by Elissa Lambert
"ASHTON!" Ziara yelled as she banged on her best friend's door. "Come on! Dad wants to take us both shopping!"
"I don't wanna go," came a muffled voice from inside. The Silver Ranger opened the door and let herself in, only to find the Red Ranger lying face down on her bed crying. "Ashton..." Ziara whispered. "What's wrong?"
"You know what today is, Z?" Ashton asked looking up, revealing that she'd been crying. Ziara thought for a minute then whispered, "Oh man...Ashton, I'm sorry...I totally forgot..."
"I was two years old when Mom died...and Dad told me who did it, too."
"Who?" Ziara asked, sitting down next to her best friend.
Ashton's answer was so soft, Ziara almost didn't here it. "Huh?"
"It was Ashley..." Ashton said, choking up again. Ziara couldn't believe it. "The guy your dad used to date before he met your mom?" she said. Ashton nodded and whispered, "I'm gonna kill her if it's the last thing I do..."
"Ash, don't!" Ziara said, alarmed. "If it gets back to your dad..."
"He already knows, and he hasn't tried to stop me yet," Ashton said, climbing to her feet. Grabbing her Astro Morpher from under her pillow, she headed for the door, only to be stopped by Kieran, the Blue Ranger. "Don't do it, Ashton," he said.
"But..." Ashton began but Kieran shooed Ziara out of the room before sitting his girlfriend down on the bed. "Ashton, I love you, don't get me wrong, but if you kill Ashley, I'm gonna have to dump you."
Ashton shook his hand off and stood up. "Not unless I dump you first," she said softly, then morphed and teleported out in a flash of red light. Kieran stared at where she stood then hit his communicator. "Corran, you there?"
"Yo," came the voice of the Black Ranger. Kieran said, "Ashton's actually gonna do it."
"What? Kill Ashley for killing her mom?"
"Yeah, we've got to stop her!"
Something clanged in the background on Corran's end of the link, as if he had dropped something. "Meet me at the park?"
"Right!" Kieran said as he shut down the link and teleported to the park in a flash of blue.
"All right, bitch, where are you?" Ashton whispered to herself. She had morphed and was currently wandering through the park looking for Ashley. Suddenly...
"Ashton wait!" She spun around, demorphing in the process, and saw Kieran and Corran headed her way. When the boys reached her, Corran said, "Ashton, you are not thinking about doing what I think you're gonna do are you?"
"Corran, she killed my mom, what do you think I have to do?" Ashton snarled then turned around and walked off.
"Don't you dare," came a new voice. Everyone turned around to see a short redhead dressed in yellow, holding her own Astro Blaster on Ashton. "Aislinn, what are you doing?" Ashton asked.
"I'm prepared to kill you if you go through with it," Aislinn said. "Corran told me what you had planned, and I refuse to let you go through with it."
"Aislinn, she killed my mother, I have to do this!" Ashton said.
"Ashton," Kieran said. "Don't...please..." His blue eyes bored into her green ones as he grabbed her by the arm. "Ashton, please..."
"Ashton I love you...if you kill Ashley, you'll be carted off to jail so fast I'll probably never see you again."
That did it. Ashton sat down and started to cry. Kieran sat down next to her and held her. "You gonna be okay?" he asked after a while.
Ashton nodded and said, "But I still want her to get what she deserves."
"She will," Kieran said. "Just promise me you won't kill her?"
"I..I promise..." Ashton sniffled, then got up and bolted for home.
Andros looked up from the table where he was reading the sports section. "In here, Ashton," he called.
"Ashton walked in and sat down across from him. "I almost did it Dad," she said softly. "I almost went over to Ashley's and shot her."
"For what she did to your mom?" Andros asked. Ashton nodded, "If Kieran, Corran and Aislinn hadn't convinced me not to, I probably would have been as bad as Aunt Karone had been when she was Astronema."
Andros put the newspaper down and went over and knelt next to his daughter. "Come here, kiddo," he said, giving her a hug. "It'll be okay," he said as she started crying.
"I hope so, Dad," Ashton sniffled. "I so want her to pay for what she did, but I don't know how...."
To be continued in The Trial of Ashley Hammond