TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
The diner in Missing Mile had opened early, and a few regular customers were already there, sipping their first cups of coffee, and opening newspapers. They all looked up, as the whole gang came in. Everyone knew them, and said hey, then went back to their breakfasts. They did steal glances at the motley group, though, as they situated themselves around a large booth in the corner of the room. Most figured this crew had been up partying all night, but were surprised that Kinsey was among them. He was the elder, and a respected business owner in town.
Terry was known as the town's aging hippie, and no one was surprised to see him hanging with the younger crowd, as they all played gigs together. Zach and Trevor were the newcomers to town, but were fitting in pretty good here. Of course Ghost and Steve were well known, and their up and down relationship was always a source for gossip.
This morning, they all looked bleary eyed, and scraggly, and Ghost's hair and shirt was soaking wet, and they all smelled of sage. They seemed oblivious to the stares, though, and were in a noisy, talkative mood. They ordered pancakes and coffee, all around.
Catching bits of their conversation, the onlookers heard things that didn't seem to fit together...
"Do you remember anything, Ghost?"
"Did you hear that horrible scream?"
"What was that black shadowy thing?"
"Is it really gone?"
"Are we gonna tear the house down, now?"
The waitress brought their food to the table, and everyone got quiet, as they ate...they were starving.
"I never used my pancake word," Ghost said, as he took a bite of his pancakes.
Trevor nodded, "Yeah, I didn't have to use mine either," he said.
"Dude, you were scaring the crap outta me," Terry said. He could laugh about it now. "You were saying all kinds of crazy stuff in those weird voices. How did you do that?"
"Did you know what you were saying?" asked Zach.
Ghost shook his head, "No, I wasn't there. It was the evil demon talking through me."
"Where were you?" Kinsey asked. "There for a few minutes, we couldn't even see you. What did you see, and did you feel weird?" Kinsey asked.
"Well, at first I felt like something was pushing me...then nothing, until Trevor tried to chop me with the big knife. Then I saw what looked like a black tornado. Did y'all see it, too?"
"Yeah, we saw it, and we didn't see you anymore," Zach said.
"Well, I was there, and I grabbed Steve, and..." Ghost said.
"So you're the one that grabbed me? Man, I thought it was the black cloud," Steve said.
Terry laughed at that. "Dude, you screamed like a little girl."
"I know I did, and you would, too, if that thing came after you."
"Ok, then it made us see a black tornado, instead of me," Ghost said.
"You said awful stuff, too," Kinsey said
"It wasn't me, it was the evil," Ghost said, again. "Anyway, did y'all get some answers...is it all cleared up, now?"
"Yeah, finally...I think I can let it go now, and like you said, I can go on and make the rest of my life whatever I want to," Trevor said.
"Ok, guys, I'm beat," said Kinsey. "I'm going home. There's still lots to do to clean up the club, but I have to go to sleep for a long time, now. See y'all another day." he smiled. "Oh, and I'm paying for all this. Later, guys." He went to the counter, paid the bill, and went on home.
"Are y'all going back to the house?" Steve asked.
"Not today," Trevor said. "I've had enough of that place. You ready to go crash at the motel, Zach?"
"Definitely, let's go," Zach said.
Terry, Steve and Ghost were left at the table. Ghost's eyes were closing, and he kept nodding off, and jerking awake.
"Hey, Steve," Terry said, "I got some of that good weed at the house. Y'all want to relax a bit before ya head home?"
Steve looked down at Ghost, who'd leaned against his shoulder. "Naw, this one looks relaxed enough. Gonna get him home, but we'll take a rain check, ok?"
"Yeah, sure thing...and I'm taking myself home, too...maybe get a little more relaxed before I crash. See y'all later," Terry said. He ruffled Ghost's hair, "Ya did good, kid." He smiled, and headed for the door.
Steve got up, and pulled Ghost up, leading him toward the door. "C'mon, Ghost...time to go home. Thanks for breakfast," he said to the waitress as they left.
As soon as they went out the door, the other customers all started talking about the interesting morning at the diner.
Steve got Ghost into the car, then drove on down the highway to their little house in the woods. He planned on getting Ghost to bed, and feeding the cat, then sleeping the rest of the day. He was wiped out. As he drove the last few miles to the house, he kept thinking of what they'd done. He was still wired up from it, and even as tired as he was, he wasn't sure he could go to sleep, yet. Ghost was already lulled to sleep by the warmth of the sun shining through the car windows, and the movement of the car. He drove into their driveway.
We're home, Ghost," he said, shaking Ghost awake. "Let's get inside. Spirit is probably hungry. Then we can go to sleep."
"Ok, I'm coming," He scooted across the big car seat, and out the door. Steve grabbed their supplies, and they went inside. Spirit wound around their ankles, meowing.
"Hey, kitty, we're back...are you hungry?" Ghost asked. He went to get the cat some food, and a bottle of water for himself. He gulped it down, as he went down the hall to his bedroom. As he took off his still slightly damp clothes, Steve came in and stopped short.
"Oh, my God, Ghost. Look at you. Did you see that? Does it hurt?"
"What...see what?" Ghost asked.
"You're all scratched up, on your chest and back...turn around...there's marks all over you, Ghost. What the hell happened?"
Ghost looked down at himself, seeing long scratch marks, some oozing tiny beads of blood, some just raw and red. He looked at Steve in confusion. He was scared. "Steve, what is it...make it go away." He ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror, and to get a wet rag to wash off the blood.
"Don't you feel that...doesn't it hurt?" Steve asked, as he dabbed at the marks on Ghost's back.
"I didn't feel anything, until now...now they sting."
"Here, let me put some medicine on them," Steve said, as he got some antibiotic ointment from the medicine cabinet.
"It must have been the evil spirit that did this, when I was gone...or something...but, I didn't know it. It must have been really mad at me for telling it to leave. Do you think so?"
"Sounds weird to me," Steve said, "but, I don't have any other explanation for it."
"Well, I don't like it, but I'm glad we did it," Ghost said. "I'm just glad it's over, and this is all it did to me...to us, ya know?"
"Do ya think anyone else got scratches?" Steve asked, as he checked himself for them. "I don't have any, but maybe Trevor?"
"We'll ask him when we see him again," Steve said. He was finished putting the ointment on. "Well, that's all I can do for it right now, but if anything gets worse with these, I'll take you to the doctor."
"Ok, but right now I'm tired of thinking about it. I gotta go to bed," Ghost said, going back into the bedroom. "You going to bed, yet?"
"Well, I don't feel sleepy yet, but I'll snuggle with you for awhile. Maybe I'll go to sleep, too," Steve said. He locked the front door, and got into the bed with Ghost, giving him a hug and a long, tender kiss. He was hoping to get something started, but Ghost was already asleep. "Maybe later," Steve said, and he did fall asleep.
Trevor and Zach had gone back to the motel to crash. Instead of going right to sleep, though, Trevor wanted to talk about all that had happened.
"Zach, do you really think it worked? I mean, I feel like it did, and Ghost put on a good show...but, was it just a show? Maybe he can manipulate our minds, like he can read our minds...so maybe he just made us think it was real," Trevor said. "What do you think?"
"Why are you questioning it, Trev? It was real...at least it felt real. Yeah, I was scared of that black cloud thing for real," Zach said. "And besides, Ghost wouldn't trick us, I don't think. He's pretty honest, and well...not to put him down or anything...I like him a lot, but he's kinda...well, he don't seem all that smart. He wouldn't know how to pull a scam on us. I think he was scared, too. It all happened like it did, and we either accept it or not." He shrugged, "That is, until we have proof otherwise."
Trevor nodded. "Yeah, I see what you're saying, but how could he just disappear? When I was swinging that machete at him, he was just gone. That don't make any sense."
"I know, Trev, but he didn't for real disappear, he couldn't have. It was just that thing got all in the way, and made us see it instead of Ghost," Zach said. "I'm confused as hell. I can't explain it...it just happened. We all saw the same thing."
"I know, but now we have to go back in there. We have to make sure, but I'm not looking forward to it," Trevor said.
"Why? Just bulldoze the place down, and be done with it. There's no need to go back in."
"Yeah, but I'd always wonder," Trevor said.
Zach shook his head, "Dude, you're just inviting trouble."
"So, are you coming with me when I go in...like maybe tomorrow?" Trevor said, smiling.
"Yeah, you know I'll do it, too" Zach sighed. "Then, for sure we can forget it, and look for another place to live."
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing