Chapter 5: News
The night time air flew by rapidly, the moon shining brightly on the reflective coating of the dark jet as it streaked through the sky high above the world below. The green flames that spewed from the quiet engine burned hot as they helped push the vessel closer and closer to its destination. The silence that surrounded it was mirrored inside in the unoccupied halls as all its passengers slept peacefully. All except for two.
Sam groaned as she rolled over in her cold bed, restless as ever. Being a light sleeper, even the slightest thing could keep her awake, something that she found increasingly irritating as she got older. She thanked the Realms that Danielle hadn't gotten that from her and slept like a rock like Danny, though the thought of her daughter sleeping anywhere other than where she could protect and watch over her did little to help ease Sam's troubled mind.
Thankfully, Danny always knew how to comfort her. Back when she was still fully human, Sam had become accustomed to the slight chill of Danny's body next to her own, and always found it hard to sleep without it. Even before they had started living together.
Of course after her transformation, she had to get used to being even more sensitive to his body temperature, which was lower than an average persons, since she was now part plant. But regardless of the reasons, Sam could not sleep without Danny close by to snuggle with and hold onto, and said boy was not where he was supposed to be.
Reaching out, her hand only came into contact with the soft material of the mattress and not the firm muscular build of her boyfriend. Her eyes slowly opened as she lay looking at the empty space next to her. With a sigh, Sam sat up, pushing the covers off of her body. Her long black locks hung around her face lazily without her usual ponytail sitting on the top of her head, but Sam didn't mind it at all with the extra heat. Though her body was a lower temperature as well, it was still higher then Danny's was, and she doubted that he had even noticed the heat increase that they had flown into thanks to his Cold Core. Of course she'd have to question him on how he could not be bothered by the cold or by the heat, but she'd worry about that later once she reminded him just how late it is.
Kicking her feet over the edge, Sam hopped off the bed, landing softly on the ground. Her eyes glowed a bright green as she looked around for something to put on. Though she doubted anyone other than Danny and herself were still awake, she'd be beyond mortified if she got caught in just her underwear. Especially a pink bra and panties.
Turning her head from side to side, her eyes landed on Danny's open duffle bag. A quick dig through the bag and Sam was quickly rewarded with one of Danny's oversized shirts. Sam easily pulled it over her head, allowing it to drape over her frame before stopping mid-thigh. After smoothing it out a bit, Sam made her way to the door which opened with a quiet hiss as it slid open. Turning to the other quarters, Sam could hear the sounds of her friends as they slept peacefully. Exiting the room, Sam walked down the hall, her feet tapping quietly against the cold metal of the floor while her eyes focused straight ahead at the low light emitting from the cockpit in front of her.
Danny's head bobbed up and down as she struggled to keep his tired eyes open. The low beeping of the Ecto-Sonar rang out around him like a soft, soothing echo in the water. The Auto-Jack sat in the co-pilot seat next to him, a grin on its inflatable face that Danny had to admit look both creepy and comfortable to him. Just as his eyes started to close again, Danny gave his head a vigorous shake. He needed to focus on his piloting.
Unfortunately for him, he failed to focus on the footsteps of his girlfriend who could only shake her head at him with her arms crossed.
"Really? You're barely keeping your eyes open," Sam said, startling Danny who jumped out of his seat in surprise. Clutching his chest, Danny slowing began to calm down as he looked at her.
"Jeez, Sam!" he panted. "You nearly gave me a heart attack!"
"Sorry, thought you heard me coming. Kinda jumpy aren't you?"
"Yeah, I guess I am, a little."
"Well then maybe you should come to bed, Danny," Sam said.
"I'm fine, Sam. I just wasn't expecting anyone to still be awake at this hour," he said, turning forward again.
"Oh, so you do know what time it is, you're just being stubborn," Sam said sarcastically with her hands now on her hips. Danny rolled his eyes, choosing to ignore the comment as he knew exactly what would happen if he said any type of smart mouth remark. Sam sighed before placing a hand on his shoulder. "Danny, please. You need to get some sleep. You need your strength, and you're no good to anyone if you're tired. Especially Danielle."
Danny sat quietly as he let Sam's words sink in. He knew she was right and that he needed sleep, especially if he was going to be ready to fight who knows what the Guys in White were packing. But he couldn't bring himself to get up from the seat.
"I…can't…" Danny said.
"Why?" Sam said, kneeling next to him. "Talk to me, Danny."
"I just…I can't, Sam. This was the first clue we had to Danielle. The only lead that we've had, and…I just don't want it all to be for nothing. What if this is another dead end? What if we get there and no one knows anything or can help us? What if we do all of this for nothing and Danielle just get further and further away? I just…I can't stop. I can't rest until we find her."
"Danny," Sam said, grabbing his face and slowly turning it so he was looking her right in the eyes. "I know how you feel. I want to find her as soon as possible too. I want this to be the thing that leads us straight to her so we can get her and bring her home, so I hold her in my arms and never let her go. But we can't do that if we get our hopes up, just to have them crushed because we were too tired to do anything. Imagine if we do find her and she needs our help, but we can't because we were too tired to do anything. I know you want to help her, but first, you need to help yourself."
Danny gazed into her eyes deeply, the warmth of her hands flowing into her face, before nodding his head.
"Your right, Sam," he said. He slowly stood to his feet, pulling her up with him. "I'll set the Auto-Jack to notify us when we-"
Danny stopped as the GPS beeped quietly. He and Sam walked up to it, looking over the information it showed on the screen. A small red dot, which indicated their current location, hovered over the spot that was only a few miles away from Shreveport. Bright smiles graced their lips as the two embraced in joy.
"Well, looks like we made it," Danny said, releasing Sam and typing away at the controls. "I'll have it land us in that Swampy clearing a few miles outside of town. We should be safe there. In the morning, we'll all head into town and start our recon."
"Sounds good to me," Sam said before kissing him. "And in the mean time, you and I can snuggle up in our bed and get some much needed rest."
"Aw, is someone not able to sleep with her big strong teddy bear?" Danny teased with a laugh. "Don't worry, Sammy, I'll protect you."
"Watch it, buddy. You're pushing into some dangerous territory, and let's not forget there's a whole bayou just outside that door, teaming with plant life," Sam said as her eyes flashed green. Danny gulped, rubbing the back of his neck nervously as he put his other one on her hip.
"You know, I'm suddenly feeling exhausted. We should probably go and get some sleep, save our strength, you know."
"Smart boy," Sam said with a smirk.
Agent O patiently looked over the plans laid out before him. Everything had to be perfect for this all to work out the way it should. No unknown or unforeseen variables.
"How goes everything, O?" Agent K asked as he walked into the office.
"So far, everything is going as planned, but until we can get a real lead on that brat or on that information we need for the new equipment, we can't be too sure of anything," he replied as he stopped his typing and stood from his desk.
"Agreed, and that's why I've brought some good news," K said as he pulled out a small tablet. Placing it on the desk in front of his partner, K pressed the button to activate it, pulling up a news article. "It seems that there was a disturbance in New Orleans last night. Witnesses say that they saw a preteen girl fitting the description of that Phantom, though according to them, she produced some type of vocal disruption that rendered them all unconscious."
"Vocal disruption? Do we have any information on this whatsoever?"
"Negative. We have no record of any type of attack of that nature. And that's not all. Whatever it is that she did do seems to have completely weakened the structures off all the nearby buildings and affected the hearing of all people who were within close proximity to her, disorientating them to the point of slight memory loss in some and hearing loss in others. Meaning that if she has a power like this, it could be a danger for our troops. "
"Agreed. Make sure that all Agents are equipped with Ecto-noise filtering headsets before we head out. We can't let that little ecto-scum get the jump on us. By the sounds of it, she could completely wipe out our entire forces. She may even be more powerful then Phantom himself."
"Which will work out perfectly in our favor," K said with a devious smirk.
"Let's not get a head of ourselves, K. We can't under estimate her just because she's a kid. We've already made that mistake once," O said, as he looked at his screen before press the button on his intercom. "Prepare all available agents for departure, immediately. We ship out ASAP."
A loud thumping reverberated around the metal room, shaking it slightly and rousing the two occupants from their sleep. Sam groaned, burying her face into her pillow in protest.
"Rise and shine, guys," Jazz called from the other side of the door. "Breakfast in fifteen minutes, so you'd better be decent by then."
"Go away, Jazz," Sam replied, hoping the red head would take the hint. Apparently she didn't because another loud bang came as her answer.
"Get up, lovebirds. We've got work to do," Valarie called as she walked away from the door. Sam could hear the distinct sounds of laughter coming from all four of the other as they made their way to the mess hall. Sitting up, she couldn't help but glare at the door as she made a mental note to bound and gag them all with her vines later before turning to her boyfriend who hadn't moved a muscle.
"Wake up," she said, smacking his shirtless chest. Danny jolted awake, shrieking a bit before falling off the bed and landing on the floor. Sam blinked in shock for a few seconds before she began to snicker as she tried not to laugh at him. "Are…are you ok?"
"Why did you smack my chest!?" Danny whined.
"Oh stop being such a big baby and get dressed so we can eat," Sam said as she grabbed her toiletries and a change of clothes. Standing up, she turned back to Danny with a smirk still on her face. "Breakfast in fifteen."
After eventually picking himself up off the floor and finally getting into the bathroom after Sam, Danny was dressed and making his way to the mess hall. As he entered, he wasn't surprised to Jazz cooking everyone breakfast while the others conversed amongst themselves.
"Morning, Danny," Jazz said as he sat down.
"Morning," he said as he scooped some eggs onto his plate. "You guys ready for this?"
"Of course we are, dude," Youngblood said with enthusiasm. "We're gonna go out there, round everyone up, and-"
"Whoa, whoa. Slow down, Jake. We're not rounding up anybody."
"What exactly is the plan then?" Valarie asked.
"Simple. We find out where the phone was that Danielle used to call us from, and from there we see if we can get any information about where she had gone or if anyone had seen her," Danny said. "This is gonna be a simple recon information mission."
"This is gonna be simple, he said. We're gonna get information, he said," Jazz mocked. Danny couldn't help the annoyed expression on his face as his eye twitched. After breakfast, the team geared up, only bringing a few weapons via Danny's recommendation. After an unpleasant trek through the swampy area near the lake, they found themselves in the bustling city of Shreveport, Louisiana.
Cars shot by as people moved about their morning, heading to their destination without giving the heroes so much as a second glance. And Danny couldn't have been happier about it. The last thing they needed was media attention about their whereabouts and what they were up to. Danny's confidence in their mission was sky high as he adjusted the hat on his head and followed behind Tucker who was looking at his PDA's tracking system.
"And…stop!" Tucker said, causing all of them to halt in their tracks. "This is the spot."
Everyone looked around the paved metropolis in confusion. They was no way that that could be right since there was nothing there.
"Um, Tucker, I think you need to have that thing checked out," Sam said.
"It's not broken. This is the spot where the telephone signal from Danielle's call had come from. I'm sure of it."
"Then where is it?" Danny asked.
"Um, guys," Youngblood said, grabbing their attention. Raising his hand, Youngblood held out the remnants of the telephone receiver, the cord dangling, completely melted. Everyone's mouths dropped open in shock as they began to piece it all together.
"Ok, change of plans," Danny said. "Everyone split up and see if you can find anyone who's seen Danielle or if she's been here recently."
Everyone nodded their heads as they began to try and gather information.
The next hour was unfruitful for all of them as they went to every business and person who may have seen the young girl. Pulling out pictures of her in human and ghost form, the teens went from person to person in the hopes that they might have seen her for even her. Unfortunately, being in a city meant that there were an endless stream of people coming and going, none of which made an outstanding impression. The more they went around asking, the more disappointed they became. As they all gathered back at the former phone booth, the mood was solemn at best, and Danny could see that just from the looks on everyone's faces.
"I'm guessing you guys didn't get anything either?" Danny asked.
"No one I asked had seen her," Jazz said, shaking her head sadly.
"Me either," Tucker said.
"Neither did anyone in that building over there," Valarie said, pointing to a large office building that was now covered in vines and other foliage.
"Um, what happened over there?"
"Apparently, all those people thought it was a good idea to be rude and tell us that "we haven't seen any snot nosed brats or green dogs, so get lost, we're trying to run a business around here"," Sam said with her arms crossed. "I don't take too kindly to people like that."
"Clearly. So what do we do now? We're at another dead end," Jazz said.
"I don't know," Danny said in honesty, running a hand down his face. "I guess we'll just regroup, and-" Danny paused as he looked around and noticed that someone was still missing. "Hey, Tucker, where's Jake?"
"Jake?" Tucker questioned, looking around him and finding the young ghost missing. "He was with me earlier."
"Oh great. We better go find him before he gets himself into trouble."
Walking down the side street Tucker had taken earlier, they all began looking for Youngblood, calling out his name as they went. Danny and Sam tried using their Ghost Sense to find him while Valarie used her Ghost Detection gear in hopes of picking up a trace of his ecto-signature.
"Over here, gyus!" Jazz called. Everyone turned their heads to her as she kneeled next to the boy who stood in front of a shop, unmoving. His eyes were glassed over, his pupils dilated, and his mouth hanging open. Jazz lightly touched him, but the boy remained unmoved like stone. The zombified state that he was in began to worry them all as they too came upon him. "Jake? Hey, you ok?"
"What's going on with him? I've never seen him act like this before," Sam said as she placed her hands on his face, bringing down to look at her. However, it did nothing to change the expression whatsoever which only worried them all even more.
"Maybe it has something to do with this shop," Tucker said as he eyed the sign and various antiquates in the window. Dreamcatchers hung delicately from strings, their jewels and feathers brightly shimmering. Various books sat, perched on display for all to see as they passed by. However the most interesting site was the large green vortex symbol in the center of the glass pane.
"Madam Daimon's Spiritual Supply Shop," Danny read a loud as his eyes too started to glaze over slightly. His movements started to become more ridge as his body began to lock up and his eyes changed to green.
"Danny?" Sam called before she too turned toward the sign. Her eyes dilated, instantly changing color as well as she felt her muscles freeze up under her own weight.
"Danny? Sam?" Valarie called, shaking them a little.
"This place," Danny said, eyes still focused on the sign. "Something about this place…I can't look away."
"Me either…" Sam said. "It's like…I can't control myself. My mind is telling me to move, but my body won't respond. It's like I'm trapped."
"Ok, I don't know what's the deal with this place, but we gotta get you guys outta here," Valarie said. Grabbing Sam's hand, she began to pull her away, only to feel her body jerk backwards in protest. "Sam? Come on. We gotta go."
"I can't…" Sam said. "I don't want to…"
"Stop looking at the sign!" Jazz cried, covering her brother's eyes. Danny instantly jerked back, pushing away from her. Shaking his head, Danny blinked a few times as he looked at the ground before turning to his sister.
"I can move again," he said, flexing his muscles. "Jazz must've broken the trans when she cut off my site to it." Walking over to Sam, Danny stood in front of her, staring into her eyes. "Sammy, look at me. You need to focus on me, ok?" When Sam gave no response, Danny rolled his eyes before pulling her into a kiss. Sam's body stiffened and jerked for a moment before relaxing. Danny pulled her close to him as Sam's eyes and her hands crept up to his shoulders.
"Ok, enough, you two," Jazz said with a roll of her eyes.
"Better?" Danny asked as he grinned.
"Much," Sam said with a smile. "Well now that we're back to normal, let's get Jake and get outta here."
"We can't," Tucker said as he and Valarie tried to move him. "I've tried to block his eye sight, but he's not moving."
"Well we can't just leave him here. Maybe someone in there can tell us what's going on." Sam moved around Danny, her gazed focused on the golden doorknob. Much like the store, the door looked like it had been there for many years and had seen many stores as it was slightly withered and the hinges rusted. Reaching out, she quickly grasped it, only to shriek in pain and jerk back. Her hand twitched violently as red smoke rose from it, painful looking blisters covering her palm. "Damn it, that hurt!"
"Are you ok?" Danny asked as he carefully took her palm and examined it. He could see that she was starting to heal a bit, but the burns still looked painful.
"Ok, what the heck was that and what's going on?" Valarie asked, preparing to pull on of her blasters out. She could feel the anxiety inside of herself growing by the second and it was starting to get extremely uncomfortable.
"Blood Blossoms," Sam said, Danny nodding in conformation.
"Blood Blossoms. They're a type of plant used to ward off Ghosts back in the olden days before technology was developed," Danny explained. "They're like a primitive version of my parent's Specter Deflectors, except a lot more dangerous because they don't just shock you, as you can see. We came across them a while ago when we were chasing Vlad, but I didn't think they were still this common."
"They can leave a ghost weak and vulnerable. Not to mention unable to move," Sam said, glaring at the doorknob that had stopped smoking. "Whoever owns this shop clearly doesn't want ghosts inside."
"You can never be too careful, child."
Everyone turned to see an elderly African American woman standing behind them, a basket with various plants and herbs on her arm. Her long, gray dreadlocks reached the middle of her back, lightly touching the red shawl draped across her shoulders. The white shirt she wore clashed in its blandness compared to her long skirt which was multicolored and reached her ankles, leaving her sandaled feet exposed. Her slightly wrinkled face held a kind, grandmotherly smile that her eyes reflected. Taking a few steps forward, the woman walked up to the kids, putting them all on edge.
"Hold it," Valarie said, stepping in front of her friends and pulling out her blaster. "Who the hell are you and what do you know?"
"Calm yourself. I mean you no harm," she said with a wave of her hand. "I am Madam Daimon, owner of this here shop."
"You own this place?" Jazz asked.
"That is what I said, is it not?"
"Well then tell us what you did to our friend," Sam said, pointing to Youngblood who had yet to move a muscle.
"A simple incantation. It keep the spirits in check."
"Incantation? What are you, a witch or something?"
"No, no," she said with a short laugh. "Witchcraft is nothing but a child's way of trying to believe what they cannot. Such things do not exist. I am what you would call a Medium."
"A medium? You mean someone who can see and talk to ghosts," Tucker asked in disbelief.
"That is what most would believe. But a medium is much more than that. A medium is a person who is one with the spirits. I understand them, read them. I know what their souls really say. For example," she said, her gaze focused on Youngblood. "This boy, his is mischievous and trips over his words, not because he is young, but because his life was cut so short. He has a good heart, but his fear of ridicule, the same ridicule he experienced during his time in this world, prevents him from showing his true self. However, he has begun to open up more to those around him. He has become more secure about himself."
Madam Daimon walked over to him, ignoring the odd looks she received from the others, and placed a hand on his head. Youngblood's eyes instantly changed back to normal, his body relaxing as he gasped for air. Blinking in confusion, he turned to everyone else who were staring at him in shock.
"Where am I? What happened?" he asked before noticing the elderly woman next to him. "Who's the fossil?"
"We'll explain later," Jazz said, hugging him.
"How did you do that?" Sam asked.
"I told you, child. I understand spirits. I've been on this Earth a long time, and have learned many things. The incantation over this building prevents spirits from getting near it by rendering them dumb. Even the strongest of Ghost cannot help by fall under it. Of course, I have also known that there would be exceptions to the rule," She said with a smile as she looked at Danny and Sam.
"You mean us? Halfas?"
"Just because no one has ever heard of such a thing until recently does not mean that some haven't known about it for years. Your humanity is the reason why you were not completely caught under the trans like your friend. You can understand that I had to take extra precautions."
"Yeah, they were pretty effective," Sam said, flexing her hand that was still sore.
"My apologies. Now, I believe that you are all here because you are looking for someone?"
"How did you-you've seen Danielle?" Danny asked, rushing over to her.
"I have seen the girl for whom you are looking for."
"Do you know where she is?"
"Unfortunately, I do not know her location. However, I can tell you that she was heading south from here."
"South? That could be anywhere from here to Antarctica!" Danny shouted.
"Calm yourself. You will find your lead to her very soon," she said as she placed a reassuring hand on Danny's shoulder. Her smile was warm as Danny looked at her, a bit of hope returning to his of face. "You have a heart as pure a snow, young one. Never forget that. Even when someone hurts you, you must always stand above them, less you too wish to fall into the darkness like them."
"I…I will. Thank you," Danny said. Just as he was about to pull away, Madam Daimon gripped his shoulder, an intense look of seriousness on her face.
"You must promise me that you shall find her. The girl does have good in her heart, but she has been scorned by much tragedy and betrayal. Her spirit has been broken and damaged, darkening drastically because of her past. She is in much danger, not just from herself, but from many around her. You must save her, protect from herself, or else she will not have a future worth living to see."
Danny's heart nearly stopped at the woman's words. His memories began flash across his vision of a dark figure, looming over him, cackling in madness as fire and destruction rained around him. The evil in his red eyes shook Danny to the core as he looked upon the destruction that had been brought upon the world. The horrifying remains of unknown people littered the streets, and Danny had to resist the urge to vomit on the spot. Danny looked up, his eyes travelling over the form of the evil before him as a smile graced it's face. Only it wasn't him he gazed at.
It was Danielle.
"Understood," Danny said without hesitation. Turning around, Danny began to make his way away from the shop. His friends looked on in confusion, wondering just what had happened, but didn't hesitate to follow him, glad to be getting away from the creepy shop.
The entire walk back to the ship was silent as Danny marched ahead of everyone. His disposition was unpleasant and no one had the guts to talk to him about it. As they came upon the ship, Tucker's PDA rang out, startling them all. The techno geek quickly tapped away, reading the information that crawled across his screen. A large smile plastered over his face before he let out a cheer.
"Guys, you're never gonna believe it!" he said.
"What is it," Youngblood asked.
"There's been a spotting of a girl using in New Orleans! People say that she looked like Danny!"
"Danielle!" Sam cried in joy. "We've found her!"
"Well then let's get a move on!" Valarie said. Everyone cheered as they rushed into the ship. Everyone except Sam who was still focusing on Danny.
"Danny, are you ok?" She asked.
"Sam…What she said…what Madam Daimon said…" Danny mumbled, shaking his head.
"What about it?" she asked. Danny paused, taking a deep breath before looking her in the eyes.
"Her future…it's mine."
"What do you mean?"
"Danielle's future…if we don't find her, she's going to end up worse than me. Worse than Dan. Dani's could bring about the absolute destruction the world."
To be continued…
Oh snap! It's getting good now! I bet you guys can't wait to see what's going to happen, huh? Do you think that Dani's gonna bring about the end of the world? Do you think she's going to be saved? Let me know what you think. Until nest time-