TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
To banish the demon for good, Ghost had made that last, extreme psychic push with his thoughts. He felt as if something had short-circuited in his brain. An electrical shock burst through his head, leaving him numb, and with no thoughts at all. Now, he was getting some feeling back, and his memory was returning, a little at a time, but he couldn't yet speak. He just had to sit there on the floor, with unfocused eyes, and saliva dripping from his still numb mouth.
Zach started to ask Ghost something, when he noticed. "Ghost...what's wrong? Steve, what's wrong with Ghost?"
Steve looked over at Ghost, but it took him a second to react, as he was still in shock, from shooting at Trevor. He shook himself, to remember what was going on. "Ghost?" He reached over to him. "Can you hear me...what's wrong?" Steve took Ghost's hand and squeezed hard, and Ghost did squeeze back.
"Ghost, say something...what is it? C'mon, it's over and we're all ok." He wiped Ghost's mouth off, then held Ghost's face in his hands, staring into his eyes.
"Steve?" Ghost's breathy voice could barely be heard. "Steve, I feel numb all over...except my head is pounding." His words were slurred.
"Zach, go get me a wet cloth, and some water," Steve said. "It's gonna be ok...you'll be fine in a few minutes, Ghost." He bathed Ghost's face with the wet cloth Zach had brought.
This revived him a little more, and he was focusing now. "Is it gone, now?" Ghost asked.
"Yes, you made it go away, and we all helped. We saw it leave, and it's gone for good. It's dead and will never hurt us again." Steve was saying all this, hoping it was true.
Trevor had been watching them, then noticed something on Ghost's t-shirt. "Uh, Steve, I don't want to scare you, but look at Ghost's shirt. I think it's blood."
"What?" Steve looked at Ghost's midsection. "Oh, my God," he said. He didn't want to alarm Ghost, but he was afraid to look underneath, and knew he had to. Taking a shaky breath, he raised up Ghost's shirt. There were fresh scratch marks on his skin. Some were long and deep, others more like punctures, and all were oozing blood. Steve had to take another deep breath, to keep from passing out. The thing had taken one last swipe at Ghost.
Steve tried to keep his voice steady. "Ghost, you've been scratched, again. I'm going to wash you off, and put antiseptic on it, ok? It'll sting, but just for a second." He went into the bathroom to get what he needed. Then, as gently as he could, he tended to the wounds. Ghost didn't yelp, but squinched his eyes closed.
"Guys, I don't know what to say, or to do, now," Steve said. "This whole thing has been crazy, and I know I need to take some time to get over it all. I have to see that Ghost gets some rest, so I'm taking him to bed, now. Y'all can stay if you want to. I'm glad y'all came out here to help us." As he helped Ghost to his feet, he noticed his own leg was hurting from so much activity.
"Trevor, I think we should stay here tonight," Zach said. "I don't feel right about leaving them out here alone. Their phone is broke, and if they needed help, there wouldn't be any way to call." He sighed, looking at Trevor. "And, actually, I'm kinda scared to go off down that dark road, ya know?"
Trevor agreed. "I know, me neither. Guess we'll have safety in numbers then."
"Ok with you, Steve, if we camp out here on the couch?" Zach asked.
"Yeah, I was hoping y'all would stay," Steve said. "Y'all don't have to be out here on the couch, though. I'm staying in with Ghost, and y'all can have my room."
Zach smiled. "Ok, then, it's settled."
"Can you see if the door will close and lock, Zach?" Steve asked.
"Sure, Steve, and let's hope we all feel better about things in the morning."
As Steve helped Ghost down the hall to the bedroom, Zach was able to shut the front door. He and Trevor went on into Steve's bedroom, closing that door too.
Before turning out the light, Trevor and Zach sat on the bed, talking over everything that had happened. "You sure you're ok," Zach asked. He smoothed Trevor's long hair back from his face. It had come loose from the ponytail he usually wore it in.
"Yeah, I'm fine, Zach. I feel like it really is over...thanks to Ghost."
"Me too, and I hope when the house is bulldozed in the morning, that there won't be anything else crazy going on," Zach said.
"I think it's just a regular, run-down house, now. A sad reminder of all that happened in there. And, I don't need that, anymore."
"I know, but there was some good in there, too," Zach said. He grinned, remembering those times. "That's where we met each other...and where we fell in love, and well...you know..."
"Yeah, I know," Trevor said, and gave Zach a kiss. "Come to bed, Zach. I need you to hold me."
Zach grinned, and got up to turn off the light. They snuggled down into Steve's unfamiliar bed, and it felt a little naughty, a little erotic, to be making love in a strange bed, in a strange house, with the owner's right in the next room. They tried to be quiet, but in their passion, it was impossible.
Steve had examined Ghost's scratches more closely. There were marks both front and back, even a couple of smaller ones on his cheek. Most had stopped bleeding, now. He put a fresh t-shirt on him, then helped ease Ghost into the bed. Ghost was compliant, still a bit out of it, and let Steve do what he had to do.
"Ghost, you gonna be ok? Are you feeling any better...tell me the truth, now."
"Yeah, I'll be ok. I'm just so tired, and my head still hurts." He sniffled, as tears fell from his eyes. "I was so scared, Steve. I don't ever want to fight demons again. Don't let me, ok?" He sighed. "I still feel weird, too, like numb and tingly, and I can't think good. But, I'm glad it's over, and that I did help them like I promised."
"Ghost, I'm sure the weird feelings will get better, I mean, go away. You just need to rest and get your energy built up again. I know I hear you saying all this, but I can't imagine what it really must feel like, to you...what it feels like to be you. But, I swear I did see that thing, and it was evil. I'm proud of you for giving everything in your power to fight it and get rid of it."
"Thank you, Steve. It was so hard, but guess it was worth it. Hey, now we can add Demon Destroyers to our list of shit we do...you know Vampire Slayers, and who knows what will be next," Ghost said, and laughed.
Steve laughed too, but mostly that Ghost was cracking a joke, and laughing at it. He closed his eyes and said a quick, silent prayer, that the angels watch over Ghost always, and for the miracle that brought Ghost into his life.
He opened his eyes to find Ghost's deep blue eyes staring into his own. "I love you, Steve. That was a nice prayer, and I pray the same about you."
Steve caught his breath, then hugged Ghost, being careful of the scratches. He reached over and turned out the lamp.
It was quiet in the darkened house. Then from the other bedroom, Steve and Ghost could hear Trevor and Zach. Steve nuzzled the back of Ghost's neck, and let the pale hair cover his face, as they lay front to back. "That will be us, soon," said Steve.
"Yeah, I'm glad they're happy," said Ghost.
During the night, the wind started blowing. A cold front had moved in, bringing a smattering of rain drops, and knocking down more dried leaves onto the house. Branches from the trees closest to the house, scraped against the roof, and a mournful whistling sound came from the back room, through a cracked window.
"What is it, Zach?"
"Just the wind. Every house has it's own sounds at night. Don't worry about it," Zach said.
"Ok, I guess if they aren't alarmed, then we shouldn't be," Trevor said, then went back to sleep.
Zach, however, lay awake awhile longer, just listening. The house creaked, and it seemed to grow colder in the room. He could hear Steve snoring, and Ghost kept talking in his sleep...nonsense words, from what he could make out. "Those two are a strange pair," he thought, "but, loyal to the death, to each other." He felt the same for Trevor, and hoped it was returned.
Ghost actually woke first, just as dawn was breaking. Through the trees, he could see it getting lighter, even though it was still cloudy and chilly outside. He'd made a pot of coffee, and now was wrapped in a soft blanket, out on the porch swing. Steve was still sound asleep. After a bit, the strong coffee aroma woke Trevor, and he couldn't resist. He told Zach he was going to get some.
"Do ya think they have any juice out there?" Zach asked, still unable to drink coffee.
"I'll check," Trevor said. In the kitchen he poured himself a mug of the hot coffee, and looked in the refrigerator. There was a carton of orange juice, so he poured a glass for Zach.
"Oh, good, thanks," Zach said, reaching for it. "Where's Steve and Ghost?"
"I think Steve is still asleep, and the front door is open, so I guess Ghost is out there. I'm going outside, too. He grabbed a blanket off the bed.
"I'll be out soon," Zach said.
Coming out on the porch, Trevor did see Ghost, sitting in the swing. "Morning," he said.
"Morning always comes after the stars go to sleep," Ghost said.
"Uh, yeah I guess it does," Trevor said, still not used to Ghost's way of talking. "Coffee's good."
"Yeah, I have to have it, too," Ghost said.
"Did you hear the wind blowing through the window, last night?" Trevor asked, trying to make conversation. He knew he himself had a hard time talking to people, but felt a connection to Ghost, in some ways, starting with the crush he had on Ghost, when they first met. So now, it was a bit awkward.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing