TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve was in the kitchen, getting more coffee, when Linda and Ghost came back inside. "I'm awake for real, this time," he said, and laughed.
Ghost had gone over to the cabinet, to get out things to start cooking breakfast. Steve came up behind him, giving him a hug. "Hey, Ghost...pancakes today?" he asked, as he nuzzled Ghost's neck.
"Yeah, and Linda and me got to talk, and she let me loose, 'cause you forgot," Ghost said.
"Oh, right...did you explain?" Steve asked, remembering the handcuffs.
"He explained," Linda said. "Let's go sit down, Steve, while Ghost is cooking, ok?"
They went out to sit on the couch in the living room. "After lunch, I want you to drive me back to Kinsey's," Linda said. "I need to pack my things for going home, then I can come back here for a little while longer."
"Sure, no problem," Steve said.
"There's a plan in place," she said. "It's supposed to be random, but I need you to go along with whatever I say later, ok?"
"Huh? What kind of plan," Steve asked. "Oh...something Ghost put together?"
"Yeah, Steve, he wants it to be a surprise, so this plan is how we worked it out."
"Ok, then, we'll do it."
Ghost yelled out from the kitchen, "Hey, come eat, now." He had stacks of pancakes ready, along with bacon and eggs, and had set out molasses and honey on the table.
As they filled their plates, and began eating, Linda said, "These are delicious, Ghost. You're a really good cook."
"Thanks...and when you move here, I can make a lot of other stuff, too. You'll like it," Ghost said.
"Hey, Ghost, when are we doing our presents?" Steve asked. "And, we have to give our gifts to Kinsey, and Terry, and Zach, and Trevor, too."
"Later...we'll do ours later, Steve," Ghost said, trying not to blurt out the surprise before it was time. "We can do theirs tonight when we all go over there, ok?"
Steve nodded. "Sure, that's fine. I need to take Linda over there after lunch, so she can get her things packed up, anyway, so when we get back, we'll do ours. Does that sound good?"
"Um-hmm...that's good," Ghost said, but was feeling nervous about it, and was fidgeting with the salt and pepper shakers. He glanced up at Linda, and she gave him a wink. Steve pretended not to see.
"So, if we're going to hand out presents tonight, I guess I better wrap them up first, right?" Steve asked.
"Oh, yeah...me too," Ghost said.
Linda got up from the table, to begin clearing the dishes off. "You guys go tend to your present wrapping. I'm doing the dishes," she said.
Ghost poured one more cup of coffee, and took it down the hallway to his room, eager to get started wrapping.
Steve picked up a few dishes and carried them to the sink.
"No, you go on, Steve, I'm fine with these," Linda said, shooing him out of the kitchen.
"Ok, Sis...thanks," Steve said, then went to get his gifts from his room.
Ghost stuck his head out of his bedroom to holler at Steve, "Hey, what do we use? Do we have any paper?"
"Look in the back room...I think I put some in there, and when you find it, come out here, we'll wrap on the coffee table," Steve said.
Steve hadn't known what to get their friends for Christmas, but the day he'd gone to get Ghost's gift, he'd looked around Raleigh, to get some ideas. Then, when he'd gone to the jeweler, he hit upon the idea to get them all the same thing...a key chain. He took a little while to think up an individual design for each of them, and had the jeweler make them. All were unique. Terry's was a drum set, Kinsey's was a replica of the wood-carved door to the club, a Yew tree, Zach's was a microphone, and Trevor's was an etched, single panel of one of his comics. They were made of gold, and each had a small diamond embedded on them.
He arranged them all on the coffee table, to show Ghost and Linda. "Ya coming back anytime soon, Ghost?" he hollered.
"Yeah, I'm coming," Ghost yelled back, as he stumbled out of the back room, carrying rolls of wrapping paper. He managed to get most of the way down the hall, without dropping any, but then tripped, and rolls of paper went flying, as he himself landed on the floor. "Well, shit," he said, sitting up, rubbing his elbows.
Steve was laughing. "You ok?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," Ghost said, crawling around the floor, gathering up the paper.
Linda had come in, and was helping. She noticed the back room door was still open, so she walked back there to close it. She did peek in, first, though. Taking a step inside the doorway, she was amazed at what she saw. There were lots of boxes on the floor, holding clothes and household extras, and then the many shelves, crammed full of Ghost's grandmother's herbs, potions, and vials of ancient stock. The room had a dusty, spicy smell to it. The one small window, didn't let in much light, as it was draped in cobwebs. She had no doubt this room could tell many stories.
Quickly, she came out, shutting the door behind her. She had an overwhelming urge to run...like something might grab at her. She did walk fast, back to the living room, and she sat on the couch, pulling up her feet.
"What's the matter, Linda?" Steve asked, noticing how pale she looked, now.
"That room...I looked in...it scared me," she said.
"Oh, yeah...it is pretty spooky back there. We don't like it either, and sometimes we see things. That's probably why Ghost tripped. It didn't like Ghost taking the paper out of there," Steve explained.
Ghost nodded, "Yeah, it thought I was stealing from it."
Linda cringed..."It? The room, or what's in there? What is it?"
"We don't know...just the room don't like us messing in there," Steve said, as the only thing he could think of, and he didn't like thinking of it, at all.
Ghost went back to his room to get his gifts for wrapping, and his coffee. He sat on the floor in front of the table, when he got back. "Are these for the guys?" he asked, about the key chains. "They're so pretty," he picked each of them up, to look closer. "This was a good idea, Steve."
"Yeah, it took me awhile to think of something for them."
Linda was admiring them too, but was thinking they must be expensive, and how can Steve afford something like these...he barely made any money from his music. She smiled, and didn't mention it, though.
Ghost had heard her thoughts, though. "Steve, did you forget to tell Linda about the money?" he asked.
Linda looked surprised. "I'm sorry, Ghost, you must have heard what I was thinking. I was just wondering, that's all."
"What were you thinking?" Steve asked.
"The money, Steve," Ghost said, giving him a look. "She was thinking how could we buy these."
"Oh...yeah, I forget about it most of the time," Steve said. He then explained to Linda, the whole story.
"That's wonderful...oh, sorry Ghost...not that your grandmother passed on, but the money she left you...and still y'all haven't changed," Linda said.
"Yeah, we like everything ok, here. We only use some, if we really need to," Ghost said.
"Well, I'm sure your friends will love their gifts."
"Where's the tape and scissors, Ghost?" Steve asked.
"Oh, man...I forgot to get it." He went back to the bedroom to get them, as Steve picked out paper he wanted to use.
Linda watched him, still amazed that this was her little brother. Ghost showed her the things he'd gotten for their friends, and they finally did get them all wrapped.
"Let's put them under the tree," Ghost said, and smiled. "Now, it looks right." Steve and Linda agreed.
"I'm going outside awhile. Come on kitty," Ghost said, as he and the cat went out the front door.
"Hey, Linda, what's Ghost got for me? What's his plan?" Steve asked.
Linda smiled and shook her head. "I don't know...he wouldn't tell me, but the plan is for us to go somewhere for awhile, and come in only through the back way. Whatever it is will be here when we get back."
Steve frowned. "That sounds weird, Linda...but, yeah, we'll go along. I know how to get here from the back."
"Good...he's worried about making sure it's a surprise," Linda said.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing