TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
"Bye, y'all, Merry Christmas," Steve said, as he left the club. The party had been fun, but he was ready to head home, and Ghost had already crashed. Getting in the car, he turned on the radio, to hum along to the music. He knew it wouldn't bother Ghost. Driving down the highway in his T-bird like this, reminded him so much of all the times before that he and Ghost would ride around, just killing time. "Good times..." he said.
Arriving home, he nudged Ghost awake. "C'mon, we're here," he said. Grabbing the box of gifts, he went inside, followed by Ghost, who didn't stop, but continued on to his bedroom, falling onto the bed. Spirit was hungry again, so Steve fixed him a plate of cat food, and scratched the kitty's ears. "Yeah, Spirit, it was a good time tonight. You finish your food, and I'm going to bed, too." He locked up, then looked in on Ghost. Shaking his head, he took off Ghost's shoes, and covered him with a blanket. Giving him a kiss on the forehead, he whispered, "Merry Christmas, babe."
During the night, Spirit alerted to a noise outside. He stalked quietly to the front door, listening. His fur rose up on his back, and he hissed. Then, as the noise stopped, he climbed into bed to snuggle with Ghost, until morning.
Not long after that, though, Ghost began having a bad dream. He thrashed around in bed, and spoke in a muffled voice. Spirit ran into Steve's room, and pawed and meowed until Steve woke up. "What's going on, cat? I'm trying to sleep," Steve said, but the cat wouldn't stop. Finally Steve was awake enough to hear Ghost. He got up to see about him.
"Ghost, wake up...you're dreaming," he said, as he shook him. "Wake up now...the nightmare will go away when you wake up."
Ghost did wake up a bit, but the nightmare kept playing in his head for a few minutes. "You ok, now?" Steve asked. "What were you dreaming about?"
Ghost shook his head. "I'm ok, but I don't remember what it was...just a bad feeling, and I was hurting all over."
Steve pushed back Ghost's tangled hair. "You want me to stay in here with you?" Ghost nodded. "Ok, it'll be morning soon...scoot over..." he pulled the blanket over them both, to block out the chill in the room. Ghost kept shivering, though.
Steve felt Ghost's forehead...and it was hot. "He's sick," he said to himself. "Ghost, you've got a fever...I'll bring you something."
"Ok," Ghost said, through chattering teeth.
Steve went to the kitchen, to get some Tylenol, and a glass of water, for Ghost. Just as he turned off the light, he thought he saw something move, out in the back yard. He looked closer, staring out the window, but didn't see it again. Shrugging, he left the room. "Probably tree shadows," he thought.
"Here, take these," he told Ghost. He helped Ghost sit up.
"My throat hurts," Ghost said, then took the pills, washing them down with the water. Laying back down, he said, "I don't feel good, Steve."
"I know, but try to sleep some more. The pills will help." Steve slid back under the blanket. He didn't mention what he'd seen outside.
"Where's my cat?" Ghost asked.
"He's over by the door. Here kitty..." Steve tried to get Spirit to come. "He won't come over here."
Ghost sighed, and mumbled something, as he was almost asleep, again. To Steve, it sounded weird...like Ghost had said, 'he's guarding me from being kidnapped'. "Huh?" he asked, but got no reply, now, from Ghost. "He must be dreaming, again," Steve thought.
The next morning, Steve got up first. Ghost's fever had come down some, and he was still sleeping, when Steve went to make the coffee, and some breakfast. When it was ready, he took a mug of it to Ghost, to wake him up.
"How are you feeling?"
Ghost opened bleary, bloodshot eyes. "Like crap," he croaked out.
"You look like crap, too. Here's your coffee. When ya get done, get up and wash your face. Breakfast is ready."
Ghost nodded, then after a few minutes, he did get up, dragging himself into the kitchen. He watched, as Steve fixed him a plate of food.
"Here ya go...and Merry Christmas," Steve said, trying to be cheerful.
Ghost eyed the plate. There were grits, scrambled eggs, toast, a glass of milk, and two more pills to take. He wasn't sure if he could choke any of it down, but he tried. He swallowed the pills, then took a few bites.
"Go on, eat it, Ghost," Steve said.
"I can't anymore..." Ghost said. He got up from the table, and went into the living room, heading for the couch, but first, he wanted to look outside, to see how the day had started. Opening the door, he stepped out on the porch.
"Steve," he yelled...or thought he did. It was barely loud enough for his own self to hear. He backed up through the door, and back into the house. "Steve," he tried again. Steve did hear him, this time.
"What? What's the matter...go back to bed," Steve said.
But, Ghost was pointing toward outside. Steve looked, as he came up to the screen door. On the porch was a package...wrapped in Christmas paper.
Steve pushed Ghost back from the door. "Get back," he said. He carefully looked all around the yard, and into the woods, near the house. There was nothing moving, or making a sound. He felt like someone was watching him, though. He could feel that someone was out there, waiting for him to come out and pick up the package. He didn't like to show he was scared, but he also didn't want to take a chance. No telling who put it there, or what kind of crazy was watching, from some shadowy hiding place.
He backed up, bumping into Ghost, and shut the door, locking it. Turning, he faced Ghost. "Get the guns, Ghost," he said.
"What...why?" Ghost began.
"Just do it...and make sure they're loaded. Someone is out there. I don't know who, or why, but we're not going out there. They may have their own gun...or maybe they booby trapped that package. It might explode or something." Steve's thoughts were running wild with sinister possibilities.
"Steve, you're scaring me," Ghost whispered.
"Go..." Steve said. "What if they rush the house...we have to be ready." He turned to look out the front window, at a hopefully safe angle. The lacy curtains blocked the view somewhat, but he kept looking.
Ghost came back with their guns. "Here...now what?" he asked.
Steve looked at him, his eyes wide. "Now...uh...we wait," he said.
"For how long...all day?" Ghost asked.
Blowing out a puff of breath, he said, "Ghost, I don't know...until they either go away, or show themselves," Steve said. "Don't you sense anything...who it is, or why that package is here...anything?" He looked at Ghost as if he should have the answers.
Ghost shook his head. "No, I don't...but my senses are out of whack. I'm sick, and drugged. I can't feel anything, right now."
Steve rolled his eyes. "Great...and you are not drugged...you had some Tylenol...over the counter medicine...what are you talking about?"
Nodding, Ghost said, "Yeah, drugs, Steve. You know they make me goofy. I told ya before, I need a potion."
"Well, tough...you just take Tylenol like everybody else...get used to it," Steve said.
"But..." Ghost started to argue.
"Stop it...stop arguing everything I say, Ghost," Steve gave him a look. "There's a killer, or kidnapper, or someone out there, and we ain't got time for this. Now, go get the phone...it's in my room. I'm calling the sheriff."
Ghost set the guns down on the coffee table, and went to find the phone. "Where in your room, Steve?" he asked, as loud as he could manage.
"Just look around...and hurry up," Steve yelled back.
Ghost finally found it, then gave it to Steve. "Ya want me to guard the back door?" he asked.
"Yeah, good idea. I think I saw someone out there last night," Steve said. He dialed 911. It rang several times, before being answered.
"911...what's your emergency?" the dispatcher asked.
"Yeah, we got a Christmas package on the front porch, and we're scared it's from a kidnapper, or some bad person, and it might blow up on us, if we pick it up...and I feel watched...like from the woods," Steve said, in one long breath.
"You what?" the dispatcher asked.
Steve sighed. Small town crap... "Is Jimmy there? This is Steve. We got a prowler...send someone out here...huh?...Oh we're fine, Margie...uh-huh...just send Jimmy out here, he knows where we live...yeah, we're still out here on Burnt Church Road...He knows it. And hurry, ok? We got our guns, and we'll shoot first, and ask question later, ya know," Steve said, then hung up.
"Are we gonna shoot somebody?" Ghost asked. "I'm not shooting anybody."
"You wanna be kidnapped...or blown up?" Steve asked.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing