Author’s Note: I got the idea for this Danny Phantom two part one-shot from a contest being held by a local writer’s group SLO Night Writers. The contest was to write a story using only 500 words (this ended up being longer, hense the necessity to split it up into two parts!) and it had to begin with this sentence: Keening, high-pitched, the sound grows in intensity. I didn’t have an original idea to submit to the contest, but hey, you all got a new DP fanfic out of it, so yay! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Danny Phantom and all related characters belong to Butch Hartman, not me.
Keening, high-pitched, the sound grows in intensity. I squeeze my eyes shut and press my hands over my ears to keep the sound out, but it filters in between my fingers, and threatens to shatter my eardrums. Soon I hear my own uncontrolled scream of pain and frustration – almost a wolf-like howl – join in the chaotic chorus as the darkness descends over me like a cold, thick blanket.
Vlad Masters sat straight up in his bed; his eyes open wide in terror, a stunted cry on his lips. He quickly looked around for an attacker, but discovered he was alone in the silent darkness of his bedroom; the only sound was that of his own gasping breath. Hot sweat ran down either side of his face, his long white hair stuck to his skin. The sweat off his body soaked his silk pajamas, turning them clammy and cold.
He’d had a horrible nightmare. A nightmare based on the memory of the lab accident that destroyed his life. A nightmare so real it felt like the accident had happened to him all over again.
Why now? He wondered. Why am I thinking about that after all these years?
Knowing he would never get back to sleep, Vlad rose and wandered aimlessly through the large, Medieval-style castle he called home, his bare feet slapping lightly on the cold stone floor and echoed quietly off the walls. The castle and surrounding one hundred acre property had been a huge purchase, yet it barely made a dent in the vast fortune he had amassed over the years. He had come into possession of a great and unusual power because of the accident, and after his recovery years later, Vlad used his newly aquired power to manipulate big business dealings and control various investments which made him very rich very quickly. Most people would be content to have the amount of money he had, as well as the opulent home, property and possessions, but Vlad Masters was not yet satisfied.
He paused in the cavernous foyer to admire his vast collection of memorabilia from his favourite National Football League team, the Green Bay Packers. Autographed footballs and jerseys, gifted Division Championship trophies and Super Bowl rings, photos of himself with several of the players and coaches – past and present – lined the walls from floor to ceiling; the result of years of collecting and acquiring as well as mingling with the team. The only thing he couldn’t buy was the team itself – the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin owned the team outright, and refused to sell it to anyone, regardless of the generosity of the offer. At one time these items brought Vlad a great deal of pleasure, but lately he found no joy in them. There was still a black emptiness in his life. Something was missing; something his billionaire status had not been able to procure for him, besides the Packers: a beautiful, intelligent and spunky redheaded woman named Maddie.
Vlad wandered down to his basement laboratory where he had worked to improve his powers, as well as build a working version of the invention that caused the accident. He stood before the massive opening; the thick, heavy metal doors closed together in the middle. Vlad placed his hand on the doors, remembering the excitement and danger that lay on the other side, a gateway to another dimension: the Ghost World. A world filled with powers and creatures and monsters that would dazzle the imagination. It didn’t faze him anymore, however. Vlad had been there before.
He shivered suddenly, as though a spirit had passed through him. This was unusual, as he was half-ghost himself. The accident – perpetuated by his bumbling college friend, Jack Fenton, who not only ruined Vlad’s life, but also stole the love of his life, Maddie – had left him able to become a ghost just by thinking of it. As a ghost, Vlad possessed incredible powers – he could levitate, fly, fire beams of ectoplasmic light at his enemies, will up a force field to shield him from return fire, and duplicate his ghost form several times over. He spent years perfecting these talents and strengthening his powers in order to achieve his goals: to kill Jack Fenton, and marry his wife Maddie.
There was something odd about this particular evening, however. Vlad couldn’t put his finger on it, but he had the distinct feeling that something had . . . happened to somebody somewhere. Something . . . familiar. Vlad shivered violently again. He closed his eyes as flashes of random images appeared behind his closed lids: a brightly lit but messy laboratory, red sneakers jutting out beneath blue jeans, a black and white jumpsuit, a long, dark tunnel, then a white flash of light and then the burning . . . oh! The burning! As though his entire body was being consumed in flames! Black hair turning white. The cacophony of howling, screaming.
As the vision faded, Vlad fell to his knees, panting heavily and sweating again. Oh the agony! He lay down on the floor, his hot cheek against the smooth cool floor, breathing raggedly. He opened his eyes, blinked the tears out of them and stared into the darkness.
“Oh!” He thought suddenly. “It’s happened again!”
Vlad rose slowly onto his hands and knees, then stood on wobbly legs, gripping the edge of the lab table for support. Somewhere in the world – No, wait! It was near! – another accident in another lab, just like the one that created him all those years ago, had created another ghost hybrid.
Poor sod, Vlad commiserated. To have to suffer through this horrible existence.
Then another thought occurred to Vlad, and a sneer spread slowly across his face. “No. Not so horrible after all. If I can find him, this new half-ghost, half-human, I can train him! Teach him everything I know! And in return, he can help me fulfill my greatest wish: to destroy Jack Fenton!”