"Have you ever thought to help the ghosts to cross over?"
"What- what do you mean?"
The woman sitting in their kitchen had managed to baffle Maddie Fenton and Danny was about as speechless.
"Have you tried to speak to them, to help them go into the light?" Melinda Gordon asked calmly, already adjusting to the strange situation, even for her, who was used to ghosts in a different way.
"You can't hold a conversation with those spooks!" Jack exclaimed indignantly, his bellowing voice reverberating in the air like a ghostly wail of his own.
"Please," she said, smiling gently. "Melinda is fine."
Maddie cleared her throat, trying to smile back. "Melinda, you said you have experience with ghosts, but I don't think you have encountered any of the level that haunt Amity Park."
Melinda looked like she wanted to laugh, confusion hiding behind a slight frown. "Level?"
"Power level, yes," Maddie explained. "It indicates how strong a ghost's manifestation is, what abilities it possesses, how unique they are, et cetera."
"Take Phantom! That menace is a level of itself, probably taking its energy from all the negative emotions!"
Maddie coughed, laying a hand on Jack's shoulder. "Jack, dear, I don't think Phantom is the relevant subject right now."
"No, I'd like to hear more about this Phantom," interjected Melinda, leaning forward with interest. Maddie seemed to hesitate, unsure how much good it would do the situation.
"I suppose it wouldn't hurt to tell you a bit," she relented. "Here, I must have a picture, he's in the newspaper quite often." Maddie reached for the counter, sorting through a small stack of newspapers before handing one to Melinda, the front page facing up. "Phantom was the first ghost we saw, he also poses as a hero often, which is what blinds people the most."
Melinda studied the blurry snapshot with much interest, skimming through the story underneath. "'Phantom saves truck driver out of burning car', sounds like a hero to me," Melinda concluded, looking up to find Maddie's expression a pitying one.
"I'm afraid we'll have to disappoint you. You see, ghosts are mere ectoplasmic manifestations of post-human consciousness - they can't feel emotions, experience pain or develop and follow any sort of morals. The negative energy from their death results in a generally malevolent character."
Melinda raised an eyebrow, looking back at the page in her hands to see nothing wrong with the scene, besides the fact that this ghost was not what she knew and the child that had once lived a probably normal life was now saving grown men from crash sites.
"I'd like to meet him," she told the couple, smiling again. "Trust me, I'm good at talking to ghosts, if there's anything I'm good at."
Danny, standing in the doorway, silently listening, was frozen.
"I want to try helping Phantom into the light, crossing over might be his only chance."