Author's Note:

All right. So, I totally had this posted as a story eons ago, and it was a bit of a hit. And it needed a LOT of revisions. Since I've felt in a bit of a block lately (and in a bit of an editing mood), I've decided to work on it a bit. My goal is to rewrite/edit one chapter a week and get this thing back up here decently quickly. Before any of you dedicate yourself this one though, I should warn you that if I end up having a time crunch at some point, this will be the last of my stories to get updated; A Vampire Queen and The Life of a Thief are my number one priorities right now.

Warning: This story can tend to be a bit dark at times and will have at least one explicit scene later on.

Read and enjoy! (And please leave a review! :D)

Chapter 1

Something moved outside my window, and I jumped, startled. That guy was in the yard again, and this time I was actually going to catch him at it. "Uh, Cindy, I've gotta go," I said into the phone, staring at the window. "Hmm? Oh yeah, I'll talk to ya later. Bye." I hung up and immediately ran out of the room.

A few days ago this guy started showing up in the back yard. And no one seems to believe me, since he's always been gone whenever I've gone to get someone. Why didn't I call the cops? Well, he didn't seem to be hurting anything. He just stood there.

My room is in the back of the house, which I normally really like. It means I don't have to hear the cars pass by on the road in the middle of the night, and I don't have to deal with the headlights of my step-dad's car pulling in the driveway when he came home late from work. I've always loved having a forest just outside my window (never have been much of a city girl). I don't know how many times I've snuck out to go for a walk through the woods. It's remarkably relaxing. But sadly, having the only lower level room in the back of the house meant I was the only one to notice the man who'd been showing up lately.

The first time I'd seen him, I'd ran up to mom and told her about it, but she hadn't believed me. I told Cindy, and even she didn't believe me. Our town just didn't have any problems with crime, and things like this didn't happen.

But this time I was getting evidence. My camera was out and ready when I stormed into the yard, aiming it in the direction of the man standing awkwardly by the swing set.

"Hey!" I shouted. "What do you want?" He turned his head to look directly at me. I was suddenly cold, and I rubbed my arms nervously. His face ... it was creepy. He looked almost dead.

He disappeared all of a sudden. I know it sounded crazy, but he didn't walk away, and he certainly didn't take off running. He just disappeared. One minute he was there, the next he was gone. Like I've been saying this entire time: creepy.

I shook my head, deciding to give in and call myself officially crazy. All I wanted to do was go back into my room and curl up under the covers with a good book and music in the background. Anything to get this guy out of my mind.

I turned to do just that and bumped into someone. I squeaked in surprise, then looked up to see who I'd run into, hoping with all my heart that Dave, my step-dad had gotten home incredibly early.

No such luck. I was face to face with that man, that incredibly creepy guy. "Natalie," he said, drawing out my name with an eerie tone.

My breath caught and my heart rate doubled. "Wh-who are you?" I asked, taking a step back.

"I was once known as Jonathan Hamil," he said, slowly, as if he had to think about each word. Jonathan Hamil? Hamil was Dave's last name. What the hell was going on here? "I think my brother lives here," he continued, speaking with more confidence.

"You think?" I asked. Okay, calm down. Hamil was a common last name, and Dave had never mentioned anything about a brother, right? I took another step back and he closed the distance between us. "What do you want?" I asked, stepping back again.

"What happened to me?"

I opened my mouth and raised my brows. "I don't know, sir. I honestly don't know. I think you should leave now."

He stepped forward again and I stepped away. "Help!" he shouted, then disappeared.

"What the hell?" I murmured. I managed to calm my nerves, realizing I had started shaking.

"Natalie?" I heard from inside.

"Hey mom!" I shouted. She must have just gotten home. I brushed off the last of my nerves and stepped inside, shut and locked the door, and ran upstairs to greet her and Dalia, my beloved half-sister. "Hey, you know that guy I told you about a couple days ago?" I asked. "And you said he was a figment of my imagination?" She nodded. "He was here again today."

"Honey, you've got to stop watching those horror films. You already have a wild enough imagination."

"No, really! I even took a picture of him!" I pulled out my camera and flipped through my pictures quickly to show her the one I'd just taken.

"Natalie, honey, are you feeling all right? You're beginning to worry me sweety."

I frowned and looked at the camera screen. It was just a picture of the backyard. No one was there. What was going on? "Yeah mom," I said slowly, my face pale and my voice soft. "Everything's fine." It sounded like a lie even to me.

"Why don't you go upstairs with Dalia? She wanted your help with something," she said, clearly hoping I would go back to normal once I was done upstairs.

"Kay." I started to leave, then turned back toward her. "Does Dave have a brother?" I asked.

"No, not that I know of. Why?"

I shrugged, then headed up the other set of stairs in the house. "No reason." I went straight to Dalia's room and plopped on her bed while she was sitting at her piano bench. "Hey, Dal. What's up?"

"Nothing. I was wondering if you could help me with one of my new songs. I got new books today at lessons." Dalia was learning to play piano, so she had a keyboard set up in her room for practice. I flute in band, and coincidentally was the only one in the family who knew anything about music, so I was always suckered into helping when she needed it. I didn't mind though, I loved my ten-year old sister, and she was fun to work with.

"No prob. What song do you need to work on?"

She pulled out her music books and opened one to the second page, then handed it over to me. "That one."

"Don't Cry for Me Argentina," I read of the page. "Andrew Lloyd Webber? Say, you remember that movie you used to watch obsessively? Joseph, something?" She nodded and rattled off the full – and long – title. "The music's by the same guy."

"Really?" she asked, excited. "That's so cool!"

"Uh huh," I said, agreeing just to make her happy. "Here, why don't you play it and let me here what ya got so far." I handed her back the book, and she set it on the stand in front of the keyboard, turned it on, and played a couple of scales before starting the song. I let her force her way through it, which took about five times as long as it should have, then gave her a couple of tips and let her try again, this time stopping her every now and then to point something out. Ten minutes later she could make it through the entire song without messing up more than a couple of times. "Good. Now just keep practicing and should be able to pass that song next week."

"Thanks!" she said, jumping up and giving me a hug, which I returned, chuckling lightly.

"Hey, how's school going lately?" I asked.

"Good. Jimmy's still smarter than me, but I won't let that last. He's going down."

I laughed. "You do that. I'm gonna head back down to my room. If you need more help come and get me, kay?" She nodded and I left. When I got back down to the kitchen, mom was still busy putting groceries away. "When did you have time to go shopping?" I asked, then thought better of it. "Never mind. Your schedule confuses me. I really don't want to know. Can I get online for a few?"

"Sure honey. Not too long though; I have to get on to do some work." I wandered back to the basement, where the computer was set up, knowing she'd continue mumbling about how they needed to give her work while she was at work, not at home. I'd heard the rant before and didn't really feel like hearing it again. It was for her benefit anyway, not my own.

I started the computer, then ran into my room to grab my notebook. I really wanted to find out about this Jonathan Hamil character.

By the time I got back out to the computer it was already to the log-in screen, so I clicked on my icon, a particularly morbid scene of a dragon and vampire fighting, and typed in my password.

I got on the internet and went straight to Google, oddly skipping over my usual stops. Doing a search on Jonathan Hamil didn't seem to be getting me much of anywhere at first. The first page was about football people by the names of Sean Hamil and Jonathan Michie. Obviously not who I was looking for.

On the second page, though, I found something that stood out. The site was . It was a forum to exchange tales of the supernatural. There were a bunch of people claiming to be all sorts of things: werewolves, vampires, witches, shape-shifters, demons, even angels. Anything you could possibly imagine, there was someone claiming to be it. They had to be lying, of course. Such things didn't exist. I pushed Control + F and typed in Jonathan Hamil, trying to find the spot that had caused to Google to bring it up under my search. There it was, toward the bottom of the page, under the category of 'Ghosts.'

This can't be real, I thought. I should get out of here before I start bringing other crazy people to the house.

I couldn't force myself to leave though. Curiosity kept me exploring. This section of the site was a forum, and one of the boards was titled by the name I was looking for. I clicked on it and read a few of the posts. It was a bunch of people reporting sites of a ghost in their backyard, claiming to be Jonathan Hamil. It seemed this guy was going from house to house with any resident with the surname of Hamil, claiming to be their brother.

There was a response on this board made by a guy going by VampFr34k. He said that Jonathan Hamil must be an earth-bound spirit, aka: ghost, who was trying to find his way home with only a name as a tie. He obviously couldn't remember his life, so he was using his only clue to try to put together the pieces. Chances were his family had all died long ago and whoever he showed up to would just have to wait him out. He would leave as soon as he realized that no one was going to be of any help.

Well, I just couldn't accept waiting as a solution. I wasn't going to wait until this ghost left me. He was disrupting my sleep, which was bringing down my grades. I clicked reply as guest, realizing even as I typed a response that this was not one of my brighter ideas.

Once I finished my response, which happened to include a few words on how ghosts and such creatures couldn't possibly exist, I bookmarked the site as 'School Paper Stuff' so no one would look at it, then signed off and went into my room and read until it was time to get to bed.

I woke up suddenly, certain that something wasn't right. I looked out the window, assuming that Jonathan Hamil had shown back up, but didn't see anyone by the swing set. I turned back to my room, thinking while I propped myself up on my elbows. My breath stopped short from what I saw. There he was, standing in the corner of my room. "Jonathan Hamil," I whispered. He disappeared, then reappeared right in front of me, opened his mouth in an impossible shape, and screamed. I sat straight up and covered my ears, adding my scream to his.

He finally stopped after a few minutes and looked right at me.

"What do you want?" I asked, my voice shrill. Then he disappeared and didn't show back up.

Hopefully Mom and Dave hadn't heard anything. Dalia slept like a rock, so I didn't think I had to worry about waking her up. I found my glasses and looked at my clock, trying to slow my breathing. 5:30. Well, there was no point in trying to go back to sleep now. My alarm was set to go off in 45 minutes anyway.

So I got up, turned off my alarm, and went out to the computer. Maybe someone had replied to my post with some sort of advice as to what to do about my ghostly visitor. I signed on and went straight to the Jonathan Hamil board on . VampFr34k had responded to my post in a rather lengthy rant about how I was an idiot. It went something like this:

Natgrl guest,

I believe that you write with a biased view of the world. You have seen this ghost, but will not accept that he is a ghost. He must just be some man in your backyard. Let me ask you this. How did he just disappear and reappear behind you without your notice? If my predictions about this ghost needing help are correct, he will likely show up in your room tonight and wake you up, then scream at you. Let me know if this doesn't happen. I may need to look a few things up if I'm wrong.

You seem to think that supernatural beings such as myself do not exist. Obviously you are quite wrong. You have a ghost that only you can see, and you have asked for advice from a site such as this. I don't think you are completely set in your ways of not believing. You are just in denial because that's what your society has taught you. Maybe someone needs to prove to you that things like us are real. If this Jonathan Hamil can't do that, I will. Watch out Natalie Jacobson.

Sincerely yours,


A shiver ran down my spine as I stared at my name on the screen. I take back what I said about Jonathan Hamil. He really wasn't all that creepy. This guy on the internet claiming to be a vampire knowing my full name, that was creepy.

Now I have a generally open mind, so it's not hard for me to decide to believe in ghosts. They make more sense than a lot of politics, in my opinion. Someone dies and can't move on, so they're stuck here and can only show themselves to certain people. That was fine with me. I'd believe it. Reluctantly, of course, but it was doable. Vampires and other such things were a little far for me to stretch. It just can't be possible to survive off of someone else's blood and not get any sunlight. And I'm sorry, anything that has matter has to have a reflection. I'd be willing to believe in the existence of magic before I'll believe in vampires.

But still, the guy knew my name. And he threatened me. I think.

I pushed reply, cursing myself all the while, and typed a brief response on my thoughts, including that vampires couldn't exist, then logged off and shut down the computer and got ready for school. It looked like I was going to have even more to think about than I had the last few days.