Walk on broken glass make my way through fire
These things I would do for love
Farewell peace of mind kiss goodbye to reason
Up is down the impossible occurs each day
This intoxication thrills me
I only pray it doesn't kill me
"I wanna go home." Kyle whimpered fearfully as his father paced across the motel room in front of him.
"We will, son, we will once your mother comes back to me. When she comes back to where she belongs, then we will all go home." Lenny said absently as he ran a hand through his short brown hair.
Kyle frowned for a moment as he contemplated what the man before him had just said. Home? Did he mean home as in their house back in Cheyenne? Funny, but he hadn't realized that he'd already begun to think of Kelsey's house as home.
"Mom doesn't want to go back with you." Kyle said with a worried frown as the man stopped in mid-pace. Lenny's gaze locked on the little boy, and Kyle instantly obeyed the instinct that told him to run like hell.
The motel room was only so big, though, and within moments, the large man had him by the shoulders. Kyle gritted his teeth as his father's grip stung his upper arms. In all of the times he'd ever felt afraid, so terrified that even the his nightmares couldn't compare, this was by far the worst.
"She wants to come back to me." Lenny yelled angrily as he physically shook the child. It felt good to get out some of his frustration. "It's just those rotten friends of hers. They convinced her to leave me. Well, don't worry about that, I'll get your mother back from them. Then we can go back to the way things used to be." He said, calming down slightly.
Kyle's head rattled as tears began to fall down his cheeks. In that one instant, he realized how much he truly hated the man who had given him life. Nigel and Andros were everything that Lenny wasn't, and Kyle could see the difference now.
"No she doesn't!" Kyle yelled back. "We don't want to live with you anymore. You big meany!" He watched as his father stood still for a second, his unshaven face turning a motley combination of purple and red. He scowled at the man as his own tiny heart beat a hundred kilometers a minute.
The brat needed to be taught a lesson. Lenny sneered as he dropped the kid unceremoniously down on the solitary double bed in the middle of the room. The kid immediately climbed to his feet and glared at him eye to eye. The older man leered back in response as his hands balled up into fists.
Lenny let his fist fly, and there was a sickening thud as it connected solidly with the child's jaw. Kyle's unconscious body crumpled back down onto the bed. Blood trickled slightly from his lip, staining the clean white sheets.
"Snot nosed kid. You made me do that." Lenny said as he stood over the child's unmoving body.
"It's going to be okay, Cassie. We'll find him. He can't have gotten too far, he's only six." Nigel said as he surveyed the scene before him. Andros was pacing the kitchen length of the kitchen, lost in thought. Ashley was trying futilely to comfort Kelsey, who was on the brink of hysteria.
And then there was Cassie. Her face was pale, and the look of stark terror on her face was almost more than he could bear to watch.
"He never would left the house without Phantom." She said listlessly. "That bear means more to him than anything in the whole world. He'd never leave it behind."
"Maybe he just forgot it, he is just a kid after all." Andros pointed out as he patted Cassie in what he hoped was a comforting gesture. He met Ashley's eyes from across the room and he was sure that his echoed the worry he saw in hers.
"That bear is his security. I told him that Phantom would always be there to protect him when he was scared. I told him that the bear was his special guardian, that he would always be there when he needed help." Cassie's thready voice fell off as tears filled her eyes. "He never would have left that bear behind, no matter what the reason. Something's happened to him."
"I'll find him, Cassie." Nigel said as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "I'll find him even if I have to go to the pits of hell to do it. Just have a little faith, okay?"
"Do you hear that?" Ashley asked suddenly as she put her hand and motioned everyone to be quiet. There was a faint scratching at the door, and Kelsey's tear streaked face immediately regained some of it's usual cheerfulness.
"Scruffy! Scruffy can find Kyle!' She yelled happily as she scrambled out of her mother's arms towards the door.
"Scruffy? Who's Scruffy?" Ashley asked in bewilderment as she glanced over at Andros. From the extremely guilty look on her husband's face, she deduced that he knew something he wasn't telling her.
"I think I left the TV on. Better go turn it off, wastes energy you know." Andros said as he tried to escape towards the den. His attempt came a few moments too late as Kelsey let the door fly open to reveal a certain coyote.
"Oh my God, it's a wolf! Kelsey, get away from him!"
"You have a wolf, Andros?"
"It ate Kyle!"
"Stop." Andros said as he walked back into the kitchen and walked over to where the coyote was happily nuzzling his daughter. He reached down to give the animal an affectionate pat on the head.
"This is Scruffy." He said slowly, and then glared at everyone in the room as they tried to interrupt. "Scruffy is not a wolf, he's a coyote. Kelsey and I found him back by Los Vedas cliffs a while back, stuck in one of those hare traps. We freed him, and he's been Kelsey's lap dog ever since." Andros said as he scratched the tawny animal behind the ears.
"So, what you're really telling me, is that our daughter has this wolf for a pet." Ashley said as she looked down at her husband with disapproval.
"Whatever." She said as she crossed her arms over her chest. "When were you going to tell me about this?"
"Wrong answer, Andros." Nigel said as he relaxed his initial fight stance. He looked over at Cassie to see how she was taking this new turn of events. He looked down at her chair, and frowned. She wasn't there.
"I, um, have this deathly fear of dogs." Cassie whispered, and Nigel glanced up to see her sitting on the kitchen table. "What if Kyle wandered outside. What if one of those wolves picked him off. He could be bleeding, unconscious, torn to shreds..." Her voice trembled.
"Coyote." Andros corrected absently as he communicated with the coyote and Kelsey.
"I don't care what the heck it is! It ate my son!" Cassie yelled, her muscles tense with worry. Her face was almost sheet white, and Nigel curled an arm around her shoulder bringing her closer to him in an attempt to calm her down.
"Scruffy says he'd never eat Kyle. Kyle promised to give him half of his baloney sandwiches for the rest of his life." Kelsey said, as she put her forehead on the coyote's. Ashley raised her eyebrow as Andros moved closer to the two.
"Baloney sandwiches?" Ashley asked as she eyed the animal suspiciously.
"It's a coyote pact." Andros said matter-of-factly.
"Thank you Dr. Dolittle. And I do mean do little." Ashley said as she frowned at her husband.
"Scruffy says he can pick up Kyle's trail." Andros said as he shushed the rest of the crowd. "I think we'd best all get dressed for the day, and then we can start searching."
"Ashley, you called the police, right?" Cassie asked as she crawled tiredly off the table. She gave the coyote wide berth as she moved towards the den.
"Yeah." Ashley said in a worried voice. "You were there Cassie. They said they can't do anything really until he's been missing for twenty four hours. I hate to say it, but Scruffy's sense of smell might be the best course of action we have."
"We should call Carone and Zhane as well. Personally, if we run into trouble, I'd like to have a trained sorceress and as many ex-rangers on hand as possible." Nigel said as he moved out after Cassie. Ashley nodded as she picked up the phone and dialed the well known number.
"Carone? Hi, this is Ashley, I have some bad news. We need your help..."
"So where have you been for the last ten years?" Zhane asked as he padded into the kitchen. It was obvious to him, that his wife had been up all night talking to her old mentor. The sheets beside him had been cool this morning when he'd woken up. The only thing he remembered from last night before he'd gone to bed was that the two had been lost in recalling memories as they sat at the kitchen table.
In fact, he thought as he sleepily pushed his blonde hair out of his eyes, he wouldn't have even woken up if it weren't for the fact that he was sure something was bothering Carone. Usually, he couldn't pick up on any of her feelings. After all, he wasn't an empath. But occasionally, particularly when she seemed distressed, he got an annoying sense of bees buzzing in his brain. From past experiences, he knew it wouldn't go away until she quit chewing over whatever it was that was bothering her.
The man in the green shirt smiled as he reached over and handed the sleepy blonde haired man a cup of coffee. "Cryosleep and then searching."
"Cryosleep?" Zhane asked as his senses seemed to come to life. He shivered involuntarily. He hated anything that had to do with cryosleep. It reminded him of a cold, lifeless prison. His brief association with it may very well have saved his life, but the former silver ranger still held a conscious waking fear of the silent depths of the tube he'd been placed in for two years.
"Actually, I was in cryosleep for about twenty four years. It is something that I never wish to repeat again." The man said vehemently, and Zhane had to shake his head in agreement.
"It's not like I willing decided to spend half my life in a tube." He explained quickly. "Because of certain abilities that I possess, I was taken into a special ops experiment on mind transfer anomalies. I know now that the Alliance of Evil was behind it from the beginning. At the time though, I was convinced that I was just going in for a regular doctor's check up."
"Of course when they shoved me into a cryo tube, I knew something was up." He continued wryly. "From the way they had things set up, I think it was pretty safe to assume that they had been in business for a while. I'm fairly certain, though, that quite a few people perished from their earlier trials. There were a ton of rumors running around the galaxies about our origins, the source of our power, and the mysterious "deaths" of some sentient beings."
"Somehow, they had managed to transmit certain aspects of the human brain metaphysically into semi-sentient beings that they had already created specifically for this purpose, I think. I was conscious inside of Ecliptor. I was Ecliptor, but because of the darkness within the crystalline body, things were...warped somehow. I was in control, but I wasn't." The man shook his head, he didn't even understand it fully. It wasn't something that could be explained, only felt. And he had no wish for anyone to ever experience what he had experienced.
"So that was why Ecliptor turned to sand during the wave." Zhane said as the knowledge dawned on him. Carone smiled as she clasped his hand in hers. "We always did wonder, you see..."
"I know, and If I had come out of cryosleep immediately, I would have found you much sooner. But as it was, we were stuck in a state of semi-being for another eight years after the wave went through. The Kerovian government only found our abandoned laboratory recently. For a long while there, I thought I was going to be in limbo forever." The man said as he shuddered unconsciously.
"We?" Carone and Zhane asked in unison.
"Well, you didn't think I was the only one, did you? Elgar, Rygog, Goldar. A great many others. We were all stuck in that hellhole together."
"They didn't do a very good job on transmitting intelligence when they created a couple of their monsters, did they?" Zhane said musingly as he took a long sip of his coffee.
"Actually, they succeeded with all of us." The man said with a bitter humor in his voice. "It's just that the experiments seemed to work better on children than they did on adults. Goldar was a teenager, but I think I was the only adult."
"Elgar and the rest were...kids?" Carone said with a slightly sickened look on her face. The man nodded with disgust.
"Kids about the twins age in the beginning. Of course, by the time we were freed, they were fully grown adults."
Zhane shook his head, he didn't want to contemplate the thoughts, the implications behind his former enemies. Instead he took another swig of his coffee. As he set the cup back down on the table, he suddenly came to the realization that he didn't even know the man's name.
"So what do we call you? Ecliptor?" He asked uncertainly as he ran a hand through his blonde hair. The man smiled slightly in response.
"I would prefer that you didn't. My given name is Larent." He announced as the phone rang in the background.
"Who's he?" Andros asked without preamble as he opened the door for his friend and his sister.
"This is Larent." Zhane interrupted before Carone could think to answer. Andros seemed to accept that, and Zhane bit back a smile as Carone glared at him.
"Everyone's in the kitchen. Cassie's a mess." Andros said as he led the trio into the kitchen. Ashley was sitting on a chair, with Kelsey curled up in her lap, and Scruffy was sprawled out by her feet. Cassie was in another chair, her head bent over a small brown bear, and Nigel was at her side with an arm curled around her shoulders.
"You have a wolf." Carone said as she blinked. The animal's head raised off the ground slightly as Ashley hid a smile in Kelsey's blonde curls.
"Coyote." Andros corrected automatically. Carone raised an eyebrow at her brother.
"The coyote is probably Andros' wolffriend." Zhane whispered loudly with a shrug as he easily dismissed the dog like animal. Scruffy chuffed at them all indignantly as he sat up straighter.
"He's awake." Larent suddenly announced, drawing everyone's attention.
"Who's awake? For that matter, who are you?" Ashley asked the older Asian man before she glanced inquiringly at her husband. Andros opened his mouth to respond, but the older man cut him off.
"My name's Larent, but you knew me better as Ecliptor. And it's Cassie's son who is awake." He said shortly. He caught the smirk on Zhane's face as Andros glared at him, and he had to roll his eyes. He rapidly let the buzz of confusion recede into the background, though, as he concentrated on the thready young voice in his mind.
Are you okay? Where are you? Your Mother is worried about you.
I'm scared! I wanna go home!...Who are you?
I'm a friend. Can you tell me where you are? Do you know?
My Dad. He took me away. He wants Mom to go back to him! He wants us to go back to Cheyenne. I don't want to go back to Cheyenne!
Larent looked up abruptly at Kyle's last panicked message. His eyes focused on Cassie who was staring back at him intently. He looked to her side, and saw Nigel watching Cassie, the worry evident in his eyes. Larent's brow furrowed in confusion.
"You're not Kyle's father?" He asked as he pointed at the tall blue eyed man, Nigel's gaze shifted instantly to his. Larent, frowned in response. This was Phantom. He could see the telltale red-black rimmed glow of his aura. There was no doubt in his mind that this was the elusive Phantom ranger that the pink ranger had been in love with all those years ago.
"No, I'm not." Phantom said softly as he tried to keep the emotion out of his voice. "Why do you ask?"
"Kyle says he's with his father."
Kyle curled up in a ball in the middle of the bed and tried not to whimper as his father paced the room impatiently. Whimpering, or any other sound for that matter, would bring his father's attention down on him.
He'd forgotten. In the short time he and his mom had been away from the man in front of him, he had forgotten the constant terror they had lived in. Somehow, he'd shoved his tangible fear of pain deep down inside him to a place that he'd buried until now.
It had been easier to forget, to pretend that the nightmare they had lived had just been a bad dream, and that his father had just been the monster under the bed. It hurt less to pretend that the man who had given him life was some great person that would someday come back to him and his mother. He wold vanquish the imposter, the monster who pretended to be his father.
Kyle squeezed his eyes shut as his jaw throbbed. He never should have stood up to him. He should have just cowered, or at least scrambled out of the way.
Tears slipped out of his eyes as he buried his head in the motel pillow. He wanted his mother and her soothing touch. He wanted Nigel to toss him in the sky and catch him in a hug like Andros had Kelsey. He wanted to chase Scruffy around the swing set as Kelsey cheered them on. He wanted to go home.
Kyle sniffled softly in the pillow as the voice questioned hesitantly in his head. He blinked back the tears miserably as he identified the speaker. Nigel.
I wish you were my father...
Nigel heard Kyle's mental return and almost sighed with relief then and there. Larent was right, the kid was okay. If something had gone drastically wrong than no one would be able to talk to him. Although, now that he thought about it, there wasn't really a reason as to why he could talk to Kyle and have Kyle respond in return.
As far as he knew, most Earthers weren't capable of telepathy. A handful of the world's entire population, maybe had hints of it, but never like what Kyle seemed to be able to do. Nigel pushed the thought away, though, as he concentrated on the small boy. He would deal with the questions later when Kyle was safe.
I wish you were too.. Nigel was surprised to find that he actually meant it as Kyle flashed him a mental smile. Are you all right? He waited as the child seemed to hesitate.
My face hurts. I'm scared, Nigel. He's scaring me! Kyle's mental voice was panicked and Nigel's grip on the steering wheel of his Explorer intensified ten fold.
If that bastard had laid even a finger on that child, Nigel gritted his teeth. Well, you didn't live in the shadowy world of evil for eight years without having a few darker depths within your own heart. If there was even one bruise on Kyle's little body, he would make sure Lenny paid for it with his hide.
Sit tight, Ace. We're almost there. He responded as he tried to concentrate on the road in front of him.
"How did you talk to him?" Cassie asked Larent softly from the back seat. The older man, who was seated up front beside Nigel twisted around slightly to get a better look at her.
Her face was still a sickly shade of gray, and he could almost feel the fear and the anger as it radiated off her small frame. Larent hesitated as her brown eyes seemed to bore right through him. This was not the time, nor the place he had wished to reveal this. She didn't need anything else to shake her when a situation like this was looming over her head.
But then, maybe she did need something to distract her, he thought. Something that would make her forget for a moment that her son was in danger.
Besides, he wanted to tell her. He wanted her to know. It had been twenty four years. He wanted to start catching up for lost, stolen time. He had missed so much, and he didn't want to miss a moment more. So much time had been lost that he could never make up for it even if he lived to be a hundred.
"Larent?" Cassie asked again as she turned a worried frown towards the older man. He looked sad, depressed even, and she wasn't sure how her question might have sparked any of that. It was really a simple kind of question. She just wanted to know how the man she had once known as Ecliptor, had managed to communicate telepathically with her son. Maybe he knew something about Kyle he wasn't saying out loud. Maybe Kyle was hurt, badly so, and he was just protecting her from that knowledge. Cassie's heart seized up at that thought, she knew what Lenny was capable of. Fresh panic began to swim through her veins. "Larent, what do you know about Kyle that you aren't telling me?" She asked as his face grew even grimmer.
"Kyle's my grandson. That is how I'm able to talk to him."