TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
As Steve made his way into the shop, he could hear some kind of tinkly music playing. He found Ghost over by a free-standing waterfall. There was a fine mist swirling around it. "Ghost, what kind of place is this? It reminds me of that...that...God, that horrible Arkady's place, and..." he couldn't voice, out loud, the tragedy of Ann's death in that place.
Ghost searched Steve's eyes, knowing exactly what he felt. "Oh, Steve...I know..." he said, giving him a hug. He looked around at all the brightly colored displays. "This place, though, is not like that. I can feel the good in here," he said." He grinned, turning around to see more. "You know what? I could live here." He was entranced by the assault on his senses.
Steve had to laugh. "I imagine you could, Ghost."
A woman came out from a back room, to talk to them. She was exotic looking, wearing a sari, and lots of jangly bracelets. She studied Ghost for a minute, then said, "You are in need of something magical...something powerful to drive away evil spirits."
"Yes..." Ghost nodded and smiled at her.
She asked them to follow her into another part of the store. Ghost was right behind her, but Steve hesitated. "Ghost," he whispered, "I don't know about this."
"It's ok, Steve...she's psychic...she read my mind, already."
"Well, that's another first for you, today."
"Yeah, it felt weird, too. Does it feel weird when I read yours?"
"No, because I never know when you're gonna do it, but then after it kinda does."
Ghost giggled at that. "C'mon, let's see what's back there."
The back room was filled with more oddities, arranged haphazardly from floor to ceiling. From the beaded partition at the doorway, to the multi-color scarves that were draped over a small window, they just stood there gawking. There on one shelf, were hand-carved, wooden tribal masks, and hanging from a raw, wood paneled wall, were crosses, and amulets, made from leather, gold, and gems.
But, what caught Ghost's eyes, was the large shelf of little bottles, and boxes. "Potions!" he closed his eyes, inhaling the heady fragrance of his childhood. "Mmm," he sighed.
Steve thought he looked like the proverbial kid in a candy store, albeit a weird kid in a weird potion store.
The lady had Ghost sit at an intricately detailed, teak table. She sat on the other side. She reached out for Ghost's hands, rubbing them until they warmed. "You have the gift, child," she began. Ghost nodded, his eyes wide, taking in everything she said.
"You are coming upon a serious endeavor, soon. You will need protection from those who oppose you."
Ghost started to tell her what he had planned, but she held up her hand to stop him. "I do not need to know the details, but, I sense it will be difficult to do what you are called on to do." She paused for a moment, concentrating. "The evil forces are powerful...malevolent...they have been unopposed for many years. At stake are two lives, two innocents. You, and your friend here, are being drawn into their circle of control." She closed her eyes, for a long minute, taking deep breaths.
Ghost was mesmerized. Steve was watching intently, from the side of the room, interested, in spite of himself.
Opening her eyes, she brought out from a drawer in the table, an assortment of items. First, was a small mortar and pestle, of white marble. Three candles were next. She explained that the white one was for cleansing, purity, and truth. The black one was used in spell breaking, and for banishing evil, while the purple candle gave the user power, protection, and repelled evil. Then she drew out a small, silver cross, on a chain, laying it next to the candles.
She then scraped back her stool, to go to the potions shelf. Her bracelets jingled, as she searched for the packets and vials she was looking for. Ghost looked over at Steve, raising his eyebrows. Neither said a word, not wanting to break into the lady's concentration.
Back at the table, she placed a paper packet there, along with a couple of sage brooms. The packet was labeled 'black powder' in old fashioned script. Along with these, she added two vials of essential oils, and a stoppered, glass bottle of some kind of spices and leaves, mixed together.
"Here is what you must use at your séance," she told Ghost. Writing on a piece of onionskin stationery, she listed the instructions, the amounts of each item that was needed, and in what order to use them. "Also, I've written a few words...a chant...that you must speak, to evoke the spirits. But, be very careful, Ghost. You must keep a positive mind throughout the ceremony. This is your protection, and the means to banish the evil from within those walls. One more thing," she said, reaching into the drawer again. "I don't usually give this to anyone, as it is to be used as a failsafe, a last resort..." She placed another small bottle on the table. It was iridescent glass, and was heart shaped. "In here is holy water...it has been blessed...to be used sparingly, if at all...if it is truly needed."
Ghost nodded his understanding of her words. She then wrapped up all the items in a brown paper bundle, tying it with jute. "Now, let us return to the sales floor." Ghost took the bundle, and they all went out of the little room.
"Will there be anything else you'd like to purchase, Ghost Child?"
Steve startled at the woman's usage of Ghost's name, and the way Ghost's grandmother always said it. They'd never mentioned their names, when they'd come into the shop.
Ghost looked around. "I want it all, but guess not today. I'll be back, though."
She smiled, and said, "I wish you well in your trials to come, Ghost. Peace be with you."
Steve paid for the bundle of goods, and he and Ghost left the shop. "That was one weird lady," he said, as they got back into the car.
As they drove back to Missing Mile, Ghost held tight to the bundle, twirling the ends of the jute around his fingers. Steve saw that he was lost in thought. "So when are you doing this?" he asked.
"Soon...soon as I go over the instructions, and memorize them," Ghost said.
Back at home, Ghost took everything out to look at them, again. He began reading over the instructions. Steve made himself comfortable on the couch, propping up his achy leg, onto a pillow, on the coffee table. He didn't say anything, as he watched Ghost, but he was thinking about how serious Ghost was taking all this...and how much he loved him, and his quirky ways. He said a silent prayer, that this mission Ghost had set in motion, wouldn't hurt him, and that he, himself could remain vigilant to Ghost's vulnerability and well-being, no matter what happened.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing