Now onward with quite a long chapter.
Chapter 9: A Haunted Past
Danny sat on the floor, sighed, and began his story:
“It was little more than a week ago when everything happened. Sam and Tucker were stuck helping their parents that evening, so I was left to patrol the city alone. After several uneventful hours, I was about to call it quits and head home. It was at that moment that, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Vlad pass by holding something. Curious, I decided to follow him and see what he was up too. He eventually led me to the park, which had developed a small portal to the ghost zone. It was then that I recognized the article that Vlad was holding; it was the Infi-map, a map of the ghost zone that can tell the time and location of temporary ghost portals. After watching Vlad disappear into the void, I instinctively followed him, knowing that he could only be up to no good. Since the ghost zone is mostly open space, I turned myself invisible so that I would be able to follow him without being detected. After following him for what felt like hours, he finally stopped and landed on a large, floating land mass that was almost completely covered by a glowing green fungus. I watched as Vlad landed on one of the few areas of land not covered by this fungus, and using a pair of tongs, pull a small sample out of the ground. Pulling out what appeared to be a small scanner, he began analyzing the fungus’s cellular structure, while pulling another sample out of the ground and placing it in a sample tube and sealing it. Looking back at the scanner, Vlad let out a roar of frustration.
“Three weeks of analyzing these spores and still nothing. The infi-map was able to lead me to this, saying it is one of the most powerful materials in the entire ghost zone, but it is less than worthless. All I discovered so far is that it is spectral in nature that embeds itself into a host, much like a parasite. The small boost of power is not worth the after effects. But maybe, there is something else. It does react when exposed to ectoplasmic energy. I might as well keep playing with this stuff.”
At that time, I it was time to rain on Vlad’s parade. I flew down and snatched the sealed spore from him and turned visible again; just in time to deliver a well placed punch to his face. My sneak attack, which caught him off guard, sent him flying out over the spore field. Regaining his composure, he turned to face me with a look of rage in his eyes.
“Hey, Vladdy, that’s from my Mom! And, green has never been your color.” I joked as I played with the sample tube I had swiped.
“What are you doing here? And give me back my sample of spectral spore. It is of no use to you.” he demanded.
“I should be asking you the same thing. I don’t know what your up to Vlad, but what ever it is, it has something to do with this.” I said, as I placed the sample on my belt loop.
Snarling, Vlad made the first move, firing an energy blast right towards me. Jumping out of the way, I retaliated with an energy beam of my own, striking him directly in the chest. The force of the blast caused Vlad to wince in pain but he quickly recovered, glaring at me.
“I will ask you one last time. Give that sample back to me Daniel.” he demanded.
“I heard you say you wanted it because it was powerful. And if this stuff can give you more power, well, that’s all the motivation I need to keep you away from it.”
Vlad’s body tensed up as his eye’s glowed red. “You have no idea what you are dealing with, do you boy?” He then split his body into three Vlads and charged me. I was able to vaporize one of the clones but the other two quickly overpowered me, each striking me with an ectoplasmic blast. The blast felt like thousands of volts of electricity flowing through my body. I collapsed to the ground, giving Vlad time to fire another barrage of energy. With barely time to react, I formed a protective dome of energy around me, allowing the beams to bounce off harmlessly. As I struggled to get up, I heard the Vlads laughing at me. “Don’t you see Daniel, you can’t beat me. You will never be strong enough to beat me. Why don’t you just go home before you hurt yourself?”
Being a stubborn teenage boy, I was unable to acknowledge my own weakness. I did, however, knew that Vlad was still much stronger than I was and that I could never beat him in my present state. Remembering what Vlad said about the spore and its affects on power, I stood up and uncorked the tube. Vlad, obviously aware of what I was about to do, screamed “Daniel, NO! Applying that spore to yourself will kill you. I have seen many ghosts phase out of existence under the influence of the spectral spores.”
But I was too proud and determined to beat him that I completely ignored everything he tired to tell me. I removed the glove on my right hand and turned the tube upside down over my hand, allowing the spore to fall directly onto my bare skin and attach itself. Almost instantly I felt the spore engrain itself onto my skin, filling me with an incredible power, the likes of which I’ve never felt before. However as the power continued to flow into my body, I could feel it taking control of me. It felt much like being overshadowed by a ghost, but it left me in control mentally but not physically. Eventually, it completely overwhelmed me and I was lost to it. It was like being trapped in my own body, helpless to escape. I watched as the spore dug itself into my skin, filling and completely overshadowing my body. I watched helplessly as I fired the most intense energy blast at Vlad, destroying his clone and sending him flying through the air, completely weakened. I flew up halfway towards him, stopped and turned around to face the spore field.
“If this field is so integral to your plan, then I guess it has to go.” I said, or at least my body said. I moved my hands close together and formed a ball of pure ecto-energy between them, hundreds of times more powerful than anything I had ever fired before. I heard Vlad mutter “No. Don’t.” from behind me but I had no control. I watched as my body fired the blast directly at the field. With my energy drained from the blast, I started to regain control of my body again; the spore however remained embedded under the surface of my skin. What happened next, I will never forget.
The blast, which should have completely vaporized the field, did nothing. As it approached the field, I watched as small bolts of energy jumped between the spore field and the energy blast. With each bolt, my attack got smaller and smaller; eventually being completely absorbed by the field before it ever made contact. The energy absorbed caused the entire field to glow a ghastly shade of green, before……..the entire field exploded with energy. The shock wave from the explosion of my energy, magnified thousands of timed by the spores, sent me and Vlad flying through the ghost zone; so far that we were actually blown back through the temporary portal in the Park. However, it didn’t end there.
Being a temporary ghost portal, it was incredibly unstable to begin with. I watched as the energy that blasted us out continued to rise from the portal, creating an ecto-storm of a magnitude that had only been imagined before; The energy escaping from the portal like a geyser. The storm was so incredibly powerful that it turned the portal into a temporal rip in the dimensions, which began to grow. Vlad, fearing the worst, flew off. What he did after that, I can’t say. I, however, was frozen in place; unable to move as the rip continued to move closer towards me. I probably would have died right then and there, but the next thing I knew, I was facing an ancient ghost named Clockwork, the ghost master of time. Around my neck hung a medallion shaped like a clock gear with a CW insignia within it. I looked and saw that he had frozen time, preventing the rip from expanding.
“Good.” He said. “I was afraid I was going to be too late.”
“I was out studying the spectral spore phenomenon when I saw you create that explosion. I knew what was going to happen to the portal, but my hands are tied when it comes to changing the future. Well, with the exception of the Dark Phantom incident.”
He sighed and continued, “The spores have infected the deeper half of the ghost zone, including my castle. I have it contained within a time field to speed up the cleansing process. As all knowing as I am, I am at a loss over this parasite.” He reached into his purple robe and pulled out a white glove. “Here you go, Danny. You left this behind in the ghost zone. I attached a time charm to it to keep the spore from overpowering you as long as you wear it.” He handed the glove to me and I immediately placed it over my right hand. I could feel the burning sensation of the spore melt away as it moved back to the surface of my skin, turning dormant.
“Wow, thanks Clockwork. But now what? What am I to do?”
He handed me a second medallion and said “With my castle consumed my powers are limited. I can only keep time frozen for a short time. Vlad will not stop on his quest to uncover the secrets of the spectral spores. You must leave Amity Park before time begins to flow again and find out what he is planning on doing. Use this second medallion to get some help. You should have no more than thirty minutes to get out of town. We will see each other again. Good luck, ghost-child.” And with those words, he flew back into the time-frozen storm and disappeared back into the ghost zone.
Realizing that time was still against me, my first instinct was to quickly fly home. Upon reaching home, I found my parents sitting frozen in the living room, playing checkers, and Jazz sitting in the corner reading. I gave the second medallion to her, allowing her to move freely despite Clockworks spell. After quickly explaining the situation to her, we went into the basement and gathered up everything we could possibly grad and stuffed it into the trailer, which had thankfully been attached to the RV earlier that day. With only minutes to spare, we had managed to pack up everything of value from the house. I flew back inside to grab Mom and Dad while Jazz started up the RV. As I fazed them through the RV, I could see the effects of Clockwork’s powers start to wear off. Jazz floored the car, taking off away from the ecto-storm. With time moving forward, I was forced to revert to my human form, less my parents discover that I was the ghost-boy. We had just reached the city limits when time began to move forward again. Mom and Dad, returning to the present time, became completely befuddled with their surroundings. I pointed to the city and ecto-storm through the window of the RV while Jazz continued to drive. Their faces turned as pale as a ghost as they watched the town being consumed.
Right then it hit me. Sam and Tucker. They were still in the city; and then I lost it. I screamed out their names and cried as I watched the entire town become consumed by the storm; the storm that I created. My father even had to hold me back so that I wouldn’t jump out of the car to go back for them. My mother came over and held me close, a single tear running down her face. She just kept repeating “Everything will be fine.” I don’t know if this was as much for me as it was for her to keep her sanity. I looked down at my hand, at my protected right hand and cursed under my breath. It was then that I felt a new emotion growing deep within me, vengeance. I swore on the lives of Sam and Tucker that I would not only defeat Vald, but kill him.”
Danny sighed as he finished his story, looking up at the shocked faces of his friends. He was surprised they were still staring at him; he had half expected them to curse him in disgust but that never came. What did follow was an even greater shock to him. Danielle, who had reverted to her brown haired human form, walked over to Danny and put a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see Danielle smiling at him. “It wasn’t your fault, cousin. It was Vlad’s.” She said.
Blossom soon followed suit saying, “We have all made mistakes that have cost us dear. My sisters and I lost our fourth sister who we made unstable. We all know how hard it is to lose someone from a mistake. Ask Dexter.” Dexter, who had remained silent and deep in thought, finally spoke up. “It was my sister. During the middle of a fight between me and my rival, Mandark, she…died protecting me from a bullet. I am forced to live with that burden. I know how hard it is to lose someone close to you but life must go on. It was a mistake that I will take to my grave but I will make sure that it does not happen again.”
With these words, Danny broke down and cried. Afraid for her brother, Jazz ran over to him, thinking he was at wits end when she noticed he was smiling. Danny looked up at Jazz and then at his friend. “Thank you.” he said. “I thought I was alone in this. That no one would want to get close to me again. I guess I was wrong. You are truly good friends, all of you. And I will die before I let anything happen to you or Megaville.”