Chapter 9: In a Blur
"Are they dead yet?"
"Their heart rates have considerably dropped… and they've all..."
"…What do we do with the others?"
Kimberly's eyes' snapped open, but slammed shut again as the lights above overwhelmed them. The voices in her head continued to speak, conversation and names familiar enough to hold her attention.
She opened her eyes ever so slowly, the haze around her mellowing out enough for her surroundings to become clearer.
Gray walls, Steel and cold air; men with no faces. No one was looking at her now.
Suddenly it hit her like a slap in the face.
"Jason?" she whispered.
Her fingers rolled against her clenched palms and she leveraged their strength, pulling hard on the straps that constrained her limbs.
Kimberly inhaled and pulled sharply with her right wrist, ignoring the numb tingling as her force broke through the thick restraint.
Kimberly swung her free fist to the approaching uniformed man and hooked into his flesh with her nails. He slapped her in return, but a stronger grip from her other side knocked her attacker back so forcibly that the impact was startling.
"You should be dead!" the man spat viciously, moving his hand to his bloodied lip.
Kimberly was pulling wildly at her ankle straps. "What just happened?" she asked Jason breathlessly, as he practically ripped her remaining restraints like paper.
"Oh god," she scrambled off the bed, throwing her arms around Jason's shoulders'.
"You okay?" he asked.
She nodded. She felt surprising alert!
His eyes wandered. "They're gone," he noticed.
Kimberly glanced around with a burst of relief, but grabbed hold of Jason's arm as she noticed Trini. Lifeless. Not talking, not moving.
"Oh my gosh. Trini!" Kimberly gasped, as she rushed to where her childhood friend lay motionless.
Kimberly shook her, running her hands over her face and pinching at her skin.
"Move." Jason grabbed her hands to stop her.
"She'll be fine," Jason assured her, leaning down to drop his ear to the unconscious woman's lips'.
Kimberly widened her eyes. "Well?" she pressured him impatiently.
He straightened up. "She's breathing…they must have given her a bigger dose…"
Kimberly nodded with numbing relief. She grabbed her head between her hands, feeling strangely unhinged.
"Something feels strange…" she murmured, trying to hide her fear.
Jason stepped around her. "I feel like they pumped me full of iron," he admitted. "It doesn't make any sense to me."
Kimberly nodded. She glanced at the only door in the room, suddenly feeling very vulnerable. It was still slightly open- the corridor was just there.
"Jase…" she was whispering, almost incoherently. "They're out there."
The muscles in his neck flexed. "Let me go first. Whatever happens, fight for your life."
For the first time since the 'Men-in-Black' knocked on her door, Kimberly watched the following seconds in slow motion. Men, so many of them, flooded in. Their lips moved angrily, their bodies stood threatening, but Kimberly held her ground.
She screamed viciously and fought for her life.
It overwhelmed him painfully.
He was close to losing it. Billy knew that had he been within arms reach, he would have seriously considered picking up the weapon that took his father's life and put an end to it all.
He couldn't remember the words that rushed out of his mouth at that horrible moment, nor if he even moved. His eyesight fractured- all the pain, all the heartache. He couldn't' focus on his father's dead body.
As his own body lay slumped against the front of his cell, he could feel himself crying as everyone else started screaming and shrieking. It was all so loud, so vicious- but he didn't hear it.
He just tried to focus on the dead body.
"Oh my- no! Leave her alone!"
Billy glanced over at the cell next door, glancing at Katherine through tears. This wasn't over.
"Leave her alone!" Billy suddenly fumed as he watched the uniformed men practically rip his oldest friends from their cages.
By the time they had Trini in their clutches, dragging her further away from him, he was wild. He slammed his palm against the constricting metal over and over.
This wasn't what he imagined would happen!
They weren't dying; they were being executed.
Billy rested his head against the bars, pressing away his anguish with his eyelids. God, he wished Kimberly and Jason would stop screaming in the distance.
"Shit!" Rocky spat. "They're gonna kill them!"
"Why are they doing this to us? Katherine cried through tears.
Billy moved his heavy head. He could feel the bile in his throat.
"Bring them back!" Tommy suddenly yelled.
"They can't just kill them," Aisha stated in a numb tone. "They can't-."
"They just shot Billy's dad," Rocky cut her off.
"I'm going to kill them," Tommy paced the cell, lost in his own delusions. "I don't care what happens to me."
"He might not be dead," Adam announced as he crouched to the ground. He stretched his arm through the gap in the bars, the tips of his fingers brushing the fallen man's hand.
The still limb jiggled awkwardly at Adam's prodding, but as though something had bitten him, the former black ranger quickly withdrew his hand. He slammed it against his chest, but was unable to hide the smudge of crimson on his fingertips.
It was everywhere. The dark floor had merely camouflaged it long enough for Billy to cling onto the slightest piece of hope. A human body could never sustain such a loss. Even if this had happened in the center of a hospital's emergency ward, Billy knew there wouldn't be a chance.
Katherine was sobbing from the far corner of her cell. Even in the midst of so much horror, she was trying to conceal it for him, but nothing in the world could bring to him so much sorrow as to know he had made a major mistake. Maybe Tommy was the only one brazen enough to tell it to his face; Billy couldn't take it anymore.
Another round of screaming started up again in the distance. Kimberly, and then Jason. Kimberly again. Misplaced banging and their sounds of desperation. A struggle.
He had no doubt in his mind that Kimberly, Jason and Trini were the second round of victims in Agent Johns' twisted game of existence.
Everything was blurry.
Feet were bounding, arms flailing, heavy breathing almost too much for Jason to bare. He was running for his life in a literal living hell, and yet he couldn't even conjure up the ability to see where he was going.
They were lost.
Every door, every stale wall looked the same.
Shit, he had them lost now.
"Jason, my foot's killing me!"
He was angry that they had to stop, and let out a groan. It wasn't Kimberly's fault. He was being unreasonable and dissolving into a moment of pure madness, something he couldn't afford.
Not when Kimberly looked that pale.
"Let me have a look," he began with what tenderness he could find, leaning down.
She put a hand out to intercept his shoulder. "I just need to rest for a moment," she whispered. "I can't believe what just happened back there- I know I'm still as fit nowadays, but I haven't thrown a punching combination for years."
Jason leaned against the wall. "They must have injected us with the wrong stuff. I feel as powerful as I did when we used to morph."
Kimberly took a step and winced, before she glanced around. "Which way is out? I feel like we just ran up this corridor."
"I think we did," Jason admitted dully. "Instead of turning left at the end, we need to turn right."
Kimberly nodded, raising her sleek arm high enough so Jason could link his own underneath for support. They began awkwardly up the corridor, Kimberly inhaling with every step, despite Jason's effort to take as much of her weight as possible.
"Gees, you've really filled out Kimmy- Ow!"
"Don't test me now, Jason, I'm in the mood to kill."
He smiled slyly, and moved his free arm under her back, lifting her into his cradled arms. She yelped out a little in surprise, but began to laugh almost playfully.
"You've missed playing the hero, haven't you?" she teased.
He quickened his pace so he was jogging. "Don't test me, Kim, I will drop you and leave you here-."
"GET DOWN!" A masked man suddenly hollered from the mouth of the hall, raising his gun in their direction.
Jason clumsily dropped Kimberly, stepping in front of her. "You might be able to kill one of us, but by the time you pull that trigger, the other will kill you before you get the chance to blink," he delivered carefully.
The uniformed man seemed to grasp his gun tighter, his feet fidgeting as he appeared to ponder Jason's baseless threat. The original red ranger took the opportunity to help Kimberly to standing.
They were staring at the barrel of death, and as Jason thought about what little options he had, he knew that was a real possibility.
"Get down on the ground!"
"We'll do whatever you say, just please don't kill us," Kimberly pleaded.
She took a slow step forward, and Jason swiftly grabbed her hand, pulling on her to stay back.
"You have until the count of five to drop to the ground or I will shoot you both!" the officer delivered, his stance not at all wavering. "One…"
"Kim, get to the ground," Jason ordered her. "Now."
"He's going to kill us anyway," she whimpered painfully.
"Just get down on the ground, Kim-."
Jason could feel everything inside him tighten as he carefully bent his knees and tried with growing desperation to drag Kimberly down with him.
Kimberly let out a nervous whimper and dropped to her knees as the countdown paused and hung in the air above them. Jason lowered his head slightly and stared coldly at the well-armored man, as he carefully motioned with his arm for the former pink ranger to move behind him.
"Don't move," the officer warned, as he carefully marched toward them both, their limbs locked together in a cowering heap.
"I'm going to go for him," Jason whispered, trying his hardest not to move his lips. "This is our last chance-."
It was like a tackle in football, arms extended, shoulders bracing for the impact; his attempt to take the officer down by surprise was nothing short of blind fear. The collision sent Jason tumbling on top of the smaller man, but the second's success was instantly blasted away as a gunshot echoed around him.
Kimberly screamed. The officer merely groaned numbly, as Jason weakly attempted to knock the smoking gun from his limp hand.
"Kim!" Jason threw his wild eyes over his shoulder.
Kimberly stood against the corridor wall, her eyes wide in fear. "He just missed," she stammered, as she motioned quickly to the impact wedged only inches away from her head.
The officer began to struggle and Jason moved his right hand to the man's neck, clenching his fingers around it. He could feel his anger literally strangle the life from him.
"Get the gun," Jason ordered Kimberly, motioning toward the weapon with his chin. "I want you to go and run for help…I know your ankle's busted right now, but use the gun if you run into any more of these creeps…"
Kimberly crouched down and hesitantly picked up the oversized weapon. "Aren't you going to come with me?"
"No," he admitted with a sigh. "I'm going to take care of this guy, and I'll catch up with you…I don't want to waste another bullet here."
She nodded reluctantly and he sighed. "Go, Kim," he coaxed. "Go!"
It only took a few minutes to kill the uniformed officer beneath him. The man was nothing short of a murderer, belonging to an organisation that was dealing in senseless death, yet it didn't make the act any easier. Jason's entire stomach only bunched more, sickened by his own rage and suddenly afraid of where he was.
He had promised Kimberly he'd follow after her, yet he knew he had no choice but to go back for the others. If he didn't get to them now, it was possibly the last chance they had to escape their planned executions. Jason carefully removed the bundle of keys hooked to the dead man's belt and gripped them tightly.
Fighting everything in his head, he raced back in the direction he came from. All the doors he passed blurred by one by one. Every wall looked the same. Nothing made sense.
"Guys!" he suddenly hollered out loudly. "Tommy! Billy!" he followed with heightened urgency.
He suddenly stopped, his knees buckling by the awkward motion. He could hear his friends' distinct replies in the near distance, and flung himself through the nearest door.
"Guys!" he announced with urgency as he focused on the emerging cells, Hank Cranston's bloody body still sprawled in the center of the corridor.
"What the hell happened?" Rocky gripped the bars of his cell. "We thought they were going to kill you-."
"They tried," Jason cut him off, as he moved the stolen keys to his lock. It clicked and flung open, before he moved to his former holding cell.
"We gotta get out of here, bro," Jason stammered as he moved the key into position.
"Where are Kimberly and Trini?" The white ranger asked, as Jason fumbled with the lock.
The gray walls were falling heavy in his sight. Maybe it was the adrenalin finally running low, but he couldn't steady his attention, nor his focus. All he could think of was 'RUN'! RUN!
"Jase, are you okay?" Tommy had his hands gripped on his shoulders. "You're bleeding."
Jason squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, praying the dizzy spell would fade away as he focused back on his former teammates.
His foot brushed the dead body on the ground. He didn't want to stare at it, and finally tore his eyes to glance at the blood smudged on his arm. The crimson liquid had drenched into the tiny lines of his skin giving an unnerving appearance.
"We need to get out of here," he croaked out. "We got lost…I don't remember where I left Trini, and I don't know where Kim is-."
"Guys- let's move," Rocky motioned almost exasperatedly as they all stood in a stunned state.
Mind ticking, thoughts pulsating.
"Let's just go," Billy decided suddenly, his voice distant from any emotion. "We need to find the others and get out of here before any more people suffer for this."
You never really know your kids.
You expect them to rebel. You prepare for their disobedience and for the day they look at you with changed eyes and declare that you're no longer the light of their life. You're no longer the pillar. You have no control.
And, Caroline had prepared herself for it. She'd always believed in her heart that her only daughter was a true light in the world. There had been those times where Caroline had caught her slipping through the window at night, or leaving the house without an explanation, but that had been the extent of it.
No underage smoking, no binge drinking; no eating disorders or drug abuse.
Never did she even contemplate the possibility of sitting huddled in a police station interview room, trying to convince herself of everything that went against her better instincts. She was a good mother- her daughter was nothing short of a light in her life.
Not a murderer.
Caroline glanced up, not quite meeting his eyes. She swore she could feel his pity drip over her and she didn't want it. It made her feel nothing short of dirty. Even the slightest sensibility in the back of mind wasn't enough to make it go away.
"What is it?" she allowed him.
He shuffled a bit and his reluctance to speak was almost painful for her. She had assumed when she'd left to sit in the room alone that he'd respect her need to be away from him, but he had this way of grating on her.
A sigh. "Do you want to talk about this?" he finally asked.
Caroline scrunched the tissue in her palm, the moisture from it lost on her tear-streaked hands.
Another sigh, a step toward her-.
"Don't." She hooked her dark eyes on him. "I don't need you telling me again…next you'll be blaming me for this."
He almost sniggered. "Oh Christ," he murmured, rubbing his hands on his face. "I guess it was pretty foolish of me to believe I could have a decent conversation with you about the fact that our daughter has killed someone-."
"She did not do it-."
"They have her on tape, Caroline!" he snapped, swiping his hand in a wide gesturing manner. "I thought you told me that Kimberly was doing well in Boston-."
"Manhattan," Caroline corrected bitingly. "You have no idea what own daughter has been doing, so don't pressure me just because I have cared enough to take an interest in her life."
The last words just hung in the air.
Caroline couldn't resist the urge to seek for his help. She was desperate and everything was so cruel- her own despondency would cause her to turn to the one person she despised to help the one person she loved most in the world.
"Did Kimberly ever mention anything about having trouble with the law?"
Phillip stood motionless. "She never said anything about this. Simon would have told me."
"I only ask because before this I really thought Kimberly told me everything…" she could feel the tremble creep into her voice, but couldn't hold it back. "What on Earth has she been doing all this time?"
The door behind them opened at that very question, in a moment that made Caroline want to spring from her chair and nail it close. She was in bloody denial and as much as talking with her ex-husband left a sour taste on her tongue, it was preferable over absorbing the almost arrogant aroma from the Officer in charge.
Phillip wasn't particularly overjoyed by his interruption, either. "My ex-wife and I are trying to discuss this…"
"I thought you would both like to know that we've receiving confirmed reports of several sightings of your daughter and Mr. Scott in the Angel Grove district. It will only be a matter of time before we bring them in."
Caroline lowered her head. "None of your people here can begin to tell me why Kimberly and Jason would be anywhere near that government building…our daughter hasn't been in Angel Grove for years and I certainly can't think of any reason why she would be in trouble with the government."
The officer's chin cocked a little, as though he couldn't manage to salvage any sympathy. "No one is going to be capable of answering those questions except for Kimberly and Jason. I'll let you know when we find them."