Someone had come through one of the shut up doorways. A dark figure. A girl.
“Let go of him or I’ll punch your face in!” she yelled, bringing her fists up. The ghost released me and began laughing. He said something about stupid humans thinking they can hurt ghosts.
That’s when the girl leaped through the air doing a roundhouse kick to the ghost and connecting. The ghost flew backwards while Sam pulled me into a corner. We watched the girl land blow after blow in a furry of Sim Fu moves that would put a black belt to shame.
“This is for hurting Apollo, this is for killing the McCormicks, and THIS is for hurting ALICE!” the girl yelled, finishing with a really painful looking chop to the ghost’s crotch. Down he went. The girl pulled a dagger from who-knows-where and stabbed it right into the ghost’s forehead. He began screaming in anguish before fading into nothing.
Sam and I clutched each other, panting heavily. The girl tucked the dagger back into her belt and turned to face us, brushing her black hair from her face. I stiffened in shock at the sight of her eyes.
Pale green, exactly like mine.
I stared and she looked exceedingly uncomfortable before taking a superhero’s pose and saying, “All in a day’s work for… errr… me! To infinity, and beyond!” before dashing back into the other room.
Sam and I exchanged looks then scrambled to the room… a tiny little empty room. No exit. No sign of the girl.
“Oooookay. Major hallucinations. Major, major, major hallucinations.” Sam shook his head then began looking at me up and down. “You okay? Did the ghost…?”
“I–I think I’m fine.” I rubbed my chest, still feeling the icy coldness of the ghost in me. “Is Blake all right?” We hurried over and Sam felt his pulse. Alive, still unconscious. We dragged him over to the trapdoor and got it open easily enough. The only ones waiting for us were Romance and Kiley and they used a spell to float Blake gently down. Then they asked all sorts of questions we couldn’t really answer. We told her as best we could about Carlos-the-ghost and the incredibly strange girl who disappeared without a trace.
“I’ve never heard of any teleportation magic,” Romance said as we guided the levitating Blake down the stairs to join Zaid and Ginny who had spent the few minutes in a heated argument over whether or not to go for help, and Eidan who just sat in a corner looking freaked out. Without a word to the others, Sam and I lied and said nothing happened. Romance and Kiley denied hearing anything going on. I knew Zaid didn’t believe me but I didn’t want to talk about it (I wasn’t even sure it happened). I just wanted to leave. We all did and as the only one who’d want to stay was unconscious… out the door we went, into the cold darkness.
The trip back to the school went surprisingly fast. Ginny used her light spell so we didn’t need to worry about flashlights. Romance and Kiley kept Blake floating along. Once we got back to the school Ginny folded her arms and jerked her head, unlocking the door. We crept inside, going our separate ways for the most part. Kiley kept up the levitation spell to help us get Blake to his room. Eli opened the door when we knocked and just stared unhappily at Blake’s unconscious form.
“I freaking knew it,” Eli grumbled and pulled his roomie inside. “What happened?”
“He hit his head,” I said and went to my own room without another word, too tired and weirded out to do anything else (later we found out Eli took Blake to the infirmary). Kiley slipped into the dorm before I could shut the door. “Who is she?”
“The girl. Something’s freaked you out and I doubt it’s the ghost.” Kiley tipped her head to one side, studying my face. “You know who the girl is? Was? Might be?”
Those eyes, those bright green eyes. Of course I knew who she might be… in a sense.
“I want to just go to sleep–augh!” I yelped as Kiley hugged me tight, planting a kiss on my cheek. “K–Kiley, s-stop!”
“Sorry. I just wanted… you were just… so brave.”
“I wasn’t brave. I was stupid. We all were. We shouldn’t have gone, who the hell cares what the locals think of us anyway?”
Her eyes shone a bit and she touched my cheek where her lips had been. “You were very brave. You know… I… I really like you.”
Thank the heavens that Sam opened the door at that moment. Kiley winked at me before scurrying off, heading back to her own dorm. After the door shut Sam went to his bed and collapsed down, holding his head in his hands and mumbling about what happened. I managed to undress before falling into my own bed.
“We didn’t imagine it, did we?” Sam inquired. “She had the same weird color of eyes as you.”
“Er, sorry. I just meant weird as in unusual. You know her?”
The same question as Kiley. “No,” I replied. “I don’t. I really don’t. I just want to sleep right now. I don’t feel so good.”
“Maybe we should take you to the nurse?”
“Nah. I think I’ll be okay. I just want some sleep.” I pulled the covers up but didn’t get any sleep. I just couldn’t get that girl out of my head with her dark skin and green eyes and–well–the vague resemblance to my sisters.
My dad had had one kid none of us knew about until Piotr showed up on our doorstep. Could he have had another?
Blake, being a pixie, didn’t suffer any real damage from his knock on the head. He might have suffered worse from the rest of us when he complained loudly about us ‘wimping out’. Ginny ended the ranting by literally freezing him in place for a good half hour. It earned her several nights of detention but she assured us it had been worth it. Blake–after being released from his momentary prison–grumbled but stopped complaining.
Halloween came and went. We had a big feast at the school then went into town for trick-or-treating (and ran into the bullies who teased us until Romance used her magic to lift a large boulder over their heads). November sped by with lots of rain that eventually turned into snow. My mind mostly remained on the mysterious ghost-killing girl and her eyes.
On December first the teachers went around collecting lists of who would be going home for the winter holidays and who would be staying. As soon as I wrote down my name to go home I felt more homesick than I had since school began.
“You’re staying?” I asked Sam after he wrote his name on the stay list.
He shrugged. “Where else would I go?”
He’s never talked much about his home, I realized though I kept my mouth shut against the curious questions that sat on my tongue.
Once our exams began there was little time to do much else. Even Blake quieted down while we all focused on the tests our teachers gave us. The hours in the classrooms seemed to stretch eternal while the ones outside class were way too short; finally the last exam hit us and the next day those that were going home were taken into town.
“Hey… uhh, you’ll call, right?” Sam asked as I prepared to go.
“Yep! You better call too.”
His eyes narrowed a bit as he chewed at his thumbnail. “You are coming back. Right?”
“Don’t be st–” I stopped as his words sank in; his previous roommate had left for the winter holidays and never returned. “Of course I am. You can’t get rid of me that easily.” We grinned at one another and he followed me out of our dorm, down to the main hall where everyone had gathered. “I could talk to my dad and see if you can come visit sometime…”
Sam jammed his hands in his pockets and glanced around. “Yeah. Maybe.”
“Omigosh I am gonna miss you both like, so much!” Lilah flew over and squeezed Sam tightly. “I like, totally love the holidays but also like, totally hate not being able to see you! Don’t get into too much trouble, okay?”
“Yeah yeah, I hear ya.”
I felt bad at the rather forlorn look on Sam’s face as we left. I’d definitely need to ask Dad if he could visit. I knew not many kids would be staying over the holidays. In fact besides Sam, I was pretty sure in our year only Kiley and Chase would be around… and I knew that Casimir was staying. Yikes. Poor Sam!
Dad picked me up in town and after we hugged for several minutes we joined Uncles Max and Royce with the quads, and headed to the airport. Even though I had been calling, texting, and e-mailing Dad all through the autumn I still found loads of new stuff to tell him. I asked about Sam and Dad said as long as Sam’s parents were okay with it, he could stay a few nights.
Back in Storybrook County I felt absolutely exhausted. I could barely greet the rest of my family and after hugs to everyone and several kisses on Angel’s forehead I trudged up to my room and collapsed into bed, falling asleep right away.
I waited a few days before talking with Dad. Most my time was spent with Grandpa and Angel since everyone else either worked or had school (which I teased Arty about more than I probably should have). Sam and I talked every day and I knew the rest of my family were pleased at the fact I had a best friend, and they were all excited to meet him. We made plans for him to stay on the fifth of January through the ninth, when we’d be going back to school. When Dad talked to Sam on the phone about it he asked about Sam’s parents and what they would say. Dad went quiet as he listened to Sam’s reply then went, “That’s fine, I understand.” and didn’t bring the subject up again which made me so curious but again I didn’t ask questions.
Finally one night the timing felt right. The girls were out Christmas shopping, Grandpa was snoring away in his room, and Dad and I were on the couch playing video games. After he beat me in the race I set my controller down.
“Hey uh, Dad? Can we talk about something?” I kicked my heels against the floor nervously. “It’s important.”
“Course we can.” Dad put his controller down and turned a bit towards me. “What’s up?”
Oh Watcher, how did I even ask this? I focused intently on my feet still kicking. “It’s about… my father…”
“You can ask me anything you want about him, kiddo.” Dad pat my arm. “What’s your question? Apollo?” he asked when he realized how fidgety I had become. “Is it about the picture in your school?”
I shook my head. “It’s something like–well, erm, you know Piotr.”
“Yeeees,” Dad drew out.
Finally I lifted my chin so I could look into Dad’s eyes. “D’you think he had any other kids? Dad, I mean. Zaid. That we don’t know about?” Dad remained silent as he pondered my words. After several seconds of no response I added, “I mean he had Piotr and we never knew until recently so he could have had others, right?”
Dad scratched his head. “I–I don’t know. He only sl–errr, had a couple of relationships like that in college before he dated Piotr’s mother.”
“Slept with.” I provided the words Dad seemed to be too embarrassed to use. “I’m not a kid, Dad. I know about sex. And no it’d be after college. Like, after…” I gulped some air. “Like after Reeny’s dad.”
“Okay, why are you asking this?” Dad asked a bit sharply.
I shrank back. “I… s-saw someone… who looked like… who reminded me a lot of Reeny and Arty…” I felt like I opened a can of worms or something with the way Dad looked at me. “She had our eyes. The pale green eyes that no one else seems to have.”
Dad looked really upset which filled me with guilt. “I suppose someone else in the Danevbie line could have randomly gotten them. From what I understand they came out of no where with your dad. We can ask Chance about it.”
“He–he couldn’t have had another kid?” I whispered. The resemblance to my immediate family seemed too much for this girl to be just a random branch on another part of the tree. Or had I imagined it? Maybe she hadn’t resembled my sisters after all and it was just the weirdness of the minute making my brain see things.
Dad shook his head. “Not between Reeny and Arty. He would have told me if he had been with someone.” Dad trailed off a bit at the end and I began to get freaked out I was causing some sort of crisis. “Though he did go on a few dates. They were all crappy, from what I understand, but I guess he might have… except he probably would have told me…” He looked increasingly upset. “Who did you see? Someone at the school?”
Shit. “Um, sort of. No. Not really. Uhhh, it was in town–in Dragon Valley. I didn’t get a chance to ask her about anything since she just sort of… came in and then ran off. She–she could interact with ghosts, too. That’s why I thought she might be another half-sibling cause, like, well, you know.” Great now I sounded like Lilah. “Maybe getting something from Grandpa.”
“What did she look like?”
“Uh, dark skin, my eyes, dark hair… I think she had some freckles but it was really dark in the att–uhhh–the uh–the–“
“The what exactly?” Dad demanded.
I slumped down even more, cheeks heating up. “Theatticofahauntedhouse. We were dared by some local kids so eight of us snuck out of school to stay the night in a haunted house and Blake went up to the attic and Sam and I went after him and we were attacked by a ghost and this girl pops in from an empty room to attack the ghost and killed it with a dagger that made it go away and then she ran off back in the empty room and disappeared by the time I looked in.”
I took in a deep breath after all that and waited for the inevitable which didn’t take long.
“YOU DID WHAT?!” Dad got to his feet, looking extremely pissed off. “APOLLO JAMES DANEVBIE WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING SNEAKING OUT OF THE SCHOOL?! AND STAYING IN A HAUNTED HOUSE? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT KIND OF TROUBLE YOU ARE IN!”
“Oh yeah,” I mumbled.
Dad continued to scream until Grandpa wandered in, rubbing his eyes sleepily, wanting to know what happened. Dad pointed an accusing finger at me. “He snuck out of his school in the middle of the night to stay in a haunted house!”
“Technically it was evening when we snuck out, and the middle of the night when we snuck back in and…” Dad gave me the glariest of glares that ever existed. “Uh never mind.”
“Haunted house?” Grandpa snapped to attention. “A real one? Poliwag, do you have any idea how dangerous that could be?” He looked to his side and nodded, folding his arms. “Your grandfather wants me to remind you that ghosts can be very very dangerous!”
Now I had three sets of angry eyes on me even though I couldn’t see the third set. “I’m sorry!” I got up, throwing my hands in the air. “It was stupid of us! We know it was, all right? We all regret it! Well, most of us do. I think Blake regrets not staying the full night.”
Of course I had to go into great detail after that, explaining everything that happened. Reluctantly I did so except for the part when Carlos’s ghost jammed his hand into my body with the intent to kill. That I kept to myself. I made it sound like he had thrown Blake aside when the girl jumped out of the empty room. Grandpa seemed fascinated by the fact she kicked the ghost and Grandfather needed to know exactly what the dagger looked like. I couldn’t describe it very well but did the best I could.
“Specter says that EGHB had designed a weapon like that, to do what the guns did. To, ummmmmm, vanquish ghosts. Send’em back to the Nether. But after three were made and tested out they decided guns were better cause nobody wanted to get that close to a ghost.” Grandpa turned to face the air, grinning. “Well, you got even closer to one.” Then he giggled.
“Have you heard of anyone else developing these, er, daggers?” I asked.
Grandpa kept snickering for several seconds until he managed to calm down from his own dirty joke. “Nope. Your grandfather says he hadn’t heard of anything like them. But he’s not really been paying attention to that sorta thing for a while so. And all the patents’n stuff that EGHB developed belong to Vilkas now, cause he inherited them, cause Specter thought that stuff would be safest in the hands of someone a ghost hunter wouldn’t wanna get near. All the technology’n stuff has been disbanded or–sorry–dismantled and stuff.” Grandpa scratched his head. “Or lost, like the goggles and earpiece.”
“Did you ever have a dagger?” I asked the spot I assumed grandfather hovered in.
“He says yeah, he was the first to test it cause he was the best ghost hunter at the time, and he was the first to say it wouldn’t work since it meant being in melee range.” He put his hands on his hips. “Don’t look all surprised I know what that means! Okay, so what if I learned it from my video games? You still don’t need to act all–stop making that face or else!”
“Do you still have it…? Or know what might have happened to the others?”
Grandpa stuck his tongue out then folded his arms. “He says he did have the dagger but it got lost along with all the other stuff during the move. The other two daggers were in EGHB’s warehouse so they got moved when Specter disbanded the place.”
“Well, where did they go?”
Grandpa sniffled slightly then shrugged. “He thinks they might have been moved to the Rag. The Research and Guidance facility. In fact, pretty much all that technology used for EGHB had been stolen and really belonged to the crazy mad scientist doctor that brought me back to life, so she probably has them.”