TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
They kept walking in that direction, until they could see the graveyard, and then, Kinsey and Terry on the other side. Terry and Kinsey rushed toward them. After seeing them alive, and that Ghost was hurt, the next thing they did notice was their lack of clothes. Steve had forgotten about being embarrassed. He was just happy to have been found.
Kinsey took Ghost from Steve. "Thank God you're alive. Where did y'all go?"
Steve explained about the cave, and how they'd had to get out of the house after the tree fell on it. "How does it look?"
Kinsey shook his head, "Not good, Steve. It may have to be torn down."
"No, we're gonna fix it," Steve said.
"Sure, man," Terry said. "Sure, I'll help ya." He looked over at Kinsey and shrugged. They knew they should just go along with whatever Steve said, for now.
"What happened to Ghost? Did the tree smash his hand? It's all broken and swollen up," Terry asked.
"Uh, yeah, I guess so...it was such a crazy night. Everything was falling and crashing. We just had to get out of there in a hurry," Steve said.
"Guess y'all didn't have time to get dressed, either, huh?"
"Yeah, didn't have time," said Steve, in a tone that meant - don't ask about it again.
All this time, they'd been walking back to the house. "We have to get Ghost to the hospital," said Kinsey. "He's got a bad fever, and probably broken bones in his hand."
"They continued to talk, finally coming to the clearing into the back yard. The house looked bad from this side, too. Terry and Kinsey kept going, supporting Ghost, then noticed Steve wasn't following behind them any more.
"Hey, Steve, where'd ya go?" Terry hollered.
They looked back to the edge of the woods, and saw Steve on his knees, hands covering his face. He was crying...huge, body shaking sobs. Terry ran back.
"What is it, Steve? What's the matter? Y'all are ok now, and we'll help ya get the house fixed."
But, Steve couldn't talk, couldn't explain. It felt like the past two years had just crashed down on him. He'd had to be strong, and keep it together for so long. He'd had to numb his feelings...no one should suspect that macho Steve had actual feelings. But, just now, he'd finally cracked, and the whole of it had been too much to hold back any longer. He thought he'd never stop crying.
"It's ok, man, it's ok," said Terry, not really knowing what else to do.
Kinsey had turned back to see what was going on. He'd sat Ghost down on the ground, but even in his far off place, Ghost could hear Steve's cries...could feel his anguish and pain for all that had gone before, and his fear of what would come. Even in his own pain, Ghost managed to get up and stagger back to Steve.
"Go..." he said to Kinsey and Terry, as he waved them away.
They backed up some, just watching. Ghost put his arms around Steve then, and talked softly to him. Steve heard, and the crying slowed. Ghost kept talking in soothing tones, telling him to cry it all out, to not worry about what comes next; no matter what, they'd be together and work out their pain. He told him he would never leave him, that he loved him. He kept brushing back Steve's hair, and wiping the tears away, as fast as they fell...his own joining Steve's in empathy.
Then, they both rose to their feet, and leaning on each other, made their way toward the old house, and their 'whatever comes next'.
Terry and Kinsey just stared in awe at the two of them. They were survivors. As they all reached the house, they were overwhelmed at the mess. It would take a lot of time and work to get it back to being livable.
"Y'all can't stay here...you're gonna stay at the club. There's an extra room upstairs by mine. Steve, look around...see if there's anything you have to have that's not ruined, then I'm taking Ghost to the hospital.
So, Steve and Terry wandered around the broken house. There was still water soaking everything, their clothes included. Most of their band equipment was still out in the car, so there wasn't much they'd need from the house right now. Ghost's Army jacket was soaked, but Steve picked it up anyway. It could be washed; his backpack was lying in a puddle of water. He took that too. It was supposed to be waterproof...his current notebooks and journals were in there...his older ones, he kept in the trunk of the car. That was all for now.
He remembered that in the car was a pile of clothes. They almost never cleaned out the car, and joked about being able to live on what was in there, including snacks, and bottles of water and beer. Steve dug out some clothes for them both. The car was ok, but was blocked from getting out, by all the tree branches. They'd get it later. The four of them got into Kinsey's car, and drove out to the highway. They were all going to Raleigh, it seemed.
No one said much on the way. Steve and Ghost were exhausted. They both dozed off, there in the back seat. Kinsey had to drive carefully, as the highway was still littered, in the storm's aftermath. The highway road crews were trying to clear it.
Terry checked to see if they were asleep. They were, so he elbowed Kinsey - he had something to say, and he said it quietly.
"Kinsey, I saw something weird at the house - in Ghost's bedroom. Did you notice the handcuffs attached to the bed railing?"
Kinsey looked over at Terry and shook his head.
"Yeah, they were locked closed, and kinda smashed up and bent, but still closed. What do ya think of that?"
Kinsey raised his eyebrows, and said, "Hmm, what do you make of it, Terry?"
"Well, what I'm thinking, and I may be way off, is that Ghost was handcuffed to the bed. You know...they might have been messing around with each other...and then the storm came, and they couldn't get to the key...and Steve had to bash Ghost's hand to get him loose. That's what I think."
Kinsey sighed. "Yeah, that's what it sounds like. Guess he had to do whatever he could to save themselves. Damn, these two go through so much shit. Looks like they'd catch a break sometimes...and guess I'm not gonna ask them about it, either."
"Yeah, me neither," said Terry.
They finally got to the emergency room, and checked in, filling out forms, and explaining their need for Ghost to be seen. The waiting room was pretty full, so they waited. When Ghost was called back, Steve went with him. They took x-rays, and then came the conference with the doctor. Looking at the film, Steve couldn't tell much, but the doctor pointed out all the broken bones in Ghost's hand. It was serious...Ghost would have to have surgery, as soon as possible, or he'd lose his hand. Already, the infection from the cuts, was doing damage. After an antibiotic shot, they admitted Ghost to a room...he'd have surgery the next morning.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing