Steps in the Dark

At the request of Vlad, Maddie Fenton goes hunting the Wisconsin Ghost in his mansion. Alone. At Night.

This is fanfiction. Probably helps to be at least passingly familiar with Danny Phantom before reading, but hey, I'm not the boss of you.

Chapter: 1,135 words | Story: 2,196 words

Steps in the Dark
Written by Sudo (Pseudinymous)

~ 1 ~

Thump, thump, thump, went her heart from within her chest.

The deep dark halls of the Wisconsin manor in which Vlad resided arched up and embraced her presence like the Fae upon an unguarded child. Come and stay, he had cooed, and the Wisconsin Ghost might come out to play. Likes to surprise people on their own, and that's why! Dearest Madeline! I must abandon my cherished home in all its luxurious splendour.

But what about my husband, she had very well demanded. He is my supporter, my partner, my greatest pillar of strength! But that will not do, Vlad had told her, for the Wisconsin Ghost no longer has any interest in remaining where more than one other resides. Bringing Jack would ruin everything, would spoil your chances of catching this menace! And so she had set out alone, against all her better judgements, driving the RV for days.

Thump, thump, thump, went her heart from within her chest.

The shadows jumped up and bounced with the flicker of candle. The manor's current owner had replaced many of the overhead lights with something more appropriate, false candles cradled in candelabra upon the walls, little flame-shaped flickering globes fired by electricity to impart the atmosphere this place deserved. She should be used to this, she thought. What trouble should this give to a strong, independent ghost hunter like herself? Featured prominently in premier ghost hunting magazines, a special guest on exclusive panels? And yet this time felt different. Oppressive. Watched from every angle.

Maddie straightened her goggles, letting her weapon hang from the strap upon her shoulders.

Don't go! She remembered Jazz's warnings clearly. It's dangerous! The Wisconsin Ghost wants you!

But it was precisely that it wanted her that Maddie had decided to come. More than catching this thing, more than slicing it open and testing it's gizzards alive, she needed to know - why, of all the people it could choose, had it decided to target her?

Tonight, she was very sure, she was about to find out.

Sleeping had never been on the menu. She'd sleep by day in the RV if she had to, but leaving herself vulnerable to this thing within the manor was neither safe nor conscionable. At least the RV had functions to protect her resting body, in the manor she would have to rely on her base equipment alone. And as much confidence as she had in her base equipment, she didn't much like her odds if she wasn't conscious to use it.

The lights flickered, and the temperature turned. A warm summer's evening became a frosty ocean chill, passed through her, then vanished. Maddie inhaled deeply into her lungs and held her breath, waiting for something to happen.

Nothing did.

Ridiculous. This thing was toying with her. Her, Madeline Fenton! With newfound irritation Maddie pressed on, her footfalls heavier now as she made her way down the hallway. She knew that ghost knew where she was and she wanted to make sure it knew that she was pissed. A million and one fantasies of the dreadful things she was going to do to it once it was splayed out upon her lab table tickled the edges of her mind, but she kept her attention sharp to ensure things would play to her advantage later. Oh, how she was going to enjoy running her scalpel down that smug bastard's-


She fingered the trigger of the Fenton Bazooka lightly, pointing it away from herself. Do your best not to destroy the place, Vlad had requested, but when she had brought up the possibility of misfired shots and damage from the ghost itself, he had shrugged. In a real scuffle some collateral was inevitable. What was most important was that she removed the ghost in question.

And remove it she would.

"Where are you hiding?" she whispered out. Her voice echoed with merciless calm through the warm summer air. "I know you're in here, ghost. The readouts don't lie."

But the warnings in her voice went unanswered. As she continued her sweep of the hall, checking dining rooms and bedrooms and restrooms too, she found nothing, nothing, and nothing again. Nothing except for the sickly chill of that icy breeze, as if it were teasing her. Keep looking, Madeline. I like watching you here. I like watching you stalk. Keep looking through into the depths of my Lair, we can keep at it all night, if you so dare.

And did she ever dare.

"Come on!" she shouted, finally, as she swept through another dining room with a long table that had probably never been used. "Show yourself and let's get on with this!"

She paused, staring across all the empty seats. "Or are you a coward?"

The long silence wasn't friendly. The shadows had started to move.

Maddie's watch was beeping. It started slow and quiet, detecting an ecto-signature somewhere around her, maybe a few rooms away. But as the seconds went on it got louder and more incessant, into a constant and dreadful scream. She clutched the Fenton Bazooka even as the lights went out, a simple ghost tactic used to terrorise victims since the dawn of time.


Her goggles switched to night vision mode and she readied herself for the main event.

And then it came, all at once.

The windows smashed inwards. With the deafening roar of millions of shards of glass, the whole room filled with a suffocating miasma in less than a second. Shadows crept up the walls and then down again, coming towards her. Rushing for her. The Wisconsin Ghost was clearly not the only thing haunting this place.

Maddie pinwheeled around to get a lock on whatever was here, relying on the technology she had so painstakingly developed to see onto the invisible plane. The Fenton Bazooka was aimed at everything.

But her eyes could find nothing.

The shadows reached her. Grabbed her. But hissed and shrieked as the Spector Deflector activated with gusto. Instinct had her firing wildly at the things she couldn't see, missing, and even when she was sure she should have had one it just wouldn't connect. The invisible shadowy hands kept coming at her even as they felt the full force of ectoplasmic shock, relentless, swallowing, drowning her, until one finally found the Spector Deflector's lock and the device popped right off, leaving her vulnerable to anything.

Her yell echoed in the sudden silence. The alarm died, the hands were gone. Vanished, it seemed back into the shadows where they belonged.

And then the alarm started up again, loudly, and someone very cold seized her from behind.

"I'm not a coward, dearest Maddie," said the Wisconsin Ghost, arching over her shoulder with a hideous grin. "But as for you, that remains to be seen."

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