Note: This fic takes place a short time after the Rangers trip to Phaedos. Thanks to everyone who has answered any and all questions concerning this fic. And a special thanks to Cynthia. If she hadn't have posted on the board asking about Billy/werewolf fics, I probably wouldn't have written this for a long time. Here's to you Cynthia, and I hope it doesn't disappoint. :)
If you like this fic, please let me know. It really helps make it all worth it. :)
Priest: "Are you man or beast?"
Man: "Man, and like all men the beast dwells within me..."
(Clive Barker-Book of blood)
The park seemed unusually quiet at this time of night, but Zedd and Rita most usually attacked during the daylight hours, leaving the park and Angel Grove alone at night. But, lately, it seemed as if Rita and Zedd had taken a vacation. Only two monster attacks within the last few weeks. And those two were easily taken care of by the Power Rangers.
That's why Nancy decided that it was safe enough to meet her boyfriend, Jake, there. They had promised to meet at the park tonight, earlier that day at school. She had waited at home, pretending to be asleep in her room, until her parents had tired and retreated to their room and sleep. Once sure that they were definitely asleep, and that her leaving wouldn't wake them, she grabbed her jacket, and slipped out her bedroom window, into the darkness beyond.
Now, though, as she waited for Jake in the silent darkness of the park, she suddenly thought that maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all. She loved this place during the day, and even the monster attacks didn't deter her from this place. But, tonight, in the dark, the park became an alien thing. Nothing seemed the same. Everything was cast into shadow, and in those shadows, lurked all the nightmares she had ever had as a child. What was taking Jake so long? She knew that once he was there, she wouldn't be scared anymore.
But, the image of the strange man, brought a chill to her. He had been dressed in little more than rags; his hair and beard unkempt. She tried not to look at him as she passed by him, but she couldn't help but notice the look he gave her.
Pulling her jacket tighter around her shoulders, Nancy moved back to the area where she said that they would meet. Glancing at her watch, she couldn't help but get worried. It was fifteen minutes after they had agreed to meet. True, she had been a few minutes late, herself, but she knew Jake wouldn't give up and leave.
Trying to get a grip on where her thoughts were heading, she stopped, took a deep breath, and tried to focus her thoughts. Why would Jake really be late? Flat tire? Forgot the time, and is running late? With someone else? No! Not Jake. Opening her eyes, she looked around the area. Jake had a penchant for trickery. Feeling a bit of the tension drain out of her, she moved toward the areas where he might be hiding.
"Jake, this isn't funny you know? I don't like to be scared when it's dark out here. Come on out...please?" Nancy found herself begging. She expected him to jump out of the bushes, or out from behind a tree, but she knew that it would scare the hell out of her when he did, and she couldn't stop the sickening feeling that filled her at the thought.
There was no sound, and no response. Fighting down the sudden fear that came upon her, she moved toward another, larger bush. "Okay, Jake. It's not funny anymore. You can come out." Carefully, she reached out; the bushes towering over her, she pushed back the branches, peering into their darkness. "Jake! Stop it this minute!" She couldn't hide the anger in her voice. She was getting scared, and it was showing.
Releasing the branches, she moved to another group of bushes. She looked at them for the longest time. Quickly, she glanced at the area around her. There was no place else that he could be hiding. Looking back at the bush, she sighed in exasperation, and called out, "Fine, jerk! I'm going home. You can play your game with someone else." Turning, she headed back toward the open area of the park, and the parking lot.
Nancy quickened her pace when she saw the first light in the park, ahead. She couldn't wait to get back home. She'd be giving Jake a piece of her mind when she got to school in the morning.
As she moved past the last tree, a sound stopped her. A chill ran down her spine, as she slowly looked around. From the shadows, a figure moved. Nancy began to back away, a scream of terror ripped from her throat. She couldn't run. Every cell of her brain was screaming for her to do just that, but the rest of her body didn't hear it. All she could do was scream. And those screams grew louder, as the shape moved from the shadows and stood before her.
Jake stood before her, his hands clasped tightly around his throat, as blood poured over his fingers and down the front of his shirt. He tried to call out to her, bloody foam running from his quivering lips. Staggering, he reached out a blood covered hand to her.
Even in the darkness, Nancy could tell that his throat had been cut, and she knew that there was no way that she could help him. And fear pushed her away from him as he tried to reach for her. Glancing crazily around the area, she looked for anyone who would have done this. They still had to be close by. Screwing up her courage, she slowly reached out to him, grasping his bloody hand.
As soon as she took his hand, Jake released his other hand, exposing the gaping hole in his neck. Nancy watched in pure terror, as she realized that he had no throat at all. It had been torn from his neck. Screaming once more, Nancy pulled away from his grasp, stumbling back against the trunk of a nearby tree. Jake moved toward her, pleading for her to help him, and there was nothing she could do.
Nancy backed around the edge of the tree, never taking her eyes off of Jake. The light was behind her, she had to reach it. She'd be safe there. Suddenly, something hit him from behind, knocking him into her, and toppling them both to the ground. Frantically, she tried to push his weakening body from her legs, blood quickly soaking her own clothes.
With one more frantic push, she slipped out from under Jake's body, and stumbled to her feet, prepared to run. But, a growl from behind her, stopped her in her tracks. She had always thought, that at a time like this, she would have been running toward her car, and not standing frozen in place like she was at that moment. She had been so very wrong. So wrong.
Turning woodenly, her breaths coming in gasps, she turned to face her worst nightmare.
A large wolf stood before her, it's huge front paws on Jake's back, looking at her, blood dripping from it's fanged maw. Yellow eyes seemed to glow in the darkness. At first, she couldn't believe what she was seeing was real. Creatures like this were only myth. They didn't really exist. But, here was the proof right in front of her, and no matter how much she tried to convince herself that it wasn't real, and that it would go away, the more real it became.
Suddenly, things seemed to happen all too quickly. Nancy stepped back, finally finding the courage to run. The wolf bound over Jake's still body, landing a few feet away from her. She wanted to close her eyes, to pretend that it wasn't really there in front of her, but even her eyes were frozen open. Behind her breath, she prayed. Prayed as she never had before. Prayed that this was all just a really bad dream, and that she'd wake up any moment, safe in her bed, her mother calling up to her to get up and get ready for school. But, looking at the beast before her, she knew that she was living in a nightmare, and there would be no school in the morning.
Nancy was it's quarry, as it circled; growling, teeth bared. Her brain screamed for her to run, that she could reach the light, and it wouldn't follow. That she'd be safe in the light. But, she couldn't move. Only her eyes followed the beast's movements. Watched as it sniffed the air, growling. For a moment, it paused, and looked away. Nancy had a moment to believe that she could get away, but at the last moment, she was only able to release one more scream, as the wolf lept at her, sinking it's teeth deep into the flesh of her throat.
Billy screamed, and shot to his feet, his heart pounding, and his breaths coming in gasps.
"I'm sorry, William. I didn't mean to scare you. I just thought that, because you fell asleep in the lab, I would need to wake you up for school." Billy's father stated, handing a blanket to the trembling youth.
Billy stood in stunned silence, staring at the proffered blanket in his father's hand. He'd fallen asleep in the lab? He didn't remember falling asleep at all. Couldn't even remember feeling tired. He did remember that he had gotten very hot, though.
"Ah...I think you might need this." His father shook the blanket, while averting his eyes. "I don't mind saying that it's just a little disturbing that you want to sleep in the lab, in the nude, but if you're going to, you might want to lock the door. You know how your friends are always just barging into the lab when they come over."
Nude? What was his father talking about? Billy knew perfectly well that he was fully dressed last night, and the only article of clothing that he removed was his flannel shirt, but he was still wearing his tank underneath. Confused, Billy glanced down at himself and found that his father was right. He was completely naked.
Quickly, Billy ripped the blanket from his fathers fingers, wrapping it, a bit askew, around his hips.
"Sorry. I...was doing a...an experiment, and I spilled some chemicals on my clothes. I had to get them off pretty fast. I would have retrieved more clothes, but...I was at a point in the experiment, where I couldn't stop. I knew it was late, and that no one would bother me, so I didn't think."
"I just hope that you wore one of your chemistry aprons." His father put in, concerned.
"Yeah, yeah I did." Billy watched his father gaze around the lab, then head for the door. At the doorway, he stopped.
"School starts in an hour. Are you going to be all right? You look a little pale."
"Just a little headache, I'll be fine."
"All right. Breakfast will be ready in twenty minutes. That will give you some time to get showered and dressed."
"Thanks, Dad." His father closed the door, and Billy sunk down into the tattered couch that was the only furnishing in his lab. His head was pounding, and he had the worse case of morning mouth, ever. His whole body seemed to ache, and for the last couple of months, he'd come up with various bruises and scratches, and he had no clue as to where they came from.
And, to top it all off, this was the third black out he'd had. But, nothing seed to be wrong. His last visit to the doctor, just a couple of days ago; inquiring about his headaches, turned up nothing. The doctor just told him to cut back on the caffeine, and get some rest. "Maybe I should stay home and rest. Maybe that's what's wrong. I just need a bit more sleep? I've been kind of tired during the day, ever since I got back from Phaedos, and wide awake at night." Looking down at his appearance, and the couch, "Apparently, I am getting some sleep."
Billy began to recline a bit more, letting his head drop back against the back of the couch. Just as he was closing his eyes, he noticed his opened back-pack sitting on the floor nearby.
"I can't. I've got tests today." Sighing, he stood from up, pulled the blanket tighter around his waist, and gathered up his clothes from the floor where they had been tossed. Slowly, he made his way to the lab door, and the shower that was waiting for him, just beyond it.
Kim stood by her locker in the hall of AGH, the morning's news paper clutched in her hands. Aisha stood behind her, reading over her shoulder.
"What's up guys?" Tommy called, from down the hall, as he made his way to his locker. Adam and Rocky weren't far behind him.
"A new hobby, Kim?" Rocky asked jokingly, as he passed by Kim and Aisha. "I've never seen you with a news paper before."
"Ha, ha, Rocky, very funny." Kim mocked.
"You're reading about the killings last night, aren't you?" Adam asked, as he pulled the door to his locker open, stashing his books inside.
"Yeah. Who would be doing something like that. It's sickening."
"What killings?" Tommy questioned.
"Haven't you been watching the new?" Aisha asked, surprised. They'd been going on for nearly two months, how could Tommy not have heard about them?
"I've been pretty busy with my homework, and practice. I just haven't had the time to really sit down and watch the news." Aisha took the paper from Kim's hands, and offered it to Tommy.
Tommy took the paper from Aisha, as she pointed out the article that they had been reading. Tommy began to read aloud;
‘The Murders are now at four.
‘Two more victims were found, slain last night, in Angel Grove park. The total now stands at four, in the past two months.
‘All four victims were found mauled in a secluded area of the park. Their throats seemed to have been torn out, and bite wounds were discovered on various areas of the bodies. Experts state that the wounds appear to be that of an animal attack, but the testing results are still unclear at this time.
‘At this time, there is little evidence, and no witness' to help with the case. All of the local Zoos have been contacted and questioned about any escaped animals, and there have been no police reports of anyone seeing a wild or stray animal in the area of the park.
‘Authorities ask that everyone use the utmost caution when out at night, and no one should be out alone.'
"I want to blame this on Rita or Zedd, but it's not their style. Not something like this." Tommy said as he folded the paper and handed it back to Kim.
"I agree. Rita and Zedd are known for their monsters, but never anything like the one that would be doing something like this." Kim added, putting the paper back into her locker. "And they attack mostly during the day. Besides, Zordon would have notified us, if it had been Rita or Zedd."
"Maybe we should check with Zordon, at any rate." Adam insisted.
"Hey, has anyone seen Billy this morning?" Rocky asked, slinging his back-pack over his shoulder.
"I saw him earlier. He didn't seem like he was feeling too good. I think he might be coming down with something." Aisha announced.
"Maybe he went home?" Kim said, as she closed her locker door.
"Then I guess that the person coming down the hall is his ghost." Rocky teased, watching as Billy came toward them.
Billy saw the gang at the end of the hall, were they all usually met between classes. He watched the expressions on all of their faces, as he neared them. He should have gone home, he thought, but he had a lot of tests and he didn't want to put them off. All day he had been coping with the headaches, and he had a lot of things on his mind.
"Man, Billy, you look like crap." Billy knew Rocky would be the first person to make a remark at his condition, and he tried to smile, but the movement made his head ache even more.
"Gee, I love you too, Rocky." Billy replied with a bit of sarcasm, as he moved past the group to his locker.
Kim gave everyone a glance, then followed Billy to his locker, where he was fumbling with the lock.
"Um...Billy, maybe you should go home and get some rest. You don't look so good." Kim stepped back, as Billy wrenched open the door to his locker, letting a pile of books spill haphazardly into the immaculate locker.
"I'm all right, really. I have just one more test, then I'll be free to go home."
"Mrs. Appleby's class?" At Billy's nod, Kim continued, "You know, you can tell her that you're not feeling well, and she'll let you make it up later?"
"I...don't...want....to make it up later! I'm fine! All right?" Kim jumped back from Billy at his venomous remark.
"Fine. I'm sorry. I was just concerned." Kim replied woodenly, trying to keep her hurt feelings from getting the best of her.
"Kim, I'm sorry. I've just got this bitch of a headache, and I haven't been sleeping very well. I'll be fine. Thanks for caring." Billy closed his locker and faced a startled Kim. She had never heard him swear before, and his actions were scaring her. "Okay?"
"Yeah, I understand." Kim gave him a quick smile. "We're all going to meet with Zordon after school. We want to find out if Rita and Zedd are behind the killings in the park."
"I've heard about them. Do you really think Rita and Zedd are capable of something like that? That they might actually be starting to kill people that way?"
"Billy, didn't you hear the news this morning? They found two more...last night."
"Yeah." Aisha said, coming up beside him.
"Hey man, are you okay? You look like you've just seen a ghost." Tommy asked, as Billy suddenly went pale.
"I'm fine. Anyone we know?"
"A couple of Seniors. Nancy Fitzgerald and Jake McCleery." Adam stated.
"Hey, we'd better get to class, before we're late." Kim grabbed Aisha's arm and headed down the hall.
"Are you sure you're going to be all right?" Rocky asked. His usual sarcastic manor taking a back seat to his concern for his friend.
"Would you guys quit worrying about me? I'm fine." Billy sighed in exasperation. "But, I have to agree. We should check with Zordon on this." Billy said looking around. "I don't really think something like this is Rita and Zedd's caliber, but there might be someone else hanging around, that we don't know about."
"Alright. We'll all meet behind the school gym after our last classes." Tommy said, as he backed down the hall, on his way to class. Rocky and Adam following.
"I'll be there." Billy called after them. He watched as they disappeared around the corner. Closing his locker door, he turned, bumping into a young woman who had just come down the hall. Books fell from her arms, scattering over the floor. "I'm sorry." Billy looked up and smiled.
"Seems like you have this thing for bumping into me." Came the soft voice.
"I've been a little preoccupied lately. I haven't seen you around for the last two days. Are you feeling all right, Gayle?" Billy asked.
Gayle was a bright young woman, who he had met about two months ago. She had been assigned the locker next to his, and had, had problems getting the lock open. The friendship had happened immediately. They discussed his love of science, and she seemed to be genuinely interested. He'd thought about asking her to the dance, but his over abundance of shyness kept him for asking. Even Kim's nudges didn't help.
"I've been a little under the weather the last couple of days. The doctor gave me some antibiotics yesterday, and said I should be fine as rain in the next two or three days. I just hope I haven't given it to you or any of your friends." Gayle motioned down the hall in the direction Tommy, Rocky and Adam had left.
"I've been having some headaches, but they started before you got sick. So, I don't think you need to worry." Billy said with a smile. Standing, with arms loaded with her books, Billy smiled and nodded toward her locker.
"Do you think you can get that stubborn lock to open for you this time, while I hold your books?"
"I'll give it a try." He watched intently, as Gayle's slender fingers worked the combination on the lock. Pulling down on it, the lock clicked and fell open. "Well, what do you know?" Gayle pulled open the door, and started unloading Billy's arms.
"Why don't I walk to class with you. We've got the same class together if I'm not mistaken."
"I'd like that, Billy." Gayle closed the door, and joining Billy, they headed down the hall as the bell began to ring.
The day had seemed to drag on forever, and it was finally over. The teens were finally able to gather together to teleport to the Command Center, and talk with Zordon. And as Billy teleported, he began to think that he should have just gone home instead. The headache he'd had all day, had been minimal, but as he made his way to the back of the school, it had started throbbing. And, apparently, teleporting wasn't the best thing for it either.
As he slowly became solid; his feet touching the floor of the Command Center, the pressure seemed to ease slightly, but he still felt as if his head would explode with his very next thought.
"RANGERS, IT IS GOOD TO SEE YOU. IS SOMETHING WRONG?" Zordon asked, surprised by their sudden appearance.
"We don't know, Zordon." Tommy stepped forward.
"We were hoping that maybe you could tell us." Adam said from behind Tommy.
"WHAT MAY I DO TO HELP YOU?" Zordon asked, as Alpha shuffled into the room.
Kim, having retrieved the paper from her locker, pulled it from her back-pack and handed it to Alpha. "There have been four people viciously killed in the park in the last two months. Two of them were killed last night."
"We don't think that it sounds like something Rita and Zedd are capable of, but we want to be sure. And, if it's not them; then maybe we need to check around and see if someone else might have a hand in it." Billy stated, rubbing his throbbing temples.
Aisha cast a concerned glance Billy's way, but her attention was drawn back to the matter at hand.
"Aye, yi, yi, Zordon. All four people have been mutilated."
"IT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE SOMETHING RITA AND ZEDD WOULD DO. BUT, YOU ARE RIGHT TO BE CONCERNED RANGERS. ALPHA AND I WILL CHECK THINGS OUT, AND LET YOU KNOW IF WE FIND ANYTHING."
With a little hesitancy, the Rangers teleported out of the Center, all except, Billy, who was using the edge of the consoles to keep himself upright. "Alpha." He whispered. The pain had become blinding, and everything was out of focus. Then, almost immediately, the dizziness engulfed him. He could hear voices, but they made no sense.
At a touch to his arm, Billy looked up, just barely able to discern Alpha at his side. "Aye, yi, yi, Billy. You're bleeding." Alpha hadn't heard Billy whisper his name, but as he turned to move across the floor of the Center, he spotted Billy slumped over one of the consoles. Alpha called his name several times, before touching his arm. When Billy looked up at him, he was startled to see the blood. Billy just stared at him now, as blood streamed from his nose.
"ALPHA, WE MUST GET BILLY INTO THE MEDICAL CHAMBER AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. WE WILL USE THE MED BED TO RUN A DIAGNOSTIC ON HIM." Zordon stated, concern filling his voice.
"Right away, Zordon. Aye, yi, yi!" Pressing a few buttons, Billy and Alpha disappeared from the Command Center. Zordon's tube became dark as he followed them to the medical chambers, and his smaller tube, there.
Billy knew immediately that he had been teleported. The pain became so excruciatingly painful, that the darkness that seemed to hover just beyond him, rushed in to engulf him completely. And his last thought was, that if it would make the pain go away, he would welcome it.
He found himself standing at the edge of a deep, black abyss. It was cold here. Behind him, was the warmth of the light, and the pain. He gazed around at his unfamiliar surroundings, wondering how he had arrived there. Between the darkness and the light, where he expected to find a line of gray, there wasn't a line. The light just stopped, as if the darkness was swallowing it whole.
But, what did it matter? What did any of it matter? The pain was gone for now.
As Billy stood at the edge, his feet just inches from the darkness, he slowly began to reach out his hand toward it, feeling the cold, iciness of the dark as it began to wrap around him.
Then, from the depths of the darkness came a voice, one that seemed so familiar, but one he couldn't place. "Join with me. Make me whole." The voice was deep, and came out almost as a growl. As soon as the words had been spoken, they continued to echo all around him, like a whisper from a nightmare. "Join with me....join with me...."
"Who are you?" Billy called, pulling back from the abyss.
"I am all that you are, all that you have never been, all that you have ever thought to be. Together we can be whole. Together....strong!" The words echoed as before. Wrapping around him, enfolding him.
Billy had never truly experienced real fear before, but he felt it now. He wanted to run, to go back to the light, but he couldn't move. He was frozen, staring into the darkness of the abyss.
"Join with me!" Billy watched as a pair of deep, yellow eyes appeared before him, seeming to float in the darkness. Then, terror filling his soul, a clawed hand shot forth from the darkness, coarse, gray hair covering it's deformed length. Billy watched in frozen horror, as the had wrapped itself around his arm, it's strength dragging him forward, toward the dark. A deep growl reached out toward him, trying to enter his mind.
"NO!" Billy finally, screamed. Then, he felt a warmth around him, and he was slowly being pulled from the arms of darkness. Billy could feel the claws of the hand, digging deep furrows into his flesh, blood rising, dripping from his arm.
As Billy was finally released, his scream melded with the roar of the creature, that sought it's refuge in the darkness.
Alpha watched as the teen shot up off of the med-bed, sweat beading his brow. "BILLY? ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?" Zordon called out to him.
"You were in deep R.E.M. sleep. Must have been a dandy of a dream?" Alpha chuckled nervously, as he moved back to Billy's side.
Looking out from between his fingers, his hands pressed to his face, Billy saw Alpha next to him. "Alpha? A...dream?" Billy slowly let his hands fall from his face, noticing a small bandage on his left arm. Suddenly stricken with panic, Billy reached to tear the bandage away, to expose the claw marks that he knew had to be there. Alpha stopped him, looking at him. "What happened?"
"YOU APPEARED TO BE HAVING A SEVER HEADACHE. ALPHA SAW THAT YOU HAD STARTED TO BLEED FROM YOUR NOSE, AND YOU DIDN'T ANSWER HIM WHEN HE CALLED YOUR NAME. THEN YOU BECAME UNCONSCIOUS."
"We teleported you here, to the med-bed, just before you fell." Alpha put in, removing his hand from Billy's arm, and removing a small electrode from his temple.
At Billy's questioning glance at the bandage on his arm, Zordon explained what had happened while he was out. "ALPHA DREW SOME BLOOD, AND TOOK SOME BRAIN SCANS. WE WILL DO TESTS TO SEE IF THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG. HAVE YOU BEEN HAVING THESE HEADACHES FOR LONG?" Zordon questioned.
"Almost everyday, for the past two months. Sometimes just little twinges, but lately, they have become almost disabling. And I've had periods of blackouts, as well."
"SO THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON EVER SINCE YOU AND THE OTHERS RETURNED FROM PHAEDOS?"
"You don't think...I might have caught something there, do you?" Billy asked, the worry filling his every word.
"I DO NOT BELIEVE SO. NONE OF THE OTHERS SEEM TO BE HAVING ANY COMPLICATIONS. THOUGH ALPHA AND I WILL INQUIRE ABOUT IT."
"You said something about a...brain scan? What did that show?" Billy slipped carefully off the edge of the med-bed, to follow Alpha to the computer against the wall.
There, in black and white on it's screen, was an x-ray of his brain. Billy looked more closely at the image before him, trying to remember everything he had learned about the organ.
"Everything looks normal, Billy, except this dark area...here." Alpha pointed to a small section of the brain that was completely dark. "This is where you store your unconscious thoughts. It shouldn't be dark like this."
"What does it mean? It's not a...tumor...is it?" Billy dreaded the thought. It couldn't possibly be one. It just couldn't be. But, at the moment, it was all his mind could come up with for an explanation.
"I'm sure that it's not, Billy." Alpha sighed.
"ALPHA WILL RUN SOME TESTS TO SEE IF WE CAN DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM, HOPEFULLY WE WILL BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN THE HEADACHES AND THE BLACK OUTS. IT WILL TAKE SOME TIME, YOU SHOULD GO HOME AND REST."
Billy tried to smile. Though, at this point, there didn't seem to be anything to smile about. So, Billy slowly let the smile fade from his face, replacing them with worry lines.
"I gave you a shot Billy. To help with the pain, that's when I noticed something strange." Alpha broke into Billy's thoughts.
"Strange?" Billy looked at Alpha; that single word repeating itself over and over in his head. Just then, Zordon's voice brought him back from his thoughts.
"WHEN ALPHA GAVE YOU THE SHOT, THE DARK AREA ON YOUR BRAIN; WHICH AT THE TIME, SEEMED TO COVER NEARLY HALF OF THE UNCONSCIOUS PART, SEEMED TO MAKE THE DARK AREA SHRINK AWAY TO THE POINT IT WAS WHEN YOU SAW IT ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN."
"What was in the shot?" Billy asked, taking the offered bottle from Alpha.
"Dorasoul." Alpha said, watching as Billy looked at the half empty bottle. Billy eyed the bottle, turning it over and over in his hands. Alpha and Zordon watched, silently, as Billy placed the bottle on the console, returning once more to the image on the computer screen.
"What is it's main ingredient? I don't remember a drug by that name."
"THE DRUG IS FROM MY HOME WORLD OF ELTAR. THOUGH A GOODLY PORTION OF IT'S INGREDIENTS WERE HARVESTED FROM OTHER WORLDS."
"I found the ingredients, Billy." Alpha said, waving a piece of computer paper at him. Billy took the paper from Alpha, and began to scan through the list of ingredients. At each ingredient, he would pause, trying to remember what the plant was, and what it's main purpose was. But, nothing seemed out of place. Nothing that would cause any type of reaction, as it had. Then he stopped at the last ingredient. It seemed to jump out at him from the paper. Why would anyone use such a plant. It was toxic. He should be dead...shouldn't he?
Billy pointed to the ingredient, as he questioned Zordon, "What does Wolfsbane do? I thought it was poisonous?"
"IT, MIXED WITH THE OTHER INGREDIENTS, LOOSES IT'S TOXICITY, BECOMING A NARCOTIC. IT RELAXES THE NERVES IN THE BRAIN." Zordon stated.
That would explain it; Billy thought. That's why he was beginning to feel a bit disoriented at the moment. "Could it possibly be some sort of spell?" Billy knew that he was fishing for a quick answer, but he couldn't help it. The thoughts that were running around in his mind at the moment, were the ones that he hoped to never have to think about.
"We ran those tests already, Billy. We couldn't find any signs of a spell. I'm sorry." Alpha truly did seem like he was sorry, and Billy was sorry that they had to feel that way at all. Billy glanced up at Zordon, hoping that he might have the answers.
"THE TESTS SHOULDN'T TAKE TOO, LONG. ALPHA AND I WILL TELEPORT YOU HOME. PLEASE GET SOME REST. WE WILL DO ALL THAT WE CAN."
"Thank you, Zordon. Please let me know what you find out. About the killings, and the tests? And...please don't tell the others about my condition, not until we know what's wrong."
"YOU HAVE OUR WORD, BILLY. SLEEP WELL." Alpha pressed the buttons, and they watched as Billy disappeared from the Center, in a column of blue light.
Billy appeared, silently and unseen, in his bedroom. The darkness of night plunging everything into shadows. He stood alone in the darkness for sometime, realizing that this time, when he teleported, it didn't leave him with a massive headache. For that, he was grateful.
Crossing the room, Billy turned on the small lamp on his computer desk; it's light barely penetrating the darkness filling the room around him. He felt physically tired, and the drug that Alpha had given him, was making his head swim. He looked at the messy bed, and realized that he'd be spending another night wide awake. As he sat down in the desk chair, and reached to turn on the computer, a knock came at the door.
"William? Are you okay son? I didn't hear you come home from school."
"quot;I'm all right, dad. Just really tired, and I have a ton of homework to do."
"Would you like me to bring some supper us to you?" Billy thought about his father's offer for a moment, before replying. He was surprised to find; that after not eating all day, he still wasn't hungry. He should be starving. He'd only taken a orange with him to eat on his way to school, and as it was, he'd thrown half of it away.
"N-no dad. I'm not hungry. Thanks anyway."
"All right. Get some sleep. And I'll see you in the morning."
"Good night, dad." Billy listened as his father made his way down the hall, and down the stairs. He felt bad about lying, but he didn't want his father to worry unnessicarily.
Turning back to the computer, Billy started it up. If he was going to be awake all night, the least he could do, was do some research on the Internet. Check into disorders and diseases of the brain, as well as find out a little more about wolfsbane.
When the computer had completed it's start up, Billy connected to the Internet and went to the search engine on his home page. Moving the cursor to the empty box near the button, Billy clicked in it, and pausing, he began to type in the first word that came to his mind...
Billy stared at the word, typed in black, in front of him. What had prompted him to type that word? He'd ment to type in ‘Wolfsbane'. Hesitantly, he reached out to the delete key. Again he paused, his finger barely touching it. Pulling back, Billy pressed the enter key.
Surprised by his actions, Billy watched as the computer brought up a list of related sites. What was going on? What did ‘werewolf' have to do with anything? Hesitantly, Billy reached for the mouse, and started to search from site to site, almost as if he had no control over what he was doing.
As the hours passed, and he clicked from site to site, he read all that he could about the mythical creature. Myths, legends. Every story written by those fascinated with the beast, as well as newspaper and magazine related articles.
As Billy clicked through one more site, his hand froze on the mouse key. A dark page on a site slowly began to download. Before him, becoming more and more clear, was the mangled body of a woman. So gruesome was the picture, that Billy tried to turn away from it, but he couldn't. Something inside of him found it fascinating. He sat there in his desk chair, glaring at the screen, enthralled by what he was seeing.
He let his eyes skim over the words, seeing them, but not seeing them. As he reached the bottom of the column, a familiar word stuck out at him. As he read that one word, his pounding heart stopped.
Billy pushed away from the computer, suddenly freed from the bonds that held him there. He watched the image on the screen, as it began to pulsate. He tried to blink his eyes, to make it go away, but it was still there. And slowly, he began to feel the pain overtaking him once more. It began at the base of his skull, and like a tidelwave; swept over his head to come to rest behind his eyes.
Everything he looked at seemed to take on a reddish glow. A high pitched ringing in his ears, soon followed, growing louder and louder, until he thought his ears would burst. Stumbling back, Billy tripped over his back-pack, which had been discarded onto the floor when he had teleported home, and began to fall.
It all seemed to be moving in slow motion. Falling forever. Then he felt his head hit the hardwood boards of the floor, sending sparks of pain shooting through his head, flashing before his eyes. As he began to push himself up from the floor, he could taste the coppery sting of blood on his tongue.
Surprised, he reached up, wiping his hand over his lips. Blood coated his fingers with dark crimson. He'd bitten his lip when his head hit the floor. As he looked at the blood, he stared in horror at his hand. His fingers seemed to be shrinking, bending in toward the palm of his hand. His once short, blunt fingernails, were now thick, black claws. The fine hairs of his arm, became long and coarse.
"Oh my God! This can't be happening!" He cried in terrified shock. Trying to get to his feet, he felt the world around him starting to spin, sending him back down to his knees. He was on fire now. His whole body burning. Every pour of his body felt like red-hot needles were piercing his skin. Thousands of them, all at once.
Clumsily, he reached for the buttons on his shirt, but the appendages; that he no longer considered to be fingers, couldn't grasp the small buttons. Desperate to feel cool, he began to tear at his clothes, determined to get them off one way or another. In no time, he had removed the bothersome objects, tossing them across the room. But he didn't feel any cooler.
Finally, standing completely naked in the middle of his bedroom, a mirror on the back of his bedroom door, confronted him with a site that he could not believe. His body was not his, anymore. Slowly, painfully, it was changing, becoming less and less human. Billy was disappearing, being replaced by a thing of myth and nightmares. His washboard stomach was drawing inward, toward his spine, his ribs stretching out, rounding to the front. His arms and legs were twisting, and lengthening into new shapes, as he watched the same coarse hair that covered his arms, begin to cover his body.
Every part of his body screamed in pain as it took on the shape of the dark predator; the wolf. And, as the final transformations occurred, he could not stop; what should have been a scream, from being ripped from his lips. The pain in his head, of moments ago, was nothing compared to the pain it was now going through as his face contorted, becoming elongated. He could hear the snap and pop of bones and muscle, as his whole body began to take on it's new shape.
He tried to call out for help. But, all that came out of his mouth, was a low growl. He could hear a sudden pounding on the door, but it didn't seem to make any sense to him anymore.
"Make me whole." There was that voice in his head again. A voice that was a part of him. It was him.
With his new eyes, he gazed around at the unfamiliar surroundings. What were these things around him? What was the sent that he was catching. Someone had invaded his territory. His ears pricked, and he faced the door, as the pounding continued. The creature that had once been Billy, moved slowly, stalkingly, toward the object that separated him from his...prey.
Baring his teeth, he moved closer to the door. There, he could smell the fear on the other side. Fear, and adrenaline, rich blood. Baring his teeth once more, he let out a low, vibrating growl. And, with eyes that could see a drop of water in the dark, he watched the knob on the door begin to turn. Pressing his ears tightly back against his head, he listened as the door slowly began to open, it's hinges squeaking ever so lightly.
Licking his fangs; his meal about to enter the room, he drooled at the thought of the warm blood entering his empty stomach.
Then, something happened. The creature was confused. It felt a desperate need to get away, but it wanted to stay, to eat, to taste the blood. Unable to understand, the creature turned on all fours, and headed for the window next to the bed. In one smooth leap, the wolf lept through the window, down two stories, landing hard on the ground below. Taking a quick look back, the beast turned and sped away into the surrounding darkness.
Hank pushed the door to Billy's room open. He'd heard a commotion coming from his son's room, and had come directly upstairs to check it out. When the door wouldn't open, Hank had panicked, worried about the safety of his son. That fear was even stronger, when he called out to Billy, and he didn't answer. Just as he was letting the panic over take him, he remembered that the door had always had a tendency to stick once in a while. Swallowing down the fear, Hank opened the door on the dark and silent room.
"Billy?" Reaching over to the right of the door, Hank flipped on the light switch, bathing the dark room into light. Everything in the room seemed to be normal. Dirty clothes lay piled on the floor, back-pack dumped carelessly on the floor next to the bed. Hank sighed, shaking his head.
He had never let on to Billy what he knew. He had found out, quite by accident, that Billy was a Power Ranger, and so was his friends.
He had been entering the lab one day when he saw Billy and Adam talking to a voice that seemed to be coming from their watches. Then, right before his eyes, they disappeared from the lab, in two columns of light. One blue column, and one black column. After that, it wasn't too hard to put two and two together, and come up with the conclusion that he had.
"Must be something to do with the Rangers." Hank concluded. Checking the room once more, Hank switched off the light, and closed the door.
He could smell it, the storm coming in from the west. The air was permeated with it. A soft breeze ruffled the fur on his back, as he moved through the darkness of the park, he shivered at the feeling of it.
The grass beneath his feet, was soft. And with each step he took, he could smell the freshness of it, filling his sensitive nostrils. But, above it all, he could smell the salty blood that covered his fur, and the taste of it was bliss. His hunger had been slacked, and now he explored the place that had become his territory. His ears pricked at a sound coming from across the park from him. This was the first sound he had heard since his kill earlier.
Keeping to the dark of the bushes that lined the park, he stealthily made his way toward the sound. The smell of unspilt blood filled the air, but it lacked the adrenaline that the fear brought with it. That would come in time. The blood would be rich with adrenaline when he finally tasted it. The thought made him quiver in excitement.
Another sniff of the air, told him that there were two beings there.
He didn't need to eat. He was full from his first meal, but the thrill of the hunt was running rampant through his blood, and he couldn't ignore it. His whole body quivered with the thought.
Gayle sat on the park bench, feeling safe for the time being. She had been on her way home from a group study meeting, when it had become dark. As she passed through the park, she had heard voices, and had followed them. From behind the cover of a nearby tree, she had watched as a police officer seemed to be arguing with a vagrant. The vagrant was dressed in rags, with long greasy hair and beard. She stayed hidden, until she saw the vagrant move away into the darkness surrounding the park.
As soon as he was gone, Gayle approached the police officer, and explained what had happened, and if she could stay with him, until he could escort her home. Telling him that she had heard about the killings, and didn't want to be in the park alone. The officer had told her that he wouldn't be getting off duty for some time, but that she would be welcome to join him in his patrol of the park until then. She had accepted gratefully, and had stricken up a conversation.
It was during this conversation, that Gayle thought she heard a growl. At first she tried to shut out the sound of the officer's voice, as he continued to talk, to try to listen for what she thought she heard. When she didn't hear it again, she rejoined the conversation. Then it came again. Stiffening, she gazed nervously around her, trying to see past the darkness.
"Gayle, what's wrong?" The officer stood from his spot on the bench, and for the first time, he heard the growl. Putting his hand on the butt of his gun, he turned to check out the area. From out of the darkness, like a wraith, a large gray figure lept from the nearby bushes, knocking him to the ground. A quick slash of claws left a bloody trail down his chest. He rolled to the side, clutching a the wounds, listening as Gayle screamed in terror, just a few feet away from him.
Gayle watched the wolf approach her, and even in her terrified state, she noticed that the creature was larger than a normal wolf should be.
It continued to approach her, almost seeming to be stalking her. It's yellow eyes seemed to glow in the dark, menacingly. It's lips curved in a snarl that bared two rows of razor sharp teeth. Was that blood on it's fur? She asked herself, as it drew closer and closer.
With a deep growl, the beast settled back on it's haunches, preparing to lunge at her. Just as the beast let go with an ear pearcing roar, leaping toward her, Gayle threw her arms up in front of her, waiting for those razor sharp teeth to sink into the flesh of her arms.
Instead she heard the blast of a gun being fired, making her jump back a few inches. Dropping her arms, she saw the beast laying on it's side, struggling to get to it's feet. She felt a hand grab her arm, and she screamed.
"You've got to get out of here! Get to the car, and call for some back-up!" The officer pushed the keys to the car into her fisted hand. Gayle nodded her understanding, and stumbled her way though the park to the parking lot, where the patrol car sat alone.
The creature, laying on it's side on the ground, watched as the female ran into the darkness. But, it didn't matter. There was still the male. An Alpha male, from the smell of it. This was his territory, now. This weak Alpha male would not live to challenge his again.
In the blink of an eye, the beast righted itself, and as he did so, he felt the burn of the bullet wound in his shoulder. The bullet had penetrated deep, but not enough. The Alpha male turned toward him, and the beast could smell the adrenaline racing through the blood now, and it was satisfied. As the male turned, the beast caught a flash of silver in his hand, but he didn't move fast enough.
Billy shivered as he reached for the blanket he had apparently kicked off sometime during the night. As he felt around; eyes closed, he noticed that things didn't quite feel right. Slowly he opened is eyes, blinking them against the sunlight that had invaded his sleep. A deep throbbing, pounded away behind his eyes. Blinking a few time, he pushed himself up into a sitting position, and looked around. Before him was his lab table, filled with beakers and flasks.
Jumping to his feet, Billy spun around to take it all in. A rush of panic filled him in that one instant. He had to be dreaming. He just had to be. This couldn't have happened again! Not in two consecutive days.
Trying to calm himself, he tried to remember what it was that he was doing the night before. He'd been in his bedroom, looking up information about Wolfsbane on the Internet. And if that was the case, then what was he doing here in the lab? Billy closed his eyes, trying to control the erratic beating of his heart, and his near hyperventilation. His throbbing head, seemed to be causing some lightheadedness.
Remembering what had happened the morning before, Billy opened his eyes, and, gazing down at himself, he found that he was naked once more. On closer inspection he saw some deep bruises on his side, and a few on his legs, along with something that looked a bit like a combination of dirt and dried blood. Billy quickly reached for the lab apron that sat on a stool nearby. A searing pain shot through his arm at the motion. Pulling back he looked for the cause of the pain, his free hand moving carefully over his shoulder.
As his fingers came into contact with the area, Billy sucked in a deep breath, and gazed at the spot on his upper left shoulder. The skin was slightly swollen in an area about the size of a silver dollar. In it's center, was a wound as big around as his index finger. The edges slightly jagged, with dry trails of blood extending from it.
"Oh God, no! I've got to talk to Zordon." Billy tried to swallow down the lump of panic that filled his throat. Careful to protect his arm, he reached for the apron once more, pulling it on over his head, and heading for the door.
As he reached for the knob, he saw it start to turn. Glancing quickly around, he dashed for the closet, barely shutting the door before his father stepped into the lab.
"Billy? Are you down here?" Hank called out. "I guess he must have left for school already. Can you do me a favor?"
"Sure, Mr. Cranston." Came Kim's voice from behind him.
Billy listened silently; having forgotten that he'd promised that he would walk to school with Kim this morning.
"When you see Billy at school today, could you tell him that I'll be late getting home from work tonight?"
"I sure will, Mr. Cranston."
Billy watched as the door closed, leaving him alone in the room once again. Quietly, he pushed open the closet door, listening to the footsteps of his father and Kim, retreating up the stairs.
"Is it possible? Could I be killing people?" Billy, for the first time in a long time, didn't know what to do, or what to think. Here he was, confronted with some very incriminating evidence, and he didn't know what to do. There had to be a rational explanation for everything, but he wasn't feeling exceptionally rational at the moment. He wasn't a killer. Was he?
The sound of a car starting and backing out of the drive, told Billy that his father was leaving for work, and that he was completely alone. And at that moment, there was only one thing on his mind. He had to get to Zordon.
Racing up the stairs, Billy quickly showered and dressed in record time. He had to get to Zordon soon, or he'd go crazy with all of the things that were running through his mind.
Standing alone in his bedroom, his hand on his communicator, he was ready to teleport. Just as his finger began to nudge the button, there was a thud against the front door. Quickly descending the stairs, Billy headed to the door. Looking out though the peep hole, he couldn't see anyone or anything around.
Carefully he opened the door to find, sitting on the welcome mat, the morning's news paper. The headline jumped out at him, accusing him with his own thoughts. With hands trembling, Billy picked up the paper and closed the door behind him.
Billy made his way slowly across the livingroom, to the dinning area, where he proceeded to unwrap the rubber band from around it. Laying the paper out on the table top, Billy began to read of his nightly adventures.
2 More Murders
Police are investigating the fifth and sixth murders this morning. For the past two weeks, a total of six murders have been committed; all of which appear to be the work of the same individual, or individuals.
Callie Jorgerson was found brutally mutilated near the pond in Angel Grove City Park. The night's second victim was Officer Hal Peterson. He was found in the middle of the park, by a bench, not far from the parking lot, where his patrol car was parked. That's where authorities found a young woman, Gayle Monroe, who had put in a call to dispatch at about 11:21 PM.
The young woman was not harmed, but the police have provided a psychologist to speak with the young woman about the nights events. This is the only apparent witness that AGPD have on the murders.
In a statement, she told the arriving Officers, that the attacker had been a very large, black wolf. Investigations are going on to verify these claims.
Blood at the science, indicate that the animal may have been wounded in the fight. There was six rounds in the gun, and only one had been fired. Police followed a small blood trail through the park, but it stopped just inside of the park's boundaries.
A curfew has been posted for all of Angel Grove, though the murders have all taken place within the park perimeters. No one is allowed outside past dark. Citations will be given to those who disobey the curfew. Police ask you to use caution at all times when alone, weather it's during the day, or early evening.
Police are offering a reward to any information leading to the capture of the murder. Please inform them of any information you might have, as soon as possible.
Billy moved away from the paper, like it was ready to leap up off the table and attack him. He stood staring down at the front page, the words accusing him. It was all there, all they had to do was put his name at the bottom.
He didn't know how long he stood there, staring at the paper. The familiar six tone beep from his communicator brought his thoughts back to the present. For a brief moment, Billy stood there trying to remember what those beeps ment. Looking down at the band on his wrist, then realized just what it was. Raising his wrist up to his mouth, he pressed the button, "This is Billy."
"RITA AND ZEDD HAVE SENT A NEW MONSTER TO ANGEL GROVE. WEREMON. MEET THE REST OF THE RANGERS IN DOWN TOWN ANGEL GROVE AS SOON AS YOU CAN."
"I'm on my way Zordon." Billy sighed into the communicator.
Realizing that his meeting with Zordon would have to wait, Billy reluctantly morphed and teleported to the down town area of Angel Grove, where the other Rangers were already in battle with the monster.
As he watched the battle, already in progress, a strong sense of excitement began to fill him. Gone was the importance of needing to talk with Zordon. As he stood there, on the city street; his blue armor protecting him, he watched the monster that his teammates were fighting, and he had to laugh. He found it amazingly hilarious, that Rita and Zedd had attempted to make their monster look like the very thing dwelling inside of him.
And it took no time at all, to see that their attempts had failed miserably.
Weremon was a woman in form, but perched atop her shoulders, was a wolf's head that seemed to look more like a Chihuahua. A mane of white hair flowed down her back, and bristles covered her body. Billy couldn't stop the laugh that erupted from him, over shadowing the sounds of battle.
Noticing how quite it had become, Billy stopped laughing, and looked around. The Rangers had backed away from he seven foot monster, and Weremon, as well as the Rangers, were all staring at him.
"What's so funny Blue Boy?" Weremon asked. Her voice deep and growling.
"You." Billy stood his ground. Legs firmly set apart, fists clenched on his hips.
"I'll show you what funny, you puny, worthless human!"
"You, want to show, me? Well, let me show you what a real wolf can do!"
Before Weremon could advance toward Billy to attack, Billy lept forward, a feral growl filling the air around them.
The Rangers watched in stunned surprise, as Billy attacked the monster with a quickness, and fierceness that they had never seen before. But, they couldn't dwell on it long, as Tengus swarmed into the fight. Each Ranger suddenly had two to three Tengus a piece, as they returned to the fight.
As the fight continued, growing more and more intense, Billy began to feel that small part of him that was human, start to slip away. The beast within him was taking over the fight. It's territorial instincts driving it forward.
"God! Help me! Don't let me fade away, like I never existed!" He screamed to himself. Then he heard the growling voice.
"What is a Man with out the Beast? If all Beasts were gone, Man would die from a great loneliness of Spirit. For, whatever happens to the Beast, soon happens to Man. All things are connected. Join with me. Make me whole. Together we can be strong!" Billy wanted to resist, to fight the beast. But, the promises the voice made began to pull him down.
Suddenly, a blinding pain shot though his head. Darker, and more painful than before. Billy clapped his hands over his ears, a scream filling the streets around him. His own scream? He couldn't be sure. It seemed to come from him, and yet it seemed to come from everywhere all at once.
Distracted by Billy's screams of pain, the Tengus were able to beat the Rangers back.
Seeing that her opponent was in great pain, and distracted; Weremon attacked, her long claws ripping a deep trail across the gold, wolf embossed medallion on Billy's chest, sending him sprawling several feet away.
"You're mine now!" Weremon roared in victory.
Billy barely even felt the blow, or his body hitting the ground several feet away, with a force that should have knocked the air from his lungs. The pain in his head threatened to split his skull.
Several feet from where Billy had landed, Tommy began to push himself to a sitting position, opening a link to Zordon.
"Zordon! Billy needs help! He's in a lot of pain, and he can't defend himself!"
"We're teleporting him now." Came Alpha's worried reply.
Billy felt his armor dissolve from around his body. He was completely defenseless now. As he tried to look up as Weremon approached him. The sun was too bright, sending needles of pain shooting through his eyes. But, none the less, Weremon didn't miss the look that Billy shot her. His eyes flashing a bright yellow, and a set of fangs protruded slightly over his bottom lip. Weremon stopped in her advance, startled by this new part to the fight. Before she could collect herself to continue her attack, Billy disappeared in a flash of blue light.
The only part of Billy's consciousness that was still Billy, felt the dizzying effects of teleportation. The pain, as he knew it, was gone, but he would have preferred the pain to the icy cold darkness that threatened to completely engulf him forever. He had to fight it. Alpha and Zordon had to save him.
Alpha was shocked down to his diodes, as Billy coalesced in the center of the Command Center floor, laying on his side in a fetal posture.
"HURRY ALPHA. WE MUST GET BILLY TO THE MED-BED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE." Zordon instructed the small automaton.
"Oh, Billy! Aye, yi, yi, yi!" Alpha rushed to his side, grasping Billy's shoulders to help him up from the floor.
Shock sent Alpha stumbling backwards, as Billy's head shot up, his eyes glowing yellow, and fangs filling his mouth.
"ALPHA! THE CONTAINMENT FIELD..."
Alpha quickly pressed the controls that brought down beams of light to encircle the now, crouching figure. As the beams solidified, Billy rushed them, the light singeing his flesh. Falling away, Billy kneeled on the floor, staring out between the beams at Alpha, fangs bared and a deep rumbling growl flowing from him. Suddenly it seemed as if a sudden pain gripped him, and Alpha could hear Billy's voice, mangled somewhat by the fangs. "Help...Me...!" Billy cried out to them, looking up through the beams. A single tear streaking down his pain filled face.
"Billy..." Alpha watched Billy, helpless to do anything.
Both Zordon and Alpha watched in horror, as Billy began to transform into the creature that haunted every man's worse dreams. Watched, as his body began to bend and contort in ways they never would have imagined was possible.
What were they going to do? How could they help him?
"ALPHA. DO A BRAIN SCAN."
"What is it, Zordon?" Alpha questioned, as he programmed a small rod to enter the containment field from above, and carefully circle the transforming Billy.
"WE WILL KNOW MORE IN A MOMENT." Zordon hoped that his voice was as even as he thought. In all of his centuries as a Ranger mentor, he had never experienced anything like this. But, he seemed to remember something Dulcea had told him, about a Ranger several centuries ago, who had gone through something similar to this.
"Finished, Zordon." Alpha announced.
"BRING IT UP ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN." Alpha stood back, aghast, as the image of Billy's brain came up on the screen. The dark area, that had been just a small part of Billy's brain earlier, was now covering all but an eighth of the brain now.
"What's happening, Zordon?" Alpha asked, his electronic voice, shaky.
Just then, an howl ripped through the Center, bringing both Zordon and Alpha's attentions back to the containment field containing...a wolf. A large dark, gray wolf.
"WE MUST CONTACT DULCEA." Zordon said, watching as the wolf; growling, began to throw itself, time and time again, at the bars of light.
The Ninja Mega Zord stood silently, watching as the super sized form of Weremon, fell to the ground, exploding into flames.
"We'd better head back to the Command Center and see how Billy's doing." Tommy stated. In unison, the others agreed.
Tommy had been grateful that Alpha had installed a remote device in all of the Zords, that would allow them to control an absent Rangers' Zord, to create the Mega Zord when needed. In this case, it had been Billy's Wolf Zord.
The battle had been hard, not only because Weremon was a worthy adversary, but because Billy's well being was on all of their minds.
Quickly, the Rangers teleported to the Command Center, where they coalesced into five, unmorphed, teens. Rushing forward, Kim voiced all their concerns. "Where is Billy? Is he all right?" But, before Zordon could respond to her question, they heard a howl from the left side of the Center, in the dark.
Kim jumped back in surprise, as they all did, when the large, gray wolf ran at the bars of light once more. With a yelp of pain, the creature retreated from the bars for the moment. A deep growl vibrating the air around them. Fearing the worse, Tommy moved cautiously toward the bars of light that separated him from the wolf. Looking the creature in the eyes, he hoped there would be some sort of recognition. But, Tommy cold only see the fierce, wildness in it's eyes.
From the corner of his eye, Tommy saw a flash of blue. Turning his head, his eyes fell upon the shredded remains of Billy's clothes. Looking back at the beast, Tommy voiced, what he prayed with all of his heart, that this thing couldn't possibly be...
"Billy?" At once the beast attacked the bars again, more fiercely than before. It didn't seem to register that the bars were inflicting pain. Tommy jumped back, then quickly joined the rest of the team. "Zordon. What's going on? Is that...thing...Billy?"
"If it is, I think he'll need a new razor." Rocky added. He couldn't help himself. In stressful situations, joking kept him from going totally nuts.
"It's not funny, Rocky." Aisha reprimanded.
"I know." And Aisha believed him. She could see it in his eyes, that he was truly concerned.
"YES, RANGERS. THE CREATURE YOU SEE BEFORE YOU IS INDEED BILLY."
"What happened?" Adam asked. He looked over at the wolf. It had stopped attacking the bars, and was now pacing the small area, never taking it's eyes off of the group.
"I DO NOT KNOW, RANGERS. I HAVE CONTACTED DULCEA. SHE MAY BE ABLE TO SHED A BIT OF LIGHT ON THINGS."
"Oh God, Tommy. All those murders. The police said that it looked like they'd been attacked by a large, wild animal. Even Gayle Monroe, the girl that was there last night, in the park, said that it had been a large black wolf. You don't think..." Kim couldn't bare the thought.
"I don't know, Kim. I hope, for Billy's sake, that it wasn't."
"It will kill Billy, if he was to find out that he had been responsible for the killings." Aisha mumbled.
"WE DO NOT KNOW THAT IT WAS INDEED BILLY, RANGERS. ALL WE CAN DO IS WAIT FOR DULCEA TO ARRIVE." Zordon stated, as the wolf began a fresh attack on the bars that separated him from his prey.
Billy stood in the light, it's warmth at his back. But, before him lay the darkness that had been creeping closer and closer to him. The same ominous voice calling out his name, tempting him. All around him, he could hear the voices of his friends, their words barely distinguishable. Several times he'd called out to them, begging them to help him, but each time he called out to them, a roar so loud, that he had to cover his ears, drowned out his voice. Keeping him from being heard by those who could help.
It was hopeless. He'd be swallowed up by the dark, and William James Cranston would cease to exist.
Time seemed to pass in slow motion. Tommy knew they'd been waiting for Dulcea for nearly an hour, but it seemed more like it had been forever.
Unable to remain still for another minute, Tommy lurched to his fee, and began to pace the Center's floor; the growls of the wolf following him.
As a column of dark, green light filled the Command Center, the Rangers all climbed to their feet. They watched as the light took the form of a tall, slender, beautiful woman. Long red hair pulled back into a thick braid down her back. They'd all come to know this woman well.
Once she was completely solid, the Rangers gathered around her. She looked the same, except now; gone was the skimpy outfit she had been wearing when they had first met her on Pheados. Dulcea was now decked out in full body armor, made of the same material as the other outfit had been made of.
The armor appeared to be like another skin, with strategically placed plates of heavier armor. Around her waist, coming to a point just above her knees in front and in back, was a metallic, green mesh skirt.
The armor panicked Kimberly for a brief moment. She had witnessed, first hand, the creatures of Pheados. And, at that time, Dulcea had only been protected by her skimpy armor and her staff. Why did she need so much armor now?
"WELCOME, DULCEA." Zordon invited.
"Thank you, Zordon. Though I wish it were under better circumstances that we meet again."
"I, AS WELL."
Kim couldn't hold back any longer. She had to know. "Dulcea. Why are you wearing so much armor. Is there a battle?"
"No. But, there will be." Dulcea moved to the bars of light, looking past them, at the wolf who had at one time, been Billy.
"What do you mean, ‘There will be.'? I don't understand." Tommy asked, though Dulcea did not turn to face the group gathered behind her. She continued to hold the beasts eyes with her own.
"He is still there. There is still a chance of saving him." Finally she turned to face the group, who seemed even more puzzled by her current words, than they had been by her previous ones. "The armor is to protect myself from Billy and his spirit guide. You see, inside of Billy, hidden far back; almost forgotten, lies a dark side of himself. A part he has spent his life denying existence.
"When the wolf spirit entered into Billy, it found this darkness. The wolf is a creature who's natural instinct is the darkness. So, the darkness inside of Billy grasped onto that inherent part of the wolf, pulling it to the dark side.
"Unable to control a part of himself the he doesn't believe exists, he, Billy, is allowing the darkness to take over. Billy will have to face the dark part of himself, and except it as a part of him.
"Then, and only then, will he be able to co-exist with the wolf spirit in peace.
"I will send Billy inside of his dark side, to confront that dark part of himself. If he accepts, and conquers, he will be as he was before.
"But..." Tommy spoke the one word that seemed to hang in the air between them.
"But, if he does not accept, and is conquered, then Billy will cease to exist at all, becoming the creature you see before you, for ever."
This was the last thing that they all wanted to hear. They couldn't loose Billy. He was not only a part of the team, he was part of their family.
"What do we have to do?" Adam asked, willing to do anything for a friend. Dulcea only smiled at the young Frog Prince.
"There is nothing that you can do for Billy. Billy must return with me to Pheados."
"I'll go with you." Kim volunteered. She looked back at Tommy, who only nodded his agreement.
"I am truly sorry, Rangers. It is a trip that Billy and I must make alone." Sad faces gazed up at Zordon, hoping that he would contradict Dulcea's words, but knowing that he would not.
"I AM SORRY, RANGERS. DULCEA IS RIGHT. AS IT IS, THE TEAM WILL BE SHORT ONE RANGER, IN A BATTLE AGAINST ONE OF RITA AND ZEDD'S CREATIONS. WE CANNOT LOOSE ANOTHER."
"We understand, Zordon." Aisha put in.
"Even if we don't agree." Rocky added.
They watched as Alpha approached the bars; a small gun-like-device in his hands. A small burst of air, propelled a small dart from the tip of the gun, to puncture the fur and skin of the wolf's hind quarters.
The beast roared in indignity, and proceeded to attack the bars between it and Alpha. Alpha stumbled back, and watched as the tranquilizer began to take effect. The Rangers watched in stunned surprise, as the beast staggered a few feet, then dropped to the floor in a furry heap.
Slowly, the fur began to lighten and recede. The sound of muscles and bones realigning, filled the room. Soon, the figure began to resemble that of a human. As a few more minutes passed; where the wolf once lay, now lay the unconscious, naked form of Billy.
Kim and Aisha quickly turned away from the site, and the bars disappeared, allowing Dulcea access. As she moved to Billy's side, Alpha handed her a blanket. Covering Billy's still form, Dulcea looked back at the Rangers.
At the prompting of the male Rangers, Kim and Aisha turned to see Dulcea kneeling at Billy's side.
"We must take our leave now, Rangers. Billy will be returned to you, when the battle is won." There didn't seem to be any doubt in Dulcea's words. And it gave them all hope that they would see their friend in his human form, once again.
"Dulcea. What if-"
"No, Tommy. Do not speak of the worst. Think only of the best. Billy will need the strength that all of you have, to help him through this. You will all be the anchor to the light, from the darkness." Tommy only nodded his response. "Until we meet again, Zordon."
"MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU BOTH." Zordon, along with the others, watched as Dulcea and Billy disappeared in a two columns of light. One dark green column, and one blue column.
Once they were gone, the Rangers turned back to Zordon.
"YOU MUST HAVE FAITH, RANGERS. ALL WILL BE AS IT SHOULD. YOU MUST RETURN TO SCHOOL."
"We will contact you the minute we know anything." Alpha offered.
"Thank you, Alpha, Zordon." Tommy smiled. Then, in flashes of; white, black, yellow, pink and red, the Rangers teleported out of the Command Center.
"Aye, yi, yi, Zordon. I hope Billy will be all right."
"AS DO I, ALPHA. AS DO I."
School seemed to go on forever, the rest of the day. For each of them, who were all surprisingly inattentive in class, questions had to be asked more than once.
Finally, the day was over, and they found themselves gathered around the same group of lockers once again, as they had the day before. All with worried looks on their faces.
"How do you think Billy is doing?" Rocky asked, once Tommy had joined them.
"I don't know, man. But, I couldn't stop thinking about him all day. Mrs. Appleby almost put me in detention with Bulk and Skull today." A few uncomfortable laughs went around the group, but died quickly.
"I'm sure that if anything important happened, Zordon would have let us know." Kim added, hopefully.
"Yeah. You're right." Rocky accepted what Kim said. How could it be otherwise?
Hearing the opening of a locker door coming from the general direction of Billy's locker, the group turned, hoping to see their friend. But all of their faces fell, when they saw that it wasn't Billy.
"I'm sorry. Did I interrupt something?" The young woman asked.
"Hi...Gayle, is it?" At her nod, Kim continued. "You didn't interrupt."
"Yeah. This is Tommy, Rocky, Aisha and Adam." She ticked off each of their names, as she motioned to them.
"Hi. I've seen you guys around school. You're Billy's friends."
"Yeah, we are." Adam said, a bit shyly.
"How is he? I usually see him here at the lockers, and walk to the last class with him. But, I haven't seen him today. Normally I wouldn't worry, but I've never known him to miss school."
"Um, he had to go out of town on a family emergency. He should be back in a few days." Aisha was amazed a how quickly she was able to come up with the lie, and she was doubly surprised that it sounded so real.
"Good. I was worried about him. If you hear from him, give him my best."
"I will, thanks." Aisha accepted.
"I heard about what happened last night. Are you all right? You must have been scared to death." Kim asked, noticing the bandages on Gayle's arm. Gently, Gayle brushed a finger over the white bandages.
"Yeah. I couldn't believe what was happening. My mom insisted that I stay home from school today, but I couldn't. I would have just set in my room, letting the whole thing take over my life. I had to come to school, to get my mind on other things. But, I'm fine, as long as the sun's up. As soon as it looks like it's getting dark, you'll be able to find me hinging under the covers of my bed, with all windows and doors tightly locked. I don't think I'll ever be able to go out at night, again."
"I don't blame you." Kim tried to smile, but failed miserably.
Gayle closed her locker door, and held her books in her arms. "Again, if you hear from Billy, tell him ‘hi' for me."
"Sure." Tommy watched as Gayle headed down the hall, disappearing around the corner.
"I guess Billy hasn't been having as many problems with girls, like we thought he did." Rocky stated.
"I guess not." Adam smiled.
Gayle was quite a pretty girl. Long blond hair, deep brown eyes, and a brilliant smile. She would have been a bit taller than Billy, of that they were quite sure. She wasn't the thin twig of a girl, like most of the other girls attending AGH. Kim wanted to say that she was pleasantly plump, but that would have degraded how she really saw the girl. Voluptuous, was more like it.
"Let's head to the Youth Center." Aisha said, pulling Kim out of her thoughts.
Together, the group headed out of the school.
Dulcea found Pheados unusually quiet, upon her return. She had been back, with Billy, for a few hours. Everything had to be prepared for the battle. She had been busy, making a fire, and protecting herself and Billy from what might happen. Only when she finished her tasks, did she notice how quiet everything was.
"They must know." She said aloud to herself.
Billy had not regained consciousness since they arrived, which was for the best. She would have had to have him drink some of the herbs to put him back to sleep once again. The hard part, would be for her to enter into the unconscious part of Billy's mind; where he was at, at that very moment. As well as be able to explain to him what was happening, and what was going to happen.
The darkness seemed to fall quickly on Phaedos, wrapping Dulcea and Billy in it's embrace. The flames of the fire tried to fight back the encroaching darkness, but failed in it's attempts, giving ground, and settling for lighting up a small circle around it, and the two forms nearby.
Dulcea pulled a ball from the bag next to her. The ball fit in the palm of her hand, shinning, reflecting the light of the fire, and casting prisms of light over the ring of light around the fire.
Slowly, she began to chant in a language long forgotten. The ancient language of the ancient Phaedosians. As she continued to chant, she moved in a clockwise circle, eyes closed. As she moved, she turned the globe in a counter clockwise direction in her hands. Finally feeling the deep warmth emanating from the small globe, Dulcea stopped turning. Opening her eyes, she kept chanting, and made her way to the fire's edge.
Drawing close to the fire, the chanting grew in volume, and became faster. Raising the globe to the stars above her, Dulcea began to reach into the growing flames of the fire, placing the globe in the fire's center. Drawing back, she brought the chant to a slow stop.
As soon as the last words were spoken, a flash of blue light exploded from the fire, then coalesced into a pillar of blue light; the flames of the fire dancing around it's base. Cautiously, Dulcea looked over her shoulder at the still unconscious form behind her. Assured that he was alright, she lept into the fire, and disappeared within the column of blue light.
Billy had huddled, terrified, in the small space of light that was left in the darkness. The darkness around him; growing, trying to engulf him. The voice in that darkness, kept calling to him, growing louder and louder. He'd tried to call out to anyone who might hear him, but each time he'd call out, the creature lurking in the dark, would roar out in anger, covering the sound of Billy's voice.
Just when he thought he would have to give in, the darkness began to recede, the roars of anger growing weaker.
Soon, Billy stood in the warmth of the light, watching as the darkness pulled further away from him. Then, suddenly, it stopped and went no further, as if there was a wall holding it back. He could barely hear the creature calling to him. Gazing around, Billy tried to find a way out; calling out to anyone who might hear him.
Slowly, ever so carefully, Billy moved toward the bright center of the light, the warmth encircling him, taking away the cold that the darkness had left within him, as it had tried to enfold him. Behind him, he could hear the faint calling of his name. Ahead; warmth and his friends. The words ‘Go toward the light' repeated inside of his head, as he slowly made his way to the light.
As he drew closer to the light, a flash of brighter light blinded him momentarily. As he stood stunned, blinking the spots from his eyes, he gazed up ahead of him to see a beam of light emerging from the bright center of the light. The blue beam of light stopped just a few feet from him, a hum seeming to fill the air. He could feel it on his skin.
Cautiously, Billy moved forward, his hand outstretched to touch the blue light. But, a voice beyond the light, called out to him, stopping him. The voice seemed familiar, and Billy thought that he should know it. Looking deep into the light, he looked for the source of the voice.
"Who are you?" Billy called. He was learning quickly that it was best not to trust any voice here in this place. The sound of his own voice startled him. He hadn't been able to hear a word he spoke since he had arrived here. Wherever ‘here' was.
"Has it been so long, that you do not remember me Billy?"
"Dul...Dulcea?" Yes. He knew he should have known that voice.
"Yes, William." A gentle hand reached out, touching his shoulder, as Billy turned to face the amazon-like woman. He smiled at her. Her being there made him feel safer.
"Dulcea, what are you doing here? Wherever ‘here' is."
"We are in the unconscious part of your mind. That place where your dreams come from. The place where you hid away the things that you refuse to face, or aren't important."
"How do I get out of here?" Billy asked, looking at the light ahead of him, and the blue beam.
"Face yourself. Accept who you are. Every piece of who you are." Billy was confused by her words. He knew himself, and he accepted that he was considered a geek, and that he was smart. Everything about himself, he accepted.
"I don't understand. I know who I am, and I accept who I am."
"If only you did, Billy. If you truly accepted who you are, completely, you would not be here right now. Do you see the darkness, there?" Dulcea asked, pointing to the black wall that had receded from around him. Billy nodded. "Well, that darkness is trying to take over who you are. And within that darkness, trapped, is your wolf spirit.
"You have fought countless battles, and have overcome insurmountable odds, as a Ranger. This will be your greatest battle...as a man.
"You have a dark side, Billy; a part of you that you have refused to accept, and let be a part of you. It is uncontrolled, and it has now taken life in the inherent dark side of your wolf spirit."
"You mean, I'm a werewolf?" Billy asked, the thought confusing and terrifying.
"In a sense, yes. Your dark side is using the wolf spirit to manifest itself into the plane of your reality." Billy vaguely remembered reading about murders in the park. Then all the memories came flooding back to him all at once.
"How can I stop it?"
"You must face your dark self, and accept it as a part of who you are. And, until you can do that, you will have no control over it."
"If that is what I have to do, then I'll do it." Billy responded, feeling a bit of courage, looking over Dulcea's shoulder at the darkness beyond.
"Do not be fooled, Billy. It will not be as easy as it seems. You can not allow yourself to become a part of the dark side, it must become a part of you."
Billy quietly contemplated Dulcea's words. Was he really prepared for the biggest battle of his life, unprotected by the powers he had taken for granted? A battle in which he was only a man, and not a Ranger? Billy looked up at the woman standing proudly before him. Like a mother looking at her child, she smiled down at him, placing a strong, slender hand on his shoulder.
"You have great courage, William. I believe in you. When you are ready to return to the world of your reality, all you have to do is follow the blue beam of light. It will guide you home. Until we meet again Billy." Dulcea released her hold on his shoulder, and placing her hand on the beam of blue light, she slowly disappeared.
Alone, once again, he looked back at the wall of darkness. And as he stood there looking at it, it began to move toward him. Panicked, Billy reached out for the beam of light, but a very different voice stopped him. Or...was it...voices?
"Billy's stronger than he realizes." Was that...Tommy's voice?
"If anyone can do it, Billy can." Kim?
"Is there anything that Billy can't do? If there is, I haven't seen it." Sweet, kind Aisha.
"This team would be lost without him." Adam. So much like himself.
"Well, if he doesn't, I guess we'll have to get him his shots, and get him licensed." Billy laughed. And it felt good. Good old Rocky. The voices continued, and he began to draw strength from them. Moving forward, with a sense of determination, Billy was ready to face the challenge head on.
The darkness, sensing Billy determination, continued to approach him, calling out his name. Then, just a few feet away from him, the darkness stopped. Billy tried to look into it's depths, a deep fear starting to fill him. He wanted to bolt, to head for the beam of light, but he couldn't let his friends down. The believed in him, and trusted him to do all that he could.
"Welcome, William. Are you prepared to join with me, so that we may be strong, together?"
The dream. The one he'd had yesterday, in the Command Center. Or was it even a dream, after all? Carefully, Billy reached out his hands toward the darkness, feeling it's cold reach out to touch him in return.
Steeling himself, and screwing up his courage, Billy spoke to the creature hiding within the darkness. "How about...we have a little talk before I agree to anything?"
"I like to talk, though I doubt you will still refuse afterward." Taking a deep breath, Billy thrust his arms into the darkness. Then in one quick moment of bravery..or foolishness; he didn't know which, he entered completely into the darkness, letting it wash over him like a black tidelwave.
Dulcea knew the moment Billy entered into the darkness. His unconscious body, laying on the ground a few feet from her, suddenly arched up off the ground, his arms stretched out and away from his body, at his sides.
Moving swiftly to his side, she pulled the blanket back up over his bared torso, laying a comforting hand on his forehead. Closing her eyes, she let her inner voice reach out to Billy in that dark place.
"Courage, William. Believe in yourself." She could feel his body begin to relax once more, under her comforting hand. Opening her eyes, she saw that Billy was at peace, once more.
Aisha punched Rocky in the arm.
The group sat at their usual table at the Youth Center. They'd been talking about Billy, trying to keep their voices down, so that they wouldn't be heard. It was hard. There seemed to be more people at the Youth Center that day, than there usually was.
Rocky rubbed his arm and gave Aisha a sad look that seemed to say, "What did I say?" She tried not to smile, and as she looked around, she could see that the others were trying to hold back as well.
"I suppose that you'll be the one to train him to walk on a leash?" Tommy couldn't help himself. So this is why Rocky always said the corniest, and most inappropriate things at the wrong time? Because it keeps him from going off the deep end, when he's stressing out about things.
"Well, if I do, then one of you guys will have to house break him." Rocky countered.
The group finally broke into a roar of laughter. Tears were streaking down their cheeks, mixed with those of concern and worry. Ernie watched the group of teens from across the room. He had noticed that Billy had been a bit under the weather yesterday, and with Billy not being with the group today, didn't sit well with him. This bunch of kids were the closest he'd ever come to having kids of his own, and he was worried about them all.
Placing the last of the ordered smoothies on the table, Ernie made his way to the table where the teens sat, still laughing.
"Hey, Ernie." Tommy responded, from between bursts of laughter.
"It's good to see you guys laughing. By the way...where is Billy? Is he feeling alright?" The laughter immediately died away, as worried glances were exchanged from one person to the other. "What's wrong? Is Billy okay?" Ernie was extremely worried now.
"A...why do you ask?" Kim gulped out.
"I saw that he wasn't feeling very well yesterday, and he's not with you guys, like he usually is. And those looks that you just passed each other when I asked..."
"No, Ernie. Billy's fine. He...just had to leave town on a family emergency." Tommy looked at Aisha who had used that excuse earlier.
"Yeah. He's...suppose to call tonight. We'll tell him that you asked about him." Kim added.
"Okay. Thanks." Ernie hesitated for a moment, then left the group alone.
Sighing, Rocky looked at Tommy, "Do you think he believed you?" He cast a glance at Ernie's retreating figure.
"Let's hope so." Tommy stated.
Billy never thought that silence could be so...silent. He was prepared to be attacked as the darkness washed over him, anything...but this. He strained to hear even the smallest sound, but even the calling of his name had ceased the minute he stepped into the darkness.
Surely it couldn't have been that easy. Or had he failed, and let the darkness overcome him? Looking back, Billy tried to locate the light, but it was gone. The darkness was total, complete. He couldn't even see his own hand in front of his face, but yet, he seemed to know where to go.
As Billy moved carefully through the cold of the dark, he listened for sounds, his sense of touch alert to anything around him. He could even feel the darkness itself. But there was no sound. Even his booted feet, as he walked, brought no sound to his ears.
"Where are you?" Billy called out. The sound of his own voice heard only as vibrations in his ears. Just then, he felt something move past him, but it made no sound.
Holding down his instincts to run back the way he had come, Billy moved slowly forward. Suddenly, there was the sound of a voice all around him, causing him to jump. Using instincts he had honed during his time as a Ranger, Billy took up a fighting stance.
"I am everywhere. I am all around you, inside of you. We share the same skin. We see through the same eyes, and we hear the same voices. You and I are one and the same." The voice seemed to come from everywhere, and yet, from nowhere. Billy relaxed a bit, but he was still prepared for the attack that would surely come.
Suddenly, the darkness drew away from him, leaving him alone in a small circle, about six feet round. He could see anything that came into the light now. But, it seemed to only increase his awareness.
"You do know me, Billy. Remember all of those times when you were teased, picked on, beaten up? Remember how you felt back then, and what you wanted to do to those who treated you this way? You thought about revenge, and every time you didn't take it, you pushed me further and further into the back of your mind. This is the part I now rule. Well, guess what? You're now in my territory. The dark side of the genius.
"You can never truly exist without me, and I can not exist without you. But, only together can we be whole." Billy watched in shock, as a dark figure stepped from the depths of the surrounding darkness, into the light.
He was looking at...himself. But yet, it wasn't him at all. The Billy that stood before him was pale with eyes as black as the darkness that surrounded them. Everything else about him was the same. He was dressed all in black, seeming to be one with the darkness.
Billy watched his dark self; fear and curiosity keeping him in place. Billy watched, his dark self's movements were swift and smooth, almost like a dance. It was then, that Billy noticed the black chain in the Dark Billy's hands, trailing off into the dark.
"You said you wanted to talk? I'm listening."
"You said that we are one and the same. I think we can agree to co-exist peacefully with each other. I accept now, that you are a part of who I am." The Dark Billy began to laugh.
"I don't think you understand the situation here. Do you really know who I am? I am everything you fear, everything that you close your eyes to, to pretend that it doesn't exist. How can you accept me as part of you? I am the real you, and I must accept you as a part of me. And that should be easy for me; you see, I know you better than you know yourself."
Billy began to back away. His scientific mind started flipping through the possibilities that this dark creature could possibly be telling the truth.
"You are not the real me!"
"How can you be so sure? After all, I'm the one with the wolf spirit. If you were the real me, then wouldn't he be with you?" With a tug on the black chain, a large, gray wolf moved into the light from the dark, his teeth bared, and a low growl rumbling from deep inside of him. "Join with us, Billy. Make us whole. We can be strong once again."
Billy watched in horror as his dark self reached down, touching the wolf's fur. Almost at once, the wolf and Dark Billy began to merge. Billy couldn't believe what he was seeing. He was confused. What was real? As he continued to watch the merger, and the creature it was creating, Billy turned; hesitating momentarily, he moved into the darkness around them.
Dulcea sensed that something was wrong, as she sat in quiet meditation, on the ledge of the ruins over looking Phaedos and the monolith. Turning, she saw Billy's body, tossing and turning. Rushing to his side, she perceived that Billy was loosing the battle. His body was in the beginnings of the change. Placing a hand on his forehead, once more, she concentrated on reaching him.
Billy crouched down in the darkness. He could only hope that the dark creature would be unable to see him in the darkness, as he was unable to see it. He tried to take a deep, even breaths, to try to stop the pounding of his heart, which sounded like a base drum in his ears. He tried to hear past his pounding heart for any sound that would indicate that the creature was near.
Where was the beam of blue light? Why couldn't he find it? How was he suppose to get out of here if he couldn't find it?
Questions. So many questions, but the answers seemed evasive. Closing his eyes, he tilted his head back, taking in a long deep breath. That's when he heard her. Faint at first, then louder. "Dulcea?" He whispered her name.
"You have no need to speak, Billy. You have only to think , and I will hear you, just as you are hearing me now."
"I'm scared and confused. I don't know what is real anymore. Are you real? Is this place real? Am I real?"
"You have only to look within your own heart to find the answers you seek. Have faith in yourself. You are the most intelligent Ranger I have ever had the honor of knowing. Use that intelligence, and believe that you can win, like I, Zordon and your friends do. I will never be far away, Billy. But, you must do this alone. I can not help you any further."
"What if I gave up? What if I couldn't do this any longer?"
"You, would cease to exist, and the creature would become your reality." Billy swallowed hard. Of all the things he thought that could be the worse to happen, he'd never expected that it could become a true nightmare.
Dulcea opened her eyes. She felt a sense of guilt at leaving Billy so alone. She felt his confusion, and his doubt, but she could not help him any further. There were laws about the things she was doing, and she could not break them in any way, or Billy would truly be lost forever. Pulling back from Billy's side, she noticed that he remained half transformed; looking more like a wolf than a man, but the transformation didn't seem to be progressing any further, and he was quiet.
Sighing, Dulcea sat next to him, watching and waiting. If Billy lost, she would have no choice but to take his life, to destroy the beast. She only prayed to her Gods, that it would not come to that.
Tommy and Rocky walked quickly through Angel Grove Park, hands on their communicators, ready to teleport at the first sign of trouble.
They had gotten to the park to practice their martial arts moves, in peace, and had lost track of time. As soon as they realized that it was getting dark, they gathered up their gym bags and headed for the parking lot. Their nervousness wasn't eased any, when they had seen a vagrant roaming around in the park earlier, watching them. At first they had thought nothing of it, but when the same guy came around just as they were leaving, and just stood and watched them.
When they arrived at the park, they found Rocky's car locked, and the keys hanging in the ignition. That wouldn't have been a problem, if he'd had his jeep. But it had broke down a couple of days earlier, and he'd had to borrow the family car. The boys turned back to the darkening park, knowing that they'd have to walk half way through it, to get to the pay phones. Looking nervously at each other, Tommy and Rocky headed back into the park to the phones.
The phone was found in record time, and Rocky quickly called his dad, telling him about locking the keys in the car. His father told him that he'd be there in ten minutes with the spare set. As soon as Rocky hung up the phone they made a mad dash for the parking lot, keeping an eye on the deepening shadows around them.
"I still can't figure out why they didn't put the pay phones in the parking lot. It seems ridiculous to have to hunt the phones down in the park."
"I agree Rocko. Right now we just have to get back to the car and wait for your dad."
"What are we so scared of anyway? Billy's on Pheados with Dulcea."
"I don't know, Rocky. Something tells me that it wasn't Billy who did the killings."
"I hope you're right, and not just being biased, for Billy's sake."
"Rocky. I'm surprised. No sarcastic come back? You really do have a heart inside there somewhere."
Rocky chuckled, seeing the parking lot, and the car up ahead, lit by the safety of the streetlights. Feeling a bit safer, he turned, walking backwards, so that he could talk to Tommy. Suddenly, his feet slipped out from under him. Landing hard on his backside, Rocky started to laugh. Tommy reached down to help him to his feet.
"Not very graceful, are you?" Tommy teased.
"I tripped over something." Rocky said, fishing around in his pants pockets for his lighter.
"What is there to trip over? There's no trees close by, and there wasn't anything there earlier, when we headed off to find the phones."
"I tell you, I tripped over som...."
The first thing Rocky saw when he lit the lighter, was the thick, dark, sticky blood covering his hands. Shaking so much that the lighter flickered out, Rocky starred down at his feet, while Tommy pried the lighter from his hand.
Taking a deep breath, Tommy lit the lighter once again, and leaned down to look around at the ground at their feet. As soon as the light from the lighter hit the object that Rocky had tripped over, Rocky spun on his heals, heading for the nearest bushes, emptying the contents of his stomach, and gasping for air.
Tommy continued to gazed down at what they had stumbled upon.
Twisted and mangled, barely recognizable, was a human body. Lifeless eyes starred up at Tommy, locked in a terrified gaze. The mouth agape, was lined with blood, a thin stream of it leaked from the corner.
Tommy glanced briefly up at Rocky, who continued to stand by the bushes, watching as Tommy returned to examining the body, seeming to have nerves of steel. As soon as he saw Tommy touch the body, Rocky reached back to the bushes once more.
Gently, Tommy examined the body, having had to close it's eyes. The eyes staring up at him was unnerving. Pieces of flesh had been torn away, presumably eaten by what ever had attacked the man. Bite marks and blood covered what was left of the body; the throat completely torn away.
"Rocky. Does your dad have a cell phone?" Rocky shook his head.
"You've got to get to a phone then. If anything happens, teleport out of here as fast as you can. Can you do that?" Tommy called out. The idea that the creature that did this was still lurking around close by, alarmed Tommy.
"I think so. I'll be back." Rocky called, running back into the darkness of the park to call the police. Tommy stood, watching over the body, until Rocky's dad arrived, and the police were called. Looking nervously around, Tommy began to talk to himself.
"We've got to tell Zordon. It wasn't Billy."
Billy kept repeating the word over and over again, like a montra. "Strength, strength, strength..." He rose up to his full height, trying to make himself believe that he wasn't afraid. If this Dark Billy was a part of himself, then he didn't have to be afraid of it. The Dark Billy even said it himself. One cannot exist without the other. If the Dark Billy killed him, then that Billy would cease to exist as well.
Listening carefully, his heart beating at a normal pace, he strained to hear the creature lurking in the darkness.
Deciding that it would be easier for the creature to find him, Billy began to call out to it. "Did you loose something?"
"No, not really." Came the deep, animal-like voice from behind him. Startled, Billy spun around, just as a clawed hand grasped him around the throat. Billy tried to pry the hand open, his fingers digging through the thick fur. His head was beginning to feel like it was going to explode, and his eyes pop out.
Kicking out in every direction possible, he couldn't seem to make contact. How was that possible? The pounding of his heart in his ears, was soon replaced with a defining, ringing.
Suddenly, a warmth washed over him, and a voice whispered around him. "It wasn't you. It wasn't you." Tommy? What did it mean? "Billy, you weren't the killer. You may be a werewolf, but you're not evil." Evil. Not evil!
Surprising him, a burning sensation began to radiate from the very center of his chest, wrapping around him. Billy closed his eyes, the thought that he was dying, was; in it's way, comforting. It would all be over soon.
A howl of pain brought Billy back to his senses. He opened his eyes to see the clawed hand of the creature become surrounded by a bright, blue light. Then, an explosion threw Billy several feet away.
Billy looked up, surprised, as the circle of light began to return, pushing back the darkness, and lighting up the figures of Billy and the werewolf. The creature was howling in pain, clutching a stump where there had once been a hand. Getting to his feet, Billy moved to stand before the creature, no longer afraid.
"I will destroy you!" The creature screamed in rage.
"No." Billy said, calmly. The creature seemed surprised by his lack of fear. "You are no longer a prisoner here. I'm setting you free."
"No!" The creature yelled. Billy watched as the black chain that had been wrapped around the creatures neck, came undone, falling and disappearing the minute it touched the ground at their feet.
In a flash of light, the creature separated, leaving the Dark Billy and the wolf standing before him. Wagging it's tail, the large, gray wolf moved to sit at Billy's side. The Dark Billy stumbled back, trying to retreat into the darkness. But the darkness refused him access, acting like a barrier around the circle of light.
Angry, Dark Billy turned to face Billy. "You can't sent me free! I have to sent you free! You are a part of me!"
"No. I'm not evil, and neither are you. I am real, the wolf spirit is real, and so are you. I am the vessel, and you are a part of who I am on the inside."
"No!" The Dark Billy followed the circle around, banging and clawing to get out. At a touch on his shoulder, Dark Billy spun around, pressing himself against the dark.
"I accept you, and the part of me you will become. Together...we will be strong...and free." Billy held out his hand. Dark Billy starred down at it, as if it were some foreign thing to be despised. If he gave up, he'd cease to exist. "You will not disappear. Not this time. You will always be a part of me." Dark Billy was surprised. Had this one heard his thoughts? He looked up into Billy's pale, hazel eyes. There was a calmness in them, that he wanted to feel. Dark Billy looked down at the hand that still remained outstretched. With his one remaining hand, Dark Billy reached out and touched Billy's hand.
The minute their hands touched, Dark Billy felt a wholeness that he had never felt before. He was more than he had ever been. Slowly, Billy and his dark self, began to merge, the wolf spirit looking on with curiosity. Like magic, the two separate beings became one. As soon as the merger was complete, Billy stood silently, taking note of the new feelings he felt.
Everything seemed brighter, and he felt a completeness and strength the he had never felt before. Gone was the uncertainty of who he was. Gone was the low self-esteem.
Confidence was a wonderful feeling.
Finally, opening his eyes, he could see all around him. The dark was gone, not even a small shadow remained in this place.
"Welcome home, Billy." He said to himself, and the dark side within him.
A light brush of fur against his hand, reminded him that the wolf was still at his side. Looking down, Billy saw that the wolf was looking up at him, almost as if it were trying to tell him something. And he knew what it was. "It's time."
The wolf stood and moved away from Billy, turning to face him. Bright yellow eyes looked up into his own, and slowly Billy began to kneel.
"Thank you cub, for setting me free. I accept you once more." Billy should have been surprised to hear the wolf speak, but after all that he had been through, there wasn't much left that could surprise him now.
Bowing his head in respect, Billy whispered, "Thank, you." Before he could lift his eyes, a sudden burst of power filled him, pushing him back, nearly toppling him from his knees, his arms spread wide at his sides. Billy could feel a burning sensation in the center of his chest once again, though it was not an unpleasant feeling. Soon, the sensation was gone, and Billy cautiously opened his eyes against the light. Looking down at the area of his chest where he had felt the burning, he found his medallion; the wolf emblazoned on it's surface. Then it hit him, he was dressed in his Ninjetti uniform. The soft fabric; a whisper against his skin.
As he watched, the blue of his uniform seemed to become even bluer. Looking up, he saw a bright wall of light, and emanating from that wall of light, was the blue beam of light, moving slowly toward him. Billy watched mystified, as the beam came to rest against the medallion on his chest. As the two touched, there was a bright flash, and he was immediately surrounded by the blue light.
Dulcea watched as Billy's body completely relaxed. Terrified that he had not only failed, but died in the battle, Dulcea raced to his side, touching him, feeling the pulse at his throat. Sighing, she leaned back, and waited to see which way his body would transform.
If he became completely wolf...
She held the onyx bladed knife tightly in her hand. Prepared to use it, but praying that she wouldn't have to.
For the briefest of moments, the short graying hair, covering Billy's body, seemed to grow longer. Dulcea raised the knife, holding high above Billy's still body. Then a sudden wave of light washed over him, from his head to his feet. And in that brief moment, Billy's body had become completely human. Closing her eyes in silent thanks, she slipped the knife back into the sheath on her upper thigh.
Behind her, the flames of the fire burst into a blaze, flames shooting high into the night sky. A bolt of blue light shot forth from the flames, wrapping around Billy's still form. Then in a blink of an eye, the bolt of light disappeared, taking Billy's body with it.
Leaping to her feet, Dulcea moved cautiously toward the fire. She was surprised to find that the blaze, that would have singed her very skin; at this proximity, felt amazingly cool. Amazed, she watched as a tornado of blue light began swirl within the flames. A sudden explosion followed, causing Dulcea to cover her eyes with her arms. The once yellow and orange flames were now blue, and within them seemed to be a figure standing, where the spinning blue light had been.
Carefully, she moved back, watching as the flames of the blazed, began to recede, leaving a familiar figure standing; alone and unharmed, in the center of the pit.
Smiling, Dulcea stepped forward, to welcome the figure. "Welcome back William. You have won the battle." She continued to smile, as Billy stepped forth from the pit, and moved toward her.
"I owe it all to you, and my friends. Your words, and your strength saved me when I was at a point where I wanted to give up."
"You'll never be alone. Now, we must get you back to Earth. Your friends need you know."
"Thank you, Dulcea. For everything."
"You are very welcome, William." Dulcea's smile was etched into his mind, as the exhilarating feeling of teleportation washed over him, taking him away from Pheados, and back to Earth, and his friends and family. He found himself waiting for the blinding pain of the headache to come, as it had for so long, but it never did. It was truly over.
Angry, yellow eyes watched the pandemonium, from he darkness of the park. After it's kill, it had needed a drink, and made it's way to the pond to slack it's thirst. When it returned to the feast, it found flashing lights of cars and dozens of people standing around it's food. The beast would have enjoyed attacking such a large group, but it remembered that those who were dressed in dark clothes, carried dangerous weapons. So the beast remained hidden, waiting. Waiting for something to wander away from the group, and too close to it's hinging place.
It could smell the one it wanted for it's next meal, but as more and more people and cars arrived, the smell was covered by all of the other smells, confusing and angering it. The beast shook as two new, but familiar smells arrived, coming from behind it, instead of in front. Pricking it's ears, it listened to the whispered words.
"This was a stupid idea. There are too many humans around." One screeched.
"Would you shut up? That's the last time I go on vacation and leave your brother and Goldar in charge." Came the deep gravely reply.
"This isn't the first time we've lost my pet. It seems that we've been having a hard time keeping the thing chained up, ever since we got it." Came the shrieking voice again.
"Remind me to never buy you a pet from that planet again. What was it called? Oh, yeah, Aluna." The voices seemed to be moving away.
"Oh, Zeddy. Couldn't we just trade it for something else?"
"It's been killing people." Came Zedd's voice in reply.
"What's wrong with that? That's what they're trained to do."
"None of the people it killed were Rangers." Zedd growled in reply.
"I think I'm going to have a headache." The voices continued to move away, and the beast's attention returned to the pandemonium ahead of it. It's attention drawn immediately to the lone figure that entered the park from the darkness, and moved into the center of the chaos.
Billy had been teleported straight into the Command Center, where he was warmly welcomed by Alpha and Zordon. But, the welcome was short lived, as they informed him that he was not the killer. Since his departure, there had been another attack in the park. That is where the Rangers were at that time, as they had detected Zedd and Rita's presence around the vaccinate of the attacks at the time.
Billy was just as surprised as Zordon and Alpha had been, that Rita and Zedd could have been behind the killing the whole time. Billy immediately teleported to the park, just a short distance away from the chaos, into the dark. He was now dressed in his street clothes, the Ninjetti uniform having been replaced for the time being.
As soon as he arrived, Billy got his barring, located the crowd and his friends near the police cars and departing ambulance, and headed in their direction.
"Is everyone alright?" Billy asked as soon as he was close enough to be heard, coming up next to Adam. Adam had to do a double take, when he replied that they were all fin.
"When did you get back?" Adam asked finally.
"Is everything...all right?" Kim asked, before Billy could answer Adam's question, coming up to him for a hug.
"I got back a few minutes ago, and yes...everything is fine." Billy smiled.
"Is it gone for good?" Rocky asked, nervously.
"Dulcea said that it was, but I guess time will tell. And I wouldn't worry about those shots, leashes or house breaking." Billy smiled, as five startled sets of eyes looked back at him.
"How..." Rocky stuttered.
"I just know. It's not important right now."
"True. We're glad you're back, man. Rocky and I have already given our statements to the police. Let's see if we can find a spot away from this crowd, so we can talk." Tommy moved away toward the outer edges of the scene, the Rangers following behind him.
Once they were at a safe enough distance, so that their conversation wouldn't be overheard, Tommy stopped, and checked to make sure that they were, indeed, alone. Pressing the button on his communicator, Tommy called for Zordon. "Zordon, this is Tommy. Are Rita and Zedd still in the park?"
"YES, TOMMY, THOUGH THEY HAVE MOVED AWAY FROM YOUR AREA."
"All right. We'll follow them, and see what those two are up to."
"BE CAREFUL, RANGERS. AND MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU."
Tommy looked around at the group. They'd have to split up if they were going to cover the whole park, to find Rita and Zedd. They would search in teams of twos, Tommy decided.
"Rocky, you and Kim head toward the South end of the park."
"We're there." Kim said, grabbing Rocky's arm, and heading, cautiously, into the dark.
"Adam, you and Aisha take the West side, and Billy and I will take the East side." There would be no need to cover the North side, because that is were all the police have been, where the attack had taken place.
"All right." Exchanging glances, Adam and Aisha made a large birth around the crowd, to check out the West side of Angel Grove Park.
"Are you ready?" Tommy asked Billy. He was concerned that, because Billy had been through so much in such a short time, he might be too tired for a battle, if it came to that.
"Actually. I've never felt better." Billy flashed Tommy with a reassuring smile.
"All right, then. Let's find Rita and Zedd and put a stop to these killings once and for all."
"Right behind you." Together they disappeared into the darkness of the park. But, they weren't alone. A shadow moved in the darkness, moving to follow them.
Tommy hadn't realized just how big of an area he had chosen for him and Billy to cover. They'd have split up, and headed in different directions, to cover more ground, but the whole idea made him nervous.
"I think we're going to have to do it anyway. We'll have to split up so that we can cover more area faster, so we won't be here all night." Tommy called to Billy who was just about ten feet away.
"I agree. You keep to the North end and I'll head down and check out the South end." Billy quickly headed into the darkness, away from Tommy, the beam of the flashlight each of them had, flashing through the darkness ahead of him..
Tommy stood silently for a moment, where he was. Something was wrong. He could feel it, permeating the air all around him, like a living thing. He couldn't figure out, exactly, what it was, but he knew that he had to get to Billy, and fast. The decision made, Tommy headed off in the direction Billy had gone, his legs caring him as quickly as they could. He strained to see Billy's flash light in the distance, but he'd already disappeared.
Eyes watched as one, then the other of the two men, headed away, going deeper into the darkness of the park.
Billy came up slowly, on a long line of tall bushes near the pond. He wasn't taking any chances. One hand held the flashlight, shinning the way before him, while his other was resting on his morpher at the small of his back. He had thought he'd heard voices ahead of him, but he couldn't tell for sure. They seemed to echo around in the dark, coming from everywhere. At one time they seemed close, and at another, far away.
As Billy prepared to round one edge of the bushes, he heard his name being called out. So intent, was he, on the bushes, that he jumped back at the sound of his name, flashing his flashlight erratically in the direction of the voice. Relaxing, he watched as Tommy jogged toward him, nearly out of breath. He gone that far, in so short a time?
"What's wrong?" Billy asked, seeing the worry in Tommy's eyes.
"I just had a very bad feeling when I saw you walking away into the dark."
"Are you feeling better now?" Tommy nodded his head, trying to catch his breath. "I was just getting ready to..." Before Billy could finish speaking, a dark form lept from the shadows of the bushes, causing Tommy to stumble backwards, and knocking Billy to the ground. The flashlight that Billy had been holding, flew from his hand to land, spinning on the grass a few feet away. Billy could feel his left arm twisted, painfully behind him. With his free hand, he reached out to push at whatever it was that was sitting on his chest. What he found, was a mass of fur and hard muscle.
Looking up, as the flashes from his spinning flashlight, acted like a strobe, lighting him up. All Billy could see, in those brief instances of light, were a set of long, sharp teeth, and blood, matted fur. A deep growl rolled from the creatures throat, it's rancid breath wafting over Billy's face. He tried to hold his breath against the smell, but the weight on his chest stopped him from taking a deep enough breath.
In the background, Billy could hear Tommy screaming out his name. It was in those moments, when Billy realized that he wasn't afraid. He could feel the rumble of the wolf's growls. But, above it all, he could hear the wolf's heart beating, matching his own in rhythm.
Billy knew that it would take only one snap of the massive jaws, for the wolf to tear out his throat; of that fact, he was keenly aware. The beasts maws were just inches from his face, but the wolf did not try to make that move. It just remained perched on Billy's chest, growling and starring down at him.
Tommy watched, helplessly. He had no weapon, and couldn't risk morphing. Tommy tried everything he could to try to distract the beast, but it remained atop of Billy, staring at him. Tommy kept asking himself, "Why didn't Zordon and Alpha just teleport Billy away?" And he had his answer, as his flash light caught a glimmer in it's beam. Looking more closely, Tommy saw that it was Billy's communicator, and it had been smashed is the fall.
Then, as if in slow motion, Tommy watched as Billy closed his eyes, the beast opening it's mouth open wide, turning it's head to the side, moving in for the killing bite. Tommy had just a brief moment, to turn at the sound behind him, as in that moment, a gun blast split the night. Spinning, Tommy watched as the force of the shot, knocked the beast off of Billy, splattering Billy with a small shower of blood.
Tommy rushed forward, dragging a surprised Billy, to his feet; watching as the beast struggled to get to it's feet. A wound in it's side, seeping blood. From the dark behind them, where the shot had come from, emerged the vagrant that Tommy and Rocky had seen in the park earlier, gun in hand, still pointed at the beast.
In the distraction, Tommy and Billy had not noticed that the beast had regained all fours, until it's growl filled the night. They turned in time to see it leap toward the vagrant. At the same instant, the vagrant was able to get off another shot, spinning the wolf in mid-air. The beast landed on the ground hard, at their feet. For a few moments, all was quiet, as they watched the wolf struggle for a breath; blood seeping from the wounds in it's chest.
"Are you boys all right?" They heard a voice ask. Looking up, they saw the vagrant standing next to them. Catching a breath, Tommy turned away from he site of the dying wolf.
"I...I saw you in the park, earlier. You were watching me and my friend practicing."
"I've been on stake-out here in the park, ever since the killings started. But, the creature," he pointed to the beast laying on the ground. "Seemed to always allude me, to continue to keep killing."
"Stake-out?" Billy looked questioningly at him.
The vagrant nodded, and using his free hand, pulled the wig and beard off of his head and face, letting them drop to the ground, as he rubbed his chin. "I'm just glad it's all over, and I can finally get out of these rags."
"Yeah." Both boys were surprised. They'd seen Lt. Stone around AGH, and in town, but had never thought he would have been the vagrant. "Are you two all right?"
"We are now, thanks." Tommy shook Lt. Stone's hand.
"I'm going to get some help. I'll be right back." Tommy and Billy watched as Lt. Stone headed back to the area where the killing had been, the darkness swallowing him up, like a specter in the night. As soon as they were alone, and everything was quiet, they could hear the wolf as it struggled for a breath.
Billy stood above the magnificent creature. This had been him, just yesterday. He felt a kind of kinship with the beast. He wished that the darkness would enfold the beast, to stop it's suffering. Billy watched, as it turned it's pain, filled eyes on him.
"Oh, God!" Came Kim's voice from behind them. Several beams from flashlights, converged on the scene. Lighting up Tommy and Billy's figures looking down on the form of a wolf.
"What happened?" Adam asked, joining the others in looking at the wolf.
"Lt. Stone was following us, and he was able to shoot it before it could kill Billy." Tommy explained.
"What the..." Came Rocky's surprised voice.
The six teens stood mesmerized, as the wolf laying at their feet, began to change. The hair covering it's body began to disappear, the legs began to grow and sift, taking on a human form.
"Oh, my God." Billy slowly whispered, as the transformation ceased, and the blood covered body, of a naked woman, took the beasts place on the ground before them. Without thinking, Billy pulled off his flannel shirt, leaving him standing in the chill night, in a tee-shirt. Moving past the shocked group, Billy knelt down at the woman's side, covering her in the same way that Dulcea had done to him.
Reaching out, he gently wiped a small trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth, with the back of his hand.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know." Billy said, as he lifted her head gently into his lap.
"It's...all right. I'm finally...free. You...would know...all...about being...free; wouldn't...you...Billy?" Billy nodded, brushing the blond hair from her eyes. He could hear her in his head, her unspoken words. He could see everything that she had seen, been and done. A secret he would keep forever. As he looked down at her, tears began to fill her eyes. She reached up, and tenderly brushed her cold fingers across his cheek. "We...are...both...free!" She struggled to smile. Billy could feel the life ebbing away, as her body relaxed in his arms, her eyes began to cloud over, her hand slipping to his neck, then sliding down his chest, to come to rest against his arm.
He could hear voices all around him, as he tenderly reached out, and closed her eyes. Slowly, he lowered her back down onto the grass, and getting to his feet, he heard a gasp of surprise come from everyone around him, as the woman transformed back into the form of a wolf.
"What's going on?" Aisha asked.
"She, was a creature, who just wanted to be human, but couldn't fight her natural instincts to kill." Billy stated, as he moved away from the group.
Suddenly, the area exploded with noise, as from the North side of the park, the police, lead by Lt. Stone, arrived. While on the South side, Lord Zedd and Rita appeared at the same time.
"Oh! Zeddy! Look what they've done!" Rita ran forward, tossing Billy's shirt aside, to inspect the wounds to her pet.
"You will all pay. That was Rita's favorite pet!" Zedd bellowed at the shocked group of teens and police. He wasn't mad about the fact that they'd killed the pet, he was upset because he'd be hearing about it from Rita for months.
In a flash, the duo, along with the wolf, disappeared from the park.
"I don't have any idea, how I'm going to explain this one to the Captain." Lt. Stone said, as he and his me, left the area.
"I'd have to say, that this was the strangest thing Rita and Zedd have ever pulled." Kim stated, as they began to make their way to where their cars were parked.
Billy remained alone in the clearing, for a few minutes after the others had left. Gayle had been a good friend, even though they had only known each other for a short time. How could he ever tell anyone, about the things he had seen in her mind, as he gazed down into her eyes?
He never would. Those images would be forever etched into his mind for the rest of his life. He would never forget. Turning, he slowly made his way to where his friends waited for him. The life of a Power Ranger was never a normal one.
2 weeks later...
The Rangers had gathered together at the Command Center, as Billy's final test results were taken. Billy slid from the med-bed, his arm bent to keep the small pad of gauze in place over the area where Alpha had drawn blood.
"THESE TESTS SHOULD BE THE LAST ONES." Zordon stated, as Alpha waddled away to the lab.
"That's good news." Billy said, sliding his shirt back on, and looking at his friends; all gathered together in the Command Center.
"So. We had a werewolf living amongst us this whole time, and we didn't even know it." Rocky said with a bit of awe.
Zordon had run the information that the Rangers had given him, through his data base, concerning the creature. Just that morning, he'd come upon a match for the information.
"ACTUALLY, ROCKY. SHE WASN'T A WEREWOLF. THE INFORMATION THAT YOU PROVIDED ME WITH, CAME UP WITH A MATCH JUST THIS MORNING. IT INDICATES THAT SHE WAS A LUNAROO, NOT A WEREWOLF. A LUNAROO IS AN INDIGENOUS SPECIES FOUND ONLY ON THE PLANET, ALUNA. THE FORM OF THE WOLF IS THEIR NATURAL FORM. BUT ONCE THEY'VE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH ANOTHER SPECIES, THEY CAN MIMIC THEM. THAT'S WHAT THIS PARTICULAR LUNAROO DID; BECOMING THE GIRL YOU ALL KNEW AS, GAYLE MONROE.
"THEY ARE AN INTELLIGENT RACE, ON THE VERGE OF BEING GENIUS', BUT THEIR NATURAL INSTINCTS ARE TO KILL."
"Amazing." Kim said to herself.
"Hey, are you steeling Billy's lines?" Rocky teased.
"Speaking of Billy, where did he go?" Aisha asked, looking around the Center.
Suddenly, from the darkness around the Center, came a low growl. Gazing confusedly at each other, the Rangers watched as Billy stumbled into the center of the Center's floor.
"Help, me!" He cried, head buried in his hands.
"Billy..." Kim moved toward him. Fear tring to hold her back.
As he raised his head, at her approach, she gasped and jumped back, away from him. His mouth was filled with long, sharp teeth, and his eyes were yellow.
"Oh, aye, yi, yi!" Alpha squealed, as he came into the Center.
"Zordon!" Tommy called up to their mentor, as they watched Billy. Then the growls began to turn to...laughter? Billy stood up, pulling the fake teeth from his mouth, laughing the whole time.
Alpha, finally getting the joke, began to laugh, as well as Zordon. The Rangers shifted nervously, uncertain about what was going on.
"I know it's more like Rocky to do something like this, but I couldn't help it. You all have been so stressed about all of this for the last two weeks. I just needed to make it all end.
"So, relax guys. The tests all came back clean. They prove that it's defiantly over. I've accepted the fact that it is, and always will be a part of who I am. But, I'm not a part of it." Billy smiled.
"Good. Now we can get back to a normal, boring life of fighting cheesy monsters when Rita and Zedd send them down. Oh, and by the way, I found this list in the paper this morning." Rocky stated, holding up the piece of paper he'd cut from the main news paper.
"What is it?" Adam asked.
Rocky turned to look at Billy, and evil twinkle in his eyes. "It's a list of all the missing pets at the time of the killings."
Billy looked up, the smile leaving his face. "Um...Rocky, you really don't have to do that. I really don't to know how many poodles I've been snacking on." Billy said tentatively. The group watched the duo for a moment, before the whole Center burst into laughter.
The past wouldn't be forgotten, but it was time to move on.
Billy joined the group in it's laughter, a smile on his face.
Normal and boring?
The life of a Power Ranger.
"What is a Man without the Beast?
If all Beasts were gone, Man would die from a great loneliness of Spirit.
For whatever happens to the Beast, soon happens to Man.
All things are connected."