Ghost had just barely made it to the graveyard, that early morning. He had driven very slowly down the gravel path, until he could go no farther, and stopped the car just before hitting the stone marker near the edge of the path. He was feeling so weak, but had to go see his grandmother. Her stone was just a little bit farther, back off the path, into the deepest part of the woodsy graveyard. This was his sanctuary, his and Steve's secret spot. It was well hidden and secluded. Just like Miz Deliverance had wanted it.
"Ain't no reason for folks to be coming to visit me after I'm gone. Just you, Ghost...and you can bring Steve along, too. That's all." He could still her her words.
He sat there a few minutes, trying to gather enough strength to get out of the car, and go a little farther into the cool shade. He could barely stay conscious, but wanted to do this one last thing. He turned off the car and pocketed the keys, then eased his sore and aching body out. He had to grab hold of the door and hang on to keep from falling. Slowly, he stumbled to his grandmother's headstone. As he reached out to grab hold of it, he fell to the grass. He couldn't go any farther right now. Closing his eyes in exhaustion, he felt a fresh spurt of blood break open from his wounds. It seeped into the grass beneath him. As he lay there in pain and sorrow, he thought he could hear someone calling his name.
"Maybe this is a dream," he thought...and then sobbed, as he remembered that Steve would not be there to rescue him from his nightmares...would not be there for him ever again...and he faded out, as his dream took over him.
"Ghost," the voice of his grandmother entered his subconscious dream state."Ghost child, I can see you are in agony over what has happened to you. I am here with you. I will help guide you through this. I am sorry I couldn't stay in your world a little longer. I love you so much, Ghost child, maybe too much.
Things may have been different, had I not brought you to this place, those many years ago. I thought it would give you a better chance to survive in this world. It must have interrupted the path your soul was going down. Things were hard for you here...much harder than I thought they'd be.
You were born to the mountains...there were things you should have stayed and learned there. I failed you, and am so sorry. You don't remember much about the day your young friend saved you from torture. I knew your and Steve's life path would cross, even before that day." the voice paused a moment. "I told him to go away...the time was not right. You both had lessons to learn.
A few months later, you met again. It seemed the stars were aligned this time...and they were for awhile...but, something went awry. I don't know why it happened when it did, but I feared for you..and Steve. I was helpless to intervene. It had to happen as it did.
It was decided for your soul to experience hardship. I wish it wasn't so. Now, here you are at this time and this place, and I must tell you some truths. I have faith you will survive this pain. The pain in your broken body, and the pain in your heart. You are strong, Ghost, you are not afraid...you are a survivor.
There is something you must do. When you awake, help will be on the way to you. You must go back to your beginnings, back to the mountains. It is not your time to join me and those who have gone before you. Your timeline is long, but difficult. There will be times of happiness and times of sorrow. Do not fear, Ghost...the one you love will cross paths with you again. There have been many meetings and partings of your souls throughout time; this must be endured for it to be so. The time will be right again.
When you awake, you must make your way to the entrance, by the gate. Rest yourself there at the angel statue. I have sent someone to help you. Trust him, he will say your name. Do not question. You will be taken to your birthplace in the mountains. The people there will help to restore you, to heal the ache in your body and mind. When the time has come, you will continue on your journey. There are still lessons to learn, Ghost child...still lessons to learn..."
The voice of Ghost's grandmother faded away, and the dream was ended.
As Ghost slept, it was as if all the souls of the dead surrounded him in a fine, shimmery mist, as he lay there. Ghost received energy from their presence, as they reached out to caress him tenderly. As Ghost's sky blue eyes fluttered open, he did feel like he could finish what he'd come there for. The dream he'd had was still in his head, but he couldn't put words to it. It was just a peaceful feeling.
He sat up, reaching for his backpack and his markers. He took out a paper and began writing a note to Steve. He cried as he wrote the words, tears dropping one by one onto the page, smearing the ink. He didn't care...he could only do this once. Reaching into his faded, old Army jacket, he took out his most prized possession, Steve's sky blue guitar pick. He'd hidden it long ago in a tiny rip inside the jacket's lining. It had been there many years, safely hidden away...only occasionally taken out to be handled, looked at, rubbed as if was a talisman...a good luck charm.
But now...he sobbed...he must give it back. He folded the paper into a tiny square, and pushed it and the pick into a small slit at the back of the headstone. He then took his marker and wrote a message on the front of the stone, so Steve would see it. His bloody handprint was there, too, where Ghost had leaned up against it.
He whispered, "Good-bye, Grandmother. I'll see you again someday, I know," and he kissed the gravestone, slowly turned and walked painfully away. He didn't have a conscious plan, but felt his feet walking, leading him to where he needed to be.
As he came to the entrance of the cemetery, he stopped and looked up at the angel statue.
"Help me," he prayed. He sank down there in the grass, laying his head on the angel's feet. He didn't know what would become of him, and in his despair, gave himself over to whatever fate would choose for him.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing!