Even though the clear view of the sky that the valley gave Danny as a place to retreat from his problems, it seemed tonight that they only reminded him of his current problems. The way that his parents and the good doctor had talked about him while they were watching the video, breaking down everything about him so easily, it made him wonder about himself. Was he really just some predictable ghost or was he something else? He was half human after all, he wasn't bound to go by most ghost laws, nor was be bound by most of the human ones either. The only things that separated him from the ghosts were his ethics and his morals. Most ghosts did what they wanted, not thinking of the consequences ahead, but Danny, and even Vlad, had different ways of thinking. Their thoughts surrounded their obsessions most of the time, just like a ghost, but the way they did their thinking was different from a ghost, or at least Danny thought so.
It had been a few weeks since they had captured Phantom's face, but they had not released it to the media, for which he was eternally grateful, but what they were doing with it and what they were planning, he wasn't sure. They had been searching for his haunt and so far they had not come close, but he feared that they might stumble upon it, maybe even by accident, and then what would they do? His fear of them destroying it was unusually high. It worried him to the point that he would panic at school and even have nightmares.
Sighing, he sat up and looked down the hill. A herd of deer had stumbled upon his haunt and he welcomed them. He knew they would be moving on and the wolf and her pups wouldn't disturb them as they roamed the area. All of them had bunked down in the tall grass, big brown bundles of warm fur and wet noses. He knew why they were taking cover, the hunters had been after them and they were scared. A large number of fawns had been born the spring previous and they were not yet old enough to wonder away from their mothers. The bucks in charge had led them deep into the woods, but of course the hunters followed. When they came here that morning, they had been relieved to find a place of rest and plenty of food to feed their starved family.
Danny smiled at them then looked back up at the sky. He spotted the shadow of an owl fly by, hunting no doubt, for small vermin or a snake to feed the owlets in its hollow. He knew the ferrets were out, slinking by in the shadows. The snakes were sleeping in their dens, but some had neglected their hibernation because of the lack of snow and hunted as if it was a normal routine this time of the season. Danny knew the bears were up as well; with it feeling like summer, the bears had also neglected to hibernate and were roaming the trees for food. He knew a pair was fishing in the river not far from here, he also knew the female of that pair was pregnant, but wouldn't deliver for a long while.
Yes he knew a lot of things, but how to fix his problems was not one of them.
He got up and took off to his house, knowing that it would be morning soon and he had better get some sleep for the school day ahead.
His eyes were drooping in English again, Mr. Lancer's voice fading in and out as he tried to keep a hold onto the lecture, but was failing miserably. Sam gave him a poke in the shoulder with her pencil as he began to lean into the aisle. He jerked back up right, but it didn't help with his drowsiness much. A piece of paper fluttered to his desk and he looked up to make sure Lancer didn't see him as he opened it.
'Did you get any sleep last night?'
It was in Sam's curly handwriting. He scribbled something down and passed the note back to her.
'No, I was up thinking,' was what he put down.
Sam shook her head when she read it and gave him a slight glare. They had this conversation before, that Danny shouldn't worry and should relax since the ghosts had taken a break while the hunters had been in town. Apparently, they didn't like Dr. Dorr poking around in their business, so did that give a half ghost license to relax? Especially if he was the target? Danny certainly didn't think so.
Something was wrong. He felt it curl up inside his gut with a grip so powerful that he thought he was going to be sick. He felt them step onto his land, boots heavy and guns in hand. He was shaking badly, feeling their movements as they centered in on the valley.
He catapulted out of his seat and ran for the door, causing everyone to pause and watch him (well Lancer yelled at him to come back), run like a man stricken and race out the door, gone before they could follow and try to catch him in the hallway. Sam and Tucker were worried and tried to go after him, but Lancer shut the door on their faces before they could try and get away. They were stuck.
"What do you think that was?" Sam whispered to Tucker who sat in front of her.
"I don't know, was it his ghost sense?" the boy asked.
"No, I didn't see anything, besides he would have had an excuse if it was a ghost. But did you see how freaked he looked?"
"Yeah, he looked like someone was going to die."
"I don't know what happened, but I hope he'll be okay."
"Hey Sam, do you think they found it?"
Sam's eyes went wide, biting her lip since that seemed to be the only possibility. Danny always said he knew what was happening in his haunt all of the time. If the ghost hunters found it, he would definitely be worried, but that look Danny had on his face when he fled made Tucker accurate: he looked like someone was going to die.
Danny's heart was pounding as he flew blindly out of town and into the woods. All at the same time, he felt the hunters get closer and closer to the valley. He could feel their astonishment, how close they were to the den with the wolf and her young pups. He poured on the speed to the point he was actually panting from the exertion.
She saw them coming, pushing the pups into the den before the hunters could see them.
He was closer, but not close enough.
She didn't follow in, simply standing and growling at the men as she stood guard in front of the den, the pups hidden in shadow.
He had to get closer, but he was going as fast as he could.
One of the men raised their guns and she barked at them. He took a step forward and she took that as a challenge.
He was almost there; he could just see them through the trees.
She leapt, he fired, Phantom screamed.
The hunters froze, the smoke from the barrel not even gone, as they saw Phantom holding the dead form of the wolf in his arms. Phantom had his face buried in her thick fur, his shoulders shaking as if he was crying. His moaning was sending chills down their spines, making them want to run but at the same time they were planted in their places.
"Why?" Phantom whispered loud enough for them to hear. "She was just protecting her cubs."
The ghost brought his face up to them, his green eyes glowing in sorrow and tear treads running down his cheeks.
"Why? Why would you do this?" he asked them like a broken child, one that just couldn't understand. "She wasn't doing anything. She was just protecting her cubs; that's all she was doing."
Phantom put his face back into the dead wolf's fur, crying harder than he had before. The hunters were released from his hypnotic gaze, slowly backing up and then running for their truck. One of them was pulling out his cell phone, making a call to the local ghost hunters.
Danny wasn't sure when they had come, or how long they stood there, watching him, but he didn't fully care. He felt broken on the inside, a part of his haunt was gone and it was devastating to him, and it wasn't just him. He could feel the pups in the den, hear them call for their mother, but she wasn't going to answer them. They were all alone now, no one to keep them warm on cold nights, feed them, cuddle with them when they were scared, no one to play with or to teach them to hunt, how to survive in this world that didn't seem to give them a choice about living or dying.
Dark had settled in on the world when Phantom finally moved from his crouched position, letting the body gently lay on the ground. Jack, Maddie and Dorr watched, fascinated by his behavior and saddened as well. They had told the local hunters to call them if they saw anything since the woods would be classified as a secluded place. For weeks they had come up empty handed and were just about to concentrate their efforts elsewhere when this happened.
According to the hunters, it had been self defense. Phantom had come in and hadn't hurt them, only asked why they had done what they did. Of course the ghost hunters had come at once, but when they got there, all thoughts about scientific classification was gone; all they saw was a broken child with a dead animal that might have been a pet, killed mindlessly all because one man couldn't back away.
Phantom looked up at them for a moment after he set the body down on the grass. Dorr was taken aback by his eyes, so full of emotion and energy. Jack could only stare since he was the first to see this kid and why he hadn't figured it out that he was ghost was confusing to him. Maddie saw something else.
She went up to him, knowing that he wouldn't hurt her. Phantom had put his head back down, not moving from where he sat on the ground. Maddie crouched down in front of him, hearing Jack come up behind her and do the same. Being parents, they both felt like they could do some good here. It was quiet obvious that Phantom was not your every-day fear-me ghost, and Maddie was pretty sure she knew why.
"You knew how to take out the generators," Maddie opened up, her voice soft and sympathetic.
Phantom nodded his head slowly, his white locks bouncing as he did so.
"How?" Jack asked.
Phantom did not answer him.
"You knew we were setting up a trap," Jack tried again.
This time Phantom did answer him with a hesitant nod.
"Mr. Lancer called us today, right before the hunters did," Maddie said, causing Jack to look confused.
"Where are you going with this?" he asked her, but she gave him the signal to be quiet.
"No one has seen our son since then," Maddie continued. "Funny how he disappears at the same time the hunters come into your main haunt."
Jack screwed his face up, then looked at Phantom, then managed to do a double-take as it finally sunk in; why Phantom looked so familiar to him, why he never wanted to be seen (especially when he and Maddie were around), it would also explain a lot of other stuff, like how Danny and Jazz had often pushed the idea of half-ghosts on them a few years ago before giving up since it seemed hopeless that their parents would never let the idea come to mind at how ridiculous it was. Not anymore.
"I tried," Phantom's broken voice cut the silence, "but, I wasn't fast enough."
"Look at me," Maddie put her hands under his chin and lifted his face up to hers.
That face was all too familiar, even with the hair and eye color change. Maddie ran a hand through his dirty hair.
"Oh baby, why didn't you tell us?" she asked him.
"I don't know," Phantom shook his head, shoulders slumping forward as he tried to keep himself steady. "I just . . . I don't know."
"Son, how?" Jack asked him, putting a hand on Phantom's shoulder, realizing that he was amazingly solid and warm compared to other ghosts the hunter had handled before.
"Ecto contamination," Danny said after a deep breath to try and keep himself from crying again, "from the portal."
His mother sighed and rolled her eyes up, frustrated and shaking her head at how obvious that answer was.
"So this is our fault?" Jack asked.
"No," Danny hastily spoke up, looking at them with worry in his eyes. "No, it wasn't your fault, it was never your fault."
"Now's not the time," Maddie said, looking back over her shoulder at Dorr. "It's late, you're a mess and in no condition to talk to us."
Danny swallowed and nodded his head. He turned to look over his shoulder to look at the shiny eyes of the pups in the den.
"I can't leave them," he said, turning back to his parents. "They don't have anyone now."
His parents looked behind him to see the pups hesitantly walk out of the den.
"Boy, they're little guys aren't they?" Jack asked, then looked down at the body. "Maybe we should take care of this first?"
Danny looked up at him and gave a small smile, it was a sad one but a thankful one. Jack smiled back, happy to see that small effort on his son's face after all of the damage that had been caused that day. He picked up the wolf body and got to his feet. Maddie and Danny did the same, but Danny went back to the den to bend down to the pups. Maddie and Jack tensed up when they saw a giant form shift out of the darkness beside their son. Their eyes grew wide when they saw that it was a mountain lion. The big body was sleek and muscled, paws as big as Danny's face and teeth the size of kitchen knives. Danny turned to it and put a hand on its muzzle, speaking softly to it. The giant cat rubbed its face against his and then turned to enter the den. The pups followed, yapping excitedly at the new person to sniff and play with.
"She'll look after them," he said coming back up to his astonished parents. "She's old, but has experience with cubs. I'm just glad they don't need milk anymore. She had just started them on meat. She was a good mother."
Maddie put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed.
"And she'll be recognized for it," she promised him, leading him back to the car.
Dorr of course was confused by the talk that they just had, and why Jack was carrying a dead animal in his hands and why Maddie was helping Phantom through the trees back to them.
"It's done," Maddie said when Dorr wanted to speak.
"What?" the good doctor asked astonished, looking at Phantom almost hungrily for information. "But you have him right there. There is so much we can learn from him—"
"I said it's done," Maddie snapped at her. "Pack up your things and be gone by morning, we no longer need your services."
Danny didn't see Dorr's face as his mother gave him a gentle push towards the car. He got in and slumped in the first seat he reached. The world whirled around him in a blur as the car started and drove off in the snowy night. He drifted in this daze for a while before he found himself dreaming deeply.
He woke up with a jerk in his bed, finding his blanket tucked tightly around him and in his human form. He looked at his clock to see if he was late for school again, but his alarm was not turned on and the time read three in the morning. After a second of silence, he heard scrambling going on downstairs. It was late for people to be up, even his parents since they were not in any kind of breakthroughs at the moment.
Feeling that his curiosity would kill him all of the way someday, he quietly slunk out of his room and went downstairs. Halfway down the staircase, Danny froze. He heard Dorr's voice arguing heatedly with his mother's voice.
"I have as much right to Phantom as you do," Dorr was saying, and it sounded like it was between clenched teeth. "He is the find of the century, there are so many contradictory things about him, he could be a whole new breed of ghost for us to study."
"I'm afraid things have changed Dorr," Maddie said, her voice unnaturally calm. "Ethics have been breached on this, we have to stop before we go any further."
"This is nonsense," Dorr nearly screeched and Danny could hear a chair being flung backward and feet slammed on the floor as someone stood up in a hurry. "He's just a ghost, nothing more."
The slow screech of another chair on the tiled floor met this statement with a tense silence.
"Leave this house Lorrain, and never step foot in here again," Maddie's voice was low and seething. "I can't believe we actually asked for your help. You certainly fooled people with that sweet mask of yours recently, but only if they knew the real you."
Another tense moment passed before Danny saw Dorr head for the front door. It was raining outside and the sound of the water hitting the sidewalk was loud in the quiet house. As the good doctor turned to shut the door, she caught him looking at her from the stairs. She only sneered at him as if his mere existence was an insult, and then slammed the door with so much force that the pictures by his head up on the wall shook slightly.
"Hun, what are you doing up?"
Danny turned his head to look at his mother. He sighed and walked down to the floor and came up to her. She slung an arm around his shoulders and they both walked into the kitchen. Danny righted the chair that Dorr had knocked over in her anger while Maddie grabbed a carton of milk and the chocolate sauce from the fridge. Danny saw what she was doing and grabbed the glasses and spoons and sat down at the table with them.
"I miss this," Maddie said with a smile as she poured the milk.
She handed a glass to Danny and he squeezed the gooey chocolate goodness from the bottle as if it was a fountain.
"Danny," Maddie scolded him as a dry heave came from the bottle after he had emptied the contents.
"Oops," he smiled sheepishly at his mother. "Sorry."
"It's okay, when it comes to you and Jack, I have a spare everything in the house."
She got up and grabbed another bottle from the cupboard, the plastic seal still intact on the cap. After opening it and squeezing her fair share, they stirred the contents together and stopped when neither of them wanted to drink it just yet.
"Danny, you know we need to talk about this," Maddie spoke up.
Danny was licking the extra chocolate from his spoon as she said this, he had been ready to reach into the bottom of the glass again when he realized he had to talk back to her.
"Nothing much to say," he said quietly, shrugging his shoulders as he looked down at his murky brown drink. "I got ghost powers, I use them to protect the town, end of story."
"I don't think so," his mom shook her head slightly. "I'm talking about why you didn't tell us this from the start. Did you not trust us or something?"
Danny let the spoon fall into his drink as he looked up at the ceiling and sighed.
"I don't know why I didn't tell you," he repeated himself. "I just don't know. At first I was scared, then it turned into something more. I never intended to become a protector, but fate plays funny tricks on you sometimes. As time passed by, it was just easier for people not to know. I've seen what could happen if people found out, not many of them are pleasant ideas. Most of them contain dissection tables and government labs."
Maddie winced at this last bit.
"Danny, you know we would never do that to you," Maddie almost seem to plead with him.
"I know Mom, but, sometimes, time is unpredictable. I was scared because I didn't know what was coming because I knew so many things could happen. I'm sorry for not telling you, but at the same time, I'm not. I kind of wished you were still in the dark, but once you caught a look at my face as Phantom, I knew it was a matter of time for you to figure it out."
"But why? How would we know something had happened to you?"
"I video tapped a confession, the tape is with Tucker and he would have given it to you if anything had happened to me; I update it every year. Sort of like a last will and testament thing, though I hoped I would never have to use it. I guess I don't have to anymore, despite what might happen."
Maddie didn't know what to think of the way her son was talking; so tired and bored, talking so morbidly about the possibility of his own death. This was a side of her son she had not seen before and it was a little frightening to see.
"Danny, are you depressed?" she asked him.
His head shot up and he looked at her straight in the face, his own face containing a little bit of shock.
"No Mom," he said, emotion back in his voice to calm her. "No, I'm just tired and stressed out from the past couple of weeks. And loosing the wolf mother tore a hole in my heart, so I am kind of depressed about that, but nothing you need to worry about."
"Well, the way you were talking, it scared me."
"I've changed a lot," Danny nodded at her. "I have to keep up the act all of the time in public, and here. I wear so many masks that I'm surprised I can keep them all straight. Sometimes I don't even know who I am anymore, but, if I feel like that, I just go to my haunt and all of sudden, the world makes sense again."
At the word of his lair being brought up, Maddie suddenly found she had questions again.
"Danny, about your haunt, did you do all of that?" she asked him, having seen the expanse of spring-time grass.
"Yes, I don't know why it's different there compared to out here, but yes, I helped re-build the life in it. After stuff started growing back, I couldn't help not staying away. I was pulled to it often and I didn't mind, it completes me, and I feel more powerful in it then I ever do here. You know, it's like, my spot, my space."
"I think I understand," Maddie patted his hand and smiled. "I also know that you need your rest. You were pretty out of it in the car."
Danny nodded, but looked back at his drink.
"To new beginnings," he raised his glass and Maddie touched it with her own.
Maddie sipped while Danny chugged on his and slammed the glass back down on the table.
"Boy I needed that," but then a frown came on his face. "Mom, what did you mean when you told Dorr about the 'real her'?"
Maddie froze, but decided to tell him now rather than later when he would, no doubt, find out himself.
"Dorr is an extremely competitive person," Maddie said. "She went to college with me and your father, but her personality was very clingy, as if she had to prove to us all that she was the best. We tried to be friends but, she was always jealous of someone for something they had and she didn't have it. We were roommates once and when I started dating your father, Dorr was not happy. She tried to sabotage us because she couldn't stand to see me happy. She almost killed me with a stunt and got kicked off of campus for it. Since then, she has done her own thing and converted to what society wants her to be, but the real her is still there."
"So, if you distrust her so much, why did you team up with her?" Danny asked confused.
"Well, we were desperate for answers on . . . well you, that we became a little desperate for help," Maddie said as if embarrassed. "When I found out it was you, well, I had to cut Dorr off from everything. It's unethical to do anything to you sweety, and it would certainly overstep the boundaries if I let Dorr do anything to Phantom."
"Why, what does she do to them?"
"You don't want to know sweetheart, it would give you nightmares. Now, finish up here and go to bed, I'll see you in the morning."
Danny put his glass in the sink and went back upstairs as he heard the water start up for his mom to rinse out the glasses.
The full shock of everything didn't really hit Danny until that next morning. The blaring of an alarm shocked him out of his deep sleep and his hand went out to knock the alarm clock off of the table to shut it up, but even after the object hit the floor, the alarm was still ringing in his ears. It took him a moment in his sleepy brain to realize that it was the house alarm, not the alarm clock, that had woke him up.
Suddenly aware of the smell of smoke coming from downstairs, Danny hurriedly phased through his bed and down to the first floor right above the kitchen. He saw his Dad frantically beating at the flames on the stove with a tea towel. His mom was nowhere in sight, probably getting a fire extinguisher from the lab. Thinking without really thinking, Danny put his hands up and blasted the stove top with a mound of ice. The flames died down instantly, smoke billowing up from where they had been and now a large amount of snow occupied the space. His dad stood there shocked for a moment before slowly turning to the side to look at him.
"Uh, good morning?" Danny somewhat asked him with a nervous smile.
"Jack! What is going on up there?" Maddie yelled from the basement as her feet creaked on the rickety steps.
"Uh, Danny's awake, and took care of the problem," Jack then turned back to Danny with an excited gleam in his eye. "That was so COOL! What else can you do?"
"Jack, calm down," Maddie warned Jack as she came into the kitchen. "Morning sweety, how are you this morning."
"Slightly confused and worried," Danny said as he looked at the white-covered stove top again before looking at his mom. "Why was the stove on fire?"
"Your father wanted to make you a breakfast with the new experimental ecto-conversations we put into the stove," Maddie rolled her eyes. "Apparently, someone crossed a few wires."
"Wasn't me," Jack said to defend himself.
"It's okay guys, I'll just get what I normally get on a school day. Oh gosh! School! I am so late, Lancer is going to kill me."
He turned to rush out of the room, but his mother stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.
"Don't worry, we called you in sick," Maddie said, a slight smile of amusement on her face. "We figured after everything that happened last night, you wouldn't be up to it."
"Oh yeah," Danny ran a hand down his face as he remembered the whole thing. "What about her? Did you bury her dad?"
Jack nodded, "I figured that you wouldn't want that reminder in your . . . uh haunt, so I buried her on the outskirts of the boarder. I hope that was okay."
"Perfect, thanks Dad. Oh, but speaking of which, I better relieve the mountain lion of her burden so she can go hunt. I can only imagine what the pups are doing to her right now."
"Okay, just be careful dear," Maddie warned him.
Danny nodded and was out the door before she could say another word.
"Speedy little thing isn't he?" Jack asked Maddie, but he had a proud smile on his face.
"Almost as fast as you when it's dinner time," Maddie patted Jack's expanding girth and walked back into the lab.
"I'll have you know, that this is eighty percent muscle," Jack sucked in his gut, but couldn't hold it for long as it dropped again. "Oh who am I kidding?" he groaned as he walked down into the lab behind Maddie.
"Wait, so they know?" Sam asked as she, Tucker, and Danny were in her room, spread out around the space leisurely.
"And they're cool with it?" Tucker asked, stupefied.
"Yeah, I knew Mom had some idea after . . . well you know," Danny looked at the carpet between his feet sadly.
"We're so sorry to hear about her Danny," Sam said sadly. "How are the pups doing anyhow?"
"Oh, they're good," Danny answered, his voice having a bit more life to it. "It let the mountain lion hunt this morning when I got there. The pups are wondering where their mother is, but other than that, they're healthy. I just hope they learn to hunt on their own soon, I can't take care of them and neither can the lion."
"I wouldn't worry about it Danny," Tucker said. "Everything seems to be protected in that little bubble of a valley. You'll know if they're in trouble, plus, it seems that it's hard to find your place when you're in it, which is like, all of the time now."
"Yeah," Sam said enthusiastically. "All you got to do is go there when you can, with ghost hunting to a minimal since Dorr is still in town, it shouldn't be that hard. Plus Tucker and I can take over if we need to."
"Uh, Tucker wants nothing to do with the little fur balls," Tucker spoke up a bit grudgingly. "They'll just use me as a chew toy."
"Then you'll be the perfect baby-sitter now won't you?" Sam asked him with a smug smirk, Tucker only scowled at her.
"I appreciate the offer guys," Danny said to break up their spat. "And I'll let you guys know if I do need your help, but I am kind of worried that Dorr may find her way back there."
"Oh, speaking of Dorr, I got that info you wanted," Tucker said, taking out his PDA and typing on it furiously. "There really isn't much to find on her. She was pretty much invisible until about ten years ago. She started finding ghosts and 'relocating' them, her career took off like a rocket after that."
"Then how come I haven't heard of her until now?" Danny asked.
"Maybe because she only did her work for big bucks, and I mean 'Vlad Masters' type of bucks," Tucker said. "The rates on her web-site are through the roof."
"Um, what did you mean by 'relocate'?" Sam asked, using air quotes.
"That's just it; it says relocate, but nothing after that: no 'where' or 'to' here, and to be honest, that kind of scares me."
Danny nodded distractedly as he thought back to the conversation he and his mom had last night. Something about Dorr rubbed him the wrong way.
The feeling ran down his spine again, the same one he had yesterday right before the she-wolf was shot.
"Guys, something is wrong," he spoke hurriedly, getting to his feet and changing into Phantom. "Get my parents and get over to my haunt."
He ran out of the house before Tucker or Sam could ask what was wrong.
When he got there, he saw Dorr and her assistants in his haunt. He was above them, invisible, watching as they held torches up in the fading daylight over the green grass and trees. He growled low in his throat, feeling the anger of the animals around him as well as they started to conglomerate towards him.
Danny was falling towards the earth before he knew he had been caught. Someone had fired a net cannon on him and caught him off guard. He landed painfully into the ground, the crunching of boots making him look up awkwardly through the green material. His eyes came onto the smirk of Dorr and his eyes simmered with anger.
"Well Phantom, glad you could make it," Dorr said, smirking as if she had caught the prize of the century. "Oh don't worry, I'll let you go, just after you answer some questions."
Danny still said nothing, but started to move his fingers around to try and find a weak point in the net. It was covered in something that was starting to burn his skin, and it felt familiar too.
"Don't even try," Dorr almost laughed at him. "The net is covered in a concoction made up of Blood Blossoms. I find that natural remedies are often the best for getting rid of pests."
"Let me go and we'll see who's the pest then," Danny said between clenched teeth.
"Oh, a feisty one," Dorr chuckled, bending down closer to get a good look at him. "Haven't had one like you to interrogate in a long time."
"What do you mean by that?" Danny asked, searching her eyes for an answer, but all he saw was a kind of sick glee.
"Answer my questions and you won't have to find out. Now, where is the one you call Clockwork?"
Danny froze in shock that a human would be asking such a question, a question he wasn't going to answer of course.
"Oh come now Phantom, surely a strange little thing like you would know where such a powerful being resided?" Dorr asked him almost sadly.
Danny only sneered at her.
"Fine, have it your way."
Dorr took a torch from one of her assistants and threw it to the side, the green grass up in an unnatural blaze quickly.
The pain was unbearable as Danny felt the grass burning, as if he himself was burning. He writhed in pain in the net, screaming into the ground in surprise and pain. Dorr only smirked as his cries started to become muffled as he tried to stifle them.
"Yes, nice trick to know about a ghost's haunt," Dorr said, bending down close to him again. "The thing about a ghost's home is that he's connected to it, not only neurologically, but physically as well. Whatever pain is felt here, the ghost can feel it too. It's a good way to get answers out of you monstrosities. Now, I'll ask again, where is Clockwork?"
Danny still said nothing, biting his lip hard until blood started to seep from between his teeth and onto the ground.
"Get the axes," Dorr said, she sounded like she was getting impatient. "We can do this all night Phantom, there are plenty of acres and plenty of animals to shoot here."
Danny felt his body convulse as the assistants took axes to the trees around them. Each slam of the blade into the wood was like a fist jamming itself into his gut over and over again.
The scream from the assistant was loud and clear even to Danny's ears, and the roar that followed was familiar: the wild screech of a mountain lion. Bear grunts were among them along with hawk screams and a number of other rodents that squeaked and hissed at the people around them. Danny heard gun shots and felt the pain as bullets were taken, but no one was dead, yet.
A badger came up to his sight and clamped his strong jaws down on the net and pulled. Other rodents in the area came up after seeing what the badger was doing and repeated the action. Before you could say 'freedom' Danny was let loose from the net and he was pissed.
"Get away!" he yelled, his hand glowing a white hue as he pointed it at the people invading his space.
The animals had rounded the people into a small clump in the center of the clearing. Danny wasn't really sure what he was doing, but he knew he had control here and no one was going to deny him that.
A sink hole opened up around the humans, their legs sinking incredibly fast and soon they were up to their shoulders before they knew what was happening. The ground hardened again, keeping them trapped. Danny then waved the flames out on the ground and righted the partially hacked trees with just a wave of the hand.
"Whoa!" Tucker said, making Danny swing around to see his friends and family there behind him with wide eyes and gaping mouths.
"That was a regular 'furry vengeance' right there," Sam said, a smile splitting her face in half. "You so don't mess with mother nature!"
"I called the cops," Jack cut in. "They should be here soon. Are you okay son?"
"Sore, but I'll live," Danny turned back around to the animals and wave them off back into the darkness before the police could see them.
But one being flashed white and came closer, perching on Danny's shoulder.
"Hey Blyzard," Danny greeted the white owlet. "I see you started flying."
The owl screeched happily before turning his head completely around to look at the people behind them.
"Friends," Danny told him almost sternly. "You rounded them up didn't you?"
The bird tipped its little head before ruffling his feathers and flying off.
"What was that?" Sam asked Danny, coming to stand beside him.
"Oh, that was just Blyzard. He was gift from Clockwork a while back, and I think I know why now," Danny didn't say anything else as he watched the white form melt into the dark night.