TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve took the map into the bedroom, where it was quiet, to study the route from L. A. to Missing Mile. He knew it would be a long, tiring journey, but still, better than flying again.
Linda, Lisa, and Bill directed the movers to what needed to be loaded, and quicker than they thought, they'd packed it all up and left...on their way to North Carolina. The three of them collapsed, in the living room, for a few minutes.
"Well, that wasn't so bad," Bill said. "I sure wouldn't want their job, though...too much heavy lifting." They all laughed, because his job wasn't much easier, just a different kind.
"Ok, now all I have to do is pack the rest of our clothes, and the kids things, and it'll be done," Linda said. She got up to go check on Ghost and the kids. Looking out the back door, then going on outside, she saw that they were all laying on a quilt, under the big backyard tree.
She could hear Ghost singing songs to her children, and they were listening with full attention, and trying to hum along. For some reason this brought tears to her eyes. Ghost kept singing, but he knew she was there, and waved her over. She reached the quilt, and lay down, too, gazing up into the cool, green branches of the tree. It was a sweet interlude she knew would stay in her memory forever.
After a couple more songs, Ghost began telling stories. He let the kids suggest ideas that he'd weave into a fairy-tale like picture of words. Linda felt herself transported to the scenes he was imagining, right along with Stevie and Mandy. She forgot for a bit all her worries. Feeling herself almost falling asleep, she sat up. The little ones had already gone to sleep...it was nap time. She took Ghost's hand. "Thank you..." she said, and returned to the house.
Looking in on Steve, to see how he was getting on with the mapping, she saw that he'd gone to sleep, too. The map was neatly folded, as if he was finished. Lisa and Bill had retreated to their bedroom, and she could hear them talking in low voices.
She walked through her house, remembering all the good times she'd had here. The only sounds were the humming of the air-conditioner, and the clunk of ice dropping into the bin in the freezer. In the kids room, she finished packing their things, and then did the same in her own room, leaving out only the essentials to be used on the trip.
Looking out the back door, to check on the kids again, she saw they were still napping, and Ghost was sitting up, writing in his journal, as always. Back in the living room, she leaned back on the couch, propping up her feet on the coffee table, hoping for a little cat nap. The little puppy came and snuggled beside her.
After about an hour, Lisa and Bill came out to see where everyone was. It was late afternoon, and Bill suggested they all go out to eat for supper, and for Linda's last night here.
"Should we wake everyone up?" Lisa asked.
"Give it another half hour, maybe," Bill said. "If no one is up, then, yeah, wake 'em up."
They made a pot of coffee, and waited. Linda was the first one awake. She came into the kitchen to pour herself a cup of it. Looking out back, she saw that the kids were awake now, too. Ghost seemed to be telling another story.
"Hey, sis, we've decided we'd all go out to eat in a little while. Does that sound good to you?" Lisa asked.
"Sure, why not. Give me time to freshen up, and get the kids ready, and we'll be ready to go. Where are we going?"
"I'm leaning toward a big, juicy steak," Bill said.
"Mmm, that does sound good. Are you thinking of that place down the road?"
"Yes, we had that once before. I remember it was good," Lisa said.
"Ok, I'm rounding up the munchkins...won't take us long." She went out to get them. "Hey, y'all, we need to get ready...Bill is taking us all out to eat steak," she said.
"Yeah, I can eat that," Stevie said.
"Me, too," Mandy agreed.
"Ok, then, run inside and wash up a bit. I layed out fresh clothes on your beds," Linda said. They both ran inside. "Come on, Ghost, let's go get ready." She held out her hand, helping him up. "You're so good with them. I appreciate it."
Ghost shrugged. "They're fun. I have fun telling them stories."
"Do you write them down in your notebook?"
"Sometimes...mostly they're just made up ones and are different every time."
As they went in the house, she mentioned that Steve was still asleep. "Go wake him up. We'll be leaving for the restaurant soon." She went to help the kids get ready.
Ghost went into the bedroom to wake Steve. Smiling, he lay next to him. It was usually the other way around...Steve usually had to wake him up. He leaned close, softly kissing Steve's lips. "Wake up..." he whispered. Steve stirred, but didn't wake up. "Wake up..." Ghost said a little louder. He smoothed Steve's hair from his forehead, and kissed him again, nudging his lips open, touching his tongue to Steve's. Steve responded, as he came fully awake.
"Mmm, Ghost, you taste so good," he said. "Come here, I want more." They kissed again, then Ghost said, "We can't right now...they're waiting on us to get ready and go."
"Go...where?" Steve asked.
"Out to eat steak in a few minutes," Ghost said.
"Ahh, but I'd rather have you," Steve said, grinning.
"Yeah, but guess we gotta go, huh?" Steve asked, as he got up from the bed.
Ghost nodded, getting up too. They washed up, and changed clothes, but took their time doing it. They had a few minutes to play around, and in between kisses, they managed to get ready. Steve brushed Ghost's long hair, smoothing it down his back. It still had a couple of thin braids in among the strands, that Mandy had put in, and he left those.
Everyone was finally ready to go, so they piled into Lisa and Bill's van. It had plenty of room, as she sometimes used it to take her students on field trips along with parent volunteers. The drive would only take about twenty minutes, in afternoon traffic, and as they rode along, the kids played with a couple of toys they had brought along. Lisa and Linda were chattering and pointing out things for Steve and Ghost to look at. Turning up another street, almost to the steak house, Ghost leaned forward, looking out the window.
"Wait...where are we going?" he asked. Bill told him the name of the steak restaurant.
"No...it can't be...I mean, yes it is," Ghost said, looking agitated, now.
"Huh...what are you talking about," Steve asked.
Ghost was still staring out the window, his eyes wide. "I've been here before...that eatin' place...and...this whole street...I know it." He looked scared. "Steve, what if..."
"Ghost, just calm down," Steve said. "He's not here...not when he's wanted by the law." He tried to convince Ghost, and himself, too. Ghost just shook his head.
"I know he's somewhere close by...I can feel it, Steve. I want to go home."
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing