Dear Angrier Than Hell,

I appreciate that you enjoy reading my story. However, I do have a life, believe it or not, and I actually have stuff to do like study for finals and complete projects. Please be respectful of that fact and be kind when a story takes a while to update.

The faintest rays of morning broke through the mesh 'windows' of the tent. I sighed as my eyes slowly opened, rubbing the crust out of them. I looked over at Sam – she was fast asleep.

As I rose in my sleeping bag, the somewhat cool air bristling at the hairs on my arms and making them stand on end, I realized something stiff on my cheeks. My mouth tasted like blood, and my tongue was raw. Probably bit it in the middle of the night.

Not wanting to wake Sam, I arose and walked down to the edge of the river nearby our campsite. Leaning down, I gazed at my dirt-caked face. There were clean areas on it, though they were from the paths the tears had stained away. Scowling, I dipped my hands into the river and splashed my face, cleaning it completely. Taking a bath would probably do me some good, too, so I stripped off my tattered T-shirt, ripped jeans, sneakers, and finally boxers before wading into the water's edge.

I held my breath and ducked down as the cool water wrapped around me. Just gotta get clean, I thought, opening my eyes. The world around me glistened in the early morning light. I slowly waded forward, now laying on my back and staring at the ripping surface, the dirt merely floating away off of my bare skin. Everything was so peaceful; I could escape from the awful world I was trapped in.

Then I saw it. Two blood red eyes glaring at me through the water. Even though everything appeared distorted, I could see them crystal clear. It was Dan! He was here to get me – here to finish me off and enjoy it. He had found me, I didn't know how, but I knew he was here.

I let out a strangled scream, bubbles erupting from my mouth and rising to the water's surface, I pushed out and sputtered for air, then transformed and fired ectobeams everywhere. I needed to protect myself from this…this monster.

"Show yourself!" I screamed. "I know you're there!"

There was no response. My heart pounded in my chest, the noise like a base drum loud enough to make my ears shatter. He was watching me. He had to be.

Shooting into the air, I yelled, "I said show yourself!" A loud, banshee-like scream ripped through the air, and then I realized this sound was coming from me. Green rings rippled from my mouth as I unleashed my ghostly wail towards the pond. There was no way Dan was getting away; I needed to kill him before he killed me, and the ghostly wail was nearly inescapable.

"Fight back your coward!" I screamed, no energy left in me. My exhausted body tumbled out of the sky and fell back into the ravaged pond, water splashing in all directions upon impact. I breathed heavily. Surely Dan hadn't escaped. No…it was all a hallucination.

With that, my tense muscles relaxed and I breathed a soft sigh of relief. My breaths were becoming more even, and I began to completely relax. Hallucination…

I got out of the water and put my clothes back on, ignoring the fact that they were now dripping wet with me, as I hadn't bothered to dry off. I couldn't shake the feeling that something was following after me, and I constantly looked over my shoulder. Seeing Dan's eyes was merely a figment of my imagination, but it felt extremely real…

I trudged back to the tent, sighing. Sam and I needed to get moving so I could begin my plan. This world was more and more in danger each second Dan existed. "Sam," I called "Start packing up."

No response. "Sleeping in?" I said light-heartedly. I entered the tent. "Sam, c'mon. We really have to get going. We need to make it to the Ghost Zone as soon as possible."

I groaned. "Sam, wake up!" I pulled the bunched-up covers up and stumbled backwards. Sam wasn't there. "No, no, no," I mumbled, completely aghast. "This can't be happening." Maybe she just got up to get something or take a walk. Yeah, that has to be it.

In a whir of panic, I transformed into a ghost and shot into the air. "Sam, Sam!" I screamed frantically. "Sam, this isn't funny! Come out! Where are you?"

I sped all over the campgrounds looking for a sign of her. Anything that would give me a clue as to where she went. She couldn't have been taken, could she? "SAM!"

Suddenly, white flashed in front of my eyes, and my vision was suddenly clouded. I was suddenly kneeling on all fours in front of Dan. "What- What the heck do you want, Dan?" I hissed.

"Oh, nothing much. It's a simple trade, really." His forked tongue flicked menacingly between his pointed teeth.

"You- You were behind this!" I yelled in an accusing tone. I jumped up to lunge for Dan, but he snapped his fingers, and I felt a sudden force weighing down on me. I was forced back onto my knees no matter how hard I struggled against his current. "What have you done to her?"

"Nothing really," Dan said with a yawn, obviously teasing me. "Nothing yet."

"So what do you want?" I snapped.

"It's simple, Danny. I want you. Show up at my fortress two miles east of Skulker's island alone within three days. I don't want any funny business, because if you do, I will be more than willing to eliminate you and your pathetic little girlfriend just like I killed your parents."

Clockwork watched Danny, Observers intently looking over his shoulder.

"This Danny Phantom is a menace to us all. We must eliminate him for once and for all," one stated.

"Yes," another one interjected. "He's just going to use Danny for his own purposes so he can terrorize the world and truly reign. Danny is currently the only thing that stands in his way; the Ghost Zone civilians are too scared of him to intervene. Danny also possesses great authority in the human realm; him turning to the dark side would prove utter defeat and surrender from the humans."

Clockwork shook his head.

"We can defeat Dan by ourselves, Clockwork!" the Observant protested. "You've been too reckless!"

"No," Clockwork replied. "We cannot. Only Danny can truly defeat Dan. He will wipe you all out in one ghostly wail and you'll never see the light of day again. That I can assure you." Clockwork's eyes locked with each of the Observant's. "Trust me, if it gets too out of hand, I can do something. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there."

The group stood in silence for a bit, most of the Observants shuffling out of the room. The youngest and newest member, however, stayed for a bit. He was silent for a while until looking up and saying, "Why do you protect that ghost boy so much, Clockwork."

Clockwork did not respond for a while, lost in deep thought, before finally saying, "I don't know."