“Here we are.” Pete pulls the truck up next to the house gate.
Dad gets out and then helps me. “Thank you Pete. I’ll see you around, I guess.”
“Hope so. If Mrs. B throws you out, that apartment above the shop is available.”
Dad laughs and shakes Pete’s hand. “I hope she doesn’t, but I’ll keep that in mind.”
Dad closes the truck door and steps back. The engine revs up and Pete makes a slow u-turn. He pauses as he passes us. “You know Morgan, Petey would love to see you, now that you’re back.” I nod keeping my head down. “Well you better head inside. Looks like a big rain storm is coming.”
I look up, not seeing the truck pass me on its way back to town. My eyes are focused on Devil’s Flat. A man and a demon are fighting. It twists my innards into knots.
“Petey, eh?” My Dad’s voice and the squeak of gate turn me around.
“Yeah,” I wrinkle my nose.
“You like him?”
“No, he’s creepy.”
My Dad looks at me sideways. I can’t help it. Pete Junior creeps me out. I don’t know why, he just does. It doesn’t help that he’s been infatuated with me since he was 16. Maybe that’s why he creeps me out, seeing as I was 13 at the time. We walk up the steps onto the porch. I pull a hand out of my pocket and knock. I always knock before entering, even though I’ve lived there for four years now.
“Grandma B,” I call, “We’re here.”
“Well come in, come in.” She appears from the kitchen, apron on. Warmth emanates from her. Dad closes the door behind him.
“Mrs. B,” I turn to look at him. I think if he wore a hat he’d have taken it off. He did bow slightly.
“Well, well, so it is Ghost Wheeler. I suppose you don’t go by that now do you.” I sense tension between them.
“No Mrs. B, I’m just Mike now.”
“Shame you didn’t show up sooner, Mike.”
“You know Serena cut me out completely.”
“Never mind that now.” Grandma B smiles. “Why don’t we eat. We can catch up later.”
Later, as in after I’ve gone to bed. So I get to miss all the good stuff. I sigh and follow them into the country kitchen. My eyes pop at the food on the table. Grandma’s out done herself. Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds and, if my nose isn’t lying, an apple pie.
I look at Dad and wonder if he knows the kind of treatment he’s getting. He smiles at me with a wink. I giggle. Grandma looks at us and smiles.
“Why I don’t think I’ve heard you laugh in the last four years.”
I somber up and sit down. My eyes have again wondered towards Devil’s Flat. The rain begins to pound on the roof. We eat and indeed Grandma made an apple pie. Afterwards, I excuse myself. They want to talk without me, I know. I guess they do have a lot to talk about. Let Dad tell Grandma about the Bus. Let Grandma tell him about Mom.
I stop dead as my door swings shut. My heart barely beats. Slowly I turn and walk to my window. I pause and look out. I know that demon. I have felt him before. I collapse on my bed. I don’t want to close my eyes but they do anyway and I remember.