TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
They kept driving down Route 40, heading for the next overnight stop. Steve kept seeing notices for the Petrified Forest National Park. It was right on their way.
"You know what's coming up?" Steve asked.
"More desert?" Ghost said.
"Well, yeah, but there's a petrified forest up ahead. That sure would be cool to look at."
Steve laughed. "No, it's like trees that turned into rocks, like a long time ago."
"Rock trees? Tell me when we get to them. I'll take a picture," Ghost said.
"Ok, we'll pull over."
In a little while they came upon the place. "It didn't look so big on the map," Steve said. He slowed the car down, looking for a place to pull over.
"This place looks kinda scary. Whatever scared the trees, is scaring me, too," Ghost said.
"They didn't get scared, I told ya...it just happened after a lot of years."
"I don't care when they got scared...just what scared them."
Steve shook his head, knowing Ghost would carry on about it for awhile. He pulled over to wait for Linda to catch up with them.
"I have an idea," Ghost said, as he stared at the scattered, petrified logs laying around the area. "Get your guitar, Steve, I want to take a picture. When Steve had gotten it, they walked over to a fallen tree.
"Ok, now play something," Ghost said. "These here trees are rock stars." He took a few pictures.
Linda and the kids arrived, and the kids ran around from tree to tree. They were in an area off the main highway, back along the winding little road. No one else was around.
"Hey, that was a good idea, y'all had," Linda said. "Take my picture, too." She took the guitar, and posed. The kids wanted in on the picture taking, and so they all posed by the rock star trees. It was getting late, though, and there were quite a few miles yet to go before stopping at a motel. Before Ghost got back into the U-Haul, he reached out his hands, touching the tree.
"Thank you, rock tree, for letting us take your picture. I'm sorry you got sacared a long time ago. I hope we made you happy today." He smiled. As he got into the truck, Steve asked, "What did the tree say?"
"It said it had fun, too."
"Oh, well good. You ready to get back on the road?"
They drove for another hour or so. In the next town, they found a motel, and a place to eat. This time a fast-food restaurant.
"You know what?" Linda asked. "I think it's going to take longer than three days, Steve."
"Yeah, it looks that way, now, but I don't care, really," Steve said. "We're having a good time seeing parts of the country we'd never have seen if we'd gone by plane. You are enjoying this, aren't you?"
Nodding, Linda said, "Oh, sure I am, and the kids are, too. They haven't complained hardly at all about being in the car for so long. These little sightseeing stops makes all the difference."
They finished their meal, and headed back to the motel. Linda, in her room, got the kids ready for bed, then herself.
Steve and Ghost did the same, after watching TV for awhile. When the lights were out, Ghost began talking about UFOs. "Steve, are we gonna see one? Do you want to see one? It's UFO country out there, now."
Wrinkling his nose, Steve said, "No, I don't want to see one. Only a few people get to see them Ghost...and nobody believes them, anyway. So we probably won't. Aren't they mostly seen at night? We're asleep at night."
"Well, I'm gonna stay up and look for one. Maybe I'll be lucky. I see dead people, so why not UFOs?"
"Ok, if anyone could, it would be you, I guess," Steve said.
"Yeah, and if I see one, I'll holler for you to come look," Ghost said.
"But, I don't want to see one," Steve said, shaking his head.
"Because they're scary, and maybe the aliens would take us away. They kinda do that, don't they?" Steve said.
"Hmm, well, sometimes, I guess," Ghost said. "I'm going outside after while, and call them to come.'
"What are you gonna say to them?"
"I'm gonna at least tell them we'll be in their state, and we want to see them. They can hear us, right?"
"Hell if I know, Ghost. I hope not...anyway, I'm going to sleep, I'm getting spooked, now."
"Petrified?" Ghost laughed.
"Yeah, like a log...see, I'm not moving...I'm a rock." He drifted off to a sound sleep.
Ghost tried to sleep, but it was no use. After a few minutes, he got up to look for a snack in his backpack. Finally finding a mostly uncrushed package of peanut butter-cheese crackers, he quietly went out the door. He munched on them, as he looked around.
The parking lot was lit by a few street lights, but over to the far edge, it was dark...only moonlight in the emptiness of the desert. This motel was the last one on the edge of the little town they were in.
"This is perfect," he said out loud to the night. Walking across the parking lot, he had a quick thought...that he should have left a note for Steve, but he didn't plan on staying out here for long. He kept going into the darkness. Finally about half a mile out, he stopped. There in the moonlight, he looked up at the stars.
They were really clear out here in the wide open spaces. At home, there were always trees that blocked his view. Scanning the sky, he looked for anything that was moving, hoping to see a UFO.
"Hey, y'all...if any of you are listening, my name is Ghost. I want to know if y'all are real. Show me. Come out of hiding so I can see ya." Then, he waited. He detected no movement, no beams of light, no noise.
"Ok, well, we're gonna be closer to where y'all hang out, in the morning, so when it gets dark again, I'll call for ya again, ok?" A sudden cool breeze ruffled his hair, and he imagined he heard something say..."We'll be waiting..." He grinned, knowing it was his wishful thinking, but secretly hoping it was real. He walked back toward the motel.
The neon sign was tiny from so far away, but a beacon to aim for. The whole way back, he felt something was watching him. He did not turn around to see, though.
"They're checking me out...seeing if I'm real," he thought. He sent a silent message through the air..."Yes, I'm real..."
Back at the motel room, he let himself in. Steve was still asleep.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing