The vast majority of my spare time for the next two to three months is being spent in research. And in writing. I need to write a paper (or two) for publication. I say 'or two' because if my favored topic on the spectroscopic study of exoplanetary atmospheres isn't accepted I'll have to start all over again with a different topic.
This is multiple stories in one. Jack's story. The story of Danny and Sam and their relationship. Vlad's story. Prefacing each chapter is an excerpt from a scientific reference, relevant to the chapter, that would exist in that world. Some of the references I use even exist in this world. If you're interested in where these references come from (and smart money says you eventually will be) check out the fanfiction journal on my deviantart account. Link is in my profile.
This chapter is rated K+ for weird.
This story is a work of fanfiction. Mostly. I make no money off of this though it is good practice.
There are multiple theories about the existence of ghosts and what they represent. Plato postulated that the 'minor gods' were nothing more than divine manifestation of ideas and that these ideas were more real than reality itself. The prevailing theory in the early modern era became that ghosts are the echoes of human evils given consciousness by a particularly violent end (Kramer 1487; Fenton-Nightengale 1705). Modern research has postulated that the majority of ghosts are the obsessive natures of the collective unconscious given form and probably not sentient (Spengler, et al. 1979, 1984). All of the common theories have been tested and all theories have been proven correct at some point or another. As such it has been proposed that all theories are correct for some cases and therefore no theory is correct for all cases (Masters, et al. 1983; Walker 1987). If this is so then the diversity of the ghost dimension cannot be dismissed as fanciful anthropomorphizing of an inhuman realm.
-Tobin's Spirit Guide, 27th ed. 3rd printing
Three months of worrying, three months of work, three months of burying himself in this project to take his mind off of the traitors in his own family and the unspoken, eternal threat of what one of those traitors might do.
Jack Fenton stood in front of the newly repaired ghost portal. The eerie green swirl hung suspended in the middle, a silent threat laughing at him for what he did to his son, to his best friend...
No. Vlad wasn't his best friend, he was a traitor. And Danny was...
Jack wasn't sure anymore. Danny spent all of his time skipping curfew, avoiding chores, disappearing in the middle of family time... Sure now they knew why. But not why he didn't want to involve them in it. Not why so many of those ghost fights seemed to involve the town getting weird in the middle of the night.
Like the freak storm last month. Ice that wouldn't melt for a day and a half, pink lightning, and an off-season tornado. Weird.
No matter. This was no weirder than the time Danny stole the ecto-suit and the town was overrun with skeletons. Much less weird, really. Nothing Jack had seen since could match the Army of Skeletons level of weird. Not even seeing Vlad transform for the first time was that weird.
There was a soft tap-tap-tap of a finger on glass behind him. Jack turned around to see another weird sight.
A small blob of ectoplasm had been caught crawling out of the portal the day before. It put up a bit of a fight, kept trying to crawl in his ear and suck on his head while he was capturing it. Now it was held safe under a glass bell-jar fortified with a low-power ghost shield. The blob spent all of its time since its capture pressed up against the glass making faces as it tried to gnaw through it. But that wasn't what was weird. No, the weird part was Danny. Danny was tapping on the glass to get the blob's attention and then making faces right back at it. He'd press his face against the glass and puff out his cheeks and hold that pose until the blob mimicked him. Then he'd step back and watch.
"That seems wrong, somehow," Jack mused aloud.
"Hi, Dad," Danny said. "I was just..." He made gestures but didn't try to describe it. The blob in the jar blinked blank red eyes then pressed its amorphous mouth back to the glass and started licking at it.
"It's a ghost," Jack said, gesturing to the blob. "Isn't it... related somehow? To you?"
"This? Nah. It's too tiny to be much of anything." Danny lifted the bell to prove his point. The blob shuddered at the sudden loss of its cage and jumped right at Danny, landing on his head.
Jack had an ecto-gun pulled before he could blink and long before he remembered Danny could take care of himself. Ghostly reflexes had Danny ducking and rolling as the bolt shot right where his head had been. "DAD!" Danny shouted.
Jack looked at the scorch mark on the wall and quickly put the ecto-gun away. Danny stood up from behind the lab bench, blob still firmly attached to his head. "Sorry?" Jack said, trying to salvage the situation. "At least I missed."
Danny glowered. It was ruined by the twitching then the giggling as the blob first discovered Danny's ear and then started to wiggle something into it. Danny grabbed the blob and pulled but merely caused it to stretch as it held fast to his ear and kept burrowing further and further in.
"Are you..." Jack couldn't really do anything but watch as his laughing son wrestled with this ectoplasmic blob as it burrowed into... no... through his head. An appendage best described as a tongue stuck out of Danny's other ear and wiggled. Given the odd faces Danny was making he could clearly feel everything the blob was doing inside his head.
Danny gave up trying to pull the blob from the ear it entered and instead grabbed it by the tongue to pull it through the other ear. The tongue stretched and he could feel the blob being squeezed more and more inside his head. "In one ear..." he said and yanked. There was a sickening POP and he held the blob in his hand. "And out the other!" Danny stuck his tongue out at the blob that just tried to eat his head.
The blob responded by climbing up its tongue and engulfing his hand. Danny glared at it and peeled it off before flinging it back into its jar, sealing it inside.
"Hah," Danny sighed, a satisfied sound. "That was fun. See you later, Dad." He went upstairs.
Okay, that was Army of Skeletons level weird.
Jack needed some fudge. And maybe a drink.