Ghost’s bare feet made an uncomfortable smacking noise on the strange, rough, surface he’d been taught to call concrete. He simply wasn’t accustomed to his solid form yet, and didn’t enjoy the sensation of having a mere rock limit his body’s movement to two dimensions, like a piece in a game of chess. He blew his reddish-brown hair away from his eyes in frustration, only to have it land right back in its originial position moments later. Damn this gravity. Who gave this mysterious force the authority to limit his flight to foolish, clumsy “jumps”? Coughing, (what must have been the ten-thousandth cigarette-wielding mortal that day had just sauntered by), Ghost clenched his fists. His mind was made up-he absolutely, positively, HATED humanity.
Stopping to have a seat on the nearest park bench, Ghost reached into his pocket and retrieved his note, reading it over for the hundreth time, hoping in vain that something, anything; a word, a phrase…would jump out at him, that he’d be able to find for himself a motivation to push forward; A reason to care enough for these foolish humans that he’d be willing to risk his dignity like this. Naturally there wasn’t one. It was all the same familiar sentences, instructing him to blend in, find shelter, a job perhaps, and then to retrieve the Guardians. Easier said than done.
The Master never had been one to eagerly provide detail, but this was ridiculous. Ghost had not so much as one unit of human currency, one mite of useful information, damnit-he didn’t even have shoes! Resisting the urge to utilize force on the fragile bench he sat on (and realizing his power would be significantly weakened by Earth’s atmosphere, if even present at all), he brushed the dust off of his white button-down shirt, stood up swiftly, and nearly tripped over his own two feet. Turning around with a renewed frustration, Ghost scanned the ground for the source of his continued humiliation. Finally, his eyes rested on a pair of black sneakers: Converse brand, he concluded after further examination. Slowly picking them up, he let his eyes wander over the crowd for someone-a teenaged boy perhaps-who appeared to have lost his footwear. Relieved at the lack of results he came across, Ghost resolved to fiddle with the slightly soiled white laces until they made room for his left foot, and then slowly slipped it in. "Very funny, Master," he mumbled under his breath. "Very funny..."
Carefully tucking the laces into the sides of the shoe, he repeated the process with his right foot, and finally stood to continue on his way down the street-dubbed Spruce Avenue-foolishly searching for some mystical sign that would point him towards any of the Twelve.
Finally resigning to the fact that his task wouldn’t prove to be as easy as he had hoped initially, Ghost looked up at the darkening night sky. The number of visible stars was so very disappointing. No…not disappointing, frightening. He was standing on the surface of a ticking time bomb, expected to complete the impossible task. And even once the Guardians are retrieved, he thought, What am I to do with twelve confused, inexperienced children? Tell them that the fate of-“Oh!” Ghost’s train of thought lay in wreck as he, in all his pondering, had bumped into a petite woman, walking rather swiftly and donning a light green dress and a chocolate-brown trenchcoat, holding a red leather leash in her freshly-polished clutches, with a rather exasperated-looking dog at the far end of it.
“I’m so sorry, sir!” she blushed, and he noticed that she was holding a clipboard in her hands. The source of her distraction…
”It’s fine!” Ghost said. Silence. “Why don’t I help you with that?” he forced himself to smile as he nodded towards the overcrowded wooden board. The woman did the same.
“I’m Lily Fields,” she explained. “And you are?”
“Ghost.” He replied, cringing the moment the word fell from his lips.
"Really?" Lily sounded more intrigued than surprised. In this case, however, the former was all the more dangerous...
"My parents were a bit eccentric, I guess you could say," Ghost tried once again to smile. "So..." He looked nervously towards the clipboard in his arms, desperate for a new conversation topic. "You're a high school principal!"
“Yes…unfortunately, I am,” Lily’s sweet disposition was replaced by one that much more closely resembled Ghost’s in its frustration. “We just lost two of our best English teachers to some…writing convention,” she explained. “Can you believe that?! School year starts tomorrow and-“
“I can teach English!” Ghost replied before he himself knew what he was saying. What was he saying?! The Master had said that he’d have no way of directly influencing Ghost on Earth, yet there had been the shoes, and now these words that-