TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
He walked out of the mountain village and down the twisty road, back to the highway. His head was reeling. He had no idea which way to go. He didn't want to go back home yet, so he started in the opposite direction, to the west...the same way Ghost had gone. As the sun went down and it began to get dark, a semi truck came down the highway... the trucker stopped for Steve.
As fate would have it, it was the same guy Ghost had hitched a ride with. Steve told the guy he was searching for his friend, who may have come this way. The man mentioned his other hitchhiker sounded like Steve's friend. He didn't mention what he'd done to him.
So, Steve knew he was on the right path, and when offered, he rode all the way to L.A. with the trucker. As they pulled up into the freight yard, he told Steve that this was the last place he'd seen him. Steve walked away, sure he was getting closer to finding Ghost.
He didn't know just how close he'd be. He wandered around the area for a few days, putting out flyers with Ghost's picture on it everywhere he went. He asked around, but no one had any information. That is until he went into a small coffee shop. He spoke to the barista about his search for Ghost.
She screamed, "I know him!" Steve insisted she tell him what she knew. She did, then added, "But, I haven't seen them in awhile. They got too big for this place and started playing bigger venues. They put flyers up, but I haven't been able to get off work to catch a performance. Maybe you can!"
Steve thanked her, then left. He walked around some more, now looking for the flyers. He finally found an old one tacked to a light pole. He tore it down and stared at the picture on it. It was definitely Ghost. His heart quickened. They'd played several nights before, at a place across the city, a popular club. Then he looked closer at the person in the picture with Ghost. He narrowed his eyes. He already didn't like this Maxy person.
Back in Missing Mile, Kinsey was looking at the same flyer that Steve was looking at. Just that day, he'd received an envelope in the mail. It had the flyer for Ghost and Maxy's band, and another flyer...one of those Steve had been putting up everywhere. Written on the first flyer was a note. It said, 'Is this the Ghost you're looking for? Don't waste your time. He belongs to me now!' It wasn't signed. Kinsey just stared at it. Steve was somewhere out there, Ghost was somewhere out there...who knew if they'd ever find each other. It just keeps getting worse, he thought. I'm too old to deal with all this drama. He figured he'd just mind his own business for the time being. There was nothing he could do about it anyway. He shook his head and went back to work.
Steve continued his search. Every time he'd thought he was close, he found he was just a little too late. He kept on though, searching every group of people he saw, for a glimpse maybe of seeing Ghost.
The night of the phone call had made Maxy furious. He'd thrown Ghost into the wall, his phone was broken, and Ghost wasn't co-operating according to his plans anymore. He was glad Ghost was hurting, there on the floor. He stood over him, telling him he'd crossed the line, that he owned him now, and he demanded Ghost do what he said, that he'd never let him go.
Ghost barely heard him. He'd hit his head hard on the brick accent wall, when he fell against it, and was half knocked out. A gash was cut into the back of his head, and was bleeding, his ears were ringing, and his vision was blurry. Then, Maxy was yelling what sounded like nonsense at him. Ghost tried to sit up, but was extremely dizzy. Before he could do anything, Maxy attacked him. He held Ghost down and took him by force, in anger and dominance.
Ghost was defenseless against such rage. Afterwards, he vowed to himself to get away as soon as he could. He was afraid for his life. He knew he needed help, but from who? He really didn't know anyone in this city, and he'd been kept pretty isolated by Maxy, and now Maxy would be watching him even closer.
The next morning, Maxy was all apologetic, and said he was sorry, but Ghost didn't believe it for a second. He went along with it, fearing that if he didn't, he'd be in for more trouble. Maxy did have another plan for controlling Ghost. He'd found that whenever he'd slipped Ghost something stronger than pot, Ghost would mellow out and be pliable...he could get him to do anything. He didn't know why, because the same drugs made everyone he knew all hyper. He didn't know about Ghost's ADD problem, and that stimulants worked the exact opposite on it.
So he started slipping the drugs into whatever Ghost ate or drank. It worked just like he planned. What else he didn't know, was that when Ghost was in the calm state, his mind would do what it did best. Ghost was able to actually focus and sent out his mind messages even stronger, and could receive and feel other's thoughts better, too.
For the next few days, as Ghost's head cleared of the dizziness and headache, he kept getting visions and dreams of Steve. They were unfiltered, and seemed desperate and frantic...and worst of all, nearby. He couldn't get the feelings to go away. He didn't really want them to go away, just wanted to know what they meant. He pushed his mind in Steve's direction. Maybe that would clarify things better. He felt that Steve was here, close by, looking for him. He was torn. He wanted Steve to find him, but he wasn't sure he could face him yet.
He and Maxy had another show booked that night. It went ok...a big crowd showed up. Then, as they were leaving, Ghost froze, thinking he saw Steve, there on the sidewalk. Steve did not see him, the crowd was pushing and shoving along as they left the venue. Steve was pushed along, too. Ghost was sure it was him, but he looked so sad and beaten down.
Maxy had seen Ghost staring at something, someone in the crowd, and he didn't like it. He grabbed Ghost's arm tightly and dragged him back into the club. He kept Ghost next to him the rest of the night.
Steve had tried to get to the club where Ghost was playing that night. He'd finally found a current flyer and made his way over there, getting lost a few times. As he reached the club, everyone was leaving, and he knew he'd missed his chance at finding Ghost...again. He hung around anyway, just in case, but the club was closing, and he'd never gotten to see Ghost. He was sick of this. He had no money or place to stay. He couldn't find Ghost. Maybe he should go back home to regroup, figure out some other way, because this wasn't working.
So, late that night he got out on the highway and hitched back to North Carolina. It took three days. He was exhausted. Back at the house, he collapsed into bed, not waking for hours. Ghost was in his dreams.