TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Wracked with sobs, Steve was overcome from seeing the photos...the undeniable truth of what Ghost had gone through with Maxy. Rocking back and forth on the swing, he was saying, "I'm so sorry, Ghost. I did this to you. I'm the one who you were running from, and you ran right to another one of me. I'm no better than he is, Ghost. Forgive me...please..."
Jimmy did his best to comfort him, but Steve shook him off. "No, Jimmy...these pictures are the most horrifying thing I've ever seen...and it's my fault. If I hadn't killed Ghost first, then he wouldn't have been killed by Maxy."
Jimmy frowned. "What are you talking about, Steve? Ghost isn't dead...nobody killed him...he's right in there in the bedroom."
Steve raised his head to look at Jimmy. "Oh...oh...yeah I did...I killed Ghost. Go ask the old guys at the hardware store. They'll tell ya...they saw what I did. Go ask the mountain people...they know...and, they made him alive again." He stared Jimmy in the eyes, daring him to disagree.
"Ok, fine, Steve...you did, they did, he did...everybody killed Ghost. So, who is that in the bedroom, then?" Jimmy asked.
"Ghost," Steve said, "because he always comes back."
Jimmy didn't mean to, but he couldn't help it...he burst out laughing.
"Don't...Don't even, Jimmy!" Steve stood up, with anger in his eyes.
"Sorry, man...it just makes no sense to me," Jimmy said. "I know you're saying the truth...just let me process all this."
Steve was about to blow. His temper was right on the edge, but he managed to hold it in. He turned away, and slammed his fist into the porch railing. It hurt, but Steve didn't care. He'd hurt Ghost much, much worse. When he'd gotten control, he asked, "Jimmy, are you gonna catch that bastard and fry him, or what?"
Nodding, Jimmy said, "Yes, Steve, we've already started. The alert went out before I came over here. We'll get him."
"Ok, then, but if I see him first...he's mine," Steve said, deadly serious. "And, take that book with you. Go put it in the car...lock it away...I don't want Ghost to see it...or anybody to see it."
"See what?" Ghost asked, as he was coming out of the house, onto the porch. "What's going on?" He looked at Steve and Jimmy, trying to focus on their faces. He was looking pretty rough, with his tangled hair damp from sweating, and his face flushed. He coughed, and held his hands to his stomach.
"Nothing, Ghost...go back to bed. Jimmy and I were just talking," Steve said.
Blinking, to clear his vision, Ghost tried to remember why Jimmy was even here at the house. "Oh yeah, the camera thing..." he said. Coughing again, tripped on the photo album, as he shakily sat down on the swing. He picked it up, while Steve and Jimmy froze for a second. Steve then, lunged for it, but Ghost had already opened it.
"Hey, what is this?" He flipped a few pages, frowning at what he was looking at.
"Give me that...you don't want to see it," Steve said, grabbing for it again.
"Wait, Steve...this is...why are there pictures of...oh God...Steve..." He looked up at Steve, horror filling his eyes. "Why...how? Did you see these?" Ghost was breathing hard, as he looked at more pages. "I don't even remember...but...it must have..." He looked confused.
Steve took the book now, closed it and gave it to Jimmy. "Ghost, Jimmy has to use that for proof, for evidence against Maxy, for what he did...for what he's still doing with that hidden camera we found. They'll catch him and put him in prison...forever.
"There's more, Steve," Ghost said.
"Huh? More..." Steve asked.
"Yeah, I think so," Ghost said. "I didn't know what it was, but now...well, I was laying down on the bed, and looking up at the ceiling. There's a hole up there. Go look."
Steve and Jimmy went inside and into Ghost's bedroom, to look for themselves. At first, they didn't see anything, but then Steve stretched out on the bed, to look at the ceiling, like Ghost had done.
"There it is...right over the bed, Jimmy."
"Well, I'll be damned," Jimmy said, when he saw it, too. "That thing's still running. I see the little green light." They both stared at it. "How do you get up there? Is there an attic door or something?" Jimmy asked.
"Yeah, there's just the rafters up there, but there is a little door in the closet ceiling, I think," Steve said. He opened the closet door. "Yeah, it's here."
"Ok, boost me up. I'll get in there and disconnect it," Jimmy said. When he was up there, he shined his police flashlight all around the area. He found the camera, and lots of wires leading from it in all directions. Each one ended at other cameras, pointing down into each room of the house.
"My God, Steve...there are six of them up here."
"What? Well get rid of them all," Steve said.
"Will do," Jimmy said. He scrabbled around, gathering them up. "Here Steve I'm gonna hand 'em down to ya."
Steve put all six cameras, and all the wiring, on the bed, as Jimmy handed them down. As they stood there, staring at it all, Steve wondered how long they'd all been here.
"Same as the first one we found, Steve," Jimmy said.
"But, we always lock the doors when we leave. It never looked like anyone broke in."
"I still don't get it, Steve," Jimmy said. "Why all the pictures, and now the cameras? You think it's blackmail, money, revenge...?"
"Yeah, revenge," Steve said, "because Ghost wouldn't stay with him anymore."
"Well, we'll get him...don't you worry about that. Do you have a box or something to put these in? I'll take them down to the station with me."
"Yeah, I'll go find one," Steve said.
When they came back outside to the porch, they saw that Ghost was still looking at the photos.
"Put it away, Ghost," Steve said.
""But, I don't remember any of this stuff...just the first few," Ghost said. "Did this really happen?'
Steve nodded. "Yeah, and why you don't remember it, is because he had you drugged. For a long time, it looks like. Those there are him putting something in your food and drinks. So yeah, it happened..." Steve spoke softly. "And he won't get away with it either. What he did to you, what he made you do, it was horrible and wrong, Ghost." He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Kneeling down in front of Ghost, he said, "I still think it started with me, what I'd done to you...so you had to leave. If I hadn't, you'd never have left and met this psycho. Oh, Ghost...I'm so sorry. I still don't deserve you. I know you said you forgave me, but...I can never forgive myself." Tears ran down his face.
Ghost ran his hands into Steve's hair, then raised his head to look into his eyes. "I do forgive you, Steve. I told you that. I'll always love you, even if you hurt me again. I'll love you. You can do anything to me...it don't matter, but...not him!" Ghost said, and kicked the photo album across the porch. "Not him! He lied...he said he loved me, and I wanted to hear that. I wanted someone to love me...but, it wasn't real...not real..." He took a shuddery breath, then sobbed.
Steve held him close, while Ghost let out his pain. Jimmy was feeling awkward, so took the box out to the car, and started writing in his notebook what had been found up to now.
Ghost was trying to get control now, but he could hardly breathe from crying and also being sick.
"I'm getting you some ice water and some Motrin, Ghost. You're fever is getting worse. We have to get it lower," Steve said, then went inside.
When he came back out, Jimmy told him he was leaving, and taking the cameras and photos back to the station to lock them up in the evidence room. "Guys, it'll be ok. We know what we're dealing with, so y'all can just chill for awhile. And, Steve...we'll get to that smoke another time...deal?"
"Yeah, Jimmy...thanks for everything. Let us know what happens, ok?"
"Yep, sure will. Ghost, I'm real sorry for what you've had to go through, but we'll see that bastard is put away. Don't worry." He got into his cruiser, and drove off.
Steve helped Ghost back into bed, and dabbed cool wash cloths on Ghost's face and body, trying to cool him down.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing