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