Full Summary: Being forced to be a camp counselor was the last thing Danny wanted that summer. To make it worse, Vlad is the owner. But, interestingly enough, the man is desperate to hide something from the ghost boy. Something dangerous haunts the camp grounds. Not even Danny is sure what it is or how to keep himself and others from falling prey to it. But to figure out Vlad's deep secret and how to stop this thing, Danny is going to have to throw his vacation plans out the window and confront a horror ten times more disturbing than any ghost he's ever encountered.
A/N: Okay, let's get this show on the road! I don't have much to say but that this takes place right before Phantom Planet. This first chapter is kinda slow, I'm sorry, but it takes off quickly on the second chapter. With that said, please read and review! Thanks!
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from this fic. Maybe one or two minor ones, but the rest are either from Danny Phantom or belong to Robert Muchamore, the author of the UK series, CHERUB.
Shifting his cell phone to the other shoulder to keep the other from cramping up, James held up a shirt for close speculation. He spotted just two stains. It didn't look dirty or in the need of a wash. Sniffing the red fabric, the boy smiled as it passed the last and the most crucial part of the test. He folded it the best he could and shoved it into his suitcase along with the others that had passed.
"What's the name of this camp?" Kerry Chang, his girlfriend, asked from the other end of the cell phone.
She, like the rest of the CHERUB kids and teens, had been able to go off to the organization's summer house. James had just been flown back a week ago because he had been called to a mission. Disappointed that he had to miss most of his long awaited for summer vacation, James was satisfied enough to go on the mission because it was one of going undercover on the hostile and dangerous grounds…of a summer camp. It still didn't keep James from complaining about it, though.
Making a face to the non present Kerry, James held up the brochure of the camp. Reading with sarcastic cheerfulness, he recited the title and subtitle to his girlfriend. "Happy Hills Summer Camp," he said with a cruel grin. "Happiness is the beginning of a smile!" He rolled his eyes while saying, "Bloody boring is what I call it."
"Let me guess, you have to befriend some kid there that is related to the main target," Kerry said knowingly. "It's the same old boring mission."
"Actually, the geek I have to be friends with is not even related to the target," James said with some surprise. He lifted a shoe, sniffed into it, and threw it with the rest of the junk being packed. "He's the kid of the target's best friend in college. And this mission isn't even for MI5. It's for some bogus ghost hunting American group called the Guys in White. Lame! If you ask me, I think nothing exciting it gonna happen."
"But I'm sure you're going to make it fun," Kerry said. "With your recklessness, you're sure to burn every one of those Yank's cabins down by the end of the month."
James smiled at the thought. "Naw," he said with a wave of his hand, "I'm a counselor at this camp. Blowing up a camp is so seventh grade." An evil grin flashed across his face as he added, "Besides, I have a whole camp to try out some pranks that I've recently thought of. I'll be busy with a check list of pranks to use any explosives."
"Well, I'm going to miss you," Kerry said softly. "I miss you already."
James blushed, a longing smile on his lips. "You're just saying that because none of the guys there you can imagine snogging," he said slyly. "Admit it, Kerry, I'm irresistible."
"Oh, you've read me so well, James," Kerry said, going along with her boyfriend's cheesy romance. "I'd kiss you right now if a thousand miles weren't between us."
They giggled at their silliness.
"I'm going to miss you too," James said, scratching the back of his head from the discomfort of showing his vulnerable emotions.
"The standard," Kerry said with a cheer in her voice. "Email me whenever you get the chance. And a call or two won't hurt you."
"I'll try," James said with a sigh. "But Europe and North America do tend to be in two different time zones."
"Call, James," Kerry commanded with teasing forcefulness.
"Yes, mum," James responded. "Jeez. Next you'll be telling me not to look at any other girl while away."
"Do you want the lecture?" Kerry asked.
"I'm good," James said with a grin. "And if I mess around, I give you permission to beat me up when I get back. But I promise, no snogging while I'm at Happy Hills."
"Cheers," Kerry said. James heard her giggle on the other end before saying, "I have to go. We want to go four-wheeling before lunch. Have a happy time, James."
"Funny," James said, a thin smile crossing his face. "You too, Kerry."
Hanging up, James picked up a pair of shorts from the pile to be tested. Sniffing it, he smelled rotten eggs. Gagging, the boy coughed out some curses at the disgusting odor. It was coming from one of the side pockets. Frowning, James forced a hand into one of them and froze as he felt something crunch.
"Aw! Yuck!" James yelled, taking his hand out. It was covered with the hot and gooey substance of the cracked eggs he had broken, along with a small piece of paper that had been in there. Furious, James watched in anger as his best shorts dripped with the thick liquid from that pocket.
Snapping his sharp, blue eyes to the note, he read it with a glare. It was from his little sister, Lauren.
"Evil witch!" he shouted in frustration. "Oh, you are so going to get it when I get back from this mission!" Sighing to keep his rising anger down, he ran a hand through his hair. He stopped when he realized that he had just pushed the egg slimy hand into his blonde locks.
"Crap," James muttered.
Chapter 1 The Evil Eyes of Happy Hills
Stressed. Stressed and depressed.
That's what I had. Every teen has it.
What teen wasn't stressed or depressed with having to get up everyday at six to catch a bus, go to school, deal with ignorant teachers who assign too much homework, smile at people you hate, go home to spend hours doing despised homework, and then go to sleep at midnight just to repeat that boring cycle again? Every teen depends too desperately onto weekends, holiday breaks, and the sweet freedom of summer. The life of a teenager is a mixed balance of being stressed or being depressed. That was life in general.
According to my sister, Jazz, I had too much of life.
That was just like her, analyzing everything to its finest detail and then taking it upon herself to fix the whole thing out in her little perfectionist way. Don't get me wrong, I love my sister. Ever since she told me she knew my ghost secret, my alter-ego life has been easier. Just…sometimes she drives me insane. It's what siblings do.
So that was how she got my parents to force me into summer camp. A camp counselor at Happy Hills Summer Camp, to be more specific. Yeah, I wanted to shoot myself. Like I wanted to spend a whole month taking care of little, smartass kids, trying to keep a canoe right side up, and singing cheesy songs around a campfire. That wasn't my ideal summer if you ask me.
This was summer break. It was three months of liberty to do whatever I wanted. Stupidly, I had recently been spending my hours either fighting ghosts or sleeping. Those were always the signs of me needing a break, but I should have been able to have that option to go to this camp or not.
Instead, Jazz got into both mom's and dad's heads to make them believe my life pretty much depended on me getting out of Amity Park and into the big, open wild. After that, I was destined to go. I hated her for it.
I also hated her for waking me up with a nudge of her elbow the second our bus stopped. I had been sleeping soundly, occupying my pessimistic thoughts with the nice darkness of dreamless sleep. I looked up at her emotionlessly, knowing anything that would come out of my mouth at that second would be hurtful.
"We're here, Danny!" she said with excitement. She was always excited. It bugged me, but I didn't say anything.
Of course she noticed this and said in a whisper, "Please, Danny, at least look a little bit happy. If you keep thinking you're going to have a bad time, you'll only have a bad time."
"Then I'll have a bad time," I muttered back at her. I hated myself for it, but I gave her my smart-alike smile that I knew she hated. I wanted to bring her joyful mood down to mine, which was pissed.
Her smile wavered but never left. She was a tough one, I'll give her that much. She sighed then, quickly packing her stuff into a small backpack as the rest of the teens were doing the same or getting off. Frowning, I did the same, practically shoving my headphones and MP3 player into my own backpack sitting between my legs on the dirty floor.
"Because you look so down, I guess I should tell you this now," Jazz said, watching me with her knowing eyes. I didn't even glance over to her, pretending not to care. She paused before saying, "If it makes you feel better, I invited someone else to come."
My eyes shot over to her, questioning her without even having to open my mouth. Sam or Tucker? To be truthful, I was desperate to hear the name Sam.
"Sam accepted, but she isn't a counselor," Jazz said, seeing my eyes widen with hope when she said that name. "Sam is going to be one of the junior nurses," my sister explained. "So she won't be here till the kids arrive in two days. Does that make you feel better?"
For a moment I just stared at her. It was hard getting over your hate for someone when they told you that they cared for you. So, I thanked her with a small grin and a quiet, "Thanks, Jazz."
She proudly lifted her head and said, "Don't mention it", which was her way of saying, "I know I'm the perfect sister." With that said, she picked up her backpack and started down the aisle of bus seats to the open door.
With the hope of some entertainment in two days, I accepted my fate and got up. I was the last off the bus. The bright sun temporally blinded me as I jumped the last step. The sweet scent of pine and fresh air was different to my nose, but energizing to my senses. For some reason with the promise of Sam, I was open to the forest that now surrounded me.
Maybe I really did need this vacation from Amity. I was almost getting high off the fresh air, I was that pathetic. And maybe…just maybe I had been more stressed and depressed than I had realized. With Vlad as the new mayor and so many other bad things going on the past few months, it was hard being the only superhero there to protect a ghost infested city. It was taking its toll on me.
But of course I never admitted it to myself. I didn't want to give Jazz the satisfaction of being right. More air to that proud head of hers couldn't be good.
"Hey! You, spacey black haired kid!" someone's shout suddenly interrupted my thoughts. I turned my head around to see a blonde teen around my age trying to yank his stuffed duffle bag out of the coach bus's side compartments. He was having no luck with it and clearly needed my help. "Can you lend us a hand, mate?" the kid asked, seeing that I was the only one there to do so. The rest of the teens were busy exploring the camp.
"Sure," I said with a shrug and started to walk over.
"Cheers," the teen said with a grin. His blue eyes rested on me for a moment, summing me up in a blink of an eye. I didn't notice his calculating expression. His British accent was the only thing I seemed to pick up.
"You from England?" I asked casually, grabbing onto the strap of his duffle bag that was under loads of other bags that were for some older counselors that were coming in on a later bus. I tugged a few times to see how stuck it was.
"Yeah," the kid said, "My mum got a job in the States a few months ago. I think if you lift that big one up a little it will be able to slip out with a few yanks." He pointed to the bag he wanted lifted.
After a few useless tries, frustrated grunts, and some swearing mostly from the English boy, we got his bag out. We were sweating and panting by the time I got mine out as well. Sitting on our bags to cool down, we took in our home for the next month.
It was forest all around. Any kind of North American tree: pine, oak, dogwood, you name it, was like an overwhelming fortress of green. The camp ground itself was nice and new, opening for its first time to kids around the US. The wooden cabins were spread throughout the area of gravel pathways. From our sitting place, I couldn't see much.
All I knew was that it was going to be better than that time at camp when Wulf showed up out of nowhere with Walker on his tail. That camp had sucked. This one was nice looking. My only worries now were the temperatures of the shower water and the quality of food. But so far things were looking up.
"Jeez, I'm gonna miss civilization after a month of this," the kid beside me muttered. I raised an eyebrow at him, but didn't feel like saying anything. He just sighed before putting on a smile and getting to his feet. "Well, cheers, kid," he said. "You got a name?"
"Danny," I answered, "Danny Fenton. And you?"
"Joseph Worthington," the boy said, "But you can call me Seph."
I got up and said, "I guess we better get to the mess hall for that mandatory first meeting with the camp owner. I mean, unless you don't mind getting yelled at, we should be on our way."
"You don't have to tell me twice," Seph said with a grin. "Let's go."
Picking up our duffle bags, we set out of the dusty parking lot in front of the camp and into our new home. Soon, we were surrounded by boys and girls our age and older running around the cabins, getting to know each other with smiles and laughs. It was like first day of school all over again…just with all new faces. I instantly felt like an outsider. I've always been that way in crowds.
"Hey, we have the same cabin," Seph said with a grin. We had both ended up as counselors to Cabin 2. "That makes introductions easier, I guess," he said while hastily shoving the door open. Carelessly, he threw in his duffle bag, grabbed mine, and did the same. "Packing can wait till after this boring meeting."
Seph was an odd one. In any normal circumstance, we would hate each other. He was strong, lithe, and fit the perfect jock stereotype with a cocky and arrogant attitude. He and Dash would make great friends. But because we were both counselors for the same cabin, we were giving each other a chance to be friends. He was cool, but I wasn't sure if I liked him so much.
"Agreed," I said, letting him throw my backpack into the dark cabin as well. Boy, were we going to live like real guys for the next few days. Moms just don't understand that a messy room is a real room. Just because a room looks like a tornado blew through it, it doesn't mean guys don't know where everything is.
By then the rest of the camp was shuffling over to the mess hall. The cement building was in the middle of the complexes of cabins. It was bigger than the rest of the buildings surrounding it, large enough to hold a few hundred starving kids and teens.
Stepping inside, I could feel the cool AC system doing its work. I hadn't realized how hot it was outside till I walked in. The feeling inside the mess hall was alive with the buzz of conversation and excitement. I couldn't help but smile as Seph and I went around introducing ourselves to other cabin counselors. Everyone was shaking hands and smiling warm welcomes. It was nice. It wasn't like first day of school, I decided.
The older counselors put us teens all back into order after a few minutes. We were assigned to different tables by our numbers. Seph and I collapsed into our folding metal chairs at Table 2, talking about videogames and violent movies that we'd recently seen.
It was odd, being normal. For the past few months my life had been turned upside down with my whole ghost abilities. Yeah, I like fighting ghosts. Actually, I love it. Nothing feels better than flying at the speed of a jet over Amity Park or punching the annoying Box Ghost's face in. Just sometimes its hard getting in a good balance between the normal life of being a teen and the high speed one of a ghost superhero. Lately, my superhero side had been out weighing the other.
I really needed this break.
"Good evening, Happy Hill's young counselors!" a familiar voice boomed out of large speakers on each side of the mess hall. The room quieted down for the person speaking. All eyes looked up and over to the small stage at the back of the room where the owner of the camp stood with a microphone.
The instant I saw him I froze.
It was Vlad Masters. Vlad Masters was the owner of Happy Hills Summer Camp!
A/N: Dun, dun, dun! By the way, the beginning with James is supposed to be a bit confusing, but it will make sense later on in the fic. Hope you guys enjoyed the first chapter! Expect the next update next weekend! See ya then!