Ghost walked down the gravelly path back to the highway. He was still so mad at Steve. He fumed and snorted and muttered to himself as he walked. As he went along the side of the road, cars whizzed by, their occupants staring at the red faced, blond hippie stomping along in his old Army jacket. The heat must have tetched him, they thought. Ghost began to slow down his pace.
"It's too hot out here to keep going," he panted. The cool shade of the North Carolina woods beckoned, so he figured he'd rest awhile over there in the shade. He knew these woods around Missing Mile probably better than anyone. He'd roamed this area since he was a kid. Being mountain born, and raised by his herbalist Grandmother had its advantages, he guessed. He never got lost out here. He hoped Steve got bit by a spider, maybe he even fell in the lake. That would serve him right.
"Hmmph," he snorted, as he leaned back against a tree. His mind began to wander as he cooled off. He thought about the day he met Steve...that day in these same woods. How he'd warned Steve of the giant spider web he was about to walk into. He couldn't stand the thought of anyone else getting spiders on them, since he hated them so much his own self.
"Hmmph, should'a let him run right into it," he thought. He didn't know why he had a spider phobia, or when it started. They even came to him in his dreams.
"Maybe a harbinger of bad things to come, a warning omen." He shuddered at the thought. Saying the word out loud, "harbinger," he shuddered again. "I ain't skeered of much a'nothin', just spiders," he told himself. "Nothin' wrong about that...it just is."
The shadows grew longer as the day passed along lazily. Ghost fell asleep. He was exhausted, and his sleep was dreamless for a change. When he awoke, he was disoriented for a bit. It came back to him slowly, but by then, the edge of his anger had worn down. What he felt now was hunger. He'd not eaten all day. Steve had all the food back at the campsite. It was beginning to be twilight...how long had he been asleep, he wondered.
Getting to his feet, he worked out what he'd say to Steve when he got back there.
Steve had been worried about Ghost off and on throughout the afternoon. On the one hand, he probably should go look for him. On the other hand, Ghost was probably still mad at him. And anyway, he thought, Ghost never gets lost in these woods. He knows exactly where he is, and he himself would probably be the one who got lost.
So he waited. The fishing had been pretty good...caught a few...cleaned them, and as it got dark, he lit a campfire and began to cook them. He figured if Ghost was anywhere nearby, the smell of cooking, and his hunger would lure him out. Sure enough, Ghost slowly took shape in the shadows of the woods, looking for all the world like a ghostly, pale wraith.
Steve smiled to himself. He tried to judge what Ghost's mood was. He wasn't getting a mad vibe from him, just a really hungry guy who's a little leery of coming near. He kept cooking the fish, and Ghost edged closer.
When he was a little closer, still, Steve said softly, "Hey," and looked at Ghost. "Come and eat."
Ghost nodded, came and sat down. He looked at the fire and began his rehearsed speech. "Steve," he whispered, "sorry I got mad at you." He bit his lower lip.
Steve's heard melted at his friend's obvious discomfort at apology. "Yeah, I'm sorry I laughed at you, Ghost," Steve said softly. They both looked up into each other's eyes, and both knew they'd been forgiven. They smiled.
They ate the fish, and then the sandwiches, washing it all down with the cold beer. Then Ghost remembered something.
"Hey, Steve, did you bring the molasses?" he asked.
"Yeah, it's over here," Steve replied. "Here, catch," he tossed the jar to Ghost. "What are you gonna put it on? You already ate the sandwiches."
Ghost looked at Steve and showed him he didn't need anything else. He took off the lid, inhaling the dark, rich aroma of liquid sorghum. He closed his eyes and breathed deep. "Ahhh," he sighed.
Steve watched as his best friend dipped his fingers into the thick, sweet syrup and slowly licked them. He watched with his mouth open, a bit of drool flooding his mouth. He licked his own lips as Ghost continued to lick his sticky fingers, again and again. Ghost kept making a slurping sound...almost a sexual sound. He looked as if he was in ecstasy, and maybe he was. As long as Steve had known him, he associated Ghost with molasses. Ghost always smelled faintly of the stuff, and his kisses tasted of it. Molasses was Ghost's drug of choice. He never went a day without it. He'd probably have withdrawal if he couldn't get it, Steve marveled. For some reason it seemed to calm him down.
Steve continued to watch Ghost, who was totally focused for once. In spite of himself he felt turned on. He felt hmself begin to breathe harder. In spite of himself he wanted to taste Ghost's molasses covered lips, his molasses covered tongue...and so he did.
He reached over and held Ghost's face in his rough hands and touched his own tongue to Ghost's sticky lips, parting them, and the resulting warm sweetness of tongue on tongue was almost enough to make him loose control right then.
Ghost relaxed into the deep kiss, and they fell together back onto their blanket. Stickiness of their rising heat of skin on skin. Stickiness of the sweat hot day, stickiness of molasses...and stickiness of their love, co-mingled under the twinkling stars.
They fell asleep in each other's arms once again.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing