TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve wrote the time and date in the notebook, then the names and dates engraved there on the gravestones, and what years were listed. Then looking around, he wondered where Ghost had gone. Letting his eyes become adjusted to the shady cemetery, he could just barely make out Ghost, over on the far side. He watched a few minutes, fascinated by how Ghost went about talking to the spirits. Ghost would go up to a headstone, and run his hands over it. Making the sign of the cross on himself, he'd close his eyes and just listen. At least he guessed Ghost was listening...he could see Ghost's lips saying something...talking to the long dead ghosts, maybe.
He'd do this at each grave marker he came to. He was sure Ghost would tell him what he heard, so he quietly walked over to Ghost, taking the camera from him. "This needs to be recorded, too," Steve thought...the invisible bond between the living and the dead, seemed like a sacred moment. Only Ghost could look so peaceful in among the relics of another age.
Not for the first time, Steve had the feeling that Ghost was not real, not really of this world, but of some strange and beautiful neverland far away, and was just waiting for the day he could go back to his real home...maybe in the blue sky that matched his eyes. Steve was getting misty eyed, himself, at this...and way too philosophical, he realized. Shaking his head, he went back to the car and opened a soda. He got out his guitar and began strumming a tune to cheer himself up.
Ghost came back from his sojourn with the spooks, joining Steve in a song or two. It was truly relaxing being out here, just the two of them, in the hushed graveyard.
"I think I got some good pictures," Ghost said, as he grabbed a soda and took a long drink. "And, I'm not scared of this place. I guess I feel more right, now...like me again."
"That's great, Ghost. I'm glad you're you again," Steve said, and smiled.
Sometimes their conversations were pretty weird...no one else would get it.
"You want to go check out the next town, or just go some other direction from here?" Steve asked.
"I wish we could just skip over to a completely different place. This is ok, but it's kinda the same things we been seeing around here...trees and mountains," Ghost said. "I mean, driving is fun for awhile, but it takes so long, ya know."
"Yeah, I know, especially when you sleep through most of it like 'you' do," Steve teased.
"Hummph," Ghost snorted. "I can't help it if riding around puts me to sleep. You know it does."
"Well, you want to go get on a plane and fly somewhere? We could totally do that now...leave the car here, and rent one somewhere else...then pick up this one on our way back," Steve suggested.
Ghost was already shaking his head, no.
"People do it every day...nothing to it," Steve kept on.
"Yeah, but I think I have a bad feeling about it," Ghost said. "You know how I get these premonitions, don't 'cha, Steve...well, I'm getting one now, and it says not to."
Steve shook his head, "Ok, fine, we'll just take the long scenic drive, then."
"Good," Ghost agreed. "Hey, aren't there supposed to be some creepy caves here, or is that somewhere else?"
"Let me get the map. I've heard of some, somewhere," Steve said, rummaging through the car. "Yeah, here's some...over in Kentucky...Mammoth Cave...that's the one I heard about. But, man...it'd take us probably a day or so to get there."
"Ok, let's go, then. We're just driving around, anyway...might as well go toward something, huh?" Ghost said. He slid off the hood of the car, and opened the door.
"Right now?" Steve looked confused.
"Yeah, why not?"
"Ok, then," Steve said, taking a marker and plotting their route on the map. "I think we should try for Nashville, and stay there for awhile, get a motel, get some real rest, and then head on up to that cave."
"Yeah, let's go, Steve," Ghost said, hopping in the back seat.
Steve drove down the road, and five minutes later he noticed Ghost was out like a light...sound asleep. "Thanks for keeping me company, Ghost...on our long drive." He continued driving, stopping twice to get gas and more snack food. Ghost slept through both stops...and on through the first part of the night.
Steve finally saw the lights of Nashville, ahead, and he'd had enough driving. The first motel he saw, he pulled in. His hands were vibrating from clutching the steering wheel so long. He was exhausted, and could hardly keep his eyes open. Ghost was coming awake, squinching his eyes up at the bright, neon sign.
"I'm gonna get us a room...stay here," Steve told Ghost.
When he got back with the key, he pulled around in the parking lot by their room. They grabbed a few things from the back of the car, and went inside. It wasn't fancy, but the bed looked inviting, and the shower even more so. There was even a tv in the room, and a small, automatic coffee pot for their use.
"Go ahead, you first," Ghost said to Steve, about the shower. He was sprawled out on the bed flipping channels on the tv. So, Steve took his time getting cleaned up, the hot water soothing his tense muscles.
"Your turn...maybe there's some hot water left," Steve said, when he came out. He fluffed a couple of pillows, then lay on the bed. He watched tv, as Ghost showered and sang. When Ghost was done, Steve had gone to sleep, but now Ghost was wide awake.
He prowled around the room, ate some snacks, watched more tv, wrote in his journal...then he was bored. He tried to feel if anything weird was left behind in the room...any leftover essenses of other travelers, but nothing specific came to him. He opened the door, looking out at the quiet parking lot, the only sound coming from distant cars going by on the highway.
He made a pot of the free coffee, drank it all, and still was not sleepy. "Bored, bored, bored," he sang to himself, making up words, as he went along. This gave him the giggles...how absurd this was...strange town, strange motel, and bored to death. He thought that was a cool word - absurd - so he wrote it in his notebook...a few times...more than a few times, trying out different writing styles and colors of marker, making a design of it on the page.
"Can't let my drawing talent get rusty," he thought, and that got him laughing, even more...and trying to be quiet was hard, the more he tried, the more it made him crack up.
"Shut up over there! Ya done woke me up," Steve shouted.
"Shit, now what can I do?" Ghost asked himself. He picked through Steve's bag, finding a couple of paperbacks. Thinking he'd read awhile, he flipped through them both, but the books looked dull and...boring. By then it was beginning to get light outside, as the morning sun rose in the sky.
Steve was still asleep, so Ghost went out to the car and sat on the hood. He'd greet the sunrise. There were so many tall buildings, though, it took awhile to actually see the sun come up above them. Meanwhile, other people were waking up and preparing to leave, carrying suitcases and such to their cars. Ghost kept sitting there, watching the passing parade of people. They all glanced at Ghost, sitting on the car, and some said hello. Ghost said 'hey' back to them.
More than a few wondered why the long-haired, hippie boy was sitting on a car. He didn't look like he belonged in this country music capital, at all. They figured he was just passing through, same as they were.
Ghost went and peeked in the door to their room. Steve was still asleep. Sighing, he went back to the car, and looked inside. It was pretty messy, so he gathered up the trash they'd thrown on the floorboards...empty soda and beer cans, fast food wrappers, and threw them in a nearby trash can. He emptied the cooler of melted ice water, and gathered up some dirty clothes into a pile. It looked better, and he felt like he'd done something useful. Then, he sat on the car again, wrote in his notebook, and waited for Steve to wake up.
A sudden motion caught his eye, over on the sidewalk. It was a stray cat. The cat looked back at him, which made him smile. "Hey, kitty, what'cha doing?" he asked.