Authors Note: This is the second part in the Broken Souls series. I hope this part is as good or better then the first. Also, my muses have already come up with a spin off's for the story - gee, I which they would leave me alone. 'Ducks fire ball coming from Pam.' That's about it. Now, if you will, please pull up a chair, pop some popcorn, get some soda, kick off your shoes, and get ready for some good reading.
Special Thanks: Once again to my coauthor Star, I love you for all you have done with this story, Star. Thank you and get ready for part three. =-)
John Oliver whistled a tune to himself as he pulled up to a stoplight five blocks from his house. He smiled at the box of chocolates and the dozen roses he had bought for his wife on his way home. Tonight was their fifteen-year wedding anniversary and he was going to make it a very special evening. 'Gosh, fifteen years!' He thought to himself. They had been through so much in fifteen years. From the moment he said I do, to when he lost his parents in a car accident with a drunk driver, to losing her father to cancer, to losing his brother in a shooting accident, to finding out that she could not have kids, and to adopting Tommy. The best thing they had ever done was adopt Tommy. John smiled as his mind flashed back to the day they had met him. (Flash)
John sighed to himself. They were supposed to get a little boy named Tommy Erickson that day. He once again looked at the picture of the little boy. He was cute - didn't smile - but cute. They hadn't gotten him earlier due to the fact that he was in the hospital for some injuries resulting from an accident he had been in. John sighed, putting the picture back in its envelope and placing it back on the stand beside his recliner. 'I don't know what kind of parents we can be.' He shook his head, as if to actually shake the thought out. 'But Carol was so happy when she got the call, saying that they had a little boy for us.' He sighed as he heard a car pull up the driveway. "They're here!"
He heard his wife scream out and saw her run down the stairs, still putting on her earrings. John sighed, getting up out of his recliner and walking outside after his wife. Once he was outside, he saw a lady in a black skirt and white blouse getting bags out of the trunk of a black Honda. His eyes wandered to the little boy, who had a lost expression on his features and was standing by the car, holding on tightly to a multi-colored backpack. 'Poor thing probably doesn't even know what is going on.' Then John noticed the black eye, busted lip, and bruised cheek that the little boy had. 'Gee, must have been some accident.' He thought quickly to himself.
The social worker strided quickly up the walk with the boy right beside her and two duffel bags on her shoulders. Reaching the Olivers, she stopped and greeted them "Hello. You must be Carol and John Oliver. My name is Virginia and this shy little boy beside me is Tommy. Tommy, can you say hi the Oliver's?"
The cute little boy hiding behind the woman's skirt popped his head out a little and softly said "Hi." Then he got back in his safe hiding place.
The woman smiled as she said, "This one's definitely a shy one, but he is a very nice young man."
Carol smiled warmly at the women as she bent down to Tommy's height "Hey there. I'm Carol Oliver and this is my husband John Oliver. What's your name?"
The little boy poked his head out a little bit again and quickly said "Tommy Erickson." Then he once again took shelter behind the lady.
Carol smiled and said "Nice to meet you Tommy."
Then she stood once again and turned to the social worker "He is so cute, he is going to grow up to be such a heart breaker."
The social worker laughed, as did Carol. The only thing that broke up the laughter was Tommy, who tugged on the woman's skirt. The woman looked down, smiling,"Yes Tommy, what is it?"
Tommy looked up at her with puppy dog eyes as he replied, "I want to go home."
The social worker sighed, as she bent down to Tommy's level "Tommy, your parents aren't capable of being your parents for a while. They wanted what was best for you, so they put you here with these nice people. Just as soon as they can, they'll be back to get you."
Tommy started to cry as he said "But I want my mommy! I want a go home!"
Tommy cried harder, so the social worker picked him up and started to rock him. Over his crying, she said, "I'm sorry, but I have to go. I have an appointment. Do you think you can handle this?"
Carol smiled and replied, "Sure, hand him to me."
The social worker complied, handing Tommy to her, book bag and all. As she turned to leave, Tommy started to scream out "I want my mommy! I want my mommy!"
Carol carried Tommy into the house as John got the bags and followed suit. Once John was inside, he sat the bags down by the door and walked into the living room, finding Carol slowly rocking the crying child on the sofa. He sighed as the boy cried out again, "I want my mommy!"
Carol was trying hard to calm him down, but her efforts were having no effect on the distraught boy in her arms.
Some time later, the boy had finally calmed down and sat on the couch hugging his book bag to his chest and not saying a word. Carol rose and turned to John, who was watching football in his recliner. "John, I am going to the store to pick up a few things. Could you watch Tommy for a while?"
John looked up from his foot ball game for a second."Sure."
Carol then walked out of the room. At the door, she pointed to Tommy and mouthed, "Talk to him." Then she grabbed her purse by the door and was gone.
John sighed as he looked at the boy. He looked more scared then before. John shrugged it off and said, "So, you like football?"
Tommy looked at him and softly replied, "Yes. My stepfather liked it a great deal and he sometimes made me watch it."
John smiled and said, "What's your favorite team?"
Tommy was quiet for a second, then replied slowly "The Red Skins."
John smiled, "That's my favorite team. You have good taste."
Tommy smiled as he replied, "I guess."
Late in the fourth quarter, Tommy looked at John warily "Umm...Mr. Oliver?"
John turned his attention back to the wiggling boy and said "Yes, Tommy, and you can call me John."
Tommy shifted in his seat as he replied, "May I use the bathroom?"
John smiled "Sure. It's up the stairs, three doors to the right."
Tommy nodded his head shyly, walking into the hall and over to the stairs. Before he could get to them, his vision suddenly went blurry. It must have been an aftereffect of the whiplash that had knocked him out two weeks ago. He swayed, walking right into a table with a black and white vase on it. The vase dropped off the stand and made a loud CRASH as it hit the floor.
John looked up from the TV and immediately ran from the room into the hallway, scared for the boy's safety. There he saw Tommy on his knees, trying to clean it up, crying hard. John went over to the sobbing boy and put a hand on his arm. Tommy cringed away and John saw the outline of the body shaking like a leaf. He leaned closer and heard Tommy whisper in fear "P...Please...don't...hurt...me."
John touched Tommy's arm a second time, frowning in concern. Tommy let out a cry of pain and tried to shy away, but John said, "Let me see your arm."
Tommy looked up, meeting John's eyes and John smiled as he said, "I won't hurt you."
Tommy rolled up his sleeve slowly and John saw the many whiplashes and bruises lined there. John gasped in horror, thinking, 'Who could have done such a thing? Poor Tommy. What did you go through before you came to us?'
Tommy quickly rolled down his sleeve at the horrible look that crossed John's face. He started to cry again, because, in his mind, he was going to get hit big time. John, forgetting about the vase, gathered the crying boy in his arms and slowly carried him into Tommy's new room. Once there, he sat down on the bed and began to rock Tommy whispering, "It's only a vase; it can be replaced. It's ok. I'm not going to hurt you. It's all right Tommy."
Once Tommy had stopped crying, John looked down, only to discover that Tommy was fast asleep in his arms. John smiled and gently laid the curly-brown-haired boy down on the bed and covered him up. He then sat down beside him and waited for Carol to get home.
Carol Oliver stepped in the house and frowned at the silence. Sitting the bags down by the door, she made her way up the stairs and found John asleep beside Tommy. John had an arm lazily laid over the boy. Carol smiled and pulled a blanket over her husband, then kissed them both on the cheek. Smiling she left the room to go put up the groceries she had just bought. (Flash)
John smiled; he had decided not to tell Carol about Tommy's abuse. But she had found out anyway, when she had become concerned about Tommy's behavior and called social services. John had never let on that he had known long before Carol had. He was still smiling as he pulled into the driveway. He got out of the car and, almost skipping, went up the walk and into the house. The door was unlocked, meaning Tommy was home. John smiled as he sat his briefcase down. Holding the flowers and candy called out "Tommy! Honey! I'm home!"
But the call was only met with silence that echoed through the house. John shrugged and went up the stairs, calling out, "Tommy! Carol!"
He stopped at Tommy's door and peeked in. 'Huh that's weird. His computer is booted up and his coat is here, but he isn't.'
Fear struck John's soul. He laid the flowers and chocolates down on Tommy's bed and walked out of the room, calling, "Carol! Carol!"
John ran in the bedroom that he shared with his wife and he screamed at the blood everywhere. Now frantic he ran into the room "CAROL! TOMMY! CAROL!"
John saw a piece of what looked like a shirt sticking out from underneath their closet door. He ran over and opened the door and screamed as his wife rolled out unconscious and beaten severely. He rushed to the phone and picked up only to find that the line was dead. Cursing he ran back to his wife and checked for a pulse. As he touched his two fingers to her neck, he breathed a sigh of relief as he detected the faint, but steady, pulse. John took off his overcoat and covered her up with whispering, "Hold on Carol. Please hold on. I'll get help somehow."
He remembered the cell phone in his car and whispered "Hold on," once again to Carol before dashing outside to retrieve it. He opened the door and grabbed his phone. With shaking hands managed to dial 9-1-1. Once he had finished calling for help he rushed back into the house and another wave of fear washed over him as one thought came to his mind 'TOMMY!'
He started to run through the house desperately calling for his son "TOMMY! TOMMY!" He checked every closet and turned the house upside down looking for his son but he was nowhere to be found. John quit looking when he heard the ambulance sirens in the distance and ran back to his wife. Cradling her in his arms and whispering words of encouragement half for her and half for himself waited for the ambulance to arrive.
Mark Peterson, chief of police, shook his head at the pale, shaking man. 'Poor guy he just found his wife beaten on their fifteen year anniversary and no one knows if she is going to survive are not. To top it off his son is nowhere to be found. I would go crazy.' "Excuse me Mr. Oliver." He said aloud.
John's head popped up as someone called his name, he had wanted to ride with his wife to the hospital but the police needed a statement. John got himself together as much as he could and replied "Yes and you may call me John."
"John, I am chief of police Mark Peterson. Can you tell me what happened or what you know?"
Mark sighed as a wave of sadness washed over him but quickly went away as he replied "I walked in the front door and called out their names like I always do. There was no answer, so I walked up the stairs thinking that Tommy was listening to music and didn't hear me. My wife hasn't heard me a couple of times before so I thought nothing of it. When I got to Tommy's room his computer was running and his coat was on the bed but he was not there. I laid down the flowers and candy that I bought for my wife and went to look for them. That's when...that's when...I went into our bedroom and there.... was...was.... blood everywhere.... Carol's blood. I.... went to the closet and opened it and she.... rolled.... out...beaten and covered in...covered in blood. I tried to use the phone but the line was dead. I ran out to my car and used my cell phone. Then I remembered Tommy and I ran through the house looking for him but I...couldn't...find...him. Maybe I should have looked harder I don't know but I...didn't find him." That's all it took as the tears starting streaking down his face.
Mark put a hand on John's back and tried to reassure him "We are going to find your son. I am sure that he is just at a friend's house. Your wife is going to be all right." Even as he said this he didn't believe it.
"Chief! Chief!" Mark looked up as a detective came running over the lawn to him.
Once the young man had caught his breath he said, "We just found a chloride soaked cloth in the kitchen. We have reason to believe that it was used on the son and there are also signs of a struggle that took place there."
Mark saw John pale and lean back against the police car covering his mouth. Mark shook his head as he said "Put out a missing person report for Tomas James Oliver."
Tommy slowly opened his eyes. He first noticed the sting that was evident in his right cheek. He moaned as he opened his eyes fully. His vision blurred the cleared. Tommy tried to sit up but found that he was bound to the bed with heavy chains. He also noticed that his shirt was hanging on the back of a chair on the other side of the room. Tommy yanked at the chains that were tied tightly around his wrists and ankles but they didn't budge.
Tommy then took in his surroundings. He was in a dimly lit motel room with the curtains drawn. The walls were white and the tops of the walls were brown from leeks in the roof. The carpet was gray with brown spots in it every so often. A beat up old TV sat up on a low dusty dresser. A glass cigarette tray sat on a dirty brown table full of cigarette butts. Tommy guessed he was on the bead side of town. Tommy quickly looked around for Josh but found that he was not there and sighed in relief. Then his mind started to calculate ways of escaping.
Tommy's head popped up when he heard a key going into a lock. He quickly put his head back down and acted like he was still out from the chloride. Many years of Ranger-hood had taught him to be a really good actor. He heard Josh come in mumbling something about a stupid key. He mentally rolled his eyes as Josh put away the groceries that he had just bought. Then Tommy felt his eyes on him and heard him stomp over. Tommy mentally clenched as he realized that he had been drinking. The next thing that he felt was a sting in his cheek as Josh smacked him and said "Rise and scream, Tommy."
Tommy pretended to wake up and groggily looked up at Josh. Tommy was prepared for the punch that landed on his right eye. Tommy looked up to meet Josh in the eyes and screamed out "LET ME GO YOU BASTARD!!" Tommy jerked at the chains that held him.
Josh smiled devilishly as he replied "No. I've been watching you and waiting for the right time to strike. I've seen your friends, family, and life. I know everything about you and I do mean everything Thomas. I don't think any one is going to know that I am back in town. The social worker had an, um, how do you say...car accident. Quite tragic really- she rolled down an embankment and was killed instantly. Your mother...well let's just say she won't be causing me any trouble."
Tommy's eyes widened as he screamed "You asshole!! What did you do to my mother!?! What!?!"
Josh once again smiled as he replied, "I just taught her a lesson." His tone was mock-innocent as he continued, "You belong to me and only me. I just got that through her head was all. But I wouldn't worry about her Tomas, I'd worry about myself if I were you."
Tommy glared at Josh "I'M NOT SCARED OF YOU!!"
Josh chuckled "I would be if I were you."
Then he leaned down until he was in Tommy's face "Very scared."
Tommy looked him in the eye as he replied, "I'm not nine years old any more and I'm not scared of you any more. Go to hell!"
Josh got out of his face as he said, "I've seen you Tommy. I've seen you with your new family and friends. I've seen you with your new dad. What did you think you could just forget about me? Did you think I would just go away? Did you think you could get a new father and erase me!?! What did I tell Lindsey when she left me!?! What!?! I told her that if she left I would find you! But she said that was her reason for leaving! Because you were gone and she had no reason to stay! YOU DID IT!! YOU WERE THE REASON SHE LEFT!! I LOVED YOU AND TOOK CARE OF YOU AND THIS IS THE WAY YOU THANK ME!!!!?!!! YOU RUINED ME LIFE!!! I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO LOVES YOU TOMMY!!!! DO YOU THINK THAT THE OLIVERS LOVE YOU!!! YEAH RIGHT!!!! THEY PUT UP WITH YOU SO THEY CAN SAY HEY LOOK I HAVE A SON NOW!!!"
Tommy shook his head "That's not true!"
Josh whirled around "Oh really how many times have you been out with them and they've said 'This is our son, Tommy?'"
Tommy looked down as he continued, "That's what I thought Tommy a lot. Your friends how many times have you needed them and they weren't there?"
Tommy's head shot up as he said, "That wasn't their fault! They've always been there when I've needed them and when they weren't it wasn't their fault!"
Josh crossed his arms "Sure Tommy. Believe that, that's what they told you."
Tommy glared at Josh "What do you want asshole!?! Because I am not going to listen to any more of your lies!!"
Josh smirked as he replied "Fine take them as you like Tommy boy. As for what I want, I want to teach you a lesson. I am going to teach you how to respect me again. I also want to teach you not to shut up in less someone asks you a question. Things you've seemed to have forgotten! Well I'm going to make you remember!"
Tommy glared at Josh and growled, "Fat chance!"
Josh smiled and replied, "We shall see." Then he took a thick belt out of the top dresser drawer and began to beat Tommy with it mercilessly. Tommy was very careful not to let a sound escape him at the hard strokes of the belt. He didn't want to give Josh the satisfaction of making him scream.
Kim sighed to herself as she watched Jason spar with Zach. Everything was perfect she had everything she wanted. She had a loving family, loving friends, and Tommy. Her heart jumped as she thought of Tommy and the roller coaster of an afternoon they had just had. Tommy Oliver was really the shy little boy Tommy Erickson. She giggled to herself and thought 'Gee go figure Kim. The boy that you had a secret crush on in elementary school is your boy friend.' She smiled as she remembered all the times long ago that she had tried to get Tommy to like her. (Flash)
Kim bounced perkily to the swings but before she got there she saw the little boy that was always mean to her sitting on one of the swings rubbing his arm. She was about to turn away and walk the other way when she noticed Tommy wince in pain. Her curiosity took over and she slowly walked over to the swings and sat down in one beside the little boy. Kim looked closely at his arm and gasped in horror at the large cut on Tommy's arm. Tommy's head popped up when he heard the gasp and saw Kim looking down at him concern shining in her eyes. Tommy noticed the rest of the kids running around playing tag as Kim said "Tommy, what happened?"
Tommy looked Kim in the eye and replied, "I fell."
Kim got a skeptic look on her face as she said, "I don't think so. It's to deep to be from a fall."
Kim noticed that the deep gash on his arm had started to bleed again. Kim then removed Tommy's hand from the cut and, taking out a handkerchief that had her name on it, put it gently on the gash. Then she put Tommy's hand back on the handkerchief and said, "You know you should go to the nurse. It looks pretty bad and it could get infected."
Tommy glared at Kim and harshly said, "Who are you a doctor?"
Kim smiled as she replied "No but my daddy is a doctor and when I get cuts like this he always washes it and kisses it to make it feel better."
Kim looked up and could have sworn that a tear fell from Tommy's eye. She quickly dismissed it and said "I'll walk you to the nurse if you want me to."
Tommy looked down as he replied "I am not helpless, you know. I can do it by myself. Go back to Jason. You can't fix every thing- you think you can- but you can't little miss perfect."
With that Tommy got off the swing and stomped away not wanting to see the tears that streaked down Kim's face as she ran away. Unknown to anyone Tommy was crying in the back of the school. (Flash) (Flash)
Kim sat at a table surrounded by her friends and family. It was her eighth-birthday party and her parents had taken her and her friends out to eat. She smiled as Jason beat Zach once again on the video game that they were involved in. Kim then looked over at her parents who were laughing and talking with each other. She smiled every thing was perfect. Then three people that entered the pizza parlour caught her eye and she took a deep breath as she saw Tommy. She liked him, but why was he so mean all the time? She watched the three as they sat down in a booth, Josh and Lindsey on one side and Tommy on the other. Was it just her imagination are did Tommy flinch when he sat back in the booth?
Kim sat back and watched Tommy for a while with curiosity. She noticed that Tommy barely made a move and only ordered one slice of pizza and picked at that. She also noticed that Tommy didn't talk and never asked Josh for a quarter to play any of the games. 'Hmmm...that's strange. Uh maybe he just doesn't like talking. I can understand a little of it I mean after his dad died in that horrible accident.' Kim shivered as she remembered hearing her parents talking about it one night when they thought she was a sleep. 'I can see were a little of the anger and meanness is coming from but does he have to be so mean all the time? I mean he is lucky to have a great step father like Josh to help fell some of hole left by his father.'
She watched as Tommy timidly got up and walking slowly went down a hallway that had a sign over the entrance that said Restrooms. Kim's eyes lit up as an idea came to her. She quickly put into action and carefully cut a slice of her birthday cake and put it on a plate and carefully got up. Then before anybody could see her she got out of her seat and into the restroom hall. She sighed with relief, it was no secret that her group of friends did not like Tommy and did not want her hanging around with him, especially Jason. She stopped in front of the boy's bathroom and heard sobbing coming from with in. She peeked in and saw Tommy on the floor sobbing in a tight ball. She quickly made sure that there was no one else in the rest room and then rushed in and locked the door behind her. She then rushed over to Tommy and put a hand on his back and wasn't prepared for the scream that escaped Tommy as he flipped over to see who was there. Kim looked concerned as she said, "Stay here and I'll go get Josh."
Fear filled Tommy's eyes and he grabbed Kim's wrist and pleaded with her "Please don't Kim."
Kim looked down and saw the pleading look in his eyes and smiled as she bent back down beside of him. She then said "Ok but on one condition."
Tommy looked her up and down and replied "What?"
Kim's face became stern as she said, "Do as I say and don't even think about being mean to me. If one mean thing comes out of your mouth then I am going to go get Josh. Got it?"
Tommy took a deep breath as he replied, "Got it. Now what are you going to do?"
Kim smiled as she replied, "Are you hurt?"
Tommy slowly shook his head as Kim said "Where?"
Tommy warily looked around and then slowly turned his back to Kim and pulled his shirt up. Kim gasped as she saw whiplash marks and deep cuts lining his back. "Tommy, where did you get these?"
Tommy turned back to face Kim as he replied "I was going out to get into the car when I slipped on my untied shoe lace and fell down the stairs that lead into our garage from our house. I wanted to go get pizza so I ran into my room before my parents saw me and changed my shirt because it was wrecked. I went and got into the car like nothing had happened and we went. It hurts Kim. Please don't tell my parents; they will get so mad at me."
Kim sighed; either he was a great liar or he was telling the truth. Kim once more looked into his eyes, saw the pleading look within, and replied " O.k. My dad is a doctor and he keeps some extra supplies in the car in case someone gets hurt. Stay here and I'll go get them."
Kim stood up and not knowing how she was going to pull this off went out of the bathroom. Once she was out of the bathroom hall she was met by her parents and friends cleaning up the messes they had made. She snuck over to the table, grabbed her new pink backpack and exited the building with out any one noticing her. She ran to their family's van and climbed into the back. She sighed and began packing her backpack full of medical supplies from the brown box that they kept there. Once she was through she slid out of the van and snuck back into the pizza parlour. Once she was safely in the bathroom hall she let out a safe breath. She then entered the boy's bathroom and Tommy looked up as the door opened. Upon seeing who it was he smiled a sight that Kim hadn't seen before. She quickly locked the door and went over and bent down in front of Tommy. "Ok now left up your shirt." She said this as she sat her backpack down on the floor beside the discarded piece of cake.
Tommy slowly did as she asked and Kim gasped in horror as she saw the gashes and bruises all over him. "It was a hard fall." Tommy said this tears sparkling in his eyes.
"I see" Was all Kim said before she got to doctoring Tommy up. Once she was through she instructed Tommy to put back on his shirt. The she packed her stuff up and stood and slowly said, "Is that better Tommy?"
Tommy slowly shook his head as tears once again sparkling in his brown eyes. Kim bent down and put a hand on Tommy's shoulder. Tommy flinched as Kim said, "Why are you so sad all the time?"
Tommy looked up to meet her brown eyes and replied "I'm not sad all the time Kim. I have dreams and feelings just like everybody else. You don't know me Kim but I know a lot about you."
Before Kim could retort with any thing he continued "I know you are sweet, gentle, kind, loving, caring, and when someone surprises you eyes light up with a fire that I only wish I had. Maybe someday I will have it. Your smart and beautiful and I wish I could be your friend...but I...I just can't."
Kim tilted her head and replied "Why not?"
Tommy smiled and Kim knew that she would never forget that smile for as long as she lived and replied "I know things and seen things that no one knows or seen. I don't want to pull any body else into my world. It wouldn't be fair Kim. Maybe someday we can be friends, maybe but not today or tomorrow. Please try and understand Kim, I...I can't do that to you."
Kim took a deep breath 'What could be so bad Tommy? What hurts you so?' Kim slowly shook her head "I don't understand and I don't know why we can't be friends."
Tommy mate her eyes and replied "Someday you will understand."
Kim once again stood and straightened her dress. She picked up her pack back and the paper plate that the slice of cake used to be on. Then walked out, once she was out of the hall she was mate by an angry Jason "Where have you been!?! Your parents have been looking all over for you!"
Kim stiffened and replied, "I was in the bathroom."
Jason sighed and replied, "Ok well come on your parents and the rest of the guys are in the van."
She started to walk out with Jason when she saw Tommy walk slowly out of the bathroom. She watched him until he was sitting down again. Then she quickly caught up with Jason.
On the way home Kim stared out the window with one sentence engraved in her mind 'Someday you will understand.' She sighed and thought 'I hope so Tommy.' Then she turned from the window and smiling started laughing and talking with her friends. (Flash) (Flash)
Kim smiled at the Valentines Day card she had just gotten from her best friend Jason. She sighed as she looked around at the familiar scenery on her route home. She was fifteen and she would be starting high school in a couple of months.
Kim once again sighed as she stopped at her mail box and walking up her long drive way sieved through the mail. She stopped when she got to a blue envelope that had her name on it but it had been forwarded from her old address. Her home before her parents had split up two years ago. 'That's strange. All of my family and friends know my new address,'
She went her front door and sat her backpack down on the floor and bounced up the stairs the envelope in her hand. Once she was safely in her room she sat down on her bed and tore open the envelope. She took out a card and smiled at a teddy bear holding a heart between its paws. In the heart it said 'Thinking of you...'
Kim quickly opened it and it had an outline of a heart on it and inside the heart it said 'On this Valentines Day, I hope a lot of love, joy, and happiness comes your way.' She quickly read the note written at the bottom of the card.
'I hope you haven't forgotten about me, Kim. I haven't forgotten about you. On this Valentines Day I was sending out cards to all of my friends and I thought of you. I hope you have a wonderful Valentines Day Kim and I hope you are doing well. Tommy Erickson'
Kim smiled as tears stung at her eyes. She closed the card and whipping away the tears put the card on her nightstand. (Flash)
Kim smiled as she thought 'Well Tommy, I understand now you were right.'
"Kim". Ernie said urgently, interrupting her train of thought.
Kim looked up and saw the distraught look in his eyes "Kim, I think you should get to the hospital."
Kim felt fear grip her heart "What's wrong?"
Ernie slowly replied "Kim, Carol Oliver was attacked this afternoon in her home and she is fighting for her life. John Oliver just called and told me tell you and the rest of Tommy's friends."
Kim's eyes went wide and she said "Tommy! Ernie, how's Tommy dealing with this?"
Ernie's eyes fell as he replied, "Kim, John came home and found Carol but he didn't find a trace of Tommy. Kim they put out a missing persons report for him. They found a chloride soaked cloth in the kitchen and they believe that it was used on Tommy."
Kim sat back and covered her mouth as the tears started to come down her cheeks. She closed her eyes to try and make the tears stop coming down. "What?"
Kim's eyes flew open as she heard that come from behind her. She turned around and found all of her friends staring at Ernie with disbelieving eyes. "No way! Tommy would have kicked any ones ass that tried that!" Jason exclaimed.
Ernie shook his head and replied, "I know, that's why this doesn't make any sense."
Jason looked down and replied, "He's ok. He probably ran to get away from whoever and just hasn't found his way back yet, that's all. Come on guys, we should get to the hospital and be with John."
Kim sighed and thought 'Jason you really believe that don't you? I know Tommy is in trouble. I have a gut feeling about it and, oh God please don't let any thing happen to my angel. Hasn't he suffered enough?' With that she got up and followed her friends out of the Juice Bar.
When they arrived at the hospital they ran to the waiting room where John was sitting crying into his hands. They went over and Kim said "Mr. Oliver?"
John looked up and with tears streaming down his face, forced a smile and said "Kim, hey."
Kim sat down beside him with Jason and the others beside him. "Oh god I'm going to lose Carol. They said that she probably wouldn't live through the night. Tommy...Tommy...they don't even know where he is!" With that he broke down crying and Kim gathered him in her arms and said, "She will live, she is a fighter. They'll find Tommy and he'll be alright John."
Kim wished she could believe her own words and she sighed as Jason put a comforting hand on her shoulder. 'Tommy I hope wherever you are that you are safe and please come back to us unharmed.'
Tommy slowly opened his eyes and slowly looked around. He then realized that chains lay across his stomach and his shirt was still on the chair across the room. Then the pain hit him like a freight train and he couldn't help but let out a moan. "Well look who's finally awake."
Tommy turned his head until he was face to face with Josh. "Does it hurt, Tommy?"
Tommy glared at him, as she said "No."
Josh smiled as he replied, "Always was a strong stubborn smart ass."
Then Tommy watched him as he went over the brown dresser, got a sharp kitchen knife out of it, and walked over to Tommy and sat down beside him on the bed. "You know Tommy, Kim never really cared about you. She just went out with you because she felt sorry for you."
Tommy glared at Josh "Yeah right."
Josh smirked and took the knife and slashed Tommy down the back. Tommy clenched his teeth but didn't scream. Then Josh continued "Tommy do not talk unless I ask you a question."
Tommy smirked and replied, "Like I am going to listen to you."
Josh smiled and whispered "Oh you will Tommy are you are going to be in a lot of pain."
With that Josh slashed Tommy again and Tommy let a small whimper of pain escape him. Josh smiled and continued by saying, "You are so dumb. Your mother never loved you! She just put up with you because she had to! That's why she married me; to get you off her back!"
"That's not true!" Tommy screamed.
Josh smirked and slashed Tommy down the arm as he replied "Oh yes it is! She hated you just like Kim does! You know it's true Tommy! I mean who would want a loser to put up with! You are so dumb I bet you are failing your classes!"
"I am not." Tommy said stubbornly
Josh looked at Tommy anger flashing through his eyes. He undid the chains and yanked Tommy off the bed and put the knife to his throat. "If you say one more thing when I don't talk to you I will slit you throat! Got it Tommy boy!"
Tommy looked at the knife and shook his head slowly "Good, you good for nothing little bastard! God I don't know why I waste my time on you! You will always be a loser! You are going to grow up to be nothing but a bum! You are to stupid to be any thing else!"
Tommy wanted to say something but when he opened his mouth Josh put the knife closer to his throat. "I don't know why I keep you alive! You are never going to amount to any thing! Nobody cares about you! Why don't I just go a head a kill you! Why!"
Tommy let out a mangled scream and began to plead with Josh "No! Please Josh don't!"
Tommy felt the knife go into his throat a little more and he felt some blood trickle down his chest. Tommy began to cry and said "Please Josh don't do this! I want be any more trouble!"
Josh screamed, "You will always be trouble! You good for nothing little jerk! You don't deserve to live!!"
Tommy was crying and shaking from the harsh words and the knife in his throat. Then Josh through him back on to the bed and said, "Baby."
Then he put the knife back on the dresser and picked up the whip and began to beat Tommy hard with it. This time Tommy screamed and cried out for help but his screams and cries went unheard.
It was the middle of the night and all of the Rangers were fast asleep; some on couches and some curled up in the hospital chairs. All except for one. Kimberly Hart made her way through the white halls to the snack room. She shakily got out her wallet and, fumbling with it, dropped it on the floor. She was about to bend down and pick it up but a tanned hand beat her to it. Kim smiled as she took the wallet and replied "Hey Jason I thought you were asleep."
Jason smiled and replied, "I couldn't sleep. How are you holding up Kim?"
Kim smiled and said, "I'm fine Jason."
Then she turned and pulled a dollar out of her wallet and put it in the Snapple machine. Once she had her drink she turned and faced Jason, whose eyes held a skeptical look. "Kim really, how are you holding up?"
Kim sat down and popped her drink open and replied, "I'm fine Jason, it isn't like he his dead. Oh god Jason what if he is dead? What if some one took him and...and killed him just for the fun of it? Oh god Jason I'm not ok I love him and now...now...he might be hurt or dead and I can't...I can't help him. Just like when I was little, Jason, I feel so helpless again."
With that she broke down into hysterical sobs and Jason gathered her in his arms and held her, his own emotions getting the better of him and he too started to sob. Kim hugged him and they sat there sobbing together.
Some time later Kim finally sat up and wiped her eyes. "Thanks Jason I needed that."
Jason smiled and replied, "So did I Kim. Tommy will be ok, you know him, Kim. He is a fighter right to the end. He will be ok."
Kim smiled and said "Yeah he will. We should get back to the waiting room just in case any body misses us or any thing."
They both got up and just as they were about to walk out of the snack room their communicators went off. Jason looked at Kim and then answered it. "This is Jason go on Zordon."
"Jason I know now is not a good time but there is a monster in the park. You need to get over there and handle it."
Jason sighed Zedd had the worst timing. "Ok we're on it Zordon."
Jason and Kim walked out of the snack room and into the waiting room and woke the sleeping rangers. Once they had the Rangers up, they found an empty hallway, morphed and teleported.
Jason sat back against a computer console and sighed. The battle had been an easy one but the team was affected by the absence of Tommy. Kim kept on looking at the sky as though she was suspecting Tommy to teleport in and start fighting but he never did. Zach fought without the usual bounce that accompanied his step. Billy and Trini fought like two zombies. He fell back into his old leader position reluctantly. It just didn't seem right without Tommy there. Jason rubbed his eyes and turned his attention back to Billy who was scanning for Tommy. "Any luck Billy?"
Billy shook his head and stood up from his slumped over position over the computer, the frustration evident in his voice as he said, "It doesn't make sense. It says that Tommy is nowhere on earth."
"Billy could you try the dimensional scanner?" Trini said hope lacing her voice.
Billy looked down and took off his glasses and started cleaning them with his shirt as he said "The dimensional scanner will cause a disruption with the other scanners internal processing sensors."
The rangers looked at Billy, and Trini smiled and said, "He said that if we use the scanner then it will disable the other ones that we use to scan for monster and such."
The rangers shook their heads and they all turned to Jason for his answer. Jason scratched his chin and replied, "This is not only my decision. What do all of you think we should do?"
The rangers looked at each other and Kim spoke up "If this is the only way that we are going to find Tommy, then I am all for it."
The rangers looked at each other and slowly shook their heads as Jason said, "This one is for Tommy. Do it Billy."
Billy smiled, put back on his glasses, turned back to the computer and pushed a couple buttons. He then turned back to the rangers "It's scanning. It will take a waiting period of about one week."
The rangers nodded as Jason spoke up "We should get back to the hospital before any one misses us."
The rangers each took up there communicators and they were gone in multi columns of light.
Tommy tossed and turned in a fearful sleep.
Tommy smiled at Kim across the candle lit table for two in a tiny restaurant. She was wearing the pink dress that he loved and had her hair done just right. "I love you Kim." He said this with the candlelight illuminating her gorgeous face.
She smiled and replied "I love you to Tommy."
He was about to lean in for a kiss when an explosion ripped the couple a part. Tommy was sent flying into the wall on the other side of the room. He got up staggering and looked for Kim. When he finally spotted her, Josh was holding her with one arm and had a belt in the other. "NOOOO!!! KIM!!! DON'T TOUCH HER ASSHOLE!!!"
Tommy ran for Kim but an invisible barrier kept him from getting to her. Josh smirked at Tommy and began to whip Kim. "NOOOO!!" Was all Tommy could scream as he began to pound the barrier.
Once Josh was finished beating Kim he took out a kitchen knife and smiled evilly at Tommy. "NOOOOOO!!!!!!! JOSH DON'T!!!"
Josh chuckling said, "Say good bye to your precious Kim Tommy." Then with one swoop slid the knife in and out of Kim's gut.
Kim's eyes filled with pain and Josh let her go and she slumped to the floor, Tommy cried and sunk to his knees still beating on the barrier. Kim turned to him and with her last breath said " I...loved...you...Tommy." Then she closed her eyes and her life slipped away.
Tommy looked up and glared at Josh "YOU ASSHOLE!!! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU WITH MY BARE HANDS!!"
Josh smirked and with the bloody kitchen knife in his hand said "You're next Tommy boy." Then he advanced on Tommy.
Tommy's eyes flew open he was covered with sweat. He quickly took in his surroundings. He was chained to the bed again. "Sleep well Tommy boy?"
Tommy's eyes lit up with anger as he turned to meet Josh's eyes "YOU ASSHOLE!! I HATE YOU!!!"
Josh's eyes took on an angry tent as he said, "You are going to pay for that Tommy boy! Oh, are you ever going to pay for that!"
With that Josh went over to the dresser and picked up a white candle. Tommy gulped nervously and asked, "What are you going to do with that?"
Josh smiled and said, "I'm going to have a little fun Tommy. That's all, just going to have a little fun."
Josh lit the candle with a lighter that he had in his pocket and went over to Tommy. Josh bent the candle at an angle so that the wax dripped off the candle and onto Tommy's stomach and chest. Tommy winced at every drop that landed on his stomach. Tommy jerked at the chains and whimpered as drop after drop landed on his chest and stomach.
Josh smiled and with one hand holding the candle the other one went in his pocket and fished out his lighter. Tommy gulped as Josh put on a dramatic show of igniting the lighter. Once he had it lit he waved around in front of Tommy's face. Tommy was very still but he still winced at every drop of wax that landed on him.
Josh put the lighter away and started going down towards Tommy waistband with the candle dripping wax every step of the way. Tommy's eyes went wide with fear as he said "No Josh. Please don't."
Josh kept on going and Tommy let out one more whimper of pain and fainted out from pain and fear. Josh smirked and blew out the candle and said "Darn just one second more."
Then he left Tommy in the unconscious state and walked out of the hotel room.
Kim sat in waiting chair waiting for the doctor to give any news as to how Carol Oliver was doing. Kim feared for the worst but prayed for a miracle. The doctors had just taken her into emergency surgery because she had quit breathing. John Oliver was pacing in the middle of the room and the rest of the rangers sat in chairs or on couches with a spellbound look of shock upon their faces. "Carol Oliver?"
All of the rangers and John looked up and John said, "Yes I am her husband. Is she ok?"
The doctor looked down at his clipboard and replied, "I'm sorry Mr. Oliver. Carol passed away in surgery five minutes ago. Her lungs collapsed. I'm sorry for your loss." Then he made a hasty retreat.
John covered his mouth and screamed and hit the floor sobbing. "CAROL!!! OH GOD NOOOOOO!!! CAROL!!!"
The Rangers went to his side and Kim gathered the distraught man in her arms and tried her best to comfort him. She heard him scream out "IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!!! SHE DIDN'T DESERVE TO DIE!! I LOVE HER!! OH GOD CAROL!!!"
Kim shut her eyes trying to keep the onslaught of tears that threatened to fall, but it was in vain and they came freely down her flushed cheeks. Kim heard John crying and screaming into her arms and her heart crunched. She then felt two strong arms go around her and she leaned back into Jason's strong arms. Then Billy, Trini, and Zach each hugged the trio and they all let out there emotions right there on the hospital floor.
Tommy warily opened his eyes halfway and winced at the pain that shot through his body. Tommy weakly looked down at his stomach and chest and softly moaned at the burns and dried wax that lined them. Tommy didn't have enough strength to keep his head up, however, and he let it fall back. Tommy's eyes slowly began to shut and he heard voices coming from outside the hotel room. He couldn't make out any thing that the people were saying until a screech met his ears followed by "Zeddy, I have such a headache!" Then Tommy fell into the darkness once more.
To be continued...