TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
"What?" Steve looked surprised.
"Not like that," Ghost grinned. "It's just, I might have nightmares and go walking around, or something. It feels like it...and something else, something scary..." he took a deep shuddery breath. "I'm scared something might try to take me away tonight." He looked up at Steve, seeing fright in his eyes, so he rushed on to get his thoughts out. "Something might just come in here, unseen, and I'll be gone. Like maybe, not my body, but myself...my soul won't be here anymore." Then he couldn't hold back his sobs.
Steve was shaking his head no, no, no... "Ghost, don't even say stuff like that, that's not gonna happen."
"It does happen, Steve...and, I don't want it to happen to me. I'm afraid to go to sleep."
"Stop it, right now, stop saying it, Ghost, I don't want to hear it."
"But, I already feel it...and I know what it feels like, Steve. It's happened before, when my soul left me behind...and this feels the same way...like I'm already half out of me already. So don't let me go to sleep, 'cause that's when it happens," Ghost cried.
Steve got up from the table, to pace around the kitchen. "Ok, enough...I'm staying awake, too, to keep you awake, and to chase away any soul snatchers, ok?"
"Yeah, ok," Ghost said, wiping his tears away. "I'm ready...go get the handcuffs." He went into his bedroom to lay down on the bed.
Steve went into his bedroom. Bringing down a box from the closet shelf, he took out the handcuffs...the ones he'd bought, after destroying the old ones, when he had to smash Ghost's hand to get him free. Closing his eyes, he whispered a prayer... please, don't let this happen, please let us get through this...
Back in Ghost's bedroom, Steve clicked the handcuffs closed around Ghost's wrist, then onto the iron bed rail. Ghost's eyes were wide with fright, and he was breathing fast. Steve knew this was not the time, but he couldn't resist. "Ghost, uh...you're, oh...never mind," he said, his voice all husky.
"Come stay with me, Steve. Don't let me go to sleep."
So, Steve made sure the house was locked up, and he turned out the lights. He tried to get comfortable, laying beside Ghost, in the bed. They waited, hearing only their breathing, the cat purring, and the normal night time sounds of the house. The refrigerator hummed off and on, there was a drip from the bathroom sink faucet, and a floorboard creaked. At one point, the wind blew a tree branch against the window, making a scratching sound.
None of this bothered them...they had gone to sleep. Steve woke once during the night, from a bad dream. Not a really scary one, just weird, which left him with an odd feeling. As he'd woke up, he realized he'd been asleep, after all. He looked over at Ghost...a little afraid he'd be gone...or dead...but, Ghost was sleeping soundly, breathing slow easy breaths.
Maybe I should wake him up... but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Everything seemed fine, and he'd try to stay awake, now. "I have to stay awake to protect us, Spirit," he whispered to the cat, as he petted the soft fur. But, even as he was thinking that, his eyes closed, and he was asleep, again.
Ghost was having his own dreams. They began quietly enough, but then seemed to change slowly into something more sinister. The images were of dark, swirling clouds, like a brewing thunderstorm. He felt he needed to hide from it, but he couldn't run, as something was holding him back. He thrashed around in the bed, pulling at the handcuffs, and moaning random words out loud ... have to get away...go...no...leave me alone..."
This woke Spirit up, and what the cat sensed in the room, with his cat's instincts, and sensitivity, made his fur bristle, and fuzz out. He hissed at the image he saw in the dark room...a dark swirling shape, wafting and pulsing, there at the end of the bed. Then, he yowled and spit at it, and the entity slowly was absorbed back into the darkness, and was gone.
Ghost was again calm in his sleep. He and Steve slept on through the morning, past noon. Even Spirit slept through his morning feeding. Then, the tinkling sound of their cell phone ringing, woke Ghost. It was off in the living room, and wasn't very loud, but it kept ringing for several minutes. Ghost was still in the half-awake, half-asleep state, but he realized he was still here, and alive. He was cold, though. The blankets had been tossed around, and half lay on the floor, only one covering him, the rest was piled up on Steve.
Ghost turned as best he could, pulling some over himself, and getting closer to Steve, to get warm. Spirit sat on top of them, staring and pawing to get attention. Steve stirred, as Ghost's cold hand and feet touched him. He shivered at the sudden wake-up. For a second, he forgot how scared they'd been. Then, he turned to face Ghost.
"Ghost...you're still here." he said, hugging him.
"Mmphh," Ghost could hardly breathe or say anything, being squished up against Steve's chest. He wiggled around to get his face free. "Steve, you're squashing me, I can't breathe."
Steve eased up on the hug. "You're still here," he grinned. "Oh, no...I think I went to sleep. I didn't mean to."
"Yeah, I went to sleep too. I'm glad I'm still here, but I had weird dreams...did you?"
"I don't think so, or I can't remember any, but I think I heard you talking once, and Spirit yowled at something."
"Hey, kitty," Ghost said, grabbing the cat. "What did you see that made you scared, last night?"
Spirit just licked Ghost on the nose, jumped down, and headed for the kitchen.
Steve laughed, "He's hungry, I guess."
He sat up in the bed, saying, "I'll go start coffee, and feed him. You can stay here and get warm. I'm gonna turn on the heater, too."
Ghost grinned, at that, but snuggled deeper into the blankets. He needed to be set free from the handcuffs, and hoped Steve would hurry. After a few minutes, he did come back into the bedroom.
"Ok, the cat's eating, and the coffee is almost ready. What do you want for breakfast?" he asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.
"I want something simple. My stomach is kinda hurting," Ghost said.
"Yeah, I wonder why...all that candy you had, and the beer you poured on top of it," Steve laughed.
"Don't remind me," Ghost said, making a face. "Oh, can you let me loose, now, my arm is numb." He rattled the cuffs.
"Oh, crap, sure...I forgot, just a second, I'll get the key." He jumped up, going to the dresser, where he'd left it. Then kneeling on the bed, he reached across Ghost, to open them.
Ghost gulped, and took a breath, as Steve's chest was right in his face. "Why ya wanna turn on me, Steve?"
"Why are you turning on me?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Steve said, still fumbling with the handcuffs. They were turned at an odd angle, and he was having trouble fitting the key in. "I'm on your side all the time. I didn't take anybody else's side, so how can I have turned on you?"
Ghost sighed, "That's not it, Steve...you're turning on me, right now."
Finally, the cuffs were off, and Ghost moved his arm down, "Ow, ow, ow, it's tingly now," he said shaking his hand around. Steve was still trying to figure out what Ghost was talking about. Then it came to him...Ghost had twisted the words around. "Oh...did you mean I was turning you on?" he asked.
"Yeah, that's what I said," Ghost grinned. "Cause you are turning on me."
Steve laughed, "You sure have a way with words, ya know. Are you still turned on?"
Ghost thought about it a second, "No, it was just when you were hanging over me. Now, I'm just hungry."
"Ok, then, I'll go make something," Steve said, shaking his head.
Ghost got up to get coffee, and then went outside to the porch swing. Spirit joined him. It was chilly, but the sun was high in the sky. He was trying to block out any thoughts of the night before.
"Hey, it's ready, Dude, come and get it," Steve hollered.
Ghost came to the table, seeing a bowl of what ever it was that Steve had made, in front of him. He stared at it.
"Uh, what is it?" he asked. He could feel his stomach doing slow rolls.
"It's breakfast...eat it, it won't kill you," Steve said, as he dug into his own bowl of the stuff.
Ghost picked up his spoon, and stirred it around.
"Dude, what's the matter? It's grits; you've eaten that all your life."
"Yeah, but not like this." He took a tiny lick off the end of the spoon. "What's this other stuff in it?"
Steve sighed, "It's eggs...boiled eggs...and I put in some molasses for you. I didn't put it in mine, though. That's why mine's still white. It should be everything you like in there. I even put in a splash of your scuppernong wine...for flavor...to give it a fruity tang."
Ghost put his hand over his mouth and ran for the bathroom.
"You didn't even try it," Steve hollered.
When Ghost got back to the kitchen, looking paler than usual, he said, "Sorry, Steve...I just couldn't."
"Fine, you're on your own, then, I'm finished," Steve said, carrying his bowl to the sink.
Ghost found a jar of peanut butter and some bread.
"And, after I slaved over a hot stove..." Steve teased.
"Move over," Ghost said, as he bumped Steve with his hip. "I need to get a knife."
"Whatever..." Steve laughed. He got himself another cup of coffee. "I'm going outside."
Ghost was just finishing eating, when the phone rang, again. Steve came back in, grabbed it and said, "Hello?"
"Steve, this is Terry...where the hell have y'all been? I've tried calling since four o'clock this morning."
"Why...we just got up and had breakfast. Why are you calling so much?" Steve asked. "We never heard the phone ring."
"There was a fire at Kinsey's...after everyone left last night."
"What? How? Was anyone hurt?" Steve paced around the living room
"Everyone's ok, it was just a little one in the kitchen, but there was smoke everywhere, and the fire trucks came out. It was crazy, man," Terry said.
"Ok, we're coming in...see ya in a little while," Steve said.
"What happened?" Ghost asked.
"Fire, over at the club. Nobody's hurt, just a lot of smoke damage. Get ready, we're going over there," Steve said, as he went to get dressed.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing