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Vlad Masters sat behind his desk, and stared at Skulker.
"You have to be kidding!" he said.
"No, boss, I'm not. It's all on this disk," Skulker replied, handing Vlad the floppy.
"Very well; here is your fee," said Vlad. He pressed a button on his desk, and a moment later the door opened. Desiree, the Wishing Ghost, drifted in. She looked unhappy, but resigned to her fate.
"Ah, wonderful!" said Skulker, rubbing his hands together and grinning, "She will be the crowning jewel in my collection!" Desiree shuddered and closed her eyes.
He pressed a button on his costume, and a green beam hit Desiree, locking around her wrists.
Another button, and his jetpack wings emerged. "Come with me," he told her, and she nodded. He turned intangible, and flew up through the ceiling. Desiree shot Vlad a venomous look, and followed.
Vlad put the floppy into his computer, and looked at the files. He shook his head as he read them. 'If only I had known,' he thought, 'I wouldn't have been so quick to destroy her. She had been the key to dominating the entire Ghost Zone! All that power in my grasp, and I let it go.' He sighed. 'Well, what's done is done. I'll check on Daniel soon, and see what I can throw at him next...'
Time had passed since Ember's return from being nearly destroyed by Vlad. The school year had ended, and the four friends had more time together.
One evening found Ember and Sam sitting in Sam's room. Ember was playing for Sam a song she had written called "Invisible Girl". It was a sad tale of a girl who loved a guy, but he never saw her.
"Wow," said Sam as the song ended, "The emotional impact is impressive. Great job!"
"Thanks," said Ember, taking a sip of water.
"How many songs does that make now?" asked Sam.
"Eight. A few more, and I'll have enough for a new album!" was the reply.
"When you're finished, I'll talk to my dad, and we'll see if we can get your career started again," said Sam, stretching.
"That would be great. And this time, I'll do it on my own. No spells," said Ember.
"Well, I believe in you, and your talent," said Sam.
"I know. And thanks," said Ember. Her hair stirred and grew a fraction of an inch.
"Well, I want a snack," said Sam, getting up. "Back in a few minutes." She didn't offer Ember anything, knowing full well the ghost girl only needed water occasionally. Not doing so made her feel rude, but Ember had assured her there was no offense taken.
While Sam was gone, Ember floated at the window, looking out over Amity Park. She was worried.
It had been some time since Vlad Plasmius had been defeated while trying to capture Ember.
He was still out there, and the punishment he had promised her, being sealed in an iron box,
was still waiting. She figured it was only a matter of time before he struck again. Besides,
she felt it wasn't safe to go public again until he was out of the picture.
A few minutes later, Sam returned, and sat down on her bed. She had brought a small salad with her.
"I've been meaning to ask," she said between bites, "Did you start your career before you became a ghost?"
Ember stopped and thought for a minute, then got a puzzled look on her face. "I- I don't know. I don't have any memory of before I became a ghost."
"None at all?" asked Sam, looking puzzled in her turn.
Ember shook her head. "No. My first memory is opening my eyes in the Ghost Zone. I could remember my name, but nothing else. I wonder why I never thought of that before."
"That's strange," commented Sam, finishing her salad.
"Yeah... I wonder what I was like," said Ember, softly.
"We can do a web search, if you want," said Sam, gesturing at the computer.
"Okay, now I'm curious," said Ember, "Let's do it."
Half an hour later, they admitted defeat. They had brought up many fan sites, most no longer
updated, articles and news that was old. They found her debut articles, but nothing before
then. On an off-chance, they tried looking for an obituary, school announcements, anything,
but had no luck. It was if Ember had come out of nowhere.
Sam looked up at her ghostly roommate. "This is getting really wierd. Maybe we'd better call it a night, and talk to Danny and Tuck tomorrow."
"Good idea. I need some time to think about it, anyway," replied Ember.
Sam brushed her teeth, changed into her night clothes, turned out the light, and went to bed. Somewhere in the room, Ember watched over her.
Sam lay in the dark, eyes closed. She started to relax, and drift towards sleep.
"Sam?" came Ember's voice.
Sam didn't open her eyes. "Yeah?"
"Can...can I ask you for a favor?" said Ember.
"Sure," replied Sam.
"Okay, this is gonna sound really wierd, but..." her voice trailed off.
"But?" Sam prompted.
"Will you... will you let me lie down next to you?" asked Ember.
"Plenty of room on the bed," said Sam, slightly annoyed, "You know that."
"No, I mean lie down right next to you," clarified Ember.
There was a long minute of silence. "Why?" said Sam, at last.
"Your body heat," said Ember, embarrassed.
"Excuse me?" said Sam, turning and looking into the dark room. She saw no sign of her ghostly roommate.
Ember sighed, and began to glow a faint green, letting Sam know where she was. She drifted down cross legged, and landed on the bed. Sam's eyes followed her. The bed barely stirred when she landed.
"You know how cold I am," she started.
"Well, the heat from living beings is the only kind we ghosts can feel. I mean, I could stand in the middle of a furnace, and not feel anything. But you are like being near a campfire on a cold night. I'm just a-asking if you will share that with me," said Ember.
Sam turned back to her original position, but said nothing.
The silence stretched long, until Ember broke it. "Too personal? I'm sorry," she said.
"It's not that," said Sam, "I was just thinking that, since you don't sleep, you could snuggle up next to me all night, and I'd never know."
"I wouldn't do that. I respect you and your privacy too much. I normally don't notice the cold, but lately I have been. This would give me some relief from it," said Ember.
Another silence followed, and Sam finally said, "Okay, you can. Just don't freeze me out."
"I won't. And thank you so much," said Ember. She lay down with her back to Sam, and drifted to within a few inches of her. "Mmmm...that's much better," she murmured.
"If you absorb enough heat from me, would that make you feel warm to me?" asked Sam.
"Uh... I don't know... but I doubt it," was the reply.
"Okay. But you are right about one thing..." said Sam.
"And that is?" asked Ember.
"It IS wierd," said Sam.
Again, Sam relaxed, and drifted off to sleep. Ember lay and basked in the heat from the living girl who was her best friend.