Sunday, January 31, 2016


# 275 content

Steve came out of the steam filled bathroom, after his shower. "There's still hot water, if you want to get in there," he said.

"Ok, I will," Ghost said, getting off the bed. "Oh, here," he tossed the remote control to Steve. "It don't work very good." He went on into the bathroom, closing the door, as Steve flipped through the tv channels.

"Nope, nothing on," he said, and turned off the tv. He sighed, and closed his eyes. The bed was soft, and the quilts were fresh and fluffy. When Ghost returned, he saw that Steve was asleep. Turning out the light, he snuggled close to Steve, under the covers. He'd been wanting more, but he just lightly kissed Steve's lips, and whispered, "In the morning."

He yawned, and made himself think of home. Pictures filled his mind. He always liked thinking of home, but this time it felt different. He sensed that he needed to do this, to block other thoughts from intruding. Bad thoughts, scary thoughts, were on the edge of his consciousness. Sometime in the night, the nightmare began. Ghost flailed about, hitting Steve.

"What? Hey, stop...stop..." Steve hollered, as he came awake. Ghost was talking, and moaning. "Ghost...wake up." Steve took hold of Ghost's arms, but in the throes of his nightmare, Steve wasn't able to subdue him.

Ghost sat straight up and screamed. His eyes were open, but he wasn't seeing Steve at all. As Steve watched, as if in slow motion, Ghost turned to him and actually growled. He lunged forward, biting him hard on the shoulder. Steve screamed in pain, as he felt blood trickle down his arm. In a purely reflexive action, he hit Ghost hard across the face, to make him stop biting.

"God damn it, that hurt...get away, Ghost...what the hell is wrong with you?" Steve shouted, scrambling backwards off the bed. Ghost lunged again, his teeth bared and bloody, still in his nightmare.

Steve was frozen to the spot for a second, but managed to sidestep Ghost, as he came at him again. Running to the bathroom, he filled a cup with cold water, then threw it in Ghost's face, hoping to wake him up. It worked. Ghost was drenched, but he shook his head, looking confused.

"Why I'm wet?" he asked, from the floor where he'd fallen. He licked his lips, and rubbed his hand over his mouth, the taste of his and Steve's blood, and the smear of it on his hand, confused him even more. As he looked up, Steve could see that he desperately needed to get Ghost home, as soon as possible. He needed more meds, and the sessions with the therapist, just as the doctor in the hospital had urged.

Even in his pain, Steve's heart melted with love and worry. "Ghost, you were having a nightmare. I had to wake you up, so I threw water on you. You are awake now, aren't you?"

Ghost nodded. "I'm awake." He coughed, and spit out blood.

Steve closed his eyes for a second. am I going to explain Ghost's busted lip, the blood, the black eye... He could see Ghost's eye already swelling, and it looked bad. His own shoulder was throbbing and bleeding, still. A crazy, wayward thought crossed his mind, I hope he's had his shots... He tried to muffle a burst of nervous laughter at that thought. It's the stress, that's all...shut up...

Ghost could barely see out his swollen eye, now. "Steve? What...why?" Steve reached out a hand to help Ghost up off the floor. They sat on the edge of the bed. Ghost, just noticing Steve's injury, cried out, "You're hurt, you're bleeding...let me get a wet cloth." His legs shook, as he shuffled to the bathroom.

Running water on the wash cloth, he looked up into the mirror, He had to steady himself on the edge of the sink, as he saw his own face. After a few deep breaths, he returned, to gently wipe blood off Steve's shoulder. "Steve, tell me...I have to know." He tried to look into Steve's eyes, but Steve was hanging his head down, covering his face with his hands, shaking his head. Ghost waited.

"Oh, Ghost, I don't even know how to say it." Ghost was smoothing back Steve's hair, still waiting for an explanation, and he kept dabbing the cool cloth onto himself, then onto Steve.

"You were having a real bad nightmare. Do you remember it, any of it?"

Ghost shook his head. "no, but right before I went to sleep, it felt...I don't know, weird, or bad in here."

"But we threw the holy water. You said something ran out. What? Did it come back in?" Steve asked.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, January 29, 2016


# 274 content

Steve tried to adjust his position in the U-Haul's seat, as he kept driving. They were getting close to their stopping place for the night, and he was ready. The cabins they'd stayed at last summer, would be a welcome sight. He'd told Ghost how many miles and time were left until they got there, but he knew Ghost didn't really understand. He seemed satisfied, though. He shook his head, and yawned.

"Hey, look," he said, pointing out the sign up ahead. "It's the sign for the visitor's center and the cabins. We'll be there in no time."

Ghost gave him a funny look. "No time? What's no time mean?"

"Oh, it means real quick," Steve said.

"Huh, no time is real quick? Is there a yes time?"

"I don't think so," Steve said.

Ghost drummed his fingers on the window ledge. "Times are confusing. There's too many of them to keep up with."

Steve let that comment pass, with no reply. He knew Ghost would be off and running on a tangent about time, and he didn't have time to listen to it, right now. They were there. He pulled into the parking area.

"Whew, here we are. I'm done driving for the day."

Ghost was grinning, as he saw the restaurant. "C'mon, let's go." He opened the truck's door to get out.

"We'll go in when Linda gets here," Steve said, looking back down the road. "Here she comes, now."

Linda parked the van next to the U-Haul. "This place is beautiful," she said, as she got out and looked around. "Come on, kids, come look." Melody helped Stevie and Mandy out of their car seats.

"Smell the air. It's so fresh and piney," Melody said.

"We been here before," Ghost yelled. He started turning around and around, with his arms outstretched. Stevie and Mandy copied him, while they giggled.

"What are you doing?" Melody asked.

"He's just being Ghost," Steve said. He rolled his eyes. "Who's hungry? Let's go inside."

They all headed to the small restaurant. "Me first. I want to surprise them," Ghost hollered, as he ran up to the door ahead of the others. He yanked open the door, took a step in, and tripped on the door sill. "Aiii," he screeched, as he landed hard.

Before anyone could react, they heard a woman holler from inside. "'s Ghost and Steve. Look y'all, they're back." She rushed over, reached down, and helped Ghost stand up. "You ok, hon?" she asked, lending her arm for Ghost to hang on to.

"Um-hmm," Ghost said, and rubbed his palms together, where they'd been scraped a bit. "Surprise," he said, with a big smile on his face.

"Oh, it's so good to see you again." The waitress gave him a hug. "Y'all come in. Hey, Steve, how ya been?" She didn't wait for an answer. "I'm getting y'all some coffee. What will the kids have?"

"Chocolate milk," Stevie said, bouncing on the booth's seat.

"Ok, I'll bring it all in a minute," she said, bustling off to get their refreshments.

"See I told ya they were nice here," Ghost said.

"Yeah, I never seen any waitress be so nice," Melody said.

"Ok, here ya go," the waitress said, setting the drinks down on the table. She handed them a menu to look over. "Are y'all needing cabins for the night?"

"Yeah, we're staying," Steve said. "Hope you have a couple available."

"We sure do. It's not quite tourist season yet, so you're in luck. Let me know what you want to order, and I'll go get the keys to a couple of the cabins," she said.

When she got back with the keys, they told her what they wanted to eat. "Good choices, and whenever you're ready, just go on over. They're just down the way, you remember."

As they waited to eat, a couple of the year round regulars came in. They came up to the table to visit.

"Y'all gonna sing us some more songs?" one of them asked.

"Oh, not tonight," Steve said. "But, I'll bet we could in the morning, before we leave."

"All right then," the guy said, as he and his friend went to their table.

"They love you here," Linda said.

"Uh-huh," Ghost said, as he dug into his plate of pancakes with molasses.

Steve smiled, remembering the last time he saw Ghost eat pancakes and molasses here. He was anticipating a repeat of that night. Ghost looked up at him, having heard his thoughts.

"Yes," he said, and smiled.

"Yes, what?" Linda asked. Then she saw the looks between Ghost and Steve, and she understood. "Ohh...I see," she said, grinning.

They continued to eat, and drink coffee that the waitress kept refilling their cups with. Linda, looking at the kids, said, "Well, y'all, I need to get these kiddos to bed. Anyone else ready to go?"

Ghost yawned. "Me, I'm ready," he said, getting up from the table. He helped Linda get the kids down, and then they all said good-night.

"How do we do this?" Linda asked. "We need some things from the van. Do we just walk over there to the cabins, or drive?"

"We have to walk, but it's not far. We can get our things and carry them over," Steve said. It was just getting dark, so he turned on the flashlight to light their way down the path, after getting their things.

"Which one do you want? They're about the same, I think."

"Oh, this one's fine," Linda said, going up to the closest cabin. "We'll see y'all in the morning." She, the kids, and Melody went inside, locking the door behind them.

Steve was yawning now, too. "C'mon, let's get inside," he said, as he and Ghost walked the short distance to the next cabin over.

As soon as Steve opened the door, Ghost hesitated. "Just a minute," he said, peering inside. "It's not clean."

"How do you know? I haven't even turned on the light, yet," Steve said. "Come on."

"Wait, let me...hang on, Steve, it's here somewhere." Ghost felt around in his backpack. "Ok, now...throw some of this in there ahead of you." He handed Steve a little, cork topped bottle.

"What the hell? Holy water? You been carrying that around all this time?" Steve asked.

"Uh-huh, just in case, and now it's the case, 'cause it don't feel right. Something happened in here that wasn't good. I need to cleanse it." Ghost explained.

Whatever..." Steve sighed. He uncorked the bottle. "Just drip some around? Are you gonna say stuff?"

"Yeah, just shake a little bit out in here, and in the bathroom. I'll say stuff," Ghost said.

"Ok, here goes." Steve shook a few drops out in front of them.

"You bad left overs, get outta here. You're not wanted here any more," Ghost said, loud and clear, as he closed his eyes, and turned around three times. They did the same in the bathroom. Steve wondered if three was a magic number, and how Ghost knew when three times had happened.

"Ow, did you feel that?" Ghost asked. He'd opened his eyes, and was staring back behind them.

"I felt you bumping into me. What happened?" Steve asked. He didn't see, hear, or feel anything strange.

"It was the bad thing. It pushed me, and then ran out the door. I felt it go by me, like a cold wind. Hurry and close the door," Ghost said. Steve did, and locked it.

"It's gone? It's all clear now?" he asked.

Ghost breathed deep, as he stared into the corners. "Yeah, it's gone."

"Good, I'm taking a shower, then going to bed," Steve said.

Ghost turned down the bed, and clicked on the remote. The reception wasn't good up here in the mountains, though. A couple of channels came in, but were snowy. He smiled. "Yep, just like home." He felt a zing of anticipation at the thought of home. It wouldn't be long, now.


Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


# 273 content

Steve kept driving toward the mountains, but needed to stop for gas one more time, so stopped at a little convenience store in the next town they came to.

"Have we been here before?" Ghost asked, as he looked around. They had gotten out of the U-Haul to stretch their legs a bit.

Steve was shaking the stiffness from his legs, as he pumped gas. "Yeah, we were here before. We played that bar one night. You remember, it's where somebody broke our windows in the car, and slashed our tires." He frowned at the memory.

"Oh, yeah, this isn't a good place," Ghost said. "Hurry up so we can get outta here." He climbed back into the truck, and locked the door.

Steve finished filling up the gas tank, and went inside to pay. Linda, Melody, and the kids were already in the van, waiting.

"You know what?" Melody asked. "This seems so familiar. I think I was here, and it may be where I saw Ghost and Steve for the first time." She thought for a minute. "It feels the same, and the people at the show were mean."

"" Linda asked.

"Well, they vandalized Steve's car, for one thing. They were rude in the bar, and I think there may have been a fight, or words said, or something. I only was there for a little bit. I didn't see anything, but you could feel it being tense in there," Melody said.

"It was the next morning, when I walked by, that I saw they were still here, out back in the parking lot. They were fixing the car, then they drove off. I don't think they saw me. I was kinda hiding by the building, and spying on them." She laughed.

Linda laughed, too. "Yeah, and now you find out you're family. That is a crazy coincident, for real."

They saw Steve come out of the store, and get into the U-Haul. They waited until he pulled out to the road, then followed.

"I'm ready to get the hell out of this po-dunk town," Steve said, when he got back in the truck. "They're still mean."

"Want me to go beat 'em up for ya?" Ghost asked.

"Huh? Oh, I're making a joke."

Ghost nodded. "Yeah, are you too upset to laugh?"

"Kinda," Steve said. He sighed, letting his anger dissipate. "But, now we're leaving, and we'll never come back here, anyway." He pulled out of the parking lot.

Just as he did, a motorcycle roared around the corner, almost running into them. It swerved just in time, but they heard the driver, yelling obscenities at them.

"Asshole," Steve hollered, as he slammed on the brakes. It sent Ghost sliding off the seat, into the floor board. He bumped his head on the console.

"Dammit, Ghost...put your seatbelt on." Steve yelled. Then he asked, "Are you ok? Sorry for yelling. That guy was being a bastard."

Ghost reclaimed his seat, and rubbed the sore spot on his forehead. "Yeah, I'm ok...just a..."

"Ghost?" Steve asked, and looked over at Ghost, when he didn't finish what he was saying

"Huh?" Ghost asked, "What happened? I'm dizzy." He was holding his head.

Steve saw that Ghost's eyes were jerking back and forth. "Ghost, try to focus. Does anything hurt? You're not gonna pass out, are you? Do you need to lay down?"

Ghost shook his head. "No, just there's this knot on my head, and my head hurts, and I'm dizzy."

"I'm finding a doctor," Steve said.

"No...I'm fine, just let's go."

"I don't know, maybe we should," Steve said.

"Please, just go, Steve. This town is bad...I can feel it." He fastened his seatbelt, then leaned back, shutting his eyes. "It's better now, anyway."

"Ok, ok," Steve said. He drove slowly out onto the street. In a short time, they were out on the highway, heading east. They began to feel the change in altitude, as they drove higher into the mountains. Steve had to keep yawning, to keep his ears from feeling muffled. He did hear Ghost laugh, though.

"What," he asked.

"You look funny when you do that," Ghost said.

"So...don't you have to pop open your ears?"

"Sometimes, but not as much as you," he said, laughing.

"You feeling better?"

"Mmm, yeah. You're not spinnin' around anymore."

"Let me look at your eyes," Steve said, glancing over. He saw that they weren't jerking around trying to focus anymore, and the pupils were a normal size. "Good, that's good."

"Hey, do you think our friends at the restaurant are still there?" Ghost asked.

"Well, maybe. I guess we'll find out soon enough."

"I hope so. They were nice when we were here before. How much farther is it?" Ghost asked.

"Oh, about five miles or so. Probably take us about ten minutes."

"Ok, 'cause I'm hungry."


Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, January 24, 2016


# 272 content

Linda glanced over at Melody, again. She knew she wanted to know all about her brother, Ghost, but she knew it would take time for Ghost to feel comfortable opening up to his sister.

"I know you want answers, Melody," Linda said. "I don't know when Ghost will feel ready to say more about his life, and his life with Steve. When he's ready, I'm sure he will. He may feel you're not ready to hear it, yet." She sighed, knowing there was still so much Melody had to learn about her new family.

Melody shrugged, "Guess I'll just have to wait, then." She looked out the window of the van, looking at the passing scenery, but not really seeing it. Her thoughts were on Ghost.

After a little while, she asked quietly, "He has problems, doesn't he?" She was frowning, and biting her lower lip.

Oh, God...she is so like Ghost in the way she looks, and on Earth, what on Earth can I say to her?

"Honey, Ghost has been through more than anyone should ever have to deal with," Linda said. "He has problems, big ones, serious ones, but he is doing his best. He's the sweetest person I've ever met, though. Just take him like he is...just love him...that's all he wants." She took a deep breath, collecting her thoughts. "I will warn you, though, he does have seizures at times, so don't be afraid when he does. Just comfort him, and see that he doesn't hurt himself. It's scary, but so far he's come out of them ok."

"Oh, Linda, that's awful, but thank you for telling me," Melody said.

They drove in silence for a little while, then Linda asked, "What about you? I know you were adopted when you were a baby, but they never told you until recently?"

Nodding, Melody said, "Yep, that's about it. It was just out of the blue that I found out. Well, we never really got along. We argued all the time, my mom and me, then right in the middle of yelling at me, she blurted it out. I was shocked of course, and didn't believe her. But, the more I thought about it, it made sense, I guess. We were nothing alike." She shrugged. "You know, I was grateful that someone took me in for all those years, but it wasn't Disneyland, for sure."

"Were there any other children?" Linda asked.

"Nope, just me. After I found out, I didn't see any reason to stick around. I was old enough to leave home, anyway, and be on my own. So, I just went here and there, travelling as much as I could. That's when I saw Ghost and Steve at a place, playing a gig. That was so freaky. I had no idea what to do, ya know, seeing that Ghost looked just like me. I was scared to find out who they were, and where they came from. I wish I had, though." She laughed, as she remembered that night.

"Wow, it sure must have been unsettling to find someone that looked like you, that you'd never heard of before," Linda said. "I understand how you were hesitant to find out."

"Um-hmm...I was at the time." Melody took a minute, before she continued. "You see, Linda, I did have a pretty normal growing up. There were good times, too, don't get me wrong. My friends had the same complaints about their parents as I did. You know how teenagers are." She rolled her eyes, and smiled.

"Yes, I do," Linda said, "and I'm trying to be prepared for when Stevie and Mandy are that age."

Melody looked in the back seat at the kids. "They are awesome kids, Linda. I don't think they'll give you much trouble."

Over in the U-Haul, Steve was singing along to the songs on the radio, and tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. Ghost had been asleep quite a while, but was now waking up, and singing along with Steve.

"You awake, yet?" Steve asked.

"No, where are we?" Ghost asked.

"Well, hell, sit up and see for yourself."

Ghost raised up a bit, to look out the front window.  "The mountains...Steve, it's our mountains!" he was grinning big.

"Yep, the very ones," Steve said, and laughed. "The Great Smoky Mountains. We'll be up there pretty soon, and in North Carolina. I'm thinking we can make it all the way to the visitor's center, and the cabins, before we stop."

"Yes...don't stop until we get there," Ghost said.

"Well, unless you'd rather stay at the haunted old house, like that one time we did."

"Uh-uh, no way, Steve. That old lady was mean."

"I know, so the cabins it is," Steve said. "Why don't you call Linda's phone? Melody will answer, and you can tell them our plan, ok?"

"Oh, good idea. Just remind me of the letters to push, again." He took the phone from his backpack, and called Linda, with Steve's instructions."

In the van, Linda's phone rang. "Hello?" Melody asked.

"Um,'s me Ghost."

"Oh, hey, what's up?"

"We was gonna tell ya we're going to the mountains, and...oh, yeah, there's some cabins we can stay at tonight," Ghost said.

Melody relayed this information to Linda. "She says that sounds good to her."

"So, that's all I guess," Ghost said. "Bye." He turned the phone off, and looked at Steve. "Now what?"

Steve shrugged. "Keep driving for now. Oh, see if there's a snack or some water in here. I need some of both,"

Ghost reached for a grocery bag down in the floor board. "Here's some water," he handed the bottle to Steve.

"So, how's the hangover, today?" Steve asked.

"The what? Oh, I don't guess I had one. Or it disappeared, or...well, I feel good," Ghost said. He got out a package of peanut butter, cheese crackers to share.

"Well, I'm surprised, since y'all were drunk and high last night," Steve said.

Ghost shrugged. "I don't remember."

"Do you remember sleep walking and climbing a tree?"

"No, just you saying I did."

"Hmm, odd...well, did you have any weed left?"

"Yeah, a little bit. Ya want some now?" Ghost asked. "I can roll one."

"No, we'll wait until tonight in our cabin. Sound ok to you?"

"Sure," Ghost said, and grinned. He caught the underlying message Steve was suggesting. "We can do that, too."

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, January 22, 2016


# 271 content

Ghost continued trying to explain his feelings to Steve. His lips quivered, and he brushed the wetness from his face. He took a breath.

"I haven't even got to write very much, and I never get to sing, anymore...and, and...too much, things get in my head and gets me messed up. I try to be ok. I try and try, and it's never good enough." He glanced up at Steve, and whispered, "It's never gonna be good enough." Putting his head in his hands, he sobbed.

Steve sat close, hugging him. It was breaking his heart, to see Ghost in so much pain. "Cry, babe, go ahead, let it out, it's ok," Steve said softly, as he rocked Ghost in his arms.

Melody heard them, and came out of the tent. She came over and hugged both Steve and Ghost. "Oh, hon, it's ok. We want to help you feel better. I don't know much about why you're upset, but I can feel it. I've had some really down days, too. We're here for you, with you."

Ghost nodded. "I know. It's ok...I'll be ok."

Linda had joined them, taking Ghost's hands. He looked into her eyes, and she knew in that instant, she would do everything she could to help and protect this fragile child, her brother's love, no matter what. She loved him like her own kids, unconditionally and forever. She didn't have to say a word; Ghost knew. He took another shuddery breath, and she heard the words clearly in her head... Thank you, Linda, thank you..

"Ok," she said, standing up. "Are we all gonna go back to sleep, or just go ahead and have breakfast, and get on the road?"

"I'm for staying up, eating, and getting the hell outta here," Steve said. "How about you, Ghost?"

"I'm hungry. I'm ready to eat."

"Ok, then. I'll get it started, " Linda said. She went to get more wood for the fire. "Melody, get some eggs and bacon out of the cooler. We're getting this party started."

Ghost got another cup of coffee, and sat staring into the cup awhile longer. Steve checked out the U-Haul and the van. As the food was done, Linda woke the kids. "Time for breakfast, you two." They came out of the tent, and grabbed juice boxes to sip on. They'd had enough sleep, and were now teasing each other. With everything set out on the picnic table, they all gathered in the morning light, made hazy from a soft mist that was rising.

Steve and Linda were at one end of the picnic table, going over the route they'd be taking through Tennessee, and into North Carolina. The road would be more familiar now, as he and Ghost had travelled it the past summer.

Ghost felt around in his backpack, and pulled out his Jesus rock. He rubbed it a bit, then set it on the table in front of him.

"What's that?" Melody asked.

"This? It's my Jesus rock," Ghost said. "I found it a long time ago. See, it looks like Jesus on it." He handed it to Melody.

She looked closer, and smiled. "It does. This is a special rock. Do you always have it with you?"

Ghost nodded. "Yeah, but I thought it was lost one time, then it came back."

"Wait a second, I'll be right back," Melody said. She went to the van and got out her purse.

"Here, I want you to have this," she said, draping a long necklace around Ghost's neck. "It's a rosary. I have one already, see?" She pulled out the one that was around her neck. "It's almost the same, and it has the cross, and Jesus on it. It's so you will always have Him with you." She smiled. "You'll never be truly alone, and he'll protect you."

Ghost ran his fingers over the shiny beads and the silver cross. "I like it, thank you." He looked up at Melody, meeting her eyes, so like his own. He could hear her wish...that she get to know everything abut him. "Maybe someday," he whispered. "I'll tell you things, but you wouldn't want to know others."

"Whenever you're ready, Ghost. I'll be ready to hear," she said.

Breakfast over, and everything put away, cleaned up, and packed, they were ready to leave.

"I'm riding with Linda for awhile, ok?" Melody asked.

"Uh, sure," Steve said. "Let's do this."

They pulled out onto the little road that led back to the highway. In the U-Haul, Ghost stretched out as best he could, and played with the beads around his neck.

"What's that ya got," Steve asked.

"It's a rosary. Melody gave it to me."


"Um-hum. Steve, she wants to know things...about me."

"Yeah? Well, sure she does. Why...does that bother you?"

"No, yeah, well maybe. Some of it bothers me. I mean, how can I do this? Maybe she don't need to hear about everything," Ghost said.

"Oh, I see," Steve said. "You don't have to tell her things that you'd rather not. It's ok to leave parts out. In fact, it's probably best you don't say certain things. Not everything has to be for everyone to know...ya know? So don't worry about it, just let things happen naturally, in conversation. You don't have to make a special speech or anything."

Ghost was nodding along with Steve's words. "Yeah, that sounds a lot better. I was scared to say it all, anyway. She might not least not yet." He smiled, feeling relieved. "I'm gonna sleep awhile, now, unless you need me to keep talking to you?"

Shaking his head, Steve said, "Naw, I'm fine. I'm going to turn the radio on, anyway. You take a nap." He turned the radio on, and found an oldies station that came in pretty clear. Ghost closed his eyes and slept.

In the van, Linda had given Stevie and Mandy some crayons, and a coloring book each, to keep them busy awhile. She kept her eye on the road, but could see that Melody was fidgeting, like she wanted to talk about something. For some reason she could sense that Melody felt awkward, or shy about whatever it was.

"Ok, what's on your mind, hon?" Linda asked.

"Huh? Oh, just wondering...about...oh, never mind," Melody said, and sighed.

"It's ok, no problem," Linda said, "but if you want to know something, don't hesitate to ask, or say what you want. This family you've landed in don't have many secrets. We're pretty much an open book." She left it at that. Melody would talk to her or not...her choice.

After a few minutes, Melody tried again. "Ok, I love this family already. I just want to know all about y'all, but I don't want to pry, you know. I mean, only if anyone wants to tell me things. Shit, I can't even say what I mean," Melody said, and laughed. "I guess it's so new to me, to have a family, that I feel I have to hurry and catch up with y'all's history, or something." She shrugged.

Linda laughed. "Oh, I know what you mean. I'm kinda new, too."

Melody looked confused. "But, I don't get it. You knew your family all along."

"Yes, I did, but we lost contact for a really long fifteen years or so. I never knew what happened to Steve, so we're still catching up, too. It's only been a few months, we got back with each other."

"Wow, that's kinda sad, but I'm happy you've got each other, now," Melody said, after hearing Linda's story.

"Me too," Linda nodded.

"So, what about Ghost?" Melody asked. "How does he fit in? He and Steve met at school, and got to be friends. Then what?"

"A lot, from what I've heard," Linda said, feeling a bit like this part wasn't her place to tell. "I can tell you some, but even I don't know the whole story, and it's not for me to be telling it. I wasn't there, so you'll have to ask Ghost. He'll have to be the one, if he wants to. I'm sorry, Melody, all I can say is that Steve saved Ghost's life, and they've been together ever since, just as friends, then later as lovers. There was some bad, bad times between them, and even though it looks like they are fine now, they are still working hard at making it work out, again. But, I've said enough. Ask Ghost, ok?"

"Yeah, I did, sort of, and he said he'd tell me some things, someday, but not yet. I want to know, now...what's he waiting for?" Melody asked.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, January 17, 2016


#269 content

Melody and Ghost passed the wine bottle back and forth, taking swigs of the Scuppernong.

"Oh, I'm feeling it," Melody said, after a few minutes. "Are you?"

Ghost nodded. His eyes were having trouble focusing on Melody's face. Somehow, before he knew how it happened, he was lighting a perfectly rolled joint. He took a toke, and handed it to his sister.

"You think I should? I never..."

"Sure, go ahead..."

She put it to her lips. It was a night of firsts for her, and she planned on enjoying it. Coughing and giggling, she handed it back to Ghost. "I think I'm floating," she said. "And, the trees are laughing. Do you see them?"

Ghost squinched his eyes to stare into the darkness. I don't see the trees, just some spirits walking around over there."

"What? Where?" she asked, looking all around.

He pointed off toward the low shrubbery. "There...pretend you're not looking, then you can see them, sort of, well they're just misty looking."

"I see some fog coming around. That's all," she said, pulling the blanket closer around them.

"Yeah, that's them," Ghost said. "You'll get better at it, don't worry."

"Who are they?" Melody asked.

Ghost shrugged. "I don't know, they aren't saying anything. Maybe they're just travelers , like us. Maybe they can see us too, like all foggy. Maybe they're not really ghosts, but just people on a different wavelength, or well...something...and we just happen to notice at the right time."

"You tell the most interesting stories, Ghost," Melody said. "I want to hear more."

He smiled. "You will. I tell them all the time. Sometimes they're real, though."

They took a few more swallows of wine. Ghost remembered the phone he'd put in his pocket.

"I have an idea," he said. "I'm gonna call Kinsey. I want to say hey, but I'm not going to tell him you're here. You're a surprise."

"Ok, I'll just listen," Melody said, and laughed at the thought that she was a surprise.

Ghost punched in the letters for Kinsey's bar. Kinsey answered, in a loud voice.

"Hello? Kinsey here."

Ghost could hear loud music in the background, probably Gumbo, doing their set.

"Hey, Kinsey, it's me," he said.

"Ghost? Hey are y'all...where are y'all?"

"We're somewhere in a camp out place. We have tents. We're coming home soon, and we have a surprise," Ghost said. He laughed, and Melody covered her mouth so she wouldn't be heard laughing.

"Hey cool, who is that...Linda?" Kinsey asked. He'd heard after all.

"Um, I gotta go, Kinsey," Ghost said. "We're drinking wine, and smoking. Bye."

"Wait..." Kinsey said, but Ghost had already shut off the phone.

"He sounds nice," Melody said.

"Yeah, he is," Ghost said, lighting up another joint. They were enjoying the wine and smoke, and talked quietly about silly things for awhile.

"Ghost, I want to know all about you," Melody said. "I always wanted a real family."

"Did you ever think there was someone in the world that you were connected to?" Ghost asked.

"When I let myself think of it, yeah. I couldn't have just appeared out of nowhere, you know."

Ghost nodded. "Me too, but I did have my grandmother. She raised me...brought me down from the mountains." He sighed. "You would have liked her."

Melody smiled. "I'm sure I would have."

"So you didn't like the parents that adopted you?" Ghost asked.

Melody shrugged. "They're ok, but when I was a little older, they left me alone a lot. Then I just ran off. They didn't care. So, I didn't, either."

Ghost was feeling pretty high by now, but he peered into Melody's eyes. He knew there was more to her story. Melody was thinking the same about him. They grinned at each other. 
Back at the campfire, Steve and Linda had finished their conversation. "Hey, where's Ghost and Melody?" Linda asked. She'd just noticed they were gone.

"I don't know, maybe they went into one of the tents," Steve said. He stretched, and walked over to one. "No, not in here."

"Not here either," Linda said, over at the other tent. "Just the kiddos, sound asleep."

Steve scanned the campsite area. "Well, where are they?" He walked a little closer toward the woods, then heard laughing. "Linda, they're over here. I'm gonna check it out," he said.

As he got closer, he could smell the smoke. "What the..." he said, and then saw the flashlight shining over by a tree. "Hey, what the hell are y'all doing?" He was standing over Ghost and Melody.

"Hey, Steve," Ghost slurred. "We drinking this here wine. Ya want some?" he held out the bottle. Melody laughed, because the bottle was empty.

"You're smoking," Steve said. "I thought I told you to get rid of it."

"Um, I forgot," Ghost said, and then tumbled over onto his back.

"Get up," Steve said. "Get back to the tents." He stood there waiting, as they tried to stand up. "Y'all are pitiful," he said, but couldn't keep from laughing at their feeble attempts to get up.

Ghost finally managed to stand upright, by holding onto Steve, who then reached a hand out to help Melody up.

"This is some good shit, Steve, but there's none left...sorry," Ghost said.

"Whatever..." Steve said, shaking his head. He walked back to their camp with them, helping to steady them along the way.

"Look what I found, Linda," Steve said. "They're high as a kite."

"Did y'all at least have fun?" Linda asked.

"Yeah, it was fun," Melody said.

"Well, good. Let's get to bed," Linda said, taking Melody's arm. "Oh, Steve, would you move Stevie over to your tent for me?" She and Melody went inside their tent, while Steve picked up a sleeping Stevie, to carry him over to his and Ghost's tent.

Ghost crawled in after, and was passed out right where he fell. Steve looked at him, and rolled his eyes. Then, he went to check on Linda, again.

"Y'all ok over here?"

"We're fine. How's Ghost?"

"Passed out."

"Yep, Melody, too. They're gonna feel great in the morning," Linda said, and laughed.

"Hah, you're right about that," Steve said. "Holler if you need anything."

It seemed only a few minutes had passed, when Steve was wakened by Stevie, yelling right up in his face. "Uncle Steve, get up, it's morning."

Steve cracked open an eye. Stevie's face was inches away from his own. "Go back to sleep," Steve mumbled.

"No, I want mommy and breakfast."

Steve yawned. "Your mom's still asleep, too. It's not morning yet."

"But Ghost is up already," Stevie said.

"Huh?" Steve looked over...Ghost wasn't in the tent. "Aw, shit," he said.

"You said a bad word, you said shit," Stevie said, and laughed.

"Yes, I did, but you shouldn't, kiddo."

"Why not?"

"'Cause you're a kid. Anyway, where did Ghost go?"

"Out there..." Stevie opened the tent flap, and pointed.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, January 15, 2016


# 268 content

As Linda and Melody were trying to set up the tents for their overnight camp-out, Linda had an idea.

"Why don't us girls share one, and the guys can share the other one?"

Steve shrugged. "Sure, it's fine with me, Sis." He began to set up the fire-pit, then lit the fire with the wood he'd bought at the store earlier. They all gathered around , watching the orange flames.

"This is so neat, y'all," Melody said. "Camping is fun."

"Well, it may be fun, but we still need to eat. Where's those weenies?" Steve asked.

Linda got the package from the cooler. Ghost and Melody giggled, and Stevie and Mandy started chanting, 'weenies, weenies, weenies'.

Steve had a smile on his face, as he and Linda cooked the food. "What a night, and it's only seven o'clock."

"I know, and it's already dark. When is the time change, or did it already happen?" Linda asked.

"Hell if I know," Steve said. "I don't even know what day or month it is anymore." He looked up into the trees. The campfire was sending little sparks up into the night sky, along with the aroma of wood smoke, and weenies. "Sometimes I think we've fallen into a time warp or something. This trip has taken so long. I think we may be trapped, and will never get home...just keep travelling forever."

Linda gave him a look. "That's the weirdest thing I've ever heard you say, Steve," Linda said.

"But, what if it's true?" Ghost asked.

"God, y'all just gave me goose bumps," Melody said, rubbing her arms.

"You know what I mean, Steve," Ghost said. "The mist..."

"Oh yeah, that's right," Steve said. "Now, that was weird."

Looking around, Ghost asked, "Have you seen any around here?" The woods were in shadows, now.

"Naw, I didn't see anything. Did you?"

"Not yet, but it's out there, waiting for it's chance to come back." Ghost moved a little closer to Steve, and took hold of his arm.

"Ok, enough talking about it," Steve said. He brushed a few strands of hair from off Ghost's forehead. "We're gonna scare the kids, if we don't stop...and us, too."

"I want to hear it," Melody said. "What happened with this mist thing?"

"I want to hear it, too," Linda said. "Tell us after the kids go to sleep, ok?"

"Ok," Steve said. "Anyway, these hot dogs are ready. Get your plate, and dig in."

Linda took a paper plate for each of the kids, and fixed their hot dogs, then one for herself."

They all sat in a circle around the fire, and were quiet for a little bit.

"These are really good, Steve, thanks for making them," Melody said.

"Have another one," Steve offered. She took another, and so did Linda and Ghost.

They soon finished, and Ghost got out the bag of marshmallows. "Look, marshmallow time. We need sticks, though."

Steve gave Ghost his pocket-knife. "Here, go cut some branches. Get the flashlight, too, it's in the truck." Ghost went on his errand, and when he got back, Linda and Melody put the marshmallows on a stick for each of them. She showed the kids how to hold them over the fire.

"Ok, they look melty now, but be careful, they're hot," she instructed the kids. Stevie and Mandy thought it was great fun..

Just as many marshmallows fell into the fire, as were eaten, and every time, they'd all say 'awww', and laugh. Eventually, the package was empty.

"Well, kids, it's time to get ready for bed, in the tents," Linda said, getting up. The kids began yelling 'yay' and running around.

"Great way to get them to settle down, Sis," Steve said.

"Oh, I have something that'll do the trick," Linda said. She went to the van and brought back the kid's pajamas, and the portable DVD player. "See, I'll put in a movie, and they'll be asleep in no time."

While she tended to the kids, Ghost and Melody cleaned up the camp area. Steve made sure the U-Haul was secured, then got a beer out of the cooler.

"Ahh," he sighed, after the first swallow.

"Did you get my wine?" Ghost asked.

"Oh, no, I forgot...and if you want a cup, they're in the truck."

"Get me a cup, Ghost," Melody said. "I want to try it."

Ghost smiled. "Ok..." but he knew it wouldn't be long until they both wouldn't care about cups; drinking from the bottle would be just fine. He went over to the truck, found the cups, and then felt around under the seat for his and Steve's stash of weed. He wasn't sure if Steve knew he had it. The last time they'd smoked, Steve said to get rid of more until they got home. He stuffed the bag into his jeans pocket.

Back at the fire, Steve and Linda were talking about Missing Mile, and where she might find a job.

"I wish I could see it, already," Melody said. "It sounds so nice there."

"Steve," Ghost said, "let me see the phone a minute. There's some pictures on there."

"Oh,," Steve said, and fished the phone out of his pocket.

Ghost found the photos, and showed them to Melody. "We took these ones before I got my good camera. There's more on there, too." Ghost said. He kept scrolling through the pictures. "Hey, here's one of our house."

Melody took the phone to see. "Oh, I love it. It's so cool looking. And, the y'all sit out there much?" she asked.

Ghost nodded. "All the time." He flipped through some more pictures. "Aww, there's Spirit. I can't wait to see him," he said. They continued looking at the pictures for a few minutes.

"Ok, what's the mist?" Linda asked. "You said you'd tell us, but did I hear about it before?"

"Maybe, but I can't remember what stories we told you, now," Steve said, and laughed. "But anyway, Melody hasn't heard them."

"Is it real scary?" Melody asked.

"Yeah, we were scared, huh, Steve?"

"You better believe it," Steve said. He told the story of the mist, and the earthquake, with Ghost adding to it every little bit.

"That's the creepiest thing I've ever heard," Melody said. She got up and walked to the van, bringing back a couple of blankets for her and Linda.

Linda and Steve started another conversation about schools for the kids. Ghost was getting bored.

"C'mon, let's go," he said. He and Melody went off past the next unoccupied camp site, and sat under a tall pine tree. They were in the shadows, but had the flashlight with them.

"I brought the wine," Ghost said, and took a swig from the bottle. "I forgot the cups." He handed it to Melody. She giggled, and put it to her lips, tilted her head back, taking a long drink. Only sputtering a little, she said,"Mmm, that's good wine."

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


# 267 content

"Yes, it worked," Ghost said.

"What worked?" Melody asked, as she watched Steve go into the little convenience store.

"The message I sent Linda...she got it," Ghost said, and grinned. "I said to her, 'camping would be fun, and save us money'."

"You did? I didn't hear anything. I don't think Steve did either." Melody frowned, as she thought for a minute. "Oh, I get it, you sent her a mental message? Can you show me how to do that?"

"I can try," Ghost said. "Just think of something real hard, and about the person you want to send the message to. Let's try one on Steve."

"Ok, so I just think really hard for him to do something?"

"Yeah, then when he comes back out of the store, we'll see if it worked. Maybe he'll say something about what you were thinking. So, try it now, before he comes out, but don't say it out loud, 'cause I want to see if I get it, too."

"This is fun...ok, here goes..." Melody said, and she began thinking, with her eyes closed. She thought it over and over.

Ghost smiled. "I got it," he said."

Melody opened her eyes, looking at Ghost. "Ok, what do you think it was?"

"It was, 'get some popcorn and beer', right?"

"That's right. Oh my God, it worked," Melody said. "Well, it worked on you. I hope it worked on Steve, too."

"Let me do one on him," Ghost said, and closed his eyes to better think of a message. After a minute, he asked Melody if she got any message from him.

"Umm, not sure exactly, but the word 'wine' came in my head," she said.

"That was it. You're getting good at this."

"Was that what you said? Just the word 'wine'?" Melody asked.

"Yeah, that's all. Steve will know it's for me, and what kind, if they have it in the store. He don't drink wine, just me...Scuppernong, so if he comes back with all that we ordered, well, cool," Ghost said. He looked toward the store. "Uh-oh, here he comes."

Steve came out of the store with several bags. He went to the van, and dropped it all in the back. "Ok, the guy said about a mile farther, there's a road that will take us to the KOA campsite," he told Linda. "Follow me."

He came back up to the U-Haul, and got in, telling Ghost and Melody the plan to go to the camping area. After a minute, he mentioned what he'd bought in the store.

"I got us some hot dogs and chips for our cook-out. Oh, I thought he kids might like some popcorn, too, so I got some."

Ghost and Melody smiled. "What else? You had a lot of sacks," Ghost said.

"Oh, well, I got us some cold beer. I feel like a drink tonight, it's been such a long day and all. I just need to chill for awhile. They had some of your favorite wine, too, Ghost, so I got you a bottle."

"Cool, that's great, Steve. I haven't had any in so long."

"Yeah, now I'm in a camping out mood. Y'all ready?" Steve asked.

"Let's go," said Melody. She raised her hand for a high five from Ghost, then they started laughing.

"What's so funny?" Steve asked.

"Nothing, just feeling good," Ghost said.

They drove to the camp ground, about two miles after they'd turned off on the road they were told about. It was nothing fancy, just several camp sites, with hook-ups for RVs, some metal BBQ grills, and a restroom/shower building. Steve went as far back as he could on the gravel road, avoiding the few other campers. There were two RVs and one tent set up. The RV people were inside; Steve could see the flicker of their TV set. The tenters were cooking, and looked like they were a family, gathered by the grill.

"Mmm, that wood smoke smells good," Melody said. "Now, I'm hungry."

"Me, too," Ghost said. He was hanging his head out the window, hair fluttering in the light breeze. "It smells like home, Steve. The pine trees..."

"I know," Steve said. "We're getting closer. I never noticed it before, but you're right, Ghost. Things smell different in different places. These trees are home trees." He stopped, and they got out, stretching their legs. Walking around felt good.

Linda and the kids were right behind them. She, Mandy, and Stevie, joined them."

"So, what do we do?" Melody asked. "Do we need to gather some wood?"

"Naw, not tonight," Steve said. "I bought some at that store. We can set up a little campfire." He looked around, seeing a cleared area, where a fire could be lit. "C'mon, Ghost, let's get the supplies."

Stevie and Mandy were running around chasing each other and laughing. "Stay right here," Linda said. "I'm going to help Steve unload. Can you keep an eye on them, Melody?"

"Sure, no problem," Melody said. She decided to join them in their game. They shrieked, when she tagged them.

Steve was handing supplies from out of the van. "Here, hold this, Ghost," he said several times.

"I can't hold any more, Steve. I'm taking it over there," Ghost said. He lugged several grocery bags, and the package of wood.

"Here, give me some of that," Linda said to Steve. "She took the cooler, and started back. The rest of the camping equipment was in the U-Haul. Steve opened it up, and took out the tents and cooking utensils. Ghost came back for another load, taking the sleeping bags. He was humming a song.

"This sure is a lot of trouble, when we could have stayed in a motel," Steve was thinking. "Money isn't an issue, after all," he reminded himself. He still forgot sometimes, though.

Linda and Melody were trying to set up the tents. They were the easy pop-up kind, but still a bit unwieldy. Ghost laughed. "Hey, Steve, remember the big old Army tent?"

"Yeah, I remember," Steve said. "Good riddance to that old thing."

"And, to spiders," Ghost said.

"Oh, God...don't let me see a spider," Melody said. "They scare me to death." She shivered at the thought.

Steve rolled his eyes. "You, too?" he asked.

"Yes, I can't stand them," Melody said.

"Did a spider make a web on you, too?" Ghost asked.

"I don't think so, but just running into a web is creepy. Are there any out here, around us?" she asked, looking around.

"Oh, honey, they're everywhere, but they don't bother you. They're scared of us," Linda said.

Melody wasn't too sure of that, and shook out a blanket, just in case.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Sunday, January 10, 2016


# 266 content

Melody kept talking about the CD that Steve and Ghost had made, until Ghost interrupted her.

"We wrote a book, too." he said.

"What?" Melody screeched. Her head turned back and forth between Ghost and Steve.

"Oh, Lord, here we go," Steve said. "Go on, Ghost...tell her."

Grinning, Ghost did. Steve smiled and shook his head. He knew this book of theirs was Ghost's pride and joy, his idea, and his pictures, and his talking to the graveyard spirits. He was, himself, very proud of Ghost, and the book.

"Ok, yeah, we wrote it together," Ghost said. "We did, we both did, Steve."

"Well, mostly you did. I just drove the car, and only freaked out a few times...not even a few, more like a couple, or just once. Yeah, that was all," Steve said.

Ghost rolled his eyes. "Mmm-hmm, I remember more than that, Steve."

"Shut up. Just tell her."

"Ok, well we went to all these old graveyards..." he began.

"Graveyards?" Melody asked. "Why there, they're creepy."

Ghost gave her a look. "Why there? 'Cause that's what I do. I thought you knew I talk to the spirits."

"Talk to spirits? Are you teasing me?" Melody asked.

"No, why would I do that," Ghost asked, shaking his head. "You said you did too, or at least know what people are thinking." He looked confused. "Is that true? I feel like it is."

"Uh, yeah, I can sometimes, if I try real hard, but I never seen a ghost. Oh, well, except you," Melody said, and laughed.

Ghost sighed. "Oh, well, I might could help you...if you want me to," he said.

Melody shrugged. "I don't know, are they scary? Do they talk back? Can you see them?"

"Yeah, all the time. I have to try and block it out, or I'd see and hear them everywhere, all the time," Ghost said.

"That's amazing. Yeah, maybe you can show me how," she said.

"Go on, Ghost, get on with the story," Steve said.

"Oh, ok, well we went on a road trip last summer, to all the graveyards, and I talked to them, and I took pictures, and Steve took some, and I wrote where we were, and Steve wrote the days, and then we had a book made, over in Raleigh, and we sold them all, too," Ghost said in a rush, then stopped to take a breath.

"That's the coolest thing I ever heard," Melody said.

Ghost grinned, again. "I know. We kept a couple, so you can see it now, when we get home." He yawned, and stretched his arms out. "I need a nap. My eyes won't stay open, Steve."

"So close 'em and go to sleep. I'm gonna keep going until Memphis," Steve said. He turned on the radio, and fiddled with the tuner, until he found an oldies station.

Ghost leaned his head back, closing his eyes. He tried to get comfortable by putting his feet on the dashboard. Melody tried different ways of getting herself situated, and ended up with her head on Ghost's shoulder. In a matter of minutes, both were asleep.

Steve glanced over at them. So alike...

As he drove, Steve let his mind wander. The past few weeks, the road trip, his sister, now Ghost's sister, getting back home...he felt tired...more than tired...weary. Then he thought of that word. It was a good word, and he knew Ghost would like it. He tried to imagine what Missing Mile, and their friends, would look like to Melody. It would be so good to be home, again. He yawned and shook his head to try and keep awake. "Have to make it to Memphis before we can stop," he told himself. It wasn't much farther...the last road sign said 60 miles, but it was starting to get dark, now.

He turned on the lights. The closer they got to the big city, the more traffic they encountered. Still, his eyes wanted to close. He actually thought he might have nodded off for a second, the way he suddenly jerked awake. Thank God he was still on the road, and had not gone off the edge. He saw that Ghost was still asleep, but he really needed somebody to talk to, to help him stay awake.

"Ghost...wake up," he said, and reached across Melody to shake Ghost's arm. "Dude, wake up," he said louder.

"What, why you yelling," Ghost asked, as he was startled awake. "Are we home? I dreamed we were in our driveway," he said.

"No, just wake up. Talk or something, to keep me awake. We got a few more miles to go, before we can get a motel, in Memphis," Steve said.

"Ok, what'cha wanna talk about?"

"I don't care, just talk to me."

"Um...ok..." Ghost thought a minute. "Are we gonna get something to eat, when we stop? I'm hungry."

"Yeah, I plan on it, and I'm sure Linda and the kids are hungry, too," Steve said.

"I'm tired of diner and fast food, Steve. I want to camp out and cook on a campfire," Ghost said.

"You're kidding, right," Steve said, and laughed. "You'd rather sleep in a tent, and a sleeping bag, than a motel bed, and have a shower, and tv?"

"Yeah, but it would have to be by ourselves. No more motorcycle gangs."

"So, where are we going to find a place like that? We're coming into a big city, not the woods."

"I don't know, Steve," Ghost said, shrugging. "You asked me, so that's my suggestion."

"I want to camp out, too. I never have," Melody said, as she woke up.

"Oh, great, both of you are gonna pester me until I agree. I'm out voted," Steve said. "Tell ya what, let's find somewhere to stop. I need gas, anyway, and we'll see what Linda says." He glanced in the rear view mirror, to make sure she was still following. Then, slowing down, he signaled at the exit off the highway.

The far out-skirts of Memphis had several convenience stores, and a truck stop along the way. Stopping at one of the stores, Steve got out and started pumping gas. Linda pulled in, and did the same.

"Ya want to hear something crazy?" Steve asked. "Ghost and Melody want to camp out tonight. What do ya think about that?"

"Really? That's funny," Linda said. "I had the same thought. It just came to me a little bit ago, out of the blue. I mean, why not? It would save us some money. These restaurants are getting expensive."

Steve was surprised. "You'd go for it, then?" he asked.

"Sure, why not. We can ask inside where a campground is. I'm sure there's one around somewhere, and we can get some hot dogs, and marshmallows to cook." She was smiling at the thought.

"Hmm...oh, man...I know what this is," Steve said. "It's manipulation. It was Ghost...he got in your head and sent you a message, that's what happened."

"Oh, I'll bet you're right," Linda said. "It was strange how all of a sudden I'm thinking it would be fun to camp out. But, I do actually like the idea. Let's do it."

Steve sighed, "Fine, we'll camp out. "I'll go inside, get some food, and ask for directions." He passed by the U-Haul on his way into the store.

"Hey, worked your magic on Linda. We're camping out." Steve said.


Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, January 8, 2016


# 265 content

Melody had started giggling, as she'd gone down the stairs, leaving Ghost and Steve alone in her empty apartment. As she reached the sidewalk, she couldn't hold back the laughter. Holding onto the railing she doubled over, letting it out. She was wiping tears from her eyes, as Linda rushed up to her.

"What is it...are you ok?" Linda asked, thinking Melody was hurt, or maybe Steve or Ghost.

"Oh my,, I'm fine, everyone's fine," Melody said, and laughed again, in spite of trying to stop.

"Well, what is it? Are you crying or laughing? Come sit down over here...tell me." Linda said.

Melody followed her to the shade, under a tree. The kids were already there, sitting on the grass, sipping a juice box.

"I can't tell you in front of the kids," Melody said.

"Ok, then let's walk over here. I can keep an eye on the from there," Linda said. When they'd moved a bit away from the kids, Linda looked to Melody for an explanation.

"It's not really funny, but I couldn't stop," Melody said.. "It's just that things up there got wanted to be alone. So, I said sure, take as long as you want. They were so intent, I just barely got out of there in time." She snorted and laughed, again.

"Ahh, I get it," Linda snickered. "Yeah, I've had that happen a few times. Really though, those two are so in love, they want to do it all the time...anywhere. I've gotten used to it, but at first, I was like, really...again?" She shook her head, laughing again. "I'm happy they are happy. They haven't always been. It's been a really rough road."

Melody nodded. "Yeah, Ghost mentioned something like that to me. Said he'd tell me someday."

"Good, it should be him to say things, when he's ready."

They watched Stevie and Mandy play under the tree for a few minutes. "Well, Steve suggested we drive over to the store, so I can tell my boss that I'm leaving. I need to give him the address to send my pay. Want to go over there?" Melody asked.

"Sure, why not, let's go," Linda said. "Come on kids, let's go for a short ride." They all got in the van, and headed to the convenience store.

Steve and Ghost made their way down the stairs, then looked around for the girls. "Guess they went on over to the store. We'll have to wait on them, now," Steve said. He looked at his watch. "We've been here half a day, and so much has happened, already, can you believe it?"

Ghost shrugged. "What's not to believe? It happened...we lived it."

Raising his eyebrows, Steve said, "You're right, we did."

They sat in the shade, awhile. It was too hot to get back in the U-Haul. In a little bit, they saw the van turning the corner, then pulling to a stop by the curb. The girls got out to find out if they had a plan.

"Get everything squared away, Melody?" Steve asked.

"Yep, good to go, whenever you say," Melody said. "So, who do I ride with?"

"Your choice, this time. We're trying to make it across Arkansas, before we stop for the night," Steve said.

Smiling, Melody said, "Ok, I'm riding with my brother, then."

"Well, all right, then, let's get going."

Steve helped Melody into the U-Haul. She sat in the middle.

"Y'all ok with this? I can sit by the window, I don't mind."

"Don't matter to me," Steve said.

"I like by the window, mostly," Ghost said.

"Yeah, he likes hanging his head out," Steve said, laughing.

"It keeps me from getting sick," Ghost said.

Steve just shook his head, and started the engine. They pulled out to the road, with Linda following behind in the van. Steve figured they could make it clear across Arkansas, and stay the night in Memphis, Tennessee. Then, maybe one more day and night on the road, then finally home.

"This trip has taken so much longer than I thought. I'll be glad to be home," Steve said.

"I wish we was there, now," Ghost said. "I wanna see Spirit. He probably forgot me."

"Who's Spirit?" Melody asked.

"He's my cat. Zach is taking care of him, and Trevor is helping." Ghost sighed. "I miss all of them, even old Kinsey."

"We'll see them real soon," Steve said.

"Y'all are gonna have to fill me in. I don't know anybody in Missing Mile," Melody said. "How big a place is it?"

"Ha, not very big, right Ghost?" Steve said. "But, we got what we need there, and good friends."

"Well, tell me. We have plenty of time."

"Ok, go ahead, Ghost, you start. I want to hear how you describe everybody," Steve said. He grinned at the thought.

Ok, fine," Ghost said. "You want the funny version, the jazzed up one, or just the facts?"

"You're the storyteller, just tell it how you want to. Mix it all up," Steve said.

"Yeah, tell me about these people you mentioned, so I can know something about them when I meet them," Melody said.

"Oh, ok...I'll start with Kinsey, 'cause he's been around the longest. He knows everybody, too. He owns a bar. Well, it's a club, well both, and it's called the Yew, the Sacred Yew. There's this big old door that's carved wood, just like the tree, and then you go in, and it's dark, and there's the stage where we play, and the bar, and the arcade, and..."

"Ghost...she'll see all that...just tell her about Kinsey, ok?" Steve said, rolling his eyes.

"Huh? Oh...well, he's tall, and thin, and has long hair in a pony tail, and ..." Ghost looked over at Steve. "How old is Kinsey?"

"Hell if I know...old...older than us anyway," Steve said.

"Ok, so that's Kinsey, and he's our friend."

"He sounds interesting, Ghost," Melody said.

"He likes having people at his place," Ghost said.

"Is he funny or serious?"

"Oh, both. He's real serious about his bar, and the whole thing. He don't let anyone get away with much," Steve said.

"Just us," Ghost said.

"Yeah, but he'll clobber us, once in awhile," Steve said. "Go on, Ghost..."

Thinking for a minute, Ghost continued his description of the residents of Missing Mile. "There's Zach and Trevor, and they're kinda new in town. They're together, like me and Steve, and Trevor is an artist, and he draws cartoons real good. Zach is being a singer for Gumbo, and he's real smart with computers."

Who's Gumbo?" Melody asked.

"It's Terry's band," Steve said. "He's the drummer, and Zach sings, R. J. plays bass, and Calvin plays guitar. They're good."

"Terry is old, too," Ghost said. "But, not as old as Kinsey, and he owns the Whirling Disc record store. That's where we recorded our tape and his studio," Ghost said.

Melody looked at Ghost, her mouth open. "What? Y'all have a CD out? I gotta hear it."

Nodding, Ghost said, "We got one, and we're working on another one, too."

"Oh my, God, my brother is a rock star. How cool."

"Huh? We're not. We just play at the bar. We're not famous, or nothing," Ghost said.

"You are to me," Melody said, and gave Ghost a hug. Then she hugged Steve, too, as best she could, since he was driving. "Who else do I know that has a real CD, and people buy it? Nobody, that's who." She laughed.

Next part coming soon!

Peace, Love, & Writing