TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
As Steve and Ghost headed back down the sidewalk to their car, they noticed a few other people outside, now. Some kids were shooting hoops in the school yard, a car drove by, and a guy was raking leaves in his front yard. It was all normal activities for a holiday eve afternoon. In the car, Ghost was still trying to work out something.
"You know and I know there weren't any people around earlier, and now there are, like regular...right?" Ghost said.
"Uh-huh, but I think we found out why," Steve said. "It's because of the Thanksgiving holiday."
"No, not really, Steve. I heard about this other place, this other dimension place, and I think we got into one for a little bit, and now we came out of it."
"What are you talking about?"
Ghost was nodding his head, and looking out the car windows. "It's like the same as here, but a little bit different...at the same time. The door opened, and we went through it, even though we didn't know it, or see it, or even mean to go through. We saw the town empty, and now we're on the right side of the door, so it looks ok again. Ya see?" Ghost said.
"Not really, but I have heard of that. Sounds kind of hocus-pocus to me," Steve said.
"Well, I don't care. I think that's what happened to us." Ghost looked pretty positive about it, so Steve agreed with him, but had his doubts.
"Ok, mystery solved," Steve said. "Now, another thing...Zach said for us to come over at lunch time tomorrow. We don't have to bring anything, but I'm taking some beer, and you could take some of your wine, if you want to."
"Yeah, let's do that," Ghost said. "But, if the store's are all closed, how would we get some?"
"I'll drive by the convenience store, surely they'll be open."
It was open. They both got out and went in. "Hey, guys...y'all are the only customers in here all day," the clerk greeted them. Steve and Ghost gave each other a look.
"See..." Ghost said.
Steve rolled his eyes, "Yeah, I see...I see some beer I'm gonna buy." He walked over to the cooler.
Ghost found his Scuppernong wine, and they met back at the counter. He started to ask the clerk about the strange day, but Steve elbowed him, and shook his head. After they were back in the car, Ghost said, "Why didn't you let me ask him about it?"
"Because we didn't need to get into any long conversation about it. I just want to get home," Steve said.
At home they put the drinks in the refrigerator to keep cold. "I'm gonna write all this stuff down, so I won't forget today. We'll have a record of it," Ghost said.
Steve smiled. "Why don't you do that. You never know, we may need to remember it someday."
"Yeah, I know," Ghost said, getting out his journal. He changed into his soft jersey pants, and tie-dyed t-shirt, and got comfortable on the couch. He began writing.
Steve found the book he'd been reading, and plopped down on the couch, too. The tv was on, the volume was turned low, and they weren't paying much attention to it, but then a news break caught their attention.
Ghost looked up. "What did they say? Turn it up, Steve."
"Hang on, let me find the remote," Steve said, as he felt around the couch cushions, finally finding it. He turned up the sound, and they heard the reporter interviewing a man in Raleigh. "It was the strangest thing I ever heard," he was saying. "Early this morning, before dawn, I heard a couple of loud booms...just outta nowhere...like in the air or something. Then later, people were acting strange. At least in my neighborhood, they were." The reporter continued the information. "It has been the same story in many communities, here in the county. Calls have been coming in all day. We haven't received any word yet, from NOAA officials, confirming the story of loud booms. Seismologists did record a 4.0 earthquake in central North Carolina over night, however. Stay tuned for any late breaking news."
"Ok, Ghost," Steve said, "that's gotta be it...the reason everything is so weird, today." He was getting agitated about it, now.
"Yep, I knew it," Ghost said. "I knew something was off, like not normal. That earthquake opened a crack in space, and everybody fell in through that door, and everything changed for awhile. Now it's getting back like it was." He started writing down all this new information.
"Well, nothing we can do about it, I guess. Just hang on and enjoy the ride of weirdness, while it lasts," Steve said, trying to sound philosophical.
Ghost snorted. "You sound funny, Steve. I don't know what you mean, but you sounded funny." He laughed. He finished his writing, and went to bed.
Steve read his book a little longer, then turned off the tv and lights, and went to bed, too.
The next morning, was cold and gray, and a few snow flakes were falling. The predicted change in weather had arrived. Steve made breakfast, and turned on the heater. "Remind me not to fall down on the steps, again," he told Ghost. They tried to watch the Thanksgiving parades on tv, but the reception was snowy, too.
"When are we going over to Zach's, to eat?" Ghost asked.
"Not much longer...I mean soon," Steve said.
Over at Trevor and Zach's house, preparations for the big dinner had started early. Zach had the turkey baking, and was working on the stuffing. Trevor mostly watched. He'd not had much experience with cooking.
"Hey, Trev, put on some music. I feel like singing, and dancing while I do this," Zach said. He pretended to be a tv chef, explaining how he did this and that. Trevor made sketches of him, in his drawing pad.
"Where did you learn to cook?" Trevor asked.
"Oh, mostly watching tv cooking shows. I was left alone most of the time, when I was a kid. We always had plenty of food in the house, but never any parents, unless they came home and got mad at me for something. So, I experimented. Then Eddy and I'd try things when I was living on my own. It's not hard...I can show you," Zach said.
"Yeah, I'd like that," Trevor said.
Steve and Ghost continued to talk abut the earthquake. "Did you feel any shaking last night, Steve?" Ghost asked.
"No, I was asleep. I don't think it was even big enough to feel, not unless it was right under you."
"But the door opened all the way here, too."
"Well, that's just our idea."
Ghost just gave Steve a look. "You never want to believe in these kind of things, Steve, and then later, you see it's true."
"I know, that's just the way it works for me." Steve was done talking about it, so got his guitar, and began playing a new song he was working on.
After a minute, Ghost said, "I'm going out back to the graveyard. I have to check if anybody was shaken loose." He grabbed his Army jacket, and scarf.
"What are you gonna do if one of the old, dead guys are running around loose out there, Ghost?"
"Umm, guess I'll tell them to go back to their coffin,"
Steve laughed. "Ghost, you're funny. I can see Ghost chasing ghosts around the graveyard."
Ghost shrugged. "Well, ya wanna come watch, then?"
"I'll be out in a few minutes. You go on and get them rounded up first."
"Ok, but don't fall on the steps...it's snowing," Ghost said, as he left out the back door.
Steve watched him go through the back yard, and down the path to the cemetery. "Ghost is something else," he thought. Getting another cup of coffee, he went back to the living room, and tried out a few more chords. It was coming together pretty good.
Ghost went around to all the grave markers...about fifty in all, checking to see if any had turned over, or had any cracks in them.
"Hey, guys...it's me, Ghost. Is everyone ok out here?" Then he was still, listening for any voices. All he got was a peaceful sense...then, very faintly, he heard "thank you, Ghost...thank you, Ghost" several times. Ghost grinned at that. He loved it when he got an answer.
"Ok, guess everyone survived the earthquake...that's good." He brushed some light snow off the tops of the markers. He felt a connection to the civil war dead that were buried here.
Steve had come down to join him. He'd heard the last bit of words Ghost had spoken. This was Ghost in one of his truest forms...communicating, and empathizing with the other side, with ease.
"Hey, Ghost, everyone ok out here?" He came up to where Ghost was standing, putting his arm across Ghost's shoulders. Ghost leaned his head on Steve, and nodded. "Yeah, they're ok. I heard one say thank you. That means a lot to me, Steve. That they care that I come out here, and they're not always feeling so alone...that they like visiting with me. I'm so glad that we live here, so close to them."
"I know, me too," Steve said. "Some people would be scared, living out here, but you've made me see there's nothing to be afraid of...and I thank you for that."
Ghost turned and pulled Steve's face to his, and kissed him. "I love you, Steve, and I'm so thankful you understand me...the things I do. And even when I know you think I'm crazy, I still love you."
Steve put his forehead onto Ghost's, and looked into those amazing blue eyes. "Ghost, I try to understand you, and I learn more every day why I love you. And, the days you drive me crazy, are the days I fall more in love with you. It's the best feeling in the world to know you love me back."
Ghost sighed, contentedly. "Me, too, Steve. I feel safe and warm, with you."
Steve started to remind Ghost of a time...that time...when Ghost did not feel safe from him, for a long time. But Ghost put his finger to Steve's lips..."Shhh...today is all that matters, Steve."
Steve nodded, knowing it was true.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing