A Horror Story

Writer's Note: As much as I would like to claim full credit for this story idea, I cannot. It is based on another story posted on an internet forum by a poster dubbed Nimb00da. So if Nimb00da somehow finds this some day and wants credit, well, there you go.

This is also a prelude to the (coming eventually) Danny Phantasm story, which is my take on Danny's immediate future, so if you're curious over something mentioned in this story, or wondering what the hell I'm talking about well…all will be explained in time.

Now, let's hope I can actually scare you or creep you out…and if I don't, well I tried.


Dark and chilly.

To Danny, the house looked to be the size of Buckingham Palace.

That wasn't a good thing. He could feel it in his bones.

Another thing to consider: most of the lights of the house were on. But from what he could see from the air, it appeared no one was actually in the house. Considering what he had heard, that did not bode well.

Maybe it would be better if he waited.

But like nearly all the time, he didn't, as he swooped down and landed lightly on the porch.

It escaped his mouth instantly, a breath of icy air…air so bitter and foul it briefly made his gorge rise.

Yeah. This didn't bode well.

"Hello, you've reached Ghost of a Chance, how may I help you?"

"…I-s this M-madeline Fenton?" The voice on the other end of the phone spoke. A woman's voice, somewhat frail: in her mid-fifties, one could guess. In her chair, Maddie sat back and ran the voice through her head, trying to see if she could pick up any inconsistencies in the tone or manner that would indicate a fraud. They had a pretty good system set up to weed up pranks and hoaxes, but no system was infallible. Still, the woman had her number, and if she had actually gotten through to speak to Maddie that meant she had passed the phone test beforehand where she was asked to list any and all paranormal activities: the supernatural tended to follow certain patterns and if the answers didn't match up (and they WOULD if the average person had witnessed some kind of intrusion of a spirit into their life…a spirit…or worse…), the phone call was terminated and the number blocked.

"Yes it is. How can I help you?" Maddie said, keeping her tone strictly business.

"…I…my family…we need help…I didn't know who else to call…"

Maddie furrowed her brows, thinking it over. Motion to her left, and she glanced at Tucker, who was making gestures that indicated he wanted to know if he should start recording the call. Maddie thought it over for a second and gave him the go-ahead. Tucker flipped the switch, and immediately the call began playing over his headphones.

"Ok Miss. I know you already answered some questions beforehand, but I need to ask once more. First, what's your name?"

"P-porter. Embeth Porter."

"All right Miss Porter, can I have your address?"

Embeth Porter proceeded to give a very detailed and accurate address, perhaps showing a little too much trust, but she didn't have to worry about that with Maddie. She glanced at Tucker, and he immediately put it into his computer's map system.

It came back immediately, a good sign. It meant it was real and less likely to be a prank. People who wanted to fool them often gave them fake addresses or vacant lots or a list of locations that were on the 'false' list: places people THOUGHT were haunted but weren't.

Of course, it also was a bad sign.

Because that meant the trouble was real.

And who knew how much trouble it could be.

Most people thought Danny's new long coat was a Matrix fixation, but there was more to it then an attempt to look 'cool' (and in reality Danny didn't care if people thought he was cool or not, not any more): it also had a lot of pockets to hold stuff, including the charm Danny was swinging in front of him at the moment. Verifying his initial 'analysis' as if were.

If it were bad, the charm would smoke. If it were really bad, it would burst into flame.

There was no reaction. That either meant everything was ok or…well, something that went beyond bad. The former was much more common then the latter though, and Danny slipped the charm back into his pocket.

A brief flash of images crossed his mind. Shadows and darkness and…things.

"Yeah I know." Danny said over his shoulder. He thought it over and decided he'd knock at least.

The door slowly swung open at his touch, with an almost cliché groan of rusty hinges.

Danny stared into the house. Looked normal enough.

Of course, no one was here, and the door had swung open at his touch.

Perception and reality could often diverge most drastically.

"It started about four months ago." Mrs. Porter said.

Maddie arched an eyebrow and looked at Tucker. Four months meant a lot of things in supernatural matters, but combined with her voice…

Maddie gestured at Tucker, and he nodded and turned to his array, as he flipped a switch and adjusted a microphone under his mouth, while Maddie grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and started making her own notes while listening. Just in case it WAS important.

"Danny, do you read me? Over." Tucker said into his microphone.

"…Yeah Tuck. Hear you fine. What's up?"

"We have an interesting call. You want to listen in?"

"If you think so. Nothing happening here in the Ghost Zone."

"Well your mom does." Tucker said as he flipped a few more switches. In the Ghost Zone, Danny suddenly heard the conversation that his mother and Mrs. Porter were having.

"My family is quite extended Mrs. Fenton…and we don't range far, so there are often many people staying in my house. When it started, we thought it was just…the children…"

"Buzz. Strike one." Danny said.

"Nightmares you know. They claimed that someone was sitting on their beds…sometimes whispering in their ears…they never told us what the whispers were, claimed they couldn't remember…but whatever it was, it scared them. They didn't want to stay in the house. They said it was bad now. That was their words."

"But you didn't listen because they were children and what do children know?" Danny said to himself. The image of a hand falling on someone's shoulders in a disparaging way flashed across his mind. "Yeah I know I'm being cynical. But this always seems to happen…"

"But we just thought it was the children, you know, scaring each other and then dreaming of it later…they always stayed together so we thought that explained the fact they were all having them…"

"Strike two." Danny said.

"I see. How long was it before…stronger signs that something was wrong emerged?" Maddie asked.

"A month."

"Hello!" Danny called down the hallway.

No answer.

"Hello! Is anyone there? HELLO!" Danny called again.

No answer still.

Danny thought it over once more, and then stepped through the doorway.

The walls didn't immediately try to eat him, so he took that as a good sign. However, just in case, he closed the door. Sometimes all it took for an escape to happen was an open doorway.

Still, he didn't feel all that great, so he slipped his hand behind him, the fingers brushing the hilt of his weapon, a hilt he gently gripped as he slowly walked down the hallway, taking each step with care.

He had taken six when he noticed it.

He took another step.

There, an immensely faint echo, a sound that would barely be noticed, last maybe a quarter of a second after Danny put his foot down.

Like something was stepping in almost the exact same time as him.

"When it started getting…bad…I noticed something. All the happenings…they were concentrated on the east wing of the house. I recall this because we have an antique chair passed down through our family positioned near the hallway entrance to the hall and more then a few times people…tripped over it. While…running."

"I see. Can you tell me what these bad things were, Mrs. Porter?"

"Well…it began with my granddaughter, Rosemary, she's six…I have an extended family, as I said: I'm one of four children, I have three children myself, two have grandchildren, Rosemary's my youngest daughter's child…"

"That's very interesting Mrs. Porter but we need to know what happened."

"I'm just saying this so you know that I'm not making it up. If you..ask any of my family…"

"I understand Mrs. Porter. But please, tell me of the first intensification." Maddie said. She had heard the very slight hesitation in Mrs. Porter's voice though: though she claimed her whole family would support her, Maddie had a feeling there was someone who had doubts, someone with enough family 'power' to sway the opinion to 'Nothing is out of the ordinary.' Maddie knew those people: arrogant fools who often caused more suffering then the spirits. Maddie had a flash of Embeth Porter hiding in her room or worse, in a closet, cradling the phone to her and hoping no one would discover what the 'foolish old woman' was doing. Well, Maddie vowed, she would at least find out if that was the case, and act accordingly.

"Rosemary sleeps in the east wing, on the third floor. One day she came in looking tired. When we asked why, she said someone was scratching on the roof above her head and she couldn't sleep. We just thought she was dreaming again, and just hadn't gotten a good night's sleep…but it happened again. And again. So after four days my son-in-law, her father, went up to the attack to see if there was an animal trapped up there…"


"Mrs. Porter?"

"He found claw marks. Deep gorges in the wood. They were on the floor right over my granddaughter's bed!"

The in-time footsteps stopped, almost immediately, as if it knew Danny had noticed them.

Danny stood there for a bit, wondering if he had just been imagining it. After all, he was in here alone, with no backup…

"Strike three." Danny said. "I've heard enough. What was that address again Tuck?"

Tucker recited it off.

"There's a weakening of the realms I can access that will put me out near there. I can go check it out immediately."

"What? Danny, is that safe? Even with the Magnus…"

"Tuck, I'll be fine. But I know that if I just stand around and do nothing, that poor woman might not be." Danny said. "Tell my mom. Danny out."

Danny's headset blipped out, and Tucker sighed. That was Danny at times: wanting to help and certain he could. Well, Tucker couldn't stop him, so he went back to recording the information.

And here Danny was, in the Porter house.

Of course he'd made a few errors. Time for one. The Ghost Zone, in its current state, had ways of plunking you out all over the globe…of course, Danny didn't always correctly figure out what time it would be there.

Night could be bad. Darkness…encouraged certain things.

Danny walked on, one hand on his blade, hoping he was prepared.

"We moved her out of the room…but that was just the first incident. After that…it started getting worse." Mrs. Porter said. Her voice was starting to choke up, fear and grief intermingling, an old woman who had lived her life comfortably in the way she had been taught the world was, until the world seemingly started to betray her.

"What, Mrs. Porter?"

"…Doors slamming in the middle of the night. Objects going missing and turning up in strange places: I once found some of my perfume in the freezer, frozen, ruined. Random power failures that only affected our house. One day I left the kitchen for twenty seconds and when I came back all the chairs around the table had been turned upside down. I suppose that could have been the children, playing a prank, but it was such a short time, and there wasn't a single sound…and then…oh god, then it got even worse. My children gave me a cat for my 45th birthday. I'd had her for ten years. She was so sweet, so friendly…" Mrs. Porter said, and then her voice was swallowed in a sob.

Maddie let her collect herself.

"What happened to your cat, Mrs. Porter?"

"We found her…in the east wing…in the bathroom. She was dead. Someone…something, had shoved her down into the toilet."

The main hallway exited into a master room, beautifully decorated. Danny assumed this was where guests would be seen. The door in front of him lead to the kitchen, and the doors on either side of him lead to the east and west wings of the house.

The only problem was, Danny couldn't tell which was which. East and west were properties Danny mostly associated with maps: for normal things he used left and right.

However, Danny didn't need to gamble: only one door had a large antique chair next to it.

Danny thought it over. The bad stuff was supposedly in the East Wing. No sense charging headlong into danger. He'd scope out the rest of the house first, see if he could narrow down what was going on, as he headed for the west wing.

He kept a hand on his sword anyway. Just in case.

The back of the mobile command center opened. Tucker glanced to see who it was.

"The assignment was a bust. Just a pair of paranoid brothers, no sign of the paranormal. What's up?" The enteree said, sitting down and putting her gun back in the rack.

"Maddie's taking a call. Could be trouble Val."

"Oh? Sounds interesting."

"Might not be. Be quiet." Tucker said, as Mrs. Porter, who had started crying again, finally calmed down.

"I knew…that none of my family would do that. We have our…flaws…but none of us could have been…so cruel…!"

"I believe you Mrs. Porter. Was that the most recent event…?"

"No! It was just the beginning! It…" The voice cut off in a sob again.

"It's ok Mrs. Porter. Take as much time as you need."

"I just…part of me can't believe it…"

"That's normal Mrs. Porter. Trust me, it definitely sounds like there's something off in your house, for lack of a better term. But I need to know what else happened."

"…My mother."

"Your mother?"

"My mother. Pamela Porter. She lived with us…Mrs. Fenton you must understand, my mother was quite along in years, but she was still sharp as a tack. She wasn't the type to wander around aimlessly."

"If you say so."

"…She fell down the stairs. Broke her neck. Died…instantly."

"I'm sorry Mrs. Porter."

"Thank you."

"So you feel there was something more to this then an accident."

"My mother climbed those stairs without incident for decades. There was no soft spots, no bumps or distortions to trip over, no loose carpet, nothing…she may have been slow in her last years, but she was sure. No…I was near when it happened. I heard her scream…it wasn't a scream of someone making a mistake. It was a scream of terrified surprise. Someone pushed her."

"I see. Was there anyone else in the wing at the time?"

"…N-no, just me…at least I think…"

"All right Mrs. Porter. Is there anything else?"

"Yes…the last time I saw her…just before she fell…she came out of the same bathroom."

Danny was climbing stairs himself, slowly stepping up each one, and listening in case the echo returned.

"You feel anything?" Danny asked. A flurry of question marks crossed his eyes. "Yeah, me too. Things like us should set poltergeists off. It's not like them to be so quiet…"

Danny reached the top of the stairs without incident, and started heading down the hallway.

"After that…it was quiet…for a little while…my family…chalked it up to bad luck. But then…oh god…"

More sobbing. Maddie didn't like making Mrs. Porter relieve these painful memories, but she was just doing her job.

"My younger sister, Carrie…she had a teenage daughter. Sidney. Sidney's had a…tricky adolescence…we've been trying to help her…she backslid recently, but we managed to catch it before anything drastic happened. She said she was ok. And then…four days later…"

More sobs.

"You don't have to give me details if you don't want to Mrs. Porter"

"I have to…because that morning we found her in the bathroom. The same bathroom. Dead, in the bathtub. She'd…she'd cut her own throat!"

Danny settled for exploring the hallway for the moment. The bad feeling he was getting was coming back, and if this was just the west wing, he didn't have a good feeling for the east wing.

The hallway was pretty bare, except for several pictures on the walls. Landscapes, thankfully: if it had been portraits of people Danny definitely would have had his sword out. Pictures of people in such a place combined with such a feeling never spelled anything good.

Pictures…and a plaque. A rather dusty one at that: it looked like the house hadn't been cleaned for a bit. But what was a plaque doing on the walls? A dedication? It might be a clue…

"She cut her own throat?" Valerie said in disbelief.

"It's doable Val."


"You just need the right…motivation…" Tucker said, though he had a feeling motivation was the wrong word. Meanwhile, Mrs. Porter was still going, her sobs finally slowing down.

"The police…they investigated…but they didn't find any evidence of so called foul play. No sign of a struggle, a history of depression and drug use…and when I last spoke to the detective he said that forensics indicated that the cut…matched the type that self-inflicted wounds are. They wrote it off as a suicide. But I know, I KNOW that Sidney didn't kill herself. Maybe she was at risk in her down periods, but she had recovered! We would have seen signs if she had backslid again! And even so…Sidney hated pain! She couldn't have done what she did…someone made her! I know!"

"I see." Maddie said. "So that was it?"

"No…no…there was one last thing. It's what made me call you. After Sidney's death, my family…they started to fracture. The servants, they're um, mostly…Hispanic…they left. Told me my house was cursed. Some of my family…they agreed. Not all of them. My oldest son, Jonathon…he said it was just a bad run of luck. But my youngest, Wesley…he said it wasn't. He said that something bad HAD entered our house, and it seemed to be focused on the second floor bathroom. He…brought a priest in to exorcise the place, despite Jonathon's objections. The priest did so, said he thought he did feel some bad vibes…so he performed his exorcism and left."

Silence. It was the kind of silence that Maddie recognized as containing great pain, pain that even tears couldn't express.

"We found Wesley in his room two days later. He was dead, hanging from the ceiling. His face…it was…distorted…it looked like he was…smiling at us…laughing at us…like he was mocking whatever had happened. Like it was all fun and games."

The plaque was dusty, and the light was dim, so Danny had to brush at it for a bit before he could actually see what was written on it.

It wasn't a dedication. It was just two words, and they made Danny's blood run cold.


Danny took a step back, staring at the words, thinking about what he had done…and how easy it was to move a chair across a room.

The sound drew Danny's attention, and Danny turned to see a door nearby slowly swinging open out into the hall.

Danny stood there for a bit, looking at it…and then he started approaching.

"That was the last incident. We buried Wesley…two days ago. And despite what my son says, that Wesley was always a bit off, and that he had debts he found out about afterward…he didn't do it. Just like Sidney. There's something bad in my house Mrs. Fenton. The ones who believe that…they've run away. But I can't run Mrs. Fenton. This is my house. I've lived her my whole life. I can't just…leave…"

"No one's asking you to Mrs. Porter. Yet." Maddie said. Now came the hard part. Mrs. Porter had been willing to talk about recent tragic events…but sometimes the hardest things to talk about were the old ones.

The inside of the room was as black as a tomb, as if no light could enter there…until Danny reached in and felt along the immediate inside of the room. He found a light switch and turned it on. Light flooded the darkness, chasing it away.

It was a bathroom.

"Mrs. Porter, I think I can help you. Now, who is in the house now?"

"…Myself…one of my sisters, her older children…that's it, everyone else has left."

"What about your son Jonathon?"

"My daughter and he had a terrible row over what happened to Wesley. He's staying at a hotel for a few days with his family. She's left town for a day or two…or so she says. I wonder if she's coming back…"

"All right then Mrs. Porter. Now there's no easy way for me to say this, so I'm just going to come right on out and say it. I need to know the secrets."


"I need to know the truth Mrs. Porter. About what's happened in that house."

"…W-what, I just told you…"

"What has happened recently. I need to know what's happened in the past."

"Nothing's happened! This…just began…four months…!"

"You say that Mrs. Porter. But looking down the list of occurrences…Mrs. Porter, these things very rarely happen without some kind of background."

"There's nothing…!"

"Negative energy such as this needs a source Mrs. Porter. That source is never pleasant. Chances are that whatever you know, you were taught at an early age never to talk about it, to anyone, to hope to bury it and pretend it never happened in the hopes it would go away. But it doesn't Mrs. Porter. And I need to know what it is."

"There are no secrets!"

"What is it? A suspicious death that could have been murder? Suicides? Madness? Has anyone in your family ever been known to dabble in the occult?"

"No! There are no such things in my family's history! We've lived here since our grandmother's mother's husband built the place, we've had our problems but nothing, NOTHING like that! You must be mistaken!"

"Chances are I'm not." Maddie said, looking over the list she had taken.

"I just want help! I don't want to be accused…"

"I'm not accusing you of anything Mrs. Porter. But I need to know."

"Are you sure it's not something else Mrs. Fenton?" Valerie asked.

"…I admit Valerie, there are a few variables. But you have to remember, there are always certain signs. Incidents like this…we need some kind of tragedy or atrocity in the past…or…or…" Maddie said, as she looked over the list one last time.

And a sudden realization came to her.

A terrible, horrifying realization.

She had been approaching this from the most likely possibility…but it could also fit…something else.

Something that shoved a dagger of pure ice into her gut.

"Mrs. Porter, I apologize. I need you to do something for me. You say all these terrible things have happened over a span of four months."


"And no one has ever lived in your house besides your family."


"And nothing like this has ever happened before."


"…Ok Mrs. Porter, this is VERY important. I need you to swear to me, truly swear, that there ARE no deep dark secrets in your family's past, no rumors, no hints, no gossip, NOTHING."

"I swear!"

"That's not good enough!"

"I swear, on the lives of my children and grandchildren, that there are no secrets in my family's past!"


"Mrs. Fenton? Mrs. Fenton."

"Get out of the house."



It seemed like a perfectly normal bathroom…but Danny knew better. Unfortunately, he hadn't stuck around to hear the whole conversation, and hence didn't know as much as he should.

He stepped inside, on instinct closing the door behind him, and not realizing it as he stepped into the room. In front of the door was the sink, a large ornate mirror hanging over it.

Danny turned on the sink. Normal water. The toilet was normal as well.

The shower was closed.

Tightening his grip, Danny went against the advice of every horror film there was and slowly approached the shower, slowly reaching out with his free hand…

He yanked the curtains aside.


Danny checked the bathtub. Nothing there either.

And then Danny whirled around, feeling like eyes were watching him.


The house was so quiet all Danny could hear was his breathing, as he slowly walked back over to the door. There appeared to be nothing wrong…

Danny glanced at the mirror again.

And froze.

His reflection was normal. The room's reflection was normal.

The door was open in the reflection.


Danny's head jerked back to the bathroom door. Closed. He slowly turned to face the mirror again.


And something was in it.

"Mrs. Fenton, what's wrong?" Valerie asked, as Maddie extracted a promise from Mrs. Porter for her to get everyone out of the house immediately and then terminated the call, nearly flying over to Tucker's computer setup.

"Tucker, find us the quickest way to that house! And contact Danny and tell him to meet us there!"

"…I already contacted Danny. He said he was going to go there himself…"


"…A while ago…"

"DAMN! Valerie put your seatbelt on!" Maddie said as she jumped out of the back door, running off.

"What's going on Tucker?"

"I don't know but I'm going to find out." Tucker said, as he called up the command center's databases and began entering in all the information that he had heard from Mrs. Porter's phone call, and once it was all entered Tucker punched in several other commands for the database to eliminate angry ghosts that may have been trapped in the house by whatever dark means Mrs. Porter claimed had never happened.

With that possibility eliminated, only one match came back for all that had happened. Tucker felt his mouth go dry.

"…Oh no." Tucker said. "An Unclean."

In other words, a demon. Terrible evils that, with the incident that had started this new chapter in their lives, were able to make their way into this reality. There were more then a few of those kinds of being, but these ones, dubbed Unclean, were entities so malevolent ghosts were afraid of them.

"…Oh god." Valerie said, as she too put the pieces together.

"God won't help us." Maddie said as she jumped back into the vehicle. "Even those kind of spirits need time to begin doing what happened in that house."

"How much time?" Valerie asked.

"NOT four months!" Maddie said, jumping into the driver's seat. "We need to get there, QUICKLY!"

"But Danny…"

"Valerie, trust me as his mother. I know damn well what danger Danny's in." Maddie said as she started the engine.

"But you said that there wasn't enough time…"

"You misunderstood. I wasn't saying that these things could NEVER do it. I was saying that if it DID do it…it's powerful. Terribly powerful."

"…Are you sure?"

"Yes Valerie. Because if an Unclean can go from entry to outright murder in such a short time, it's strong. And not just one murder, it's several, within weeks of each other! It's not satisfied with just one! And something as powerful as that to be able to do it in such a short time can hide its presence from Danny until it's too late! No wonder the poor woman's son's face was distorted like a grin. It WAS laughing at the son's attempt to exorcise it." Maddie said grimly.

"The priest couldn't drive it out?" Valerie asked. Maddie looked at her, very grim.

"Valerie, something that strong could eat a stack of Bibles for breakfast." Maddie replied, and threw the vehicle in gear.

Something hung in the doorway, spinning in the mirror. A dark object, hanging from a rope.

It slowly stopped spinning, facing Danny, as Danny looked with wide eyes upon the sight.

A girl. In a white dress, with long black hair, her head titled at a sickening angle, her eyes closed.

Danny blinked. It rather reminded him of the girl from the Ring movie, Samantha or something…except she was fake. This was terribly real.

Danny slowly began backing up, staring at the girl, not moving his gaze from the mirror, as he reached behind him and tried to open the door.

He found the knob, and tried to turn it.

It wouldn't budge at all, and instinctively, Danny's eyes flicked to it, and then back to the mirror.

She was still there.

Except her eyes were open, staring at Danny.

As Danny felt the unbearable presence of the creature, concealed from him, sink into him, as the entity looked at him, her neck now straight, her mouth bearing a cold, malicious grin.

The lights went out, plunging the room into utter darkness.

And in the dark, Danny felt a small cold hand grip his arm.

"Mother, how many times do I have to tell you?" The young man said as he got out of the car. He had brown hair and strong features, despite wearing glasses: it gave him the look of a young professor, and since he was wearing khakis and a sweater, maybe he was.

Mrs. Porter was a small woman, her hair mostly gray, though her face was mostly wrinkle free. She'd done what the woman had said, convinced her sister and nephews to leave the house with her…but the place she had gone was the same hotel her son was staying at, and she, being a dutiful mother, had told him what happened.

She shouldn't have. He hadn't believed her, as usual. When she'd tried to call Maddie Fenton back all she'd gotten was a busy signal. Jonathon Porter had enough respect for his mother not to tell her she was an idiot, but he was certainly thinking it. His grandmother may have kept her mental facilities her whole life, but his grandfather had died from Alzheimer's, and Jonathon had a sinking feeling his mom might be going down that route. How else could it be explained that she could be told to abandon her home by a group of ghost hunters, of all things? She'd probably been tricked by a group of thieves that had robbed the house blind while it was abandoned. Well, if they had, maybe that would teach her that there were a lot of bad people out there.

"But Jonathon…she sounded so sincere." Embeth Porter said.

"That's not hard to fake mom. Trust me." Jonathon said as he went up the walkway to the house.

"Jonathon! Please don't go in there!"

"Why? Will something get me?" Jonathon replied, a bit more smarmily then he intended: damn, this was his mother, he loved her, he shouldn't talk to her like that. But he couldn't tolerate such nonsense. True, there had been a few odd things happening recently, but to attribute them to ghosts? Nonsense. The kids had probably just been pranking each other, and gotten out of hand with the cat. He knew kids, knew that youth could prevent understanding of a lot of things, including death. And after that…well, Pamela had been old. Sidney had been messed up. Even Wesley, his brother…well, he'd had some secrets of his own. It was terrible, but there was no hand behind it, causing it all, feeding on their suffering. The only ones who were doing that were the con men who had tricked his mother.

"Trust me mother." Jonathon said in a more kind tone, but firm nonetheless. "Let's just go inside and see if anything's missing. You don't have to be afraid. There's no such thing as…" Jonathon said as he opened the door.

The gigantic, distorted, screaming face threw him right off the balcony and onto the grass front of the house with a scream of surprise of his own, as Embeth stood rooted on the spot, as the horrendous visage, the size of the whole door, howled out into the dim early morning light, making a sound no human throat could ever make.

And then it was yanked back inside, as Jonathon looked up from his fall, his glasses crooked as he watched it be pulled back.

And then the house went crazy, as every door, window, and shutter began slamming at the same time, weird lights flashing in the windows, and once again that unholy wail split the air, screaming from within the house.

And then the whole house lit up from the inside like a star had ignited within…and then it faded away.

Jonathon blinked, having no idea what he had just seen.

He just knew that even he couldn't explain it…and that maybe he'd been a bit premature on the whole issue of evil being an exclusively human trait.

"John! Are you ok?" Embeth said, running up to her son.

"…Yes…mother? Are you all right?"

"…I'll live." Embeth said.

Jonathon didn't know what else to say or do, so he stayed on the ground. He faintly heard the sound of what sounded like an approaching vehicle, a powerful one at that.

Danny walked out onto the porch, his coat torn to shreds, his outfit clawed in several places, and his hair a disheveled mess. In one hand he held a long katana glowing with purplish-red energy, energy that was fading away.

Danny took a few breaths of the fresh morning air, then spun the Magnus up and sheathed it. He reached up and brushed hair out of his eyes.

He saw them then, on the front yard…and in the distance he saw Ghost of a Chance's mobile command center, the souped-up version of the Fenton RV, hastily parking. They must have found out what he did and raced to help him. Well, better late then never. They could talk to the Porters about sufficient compensation.

Danny walked down the steps, as he looked at the two. Mrs. Porter he assumed.

"…This house is clean." Danny said.

And then he walked on.

The End