TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
After Terry had talked to Kinsey, he went to check on Steve and Ghost, and saw that they were still sleeping. He poured himself another cup of coffee, taking it outside on the front porch. The fresh breeze, sighing through the pine trees, seemed to clear his head. He rocked the swing back and forth, lost in his own thoughts.
It would be the new year, in a few days, and he thought for the most part, the past year had been a pretty good one, give or take a few bumps in the road. He had a few things lined up that he wanted to accomplish...things he hoped would be productive. He contemplated expanding his record store, and recording studio...maybe even set up a storefront in Raleigh, to add to his income.
"Man, when did I become a responsible businessman? Never saw that one coming," he laughed, shaking his head. "Well, I'm still having fun playing music in Gumbo and Lost Souls, so I'm still in the game..."
He heard the screen door open. It was Ghost, coming out wrapped in a blanket. He stood at the railing, looking up at the sky.
"Why are you outta bed?" Terry asked. "It's cold out here."
Ghost turned to face Terry. "I just need some fresh air," he said, barely above a whisper. "Steve is snoring, and I'm tired of laying down. Did you feed my cat?"
"Yeah, I gave him a plate of cat food. He ate it, then disappeared again," Terry said. "You need me to get something for you?"
"You want to go see a doctor?"
"No." Ghost shook his head.
"Stop asking me stuff, Terry. Just be quiet." He looked at Terry, knowing he'd hurt his feelings...he was here to help them. "I'm sorry...it's just I feel so bad..." he said, and sank down to the porch floor, tears running down his face.
"Aww, Ghost, I know you do. It's ok..yell at me all ya want." He saw that Ghost was shivering, so went to help him up. "C'mon, go back to bed...or lay on the couch, or get in Steve's bed." He supported Ghost back into the house.
"Ok, Steve's bed."
Terry got him settled, then looked in on Steve, who was still asleep.
"This is going to be a long day and night..."
He got a snack for himself, and sat back down on the couch. Looking through the meager video selection the guys had, he picked one to watch. Before he could get interested in it though, he fell asleep himself.
Sometime later, he heard Steve get up to rummage around in the kitchen. It was dusk by now, and it seemed everyone's time for waking and sleeping was off. "What a weird day..."
"You ok in there," he asked Steve.
"Yeah, just hungry," Steve said. He came out and sat on the couch. "Ghost is in my bed."
"I know," Terry said. "He came outside...said you were snoring. He started crying, so I put him in your bed."
Steve sighed. "Well, I hope whatever this is goes away soon." Terry nodded, agreeing.
By morning, Terry was exhausted. Steve and Ghost had wandered around, one after the other, all night long. Deciding to make them all some breakfast, he called them to eat, happy they were all up at the same time now. Ghost was able to talk again, and said he was a feeling a little better. Steve was miserable still, and Terry said his throat was scratchy now, too. After eating, they all went out front. It had warmed up a bit, and they drank their coffee, while soaking in some much needed sun.
Terry's phone rang. It was Kinsey. "How's it going out there?" he asked. Terry told him, and Kinsey said, "Well, guess where I am?"
"Home?" Terry asked.
"Nope...at Trevor and Zach's. They called last night, and they're dying too...of whatever it is that's going around. I stayed with them, and will be here today."
"Ok, Kinsey, but you know it'll hit you next, don't ya? My throat is hurting already, so y'all take care of each other," Terry said.
"Yeah, will do...maybe we'll all get together again someday," Kinsey laughed.
Terry ended the call. "Well, they got it, too...and so do I."
"Hey, Steve...do you think Linda got it?" Ghost asked.
"Probably did...maybe I should call her," Steve said, going inside to make the call. In a little while, he came back outside. "Well, she's not sick, and they're all fine. She had a nice Christmas with the kids. She said she plans on getting things started, to move back here, after New Year's Day," he said.
Suddenly, there was a big jolt, and everything started shaking. The wind chimes clanged, and something crashed inside the house.
"What the hell?" Terry hollered.
"Shit, it's another earthquake," Steve said, as the swing rocked wildly.
Ghost just held onto the porch railing until the shaking stopped.
"That was freaky, Dude," Terry laughed. "What do you mean, another one?"
"When you and Kinsey were gone on your vacation at Thanksgiving, we had one. It was creepy," Steve explained.
"What...in North Carolina?" Terry asked.
"Is the time slip happening again, Steve?" Ghost asked, looking scared. "It don't feel right...and look...the sky...it's funny, like fake, again." He scrambled over to Steve and clung to him.
Terry looked up at the sky. "Dude, it totally is. This is too weird."
Steve headed for the front door, with Ghost hanging onto him, and Terry was right behind them, not wanting to be left out by himself. Turning on the tv to catch any news, Steve flipped through all three stations. The signal was out on two of them, and the other just showed a snowy pattern on the screen, and they could only hear bits of sound. They did hear them say earthquake, Raleigh, and something about a stopped clock, or a fast forwarding clock there in the tv newsroom. Then, the signal went out completely.
"Ya think it's the end of the world?" Terry asked, half joking.
"Aw, shut up with that, Terry," Steve said. "This happens all over the world...why not North Carolina?"
"Yeah, yeah, that's right..." Terry laughed, hoping it really was no big deal.
The three of them huddled on the couch, trying to keep calm, as several after-shocks rumbled through. Spirit came running out from under the bed, all fuzzed up, and jumped right in the middle of them.
Terry frowned, looking at Ghost. "How come you didn't predict this, Ghost? You could have at least warned us."
"I don't do earthquakes...just people..." Ghost said, in all seriousness.
"Is it over, yet?" Terry asked.
"How should I know," Steve said. "We just have to wait and see."
"Steve, do you feel weird now...like last time?" Ghost asked, rubbing the goose-bumps on his arms.
"Yeah, a little. Maybe it's just 'cause I'm sick, though," Steve said. "Do you?"
"Uh-huh...like we're fixing to do what we already did, again...and people won't remember," Ghost said.
"What the hell are y'all talking about?" Terry asked.
"The time slip. Everything went of whack, after that last one. We were in the diner, and when we looked outside, everything looked off...and there were no people in town," Steve said. "Even the news people said something happened. Then it all went back to normal, and no one even remembered it, except us and the waitress."
"And don't forget the fog, Steve" Ghost said.
"Oh, yeah...it was rolling in real slow over the street and sky until you couldn't see anything."
"We didn't want it to touch us...in case it disappeared us too," Ghost said. He craned his neck to look out the screen door. "I think I see it...it's coming again." He was practically strangling Steve.
"Shit, you're right," Steve said.
"Shut the door, or it'll get in here with us." Ghost gripped Steve's arm harder.
"Ghost, let go. I can't close the door if I can't even get up."
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing