The Family Business

Chapter 3

First of all, I wanted to know if I had any other…abilities. I concentrated all my energy to make my arm invisible to no avail. I shrugged. Guess I don't have that power. I tried again for several minutes and suspected I probably looked like Hiro Nakamura from that show called Heroes trying to master his power over time. Shaking, concentrating, face getting red. Looking possibly constipated. I stopped trying, panting.

My dad walked in unexpectedly. "Hey, I just wanted to know if you wanted to talk about anything…Oh my God, are you okay Phil?"

I chuckled. "I'm fine Dad."

Dad raised a brow. "Yeah, you inherited my terrible lying skills. What is really going on here? Did that ghost…say anything?"

"Why would he?"

"Well, sometimes they say things… What did he look like?"

"I dunno. Scary, large, had body armor on. Green, fiery hair. Red eyes…"

Dad nodded.

"You ever - run into him?"

"Why?" He asked me pensively. "Did he say anything?"

"Tell me. Do you know this ghost?"

"Phil…" He looked at me with anxious eyes. He opened his mouth and, for the first time in a while, I thought he was going to actually tell me the truth. He closed it, changing his mind and said, "You should've had the thermos with you."

Thanks for stating the obvious Dad. "How was I supposed to know a ghost would come after me? I've never needed to protect myself before." I crossed my arms.

Dad shook his head and turned around. "I know, I'm sorry. This is all my fault."

"Okay, well, he did say something," I said. Dad looked at me expectantly. "He told me he wanted…your pelt? Said he was gonna use me as bait."

Then I could tell my dad realized who it was but he didn't say anything more except that he was sorry again. I could tell he'd been saying 'I'm sorry' for decades. Like it was part of his being. He was always sorry about everything.

"Don't be. You couldn't have known."

"Well, I still am. I didn't want my past to come and haunt any of us, especially you."

"Nice choice of words Dad," I laughed.

My dad cracked a small smile. "Anything else you wanted to talk about?"

I shook my head. He left my room.

I tried to make my hand invisible again. Nope. Nothing. Angrily, I attempted to pound my fist onto the table. It went straight through. I gasped. My hand…

I felt my hand become solid again. Dear God… My suspicions were coming true. Am I not human?

I locked my door and lay down on my bed hoping not to fall through. I closed my eyes for a couple minutes but suddenly my phone starting buzzing on my bed causing me to jolt up and float again. I screamed as my legs turned into a tail. I fell on the floor and they were legs again. What the hell was that?

I miserably answered the phone. "Hello?"

"Phil!" It was Kevin.

"Oh, hey, what's up?" I stood up and wiped dirt off of my pajamas.

"Earlier, did you see that ghost that saved you?"

So that's what that flash was… "Um, not really. It was all a blur."

"Well, I saw him fly in and I recognized him or it or whatever. From online. A while back he saved the world!"

"Huh?"

"Yeah, his name was Phantom. Some ghost that protected this city called Amity Park. Anyway, there was this planet that was going to destroy earth as we know it and he and a bunch of other ghosts made the earth intangible so that the planet would pass harmlessly through."

"That's bizarre," I said. "Are those stories actually true though?"

Amity Park…Wasn't that where his parents grew up?

"Well, they seem legit."

"It seems a bit out there to me."

"They have statues though! In each capital of the world. Commemorating Phantom."

"What happened to him between then and now?" I asked curiously, wondering whether this could be true.

"Not sure. He kept Amity Park safe a little while longer but something happened. Some huge, terrible accident. Someone died. He wasn't quick enough."

"Do you know who?"

"No idea…Look I can tell in your voice you don't really believe me. But look it up for yourself! There is footage of him saving people! I don't know how it could've been faked."

"Fine," I shrugged, lazily opening up Youtube on my computer.

"Call me back and tell me what you think!"

I hung up and typed phantom saves amity park in the search box. I looked it up and several videos came up. I opened the first one which was a compilation of the ghost saving people.

It was impressive, fake or not. I saw a range of powers from what the creator of the video called an 'ectoblast' to a ghostly wail that I didn't even imagine was possible. The videos were blurry but there was a certain familiarity about the ghost. But I couldn't quite place it. And the blurriness made it hard to make out its face. But I wondered how he could be familiar because I had never seen anyone quite like him: glowing green eyes, snow white hair, black and white HAZMAT suit with DP written on it (what does the D stand for?). Then I saw it: the Fenton thermos. Phantom was using it. Did he steal it from my grandparent's laboratory?

Suddenly the screen had a greenish tint. I blinked a few times but it was still green. I figured it must be a problem with the screen but I looked at the presets and nothing. I sighed and stood up. I fiddled with the thermos, then tucked it away in my backpack that I carried around most days. I walked around to my dresser which had a mirror attached and looked up.

My eyes.

That's why my screen was…

But.

I.

They were glowing bright green. Actually, they looked very similar to Phantom's eyes.

It was as if I were becoming a ghost. Was this how people became ghosts? Not by dying but by other causes? But what could have caused this?

I couldn't get my eyes to change back to purple. Why couldn't I?

I decided to go to bed. Though I couldn't get much sleep. I was shivering. Scared to death of what I was becoming. What would I tell my parents? Should I tell them?

The next morning I realized I had gotten some sleep. And hopefully my eyes were purple again. Maybe that was a hallucination or a nightmare…

I looked in my mirror and saw that that was not the case. I looked almost identical to Phantom. Besides my hairstyle and facial structure. I even had on the same HAZMAT suit. Which was a little strange.

No. This was a nightmare. That I would soon wake up from.

There was a knock at more door and I nearly fell over.

"Phil? It's time for breakfast. Your dad is making chocolate chip waffles!" Mom sounded excited. She did love her chocolate. What she didn't like was bacon or any meat or anything with a face on it. Who didn't like bacon? Come on!

"Oh! Uh, coming!" I stared at myself, not able to believe the words I spoke were coming from a ghost's mouth.

I heard her walk downstairs and heard my dad gasp. I cracked my door open to hear him say. "Sam, there's a ghost in the house."

How did he know? Do we have sensors?!

"Wait, Danny. Maybe we should check before making a bunch of noise. What if it's just the Box Ghost or something?"

"No, it's gotta be Skulker."

"We just put him back into the Ghost Zone at your parent's house. It's too early for him to come back so soon."

"What?" I whispered quietly. What's going on?

"Fine, I'll go check upstairs," I thought I would hear my dad climb up the stairs, but I didn't hear anything. At all. It was a bit disconcerting to say the least but I decided to close more door and figure out how to change back into…me.

I looked at the mirror focusing on my reflection. Turn back, turn back, turn baaaaack. I told myself, filling with anxiety.

I didn't hear my dad yet somehow I knew he was checking each and every room and a minute from now he'd come in mine to check that my room was clear too.

The door knob turned (was the lock broken?) and my dad came through. Every bone tensed up and I saw a flash before my eyes and didn't even notice the change.

"Phil? Is everything okay?" He clearly didn't see it either.

I was shaking and my muscles were very tense. "Um, you mean - " I looked in the mirror. I was human again! PHEW! "Yeah, yeah I'm fine."

My father looked very confused but nodded, I felt my eyes change for a split second as my dad looked away, he looked back again and rubbed the back of his neck like he does.

"What?" I asked.

Dad shook his head. "Nothing, I just…thought I saw something. Must've been a trick of the eye," as he said this, I could tell he was hopeful that he hadn't seen what he thought he just saw.

Would he not accept me if he knew what I was becoming?

"Let's go down and eat."

We went down and my mom had served the waffles already. "I thought Dad was gonna make these," I said, though I knew why he hadn't. Maybe they would slip up.

"I just wanted to make sure you were coming down and there wasn't anything wrong," his dad replied. Clearly they were not that stupid…

"Okay," Sam said as we sat down. "Let's eat!"

I picked up my utensils, but they fell through my hands making a huge clank on the table. Dad eyed my hands suspiciously. Mom kept eating but also noticed, not saying a thing.

I cut into a waffle but my knife slipped and slit my thumb. "Ouch!" Clearly being part ghost or whatever made eating nearly impossible.

I took my napkin and covered it in pain. My dad helped me. Mom was concerned. "Oh no, are you okay?"

I took the napkin off a little and saw green mixed with my blood. What the hell is that crap?

I hurriedly put the napkin over the wound again but my dad saw. He lifted the napkin gently and saw the green. He breathed in sharply and I thought he was gonna yell at me, call me ectoplasmic scum, or disown me or all of the above. I prepared for the worst, my whole body tensing up.

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