Shamm Rox is a ghost. Dead. Deceased. Unalive. The invisible imprint of a departed soul, whatever the heck you wanna call it! A ghost that's set her afterlife straight. While alive, she was a swindling, gambling, manipulative ganster. In death...she helps nurture the young minds of ghostly children everywhere as a teacher. Where might that go wrong you may ask? She's restless. Restless and paranoid. And hey, you would be too if the sun caused you to evaporate right then and there and the constant threat of death after death was looming menacingly over your head all the time! Shamm and her cousin Saluna are two of the three last poltergeists in their cemetery. And it's a BIG cemetery. Seriously, you don't want to get lost there. So naturally, she picks a living apprentice who she feels has real ghostly potential. Whatever that means. Eyvn Dimension, a sweet yet misunderstood teenager becomes the lucky winner of this...this fabulous honor and with a quick lie (we all love those right?) Shamm has her lured into enrolling at the school of the dead. Heh, what could possibly go wrong, right?...Right?
Chapter 1 An Essentially Useless Plan
Eddie Dunkel fiddled with the ancient key in his hand. The normally composed ghost was becoming anxious for the first time in his afterlife. Usually when the sun began to poke it's gawdy rays upon the earth, it was his cue to lock up the entrance to the world of the dead and stop any travels to or from the living world for the day. This particular morning however, he hesitated. Craning his neck and trying to catch glimpses of movement beyond that of the abandoned cemetery, Eddie desperately searched for the object of his reluctance.
With each passing moment, the spirit got more annoyed. The sun forced itself even more deviously onto the surface of the planet and finally, he knew he had to lock the entrance. Eddie turned to the crypt which contained the (in his opinion) quite inconspicuous portal to the Afterworld. (Even though years ago, some idiot ghost had spray painted "Welcome to Hell, please make yourself at home" in very big, very obvious letters. Darn stuff still wouldn't come off) But just as he was about to seal himself inside, the rusty, wrought iron gates around the graveyard rattled viciously. Because of the overgrown vines and choking weeds the dead guy squinted his eyes suspiciously at the unknown figure on the other side.
On the one hand, he told himself, it could be her...but if it's not–
"Hey Dunkel, lemme in!"
He shrugged. It's her. He poised the key and started unlock the gate but a thought occurred to him. She had done this completely without his permission and behind his back. Maybe she deserved to stay out in the sun a little?
So, crossing his arms and smirking sinisterly, the crypt keeper stood back in the safe shadow of the mausoleum and taunted his employee.
"Well Shamm, I hope this'll teach you to try and recruit the living even after you were forbidden to," he drawled lazily, polishing his dirty fingernails on his chest, "I mean I know the academy's gotten a bit dull for your insane taste, but that's no excuse for attempting to bring humans in here. Whether you feel they have 'potential' or not." He was well aware that in about a minute and a half, Shamm would probably start to evaporate. He knew the consequences of that as well.
"Aw, c'mon Dunkel, I wouldn't do this to you!" she shouted back in a now strained voice, still shaking the unstable gate, though this time, more feebly.
Eddie suddenly looked up from his nails, a fraction of a bit more serious now.
"And that's another thing," he persisted mercilessly, "where do you get off calling me Dunkel? If I'm not mistaken, and I don't believe I am, I am your boss Shammelia. Let's see. You signed yourself out of the Afterworld without my consent, went to spy on a human with the intention of enrolling her without my consent and now you expect to be let back in, whole heartedly with my consent. That's two to one, not lookin' good for you Shammy." He grinned haughtily at his clever way of both stalling and reprimanding at the same time.
When there was no response on her end of the gate however, his grin vanished. She wouldn't have been fast enough to find a shield already. The cemetery was out in the middle of nowhere. Panicking slightly he called out her name.
"Uh, Shamm?" No response. Furrowing his brow, he glared at the gate.
Well, great, that's just great! Now what am I supposed to do? Eddie thought with increasing worry, I was only having a little fun with her, I didn't think she'd pass out that quickly! She's gonna evaporate if I don't get her out of the sun!
He shuddered at the thought of what the council would think if they found out he had purposefully locked out a fellow ghost in the daylight...again. With shaky hands he dug the key from his pocket and shoved it into the decaying keyhole. The door opened slowly with an ominous screech and he cautiously poked his head out. The little pestilence was nowhere in sight. He stepped out fully, still holding the door and still utterly confused. Starting to feel the effects of the sun himself, he raised his hand to his forehead to block the light.
All of a sudden, a tall red-haired woman strode gracefully out from the shadow cast by the gate. Still holding the door open and still holding his hand to his forehead, Eddie quickly realized it looked like a salute. But not quickly enough for she strutted by him through the entrance, turned and bowed like a gentleman.
"Why thank you, oh Keeper of the Crypt for letting me through, though I cannot help but wonder..." her voice transformed from elegant and refined to the impudent, rough voice he knew all too well, "what took ya so long?"
The royal stance fell and Shamm raised a partly amused eyebrow at her boss. She retreated to the shadow of the crypt..
"Mind telling me why you were gonna wait til the last minute?" she inquired, "OR! Were you not going to let me in at all?" gasping theatrically at the thought, the geist fell in a mock swoon onto the side of the crypt, using the wall as a support.
"You would have let poor old Shamm whither away to nothing out here wouldn't you?"
She finally fell limp into a surprised Eddie's arms, who rolled his eyes. She snuck a peek up at him and winked.
"Bet the council woulda loved that."
With that remark, he sneered and dropped her, very unceremoniously, to the ground. Shamm winced at the impact but bolted right back up and laughed, trying to bait him further.
"Well let's look at the facts. I mean, I've heard'a the third time being a charm, but when it's become afterlives we're gamblin' here, pretty sure your charm's just turned to curse! Ha ha!" she paused to see his reaction. He was opening the door to the Afterworld, about to let himself in. No expression on his face whatsoever. Shamm frowned. Since when did he learn to ignore her jibes? Determined, she followed him through the entrance and started again.
"I'm just glad I'm not the poor sucker that has to tend to the entrance. If it were me, I'd have accidentally locked WAY more than two souls out in the daylight."
Finally, she saw Eddie cast his gaze downward, guilt written all over his features. She smiled. It was getting to him.
"I suppose we should be happy they were only two teenage troublemakers huh?" Shamm patted him on the shoulder, thoroughly enjoying this moment of revenge. But he didn't answer. As they walked down the long, lamp-lit corridor, the silence started to get awkward. The female ghost scowled. Why wasn't she getting some sort of rise out of him? At last, when the door to the Afterworld came into view, Eddie went his way and Shamm went hers.
She trudged down the cobblestone roads of the dead to her apartment. It was always night in the Afterworld but there were so many twisted lamps and candles along the way that seeing was never a problem. The moon shone down as well, illuminating her crimson hair. Bats flew this way and that overhead, trying to find old churches or barns to roost in.
The long walk stirred up Shamm's conscience.
I guess I shouldn't still be holding that incident over his head, it happened years ago and it really wasn't his fault...she thought to herself, but hey, he locked me out, he deserved it! But when he thought I'd evaporated, he went searching for me...but he still locked me out! But then...I did go after he told me not to...that's the last time I ever ask his permission, cause now I feel guilty...But he still locked me out! ...Okay well, fantastic, what'dya want me to do, apologize?
The battle raged on inside her head until she reached the door of her apartment. Pulling out her key, Shamm let herself in and called to her room mate/cousin/friend.
"Hey Saluna? You there?" If she was there, Saluna made no attempt to reply. Shamm sighed and decided to try her room. Sure enough, sitting among her ancient runes and incense, Shamm found her cousin leafing through a copy of "CIY" (Conjure it Yourself) magazine and muttering something to herself about cheap, worthless, rip-offs. But when she looked up and saw her friend, Saluna brightened instantly and jumped up, scattering tarot cards all over the place.
"Shammy! You're back!" she greeted in a low, mystic voice that contrasted almost eerily with Shamm's rough, car salesman-like voice.
The red-head levitated proudly a few feet off the floor and crossed her legs, placing her arms behind her head.
"Yup! And I got good news for the academy! I toldja we teachers need a real bright student in the classes. Let's face it, all we got are talentless drones. You know as well as I do that vampires and witches don't learn our studies well." Saluna nodded eagerly and Shamm continued. "We need a real dark imagination to carry on the true poltergeist's legacy, a true haunt, one that strikes fear into the hearts of the living everywhere. One that can appreciate the history of our kind! You and I are two of the last few poltergeist's in this cemetery! I almost got locked out of the portal today, at some point, something could happen to us! And if that occurs who's gonna be the inspiration for horror movies, who's gonna trick idiots into naming planets things like 'uranus', that's great stuff people!" she shouted almost maniacally. "We need a human." Shamm finished simply.
Saluna gazed wide-eyed at her cousin's speech.
"Well, you found one didn't you?"
Shamm held up a picture of a pale, intelligent looking teenager, with a terrified look upon her face.
"Saluna, I think we have a winner."