TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve smiled, thinking of the Christmas surprise Ghost had planned for him. "He's been so secretive about it, Linda. I have no idea what it could be."
"I'm sure it will be something special, Steve," Linda said. "What have you got planned for when you give Ghost his ring?"
Steve shrugged. "Well, I didn't really plan anything...just gonna give it to him, and say here's your present, I guess."
"No, Steve," Linda said, "you've got to think of something, like he did...a big surprise. I think there should be some kind of presentation, you know."
"Well, like what? There's not much time to be thinking of something, now, and I'm not good at stuff like that," Steve said.
"Let me see...at least think of some special words, you know, meaningful words...like your songs. Just say whatever is in your heart. The presentation can be simple, but a little more than just 'here, open it'," Linda said. She laughed, but could see that Steve was getting worried about it, now.
"Aww , man..." Steve frowned. "Well, I have all afternoon to come up with something."
"Yes, but for now, let's go outside. The sun is shining," Linda said, leading the way. They sat on the porch swing, watching Ghost play out in the yard, with Spirit. They were way out past the driveway.
"You know, I should call Kinsey. We're going over after lunch, right?" Steve asked.
"That's the plan," Linda said. Gently swinging back and forth, she closed her eyes and soaked in the sun, listening to Steve talk, and the playful noise of Ghost and his cat. It was such a nice change from the noise of cars, people, and sirens, in L. A.
Steve was saying to Kinsey, "How's it going? Linda and I are coming into town, after lunch. She's gotta pack her stuff up, to get ready to go home." He listened to Kinsey, then said, "Yeah, Ghost and I will be over there tonight, too. We're giving y'all the Christmas presents from us. Have you heard anything from Zach or Terry? ... Ok good, we'll see ya'll then." He ended the call.
"Everything all right?" Linda asked.
"Yep, all set," Steve said, as he looked out over the front yard. "What's he doing out there?" he asked, watching Ghost.
"Still playing with the cat," Linda said, but something looked off.
"Oh, shit!" Steve jumped up, running to Ghost.
"What's the matter, Steve?" Linda asked, following him out into the yard, and trying to figure out why Steve was so upset.
When Steve had seen Ghost just standing still, staring at nothing, he knew the sign of an eminent panic attack, or seizure. By the time he'd reached him, Ghost had sank to the ground, on his knees, holding his hands to his head.
"Ghost...Ghost!" Steve shouted, not knowing if he was too far along to hear him. "Are you still with us, Ghost? What's happening...say it, so I'll know what to do."
Ghost was breathing hard, and saliva was dripping from his mouth. His eyes were darting around, not focused. "Steve...it hurts, make it stop..." he slurred, right before collapsing into a seizure.
Steve gently eased him down onto the ground, trying to make sure he didn't hurt himself. "Linda," he said, "go get Ghost's medicine...it's in his room...the green one...hurry!"
"What's happening, Steve?" Linda asked, staring at Ghost.
"Just hurry, Linda..."
Ghost was taken over by shaking now, and was making guttural moans. "Hang on, Ghost, it'll be over in a minute...it'll be ok, just listen to my voice...it'll be ok..." Steve kept on talking.
Linda came back from the house, and Steve grabbed the medicine, placing a dose to melt under Ghost's tongue. It was supposed to help. Then he waited.
"This one's lasting a long time, Linda," he said. His face was wet with tears. "C'mon Ghost...c'mon..." Finally the shaking eased, then stopped. Ghost was dazed, but slowly coming back to awareness.
"Steve?" he whispered. "Steve, where are you?"
"I'm right here, Ghost," Steve said, taking hold of Ghost's hands. "You'll be ok...you'll..." He couldn't continue, as he broke down, sobbing against Ghost's chest. "Thank God...you'll be ok, now."
"Steve," Linda put her arms around his shoulders. "Let's get him inside...come on, I'll help."
Shakily, Steve got up, and lifted Ghost. Leaning on Linda, he carried him into the house. Laying Ghost on the couch, he smoothed back his hair from his face. Linda came out of the kitchen with a cool cloth, and blotted Ghost's face.
"It still hurts, Steve, and I can't see you yet," Ghost said.
"I know, babe, it'll quit, soon. I'm getting your other medicine. It'll help ease the headache."
Steve went to get the medicine, and Linda followed him into the bedroom. "What the hell just happened, Steve?" she asked.
Rubbing his hands over his face, he looked into Linda's eyes. "That's what I did to him...and those kids from school. They hit him with that baseball bat, and later...I killed him. I bashed him in the head so many times..." Steve sobbed. "It hurt his brain, Linda. Now he has seizures, and goes blind for awhile." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "It hasn't happened in awhile, mostly when he's stressed out about something. Linda, for real, I didn't think he was gonna come out of this one." His eyes felt funny, and he swayed, feeling like he might faint.
Linda grabbed hold. "Sit down, now...before you fall, Steve. I'll give Ghost this medicine."
Steve nodded, and sat on the bed, as Linda hurried back to see about Ghost. Bringing him the pills, and a cup of water, she said, "Here, Ghost, Steve said to take these. Are you feeling a little better, now?"
Ghost sat up a little, taking the pills. "Yeah, and I can kinda see ya, now...a little bit. Where's Steve?"
"He's feeling faint. He should be fine in a minute," she said.
Ghost tried to get up, to go to Steve.
"Sit down, Ghost," Linda urged.
"But, Steve needs me, Linda...I have to go to him."
"He's ok...I'll bring him in here," she said, and ran back down the hallway, where she ran right into Steve, who was on his way out of the bedroom.
"Oh, sorry, Linda, I'm ok, now. Ghost...Ghost..." he said, reaching out to embrace him. They continued to recover for a few minutes.
"I think y'all need something to eat," Linda said. "I'm making some sandwiches." She went into the kitchen to get started. When she was done, she brought them out to the coffee table. "Here, when y'all are ready...eat."
She went out onto the front porch, giving them some space alone. Leaning on the porch railing, she thought of all she'd seen, heard, and learned on her trip to Missing Mile, so far. Steve had told her some of what his and Ghost's life had been like, but seeing it firsthand like this, shook her up. Did she really want to get involved deeper...bring her kids here?
She loved her brother, and now Ghost, this town, and their friends. As she stood there, Steve and Ghost came slowly out, Steve carrying the plate of sandwiches. He set them down on the swing. Ghost was still shaky, but his vision had cleared.
He came up to Linda and put his arm around her waist, and laying his head on her shoulder, he sighed. "Linda, please come live here. I didn't mean to scare you. We're not looking for a mother...just family...to keep close."
She touched his face, and brushed back a strand of his hair, then kissed the top of his head...and in that moment, knew for sure...she would move here...there was no doubt.
"Ghost, Steve...I've decided that yes, I will move back here. I'll make arrangements as soon as I can." She smiled.
Steve caught his breath, and his eyes stung. He came to give both her and Ghost a hug. "Thank you, Linda. I needed to hear that."
They sat on the swing to eat, now. Linda was wondering, to herself, about their afternoon plans, and if they were still on, and was Ghost well enough to handle being alone here, for most of the afternoon. She didn't want to say anything, though, figuring Steve would decide.
Ghost picked up her thoughts, though, and said, "Linda, I'm fine now, don't worry, ok?"
She looked closely at him. "Are you sure? We can figure out something else."
"No, it's fine...I'm fine...tell her, Steve."
"Oh, y'all talking about Ghost staying here by himself? Ok, how ya feeling, now?" he asked.
"I'm fine, Steve. You know when it's over, it's over, and it's like nothing happened, except feeling tired. Tell her."
"Ok," Steve shrugged. "It's true, Linda...Ghost is fine; he always is...don't worry." He smiled...the first one since the incident.
Ghost nodded. "Yeah, and y'all need to go...like now, too."
"Ok, I'm ready, and you will have the phone, Ghost, so that eases my mind a little."
"You need the phone?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, so if I need anything, I'll call," Ghost said.
"Sure, well, guess we should head into town, then," Steve said, getting up to go get his keys.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing