TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
"So, are y'all done traveling?" Terry asked.
"Yeah, for awhile, anyway. I got tired of all the driving, and Ghost couldn't handle getting on a plane, yet. Guess we needed a break from our vacation on the road."
"Well, I'm glad you're back. Everybody's always asking about y'all. Kinsey let us know where you were, whenever you called. Are y'all gonna arrange some gigs at the club, now?"
"Yeah, Kinsey said we could, but we'll probably take it easy for a little while. Ghost is putting together a book about it all. Got some good pictures, and he's writing stuff for it. We wrote a couple of new songs, too. Just need to get them polished up," Steve explained.
"Cool," Terry said, "maybe me and R. J. can sit in sometime."
"Sure, I'll let ya know," Steve agreed.
They continued cleaning the house. Ghost came back in, lugging his duffle bag, back-pack, and Steve's guitar.
"Hey, why aren't you over here helping?" Terry asked. "It's your house."
"Y'all are doing it just fine, and besides, Steve told me not to," Ghost said, then grinned.
Terry gave Steve a look. Steve nodded and smiled. Finally, they were finished, and each grabbed a beer, taking it out to the front porch swing. Ghost was still in his bedroom, writing on his memory wall.
"Y'all coming to the Yew, tonight?" Terry asked.
"Don't think so," Steve said. "I'm beat...probably stay around here. I need to feel like we're actually home, again."
"I hear that," Terry said. "Oh, by the way, me and R. J. have been playing pretty regular at the club. We took on Calvin...you remember him? And a new guy in town, Zach...he does the singing. Lord knows I can't sing very good. We're calling ourselves Gumbo," Terry laughed.
"I know...sounds dumb, but anyway, the kids keep coming back to hear us. So, y'all should come check it out. We're doing a show on Saturday."
"So, what are y'all playing different these days?" Steve asked, a sudden mixture of curiosity and jealousy flaring up. He knew there was no reason to resent a band playing at the club, other than Lost Souls?. After all, Kinsey had to draw in customers, but still...
"Uh, some of the old stuff, like we always did, but Zach wanted to add in some punk, and some goth sounding stuff, too. Kinda weird, but the kids seem to like it, so me and R. J. are ok with it." Terry tipped back his beer, draining the can.
"Oh, another thing...we hired a guy as our manager. He says he's been in town before, and saw you and Ghost play, a long time ago. Anyway, he said something kinda strange, too...said he wasn't here to cause you and Ghost any trouble...said you'd understand."
Steve frowned, thinking. "Sounds weird, Terry, and I don't like how it sounds. Maybe we will see ya on Saturday, after all. Guess we should see what's up."
"Ok, then...guess I should get going; half the day's gone already, and I haven't even opened up shop, yet," Terry said. "I'll tell Kinsey y'all are back. Take it easy, man." Terry went down the porch steps to his car. Steve watched him leave, the radio blasting as Terry went down the gravel drive out to the highway.
Steve sat there a while longer, thinking about what Terry had said. If that new manager guy was who he thought it was, it was bad news, all around. He needed to talk to Ghost.
When he got back inside, he found Ghost sound asleep on his bed. Steve shrugged, thinking he'd just tell him later. He thought a nap sounded good, too, so went into his own room. But, sleep was hard to come by...his mind would not stop going over and over the news he'd heard; who was this person and how did he know them. Finally he got up and paced around the house.
The only name that came to mind, was Nothing. He was the only one left of that mangy group of vampires, except maybe Twig and Molochai, and they were useless without Zilla. He hoped Nothing had done away with the both of them, himself...that kid was better off without those two.
Ghost had killed Zilla, plunged the jeweled dagger right in his brain...and he, himself, had killed Christian - didn't mean to but, hey - a vampire dead is the only kind he wanted to deal with. Maybe Nothing still had a chance, being he was only half-vampire. He kind of felt sorry for him, but not enough to welcome him back into town...into their lives. And besides, Nothing had a burning passion for Ghost. Steve knew he'd kill him with his bare hands, if he ever made a move on Ghost.
And so he paced, and thought, and worried, and looked in on Ghost, to see if he was awake yet. And another thing...that other new guy in the band. Terry said his name was Zach. Never heard of him, but if he was in with Nothing, then he didn't like him already.
And, why would Kinsey let scumbags play in his club, anyway? Well, Kinsey didn't know about everything that went down in New Orleans, or about Ann. He could never speak of it again, afterwards. Neither could Ghost. Didn't want to think about it now, either, but how could he not?
"I need to find out!" he said out loud. "I need to find out and deal with it."
Just then, Ghost came into the living room. "Find out what, Steve?" he said as he rubbed his forehead, and ran his hand through his hair.
"Ghost!" Steve yelled, startled. He'd not seen Ghost come in, he was so worked up. "Guess who might be in town, that we haven't seen in a long time...that we never, ever wanted to deal with again?" he paused a second, waiting to see if Ghost would answer.
When Ghost only shrugged, Steve said, "That fucker I said I was gonna kill if I saw him again!"
Ghost looked confused. "I don't know who you're talking about. Just tell me already, I'm not in a mood for guessing games."
"Use your magic powers, and just go on and guess...I'll give you a hint - it's not a good surprise."
Ghost squinched up his eyes and tried to think, but just couldn't. "I can't, Steve, my head is hurting. I can barely see, and I can't think right now."
"Dammit, Ghost, fine...it's your favorite little vampire, Nothing. That's who."
Ghost gasped, and went to sit on the couch. He was shaking. "How...how do you know?" he asked.
"Terry told me, well, he didn't say it was him, but said this strange kid was in town, and he hired him as their manager. Said he knew us and wasn't here to cause us trouble. Sound familiar? Yeah...just like last time...wasn't here to cause us trouble, and look what happened! We both almost died, and Ann did die. Now, he's back to finish the job. What'd'ya think of that?"
Steve was almost hyperventilating. He stopped to catch his breath. "I swear, Ghost, he's not getting anywhere near you. I'm fixing to put an end to this...and to him...for good!"
Ghost's head was pounding, and he held his hands over his ears to try and block out Steve's ranting. "Stop it, Steve," he cried. "Stop yelling. If it's Nothing, he's not gonna hurt us...he promised...and he saved us from Zilla, that one time."
"God! Listen to yourself, Ghost! Don't be taking up for a damn spawn of the devil! He's just as evil as the others. Why can't you see that?"
"Steve, please...I can't even see you right now; leave it alone, leave me alone...stop yelling!"
"Ok, fine, but it's not over. You will see the truth!" Steve said, then stomped out the front door, slamming the screen behind him. Ghost just sat there stunned, and tried to will his head to stop hurting, and his eyesight to clear.
He could still hear Steve stomping around outside. He laid his head back on the couch and tried to breathe evenly. That's what he was doing when Steve finally calmed down, and came back inside.
He looked at Ghost, sorry he'd made it worse. "Still hurting?" he asked.
"Mmm-hmm," Ghost murmured.
"Can you see me, yet?"
Ghost cracked open his reddened eyes, and shook his head, no.
"Damn, I'm sorry I got so worked up. It don't do no good anyway." He brought a cold, wet cloth, for Ghost to put over his eyes.
"Steve, Nothing don't mean nothing to me. I just feel sorry for him, ya know," Ghost said quietly.
"Yeah, I know, but he's obsessed with you. And I can't let it be."
"I know, but trust me Steve. I can shut him down, any time."
"Ok, Ghost...but he better just watch himself...and get outta town, before...before..." Steve trailed off. Ghost reached out and took Steve's hand, squeezing it.
By the next morning, Ghost was feeling better, and so they worked on their new songs awhile. Ghost wrote copy for the book, to go along with his notes from the graveyards, and captioned the pictures. He'd get them printed up, soon.
It had turned chilly and rainy, so being inside gave them the time and rest they needed to get back into a familiar routine. By night, however, they were both getting restless.
"I'm going into town, maybe have a beer, see Kinsey...ya wanna come?" asked Steve.
Ghost had a couple of stray thoughts run through his mind, so was hesitant to say yes. Steve didn't have to be a mind reader to see what Ghost was thinking, this time...his expression said it all.
"Ghost, look...I'm not going to go looking for Nothing...really. Maybe he'll be there, maybe not. We can't just hide out here at the house, waiting for something to happen. It makes us look like scaredy cats...besides, he knows where we live. So, coming or not?
"Guess so," said Ghost. He grabbed his Army jacket. The only place to go on a Friday night in Missing Mile was the Sacred Yew or the record shop. Everything else in town closed early. They knew the club would be full - no band tonight, though - Saturday's were band nights.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing