by Robert Teague
This story was written for the entertainment of Danny Phantom fans, and no copyright infringement is intended. This story may be reproduced, provided no changes are made, and you let me know.
It was 1:34 AM in Amity Park when a figure in a red cloak and hood phased through the front door of a darkened house. The being itself was well-hidden except for glowing red eyes.
It looked around in the darkened rooms, then proceeded down the hall, methodically checking each room for what it sought. If it came across a human, it came up to it and looked closely.
Each time the human would shudder in their sleep, as though pleasant dreams had just turned bad. The figure would turn and silently glide back through the door to continue the search.
It glided up the stairs without seeming to actually touch the steps, and at the top looked left and right to decide which way to go. It decided left, and began phasing through the door of each room.
In the third room on the left, it found what it was looking for. Samantha "Sam" Manson lay asleep with her back to the door. The figure stood by the edge of the bed, glowing red eyes observing her, and Sam reacted the same way everyone else had, by suddenly shivering as her dreams changed.
From the folds of the cloak, a feminine arm covered in tattoos appeared and reached towards Sam's shoulder. A few inches away it paused for a few seconds, then shook the girl gently.
Sam muttered something unintelligible, but didn't wake. The figure shook her again, a little harder.
"Geez, Danny, your hand is cold," muttered Sam, half awake. Suddenly the import of what she had said hit her, and Sam was wide awake in an instant. She sat up and turned toward the door. "Danny?"
Seeing the red-cloaked figure, she gasped and moved away from it. "Wha- who- what- how-
who are you? What do you want?" she kept inching away from the figure.
Two tattooed arms appeared from the cloak, holding her empty hands up in a 'I come in peace'
gesture. Then she reached up and pulled back her hood. A green-skinned head appeared, red eyes glowing. She was bald except for five spikes of hair, and had a ring in her nose.
Sam's eyes grew wide. "I remember you! You were in Circus Gothika! You were helping Freakshow when he had the Gauntlet of Reality!"
The ghost nodded, then handed Sam a piece of paper. Automatically Sam took it and looked.
She turned it over, then looked at the ghost.
"It's blank," she said.
The ghost shook her head, and pointed at the paper. Sam looked again, and this time could see writing on it.
I'M SORRY FOR SCARING YOU. I DIDN'T MEAN TO. MY NAME IS LYDIA, AND I NEED YOUR HELP.
"An evil ghost that works for Freakshow needs my help," said Sam, skeptically.
Lydia shook her head, and pointed at the paper.
Sam looked, and the writing had changed. She read:
I'M NOT EVIL BY NATURE. AND I DON'T "WORK" FOR HIM, I'M HIS SLAVE.
"But I thought when the Staff was broken, it freed all the ghosts. That's what Danny said,
anyway," said Sam.
NOT ME. I'VE BEEN UNDER ITS INFLUENCE TOO LONG. I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO OBEY HIM, WITH OR WITHOUT THE STAFF.
Sam sat down, no longer prepared to run. Lydia had made no hostile moves, and what she said had touched Sam.
"Suppose I believe you," said Sam, "What do you want?" She looked at the paper.
"Okay, but why come to me?" she asked.
I THOUGHT THAT YOU, BEING GOTH, WOULD UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING FREE AND BEING YOURSELF.
"Yes, I do. But I can't help. I don't have any ghost powers," Sam answered, "You should talk to Danny."
YOUR FRIEND WOULD ATTACK ME FIRST, AND ASK QUESTIONS LATER.
"Well, that's true," said Sam, giving a small smile.
Lydia pulled the hood of her cloak back up.
IF YOU WON'T HELP ME, I'LL GO. Sam read as the paper was taken from her hand. Lydia turned toward the window and moved in that direction.
Sam paused, thinking.
Lydia moved toward the window, not looking back.
"LYDIA! Wait!" said Sam, but the ghost kept going. Sam jumped up and ran to her, grabbing her by the cloak. Lydia stopped and turned, red eyes boring into Sam's violet ones.
"I can't believe I'm saying this to a ghost, but come back and sit down. Please," she said.
Lydia cocked her head at Sam, appearing to think, then went back to the bed. She took off her cloak and draped it over the back of a chair. She was still dressed as normal, knee high black boots, black bikini briefs and black corset. Her green-skinned body was covered in animal tattoos. She sat down on the bed and gave the paper back to Sam.
Sam sat down beside her. "Tell me your story."
Lydia nodded and pointed at the paper.
I WAS THE FIRST GHOST CAPTURED AND ENSLAVED BY FREAKSHOW'S FAMILY MANY YEARS AGO. THEY USED ME IN THEIR TRAVELLING CIRCUS AS AN ATTRACTION, AS LABOR, AN ERRAND GIRL, AND IN PRIVATE, AS ENTERTAINMENT.
"Uh, I don't understand that last," said Sam.
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
"I just turned fifteen," answered Sam.
THEN WITHOUT GOING INTO DETAILS, I WILL SAY I WAS A SLAVE GIRL IN A PLACE OF MOSTLY MEN. THAT I WAS A GHOST DID NOT MATTER. DO YOU UNDERSTAND NOW?
Sam thought for a minute, then it dawned on her what Lydia meant. Her eyes grew wide and she looked at the goth ghost, mouth open. She looked back at the paper.
THAT'S RIGHT. AND TORTURING ME WITH COLD IRON WAS ONE OF THEIR OTHER FAVORITE SPORTS. THEY LOVED HEARING ME SCREAM AND BEG FOR MERCY.
"Is that why you don't talk?" asked Sam, looking at her with tears in her eyes.
Lydia shook her head. THAT'S A DIFFERENT STORY. I CAN TALK, BUT IT'S FORBIDDEN TO ME. THAT'S WHY I USE PAPER.
"Explain, please?" asked Sam.
I ONCE SPOKE OUT OF TURN, AND FREAKSHOW'S FATHER TOLD ME TO SHUT UP. HE NEVER LIFTED THE ORDER.
"So you haven't spoken in...?" said Sam.
AT LEAST 40 YEARS.
"I'm sorry. Really," said Sam, and put her hand on Lydia's arm. The woman's flesh was cold,
and Sam felt the tattoos quiver under her touch. She hastily pulled her hand back.
THANKS, BUT I'M USED TO IT NOW.
LIKE I SAID EARLIER, I'M NOT EVIL BY NATURE, BUT AS SLAVE TO FREAKSHOW'S FAMILY I HAVE DONE MANY EVIL THINGS, AND MANY EVIL THINGS HAVE BEEN DONE TO ME. I WILL HAVE THE TORMENT OF THOSE MEMORIES FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY.
The ghost looked at Sam. I WILL NOT SHARE THOSE MEMORIES WITH ONE AS YOUNG AS YOU, SO DON'T ASK ME.
"I wasn't going to, but thanks for the warning anyway," answered Sam.
THE TORMENT, THE PAIN, THE HUMILIATION, THE TOIL, THE LACK OF FREE WILL FOR SO LONG. NOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY I WANT MY FREEDOM?
"Yeah, but again, why come to me?" asked Sam.
THERE IS A RITUAL THAT WILL FREE ME FROM THE STAFF'S SPELL, BUT I NEED THE HELP OF A HUMAN TO PERFORM IT.
"Ah, now we get down to it," said Sam, "Is this some kind of trick you're pulling to put me under Freakshow's spell and use me against Danny?"
Lydia's mouth opened in shock.
NO! I WOULD NEVER DO SUCH A THING!
"But if you're a slave, you wouldn't have any choice, would you?" said Sam in a tone that said she had figured out the trap.
Ectoplasmic tears ran down Lydia's face as she silently cried. Suddenly she dropped to her knees before Sam.
WHAT CAN I DO TO CONVINCE YOU? HAVE I HURT YOU? HAVE I THREATENED YOU? I SAID I WAS SORRY FOR SCARING YOU.
"Yeah, but you've also captured me and my friends, and put us all in danger," said Sam.
WHEN I USED MY CREATURES TO CAPTURE YOU, IT WAS BY HIS ORDERS. I HAD NO CHOICE. I COULDN'T EVEN WARN YOU. PLEASE, HELP ME.
Sam's resolve wavered. What if this ghost was telling the truth? Could she ever forgive herself for not helping? Lydia wanting her freedom struck a chord deep within her. She sighed. "What about Freakshow?"
HE IS IN CUSTODY OF THE MEN IN WHITE. HE WILL SENSE THAT I AM NO LONGER HIS, BUT WON'T BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
"What would you do after I free you?" Sam asked.
GO TO MY HOME IN THE GHOST ZONE. I NEVER WANTED TO BE BACK IN THE REAL WORLD ANYWAY. TOO MANY BAD MEMORIES.
The Goth and the Goth Ghost looked at each other for a long minute, then Sam gestured for Lydia to sit again. She got up from her knees and did so. Sam noticed that the bed barely moved. Lydia pointed at the paper.
IF YOU FREE ME, YOU WILL EITHER HAVE ME AS A FRIEND AND ALLY FOREVER, OR NEVER SEE ME AGAIN, YOUR CHOICE. I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO OFFER.
"Umm..." said Sam, "Give me a few minutes." Lydia nodded.
Sam sat and thought for several minutes, then looked at the ghost. "I want to help you, but I'll need some help myself. Do you mind if I think about it, and talk it over with Danny and Tucker tomorrow?"
Lydia smiled. NOT AT ALL. I'VE WAITED ALL THIS TIME, I CAN WAIT A LITTLE LONGER. KEEP THE PAPER. WHEN YOU WANT ME, WRITE MY NAME AND WHERE YOU ARE ON IT, AND I WILL COME TO YOU.
"Okay. Now I really need to get back to sleep," said Sam.
Lydia nodded, put her cloak back on, and left through the window.
Sam lay in bed, thinking about this development, and slowly drifted into sleep.