TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Linda and Lisa were concerned, but weren't sure what was wrong. Steve hadn't told Linda everything about Ghost's trouble, when he lived here with Maxey. He'd just told her that he had been here in L. A. and sang in a band with a real psycho. He didn't elaborate at the time.
Ghost was now directing Bill to turn down another street. "There's the coffee shop, Steve...the very one. He pointed to it. Then, a little further along, they drove by a small house, and Ghost was beginning to hyperventilate.
"That's where I lived...that's where...oh, God, Steve..." He couldn't look away, even as tears were falling.
"Ghost, it's in the past, he won't hurt you again." Steve tried to reassure him. "Bill, get us out of here," he said.
They drove out of the neighborhood, and back to the business section of the area. Bill pulled into the steak house's parking lot. "What is going on? Are we still going in, or what?" he asked.
Linda could see how upset Ghost was. "Are you ok...what's the deal with that house?"
"That's the house I escaped from," Ghost said. "He hurt me real bad in there, and I was drugged and couldn't get away for a long time. Then he almost killed me, and I barely got out, and...and..." he couldn't go on talking about it.
Steve was holding Ghost close, even as he was getting angrier. Then it dawned on him. Ghost had been here needing help, and was so, so close to where Linda lived, the whole time. If they'd only known.
Ghost seemed to have calmed down, now that he'd gotten his story partly told. "I'm ok, Steve. It was just seeing this again, ya know...all that I remember, but like you said, it's past ago...a long time." He sighed, and sat up. "It's ok...we can go in, I think. I think I been in here before, too. The food is good, and I'm hungry. He wiped his face, trying to smile.
"Well, ok, if you're sure. I mean we can go to another place, no problem," Bill said.
No, it's ok," Ghost said. They all got out and went inside the restaurant.
It was a nice place...a bit more fancy than a fast food place, but not terribly expensive. They were seated in a large corner booth. Linda reminded Stevie and Mandy to be on their best behavior. They said they understood, but she wasn't sure how long that would last, so she hoped this wouldn't take too long.
The waiter took their orders, and when he went to turn it into the kitchen, he commented to his fellow co-workers. "That's him...I know it...take a look out there," he said. "Oh, hey...I forgot, I have a picture on my phone, still. I took it at that concert I went to...the best one I ever saw." He pulled up the pictures. "Yep, look...that's him, the singer...and I heard he just disappeared after that...never heard from again," the waiter told the others.
The co-workers agreed it was the same person in the picture, as was here in the restaurant. "You know, Maxey was looking for him for so long. I talked to him a few times in the coffee shop...got his number right here, too. Should I try and call him? I mean, I don't know him, really, but I heard he got into some serious trouble back east." He looked around at the other waiters. "Hell, I'm calling. It may not even be his number anymore, anyway." He dialed, hearing it ring several times. He was about to hang up, when someone came on the line.
"Hello, who is this?" the person asked.
"Um, we met a few times at the coffee shop...is this Maxey? The guy that plays there sometimes?"
"Yeah, what'd'ya want?"
"Well, that blond singer you had back then...the one that disappeared...he's sitting right here in the restaurant...the steak house, right down from the coffee shop," the waiter said.
"What? For real?"
"Yeah, him and some other people. They just ordered...guess they'll be here awhile."
"Oh, my God...is there a dark haired guy with him...kinda curly hair?"
"Let me see," the waiter said, going over to peek out the service door. "Yeah, he's there, and looks like a family with a couple of little kids."
"Ok, ok...shit...that's his asshole boyfriend. Hey, try to keep them there as long as you can. I'm coming over there, ok?"
"Ok, sure, but we can't have any trouble in the restaurant, understand? I just wanted to let you know."
"Yeah, I know...I just want to see for myself...and thanks, Dude." He hung up.
Raising his eyebrows, the waiter said. "Well, he's coming over here. Try to keep that singer here as long as you can, ok?" They agreed to try.
At the table, everyone had their drinks, and were talking and waiting for the steaks to be brought out. Ghost wasn't saying much, and even the kids couldn't get him to smile.
"Steve, he's coming. I can tell...and it won't be long," Ghost said. "I want outta here." He started getting up from his chair, but Steve grabbed his hand, pulling him back down.
"Settle down, it'll be ok," Steve said. "If he shows up, we'll deal with it, and I'll call the cops, 'cause he's wanted in two states."
Just then, the food was served, and the others started eating. Ghost couldn't even look at his steak, he was so agitated, wildly scanning around the room, and jumping, every time the door opened. The others hadn't noticed anything going on, yet, as they were helping the kids with their food, and continuing their conversation.
Then, Ghost gasped, staring at the person who'd just walked in...Maxey.
Maxey stood there, looking over the room, taking only seconds before he locked eyes with Ghost. Ghost heard his thoughts as clear as if he'd spoken aloud... "Hah, there you are, you little bastard, let's see ya get away this time. There's no Hicksville sheriff gonna come to your rescue here." He strode over to the table.
"Let's go, we got business to do," he said, scowling at Ghost.
"Fuck you, man," Steve said, standing up. "Ghost isn't going anywhere with you."
Ghost stood up, too. "Leave me alone, Maxey. We ain't got business with you, anymore."
"Get outta my face, punk," Maxey said to Steve, then grabbing Ghost's wrist, he jerked him toward him.
Steve drew back, punching Maxey square in the face, breaking his nose, knocking Maxey out cold. "I hope I killed you, you son-of-a-bitch," he yelled, trying to hit him again.
Ghost knew he had to restrain Steve, or he would kill Maxey. He grabbed his arm. "That's enough, Steve."
Steve knew it was, but wanted to keep on. As it was, the restaurant was in chaos. Maxey had fallen into another diner's table, crashing everything to the floor. Blood was pouring over his face, and people were screaming. Bill joined Ghost in trying to talk Steve down from his anger.
Linda and Lisa scrambled to get the kids away, and they all ran into the restroom. They were crying, scared of what they'd already seen. "It'll be ok, kids," Linda said, trying to ease their fears.
"But, Steve hit that man. Is he dead?" Stevie asked.
"No, he's not dead...just knocked out. He has a broken nose, but he'll be ok...don't worry."
Lisa was holding Mandy, who was hiding her face in Lisa's shoulder. They stayed in there for a little while, waiting for some kind of order out in the main room. "What was that all about?" Lisa asked.
"I'm not sure," Linda said. "I think that guy wanted Ghost to come with him, and Steve got mad. I'm definitely going to find out, though."
Out in the restaurant, people were either leaving, or standing in shock, waiting to see what would happen next. The manager had called the police, and the sirens from them, and the ambulance could be heard, as they approached. Maxey was now coming around. When the policemen entered, Steve was hollering.
"Take him in...he's a fugitive...arrest him..." Finally, the cops were able to understand, and called in for a record check and outstanding warrants on Maxey. They knew then, that they'd captured a criminal, and they handcuffed him. The EMT's did some minor first aid, then loaded Maxey into the ambulance. The cop went along, too, as he was ordered to not let Maxey out of his sight.
Steve would not be charged with assault, right now...only if Maxey pressed charges. As they left, Ghost collapsed in the chair, and put his head down on his arms, on the table. He sobbed, feeling that it was finally over. Steve knelt down and talked to Ghost in a low voice. Ghost nodded, saying he understood.
Bill said, "Mister, you've got a lot of explaining to do...both of you. Now, I'm getting the girls, and the kids, and we're going home. Straighten yourselves up before I get back. The kids are already scared enough." He went over to the restrooms, to let them know it was over.
Ghost raised up his head, and looked across the way...right into the face of the waiter. He knew he'd been the one that had called Maxey. If looks could kill, the waiter would be dead from the evil eye Ghost gave him.
"Let it go, man...nothing good will come of putting a curse on that asshole," Steve said.
Ghost nodded, and looked away, but the waiter could feel the waves of negative energy Ghost had sent his way. He scuttled back into the kitchen.
The manager was making 'who's gonna pay for all the damages noises,' and Steve threw some money on the table...more than enough to cover it all. He saw Bill, Lisa, Linda, and the kids come out, so he helped Ghost up, meeting them at the door. They all left. The kids had been told not to ask questions, just yet, and so, the short ride home was deathly quiet.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing