TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve had gone to Linda's room to confront and comfort his sister. "Linda," he hollered, as he banged on the door. "Let me in. It's ok, but we need to talk about it."
She did let him in, but just for a minute. She'd turned on the tv for the kids, and made sure they were ok, then motioned for Steve to follow her out to the car. It was parked right in front of the motel's door, so she could keep an eye on the kids, through the window, while she and Steve talked.
"Steve, I'm sorry I ran out like I did. It was such a shock...and I didn't want to embarrass Ghost any more than I'd already done. I know you told me about what he'd been through, but my God, Steve...that poor child." She wiped more tears from her face.
"I know, Linda, I was there. I saw it happen to him." He closed his eyes, shaking his head. "I know I put some there too, and I'll never forgive myself...Linda, he's devastated . He never wanted you to see, and now he thinks you're scared of him...that the way he looks made you afraid of him...that you won't ever see him the same way as before."
"Oh, Steve, it was such an unexpected shock. I'm not scared of him...of course not. I love Ghost because of who he is, not what he looks like on the outside. And really, it wasn't as bad as I'd imagined. I mean, I could see the scars, but it was just that I wasn't prepared. Can you even understand what I'm trying to say?"
Steve nodded. "Yeah, I do, and they don't look bad to me at all. I don't even notice his scars. They've faded, but to Ghost, when he looks at himself, it's just as they were long ago. They are ugly reminders to him, where to me, they are proof he is strong, that he's a survivor."
"Yes, he is," Linda said. Sighing, she gave Steve a hug.
"Now you have to convince him you're not scared of him, and that everything will be as always between you," Steve said.
"I will, Steve, and I was just surprised. The scars were faded, and it was just that I'd walked in on him when he was undressed that I ran out so fast."
"Then tell him that, please. Reassure him," Steve said.
Nodding, Linda said, "Where is he? I thought he was coming out, so we could get going." She looked toward the door to Steve's room, next door to her own.
Shrugging, Steve said, "Yeah, I thought so, too. I'll go see." He and Linda went to the room, after making sure the kids were fine. Steve opened the door.
"Ghost? You ready?" He saw that the door to the bathroom was closed, so went over and knocked on it. "Ghost?" He tried opening the door, but it only opened a little ways, before being blocked. "What the...?" he said as he pushed harder.
As the door opened more, Steve could see glass on the floor, and blood.
"Oh, my God...Ghost!" Steve yelled. He felt his heart lurch, as panic took hold. It was Ghost lying on the floor, that was blocking the door. Steve pushed his way in, and the room seemed to spin...he felt faint. "No, I won't faint", he told himself.
With his knees feeling weak, and shaking hands, he knelt down in the mirror glass, to help. "Ghost, what happened? Come on up from there, it's time to go," he said, knowing he was babbling, but he couldn't stop. Ghost moaned.
"Get up...here, I'll help ya," Steve said, trying to sit Ghost upright, but he didn't respond.
Then, reality slammed back into focus. "Linda...Linda...call 911," he yelled.
As Linda ran over to the door, to see what was going on, Steve yelled, "Don't come in. Just call..." But, Linda had already seen. She gasped, and couldn't look away.
"Hurry, Linda, call 911..."
She turned, finally, and grappled for her phone. With trembling hands, she punched in the numbers. "They want to know the address. Where are we? What's this place called?"
"I can't...I can't think..." Steve said
Linda looked frantically around the room, finally seeing a notepad on the night table, with the motel's advertising on it. She read off the address to the 911 operator.
"Ok, they're coming," she said, as she ran back to the bathroom. "What happened? What can I do? What are you doing?" she kept asking.
Steve looked up at her. He was cradling Ghost in a half-sitting position. "What?" The dazed look on his face, scared Linda as much as seeing Ghost. He was too calm, dazed, in shock, himself. This jolted her out of her own panic.
Feeling as if he was in some off kilter world, Steve couldn't make sense of it. Everything he said and did was in slow-motion...floaty...and sounds were muffled. He couldn't even hear what Linda was saying. He saw her mouth moving, but there was only a buzzing noise in the edge of his hearing. He blinked, and looked down at Ghost.
The next thing he knew, Linda was handing him a wet cloth rag; he'd not even seen her move, now this cold thing was in his hands. He dabbed at the small cuts on Ghost's face. "I need to take a nap..." he thought, then realized how irrational that thought had been.
Then, there was another voice inside his head...not his own..it was Ghost. But, he'd not seen Ghost try to talk.
"Where are you, Steve? I can't see you...help me..." Ghost's mind was pushing as hard as it could to get Steve's attention.
"Ghost? I'm right here...we're getting you help...just...just..." his voice faded away.
Linda had ran to the door, as she heard the sirens of the ambulance coming. It had only been a very few minutes since she'd called, but seemed much longer. As she let them in, time did another jolt, as it seemed to speed up.
The EMT's took over, and Steve stood watching, feeling in the way, and helpless to do anything. They were asking questions, and he was answering, but later wouldn't remember any of what he told them. After tending to Ghost, they put him on a stretcher, taking him out to the ambulance.
"I'm going with them, Linda," Steve said.
"Ok, I'll get the kids, and come too, in the van," she said. As soon as they'd left, Linda just stood there in the motel room a minute. It was too quiet, now. She turned to look back in the bathroom. It resembled a scene from a horror movie. Shuddering, she backed out, leaving the room, and going to her own room, and Stevie and Mandy.
"Come on, kids, we're going." She loaded them up in the car, and drove to the hospital, using the directions the EMTs had given her.
In the ambulance, Steve just stared, as they worked on Ghost. He was overwhelmed with sensory input. Ghost looked dead...deathly pale, and the red of his blood still was seeping out from where the glass had cut him. The cuts didn't look serious, but the EMTs were concentrating on them. The ambulance had a strange, yet familiar smell.
He couldn't place it at first. Then, he remembered...it was the coppery, sweet smell of Ghost's blood. The same as that night long ago, in Ghost's bedroom...the night he'd killed him. He felt the bile rise in his throat, and barely managed to choke it down. "This is not happening...this is not happening..."
The ambulance bumped over the road, speeding through intersections, and it's siren's blaring oddly muffled here inside. The whole thing was surreal to Steve. And, there was Ghost's voice, calling for him...over and over...in his head.
At last they were at the hospital. Ghost was rushed away, even as Steve tried to keep up on his shaking legs. When he did catch up, he was told he couldn't be in the emergency room. So, he just stood there at the double doors, looking lost. Someone came up and took his arm. Looking around, he saw that it was Linda..."where did she come from?"
"Steve, come over here and sit down, hon," Linda urged. "They are helping Ghost. Don't worry." She glanced over at Stevie and Mandy. They had found a seat, and were watching the waiting room tv. A woman from the admissions desk called them over. Steve had to give her all the information needed to admit Ghost. He tried to answer them, and must have done ok, because they said he could go wait some more.
"Linda, what are they doing? Will they even come tell us?" he asked.
"I'm sure they will, Steve," she said. I hope they will... Not being blood related, it might be difficult to get information, she knew.
Steve could not sit still. He kept jiggling his leg, then getting up and pacing, looking at those double doors, where he'd last seen Ghost. After waiting for what seemed forever, a doctor came out, calling them over.
"Are you Steve?" he asked.
"Yes, how is he...can I see him?"
"I just need a bit more information first," the doctor said. "Let me see," he looked at his clipboard of papers. "The patient's name is...Ghost?"
"Yes," Steve said.
"And your relationship to Ghost is...?"
"We're married," Steve said.
The doctor looked up at him.
"I know what you're thinking, but we are," Steve said. "In our hearts, we are...please, can I see him?"
"I have a few more questions," the doctor said, looking back at his paperwork.
"Dammit! I just need to know if he's going to be ok, and to see him...why can't..." Steve was shouting. Linda put her hand on his arm.
"Steve, it isn't helping to get upset."
The doctor had stepped back, afraid he might get punched.
"She's right...calm yourself down. I know you're worried, and you'll be able to see him soon."
Steve took deep breaths, nodding that he understood.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing