Friday, October 30, 2015


# 236 content

When they arrived back home, Linda hurried the kids in to their bedroom. Getting them in their pajamas, she said, "Y'all wait here. I'll bring sandwiches and milk. You can eat in your room."

Stevie and Mandy liked the sound of that, and began pulling out some toys from the already packed boxes. Not much was left in the room by now...just the toys, and a mattress on the floor, to be loaded into the U-Haul, in the morning.

Linda went back into the kitchen to prepare the food for the little ones. She could hear Lisa and Bill talking to Steve and Ghost, out in the front yard. They were getting a bit loud. After bringing in the food to the kids, she went to the front door.

"The neighbors don't want to hear all this. Get in here...all of you."

They shuffled in, one by one, into the kitchen. Linda put a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jelly on the table in front of them. "There's your supper," she said, as she slammed a knife down beside the bread.

" start talking," she said, looking at Steve. And, he did, from the beginning, as he knew of it...of Maxey's involvement, all the way up to the surveillance cameras he'd hidden at their house, and being on the run. When he'd finished, they all sat in silence for a minute.

"Is that how it happened, Ghost?" Linda asked.

Ghost nodded. "Most of it. Just like I told it to Steve. But, there was was way worse than that...and, I never want Steve to know it," he said, swiping at the tears on his face.

"Ghost?" Steve asked. "I thought you told me all of it. You need to tell me the rest." He looked stricken that anything worse could have happened.

"I can't, Steve, I just can't...and I told you the main parts...all of it...just not the whole little parts...the inside I felt, and how I hurt, and ...I can't think of the word, but it don't matter anyway, 'cause my head got all fuzzy, and I don't even remember it all...just the hurt..."

Steve reached over, hugging Ghost. "I'm so sorry. I tried so hard to find you. I looked everywhere..."

Ghost nodded "I know...I knew you were there. I saw you, but I couldn't help myself then. And, you'd already killed me once...I couldn't...I was scared, Steve...of you...that you'd come to kill me again, or at least that you hated me. I didn't want you to see me."

"Oh, Ghost, I made a horrible mess of everything," Steve murmured into Ghost's hair, as he rocked them back and forth.

Lisa and Linda were wiping their own tears away. Bill said, "I see now why you hit Maxey, Steve. He had no business being around Ghost tonight...and grabbing way. I'm glad, now, that you cold-cocked the bastard."

"He's not coming back, is he?" Ghost asked.

"No, he's behind bars for a long time. Don't worry about it ever again," Steve said.

With the air cleared, they ate their sandwiches. "Ok, guys, I'm tending to the kids, and going to bed. Still stuff to do in the morning. Good night..." Linda said. Everyone else did the same, and Lisa turned out the light as she left the kitchen. Everyone collapsed int0 their beds.

Steve and Ghost talked in low voices, after the lights were out. "I know you want to know all of the...the...what is that word?" Ghost asked.

"Details...the details..." Steve said. "Yeah, I do, but I won't bug you."

Ghost nodded, and snuggled closer into Steve's warmth. "I know, and I really don't remember it all, but I did write it much as I could, in a journal...a long time ago. I'll find it at can read it."

"Ok, only if you want me to," Steve said. Ghost yawned, and nodded, "Yes," he said.

Linda was so tired, she fell right to sleep in her room. Bill and Lisa talked a bit about Steve and Ghost.  "What do you make of the whole story?" Bill asked. "I mean, it must have happened, but...well, it's so far out of our nice, peaceful life here." He shook his head. "So much that has happened to Ghost, and to Steve, too..."

Lisa agreed. "From all I've heard, it's a wonder Ghost is even still alive...and to have found his way back to Steve...well, I wish we had known back then...he was practically right around the corner all that close."

"I know, Lisa, but it is in the past. Everyone deals with their situation and moves on. That's all anyone can do," Bill said.

Lisa sighed. "I know...and, I'm going to miss Linda and the kids, and even Ghost and Steve, now, when they leave tomorrow. I'm going to cry."

Bill gave her a hug. "I know, honey. It'll be sad to see them go, but we'll visit out there real soon as your classes let out for summer break."

Lisa nodded, already half asleep. "Mmm-hmm, real soon."

Morning dawned in another picture perfect, California day...warm, with a hint of ocean breezes, drifting over the neighborhood. Linda was up first, a million things running through her thoughts. She cooked breakfast, a big one, since they'd not had much of a supper. The smell of the coffee brought out Lisa, who poured a cup, then sat down at the table.

"Bill's in the shower. Are the kids awake?" she asked.

"They weren't a few minutes ago, but it's time I do need to wake them up. This is pretty much ready," she said, turning off the burners on the stove. "I'll go see to them," Linda said.

On the way down the hall, she met Steve, who was on his way to the kitchen. She gave him a hug. "Morning, brother," she said.

"Mornin', Sis," Steve said, smiling. "I like the sound of that."

"Me, too..." Linda said, and laughed. "Breakfast is ready, whenever you are." She continued on to the kid's room, waking them, and getting them dressed for the day.

Steve poured himself and Ghost a cup of the hot coffee, telling Lisa they'd be back for food in a little bit. She got out plates, and poured milk for Stevie and Mandy. Bill came in, giving Lisa a hug, knowing today would be emotional for her.

Steve gave Ghost his coffee, after waking him up. Ghost curled his fingers around the cup, warming them. He breathed in the steam. Steve could see that he looked pretty rough, and knew he'd not slept very good. He'd felt him tossing around, and heard him cry out in his dreams, more than once.

"Steve, I'm sorry everything got so messed up last night," Ghost said.

"Yeah, me too, but it wasn't your fault...wasn't none of ours fault, ya know. And, now we're going home. I am so ready to be back at our house. I don't really ever want to come to L. A. again," Steve said.

"Me, neither," Ghost said, shaking his head. Brushing long strands of his hair from his face, he smiled his crooked smile. "Ya think they got some molasses out there? I'm so hungry."

Steve laughed. "I'm pretty sure they do. Get up and we'll go see."

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


# 235 content

Linda and Lisa were concerned, but weren't sure what was wrong. Steve hadn't told Linda everything about Ghost's trouble, when he lived here with Maxey. He'd just told her that he had been here in L. A. and sang in a band with a real psycho. He didn't elaborate at the time.

Ghost was now directing Bill to turn down another street. "There's the coffee shop, Steve...the very one. He pointed to it. Then, a little further along, they drove by a small house, and Ghost was beginning to hyperventilate.

"That's where I lived...that's where...oh, God, Steve..." He couldn't look away, even as tears were falling.

"Ghost, it's in the past, he won't hurt you again." Steve tried to reassure him. "Bill, get us out of here," he said.

They drove out of the neighborhood, and back to the business section of the area. Bill pulled into the steak house's parking lot. "What is going on? Are we still going in, or what?" he asked.

Linda could see how upset Ghost was. "Are you ok...what's the deal with that house?"

"That's the house I escaped from," Ghost said. "He hurt me real bad in there, and I was drugged and couldn't get away for a long time. Then he almost killed me, and I barely got out, and...and..." he couldn't go on talking about it.

Steve was holding Ghost close, even as he was getting angrier. Then it dawned on him. Ghost had been here needing help, and was so, so close to where Linda lived, the whole time. If they'd only known.

Ghost seemed to have calmed down, now that he'd gotten his story partly told. "I'm ok, Steve. It was just seeing this again, ya know...all that I remember, but like you said, it's past ago...a long time." He sighed, and sat up. "It's ok...we can go in, I think. I think I been in here before, too. The food is good, and I'm hungry. He wiped his face, trying to smile.

"Well, ok, if you're sure. I mean we can go to another place, no problem," Bill said.

No, it's ok," Ghost said. They all got out and went inside the restaurant.

It was a nice place...a bit more fancy than a fast food place, but not terribly expensive. They were seated in a large corner booth. Linda reminded Stevie and Mandy to be on their best behavior. They said they understood, but she wasn't sure how long that would last, so she hoped this wouldn't take too long.

The waiter took their orders, and when he went to turn it into the kitchen, he commented to his fellow co-workers. "That's him...I know it...take a look out there," he said. "Oh, hey...I forgot, I have a picture on my phone, still. I took it at that concert I went to...the best one I ever saw." He pulled up the pictures. "Yep, look...that's him, the singer...and I heard he just disappeared after that...never heard from again," the waiter told the others.

The co-workers agreed it was the same person in the picture, as was here in the restaurant. "You know, Maxey was looking for him for so long. I talked to him a few times in the coffee his number right here, too. Should I try and call him? I mean, I don't know him, really, but I heard he got into some serious trouble back east." He looked around at the other waiters. "Hell, I'm calling. It may not even be his number anymore, anyway." He dialed, hearing it ring several times. He was about to hang up, when someone came on the line.

"Hello, who is this?" the person asked.

"Um, we met a few times at the coffee this Maxey? The guy that plays there sometimes?"

"Yeah, what'd'ya want?"

"Well, that blond singer you had back then...the one that disappeared...he's sitting right here in the restaurant...the steak house, right down from the coffee shop," the waiter said.

"What? For real?"

"Yeah, him and some other people. They just ordered...guess they'll be here awhile."

"Oh, my there a dark haired guy with him...kinda curly hair?"

"Let me see," the waiter said, going over to peek out the service door. "Yeah, he's there, and looks like a family with a couple of little kids."

"Ok, ok...shit...that's his asshole boyfriend. Hey, try to keep them there as long as you can. I'm coming over there, ok?"

"Ok, sure, but we can't have any trouble in the restaurant, understand? I just wanted to let you know."

"Yeah, I know...I just want to see for myself...and thanks, Dude." He hung up.

Raising his eyebrows, the waiter said. "Well, he's coming over here. Try to keep that singer here as long as you can, ok?" They agreed to try.

At the table, everyone had their drinks, and were talking and waiting for the steaks to be brought out. Ghost wasn't saying much, and even the kids couldn't get him to smile.

"Steve, he's coming. I can tell...and it won't be long," Ghost said. "I want outta here." He started getting up from his chair, but Steve grabbed his hand, pulling him back down.

"Settle down, it'll be ok," Steve said. "If he shows up, we'll deal with it, and I'll call the cops, 'cause he's wanted in two states."

Just then, the food was served, and the others started eating. Ghost couldn't even look at his steak, he was so agitated, wildly scanning around the room, and jumping, every time the door opened. The others hadn't noticed anything going on, yet, as they were helping the kids with their food, and continuing their conversation.

Then, Ghost gasped, staring at the person who'd just walked in...Maxey.

Maxey stood there, looking over the room, taking only seconds before he locked eyes with Ghost. Ghost heard his thoughts as clear as if he'd spoken aloud... "Hah, there you are, you little bastard, let's see ya get away this time. There's no Hicksville sheriff gonna come to your rescue here." He strode over to the table.

"Let's go, we got business to do," he said, scowling at Ghost.

"Fuck you, man," Steve said, standing up. "Ghost isn't going anywhere with you."

Ghost stood up, too. "Leave me alone, Maxey. We ain't got business with you, anymore."

"Get outta my face, punk," Maxey said to Steve, then grabbing Ghost's wrist, he jerked him toward him.

Steve drew back, punching Maxey square in the face, breaking his nose, knocking Maxey out cold. "I hope I killed you, you son-of-a-bitch," he yelled, trying to hit him again.

Ghost knew he had to restrain Steve, or he would kill Maxey. He grabbed his arm. "That's enough, Steve."

Steve knew it was, but wanted to keep on. As it was, the restaurant was in chaos. Maxey had fallen into another diner's table, crashing everything to the floor. Blood was pouring over his face, and people were screaming. Bill joined Ghost in trying to talk Steve down from his anger.

Linda and Lisa scrambled to get the kids away, and they all ran into the restroom. They were crying, scared of what they'd already seen. "It'll be ok, kids," Linda said, trying to ease their fears.

"But, Steve hit that man. Is he dead?" Stevie asked.

"No, he's not dead...just knocked out. He has a broken nose, but he'll be ok...don't worry."

Lisa was holding Mandy, who was hiding her face in Lisa's shoulder. They stayed in there for a little while, waiting for some kind of order out in the main room. "What was that all about?" Lisa asked.

"I'm not sure," Linda said. "I think that guy wanted Ghost to come with him, and Steve got mad. I'm definitely going to find out, though."

Out in the restaurant, people were either leaving, or standing in shock, waiting to see what would happen next. The manager had called the police, and the sirens from them, and the ambulance could be heard, as they approached. Maxey was now coming around. When the policemen entered, Steve was hollering.

"Take him in...he's a fugitive...arrest him..." Finally, the cops were able to understand, and called in for a record check and outstanding warrants on Maxey. They knew then, that they'd captured a criminal, and they handcuffed him. The EMT's did some minor first aid, then loaded Maxey into the ambulance. The cop went along, too, as he was ordered to not let Maxey out of his sight.

Steve would not be charged with assault, right now...only if Maxey pressed charges. As they left, Ghost collapsed in the chair, and put his head down on his arms, on the table. He sobbed, feeling that it was finally over. Steve knelt down and talked to Ghost in a low voice. Ghost nodded, saying he understood.

Bill said, "Mister, you've got a lot of explaining to do...both of you. Now, I'm getting the girls, and the kids, and we're going home. Straighten yourselves up before I get back. The kids are already scared enough." He went over to the restrooms, to let them know it was over.

Ghost raised up his head, and looked across the way...right into the face of the waiter. He knew he'd been the one that had called Maxey. If looks could kill, the waiter would be dead from the evil eye Ghost gave him.

"Let it go, man...nothing good will come of putting a curse on that asshole," Steve said.

Ghost nodded, and looked away, but the waiter could feel the waves of negative energy Ghost had sent his way. He scuttled back into the kitchen.

The manager was making 'who's gonna pay for all the damages noises,' and Steve threw some money on the table...more than enough to cover it all. He saw Bill, Lisa, Linda, and the kids come out, so he helped Ghost up, meeting them at the door. They all left. The kids had been told not to ask questions, just yet, and so, the short ride home was deathly quiet.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, October 25, 2015


# 234 content

Steve took the map into the bedroom, where it was quiet, to study the route from L. A. to Missing Mile. He knew it would be a long, tiring journey, but still, better than flying again.

Linda, Lisa, and Bill directed the movers to what needed to be loaded, and quicker than they thought, they'd packed it all up and left...on their way to North Carolina. The three of them collapsed, in the living room, for a few minutes.

"Well, that wasn't so bad," Bill said. "I sure wouldn't want their job, though...too much heavy lifting." They all laughed, because his job wasn't much easier, just a different kind.

"Ok, now all I have to do is pack the rest of our clothes, and the kids things, and it'll be done," Linda said. She got up to go check on Ghost and the kids. Looking out the back door, then going on outside, she saw that they were all laying on a quilt, under the big backyard tree.

She could hear Ghost singing songs to her children, and they were listening with full attention, and trying to hum along. For some reason this brought tears to her eyes. Ghost kept singing, but he knew she was there, and waved her over. She reached the quilt, and lay down, too, gazing up into the cool, green branches of the tree. It was a sweet interlude she knew would stay in her memory forever.

After a couple more songs, Ghost began telling stories. He let the kids suggest ideas that he'd weave into a fairy-tale like picture of words. Linda felt herself transported to the scenes he was imagining, right along with Stevie and Mandy. She forgot for a bit all her worries. Feeling herself almost falling asleep, she sat up. The little ones had already gone to was nap time. She took Ghost's hand. "Thank you..." she said, and returned to the house.

Looking in on Steve, to see how he was getting on with the mapping, she saw that he'd gone to sleep, too. The map was neatly folded, as if he was finished. Lisa and Bill had retreated to their bedroom, and she could hear them talking in low voices.

She walked through her house, remembering all the good times she'd had here. The only sounds were the humming of the air-conditioner, and the clunk of ice dropping into the bin in the freezer. In the kids room, she finished packing their things, and then did the same in her own room, leaving out only the essentials to be used on the trip.

Looking out the back door, to check on the kids again, she saw they were still napping, and Ghost was sitting up, writing in his journal, as always. Back in the living room, she leaned back on the couch, propping up her feet on the coffee table, hoping for a little cat nap. The little puppy came and snuggled beside her.

After about an hour, Lisa and Bill came out to see where everyone was. It was late afternoon, and Bill suggested they all go out to eat for supper, and for Linda's last night here.

"Should we wake everyone up?" Lisa asked.

"Give it another half hour, maybe," Bill said. "If no one is up, then, yeah, wake 'em up."

They made a pot of coffee, and waited. Linda was the first one awake. She came into the kitchen to pour herself a cup of it. Looking out back, she saw that the kids were awake now, too. Ghost seemed to be telling another story.

"Hey, sis, we've decided we'd all go out to eat in a little while. Does that sound good to you?" Lisa asked.

"Sure, why not. Give me time to freshen up, and get the kids ready, and we'll be ready to go. Where are we going?"

"I'm leaning toward a big, juicy steak," Bill said.

"Mmm, that does sound good. Are you thinking of that place down the road?"

"Yes, we had that once before. I remember it was good," Lisa said.

"Ok, I'm rounding up the munchkins...won't take us long." She went out to get them. "Hey, y'all, we need to get ready...Bill is taking us all out to eat steak," she said.

"Yeah, I can eat that," Stevie said.

"Me, too," Mandy agreed.

"Ok, then, run inside and wash up a bit. I layed out fresh clothes on your beds," Linda said. They both ran inside. "Come on, Ghost, let's go get ready." She held out her hand, helping him up. "You're so good with them. I appreciate it."

Ghost shrugged. "They're fun. I have fun telling them stories."

"Do you write them down in your notebook?"

"Sometimes...mostly they're just made up ones and are different every time."

As they went in the house, she mentioned that Steve was still asleep. "Go wake him up. We'll be leaving for the restaurant soon." She went to help the kids get ready.

Ghost went into the bedroom to wake Steve. Smiling, he lay next to him. It was usually the other way around...Steve usually had to wake him up. He leaned close, softly kissing Steve's lips. "Wake up..." he whispered. Steve stirred, but didn't wake up. "Wake up..." Ghost said a little louder. He smoothed Steve's hair from his forehead, and kissed him again, nudging his lips open, touching his tongue to Steve's. Steve responded, as he came fully awake.

"Mmm, Ghost, you taste so good," he said. "Come here, I want more." They kissed again, then Ghost said, "We can't right now...they're waiting on us to get ready and go."

"Go...where?" Steve asked.

"Out to eat steak in a few minutes," Ghost said.

"Ahh, but I'd rather have you," Steve said, grinning.

"I know..."

"Yeah, but guess we gotta go, huh?" Steve asked, as he got up from the bed.

Ghost nodded, getting up too. They washed up, and changed clothes, but took their time doing it. They had a few minutes to play around, and in between kisses, they managed to get ready. Steve brushed Ghost's long hair, smoothing it down his back. It still had a couple of thin braids in among the strands, that Mandy had put in, and he left those.

Everyone was finally ready to go, so they piled into Lisa and Bill's van. It had plenty of room, as she sometimes used it to take her students on field trips along with parent volunteers. The drive would only take about twenty minutes, in afternoon traffic, and as they rode along, the kids played with a couple of toys they had brought along. Lisa and Linda were chattering and pointing out things for Steve and Ghost to look at. Turning up another street, almost to the steak house, Ghost leaned forward, looking out the window.

"Wait...where are we going?" he asked. Bill told him the name of the steak restaurant.

" can't be...I mean, yes it is," Ghost said, looking agitated, now.

"Huh...what are you talking about," Steve asked.

Ghost was still staring out the window, his eyes wide. "I've been here before...that eatin' place...and...this whole street...I know it." He looked scared. "Steve, what if..."

"Ghost, just calm down," Steve said. "He's not here...not when he's wanted by the law." He tried to convince Ghost, and himself, too. Ghost just shook his head.

"I know he's somewhere close by...I can feel it, Steve. I want to go home."

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, October 23, 2015


# 233 content

After tending to the children, Linda came back into the kitchen. "The kids are fine. I explained it to them. They seemed to understand, and weren't scared, just curious and concerned for Ghost."

"Oh, that's good," Lisa said.

"Yeah, and I looked in on Steve and Ghost. They're both sound asleep, again." She shook her head and smiled. "I know Ghost needs to rest, but should I wake Steve up? He's supposed to be helping me pack some stuff...and the U-Haul...and the movers are coming. I'll tell ya, there's just too much to think about. All I want to do is go back to bed, too," Linda said. "And, don't tell me I can call it all off. I'm going through with it, for real, and we'll be fine."

Lisa nodded. "I hear ya, sister. If anyone can get it done, it's you. So, go wake up Steve. Ghost can sleep, and we'll look in on him. He'll be fine, too, but Steve really needs to help. He can be lazy when he gets back home." They laughed, and Linda headed off to the bedroom.

She tip-toed in and shook Steve awake. "Steve, come on, get up. I need your help."

Steve groggily rolled over, then sat up. "Ok, I'm up, sis."

"Let Ghost sleep. We'll check on him, but I need to get some things done." She left the room, and Steve soon joined her in the living room.

"Linda was going over what had to be done and in what order. "First, we have to go get the U-Haul, Steve. We both have to go, because you'll be the driver, and it's under my name. So, Lisa and Bill will watch the kids, and let Ghost know where you went, if he wakes up."

Steve was ready to go. Linda hollered out to Lisa, "We're leaving." They went out to the car. "It's not far," she said, pulling out into the street.

Lisa checked on Stevie and Mandy, and she got them to start putting some of their favorite toys into a big box. They would take this with them on the road. Then, going into the kitchen, she began getting out all the dishes Linda said she wanted to take with her. She set them out on the table. The movers would pack these. Bill put tags on the pieces of furniture to be moved. They were busy, going here and there in the house, and almost didn't notice Ghost, as he walked silently through the living room, and out the front door.

He was walking toward the big tree out front, looking up into the branches, when they caught up with him. 

"Ghost...where are you going?" Lisa asked, trying to stay calm. He didn't answer her, but stopped and blinked a few times, before continuing on. He reached the tree, and touched it...saying strange sounding words.

Lisa looked around at Bill. "What's he doing? Make him stop, it's scaring me," she said.

"It looks like he's still he's sleepwalking or something," Bill said. He took Ghost's arm, turning him back toward the house. He was still saying strange words, and had no recognition of them.

At that point, Steve and Linda returned with the U-Haul. Steve pulled up in front of the house, by the curb, and had not noticed everyone out in the yard, yet. He was still getting used to driving the big truck. Finally getting out, he saw what was going on.

"Steve," Lisa said, "I think he's still asleep, but he came out here to the tree."

"Yeah, looks like he is. He sleep walks all the time. I forgot to tell you," Steve said. He guided Ghost back to the bedroom. After settling Ghost back in the bed, he came out to explain. "Glad ya'll caught up with him...he can wander off pretty fast."

"What if you're asleep, and he leaves your house?" asked Bill.

"He has before, but he don't get very far's just the woods, and the graveyard. Sometimes, though, I handcuff him to the bed. That way I know he won't go running off," Steve said.

They just stared at him. "What?" Lisa asked.

"Oh, yeah...sounds weird, but it works, and it was his idea," Steve said.

They kept looking at him, as if that was the craziest thing they'd ever heard.

"Well," Linda said, "that just sounds so..." She hadn't heard of this before.

" got a better idea?" Steve asked, getting a little defensive.

"No, but can't a doctor give him something?"

Steve sighed, and shook his head. "Linda, he's been to all kinds of doctors...nothing works...and I had to drag him to those. He don't like taking medicine, except those herbal remedies, anyway. So, until something better comes along, this is our solution. It's not great, but it works."

Linda nodded. "Ok...sorry I stuck my nose in where I shouldn't have."

"It's least you know," Steve said.

Lisa and Bill had already gone to the kitchen, letting Steve and Linda work it out. The kids were now playing in the back yard.

"What needs to be done next," Bill asked.

Lisa looked around. She saw that several boxes had been packed, already. "All the boxes that are full, just take them to the U-Haul...get them out of the way," she said.

Steve and Bill began doing that. Linda came in to sit at the table. "This is overwhelming."

Lisa brought her a glass of iced tea. "Just sit here and rest a few minutes," she said. "I made a bunch of sandwiches for lunch. They're in the refrigerator."

"Oh, thanks, we'll need them," Linda said. "Then, after lunch, the moving van comes; they said around 1:00. Then we can see where we stand."

The guys had finished loading, and now poured themselves tea, and sat at the table, too.

"Any more boxes?" Steve asked Linda.

"There will be in a little while...just the kids things, and some of mine." She got up to start filling another box. The kids ran back inside, through the back door, wanting Kool-Aid, and wanting to know if Ghost could come out to play.

"Take your drinks out on the porch...Ghost is still asleep. He'll come out later on," Lisa said.  She went over to help Linda with more packing. Bill kept an eye on the kids, and wondered when all the chaos in the house would stop.

"When we're gone," Ghost said, coming into the kitchen. Bill jumped, as Ghost spoke, not having heard him enter.

"Ghost...didn't hear you come in," he said.

"You'll have peace when we are gone," Ghost said. He started singing the old *Kansas song..."...lay your weary head to rest, don't  'cha cry no more..." he sang. "He smiled at Bill. "It is kinda chaotic, isn't it?"

Bill smiled. "You heard what I was thinking, huh?"

"Yeah, when I came in. Oh, I'm awake now...for real," Ghost said, reading Bill's thoughts again.

Bill laughed. "Damn, you're good."

Ghost shrugged.

"Everything ok, now?" Bill asked. "Are you feeling better?"

"Um-hmm, except I'm really hungry."

"Me, too," Bill said. "Lisa made sandwiches. I think we all need to stop and eat. If you'll get them out of the fridge, I'll go get Linda and Lisa. Have you seen Steve?"

"Yeah, he came and woke me up. He's still in the bedroom, I guess," Ghost said.

"Ok, I'll holler at him, too," Bill said, as he went to find everyone. He was humming the song that Ghost had been singing.

Ghost got out the food, then called the kids in.

"Ghost...Ghost," they yelled. They jumped all around him, grabbing his hands. He laughed, but said, "Hey, you two, go wash's time to eat." They hugged him, then ran over to the sink. The others came into the kitchen just in time to hear and see that.

"Amazing," Linda said. "You're a good role model, Ghost."

They all sat down, eating and realizing how tired they were, already. Ghost had had a long nap, but was still a little shaky from earlier, though.

"Here's my list of things that go in the U-Haul, and the moving van, and my car. See if I'm forgetting anything, Lisa," Linda said, handing over her list. "Steve, I want you to map out our route, and where we'll be stopping at night. I've never driven cross-country before, ok?"

Steve took the map, opening it up on the table. "Sure is a long way across, huh? I figure it'll take at least three days...that's if everything goes smooth. I'll work on this," he said.

"Thanks," Linda said. "Ghost, if you feel up to it, can you be in charge of Mandy and Stevie, while the moving people are here? Maybe just play out in the back yard with them?"

"Ok, sure, I can do that," Ghost said, smiling, happy he could help with something.

As Lisa cleared the lunch items from the table, they heard the big moving truck pull up out front. "Oh, my, they're here," Linda said, already flustered.

"Linda, stop worrying...everything is going fine," Lisa said, giving her a hug. They went to let the movers in.

"Come on y'all," Ghost told the kids. "We gotta go out back, outta the way. And, we have games to play," he said, opening the screen door, following them outside in the back yard.

Next part coming soon!

*"Carry On Wayward Son", recorded and sung by Kansas, 1976, on the album "Leftoverture"... Label - Kirshner Written by Kerry Livgen

Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


# 232 content

Ghost went out of the bedroom, with Steve following him into the kitchen. Lisa was just finished cooking, and had to look twice at Ghost as he came in. She started to say something, but thought better of it, and just said good morning.

"Can I have more?" Ghost asked, holding out his coffee cup.

"Of course you can," Lisa said, and refilled his cup.

He took it, and sat down at the table. Lisa gave Steve a questioning look. He just shook his head. "Don't ask," he seemed to say.

Ghost looked at them both, with a frown. "You don't have to secret talk about me. Just say it out loud. I hear it anyway." He got up and stomped out the back door.

"Ooh, does he get like this a lot?" Lisa asked.

Steve breathed deep, letting the air out slow. "Just sometimes, Lisa. He said he don't feel good, and he forgot to take his meds, yesterday. It effects him if he misses. I made him take them already this morning, so we'll see...should be kicking in."

They looked up, as Stevie and Mandy came running into the kitchen, with Linda close behind.

"Kids, settle down...we're about to have breakfast." She looked over at Lisa. "Oh, Bill is on his way. He said to tell you about five more minutes."

The kids saw that the back door was open, and that Ghost was out there, sitting on the porch steps. They went barreling out to see him.

"Wait...wait..." Lisa and Steve hollered, but they'd already gone out and jumped all over Ghost. Lisa and Steve were worried about how Ghost would react, being he was in a mood.

"Ghost, Ghost...good morning..." the kids were hollering...happy and energetic.

Ghost hugged them, and laughed. "You silly kids...come here..." he said as they ran out into the yard.

"You can't catch us," Stevie yelled. Mandy just ran around shrieking. Ghost leapt off the porch and chased them around.

"Got'cha," he said, as he tagged one, then the other.

"Look at that," Lisa said. Linda and Steve were looking...and smiling.

"Looks like he's in a good mood, now," Steve said.

"Yeah, with the kids, anyway," Lisa said.

"What did I miss?" Linda asked.

Lisa filled her in. "Oh, Ghost got up not feeling good, and was all grumpy with us."

"He forgot to take his meds, yesterday," Steve said.

Linda frowned. "Is he going to be ok?"

"We'll see..." Steve said.

Bill came into the kitchen, just then, and Linda and Lisa finished putting the food on the table. Steve yelled out the door, "Y'all get in here...time to eat."

Ghost grabbed his cup from the  porch step, and held the door open for Stevie and Mandy. "Go wash your hands," he told them. They ran off to the sink.

"You're really good with them," Lisa said. "You ever think of working with kids?"

Ghost shook his head. "No, I never worked anywhere, before...just gigs with Steve."

Lisa smiled. "Well, schools can always use volunteers. You might check it out back home."

Shrugging a shoulder, Ghost said, "Um, ok...well, maybe...but I never seen any kids before. I mean, sure I seen kids, but never talked to any...just these ones."

Lisa laughed. "Well, think about it."

They all sat down at the table, each filling a plate with the breakfast eggs, bacon, and toast, that Lisa had made. Linda was going over her plans for the day. Steve sat next to Ghost, but he hadn't said a word. He was a little afraid to get on Ghost's moody side again.

After a few minutes, he noticed that Ghost had only taken a couple of bites of his food, and was now just staring off into space. No one else had noticed. Steve turned more toward Ghost, and saw that his left eyes was twitching.

"Ghost?" he asked.

Ghost didn't respond, his mouth slack, and drool beginning to fall out of his mouth.

"Ghost..." Steve put his arm around Ghost, leaning him over onto him. "Get the kids out of" he said to Linda.

"What? What is it, Steve?" she started, then saw what was going on. "Mandy, Steve, we're all done. Let's go in the bedroom." She quickly helped the kids out of their chairs, ushering them out to the bedroom.

Lisa had ran to get a cold rag, as Bill just sat there, not knowing what was going on, or what to do. Steve put the cold cloth on Ghost's face, and neck, hoping it would bring him out of it.

"What's wrong?" Bill asked, getting up, alarmed.

"He's having a seizure," Lisa said. "He'll be ok in a few minutes. There's a boy in my class that has them. They don't last long."

Steve was trying to get Ghost in a better position, but mostly just hung on to him, while Ghost was shaking. "C'mon, Ghost...hang in'll be over in a minute...we're right here," he said.

Linda came back into the kitchen. "How is he, Steve?" she asked, but could see for herself.

"A little longer... I think it's almost over..." Steve said. Ghost had stopped shaking, so much, and then they stopped. He was still dazed, and not in control, yet.

"Bill, you never seen anyone have a seizure, before?" Lisa asked.

"No, never..." he said. "That was pretty intense. Does he need to see a doctor, or something?"

"No, he has them off and on," Steve said. "He has meds for them but he forgot to take them, yesterday. It gets worse with stress, too, or changes in routine." He was still dabbing the rag on Ghost's face. "Ghost, can you see me, yet? Can you sit up...or maybe you should go lay down."

Ghost was trying to sit up, but was dizzy, still, and his words were slurred, as he tried to talk.

"Do you want to go lay down? Do you know where you are?" Steve kept talking to him.

Ghost began sobbing, and they made out he was saying, "Can't see...words hurt...head hurts so bad..."

Steve managed to get up, and carried Ghost into the bedroom. He lay beside him, comforting him, and would, for as long as Ghost needed him to.
Lisa, Linda, and Bill were still in a bit of shock, there at the table. "That wasn't as bad as the one before...when I was at their house," Linda said. "That time, Steve and I thought he was going to die."

"Well, it was bad enough," Lisa said.

"Man, I feel like an idiot. I had no idea what to do," Bill said.

"There really isn't anything you can do, Bill," Linda said. She and Lisa explained. "In the end, just keep them comfortable, and from getting hurt. That's all."

"Well, I need to go see about the kids. They might have been scared to see Ghost like that," Linda said. She started off, but Lisa stopped her.

"Linda, wait...they're bound to see this some other time. You need to prepare them. They're not too young to understand."

"You're right," Linda said. She thought for a minute. "I'll think of something to say to them."

Lisa and Bill were left alone, there at the table. They were quiet for a bit, lost in their own thoughts. Then, Bill began.

"Lisa, I heard what you and Linda have told me about your brother...the things he's done in the Ghost. Now, don't get me wrong...I just met him, and he seems like a nice guy. It's hard to know...and" He shook his head. "It seems like he was just stopped in his tracks, when all that happened, you know. It's like he never progressed mentally from that time. He's so sweet...and Lisa, how does he forgive Steve for something like that, and stay, and still love your brother? I don't know...I'm confused, and shouldn't be saying any of this...just thinking out loud."

Lisa had listened to Bill's words, and now she said, "Bill, it's confusing to me, too. I know Steve is my brother, and I love him. I have no defense for what he did. Linda said he told her he was drunk at the time...just like our dad was, when he beat up on my mom...and sometimes us kids, when he was drunk like that. And, Steve...well, he had to stay and take it for years after we left. I don't's inexcusable, but it's over and in the past. Steve and Ghost have worked it out, somehow, but I can't help but wonder if Ghost really even knows what happened to him. I mean he does, but well, you're right...he's still a kid, and probably always will be. Linda said his problems started way before that night with Steve. So, you know what I told you about that." She stopped, sighing. "Well, I hope Linda knows what she's getting into. It sounds all nice and sweet, and I hope it is, but yeah, it's fun to visit and meet up again, but she and the kids will be living there...dealing...every single day."

Bill gave her a hug. "I know, but she's a big girl, she can handle it. And, if it gets too intense, she can come back here. I'm thinking we probably won't be moving there. This is our home, and well...I know you'll miss them, but we can always visit," he said.

Lisa nodded, and wiped away a few tears. "It's gonna be hard to say good-bye, tomorrow. But, we'll get through it...we will." She got up to clear the dishes, while Bill helped.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, October 18, 2015


# 231 content

"The kids loved your story, Ghost," Linda said. "I think it was a good way to remind them to be thankful for what they have...and to not be afraid of the dark."

"I didn't know I was teaching them something," Ghost said, looking confused. "I just said what I do."

"Oh...well, it seemed to me, you were saying for them to be happy they have each other, as brother and sister, and that they have friends to play with. Sometimes kids are afraid of the dark, but they shouldn't be, you know."

Ghost smiled. "So, it wasn't too scary?"

"No, it was just right. Now, I've got to get some rest...big day tomorrow. See you in the morning." She gave Ghost another hug, and went down the hallway to her bedroom.

Ghost went out to the kitchen, for a drink of water, turning out the lights, as he went. Then he quietly opened the back door, going out into the night. Breathing deeply of the cool, fresh air, he lay in the now dewy grass. He looked up at the stars...his stars. Letting his mind drift, he spoke random words, and prayers, then sang a song, with made up lyrics. The little puppy came out of the house through the doggie door. He came up to Ghost, to nuzzle his hair and face. Ghost stroked the little dog, and it lay down beside him.

"I miss my kitty, Spirit. I'll just give you lots of hugs, though, 'cause you're so sweet." He and the puppy fell asleep, then, with the stars watching over them.

Steve had read his book for awhile, waiting for Ghost to finish the story for the kids. Then he couldn't keep his eyes open, and dozed off. A couple of hours later, he jerked awake, trying to remember where he was. Blinking, as he came more awake, he saw that the lamp was still on, and the alarm clock read 3 a. m. He sighed, then sat up. "Where's Ghost?" he muttered. It didn't look like he'd been in here, at all. Getting up, he opened the bedroom door. All was dark and quiet in the house.

Trying to not make any noise, he went down the hallway, and into the living room He didn't see Ghost asleep on the couch, either. In the kitchen, he noticed the back door was slightly open, so he opened it all the way, to look out across the moonlit yard. There he saw Ghost and the little dog, sound asleep, bathed in moonlight. Steve caught his breath. Everything was in darkness, and shadows, yet Ghost looked shimmery silver, with his white t-shirt, and pale hair.

He eased out the door, and down the porch steps. The grass was damp on his bare feet. Then, getting down on his knees, he gently woke Ghost.

"Babe, it's time to go're getting cold out here."

Ghost woke, a bit, and mumbled, "The stars are awake tonight..."

"Yeah, I know," Steve said, "but, you need to go to bed. There are nice, warm blankets inside." He helped Ghost up, and the puppy followed them into the house. They quietly went back to the bedroom, where Steve wrapped Ghost in the soft blankets, snuggling with him awhile, to warm him.

Turning from the window in her bedroom, Linda let the curtain fall back into place. She had heard Steve go down the hallway, and out the back door. Looking out, to the yard, she'd seen Ghost and the puppy out under the stars, then Steve, as he woke Ghost to bring him inside. She was happy her brother had found true love. She'd not found it yet, but maybe someday...

"Someday..." she whispered.

Early the next morning, Lisa was up first, and got the coffee brewing. She sat at the table, enjoying the quiet house, and the sound of the coffeemaker softly gurgling. She wasn't surprised when Linda came in.

"Coffee ready?"

"Just about."

"I'm gonna miss this place," Linda said, as she got them both a mug.

"Um-hmm, it's been home for a long time, but you can come back any time." Lisa said.

"You know I will, and your wedding is coming soon. I'll be here for that."

"You'd better be," Lisa said, laughing.

Linda told Lisa she'd see Steve and Ghost out in the moonlit yard during the night. "You know, we had a pretty different time of it...him and us. Steve is part of us, but still, so different."

"I know, but we'll all get to know each other better, now," Lisa said.

Just as she finished her thought, Steve came into the kitchen. "Hey, sisters," he said. "I've come for coffee."

The girls giggled, looking at him. He was wearing loudly patterned boxers, and his hair was sleep tangled. "What?" he asked. "Oh, guess I should have dressed first," he said, and smiled.

"No,'s fine...doesn't bother us at all," said Lisa.

He shrugged. "Ok, then I'll take these back to the bedroom. Ghost is waking up, and he is impossible 'til he's had coffee," he said. "You know, I hope he isn't coming down with something. We were outside last night, and it was kinda damp. He's been shivering ever since...can't get warm. Maybe this will help." He took the coffees on into the bedroom.

Linda and Lisa looked at each other, and shrugged. "Well, I'm going to start breakfast," Lisa said.

Nodding, Linda agreed. "Sounds good, and I need to get going, too...wake up the kids... so much to do today."


Steve came into the bedroom, and set the coffee mugs down on the night table. He could barely see the top of Ghost's head, he was so snuggled down into the blankets.

"I have coffee for you," Steve said, as he patted the blankets.

"I'm still asleep...go away," Ghost moaned.

"Nope...c'mon...get out of there and have your coffee before it gets cold. We got stuff to do today."

Ghost lowered the covers a bit, so that only his eyes peeked out, barely open. Steve sat on the edge of the bed, bouncing it a little. "Wake up."

"Stop it...I'm awake already...give me my cup." He scootched up until he was leaning back on the headboard. Steve gave him his coffee, and they both drank the rich brew.

Steve was just thinking random thoughts about the day to come, and the stray thought that Ghost wasn't in a very good mood, and he wondered why.

"I'm not," Ghost said.

"Huh? You're not what?"

"In a good mood. That's what you were thinking, wasn't it?" Ghost asked.

"Oh, it might have crossed my mind," Steve said. "You seem grumpy, already. Why?"

Ghost shrugged. "I don't know. I just don't feel good...or right. I'm cold, and my head hurts."

Steve looked closer, at him. "Don't get sick, again. We just got over being sick."

"Well, it's not like I want to," Ghost said, as a shiver made his coffee slosh.

"I'll get you some Tylenol, then. Have you been taking your other meds, like you're supposed to?"

"I think so...unless I forgot. I think I forgot after we got here," Ghost said.

Steve sighed, and shook his head. "Where are your back pack?"

Ghost nodded, and closed his eyes, inhaling the steam from his cup. Steve got all the medicines, and handed them to Ghost.

"Here, take them, and maybe you'll feel better."

"Don't be mad at know I forget things," Ghost said.

"I'm not mad...just I worry about you, Ghost. Last night you were laying out there in the damp grass for I don't know how long...getting all cold. And now, well, let's hope you're not sick from it, ok?"

Ghost swallowed all the pills with the last of his coffee.

"Now, get up, Lisa's got breakfast going, and Linda is getting the kids up," Steve said. He rummaged around in his suitcase for something to wear.

Ghost got up and did the same...teeth chattering so much, Steve could hear them. Ghost never cared much what he put on, or what he looked like when he got dressed. Now, Steve just stared and shook his head at this new combination.

Ghost had put on his raggedy jeans, and a t-shirt, a hoodie, pulled up over his bed-head hair, and a long sweater on to of that...and the thrift shop furry boots.

"You look like you're at the North Pole, dude. This is sunny California."

"I don't care...I'm cold," Ghost said. He went out of the room, and Steve followed.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, October 16, 2015


# 230 content

Inside the house, Steve came into the kitchen to see what was going on. "Hey, sisters," he said. "That sounds nice to say."

"Yes, it is nice to hear, too," Lisa said.

"So, what's the plan?" he asked.

They sat at the table, while Linda outlined her agenda.

"Ok, in the morning I have to really get busy packing some stuff, and separating what we're taking and what goes on the moving van. They'll be here tomorrow afternoon." She thought a minute. "We've already decided on what furniture I'll take, so I'll just point it out to them. Then, I guess the next morning, we can load up my car and the U-Haul that you'll be driving, Steve," she looked over at him. "We should go get one, sometime tomorrow. Seems like a lot to do, but I think it'll go pretty smoothly."

Steve nodded. "Ok, good, whatever you need done. We can map out our way home, and it'll take...oh...maybe four days, you think? We'll be staying in motels at night, right?"

"Yes, and I'm tired, already," Linda said, and laughed.

"We'll be fine, and I know Ghost will help with the kids," Steve said. "Where are they, anyway?"

Linda pointed to the back door. "See for yourself. They're out there having fun...and Kool-Aid." She and Lisa laughed.

"Kool-Aid? Man, that's a blast from the past. I haven't had that in years," Steve said. He went to the door and looked out to the back yard. Linda and Lisa joined him.

"We need a picture of this," Linda said. Lisa grabbed her phone, and snapped a few shots.

Ghost was still sitting on the grass, and Mandy had found a hairbrush in the playhouse. She was standing behind Ghost, brushing his long hair. She'd already put in a couple of braids, and pinned bows to the ends. Stevie was pretending to be a photographer, with a toy camera, taking shots at all angles.

They could hear Ghost talking, telling them how he'd been one of those papa guys once, for Halloween. They were all giggling.

"Ghost is such a good sport, letting them play and do his 'hair-do'," Linda said.

Steve smiled. "Aww, Ghost...he's amazing, Linda, and I braid his hair all the time. Well, I don't put bows in it, but he likes people messing with his hair. He told me once that it's relaxing."

Lisa handed Steve a cup of the Kool-Aid. "Here, this one if for you"

He took a drink. "Ahh, that's just like I remember good."

"Well, I hate to break up their little party out there, but the kids have to come in for their baths before bedtime," Linda said. "We have to get an early start tomorrow."

You go get that started, and I'll wrangle them all in for ya," Steve said.

"You got a deal," Linda said.

Steve headed outside, and sat on the grass by Ghost. "Ya having fun?" he asked.

"Um-hmm, these kids are cool, Steve. I didn't know how I'd be. I mean, I never was around kids much, but really, they just want someone to play with them, and talk to them, and for someone to listen. They like my stories. And, they tell me make-believe stories, like I tell yeah, we're having fun, and...we got Kool-Aid."

"I know, I had some, too," Steve said, laughing.

"Is my tongue red?" Ghost asked, sticking his out.

"Hah, mine?"

"Yep...hey, kids...stick out y'all's tongue. Let's see if they're red," Ghost said. They did, and they all started giggling. Lisa, from inside the house, started laughing, too.

They made funny faces at each other for a few minutes. "You kids are so silly," Steve said.

"Hahaha, Uncle Steve, we know," Stevie said.

"Yeah, we're silly," Mandy said.

They jumped on Steve, and pretended to wrestle him to the ground.

"Ok, ok, y'all win," Steve said. "And, now it's bath time for the both of you."

"No, no," they yelled.

"Yes, yes," Steve said, and stood up.

"Y'all get ready for bed, and I'll come tell a story," Ghost said.

"Ok," the kids hollered, and ran toward the house.

Steve looked down at Ghost. "You look silly, too. You have bows in your hair." He snickered.

Ghost smiled. "I don't care. They were having fun."

"Well, come on, let's go in," Steve said, holding out his hand to help Ghost up. They held hands, as they walked back to the house.

Inside, they could hear the kids splashing in the tub, and Linda talking, and an occasional squeal, as she got water splashed on her. Bill was still watching TV, but looked up as Steve and Ghost came and sat on the couch. He did a double-take at seeing Ghost's hair.

"What happened to you?" he asked.

"Kids..." Ghost said.

"Yep, that'll do it every time," Bill said, and laughed.

Steve began unbraiding Ghost's hair, laying the bows on the coffee table. Bill noticed that Ghost had his eyes closed, and that Steve was so gentle, untangling the braids. He flushed at the warmth that came over him, watching this. He really needed to find Lisa. Clearing his throat, he excused himself.

"Well, guys, I'm going to bed. Y'all can watch TV, if you want. It won't bother us," he said, as he left the living room.

Steve ran his fingers through Ghost's soft hair. Ghost leaned back into Steve. "Sounds like they're about done with their baths," Steve said. "You still gonna tell 'em a story?"

"Um-hmm," Ghost murmured.

"Ok, I'm going on to the bedroom then, gonna read awhile," Steve said, getting up.

Ghost leaned back on the couch, waiting. It wasn't long before Linda came in. "They said you promised them a story, Ghost," she said. "They're in bed, now."

"Ok," he said, getting up from the couch. As he went by, on the way to the kid's room, Linda put her hand on his arm.

"Not too long, and not scary, ok?"

He smiled. " can listen, too, if you want."

"Oh, well, maybe I will. That'd be nice."

They went in, and the kids were on the bed, bouncing around.

"Ok, you two, Ghost is going to tell us a story, but first, you have to get under the covers, and be still, and pay attention."

When they were settled, Ghost sat on the end of the bed, and Linda sat in the rocking chair.

He began...

"This here is a story about me, and the stars...

The kids, and Linda, too, were smiling.

"When I was a little kid, like y'all are, I didn't have a brother or sister, or any friends either, for a long time...well, until your Uncle Steve and I met, anyway. So at night I'd be in bed crying, and there wasn't no curtains on the window, so the stars would shine and twinkle up in the dark sky. I always looked at them up there. Sometimes I'd even go outside...I wasn't supposed to, but me and my grandmother lived way out in the woods, so she didn't get mad or anything.

I'd look up at the pretty stars and pretend they was my friends. They'd always come to see me at night. I even got to know their special places up there, and I gave them names. Sometimes I'd see one going real fast...a falling star...and I'd make a wish. And, one day, my wish came true. That was the day I met your Uncle Steve. Of course, he was just a kid, too, back then. But we were forever friends from that day till now, even.

But, I didn't forget my star friends. They're still up there...every night, and every night almost, I still go out and say hi, and tell them how pretty they are. I say thank you for being my friends. So, I love the night time, and the darkness, because that's special for me and my shiny friends. I don't have to be afraid of the dark, 'cause they're watching and protecting me...even now." He was finished with the story.

The kids were transfixed, and Linda was wiping her eyes of tears. "That was a beautiful story, Ghost. Thank you."

"Can we look at the stars?" Mandy asked.

"Yes, for just a minute, I guess, but be very quiet and whisper hello to the stars. Then, back to dreamland," Linda said.

They went to the window, and stared out at the sky. "Good-night pretty stars...good-night friends," they said.

After tucking them in, Linda came out, shutting the door. She saw Ghost leaning back against the wall, there in the hallway, his head down.

"Ghost?" She went to him. He looked up, his face wet with tears.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"That was a true story," Ghost said, choking back a sob.

"Linda gathered him close, and hugged him, brushing his tears away. "I know...I know...honey..." she said, kissing him on the cheek.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


# 229 content

Steve had gone back to the bedroom to check on Ghost. He closed the door, and saw that Ghost was sound asleep. He smiled and wondered how Ghost could fall asleep so easily...he never could...too much rattling around in his head. He went over to lay next to Ghost, snuggling up to him. Ghost stirred, coming awake, and he turned over, giving Steve a kiss and hug.

"Mmm...I had a nice dream, and it came true already," he said.

"Was this part of the dream," Steve asked, kissing Ghost back.

"Yeah, that's it." They rested for a few minutes.

"They're fixing supper out there. I guess we should go join them," Steve said.

Ghost sighed. "I like your family."

"They like you, too...and Bill told me to tell you he is cool with, Linda filled him in, so we don't have to be awkward with them."

Ghost nodded, glad to hear that.

"The kids are a funny. It'll take some getting used to having them around," Steve said.

"I know. They think I'm just a big kid come to play with them," Ghost said. "You're the grown up uncle, though. That's ok, 'cause I still feel like a kid, anyway, most of the time. I won't mind playing with them at all."

"Why can't I get to be a kid, too?" asked Steve. "I can play."

"I know, but you're older than me, so you have to be the grown up," Ghost laughed.

"Fine, then," Steve said, getting up, and pulling Ghost up, too. "Let's go."

They went back into the living room. Bill was there, keeping an eye on the kids, and watching TV. He looked up, as they came in.

"Hey, supper is almost ready," he said. "They'll holler when it's on the table." He wanted to stare at the newcomers to his soon to be, for real family...Steve all dark and broody looking, and Ghost all light and childlike, but he didn't want to seem rude. And, what he'd heard about Ghost kind of scared him...just a bit...that he was psychic, and could read minds, and thoughts, and feelings. He didn't know what to make of it. Was he supposed to act normal, or try to hide his thoughts? How did this work? And, as he was thinking this, Ghost did hear it.

He thought he'd better make Bill feel more at ease. He smiled, and knelt down in front of Bill, taking his hands into his own. Bill jumped, caught by surprise. Steve was on the couch watching, knowing Bill was surprised, and watching Ghost work his magic.

Ghost sighed. "Bill, I can tell you're kinda uneasy, and maybe skeptical of what you've heard about me. Yeah, I can do all that whenever I want to, and I heard all your concerns just now, but mostly I try not to. I can block out thoughts just as good as I can let them in. So, don't be afraid of me, please? I'm just a regular person, and I'm not going to scare the kids, or anything." He shrugged and smiled.

"I know it's weird and strange. If I pick up on something you were thinking, I might say something that will be about that, that's all. It even still surprises Steve sometimes when I hear his thoughts." He looked over at Steve.

"That's right, Bill," Steve said. "Even after all this time."

Yeah, so I hope you understand," Ghost said.

"Uh, yeah...thanks for explaining it to me. It is strange to me, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. I'm sorry I've been staring. It's just I'm the other newcomer to the family...I'm still learning, so I'm sure we'll all be big happy family," Bill said.

"I think so, too," Ghost said. "Well, I'm hungry. I'm gonna go see what's in the kitchen." He headed that way.

Bill looked at Steve. "Wow, Ghost is amazing. Did he really just know what I'd been thinking?"

Steve nodded. "Yep, that's Ghost. Happens to me all the time, too." He laughed.

Just then, they were called to the table. The kids ran ahead, and they all grabbed a chair.  Linda and Lisa had made fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy, with a couple of side dishes. Steve was grinning.

"What, you like chicken, don't you," Linda asked.

"I sure do. I was just thinking you were making some weird California food...but, this is great."

"Hah, that's funny," Linda said. "We eat real food around here. We tried some of that weird food, and it wasn't for us. I guess we're still pretty southern, even if we do live out here. Give us down home cooking, any time."

"Well, now you're talking," Steve said.

"Y'all dig in," Bill said, as he was helping fix the kid's plates.

They all had the nice meal together, the first of many. Everyone talked at one time, and laughed, and got to know each other better. Afterwards, Linda shooed them all out of the kitchen, so she and Lisa could have some sister time.

"Wish you were coming with us, now," Linda said. "It will be weird not seeing you every day."

"I know, Sis, but right now I just can't. We're seriously thinking about it for later, though. And, it's not that long until our wedding, and then school will be out. You'll be back for that. Then we plan on visiting y'all out there...see how you're doing. Maybe Bill and I will decide to move there. I'm really going to miss the kids around here," Lisa said.

"I know, but hey, you and Bill need to get started on your own kids...haha," Linda said.

"Well, not that soon, but we will."

Steve and Bill had gone back into the living room, and were watching some sports show on TV. Once in awhile they'd yell at the players. Stevie and Mandy had lured Ghost out to the back yard to play with them while it was still light enough outside. They showed Ghost their playhouse and swings, and ran around the yard chasing a ball. Lisa's puppy, a fluffy, cocker spaniel, chased the kids around the yard, yipping.

Ghost laughed at their antics, and joined in, throwing the ball and pushing them on the swing. Then, in the shade of the big tree, he lay in the grass. The puppy and both kids climbed all over him, laughing, and making a forever friend.

"Look at them out there," Linda said, as she watched from the back door. "They're having fun...hope Ghost don't mind all the ruckus."

"It doesn't look like he minds a bit. Seems like he's just a little bit taller kid, himself," Lisa said.

"I know. The kids love him already. Same for me...the first time I met him, and he sure makes Steve happy."

Lisa nodded. "Um-hmm, I can see that. I know what you told me about them. They've sure had some rough times, though...sad, really." She paused a moment. "Now, not to be, well, an over-protective aunt, but do you ever worry about the kids being alone...with either of them?"

"What? No, no of course not. Why would I?"

Lisa shrugged. "No reason, except I know Steve's our brother, but really, he and Ghost, too, are still kind of strangers to us still. And, you told me about Steve's temper, and Ghost...well, he's a wild card. He seems unpredictable, to me, and kind of spacey...and you know, all the problems he has. I'm just a worrier."

"I know you are, Lisa, and to tell you the truth, I did have thoughts about all of that. I know Ghost is pretty far out there, and he could have a seizure, at any time. But, Steve is working on controlling his temper, and doing good. On that note, I trust them both, but I'm not quite ready to leave the kids totally alone with either of them, right now," Linda said. "Just me being a mom, you know."

"I know," Lisa said. "Well, at least we talked about it." She gave Linda a hug.

"I'm gonna miss you, sister..." they both said, at the same time, then laughed.

Just then, the kids came barreling in the back door, asking for cold drinks. "We're thirsty and hot," they shouted.

"Are y'all coming in, now?" asked Linda.

"No, not yet. We'll take it outside, and Ghost is waiting for us," Stevie said.

Linda looked outside. Ghost was still lying on the grass, looking up at the sky, through the tree branches. "Looks like y'all wore him out with all your running around. Here, take these out...just for a few more minutes, then it's bath time." She handed them plastic cups, and watched them go, wondering what Ghost was thinking about...looking at.

Stevie and Mandy made it back to the yard, without spilling much, and handed Ghost his cold drink. They were gulping theirs, and getting red mustaches on their lips, and laughing. Ghost looked into his liquid. Taking a swallow, he smiled.

"This is cherry Kool-Aid," he laughed. "I haven't had this in forever."

"Yeah, Kool-Aid, Ghost. It's good," Mandy said.

Ghost drank his, making his own red mustache, which got the kids giggling.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, October 11, 2015


# 228 content

Steve was quiet for a minute, as they continued on to Linda's house. Then he asked, "Is Lisa upset that you and the kids are leaving?"

Linda shrugged. "No, not really. She has her teaching job, and a wedding to plan. We plan on visiting back and forth. She agreed with me, too, that the kids would love it in Missing Mile. It's all ok."

Steve was relieved that all was good between his sisters. He gazed out the car window, amazed at all the traffic and big highways. He knew it would be a nightmare to drive here. The last time he was in L. A. , he didn't notice any of it. He was only searching for Ghost. He looked over into the back seat, at Ghost, who'd not said a word since they had gotten into the car.

"You ok back there?" he asked.

"Mm-hmm..." Ghost said. He wasn't even looking out the window; he had his eyes closed, and was leaning his head back on the back of the seat.

"Trying to sleep?" asked Steve.


Steve felt something was bothering him, something he didn't want to talk about...and Ghost knew Steve was getting concerned about it. 

"I'm ok, Steve...there's just too many things in my head right know...from before. I can still see it all...everything..."

Linda glanced over at Steve with a worried look.

"What can we do to help you not think of those things?" Steve asked.

"Nothing," Ghost said. "It happened, it's over, and I know that. I just need to make nice memories from now on. Like this trip is nice, and getting to see your family is nice...that will help." He finally smiled, and opened his eyes to look at Steve.

Nodding, Steve said, "Yes, it is nice."

"Ok, guys, we're on our street. Get ready to see everyone," Linda said. She was excited.

Steve looked at the houses on this street. They were not fancy mansions, just a regular, middle class neighborhood. He thought to himself that this didn't look could be anywhere, even back home.

Linda turned into a drive-way, and stopped the car. "We're here." There were two other cars parked there, Lisa's and her fiancé's, and up by the porch, were a few kid's toys. They all got out of the car and went up to the door. Before she could open it, though, it was opened by her son, Stevie.

"Mama, you're back," he hollered. Peeking around from behind him, was her daughter, Mandy, looking shy to see strangers at her house.

Steve and Ghost were still standing there, feeling awkward, but smiling at the kids. Then, Lisa was at the door. She looked a bit hesitant, but came onto the porch, reaching her arms out to Steve.

"Steve, oh my God, it's you." She gave him a big hug. She was laughing and tearful at the same time. "I thought I'd never see my brother again."

Steve was so happy to see her, he couldn't stop smiling, and staring at her. "I know, same here...and you're all grown up...and so pretty." He laughed.

"You're all grown up, too, Steve, and I've just always thought you'd stayed that little boy, all this time." Looking behind her, she said, "Oh, here's my fiancé, Bill." She introduced him.

He was tall and athletic looking, but was wearing a plaid, flannel shirt, like a lumberjack, which he technically was. Linda had mentioned he did work in the forestry industry.

Steve and Bill shook hands. He liked him, already. Ghost was still just standing there, a bit behind Steve, who'd not introduced him yet. He was feeling out of place, like Steve had completely forgotten he was even there. But, he understood this was Steve's family reunion, and he was the outsider here. He was happy for Steve, even if he did feel left out.

It was Bill who asked. "And, who is this, Steve?"

Steve's heart skipped a beat...didn't Linda mention Ghost to them, at all? But, he was relieved, when Bill reached out to shake Ghost's hand.

"You must be Ghost. Linda told us all about how you and Steve were meant for each other. It's a pleasure to meet you." He was smiling. Ghost smiled too, a bit shy now.

"Yeah, this here is Ghost, y'all," Steve said, shoving Ghost forward into the circle of his family. Ghost was feeling like a prize cow, or something, which rubbed him the wrong way a bit, but he made himself not least for now.

The kids began asking him about his funny name, and saying 'boo'. Ghost just laughed with them...he was used to this kind of reaction.

They all went inside, and were given the grand tour of the house, modest though it was. Steve and Ghost were shown the bedroom where they could put their suitcases. Steve went back to the car to get them.

Ghost was being surrounded by the kids, and their demands to play with them, and the strangeness of the situation was getting to him. Linda kept telling the kids to leave him alone, to go play in the back yard. It was so noisy and chaotic. He really needed to be alone for a bit, to sort of smooth down his nerve endings, after being bombarded with so much. He felt twitchy.

Steve came back in, taking their belongings down the hall to the bedroom. Ghost followed. Steve was beaming. "What did you think, Ghost? Aren't they all fantastic?"

"Yeah, they're great...I already like them..." Ghost said, but his words faded off.

"What?" Steve asked. "You sound funny or something." He actually looked at him, this time.

No, I ..well, it's so much to see and hear...and it's all so new, and I'm just all tensed up."

"Oh...come here..." Steve said, and gave him a hug. "I know, I am too. It's a lot to take in, but it's only for a few days, then we'll be back home...back to normal again."

"Yeah, I know, it's ok, really," Ghost said. "And, I don't want to be rude, but I kinda need to be by myself for a few minutes. Is that ok?"

"Sure, you do whatever you need to. I'll go out and visit with everyone. You just rest a bit, and come out when you're ready," Steve said.

Ghost nodded, and lay down on the bed. Steve closed the door, and went back to his family.

Linda and Lisa had gone into the kitchen to start fixing supper for everyone, chattering away about the new developments. Steve and Bill sat on the couch, watching the kids play. They were dragging out toys to show Steve. He'd never been around kids much, and he laughed at their antics.

"Tell them to knock it off, if they get to be too much for you," Bill said. "They're pretty persistent, but good kids."

"Oh, ok, but this is all new to me. I'll get used to them, I'm sure."

Bill cleared his throat. "Steve, Linda and Lisa have told me about everything...from when y'all were kids. That must have been hard on you. I know it was for them. I'm really glad y'all found each other, again."

Steve nodded. "Thanks, Bill, I'm glad, too. Linda remembers more of it than Lisa does, I guess." He paused a minute. "You know, Missing Mile is a great little town. It was just the situation back then. They'll be fine...we'll make sure of it."

"I know, Linda has been ready for a change, anyway. This came along at the right time I think. And, we'll come visit soon," Bill said. "Who knows, we may follow y'all out there after the wedding, and the school is out for the summer." He laughed.

They played with the kids for a few minutes. "Where's your young man...Ghost? He's ok, isn't he?" Bill asked.

"Yeah, he just needed to rest a bit. He'll be out soon." He hesitated for a second, then asked, " said Linda told you about us?" He looked down at the floor, not really sure how Bill felt about Ghost and himself.

"Yeah, she did...pretty much everything, Steve, and what all you and Ghost have been through, it must have been hard sometimes. But, the main point she got across, is that you two love each other. That right there is good enough for me. I don't hold any prejudices against anybody, unless they give me reason to. So don't worry about it."

Steve looked up, nodding. "Thanks, man...I appreciate it, and I was a little worried. I mean, it was hard telling Linda everything, too."

Bill smiled. "It's fine, and you let Ghost know it is, too."

"I will. Guess I should go check on him. Maybe the girls will have our food ready soon, anyway," Steve said, getting up. He headed for the bedroom, and Bill went to see how Linda and Lisa were doing in the kitchen. As he entered, they looked up, a question in their eyes.

"It's all good," Bill said. "We had a nice talk."

"Thank you, Bill," the girls said, and both gave him a hug.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing