TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
As they drove back to the motel, Linda could tell that Stevie and Mandy were needing a nap. They could hardly keep their eyes open. Steve was staring out the window, lost in a fog of mental pain. She, herself, was exhausted. She couldn't help the thoughts that came to her.
She gave in to them for a few minutes...What have I gotten us into...uprooting the kids and moving across the country, leaving all we know...going into the unknown and unfamiliar...Is Steve and Ghost always in so much drama?...Where are we going to live, where will I find a job... Her mind was in turmoil over it all, going around and around. Then, there was the traveling, and they still had so far to go. Ghost's health was in jeopardy, too, now, and it was getting to be too much for her. She felt her eyes sting, as tears began to fall. She wiped them away, before Steve could see, at least she hoped he didn't see her crying. He didn't need her self-pity on his shoulders, too. Taking a deep, shuddery breath, she said to herself, "I will be strong. I will see this through."
She pulled the van into the motel parking lot, and switched off the engine. They just sat there a minute. "Mommy, are we home?" Mandy asked, still half-asleep.
"No, sweetie, we're back at the motel. We're going in so you and Stevie can take your naps," she said. Getting out, she helped unbuckle the kids from their car seats. In the room, she helped them get into comfortable sleep clothes, and tucked them in, kissing their foreheads.
"Y'all try to sleep for a little bit," she said. "Here's your doll, Mandy. Your uncle Steve and I will be right outside, talking."
"Ok, Mommy," Mandy said. Stevie was already asleep.
Steve closed the door, as he and Linda went out. "Ok...I've had my pity party, Steve...now, we get busy," Linda said. "Here's my thoughts...see what you think," She cleared her throat, before speaking again. "You go to the office and tell them what's going on. Pay for the damages to the room...whatever they ask for, ok?" Steve nodded.
"Next, you have to go get your things from the room, and bring them over here."
"Yeah, I can do that," Steve said. He headed off to see the motel manager.
Linda checked on the kids, then freshened up a little. Running a brush through her hair, and splashing cold water on her face, helped revive her. Back outside, she met up with Steve, again.
"That's done," Steve said. "Now, the room...um...it's gonna be hard to go in there, Linda...to see...well, you know."
"I know, but you have to...I have to stay with the kids," Linda said. "You just try not to think about what happened earlier."
Steve nodded, as he tried to steel himself for opening the other room's door. He closed his eyes, as he opened it...immediately the stale air in the room engulfed him. He could see it all happening again. He went in, but left the door open. His eyes were drawn to the bathroom...this is where it happened...oh, God...Ghost's blood on the floor...shattered glass... A quick look only...there was none of their things in there. He hurried to gather up the few things they'd brought in, from the main room, then left, shutting the door behind him.
He didn't say a word, as he passed by Linda. He just went into her room and dropped everything on the floor, against the wall. He came back outside...he was breathing hard, and shaking all over. "That's all," he said.
"Ok, good," Linda said. "I know that was a hard thing to do, but you did it." She wanted to hug him, he looked so sad, but she knew if she did, he would probably break down completely.
"Now what?" he asked.
"Well, it's still a long time until seven o'clock. Maybe we should try to rest, too. I'm going to call Lisa, and tell her what has happened, then I'll lay down with the kids for awhile," Linda said. "Maybe you should call Kinsey? Let him know? Then, come rest on the little bed, ok?"
"Yeah, I better call Kinsey," Steve said. He took out his phone. They both made their calls.
Linda dialed her sister's number. "Hey, Sis, it's me. We're stopped a few days, here in Arizona. We were about to get into New Mexico, but Ghost had a bad spell, and is in the hospital."
"Oh, no...will he be all right?" Lisa asked.
"Yeah, I think so. They'll release him maybe tomorrow. I'm hanging in there. I'm tired...the kids are good. No complaints from either of them."
"Good, good, but I can tell by your voice, something's bothering you," Lisa said.
Sighing, Linda said, "Just the stress, I guess, Lisa. The uncertainty of it all...second guessing...you know how it is. We're fine, but we'll be glad when we get to Missing Mile and can settle down somewhere."
"Ok, then, sister...I'll try not to worry. You keep calling me, though, even if just to say hi, ok?" Lisa said.
"Ok, I will," Linda said. "Love you."
"Love you, too," Lisa said. They ended their call. Linda went inside to rest, with the kids.
Steve had gone over to a little grassy area by the motel pool. Sitting at a picnic table, he made his call to Kinsey. "Hey, Kinsey," he began, when the phone was answered.
"Hey, there Steve. Good to hear from you," Kinsey said. "Where are y'all? How's it going?" he asked.
"Oh, we're still in Arizona, but right near the border to New Mexico. We're gonna be here a little longer than we thought..." Steve trailed off.
"Ok, what's happened?" Kinsey asked.
Steve hesitated a second. "Uh...Kinsey...it's Ghost...he's in the hospital here..."
"Oh, no...what happened?"
"He had a...seizure...a bad one, Kinsey...and somehow fell into a mirror and got cut. He had to have a few stitches, but they'll be ok...it's...well, they're keeping him some more, because he was out of it for so long. They're making sure he's over it, ya know, got some more meds, and all." Steve stopped a few seconds, then blurted out, "Shit, Kinsey...I only seen him once this morning, and can't go back until tonight...and nobody's telling me anything." He tried to stifle a sob. "...and he's not ok, Kinsey..." he said, his voice catching. "He's just not ok...he said he thinks I hate him. And, the EMTs kept saying it was a suicide attempt, when he broke the mirror...and now I don't know what to think...or do...or say," he cried.
"Steve...get ahold of yourself," Kinsey said. "Did he say anything else...did he say why?"
"No, that's all, and they made me leave in a hurry. I don't know what's going on and I get no information at all. What should I do, Kinsey? I mean, when I see Ghost again. Just ask him straight out? What if he won't even want to see me no more?"
"Ok, Steve...I don't get what's going on, but it doesn't sound good," Kinsey said. He thought for a minute. "What do you think? Did it look accidental? You weren't there when it happened?"
"No, I was over in Linda's room, or car, or whatever...waiting for him to come out. Then he didn't, so we go in and he's...Oh, God...laying there on the floor, in the glass, and bleeding, and totally passed out. Then they came and took him...and Kinsey? I'm scared to say it, but there wasn't no way he fell onto the mirror...it was bolted down."
"Oh, Jesus, Steve..." Kinsey said. They were silent then, for a minute. "What's Linda's take on all this?"
"I don't know, she didn't really say. She's so tired and all, and the kids...she's taking a nap right now...she just keeps talking about getting back on the road again."
"Hmm, well, Steve...y'all just go up there tonight and demand some answers from those doctors. And, I guess see if Ghost has come around to normal now. Sounds like just the after-business of the seizure, and the trauma of getting hurt, and medicines...I'm sure he didn't mean that what he said...there's no way, you know," Kinsey said.
"I know, Kinsey, but I'm so worried."
"I know, Steve, but you have to handle it, you and Linda both. And as soon as possible, get Ghost back home," Kinsey said. "Let me know, ok?"
"Ok, I will," Steve said. They hung up their phones. Steve rubbed his face, and prayed Ghost would be better tonight.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing