TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve tried to adjust his position in the U-Haul's seat, as he kept driving. They were getting close to their stopping place for the night, and he was ready. The cabins they'd stayed at last summer, would be a welcome sight. He'd told Ghost how many miles and time were left until they got there, but he knew Ghost didn't really understand. He seemed satisfied, though. He shook his head, and yawned.
"Hey, look," he said, pointing out the sign up ahead. "It's the sign for the visitor's center and the cabins. We'll be there in no time."
Ghost gave him a funny look. "No time? What's no time mean?"
"Oh, it means real quick," Steve said.
"Huh, no time is real quick? Is there a yes time?"
"I don't think so," Steve said.
Ghost drummed his fingers on the window ledge. "Times are confusing. There's too many of them to keep up with."
Steve let that comment pass, with no reply. He knew Ghost would be off and running on a tangent about time, and he didn't have time to listen to it, right now. They were there. He pulled into the parking area.
"Whew, here we are. I'm done driving for the day."
Ghost was grinning, as he saw the restaurant. "C'mon, let's go." He opened the truck's door to get out.
"We'll go in when Linda gets here," Steve said, looking back down the road. "Here she comes, now."
Linda parked the van next to the U-Haul. "This place is beautiful," she said, as she got out and looked around. "Come on, kids, come look." Melody helped Stevie and Mandy out of their car seats.
"Smell the air. It's so fresh and piney," Melody said.
"We been here before," Ghost yelled. He started turning around and around, with his arms outstretched. Stevie and Mandy copied him, while they giggled.
"What are you doing?" Melody asked.
"He's just being Ghost," Steve said. He rolled his eyes. "Who's hungry? Let's go inside."
They all headed to the small restaurant. "Me first. I want to surprise them," Ghost hollered, as he ran up to the door ahead of the others. He yanked open the door, took a step in, and tripped on the door sill. "Aiii," he screeched, as he landed hard.
Before anyone could react, they heard a woman holler from inside. "Ghost...it's Ghost and Steve. Look y'all, they're back." She rushed over, reached down, and helped Ghost stand up. "You ok, hon?" she asked, lending her arm for Ghost to hang on to.
"Um-hmm," Ghost said, and rubbed his palms together, where they'd been scraped a bit. "Surprise," he said, with a big smile on his face.
"Oh, it's so good to see you again." The waitress gave him a hug. "Y'all come in. Hey, Steve, how ya been?" She didn't wait for an answer. "I'm getting y'all some coffee. What will the kids have?"
"Chocolate milk," Stevie said, bouncing on the booth's seat.
"Ok, I'll bring it all in a minute," she said, bustling off to get their refreshments.
"See I told ya they were nice here," Ghost said.
"Yeah, I never seen any waitress be so nice," Melody said.
"Ok, here ya go," the waitress said, setting the drinks down on the table. She handed them a menu to look over. "Are y'all needing cabins for the night?"
"Yeah, we're staying," Steve said. "Hope you have a couple available."
"We sure do. It's not quite tourist season yet, so you're in luck. Let me know what you want to order, and I'll go get the keys to a couple of the cabins," she said.
When she got back with the keys, they told her what they wanted to eat. "Good choices, and whenever you're ready, just go on over. They're just down the way, you remember."
As they waited to eat, a couple of the year round regulars came in. They came up to the table to visit.
"Y'all gonna sing us some more songs?" one of them asked.
"Oh, not tonight," Steve said. "But, I'll bet we could in the morning, before we leave."
"All right then," the guy said, as he and his friend went to their table.
"They love you here," Linda said.
"Uh-huh," Ghost said, as he dug into his plate of pancakes with molasses.
Steve smiled, remembering the last time he saw Ghost eat pancakes and molasses here. He was anticipating a repeat of that night. Ghost looked up at him, having heard his thoughts.
"Yes," he said, and smiled.
"Yes, what?" Linda asked. Then she saw the looks between Ghost and Steve, and she understood. "Ohh...I see," she said, grinning.
They continued to eat, and drink coffee that the waitress kept refilling their cups with. Linda, looking at the kids, said, "Well, y'all, I need to get these kiddos to bed. Anyone else ready to go?"
Ghost yawned. "Me, I'm ready," he said, getting up from the table. He helped Linda get the kids down, and then they all said good-night.
"How do we do this?" Linda asked. "We need some things from the van. Do we just walk over there to the cabins, or drive?"
"We have to walk, but it's not far. We can get our things and carry them over," Steve said. It was just getting dark, so he turned on the flashlight to light their way down the path, after getting their things.
"Which one do you want? They're about the same, I think."
"Oh, this one's fine," Linda said, going up to the closest cabin. "We'll see y'all in the morning." She, the kids, and Melody went inside, locking the door behind them.
Steve was yawning now, too. "C'mon, let's get inside," he said, as he and Ghost walked the short distance to the next cabin over.
As soon as Steve opened the door, Ghost hesitated. "Just a minute," he said, peering inside. "It's not clean."
"How do you know? I haven't even turned on the light, yet," Steve said. "Come on."
"Wait, let me...hang on, Steve, it's here somewhere." Ghost felt around in his backpack. "Ok, now...throw some of this in there ahead of you." He handed Steve a little, cork topped bottle.
"What the hell? Holy water? You been carrying that around all this time?" Steve asked.
"Uh-huh, just in case, and now it's the case, 'cause it don't feel right. Something happened in here that wasn't good. I need to cleanse it." Ghost explained.
Whatever..." Steve sighed. He uncorked the bottle. "Just drip some around? Are you gonna say stuff?"
"Yeah, just shake a little bit out in here, and in the bathroom. I'll say stuff," Ghost said.
"Ok, here goes." Steve shook a few drops out in front of them.
"You bad left overs, get outta here. You're not wanted here any more," Ghost said, loud and clear, as he closed his eyes, and turned around three times. They did the same in the bathroom. Steve wondered if three was a magic number, and how Ghost knew when three times had happened.
"Ow, did you feel that?" Ghost asked. He'd opened his eyes, and was staring back behind them.
"I felt you bumping into me. What happened?" Steve asked. He didn't see, hear, or feel anything strange.
"It was the bad thing. It pushed me, and then ran out the door. I felt it go by me, like a cold wind. Hurry and close the door," Ghost said. Steve did, and locked it.
"It's gone? It's all clear now?" he asked.
Ghost breathed deep, as he stared into the corners. "Yeah, it's gone."
"Good, I'm taking a shower, then going to bed," Steve said.
Ghost turned down the bed, and clicked on the remote. The reception wasn't good up here in the mountains, though. A couple of channels came in, but were snowy. He smiled. "Yep, just like home." He felt a zing of anticipation at the thought of home. It wouldn't be long, now.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing