TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
As Ghost went outside, Spirit dashed out with him, hoping to chase any moths that might be flying around the light coming from the windows. It was an unusually warm night for the middle of November, in Missing Mile. It was already dark, even this early in the evening. Ghost walked down to the far end of the driveway, to better see the first stars start twinkling.
His vision adapted to the darkness, and he began to see the constellations take shape. The big dipper, the North star, Orion, Sirius...he knew them all, and where they were in the night sky in each season. He'd always felt connected to them, somehow, and had a need to greet the night, just as he welcomed the rising sun, as often as he could. It re-energized him, being out in nature.
Ghost inhaled, taking in the Christmassy fragrance of the pine trees. He held up his arm, pointing to a star. As he squinched up his eye, it seemed as if he could touch it.
Steve had only dozed off for a few minutes, so after waking, he went outside to join Ghost. He leaned on the porch railing, watching Ghost. He could barely make out the pale figure, in the distance, but saw him raise his arm up to the sky, as if he was talking to the heavens. He'd seen Ghost do this many times before, but never got tired of it. To him, Ghost did look like an apparition, and it moved him every time.
He walked out to be with Ghost. "Hey, show me the stars, Ghost," he said, his voice soft.
Ghost smiled, and began naming them, and he held up Steve's arm, so he could point at them, too.
"How do you know all this stuff?" He was truly astounded at Ghost's knowledge of things other worldly.
"It's just inside me, Steve," Ghost said. "It's like I just know it. I can't explain it." He paused for a second, and sighed. "Sometimes I think I'm from somewhere else. It's like up there is real, and here is a dream, and someday I'll wake up and remember all this here, and think I'd been living in a dream down here for years and years." He smiled at the thought. "It pulls at me, ya know, wanting me to come back to my real home...to wake up. And, I know it's you up there with me. It's you that's begging me to wake up, 'cause something must have happened to make me go to sleep. We're both there, but we're both here, living in this here dream world." He sighed, again.
"Sometimes I wish that was a true story. It's a nice story, don't ya think so, Steve?"
"Mmm-hmm." Steve hugged Ghost, and whispered in his ear, "It's a real nice story, Ghost."
But, inside, Steve was freaking out at this story. It couldn't be true, could it? He'd thought for years, that maybe Ghost was from somewhere else, when he'd catch glimpses of Ghost's knowing things he couldn't possibly have known. It was so impossible, yet it gave him so much to think about. .
Ghost, from the very beginning had always seemed like a stranger in a strange land...not quite wholly in either world...and he could easily cross from one to the other.
Steve shivered. "It's getting chilly, let's go inside." He took Ghost's hand, as they walked back to the house.
Back at the Sacred Yew, Kinsey had told Terry, Trevor, and Zach, that Ghost and Steve weren't coming. "Guess we'll have to do this another time," he said.
"Why aren't they coming?"
Kinsey shrugged, "They didn't really say, just that they were tired, and would see us later...and they were tired of talking about the séance."
"But, I still have questions," Trevor said.
"Well, you should have made that note you left say we were calling a meeting," Zach said. "Not just you needed to talk to Ghost."
"Well, if there's no business to conduct, guys, I'm going home," Terry said, getting up from the table. "Let me know if there's another meeting time."
"Well, that's that, then," Kinsey said. "Y'all going to stay here tonight?"
"We might as well," Zach said. "Our room is cleaned up, and we washed all the clothes, so yeah...and I'm heading up there, now. "Nite, Kinsey."
"Yeah, me too," Trevor said. They went up the stairs, and Kinsey heard the door shut and lock.
"Huh, now what?" he said to himself. He was disappointed that the meeting got cancelled. It was still fairly early evening, at least for the usual hours that he kept. He walked around the club, making sure the doors were locked, and everything shut off in the kitchen and office. He didn't much like the quiet of his club. It needed music, and people, and noise.
He'd thought about retirement a time or two, but if it was boring like this night, he knew he'd go crazy. As he went upstairs to his apartment, he passed by Zach and Trevor's room. He could hear them talking and laughing about something. He smiled...at least he wasn't totally alone in this lonely club.
Morning came, and Ghost and Steve actually woke early. They both got bowls of cereal to eat in front of the tv. Ghost turned it on, hoping some channels would come through good enough to see.
"Hey, look, Steve...it's on, and it's clear today."
"I think all of them," Ghost said, as he flipped through their usual three.
"Cool," Steve said, as he watched. There was a local Raleigh news program on, and a kid's show, and a classic sit-com channel. They watched a few minutes of the news, but it was too depressing, hearing about crime, wrecks, and the crop report, so switched to the retro program. As they watched, and finished eating, Steve asked, "Hey, what is today?"
"How should I know," Ghost said. "It's a day like all the other ones, I guess. Why ya wanna know?"
"'Cause it feels like something was supposed to happen today," Steve said. He hobbled back into the kitchen to look at the calendar that was hanging on the wall by the back door. "Oh, no...that's today?" he said as he saw the red circle around the date.
"Ghost, my doctor's appointment is today. What time was I supposed to be there, shit, I can't remember," Steve said, all flustered, now.
"Well, call them and ask," Ghost said.
Steve grabbed his phone to make the call. As he ended the call, he hopped on one leg, down the hallway, saying, "Get in the car, Ghost, we have to hurry. My appointment is just an hour from now. We gotta go...where's my keys?" He hopped back into the living room, only to see Ghost laughing. "Don't just sit there, get dressed...we'll never make it in time."
"Steve, stop hopping around. You're gonna fall and break your other leg."
"Well, go get ready...you can't go in your underwear," Steve said.
"Neither can you," Ghost said. He was still laughing as he went to find clothes to put on.
"Oh, yeah..." Steve said, hopping into his room to get dressed. He flung clothes around, muttering to himself.
Ghost got ready, without hurrying, and was waiting by the front door, by the time Steve came out. "Here's your crutches," he said, as he handed them to Steve.
Steve drove them down the highway to Raleigh, at his usual speed, which took them about twenty minutes, instead of the normal thirty it should have been.
"We made it..." Steve said, taking a breath. He felt he'd been holding it the whole way.
They went into the hospital, and spent only minutes in the waiting room, before being called back to be examined. Ghost went back with him.
"Hey, Doc, can I get this cast off, now?" Steve asked.
"Well, we're going to take it off, then we'll see how your leg is doing. We need to x-ray it, to see if the bone has grown back together," the doctor said. He got his cast removal saw, and began. Steve watched him, as he worked, and wasn't afraid he'd get cut. He'd had his arm cast cut off several years before.
Ghost had been through it, too, for his wrist cast, the past summer, but still didn't want to watch. He covered his eyes, but kept peeking through his fingers, anyway.
Soon, the doctor brought in the portable x-ray machine and took a picture. As Steve waited for the results, he and Ghost looked at Steve's leg.
"It looks funny," Ghost said.
"Yeah, I know, so did my arm, that time. It'll go back to normal."
The waiting was taking forever, it seemed, so Ghost prowled around the small room, looking at things. There was a poster on the wall, depicting symptoms of strokes, and when you should see a doctor if you experience them.
"I think I probably have these all the time," Ghost said, then read them aloud to Steve.
"No, you don't have strokes, Ghost, you have seizures once in awhile."
"But, all this is what happens to me," Ghost frowned.
"Well, it's not the same, and knock on wood it never is," Steve said, even though some of the symptoms did seem to fit Ghost's problems.
After another few minutes, the doctor came back in. He had the x-ray films, which he put up on a lighted screen mounted on the wall. "Ok, let's see," he said. He studied it a minute, and pointed out where the break had been, and how it was now fused together. "Well, Steve, looks like it healed just fine, so no more cast. Let's see if you can put some weight on that leg, and try to walk."
Steve carefully stood up, holding the edge of the examining table to steady himself. "Hey, it's not as easy as I thought it would be," he said. He practiced walking around the room.
"You may need to keep using the crutches a little longer, until you're more sure of yourself," the doctor said, "but, gradually, you'll be just as strong in that leg as you were before."
"It sure feels lighter, now" Steve said. "I thought it'd be easier when I got it off, though.'
"Nothing to worry about, Steve," the doctor said. "Just take it slow a few days, and now you're ready to go."
"Thanks, Doctor. You ready to go, Ghost?"
"Yeah, let's go."
They walked out to the parking lot, then headed for home. "You still want to go in to the studio, when we get back," Steve asked.
"Yeah, and do our surprise," Ghost said.
When they reached the house, Ghost jumped out of the car, and went in to get Steve's guitar, and the two surprise envelopes.
"How are we gonna do this? If we're at Terry's place, we should get Kinsey to come over there, so we can give them these prizes at the same time, don't 'cha think?" Ghost asked. "But, how do we get him to come over there without telling him why?"
"We just call him up, and say get over there...easy" Steve said.
"I can't wait to see their faces, when they open them, can you?" Ghost asked. He was getting excited about it.
"I know, me too," Steve said. "Let's do our business stuff first, though. Hide those envelopes in your backpack, or something, ok?"
"Ok," Ghost said. He smiled as he put them away.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing