TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
"I'll order whatever sounds like UFO food," Ghost said, still talking about what he wanted to eat when they stopped in New Mexico.
"You're weird, ya know," Steve said.
"I know," Ghost said. He got out his journal and pen, and began drawing pictures of aliens and UFOs. He'd show Steve what he drew, every once in awhile. "How do you like this one?" he kept asking.
"I like all of them," Steve said, glancing at the page. "You draw really good. Where do you get ideas for aliens, anyway...tv?"
"Nuh-uh...them shows are fake. I seen real ones before...in a dream, but it wasn't a dream. I think I was there where they were, looking at them," Ghost said.
Steve knew Ghost was off and running with another fantastical story, but he loved hearing them, so he kept asking questions. "When was this dream, not a dream deal?"
"Oh, a long time ago, before I was here." Ghost said.
"Up in the mountains?"
"No, before that...another time," Ghost said. "I was here before this time...you know..." he sighed. "I still miss it sometimes...that other time."
"You're not making sense...what other time?" Steve asked.
Ghost thought a minute. "Didn't I tell you before, that we both knew each other a bunch of other times? That's why we're together now, 'cause we always were supposed to be. We'll always be together...even when we're gone from here."
Frowning, Steve was still confused. "You told me before?"
"Yeah, I think so. My grandmother told me, and she told you. Then I told you again. Remember?"
Steve thought about it, trying to get what Ghost was talking about. He vaguely remembered the strange conversation he'd had with Ghost's grandmother, Miz Deliverance, that day he rescued Ghost behind the school, many years ago. What had she said...that he and Ghost were meant to meet again, but only when the time was right...and then...it was the right time.
"I kinda remember that, Ghost. I didn't get it then, though, and I still don't, but it is a familiar feeling...I get this weird knowing about us, that I can't put into words."
"Yeah, that's it," Ghost said. "Exactly. There's a word for it, for when you come back, and another word for what we are...re...something..." he tried to think of the words.
"Oh, you mean reincarnation?" Steve asked. "Is that it? I've heard of that, and it's like you said...we come back again and again."
"That's the word, Steve, and that's what we did. And, the other words is soul-mates, I just remembered. That's what we are...our souls are meant to be together, no matter what, no matter when, and in every lifetime we're in...every one of them." Ghost laughed. "And, here we are today."
Steve laughed, too. "That's so cool. That's the connection we have. I get it, now."
Ghost nodded, "And our name too...Lost Souls?...'cause it fits...we are lost souls 'till we find each other again. I'm glad it's you, Steve. I wouldn't want it to be anybody else."
"Me too, Ghost...it wouldn't work any other way," Steve said.
They rode in silence a little while, both thinking of it. Then, Steve asked, "What's that got to do with UFOs?"
"Huh?" Ghost asked. "Oh, you mean me seeing them in a maybe dream, and the stuff between us? Nothing, I guess, except I remember this other place and time I was in, and they were there. I don't think I stayed very long in that place, that time, 'cause I couldn't find you, and I had to keep searching. You weren't one of the aliens."
"But, you kind of miss that place?"
"Yeah, 'cause it was pretty neat. I didn't live very long...didn't get to know it much."
"Would you go back there, if you had a chance?" Steve asked. "If a UFO stopped us, right here in the road, and asked you to come back...would you go?"
"No, why would I?" Ghost said, shaking his head. "You are here, Steve. This is where I belong."
"Good, I want you to stay here with me," Steve said, smiling.
After awhile, they came to the next city, Albuquerque. Steve pulled into a large parking lot, and waited for Linda to catch up. "Here she is," he said, getting out of the U-Haul.
Linda pulled her van up next to them, and rolled down the window. Steve leaned in, and asked, "Just wondering if you have any idea of where you and the kids want to eat."
"Anything but fast food and sandwiches," she said. "I need a break, and want some real food, today." She laughed.
They scanned the area of town they were in, but didn't see anything likely. "Maybe we could ask someone over in that convenience store? Surely, they'd know a good place to eat," Linda said.
"Ok, I'll go ask," Steve said, and walked over to the little store.
The kids were getting fidgety, wanting to get out and run around. "We'll get out in a few minutes. Uncle Steve will be right back, then we'll go eat."
When Steve rejoined them, Linda asked, "What did you find out?"
"Ok, there's a restaurant about two blocks over there," he said, pointing. "It has all different things. Then there's a diner, about a mile up the road, and a truck stop on the way out of town. Which one sounds the best?"
"The restaurant, will be fine," Linda said.
Steve went back to the U-Haul. "Did you find a place?" Ghost asked. He began putting away his book and markers.
"Yep, and looks like it's right over there," Steve said, as he was pulling into the parking lot.
Inside the restaurant, they were led to a booth, and given menus. Ghost looked it over and laughed. "See...I told you there'd be UFO food," he showed Steve, pointing out the names of some of the choices.
"You're right," Steve said, reading them off out loud.
About half the menu did have funny UFO names for the pretty much ordinary food. There was 'planetary meatballs and spaghetti', 'flying saucer tortillas' for a build your own burrito, 'E-T tacos', 'alien appetizer platter', 'close encounter' enchiladas, and 'galaxy grilled chicken', among other things. They made their choices, and drank iced-tea while they waited for their order to be ready.
"This is the weirdest place I ever ate at," Steve said, as he looked around.
"I know," Linda said. "I don't even know what it's supposed to be...is it a Mexican food place?"
"Kind of, but the waiters are all dressed...well, like Mexicans from outer space." He snickered at that.
Ghost was taking it all in. He had a grin on his face, and was enjoying the spectacle. There was a hodge-podge of costumes the waiters and waitresses were wearing, from serapes and sombreros, to alien ears, and antennas, in any combination. The décor was just as mixed up, and the music playing over the speakers was western songs, alternating with sci-fy movie themes.
Their waiter came by to let them know it wouldn't be long. "Y'all's order is working, but if the kids want to burn off some energy, there's a kid space over through that door," he said, pointing to the back of the room.
"Thanks," Linda said. "That's just what they need." She and Steve took Stevie and Mandy over to play. Ghost got out his camera, and wandered around snapping pictures. Several other customers were doing the same, and he got to talk to them about where they were from, and where they were going. It was like a family party atmosphere in the restaurant. He found his way into the play area, to take pictures of the kids. They were having a ball, hollering and playing on all the equipment, with some other kids. After a little while, their waiter motioned to them that their food was ready, so they rounded up the kids, and went back to their table. There was so much food there, the table was filled.
"Oh, my...we ordered a lot," Linda said.
"Well, let's get started, then," Steve said.
They ate until they could hold no more. "I'm dying," Ghost said. "I ate too much."
"But it was so good," said Steve, pushing his plate away. Even the kids had eaten a lot, for them. They paid their way out, and went back to the cars.
"Ready to get back on the road?" Steve asked. "There's a few more hours until it gets dark."
"Sure, we really should," Linda said. "Then we can all sleep good tonight at a motel."
They pulled out of the parking lot, and found the Interstate highway, again. Everyone was refreshed from their break.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing