This is the eighth story in the Nightmares Saga. It takes place shortly after New Enemies, New Allies ends.
[YOUTH CENTER, EARLY AFTERNOON]
The Rangers, with their newest members, Bulk and Skull, gathered at their usual table. They were resting from Burst's attack on them. Eventhough they had better fire power then they did when they fought Zedd and Rita, Akuma was far more dangerous, so they ended up substaining more bruises and bumps than before.
"Man, are all battles gonna be like that last one?" Skull asked, rubbing a sore spot on his arm. He and Bulk had just had their first karate lesson from Tommy.
"Probably. Probably worse." Tommy answered. He took off his gi sleeveless gi jacket and exposed a tattoo of a crying falcon on his back. Three tears fell from it's noble eye.
"Where did you get that?" Kimberly asked, touching it. The tattoo, though well done, was done only in blue india ink.
"Leroy did it for me a long time ago. Before I moved to Angel Grove." Tommy answered with a far away look in his eyes.
"Did Leroy work for Hazama?" Aisha asked, mentioning Tommy's former private eye partner.
"Nope. I met ole Leroy when I was thirteen." Tommy hesitated. Bulk looked at the tattoo.
"You got it in prison right?" Bulk asked quietly. "Leroy was your cell mate."
The other rangers stared at their leader. Tommy nodded his head slowly. "Yes. I served three years. From when I was thirteen to when I was sixteen in an adult prison. But, that's mainly because Metro City doesn't believe in juvenile hall. Treat all criminals equally or somethin' like that."
Kim touched his muscled arm. "What were you in fer?"
Tommy looked at his friends. He trusted them, but he did not know how they would react when they learned the truth.
"Let's go someplace private OK?" Tommy stood up. He laid money down on the table for their bill, then left the Youth Center.
The Rangers followed him to the Oliver house. In Tommy's room they gathered on the rug before his bed. Tommy picked up a picture of himself, Hazama and a young woman with light brown hair. All three were smiling and the girl made faces at the camera. They could see city scape of factories and sky scrapers.
"That was taken at the city park in Metro City. The Tenshi River runs through the park. It's always cold right there. Legends say that the river was filled with the tears of the Innocents who lost their lives in Metro City." Tommy spoke quietly. "There was a clump of old pine trees, the only ones in the city, that was a favorite spot for the rare family gathering. Hazama and me would take Yumi there alot. She's the girl in the photo. She was Hazama's fiancee four years ago."
"What happened?" Kim asked.
"One day, 'Zama, Yumi, and me were going to meet a contact in an alley. It was a setup. Seven heavily armed guys came out of the shadows and clubbed Hazama and me from behind. Some of the goons held us down while another pair held onto Yumi." Sweat broke out on Tommy's forehead. "It was awful. They were feelin' her up and she was cryin', callin' for 'Zama and me to help her. The ring leader, a big time cop named Tony Glek, told 'Zama that if he didn't take the money he offered and drop the case we were on, things would get nasty. Hazama told Glek where he could go and stuff his money. Glek told the goons to let go of Yumi. She started running towards us, then Glek pulled out his gun. It had "cop killer" bullets in it. He fired..." Tommy buried his face in his hands. "She died instantly."
"Oh, Tommy." Kimberly rested her hand on his shoulder.
"The other cops came and took Yumi's body away. Hazama and me went after those bastards. Gave 'em our own brand of justice." Tommy said bitterly.
"You killed them." Bulk said in a calm voice.
"Yeah. I got three of the underworld goons, while Zama took care of the cops and Glek, or so we thought." Tommy growled. "Turns out Mr. Halloween found Glek's body and brought him back. A regular freakin' Frankenstein." Tommy laughed harshly. "But, 'Zama took care of Halloween and Glek."
"What happened next?" Aisha asked.
"Zama and me were arrested. The cops questioned us for hours. We both had untreated head injuries and our lawyer made them stop until we could be treated." Tommy shook his head as he remembered the pain. "During the trial, I shot my mouth off to the judge and told him that if he and his panty boys had done their job along time ago, we wouldn't be in here. But, I guess he owed Glek and them since they made sure he got elected."
"Nice move, Tom." Billy commented wrily.
"I know. I forgot the cardinal rule of criminal justice: Don't piss off the judge. 'Zama got a suspended sentence and I got three years in an adult prison. I served my time, then was put on probation until I am twenty one. Also, I had to leave Metro City and never come back. And, I had to put in a year of high school. I'd never attended school in Metro City. I did when I lived in New Orleans, but never in Metro City."
"That's where you met Leroy and got the tattoo, right?" Skull prompted.
"Yeah. Leroy had his license to do it." Tommy dug a photo taken of Leroy in the cell out of his wallet. Leroy was a huge African American man with a bald head. "Leroy was protective of me when I was in. I guess some of the other guys thought that I was a punk cuz of my long hair. And, they thought that Leroy was my wolf, even though he wasn't. We were good friends, though." Tommy's eyes stared at a spot on the far wall.
Kim shivered as she digested the new information about her lover. Behind the picture of Leroy, she saw a girl with black hair and green eyes. In that picture Tommy had his arm wrapped around the girl's waist.
"Who is that?" Kim asked, pointing to the picture.
"Garnyt. My girlfriend in Metro City. We broke up when I left for Angel Grove. I was afraid that the cops would harrass her cuz she had been my girlfriend."
Tommy looked down as the memory washed over him:
garnyt pressed her face against the cold steel cables of the bridge. it was a cold winter night and the snow had piled up deep on the empty bridge. tommy hugged her from behind.
"you know why we have to do this." he stated. "if i thought that any of the cops could be trusted... but i don't. i'm afraid that they'd kill you like they killed yumi." tommy shivered, but it wasn't with cold.
tears fell down garnyt's face. she watched as the crystal droplets fell into the river below. "i know. yumi was too innocent for this town. do you know where your uncle is taking you?"
"no. he's afraid that some of my "low life" friends will find out. he wants me to make a clean start in life. those were his exact words. a clean start."
garnyt spun around and buried her face into the worn leather of tommy's jacket. the wind kicked up, causing their hair blow about and intertwine with each other. garnyt looked up at tommy, memorizing his face. her boyfriend lowered his head, then kissed her, their tears mixing together.
tommy's shoulders slumped when they parted and garnyt ran down the bridge's black top road. he straightened up and slung a leg over his motorcycle....
Tommy shook himself out of his daydream. "I haven't heard from Garnyt since I left Metro City. I asked Hazama about her, but he said that she dropped out of sight after I left."
Before any of the Rangers could ask a question, Nana yelled from the foot of the stairs: "Tommy-lamb! You gots a vistor!"
Tommy scrambled to his feet and ran to the door. At the foot of the stairs was a leggy blonde with a figure that rival's Akiko's. She was carrying a tiny baby in her arms.
"Deidre? What are you doing here?" Tommy asked as he met the blonde on the stairs.
"I've been looking for you for several months, Tommy." Deidre answered. She guestered to the baby. He had dark curly hair and olive skin. His eyes were closed, but Tommy could see that the baby had lashes to rival most girl's.
"Who is this?" Tommy asked.
"Hirano. I call him Ronnie for short."
"How did you get a baby?"
Deidre looked down at Ronnie. "He's your son, Tommy. Your's and Garnyt's."
Tommy sat down on the step. He could hear Kimberly gasp. He looked up and saw that she was standing at the top of the stairs. The other rangers were gathered behind her.
"Why didn't Garnyt come?" Tommy demanded.
"She died giving birth to Ronnie. We couldn't afford medical care. She didn't find out she was pregnant until you'd been gone for a few months." Deidre patted Ronnie's back as the baby fussed.
Nana took Ronnie and hummed a soft lullabye that immediately soothed the baby. Deidre held out a hand and helped Tommy up.
"Garnyt asked me to care for Ronnie, but I couldn't. He needs his father." Deidre turned and minced down the stairs in her stilleto high heels.
"Where are you going, Deidre?"
"Back to Metro City. That's where I belong. You and Ronnie belong here in Angel Grove."
"What about Garnyt...?"
"She's where she belongs now also. She was buried in Lost Souls Cemetary."
Tommy bit his lip. Tears fell down his face. Kim laid a hand on his arm.
"What is Lost Souls Cemetary?" She asked.
"The Tenshi River. That's where you bury your dead in Metro City if you can't afford a grave plot."
Tommy broke away from the Rangers and ran out the door. He didn't stop until he reached the Command Center in the desert. Zordon and Alpha were not in the main chamber, so Tommy was able to use the Viewing Globe to locate an empty section along the Tenshi River. He teleported out in a flash of White Light.
At the Tenshi River's dirty bank, Tommy kneeled. He had a single red rose that he had picked during his run to the Command Center.
"Rest, Garnyt." He whispered as he laid the rose in the river's rushing waters. "Ronnie is safe now and I'll make sure he'll never forget his mother."
The Tenshi River took the rose down stream....