The Dragon’s Rise: Chapter Seven
His life was turned upside down. The world as he knew it was crazy. Monster movies like Godzilla didn’t seem funny anymore, since most residents of Angel Grove had seen the real thing. As for the army, who needed them? Protection came from five strangers in bright shiny suits, that everyone swore looked like spandex.
Seventeen-year-old Michael Long sighed and shook his head as he passed a newspaper stand. A newspaper front page showed pictures of workers and firemen cleaning through the rubble after a monster attack in Angel Grove South.
Michael had only lived in Angel Grove for a year and had just started adapting to the place. Few cities on Earth were quite as large, so Angel Grove was divided into five main districts. Most viewed each district as an independent city of its own.
But now Michael had other things to adjust too. Things like the newspaper’s front page article: “Monster rampage kills 16.”
“Hey Michael!” a voice shouted from nearby. It was his friend Brandy. The red-headed girl ran over to him. “Wait up!”
Brandy ran to his side and slung an arm over his shoulder. She was always cheery, and sometimes, it drove Michael crazy. Especially on days like the one he was having.
“Are you going to the movies with us tonight?” she asked.
Michael shook his head. “Nah, I think I’ll stay home and read.”
Brandy rolled her eyes. “What else is new. Don’t be worthless. Come with us.”
A siren cut through the city streets. The sound didn’t signal a fire, tornado, or earthquake: it signaled a monster attack. An actual monster alarm. At school they even had monster drills.
“Fucking insanity,” Michael said as he and Brandy moved to the nearest shelter.
Scorpina went behind Bandora’s back to attack the Power Rangers. Goldar’s mate ached for battle, and she was confident she could kill each of Zordon’s elk. They were only children.
A group of rock soldiers split up and attacked the Rangers as Scorpina stood by and watched. The grunts would wear the Rangers down, and she would learn their fighting styles while watching in the meantime.
The first thing she noticed was how they wasted so many movements. Sometimes it seemed as if they were dancing instead of fighting.
Tricera Ranger slammed a double punch against a rock soldier’s chest. Two more grunts charged at him, but Tricera Ranger dropped and swept the legs out from underneath one of the soldiers.
Tyranno Ranger armed his sword and chopped down vertically, ripping through an incoming rock soldier.
Ptera Ranger leapt through the air and snapped off two arrows. The arrows exploded against a pair of grunts and knocked them backward.
Tiger Ranger flipped backward while kicking a soldier upside the head.
Mammoth Ranger reached back and slammed an elbow against a rock soldier that had tried to sneak up on him.
Scorpina armed her boomerang-shaped blade. It was time for her to strike. She ran her hand along the blade’s edge as it gathered golden energy. She tossed the blade forward. The blade spun and cut against the Rangers, exploded with clouds of spark against their armor.
Ironically, monster attacks were great for Angel Grove’s economy. The shelters provided hundreds of jobs for people.
The city’s shelters were nothing to brag about yet. But future designs showed luxury waiting rooms, television screens and games. Some of the more daring developers actually proposed opening food courts in some of the main shelters.
Michael was again sickened by his surreal existence. He sat on a carpeted floor and played a game of cards with Brandy.
“I can’t believe what they’re actually trying to do with these places,” Michael said. It was his first time in the shelter during an actual attack. “I mean, Christ…we spend more time in these things for school drills than we do actual emergencies.”
Brandy rolled her eyes, something she found herself doing a lot when she was with Michael. “I think it’s a good idea. The more you give people to do, the less they’ll worry.”
“In theory,” Michael said. “But 16 people died yesterday. No one seems to give a damn. We just go about our lives…and some people are actually trying to profit from it. I saw pictures of the golden monkey thing that trashed a whole city block and killed more than a dozen people. A bunch of losers were selling the things.”
Brandy shrugged. “It’s just the way the world works. Everyone is apathetic these days. It’s…just the way it is.”
“Well it’s stupid,” Michael said. “Just stupid.”
Ptera Ranger and Tyranno Ranger leapt towards Scorpina. Ptera Ranger swung her bow towards the villain’s head. But Scorpina sidestepped and slapped her blade against the Ranger’s weapon.
Ptera Ranger’s momentum made her fall forward and crash to the ground.
Tyranno Ranger swung his sword towards Scorpina’s chest. Scorpina blocked the blow with her blade. The two opponents pressed their swords together while staring face-to-face, trying to gain the upper hand.
“Give up, Scorpina,” Tyranno Ranger said.
She merely knocked his weapon aside and slashed across the Ranger’s chest, blade sparking on impact.
“Christ,” Michael muttered as he placed down another card. “How long is this thing going to last?”
“All right,” Brandy dropped her normally cheery tone and pushed the cards aside. “What is this really about?”
“I’m shitty,” Michael said. “That’s all.”
“But why?” Brandy asked.
Michael sighed with frustration. He hated explaining himself. “I don’t really think it’s that complicated. Do you see where we are? Do you see? This is insane. It’s driving me insane.”
Brandy knew there was a deeper meaning to Michael's feelings but decided not to press the issue. They kept playing cards.
Later that day, Brandy sat on her bed and cried. She had never been more terrified than when she was in that shelter. Michael was right, although she’d never tell him that. Their world had gone mad. Brandy just managed to hide it well.
She tried to be optimistic. She put on a facade of bravery. But it hurt. She was afraid. Werewolves, vampires, the boogey men, and all creatures kids grow up scared of, could now actually be under a bed, in a closet, or around a corner.
Her mother burst into her daughter’s room. “Pack your bags. We’re leaving.”
“What?” Brandy asked, sniffing back her tears.
“Today was the last draw. I refuse to live in a place like...like this!” she practically shouted. “We’re going to stay with my mother in Reefside. It’s quiet there. And normal. Until we find a place to stay, we’ll leave our things here.”
“But…Reefside’s all the way in Virginia-”
“No buts,” her mom said. “We’ll take a plane from the Crossworld City airport tomorrow. We’ll have our things brought to us later. Pack what you can now.”
Brandy’s mother left the room. Brandy curled up into ball and leaned her head against her knees.
Bandora had been launching a stream of monsters that week. The Rangers had fought against a spider creature, a monster whose head resembled an elephant, a flea-type monster, and a slimy creature covered with claws and a mouthful of fangs.
Each creature had stormed through the city and caused massive damage before being taken down by the Rangers.
The latest attack was Bandora’s biggest yet. The Dark Warlords fought against four of the Rangers while one of Bandora’s creatures, the black-armored DoraKnight, isolated and attacked Mammoth Ranger.
The battle was at Angel’s Wing Plaza, a park area in Angel Grove South. An asphalt path wrapped through a grassy field, dotted with trees and surrounded by the cityscape. A single, multi-level fountain was near the path.
Secmet armed his swords and charged at Tricera Ranger. The villain moved so quickly his arms became blurs of motion that stabbed against the Blue Ranger with massive bursts of spark.
Nearby, Tyranno Ranger clashed his sword against Kayl’s blade. Kayl snarled and sent tendrils of black energy along his sword. The energy lashed out and exploded against the Red Ranger’s armor, knocking him backward.
Meanwhile Dragon Ranger jumpkicked Tiger Ranger upside the head. The Yellow Ranger stumbled backward but kept her balance and snapped a roundkick at Dragon Ranger’s side. Dragon Ranger blocked the blow and slammed a backfist across the Yellow Ranger’s helmet.
Nearby Dayus slashed several bladed spears across Ptera Ranger before she could fire an arrow.
Mammoth Ranger wanted to help the Pink Ranger, but he was busy fighting against DoraKnight.
The Black Ranger leapt towards DoraKnight and swung his axe towards the monster’s head. But the knight used his sword to block the blow. Flashes of yellow energy discharged from the blade and exploded against the axe, creating a shockwave that knocked the Black Ranger backward.
Mammoth Ranger used his axe to steady himself while rising back to his knees. The axe was smoking and black around the edges, damaged from the DoraKnight’s blade. “Damn...he trashed my axe!”
DoraKnight charged forward and slashed upward across Mammoth Ranger’s body, whipping the Ranger backward.
Brandy was running away from home. At least she thought she was. She wasn’t sure what she was doing. Yes, the city scared her, but could she leave it so abruptly? Leave her friends? Leave Michael?
How could her mom spring this up on her all of a sudden? Just when she thought things couldn’t get any crazier, they did.
Brandy sniffed back her tears and walked across a path leading into Angel’s Wing Plaza. She didn’t notice the plaza was deserted. She didn’t hear the metal clashing nearby - until a shockwave knocked her off her feet.
She screamed as she looked up to see the Red Ranger slam back-first onto the ground in front of her. Kayl stood nearby, a cold and thin smile on his face, and charged his sword with black electricity.
Tyranno Ranger looked back to Brandy. “Run. Get out of here, now!”
Her body froze with fear.
Kayl swung his blade and fired a jagged burst of black energy- aimed towards Brandy. A green blur of motion dropped down and blocked the blast before it could hit the girl. It was Dragon Ranger.
“Don’t hurt the girl, Kayl,” Dragon Ranger said. He glared at Brandy. “Get out of here, little cow. Run.”
Brandy turned and fled as fast as she could.
Tyranno Ranger couldn’t believe it. Dragon Ranger, who had slit a captive’s throat in cold blood, just saved a civilian? Tyranno Ranger could not believe it.
Michael was right, Brandy thought while in the backseat of her parent’s car. She was leaving Angel Grove. She never wanted to go back, ever. She didn’t even bother to call Michael and tell him goodbye. She just left him a letter
Michael finished reading the letter. He laughed at the insanity of it all. The irony. His only friend. Best friend. The girl he loved. Gone. Because of big scary monsters.
He laughed. Tears rolled down his cheeks. His body trembled. And he laughed.
To be continued…Chapter Eight