TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
No one else but Trevor and Zach knew about their living situation. They had cleared the vines from the bedroom, and patched the roof. It wasn't easy. As soon as they chopped off a trailing vine, it would grow right back. But, they were determined to do it, and finally the vines gave up; content, for now, to grow over the outside of the house, nearly obscuring it all together. And now, even in the cold and snow, the vine was a healthy, deep green.
Trevor brought Zach his hot milk. "We don't have much food here. Do you think we should try to make it into town?"
"You mean drive?" Zach asked.
Trevor looked outside. "Guess we can't. The car is covered, and so are the streets. We could walk; it's not that far. Maybe the little store is open."
"Yeah, let's do that," Zach agreed.
"We'll need to dress warm, though. Put on whatever you have, Zach. We can go see Kinsey, too."
A little later, they did begin walking to town. The drifts were piling up, and even on the road, it was higher than their knees. It took them awhile to get to the little store, on the main street.
"What's going on, Trevor?" Zach asked, as he looked around. His toboggan hat was smashed down over his hair, and the lens of his glasses kept frosting over, so he had to scrape it off with his fingernails. That meant taking off the socks he was using for mittens.
"How do people do this? I mean...live in the cold? It was fine this morning, but now I'm freezing."
"You get used to it, Zach. It's only for a few months. Then, we'll be burning up like it was this summer."
"I think I'd rather be hot," Zach said, shivering.
The little store was not open. It was dark inside.
"This whole town is deserted, Trev. What do we do, now?"
"Let's go over to the club. Maybe Kinsey is there."
They went on down the street...the only people out in the storm, it seemed.
Trevor pounded on the big front door of the Yew. "Kinsey, let us in...we're freezing out here." He kept pounding.
Then they could hear locks being opened, and as soon as the door cracked open, a bit, they pushed their way in, nearly knocking Kinsey down.
"Hey, what are y'all doing out in all this? Everything, ok?" Kinsey asked, shutting the door behind them.
"Where is everybody?" Zach asked. He took off his hat and glasses, then shook out his hair.
"Y'all are the only fools walking around out there," Kinsey said. "Want to tell me why?"
"We ran out of food, and the store isn't open. Ya got any to spare?" Trevor asked.
"Yeah, come on back," Kinsey said, leading them back to the storeroom. "Pick out what ya need. Do y'all have heat out there?"
"Yeah, we got heat, lights, water...just no food," Zach said, as he looked over the shelves.
"Well, that's more than most people. I have my generator, but if this lasts much longer, it'll go out, too."
They sat and talked awhile. Kinsey tried to get them to stay, but they wouldn't.
"No, guess we'll go back. Now we can eat, and we'll be fine," Zach said.
They got up to leave, and as they opened the door, the wind gusted in with more snow. It seemed to be getting worse. They continued back through town, and out to the house on Violin Road.
Back over on Burnt Church Road, Steve and Ghost lit some candles, and Ghost finished up their potato soup. It was filling, and warm. They didn't notice the house growing colder, little by little. After eating, they tried to get back into their work, but mainly just sat and stared into space.
"I'm sooo bored, Steve," Ghost said, as he twirled his fingers through his hair. "Steeeve, I'm booored."
Steve just looked over at him. "So, what do you want me to do about it?"
"I don't know, think of something," Ghost said.
"Do ya want to sing?"
"Do ya want to play a game?"
"Do you want to take a nap?"
"Well, shit, Ghost, you think of something. Go get your battery radio - maybe something is going on about the storm."
Ghost sighed, and slowly drug his feet as he went down the hallway into his bedroom, to get it. "There's nothing on it, Steve," he said as he came back, standing in front of Steve.
"Here, let me see it," Steve said, reaching for the radio. He turned the volume, and tuning dials...nothing but static. "Hmm, guess the station over in Raleigh is out, that's what's wrong." He turned it off.
"Now what?" Ghost whined. "I'm getting cold again."
He went over to the propane floor heater. "Steve, this thing isn't hot...it's broke, I think."
Steve frowned, and came over to look. "What the hell, Ghost? It was working earlier." He turned the switch off and on again, and felt of it. "There's no flames, no pilot light, no nothing."
"Do something, Steve; we're gonna freeze tonight," Ghost wailed.
"No, we're not, we have blankets...go check the stove."
Ghost went to the kitchen, and found that the stove's burners wouldn't light, either. "It don't work," he hollered. "Did it run out of stuff?"
"It shouldn't have; they came and filled it up not two weeks ago. Maybe it froze in the tank outside. I never heard of that happening, but maybe..." Steve said. "I'm going to go check. Maybe it just needs snow scraped off." He went to get his coat and gloves. "I'll go see - you stay in here and close the door. Try not to let the cold wind get in here. I'll be back in a few minutes."
He went out on the back porch, and Ghost closed the door. He wanted to get some coffee, but now he couldn't heat it up. He held his cup over a lit candle, hoping that would help.
Steve had made his way over to the tank. It was covered with snow, so he took the broom he'd taken with him, and tried to brush some of it away. His teeth were already chattering, and the wind cut through his coat like he wasn't even wearing one.
"This is crazy," he muttered to himself, then wished he'd kept his mouth shut, as the blowing snow made his teeth ache, too."
He did manage to uncover the tank a bit, but it wasn't helping much. He started back to the house. Just as he stepped on the bottom step, he slipped on the ice that had frozen there. He hollered, as he went down, backwards into the snow. It wasn't too bad, the snow bank was soft. He came up, flinging snow around, trying to get his footing.
He made it up the first step, then his feet went out from under him again. This time, he fell face first, hitting his head on the top step...hard. He was knocked out.
Ghost had not heard him fall.
He was out for only a few minutes, but was a little dazed, though. He began to pull himself up to his knees, to crawl on up to the door, but a mind-stopping pain shot through his left leg.
"Oh, my God," he thought, when he could form thoughts again. "Ghost!" he yelled. "Ghost, help!" he kept yelling, but the wind was snatching his words away. He couldn't reach far enough to bang on the door. He tried, anyway, and slipped farther back down the steps. Crazy thoughts were swirling in his brain...
Gonna die two feet from the door...why the hell did I go outside...Ghost is gonna cry, say it's his fault...maybe they'll find me in the spring...I gotta get inside...
He yelled some more. Ghost was still trying to heat his coffee. He now had several candles in a group, for more fire power. He thought he heard a noise, but figured it was just the wind. Then he remembered that Steve was still outside. When he concentrated on this thought, he could hear in his mind, a yelling so loud, he covered his ears.
"That's Steve! Steve is yelling in my head!" He ran to the back door, pulled it open, and saw Steve lying at the bottom of the steps...still yelling.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing