Chapter 2 - Phantom Mansion
For the rest of the day I walked around with no shirt on. People looked at me in shock, surprise and curiosity. Shock, at my scars, surprise that I had muscle and curiosity because Danny Fenton, the boy who lived at the bottom of the social grapevine, was suddenly fit. I considered going ghost and leaving, but I couldn't for several reasons:
Couldn't leave Tuck and Sam behind, and I couldn't take them with me
Mr Lancer, counts and checks off every student as they get on and off the bus
So in other words for the first time in my life, people would notice my absence. I sighed as I followed Tuck and Sam to another ride. Sam noticed me lagging behind and slowed to walk by me.
"Danny, it'll be okay." She said reassuringly. I gave her a small smile.
"Thanks Sam, I still can't help but worry." I said. "What if they find out my secret identity?" Sam shook her head.
"They won't find out Danny. No offense, but no one would pick you as a hero. There's no way those dimwits could figure it out. They haven't in two years, they won't anytime soon." She took my hand in hers and squeezed. At this point Tuck glanced back and saw Sam and I holding hands. He smiled and mouthed 'lovebirds'. I glared at him, my eyes flashing neon green for a split second. Tuck raised his hands in mock surrender, the smile never fading from his face. I gave Sam's hand a final squeeze before letting go. We had just come up behind Tucker in the line for the Aqua Loop when I felt a shiver run down my spine and a blue mist billowed out of my mouth.
"Uh guys?" I said to Tuck and Sam. They turned and looked at me. They recognised the tone of my voice and the expression on my face and nodded.
"I'll hold your place in line." Tuck called as I ran off to the nearest bathroom. Over the past few years, my ghost sense had improved majorly, letting me be able to sense a ghost up to nine miles away, and if I have encountered them numerous times, my ghost sense has a sort of…feel to it, letting me know who it is. Skulker is a woodsy, musky feel whereas the Box Ghost, well his makes me feel like I've eaten cardboard. This ghost who had set of my ghost sense was warm, very warm, as if I'd taken a mouthful of hot spiced tea without blowing on it. I recognised the tangy warmth and grinned. I saw the toilet building up ahead and I quickly sprinted towards it. I darted inside and made a beeline for the closest unoccupied cubicle. Shutting the door I spun and closed my eyes. Reaching down inside myself I felt my core, the part of me that was purely ghost no matter what form I was in, and the part of me that helped me control my transformation. I felt my waist warm up as a white ring formed around my waist. It split in two, one travelling down my legs, the other up my chest. A black jumpsuit appeared as the rings travelled across my body. White boots and gloves and a white belt formed across my waist along with a white neckline. As the ring got to my chin, I felt the warmth start to spread over my head. My hair changed from midnight black to the white of freshly fallen snow and I felt immense strength flow into my limbs. I opened my eyes and I knew that their original ice blue would now be radioactive green. Instead of Danny Fenton standing in the cubicle, in his place stood Danny Phantom, ghostly protector of Amity Park. I crouched slightly before jumping into the air, turning intangible as I flew through the roof above me. Once I was outside I turned tangible once again and looked around.
"I know she's around here somewhere…" I muttered to myself.
"Darn right I am Dipstick." A female voice said from behind me. I spun around in time to be hit in the chest with a giant pink fist. I flew back, arching my body in a somersault to regain my balance (flight, hovering, whatever) and looked up at the blue-flame-haired ghost.
"Ember. Long-time no see." I said, grinning at her. "Finally ditch the loser boyfriend of yours?" Ember rolled her eyes.
"No, he is still my boyfriend Dipstick, even if he still can't find the bloody remote." She muttered the final bit and I laughed. She turned her green eyes to me and a smile spread across her face. "Get ready Dipstick, I haven't had a good fight in months." She said, raising her right hand and bringing it down on the strings on her pink and blue guitar. I raised up an ectoshield half a second before two giant pink fists rammed into me. They bounced off harmlessly, shattering after making contact with my green barrier. I lowered the shield and flew towards the punk singer ghost, fists raised. Her eyes widened just as my fist slammed into her chin, sending her flying upwards. She crash landed on the top of Terror Mountain. I flew over to her, knowing she'd be coming back up very soon. Sure enough, just as I got near, Ember flew out of the Mountain, her guitar in two pieces.
"Oh, I hope that wasn't new." I joked.
"Just bought it yesterday," she snarled, throwing the remains to the ground.
"Ooh, that's gotta suck. Wait, you bought it?" I asked incredulously. Ember snorted. Well that was attractive.
"We ghosts do occasionally buy stuff Dipstick." I dodged Ember's punch as she lunged at me. Her left foot came flying up towards my face, but Ember had never been good at hand-to-hand combat, whereas I had had several years of practice, against foes even greater than her. I caught her foot easily. Her eyes widened slightly as I smirked at her. I swung her around in a circle and let her go, causing her to fly over the waterpark. She hit the toilet block and landed on her feet, her blue hair blazing. There was an Ember shaped dent in the wall behind her. I snickered.
"Ooh, I'll bet that hurt." I said, crossing my arms as I hovered in mid-air.
"Not as much as this." She retorted, her burning hair shooting up towards me. I yelped as it grazed my arm. It was hot. I glanced down at my arm and saw the blistering flesh with blackened skin around it that was oozing green ectoplasm. As I watched, the blacked flesh lightened and regained its normal colour as new skin began to grow over the wound, covering it completely. Within seconds, a third degree burn had completely healed. I grinned. When I first got my powers that would have taken me over an hour to heal from, but now…I was definitely getting more powerful. I looked up, just in time to see Ember's fist hit me in the face. I flew backwards and crashed into the Floody Waters welcome sign. I peeled myself off the sign and returned my gaze to Ember who was looking at me with a small smile on her face. I pushed off the sign, my hands lighting up with ecto-energy. I shot the rays at her, which collided with her stomach, sending her flying into Terror Mountain once more.
"Man, they might need to fix that ride." I said as I looked at the second massive hole we created. I flew over and looked down. Ember lay in the middle of the rubble, her hair barely flaming. I shook my head at her and pulled the Fenton Thermos out. "Hope you enjoyed your butt-whooping experience at Floody Waters Waterpark, come again soon!" I said as I sucked her into the green and silver cylindrical container. I tucked it back away and shot out across the park, turning intangible and invisible as I returned to the toilet cubicle. I changed back to Danny Fenton and pushed open the door. My right arm where Ember burnt me felt tight, like my muscles had been tensed too long. I absent mindedly rubbed my arm as I left the building and returned to Sam and Tucker. As I walked through the park I saw everyone talking and gushing about Danny Phantom and Ember McLain, the famous ghost singer. I rolled my eyes.
"Some people are so dim-witted." I muttered to myself as I found Sam and Tuck at the very front of the rides line. I quickened my pace until I was running, but not at full speed, can't have Danny Fenton running at the pace of an Olympic champion (or in my case, Danny Phantom). Sadly I couldn't do my best at everything or else people could piece together my secret. So I had to remain Danny Fenton, wimp and nerd who couldn't do anything or fit in. But I liked it that way. No one expected anything major of me and I was practically invisible. I grinned at the irony. I was like Spiderman, nerd at school who no one noticed, and superhero who everyone knew. I reached Sam and Tuck with seconds to spare as the ride attendant opened the small gate and let us in. Tucker raised his fist up and I bumped it with my own while Sam and I shared a grin. She leaned in close as we took our seats and whispered in my ear.
"Well done Danny." And I couldn't help the pleasant shiver that ran down my spine as I felt her breath on my neck.
The bus trip back to school was exhausting. Everyone kept looking at me and part of me wished I kept my shirt, but it was useless since all of them had seen my chest anyway. The main topic of the bus ride was my sudden change in physique and the fight between Danny Phantom and Ember.
"Oh, that Ghost Boy. He's such a perfect match for me." Paulina said, fanning her face with her hand. "He told me he loves me you know, and he always saves me, before anyone else." She gushed to the people around her. I stifled a laugh as Sam snorted.
"Yeah right." Sam muttered under her breath.
"Will she get over it already? It's been two years, you think she'd realise that Phantom doesn't have the slightest bit of interest in her." I said to my friends. I felt a prickly feeling on the back of my neck and glanced to the front of the bus. Mr Lancer was staring at me, and it didn't seem to be in a good way. He looked…concerned. I frowned as he realised I saw him staring and turned back to face the front.
"Guys, did you see that?" I said to my friends. Tuck shook his head.
"What is it man?" He asked. I shook my head.
"Mr Lancer was just staring at me, really weirdly." I replied.
"Maybe it's cause you're suddenly ripped and got a bunch of interesting scars. He could just be curious, along with almost everyone else." Sam said to me.
"Yeah, almost everyone. Tucker and I know the truth about your scars and how you got them. Like this one on your back." She reached out and lightly traced the small dots that could be mistaken for chicken pox scars. I tried to conceal the shivers that ran down my spine where her hand touched my back. "When Pariah Dark's mace hit you, even the spikes went through the Ecto-Skeleton and it hurt you." She finished, removing her hand from my back.
"Yeah, it bloody hurt too." I joked, rubbing the back of my neck with my hand. For the rest of the bus trip I tried to ignore the conversation around me and stared out the window, thinking about how I could fly so much faster than this bus.
Luckily Casper High wasn't too far away from the waterpark so the bus trip only lasted about twenty minutes, but for me it was nineteen minutes too long. When the bus pulled to a stop in front of the double doors of Casper High we all filed off, Mr Lancer counting our heads as we exited the bus. Why he was counting heads as we got off the bus at school was beyond me. We grabbed our bags from under the bus and immediately I grabbed my spare shirt and pulled it over my head, covering my chest. Sadly for me, it was a slightly smaller shirt which clung to my skin and highlighted my muscles. I noticed several girls staring at me but I just ignored it. Probably just looking at the freak, I thought as I turned back to Sam and Tucker who were also putting on their spare changes of clothes. Most of the girls just put on oversized T-Shirts or dresses whereas Sam pulled on a pair of jeans and a black singlet. I smiled. Always unique she was. As I bent down to pick up my bag I heard Dash call my name.
"Hey Fenturd! Think fast!" He shouted. I heard something whistle through the air. Years of instinct kicked in and drove me to defend myself. I spun and stood up from my crouch, my left hand immediately coming up to catch the football mere inches from my face. I looked to Dash, whose eyes were almost bulging out of his head.
"Oh wow, did you see how fast Fenton moved? He was practically a blur!" I heard one student whisper to another.
"How did you-"Dash began.
"Reflexes are pretty handy." I cut him off. "Next time you want to throw something at me, make sure I can't throw it back." I said, throwing the ball back towards Dash. In his shock he didn't even try to catch it. It hit him in the chest and knocked him back a few steps. Of course I didn't throw it with my full strength, it was barely even a quarter of my true strength. When I was younger I wasn't as strong, but now I can lift a train with one hand easily - perk of having ghost powers. Dash looked in shock at the football in his hands then back at me. I just looked him in the eyes, and by his expression, I think Dash knew I was holding back. I broke off eye contact and returned my attention to my friends, ignoring their surprised looks. After years of dealing with Dash's bullying I was sick of it. I wouldn't retaliate by bullying him or pulling pranks, I still remembered what happened with Poindexter. I shuddered. I hadn't liked being in his body it was like I was trapped – which I technically was.
"Man, Fenton should try out for the football team, with a throw like that he could help us win!" I heard Kwan say as I threw my bag over my shoulder. I started off down the pathway towards my house, Sam and Tucker following me silently as everyone watched us leave. A few minutes after we left the school area Sam started talking.
"Twice in one day you showed Dash up. Is that such a smart thing to do Danny?" She said as we turned the corner of the block. I shrugged.
"I'm sick of him thinking he can push me around. I've suffered years of this crap. I mean, I'm not gonna go overboard, like throwing him through a brick wall or blasting him with my ghost ray. I'm not an idiot, no matter what my school grades say." I said. My grades had only dropped because of ghost fighting. I didn't have enough time to do the homework, let alone study.
"We know you're smart Danny, just be careful what you do." Sam said. "Now, onto more interesting topics, how's the map of the GZ going Danny?" I thought about the map we had started, then abandoned, a few years ago. We had finally started mapping it out again. I already knew my way around the Ghost Zone off my heart, but it was still a good idea to have a map.
"It's getting better I guess." I said vaguely.
"You haven't done any more of it have you?" Sam said, already knowing the answer. I smiled sheepishly at her as she rolled her eyes. "Looks like we might be going for an after-school trip again."
"I love GZ trips!" Tucker said eagerly as I opened my front door. Stepping inside the house my jaw dropped. Mum and Dad were standing in the middle of the living room with a new invention. Dad was holding it (which made me very worried considering his track record) and pointing it at the wall while he talked to Mum. He saw me out of the corner of his eye and grinned.
"Danny!" He shouted, turning to face me, thus making the giant weapon spin around, causing it to be pointed directly at me.
"Ah! Dad, don't point that at me!" I yelled, cringing.
"Oh Danny don't worry, it doesn't hurt humans, only ghosts!" Mum said, poking her head out from behind Dad. I swallowed roughly.
"Yeah, that makes me so much more comfortable." I muttered under my breath.
"We call it the Fenton EctoOverloader. It overloads a ghost's power, making their abilities go crazy and leaves them unable to control their powers for an hour, just long enough for us to catch them in this." Mum said, pulling a machine that looked like a demented vacuum cleaner, one I sadly recognised.
"The Fenton Weasel?" I asked. Mum nodded.
"It keeps the ghosts trapped like the Fenton Thermos." She said. An unnecessary explanation, I already know firsthand what that thing is like, I thought wryly to myself.
"The only downside is that we have to have a direct hit on the ghost. Right in the middle of its' chest, above its' heart." Mum said. "I shall have to fix that."
"Want to see us test this out on the Ghost Boy Danny?" Dad said enthusiastically. Yeah, ah, no.
"Thanks Dad, but we, uh-"
"We have homework." Tucker quickly interjected when I failed to think of an excuse not to go. I shot him a grateful look.
"Yeah Dad, lots and lots of homework." I said. "We'll be upstairs." For now. I led the way, quickly climbing the stairs my friends close behind me. I shut the door behind us as we entered my room. Tucker immediately sat down on my desk chair and Sam took the beanbag by my bed. I sighed as I dropped face-down on my mattress.
"Leave it to my parents to invent another machine that will screw with my powers." I said.
"Danny, this one not only screws with your powers but could seriously mess up your life! Even more than the others. Your powers involve your transformation remember. What if Fenton turns into Phantom halfway through class? Or in front of your parents?" Tucker said, leaning forward. I pushed my torso off the bed and leant on my elbows and looked at him.
"Crap, I didn't think about that." I said, worry seeping into my mind.
"Don't worry Danny, as long as you avoid the weapon you'll be safe." Sam said, shooting Tucker a dirty look before smiling reassuringly at me. I tried to let myself forget it, but all I did was remember the Ecto-Stopo-Power-Ofier (my Dad has the worst names for inventions!) and the Fenton Cramer (which doesn't do anything similar to what it sounds like it does-as I said, my Dad is hopeless). I sighed and pushed it to the back of my mind. Rolling over I closed my eyes and imagined myself in space, the one place I had always wanted to visit. I imagined flying around the Earth, looking down and seeing clouds and tiny green spots surrounded by blue seas surrounded by darkness and glowing stars. I smiled with my eyes shut. Suddenly I felt something bump my nose. I awoke from my daydream to see the roof right in front of my face.
"Whoa!" I exclaimed, jerking backwards. I glanced down and saw Sam and Tucker staring at me, amused expressions on their faces. I hovered in mid-air and crossed my arms. "Didn't care to tell me I was flying while daydreaming again?" I said, trying to hide the smile on my face.
"I know you're trying to smile Danny." Sam said, grinning up at me. I rolled my eyes.
"Shut up." I said, finally smiling down at her. Our eyes met and I was trapped in her violet gaze. I couldn't look away. I was completely focused on her and how beautiful she looked with her black hair, which had finally grown out and now fell to her waist in dark supple waves. She never had it tied back, saying 'my hair gets to be free, I don't tamper with it so it can do what it wants' which is kinda the opinion she has of herself. She finally got her ears pierced, much to the irritation of her mother since she had her helix pierced along with her first and second ear piercings. Sam held my gaze as I thought of all the memories we shared, and I saw in her eyes she was doing the same. It was because I was lost in her eyes that I almost missed the footsteps on the floor, signalling my parents were coming up the stairs. There was only one place they could be going to. I yelped and dropped down to the bed, not slowing down at all, causing me to bounce off my soft mattress and land face down on the floor. Mum opened my door a second later to see me sprawled out on my carpet.
"Sweetie, what are you doing on the ground?" Mum asked me, pulling off her ever-present jumpsuit mask. I groaned, feigning an aching body.
"Fell off the bed." I said as I pushed myself off the floor and stood up. In reality, it hadn't hurt at all. After years of ghost attacks, falling down was nothing. But my parents didn't need to know that. I smiled at them.
"Okay, well we just wanted to tell you that we are going out tonight, and won't be back until Monday afternoon." Mum said. I frowned.
"Your father has organised for us to go to Wisconsin for a romantic weekend away." Mum looked lovingly at my Dad whose eyes lit up. They really did love each other, I thought happily. Dad leant down to kiss her cheek. I made a face. Not that they need to do that, ugh (just cause I was 16 now doesn't mean I like to see my parent's sucking face – I mean who does!?). "And we just wanted to let you know. Jazz isn't going to be here either, deciding to stay at her dorm." Sine Jazz started college, it's been different. Not having her around as much, but she still lived here - most of the time. She rarely came home because studying to become a neurosurgeon takes up a lot of her time.
"So you'll be alone for the weekend!" Dad said happily. I gave him a quizzical look. He is happy about that? I thought curiously. Last time I was home alone a party was thrown… and I didn't even throw it!
"Of course Sam and Tucker are welcome to stay the night with you." Mum said. "Given that it is Friday today." She smiled at us before glancing at her watch. "Oh, Jack, we have to get going! It's four o'clock!" She said, looking to Dad.
"I'll get the bags and put them in the Fenton Family Assault Vehicle!" Dad yelled as he ran from the room.
"It's the RV this weekend Jack!" Mum shouted as she followed him from the room, shutting the door as she left (thank God she got into that habit!).
"Aww!" We faintly heard my Dad groan. I looked at Sam and Tucker before bursting into laughter.
"A weekend without parents or a nosy sister?" I said, grinning at my friends after we stopped laughing. "This is going to be great."
As soon as my parents left Sam, Tucker and I ventured into the Ghost Lab to find the Spectre Speeder. I preferred Sam and Tuck to use the Speeder, it gave them more protection, and an easy escape if things went sour (hey, it's happened before). I waited outside while they hopped inside the Speeder, closing the glass window behind them. I nodded in approval before transforming into Phantom. I pushed off the ground slightly and floated in the air.
"Okay, you guys ready?" I asked them through the Fenton Phone which was in my left ear.
"Yep, let's get going!" Sam said eagerly. She loved going into the Ghost Zone, and no matter how much I denied it, I loved it too. A part of me couldn't stay away from the place, which is why I now knew it off by heart, but I knew my friends were just looking for an excuse to visit again. They hadn't been there in weeks. Shaking myself from my thoughts I watched as they put on their seatbelts and started the engine. I grinned at my friends before turning to the swirling vortex of ectoplasm behind me. The Ghost Portal was the first ever invention of my parent's that actually worked with no side effects-that they know of. A side-effect of me turning on the Portal was me becoming half-ghost, which I wouldn't trade for anything. Sure I'd had difficulties with being half-ghost and sometimes wanted to be normal, but now, I can't picture my life going any other way. I shot my friends one last look before flying forward, my body tingling as I entered the Ghost Zone. I knew that my friends didn't feel that tingle, and when I finally asked Frostbite about it, he told me it was because my ghost half recognised the Ghost Zone as home and that all ghosts felt like that once they reached the GZ. In less than a second I was in the Ghost Zone, my friends close behind me. I smiled as I caught sight of the familiar black and green landscape of the GZ and as usual, purple doors hung above, below and around us.
"It never ceases to amaze me how cool this place is." Sam said as she and Tucker appeared beside me. I nodded in agreement. Then I remembered something.
"Hey guys, follow me, I want to show you something." I said before flying off, my friends hastily chasing after me. I slowed down enough for them to be able to follow me easily, without getting lost. The place I was going was easy to get to – but only if you knew your way there (I know, it's contradictory – Clockwork said it would help protect the place from any humans or hunters stupid enough to venture in here. Hey, you'd be surprised, it's happened before, the poor Guys in White never knew what hit them…on a completely different and unrelated note Skulker, Johnny 13, Youngblood and I had a fun target practice that day…). I was so excited to show Sam and Tucker what I had been working on for so long, the reasons why I hadn't been able to do homework (well, another reason really) and not socialise with people as much (not that I really did much to begin with). While we flew, Tucker must have gotten bored as I suddenly heard music blaring through the Fenton Phone. I clutched at my head in pain as the loud noise pierced my sensitive hearing. My flight was affected by my sudden movement, causing me to drop to the left and I found myself flying straight towards Klemper's Realm. I gasped and corrected my flight. If I went near Klemper I'd have him following me for the rest of the night, and I did not need that again. It took me hours to get rid of him last time.
"Tucker!" I heard Sam shout as I flew back up towards the Spectre Speeder which had stopped when I'd dropped from sight. "Turn that crap off!"
"Tuck, remember how I told you not to use the Fenton Phones as wireless headphones without warning us?" I said as I came back up into their view. I glared at my best friend who shot me a sheepish look.
"Sorry Danny, I was getting bored and wanted to put on some music." He apologized. I nodded.
"That's okay Tuck, but please, no music through the phones." I said, turning around and flying off.
"And besides, you don't have the best taste in music." Sam said. I heard the Speeder follow me as Sam and Tucker continued to argue.
"I totally do have good music taste!"
"You fell for Ember's music!"
"You listen to crappy bands!" Tucker shouted back. My eyes widened.
"Dude, did you seriously just insult Short Stack, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco and Good Charlotte?" I said incredulously, glancing over my shoulder at my two best friends. Tucker looked terrified as Sam stared at him.
"What did you say?" She asked, her voice low and deadly. I saw Tucker shrink in his seat.
"I, uh, nothing." He said, fidgeting under Sam's direct gaze. It was then I saw a sight that gave me an option to intrude on this argument.
"Hey guys, Skulker's Island coming up, keep your eyes out." I said to them, distracting them.
"On it." Sam said, obviously letting Tucker's comment slip. I smiled to myself. Sometimes my friends were easily agitated by each other, but it was even easier for them to forget about it.
"Want me to turn this thing on Danny? It's called…EctoSonar." Tucker asked me. I shook my head violently and spun to face them so I was flying backwards.
"No!" I said loudly, causing my friends to jump. "Sorry, not the Sonar, that thing hurts. It's like a whale's sonar, except only ghosts can hear it, and it's so loud and it shrieks and gives me major headaches." I explained. Tucker nodded his head. "Found that out the hard way." I remember Dad had just made it and was so excited he turned it on immediately. Needless to say I cried out and covered my ears and tried to block it out but it didn't work. He kept it on only for a short time but it still gave me a huge headache that lasted ages.
"So no EctoSonar, and I don't know what these new buttons do so I think we will just rely on visuals." Tucker said. I nodded and flipped over, once again flying normally. We passed Skulker's Island with no issues and moved on. We passed Ember's house (yes it is literally a house, well more of a Rocker's Mansion, with the words EMBER MCLAIN written above the front door surrounded by flames), Technus's Door and the Box Ghost's Warehouse. We saw many ghosts as we flew along, and none tried to attack us. We saw Johnny 13 and Kitty who were obviously on a date, sitting on one of the lavish islands that belonged to no ghost, Youngblood was dressed as Indiana Jones and was chasing his parrot who now had the appearance of a monkey and many others. Then I saw a familiar ghost dressed in black skinny jeans, red heels, a tight red strapless crop top that revealed her flat stomach with a belly piercing and a tattoo of a sun around her belly button. Her long red hair was the colour of fresh blood and had the appearance of flames, just like Ember's. Her blue eyes caught sight of me and her plump red lips parted in a smile. I shot her a grin and waved. She was standing with a male punk rocker ghost who looked eerily like one of Ember's band members.
"Hey Danny! It's been too long! Where have you been?" She shouted out to me as she waved back.
"Around." I grinned again as she rolled her red eyes at my answer. "Sorry I haven't visited, I've been super busy lately. I can't stop now but I'll definitely catch up with you later!" I shouted as I flew past.
"You taking them where I think you're taking them?" She yelled back. I nodded. She smiled. "See you later Danny!" She gave me a wave as she turned back to her friend.
"Who was that Danny?" Sam asked, her voice sounding strange. I glanced at her. She looked tense and her hands were tight on the steering wheel for the Speeder.
"Her name's Blaize, we met a while ago, she was helping me with a project of sorts. She's pretty cool." I grinned. "See what I did there? Cause she's a Fire core ghost, like Ember and I said she was cool?" I heard Tucker snort. "Ah never mind." I said, chuckling to myself as I looked back in front of me.
"That was lame man." Tucker snickered.
"Hey, we are almost there!" I said happily, ignoring Tucker's comment. I could feel their excitement and curiosity from outside the Speeder. We passed several more doors that seemed to be identical to the ones we had passed before, although each was as individual as the next in my opinion.
"Almost where dude? I just want to know already! The suspense is killing me!" Tucker exclaimed. I laughed.
"You'll see." I replied cryptically. Within seconds a dark shape began to form in the distance. I smiled and sped up, causing the Spectre Speeder to fall behind for a moment before it did the same. I came to a stop in front of a large Island and waited for my friends to catch up.
"Dude, why'd you speed up?" Tucker asked me when they came up behind me. I glanced at them before moving out of the way, letting them see what I'd been working on for so long. Silence greeted me; they were speechless.
"Danny…this is amazing!" Sam said enthusiastically. In front of us floated an island, but not just any island – my island. Clockwork mentioned how I had a home in the human world and that since I was part ghost I should have a home in the ghost world too. I had taken his advice and made myself a place on an island that was unoccupied by any ghost. I had a few friends help out with the Island, Blaize being one of the main ones. Clockwork gave me a hand and so did Frostbite and his people. Frostbite was very glad that The Great One was going to be spending more time in the Ghost Zone now I had my own place. Pandora also assisted with building the place along with a few others. Green trees dotted a quarter of the island, surrounding a small pool of water that included a waterfall that emerged from one of the cliffs bordering the Northern side of the island (yes the Ghost Zone has water believe it or not) that was perfect for swimming. The ground of the island was grassy and green and softer than you could even imagine, Frostbite had helped with that part (who knew a ghost of ice could find summer grass in the GZ without freezing it?). In the middle of the island there was a building the dark colour of my human hair and on the side of the building was my pure white insignia. Clockwork had rigged it so that no matter what direction you came from you could see my symbol shining on the obsidian surface. The building vaguely resembled a huge three story mansion, complete with columns holding up a second story balcony above the front door. The windows on the ground floor stretched up the full length of the first story while on the third floor, the balcony surrounded the entire right side of the mansion. On the roof there was a flat section that I had designed; in the human world it would be used for stargazing, but here it was just for relaxation.
"What do you guys think?" I asked my friends, turning to face them. They looked awed.
"It's awesome! Can we check it out?" Tucker asked eagerly. I laughed.
"Duh, that's why I brought you guys here. We just finished it last week."
"We?" Sam asked as she directed the Spectre Speeder to land by the mansion. I nodded as I flew down beside them.
"Yeah, Clockwork gave me a hand, so did Frostbite and Johnny 13 and Kitty came by for a bit. But it was mainly Blaize who helped with the decoration and all." I replied, landing softly on the thick grass next to the Speeder. Tucker was the first out of the door, darting to the front door of the mansion.
"Dude, this place is awesome! You have actual columns to hold up a balcony!"
"That's nothing, Tuck. Look closely at the columns." I grinned. He took a step towards it and laughed.
"It's got engravings!" He said. I nodded.
"Blaize and I decided to decorate them by carving in scenes of the fights and victories I've had." I said.
"Blaize helped you?" Sam said, coming over to stand beside me. I nodded and looked at her.
"You okay Sam?" I asked, frowning at her facial expression. I couldn't pick exactly what it was but she looked annoyed.
"Peachy." She replied bluntly before joining Tucker at the front door. I shrugged and followed them. They were looking up at the giant doors, their eyes wide.
"Cool huh?" I said, following their eyes. On the doors in front of us was one giant carving of my insignia, coloured completely white that had a ghostly glow to it. "It glows cause it's got ghostly energy in it. These doors will only open to those I allow." I smiled.
"That's awesome Danny!" Sam said, her earlier moodiness gone.
"Come on, let's go inside." I said, pushing open the doors and stepping over the threshold. Sam and Tucker tried to step inside but were blocked by an invisible force. "Oh sorry I completely forgot. Tucker Terrence Foley, I grant you permission to enter Phantom Mansion." I said. Tucker stepped inside, nothing stopping him now. Sam laughed.
"Terrence?" She snickered again. Tucker's cheeks turned red.
"It was my Grandad's name." He replied, crossing his arms.
"Samantha Penelope Manson, I grant you permission to enter Phantom Mansion." I said to Sam and she stepped over the threshold while Tucker burst into laughter.
"Penelope? And you gave me shit for my middle name." He guffawed. Sam walked up to him and casually punched him in the arm. Hard.
"Shut up, and tell no one." She growled at him. Tucker immediately shut up and rubbed his arm. I rolled my eyes.
"Come on guys, let's move, I'll show you around then we better head back, you still have to ask your parents if you can stay at mine." I said, turning and leading the way through the house. In the foyer columns once again lined the inside, leading the way across the marble floor and to a giant staircase that lead to the second floor. I turned to my left and lead my friends into the living room (oh the irony of that room). A giant plasma TV was on the wall opposite us and in front of it was a giant black couch that was seriously comfortable. Next to the couch were two coffee tables and in front of the couch was a footrest. As we walked inside the room my friends saw the popcorn machine and bar, stocked with human and ghostly food and drink (yes ghosts do eat and drink, we don't need to, it's just a habit – and you should try the Morte Cake, it's to die for – see what I did there? No? Okay).
"That TV is huge! It looks like a cinema TV, just smaller." Tucker said, gushing over the hi-tech device.
"Yeah, Technus hooked me up. But that's nothing. You should see the Cinema Room on Level Two." I grinned at their shocked faces.
"You had Technus help? What if he rigged it to explode or something?" Sam said, stepping away from the TV. I shook my head.
"I had Clockwork check it out. Ember and Skulker also gave me a hand, said that since I'll be spending more time in the Ghost Zone it makes it easier to hunt me." I snickered.
"Okay, if you're sure." Sam said uneasily, but trusting my judgement. "Let's see the rest of the place." I lead them through the kitchen, showed them the bathroom, which was bigger than my bedroom back at my house in the human world, with a spa the size of a king sized bed and a shower cubicle big enough to fit all three of us in there easily. I then lead them upstairs to the second floor and showed them the Cinema Room, the games room and the bedrooms. It wasn't til we were back in the hallway that I told my friends about the third floor.
"There isn't much on Level Three, mainly ghost equipment and some extra stuff."
"Extra stuff?" Sam questioned. I shrugged and avoided answering.
"Oh just spare stuff, kinda like an attic." I replied vaguely. I didn't want to tell them what extra stuff was really up there. I shook myself from my thoughts and walked down the hall. The hallway was white carpet and the walls were the same shade of cream as the downstairs walls (you detecting a theme here?). Along the walls were portraits and pictures that showed my life as a Halfa. There was a picture of the Ghost Portal at the beginning of the hall across the other side and as we walked it progressed, showing different situations I had been in. My personal favourite was the picture of me fighting Pariah Dark when I was fourteen. I was in the ExoSkeleton and the look on my face was intimidating. I had been scared, obviously since Pariah was the one ghost that every other ghost fled from. Except me. The determination to protect my friends, family and town was reason enough to stay. I stopped when I saw Sam and Tucker pause at one specific picture. I turned and saw what they were looking at. It was the picture that depicted my death. I knew my friends felt guilty because they blamed themselves for my half-death, but in the end it was for the best, now I could help people. Who knew I'd have to die before that could happen? I thought wryly to myself. The picture on the wall was one of the biggest pictures in the mansion, stretching a meter wide and two meters tall. Looking at this photo always gave me chills as I remembered the pain I went through that day. The image was of me in the Portal, green and white ectoplasmic energy surrounding me. My eyes were wide open and my lips were twisted in a grimace of pain. My hands were up by my neck as my body had tried to curl in on itself, but couldn't because of all the energy that was flowing out of the Portal. As I watched the photo, the eyes of my past self turned from blue to bright green, my hair went from black to white and my jumpsuit turned white to black.
"Clockwork helped me rig it so that the colours change back and forth." I said, my voice loud in the sudden quiet. "It gives it a more…realistic look." The agony in the now-green eyes was unimaginable. I had told my friends that it had been painful, but this photo showed them just how bad it had been.
"Oh Danny…" Sam whispered. "I had no idea it was that bad…" She reached out and took my hand in hers before tearing her eyes away from the picture. When I looked into her violet eyes I saw they were filled with guilt.
"It's okay Sam, I'm fine now. It only lasted for a little while." I said, squeezing her hand trying to comfort her. She smiled faintly and I could almost hear her thinking 'he's the one who died and yet he is comforting me. Ugh it's all my fault'.
"I'll always comfort you Sam and it is not your fault." I said aloud. Her eye widened.
"How did you know that's what I was thinking?" She asked me. I blinked at her.
"I was just thinking 'he's the one who died and yet he is comforting me', and that it was all my fault. How did you know I was thinking that?" She asked again. I opened my mouth then closed it again.
"I, uh, I thought I thought that's what you thought."
"What?" She asked, confused.
"Well, I thought that's what I figured you were thinking, I didn't know I got it exact. Maybe I know you really well?" I said, shrugging. Sam let my hand go.
"Hmm. Or maybe it's a new power!" She said excitedly, her eyes clearing up. I looked at her.
"I haven't had a new power in ages, not since telekinesis last year." I said, shaking my head.
"So? You thought your Ghostly Wail was your final power, then along came Telekinesis." Sam said, crossing her arms. Her eyebrows lowered and she shifted her weight onto one leg. Uh oh, I thought. I recognise this stance. It was her 'I'm right, don't challenge me I will destroy you' pose. I couldn't help but grin at the familiarity of it.
"How do I know if it is a new power or not?" I asked her. She rolled her eyes.
"You test it, duh." She said, smiling at me. I facepalmed.
"Oh of course." I replied.
"Guess what I'm thinking." Tucker said, moving beside Sam to stand in front of me. I looked him in the eyes and concentrated. After a few seconds of me staring unblinkingly into his eyes, Tucker began to fidget. A few more seconds passed and just as I was about to give up, I felt a tingling in my head, not unlike the feeling I got when I used my telekinesis. Soon enough, I began to hear his thoughts. At first it was like a humming or bad static from a radio in my mind, but it soon cleared up.
Does he have to stare into my eyes like that? It's so unnerving.
"I never thought you'd be one to use the word 'unnerving' Tuck." I said with a grin. His eyes widened.
"Holy crap you can read minds!" He exclaimed as Sam raised an eyebrow, her version of saying 'I was right'.
"Apparently so." I said with another grin. Suddenly I had an idea. "Hmm. I wonder." I looked Sam in the eyes and concentrated. She looked confused.
"Danny, what are you –"Tucker began.
"Shh, I'm trying something."
"Trying what?" Sam asked. I didn't answer or break eye contact. I reached for the same part of me that read their minds before. Sure enough the tingles appeared again.
What is that moron doing? Sam's thoughts sounded as if she were speaking aloud.
I'm trying to use telepathy. I said in my head, willing Sam to hear it in her mind. By the way her eyes widened I could tell it worked.
Danny? Are you talking to me inside my head? She thought. Or am I going nuts?
Can't go where you already are, I said in her head. She laughed, causing Tucker to look at us weird.
That was so lame. She replied and I could hear the laughter in her mental voice. I grinned at her.
"Guys, what is happening?" Tucker asked, his voice filled with confusion. I glanced at him, breaking eye contact, but I could still feel Sam's mind. Most people would think it was a dark place since she is a Goth and all, but her mind was more peaceful and happy than I expected. Sure there were some dark spots I could feel, but I didn't venture in too far because that's an invasion of privacy, yet I could still get a vague reading. I pulled myself from her mind and turned my attention to Tucker.
"Sorry Tuck." I said aloud. "Turns out I am telepathic." Suddenly I heard a slight beeping noise. I looked to Sam. "What is that?" She looked confused. "I hear beeping." I said. Sam glanced down at her watch and her eyes widened.
"Oh wow, guys it's six o'clock!" She said, looking back up at us. My eyes widened.
"Guys, you still gotta ask if you're allowed to stay at mine this weekend." At Tucker's pointed look I changed my sentence. "Let me rephrase, Sam you need to ask your parents, Tucker's I know will say yes." Sam rolled her eyes.
"Fine, I'll call when we get back to our Dimension." She said. I laughed as we began to walk back downstairs. Two years ago, hearing that sentence would've made me think that the person is a lunatic, now it's normal for me. I thought as we reached the Spectre Speeder.
"Phantom Mansion was awesome dude!" Tucker said as he started the engines.
"Yeah, next time I'll show you the rest of Phantom Island." I said, pushing off the ground and flying up into the ghostly green skies.
"I'm actually surprised your parents said yes to letting you stay over for the weekend Sam." I said a few hours later when we were laying on the couch in front of the TV. We had ordered in Pizza for dinner, paid with Sam's limitless credit card (must be nice having millionaire parents) then sat down and watched a movie.
"Same here Danny." Tucker said. "How did you manage to convince your parents?" He turned in his chair and shot Sam a suspicious look.
"Yeah Sam, your parents hate me with a passion. How in the world did you manage to convince them to let you stay at my house for the entire weekend?" I asked Sam who was sitting next to me on the couch. She leant back and crossed her arms.
"I made a deal with them." She said. I frowned.
"What kind of deal?" I asked cautiously.
"I said I'd go to their benefit next week." She sighed. I started laughing.
"You in a dress? Oh wow that I'd pay to see." I snickered. I'd only ever seen Sam in a dress once and that was two years ago. She didn't like wearing dresses, especially ones her parents picked out for her.
"Yeah, well you're gonna see it for free. You're coming with me Danny."
"What!" I exclaimed, my laughter cut off. "Why am I going?" Sam smiled.
"I'm staying at your house; you can come with me to the benefit." She said, her voice smug. I sighed.
"I have no choice do I?" I said. Sam shook her head. I groaned.
"Fine, I'll go, but do I have to wear a suit?" I asked. Sam nodded. I sighed. "Great." Tucker laughed and I shot him a dirty look.
"Okay guys, let's just watch the movie." Tucker said, hiding his grin by turning towards the TV. I rolled my eyes.
"What even is this movie?" I asked a few minutes later. Sam shrugged.
"I have no idea." She yawned. I shook my head. We had been watching this for over an hour and had no idea what it was. Shows how much we pay attention I thought amusedly. I stifled a yawn and stretched my arms, resting my right arm on the back of the couch behind Sam. I leant back, resting my head on the cushion behind me. I closed my eyes and smiled, relaxing into the soft couch. After a few minutes just as I was about to doze off, I felt a pressure on my right shoulder. I opened one eye and looked down. Sam had fallen asleep and her head was leaning on me. I smiled again as she sighed and shuffled in closer. I closed my eyes and rested my head on hers just as sleep claimed me.