TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
On the elevator, riding down to the waiting area, Ghost seemed to be fine, but Steve asked anyway, "You ok? I mean, you're out of here now, and the doctor said it was ok, but how do you really feel?"
"I'm good...feeling fine, Steve. I'm just happy to be outta here. That medicine makes me feel weird, though, like floaty or something."
Steve nodded. "Yeah, he said it probably would until you get used to it. He said not to drive..."
"I don't wanna drive," Ghost said, looking alarmed.
Steve laughed. "I know, and I told the doctor you don't. So, do you feel ok to get back on the road, when we leave here? You can sleep if you need to...or we can stay at the motel another day or so...whatever you need."
Ghost sighed. "I just want to be home."
"Ok then, that's what we'll do." Steve still thought Ghost didn't feel good, though, but he willed himself to not think it, because Ghost would pick up on his thoughts, and he didn't want to start another conversation about it right now. He'd take Ghost's word on it, and they would carry on.
As they got to the waiting room, Stevie and Mandy came running to hug Ghost. "Yay...we missed you, Ghost. Can you come out now?" Stevie asked.
"Yeah, I can come out now," Ghost said, kneeling down to hug the kids.
"You got a boo-boo?" Mandy asked, touching Ghost's cheek.
"Um-hmm, but it's better now."
"I'm glad you're feeling better," Linda said. "Are you up for more traveling?"
"Sure...I'm letting Steve drive, ya know, so I can write...and sleep," Ghost said, and laughed.
"Good, then I guess we should get going, huh, Steve?" Linda asked.
"I'm ready if y'all are," Steve said.
The kids got their things, and everyone went to their cars. Steve briefed Linda on the route out of town, and they took off down the road...out of Arizona into New Mexico. Steve figured they could make it across with only a stop for food and gas once, before night.
Turning on the radio, Steve tried to find a station that would come in more than static. He still thought it was strange that cities were so far apart out here in the west. It wasn't like back home, at all. Ghost stared out the window for awhile, as he munched on peanut butter crackers, and sipped water. He wasn't very talkative, even though Steve commented on the desert scenery, as they rode along. Finally finding some music to listen to, he settled into driving, and keeping a watch in the rearview mirror, to make sure Linda was still following. There weren't many other cars on the road, so she had no problem keeping up.
Ghost got out his journal, and began to write.
"What'cha writing about," Steve asked.
"Oh, just whatever I think of. I'm trying to catch up from the last time I wrote in here. You know, about the hospital and all...and why I was there, and how I felt." He looked out the window again, for a few seconds. "Then, I'll write about us going down the road."
"Oh, ok." After a couple of minutes Steve said, "While you were in the hospital, I kinda was writing a song. I got some of the words down, and kept hearing the notes in my head." He looked over at Ghost, to get his reaction.
Ghost was grinning. "You did? What's it about? When can I hear it?"
"I need to work on it some more, but it's about that ghost town we saw...and you."
"Yeah, how you knew there was a fake town, and a real one. Well, there's more to it than that...like words unspoken...about fake and real stuff. Like I said, I'm still working on it, but I'll try to play it for you tonight when we stop," Steve said.
Ghost reached over and touched Steve's face. "I'm glad you're real," he said.
Steve smiled. "Glad you're real, too."
Ghost sighed. "I'm sleepy...I want to lay down."
"Well, there's really no way. Just try to get comfortable as best you can, because you have to have your seatbelt on."
"I know," Ghost said. He scooched down a little bit, though, and took his jacket to rest his head on, against the side window. He looked up into the sky of New Mexico...a clear, blue sky.
Steve glanced over at him...sky blue eyes, match the blue sky...amazing...
"I'm looking for UFOs," Ghost said. "This is where they hang out, ya know."
"In the daytime?" Steve asked.
"Sure, why not?"
"Well, 'cause then people would see them?" Steve countered.
"Yeah, like me," Ghost said. "That's 'cause I'm looking for them. They come out of their secret hiding places sometimes, just to see if we're paying attention. Then the next day, they'll know...the people report a sighting, and it gets wrote about in the paper, and on tv."
Steve snorted. "So the UFOs read the newspapers and watch tv news?"
"No, not the UFOs, Steve...the aliens."
"Ohh, I see..."
"Yeah," Ghost said, still looking farther down the road. "Ya see that big 'ol mountain, way off over there? That could be where they have their cave at...where they live."
Steve laughed out loud. "They live in caves?"
"Well, yeah, or hollowed out places in the mountains. It would have to be big enough for their UFOs, though," Ghost said. "I know some things, Steve."
"Yes, you sure do," Steve said, totally believing all Ghost was saying, and at the same time, knowing it was another fantastic story that Ghost loved to tell...and could make seem so real.
Ghost smiled his crooked grin, knowing he had sucked Steve into his tale of UFOs. "My eyes are tired of looking now, but you wake me up if you happen to see one, ok?"
"Ok, I will, right after I scream from fright."
Ghost closed his eyes, and was asleep almost before Steve finished talking. Steve yawned, and fiddled with the radio again. He let down the window for some fresh air...anything to keep awake.
"This road is monotonous," he thought. "Feels like we're getting nowhere, even as the miles keep rolling by." He wondered how Linda was holding up. She was still behind him, keeping up. He risked a quick call.
"Hey, Linda, I'm ready to get out and stretch my legs awhile. Let's stop at the next town," he said.
"Ok, I'm needing to stop, too," she said.
They continued for another thirty miles or so, finally seeing signs for the next town. Then, pulling into a gas station/convenience store, he got out to stretch. He was pumping gas into the U-Haul, when Linda pulled into the parking lot.
"Is everyone asleep?" Steve asked.
"My two are, but I'm thinking I should wake them up to go potty," Linda said.
"Let's see," Steve said. "The next town is about an hour away. Maybe they'll stay asleep until then, and we'll be hungry, too. I say we keep going. Just let them sleep for now. You need to go, while we're stopped?" he asked.
"Yep, keep an eye on the kids, and I'll be right back," Linda said, as she walked to the store.
When she returned, Steve took his turn, then they were off down the road, again. Steve kept thinking of the song he was working on, trying out different words, hoping he could remember them to write them down. Ghost began to wake up, shortly before they were to stop.
He sat up straighter, rubbing his neck. "Where we at?" he asked.
""The middle of nowhere," Steve said.
"We're between towns, Ghost. We're gonna stop pretty soon, and get something to eat."
"Oh, ok...I'm hungry," Ghost said.
"We'll stop in Albuquerque to eat, then keep going until dark. We'll probably make it into Tucumcari for tonight," Steve said. "We're on this here road I-40 all the way home."
"They got some funny names out here, don't they?" asked Ghost. "Did ya see any UFOs when I was asleep?"
"No, I would have woke you up, if I had."
"Where we going to eat? I want some New Mexico food," Ghost said.
"What kind is that? Is it different than regular food? We'll just eat at a regular place...order whatever you want," Steve said.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing