Spy Guy: someone slap me for this. heheh...yeahs. I know I shoudln't be posting this, but I'm going to be writing it anyway. This story came from my oneshots, so if I can't figure out how to delete the chapter right away, don't report me, kay? Heheh...
This story is what I write when I have writer's block, and because I like it, I'm going to post what I have done. I don't write in it very frequently, but when I have enough for another chapter, I'll post it, okay?
I just feel like posting today, and...Some people I've talked to really want more...hehe...slap me now. D:
Told from the POV of Danny's son...Jake...
Blanket Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom.
My parents always called it the name game.
"Just pick a name, Jake." My mom would say. "Pick any name you want."
At first I never knew why. When I was young they told me it was a game. We would all sit in our small little blue car, throwing names around, and having fun. No one else I knew played that game. It set me apart from everyone, and made me special.
My parents never stopped to explain, never asked me if I wanted to play. I knew it almost instinctively.
We had to play that game.
Eventually, I realized it wasn't a game. We were running. From what, I could never figure out. And I didn't really care. My parents obviously believed that it was for the best.
And for fourteen years of my life, I never felt threatened by anything…
Until the day the world turned upside down.
Brown leaves rolled across the concrete sidewalk, crunching under my feet as I passed, reminding me of summer's end. I would always remember this day for as long as I lived. I was walking with an unusual spring in my step, a giddy smile plastered across my face. In my hand, I clutched a note, signed from the one girl I loved more than anything else.
Life was great.
Every so often, cars lazily passed me by, sometimes with people I knew waving from the windows. I smiled and waved back to them.
Life was very good.
I was walking down the middle class strip of town, where all the houses looked the same. Same dull brown paint, same perfect green yards, same cars parked in the same garages. I couldn't stand to live like that. My dad always told me that conformity killed people.
I wasn't sure if he was right, but it sure made people boring. A sluggish man in his forty's glared at me from his stoop as he clutched a pile of mail in his hands
I didn't wave to him.
Once more I read the note, my smile growing as her faint perfume reached my nose. It was the scent of an angel…she smelled just like roses.
And she was my angel.
I rounded the corner, almost instantly stepping into a whole new world.
The perfect houses were gone, leaving me in my own familiar territory. People passed me on the streets, smiling slightly, going off into their smaller homes. These places were exciting to look at. Normal houses were settled comfortably beside various apartment complexes. Very few homes had yards and they didn't really need them. Across the street was a park where a few kids were currently playing basketball.
I kept walking.
Soon I had gone past the barbershop, the ice cream shop (closed due to health violations) and a small clothing shop. It was at this point I heard tires moving slowly over the loose asphalt on the road.
I looked back, seeing a large van parked against the curb, its motor still running. I shrugged it off, and continued on my way…
Until I heard the sound again…
This time my head shot around, spotting the van inching closer to me. Thousands of gruesome news bulletins flashed through my mind as I stared dumbly at that van. The driver was a bald man, his beady black eyes glaring at me through the windshield.
My heart started racing at that moment.
He was following me.
In an instant, my shoes were slapping across the pavement, churning up dust and leaves as I went. I didn't look back. I refused to look back.
I didn't have to… I could hear the van's engine rev up as its tires sped over the road.
There were no alleyways for me to duck into, no stores that I could hide in for refuge. I just happened to be in a strip of unsold houses. Their doors were locked and their windows covered in plywood.
Running was all I could do.
The cold air burned in my throat, and my muscles protested against this sudden exertion, but I pushed them forward. I knew I was just delaying the inevitable. I couldn't possibly outrun a van.
But I wasn't just going to give up.
Rubber screeched against the side of the pavement as the driver forced the van closer to me. His black eyes fell upon my face for a moment before he turned back to the road.
For one split second…I actually thought he was going to drive past me. I hoped that he would. I so hoped that he would.
Then that door opened.
I hadn't been paying attention to the van's sliding door directly to my right. My ears heard it swish open and then click firmly in place. Crouched inside were three men, their wild eyes focused on me. Their hands shot out, long bony fingers reaching for my hair and clothes. One man with deep brown skin, who looked hauntingly familiar, grabbed onto the sides of my shirt right below my armpits. I kicked out at him, missing every time. He attempted to lift me into the van, but I bit his arm…hard. His hand struck me hard against my skull, and I felt my neck pop slightly, but still I struggled against his hold. Another man seized my black hair, and dragged me painfully onto the van's dirt covered floor. I was nearly growling at them, hissing and spitting like a wild animal as they tried to keep me down. A man roughly forced my arms behind my back, tying my wrists and hands together with a thick rope, having no regards for the limitations of muscle and bone. I lay there on my stomach, completely helpless, watching forlornly as the van's door shut with a click…and I was trapped.
The familiar man forced me into a sitting position, propping my body up against the van's wall.
"What's going on?!" I demanded, glaring at him. People always said my green eyes scared them, but I was never sure why. I could feel the man's apprehension as he quickly bound my ankles together, completely immobilizing me.
"Stay quiet kid." The driver snapped. "We're not going to hurt you."
"And like, I'm supposed to believe you?" I snarled.
"Right now, you don't have a choice…"
Those words still echo through my mind, even to this day.
He was right.
I didn't have a choice.
I fell to silence, closing my eyes, and letting the gentle rocking of the van lull me into a light doze. I know now that it was a very stupid thing to do, but at the time, I couldn't help it. It was like, I had to go to sleep. I should have been looking through the window, tracking where we were going…
But I didn't.
I sat there like a good little boy in the back of that van for three days.
The first day they allowed me to go the bathroom once, at night, with them standing nearby. I didn't try to run then…
They had guns.
After that, they forced me back into that van, tied me up again, and kept going. I went along with the whole thing, too afraid to do anything. And for some reason…I was very tired.
Mostly the men just sat around, playing poker, and drinking. The van stunk of alcohol from their breath. It made me feel nauseous.
When they fed me, they usually shoved a stale granola bar into my mouth. The familiar man would be laughing, gagging me with the food that I so desperately needed. Despite the indignity of it, I had no choice but to bite down, and swallow what was already in my mouth before I threw up. Pieces rolled down my chin, landing on my dirtied t-shirt, but I ignored it as I scarfed the granola down.
The men would burst into raucous laughter, pointing at me, mumbling incoherently, before laughing again. My face would be red hot from embarrassment.
This went on for three days.
But at the end of those three days…I would wish I was still in that van.
It was on the fourth day that the men started getting agitated. They tightened my bonds, and made sure I was fed and watered. They brushed the crumbs and dirt from my shirt, and attempted to clean my dirty face.
"What's going on!?" I demanded, pulling against the ropes around my wrists, trying to get circulation to my fingers. The men just grumbled, and moved to the back of the van. They were looking through papers, carefully sorting them into different piles. One man had a stack of manila folders, and was placing various papers inside, writing on the covers with a strong smelling sharpie. The fumes gave me a splitting headache, but I was too nervous to dwell on it.
I could see that man setting the folders aside…and I could see what was written on them.
I know that sounds strange. Most people only have three names. Their first, their middle, and their last. Some even only have two. Some have four. I had dozens. A slew of various first, middle, and last names that came together to make me. I didn't use them all at one time. I've been Charles Johnson, Mark Hammerstien, Billy Fortune, Tony Samson and whole list of other people. My family made an invisible trail across the country, playing what my dad called the name game. We'd change our names whenever my dad told us we had to move. And we moved a lot. Each if us received new social security numbers, birth certificates, and other forms of identification from my dad's anonymous benefactor. I learned quickly that the only people who could know my real name were my parents. They were the only people who ever knew I was Jacob Fenton…
Or so I thought.
I watched as my most current name was placed on that pile.
Right now I was Nick Stephens.
After that, I was silent. These people knew things they shouldn't. My dad never told me why we were running, but he put great emphasis on staying hidden. He never held big jobs, and neither did my mom. Running was my life. It was all I had ever done.
And it was over now.
The driver turned back to me, smiling darkly as his fingers turned the van's key, killing the engine. I knew instantly the journey was over.
We had arrived.
I panicked as the side door slid open, letting a column of light shine through. Standing before me were four men in white suits. They all glared critically at me from behind dark tinted sunglasses, studying my features. Finally one spoke.
"He looks like his old man."
"It wasn't a hard catch." The familiar man said, climbing from the van. "Daddy dearest left a trail of clues a mile long. Apparently, he's been employed by some rich guy to do a few small jobs. Nothing real fancy, but they made his signature strong enough to track. The kid's was a little modified, and the strain obviously wasn't as strong as his dad's, but we still got him."
"Look at those eyes." Another one of the white suits murmured. "They're not human."
Listening to them talk was torture. I knew they were talking about me, treating me like I was the catch of the day. For reasons I didn't know then, they wanted me. And I was scared.
One of the white suits barked out a command to his comrades. They approached me, hoisting my tired body from the van and holding onto me tight, taking me out into the light. We seemed to be in a large storage room filled with various boxes. The van was parked right in the middle, a little ways away from a huge bay door.
"He looks a little weak." One man commented, walking towards me. Later, I discovered he was the head of the western branch of the guys in white…the cruelest man alive
"Get him registered with the system." The leader demanded. "Then take him to his room and feed him. He's going to need a lot of energy for tomorrow."
I had never really liked the color white. When we were running, white was the color of the cop cars my dad tried to avoid. White was the color of doctor's offices that I had to go to when I was sick. White was also the color of the school psychiatrist's left eye. My entire family preferred the color black. To me, this place was blinding. The men were in white suits carrying me down a pristine white hallway, through a shining metal door, and into yet another white room.
"What's going on?" I asked softly, trying to keep my voice strong. Those three words kept pounding on the inside of my skull, demanding to be answered.
"What's going on?"
The door shut behind me with a sick whooshing sound, trapping me with these huge men and a room full of strange machines. They set me down on what looked like a metal operating table, leaving me there for a moment. The smell of antiseptic hit my nose like a wave, leaving me dizzy and confused. All I could do was lay there, and wait for the men to return.
My dad and I loved watching sci-fi movies. He liked all the really old ones like Forbidden Planet, and the Day the Earth stood still. He said he didn't like watching things that looked real.
If he knew these people, I could tell why.
One white suit came over with a small switchblade knife held firmly in his fist. I instantly tried to move away from him. I hated knives. I really hated knives. One time when I was ten, this kid from school went after me with a knife. I still have the scar, even to this very day, running along my cheekbone. The kid claimed that my eyes scared him.
A little like The Tell Tale Heart, isn't it? Except I didn't let him kill me, gouge my eyes out, and bury me beneath his house.
I managed to escape that time.
I inched away from the man and his knife, only succeeding in pushing myself off the table and onto the hard tile floor.
"Ow…" I murmured under my breath, trying to sit up.
"Stupid kid." The white suit grumbled, bending down beside me.
"What are you doing?" I whimpered, pushing myself closer to the table. My cheek was plastered against the cold floor giving me chills up and down my spine. My breathing came in short gasps as the shining tip of that metal blade came closer and closer to me, ready to cut me open like a fish.
"Why won't you answer me?" I demanded, trying to be brave. "What did I do?"
I was still ignored.
At that moment I closed my eyes, trying not to cry. Crying showed weakness, and I couldn't do that. I knew instinctively that I couldn't be weak to these people. I knew they would hurt me.
My panic about the knife was in vain though. The man simply cut the ropes with a small 'snik' ,freeing my arms and legs.
It was still painful. My hands and feet felt like thousands of little knives were digging into their tender surfaces. I stared long and hard at my discolored fingers, moving them slowly, trying to get the blood flowing again. For a few moments, those men left me alone on the cold floor. I could feel their eyes watching me as I stretched tense muscles and worked out cramps. It seemed like they were analyzing my movements, studying my behavior. At the time, I didn't think there was anything strange about how I stretched. My dad had taught me after a race we had out in the woods. He told me to imagine that my fingers could pass straight through my skin, and then massage the sore muscle inside. It was amazing, and worked very well.
"Talk to me kid." One man said when I was done. "What's your name?"
"Nick Stephens." I replied, looking away. They let me be for a little while longer, rifling through files and cabinets. I tried to ignore them. Soon the pain in my limbs subsided, leaving me with a horrible feeling in my stomach.
"Register him under Jacob Fenton." One of the men said to his comrade sitting in front of a computer screen. The man grunted as his fingers moved gracefully over the keyboard, typing my name in. My real name. Not one that I had made up in a game. This was the real name on my real birth certificate, and the real name my parents gave me. These people had chased me down and kidnapped me because of who I was.
But I didn't know why.
It was then that I decided that I was going to run. I was going to get over to that door, open it, a make a break to the outside world. I was good at running. Before it became too much trouble, I was always high ranking in the track team. I knew these people were the reason I had to run all my life.
And I wasn't going to be caught.
I waited a few moments in silence, watching the men as they busied themselves with the stacks of files my kidnappers had given them. A copy of every birth certificate I had ever had was being placed beside the man at the computer. The white suits crowded around him, whispering softly as they looked over various documents.
Now was the time.
In a split second, my muscles tensed and uncoiled, propelling my body toward the door. Before the men could even register what happened, my fingers found the button to open the door, and my hand had slammed down upon it. They were screaming behind me as I tore blindly through the hall, my feet pounding against the tiled floor.
They were shrieking my name at the top of their lungs, threatening me with every torture imaginable. I didn't care. Running was all I had ever been good at. There was no way they could catch me.
But as my shoes squeaked across the floor, something shot out at me, striking me hard in the side. The pain ripped through me, shredding my senses as it went, reducing me to a small huddling mass on the floor. The smell of burning cloth and flesh reached my nose, making my eyes water from the acrid smell. A whimper escaped my lips as my body began to twitch from the shock. Thousands of cluttered thoughts were running through my mind at that moment, tripping over each other, hoping to be heard. Only one seemed to be registering at that moment.
They shot me.
They really shot me.
Even in my half-dazed state, I could tell that they shot me. The men were yelling all over, screaming at each other, their loud voices cutting into my numb mind like knives.
I felt warm fingers reach up to my neck, checking my pulse. My own fingers encircled the man's wrist, holding on with my feeble grip.
"Help me…" I rasped, struggling to speak through my pain. It was then that black crept over my vision, placing a wall between me and reality…
But I knew they had me again.
This was a second time I'd been caught.
Maybe I wasn't as good at running as I thought.