TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Ghost plopped down on the couch, as soon as they came in the house. Spirit jumped up in his lap, and as Ghost stroked the soft fur, he asked, "Hey, Steve, did Kinsey say how many CDs and books we sold?"
Steve paused a minute from putting things away. "He didn't say the exact number, but I think it was most of them."
"Oh, good," Ghost said. He continued to watch Steve bustle around the house, but his eyes were closing as he sat there. "I think everyone had a good time, don't you?"
"Yeah, I think so...I know I did, did you?"
"Um-hmm," Ghost mumbled, his eyes completely closed, now.
Steve saw that he'd gone to sleep, and just shook his head. He took off Ghost's boots, then went to get a blanket to throw over him. "Guess you can just stay here for tonight then," he said, covering him and the cat. "Sleep tight, and have only good dreams. He turned out the lights and went to his room to lay down, but found he was still too wired up to sleep. He kept thinking of his sister, and the meeting in the morning.
She'll say things...I'll say things...well, duh...of course we'll say things...
It was what they'd each have to say, that was making him anxious. Getting out of bed, he went into the kitchen for some milk, hoping it would help calm him down...help him unwind. As he passed through the living room, he saw that Ghost was still sleeping soundly. He was surprised. Usually it was Ghost who was restless. He could fall asleep anywhere, but staying asleep was rare.
He didn't turn on the light in the kitchen; he just got his glass of milk, drinking it as he looked out the window over the sink. Out here in the woods, the night always seemed so much darker, with no city lights to interfere. He kept trying to get his thoughts in order...what he'd say, and ask tomorrow...with his sister...his sister... He liked saying that, and smiled.
Gazing out across the darkened cemetery, something caught his attention...a pinprick of light...a movement? He squinted, trying to focus as he stared harder at the spot. There...there it was again...a flash of light, just a tiny spark, and then it was gone. His heart began to pound. There it was again, in a different spot...and he shivered. Was he imagining things?
He wanted to wake Ghost up, to come and see it, but he hesitated. It was probably nothing, and Ghost would say it was just the spirits of the old guys that lived there. Well, what if it really was, and he'd actually seen one? He swiped his arm across his upper lip, where a cold sweat had broken out. He knew he'd seen something, the light, but no shapes he could make out.
A stray thought came to him...I need to go out there...to find out... "No, hell no..." he said aloud. "I'm not going out there." He turned from the window. "Aiii," he hollered, as he came face to face with Ghost. "What the hell, Ghost? You scared the crap out of me," Steve said.
Ghost didn't say anything at all...and his expression was a blank. Steve backed up against the counter. Something wasn't right...something strange was going on here.
"Ghost? What's the matter?" he asked.
Still, Ghost said nothing, but walked slowly toward the back door. He opened it and stepped out into the night. Steve didn't like it...didn't like it at all. He started to follow Ghost, but something made him turn back toward the living room, to look at the couch. He screamed, when he saw Ghost lying there on the couch, still asleep, as before.
This is not real...this can't be real...why are there two Ghosts?... He looked at the open back door, then back to the couch...impossible...
Finally, he did follow the weird Ghost into the back yard. He was moving toward the graveyard. Steve followed quietly. Up ahead of them, he saw the little light flashing on and off, just hovering over the headstones. Ghost went right up to it. The little light grew brighter, illuminating Ghost's face.
As Steve watched, Ghost held his arms up to the light, then slowly dissolved in an ethereal, swirling mist. The light was gone, and so was Ghost, leaving the graveyard silent, and dark. Steve shuddered, and backed away, stumbling on the uneven ground. Then he turned and ran for the house, feeling as if some spook would reach out and grab him.
There was no moon to light the well-worn path, but it didn't matter. He'd been this way so many times, he had no trouble now, as he ran. Banging into the back door, the screen slamming shut behind him, he made sure he shut and locked the wooden door. Then, panting, he eased himself over to the living room doorway, to see if Ghost would still be there on the couch. The only light in the house was from the salt lamp on the hall table, but it was enough to see that Ghost was still there...in fact had not seemed to have moved at all.
As he stared, he could see that Ghost looked funny...sort of shimmery. He shook his head, and blinked a few times, trying to clear his vision. Was his eyes playing tricks on him? Ghost looked a bit wavy, crinkly, now. Shutting his eyes again, he thought he must be hallucinating, or dreaming, or something...he didn't know what, but he was shaking all over.
He moaned deep in his throat, as he now saw the second Ghost again, hovering above the real Ghost. This is not happening...not...happening... yet even as he stared, the unreal Ghost seemed to be sucked right into real Ghost's body, disappearing. The shimmering was gone, too.
As he was still rooted to the spot, unable to move, or to process what he'd just seen, Ghost stirred, rolled over, and mumbled something...just like he always did in his sleep. Steve cautiously walked over to the couch. He bent down, but hesitated a second...a bit of fear touching him. This is stupid...I'm not afraid of Ghost...
He did finally reach out, touching Ghost, shaking his shoulder to wake him. "Ghost, wake up. You have to wake up," he kept saying.
"What...Steve? What is it?" Ghost said, still half asleep.
"Are you...are you, you?" Steve asked, his voice wavering.
"Huh?" Ghost sat up, yawning, and pushing his hair out of his eyes.
"Are you, you? Is the other one in there with you, now?" Steve kept on.
"You're not making sense, Steve," Ghost said. "Is who, in where?"
Steve took a deep breath, trying to think how to explain. "Ghost, how can there be two of you?"
"There's two of me?"
"Yeah, I saw two of you, just now. How did you do that?"
"Where am I? Where was I?" Ghost said, still confused.
"I saw you asleep right here, and I saw you come in the kitchen and you went out to the graveyard. You did something weird with a ball of light, and then you went back into yourself...right here on the couch," Steve said. "Now, what the hell was that? You better explain, 'cause I'm freaking out already."
Ghost thought a minute. "Um...I did have a dream, Steve. It was kinda weird, and I was outside talking to the spirits...but it was nice...not scary at all."
"Then what the hell was I looking at, Ghost? Your dream? Is that what I was seeing, with my own eyes? Or am I asleep right now, dreaming all this craziness up?" Steve said, getting upset.
"Steve, I think you saw me have an out of body experience. It mostly happens when I'm asleep, but I know how to do it when I'm awake. And, you just happened to actually see it. That's so cool." Ghost said.
"Cool? You call that cool, Ghost? That's totally freaky, dude. You say you go walking around out of your body, all the time?" He stood up, frowning. "How, why? Geeze, Ghost, it scared the shit outta me. Don't do it any more, ok?"
Ghost laughed. "I don't usually do it on purpose, Steve. I can sometimes see myself asleep, while my spirit roams around, but it always comes back. It feels really weird, but it's not scary. You can do it, too. If ya want, I can show ya how."
Steve stared at him. "No, absolutely not...never...uh-uh...don't ever do that to me. And, I don't ever want to see you do it, either, no more." He looked closer at Ghost. "Are you sure you're back together now?" He ran his hands over Ghost's arms, face, and legs. "You're all in there, like normal?"
"Yeah, pretty sure I am," Ghost said. "Oh, wait..." he pretended to grab something from the air. "There's my ear...it didn't make it back." He laughed, again.
"Stop it...quit laughing. It's not funny to me, Ghost. What if something happened, and for real you couldn't get back in there. What then? Huh? You just tell me that."
"I'm sorry for teasing, Steve," Ghost said. He sighed. "I guess I'd be dead for real, and my spirit me would walk around haunting the place. That would be pretty fun, too."
"Fine, just make jokes, then. You and yourself have fun...I'm going back to bed." Steve stomped off to his bedroom and shut the door.
Shrugging, Ghost lay back down. Steve got in his bed, forcing himself to think of nothing, and he did finally go to sleep. There were no more disturbances in the night.
When Steve awoke and came into the kitchen, the next morning, he saw Ghost already making coffee. He took a moment to watch him. The strange events of the night before, swirled around in his mind. This Ghost looks real enough...he's doing normal things...
Before he could take a step into the kitchen, though, Ghost turned around to face him. He looked sad, blinking back a few tears that had sprung from his eyes. "Steve, don't be afraid of me. I am real. I'm not your imagination. I can't bear that you are scared to touch me now. I'm not gonna disappear." He began sobbing. "Please?" he whispered.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing