It figures that my alarm would go off late on my first day of senior year. I think that clock hates me. I nearly fell out of bed in a rush to grab yesterday's jeans and a clean shirt. I wished Jazz, my sister, was still living at home for the lone reason that I could always count on a drive to school from her. After dressing, I ducked into the bathroom for a quick moment before practically throwing myself down the stairs.
"Danny!" Mom shouted from the kitchen as I was about to run out the front door.
I skidded to a halt, peering around the door frame at her. "Mom?"
"I made your lunch," she said, passing me a brown bag. She kissed my forehead. "Have a good first day, honey."
"Thanks," I deadpanned. I darted out the door, dropping the lunch in the garbage bag at the end of the driveway. I would be crucified by Paullina and Dash if I dared show up with a bagged lunch. Speaking of Paullina, she was going to murder me for being late.
Glancing around to make sure no one saw me, I slipped into ghost mode. I would get there faster as Phantom and it would take much less effort. The wind rushed over my face and I grinned. No matter how many years I had been flying it would never cease to be the single most amazing experience of my entire life.
Casper High quickly came into view. I surveyed the tiny dots far below me that made up the student population. I was scoping out a good place to land and transform back when it happened. My ghost sense went off; a wispy blue smoke coming out from between my lips. I stopped in midair, scanning for a ghost. I didn't spot one, which only left me with one option: it was inside the school. I couldn't contain my groan. This was not how I pictured my first day going. I was going to kiss Paullina, hit Dash in the head with a football, do a quick catch-up with Tuck, and sleep through math class.
I should have known better. I could never escape the ghosts.
I went intangible and floated down through the roof of Casper, my ghost sense going off periodically as I grew closer to the ghost. I was glad to hear that the school was quiet – less chance of civilian interference or people yelling at me for being a villain or even people screaming at me for being a hero.
I entered the science wing, finding the dragon ghost filling the entire hallway. She snarled when she noticed me, her snout lifting into the air. I became visible.
"Dora," I called out to her. Her eyes rolled to look at me, recognizing her human name. In truth, I hadn't seen her in quite a long time, and had hoped that she had found some kind of peace. "What are you doing in a school?"
In response, she swiped at me with her claws. I fired a ball of ectoplasm at her, and she whimpered. I hated to hurt Dora. When she had a human appearance we were good friends. When she was a dragon, she became angry and I often had to force her into submission. Dora let out a roar, swinging at me wildly. Her claws lashed out again – but not at me. A loud scream followed the action and I twisted, stunned with what I saw. There, on the floor, was a girl that I had never seen before but was obviously my age. Blood was seeping out from her chest and abdomen; a result of Dora's attack. The girl looked down at her wounds and screamed, curling into the fetal position.
"Hold on!" I yelled to her, hoping that she knew that I was here to help her. She didn't respond to me and just continued to scream.
I grabbed the Fenton Thermos, choosing to end the fight quickly rather than try to calm Dora down. She screamed as she was dragged forcefully into the Thermos; so high pitched that I wanted to cover my ears. The moment she was gone, I hit the floor next to the girl.
I put my hands on her, rolling her over to her side to fully expose her wounds. The first thing I noticed was that there was a lot of blood. The second thing I noticed was that she was very pretty. The third thing I noticed was that her boob was showing. I tried my best not to blush. Her eyes flashed open – bright purple – and met mine.
"Hold on," I told her again. "I'm taking you to the hospital."
I cradled her further into my arms, trying not to hurt her anymore. Even so, I think she passed out. As I flew away from Casper High, it made total sense that I should take her to the hospital. I could get her there faster than any ambulance ever could.
I slipped into Amity's hospital, down to the emergency room. I laid her on a hospital bed, letting out a blood curdling scream as I did so. The moment I let go of the girl, she became visible. About four people – nurses – came running at my shout. Seeing that the girl was now in good hands, I left her there, returning to school.
"Danny," Paullina pouted, reaching for me the moment she saw me. "You're awfully late."
"I know, I know," I huffed. If Paullina and I didn't have the same first period class, I wouldn't be seeing her until morning break.
"I waited for you," she continued, her accent becoming more apparent- a sure signal I'd pissed her off somehow.
"I know, I'm sorry," I murmured. I rubbed her shoulder, and she leaned her head against me. The teacher, from his place at the front of the room, glared at us, but didn't dare say a word. No one – not even a teacher – questioned Paullina Sanchez.
"Where were you?" She demanded and I didn't answer.
I've thought about telling Paullina my secret, the truth about my double life, but honestly, I don't think I could ever bring myself to. Not only was Paullina obsessed with Phantom (to a point where it scared me) but I don't think she could keep it to herself. Popularity was everything to Paullina and dating the infamous hero of the town would place her above everyone else, more so than she already was. As much as I loved Paullina . . . I couldn't tell her. I would never tell anyone the truth.
"Danny?" Paullina snapped, bringing my attention back to her. She could always tell when my mind wandered; she needed everyone to focus on her. "Where were you?"
"Just ran late," I whispered, reminding me of the mysterious girl I'd saved this morning. I hoped that she was doing all right. I also wondered who she was, something I hadn't taken the time to think about earlier. I had never seen her before and Casper wasn't all that big meaning that she must be new.
"You should at least try to be on time," Paullina lectured. "I don't appreciate boyfriends that run late."
"I know," I leaned over, brushing my lips against her cheek.
"So long as you're aware," She giggled, flipping her hair over her shoulder and batting her eyelids at me.
"Did you hear," Starr began, turning around in her seat to face Paullina and me, "about the girl this morning?"
"What girl?" Paullina asked, her eyes narrowing. Paullina hated any kind of competition and an unnamed female was certainly someone for her to investigate.
"Some girl was attacked this morning down in the science wing."
"By a ghost," Kwan added helpfully.
"A ghost," Paullina breathed, realizing what this meant: Phantom had been in the building this morning and she missed him.
What I wanted to know was how did Kwan and Starr know?
"Who was it?" Paullina asked.
"The scary dragon ghost," Kwan shook with fear. I wanted to laugh at him.
"Not him, idiot," Paullina snapped. "Who was the girl?" She looked at Starr, who shrugged in answer.
"Never seen her before. Had black hair; all black clothing. Looked like one of those losers that no one ever talks to, you know?"
Paullina nodded understandingly. "So you don't have a name?" She pushed Starr, who everyone knew had all the information on the comings and goings of Casper High.
"No," She shook her blonde head, hesitated, and added, "but I'll get it to you before noon."
That was the girl's name. Starr had come through for Paullina, delivering the mysterious girl's name at lunch. Paullina had sniffed, tossed her nose into the air, and said that she hadn't sounded like anything special. I'd kissed her neck, trying to keep her calm, and told her that she was the best girl in the entire universe. It was the truth, and it seemed to placate her.
Now, I was soaring high above Amity, Samantha Manson's purple eyes prominent in my mind. I needed to make sure that she was doing all right, but when I had popped in at the hospital, I hadn't been able to find her. To be sure, even though it made my stomach turn, I had checked the morgue (she had lost a lot of blood) but nothing. I was headed toward Paullina's house, deciding to cut my losses and see if the girl ever turned back up at Casper.
I was over one of the high class neighborhoods when I saw a moving van outside of one of the houses. I stopped, hovering, and wondering. Could that really be the girl's house? Could she be in there? I decided to take a chance, swooping low. I turned intangible, slipping in through one of the windows on the upper floor. Most of the rooms that I stuck my head in seemed to be empty or piled full of moving boxes. I hadn't seen any evidence of Samantha and Paullina's was starting to look more and more appealing. I checked the last room on the upper floor and there she was, curled up on her bed.
I stepped fully into the room. She looked fine; peaceful in sleep. Her eyes flashed open, maybe not so asleep after all. She let out a tiny noise, eyes flashing about the room. I had the feeling that she knew that I was there – she sensed something was in her room.
"Don't panic," I assured her. I could have kicked myself. I hadn't wanted her to know I was here; I had just wanted to check up on her.
"Not panicking," Samantha told me, although she looked as though she was.
"I'm going to show myself." I told her, though I wasn't entirely sure why I was doing so. Still, I let go of my invisibility.
Her face changed so quickly that it was almost comical. She went from being in mortal fear of an unknown intruder to recognizing me as a savior.
"Thank you," she cried suddenly, "for saving me."
I bit my lip without thinking, hoping that I wasn't blushing. I hated being thanked for what I did; don't ask me why but I just got all awkward about it. Perhaps it was because I didn't talk to people as Phantom – as a ghost. No one would stand around and have a conversation with a dead person. Amity was terrorized by them; most hated the dead.
"Yeah, well, I wish I had noticed you were there before you were attacked." I couldn't quite bring myself to meet her eyes. I really felt horrible about her being hurt. If I had just been a little more observant than she never would have been injured. I had probably caused this girl weeks of unnecessary pain by not looking around me.
"Still, thank you. I would've bled to death in Casper High, of all places."
Her level of sarcasm made me smirk. She had only spent a few minutes in the school and already she hated it as much as the students who had spent their entire high school careers in the dumpy building. Samantha Manson was a smart one all right.
"It's definitely not an ideal resting place." I agreed. "My name is Phantom."
She looked up at me, eyes reaching mine. "Sam. I've heard about you on the news."
Shit, I thought. Whenever I was put on the television screen, it was never in a good light. I was pretty sure that every news station was out to make sure that everyone hated me. It had created a mixed response: a lot did hate me but there were a lot that liked me too.
"Damn cameras," I growled out loud. I had to convince her that I wasn't some horrible person that was going to kill her. "Look, no matter what the news is telling you, I'm not actually a villain."
Her eyes, bright purple and seemingly endless, probed mine. I felt completely exposed to her, as though she already knew everything about me. Sam shrugged, her pale shoulders shrugging. "I base my opinions on what I see, not what others show me. To me, you are a hero."
"Thanks," I said, feeling relieved. Finally, I asked the question that had brought me to her in the first place. "Are you gonna be okay?"
She nodded. "Yeah. Just a week or more of bed rest to get me mostly healed and then go from there."
Bed rest did not sound like fun. There were a number of things I would rather be doing like being run over by a truck for example . . . Not that it would help; being run over by a truck would probably get me put on a bed rest in the first place.
"I'm glad," I told her. It felt like a load flew off my heart. She didn't have any lasting damage at all. "That ghost is not usually a dangerous one; I don't know what got into her today." I couldn't fully explain about Dora; about how she was a sad princess who never had any understanding in life.
"Her?" Sam repeated, looking at me strangely. "It has a gender?"
I wanted to laugh at her ignorance. "What? Did you think that ghosts don't have a gender?" I put one hand on my hip, the other going to my hair. I felt very diva-ish. "Do I look like a female to you?"
Sam laughed; it was high, clear, and it made me want to smile. And then she winced, and I felt awful again.
"Why did you come see me?" She asked.
Umm, I thought, before just giving up and telling her the truth. "I wanted to see if you were okay and I was curious. I'd never seen you around before and, as Amity's unofficial protector, I needed to be sure you weren't a villain." Maybe not the whole truth; I'd never thought she could be a villain.
She squared her jaw, facing off with me. "As I'm certainly not."
"No," I breathed, something about her delicate features and pale skin making me quiet. "You're not."
Sam wasn't a villain, not by any means, but there was already something inside of me, making it known that she was something.
I don't own anything recognizable. Thanks to my betas: foreversky. I hope you enjoy Wonderwall!