TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
The little town of Ozark was quaint. Large trees, expanses of green lawns, and two-story houses with screened front porches, lined the main street. Ahead, Steve and Ghost could see the small town square. There was a grocery store, a laundry, a diner, a five and dime, and right in the middle was a statue, which was possibly the founder of the town.
Steve drove slowly through, waiting for Ghost to give him directions. Ghost was staring out the window. "Keep going, it's past this part," he said. After a couple more blocks, he said, "Ok, turn right at the next corner." Then, as they turned, they could see a crowd of people on the front lawn of a large Victorian house. It was a yard sale.
Steve found a place to park on the side of the road, and they walked over to look around. Linda and the kids followed their lead. Stevie and Mandy headed for some toys they'd spied.
"Is this the right place?" Linda asked.
Nodding, Ghost said, "Yeah, it's here somewhere. I feel it."
"Ok, I'm going to look around, then," Linda said. She followed the kids.
"So, ok," Steve said. "Go find whatever it is, Ghost. Do your hocus-pocus, then let's go."
They walked over to a table full of items. Ghost ran his hands above the things there, not touching any. "Not on here," he said, and moved on over to the next table. Just as he got to it, he was shoved hard from behind, and almost fell down.
"Hey, stop pushing me, Steve," he said, looking back. Steve wasn't there; he'd gone over to look at some t-shirts hanging on a rack. Ghost frowned, and started his hand routine, again. He was pushed from the side, now, and he stumbled sideways, into a bearded man. "Sorry," he said to him.
"Watch where you're going," the man said.
Ghost was realizing that something didn't want him at this table. Standing there, he just looked at the items on the table, trying to get a sense of what was calling to him, and what was pushing him. Everything looked pretty ordinary. There was the usual yard sale jumble of things, in no kind of organization. The impression he got was that this was the selling off of a recently deceased family member's possessions. Maybe the family needed the money, and were selling the house, property, and contents, to break even on taxes owed, and funeral expenses, and were moving away.
Ghost felt sadness coming from the porch area. People were going in and out of the house, while the old screen door creaked open and shut. There was a middle aged man and woman sitting at a table near-by. He thought they must be the sellers. They didn't look in the least familiar to him, though. Why would something of his be here? And, what was it?
He tried again, to hover his hand above the items on this table, saying, "Not this...nothing...maybe this?...couldn't be that..." He didn't feel anything over the old purse, or the scarf and hat, or the display of ceramic knick-knacks. Neither did the lace handkerchiefs, nor the dresser set of mirror, brush, and comb give him a clue. It didn't make sense...and he'd not been pushed again.
As he moved down the side of the table, though, he began to feel hot. Prickles of sweat broke out on his scalp, and he could feel it start running down into his face and eyes, stinging a bit. He wiped it away, noticing no one else seemed to be bothered by the heat.
He moved back a little bit, the way he'd come from, and he felt shivery. One step forward, hot...one step back, cold. Ok, he thought, a game. The hot and cold game. You get close to the item, you get hot, then you get farther away from it, you get cold. So, he stood in the middle area, and was neither too hot, or too cold. On the table right in front of him, was a shoebox, containing quite a few pieces of costume jewelry.
He was going to paw through it, but as he touched the box, he felt a quick, tingly jolt in his hand, which made him jerk it back. A few other people felt around in the box, pulling out pieces to examine. They had no problem.
Ghost sighed, and prepared himself for a jolt, then plunged his hand into the box. He gritted his teeth at the sharp pain in his fingers, but didn't stop. When he pulled his hand out, he was holding a necklace...a gold chain, with a heart-shaped locket on the end. There was a small price sticker on the back of the heart...$5.00 it said. His hand were shaking, as he opened the locket.
What he saw inside made his heart lurch, and he couldn't breathe for a second. It was a small picture of himself.
"Steve...Steve..." Ghost yelled. "I found it." He was holding the necklace up in the air...the heart swinging back and forth.
The other shoppers stopped to look, surprised at the outburst. Steve felt a weird panic rising up inside him, as he tried to run toward Ghost. Why, he had no idea, but the way Ghost had yelled, had sent goosebumps down his spine.
"What is it? Show me," he panted, as he reached Ghost.
"This, this is it, Steve, look." he handed the necklace to Steve. Taking it, Steve shuddered, as a quick chill ran up his arms. This was definitely a picture of Ghost.
"How...how is this possible?" Steve asked. He looked wildly around, looking for an answer from somewhere. "This is you. How did a picture of you get in here, in Arkansas? We've never been here, before."
"I don't know," Ghost said. "I just felt it calling to me."
"Have you ever seen it before, at home? Maybe it was your grandmother's?"
"I don't remember ever seeing it, and look, this picture isn't very long ago. It's kind of how I look now," Ghost said, as he looked closely at the small picture. "Did you take it? I didn't have a camera for very long."
Steve shook his head, thinking. "I think I get it now. Someone took a picture at one of our shows at the Yew...maybe one of the college kids, and they were from here."
"Oh, yeah. That's gotta be it, Steve," Ghost said, smiling. "I thought it was some weird happening," he said, trying to spook Steve.
"Don't," Steve yelped, as Ghost goosed him. "There's still the part where you heard it calling to you."
"Oh, yeah, that part. I wonder why...and there's still the other part, in the other town. It has something calling to me, too. And, why did it push me?"
By then, Linda had come to hear the last part of the conversation. "Well, why don't y'all just go ask the people?" she said. "They're right over there by the porch." They all looked over that way. "Well, go on..." she said, giving them both a push. She watched, as they slowly made their way over to the owners.
"Ya think? No, that's not right," Ghost said.
"I'm just gonna buy it, ok? It's not really mine, yet. Ya got any money?" he asked Steve.
"Here," Steve said, handing Ghost the money to buy the necklace.
Ghost approached the man and woman, who were still sitting at the small table. "I want to buy this," he said, handing the money to them. The woman glanced up, and caught her breath.
"It's you...in the picture," she said.
"Uh, yeah, it's me here, and in this picture," Ghost started. Steve knew he'd better cut it short, or Ghost would go on and on about it.
"We just want to know how it got here," he said, hoping the next question wouldn't be how they knew to come here.
"Oh, it's the property owners. She said I could sell it, but I had no idea you'd be the one to come buy it. Such a strange co-incident," the woman said.
"Yes, it is," Steve said. "We think we figured out part of it," he explained. The woman agreed that that was probably what happened.
"But why, and how did you know to come all the way here?" she asked.
Ghost began telling her how, he knew to come here. "We were driving on the road, and I had a weird dream, that I had to come and find something here. And here we are." The woman was even more confused.
"We have to go now," Steve said, edging away, and pulling on Ghost's shirt. "Nice meeting you...nice yard sale...thanks."
"Thank you," the woman said.
Steve led Ghost over to a little less crowded area. "You don't have to go explaining how you know stuff, Ghost," he said.
"But, maybe if I tell her, she'd tell us stuff, too...like why it was pulling me here, then pushing me, and...wait...it wasn't pushing me away, it was pushing me to the right place," Ghost said. Then he frowned. "But, why? What's so special about this necklace?" He kept staring at it.
Steve shrugged, "I don't know, but you should quit worrying about it. Where's that next place? Maybe there's a piece of the puzzle over there." He looked around. "We need to go, and where's Linda?" Scanning across the crowd of people, he saw her. "There she is, let's go."
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing