A few cars passed by, but no one in them glanced toward the angel statue. The sun was beginning it's slow descent toward the horizon, when an old, four door sedan passed by on the road. The man inside had been this way before, and always looked for the angel statue as a landmark of sorts, to know he was on the right road leading to his home. This day he smiled and nodded as he drove by, but then something got his attention, and he slowed, then stopped the car.
He tried to figure out why the young man was lying there. Was he ok? Was he asleep? Was he injured? He told himself it wasn't any of his business, and started to drive away, but he felt compelled to go back to see what was going on.
He stopped there on the side of the road, then walked cautiously over to the young man. He was shocked to see the bloody clothes and swollen face. As he reached out to touch a shoulder, trying to wake the still figure, he could see the rise and fall of the chest, so he knew he was still alive. He shook the shoulder a little more, and as the person roused, opening his sky blue eyes to a waking state, the man was startled at what they revealed.
"Ghost," the man whispered.
Ghost nodded slightly. The man had never seen Ghost before, yet had said his name as if he had. He felt a strong connection to this Ghost person, and knew he had to take him to his home in the mountains. He gently put his arms under Ghost's knees and back, and carried him to the old car. He tenderly laid him on the back seat, noticed Ghost shivering, so put an old, soft blanket over him. He brushed a golden strand of hair off Ghost's forehead, saying softly,
"You'll be ok, Ghost. You'll be home soon," and he drove off. It was over two hundred miles to the man's home, from near the coast, where they were, up wooded, twisting roads, into the mountains.
At last he was there. He still didn't know why he'd brought Ghost home with him, but here he was. His wife would surely know what do do. She was a healer, after all. As he pulled up to their cabin, she came out, looking worried. Before she even knew about his mysterious passenger, she said,
"Bring him in here, hurry!"
They lifted Ghost from the car and carried him inside. He roused a little, but they could see there was no light left in those amazing eyes. She looked at her husband,
"You know what I need. Bring me my tonics and herbs, quickly!"
When he returned, she administered the medicines to Ghost.
"He needs to be cleansed," she said, drawing a warm bath.
The man nodded, and helped her undress Ghost. They both gasped as they saw the devastating injuries on Ghost's body. They lowered him into the warm water, bathing him gently, washing away blood and dirt from his wounds, and his hair free of blood and debris. Even more than the washing away of blood, it was washing away some of the pain.
The gentleness of their actions soothed Ghost's mind and soul. When they were finished, they clothed him in a soft flannel shirt of the man's. It was very large and hung from Ghost's thin frame, but he could feel the softness and was grateful. They took him to a small room, settling him into a soft bed there. He fell instantly asleep.
The woman and her husband sat at their kitchen table and talked.
"How did you know his name?" and "How did you know I brought someone home?" they questioned...and "What are we to do with him?"
Then, they revealed they both had felt a connection to Ghost, somehow, as if they knew him...then the wife exclaimed,
"Oh, my goodness, I think this must be Miz Deliverance's grandson! That must be it. I knew something was nagging at me, something that was familiar. We haven't heard from her in many years...maybe only once since she left the community."
The two of them continued to discuss and ponder why Ghost was here now. How it had come to be that they had been the ones to find and care for him. As they talked, the wife prepared their supper. They knew Ghost needed to eat, and this would nourish him.
She brought up a tray for Ghost, and gently woke him...told him he must eat something, to keep up his strength. She helped him to sit up a bit, and took a spoonful of the dish she'd made, bringing it up to his lips. As he tasted it, he smiled slightly, because he knew it was the same potato soup his grandmother had taught him to make.
The wife had been good friends with Miz Deliverance for years, but when the troubles had begun, things changed. She didn't know for sure, but doubted Ghost had ever been told the circumstances of his beginnings. She did hear from her friend later on, that she'd written a journal detailing everything, possibly to be given to Ghost after her passing. Just in case she'd never given it to him, the woman decided to write a note for him to find someday.
She wrote, "Ghost, your grandmother had many gifts, and was an exceptional woman. She loved you and cared for you when no one else would. She kept a secret journal, wherein everything would be revealed to you. If it has not, please search for it, possibly hidden in her house in Missing Mile. It will reveal her secrets...about her and about you, Ghost.
I know what she intended for you to know, but it is not for me to tell. The journal is very important. Do not fail in your search for it. My prayer for you is that the angels always watch over you, and keep you in their arms." Then she took Ghost's old backpack and hid the note in a small rip inside, to be found someday.
Ghost continued his slow healing, and was eventually able to join the man and wife. He told them some of his story about his time with his grandmother. Little by little his sky blue eyes were getting their light back. The couple encouraged him to go out in the community to meet people, and learn what he could of the mountain ways, which after all was his heritage.
In time his accent grew thicker, and he became knowledgeable of the ways of his ancestors. It came easily for him. But, to the community, though they were mostly accommodating and cheerful around him, they still considered him an outsider. Even though he adapted to their ways, they'd still give each other knowing looks...and Ghost, being the sensitive he was, could feel their hesitancy to accept him...could hear their thoughts, which were mostly negative.
This hurt Ghost's heart. He was such a giving person, he couldn't understand why most shunned him. His spirit grew restless. He felt it was time to move on. Toward what, he didn't know, but the leering looks, the 'accidental' touches, the name calling, the bullying, had already begun from one group of guys.
So, he decided to go from the mountains...go face his destiny. It had been one year exactly since he'd come there.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing