[See Profiles of A New Team for disclaimer]
Red Hot Vengeance
"Hey, honey, what's up?" the Cryptkeeper asked.
"Nothing much. I'm just a little bored," Jenny replied. "We spend every single day here in the Surf Spot. I'm telling you, we need something new to do. But what is there? We suck at sports…"
"That would make sports even more fun for us," Curly said. "Who knows what kind of mistakes we'll make."
All of a sudden, T.J. ran up to their table all excited.
"Hey, guys, I've got excellent news!" he called. "Remember the former Rangers?"
"Yeah, what about them?" Jenny asked.
"Well, guess what? They're coming back to Angel Grove for a visit," T.J. said. "There's a high school reunion coming up."
"Oh great," Jenny said, a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
T.J. frowned. "You don't sound too excited."
Jenny chuckled. "Let's just say that there's . . . friction between Tommy and us Spices."
"Well, I'm sure you'll work it out," T.J. said. "Carlos and the girls already went to pick them up from the airport. They'll be here shortly. I hear they're looking forward to seeing you guys again."
"Oh, we'll bet," Spinal said.
"Well, see you later," T.J. called.
He walked out of the building. The Spices stared at him.
"Yeah, we've had a lot of fun times with the former Rangers," the Cryptkeeper said.
"No kidding," C.C. said. "Neato keeno swell."
"I remember them better as the Zeo Rangers," Jenny said. "Actually, you're right, C.K. We did have some fun times with those guys. Especially when Tommy became the evil Green Ranger and ripped the command center apart. Then he broke into the Rangers' zords and knocked them all out."
"Okay," Curly said. "But that was way back when."
"What about the time Tommy stole Demona's Grimorum Acanorum and gave it to Goldar?" C.C. asked. "That was not pleasant."
"And then there's the time Tommy disappeared only to come back as the King of the Machine Empire," Jenny said. "That was the perfect opportunity for me to slaughter that man once and for all."
"And you failed," Spinal said. "Perfect."
"But all that's in the past," Curly said. "He was under a spell. Just let bygones be bygones. And since he's not a Ranger anymore, the bad guys just might leave him alone."
"Let bygones be bygones?" Jenny sounded insulted. "Tommy killed my father. I cannot forgive him for that. It doesn't matter if he was under a spell; my father was slain by his hand. Also, Tommy gave me the most horrible, gross, disgusting, hideous, gruesome, nasty, butt-ugly scar right on my chest!!!"
She traced the scar on her body, from her right hip to her left shoulder.
"Ouch. That must've hurt," Curly said.
"Yeah. The scar also happens to be an inch thick," Jenny told him. "I even still have the white T-shirt I wore when I got that scar. It is completely blood-stained, with the black stitches where the scar is. I wear it whenever Tommy stabs us in the back. Could you really forgive him, Curly, after the way he's treated us?"
"I suppose not," Curly said. "I wouldn't know. I don't think I'd be able to forgive the person that killed my father."
Then, into the Surf Spot walked the former Zeo Rangers: Tommy, Kat, Adam, Rocky, Tanya, Jason, and Billy. They were accompanied by Carlos, Ashley, Cassie, and Andros. They started greeting each other while the Spices stared. All of a sudden, Tommy called out to them, sending shivers up their spines. Tommy went up to their table.
"Hey, Lancers; long time no see," he said, extending his hand.
Jenny grabbed his hand in a handshake. "Actually, we're not called the Lancers anymore."
"You're not?" Tommy asked. "Then what are you called?"
The Spices stood up and announced in unison, "We're the Spice Club."
"Spice Club? That sounds neat," Tommy said.
"Not only that, but we each have special Spice nicknames," Jenny added.
"Yeah. I'm Tonfa Spice. This is Zombie Spice, Speedy Spice, Spinal Spice, and Fuzzy Spice."
"Wow. What a way to spice up your life," Kat said.
"So, how do you like fighting monsters with the new Ranger allies?" Rocky asked.
"We're having fun just the same," the Cryptkeeper replied.
"Just don't practice your martial arts around here, or else you'll attract evil monsters," Jenny said.
The Zeo Rangers laughed.
"You know; I've always loved you guys . . . and your sense of humor," Tommy said.
"That's nice," Jenny said.
"Well, we're gonna explore Angel Grove some," Jason said. "Wanna join us?"
"No thanks. We know Angel Grove from head to toe," Curly told him.
"All right then. We'll see you later," Tommy called.
The Rangers waved goodbye and walked out of the building. Jenny glared at Tommy, her eyes narrowing.
"Not to mention, he actually told us that he was trying to kill us because he loves us," she said to her friends. "It was so weird. 'Don't you understand me!?' he says. 'I love you all. I have to destroy you!!' "
"Yeah, that is weird," C.C. said.
"But I suppose that he might be left alone, but we still have to keep our eyes peeled," Jenny told them. "I still believe that evil lurks in the heart of that man."
The other Spices nodded.
Meanwhile, Astronema was made aware of the Zeo Rangers' visit.
"So, the former Rangers are back?" she asked. "I hear that Tommy was a most powerful warrior."
"Yeah, very powerful," Elgar said.
"I say we use him to destroy the Spice Club. They'll never suspect him of such evil."
"Uh . . . Astronema . . ."
"Silence! Get Tommy, now!!"
Several hours later, Rocky and Adam bumped into T.J. and a large group of Spices playing baseball in the baseball field. At least the Spices were trying to play baseball. Spinal was at bat. Earl prepared to pitch.
"You ready?" he asked.
"Ready as I'll ever be," Spinal replied.
Earl made the pitch. Spinal swung the bat. He hit the ball, but it flew straight into the field and struck Earl in the head. Earl staggered back and fell to the ground.
"Whoa. Are you okay?" T.J. asked.
"Yeah. They don't call me Brickhead for nothing," Earl replied.
"Hey, guys, have you seen Tommy?" Rocky asked out of nowhere.
"Tommy? No, we haven't," Jenny said.
"It's weird. It's like he just vanished," Adam said.
"Oh really? I'm thoroughly devastated," Jenny said, with more sarcasm in her voice.
"The other Rangers are already looking for him," Rocky told the group.
"I'll start looking, too," T.J. said.
"Good luck," called the Cryptkeeper.
"Let us know if you find anything," Jenny called.
Rocky, Adam, and T.J. nodded as they left the park. It was Jenny's turn to bat. She gripped the bat tightly.
"He'll be back," she called to her friends. "And when he does come back, things are going to get ugly."
The thought having passed, she awaited the pitch . . .
Meanwhile, the Rangers had split up to search Angel Grove for Tommy. They looked everywhere and asked everybody, but they found nothing. Alpha was even searching for Tommy from the Astro Megaship.
"It's no use, Rangers; I just can't find him," Alpha said.
"We can't give up," Kat declared. "I'm so worried about him."
"We'll find him, Kat; don't worry," Jason told her.
"But where can he be?" asked Tanya.
"Maybe he's working on a surprise of some sort," Billy suggested.
"I don't know what to think," Cassie said.
They pondered hopelessly as their minds were filled with numerous thoughts as to what had happened to the greatest Power Ranger of all time . . .
Back at the Angel Grove baseball field, Jenny was getting ready to pitch to Hallie.
"Ready, sis?" she asked.
"Ready, sis," Hallie replied.
As Jenny prepared to throw the ball, Tommy seemingly appeared from nowhere. He flipped head over heels right behind Jenny and grabbed her shoulder, causing her throw to be off. Tommy turned Jenny around and punched her in the face. Of course, Jenny had fast reflexes when it came to Tommy's attack. She blocked his second punch, then uppercutted him in the abdomen and punched him in the face. The other Spices gasped.
"Stop!" cried the Cryptkeeper. He raced up behind Tommy and grabbed his shoulders. Tommy just threw him off and side-kicked his stomach.
Jenny, in a fit of rage, shot her hand at Tommy's chest. Tommy grabbed her wrist before she could dig her fingers into his chest. As they struggled, Tommy threw her over his shoulder. He then stood over her and stomped on her head. He picked up a nearby baseball bat and attempted to pound her with it, but Jenny moved to the side. She then did a backward somersault back to her feet as Tommy lunged with the bat again. Spinal grabbed Tommy's arm, but the former Ranger broke free and brought the bat down hard on Spinal's skull. While Spinal was reeling in pain, Tommy hit him in the side with the bat, knocking him over. Tommy stood over him.
"Your days are numbered, Spice Club," he declared in a low, wicked voice.
He slowly raised the bat, preparing to hit Spinal again. When he tried to lunge, the bat wouldn't budge, as if something were holding it back. Spinal looked closely and saw some strange figure . . . a camouflaged figure. Then the figure revealed itself to be a mysterious black Ranger.
"Eeeek! The Phantom Ranger!!" Spinal screamed in fear, scrambling to his feet and moving out of danger.
Tommy turned to the Phantom Ranger and punched him in the stomach, causing him to let go of the bat. Jenny approached Tommy quickly. Tommy took another swing at her, but she dodged it and gave him an inward spin kick to the face, causing him to drop the bat. So he went back to attacking with his bare hands. The Phantom Ranger simply tried to restrain him. Tommy attacked the Phantom Ranger with deadly punches to the center of his body. Earl wanted to help restrain Tommy, so he ran at him. Tommy gave him a side kick to the chest, causing him to double over. Then Tommy picked up the bat again and lunged. The Phantom Ranger again tried to get the bat out of his hands, but Tommy gave him a few more kicks to the face. He then struck the Phantom Ranger in the center of his chest with the bat. That blow had apparently defeated him. The Phantom Ranger slowly staggered back against the fence, dropped to his knees, then collapsed face-first to the ground. The Spices stared helplessly at him. Jenny, however, kicked the bat out of Tommy's hands. She then ran over to the fence with Tommy hot on her heels. When she reached the fence, she grasped it, lifted both feet, and planted them into Tommy's chest. Tommy just fell backwards, then stood up with an evil smile.
"You haven't seen the last of me," he said. Then he vanished.
"I hate that guy," Spinal said.
"Spinal, your skull's cracked," C.C. said.
"I can tell. It feels like a splitting headache."
Jenny picked up the bat and squeezed it so hard, her knuckles turned white. "I'm gonna kill him! I'm gonna rip his heart out!" She fiercely swung the bat at where Tommy was standing before he had vanished. Then she turned to her friends, who were all gathered around the motionless Phantom Ranger.
"How is he doing?" she asked.
"He's not moving," Earl said.
"I told you things were going to get ugly when Tommy comes back," Jenny said. "Okay, back up, everybody."
The Spices gave her room. Jenny rolled the Phantom Ranger onto his back. She took a look at him and gasped.
"What is it?" the Cryptkeeper asked.
"See that?" Jenny pointed to the red ruby at the center of the Phantom Ranger's chest. "His power ruby is busted."
"The power ruby? That's his life source," C.C. said.
"That doesn't mean . . ." Earl began.
Jenny looked at all of them sadly and nodded her head. "He's dead. Slain by a former Power Ranger with a simple piece of sports equipment."
Spinal was fighting tears. "I . . . I was always afraid of the Phantom Ranger, but I never wanted him to die."
"Well, what do we do now?" the Cryptkeeper asked.
Jenny pondered for a moment. "Wait a minute." She lifted the Phantom Ranger's upper body and lowered herself down, as if to kiss him.
"Wait a minute. You're not going to possess him, are you?" the Cryptkeeper asked.
"Yes, I am," Jenny replied. "The Phantom Ranger has always been a formidable ally. With indestructibility, he'll be unstoppable."
"I don't know. I think he'll be better off dead."
"Maybe, but still, we'll need all the help we can get. And we don't want to disappoint poor Cassie with the fact that her Phantom is gone forever."
The Cryptkeeper shrugged his shoulders. "Okay. If you really want to do it."
Jenny lowered herself again and kissed the Phantom Ranger right where the lips would be under his helmet. It appeared to be a normal kiss. The Phantom Ranger remained motionless. Then Jenny lifted her head.
"That should do it." She let out a weary sigh. "Phew, that is exhausting."
"Okay, now what?" C.C. asked.
"We take him home, that's what," Jenny said.
"Are you serious?" Spinal asked.
"Yes, I'm serious. He has to adjust. He'll wake up at sunset and walk around as a demon, so we have to keep him inside the underground stream. If we let him loose on the streets, he'll be slaughtering innocents."
"And he won't kill us because he'll know that we're possessed, too," the Cryptkeeper added.
"Well, here goes nothing." Jenny picked up the Phantom Ranger and draped him over her shoulder. Then she staggered back against the fence. "Whoa! This guy's heavy."
Suddenly, they got a call from the Rangers.
"Jenny, we found Tommy," T.J. called. "He's been brainwashed."
Jenny opened up her ring and spoke. "Correction, T.J.; Tommy's been brainwashed . . . again. We know; he just came and beat the shit out of us . . . again."
"What's that over your shoulder?" Rocky asked, staring at the Spices through a monitor on the Astro Megaship.
"It's the Phantom Ranger," Jenny replied.
Cassie instantly gasped. "Is he all right?"
"Uh . . . I really don't know, Cassie. That's why we're taking him home to get a better look at him."
"Let us know what you find," Carlos said.
"Sure. But as far as we're concerned, we have no more part in evil Ranger problems," Jenny said. "So we cannot render our assistance. Now if you'll excuse us . . ."
She and the other Spices teleported out of the baseball field with the Phantom Ranger. The Astro and Zeo Rangers sighed.
"Any idea where they live?" Ashley asked.
"I heard that they live in an abandoned funeral parlor in the middle of nowhere," Billy said. "I believe they call it Hull House."
"Hull House? That sounds creepy," Tanya said. "Have you been there?"
"No, I haven't."
"Hmm. Maybe we should," Carlos said.
The Spices remained in their home for the rest of the day. They had no electricity, so they used candles for light, not to mention the fireplace. When they wandered through the halls, they often faced the darkness. The windows of the house were all boarded up, so it was dark even during the day. The house was tall, made of dirty old wood. The inside was pretty much the same. You'd wonder why the house hadn't fallen apart years ago.
When the sun went down, the Phantom Ranger woke up. He immediately sat up and took a slow walk. He headed straight for the front door . . .
Hallie was staring through a small crevice in the window. "Sis, the Phantom Ranger is outside!" she called.
Jenny looked up from her diary. "That's okay," she said calmly. "He can't get past the underground stream."
"Well, we're gonna find out, 'cause he's heading right for the gate."
"Underground stream? What underground stream?" Spinal asked.
"The underground stream that surrounds the whole house," Jenny told him.
"And it's right underneath the brick wall, as a matter of fact," the Cryptkeeper added.
"Hmm. There are secrets about this house even I don't know," Spinal said.
"If you want to hear stories about the history of this house, ask Bat," the Cryptkeeper said.
"Uh, I'll pass. Anyway, I'll make dinner now. It's kind of weird, having the Phantom Ranger as an overnight guest."
"Yeah, dinner would be good right now," Jenny said. "We should probably stay up with him, so that he doesn't get too bored."
Meanwhile, the Phantom Ranger walked silently outside toward the gate. He tried to walk through, but was stopped by some sort of force field. As Jenny mentioned, it was caused by the underground stream. The Phantom Ranger lifted his finger and touched the force field again. He then gave up and started back into the house.
Spinal and C.C. were upstairs in the kitchen making stew over a woodburning stove.
"Do you think the Phantom Ranger will be able to keep himself busy?" Spinal asked. "How did Jenny and the others make it through their first night?"
"Well, they made it through their first night because they basically killed each other," C.C. replied. "Also, they had Scorpina and the Soccadillo to terrorize. As for the Phantom Ranger, I don't know what he's going to do."
At that moment, the Phantom Ranger walked into the kitchen. He paused at the refrigerator, which was decorated with magnets. He pulled two of them and held them out to Spinal and C.C.
"Yeah . . . those are magnets," C.C. said. "You can stick them to metal surfaces, or each other."
Without a word, the Phantom Ranger stuck the two magnets together. Then he pulled them apart and slowly stuck them to his body. Spinal and C.C. chuckled.
"Hmm. Clever," Spinal said.
He finished adding the vegetables to the stew. They moved to the door. C.C. suddenly turned to Spinal and started kissing him. As soon as she did, Jenny walked into the room and noticed them immediately.
"Oh, in the kitchen, of all places," she said.
Spinal and C.C. just chuckled as Jenny bumped into the Phantom Ranger. He turned around, magnets stuck all over his head and chest.
"How interesting," Jenny said. "Come on, Phantom, let's go downstairs."
The Phantom Ranger quickly put the magnets back on the refrigerator and followed Jenny out of the room. They went back downstairs into the living room. Jenny looked out the window.
"Uh-oh. Looks like we have some uninvited guests," she said.
"What? Who?" asked the Cryptkeeper.
"We got Astronema, Tommy, Elgar, General Havoc . . ." Jenny began.
"Is the Candyman out there?" Hallie asked.
"Yes, Hallie; the Candyman's out there," Jenny said. "And we got some dog monster."
"Did you say a dog monster?" Spinal asked.
"Yeah, I said a dog monster."
"That spells trouble. I hate dogs."
"Yes, we know, Spinal," the Cryptkeeper said.
"Okay. Everybody hide!" Jenny called.
Within seconds, the Spice Club members were out of sight. Jenny, however, continued to stare out the window with the Phantom Ranger.
"Tonight's the night, Phantom Ranger," she said. "Even if I don't kill him, I will get my vengeance. We'll let them in. We're gonna scare the shit out of them. Now find a hiding place. Be sure to meet me later on."
The Phantom Ranger nodded as Jenny raced upstairs into the bathroom.
Several minutes later, the uninvited guests walked into the house. They took a look around and all made horrible grimaces.
"This is their home?" asked General Havoc.
"I dunno," Elgar said. "If it is, then they're obviously not here."
"They're here, all right," said the dog monster. "I can smell them. They're hiding all over the house."
"Then we'll split up and find them," Astronema said. "But what's that?"
She pointed to a coffin that was lying about five feet in front of her.
"Well, let's find out." Elgar walked up and opened the coffin.
"What do you see?" asked Ecliptor.
"It's the Phantom Ranger," Elgar replied.
"Oh yes," Tommy said, looking over Elgar's shoulder. "I destroyed him personally."
Soon, all of the bad guys were staring into the coffin at the "dead" Phantom Ranger.
"But why would the Spice Club bring him here?" Havoc asked.
"Well . . . this is a funeral home," Elgar said. "Dead bodies are supposed to be kept in funeral homes."
"Whatever," said Astronema. "But we must find the Spice Club and get rid of them. Havoc, Ecliptor, and Bad Bloodhound, you three go that way. Tommy, you and Elgar search upstairs. I'll search the living room. Bad Bloodhound, take my staff."
"But what about you?" Bad Bloodhound asked.
"I'll be fine; I can take care of myself," Astronema said flatly. "Let's move."
The intruders went in their assigned directions. As soon as they were out of sight, the coffin lid slowly creaked open, and the Phantom Ranger sat up . . .
General Havoc, Ecliptor, and the Bad Bloodhound searched through the mildewed halls. They wondered how so many people can hide so well. However, they finally found somebody. They found Hallie apparently sleeping in the bedroom. The trio silently tiptoed closer. Hallie remained motionless. All of a sudden, she spoke.
"What are you doing here?" Havoc asked.
Hallie opened her eyes and climbed out of bed. "I live here. This's my home."
"How can you call this deserted dustbowl a home?" Ecliptor asked.
Hallie looked around. "A home is where we can be together. This is the only place big enough for a big group of misfits like us. It doesn't matter if it's a . . . deserted dustbowl. Now, if you'll excuse me."
She marched out of the room. The intruders stared.
"We must destroy her," Ecliptor said.
"Right. Let's go get her," Bad Bloodhound added.
Upon hearing Ecliptor's statement, Hallie took off. The intruders lost her trail before they even got out of the room.
Meanwhile, the Phantom Ranger had found Jenny. She instructed him to wait at the top of the staircase, then went downstairs. She was wearing the bloodstained T-shirt that she'd explained about earlier.
Tommy and Elgar had also gone downstairs. Jenny found them and called their attention. Tommy turned and glared at her.
"All right, Tonfa Spice. Now I'm gonna finish you!" he yelled fiercely. He started running after her.
"Hey, wait! Go easy on her!" Elgar cried, chasing Tommy.
Jenny ran all the way back upstairs with Tommy hot on her heels. When she reached the top, she got behind the Phantom Ranger. Elgar stayed at the middle of the stairs, where it turned around and continued upward. When Tommy was close to the top, the Phantom Ranger leaped in front of him and let out a loud, demonic roar. Tommy was so startled, he tumbled back downstairs, winding up at Elgar's feet. The Phantom Ranger began to descend downstairs.
"Uh, whoa . . . nice Phantom Ranger," Elgar stammered, as he started downstairs.
Jenny found the whole thing hilarious, as she was laughing maniacally. Her laughter echoed throughout the house. She went downstairs and stood over Tommy, who was curled against the wall trying to catch his breath. Her laughter stopped dead.
"An eye for an eye." Then she stomped on his head, just as Tommy had done to her. "And a head for a head."
She turned around sharply and continued downstairs into the living room. The Phantom Ranger followed calmly.
"Now what else can we do to boot them out of our house?" she asked.
Spinal decided not to bother scaring. He chose to hide instead. Besides, how can a cute little guy like him scare off those scary monsters? As he wandered through the halls, he bumped into the Bad Bloodhound himself. He stopped and gasped.
"A DAAAAAAAAWG!!!!!!!" he screamed.
He turned and ran through the hall. The Bad Bloodhound licked his lips and drooled.
"Oooh, dinner." He took off in pursuit of Spinal. Ecliptor and Havoc stared in the direction.
"Bad Bloodhound, wait!" Havoc cried.
"Candy Spice went this way!" Ecliptor added.
No response. The Bad Bloodhound was already out of sight. Havoc and Ecliptor shrugged their shoulders.
"Let him have his fun," Havoc suggested. "We can catch up with him later. Besides, Spinal Spice is definitely a first-class meal."
"Oh, very well," said Ecliptor.
Bad Bloodhound chased Spinal through the hallways. In sheer terror, Spinal dashed into the bathroom, slammed the door, leaped into the bathtub, and closed the curtain. The Bad Bloodhound jiggled on the doorknob for a few seconds before breaking in. He paused when he saw that Spinal wasn't in immediate sight. He looked around and noticed a dumped bathroom with graffiti all over the walls. He sniffed about the room.
"Okay, Spinal Spice, I know you're in here," he said. "I can smell you. It is only a matter of time before I find you . . . and EAT you!!!"
There was pretty much nowhere to hide, so the Bad Bloodhound reached for the shower curtain and suddenly pulled it open. Still no Spinal.
"Come, come, I've got you trapped in here, so you might as well come out," the Bad Bloodhound said.
Nothing. The Bad Bloodhound sighed in frustration and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
So where was Spinal? The little guy was clinging to the ceiling, thanks to his sharp fingerbones and "toebones." When the Bad Bloodhound slammed the door, Spinal lost his grip and fell back into the bathtub.
"Phew, that was close," he said to himself. "But I'd better hang out here for a while and make sure he stays the hell away from me."
On the Astro Megaship, the Rangers were pondering and pondering.
"Hey, Rangers," Alpha said. "Astronema and her crew are attacking Hull House."
"Hull House?" Cassie asked.
"Yeah; the Spice Club's home, remember?" Billy told her. "I told you about that earlier."
"We've got to help them," T.J. said.
"You guys do that," said Jason. "We'll stay here and finish working on a way to break the spell over Tommy."
Andros nodded, then he and the other Astro Rangers raced into the room and jumped into their jump tubes. Within seconds, they were outside of creepy Hull House.
"This . . . is their HOME!?" Ashley asked.
"Well, let's get this over with," Cassie said. "It can't be that bad."
T.J. walked up to the door and started to knock. However, his first knock caused the door to creak open slowly. Cautiously, the Rangers tiptoed inside and instantly started coughing.
"Whoo! It smells like something died in here!" Carlos cried.
"Something did die in here, Carlos," T.J. said. "The Spice Club."
Suddenly, they heard a maniacal scream.
"What was that?" asked Andros.
"This place can't possibly be a home," Cassie said.
"Apparently, it can," T.J. said. "Spice Club!!! Is anybody home?"
The house was silent for a minute. Soon, Jenny came downstairs.
"What are you guys doing here?" she asked.
"We were told that Astronema is in here," Andros said.
"Yes . . . well, there are six of them and thirty-two of us," Jenny explained. "Therefore, I believe we have it well under control."
"Okay." So the Rangers left the house, a little relieved. When they did, the Phantom Ranger came downstairs. Together, he and Jenny continued their little game.
Ecliptor and Havoc walked into a room and gasped. They saw Curly hanging from the ceiling . . . by his neck. Havoc cleared his throat.
"I don't know what sort of thing you're doing, but I'm betting you're not hanging yourself," he said.,BR>
"I'm hanging myself, all right," Curly said. "I wish I had the other organs, though. It must feel good, the way the rope tightens your vocal cords."
"Let's leave him," Ecliptor said. "I heard that hanging is a slow and painful torture."
"Not as painful as your abuse," Curly told him. "Or else I wouldn't be doing it."
Displaying no show of emotion, Havoc and Ecliptor walked out. If Curly had lips, he'd be smiling. He clutched a pair of scissors in his left hand. He used it to cut the rope which bound his neck, then collapsed to the floor. Then he chuckled.
"Slow and painful torture . . ." he muttered. "Better talk to Spinal next time I get the chance. He's been tortured more often than anyone who's existed, poor guy."
Astronema followed the same path as her evil companions. She walked straight into the bathroom. Luckily, Spinal still happened to be in the tub with the curtains closed. Upon Astronema's entrance, Spinal gasped and curled up. Astronema stared into the dirty mirror, then tried to work the faucet. It was bone dry.
"What a dump," she muttered aloud. "I think I'll take a dump myself."
Spinal gasped again. He covered his face as he jaws hung open in horror. Fortunately, Astronema didn't take a dump. Instead, she opened up the mirror and found a thing of lipstick inside.
"Well, what's this?" she asked.
She started to apply it to her lips, then paused. "I sense a presence in this room. A sweet, mysterious presence."
Spinal gulped nervously. "What am I gonna do?" he thought.
Trapped in his own hiding place, Spinal awaited his fate. Astronema pulled open the shower curtain and saw him sprawled at the bottom of the mildewed bathtub. Spinal let out a brief shriek.
"Hello," Astronema said sweetly. "Funny meeting you here."
"Yeah, it's just hilarious," Spinal muttered sarcastically. He scrambled out of the tub and raced for the door, but Astronema grabbed his arm. Spinal staggered against the door as she leaned against him. He desperately tried shaking her off. He only managed to make enough room to kick her off. Astronema fell into the tub, giving Spinal an opportunity to escape. Of course, this was one opportunity that he was not going to pass up. Astronema climbed out of the tub and brushed herself off.
"Oooh, I got mildew all over my clothes!" she cried. "All right, Spinal, you're getting a little annoying for a sweet guy."
The Bad Bloodhound was still alone. He had wandered into the courtyard of the house. For some odd reason, there was a basketball pole there. Jenny and the Phantom Ranger were spying on him.
"I think you're ready for a solo act," Jenny said. "Now sic "'im!"
The Phantom Ranger ran out into the open and hopped up and down in front of the monster. The Bad Bloodhound stared at him with a look of confusion. Jenny smiled to herself.
"I've always wanted to say that."
The Phantom Ranger made a habit of shoving the Bad Bloodhound around. The Bad Bloodhound lashed out with Astronema's staff, slicing the Phantom Ranger, but it appeared to have no effect on him. The Bad Bloodhound attempted an overhead attack. The Phantom Ranger blocked the attack, then shoved the other end of the staff through the monster's body. The monster let out a final howl before falling over onto his back. The Phantom Ranger then pulled out the staff, turned it over, and stabbed the Bad Bloodhound again with the "arrow" end. The Phantom stared at the monster blood on his hands, then spread it all over his chest and abdomen. Jenny ran over to him.
"Wow! You are very good for a beginner!" she exclaimed. "No wonder why they call you the Phantom Ranger!"
Again, the Phantom Ranger was quieter than a mouse. Jenny looked up at the sky.
"Uh-oh. It's almost sunrise." She opened her ring and instructed the other Spices to meet in the courtyard. A few minutes went by as they gathered around. Fortunately, the intruders followed and met each other. Astronema gasped upon seeing her staff piercing the Bad Bloodhound's dead body.
"Ooooh!" In a rage, she ripped the staff out and aimed it at Tommy. She fired the laser and Tommy doubled over. As he raised his upper body, his eyes glowed purple. The Spice Club members gasped as Jenny made a fist. Her chance to end his reign of terror was again blown.
"Now, Tommy, destroy them!" Astronema shouted.
"I don't think so," Tommy said, getting up and standing in front of the Spice Club. "I'm leaving with my friends, the ones I love."
Jenny cracked a half smile. "We're not going to leave; this is our house."
Suddenly, as if on cue, the Rangers and the former Zeo Rangers teleported beside the Spice Club.
"Hey. We found out that Tommy's back to normal," T.J. said.
"Is there anything you don't find out?" Jenny asked.
"Hmm, not really," Cassie said.
The intruders continued to glare. Astronema lifted a finger.
"None of you has seen the last of me!" Then they vanished.
"That's right. Get out of our house and stay out!" Jenny yelled.
The Zeo teens ran up to Tommy.
"Are you all right?" Rocky asked.
"Oh man. I'll be all right, but I just wish I could remember what happened," Tommy said. "Look, Spice Club, I'm sorry for whatever I've done. No hard feelings?"
"Hmm . . ." Jenny looked back at her pals. "No hard feelings."
Tommy smiled, nodded, and patted her shoulder. "So . . . this is your home?"
"You actually like it here?" Tanya asked.
"Yeah. It's all we've got," Jenny explained. "Can you see a skeleton living in a normal home?"
"He'd have to sleep in the closet," the Cryptkeeper added, cracking up.
An odd silence fell over the group. Nobody even heard a single cricket chirping. Jenny glared at Tommy, rubbed her hands together, and dove into him, knocking him over. Before Tommy could react, she brought her palm up behind her as far as she could, and struck him in the middle of the face. Everyone else gasped, as Tommy's nose was covered in blood. Jenny stood up and licked the blood that had gotten on her palm.
"What was that for?" Kat asked, truly stunned.
Jenny was stunned also. "This man has been brainwashed so many times, it's not even funny! Believe me, he'd be better off dead. Besides, he had to atone for the murder of the Phantom Ranger! And I might add that he killed my father several years back."
Jason couldn't help laughing. "Wow. All this time, and I had no idea they felt this way."
"You just see how upset I am," Jenny went on, kicking dirt in Tommy's face. "Dag-blamed, cold-hearted creep!"
Then she stormed into the house and let out a yell as she slammed the door behind her. A cloud of dust floated from the door.
"It's true, we admit it," the Cryptkeeper said. "We've hated him ever since he became a Power Ranger. He started out evil, and he hasn't disappeared without stabbing our backs."
"Hey, where did the Phantom Ranger go?" Spinal asked.
"Tommy killed the Phantom Ranger?" Cassie cried with a gasp. "But I just saw him with you!"
"Well, Jenny sort of possessed him," the Cryptkeeper told her.
They all went inside to check on the Phantom Ranger. Jenny was standing by the coffin in front of the front door. Inside was the Phantom Ranger resting peacefully.
"So now what?" Spinal asked.
"He'll be in a coma for 42 hours, then he can cross the underground stream and go on with his Phantom Ranger ways," Jenny replied.
"Hey, the high school reunion is later today," Adam said out of nowhere. "We should start getting ready."
"Yeah; anything to get out of this dump," Ashley said. "See you guys later."
The Spices waved goodbye as the teens left. The Spices decided not to attend the reunion because they needed time away from Tommy. There was nothing else that bothered them besides school. After the coma, the Phantom Ranger woke up and set out again to search for Zordon.
o!" sheo J