TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
They didn't wake until almost noon the next day. After grabbing a bite to eat, Ghost settled on the couch to write awhile. Steve was restless, pacing around, muttering to himself.
"I'm going out for awhile," he finally said.
Ghost looked up, knowing what Steve had in mind. "I'm not going with you," he said.
"Ok, then...I'll be back later," said Steve.
Ghost tried to keep calm. He knew when Steve got back, he'd have a gun. It made him nervous. What he hadn't mentioned to Steve, was that there was already a gun in the house. It was his own. His grandmother had left it to him. In fact, Ghost was a pretty good shot with it. He'd been using it since he was a kid. His grandmother let him shoot at tin cans, and other targets, until he was familiar with it, and was pretty accurate.
He never would shoot a bird, or squirrel, or rabbit, but she would. They had meat on the table that way. He hadn't used it in a long time, though. He thought maybe he should get it out and practice a bit. He didn't know why he'd never told Steve about it. Even when Steve came to live with them, they never brought it out when he was there.
Ghost went into the kitchen. The gun was hidden behind a false panel in the top cabinet. It had always been there. Steve had never had much interest in exploring up there, and he hardly ever cooked anything, so he'd had no reason to look way up there.
Pulling a chair over, he climbed up onto the cabinet. There wasn't anything left up here anymore. Not since he'd thrown out all the old stuff, when they were looking for the journal. He pulled open the false panel, and reached in. The strong-box was right where he'd left it. It wasn't locked, so he opened it. There was his gun, and a box of bullets. It wasn't a huge one...just right for easy handling, and powerful enough to kill a squirrel, or an intruder...and maybe a vampire.
He took it and a handful of the bullets, got his jacket, and backpack, and left out the back door, heading for the woods. He grabbed a few empty beer cans from the trash barrel, on the way down the path. After walking about half a mile, he set the cans up. Taking aim, he began shooting. He hit most of the cans, but kept practicing. After about an hour, he put it away, and thought he probably should tell Steve about it, now. Steve should come out here and practice; maybe he'd never shot a gun before.
He walked on down to the big cemetery, where his grandmother's grave was. He felt like he needed advice. As he reached her headstone, he knelt down and brushed away some fallen leaves.
"Hey, grandmother, it's me. Sorry I haven't been here in awhile. Me and Steve had a lot of stuff to do. We went on a road trip, and saw some graveyards. They weren't as nice as this one, though. We stayed in a haunted house, for real...and the lady said she used to know you, but I didn't like her. She called me a liar, and she was mean, so we left.
Well, I really need to ask you something," he stopped for a minute. Picking up a crisp, fallen leaf, he twirled it around. Taking a deep breath, he continued. "Steve went to buy a gun, today, because he didn't know I already had one. So, should I tell him?" He closed his eyes, gathering his thoughts, and leaned back against the headstone.
"He says he's gonna maybe have to kill a vampire. See, there's this kid who's half vampire, and he's maybe after us... I don't know. I'm kinda mixed up about it anyway. I know what I saw, and I already killed one, and so did Steve. But we had to, 'cause they would'a killed us. But sometimes I don't even believe there is such a thing." He frowned, remembering.
"I saw them turn into a pile of dust. So, what am I supposed to do?" He gazed up into the overhanging trees, trying to clear his mind to any messages he might receive. It was quiet way out here in the cemetery...only the sounds of nature. Sleepy chirping of birds, ready for their afternoon naps, was all he could hear. The breeze ruffled the tops of the trees, a few yellow and orange leaves, swirling down onto him. Picking one up, he studied it, knowing it was a small death, to the tree, but not a forever death; the tree would recover in the spring.
"Are you here?" he whispered into the air. He closed his eyes. Memories of him and his grandmother began to form in his mind's eye. The times they'd walked in these woods, her showing him plants...good ones and bad ones. She'd taught him about the way insects and squirrels, and all of nature prepared themselves for the cold winter ahead. And, that they did the same, by gathering food from the garden, preserving it for later. He remembered her teaching him to use the gun, and her stories of the old days...how they'd learned to survive.
And, how there were good and bad people in the world, just like the insects and plants, and how each learned to defend themselves...their place in the world. They all had in them the will to survive, and the stakes were high. It was kill or be killed back then, just as now.
And then he could hear her voice, as clear as if she were right here in front of him. "Ghost child, you are a survivor. You are strong and you know in your heart what is right and what is wrong. You must allow this to guide you when faced with a choice...a difficult choice...in whatever form it presents itself to you.
Your spirit wants to live, at whatever cost, and you must take action to preserve that. You must be willing to do whatever it takes, to commit to your beliefs, and not be swayed in the presence of ridicule or evil. That is your true self. Listen to it, Ghost child, listen to it."
Ghost opened his eyes, waiting for more, but there was no more. A feeling of calm and peacefulness was left in him. He felt more sure of what he should do, now. And now, it was time to go home...to find Steve, to face whatever came their way together.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing