TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Ghost shook his head. "It's a Christmas present, Steve...why would we shoot somebody for giving us a present? It don't look like it'll explode."
"Well, I don't care...it's just sitting out there, left by someone that sneaked up in the middle of the night...couldn't even hand it to us like a normal person. I don't want to shoot anybody, either, and maybe we won't have to, anyway. The cops are coming, so we'll let them take care of it," Steve said.
"Ok, fine...I'll be in the kitchen. Let me know when Jimmy gets here," Ghost said, as he went to do guard duty at the back door. After a few minutes, he hollered in to Steve, "Do ya want another cup of coffee? I can bring ya one."
"Yeah, sure...might as well," Steve said.
When Ghost got his own cup of steaming coffee, he sort of stepped outside of himself, thinking how absurd it was, to be having a coffee break in the middle of a stand-off. He started laughing at how ridiculous the situation was.
"Hey, Jimmy's here," Steve said, as the police cruiser came to a stop on the gravel driveway.
Jimmy looked around the property, as he got out of the car, then went up to the porch. Steve opened the front door. "Be careful, Jimmy. That package might be a booby trap."
"Ok," Jimmy said, then pushed the package with his boot. Nothing happened, so he reached down, picked it up, and shook it. "Don't look like it's gonna explode, Steve. Want me to open it?" he asked. "Is there a note or anything?"
"Don't you dust for fingerprints?" Steve asked.
"Oh, yeah...well, we'll try that later. I don't see a card...who's it from?" Jimmy asked.
"Hell, Jimmy, that's why we called you...to find out." Steve said.
Jimmy gave Steve a look, "Y'all been smokin', this morning...all paranoid and shit?"
Steve shook his head. "No, not yet...maybe later. You can drop by, then, if ya want."
"Ok, I'll be off duty about five."
Ghost heard this and started giggling. Steve just invited Jimmy, the cop, to smoke weed with them, and he accepted. The whole thing was getting out of hand. Coffee breaks, getting high, exploding Christmas presents, guns...it was too much. He came into the living room, then out the front door, almost falling down from laughing. He felt dizzy, from being feverish, and drugged, and he still held the gun.
Steve and Jimmy ducked, as Ghost waved it around.
"Good God!" Jimmy yelled. "Quit waving that gun around, Ghost."
Steve went in low, tackling Ghost at the knees, knocking him down. The gun flew out of his hand, and bounced, as it went down the porch steps. Luckily, it didn't go off. Jimmy grabbed it, checking the safety. It was still on.
"Man, I could arrest both of you for having these," he said. "Y'all aren't even licensed...we've been through this, before."
"Look, Jimmy...there's somebody harassing us, and we gotta have protection. You know that," Steve said.
"Yeah, I know," Jimmy said, shaking his head. "Just be more careful." He looked down at Ghost, who was still laying on the porch, where he'd fallen. He was staring up at the underside of the porch overhang. "What's the matter with him?"
"Aw, he's sick, and took some Tylenol. Now he thinks he's been drugged, and is seeing shit." Steve shook his head. "Get up, Ghost, you're fine."
"But, Steve...look...look up there," Ghost said, pointing up. "What is that?"
Steve and Jimmy looked. Frowning, Steve tried to make sense of what he saw. "Jimmy, what is it? It kinda looks like a...a...camera?"
"Yeah, I think so...one of those surveillance ones," Jimmy said. "There's a flashing green light on it, too. It must be recording us right now."
"Why is it up there," Steve asked.
"Didn't y'all install it?"
"No, never seen it before. Oh my God...we've been spied on," Steve said. "Jimmy, that crazy present person has been watching us. Get it down...check for fingerprints...do something!"
"Y'all got a ladder, or a chair I can stand on? I'll need a screwdriver, too...that things bolted on," Jimmy said.
Steve nodded. "Yeah...Ghost, get up...we're almost stepping on ya. Go get a kitchen chair."
Ghost got up and went inside, then coming back out, he had a chair, and a broom. "Here, can I smash it?" he asked.
"Not yet...and where's the screwdriver?" Steve asked.
"Oh, I forgot it," he said, going back inside.
"Jimmy," Steve whispered, "can it hear us, too?"
"Won't know until I look at it closer," Jimmy said. "Oh, get a plastic bag, too, so I can take it back to headquarters."
Steve yelled through the screen..."Ghost, get a Zip-lock bag...one of the big ones."
Finally, Jimmy was able to stand on the chair, and unscrew the bolts. "It doesn't look like it has sound, but I'll have it checked out," he said, zipping shut the bag, with the camera in it. He started to leave, but then remembered the package. "You want me to take this, too?" he asked.
"Yeah, go ahead...just let us know what it is, ok?" Steve said.
"Ok. Now, be careful with those guns. I really don't want y'all arrested for murder," he said, getting back in the cruiser. "I'll be back when my shift is over."
Steve and Ghost watched him drive away. "Who do you think is doing this?" Steve asked.
"Maxy," Ghost said.
"Maxy...that piece of shit?" Steve said. "You're probably right. There was that rose he left, not long ago."
Ghost nodded. "He's still out there, too."
"And you know this?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, and he's gone, but not too far away...just over at the vampires old house. That's where he's camping out," Ghost said. "That's how he can sneak in and out of here so easy."
"You got your senses back, now?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, a little...the drug is wearing off."
"Well, good. Let's go in. There's no reason we should give him a clear shot of us," Steve said, opening the screen. They went inside. Steve laid the guns on the coffee table, and Ghost went to the back room, to look for a potion. In a little while, the phone rang. It was Jimmy.
"Hey, Steve, I got some info for ya...uh...and that package...well, ya gotta see what it was, and let's just say you won't like it. I'll bring it in a little while. My shift is almost over. You better roll up a few, 'cause I think you'll need 'em," he said.
Steve hung up the phone, just as Ghost came back with a dusty vial of some thick liquid. He held it up to the light bulb, in the table lamp. Trying to peer into it, he asked, "Ya think this is still any good?"
Steve made a face. "That's disgusting, and old as hell. You'll probably get sick, if you drink that shit."
"Hmm...I don't know," said Ghost, as he unplugged the cork top. He smelled of it...and gagged. "Here, smell of it, Steve." He held the vial under Steve's nose.
"Get that away from me," Steve said, pushing Ghost's hand back.
"I'm gonna hold my nose, and drink it," Ghost said, and before Steve could stop him, he did tip the bottle up, shaking the slow-running liquid into his mouth. Swallowing, then heaving, his eyes watered, but he managed to keep it down. "God, that was nasty." He shuddered.
Steve was still staring in horror. "Well, now you've done it...don't come bellyaching to me later, Ghost. He turned away, as the rancid smell wafted over to him.
"It's supposed to be for sore throats and fever...things like that, Steve. At least I think so. The label fell off. Ugh, I'm gonna lay down now. I'm getting hot and dizzy," Ghost said. He reeled down the hallway to his bedroom, and fell across the bed, staring at the ceiling.
Steve watched him go, and shook his head. Then, he got out his rolling papers, and the last bit of weed that Terry had given him. He thought about what Jimmy had said. It didn't sound good.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing