Despite all evidence lying in front of her, Valerie still could not bring herself to believe it.
She should have stayed at home, finish her homework or just catch up on sleep instead of rushing after that stupid ghost. Maybe then, she wouldn’t be in this situation- this nightmare.
It was late, and she had been chasing after the ghost for about ten minutes by the time Phantom showed up. Normally, she would be cursing and fuming at the very sight of the white haired ghost, but she could only feel gratitude welling in her at the thought that she might be able to get this done a lot quicker with his help.
Although she still harboured lingering resentment for him, Valerie had become slightly more tolerable of Phantom, enough so that she didn’t blast him every time she saw him. Unlike some people…
The ghost- one she didn’t recognise- was more quick than powerful, drawing out the fight into a chase. One that both Valerie and Phantom wanted to just end. It was fifteen minutes of nearly crashing into walls, actually crashing into each other and the insanity of trying to actually keep up with the little bastard that the Fentons decided to show up!
The older hunters were… not people that Valerie could say she respected. They were loud, brash and often ended up doing more harm than good. While Valerie had decided to see sense and actually try and work with Phantom, the Fenton’s had instead decided to make him their number one target, no matter if another ghost was being way more of a problem.
And this is, of course, exactly what they did here as well.
The Red Huntress had mostly decided to ignore the Fentons, instead focusing more on just avoiding their wayward blasts and getting in a few good hits as Phantom tried to keep the ghost in one area. She did not pay attention to the whirl of a gun, nor the sound of it blasting too close to her, nowhere near where the ghost was.
What she did pay attention to, however, was the cry that Phantom gave out when it hit him in the back. She could not see his face properly, but that cry sounded genuine, and she could not help but wonder how much that had truly hurt him.
Valerie did not have to wonder long, though, as the ghost took advantage of Phantom’s distraction to land a heavy hit on the green eyed boy, sending him tumbling down.
Right into Valerie.
Now, Phantom was actually rather light, but the force with which he had been hit and the speed in which he fell caused the pair to be sent towards the ground at an alarming speed. After fumbling around for a few precious seconds, Valerie was able to gain control of her suit, getting it to protect and slow her fall as she hit the ground.
“Oww…” She groaned, turning over onto her back. She ached all over and did not doubt that she was likely to be covered in bruises after this. She lay there awhile, staring up at the cloudy night sky, just trying to stop her head from pounding for a while.
By now, the ghost would have most certainly gotten away, laughing gleefully all the while. She huffed out a long suffering sigh, slowly pushing her back off of the ground. She observed her surroundings, realising that she had landed in a back alley that she didn’t recognise. With it being so late, she reckoned that no one would be wondering about around here, especially since a ghost had just come through.
Careful not to move her head too much due to her developing headache, the red clad girl retracted her helmet, letting her tangled hair come tumbling free. She took a deep breath, reveling in the feeling of not wearing a stuffy helmet after so long. But the revelry did not last long.
As she looked at her hands, she realised that they were covered in a green liquid. Ectoplasm….
But that didn’t make any sense! She had barely been able to touch the ghost, only getting in a few lucky shots with her guns. But then she remembered how Phantom had been injured by the Fentons’ blast and then hit by the ghost, sent plummeting to the ground, taking Valerie along with him.
So then, this ectoplasm belongs to…
With a gasp, she shot up from the ground, sharply turning around. On the ground behind her, ectoplasm was splattered all over the place, some of it even covering the walls. It glowed a bright, neon green, lighting up the small dark area. In the middle of it all, a figure lay on the ground, completely still.
A strangled sort of noise coming from her throat, Valerie rushed to Phantom’s side, gathering his limp body into her arms as she knelt on the ground.
Now, Valerie would never admit to liking Phantom. No way. But she had certainly started to tolerate his presence, and even come to feel slightly better whenever he helped get rid of a ghost. She had seen him get beaten down, hell, she’d beaten him down herself! But seeing him like this…
She didn’t like to think about how his mannerisms were so close to that of a normal teenager, how he looked so young and carefree all the time. She hated his stupid jokes and puns, how some of them would even be enough to make her quirk a little smile under her mask, not that anyone would ever see it.
She frowned, her mouth set in a deep line as she took in his injuries. He seemed to be unconscious, completely out of it as she lay his head in her lap. She could see a few little wounds and scratches littered along his body, already healing and closing up. The one in the centre of his chest, where the ghost had hit him, was still leaking ectoplasm quite a bit, the long gash going from his left shoulder down to his right hip. It didn’t seem to be healing like the other wounds, however, simply staying the same size as it continued to flow with that green liquid. She could also see and feel as that same liquid was flowing from his back, where the wound from the Fentons’ blaster had hit him.
“Shit…” she mumbled. “Shit!”
Later, she would say that she kept all composure, not panaking a single bit as Phantom continued to bleed ectoplasm all over her. But really, who could blame her if she did?
Valerie, despite claiming to be a great ghost hunter, actually didn’t know very much about them. She didn’t know how to do ghost first aid or how much ectoplasm was too much to lose! She only knew how to inflict damage upon them. And if that didn’t make her contemplate her own morality, she didn’t know what would.
“Come on, you ass!” She harshly whispered to him as she tapped him on the cheek. “I need you to wake up and say something stupid before you fly off, all merry and happy, nothing wrong with you whatsoever! Leaking your spooky ectoplasm all over me isn’t helping this situation one bit!”
Her voice started to crack at the end, tears gathering in her eyes. She didn’t know what to do! She knew that he was already dead, no chest rising and falling, no heartbeat to listen to and no pulse to search for, but that only seemed to make it that much worse.
Suddenly, before she could start ranting at him again, a bright light appeared, blinding her for a few moments. When she opened her eyes, she beheld the most shocking sight in her life.
Instead of bright white hair and glowing skin, she saw jet black and a worryingly pale complexion. Although she didn’t want to think about it, she knew that should he open his eyes, she would be met with an icy blue instead of neon green.
No, no no no no no no no! She was dreaming, she- she hit her head just a bit too hard and now she’s hallucinating! This couldn’t be real, this isn’t real!
But it was. It became too real when the plain white shirt he was now wearing started to spread into a bright red, mixing with the green that was still plastered all over her hands.
Valerie started to breathe too quickly, choking out sobs and gasps as she held Danny’s body closer to hers. She had no idea what to do! She just found out that her friend was in fact someone she used to try and shoot on a daily basis, harming and berating him as she whent around.
She needed to get help. Someone who would listen and she could trust.
The police were an absolute no-go, she would never be able to trust them with any of this information lest it leak out to the public. She thought of her Dad, but quickly banished the thought. He would likely call the police and say they get them to a hospital, asking too many questions. Danny’s parents were also off the table, for… obvious reasons. She doubted they knew about any of this, and she didn’t want to try and risk how their reactions would go if they did.
That left Jasmine, Sam and Tucker.
Valerie had no idea if any of them knew Danny’s secret, believing that they must have some suspicions at least. If anything, they were all the s
most likely to hear her out and listen to her story. They all also cared fiercely about Danny. None of them would do anything to harm him. That, she knew without a doubt.
With shaky hands, she pulled out her phone from an inner pocket in her suit, sending a quick message to all three of them with her location.
She slumped with relief when the message was sent, looking back towards Danny, his face seeming to be more pale than before. She let out a few tears of desperation, still wondering how the hell this had all happened. Her mind was a whirl now, but she knew she would have to wait a while to get all of the answers to her questions.
She could only hope that her friends would arrive in time…