TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Zach and Trevor came over to the stage to set up. Terry and R. J. had come in and were back in the office, talking to Kinsey. Trevor had seen Steve and Ghost crying, and wondered why. He'd talked to Zach when he went back to find him...told him to try not to come on so strong, but then he felt like a hypocrite, telling Zach this. He himself wasn't any better at making friends. They both had a lot to learn about how to get along with other people.
"We're both just a couple of social misfits, Zach," he'd said. "You talk too much, and put your foot in your mouth, and I don't talk at all. Jeeze, they must think we're weird."
So, they began getting things ready on the stage, as they sneaked glances at Steve and Ghost, who finally walked over. "Hey, man...didn't mean to go off like that...sorry," Zach said.
Yeah, it's ok, I guess. It just took us by surprise, that's all,"Steve said. Ghost and Trevor said nothing. "So, have a good show, then, we'll be here," Steve said, then led Ghost back toward the bar. They grabbed a beer, and talked to Terry and R.J. a few minutes.
"What do ya think of the new band members?" Terry asked. "Wait'll ya hear us."
"Guess we'll stay awhile and find out. Kinsey told us a little about them," Steve said. "You ever tell them we used to be scared of their house?"
"Oh, man, I tried to, but it didn't seem to bother them. Said the house was fine, and they seem to like it out there," Terry shook his head at the thought of it. "Well, gotta get up there...ya ready, R. J.?"
R. J. took his beer with him, as he and Terry went back to the little room, behind the stage.
"Ok, guys," said Kinsey, "I'm opening the door in ten." He bustled around doing last minute checks.
"You ready for this, Ghost?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, guess so...but, I might want to go home early. I still have a funny feeling about Nothing."
"You think he's here...or breaking into the house?" Steve asked.
"Oh, he's here, Steve," Ghost said, looking toward the office. "He's back there doing his manager stuff." He hesitated, a second. "There's something else, though, that's trying to get in my head. Some kind of unfinished business...like he needs to tell us something." He closed his eyes, concentrating. "I can't get it, yet."
"Well, go ask him, then. Tell him we don't want no more surprises." Steve started toward the office.
Ghost stopped him. "Not yet...not here."
"Ok, but this has to be settled before he leaves town...if he really does," said Steve.
The doors were open, now, and the place was filling up. Kids of all kinds, from teens to college age. They headed for the arcade room, and the pool table, and ordered Kinsey's soup of the day. All were waiting for the music to begin. The band was tuning up...R.J. was talking with Calvin and hitting a few bass notes, Terry was randomly hitting his drums, and Zach was just standing at the mic stand, smiling at Trevor, who was front and center.
Steve and Ghost greeted friends, and waited along with everyone else. Finally, they were ready...and they were loud. Starting with some of Terry's original songs, they had the crowd on their feet. Gumbo played a variety of genres, a mix of old, new, country, and pop, Then, as they got further along in their play list, they did rock, and some strange sounding music for the goths.
Zach was a dynamo on stage, striding from one side of the stage to the other, putting his all into his performance...and he did sing good. He drew in the crowd, right along with him.
"Not bad," Steve yelled at Ghost, trying to be heard above the amplifiers. Ghost agreed, but didn't look all that into it. He was still worried about Nothing.
Steve decided to take advantage of the empty pool table, while everyone was dancing out on the floor. Ghost walked down the hall to the office. He opened the door. Nothing was sitting behind the desk.
"What else, Nothing?" Ghost asked. "There's something else you're not telling us."
Nothing nodded, "Yeah, but I didn't want to tell you in front of Steve.
"Go on, then what is it? I can sense it's not good."
"It's, well...you know, I really like you and Steve. I'd never want anything bad to happen to you. I hated all that...before. I was so confused, and just finding out who I was..and what I was. And then, hooking up with my father, like that, out of the blue." Nothing stopped, remembering how it had been.
"After that, I didn't know what to do. Twig and Molochai were devastated, useless. They took off. I didn't hear from them for a long time. I just wandered around, but nothing was right, anymore. I tried to be like them, you know...all vampire, but my human part kept me from doing too much damage. Then I tried to forget about that, and just be all human. That didn't work out very good either.
So, I figured I'd just end it all, and tried to kill myself," Nothing shook his head. "But, I guess vampires can't really do that. I'd feel like I was dead, but then I'd be alive again. I know it sounds crazy. Anyway, I just came back here, because it was familiar. But, you weren't here to give me any advice. That's when I met up with Zach and Trevor. They seemed ok, so we started hanging out at Terry's record store. Then, everything seemed to be working out better for me, for all of us really. I had friends, real friends, for the first time." He looked up at Ghost, hoping he'd understand. "So, I really don't want to leave. I feel like I'm finally doing something right...and this is home to me now. But, I already promised you and Steve that I'd leave."
Ghost started to say his piece, but Nothing stopped him with one more reason he should stay. "Another reason, is that I feel like I should stay, kinda as a protection for y'all. I heard from Twig that they're still mad that you killed Zilla, and they're looking for you...and they know where you live. So...if I can stay here, I can probably keep them from killing you, again." Nothing was finished with what he had to say. "Ghost, please convince Steve... I'm not the bad guy here, ok?"
Ghost thought about what Nothing had said. He had a point, but could he even believe his story? "But, Nothing...you kinda are the bad guy, at least partly, because it was you that led the others here...right to my house. Ya remember? That's what started all this, and why it ended the way it did. I don't think I can ever forget that fact, and I know Steve won't."
Nothing closed his eyes and nodded. "I know, but please try, ok?"
Ghost shrugged, and said, "I'll tell Steve what you said. I can't promise anything, though."
"Ok, I'm still staying, at least tonight, anyway. You'll let me know tomorrow?"
"I'll talk it over with Steve," Ghost said, then turned and left the office. He didn't know how he was going to tell Steve, but this was getting too complicated and out of control for him to figure out by himself. He needed Steve. He needed to go home. He found Steve still playing pool, and watched him for a few minutes.
"Hey, Ghost...wanna play?" Steve asked.
"No, I'm ready to go home," Ghost said.
"Home...already? I'm just now in the mood to stay," Steve said. "Can't ya wait awhile?"
"I don't think so, Steve. I need to get out of here. I need some air, and my head's spinnin'. Guess I'll go on. You can stay here, if ya want." He started for the door.
"Yeah," Ghost said.
"Ok, man...catch up with ya later," Steve said, then went back to his game.
Ghost stepped outside, took a deep breath of cool, night air. The music was muffled now, but his ears were still ringing. He began the long walk home. He had time to think about what Nothing had said. He still didn't want Nothing to stay here in Missing Mile. No good would come of it, he was sure. But, he couldn't order someone to get out of town. And, Steve would go ballistic. He definitely didn't want that to happen.
As he came up to his house, he felt stupid for having to be careful of entering his own house. But now, he'd have to always be looking around, never knowing when Twig and Molochai would show up. He didn't sense any danger right now, though, so he went on in. Steve would be along, soon, he hoped.
The house was quiet. Ghost checked all the rooms to make sure everything was ok. He was alone...just his thoughts to keep him company...and he didn't like his thoughts, right now. He didn't like being alone, either. He never did. It was getting late, though, and he kept yawning and nodding off. He just couldn't stay awake waiting for Steve any longer.
He checked the doors again, to make sure they were locked, but still feeling uneasy, he got his and Steve's guns down from the cabinet. He put them under his pillow, then got into bed. Only one lamp was left on, in the living room. He looked at his glow-in-the-dark stars on his ceiling for a few minutes. He said a silent good night to his grandmother, and told her he felt like something wasn't right...that if she could, send him some courage to deal with whatever happened. He then fell asleep.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing