Okay, so I've had an idea for a story like this for quite a while now. I finally got around to writing it, and I'm fairly happy with what I've got so far.

Ed: "What the hell is wrong with you?! Why am I tied to a chair?! And there's no such thing as ghosts!"

Ryu: *dark evil shadows fall over face* "How do you know?" o.O

Ed: "I've never seen one."

Ryu: *facepalm* "Heh... Ask the colonel and his men about Warehouse 13, then."

Ed: "...WHO ARE YOU CALLING SMALL ENOUGH TO- MMFFFFF!" *cut off as Ryu slaps duct tape across his mouth*

Ryu: "I DIDN'T EVEN SAY ANYTHING! And now, without further interruption, *stares at Ed* I bring you THE DREADED DISCLAIMER:

I doust not ownith FullMetal Alchemist, for ifith I hadith, THY WORLD WOULD KNOWITH! Though, I do own Claudia.


Prologue

1890, West City

Thirteen-year-old Claudia Moore lay awake in her bed. She was having one of those nights where no matter what she did she couldn't sleep. She had rolled this way and that trying to find a comfortable position, but to no avail. She had gone to the sink for a glass of water, but that didn't help either.

She glanced at her bedside clock. The full moon provided enough light to show that the simple timepiece read 1:27. With a sigh, she sat up and stared out the window to the moonlit brook flowing outside.

I wonder if taking a walk will help, she thought.

As silently as she could, Claudia went to her closet and put on her favorite bathrobe, the white one with purple and blue flowers scattered across the fabric. Slipping into her lavender bedroom slippers, she tiptoed her way through the house to the back door. Mother and Pa don't have to know. I'll only be out for fifteen minutes or so, she told herself. I'll be back before they even notice I'm gone.

Following the well-worn path down to the stream, she carefully picked her way across the old rope bridge to the other bank. She had come this way many times before, but never in the dark. All the same, though, she wasn't too concerned.

Listening to the babbling of the brook, Claudia strolled silently down the riverbank. The hooting of owls and the chirping of crickets replaced the usual diurnal sounds of songbirds. Enjoying the peace and quiet, she came upon her favorite rock formation. Shaped just like a natural bench, it was here that she found herself sitting on most of her strolls.

Sitting down, she closed her eyes as she felt the cool night fog lift from the creek. She welcomed the cold dampness on her face. Letting her mind drift, she found herself remembering last Sunday when she had spent the late morning playing with the family dog in their shallow garden pond. Her mother hadn't given her permission and Claudia smiled as she recalled the look her mother had given her when she walked through the door, dripping wet.

"Claudia Marie!" her mother had shrieked, "What in the world possessed you to go frolicking in the pond? And in your good Sunday dress, too!"

"But Mother, it's such a beautiful morning. I just wanted to have some fun."

"You should've asked before you went hopping in the pond."

"I was scared you'd tell me no," Claudia answered sheepishly.

"If I did, there would've been a good reason for it. Couldn't you've at least worn something else? Your bathing suit, perhaps?" her mother replied rather disappointedly.

Claudia sighed. "I guess I could've."

"Young lady, go put some dry clothes on and then hang that dress on the clothes line."

"Yes, Mother."

Claudia sighed and stood up from her makeshift bench. Stretching, she decided it was time to head back. Glancing at the stream, she couldn't help but notice the large dark shadow obscuring her own. Behind her stood the military hotel. The hulking shape loomed over her as she headed back the way she'd come from.

She could remember back before they'd built the hotel. There used to be a meadow there where Pa and she would play. Oh, how times were so much simpler back then. In those days, they were all cheerfully oblivious to the turmoil their nation of Amestris was caught up in. Now, though, with the new military hotel, they were always aware whenever something arose.

As Claudia walked back home, she was unaware of the shadowy figure following her. That was, until it launched itself out of the woods and tackled her. Startled, she let out a scream, which was quickly muffled as the figure clamped a hand over her mouth. The man – Claudia could tell by the build – quickly gagged her and bound her hands behind her back.

"Maybe this'll persuade your parents to sell their house," she heard him say over the pounding of her heart in her ears.

She was absolutely terrified. What did this man want with her parents? What was he going to do to her? Her answered her mental question by tying another rope around her ankles – and attached to the other end of the rope was a cinder block.

Oh God… Oh dear God, he's going to drown me! She thought.

The man picked her up and hauled her to the bank of the brook. He turned to her. "Lucky you decided to wander around tonight. Didn't have to break in to get you…. Know how deep it is here?"

She shook her head.

"Ten feet. Not very deep, but deep enough for this," he said as he threw her in the creek.

Claudia barely had the time to take a breath before she plunged into the cold water. I'm really going to die here, aren't I? But I don't want to die! Not yet, at least!

She struggled against her bindings, but the ropes held fast. As her lungs began to ache, she realized her endeavors were hopeless. The need to breath became greater and greater, until she couldn't hold it anymore.

In a sudden flurry of bubbles, her lungs emptied themselves, and on instinct, she inhaled. The icy water rushed down her throat as she felt her muscles contract to close off her lungs. Her watery world began to spin, as her vision grew fuzzy around the edges.

Mother… Pa… I… I'm sorry… I should've stayed in bed…

And then the world went black.


So, what do you think of it?

Ryu: *Rips duct tape off Ed's mouth*

Ed: "OW! You killed a girl."

Ryu: "No, that a-hole did."

Ed: "You're the one who wrote it!"

Ryu: "DEATHS MAKE STORIES MORE INTERESTING! *slaps duct tape back on Ed's mouth*

PLEAS R&R!