Author's Note: The only way this is going to make sense is if, A) you've seen the genius two parter The Ghost Next Door or B) read the book. The best Goosebumps book ever, although that's just my opinion. This follows that story in the short future. Short, but fulfilling.

The Forest for the Trees
by Haley ( )

The shadow was back.

Danny Anderson flew through the dark forest, underbrush scraping harshly at his bare ankles. His sneakered feet pounded against the dirt, and all the little blond boy knew was that he had to run.

Had to escape from the sinewy black shadow that wanted to swallow his entire existence.

Danny wasn't even sure when it had surfaced in his dreams, but he was positive it hadn't resided there in the few days he knew Hannah Fairchild. That entire situation had been so confusing to begin with; how the redhead had actually been sent back from beyond the grave to protect him from something.

If only she could protect him from this.

Somewhere inside, though, Danny knew it was a dream. Knew that he wasn't being chased by an unseen assailant in the thick, dark woods. And knew that he was safe, at home, tucked in his very own bed.

Yeah, he knew, but at the very real feeling of fear that swept over his body as the shadow did as well, the boy didn't really give a damn about dreamland and reality. Danny could rationalize until he woke: it was still the present for him, and he was presently in grave danger.

"Danny..." a dark, dry, evil voice, calling his name. Beckoning him from close behind; but he didn't look back. Hot, sulfur smelling breath rushed up through white blond hair as he picked up speed, seeing the dark green trees in a blur of color around him.

And then, his tiny body smashed to a halt. Rather, smashed into someone. A taller, thin, red-haired female someone, with soft enchanting brown eyes. "Hannah?" he attempted to inquire breathlessly, but all air had been harshly knocked from his lungs.

Hannah, in all her twelve-year-old-ghost glory, simply standing there above him. She then looked up at the thing, the floating shadow that loomed over Danny menacingly, and simply glared at it. A horribly angry look that held such loathing and hatred that, the boy speculated, the thing must have caused her some harm as well. Placing herself between he and the shadow, it appeared to shrink back, then actually turned and scurried on it's way.

That was when Danny Anderson finally noticed his surroundings. No longer was he lost in the thick, dark overgrown woods, with no beacon in the night to guide his way. Instead, he was lying on a patch of soft, mossy green grass in the middle of a sunlit clearing. He couldn't remember such a beautiful day, and the clouds seem to dust the bright blue endlessly as Hannah smiled down upon him.

Never in his dream had the boy escaped the woods. For that matter, he'd never run into his dead next door neighbor either. The neighbor that had died four years before they'd even met.

Maybe this was a sign, he thought, as her image and the flawless sky faded to make way for the cool white ceiling above his head. Maybe it had been a sign of things to come for the little boy, or something simple enough to put to an end his repetitive nightmares. Not a sign of warning, but a reassurance of the fact that maybe everything, for the first time in a long time, just might be okay.

Then again, maybe it was a sign that little Danny Anderson needed to eat less sugar before going to bed.

But, regardless of what it meant, that little boy still slept soundly through the night, and in all the nights that followed, thanks to an old friend watching over him.
-11:00 PM, April 30th, 2001