TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve eased the car back down the narrow dirt lane, then stopped at the highway. They could both breathe easier, now.
"Thanks for warning me," Ghost said.
"What was...why did...how did I know that it was danger?" Steve asked. "Just out of nowhere I got, or felt something. Those words just came to me, and I had to tell you. Was that...is that how you get your messages?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, sometimes I do...just like that," Ghost told him. "It's just a feeling, or an impression. I don't know. Hey, maybe you're getting psychic, too!"
"Lord, I hope not...that was too weird," Steve said as he shivered.
"Yeah, it is weird. Even I had a creepy feeling about that place. Oh, write down your part, like the time and all. Write down your danger message," Ghost urged Steve.
"You're the one with the words, Ghost. You do it for me, ok?"
"Well, ok, but you say it and I'll write it." Ghost poised his marker over the page. "Go on, but talk slow so I can write it like you say it."
Steve grabbed the marker out of Ghost's hand, and wrote quickly the day and time. "Ok, first I was standing by the car watching you wander around. I wasn't thinking of any particular thing...almost falling asleep. Then, the word danger came into my head. That's all, just danger. It was outta nowhere. It wasn't in my ears, it was in my head. So, then I had a weird feeling I had to tell you in a hurry. That's when I yelled over to you. I'm glad you stopped in time. You know the rest, but why me? Why did I get the word and not you? I don't like it at all," Steve said.
"I don't know, maybe you were just standing in the right place to pick up the message. There's a jillion reasons. I don't know how or why I get them, either...but I'm used to it, you're not." Ghost explained.
"A jillion?" Steve laughed.
"Yeah, uh...is that the right word for a whole bunch?"
"Yeah, it'll work" Steve said.
"You know, I don't usually feel anything creepy about hearing dead voices, or looking around in graveyards. I wish I knew why I did here. Something felt evil here, not right."
"Jeeze, Ghost...scare me some more, why don't ya," Steve said as he started the car, leaving the dirt road as fast as he could. "We need to find a place to camp, I guess. It's already getting dark."
The sun had already gone down, and it was that in between time...you could still see, but a shadow had come over the land, making the sky turn a deep purple, streaked with pink in the west. Ghost put on his hooded jacket, and shivered, as the cool breeze flowed through the open windows.
They were in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains, right on the border of North Carolina and Tennesee. An eerie mist was forming in among the trees, cooling the air after such a hot and humid day.
Ghost was staring wide-eyed out the window, not saying anything, which was unusual, as he almost never shut up. Steve called him the noisy Ghost. He was almost never still, either... talking, singing, tapping his fingers on everything, running them through his hair; but, when he did get quiet, it was so dramatic a change, that Steve paid attention.
"What is it, Ghost? Why are you so quiet?" Steve asked, feeling a strangeness in the air, too.
Ghost raised a shoulder, saying, "I don't like it here. I don't want to camp out anywhere near here. It has a bad feeling. Keep driving, Steve, please...get us out of here."
Steve did just that. "How far should we go? We're getting higher into the mountains, Ghost...we'll have to stop sometime. I have to find a gas station pretty soon, too or we'll be stranded out here."
"Just go as far as you can. I'll let ya know when it's safe to stop."
Soon, way up ahead, they could see lights, hopefully a town of some sort. They hadn't seen any other cars for miles, and it was fully dark, now. They kept going and the lights didn't seem any closer, as looks can be deceiving. Steve kept checking the fuel gauge, and it would be a dire necessity to get gas soon.
Finally, Steve spotted a road sign saying it was twenty miles more to the small town. He hoped they would make it, and that something would be open still.
It seemed they coasted into the town on fumes, and luckily, the one little store was still open. They did have a gas pump.
"That was too close," Steve said, breathing a sigh of relief. He felt as if he'd been holding his breath, forever. The lights of the store were bright, after being on the dark, lonely road. They parked by the gas pump, and got out, blinking and stretching. Ghost headed inside to find a bathroom, and Steve soon came in, too.
The man behind the counter eyed them with curiosity, and a tinge of suspicion. "Say, you guys going anywhere in particular? We don't get many travelers out here this time of night. Most everybody in these parts are home all locked up until morning," he said.
Steve didn't want to give this Grizzly Adams type much information, but said, "Yeah, we're just passing through on our way to Tennessee. We're glad to see you were still open, 'cause we were about to run out of gas."
"I was fixin' to close, but saw ya comin'...figured you'd need to stop. Next place down the road is about a hundred miles over the mountain. Hope your brakes are good; there's some steep roads here and there. I wouldn't try it at night, though," the clerk said.
"Thanks for the information. We were wanting to take a break, anyway..is there some place to camp, or a motel nearby?" Steve asked.
"Well, if you don't want to camp by the side of the road, there's one old lady, about a half mile up, that'll take in somebody for a night, once in awhile. Calls it a bed and breakfast, but it's just her old house. She has a couple rooms she lets. You go on over there and knock...knock loud, she's a little hard of hearing. She'll look ya over and let ya know," said the man.
He thought for a minute, then continued, "She won't tell ya the old place is haunted, though. Says there's a ghost that roams around knocking on things at night. Probably harmless, or just her imagination, but some people go for that kind of thing...especially around Halloween. We get lots of tourists come around that time of year."
Steve nodded, thinking to himself, "Just what we need on the menu - haunted house, $10 a night - just great."
Just then, Ghost came back from the bathroom and was looking around the little store.
"Well," Steve said, "guess we'll go see if she'll let us in. I got my own Ghost here." He pointed to Ghost. "Guess they can talk to each other all night."
The man looked confused, but Steve didn't explain. He paid for the gas and stack of munchies Ghost had picked out, and they left. Steve told him what he'd found out, and of course Ghost was beside himself at the luck of finding a haunted house already.
"Only for you, Ghost...only for you," Steve said.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing