Sorry it's taken so long to write and post this story. I've been lacking motivation and been busy - now working full-time and have no internet. I've been thinking about doing a journalism course... We'll see how it goes.

Chapter 2: A Friend Emerges

He was stumbling down a long dark hallway. He passed many closed doors on his way, but he wasn't interested by what was behind them. He wanted to know where the hallway finished. He turned around a corner and froze. Two silhouetted bodies hung from the ceiling, swinging slightly. The gentle creaking of the rafters being stroked by the rope sung of death and chilled his spine. He gazed up at his parent's faces...

Phantom woke with a start; cold sweat clinging at his body and damp sheets twisting around him. He sat up, his head spinning and threw up over himself. Collapsing on his back, he tried to focus his sight.

Through his blurry eyes he realised he wasn't lying neither on his own bed nor on the bar floor. Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement and a blotchy figure came into view. He felt a cool cloth wipe away his vomit. He let himself be unclothed and wiped down with water that cleansed his dirty body and sinful thoughts. He murmured something that even he didn't hear. He felt like an innocent child again.

Once again he tried to sit up, but whoever it was that was now wiping away the sweat on his brow pushed him back down with a firm, but feminine hand. He let himself be tucked into the warm blankets, liking how childish he felt. He closed his eyes. He was ten again and his mother was humming a lullaby as she tucked him into bed. All hate and vengeance drained from his body.

"Mummy," he muttered.

"You need to rest your head," a deep voice said. Phantom started and opened his eyes. He saw the white painted ceiling speckled with black fly dirt. He moved his head to the side and stared up at the wide grin of the freak in the dress from the bar. He snapped up the blankets around his bare chest. A guy had stripped him naked?

"Calm down or you'll be sick again," the man said with a grin.

"Why... Who are you?" Phantom demanded, hiding his emaciated body from the man and blushing scarlet.

"My name is Peta. I am at your service," the man replied calmly in his deep voice, bowing low. Phantom regarded the man with suspicion clouding his hate-filled eyes. They met Peta's grey ones and they stayed like that for several minutes.

"You're at my service?" Phantom questioned, blinking hard. "Does that mean you want to be my servant?"

"If that is what you want to call it," Peta replied, "I will be as useful as I can."

"Like how?"

"I could give you advice."

"Advice huh?" Phantom scratched his chin, thinking long and hard. It sounded to him that Peta wanted to be his friend. Never before had he had a friend. Even before prison he was a lonely child. But with this... Peta on his side he could become more powerful. Yes... with followers he could create an unstoppable army for his revenge against MARHeaven.

For he blamed the people of MARHeaven for killing his parents.

Thanks to the brainwashing words of Diana and the Orb, Phantom believed it was everyone else's fault. The people of MARHeaven had betrayed him when his parents killed themselves and he was left to rot in prison as a frightened ten-year-old. He tried to remember how he had come to this conclusion, but all that was left was anger, sorrow hate and overwhelming vengeance.

Thinking of the Orb in tis box under his bed, he said, "Let me think about it."

"That's fine," Peta answered somewhat disappointedly.

"What am I doing naked in your room?" Phantom ordered, feeling violated.

"You were unconscious, so I brought you up here and then you were sick, so I took your soiled garments off to be cleaned."

"Why did you bring me up here anyway? I mean, you could've left me downstairs... I'm a powerful witch, I can fend for myself!" Phantom sneered at the seemingly weak mortal that stood before him, rage awakening once more in his mind. How dare this stranger even touch him, let alone strip him?

"When I stood in the bar, I sensed your amazing levels of magical power," Peta started, bowing again. "I hate humans. I want to deal my vengeance to them with a crushing blow... But to do that, I need a partner; a strong leader to direct and bring about my plans..."

"I said, I'd think about it," he snapped at him, annoyed at the man's continued persistence. He was sounding too desperate. ⌠I need clothes," he added. Peta was frowning, but he bowed low anyway and left the room, closing the door with a soft click.

Phantom surveyed the room. If this was Peta's room he had either just moved in or had no belongings, because the room was empty. He sat up, letting the blankets fall from his pale emaciated chest and stared down at ti in disgust. He ran his bony finger down it, wincing every time he felt his ribs through his skin. He began day dreaming about what he would've looked like if he hadn't been locked away.

He was gazing vacantly into space stroking his chest when Peta arrived back. He froze at the door and watched Phantom for a while before clearing his throat in a bemused way. Phantom started and once again whipped the blankets up around his chest, blushing furiously.

"Sorry, was I interrupting something?" Peta questioned, failing to mask the laughter in his voice. Phantom glared at him.

"How long were you there?" he snapped in a voice that wiped the grin of Peta's face.

"Not that long," he replied slyly, "You know, you're very skinny. A guy like you taking on Jumbo the muscular He-man with a weapon or even an ARM?" He tutted in disbelief and shook his head. Phantom, whose pride had been bruised already, didn't need this bug-eyed man hurting it further. Making a mental note to never get drunk again, he snarled at the man.

"Did I ask for your opinion? Where are my clothes?"

Peta threw a few items at the disgruntled man. He turned his back and folded his arms smugly; giving Phantom some privacy as he struggled into the oversized clothes.

The pair of baggy dark blue pants was far too long in the legs for him, so he rolled up the bottoms. His sleeveless top clung in all the wrong places and made him look like a stick insect wearing a sleeping sack. Once he was clothed, he stood and surveyed his reflection with a look of distaste on his face.

"It was pretty hard finding anything too fancy... Plus, you are really skinny," Peta explained.

"At least they are colour coordinated... They will do. Luckily you didn't have much of a choice..." Phantom turned and threw Peta a look of malice. "Else I'd be wearing a dress."

Peta glared at him, his greyish skin reddening slightly. "It's not a dress! It's a robe!" he hissed angrily, folding his arms and scowling at Phantom, who was sniggering loudly.

Phantom calmed down eventually and began to pace the room, deep in thought. Peta watched him, sensing the restless vengeance that boiled within.

"Will you follow my command?" Phantom asked suddenly. Peta nodded.

"I hate humans. They killed my family and tortured me. I am now the last of my kind and I will serve you loyally," he replied and bowed.

"What are you?" Phantom surveyed the man, interested.

"I am Peta. Your Advisor and loyal servant."

Phantom smirked. 'Servant, ehy?' he thought, realising that he could get used to this.