Updates on me:

I am engaged to the most awesome guy on the planet!

I bought a house. Ever watched 'Hoarders'? I bought that house. I'm on huge-ass dumpster number SIX clearing out their junk.

I'm now back at work. (sigh)

This is why the updates have been rather... slow.

Oh, and the next chapter of 'Plunge' is done, I just need to find time to upload it.

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Author's Note:

This is a contest entry. I'd appreciate your support! Go read the entries in the contest: www. ficmasinjuly. org/ submissions. htm (remove the spaces) and vote on your favorite!

We're busy looking for more authors to participate in the contest! If you're interested, check out the website for details. You get to win an Amazon Kindle!

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Boy

A Danny Phantom 'Ficmas In July' Entry by Cordria

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-August 4-

I am Boy. It's not really a name, but that's what Master calls me. He wants me to be someone else. I can't, so he calls me Boy.

There's no one to talk to here anymore. I'm afraid of the quiet. Perhaps this will keep the quiet away.

I'm hungry too. I hope Master remembers to feed me today, even though I'm still myself.

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-August 5-

Today Master took me outside. It was really neat. The sun was shining and I saw a bird flying overhead. I wanted to chase it, to fly, but Master said no. I stayed on the ground and watched it for awhile, but then I forgot what Master said.

He was mad when he had to come get me out of the tree. He hurt me and locked me back in the dark room for hours. Now I remember not to fly, but I guess it's too late.

I wish I could remember better. Master says I should be able to, but I can't. I can't be someone else and remembering things slip out of my head like butter. Sometimes they come back, but usually they don't. Master says it's my fault.

I guess it must be, because he's Master and I'm just Boy, but I don't remember what I did.

I had peanut butter and jelly for lunch. I had to make it myself, but it turned out okay.

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-August 6-

Master was mad today. Not at me, but at his computer. He spent the whole day screaming and cursing at it. I think he even broke his foot when he kicked it really hard.

I think Master's mad about the boy that died a week ago. I remember how sick he was. I stood over him and watched him die and I still dream about what he looked like. His skin was so pale and broken and bloody. It was like he was made of mud that was slowly drying up, cracking and breaking.

Master cried the day the other boy died. He didn't cry today though. He just got mad. I tried to stay away from him, but he told me to get a water for him. I was so nervous I spilled some and Master hit me so hard the room spun around and around. Then I had to spend an hour inside the dark room. My wrists still hurt from that.

I want to go outside again. Maybe I can sneak out when Master falls asleep tonight and sit and watch the stars. For some reason, I dream about stars at night. I dream that the boy who died is flying in the stars. I wish I could too.

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-August 7-

Today was the best day I can remember. Master left early this morning to go to a special meeting of sad people. He had to dress all in black and carry flowers. He brought the picture of the dead boy with him and told me to stay home and be good. He told me what would happen if I wasn't.

I got to eat cookies today, as many as I could find. There were lots because Master has a big kitchen and he likes cookies. I even found the ones hiding in his desk. Those were the best ones.

Then I went outside and sat in the sunshine in the morning. Master says I need to get out more, that I'm too pale to be healthy, but he's the one that doesn't let me outside. My skin is hurting now, because I fell asleep in the chair. It was warm and the birds were singing. I hope Master gets home soon so he can tell me how to fix it. And my stomach, because it's kind of hurting too.

I even made him a picture. I glued leaves onto a piece of paper and drew in trees and birds. It looks really pretty. I'm sure Master will hang it up in his office or something. I worked really hard on it.

After lunch, I tried to remember to do all my chores. I couldn't remember them all, but I got five of them. Well, four, because I couldn't find the mop to wash the floor with. It's not where it used to be. But I did remember I was supposed to mop the floor.

Now it's almost supper. Master said he'd be home in time for supper. I don't know how to make supper, but I'm not very hungry. My stomach hurts. I hope he doesn't make much for me to eat.

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-August 8-

It was a dark room day. I don't even know why Master was so angry with me. He woke me up this morning and dragged me into the dark room without even saying a word.

I hate the dark room. It's too quiet. Even the house isn't as quiet as the dark room. All you can hear in there is yourself and you can't see your own hands.

He chained me up this time too – so I must have really been bad. My wrists are still bleeding. I wish I knew what it was I'd done wrong. But when I asked when he brought me lunch, all he did was hit me and tell me to shut up. That I sounded wrong, that I looked wrong, that I wasn't right.

Then he said it was all my fault that I wasn't right. And he cried too while he said it.

That's not the first time he's said that. I still don't know why I'm not right. I feel fine.

He says that the other boy wouldn't have died if I'd been right. That I killed him.

So I spent the rest of the day in the dark room. I hate the dark room, but it's where murderers belong. I'm not sure how I killed the other boy, since all I did was watch him when he was really sick, but Master said I did. I wish I knew what I did to kill him.

Master took me out and cleaned up my wrists and ankles when the sun went down. He hurt me again. Then he left and told me to be quiet and sleep.

I didn't get to give him my picture. Maybe I won't, now. He probably doesn't want something from a murderer.

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-August 9-

Master isn't talking to me. He brought me breakfast and didn't even look at me once. I followed him into the lab, to help, but he didn't ask me to do anything.

The only time today he even noticed I was there was when I forgot to move and he almost tripped over me. Then he kicked me, but he didn't say anything.

I think I liked him better when he was screaming at me. At least I knew what he was thinking.

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-August 10-

He's still not talking to me. He spent a lot of time on the phone today, the entire time he was glaring at me and motioning for me to be absolutely quiet. I pouted, because I remember that rule. Nobody is to know I'm here, because I'm special.

I'm a special murderer, or something.

At least he's not completely ignoring me. I'd hate that, if I had to go through another day of being ignored. It's the only thing worse than the dark room I can imagine – being invisible like that.

On the phone he talked about gravestones and the 14th. I listened really closely, but I don't remember anything else anymore. Oh, and he kept telling the person on the line to relax, that he was there to help, that everything would be okay. Master sounded so nice when he said that. I smiled at him.

When he got off the phone, Master took me into the fighting room and beat me up. I couldn't do anything against him. He broke my nose, I think, because I still can't breathe out of it.

It was a good lesson. I'll remember the rule now.

Don't smile at Master.

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-August 11-

There's something wrong with Master. He forgot my name today. I'm Boy. I've always been Boy.

Today, he called me Badger. He got so mad when he did that, screaming at me that it's my fault the other boy died. I think the other boy might have been Badger. I'm not sure that's really a name either, but I didn't ask Master about it.

He twisted my arm behind my back and threw me into the dark room. At least he forgot to chain me up before he slammed the door shut. Normally, the dark room is really quiet, but today the door bounced back open a little because he slammed it so hard. I could hear things on the other side.

Master was crying. I crawled to the door and sat there, staring at the tiny crack of light, listening to Master sob. I wanted to pull the door open and go out and give him a hug, because that's what I want when I'm crying, but I didn't. Master wouldn't have liked that. Master's not like me.

When he left, I didn't know what to do. Master never leaves the door to the dark room open. It's a punishment, he says. I didn't know if I should push the door closed or just leave it. I wanted to go ask Master, but I wasn't supposed to leave.

I pushed the door closed, knowing that's what Master wanted. Then I just sat there and waited. When Master came to get me, that's when I found out there was really something wrong with Master.

He pulled me to my feet and gave me a hug. Then he went back to normal and screamed at me and ordered me to get him supper.

I'm worried about Master. I think his mind might be sick.

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-August 12-

Master had company today, which meant I had to hide. I'm the special secret, remember. But I watched them. I don't like it when there are strangers in Master's house.

One of them had red hair and the other one had black hair. The black-haired man was huge and scary, but the red-haired woman was worse. I knew she was dangerous when I saw here, but I almost left my hiding spot when I saw how red her eyes were. They were hurt.

I thought maybe Master had hurt them, but he pulled the woman into a hug – something he doesn't do when he hurts me. And he shook hands with the man. I don't know why. Then they talked and talked and talked.

They went through the whole box of tissues, Master telling them just to leave the used ones on the table. I wrinkled my nose at that, because I was the one who'd have to clean them up. I don't even like strangers in Master's house, much less like cleaning up their snot.

It took me hours to figure out why the strangers were crying. It took until the woman jumped to her feet and started screaming and yelling like Master does, about how her danny was dead and gone, that I figured it out. I watched carefully, waiting for the woman to hurt Master the way he hurts me, ready to save him, but the woman just screamed and screamed until she collapsed on the couch and cried some more.

I wonder if that's why Master is talking to them. They lost a danny and he lost Badger. Maybe they are both hurting and can help each other.

When they finally left, I stayed away from Master until he screamed for me. I must have taken too long to show up, because he hurt me when I got there. He yelled about how I was wrong and how the danny would still be alive if it weren't for me.

He forgot to lock me up in the dark room, but that's okay because I hurt so much I can't get out of bed. I think he hurt something inside of me.

I wanted to ask him, but I never could. So now I just have to wonder and wait and try to figure it out. Or maybe I'll forget about it tonight, like I forget so much. But for tonight, I remember what I want to ask:

What's a danny?

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-August 13-

I can't get out of bed today. My side hurts and it's starting to make my head hurt too. Master came and screamed at me and hit my head, but I couldn't even stand up. Master left me alone after awhile and I crawled back into bed.

Breakfast didn't stay down like it should have. Now it's on the floor. It smells horrible, but I can't clean it up.

Master showed back up at lunch and looked me over. He was worried about me, which was nice for a change. He petted my forehead and got me a glass of water. The he gave me some pills, which made me sleepy and took the pain away.

My chest is all wrapped up in bandages that make it hard for me to breathe. Master says it's good for me and will help make me better, so I don't pull them off. But I don't like them.

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-August 14-

Master dressed up again today and left me alone, lying in my bed. He brought me food this morning and told me he'd be gone all day, and to be good. I'm supposed to stay in bed and rest.

When he left, he called me Badger again, like 'goodbye Badger'. I don't think he noticed.

I'm beginning to think he loved Badger. I think his mind is hurt, now that Badger is gone and dead. I think I'm here to make his mind better, because Master needs help. So that's what I spent the day doing: coming up with ways to fix Master's mind.

There wasn't much that I came up with. I don't remember much about Badger, other than he was very sick and Master was very sad and angry when he died. I'm not sure anything that I came up with will help, but I need to try.

When Master came home, his eyes were red from crying and he hugged me and held me close. He told me that the danny had a beautiful headstone and was happy and safe. That the danny didn't feel pain and was sleeping peacefully.

I don't care about the danny. When I asked if Badger was happy and safe too, Master told me that he was. That everyone went to a place where they were happy and safe after they died.

I liked that. I asked if I'd go there too, but Master got mad at me for that. He pushed me away and hit me on the head and told me that I didn't deserve to be happy and safe. That the danny was dead because of me.

That was a new one for me. I didn't just kill Badger. I killed the danny too.

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-August 15-

I got out of bed today. My side still hurts, but it feels much better than before. I walked down to the dark room and sat inside, pushing the door closed.

I didn't eat breakfast or lunch. I killed two people. I deserved to be punished.

Master came and found me just before supper. He was mad at me, but he didn't hit me or scream at me. He wanted to know why I was sitting in the dark room and crying. I didn't want to answer him, because I didn't want to remind him I was a murderer. But he just asked again, angrier. So I answered.

He told me that I was right, that I deserved the dark room for what I'd done. Then he told me that I was a monster and he slammed the door shut and locked it.

Now I can't get out. The walls are special so I can't walk through them. Master didn't bring me supper and now it's getting late. I'm tired and want to go to bed.

I want Master to come and rescue me, but he doesn't. He just leaves me in the dark and the quiet. I hate the quiet.

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-August 16-

Master came and let me out this morning. He told me to clean up and get something to eat, because I was hungry and had used the corner for a bathroom. My side really hurts this morning after sleeping on the ground and I have to limp up to the bathroom.

Master's eyes are still red. I think he cries when I'm not looking. He really misses Badger. I wish I could have saved Badger instead of killing him.

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-August 17-

Today was a bad day for me. I had a hard time remembering things. I still hurt from being in the dark room yesterday, which didn't help anything. The things Master was telling me to do kept slipping out of my mind after he told me to do them.

I don't like asking twice, because Master hates that. But I have to, because I don't remember what to do. There's almost nothing I can do to stop Master from being mad at me and hurting me. I wish he'd send me away, but he doesn't. He keeps me there to help.

Master finally got so mad he locked me in the dark room again. It still smells of the bathroom I had to make in the corner. Master gave me an extra punch for that, I think, after he chained me up.

I was there the rest of the day. Master finally came to get me right before bed. I was hungry, but he told me to go to sleep.

Now I can't sleep, because my stomach is rumbling. It makes my side hurt.

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-August 18-

Master was gone when I woke up this morning. I searched for him for a long time before I realized I was alone. I was starving, so I got some breakfast, and sat outside in the sunshine.

I've never been alone like this before, with Master not telling me what to do. I'm not sure what to do today, so I just sat there and watched the birds fly around.

I didn't see the woman until it was too late. I was watching a bird, wishing I could go chase it but knowing I couldn't, when she walked up and around the corner and saw me. That's bad, because I'm a special secret. Nobody can know I'm here.

She didn't talk to me, because I disappeared when I saw her staring at me. I didn't know what else to do. But I didn't leave, because I was worried about why a stranger was near Master's house.

It took awhile before I remembered that she was the one from before, with the red hair and the danny. The scary one that screams but doesn't hurt. She looked around, then called out for the danny. She started to cry again, but she left.

Master didn't come home for supper, and now it's time to go to bed. I'm worried about where he's gone. What if he doesn't come back? Or what if he's died like Badger and the danny did? Would I have to make him a gravestone and make sure he was safe and happy?

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-August 19-

The woman is back. She's sitting on the front steps of Master's house, holding a picture in her hands and staring out at the trees. I'm kind of annoyed because I wanted to sit out there and eat breakfast again, since Master is still gone. I stand by the door, my cereal getting soggy, and glare at her.

Finally I give up and go find somewhere else to sit. It's not as nice as the front steps. I hope the woman doesn't stay long.

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-August 20-

Master was back this morning. He seemed very tired and quiet when I found him sitting at the table. He said 'good morning', which he doesn't ever do to me. I got the nerve to ask him where he'd been and he told me 'japan'.

I don't know where a japan is, but I was annoyed that he didn't tell me he was going. I don't tell him though, because he wouldn't like that and he seems angry enough already.

He quietly worked through the day, not talking to me at all. I left after awhile to do my chores, only to find the woman sitting on the front steps again. I go invisible and walk out to stare at her.

Her eyes are as red as Master's are, most mornings since Badger died. The picture in her hands is Badger's picture – it looks almost exactly like the picture Master has. She is rocking back and forth and waiting. I think I should go tell Master that the woman is here, but I don't. He's not in a good mood today. I'll chase the woman away.

'Who are you?' I ask her, turning visible and glaring at her. She looks up at me and cries. I don't know why she's crying, but I don't like watching people cry, so I run back into the house.

I think I made a mistake.

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-August 21-

Master is very mad at me today. He found out that I talked to the woman yesterday, and that she saw me while he was at the japan. He put me in the dark room and shortened my chains so I can't sit down. And he turned on the music, the one that hurts my ears so much.

I tried to ask him why the woman was so sad when she saw me, but he doesn't answer me. He just punches me in the stomach and slams the door, leaving me to the music and the darkness.

I spend the whole day with the image of the woman's eyes in my head. They haunt me and I don't know why. I wish they would go away so I could dream of the stars again.

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-August 22-

The woman isn't going to come back, Master said so. He told me that I'd hurt her, almost killed her, and that she couldn't ever come here again. I feel bad about it, because I'm not sure what I did. All I did was ask her what her name was. I ask Master who she is, but he doesn't answer. He just repeats that if anyone else ever sees me, he will kill me.

I believe him, and I don't ever want the woman to come back here, but I also want to know more about her. There was something special in the way she stared at me and screamed for the danny. I want to know more about it.

Master went downstairs after breakfast and told me behave. I'm pretty sure I did, but Master still came running upstairs before breakfast and kicked me and locked me in the dark room again. He wouldn't tell me what I'd done wrong.

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-August 23-

I did something very, very bad today, and I'm scared. I'm not even sure why I did it. It's not something I ever did before. But that's just how I woke up – doing something very bad.

I went to sleep last night in my bed, but I woke up this morning in a tree. Now I can't find Master or his house, no matter how hard I look. I don't know how I got here or what I'm going to do.

I'm scared. I'm so scared I'm crying and holding onto the tree and can't let go. I'm screaming for Master to come and save me, to find me, but he doesn't come. The sun rises into the sky, and my voice gets hoarse. The sun starts to go back down again, and I can't even scream. By the time the sun sets, I'm so tired I climb down out of the tree and just start walking.

I don't know where I'm going.

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-August 24-

It's been a whole day since I last saw Master. I wonder if he's angry at me or if he's scared. I don't know if he's searching for me, but I hope he is. I want to go home, even if it's to the dark room.

I can barely move, I'm so tired and hungry. I find a tree and fall asleep in the shade. By the time I wake up, it's almost dark.

I don't like the dark. It's too quiet.

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-August 25-

Master is going to kill me. Slowly, painfully, and then make sure I don't get to sleep and be peaceful when I die. I'm not a special secret anymore.

This morning, I found people. They were sitting around a fire, eating breakfast, and I was so hungry I went invisible and tried to take some. But I was too tired, I guess, because I wasn't really invisible. They could see me just fine. They weren't scared of me, even though I'm a murderer. They gave me breakfast for free – I didn't even have to do chores for it.

Now I'm sitting in a warm thing the people call an ambulance. I don't like people seeing me and knowing I'm there, but they wrapped a warm blanket around me and they're giving me hot chocolate to drink. I take the hot chocolate but I tell them they can't know I'm here, because I'm a special secret and Master will kill me if he finds out.

They take me for a ride, which I don't like, and bring me to a large house full of strange smells and people. I get asked all kinds of questions, like what my name is and where I came from and why my body is so hurt. I don't answer, because I'm already in enough trouble. When the man in the blue suit starts to get mad at me, I close my eyes and wait for him to hurt me. He doesn't, so I open my eyes to find me staring at me with tears in his eyes. I ask him if he's going to put me in the dark room. He just shakes his head and leaves me alone.

I tell them I need to get back to Master. That he's going to hurt me if I don't get back there soon, but they ignore me and tell me I'm safe and that he's not going to hurt me ever again. I don't believe them, but they give me some food to eat because I'm hungry and I get sleepy.

I hope Master doesn't show up while I'm sleeping.

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-August 26-

The woman is back. I can see her through the window of my room. She's angry and arguing with the people in the hallway. She wants to come in and see me. She keeps calling me her danny, which doesn't make any sense since the danny is dead.

Finally she leaves and everything is quiet. I get to watch TV, which is fun because Master doesn't let me, but then the man in the blue suit comes back to ask me some more questions. I ask him if Master is coming to get me, and he tells me that Master doesn't know I'm here. I want him to call Master and tell him, but the man doesn't know who Master is. I describe Master, which gets the man mad, and he leaves.

I don't think he's going to call Master and have him come get me.

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-August 27-

There's a stranger in my new room today. She sits on the edge of the chair and keeps pressing her hands on her legs. She wants to talk to me, to tell me some things. She wants me to talk back. I don't want to.

They found Master for me, she says. I look up at her and wait for her to tell me when Master is coming to get me. Then she says that Master did something called 'resisting arrest'. He tried to hurt the men that went to talk to him and Master was killed.

I don't know how to take that. I sit there for a long time, staring at her, then I ask her if it's my fault. She asks me why I'd think so, and I tell her that I killed the danny and Badger already, and almost the red-haired woman who cries and sits on Master's front steps.

Then she says something really strange. She says I'm the danny. And 'Badger' was the nickname that Master had given to the danny. That I really hadn't killed anyone. I told her I saw Badger die, but she doesn't believe me.

She spends the rest of the time sitting there, calling me the danny and asking me questions.

I don't answer them, because I am Boy, not the danny.

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-August 28-

I left the strange place today. I snuck out just before the sun rose into the sky. The people there were too weird, calling me the danny and telling me that Master was dead. I don't believe that.

I flew up really high, which I know I'm not supposed to do, but I found Master's house that way. I really wasn't very far away, which was good because I was tired after flying so high.

The house was empty. Master wasn't home. I went into his office to find some cookies, because I was hungry, and I saw the giant blood stain on the carpet.

I spent the rest of the day in the dark room. I didn't know what else to do.

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-August 29-

The man in the blue suit and the red-haired woman were sitting in Master's lab when I finally got so hungry I had to leave the dark room. I froze when I saw them, not knowing what to do. Both of them looked at me and didn't say anything.

Finally, the woman asked me what my name was. I looked at her strangely, because I didn't have a name. I said so. I told her that Master had just called me Boy.

She told me that she didn't want me to stay here, not all by myself. That she was scared that I would get hurt. The man nodded at that, crossing his arms. I sat down on the floor. She said that she wanted me to come stay at her house.

I asked her if she was going to be my new Master.

There was a lot of silence, but she shook her head. Then she said that I wasn't ever going to have a Master ever again, that I could be my own Master. I didn't like the sound of that, so I stood up and started to leave, but she asked me to wait.

She said that I looked just like her son, the danny. I told her I wasn't him, that I watched him die. That Master said that the danny died because I wasn't good enough and that I wasn't right.

She thought that I was fine, but she's the woman and Master is Master. I disappeared and went upstairs to find some food, then went back to the dark room.

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-August 30-

The woman is still there, in the lab, waiting for me to show up. The black-haired man is there too, now. They're both sitting in chairs, talking to each other. I can hear them.

I don't know what to do. There is a pizza sitting on the floor of the lab – my favorite kind, pepperoni and pineapple – and my mouth is watering. But I don't want to talk to the two people.

So I sit there, smelling pizza, and watching them talk. Master doesn't like food in the lab, not when it's not his food. I think I should get up and go take it away, but then I remember that Master is dead, that's why they're sitting in the lab.

I can't stay here forever, but I don't know what else to do.

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-August 31-

Today I talked to them. They called me Boy instead of the danny, and they told me that I couldn't stay here any longer. I needed to go with them. They had a room ready for me.

I ask them if they're going to be my new Master, since Master is dead. They nod, after awhile, and say they're going to try. The woman cries while she says that, and I'm not sure why.

The man holds out his hand and grabs mine. I wait for him to squeeze hard enough to hurt, but he doesn't. He just gently tugs on my arm and starts to pull me towards the stairs. Come on, he says.

I go, and I don't look back.

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