TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Ghost entered the house, walking down the hall to his bedroom. The door was already opened, the house smelled good...like sage. He smiled, knowing that Steve had burnt the sage for him. In the bedroom, he took off his clothes and got into the bed, with nice clean blankets, only having one twinge of anxiety, before falling asleep. He had no nightmares this night.
Some time later, Steve came in and quietly looked in at Ghost. Going over, he brushed a strand of hair from Ghost's face and lightly kissed his forehead. He felt a rush of love for this child of wonder. Going to his own room, he fell asleep as soon as he lay down. "Tomorrow, we'll have a fresh start," was the last thing he thought about.
Early the next morning, Steve made coffee, then left Ghost a note by the coffee pot. It said, "I've gone to get us some groceries. I'll be back soon. I love you, Steve."
Ghost grinned when he read it. He'd have to tease Steve, when he returned. He had written proof now, that Steve loved him. He drank his coffee, and took a long needed shower. Finding some of his old clothes, he put on a soft, well-worn hoodie and a pair of sweatpants, with only a few holes in them.
He was sitting on the old couch, writing in his journal, when Steve came back, huffing and puffing, carrying bags of stuff, and complaining about the long walk. He looked at Ghost still sitting there, and said,
"So, are you just gonna sit there, or are ya gonna help me with this shit?"
Ghost grinned and said, "I'm just gonna sit here and watch you deal with all that shit," and then had to duck, as Steve lobbed a box of cereal at him.
He grabbed the box and tore it open, grabbing handfuls of the sweet, sugary stuff, spilling some, eating it right from the box.
"Good thing I got the kid cereal. Looks like there's a little kid up in here today," Steve said, as he juggled the bags into the kitchen.
"You got this kind 'cause you looove me," Ghost teased.
"Yeah, right," Steve hollered from the kitchen.
Ghost came and leaned on the door frame, watching Steve put things away.
"What else ya got in there, anyway?"
"Grown up food, that's what," Steve said. "Maybe if you'd grow up, you could have some."
"Hmmmph," muttered Ghost. "I'm grown up."
Steve finished his task, then got himself a bowl of cereal with milk. He looked like he wanted to talk about serious stuff, Ghost thought.
'I hate to break it to ya, Ghost, but that was the last of the money I had. Guess I'll have to go back to work at the record store...if Terry will have me."
"Where's your car, Steve?" Ghost asked.
Narrowing his eyes, Steve stared hard at Ghost. "It got totaled. Guess you didn't hear about that, since you were off doing God knows what." Steve looked at Ghost, and his eyes were not happy.
Ghost didn't like this turn in the conversation. It was like Steve was accusing him of wrecking his car. Steve continued, with a sharp edge to his words.
"Yeah, I wrecked the son-of-a-bitch...had too much to drink. Coming back here after a binge, drowning myself in alcohol, because I couldn't find you, Ghost. Wrapped it around a tree on the way back from Raleigh one night. I had to be in the hospital up there for three weeks. I was a mess, broke arm, broke ribs, stitches...but, I guess it was a wake-up call. I haven't been drinking, at least not as much any more..."
"I'm sorry, Steve. I didn't know."
"Yeah? I thought you were suppoosed to know everything. Well, guess your super powers failed ya this time. Guess it's my turn to tell you not to say you're sorry. If it hadn't been for..." he quit talking then, as he realized what he was doing. He was accusing Ghost, and really, it was his own fault for causing Ghost to leave in the first place. And, he was practically yelling in Ghost's face.
"Oh, my God, Ghost! None of this is your fault, none of it," and he wanted to say I'm sorry, but had been warned not to. So he just clamped his mouth shut and stared at the table in front of him.
Ghost turned, leaving the room.
"Why, why, why did I do that?" Steve thought. "Every time I open my mouth something bad comes out, and then it's too late to take it back. I wind up hurting everyone I know."
More sarcastic thoughts came into his head..."Well, he asked what happened to the car. He didn't know, but I didn't have to tell him all that. Damn!"
He could hear Ghost trying to cry quietly, in the bedroom. Steve sighed as he went to see about him...to try to make things right again.
As he came to the doorway, he saw that Ghost was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling, tears running down into his ears, wetting his hair and pillow. Steve walked over and tried to touch him, but Ghost turned away, then said with a sob...
"God does know what I was off doing, Steve. I was too busy dying to hear about your wreck. But, if I had, I'd have come back to be with you, even when I was dead!"
He turned back toward Steve, wiping the tears from his face, but Steve was already brushing away the tears with his thumbs, cradling Ghost's face in his hands. He noticed Ghost's left eye twitching, and wondered about it.
"Ghost, I didn't mean to make you cry. I never can say things the right way. It comes out all wrong. I'm sorry...yeah, I have to say it, and I mean it. And, I am sorry, too. I'm a sorry son-of-a-bitch for hurting you over and over."
"I know, Steve," Ghost said. "I know you don't mean to, and I try to not let it bother me," he took a deep breath. "Can we just start over?" he grinned, and again Steve saw his broken tooth..
"Yeah, Ghost, we can start over. At least we can try."
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing