I'd try to slow down, and I have...but, that didn't stop me from losing my temper and all that I've done since then to hurt you. I don't know why, or just...something just blows up in me and I lose it. I don't want you to be scared of me all the time...always having to wonder when I might get mad or hit you again. I hate myself for doing it...I just hate myself," he sobbed.

"Don't say that, Steve. Don't ever say that again. It doesn't help to turn it in on yourself. It's dangerous to think like that. I don't hate you...I never could, even're more than the things you do, Steve. That's just how the hurt you feel comes out. It's not who you really are, I know. I love you Steve, the real you inside.

Ghost kissed Steve, and brushed his tears away. They were quiet for awhile. Then, Ghost continued...

"Steve, when you came to pretty much live with me and my grandmother, that was when you were basically abandoned, huh? Your family was gone, you couldn't protect your sister, so when I needed you, you did all you could for me. That's the real you, Steve...the person you are, the good, kind protector, who feels so bad when others are in trouble. You need to rescue, your sister, anyone you feel something for. Your caring soul goes deep, and I think the start of it was back then...and I wouldn't even be alive if you hadn't helped me." Ghost took a few moments, thinking back.

"You know, I came over to your house one time. Do you remember? It was after you saved me. It was just you and your father there, and you didn't really want me to be there."

Steve nodded. "I remember. I was ashamed for you to see where I lived. I didn't want you to see how it really was...and I was afraid he'd hurt you, too. That's why I hurried up and left with you. Later, he did say bad things about you...awful things...said I may as well go be with you. He didn't want me around anymore. So, that was it, the day I came to your house and I just stayed. I never went back." Steve smiled, "I'm glad y'all let me in."

"Yeah, me too, Steve, me too."

"So, what now?" Steve asked. He'd calmed down; everything was out in the open, now. He was done with his past...for now, anyway.

"Ya wanna go home? If ya do, I'm ok with it," Ghost said. "Either way, Steve."

"Well, thought you wanted to ride in an airplane," Steve said.

"Uh, sure...someday."

"Well, I think someday is maybe tomorrow. We'll go get our tickets and fly away." Steve was grinning, now.

Ghost wasn't sure what just happened. One minute Steve was crying and depressed, remembering the past, and now he was smiling and acting like nothing special just went down. It made him wary. He was glad Steve had admitted things to himself, brought it out into the open, but this was too fast a turn-around. He was afraid Steve was covering up his pain, by being too happy - a fake happiness.

He seems to be trying to turn the attention off of himself, and onto me again...

Ghost could feel another blow up, a crash of emotions coming. Well at least Seve was willing to try to figure it all out. He needs more help than I can give him. When we do get back home, I'll keep after him, urge him to find somebody who can actually help. So, he decided to just humor Steve, for now. After all, our trip isn't over yet. We still love each other, and have a good time together wherever we are...we'll just take one day at a time.

"Ok, Steve," Ghost said, as he headed back to the car. "Let's go then. Where's the next place that has an airport?"

"I'll look at the map," Steve said, following Ghost. "Ya really gonna go through with this?"

Ghost looked directly at Steve, and nodded. "Yep, I'm gonna do it, and so are you."

As they looked at the map, Ghost reached out for Steve's hand. "Steve, are you, ok? I mean really? After all that back there, I feel like I made you do something you didn't want to do. I didn't mean to make you feel bad...about me wanting in...for all those awful memories to hurt so much." He searched Steve's eyes for the truth.

"I'm ok, really. I'm not mad because you wanted answers. I guess I did need to open up, remember, and let it out. It was there all the time, lurking behind everything I say or do. Kinda like a dark cloud over me. I think it's lifted a little, now. And, I'm for real gonna talk to a therapist or somebody. I'm not gonna push it under any more." Steve took a deep, cleansing breath.

"So, I'm feeling a lot better, now, and that's thanks to you. You and that crazy positive attitude you always have. You gave me some of that...I guess, I hope," Steve said. "So, maybe I seem too happy now? I guess I do. It still feels like a roller coaster, up and down...and I don't know how long it will be up, and when it will come down again, and it will, well, maybe it won't be such a low drop off, anymore."

Steve took Ghost's hands, and squeezed. "For now, I want for us to just be happy, for however long, ok? And please try not to be always looking for something bad to happen. I wouldn't want that. Just...I want for now to forget the past, to just have fun for awhile. Can we do that, Ghost?"

Ghost nodded, yes. "Ok then, Steve, let's just keep on with our trip, and I know we can still have fun. All this serious talk is getting to me, anyway. So, where to?"

Steve looked again at the map. "We're the closest to Knoxville, I guess. We'll go there next."


Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, October 12, 2014

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

81st installment content

"I'm an open book to you. I tell you everything about me, and show you all I feel and dream...and how I love you. And, you can't read my mind or anything, and yes, you know me inside out...past, present, and future. And, I can read your mind, and know things about you, but you won't let me in any farther. You have a brick wall around some part of you that won't reveal itself, that you won't let out in the open." Ghost took Steve's hands in his own.

"I want in, Steve...I want in. I want to know why...why you won't let me in, why you keep it a secret, why you're mean to me sometimes, why you love me...and then hurt me so bad. It's in there, Steve...the why. The layer I can't find. It's killing me, you're killing me. My soul needs an answer. What happened that makes you do that?" Ghost asked.

Steve's heart was pounding. He thought he might know finally what Ghost was getting at, and he was scared. When Ghost put it that way, he realized there was a part of him that no one knew. He had blocked it off from anyone ever seeing, even himself. Maybe I need to see a shrink...maybe that would be the breakthrough I need, Steve thought.

Ghost was pretty amazing at seeing through all his bullshit, and putting it in words he could understand..but, he still couldn't voice his feeling about it...and, did he even want to, to himself, or to Ghost? It had been hidden, like someone else's secret, not his own. But, if he and Ghost were ever going to get past this...this that Ghost knew was there, and kept digging at...then he had to start chipping away at it, too.

Ghost squeezed Steve's hands, pulling him closer. He laid his head onto Steve's, and said softly, "It's ok, Steve, it's just me that wants in. It's gonna be hard to face whatever demons are in there, but I want to help you face them. You're not alone. You'll never be alone."

Steve sobbed in Ghost's arms. There was so much, so many flashes of memory flooding his mind right now. He didn't know if Ghost could see it or not, but knew he had to try and let them out...out loud.

"What's in there, Steve? It must have been something awful for you to hide it for so long. Do you even remember? It's still there, holding you back. I can tell. I only met you when you were like, what...eleven or so? You were already pretty much who you are now. Did something happen before then?"

Ghost kept trying to pry open Steve's memory.

"I can't...I can't go back there, Ghost," Steve cried out. "Not right now; please don't make me remember."

Ghost knew he was getting close to hearing a painful truth from Steve. He just needed to push a little more, but not so much to destroy Steve's destroy Steve in the process. He knew it would help, but Steve didn't feel like it would. Maybe he'd already asked for too much. Maybe Steve would hate him for it, but he had to keep going. Leaving it like this would make it worse - half done, and would cause the memories to come out in destructive ways. It needed to be resolved now...tonight...right here when the door was cracking open.

Ghost smoothed Steve's hair back and wiped his tears. "Look at me, Steve. It's time. Time to face it, now, before it's too late, and it eats you alive from the inside. It will hurt to remember, but it'll be better if you go on and do it now. I'm right here to help you through. I won't leave, and I won't stop loving you, no matter what."

Steve shook himself, and nodded.

"Do you know what it is? Do you remember?" Ghost asked.

"I think so, but I'm afraid, Ghost. I don't want to remember. It...the feelings I have...they hurt me," Steve whispered, as he looked into Ghost's eyes.

"I know, Steve, but...well, maybe you think I'm being too nosey, that I should mind my own business...leave it alone. After all, I'm not a psychiatrist, and I can't promise you this will put an end to the pain you feel, but it's a start. Every day of life is a struggle, but at least you'll have a better understanding of why you do things...why you hurt yourself with too much drinking, why you have to hurt me. And, why you have to always be the bad guy, when I know you are more than that...can be more than that."

Ghost was quiet, then, waiting for Steve to think over what he wanted to remember.

After a minute, Steve nodded. "I do remember something, maybe the start of it, anyway, but I don't know how to say it. I just don't have the words, like you."

"Ok," Ghost said, "just think of it, and let whatever is in your head come out. It doesn't matter how...we can figure it out together."

"Ok, I'll try," Steve said. "You know my family lived out on Violin Road, right?"

Ghost nodded.

"Well, you know how it is out there. Just shacks and poverty, and no hope for anyone to better themselves. We hadn't been there very long, before you came to town, but it's the only place I remember...nothing before that.

My old man was so mean to us, my mother, and sisters, and me."

"You have a sister?" Ghost asked. He'd never heard Steve mention them.

"Yeah, an older one and a younger one. I don't know what happened to them. Maybe they made it out alive, or maybe not. Anyway, he'd get drunk and beat us all. The last time I saw my little sister, they were taking her away in an ambulance. She never came back. Maybe she died, or maybe they gave her to somebody else. They acted like they didn't care." Steve closed his eyes, over his tears that began to fall again. He sighed and sniffed.

"The next thing I remember, I was in school, probably third or fourth grade. Nobody'd have anything to do with me. I had crappy clothes and never had enough to eat. They'd make fun of me. Then I finally figured out how to fit in a little bit. That was by acting tough, even though I didn't think I was. I got in fights, and won some. I talked a good game, I guess. But, at home, I was still just a punching bag.

One drunk night, he told me my mother wasn't my mother. He said my older sister was...that he'd raped her, and her kid was me. That didn't make any sense then, and it still doesn't...she was only a couple of years older than me." Steve shook his head.

"Fuck him, fuck him for telling me that lie, and me, for being so stupid as to believe it. I mean, he never let me forget it, either, kept on telling me that, and that I was just a bastard, and didn't deserve to live." Steve pounded his fist on the table.

"Next I remember, mom had already left by then, and so had my sister...or mother... or...I was so confused. The only half way good thing, was going to school. So, I was always hanging out late over there, and that's when you came in...the new kid.

They started bullying you, then. I felt they sort of accepted me by now - not completely - but, it took some of the attention off of me, and I still tried to fit in with the guys. But, I couldn't stand to see them come after you. I knew how it felt. I didn't know you yet, but when they almost killed you, I had to try and save you. Well, you know the rest." Steve stopped, looking into Ghost's eyes, before going on.


Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

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

80th installment content

Out at the car, Steve did yank Ghost's hair to turn him around. He saw himself as he did it, and it felt like he was watching someone else's  hand do it. Ghost yelped at the sudden pain, and reached up to knock Steve's hand away. Steve grabbed hold of Ghost and shoved him up against the side of the car.

"Ow, Steve! What's the matter with you? Let me go."

"I saw you flirting with that guy in there," Steve said. "You know how that makes me feel, Ghost...huh? It makes me feel like shit, that's what's the matter. What'cha got to say about it?" Steve kept pushing hard, up against Ghost.

"I got nothing to say...I don't even know what you're talking about," Ghost said.

"I saw you, you little whore...making eyes, and smiling, and saying stuff...and...and...forgetting the words you were supposed to be singing. That proves it. You were so much into that guy, that you couldn't even keep your mind on the songs."

Ghost was getting scared, now...Steve was going ballistic on him, for no reason. He had to calm him down, but how?

"Steve, stop! You got it all wrong."

"Oh, I do, do I?" Steve was getting louder. "So, you didn't see that blond guy right in front of you...the one you said something to? Don't you dare lie to me, Ghost."

"You mean that guy that..."

"Yeah, that one. What'd you say to him?"

"Uh, uh...I think he asked me if I wanted to go somewhere with him after the show. I said no! That's it. I can't help it if people stare at me and ask me to do stuff. I don't control their thoughts."

"Yeah? But, I bet you're thinking it'd be fun to go off with some of this guy. I swear, Ghost, I'd kill him before he could take you anywhere."

"Steve, that's never gonna happen," Ghost said. "Never! Now stop being mean to me and let me go, ok?" Ghost begged.

"Fine, Ghost, this time...and I don't want to see another time - got it?"

"Yeah, I got it, Steve," Ghost said as he rubbed his wrist's where Steve had been crushing them. "Can we get out of here?"

"Get in the car," Steve ordered, shoving Ghost in, and slamming the door. He got in the dirver's side, and sped out of the parking lot. He didn't see the guy from the coffee shop watching them, from around the corner of the building.

Steve drove fast, out of the town, and down the idea where he was going. He just wanted to drive away from the ugliness, that he'd brought upon them, back there. He needed to calm down, needed to apologise to Ghost, needed to get his temper under control, before he really hurt Ghost again.

Ghost just sat there looking out at the stars, as they drove off into the night. He couldn't bring himself to say anything, right now. Tears welled up in his eyes and fell silently down his face. He didn't want Steve to see or hear him sobbing. But, eventually he couldn't stop, and Steve did hear.

Steve could not apologise right now, though. The hurt he felt, was still too raw. He hated that he'd hurt Ghost, even a little. This would blow over, he knew, but it would take time.

As the miles put distance from the argument, Steve slowly calmed down. Ghost had stopped crying, but was still awake. Neither had said a word, and both felt an awkwardness in their silence. Finally, Steve pulled over at a rest stop, there on the side of the road. It was a dark and lonely looking place...just the tall trees shrouded in the fog that was forming.

"We need to talk," Steve said, and sighed.

Ghost didn't say anything, or look at Steve.

"Did ya hear me, Ghost?"

When Ghost still wouldn't say anything, Steve leaned over and yelled, "Answer me, damnit!"

At that, Ghost got out of the car, and walked away. Steve narrowed his eyes, and yelled, "Fine, go over there and pout like a baby...see if I care." He regretted it as soon as he said it, though. He got out and walked toward Ghost, who was sitting at the small table, with his arms crossed on top, and his head down.

Steve came up beside him and knelt down. "I'm sorry, Ghost. I didn't mean anything I said, or did tonight. I do care. I don't mean to hurt you, hurt your feelings, say awful things. I don't know why I do it. Just please talk to me."

Tell me how horrible I am, tell me to go fuck myself, kick me to the curb, hit me, knock me out...whatever...just don't hate me...don't give up on me...please, Ghost?"

Ghost sighed, then said, "Did you ever wonder about layers, Steve? That's a word that has a lot of meanings, lots of layers...layers." He stopped then, and looked at Steve, like he was searching for something in Steve's face, his eyes, his expression, even his mind...his inner self.

Steve felt uncomfortable with this close scrutiny. He didn't know what Ghost was getting at. Maybe he'd finally gone bonkers. But, he kept his mouth shut for once, and let Ghost continue.

"Lots of things have layers, Steve. Like an onion, or a cake, the Earth...even people. You see on the outside, one layer. Then you look closer, and you find another layer." He sighed again, and said, "I can see your layers, Steve. Some of them, but not all, yet. I want to see all your layers, but you hide them from me. Why? Why do you hide them from me?" He hung his head and cried.

Steve still had no idea what Ghost was talking about, but if he said that, it would be the wrong thing to say. But, what was the right thing?  "Ghost, what is making you so sad? I said I was sorry. I know I say it all the time, because I keep doing stupid stuff, saying stupid stuff..." he trailed off, at a loss of words.

"You don't get it, do ya Steve?" Ghost asked.

Steve shrugged.

"Do you see me?" asked Ghost.

"Yeah," Steve said.

"Do I keep secrets from you? Do you know all about me? Am I hiding who I am from you?"

"No, I think I know you, Ghost. I see you, and I've known you a long time."

Ghost looked at Steve, knowing he still didn't understand.

"Oh, my God, Steve, how can I explain it to you?"  


Monday, October 6, 2014

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

79th installment content

Steve sat on the bench seat, looking up at Ghost, who'd perched up on top of the table.

"Uh, no...I don't think so - not bad...just...I'm scared to tell you, but you'll probably like it, but I might not, and I might not can really do it for real, but don't get mad, if I can't, ok?" Ghost said.

"What am I not supposed to get mad about, Ghost? That you're never gonna get to the point?"

"No, not that. I'll get to the point, when I figure out how. I practiced it, but now I can't remember what I was gonna do...I mean, say." Ghost tried to concentrate, his mouth forming silent words.

"Ghost, you're driving me crazy. Just spit it out, now. Hopefully, I'll know what the hell you're talking about, 'cause I sure don't, right now."

Ghost looked into Steve's eyes. "I think I might be ready to try it's scaring me just to think about it, but..."

Steve closed his eyes. 'Wait for it...wait for it..." he told himself.

Ghost continued, "Maybe we could do it like you said, you know, like get on a plane and fly to the west." He shuddered, as he'd said the words.

Steve's eyes flew open. He was totally surprised. He saw that Ghost had his eyes squinched shut, and his hair was pulled down in front, like he was preparing himself for whatever words were going to come his way - words that he knew had to be the right ones, and he only had a second to think of them.

And in that same instant, he felt overwhelming love for this so, so special person that sat before him. Not because of his decision to try flying in a plane, but because he was so strong. To be able to try to overcome his fear - to have been through so much in his life - to survive against all odds - to still keep being brave - to be so open hearted, and still be willing to try again and again, and face whatever came along...well, it took his breath away.

He knew he himself could never do that...knew he would, at some crucial point, give up. But, it wasn't in Ghost to ever, ever give up. He took Ghost's face in his hands and kissed him. He wrapped his arms around Ghost's shoulders, in a big hug, and could feel him trembling.

"Ghost, oh Ghost..." that's all Steve could get out. But, he hoped, no...he knew, Ghost would have heard his thoughts, and understand what he was feeling.

Ghost smiled, and looked a little bit embarrassed, but relieved he'd finally made a big decision. "So, is it ok, Steve? Do you still want to try it that way?" he asked.

"I do. I think we should at least give it a try. I've never been on a plane, either, ya know. I'm nervous about it, too. So, guess we can both give each other courage," Steve said, warming to the whole idea, now.

They had some new plans to talk over. They stayed at the rest stop awhile longer, hashing out where to go get a plane...where they'd go first.

"Oh, no!" Ghost said. "We totally forgot, we were supposed to sing at that place tonight."

"Aw, man...I forgot about it, too." Steve frowned. "Do we still want to? I mean, there's still time. Nothing even starts until like nine o'clock."

"Well, we said we would, and they put us on the list," said Ghost. "I'm kinda still wanting to, but we don't have to stay very long...just until we feel we did enough."

"Ok then, let's go back to town and show 'em what we can do," said Steve, as he started for the car.


They talked over what they would play. Being that this was a small, country town, they didn't want to get too wild. Just some quieter tunes, of course ending with "World."

They reached the coffee shop, and found out they'd be third on the list of performers. Everything was very informal. They joined the audience for the first act, a trio of bluegrass players. The second act was a girl, singing covers of Jewel. The audience was a mix of old and young, numbering around a hundred.

For a small town, this seemed to be the place to go to hang out with your friends. The only other place in town, was a corner bar; no entertainers there, just a jukebox. Here, there was an area just in front of the stage for dancing. The stage wasn't much higher than the dance floor. It was pretty close quarters.

They went backstage during the girl's numbers. Steve tuned his guitar, and Ghost just tried to remember the order of the songs they were going to do. They had about thirty minutes to fill.

Then, they were announced and they took the stage. There was no special lighting, but there was a small overstuffed couch, and a wooden stool on the stage, for whoever wanted to use them. So Steve sat on the couch, and Ghost took the stool, and the handheld mic. They began with an old standard, James Taylor's *"You've Got a Friend", then, the Eagles, *"Peaceful, Easy Feeling". Next, they sang one of their original songs, "Southern Moon", and went right into The Steve Miller Band song, *"Serenade", and ended with "World".

They sang to the audience, and to each other. Ghost took the mic, walking across the stage, from one side to the other...stopping in the middle from time to time, and joining Steve on the couch, for their original one. For "World", they both stood at the front of the stage, and Ghost encouraged the audience to sing along on the repeating chorus, which they did.

Most of those gathered there were regulars, including the other performers, just as in most small towns - everyone knew everyone. So, Ghost and Steve were the newcomers...or as some would say...outsiders. Steve did notice one particular guy, in front of the stage...too close, in Steve's opinion.

He kept staring at Ghost (Steve thought, hungrily), and even reached to touch Ghost a time or two. He was a nice enough looking guy, actually kind of looked like Ghost, in a weird sort of way. Steve noticed that Ghost had noticed this guy, too.

Steve had no reason to be jealous, but he was, which was weird. Lots of people stared at Ghost, but not everyone who did, gave off the sexy attitude that this guy did. Steve noticed, too, that Ghost seemed to be somehow communicating with him - because, he'd look at him and smile, then shake his head no, and say no. He'd even miss a word or two of the song they were on. At any rate, Steve certainly didn't like it. But, they kept playing to the end.

They seemed to be well received; everyone enjoyed their set. There were a few more acts coming up, but Steve was ready to leave, as soon as they left the stage.

"Let's go, Ghost," Steve said, as he put his guitar in it's case.

The manager had paid them a percentage of the door, and they were free to go.

""C'mon, Ghost," Steve said again, as he pulled Ghost's arm, to head him to the back door.

"Ok, ok, I'm coming," Ghost said, but was not moving fast enough for Steve, who was now shoving Ghost from behind.

"What's the matter with you, Steve? Why ya in such a hurry?"

"Just get out to the car," Steve said, through gritted teeth. He really wanted to grab hold of Ghost's hair that was hanging down his back, and yank Ghost along. He told himself to calm down...nothing had happened, nothing was gonna happen, and just drop it...but he was geting angrier by the minute, and it was all on him, because Ghost didn't even know what was going on. At least he didn't think so.


*"You've Got a Friend", sung by James Taylor, on the album "Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon", released in 1971, on the label - Warner Bros. Written by Carole King, Producer, Peter Asher.

*"Peaceful Easy Feeling", sung by the Eagles, on the album "Eagles", released December 1, 1972, on the label - Asylum, written by Jack Tempchin.

*"Serenade", sung by the Steve Miller Band, on the album "Fly Like an Eagle", released in 1976, on the label - "Universal", composed by Chris McCarty and Steve Miller.

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

Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing!

Friday, October 3, 2014

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

78th installment content

"Steve, that's not gonna happen."

"What are they pissed about, then?" asked Steve.

"Well, all I can understand, is this graveyard wasn't supposed to be put here, because even longer ago, it was a burial ground for Indians. Now, they're on top of them, and it's sacred ground. The Indian souls are mad at the newcomer's souls...and they're gonna maybe start a soul war or something. They want us to help them," Ghost said.

"Oh, hell, no!" Steve said. "Let them work it out. We're not getting involved in their turf war." He pulled Ghost toward the car.

"But...maybe we can help," Ghost said, hanging back.

"No way, Jose." Steve was adamant. "You got your pictures, now we're going."

Ghost didn't move. He was determined to stay there and find out more of what was going on. "I'm staying here tonight," he said. "You can go stay at the room in town, if you want to, but this here is where I'm gonna stay."

They stared at each other, neither wanting to give in. Finally, Steve spoke, "You're being ridiculous, Ghost. You can't help people that aren't even here anymore."

"Maybe I can," Ghost countered.

"What? You're gonna sit out here all night, mediating between the old Indian ghosts, and the new ghosts? What good is that? It's been over for a hundred years already." Steve tried to make Ghost see how absurd it was. "Just because you happened by here, they roped you into getting involved?"

"Yeah, something like that," Ghost said. "I guess it was fate that brung us here, today. They must'a been reaching out their minds to me...'cause they knew I'd help."

"And, you're gonna be stubborn about this, huh?" Steve asked.

"Guess so," Ghost said, shrugging.

"Well, then you have fun tonight with your spooks...I'm leaving. I'll pick you up in the morning," Steve said, as he opened the car door and pitched Ghost's backpack and jacket out, along with a bottle of water and a handful of snacks. He started the car and drove away. Ghost watched him go. He sighed...wishing Steve had stayed, but truthfully, he knew Steve was too scared to.

He picked up his things and walked over to a shady area. Getting out his notebook again, he wrote what he knew so far. The spirit voices were a low hum...he'd focus in on them in a bit. He had no idea of how to help. He knew he'd just been talking big to Steve, but now he felt committed to actually do something. He decided to learn what he could, then tomorrow go into town and tell someone. They probably didn't even know about the Indians.

He leaned back against a tilted, old cross headstone, and tried to listen. This, then tuned into dreaming, as he fell asleep. The dream/visions started, soon after. He saw that many, many years ago, the Indians had a settlement in this area. As the people had passed on, they were interred here. Eventually, their once thriving tribe had dwindled, so that as settlers moved closer, they were incorporated into this evolving town.

Some stayed, others opted for the government's resettlement onto reservations, elsewhere. The graveyard was used for years after, but people soon forgot who'd started it, and didn't know the Indians held the belief, that it was sacred ground, because they'd all died off one by one.

But, the Indian spirits knew, and didn't like it. Therefore, the animosity...they were here first. The others should be buried elsewhere, but they had no way of saying this...until now...using Ghost as their go-between.

Ghost woke up, and had a clear picture of the story. This, he'd let the town know, maybe the mayor...somebody who could do something about it. He let his mind speak to the spirits...let them know he'd try to make things right for them. He had a feeling that they understood.

Then, he began thinking of his and Steve's adventure. Maybe, Steve was right, maybe they should just fly out west. The thought scared him, but maybe he could overcome his fear. Only one way to find out. He'd tell Steve, in the morning, that he was willing to try. He found a soft patch of grass, as darkness fell, and lay down looking at the stars, twinkling in amongst the pine tree branches. The breeze made them whisper and rustle. He felt at peace out here, but kind of lonely, without Steve.


Steve was back at the boarding house room. He wasn't mad at Ghost, just confounded that Ghost would actually do something on his own...that he stood right up to him, and wouldn't back down. But, when Ghost got something, that to him was important, he did tend to focus in on it, and wouldn't be swayed.

But, he did miss Ghost already. He didn't like sleeping alone, anymore. 'I probably should have stayed out there, but I needed a break from creepy graveyards," he thought. 'I'll go get Ghost in the morning. He's fine tonight, doing what he loves to do." and he fell asleep, hoping that was the case.


Early the next morning, Steve grabbed coffee to go, at a corner store, and drove on out to the cemetery. Getting out of the car, holding the two cups of hot coffee, he scanned the area. He didn't see Ghost. He hesitated to holler loud - didn't want to rile up the spirits, so he wandered around.

Finally, he saw Ghost, still asleep by the old cross. Steve caught his breath, as always, at watching Ghost sleep. "Ahh...I get to kiss him awake." Setting down the cups, that's what he did. Ghost responded warmly, then sat up rubbing his eyes. He reached for the coffee. The one thing that would get him going in the morning, would also put him to sleep at night. Steve didn't question how that worked, anymore. He just handed him the cup.

"So, did you figure anything out, last night?"

Ghost nodded, and told him about his dream/vision, and what he intended to do about it. Steve agreed it seemed like a good plan. "You ready...seen enough of this place, yet?" he asked.

"Yeah, let's go into town. I'll talk to somebody, then let's go somewhere else. I need to tell you something," Ghost said.

Steve raised his eyebrows. "Why can't you just tell me, now?"

"Because I don't want to tell you out here."

Steve knew it'd do no good to prod, so he got up, held out his hand to Ghost, and they walked back to the car. Ghost was getting nervous. Maybe he couldn't go through with it...but, still he was going to try.

In town, they found the small library. Ghost asked the clerk who they could tell about something important, about their town. They were directed to the geneology/historian desk. Ghost told his story...not mentioning how he knew this. The lady was surprised to hear it, and assured them she'd look into it, and try to get something done. Satisfied, Ghost and Steve left.

"Where to, Ghost?" Steve asked.

"Just go to the next big city. If I see a good place to stop, I'll let you know."

As they drove down the highway, Ghost was looking for a roadside park, or something like that, as a good place to stop. He was also rehearsing what he wanted to say to Steve. It felt weird to do that, though. He was not known for planning things out. Mostly he just said whatever came into his head, right or wrong, but really wanted this to sound right - not stupid.

Up ahead, there appeared to be a small pull-over, into a shady area.

"Stop up there, Steve, ok?"

"Sure, Ghost, then you gonna talk to me?"

Ghost nodded. Steve was worried. Ghost wasn't being himself, today. "What on Earth could be bothering him?" he wondered. He pulled into the area, and killed the car's engine. It knocked and pinged a bit. "Must have got some bad gas somewhere...need to get a tune-up soon," Steve was thinking.

"Ok, go," he said, meaning for Ghost to start talking, but Ghost got out of the car, and went over to the lone cement picnic table. Steve shrugged and followed.

"Ghost, you're making me nervous with all this dramatic build-up. Just tell me already. Is it something bad?"

Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing!

Monday, September 29, 2014

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

77th installment content


The cat turned his ears toward Ghost and mewed.

"Are ya hungry?" Ghost asked, as he felt around in his jacket pocket, finding some leftover pieces of beef jerkey. He tore off a small bit and tossed it to the cat, which ate it and looked for more. Ghost kept tossing bits closer and closer, and the cat followed. Finally he just held a piece in his hand, and the cat jumped up in Ghost's lap, eating the offered piece.

Ghost stroked the soft, black and white fur, feeling the cat purring under his hand. He bent his head down close, to feel the softness brush against his cheek, his own hair falling down onto the cat, mingling within the fur. Steve opened the door, just then, and seeing Ghost and the cat, his heart skipped a beat at how tender Ghost was with the little creature.

He smiled, not wanting to interrupt this sweet communion. Ghost had his head laying on the cat, his eyes closed, and was humming to it. It looked like Ghost was actually falling asleep, using the cat as a soft pillow. The cat didn't mind at all; she was kneading Ghost's jeans. Steve quietly walked over - he thought Ghost was going to fall off the car...he kept nodding and jerking awake, as he swayed back and forth.

He stroked Ghost's head with one hand, and the cat with the other. Ghost, half-asleep, by this point, muttered, "Hey, Steve...I found a cat. Can I keep it?"

"Come to bed, Ghost, the cat lives here. He wouldn't like a long car trip," Steve said, hoping Ghost would understand.

"Ok, but I want a cat when we get home." He set the cat down, and let Steve lead him back to the motel room. As he lay down on the bed, Steve told him he was going to go find something to eat for breakfast. "I'll be back, sleep." He knew Ghost had probably been up all night, and it was getting weird. Their one awake, and one asleep thing wasn't working very good. They needed to get on the same page.

He woke Ghost, when he returned with the food, telling Ghost he had to try to stay awake all day, and why. He said he'd poke Ghost every time he saw him falling asleep. They had another few hours to drive until they got to the cave, in Kentucky. As they continued down the road, Ghost did pretty good - Steve only had to poke him awake a couple of times. They stopped a couple of times, for gas, food, and a small graveyard on the side of the road. At the border of Tennessee and Kentucky, they stopped to take a picture by the sign.

"Hey, we've been in three states, now...North Carolina, Tennessee, and now Kentucky, since we started out," said Steve.

"Yeah, and now we get to go in a cave. How much longer do we have to drive?"

"Not too much longer. I've already seen signs saying the cave is straight ahead," said Steve.

They drove a bit longer, then coming to the visitor's center, they joined a guided tour of the cave. Neither had been in an actual big cave, before, just little ones back at home, so they were amazed at this huge one. They didn't allow picture taking, which bummed Ghost out, but he'd brought his notebook, so he could write notes, and draw a few sketches of what they were seeing. It was pretty dark in there, with only a few lights along the path, and to spotlight the formations. Later, Steve was impressed by Ghost's drawings, and writing, done mostly in the dark, and still were pretty accurate.

"Ya want a souvenir?" Steve asked, as they looked around the gift shop. Ghost picked out a small geode, pink and purple inside, and figured it would go good with the large pink quartz crystal they had at their house in Missing Mile. It would sit on the hall table just fine, Ghost thought...the crystal could have a geode friend. They also got a few postcards to send back to Kinsey, Terry, and R.J.

Leaving the shop, they sat at a small cement table and wrote on the postcards. There was a mailbox here in the gift shop to mail them from. Steve's said...'still traveling - saw this cave - call ya later'. Ghost's was a bit more elaborate. He wrote so many words it filled up the entire card, and continued it on another one. He never got tired of writing, and the more words the better. He signed the cards with his usual amorphous, swirly signature, and lots of xoxoxox.

"Ok, I'm done," he said. They dropped the cards in the box, and headed for the car. Talking over where they should go next, Ghost wanted to find someplace to get a gig. He needed to sing for an audience. It had been quite a while since the last time. This would involve scouting around the upcoming towns for likely places.

"Ya know, Ghost, we're kinda far from any big cities, and these smaller ones don't really have much that looks like a place we can play at. I still think we should fly out west, and work our way back," Steve said.

"But, I don't want to go on a plane," Ghost reminded Steve.

"It'd be faster, and don't ya want to see the Pacific Ocean?"

"I already seen it, and I like our ocean better."

"I thought you wanted to see the desert, and famous places?" Steve asked.

"Well, I do, but not all at once. I wanted to see old graveyards, not tourist places. Maybe someday we can go see a desert...when I'm not scared to fly."

"Ok then, let's head back east and see some more graveyards," Steve said, and sighed. "I'm sure the little towns will have some, but what about singing? Where will we do that?"

"I don't know, we'll find out when we get there."

So that was settled, and Steve drove down the road toward the south east, using the large highways, in order to travel faster. If he was honest with himself, though, he was so tired of driving, he wished they were home already.

Coming into a good sized town, they stopped, when they noticed a coffee shop. It looked like most others, and it had a small stage area. Asking the barista about playing, they were told it was an open mic night the next night, anything they wanted to do. She'd add them to the roster. They decided to do it, and went to find a place to stay. That wasn't as easy. The only motel in town was full, it being the tourist season. People took advantage of the town's amenities, on their way up and down the highway.

So, they went to the edge of town, to check on camping areas. No luck there either...any open area was posted with signs, no trespassing, no camping, no loitering.
"Guess we'll just have to sleep in the car tonight," Steve said.

"Well, let's at least find a graveyard and take some pictures," Ghost said.

They stopped in at a small mom and pop store, to ask. They were told of an old cemetery on the other side of town. "Been there for many years; not used anymore," the clerk told them. They were also told of a boarding house that maybe had a room to rent for the night. So, they went over there, and did secure an available room, before heading out to find the cemetery.

It was another small one, but had some interesting headstones scattered about. Ghost wandered among them, taking pictures, and listening. Steve wrote down information in the notebook. Ghost seemed troubled, though, when he rejoined Steve.

"What's up? Did you hear anything this time?" Steve asked.

"Yeah, but I don't know how to explain it. The spirits were not happy...they were all hollering."

Steve looked around - he couldn't hear anyone. "What did they say?"

Ghost shrugged, "They want out."

"Out?" Steve asked. "Out of their graves?" He was already spooked. He felt like creepy crawlies were on him and he shuddered. "Well, they just better stay covered up, is all I gotta say."

"But, they're least their souls aren't. They're right out there on top, wafting around. They're connected to their own graves, can't go anywhere, but they want to," Ghost explained.

"And, you can see this?" Steve was looking hard at the area.

"Yeah, sure...I wish you could see it, Steve, they're all shimmery...and..."

"I'm outta here," Steve said, as he headed for the car. "Come on, before they grab us."

Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing