Author's Note: This took me a long while to pull together but I finally managed it. This chapter focusses a lot on Sam but it does have a little tidbit at the end I think you'll enjoy. I don't own Sam or Danny. I do own John, Henry, Bill, Grant, and Echo. So ask before you use please. Anyway. Enjoy the second installment of the sequel.
A Helping Hand: Part Two – Chapter Two
(The Manson House: The Next Night)
Sam sighed as she stared out her window. Today had just been a completely awful day. How do you tell a guy you broke up with that you still have feelings for him? Especially when he's dating someone you can't stand. Her breath fogged the glass in front of her. When she looked down at it a small lump formed in her throat. The outline of a heart showed up under the fog with the initials D&S inside it. Danny had drawn it on her window back when they were dating. She pressed her hand on the glass next to it as a rush of memories came flooding back. Salty tears formed in her eyes as she fought the tide of emotions.
"Damn it. Why can't you just go away?" She whispered. It had rained hard earlier that day. The droplets were still visible on the outside of the window. Rainy days always got her down. Well not always…
(Casper High: About a year ago)
"Come on Sam. It's just a little rain." Danny said trying to pull her into the downpour.
"A little! It's practically flooding out there!" Sam said standing her ground.
"I know! Isn't it great!" He smiled as he slicked his wet hair out of his face.
"What's your fascination with rain anyway?" She asked trying to change the subject.
"It's not a fascination. I just like it." He said stepping out further into it. His arm spread wide as he lifted his face to the sky.
Sam chuckled a little and shook her head. She watched as the warm summer rain drenched him. And even though she couldn't see the attraction she found herself stepping out into the storm. Just to share his happiness. She reached where he was standing and Danny looked down at her. "Well I'm here." She said shrugging.
Danny stared at her for a second before she asked him why. "Did you know you look even more beautiful in the rain?" He asked her with a little smirk.
Her heart clenched as he said this. She smiled up at him and reached both arms around his neck. "Shut up." She said never losing her smile.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her in for a kiss.
(The Manson House: End of Daydream)
Sam smiled as the thought of that day came and went. But just as it made her happy, the chilling emptiness crept back into her mind. "This really sucks." She said to no one in particular.
Her head tilted down and she buried her face in her arms out of hopelessness. But then she heard a noise. No not a noise. Music. Sam sighed, got up, and walked towards her computer. She must have left her Itunes on shuffle. She sat down in her rolling black chair and jiggled the wireless mouse. Nothing happened. Sam furrowed her brow and shook the mouse again. The screen remained black. She looked over at her modem and to her surprise it was off.
She stood up and looked around her room. Her T.V. was off, her stereo was off, her Ipod was off, and yet she could still hear the music playing. As silently as she could Sam slipped her boots on and laced them up. Her parents were probably asleep by now and she really didn't want them waking up.
As she slid the door to her room shut the music grew softer and she had to concentrate to follow it down the long stair case and into her living room. It was definitely louder here but… It was coming from outside. She stepped over to the window and drew back the shades.
Across the road, under a street lamp, sitting on a bench, was a guy playing guitar. His fingers slid over the neck of the worn acoustic with a practiced ease as the sounds of rising and falling scales penetrated the glass. He stopped only once to reach up to the knobs at the head of the guitar and twist it while experimentally plucking the B string until a bright, clear sound came through. He nodded in approval, reached into his back pocket, and pulled out a simple black guitar clip.
Sam found this whole thing a bit strange. Especially considering it was almost eleven at night. A slight curiosity came over her. Despite the fact she could make him out from her vantage point, the raindrops on the window obscured him a bit. After a moment's hesitation she got up and walked towards her door.
As she opened it a rhythmic strumming began. It was light, happy, and Sam was careful as she closed the door. He would switch up the chords with each strum but the rhythm was the same. As she approached she began to get a better look at him. He was her age, give or take a few years. His jeans were torn, his sneakers were worn, and a brown hoodie covered a dark red shirt. He was white. Not pale but definitely not tan. Unkempt black hair stuck out at odd angles but what she found strangest of all was the pair of dark sunglasses that rested on the bridge of his nose.
She rolled her eyes at this and thought. "Sunglasses at night? Really?"
Suddenly, he opened his mouth into a perfect O shape and began singing. Well it wasn't exactly singing but it still caught Sam off guard. His voice was… good. Very good. It was smooth, melodic, and rested somewhere between tenor and baritone. And he wasn't even singing yet. It was just a long string of "ooo's" that rose and fell as the song continued.
"Wait… I know this song." She thought as she stepped towards the guy. She was half way across the road when he added words.
Somewhere over the rainbow,
Way up high,
And the dreams that you dream of,
Once in a lullaby-hi-hii hiiii-oh.
Sam stopped on the sidewalk in front of him. "Wow…" She thought.
Somewhere over the rainbow,
And the dreams that you dream of,
Dreams really do come true-hoo-hooo hoooo,
Someday I'll wish upon a star,
Wake up where the clouds are far behind,
He smiled wide at the pause and lifted his head up to sing. Meeeeee!
Sam who thought he was ignoring her said. "Um excuse me?"
"JESUS!" He yelled out as his left hand missed a fingering and produced a rather loud and dissonant chord.
"AH!" Sam yelled as well startled by his exclamation.
"Oh… oh I'm sorry I… Haha! I didn't notice you." He said with a smile as he breathed heavily from his fright.
"No it's my fault I shouldn't have sneaked up on you like that." Sam said back.
"Heh heh. Well it happens." He said with a shrug. "Um. Did you want something?"
"Well… I wanted to know what exactly you're doing." She asked.
He was silent for a moment before holding up his instrument. "I'm uh… I'm playing guitar."
Sam crossed her arms in annoyance and said. "Yeah I can see that but why are you doing it here?"
The young man shrugged again and said. "Why not?"
She was about to retort when she thought that while it might not make any sense to her there was technically no reason he couldn't play here. "What's your name?" He asked her.
"Huh?" Sam responded as he roused her from her thoughts.
"I asked you what your name was." He said.
"Oh. Sam. Not Samantha." She said holding out her hand to shake.
He didn't take her hand but he did smile and say. "John. Not Johnny. It's nice to meet you."
"Uh yeah you too." She said with a bit of resentment. Sam wasn't much for etiquette but when someone offers you their hand it's common courtesy to shake it. The only thing that made it worse was how nice he seemed.
"So why are you out here this late Sam?" He asked.
"You" She said simply.
"Oh… I'm sorry about that. I hope I didn't wake anyone." John said.
"No I was already up. So why are you out here this late?" She asked.
"My dad gets home late from work and I don't want to disturb him, so I come outside. And confidentially it smells a lot better here than in my neighborhood." He joked.
Sam smiled a bit. "Right. So what's with the shades?"
He furrowed his brow. "The what now?"
"The sunglasses. Why are you wearing them now? I mean I can understand during the day but they look kind of stupid on you at night." She said.
"Sunglas… Oh right! I completely forgot I was wearing them." He said as his hand touched the rim of them.
"How can you forget you're wearing sunglasses?" She said with a little chuckle.
He laughed along with her and said. "Well. For starters." He lifted up the spectacles and Sam felt her stomach drop. Both of his eyes were a milky white and remained unfocussed on anything. In fact as she looked at him she saw that while his eyes may have been looking in her general direction they were definitely not looking at her.
"Oh my god… What the hell is wrong with me?" Sam thought as she scolded herself.
"You still there? I'm assuming you are because I can't hear any footsteps." He joked.
"John, I'm… I'm so sorry." She said.
"Why? You didn't blind me." He responded.
"No I mean… with my handshake… and the glasses…" She said frantically.
"Sam take it easy. I know you didn't know." He said lowering his sunglasses again. "Besides. You just asked a question. I don't see any reason to get upset over it. And now you know that's why…" He started strumming again with a slightly slower and lower rhythm.
I wear my sunglasses at night,
So I can, So I can,
Keep track of visions in my eyes!
He finished the little song riff and smiled. Sam smiled back. She was amazed. This kid had one of the best attitudes about life she had ever seen.
"Uh. Are you smiling? It's kind of hard to tell." John said pointing at his eyes.
"Oh yeah. Um. Yes I am. Sorry." She said sheepishly.
"Nothing to apologize for." He said happily. "So. Do you have any requests?"
"What?" She asked.
"Requests. Like a song you'd like to hear?" He said.
"Oh uh… no… that's ok. Thanks though." Sam answered.
"Not really in the mood for music huh?" John said as he set his guitar down on the concrete beside him.
"Yeah. Sorry." Sam said.
John laughed and said. "You apologize an awful lot." He leaned forward setting his forearms on his knees in a resting position. "So what's wrong?"
"What do you mean? Nothing's wrong." She replied as she stared at the ground.
"Oh come on. Your throat sounds raw and a little raspy. So either you were just crying which would indicate something is wrong or you are sick which would also mean something is wrong. So…" He patted the space on the bench beside him. "What's wrong?"
Sam folded her arms in contemplation before cautiously walking forward and sitting down next to him. John's head followed her as her boots made slight tapping sounds against the wet asphalt until she sat on the bench. As she sat the cold rainwater seeped through her skirt and made her shiver. But she pushed out the discomfort and said. "I don't really know… I mean I barely know you…" She said.
"Sam. I'm blind. Listening is what I do. And besides. It might help for you to have an objective opinion." John reasoned leaning back against the bench.
She sighed and set her hands in her lap. "Alright. But this doesn't leave this bench." She said pointing at him.
"Scouts honor." He replied raising three fingers in a sign.
"Are you a scout?" She asked.
"No but I was always prepared." John said with a smirk.
Sam actually laughed a little at the joke before taking a deep breath and starting. "Well… See I have this friend… And we've been friends for a long time. A few years back he and I started dating."
She paused but John gestured for her to continue. "We dated for a little over a year. But then something happened…"
"And that something would be?" He asked.
"He almost died." Sam answered. She looked over at John expecting him to be taken aback. But instead he was simply nodding slowly.
"So he has a dangerous job?" John asked.
"Yeah." Sam said. "I just… Every day. Every damn day I worried that I was going to turn on the news and see him killed!" She had gotten up and was pacing in front of the bench. "When he was away from me I worried that he'd get killed and I wouldn't be there. But when he was with me I'd worry that I would see him killed!"
"So you broke up with him." John said.
"Yeah." Sam said dropping her arms.
"To distance yourself." He said.
"Yeah." She said sitting back down next to him.
"And now you want him back." John finished.
"I don't know… I guess… Yeah." Sam said staring at the cement.
"Well you sound pretty sure." He said.
"What do you want from me?" She said with some contempt.
"It doesn't matter what I want. Hell it doesn't matter what you want. What matters is what you need." He said as he reached behind him.
"I swear John. If you start singing 'you can't always get what you want' I'm going to hit you." Sam said.
"What makes you think I was going to do that?" He asked as he slowly set his guitar back down.
"Well it doesn't matter anyway. He's in a relationship. And he isn't going to take a second look at me." Sam said sadly.
"Hey don't sell yourself short. You two lasted for a year. That has to count for something." John remarked.
Sam grunted and turned away from him a little.
"So he moved on?" He asked receiving only a nod from Sam who had to wait for a second before remembering John couldn't see her.
"Yeah." She said finally.
"Don't you think you should too?" John asked.
"I've tried. I really really tried but I can't." She shook her head. "It always leads back to him."
There was a silence for a little bit before John started to chuckle. "What the hell is so funny?" She asked.
"Look Sam. Whether you realize it or not you have the power to get over this. And you are going to get over this." John said with a small smile.
"Now you sound pretty sure." Sam said allowing her sarcasm to come out.
"That's because I am." He replied. "Let me ask you something. Do you like this girl he's going out with?"
"No." Sam stated.
"But you accept that she makes him happy right?" He asked.
"Well I guess but…" She started to say before John cut in.
"Well there you go. Without realizing it you are already halfway there. You accept it but you don't like it." He said.
"John. I'm a protester. When I don't like something I change it." Sam said.
"But this time you can't." He said.
She sighed a little not denying the fact that he was right. That this was the big roadblock she hit. For the first time in her rebellious, take charge life she had found something she couldn't change. That she couldn't fight against. She didn't know how to deal with it. And it scared her.
"Listen. It's late. And tomorrow is a school day. Why don't you go back to your house and get a little sleep. I promise you, you'll feel better in the morning." John said.
"And if I don't?" Sam asked.
He smiled and gestured at the bench. "Same time. Same place."
She laughed a little and said. "Ok."
John stood up, shouldered his guitar, and after a moment of feeling around grabbed a red and white cane from under the bench. "Goodnight Sam." He said as he started to walk off with the cane following a swinging motion.
"Goodnight… Hey John." She called looking at him.
He stopped and turned back towards her. "Yeah?"
"Thanks. I… this helped… a lot." Sam said.
John smiled kindly before resuming his walk. After taking a few sure footed steps he started to sing low and soft.
Some… times in our lives,
We all have pain,
We all have sooorrow,
But if we are wise,
We know that there's,
Lean on me, when you're not strong,
And I'll be your friend, I'll help you caaarry ooon,
For it won't be long, til I'm gonna need,
Somebody to leeeeaan on!
His voice grew softer as the distance grew between them before he finally turned a corner and was out of sight.
Sam watched him until he disappeared before getting up and attempting to brush the rain water off the back of her skirt. After a few vain attempts she finally gave up and walked back to her house and crept carefully up the stairs to her room. John was right. It was late. And she was feeling pretty sleepy.
(Walkers Prison: Maximum Security Level)
Henry and Bill had been standing guard silently outside that door for what felt like days. Not that time meant much to ghosts but Henry was already extremely bored. And Bill really wasn't much of a conversationalist. That's why Henry jumped a little when the door in front of them slid open and another guard casually floated in.
"Mornin' Bill." The guard said.
"Mm." Bill grunted in acknowledgement.
The guard looked over at Henry and still addressing Bill asked. "Who's the kid?"
"Jeremy somethin' or other." Bill replied.
"Actually my name's Henry sir." The young guard piped in.
"Whatever. So what do you need Grant?" Bill asked the new guard.
"I have its rations." Grant replied pulling a large three pronged vial out of one of his pouches. In it was a bright blue slime.
"Give it to the kid and be on your way." Bill said gruffly.
"You won't have to tell me twice." Grant said as he handed the vial off and hurried away from the door they were guarding with a few nervous glances.
Henry stared at the substance in his hand as Bill accessed a control panel and opened the doors. "Alright kid, go feed it."
"Right… Um… how do I do that exactly?" Henry asked.
"Oh for Pariah's sake… Ok. Here's how this works. I open the door and you walk in. I close the door and deactivate the security measures surrounding the thermos. Attach the pronged end to the thermos and wait until the liquid is all gone. Once it is take the vial out, step back, I'll reactivate the security and open the door for you. Got it?" Bill said in annoyance.
Henry nodded and floated into the room still trying to remember all the steps but not daring to ask Bill to repeat it. Once he was safely inside the doors closed with a slightly ominous boom and after a glance over his shoulder he turned to look at the cage.
"KRRRZZZT… Stand by kid. Deactivating security measures now." Bill's voice said over an intercom.
The cage door opened allowing access. And shortly after the bright green ghost shield surrounding the box turned off. Henry floated forward to the box and stared at it intently. Suddenly it sprang open causing Henry to yelp and jump back in surprise. "Relax kid. I'm with you every step of the way." Bill said.
Henry nodded and slowly floated towards the open box. There, sitting in the center was a thermos with a green light on the side indicating it was occupied. The rookie guard took the vial and after a moment of searching located the access point. He inserted the prongs and watched as the liquid was sucked out and into the thermos.
He pulled the vial out, pocketed it, and backed away so Bill could reset everything. "See. No problem. Just give me a second and I'll have you out of there." Bill said.
"Right." Henry nodded and turned towards the large metal doors waiting for them to open.
"…heeeenrryyyy…" A quiet voice permeated the silent area around him.
Henry searched the room with his eyes but didn't see anything.
Ok. That time he knew he wasn't imagining it. "Hello? Who's there?"
"Bill? Is that you?" He asked quietly as a little panic came over him. But Bill didn't answer. He must've been too busy resetting security.
"Hello Henry. It is very nice to meet you." The voice said.
"Who…who…. Where are you?" Henry stuttered realizing he'd much rather know where the voice was coming from than who it was.
"Why you should know. After all. You were kind enough to feed me. And I thank you Henry. I thank you." It said.
"In the thermos… but I thought…" Henry said.
"Knock Knock Henry." It said as the metal doors opened behind him.
"Well hurry up kid. I can't leave this door open all day." Bill muttered.
"Bill didn't you hear it?" Henry asked him frantically.
"Hear what?" The older ghost asked.
"The voice… the thing inside the thermos… it… he knew my name." Henry said.
"You… talked to it?" Bill asked sternly.
"Yeah. He thanked me for feeding hIM!" As Henry was finishing his sentence Bill grabbed the young guard and threw him into the corridor. He then rushed to the security panel and slammed the doors shut before turning on his young partner.
"Now you listen to me. You didn't hear anything. That thing didn't talk to you and you are never going to talk to it again. Got it!" Bill said angrily.
"Y…yes sir." Henry stammered.
"Good. Now get back to your post." He said as he took up his position.
Henry floated to his post and stood there silently for a while before finally asking. "But why Bill?"
Bill sighed a little but never looked at Henry. "Kid. There are some things, you're better off not knowing."