TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Downstairs, the woman had prepared a huge breakfast for them. Ghost avoided looking at the pantry, keeping his eyes on his plate. Steve kicked him under the table, prodding him to ask his questions, before they had to leave.
The woman knew what was going on though, so she brought up the subject.
"Well, Ghost, you found out our secret, didn't you? I knew you would," she said. "You and your grandmother are the only ones to have ever figured it out. Other guests have heard random noises, here and there, but in all the years, only you two have had the psychic gift to be able to get the full story." She smiled at Ghost.
"But...I didn't. I don't know what it was I saw..and I didn't move from this here table, and...and...I had dirt all over me...and...why?" Ghost said in a rush.
"It's ok, Ghost," the woman said. "Your gift is so powerful, it manifested the dirt on you from what happened in this house over a hundred years ago. It wasn't real, you just envisioned it."
"It was too real!" Ghost said. "I had real dirt on me. Steve saw it , too...this morning"
Steve had been watching this exchange, while shoveling in his food, but said, "Yeah, I saw it. What are you saying...Ghost had hundred year old dirt on him? Gross!"
The woman looked a bit startled. This had gone beyond her abilities to explain. She got off the subject of old dirt, to her main explanation.
"The tunnel and room you saw is indeed under this house, but it's been boarded up and sealed for many, many years. There's no way you could have gotten in there. This house was a stop-over on the underground railroad. The runaway slaves would know this as a safe house on their journey north.
You probably heard the voices, and saw the men down in the basement. It's just a vision, now. It runs in a loop, over and over. I've seen it myself, in a dream, of course...it's my family's history."
"But, what about the secret door in the pantry that opened, and someone said 'come in', and the mirror person?" Ghost asked.
"What are you talking about? There's no door in there. The slaves had an outside entrance, long since done away with," she said.
"But, just go look in there," Ghost said, as he got up from the table to go show her.
She shook her head, "No, it isn't possible."
"I know what I saw, and I'll show you," Ghost said.
Steve reached out, touching Ghost's arm to stop him. "Just drop it, Ghost...there's no need to..."
"But, she's calling me a liar, Steve. You know I don't lie," Ghost said.
Steve knew he had to get Ghost out of there immediately, or he'd completely lose control.
"We gotta go now," Steve said, as he pushed Ghost toward the stairs, to collect their things.
"Thanks for the bed and the food," he said to the woman, as he kept pushing Ghost's back, herding him up.
"Stop pushing me, Steve," Ghost said, as he flinched away.
"Get your shit and let's get going...the old lady's getting pissed at us," Steve said.
"Well, so am I," said Ghost, as he grabbed his backpack and stomped back down the stairs, and out the front door, slamming the screen behind him.
Steve gave the woman an extra hundred dollars, "Sorry to cause you any trouble," he said.
She just stared, and nodded. She knew Ghost had been telling the truth, but he was so unbelievably gifted, that what he'd said caused her to feel afraid of her own house.
Ghost was still fuming, as Steve gunned the engine of the car, and they sped away. "Remind me to never go to a haunted house again, Steve. Grandmother always told me to look at things, and read people, if I have to...but some don't want to hear the truth, and to keep my mouth shut. But, I forget sometimes. You believe me, don'cha, Steve?"
"Of course I do, Ghost. I've known you long enough to never doubt you about things like this. Try to let it go, though. We're gone from there, and it doesn't mean anything to us, anyway."
"Hmmph..." Ghost snorted. "Guess I will forget about it." He sat in silent rage for a bit longer though.
Steve kept driving. They were on a steady incline, going up into the Smoky Mountains. The road was kind of narrow - just a going up lane, and a coming down lane...no towns here, just lots of tall, tall trees. He had to concentrate to navigate the twists and turns, and he prayed the car wouldn't break down.
They were on the side with the trees; the down side was a drop off into the tops of more trees, and no guard rails, he could see. A sign every now and then assured them that there was a rest stop up ahead, somewhere. They could get out, get some gas, and some food. He'd need to calm his nerves after this drive.
Ghost had finally fallen asleep, and was muttering as he dreamed. Steve figured it was about his strange encounter. After the rest stop, it was downhill all the way to the Tennessee border. Steve had never been there - never really been much of anywhere. He'd been across to Virginia, though, back when he used to rob coke machines. And, a few stops on his way to find Ghost out in California. He was looking forward to seeing new places, at a more leisurely pace.
In about an hour, the rest stop was in view. It had a gas island, restaurant, gift shop, cabins to rent, and a scenic view overlook. He was all too glad to stop for awhile. His hands were stiff from being curled so tight around the steering wheel, and his butt had gone to sleep, miles back.
Ghost looked comfortable enough in the back seat, all stretched out, but Steve woke him anyway. They both needed to decide their next destination.
"Hey, Ghost, wake up...we're getting something to eat here."
Ghost came to slowly, as usual. It had always taken him awhile to come back from the wonderland of his dreams, and back to reality. Steve was terrified that someday Ghost just wouldn't come back. That would be the end of the world for himself, if that happened. That was one reason he felt he had to be Ghost's protector, and make sure he never left for good.
"Where are we?" Ghost yawned and stretched, rubbing his eyes, and running his fingers through his hair.
"We're at the top of the mountain, at a rest stop. Get out and look. We're gonna eat at this restaurant."
"Ok, hang on," Ghost said, as he searched the floor of the car to find his shoes. He also pulled on his hoodie, as it was chilly already up here.
Steve held out his hand, helping Ghost out of the back seat. Ghost was unsteady, as he was still trying to come fully awake. "I need coffee, Steve," he said.
"I do, too. Let's go up there...see what they have to eat," said Steve, leading the way.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing