TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
After Steve had made his phone call to Kinsey, he went back to Linda's motel room. Seeing that she and the kids were already asleep, he lay across the smaller bed, and shut his eyes...willing himself to go to sleep. He needed to forget what the day had been like, so far, but the images kept coming, over and over, like flashes from a scary movie. The drone of the air-conditioner finally lulled him into a fitful sleep. For awhile, all was quiet.
Stevie and Mandy were giggling and playing some game with their toys, and Linda kept shushing them, but it woke Steve up, anyway. Cracking his eyes open, he said, "It's ok...I'm awake."
"Sorry, I tried to keep them quiet, Steve," Linda said.
He lay there a few more minutes. Something was nagging at him; he tried to remember what it was. Then, he did recall a dream he'd just had, or at least parts of it. He'd heard tiny leprechaun voices all around him. They were saying they would grant him a wish, if he could find the pot of gold. He tried and tried...his wish was that Ghost would be ok, but he couldn't find it. He woke up to the little voices of Stevie and Mandy.
"I couldn't find it," he mumbled to himself.
"What?" Linda asked. "You couldn't find what?"
Looking over at her, he said, "The pot of gold...so I didn't get my wish." He saw that she didn't get it. "Oh, it was nothing...just a dream I had."
"Oh, ok, it sounds strange," Linda said.
Nodding, Steve said, "Umm-hmm, but I wanted to find it so bad. He got up to go wash his face, and try to wake all the way up. Looking at his watch he saw that it was almost five-thirty.
"Hey, Linda, I'm hungry. Let's go eat, then it'll be time to go to the hospital."
"Good idea," she said. "Let me get these kids into some fresh clothes, then let's go."
Driving through the town, they found a restaurant that wasn't too fancy, so they went in. They ordered their food, and talked while they ate.
"I want you to go in to see Ghost with me, Linda," Steve said. "I don't care what they say, we're all family."
"Yes, we are, and I will go in, but don't you want to go in first? I mean, they way things were left, I think maybe y'all should talk alone for a few minutes," Linda said. "And, really I can't leave the kids alone."
"Oh, yeah, you're right. I'm just nervous. What do I say? Or do I just pretend it didn't happen...what he said? Maybe he don't even remember it, either...I hope so."
"I know, me too," Linda said. "Just go in normal...don't say anything about it, ok. This is so awkward for you, Steve...and me, too. You and Ghost have gone through so much, but this here...this weird feeling of how to be with each other...." she said, sighing and shaking her head. "Well, it has to work out. However it does, we still all have to get home to Missing Mile together. It has to get resolved somehow."
"Yeah, I know," Steve said. He looked at the time. "Ok, so let's do this...ya ready to go?"
"Yes, come on kids, time to go," she said, gathering up their things, as Steve paid the bill.
"Where we going, Mommy," Stevie asked.
"Honey, we're going to the hospital again, to see Ghost."
"Oh, can he come home now?"
"That's what we're going to find out. We hope so. You and Mandy need to bring in a toy or coloring book to keep you busy for a little while, ok?"
They looked through their things, picking out what they wanted to bring in with them. Linda pulled up in the parking lot, and they all went inside.
"Ok, Steve, go up there first." She gave him a hug. She didn't say any more, but he knew she was hoping it would be ok with Ghost. She settled the kids, and then sat and stared at the tv that was bolted to the wall, not knowing or caring what was on.
Steve went up the elevator to the floor Ghost was on, then walked slowly to his room. The door was closed. Trembling all over, and his heart pounding, he pushed open the door. Tears stung his eyes, as he looked at Ghost. He was awake, looking up at the tv.
He had more color in his cheeks this evening, and the cuts to his face had been treated, and the stitches he'd gotten were covered, but he looked so alone and vulnerable in that hospital bed, wearing the flimsy, cotton gown. As Steve walked in, Ghost turned to see him.
The moment Steve was worried about, was now.
"Steve..." Ghost whispered. He smiled his crooked grin, and held out his arms to Steve, who rushed over to the bed.
"Ghost, Ghost," he cried, as he fell into Ghost's embrace. They hugged each other tight, not wanting to let go. Then they kissed...so familiar, yet so new at the same time. "Oh, Ghost, I was so worried about you," Steve said. "I'm still afraid ...of what..." he started saying, but Ghost stopped him.
"I know, Steve. I'm sorry...I didn't mean it. I was just in such a bad place...I was hating myself, not you, and I know you could never hate me. Can you just forget it...like it never happened? I been so worried, too. So worried that you'd never come back for me," he said, choking back a sob.
"Oh, Babe, I'd never, ever leave you...not here, not anywhere," Steve said.
"This day has been so long, Steve. I feel better, but so sad I made you leave."
"I know...it's been the same for me, too," Steve said. They were quiet for a minute, just staring into each other's eyes. Then Ghost looked down.
"Steve, they made me talk to one of those people...the psy...uh...I don't know what kind, but those head people."
"They did? A psychiatrist?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, and they asked a lot of questions...about what happened...and why...and did I want to go to another place for awhile..." Ghost looked up at Steve. "They won't make me do that, will they? I just wanna go home is all."
"Of course not," Steve said. "They can't make you do anything, but...did it help...to talk, I mean?"
Ghost nodded. "Yeah, 'cause it was bad, Steve. Things got so mixed up to me, and...and...I was in this dark place where I couldn't get out, and it didn't go away until I woke up here."
"Oh God, Ghost...I'm so sorry...and if I did or said anything to cause it...well, I'm sorry," Steve said.
"No, it wasn't...it was my craziness in my head. That's all...and Steve...I know what they think...and I know you want to ask, but you won't... I didn't try to kill myself. I'd never do that...I promise." His chin quivered, but he kept talking. "But, Steve, it wasn't an accident either. I hit that mirror real hard, 'cause I didn't like looking at me. All I see is ugly, bad stuff, and I just couldn't look any more." he took a deep sigh. "I forgot it was glass...I was hitting me. Then, I felt my head go crazy,and I fell down. That's all I know."
"Oh, thank God, Ghost," Steve said. "I mean, not that you're hurt and all, but well, you know...that it wasn't on purpose."
Ghost thought a minute. "The psy lady said I should see someone at home...to keep working on feeling better about myself. And, the doctor said I need to take this other medicine now, too. These here ones." He handed Steve a couple of prescriptions that had been written for him.
Steve looked at them, and nodded. "Then that's what you'll do...take these, and go talk to someone at home."
"I know," Ghost nodded.
"Ok, so when can you get out of here?"
Ghost shrugged. "I don't know...they didn't say."
"Well, do you feel like you should stay, you know, to be stronger for traveling the rest of the way home? We don't have to be in such a big hurry that it would be bad for you," Steve said.
"Well, I feel ok to go, really. This place is not fun...they keep poking me and psy-ing me, and Steve, what I really want...I mean need?" He smiled, "I need a good cup of coffee. This here is crap, coffee. Can ya get me a good one and bring it?"
Steve laughed. "Yes, I'm sure I can."
"The doctor should be back in a little while. That's what he said."
"Ok, good. I need to talk to him, and get you outta here," Steve said, standing up to leave. "I'll go find coffee for you. Oh, Linda wants to come up to see you...you ok with that?"
"Yeah, send her up," Ghost said.
"Ok, I'll be back soon," Steve said, kissing Ghost again.
He left almost dancing down the hallway. His heart was singing now...not lurching.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing