The Bigger they are the Harder they Fall
A.N. Because so many people read this and mentioned me possibly doing a sequel, (and the fact that I really liked the idea myself), I've decided to make this a full fledged story, but it took a while for me to accumulate enough words for a proper chapter.
Chapter 2; It Continued come Sunrise.
In a rather luxurious hotel room, in the middle of the night, four men sat in tattered white suits, all faces sporting look of apprehension as they listened to a deep voice speak to them through the phone on loud speaker.
"So...the weapon is gone. The research is gone. My lab is a bomb site. And the perpetrator is no where to be seen despite the fact that he - it - was severely wounded, it still managed to outsmart you." the man took a deep, threatening breath, "I hope for your sakes, that you make the explanation you're about to give, exceptionally good, gentlemen."
"Well, sir..." Operative O began nervously, "It's erm...it was a very...very powerful ghost, and we..."
"You had a 'very powerful' weapon!"
"Yes, sir, but the ghost..." Operative L began hopelessly.
"That ghost destroyed all of my work, and you let it get away!" the deep voice bellowed.
"Yes, sir," all four agents sighed.
"I expect you to find this ghost and neutralise it without delay. Use whatever and whoever it takes to destroy this threat, then you will turn your attentions to the 'Ghost Boy', remember, I want it alive," the voice reverberated, "And this time you will not fail!"
"Sir," they nodded in affirmation.
"You have one month, gentlemen, one month," the man finished before abruptly ending the conversation.
Simultaneously, as soon as the dial tone rang out, all four men breathed sighs of relief and flopped onto the sofas or chairs like puppets who's strings had been quickly severed.
"Well, that went well," Operative M said.
"Who was it who agreed to work for him anyway?" Operative L scowled, "Even Masters wasn't this warped."
"Yeah, he never liked that kid either, but this is worse. Did he tell any of you why we're doing this anyway?" K asked and they shook their heads in the negative. "Great," the agent sighed.
"So...any ideas?" Operative O began.
"Argh!" I jumped straight up into the air and I floated about a metre above the mattress I found myself lying on. The quilt was still balancing on me so it probably looked like the bed sheets were flying and I flailed around to get out from under it. I hissed and grunted as I moved my arms quickly and I sighed in relief when I was finally free of the darn quilts.
After I'd dumped the sheets back onto the mattress I froze in the air as I stared at the room I found myself in. It was completely unfamiliar to me; I didn't see a single thing I recognised. I knew the bed had felt bigger than I remembered mine being, come to think of it, it was a lot softer too - like sleeping on one big, fluffy cloud. I wondered if I could convince mom and dad that I needed a new mattress. One like this. Although, chances were, if it was in Vlad's house, we'd never be able to afford it.
I flew down through the floor on full alert as I came into the sitting room, and Vlad was siting there, bold as you like, reading a newspaper. He still looked pale, but considering the injury he'd had not long ago I was totally shocked again by just how fast he could heal himself.
"Good morning, Daniel," he said without looking up, "Did you sleep well?"
"Huh?" I blinked in confusion, "Oh...erm...yeah, I did..."
"Erm...yeah...shouldn't you be...erm...y'know...dying..." I scratched my head and frowned.
"I did tell you that I have far superior healing abilities to you, didn't I?
"Yeah, but you don't have to rub it in," I muttered, crossing my arms.
"If its any consolation, I take no pride in the knowledge that you did me a great service, and even less in admitting it," Vlad said, looking up at me over his newspaper.
"That does kind of make me feel better," I chuckled.
"I'm so glad," he rolled his eyes at me.
"So...err...I...I should go..." I said as the awkward, tense atmosphere seemed to get even thicker. I wasn't sure how long I could stand it. "Bye..." I added, and before he could say anything I flew out of the building as fast as I could.
It was only early morning, luckily for me, so my parents wouldn't even notice I'd been gone all night; the nights they used to to check on me or say 'goodnight' to me were long gone. They spent more time talking to their ghost hunting equipment than they did talking to me, but I guess that it was at least half my fault. After all, I was the one with the failing grades and poor school attendance rate, the bad excuses, the bad attitude when they questioned me about said grades and attendance rate, and I was the one always running off to my 'room'.
But it wasn't my fault that ghosts picked the worst times to attack people! It wasn't as though I could convince them to go away and come back at a more continent time, could I?
I sighed deeply and as I saw the Emergency Ops Centre stick out like a sore thumb in our street as I got closer and closer, I slowed down and I floated through not my bedroom. I got changed quickly and luckily for me the bathroom wasn't being used so I ran straight in.
"Morning, Danny," Jazz said as soon as I walked into the kitchen not long after. She pushed a cup of coffee across the table to me and I gave her a thankful smile in return as my hands reached around the warm mug.
"So, anyway, Jazzy," my dad said, as though I wasn't even there. I rolled my eyes as he continued, "They came here in the middle of the night and..."
"And offered us a job," Mom said.
"Well, that's great, but erm...I think you should tell Danny about it," Jazz said looking at me with an expression I'd come to know as 'DANGER'.
"Hey, Danny boy," my dad yelled, noticing me now, "You remember those cool government suits, don't ya?"
"Government suits?" I repeated.
"Guys in White," Jazz whispered to me and then I choked on my coffee.
"The Guys in White were here? In our house?!" I shouted.
"Uh-huh," mom nodded.
"Wait a sec...you said they gave you a job?" I said, now I was even more confused.
"Yes, but I didn't like the sound of it, they were..." she shook her head.
"Greedy," dad finished, "They said if we caught that Phantom punk for them, they'd pay us, but we don't get to do one little experiment on him," he moped, and I gulped.
"But it was a lot of money, Jack," my mom sighed, "And we could use a little extra income."
"Shouldn't you be thinking about what they'd do to the ghost if you did catch him for them? I mean, if they're willing to pay that much there's got to be something fishy about it," Jazz said, looking at me with worry.
"You know we don't care about that, Jazzy," my dad dismissed and I felt my heart sink.
"Besides, ghosts are already dead, what's the worst they could do to it?" my mom shrugged.
"Yeah, and we..." dad started again, but I could to stand to listen to anymore.
"I'm going out!" I yelled before he could finish that sentence. I was so lucky today was a Saturday; no school.
"But you haven't even had breakfast..." I heard my mom shout back but I slammed the door shut behind me and I ran behind the house, went ghost and I flew away.
I couldn't keep lying to them about my ghost half; I couldn't keep listening to them say things like this day after day and pretend that it didn't get to me. It hurt every time they said something like 'Oh, ghosts are already dead so it doesn't matter if we hurt them a bit.' Or, 'ghosts don't mean as much as people, because they just terrorise us, so it's okay to hunt them down and dissect them.' But I couldn't tell them because of their attitude to ghosts - ghosts like me, and I was so scared of what'd happen once they knew.
They'd already found out once, but I'd wiped their memory and a lot had happened since then. Sometimes I really think they had an obsession with ghosts, enough of an obsession to rival some of the ones the ghosts themselves had; it couldn't be good for them...or for my sanity. There was only so much a guy could take, and sometimes it really got to the point where I thought I was going mad. When that happened I usually flew around the city or I hung out with Sam and Tucker for a while, so I could forget - just for a little while - that my parents hated half of who I was.
I honestly that the whole thing was driving me slowly insane, and to start the day off I'd nearly had a heart attack waking up in a fancy room and seeing Vlad sitting down, saying 'good morning', like I lived there all the time; although it had been nice to use my ghost powers without worrying about anyone finding out about me and then wanting to dissect me. And I bet the stupid fruit loop knew that too so he was just gloating.
Sometimes I just couldn't get rid of the idea of simply marching down the stairs and just telling my parents the truth. I wanted freedom, I wanted to stop lying to them, I wanted them to care about me for who I was - all of who was. Surely that wasn't wrong of me.
But every time I started thinking about it. It felt like I was just going round in circles. I needed some peace and quiet, I needed to be alone...but I didn't want to be by myself. I wanted to talk to someone about this...Sam, I could talk to Sam, she'd help me work through the craziness. At least I hoped she would. I made a U turn in the air and headed straight for her house. It didn't take me long to get there.
I sat on the building opposite for a minute, and I watched from across the street, invisibly, as Sam idly leaned back on her bed watching the tv. Even from this distance, if I listened closely, I could hear what the people on the screen were saying, I could even hear the sound of rustling fabric as she leaned across to pick up a drink from the bedside table. Sometimes my own abilities scared the bejesus outta me.
At least I now knew she wasn't doing anything important and I could talk to her. So I flew the short distance and floated through the building and made myself visible.
"Hey, Sam," I said and she jumped a mile.
"Wha?!" she breathed, "Danny! For the millionth time, stop doing that!"
"Sorry," I muttered and I floated down to sit cross legged on the floor.
"...What's up, mr sunshine?"
"I saved my arch enemy's life," I blurted out and she almost choked on air.
"You did what? Am I missing something?"
"Yeah...about a few hours of craziness," I said.
"...Are you gonna fill me in or do I have to guess...'cos you know how I feel about guessing games?"
"No, I...I found Vlad last night...he was hurt...I mean...really bad...like, dying, bad. I couldn't just leave him...could I?"
"I mean, I know he's crazy, I know he's a bad guy, but he just looked so...beat up..."
"I'm still not..."
"My parents showed up and I had Cujo distract 'em and I got Vlad back to his place..."
"You went to his..."
"And I helped him, but it turns out he didn't need that much help 'cos he can heal like crazy..."
"The why'd you say he was..."
"But there was this thing...he said it was made out of Ectoranium, made as a weapon, he said, ghosts can't touch it. It weakened him, nearly killed him, and when I tried to touch it, it gave me a nasty shock. Vlad said the Guys in White made it," I said, looking up at her.
"Those government dorks?" she scoffed, "They're not exactly the brightest bulbs in the..."
"I know, that's what I thought, but I came home this morning and my parents said the Guys in White tried to hire them to catch the 'Ghost Boy', and offered them a hell of a lot of money for it."
"Vlad said he got hurt 'cos he destroyed all their research about this weapon thing because they want to use it to destroy the Ghost Zone," I sighed, "And they have tried to destroy it before."
"Yeah, with a missile full of ecto-goop, and they couldn't even crack your password on the Fenton-portal," she said sceptically.
"I know...but what if they had help this time...serious help? They don't work for Vlad anymore, y'know...he doesn't know who they work for...at least he didn't say anything about it."
"Why would he? He's your arch enemy, you've said it a million times; you don't trust him!"
"Yeah," I said, flopping onto my back on the soft carpet, "But it was like...like I just couldn't let him die, I can't explain it. And he let me stay the night like it was normal...like he didn't try and pull all his stupid stunts every other day, and I just don't get it."
"Wait, back up...you slept at Vlad's place?"
"Yeah...I'd been out all night chasing ghosts, I was tired before I even found him and I...I don't know," I moaned, "Is it just puberty talking or is my life just seriously messed up?"
"Oh no, I think, in your case, it's definitely messed up."
"Gee, thanks, Sam," I closed my eyes in defeat.
"If the Guys in White really are up to something though, we have to find out," she said after a minute.
"I know they're up to something, even Skulker mentioned...it...last night..." I said.
"Question is; how do we find out what it is then?"
"M'dunno," I mumbled, "...Y'think...y'think maybe I should just tell them?"
"Tell who what?" Sam asked, confused.
"Tell my parents I'm half ghost...maybe it won't be so bad," I answered.
"Or maybe it would be that bad, they do hunt ghosts, remember."
"Really, I didn't know that," I scoffed and she rolled her eyes.
"I could tell 'em about Vlad," I suggested.
"What are the odds they'd believe you?" she said, "And besides, how would you feel if Vlad did that? How'd you think he'd react? I don't wanna defend him or anything but remember your stupid prank war, it got way out of hand and look where that got us. He's not the kind of guy you wanna piss off unless you have to; it's not worth risking getting hurt over."
"Okay, fine, but I could still them about me, right?"
"I can't exactly stop you if you want to," she shrugged.
"Gah!" I sighed, "That's not helping."
"Well, what'd I look like, a magic ball? I don't have all the answers, but I think if something's going on, maybe you should wait for a better time to tell them something like that. Parents don't understand things like we do," she scowled at the last part.
"Like how a rich kid'd wanna be a weirdo goth, ultra-recyclo- veggie nut and hide out in her room rather than go to parties?"
"Yeah, or how a certain kids' grades keep dropping, or how he spends less and less time actually in school."
"Point taken," I raised my hand with my index finger pointed and them let it flop back down to the floor at my side. "...But where does that leave me?" I sighed.
"Stuck," Sam answered and I stared up at her with a frown. This was turning out to be another 'fantastic' day in my life.
Professor Gerry Randall's P.O.V
"...I did it..." I let out a shaky breath and I felt tears of joy steam down my face. I was free...for now. This felt like the hundredth I'd broken free of my never ending mental prison and as I stood on uneasy legs I cursed my own actions for leading to this moment.
I'd had no idea that my simple curiosity could lead to something like this, some thing so sinister and improbable, even I had a hard time believing it. I'd seen some strange things in my life and I'd met some crazy people, but this was the worst thing I'd ever experienced.
I stared into the mirror and once again it seemed as though there was two faces starting back at me; my own face, all pale pink skin and green eyes. And the the second face, with its glowing dark eyes and strangely coloured skin. I didn't understand it. I leaned my head into my left hand as the deep voice screamed out again and again as I tried to force it away. I wanted to be myself again. I never agreed to this. This wasn't right. I was being used, I was nothing more than this thing's puppet and I didn't like it.
For the moment I was free; I'd clawed back from the darkness for a moment of freedom but even now I could feel it slithering back from my mind. I stumbled through the rooms to my desk, then with shaky hands I picked up the phone and began to dial a number I hadn't dialled in quite a while. But this was urgent, I needed to speak to Vlad Masters. He was the only one who could help me now. He was the only one who could help free me from this vengeful demon which possessed me. It was nothing but hatred, it wanted to destroy...but it wasn't people that it wanted to destroy. It was ghosts. One in particular. At least that was what I believed from the glimpses I'd had into its mind.
Just as I pressed the button for the fifth number in the sequence, I screamed in agony as I felt myself begin to disappear again. "No...not yet...not now..." I ground out. The minutes that I could earn some freedom were getting shorter and shorter and soon I knew they would be nonexistent.
"That's enough, Professor," I heard it say through my voice with a deep, dark laugh, "You lose again," it said and I vanished from my own body again into the abyss...Strange how things work out, isn't it?
...20 years earlier...
"Professor?" I heard Vladimir Masters speak and I turned round to face the young student with a smile. He was one of the most promising of my science students I'd ever met in all my years and we often met after classes for chess matches over lengthy discussions.
"How can I help?" I asked him.
"I wanted to ask you opinion," he said uneasily.
"Well, I happen to be free for discussion, how about a game of chess?" I asked, and I was surprised when he didn't immediately agree. He loved chess and he often bemoaned the fact that more people didn't share his love of the game. "Vlad?" I put a hand on his shoulder.
"No, no, not right now," he shook his head. "I need to know...as a scientist...do you believe in...in the supernatural?"
"The what?" I laughed, "What brought this on? April Fools has come and gone, young man, you do know that, right?"
"Professor, I'm serious," he insisted, staring at me with intense blue eyes.
Sometimes I felt that young Vlad Masters would make a formidable adult in the years to come; he had the ability of making even the most self assured members of staff feel like children when he wanted to. It worried me on occasion, which is why I tried to humanise him, for too frequently did he behave like an automaton for my liking. He had no family, or so he said, he had very few friends, but worryingly, he'd befriended Jack and Madeline, and I hoped he wasn't coming to share their passion for ghost hunting. Maybe it was just a phase.
"It's a rather...obscure branch or study...especially for someone as bright as you," I scoffed in disbelief. "I'd advice against it. You have a promising career ahead of you, don't throw it away chasing ghosts," I said earnestly.
"Science is about discovering the unknown; this is the unknown. If I can find tangible proof that ghosts really do exist, then I..."
"Vlad," I sighed, "You've been spending too much time with Mr. Fenton, haven't you?" I asked. Everyone knew that Jack Fenton was obsessed with ghosts, and his friend Madeline wasn't much better, either. I could see why Vladimir would want to spend time with her, but I really hoped he'd outgrow this infatuation, not fall even deeper into the abyss.
"He's a complete fool, but I think he may be on to something," he said to me and I sighed.
"Supernatural studies aren't exactly my forte, but they're not the most...respectable...aspect of study," I tried to tell him again. "I want you to understand, that if you look into this, even a little, it could come back to haunt you in the future, no, don't laugh, I mean it. It could be used against you."
"I think you worry too much," Vlad said, and I sighed. It was the arrogance of youth.
Shortly after that conversation I learned of a lab experiment gone wrong, and that my star pupil had been seriously hospitalised. He later dropped out of the respectable sciences and became a recluse, a wealthy business recluse but a recluse nonetheless. I had once believed he would go on to earn the Nobel Prize for physics, and make a name for himself, instead I learned that he'd somehow become a venerable powerhouse in big business and it didn't surprise me in the least. He'd always had the mind for it, but he could have done so much better.
We met up for chess quite frequently starting about ten years after the accident and I was startled to see the change in my old student. He was even colder - emotionally - then I remembered and his arrogance was overbearing, but in time I caught glimpses of the boy I'd once known and rather admired.
...But one year ago I found it, I found the proof, the tangible proof of the existence of ghosts...One year ago my life changed forever. Just one simple visit to Vlad in Amity Park, and my life ended up like this. I had no control over my actions, I couldn't even tell what I did when - it- was in control of me so I couldn't even mull over what I was doing. I'd always wondered if his conviction was warranted in his belief of ghostly existence and in finding out I'd almost, if not completely, destroyed myself.
Like Vlad's accident, mine started with a conversation, Vlad had told me about an artefact he'd been seeking because he thought I'd appreciate the story at least; it was an epic story of a long forgotten land and a mysterious creature, trapped in a jewel.
The story spoke of a man long dead, and Vlad said that this man had found a jewel of immense power and by chance, on one of my many excursions to the auction rooms of this country, I'd found it one day. It was exactly as Vlad had described it to me even down to the story surrounding it and out of curiosity I'd managed to obtain it.
I walked out of the auction room with the jewel, and curiosity had lead me to examine the thing under a microscope in my rooms before I told Vlad. But an accident lead to its destruction into thousands of tiny shards on my office floor and then I'd blacked out hearing it laughing at me. At my foolishness. The blackouts had increased exponentially leading to this moment. I believe I'd called Vlad and told him that there had been complications and I had been unable to obtain his jewel..and then I remember nothing.
But I remember the story Vlad had told me...
The Legend of the cursed Jewel.
Over 10,000 years ago there was a leader of men, a great warrior, hunter and protector who defended a large clan from their many enemies. He had a beautiful wife, she was wise and skilled in the healing arts, and together they're ruled over a large, flourishing territory.
One day, he was hunting with his kinsmen nearby, alone, the great warrior circled through the woodland when a bright, green glow startled the animals, making them run past him in a whirlwind of colour. The brave warriors' instincts told him to run as well, but he approached the light with caution, his spear raised as he moved with caution.
A creature he'd never seen before emerged from the wild plants, it was glowing pale green and it had no legs - it had a fish like tail. The warrior ran at it with his spear but he fell through it and he rolled over on the ground to spin round again, facing the creature. But it had vanished. He was alone again, left to wonder if he had imagined the whole thing, however, when he looked around he could still see a faint glow on the ground to his left so he turned to face it.
Finding a beautiful, shining jewel, he thought he could make a gift of it to his equally beautiful wife so he went to pick it up. But as he touched it he felt something coil around his hand, he could see nothing there, but he could feel it as it moved up his arm and down his body. Soon his entire body felt as though it was being compressed and he collapsed to the ground in total darkness...
...When next he awoke he saw his land burning and his wife, dead at his feet with his own spear thrust into her torso. He dropped to cradle her bloody body close to him as he cried, but her body went straight through his hands and when he looked down to see why, he saw the same green glow surrounding his limbs.
He could hear something laughing in his mind and then he saw a woman approaching. She wore the antlers of a stag on her head and she was dressed as strangely as he'd ever seen. She spoke strange words the warrior didn't understand and the voice in his mind started to cry out in agony.
The primitive warrior didn't know that he'd been possessed, forced to so unspeakable cruelties to his people, and that this wise woman was attempting to free the poor man from his torment. She imprisoned the 'demon' back from whence it had come and left with the strange jewel.
The warrior chose to end his life and he lay beside his wife until their settlement and their massacre was uncovered thousands of years later.
Meanwhile, the jewel passed through history, its ghost possessing hundreds of people wherever it went. It absorbed qualities from the humans it possessed, becoming the first human / ghost hybrid in history, waiting to be freed again.
Professor Gerry Randall's P.O.V
If the story was to be believed, then this time was very different than any other time before. As the first and best human / ghost hybrid, it believed that it was superior, and I think it believes that there is another one out there. If the story was to be believed then if this person existed they were in a lot of danger. If only I could speak to Vlad, he'd know what to do. But I couldn't even control my own mind let alone my limbs. I was floating in darkness and I couldn't help myself, I had no hope of helping someone whom I wasn't sure even existed.
...If only I could speak to Vlad...
"It was sold, sir," the young woman told me again over the phone.
"I know that, I want to know whom it was sold to," I repeated.
"It's confidential, sir," I was once more informed and I sighed. I slammed the phone down in anger and I snarled at the intolerable nuisances of 'client confidentiality.' It was no use, I was only wasting my time. If only I'd been able to buy it myself then none of this would have happened. I just had to have a violent flare up on Ecto-Acne on the day of the auction didn't I?!
I was no closer to the truth and I had no idea where to start. I had a hunch that the legend was true and that this jewel contained a highly malevolent ghost that truly believed it was a hybrid and now it was the most likely explanation for the whole affair. Daniel was well known in the Ghost Zone as a hybrid whereas my own secret was equally well hidden. But now I was under its scrutiny as well - as the ghost who'd given it a hard time.
I knew Daniel too well to hope that he'd believed my lies about how I knew nothing more about it and I knew he'd be acting the amateur sleuth to find out what was happening. He'd end up getting himself into trouble and everything could end badly. At first I'd hoped that nothing bad would come from the jewel being sold, what were the odds that whoever bought it would know about its history? But this was the ultimate kick in the teeth. For a year I'd relaxed thinking that the legend was nothing more than that, but now I knew better and I cursed my own bad luck. I needed to turn this in my favour but I was at a loss as to how I could do so.
I quickly morphed into my ghost half and then I hissed as my movements jostled my wound; perhaps I'd slightly exaggerated my healing capabilities to Daniel, but it was easier that way. I then took off into the sky in search of the GiW. If I shadowed them, perhaps I could learn who their employer was. Perhaps it would give me a chance to fight back.