Monday, June 30, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(fifty second installment)

52nd installment content


The next morning Steve woke first, expecting Ghost to have already made coffee, but Ghost was still in bed. Steve went ahead and made it, and had some cereal. Still, Ghost wasn't up, so he went to check on him, even if he figured Ghost was still mad at him. Opening the bedroom door, he saw Ghost in bed, but something didn't feel right. Ghost was breathing funny. Going over to him, he brushed Ghost's hair off his face.

"Ghost, wake up. You're burning up." He shook him several times, before he got a response. "You've got a fever, Ghost!"

Ghost was shivering and could hardly croak out a word. He just pointed to the back room, wanting Steve to get him some weird concoction, but Steve wouldn't, this time.

"No way, man, this looks serious. You're going to see a real doctor for once."

Ghost was too sick to protest much, so Steve helped him out to the new car. "Thank goodness we have a car now," Steve thought, as he sped toward Raleigh, and the nearest hospital.

It was weird going through the sign in process; it took forever, but finally they saw the doctor. He told them it was strep throat, and he gave Ghost a shot and some medicine to take home.

At the house, Steve settled Ghost into the bed, so he could tend to him. He was a little worried about doing a show on the weekend, but Ghost recovered pretty fast, and they had a day to practice their set. Nothing else was said about the confrontation that had gone down before.


Kinsey, hadn't had much time to advertise that Lost Souls? were going to perform, but word got out, and the club filled up fast on that Saturday night. Steve and Ghost had come in early to set up, getting everything working on stage, and Kinsey was glad to see they were getting along. He knew from past experience, that they would be a well oiled, magic machine on stage, no matter their quarrels.

Having worked out some new songs, they planned them for the cornerstones of their set list, and had some of their old favorites to fill in the middle. As usual, Kinsey could sense the connecting thread of the song choices and lyrics, that told of Steve and Ghost's journey together. Again, he was brought to tears, by the way they presented themselves on stage, to the crowd, and to each other.

They began with a new one, *"If I Die Young", then a couple of old ones. Next was another new one, *"The First Cut is the Deepest". Kinsey was a little confused at the lyrics of the new ones, though. He knew they held some meaning for the guys, but he did not know their whole story. All he knew, was these new songs were sad, and then again, hopeful. They flowed in a sort of story telling time line, just like Lost Souls? songs always did.

The club kids were digging it, no matter what they meant..they all had different experiences that were reflected in Ghost's must be a universal mind set, he guessed. Then, they changed it up a bit. Steve hardly ever sang a song by himself; he usually just came in on the chorus, but for some reason, this was different.

No explanation was given...they just continued. Steve had written the next song, and wanted to sing it to Ghost...and even in his off key voice, it was amazing. He called it *"Truly, Madly, Deeply", and he sang it with such emotion, it didn't matter if his voice was out of tune, and broke up in parts. Ghost just stood there, looking into Steve's eyes the whole time, tears flowing freely. The crowd was hushed, just mesmerized by Steve baring his soul in a love song to Ghost.

There were a few minutes of silence after that one, then Steve started playing an upbeat tune to get things going again. Their next two new ones, *"Always", and *"Stuck With You", were still telling a timeline story of their life, going from pain and heartbreak, to having come through it all, and now are happy to be together again. These got the crowd smiling and dancing.The last new one was *"Home", which was where it should be in the lineup. As usual, they ended the show with *"World", the sad, yet uplifting song that gave hope to all who heard it. The kids sang along with the familiar words that meant so much to them all. Then it was done.

The guys were mobbed by the fans, who congratulated them, and welcomed them back. But, there was one stranger in the back of the club, that was not happy...not at all. As Steve and Ghost made their way backstage to cool off and pack up, the stranger followed. When he saw his chance, he took it. As Ghost walked down the hallway, he heard someone call out to him. He turned, coming face to face with Maxy.

"Maxy, what are you doing here?" Ghost asked. He had a feeling it wasn't going to be good.

"I missed you, ran out on me, remember? That pissed me off. Now, I'm here to drag you back where you belong, you little bitch..." Maxy said, grabbing Ghost, actually trying to drag him away.

Ghost screamed and yelled for Steve, kicking Maxy, but Maxy was bigger and stronger, and took a tighter grip, yanking Ghost around by his hair. Steve had not heard Ghost cry out, over the crowd noise, and the jukebox, which was now blasting out music, but some of the kids noticed Ghost being practically kidnapped. They burst into the dressing room, telling Steve to come quick...Ghost needed him.

As he ran out of the dressing room, he saw the tall stranger trying to manhandle Ghost out the door. In a split second, Steve realized this must be Maxy, and he was going to kill him with his bare hands, if he had to. He ran full out, as the crowd parted, jumped on Maxy, knocking him down. He hit him as hard as he could. Ghost was able to scramble away. The crowd, seeing what was happening, charged in to help Steve. Ghost grabbed a beer bottle, whacking Maxy on the head a couple of times, before it even slowed him down.

Maxy didn't count on all the kids there, jumping on him, or their loyalty to Steve and Ghost, in this little backwoods town. Kinsey called the sheriff, who finally got there, and broke up the brawl. He hauled Maxy off to jail for attempted kidnapping.

The club was a mess of overturned tables and spilled drinks. Kinsey yelled for everyone to clear out, deciding then and there he needed a long vacation. He went to the back room, where he found Steve and Ghost gathering their equipment.

"You guys, ok?" he asked.

"Yeah," Steve answered, and Ghost just nodded.

"Was that the guy you were involved with out in L.A., Ghost?"

Ghost looked down through his hair, saying softly, "Yeah...he shouldn't have come here."

"Damn straight, he shouldn't have come here," said Steve. "How could you ever get with that creep, Ghost? How could you...I'm still gonna kill him."

"No, you're not," Kinsey said. "He's in jail and will be charged. Then, he'll do his punishment and crawl back to where he came from. You'll only hurt yourself and Ghost, if you go after him."

"Yeah, well, we'll see," said Steve.

*"If I Die Young"...The Band Perry...written by Kimberly Perry...Label - Republic Nashville...Released on self titled album, October 12, 2010

*"The First Cut is the Deepest"...Sheryl Crow...written by Cat Stevens...published 1967...released on A & M, October 20, 2003, on the album "The Very Best of Sheryl Crow"

*"Truly, Madly, Deeply"...Savage Garden...written by Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones...Label - Columbia (International), Roadshow (Australia), Sony Records (Japan)...from the album "Savage Garden", released March 3, 1997.

*"Always"...Erasure...written by Vince Clarke and Andy Bell...Label - Mute (UK), Elektra (U.S.), released on the album "I Say I Say I Say", April 11, 1994.

*"Stuck With You"...Huey Lewis and the News...written by Chris Hayes and Huey Lewis...Label - Chrysalis...released on the album "Fore", August 31, 1986.

*"Home"...Phillip Phillips...written by Drew Pearson and Greg Holden...Label - Interscope...released May 23, 2012 on the album "The World From the Side of the Moon"

*"Hole in the World"...The Eagles...written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey...Label - The Eagles Recording Company II... released on the album "Eagles - TheVery Best Of" on July 15, 2003


Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Monday, June 23, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(fifty first installment)

51st installment content

Ghost agreed...reluctantly...he hated to drive. There were too many rules, and he had trouble focusing on driving and not daydreaming, and he did not have a license, anyway, but off they went down the highway.

Steve liked the way the car ran, and he was good with fixing cars, so if anything needed done, he'd be able to take care of it. What he didn't like, was how Ghost was driving, up ahead of him.

He'd forgotten that Ghost drove like a drunk, old granny, out for a Sunday sightseeing day.

"C'mon, Ghost," Steve muttered, "get it going. Crap, we're only going like thirty miles an hour, and we got thirty miles of this," he said. "Aw, man...he almost ran off in the ditch! Quit daydreaming, Ghost!" he yelled.

People were trying to pass, and giving dirty looks at them both. Steve was afraid a police car would show up next, and haul Ghost in for no license. Meanwhile, Ghost was terrified. He'd only ever driven Steve's T-bird before...a long time ago. Kinsey's was way different. His knuckles were turning white from the death grip he had on the steering wheel. He tried staring at the road only...but, he kept seeing cars pass, and the people were shooting him the bird, and yelling. His heart was pounding, while sweat ran down his face, stinging his eyes. On top of that, his left eye was twitching again, and he could feel a migraine coming on. His stomach was rolling around, and he almost lost his lunch, right there in Kinsey's front seat.

They finally made it back to the Yew. Ghost just started sobbing and shaking, as he put his head down on the steering wheel. Steve jumped out of his car, yelling at Ghost.

"What the hell were you doing, Ghost? A freaking monkey could'a drove better than that! Don't every try to drive this one, 'cause it'll never happen!"

As Steve yanked open the door to Kinsey's car, Ghost cried even harder. "Stop yelling at me, Steve! You know I can't drive."

He tried to get out of the car, but mostly just fell out onto the asphalt by the car, next to the curb.

"Get up off the damn road, Ghost! You look like a fool."

"Steve, please stop yelling at head hurts so bad...and...and..." he gagged. "I feel sick!" He threw up then, right there in the road.

Just as he did, Kinsey, who'd heard the commotion, had come out the front door, just in time to witness this scene; and, to take in the old guys across the street, at the hardware store, who were pretty much forming a posse to come and save Ghost from Steve.

They'd not seen either of them since that day two years ago, when they'd seen a dying Ghost on their porch, and learned it was Steve who'd done it.

Kinsey grabbed Steve, pushing him hard toward the door of the club, then yanked Ghost up off the road, and pushed him into Steve.

"Get your asses inside...NOW!" he yelled. "You've caused enough trouble already. GIT! I'll deal with y'all in a minute. I've gotta hold back the Army." He turned to face the older men. "Nothing to see here, guys," he said, "show's over."

"We won't tolerate Steve beating Ghost, again," one said.

"It's not like that, anymore, guys...go on back to your porch," said Kinsey, as he turned and went into the club. He slammed and locked the door.

"Where'd y'all go?" he hollered. "Get out here...I'm not gonna chase ya down!" He went behind the bar and poured himself a shot of whiskey, gulping it down. He could hear them back at the bathroom. Ghost was still crying and being sick, and had locked the door.

"Open the door, Ghost!" Steve was hollering and banging on the bathroom door. "I'm sorry I hollered at you...let me in there!"

Kinsey shook his head, and poured himself another shot. "I'm too old for this," he sighed.

Steve finally quit his hollering and banging, and Ghost opened the door. He was a mess. His face was red, sweaty, and tearstained. His shirt was wet where he'd tried to wipe off the vomit. He was frowning and holding his hand over his eye, as he was in awful, head pounding pain.

Steve pleaded his apology, and Ghost allowed him to hug him, and lead him out to face Kinsey. They stood there in the cool, dim bar, and Kinsey just looked at them hard.

"What happened, guys?" He didn't yell. Steve started to talk, but Kinsey held up a hand. "Stop...I don't even want to know, but I'll tell you one thing...I've had enough. You two, pretty much grown men, going at it time and time again? When Terry and I left, everyone was in a good mood...when y'all left here, y'all were in a good mood. Now, it's gone crazy again." Kinsey shook his head.

"Well, I'll let y'all do the show next weekend, if you can keep it together long enough. We'll see how it goes...but, I don't ever want to see a commotion like I just saw, to ever happen in or in front of my business again...understood?" He eyed both of them. They both nodded, and said they wre sorry for causing trouble.

"Ok, now go unload my supplies, then get outta here; leave me in peace for awhile. Settle yourselves at your own place."


Neither said a word on the way back to their house. Ghost was in too much pain, and Steve was taking the car through it's paces, getting the feel of it. At home, Ghost got out and went to get a potion for his headache, then went to his bed. Steve grabbed a beer and strummed his guitar for awhile. They avoided each other. It had been a long and weird day.

Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, June 20, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(fiftieth installment)

50th installment content


The morning came and went, then toward noon, one by one, they staggered out to the kitchen with their individual hangover torture. Steve gulped water and Advil for his pounding head, and Terry grabbed some, too. Kinsey's stomach was rolling around worse than his head, and Ghost slurped down a hangover potion he brought out of the back room. He offered it to the others, but no one took him up on it.

Coffee was made, and they sat in silence around the kitchen table. Ghost finally went out to the front yard, where he stood looking up at the sky. It was his usual ritual of starting his day...a short commune with nature, but as it was already past noon, it was too hot to stay out long. As he came back in, Terry and Kinsey were just about to leave. Steve walked with them out to their car. He had to ask Kinsey if he could borrow it, before he left.

"Hey, Kinsey, I need a favor," he started. "Is it ok if I borrow your car later this afternoon? I've got an errand to run, and if you want, me and Ghost will pick up any supplies you need, over in Raleigh."

Kinsey didn't mind, and he could use a few things. "Yeah, ok, Steve. Come on by later, and I'll have a list for you."

After they'd left, Steve went in to tell Ghost his plan. He found Ghost in his bedroom making a new writing on his wall. He agreed with Steve to go check out the bank vault, and go shopping for Kinsey.

"Well, get ready, and we'll go on over there," Steve said. He picked up his guitar, and went to the couch to strum through a few songs. Ghost came out, humming along, and in a good mood, and they began the walk into town.

They had retrieved the key from the back of the journal, and Steve kept jiggling it around in his pocket. He didn't know why he felt nervous. He felt weird, hoping there was a lot of money in there...because it wasn't his, and he felt greedy to use Ghost's inheritance; but, Miz Deliverance wanted him to manage it for Ghost, so it didn't really hurt to fantasize about it. Maybe there really wasn't any money...maybe she was delusional; or maybe there was some, but not very much. Well, only one way to find out, and that was to go see for sure what was in there.

They reached the Sacred Yew, pushing open the heavy wooden door, to a blast of cool air. "Ahhh," they both sighed at the relief from the hot, humid air outside. Kinsey brought them both a cold soda and a sandwich, and they went over the grocery list.

"No big hurry, this time," he winked in understanding to Steve. They also firmed up a date for the next weekend for Lost Souls? to have a show.


On the way up to Raleigh, Steve suggested the song list they could do, and that they'd need to practice some more. It had been so long since the last time they'd had a gig...over two years now. He missed it, and hoped they'd get back into the groove they'd always had. The he started worrying about the money situation, again.

Ghost rode in silence, just listening to Steve rattle on, and after a few minutes, he fell asleep, as he almost always did on a car ride. As they parked in front of the bank, Steve woke Ghost.They sat there a few minutes, watching people come and go. Steve was thinking that he and Ghost looked like a couple of hooligans, or redneck hillbillies, compared to the people he saw, even though they were both wearing decent clothes, this time out.

"Well, nothing to be done about it now," he thought.

"We belong here as much as they do, Steve...we have a key." Ghost said, as he got out of the car, and walked right on up and through the bank's door. Steve followed, feeling people staring at them. Ghost kept going, straight to the first desk he saw, and asked where the vaults were. They were led down a hall into another room, with about a hundred locked boxes covering each wall.

Steve looked at their key number and found the right box. Taking a deep breath, and even though his hands were shaking, Ghost inserted the key and turned it. Steve was afraid to look...afraid to be disappointed. Inside was a large manilla envelope, which Ghost carefully pulled out. They sat at a table, there in the vault room. Ghost glanced at Steve, then opened the flap.

Inside, he saw actual money. The envelope was stuffed full of it...some in neatly stacked and wrapped piles, others, just loose. He pulled it all out. It was just pieces of paper to him. Looking over at Steve, he asked, "Well, what do you think? It's money, isn't it?"

Steve stared at the piles of money. He was having a hard time finding words. Finally, he said, "It's a lot of money, Ghost...a lot. I'll have to count it, but just on this top layer, my God, Ghost...there's over a hundred thousand dollars, and...and...look at all the layers!"

"Is that good?" Ghost asked.

"Ghost, that is more than good. Where do you think all this came from?" Steve was genuinely puzzled. "Did your grandmother win the lottery or something? Did a rich uncle leave it to her? Is it for real money? Is it stolen? did she have a side business going on, besides her potions? Did she conjure it out of thin air?"

Of course, Ghost didn't know, or even long as they had food to eat, and an occasional trip to the second-hand store, he was happy enough. They discussed what to do now. They decided to take out enough for a car...and not Terry's old junker...and enough to get by on for a few months. That barely made a dent in the pile. Steve asked a bank employee to get an accurate count of it...he was sure he was too nervous to count right.

The banker looked astounded, when he totaled it up...Steve almost fainted. There was two million dollars, minus what he'd taken out. The banker wanted to know if he wanted to make a deposit, but Steve figured it'd be just fine for now, locked back up in the box. They'd think about what to do, later.

With the money safely locked back up, they walked out of the bank, to carry on with their ordinary, little rock 'n roll, hippy lifestyle...and no one suspected they were really a couple of millionaires.

"This is so weird," Steve said.

"Yeah, kin we go shoppin' now?" Ghost asked.

"Sure we can, Ghost, and I'm not even gonna get mad when you get distracted. Take all the time you want," Steve smiled.

They did their shopping for Kinsey, and had fun doing it. Ghost got to look around as much as he wanted, and Steve picked out some things for their own use, and didn't holler, even once. On their way out of town, they stopped at a used car place. Steve looked at all the cars, wishing his T-bird was still around, but he was anxious to have his own wheels, again.

There were a couple he liked, but chose an old caddy convertible, over a newer, sporty car...when Ghost pointed out that if they ever took another road trip, they'd be able to stretch out in the back seat better. Steve understood Ghost's hidden meaning immediately, and since he always did like the big, older cars best, he bought it.

He paid in full, and in cash. The dealer had not paid much attention to them, there on the lot...took them for just a couple of guys wishing they could buy a car. When Steve pulled out the cash, though, he couldn't do enough for them.

"Hah, money talks," he said to Ghost.

"What did it say?" Ghost asked, looking confused.

"Nevermind...we got the car. Now, I'm gonna drive it home. You drive Kinsey's back to his place, ok? I'll follow you."

Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(forty ninth installment)

49th installment content


Back in town, Terry was getting mad. Steve hadn't shown up for work. "Just as I figured," he grumbled. "Give a guy a second chance, and he blows you off without a thought...well, enough." He called Kinsey and told him what was going on, but Kinsey was more worried about Steve's and Ghost's welfare, after the strangeness of the day before. Kinsey suggested that they drive out on Burnt Church Road to check on them.

"Aw, Kinsey, you worry too much. They're fine...probably just goofing off. Steve forgot he even had a job."

Kinsey just headed for his car, and of course Terry followed. He didn't want to miss whatever was going on, and he needed to holler at Steve, anyway. They drove up the gravel drive and got out. The door was open, so Terry yelled through the screen for Steve, but got no response. Kinsey shrugged, then pulled open the door.

As they looked around inside the house, Terry was puzzled. "Where did they go?"

They saw the mess in the bathroom, the broken medicine cabinet and mirror, and the hole in the wall, and were afraid they'd been in a fight again, or worse. But, the house smelled of fresh coffee, and two mugs were sitting on the counter, so at least they were alive enough to drink coffee this morning.

Kinsey thought a minute...where would they go? Then, he remembered that they liked the old Civil War graveyard back in the woods, behind the house. Kinsey's own relative, Miles Hummingbird, was buried there.

"Let's go see if they're at the graveyard," Kinsey said.

Terry agreed, and followed him out the back door. As they got closer, they knew they'd found them. They heard soft voices, and an occasional burst of laughter. Terry and Kinsey didn't try to walk quietly, but Steve and Ghost were in their own world, and they didn't even hear Kinsey, when he said to Terry...

"Shh, go back...give them a minute."

"What is it...let me see." Terry pushed forward. "Oh, I see what you mean," he said, as he turned back toward the house.

Ghost and Steve were kissing and loving each other, there, on a blanket, on top of the graves. There was also a haze of pot smoke hanging over the area. Kinsey and Terry were embarrassed to have almost walked into that scene, and they just looked at each other and started laughing.

"This is so awkward, Terry. Now we have to pretend we just got here and don't know nothing," said Kinsey.

"Yeah, how long should we wait?" asked Terry. I don't want to wait around all day. They're smoking that good shit I gave Steve, yesterday...maybe they got some left. We could join them," he grinned.

"Let's just go back in the house and get some of that coffee. They'll be back up here soon, I hope," Kinsey said.

They went back up the well-worn path toward the back door. Getting their coffee, they settled on the couch to wait. A little later, they heard Steve and Ghost coming up the path, making a lot of noise. They were laughing and stumbling around, and came falling through the back screen door. Steve was still talking, when Ghost saw Terry and Kinsey, sitting in the living room.

He screamed, making Steve turn around in alarm. Then he saw them, too. "What the hell? Y'all scared the shit outta us!"

Ghost was still staring at them...and they were staring back...because he and Steve were both half naked. Ghost had on his striped, knee socks and an oversize tie dyed t-shirt, and nothing else. He'd lost his sweat pants somewhere along the way. All Steve had on was a pair of seen better days boxers.

"Uh...we just came to visit, and couldn't find y'all...figured you'd be back...and a cup of this excellent coffee...and..." Kinsey said, trying not to stare at them.

"Yeah," Terry continued, "and to yell at you, Steve, for not coming to work...and, yeah...I guess y'all were too busy out there to come to work, and ...uh...where's y'all's clothes at?"

Kinsey elbowed Terry, "Shut up, Terry."

Steve gave them both a disgusted look, then grabbed Ghost's arm and jerked him on down the hallway to the bedroom. Terry and Kinsey looked at each other...

"Dude..." Terry said...and they couldn't hold their laughter in any longer.

After a few minutes, Ghost and Steve came back out, with more clothes on, but their hair was still messy with pine needles here and there. Steve still looked put out that they'd showed up, and he just stood there in the doorway, with his arms crossed, waiting for an explanation.

Ghost went over and sat on the couch between Kinsey and Terry, and picked pine needles out of his hair and off his socks. They were both still feeling the high of the pot, and didn't really feel like getting yelled at, or yelling at them.

"Hey, Terry, sorry I forgot about work. Some things happened when we got home last night," Steve began.

Ghost just dreamily said, "That weed was good shit, Terry, we still got some...ya wanna?"

At that, Terry and Kinsey forgot why they'd come over, and they all smoked awhile. They popped open some beers, and Ghost held onto his bottle of Scuppernong, and they all reminisced about days gone by. After ransacking the kitchen for munchies, more pot, and beer, it was getting on toward midnight. Steve invited them to crash there for the night. Kinsey could have Ghost's bed, and Terry could have Steve's, and he and Ghost would sleep on the that's what they did.

Terry was asleep as soon as he fell into Steve's bed. Kinsey laid there a few minutes...a bit disoriented to be in Ghost's bedroom and bed.

"This is the weirdest room I've ever seen," he thought. "I feel like I'm in Ghost's brain, and it's splattered all over the room. It's freaky." He felt and smelled crushed rose petals in the bed, yanked out a couple of markers he was laying on, and stared at the the glow in the dark stars and planets, and dried bunches of roses and sage. The glow from the starry ceiling, and the full moon shining in from the window, made the thousands of words Ghost had written on the wall, seem to shimmer and undulate. "Quite a trip to be in here stoned," he thought.

Finally, he fell asleep, but was startled awake a time or two, when he heard creaky noises from the old house. Later on, he woke again...this time Ghost was getting into his bed. "Must have forgotten I was in here," Kinsey thought. "Oh, well..." But, he wasn't sure what Ghost was doing. Was he sleepwalking...or what?"

Ghost slipped under the pile of blankets with Kinsey, and snuggled up to him, then put his head on Kinsey's shoulder and neck. Then, he reached up and kissed him...and not just a peck on the cheek...a full on, open mouth with tongue kiss, that lasted awhile. Kinsey was paralyzed...something like this had never happened before...and he knew he should push Ghost away, wake him up...but, God help him, he liked it. It was wrong, but his still foggy mind didn't want it to stop. He was having feelings he shouldn't have, but hadn't had in a long, long time.

He did finally get his senses back, and after a lustful thought or two, he did push Ghost away. "Ghost doesn't know what he's doing, evidently. He's just like a friendly little puppy, cuddling up to whoever will show him some kindness and love," Kinsey thought. He felt sad for Ghost, always having such a great need for human kindness, always trying to be loved for who he was...such an innocent soul.

Ghost had turned over now, and was sound asleep. Kinsey could tell he was dreaming; he kept fluttering his eyelids, and murmuring words...always words from this one.

Kinsey finally did fall back to sleep, to the sound of Ghost, now humming an old song he'd written a long time ago.


Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Monday, June 16, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(forty eighth installment)

48th installment content


As the sparkling stars slowly faded to the new dawn, Steve awakened alone. He thought he'd had a very vivid dream, but as he shifted on the couch, the suede journal fell to the floor. Seeing it, Steve remembered it was not a dream.

"Ghost?" he called out into the quiet of the house. He smelled coffee ready in the kitchen, so made his way in to get a steaming mug. Ghost must have gotten up earlier, but where was he? He went to look in both bedrooms, but Ghost wasn't there. The back room door was still closed like they'd left it, and the bathroom was empty, save for the broken glass. Coming back into the living room, Steve noticed the front door open, so he went over, pushing the squeaky screen door.

Ghost was wrapped in a soft blanket from his bed, sitting on the old porch swing, with his own mug of coffee. The swing was slowly rocking back and forth, while Ghost just watched the sun rise behind the pine trees, turning the sky a soft pink. Steve's heart melted at such a serene image. He hated to break the spell, but he knew Ghost already knew he was there watching him, and what was in his heart. He went over and sat beside Ghost. Neither said anything for a few minutes.

"You ok?" Steve asked, in a hushed voice.

Ghost shrugged his shoulder, and nodded. "I guess so."

Steve nodded, "If you want to talk about it..."

"Not now, Steve. I just need to think it in my head awhile first," Ghost explained.

But then, a few minutes later, he seemed to be talking out loud to himself. Steve knew this wasn't the time to make a comment, or interrupt Ghost's train of thought. He needed to work it out in his own way. So, he just listened. Ghost's way of thinking about things was always fascinating to Steve. Even mundane things would take on an air of intrigue and mystery, when subjected to Ghost's weird, magical way of thinking. This was no different, but way more important.

"I wish she'd have told me from the start...too hard...I know about hard...everything is too hard...I hate that's a stupid word. Wish it didn't be about me, and everything's so hard.

I wasn't supposed to be here...guess that's when the hard started...why I do things weird, and it's hard to do things normal. I never was normal...ever...and it's hard to know stuff like that...ok...ok...quit thinking of that.

Why didn't they want me? I would have loved them, but now they'll never know...and I'll never know. Should'a just let me go back to wherever I came from and start over. Livin' is too hard this time...being dead is easier...but, I don't want to be dead yet. Steve'll help me not be dead yet, he loves me...and I have Steve to love. That is enough, isn't it?"

Ghost looked at Steve, then, and asked, "Isn't it enough, Steve?"

Steve was astounded by what he'd heard, and he pulled Ghost close, in a fierce hug, and said, "Yes, Ghost...our love for each other is enough!"


Steve watched, as Ghost took their mugs inside to get more coffee. He was thinking his own thoughts. Ghost probably did suffer a brain injury at birth, that caused him to not know about numbers, and why everything came hard for him, in so many ways. His psychic gift was inherited, so that was a good thing to have, his amazing way with words and songs, and that voice like no other, well...that was just God given talent. You get some bad stuff, and you get some good stuff...guess that's how it goes.

He was kind of surprised at Ghost's reaction, or rather, non-reaction to reading the journal. He was kind of too calm, after the big build up of trying to find it. He didn't want to think too hard on it just yet. He might jinx it, and maybe he should be ready for Ghost to one day completely lose it, when everything sinks in. He dreaded that happening.

Ghost came back out then, and said to Steve, "I don't plan on freaking out on you. It wouldn't change anything. I know about everything now...all that happened a long time ago. I am who I am, and for whatever reason, I turned out this way, and it's ok. I pretty much like who I am, and plan on staying here to drive you crazy as long as I can." He grinned his lopsided grin, his broken tooth showing. "Here's your coffee. What're we doing today, anyway?"

"Oh, shit, Ghost...I forgot to go to work! Terry will fire me for sure!"

"Guess it's too late now, huh? Guess you have to stay home with me all day, and I'll get to bug you." Ghost smiled, and then, "You have to clean up the broken mirror, too, 'cause I'm still scared there's a spider. Now I know why I hate them. They put creepy cobwebs all over me!"

"Yeah, I'd hate them too, if that happened to me," said Steve.

They didn't have a phone, so Steve couldn't call in sick, and he wasn't going to walk in to town to tell Terry he wasn't coming to work, so they just continued talking. Steve did wonder about the bank vault with Ghost's money in it. He wondered how much there really was. Money didn't ever seem to matter much to Miz Deliverance, and it meant absolutely nothing to Ghost. Where would she have gotten lots of money from, anyway? She sold a few potions sometimes, but he never saw any evidence of income. Maybe she'd inherited it. He didn't know, but she'd asked him to manage it for Ghost, so he needed to find out. Maybe he would soon.


Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, June 13, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(forty seventh installment)

(47th installment) content

Steve knew all too well what words could do to a person. He'd used words to hurt people, and to make people laugh, and cry, and get mad. And, people had used words against him...and most definitely against Ghost. And those words hurt...hurt bad. Ghost used words to evoke emotions in his song lyrics. They touched the soul of everyone who heard them. Every song had underlying meanings...some only that they shared together, others meant for more.

"I know they do, Ghost," Steve said. "This here is a book of words that your grandmother wanted you to have, and to read. There's some reason she wanted to write it down, instead of saying it to you in person. Maybe to make it more real...instead of spoken into the air to be lost and forgotten.

This you can hold in your hands and get a feeling from it. You know you can, and will, and she knew that, too. I don't think she wanted you to be afraid of what she wrote. It's just a way of her explaining something important."

Steve stopped and looked at Ghost, who was leaning against him. He could feel Ghost's warm breath on his arm, as he held the book. Ghost put out his hand and touched the suede...he closed his eyes and 'felt' the subtle vibrations, as only he could. Emotions crossed his face. Steve knew he was 'reading' the words that were not written on paper. It was like he was listening to someone unseen. He'd frown, then nod, then murmur unintelligible words, and smile...and a tear would fall.

Then, Ghost opened his eyes and nodded to Steve. He was ready to open the journal. Steve kissed the top of Ghost's  head, and said, "It's ok, Ghost...we'll do it together."

So, they opened the cover, and the first page just said..."To My Ghost Child".

They turned the cream colored paper.

"Ghost if you are reading this, then I have left this world and begun my journey in the next. Don't be sad for me. I'm ready to see what happens next. I am still with you in spirit, and will look in on you from time to time. You can call on me any time.

And, Steve...this is for you, too. I know you are reading this with Ghost. You are his strength and protector...and, it has always been."

Steve's eyes widened...he didn't expect he'd be mentioned. Ghost was nodding his head, "Yes".

"Some of this is hard for me to write," his grandmother's words continued, "but, I need you to understand, this is part of your story of life, and you should know of it. By now, I would hope that my old friend from back home in the mountains, has given you the two photographs. You must have sensed who was pictured there...and, you are right. The tiny baby is you, Ghost. The only photo I have of you then. The other photo is of your mother, my daughter, Aurora. She was only fifteen when this picture was taken...and she did not live to see sixteen.

What I'm about to tell you is hard for me. She was a sweet girl, but headstrong, and wanted her independence. She fell in love with your father, and you were conceived. His name was Zen, and he was fifteen, also. He came from a village about thirty miles away. I met him once...the day he took your mother away. I do not have a picture, but he looked a lot like you, too.

They were both so young...too young, to be in the situation they were in. They were not ready to have a baby, and they would not listen to anyone's advice. So one day, he met her up at our place...out in the barn...and...and...this is so hard to remember, Ghost...they terminated her pregnancy. She was only about six months along. They aborted you, Ghost. You were so premature, I don't know how you even lived.

So, afterward, with her, weak and scared, they left on his motorcycle. That's when I first saw him. She only said she got rid of it, and she was leaving with him. That was the last I ever saw my daughter. Later that night, word came that there was a terrible accident on the twisty mountain road, and they were both killed. I was in anguish over everything. I went outside, just watching the sky, knowing there had to be two more bright stars up there.

I walked by the barn, and that's when I heard a soft cry. It was you, Ghost. You had not died. You were never supposed to be here, but you were! I got the lantern, and searched, finally finding you, a tiny little thing, lying in the hay. It had been awhile before I found you, and in that time, a spider had woven a web over you. I brushed it off, and the spider ran across your face. I screamed at it to go away. Then, I took you into the house. If I hadn't found you when I did, I don't think you'd be alive today.

I did what I could for you. You were so pale and fragile, almost translucent. All I could think of was the word, Ghost...because of how you looked, and how really, you may have been a ghost, if you hadn't been found in time. So that's what I named you. And, I loved you from the moment I saw you, and tried to do my best for you.

My friend told me I shouldn't take you away from the mountains, but I wanted to try and let you see another side of things. I hope you understand. I know you have had a hard time, even from the start...but, Ghost, everything happens as it has been written. Your life's path happens because it is meant to be. And, Steve, you are a part of Ghost's life this life, in the past lives, and in future lives. Know this is true.

Make the most of what each day brings. I know there will be struggles, and there will be times of indescribable joy. So, do not look back in regret for anything. There are many lessons to be learned, as you walk the path together.

And, Ghost, one more thing. I know you are still living in the old house. I left it to you to do with as you want. I know I led an unconventional lifestyle, and that is all you were exposed to, but do not be afraid to explore the world and all it has to offer. For that to someday happen, I put away every bit of money I could spare, for your future. I know we lived very simply, and I pray it didn't cause you harm. However, I managed to put away a nice amount. It is in a bank vault in Raleigh. The key is taped to the back cover of this journal. It should be enough to see you through, without want, for the rest of your days here. Please use it wisely, and in need. And Steve...I know you will help Ghost with this.

Please don't be upset over what I have told you. I only wanted you to know the truth about everything, and to know how much you are loved, and how much you have meant to me. I love you, Grandmother."

Ghost and Steve were both wiping tears from their faces by the end of the reading. This was beyond anything they'd ever imagined. Neither of them knew what to say to break the spell that had come over them...and so, they stayed in each other's arms, eventually falling asleep, there on the old couch.


Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing


Monday, June 9, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE ... (forty sixth installment)

(46th installment) content


"Hey, Kinsey," Terry yelled, as he barged into the Sacred Yew. He looked for Kinsey in his office. Kinsey looked up, surprised to see Terry here. "You'll never guess what kind of drama just happened over at the shop."

Before Kinsey could reply, Terry blurted out the whole story. "Dude, I almost shot Ghost!"

"What?" Kinsey looked alarmed.

"Yeah, Steve and I were working, and Ghost comes slamming in the door, looking like a psycho, crazy person, yelling about something or other. Man, I thought we were being robbed! So, I grab my pistol and start shooting..."

"Wait...wait...did you shoot him, really?"

"Naw, Steve hollered at me that it was Ghost, but for sure, he scared the shit outta me!"

"Where are they now?"

"Took off down the road to their house, I guess. You should'a seen it, Kinsey. The first time I see Ghost since he's back in town, and I swear, I'm not lying, he's all sweaty and red faced...and his hair's flying in all directions, and...hahaha..." Terry starts laughing. "He was all raggedy clothes, and didn't even have shoes on. Ran all the way here...and no shoes on. Now that I'm not scared, it's pretty funny."

"Well, it sounds like something's going on out there with those two," Kinsey said.

"Yeah, let's go see what's up."

Kinsey shook his head, no. "Let 'em be, Terry. If they want us to know, they'll tell us. Let them handle it. It's none of our business...yet."

"I think it kinda is my business, since it happened in my shop, and I had to go shoot my gun!"

Kinsey gave Terry a look, then said, "You do whatever you want, then...leave me out of it." He gave Terry a cold beer, to help him see he should just stay here at the bar. Of course that worked. Terry still talked on and on about what had happened, as Kinsey got back to work.


Ghost and Steve finally got home. At their door, however, Ghost hesitated.

"Well, show me, Ghost." Steve held open the screen.

"Uh...uh...I don't really want to see it again. You just go look in there first," Ghost said.

Steve rolled his eyes. "Fine, I'll go look, but you're going to have to do more than just stand out here."

Steve went in, not wanting to admit he was nervous. After the voices and moving boxes, he was reluctant to see what was in there.

Ghost yelled in after him, "Don't let the boogy man get ya!"

"Oh, crap," thought Steve, "just what I needed."

"Shut up, Ghost!" he yelled back. He went down the hallway to the bathroom door and looked in. "Yep, it's a big 'ol mess in here," he said.

Broken glass, and contents from the medicine cabinet were scattered all over the floor. He looked at the wall...and, there were the words. "That's funny that Miz Deliverance would hide the journal in a place so hard to find. When did she remove the medicine cabinet without us knowing about it, anyway, and how did she do it? She was just a little old lady," Steve thought. "Then, she had to put it back up there. This is very strange."

"Ghost, get in here! This is your house, and your grandmother's doing. You're supposed to find it, not me," Steve yelled.

After a minute, Ghost peeked around the bathroom door. His eyes were wide, the pupils dilated from being scared.

"Don't go freaking out now, Ghost...we have to finish this. I guess we'll have to tear out the boards first. I'll go find a hammer or something," Steve said. "But, you're gonna take the first whack!"

They never did figure out how the journal got behind the Miz Deliverance could have done it without leaving a sign that the boards had ever been disturbed.

Steve handed the hammer to Ghost, who hauled back and bashed the wall hard. That put a small hole in the old wood. So he did it again, then again, making the hole larger every time. Steve had never seen Ghost be so aggressive. It was like he was beating out demons or something. Steve didn't even have to take a swing.

"I...I...can't...I can't reach in there, Steve," Ghost panted. "You do it."

Steve nodded, then reached in...into the dark hollow between the walls, and felt around. He was sure something was going to grab him, or maybe a mousetrap would spring shut on his fingers, like a booby trap..or maybe even a mouse, or worse, would bite him. But, he did it anyway. Then he felt something. It was book shaped, but soft, like suede leather. He slowly pulled it out.

They both just stared at it. Ghost shuddered and whispered, "It's not good, Steve...whatever it says, it's not good. I just think we should not open it, and take it out and burn it up!"

"Ghost, we can't do that. If it wasn't so bad that your grandmother could write it, then it isn't so bad you can't read it...and besides, she told you to."

"Well, I don't want to! You can read it if you have to, then you can just tell me any good parts."

"No, Ghost, we're going to read it together." Steve was firm about that.

"Maybe someday, then..."

"No, today," Steve insisted, and he grabbed Ghost by the wrist and led him out to the old couch.

Steve held the leather covered pages...Ghost wouldn't touch it. It was a nice looking journal, soft brown suede, with a long string to bind it, and quite a few pages to it. He undid the string. Ghost was breathing hard.

Don't go flaking out on me, Ghost. It'll be ok," Steve said. "It's just words on paper. You like words. You write words all the time. Nothing bad about that."

"But...words have meanings, Steve! Words put together in different ways are powerful! They can make you do laugh, or cry, or get mad...or, well they make you feel things!"

Next installment coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing


Monday, June 2, 2014

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE...(forty fifth installment)

(45th installment) content

                                      CHAPTER 12

After Steve had left, Ghost figured he'd better look in the back room. His and Steve's bedrooms for sure didn't have any hiding places, so that was all that was left to search. He planned on being focused, and go shelf by shelf. He slowly opened the door and stepped in. He took in the aroma of dust, herbs, and the spicy smell of sage and cinnamon. It felt familiar to him. It had always been this way in this room.

"So far, so good," he thought. "I'm not gonna think about spiders and scary voices," he told himself.

He looked down at the floor, with it's faded and stained linoleum. It was curled up in the corners, and there were a few deep gashes, here and there. Boxes of junk were scattered around. He'd have to go through all that, but first, the actual floor. He pulled on the linoleum in one corner to see if it would come up. It did, pretty easy, so he pulled some more. It wasn't glued down. Underneath, it revealed plain, hardwood planks.

Remembering there was a crawlspace below the floor, where the plumbing was hidden, he guessed there was an opening somewhere. He'd have to wait for Steve, though, to help pull up the vinyl. Moving on to the boxes, he gave the nearest one a kick, just in case anything scuttled out, but only a swirl of dust puffed out, making him sneeze.

Opening the cardboard flaps on top, he began to go through the items inside. It was just household goods that his grandmother had stored there, long ago. There were mismatched dishes, blankets, books, and knick-knacks. In another box, he found some of his old clothes and toys. Looking at these got him to remembering. He'd have to show Steve...see if he remembered them, too.

"Well, so much for that," he said. "No journal here." He sighed, "There's too much stuff."

Deciding it was time for a short break, he went out to the kitchen, where he scrounged around for a snack. So far, he'd not seen any spiders, or heard any voices. A few minutes later, he was back in the room, looking again for hiding places. As he stepped into the room, though, something didn't look right...what was different? The boxes he'd gone through were moved around from where he'd pushed them. At least that's what it looked like. But, maybe he'd forgotten exactly where he'd put them. He shrugged, "Whatever..." he thought.

Going to the nearest shelf to his right, he began moving tiny cardboard boxes, and little vials containing strange contents. . The dust that was being stirred up, made him sneeze again. At the very back of the shelf, was just the wall of the room. Not seeing anything strange about that, he knocked on the wood, thinking there might be a secret panel or loose board. Not finding anything out of the ordinary, he went on to the next shelf.

There, he found more of the same...antique inventory from long gone doctors, medicine peddlers, and herbalists, filled almost every inch of the shelf. Books with recipes for curing things, and lists of what combinations of herbs treated what ailments, were jam packed in between dusty jars of spices and strange looking liquids.

His grandmother had usually let him watch her mix them up in little mortar and pestle pots, and label them for her customers. But, sometimes she'd chase him out, saying the next one wasn't for children's eyes to see. Anyway, he didn't know how to mix any of that stuff. He'd just taken whatever she'd given him, whenever he was ill. It always worked fine.

Behind this shelf, more of the wall, but the boards looked a little different...a little bit of a gap between a couple of the boards of the wall. This house was so old, though. It was built long before people used much sheetrock or insulation...just boards nailed up between rooms. More like a tiny cabin, he guessed. So, the boards were probably warped some, but he knocked on it anyway.

What was on the other side of this wall...the bathroom? He thought it might be where the medicine cabinet was hanging over the sink. When he tapped on the boards, it did make a hollow sound, but nothing moved or opened. Still, it was odd. He went out of the room, and into the hall by the bathroom, looking to see if the walls matched up. They didn't...not quite.

Going into the bathroom, he opened the medicine cabinet. Just a normal thing to do, he felt. "I wonder what would happen if I took this thing down? It's just screwed into the wall, like four places are holding it up," he mused. He'd need a screwdriver, but couldn't remember seeing one anywhere, so he jiggled the cabinet a little. The screws were looser than he thought, and the whole thing came crashing down into the sink and floor, breaking the mirror, and making a terrible, loud noise.

"Shit, shit, shit!" Ghost cursed, as he jumped back. "Now what?" He looked at the now empty spot on the wall, and the mess on the floor. Looking closer at the blank spot where the cabinet had been, he at first though it was just plain boards. But, very faintly, he saw words written there. Leaning closer, he could just make out his grandmother's handwriting. It was in sky blue marker ink. The words read, "Look between these walls, Ghost Child."

"Oh, my God!" Ghost wailed. "It's really real, I think it's here!"

He panicked, and ran out of the room. As he paced around the house, he kept saying, "What should I do, what should I do? I'm scared to look. I have to look. I have to get Steve." A thousand other thoughts ran through his mind. "Maybe I should pretend I never saw this. Oh, crap, the medicine cabinet is broke...I can't even hide the words, now. Calm down," he kept telling himself, even as he worked himself up even more.

Finally, he just completely left the house, and started walking all the way into town. He'd go get Steve. He'd know what to do. He didn't even notice, or care, that he'd left the house in such a hurry, that he had on his raggedy sweatpants, and the old T-shirt he'd cut the sleeves out of, that had the iron on peace sign that was flaking off. He'd not even bothered to put shoes on. Later, he would not even remember how he'd gotten to the Whirling Disc so fast. His mind was in turmoil, and it felt like he just appeared at the door.

He came busting in with such force, that the bell hanging on the door rattled loudly. Steve and Terry were behind the counter. They both jumped at the sudden noise. Steve's first thought was that a scarecrow had come to life, seeing as how Ghost's pale hair was sticking out wildly, all over his head, having not been brushed since he'd gotten up that morning. The raggedy clothes he had on, were now covered in dust and sweat. Ghost was panting and red faced from running, trying to catch his breath, and talk at the same time.

Terry's first thought was that he was being robbed. He quickly pulled out the pistol he kept hidden under the counter, and fired a shot into the ceiling, as a warning.

"What the hell!" Steve yelled at Terry. "It's Ghost! Don't shoot him!"

Ghost was still standing there, taking big gulps of air.

"Ghost?" Terry asked. He'd not seen Ghost since he'd been back in town. He still looked like a crazy person to him.

"Hey, Terry, I'm not gonna rob you today," Ghost panted, having heard Terry's first thought.

"Sorry, Dude," said Terry.

Steve had ran over to Ghost. "What the hell is the matter? Why are you all crazy, why are you all the way out here? Did something happen?"

"Steve, you have to come home! I found it! I found it! And, I'm scared to look. Come, now!" Ghost pulled at Steve's arm.

"You found it? Where? Calm down...I can't understand what you're saying."

Ghost was still worked up, and going on and on with details, and talking fast.

"I can't go right now. I'm still at work," Steve said.

Terry had been watching the two of them this whole time. It was so fascinating to see how they communicated...on the same wavelength or something. He didn't have any idea what they were talking about, but he knew Ghost wanted Steve to come see something at their house, right now.

"Steve, go on...we don't have any customers. It's almost time for you to be off, anyway."

"Thanks, Terry," Steve hollered, as he and Ghost left out the door.

Terry watched, as they headed down the road."That was just so weird," he thought. Since he needed a break, he put the closed sign on the door, and went to see Kinsey. He'd want to know about this new drama in Missing Mile.