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Friday, February 28, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE (seventeenth installment)

17th Installment
warning...adult content

It took him a little while to get to the area. He sucked in his breath, as he saw his old T-bird parked sort of on and off the path. It was at a crazy angle, and had almost been ran into a headstone at the edge of the path.

Steve came closer...afraid to look. The door to the car was hanging open. He began crying at what he noticed next...blood. Blood smears on the door outside, and inside on the steering wheel, and even more on the seat. There were no keys in the ignition.



"It must be true," Steve cried, knowing Ghost must be hurt very bad to lose this much blood. "Ghost...Ghost...what have I done to you...please be alive....I love you...I never meant to hurt you...I can't live without you," Steve cried into the twilight sky.

Then, rising from where he'd fallen to his knees by the side of the car, he turned to look farther down the path, to where he knew the headstone of Ghost's grandmother was. Heart pounding, he began to walk toward it. His eyes searched the dimly lit copse. Ghost was not there.

"Ok, ok," Steve thought, "now what?" He focused closer, and even though it was getting hard to see, he noticed evidence that Ghost had been there. The soft grass over the grave had been flattened some, the blades bent and broken, and what was spread  on the grass caused him more anguish, blood...more blood. And smeared onto the gravestone itself, a bloody handprint and a lip print, there on the front. Worst of all, it looked like the dark red bloodstains had been drippped on by many tears.

Steve totally broke down, then, as he lay in the grass and sobbed for Ghost, sobbed for the love he'd lost...sobbed for the way things should have been, and now never would be. This was the very spot he and Ghost had first made love, had been as one, and now...now...this is the very spot where it has all come to an end.

Eventually, Steve gathered himself, and sat there thinking of what he should do. Looking around for more evidence of Ghost's presence, he noticed Ghost's markers laying next to the headstone.

"What the...?" Steve questioned. Ghost never went anywhere without his markers. He knew Ghost must have been out of his mind with pain and confusion, to have left them here. Looking closer, he could make out words written on the cold, gray granite of the headstone. He startled when he read his own name. It was a message for him, left there by Ghost. It said in sky blue ink..."Steve, look in the crack at the back of the gravestone."

Steve cautiously felt around behind the stone. He never knew there was a crack in it. Finally, he saw a small slit, and a piece of paper folded up in there...very small. He pulled it out. It was one of Ghost's math papers that he'd done...just scribbles; but on top of the scribbles, he'd written words. The paper was full of them. Steve frowned, trying to read the small lettering. It was getting too dark to make them out, so Steve reached over behind a fallen log, and pulled out a tin box he and Ghost had hidden there, long ago. Inside were a candle and matches. He lit it and began to read.

"Steve, I tried to do this math for so long. Thank you for helping me. I know I never did get it. I had fun hanging out with you and being in a band with you. I tried really hard to make you proud of me...guess I didn't. I have to go now. Sorry I messed up your car. Don't look for me. I still love you and always will. You made my life bearable, even when you hurt me...Ghost.  P.S. I stole this from you a long time ago, to have a piece of you with me. Sorry..."

There were tear marks and drops all over the paper mixed with drops of blood. The writing was smeared and shaky. Fingerprints in blood and marker ink stained the outside of the note. Steve put the paper to his lips and breathed..."Oh, Ghost, I was always proud of you. I loved you from the moment I saw you. But, I never deserved to have your love. All I did was hurt you in the end. Why...why...why, couldn't I have treated you better? Why couldn't I have been the real friend and lover you so desperately needed? Please, Ghost, please forgive me for causing you so much pain," he sobbed.

He read the note over again and again, then wondered what Ghost had meant...that he'd stolen something from him. What was it? He ran his eyes back to the crack in the gravestone, holding the candle up closer. There was something else in there. He could barely fit his finger into the opening, but when he did, he scraped out the object. It was an old guitar pick that had gone missing years ago. He'd had many guitar picks over the years, but this had been his favorite It was the only one he'd ever seen that was sky blue...the color of Ghost's eyes, and the color of Ghost's favorite marker.

"Oh, my God," whispered Steve. Ghost had had it all this time. He looked at the note again. It said it was to keep a piece of himself, Steve, next to Ghost. "Oh, Ghost, I guess giving it back, means you don't want me next to you anymore," cried Steve, as he realized this was the final blow, the end of him and Ghost.

Steve remained there in the graveyard all night, crying, sleeping some, and trying to think what to do. "I don't care what happens, I'm going to find you, Ghost. I have to make things right with you. I'll never stop searching," Steve vowed.

As day broke, Steve woke from his fitful sleep and began to plan. First, he had to get home and close up the house, then go find Ghost. He looked again at the old gravestone.

"I'm so sorry I didn't take care of your Ghost child like I promised, Miz Deliverance. I tried, but...but, I'm going to make it right. I won't break this promise."

Then he noticed..on top of the headstone, was his car keys. "That's weird," he thought. "I didn't see them there last night. I know they weren't there." He shivered in the damp air, as a cool breeze suddenly ruffled his hair. His eyes widened. It was Ghost. Ghost was somewhere...somewhere in the world, and was touching him...was sending him a spirit message with his mind. He breathed deep.

"Where are you, Ghost? Where are you? I can feel you reading my thoughts! Please, send me a sign you are near!" Steve pleaded. He paused to listen, believing as he'd never really done before, that such things were possible...at least possible with Ghost. Ghost always had a way of making Steve believe his crazy ideas and dreams...a way of twisting and bending reality.

So, when an early morning bird landed on top of the gravestone, cocked his head at him, and chirped, Steve wasn't surprised. And, he wasn't surprised that it was a blue bird...a sky blue bird. One feather floated down, when the bird flew away. Steve picked it up and whispered, "Ghost."



Next installment coming soon!




Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE (sixteenth installment)

16th installment
warning...adult content

They really didn't want to accuse Steve, but the rumors were flying, and they didn't know how Kinsey would react. They knew he practically considered Steve and Ghost his sons.

"Uh...have you heard the rumors going around today?" one guy started.

"Man, I've been out of town all day...just got in a bit ago. Why, what's going around?" Kinsey was wondering why they were acting strange.

"If there's something I need to know about, just tell me straight out," he said.

"Well, here it is then. Ghost had your book, and he wanted us to give it back to you. He said to tell you thanks for being nice to him all these years."

Kinsey started to say something, but saw the two guys have a look between them. "Dammit, just what is going on?" he demanded.

The guy cleared his throat and simply said in a rush of words..."We found Ghost here on the porch across the street this morning. He'd been brutally beaten. He could hardly stand up, and he was covered in blood. He said Steve did it to him. Then, he said to give you this book, and he was leaving town for good, and Steve's car would be at the graveyard.

We tried to get him to see a doctor, but he refused. It seemed to me he was in a really bad way, Kinsey. Poor guy, he was crying, and said Steve beat him up and raped him, and that he'd done it before. We said we'd go kill Steve, we were so mad. But, Ghost said no...he wouldn't remember anything he did, and that he loved Steve, and please don't hurt him. He said he was going by his grandmother's grave, then leaving, and don't try to find him. He said he's never coming back."

With that, he stopped talking, afraid of what Kinsey would say. Kinsey was absolutely stunned.

"I'll kill him myself," he said in a barely contained voice. Kinsey was livid. He started out the door, before the group could stop him.

"Steve!" he bellowed.

Steve looked up, startled to see Kinsey coming at him, with hate in his eyes. Before he knew it, Kinsey had grabbed hold of Steve's shirt, yanking him out of the chair.

"You motherfucking son-of-a-bitch...you don't deserve to live," Kinsey yelled right up in Steve's face. He threw Steve down on the floor.

"What the hell are you talking about, Kinsey?" Steve yelled back.

"You better think long and hard about what you did, and pray to God He strikes you down right now," Kinsey yelled, "because I'm gonna take you out...right here, right now."

Steve had no idea why Kinsey was acting like a raging bull, but he scrambled out of the way, as Kinsey charged at him. The other guys just barely got hold of Kinsey to restrain him.

"What the hell are you talking about? " Steve yelled, again.''

"These guys saw Ghost early this morning, and he'd been beaten and raped till he was barely alive. He said you did it to him. He said he was going away forever; said he'd leave your car at the graveyard. That's what I'm talking about. Now, you want to explain that, or should I just kill you now...either that or prison, maybe both." Kinsey ranted on.

"Oh, my God, oh, my God," Steve mumbled, as Kinsey's voice seemed to fade into the background. "I've got to find Ghost. I don't remember doing anything to him." But, he knew Ghost never lied, about anything, ever. If he said it happened, it had happened. He got up off the floor and stumbled to the door. Kinsey's voice followed him out...

"Don't you ever, ever come back in here, Steve. I swear I'll kill you. Don't try to find Ghost. He deserves better than you."

Steve fell over his own feet in his hurry to get out of there. His heart was pounding, and his mind was reeling with what Kinsey had said.

"It can't be true," Steve chanted over and over, like a prayer, to make it not be true. "Please, don't let me be too late," he thought as he ran down the street.

~

The graveyard was close to five miles out of town. It had been hours since Ghost was here. As he came to the cold, wrought iron gate, he slowed. Ghost's grandmother's grave was toward the back, down a gravelly path, surrounded by vines and ancient trees, dripping with Spanish moss. This was Ghost's favorite place in the world, he remembered. This is where he would hear the voices of the dead.

This is where Ghost would renew his energy, his very spirit. He seemed to gather strength from the lingering essences of long gone people. It was always kind of spooky, when Ghost would make him come out here with him...especially at night; and it was always shady back in there, even more so after the sun went down...like now.

But, he'd always gone with Ghost, when he asked. Ghost could easily go into a sort of trance, when he saw visions and heard voices here...like he was joining them, absorbing their journeys into himself. He was always there to help pull Ghost back from the edge. He had no doubt Ghost could just as easily leave this world for the other side, another dimension, just as easily as stay here. Sometimes he felt Ghost would rather be there with the spirits.

So, Steve was afraid to go in. He had to, of course, and quickly, but still he hesitated. Scenarios ran through his mind of what he'd find...Ghost would be ok, but mad at him...or he could be laying there in a trance...or...or...oh, God...he could be dead. Steve choked back a sob.

Or, maybe he wouldn't be there. Maybe he would have been somehow beamed up to heaven, already. How would he know? A nervous laugh escaped his mouth. He took his first cautious steps into the shadowed graveyard.




Next installment coming soon!




Peace, Love, & Writing!


Monday, February 24, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE (fifteenth installment)

(15th installment)
warning...adult content

Kinsey was a little taken aback by Steve's answer. He hadn't figured it'd be some long involved tale...but, he sat there and let Steve explain. There was nothing else to do tonight, and Steve and Ghost loved to talk, and could spin some good stories out of not much of anything. So, he propped up his feet and leaned back, ready to hear what would become a rambling tale of sadness. Steve started at the beginning, as he always did. This time it went all the way back to their school days.

"Ya know when Ghost first came here?" he started. "Well, you know all that, but what you don't know, is that Ghost is super smart. Probably more than anyone I know. That's one reason kids didn't like him. And, you know about the feelings he gets and all that weird shit. Well, he was really good at schoolwork, except for math."

He stopped a minute and looked at Kinsey. "Yeah, he had that ADD stuff going on, too...it really bothered him that he couldn't get the math stuff."

Kinsey interrupted then, "You mean algebra, fractions, stuff like that? That's hard for lots of people."

"Well, that's true, but Ghost can't even add or subtract..even now. He never could...can't even recognize what number it is he's looking at. It's like he has a math blindness or something...a blank in his brain for it. He can't even count from one to ten, Kinsey." Steve was almost in tears at the thought of the pain it caused Ghost.

Kinsey looked at Steve like, maybe he was joking, but seeing the look on Steve's face, made him somehow believe that it was possible.

Steve continued. "He can say the words for numbers, ya know...one, two, three, and all, but doesn't get any sense of what they are." At that point, to lighten up the mood a bit, he chuckled at the thought he was having, and said, "You don't even know how it is when we try to play a game...bowling, cards, money...he can't figure out how many spaces to move, or how many pins he knocks down, or what cards he has, or what money adds up to. I mostly let him win, 'cause he really wants to play."

Steve was quiet, then. After a large sigh, he continued. "The school put him in the slow math classes, but nothing helped. The teachers gave up on him. Nothing will ever help him with a brain like that. That's what's so sad. He still thinks he'll get it one day.

When he left school that last day," Steve looked at Kinsey, who'd recently heard about Ghost's last day, "he had a book in his back pack, a math book. A very simple math book, like for kindergartner kids. He never brought it back. He still has it." Steve caught his breath with a choke. "Kinsey, he studies that book every single day...every single day that I've known him. He'll have pages of practice problems, but he can't even write the numbers. He'll work so hard, and bring me the pages to say if he did good.

Kinsey, he never, ever gets any better. It's mostly just scribbling. He writes words and songs like a genius, but not a number at all. I look at his papers, and say he did good. I know he knows I'm lying, but he goes on about how he's improving. It's heartbreaking. I think the main goal he's ever had in his life, is to do math...and he knows he'll never do it. What makes someone keep on trying, Kinsey, what?" Steve pleaded for an answer.

"I don't know, Steve. I had no idea Ghost had a problem like that. Hell, I never knew that stuff you told me the other day. And, I've lived here all my life...and, you know how it is with bartenders...we're supposed to hear all the gossip in a town. I'll tell ya, this town has secrets," Kinsey sighed. "I don't know why Ghost keeps on trying, but it shows he's a determined young man, Steve. Not a lot of people would keep on trying."

"Yeah, but I wish I could make it work for him," Steve said. "I've helped him out of lots of crazy things, and feel like I should be able to with this, but..." he shook his head.

"Well, you just keep on doing what you can, I guess," said Kinsey.

Kinsey figured it was time to get busy. He had some chores to tend to. Steve sat there sipping his beer. The club door opened, then, and two of the old guys from the hardware store came in. One was holding a book.

"Hey, Kinsey, you open?"

"No," Kinsey answered, "but, come on in, grab a beer."

They ambled over to the bar, then noticed Steve sitting there. He wasn't looking at them, just staring at the table, lost in his own thoughts.

The two guys nudged each other, saying in a low tone, "There he is. What a bastard. What should we do about it?"

"Well, Ghost said he wouldn't remember a thing, and sure enough, looks that way. He's working on another drunk, too. He has to be told what he did; he needs to be held accountable."

"Do you think Kinsey has any idea?"

"Doesn't look like it, or he'd have taken Steve down already."

"Well, I have to give Kinsey this book. We'll see what he knows."

They walked over to where Kinsey was counting supplies in the storeroom. "Hey, Kinsey, I think this is yours." He handed the book over, and said, "It's kinda messed up."

Kinsey took the book, saw that it was his, but turned it all around, looking at the cover, and tried to puzzle out what it was that was smeared on it. "What'd you do to it, guys...and why do you have it anyway?" he was confused. The last time he'd seen it, was when Ghost was looking at it, two days ago.

"Ahem," they started in, but were hesitant. They closed the door to the storeroom, so they could talk freely.





Next installment coming soon!



Peace, Love, & Writing!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A DREAM and a VISION

These were two different occasions that happened several years apart, between my daughter and I.

The first one, the dream, happened when she was a little kid. She spent the night with a friend from the neighborhood...the first time she'd ever done that. There was nothing unusual about it, and she had a good time.

However, that night I had a strange dream about a skunk that was trying to get in the back door. It was acting crazy! The next morning, my daughter came home, and she started telling me about her night at the friend's house.

She said she'd been really scared, at one point, when she woke up and thought she saw a skunk under the bed, acting crazy!  I'd not mentioned my dream to her before she told me this.

I think she may have been afraid of the imagined skunk under the bed, and it caused me to somehow pick up on her thoughts, which made me have a dream about a skunk. It was a bit strange, but cool at the same time, that we'd both connected in the middle of the night like that.

~

The second one is a vision I had, many years later, of my daughter (she was a teen then). Her dad and I had gone to get groceries, about 30 miles away, and she was home alone.  On our way back down the highway, the car was warm, and the sun was shining in my face...so I closed my eyes and felt half asleep.

Almost immediately, I "saw" my daughter. She was sitting at the kitchen table, talking on the phone to a friend. This friend lived out of town, and I knew her, but we'd not seen her in a long time. That was the vision I received.

When we did arrive home and opened the door, there was my daughter, sitting at the kitchen table, talking on the phone...just as I'd seen it. I just said to her to say hi to her friend S.

She finished her conversation, then asked me how I knew she was talking to S. I said I'd seen it in a vision on the way home!

We have had other psychic connections between us over the years, also. It is not scary...just amazing that it happens out of the blue like that!


Have you had similar dreams or visions? As always, comments are welcome!





Peace, Love, & Connections!

Monday, February 17, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE (fourteenth installment)

(14th installment)
warning...adult content

                                               


Back at the old ramshackle house on Burnt Church Road, Steve was coming around. It was late afternoon, and the heat of the day had not dissipated. It hung in the stale air of the house. Steve woke in a pool of sweat, and stank of the night before.

"Gotta get coffee, gotta get something for this killer hangover," he thought to himself. Surely, Ghost had made coffee this morning, and there'd be some left in the pot. He moved gingerly out of bed and across the room, so as not to increase the pounding in his head and behind his eyes.

The house was deathly silent. He wondered why Ghost wasn't making noise; usually he was so noisy.  Making his way to the kitchen, eyes half shut, he reached for the coffeepot. It was empty.

"Dammit, Ghost, you didn't even leave me a drop." He started another one brewing, while he fumbled for medicine for his headache. Looking out the window, at the day half gone, he tried to remember what he'd done the night before, and why his muscles were sore. The last thing he remembered was being at Kinsey's bar and meeting up with old friends.

"Well, guess I had a good time," he mused, "and evidently I made it home in one piece."

The coffee being ready, he poured himself a mug of the strong brew and took a gulp.

"Wonder where Ghost is?" he asked himself. "Probably wandering around the woods." Steve shrugged, then headed for the shower. He glanced at the disarray in the living room. "That's weird," he thought. "Ghost usually straightens things up."

The smell of stale vomit and beer hung in the air. "Guess I puked after I got home. Guess I'll have to clean up my own shit."

After showering, he thought he'd go out to the Yew for awhile, just to see what was happening. He searched for his car keys, but couldn't seem to find them. Then he figured he'd left them in the car. Walking out the front door, he stopped short.

"Where the hell is my car? Damn you, Ghost," he fumed, "if you took off with my car, you'll regret it." He stomped around the yard, then figured he might as well start walking. Ghost probably was in town with his car. He'd catch up with him.

He never did look in Ghost's bedroom, and never saw the evidence of things gone terribly wrong.

~

Getting into town, he was hoping to get a beer at Kinsey's, and find his car, and give Ghost an earful of scolding; but, the Yew wasn't open yet, and his car was nowhere in sight.

He went on down to the Whirling Disc, his place of employment. Terry would have a beer, and maybe some pot. That would take the edge off, Steve thought. Maybe he could even tell him what happened to his car and Ghost.

The bell tinkled as he went inside. Terry was behind the register, tending to a customer. It was a slow day, evidently. The town felt abandoned. When the customer left, Terry motioned him over, with a strange look.

"Hey, Terry, what's up? Where is everyone today?" Steve asked.

"Don't know, Steve...it's too hot out, I guess, and Kinsey's opening up late. He's out for business until later."

"Ya got a beer for me...it was a hot walk over here...and have you seen Ghost and my car?"

Steve was surprised when Terry shook his head, no. "Nope, haven't seen them, and won't have beer until Kinsey gets back. He's bringing a load from the city warehouse over in Raleigh. The supply truck broke down and couldn't deliver today," Terry explained.

Steve looked put out, and Terry asked if something was going on he wanted to talk about. "I heard through the grapevine that there's a rumor going around, that something big went down out at your place last night." He looked suspiciously at Steve.

"Not that I know of, Terry. I went into Raleigh with some guys, and got back really late, I guess. Can't really say I remember even getting home, but I was there this morning. Ghost wasn't home by the time I woke up, and he took off with my car."

"Hmmm, I don't know, Steve, sounded like something serious to me."

"Well, spit it out, Terry," Steve prodded, getting a little testy. "What the hell did you hear?"

Terry looked at Steve hard, and said, "I heard Ghost left town because of you. That's all. What the hell happened out there?"

"Aww, that's crazy...gotta be something wrong with people, making up shit like that," Steve replied, a little indignant, even though in the back of his mind, he did sense a bad vibe about the news he was hearing. And, since he couldn't remember a thing about the night before, he hoped it was just a rumor.

Just then, they saw Kinsey pull up outside the Sacred Yew. He looked tired, as he started unloading cases of beer. Steve told Terry he'd see him later; he was going over to help out Kinsey.

"Hey, Kinsey," Steve ambled over. "I'll grab one of those from ya," he joked, as he hefted a box from the truck.

"Hey, Steve, you can have one if you plan on helping me carry these in," Kinsey replied.

"Sure, sure I will," Steve said. They unloaded several large boxes into the cooler and storage room. Kinsey wiped his forehead and sat down, debating whether to open up the bar or not...didn't seem worth it, being that is was getting late, and nobody was even in town. It looked like all the club kids had other plans for the night.

So, he and Steve just got to talking. "Hey, have you seen Ghost and my car?" Steve asked

"No, I've been out of town all day. What, did you lose both of them at the same time, Steve?"

"Yeah, looks that way," Steve made a sour face. "Guess Ghost will bring it back when he gets through joyriding."

They sat there, cooling off in the darkening bar. Then, Kinsey said, "Oh, Steve, I've been meaning to ask you something. The other night when y'all were doing your show, well, before that, Ghost went to my office to take a nap, and he got a book off the shelf. I know you know the one I'm talking about? Well, what was up with that? Seemed strange to me," Kinsey said.

Steve remembered the book. It wasn't strange to him. He swallowed, and looked down at the table, running his fingers through the wet spots left by the cold beer bottles.

"Aww, Kinsey, I don't even know where to begin."




Next installment coming soon!




Peace, Love, & Writing



Saturday, February 15, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE (thirteenth installment)

(13th installment)
warning...adult content

~

As he got to the middle of town, he saw Kinsey's bar. It was closed up for the day. He remembered Kinsey saying he was going to be out of town for business. He would have liked to say good-bye to him, too. Then, he was overcome by such sadness, he stopped the car in front of the hardware store across the street from the Yew. The old timers would be gathering soon for their morning coffee and conversation. Reaching into his backpack, Ghost took out a book. It was Kinsey's college math textbook he'd been studying that day that seemed so long ago. He'd leave the book with the guys here. They'd get it back to Kinsey. They'd always welcomed him to sit a spell, and tell them his stories and dreams. He didn't want to be known as a book stealer after he left, so he hobbled up the porch steps to lay the book on the porch swing. They'd find it there.

As he bent over to place the book, he was overcome by a wave of dizziness. He sank to the floor of the porch, and managed to ease himself over by the side of the decking, by the thick vines of kudzu that climbed the trellis there. They had choked out most of the rose bushes that had been meant for the spot. Only a few still bloomed, blood red ones, like the blood that still flowed from Ghost's torn body. He passed out to that heady smell.

It grew lighter as dawn broke. A couple of the old timers drove up to the hardware store. They figured the owner, who lived back behind the store, would have coffee brewing this early, as this was his usual habit. They noticed Steve's T-bird parked at a weird angle in the street. They shook their heads and wondered to each other what that young'un had been up to, to leave his car there. They walked around back to get their mugs of coffee and visit awhile, then moseyed on out to the front porch of the store, to sit in the chairs in the shade of the overhang and vines. It was already getting hot out this early in the morning.

As they walked up to find a seat, they saw drops and smears of blood on the wooden planks. They looked puzzled, but not too alarmed. Those kids that hung out at Kinsey's were known to get into a fight occasionally; it was nothing to get excited about. They sipped their drinks, and conversation was beginning, when they heard a low, moaning sound. They looked at each other, again puzzled. Then, they heard it again, along with a scuffling noise. It was coming from the side of the porch. One man got up to see what was there, thinking it might be a cat or something.

"Oh, my God, Ghost!" he exclaimed loudly. The other men jumped up and rushed over.

"Ghost, what's wrong?" he asked. Ghost was slowly awaking and trying to sit up. Two of the men took him under his arms and helped him. It was then that they noticed that Ghost had been brutally beaten.

"Ghost, what happened?"
"We have to get him to a hospital."
"Who did this to you?"

They all talked at once. Ghost's head was still spinning, and he moaned again. They helped him to the front of the porch, and questioned him again. Ghost shook his head to try and clear it.

"Jus' 'eve ma lon," he mumbled through his swollen, bleeding mouth. Blood trickled down his face from the deep gash in his head. Blood had soaked through his clothes, and his hair was matted with blood and debris.

"Ghost, you have to let us help you. Just sit here, and we'll go find someone to get you to a doctor."

"NO!" Ghost said, "I'll be ok, I have to go now," he slurred.

"Ghost, listen, we can't make you get help, but what happened?" they asked, concerned.

He was coming more fully alert, now. He tried to get started speaking, but just sighed. After a long moment, he said, "Guys, thanks for helping me, but I'll be ok. Thanks for being nice to me all these years." He tried to smile, but it hurt too much. He closed his eyes to collect his thoughts, then pulled over the textbook that had been dropped earlier.

"Kin y'all give this to Kinsey for me? I kinda borrowed it, and since I'm leaving..."

"Sure, sure, Ghost, we'll get it to him for you," one man said, as he took the book from Ghost's hand. The book had blood smeared on it. The guy frowned.

"Ghost," he said gently, as he sat in front of him. "Who did this to you, son? It's ok to let us know."

Ghost only shook his head and sighed.

"Ghost," the man tried again, "we're just very concerned. Whoever hurt you, we need to know. What they did to you is wrong. Something has to be done about it...Ghost...did Steve do this to you?" he asked slowly.

Ghost sucked in a sharp breath and sobbed. Tears began to fall into his cuts, stinging his face. "He, he...didn't mean to. He was drunk," Ghost whispered, as he hung his head and let the tears fall.

"That bastard," the guy said.

"We'll kill him, let's go, guys," said another.

"NO!" Ghost wailed, now. "Don't kill Steve! He won't even remember what happened. Promise you won't kill him." He tried to get up to leave, but the guy stopped him.

"Ghost, calm down, we're not going to kill anyone, but he needs to know what he did to you, and pay dearly for it. He could go to jail for what he did."

Ghost just sat there and cried.

"Has he done this before?"

Ghost nodded, and whispered, "Sometimes...just when he's been drinking too much."

"How can you have stayed with him for so long, then? You can't justify getting beat up is ok, because he'd been drunk."

Ghost nodded, swallowing hard, and said simply, "Because, I love him."

The men were silent for a bit. "What are you going to do, Ghost? You just can't go back to him...he doesn't treat you right. Next time it could be much worse, you know."

Ghost nodded, and told them he was leaving for awhile, that he'd be ok."I have to go now. I'm gonna go by the graveyard to say bye to my grandmother, first. I'll leave Steve's car there. You can tell him it's there. Do whatever you want about telling him what he did. I don't know if I'll ever come back." He sobbed, again.

The men all wished him well, and watched Ghost hobble to the car and weave his way down the road. They were lost in their thoughts, staring at the blood on the porch steps, that Ghost had left behind.





Next installment coming soon!





Peace, Love, & Writing



 

Monday, February 10, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE (twelfth installment)

(12th installment)
warning...adult content

He knew he'd hurt Ghost's feelings when he'd left, earlier that evening, and he knew Ghost would sense what had happened after. He'd just go in and say how sorry he was to have treated him like that. Inside was dim, but he could make out Ghost's body laying on the couch. He went over to him and sat beside the childlike figure of his friend.

As he watched Ghost breathe, he thought of the hold Ghost had had on him all these years, and what he'd missed out on by sticking by Ghost. This made him a little angry...at himself, for letting Ghost get such a hold on him in the first place...and at Ghost, too...for being the way he was.

He knew he was being irrational, but the liquor had screwed his thinking up. He realized this, in some corner of his mind, but was helpless to stop this line of thought. He roughly shook Ghost awake. He'd show Ghost who ran things around here. From now on it'd be Steve, large and in charge.

"Get up, Ghost," he said. "We need to talk."

Ghost moaned, as Steve shook him again. Feelings were warring in Steve's brain. He was feeling manly and macho, and yet he was feeling love for this Ghost child, only a year younger than he. Grabbing Ghost, he jammed his tongue into Ghost's mouth. Ghost could hardly move, from Steve laying on top of him. His side hurt from where he'd been kicked, and now he could barely breathe from the weight of Steve on his chest, and his tongue down his throat.

He moaned again, and tried to push Steve off him. Steve had never had Ghost push him away before. He became enraged. He continued to slobber his beer breath into Ghost's face. The stench of the stale beer, and cigarettes, and the smell of the woman's flowery perfume, that still clung to Steve, was too much for Ghost to bear. He felt so sick with pain and betrayal, he turned his head as much as he could, and vomited over the edge of the couch. It didn't all land on the floor. It was in his throat, burning and choking him...and, on Steve.

"You fucking bitch!" Steve yelled. He drew back his vomit covered hand, slamming it into Ghost's face as hard as he could. The blow was so hard, Ghost heard a loud crack, as his teeth clacked together, breaking one of his front teeth into a sharp point. Blood spurted from his split lip, dripping down his face into the vomit.

Disgusted, Steve yanked Ghost off the couch, dragging him down the hall to the bedroom. He paid no attention to Ghost's cries and pleadings. Entering the bedroom, Steve threw Ghost onto the bed...the same bed where they'd loved each other many times. Steve scrabbled with their clothes, ignoring Ghost's frantic efforts to get away from him. Stripped at last, Steve prepared to show Ghost what a real man he was. He pulled Ghost's legs up, but then, Ghost put his feet onto Steve's chest and pushed with all the strength he had left in him.

Steve was propelled backwards into the wall, but Ghost had no time to get away. Steve came charging back, and slammed him back into position.

"Don't you ever do that again, you whore."

Ghost could feel Steve's hot breath on his face, and from somewhere deep in his psyche he never knew was in him, he spit into Steve's eyes, invoking a long dormant curse onto Steve. Steve was maddened even further, and bit into Ghost's shoulder. Ghost arched his back in pain, then screamed in agony, feeling himself being ripped apart. The more he screamed, the harder Steve pounded into him. At one point, to shut up the screaming in his ear, Steve hit Ghost's head with his fist over and over, until Ghost was quiet.

"There, that'll teach you to push me away," Steve growled. As he continued to rape Ghost, Ghost had the feeling his soul was leaving his body, there on the bed, being abused. He felt himself floating above, looking down at the violence happening to him. He realized this was not love, this was Steve trying to gain control. Ghost cried for his very existence, for why his soul journey had to take this path. He cried for Steve's soul, too, and prayed for his forgiveness in the next life.

Then, it was over. Steve was finished with him. He pushed Ghost aside, like a piece of trash, and stumbled out of the room. Ghost knew he'd not remember what he'd done.

Ghost felt himself re-enter his bruised and broken body. The pain was incredible...the pain in his heart was unbearable. Steve had held his life in his hands, and crushed his soul almost to oblivion. Ghost knew he would not stay here. He had to leave and never look back. But, he was in such pain, he couldn't think straight. The room seemed to whirl around from his dizziness, and he hovered on the edge of consciousness. He could feel himself blacking out. He lay there until he came to, again.

~

Sometime later, Ghost aroused, and gathered his clothes and backpack, and slipped as silently as he could out the front door...past the warding off star sign he'd painted on the porch so long ago, to keep out evil. He now realized the evil spirits he was trying to keep out, were right in the house with him all this time...laying with him, and deceiving him for all these years. He hung his head and sobbed.

Ghost knew Steve was passed out, and wouldn't come to, for hours, so he'd taken the car keys that had been thrown on the floor. Easing himself into the car, he slowly drove down the deserted road. He would only take the car as far as the graveyard on the other side of town. If he was leaving, he wanted to say good-bye to his grandmother at her gravestone, before he left for good.




Next installment coming soon!



Peace, Love, & Writing

Thursday, February 6, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE (eleventh installment)

(11th installment)
warning...adult content
~

The rising sun roused them from sleep. It was going to be another scorcher of a day. They decided to pack up and go home. They already had a touch of sunburn, and couldn't bear to endure another day of the heat.

"Should we go to the house, or go by the Yew?" Steve wondered aloud, as he drove down the highway.

"You kin let me off at home," Ghost replied. "You kin go see Kinsey if ya want; besides, he has our pay from the other night."

"Yeah, you're right. That's what I'll do then," Steve said, as he drove into their front yard. "Need anything from town?"

"Naw, I'm just gonna chill awhile," said Ghost.

"See ya later then," Steve said, as he drove off.

Ghost opened the old screen door, and stood still for a minute, feeling the house. He could usually sense if anything had been disturbed, or if anyone had been there while he and Steve were out. Things seemed ok, so he continued in. He flopped on the old couch and turned on the TV, but couldn't concentrate. Something was nagging at his brain...something he couldn't put words to yet. He tried to push his senses further, but all he got was an unsettled feeling. He wished Steve would come home now.

But, Steve was at the Yew, recounting the fishing trip to Kinsey and Terry, who'd come back by when he saw Steve pull up.

"Well, lookie who survived the camping trip," teased Terry. "How'd it go, man?"

Steve found he had a willing audience to tell his tale to, so began at the beginning and left nothing out...except the ending, of course. He had the two older men laughing at Ghost's antics at the lake, but they had no idea if it really happened that way. They'd have to wait to hear Ghost's version. They had no inkling that they'd never get to hear it.

Steve stayed at the bar, drinking beer after beer. The club opened, and customers were having fun. Some of Steve's old pals from high school (before he'd dropped out) came in and got to bragging about all the fun they could have over in Raleigh. They invited Steve along. Steve was in a partying mood, so he agreed to meet them in a while.

Kinsey was a little concerned, as Steve was certainly feeling the beer he'd drunk. He looked askance at Steve, who just blew him off with a slightly belligerent tone.

"I'm gonna have some fun tonight. Don't be bringing me down, Kinsey."

Kinsey backed off, but had a bad feeling about what Steve was about to do. "But, hey," he thought, "he's a grown assed man, he can do what he wants. I'm not his keeper, after all."

Steve left in a fume of alcohol, and squealing tires, out of the parking lot toward home. He would tell Ghost not to wait up for him. But, when he arrived, he found that Ghost was all clingy, and was begging him not to go...to stay there with him.

"Dammit, Ghost, I need a night off from you once in awhile."

Ghost looked hurt, and Steve knew he'd sounded mean, but the liquor went further than his mouth. It made his brain say things he normally would never say. Steve went to splash water on his face to try and sober up a bit. When he came out, Ghost wasn't in the house.

"Great, now the little son-of-a-bitch is mad again." He went out the front door to the T-bird. What he saw enraged him. Ghost was fiddling around under the hood of the car.

"What the hell, Ghost?" he yelled. "Get your ass away from there."

Ghost had been trying to disable the car, but didn't really know how, or what to do to make that happen, and didn't have time anyway. Steve rushed over, grabbed Ghost by the back of his shirt, and spun him forcefully around.

"Steve, wait," Ghost pleaded. "Don't go, please don't go!"

"Shut up!" Steve yelled, right up in Ghost's face. "Get outta my way, I'm going." He slammed shut the car's hood, barely missing Ghost's fingers on the edge of the car, then violently threw Ghost to the ground.

The blow had knocked the breath out of Ghost. He lay there stunned. Without another word, as he went for the car door, Steve tripped over Ghost as he lay there, kicking him in the ribs. He slammed the car door shut and threw gravel as he sped off, never knowing, or even caring, that he'd almost run over his best friend.

Ghost's breath returned slowly, as he gasped, still lying there on the ground. The sobbing he heard, as if from far away, didn't register at first as his own. His ears were pounding, as was his head, and gravel, hot from the day's heat, burned his back. He felt searing pain on his face and arms, where the gravel had hit him, as they had flown from under the car's tires. His side hurt him to move, but eventually he crawled up to the porch. His mind was reeling. What should he do, what could he do? He feared for when Steve returned. He'd never, ever been really afraid of Steve before. Steve swore he'd never hurt him, but he had, more than once, and Ghost knew it wasn't over. The bad feeling he'd sensed had only gotten stronger.

                                                CHAPTER  4

Ghost slowly made his way up the porch steps and into the house, where he eased himself onto the couch. He was hurting mentally and physically. Visions of him and Steve kept running through his mind...the good times, and the bad...and, there were bad times between them, but never as bad as this. Steve had hit him before, when under the influence of alcohol. He never remembered what he'd done the next day, though. Ghost never mentioned it either, and when Steve would ask about how he'd gotten a black eye or bruises on his body, Ghost would make up some excuse. He didn't know why he did that.

As he lay there enveloped in his visions of things gone by, he kept hearing a song...what was it? Little by little he started humming to himself, and the words came, causing him such anguish. It was *Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight". "Oh, God," he thought, "that could be written for me and Steve." He'd known, or sensed all his life that everything good that happened to him would be taken away...eventually. And now, the meaning of it all came down to this night. He sobbed into the old couch...the one that held all his tears since he was little.

~

Then, in the darkest part of the night, shortly before dawn, Steve came back. He was still reeling from his night out with the guys, feeling like he was not so much of an outsider with them now. He felt he'd needed some male bonding, and boy had they. Drinking, telling macho stories, dancing at a club with loose women...and that, as he now arrived home, made him feel just as guilty, as much as it had earlier made him feel accepted into this wild crowd. The woman he'd been with had made him feel amazing. It had been a long time since Ann. But, now he had to get back to reality. He had to deal with Ghost.

~


*"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, appears on the album "Face Value" - 1981








Next installment coming soon!





Peace, Love, & Writing




Monday, February 3, 2014

RADIAN

Jo and Chams...they have been friends since childhood. It was always their dream to become famous rock stars. They were always practicing their music. Both played guitar and sang songs in the school's talent shows over the years. When they met Al and Caid, it was a true band that emerged at last.

Calling themselves Radian, they got gigs all over town. Everyone waved at them with their lighters or phone lights at their concerts. For small town boys, they managed to make a name for themselves.

Mostly, they played hard rock tunes...at least at a club called "Mires". That venue catered to the high school kids...no booze allowed, and no one over eighteen allowed in, either. Later on, their reputation for putting on a good stage show spread to outlying towns. They got themselves a manager by the name of Tiden...well, that was his moniker, anyway. He never told anyone his real name. However, Al got a look at his driver's liscense once; he saw Tiden's real name was Gary.

The guys in the band had a good laugh about it, but let 'Gary' think he'd pulled the wool over everyone's eyes. They laughed behind his back, called him a ho and a sap, but he got them good venues to play, so eventually, they put a halt to the jokes.

As they all went on to attend the state college together, they continued to play their rock and roll, blowing out a few fuse boxes here and there.

All was going along great for awhile, and they were of a legal drinking age by now. This did cause problems...mostly squabbling between the band members. They all wanted top billing, and that put them at odds.

One night, after drinking too much gin, Caid and Jo had a fight. Backstage, before a show, they came to blows. It seems Tiden had received a telefax from a record company, wanting to sign Radian to a record deal. Tiden decided to hide it, and not tell anyone.

This night, however, at a club called "Kane", Jo was going over their playlist from A to Zee, when he saw the communication stuck in Tiden's briefcase. He almost got caught looking at it, when Tiden walked in unexpectedly, but Tiden only shooed Jo out of the office.

Jo promptly showed the others. That started the beef between them. The contract mentioned who would be primarily featured in their concerts and publicity pictures. Jo and Chams would be at the forefront, while Caid and Al would be only in the background.

A brawl ensued, which sent them all to the ER. The nurse put a ton of emu oil on their cuts and bruises, and only a lowly bandage for Chams' lacerations on both sides of his jaws.

They eventually worked out their differences, by setting a trap for Tiden. They held his veg salad hostage, until he told them the truth about the record company. Tiden admitted he did wrong...he wasn't anti success, but he was afraid he'd lose his meal ticket, as manager of the band, when they moved into the big time of the national spotlight. As he confessed, the guys, in unison, yelled and pointed at Tiden, telling him he was fired.

As Tiden left the building, Jo, Chams, Al, and Caid high fived, then called the record company, ultimately being signed to a four record deal, tours, and rotating top billing. This was acceptable.

They went on to become one of the most popular and beloved groups, from that day to the present time. Radian made history, and brought them all fame and fortune. Just like they'd envisioned all those years ago.





Words used from crossword game are underlined.

jo                           chams                           they                     been
rock                       al                                   caid                     emerged
radian                   waved                           boy                      hard
mires                    ti                                     wool                   ho
sap                        halt                                roll                      fuse
gin                         tele                                fax                       hide
kane                      zee                                 shoo                    beef
in                           er                                   puts                     ton
emu                       jaws                               anti                     trap
veg                        den


Hope you enjoyed my silly crossword story!




Peace, Love, & Laughter!