TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
They drove up the gravel drive. They left most of their things in the car, as there would be no point in unloading, then loading up again in the morning. It was late, but Steve brought out Ghost's present. It was a digital camera. They'd never had a camera before, and this one looked easy to use, so he'd bought it.
"This is so neat, Steve! Now, I got a present and you got a present. Now, I can take pictures of everywhere we go."
Steve was happy that Ghost liked his gift, and they figured out how to use it, by taking silly pictures of each other. Then, Steve showed Ghost how to use the phone, and he seemed to understand to use the letters on it.
Now, they began packing; mostly clothes they'd need, some snacks, Ghost's backpack, stuffed full of the usual mish-mash of stuff, plus extra blank journals, and markers. They'd made plans for Terry to come stay at the house, whenever he wanted, as he got tired of living in his room behind the record store. "Just don't wreck the place, ok?" Steve had told him.
Finally, they went to bed, and were asleep as soon as they turned out the light. They wanted to leave early, and they were actually up and out the door pretty much as planned.
As they drove away Ghost looked out the car window and said, "Good-bye little house. We'll be back, I promise."
They would be driving for about two hours or so before reaching the mountain road that would take them to meet the couple, who'd been so nice to them. The closer they got, the quieter Ghost got. Steve noticed him, kind of looking sad.
"What's the matter?" he asked Ghost.
Ghost sighed and said, "Nothing."
But Steve figured Ghost was remembering his time up here. He knew Ghost remembered some of it - after he had gotten better, but all that had come before, how bad he'd been hurt, how he'd actually died for a little while...he didn't think Ghost knew any of that. At least consciously. There probably was a part of him that knew, that he could feel what happened.
"Look, Ghost," Steve said, "we don't have to go up here, ya know. It may be too much to take in, too much to remember stuff."
"I know, but I still want to see them, to show them I'm ok now, and that you found me."
Steve had sent a postcard to them, letting them know they'd stop by, so it wasn't a complete surprise, when they drove up the twisty road to the little community. There was no shot-gun welcoming committee, this time, as they drove up to the house.
When they got out of the car, the couple came out to greet them. Ghost hugged them both. Steve hung back, but they drew him in, too. The woman noticed the cast still on Ghost's hand, and looked at him with a question in her eyes.
"We was in the hurricane, and my hand got busted. Our whole house got crashed by a tree! But, we were ok, and our friends put our house back together."
She smiled, and said she was glad he and Steve were ok.
"We found the journal my grandmother had hidden. It said a lot of stuff I never heard before. It was bad stuff, and it made me sad," Ghost said softly.
"I know, Ghost," she replied. "I know the whole story, because I was here. It must have been a shock to hear about everything."
Ghost nodded, but couldn't make any words come out.
"I'm glad you know, now. You needed to hear it, even if it was heart breaking. But, now look at you. You're all grown up, and you and Steve are doing fine, and enjoying what you're doing with your music. I'm proud of the way you turned out." She gave him a warm, long hug.
They stayed long enough to have a huge lunch with them. She'd made pork chops and gravy, mashed potatoes, and greens from the garden. She'd even made biscuits...and there was fresh churned butter, strawberry preserves, and a jug of molasses for Ghost to dip his biscuit in. They were all stuffed.
Then, it was time to go. Ghost took pictures of them all, and the house, and the food...and they said their good-byes. The lady took Steve aside and said, "I trust you now. I know you love him, and will watch out for him. Take care of yourself, and take care of Miz Deliverance's ghost child."
Steve nodded, "I will," he said. She hugged him again, then they were on their way.
As they drove down the road again, Ghost cried his sadness out. He hated good-byes, and this one was one of the most meaningful to him...his first home in the mountains. The place, and people, and experiences that had shaped him, at a very early age, had imprinted their stamp on him. He'd always be of the mountains, no matter where he lived.
They decided to keep going west, for awhile. They'd stop when Steve got tired of driving. They wanted to stay in a motel, sometimes along the way, but mostly they were going to use the old tent, and be camping out.
As Ghost looked out the car window, he sang made up songs about whatever caught his attention from one moment to the next.
"Hey, Steve, when ya gonna show me how to play your guitar?" he asked.
"I did already, remember? You said it was too hard to get your fingers around the neck, and that it hurt." Steve laughed.
"Oh, yeah, well, maybe I want to try again, when this cast gets off of me," Ghost said.
"Ok, I'll show ya again, but right now, just keep singing your silly songs, they make me laugh," Steve said.
Ghost smiled, then continued singing.
As evening was turning the sky a deep purple, they came upon the outskirts of a medium size town they'd never heard of. They found a small camping area they could stay the night at, then went to find someplace to eat. They saw a couple of coffee bars, and regular redneck bars, so stopped in to ask if they needed a couple of musicians for a night.
The first one they entered was hardcore cowboy. It didn't seem like their kind of crowd. The next one was a mix of musical styles...mostly from the jukebox, but they advertised an open mic night for the next night. That sounded ok to Steve and Ghost. They planned on coming back.
The coffee bar was ok, anyone could take a turn singing, doing comedy, or reading poetry. It would be a quieter type of show, if they came here. They wanted to try it out, too.
First, though, they needed to set up their tent. Steve drove them to the far edge of the town, where he'd seen the camping area.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing