TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Ghost finally fell back down on the bed, continuing to sleep, although his eyelids kept twitching in dreams. Steve did manage to get a short nap, after that.
The next time he awoke, he heard Ghost in the bathroom, getting ready for their show. He drowsed in the half-awake state a little longer, until Ghost came and shook him all the way awake.
"Your turn, Steve. Go get ready, we have to be there in a little bit, I think. It feels like it, anyway."
Steve looked at his watch, "Yep, you felt right, it's time to get on over there."
He noticed Ghost looked paler than usual, and his hands were trembling slightly. "You ok, man?"
"Yeah, guess so."
Steve could tell he was still in some pain, but knew he wouldn't admit it yet...would plow on through their commitment, and suffer the consequences later. So, he didn't push it...but, he'd keep an eye out anyway. He may have to cut short their show, if he saw the signs of Ghost loosing it. If he started staring at nothing, kind of in a daze, or started forgetting lyrics, it would be time to call it a night.
Ghost told Steve he'd done a good job on the car, but didn't talk much after that, even when Steve tried to crack a joke or two.
"I have something to tell ya, later," Ghost finally said.
"Well, I have something to tell you, too," said Steve.
Ghost smiled at him with his silly, broken tooth grin. Steve was happy to see it.
The coffee shop was just a small hole-in-the-wall establishment...a tiny platform for performers, and a couple of couches and easy chairs, and about a dozen tables. The place smelled delicious, though...rich dark brews and yeasty baked goods. The two baristas were kept busy behind the counter, serving up lattes and mochas and half this and that - Steve could never remember what they were called, all those fancy coffee drinks. Just give him a regular cup of joe, scalding hot, and he was happy.
So, after hearing some other acts, it was their turn to take the stage. After checking the microphone, and fine tuning his guitar, they were ready. It was going to be a simple set tonight. The crowd was filling up the tables, but it was a pretty small area, so it looked full, even with only 50-75 people in the whole place, including themselves.
Most looked to be twenty or thirty somethings in age, a few teens...some were doing homework or surfing the internet on their laptops, but all were attentive to what he and Ghost were doing - waiting to be entertained with some music. Steve didn't see anyone who looked like a trouble-maker.
And so, it was time. Steve began their first song...an old love song by Extreme, *"More Than Words". Steve sang this to Ghost all the time at home. They both loved it, but Ghost would sing it tonight, with Steve coming in on the chorus. They got a nice round of applause, afterwards.
They began their next one, *"Killing Me Softly". This one they took turns singing the verses. It meant a lot to the both of them. The story of their love, more or less, set to beautiful notes of music.
They continued with a few more tunes, then closed with "*World". This was one of the best feeling shows they'd done in a long time. The audience was appreciative and welcoming, no hecklers, and the lighting was soft. The people were right up next to them, sort of like playing for friends in their living room - a very intimate setting. Steve was thinking maybe they should do more of these, rather than loud bars. He'd mention it to Ghost, later.
So far, Ghost had held it together. This place was relaxing, not stressful at all. After their set was over, people said what a good time they had, and thanked them politely for playing. They were given cups of coffee and their pay, and were soon back at the motel.
"What'd ya think, Ghost?" Steve asked. "I really enjoyed that, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I did too, Steve. I thought I'd flake out, but it was nice."
"Maybe we should just do coffee houses out on the road. I wouldn't mind that kind of atmosphere; I'm tired of loud bars." Steve mused.
"Let's do that, then," Ghost agreed. "Oh, what were you gonna tell me?"
Steve thought for a minute, "Oh, yeah, kinda just what we were saying. We should just take it slow, and don't get in any rush. We could just play places like tonight, or maybe not play at all for awhile. Just travel around, do the sightseeing thing...whatever we feel like doing."
"That sounds good, Steve," said Ghost, who was lying on the bed, with his arm over his eyes to shield them from the overhead light. "I think all the loud bars, and lights, and stuff, are getting to me. My head still hurts, too."
"I think it'd be good to ease off awhile, maybe plan where we're going to go, instead of just driving around." said Steve. "Oh, what was your dream about? You said you had something to tell me, too."
"Uh, it was about graves."
"I heard you yelling about it," said Steve.
"I was...when? When I was asleep?"
"Yeah, you sat right up and started hollering about graves being everywhere."
"Oh, that was it. I remember, now. I didn't know I was talking in my sleep..."
"You weren't talking, you were yelling really loud."
Ghost sighed, "Well what I was dreaming was how many graves there are...all around us. We're sorta surrounded by them...every city, town..there's a cemetery...big ones, little ones, and sometimes just abandonded ones on the side of the road - no town left at all...just the dead in their graves."
"Abandoned," Steve said.
"Yeah, that's what I said," said Ghost, "abandonded, abandondead, dead people." He looked at Steve and grinned. He knew he'd just creeped Steve out.
"Ookay," said Steve. "That's a new one on me. I never thought of it like that before."
"Yeah, and what I was thinking..." Ghost continued, "was that like you said, instead of just driving around with no plan, we could visit lots of graveyards!"
"Whaat???" Steve looked at Ghost in horror!
"Yeah, and ...and...I can take pictures of the old crosses, and angels, and tombstones. And, we could write about where we found them, and who knows, maybe we can make a book out of it. We could call it 'Our Adventures in the Graveyards', or...or...'Traveling With Ghost and Steve to the Haunted Past', or.., hey, we could find some real haunted houses. I could talk to some ghosts, haha, that'd be so cool, wouldn't it?"
Ghost was getting excited about this, Steve could tell. More excited than he'd been about anything in awhile. The idea was pretty good, but he didn't know if he could handle all the spook talk, himself.
"What if I'm too scared to do that, Ghost?
"What'd'ya mean, Steve? We go to the graveyards back home, and you're not scared. What's the difference?"
"Uh...those ones are like family to us. We've known those dead people a long time. These new ones are strangers...they might not like us snooping around them taking their picture."
Ghost couldn't help it, he burst out laughing. "Listen to yourself, Steve! Oh, my God...so funny. I didn't think you even believed in spooks, and now you're thinking they're gonna come get'cha if we take their picture!" he laughed even harder.
Steve tried to act like he didn't care about spooks, one way or another, and his speech was kinda dumb, and he started laughing, too.
*More Than Words" by Extreme, written by Nuno Bettencourt, Gary Cherone, released March 23, 1991, label - A & E.
*Killing Me Softly With His Song", by Roberta Flack, composed by Charles Fox, with lyrics by Norman Gimble, in collaboration with Lori Lieberman, released in 1973, label - Atlantic
*Hole in the World", by The Eagles, written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, released July 15, 2003, label - The Eagles Recording Company II
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing