Five Stars of Heaven: Chapter Nineteen

Through the Eyes of Family

 

ROCKY

 

Mitch hated family time. The thought of being around his extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins sickened the 15-year-old. He would rather stay at home and read a good book or play on his computer.

 

He walked along the city streets with his cousin, Rocky DeSantos, who did not know how to shut up. At all.

 

Mitch and Rocky had gotten along okay when they were younger. But now Rocky was nothing but a smart ass. A slacker without a job, direction, or purpose. The selfish bastard could not even pick his cousin up from the station on time like he was supposed to.

 

***

 

Hours earlier

 

Tenma Ranger was trapped inside a Gorma monster. The villain wore tattered brown robes. His peeling skin was black and scarred. He had the Gorma third eye, but a slash-mark scar had it sealed. Various patches of skin were torn along his lower chest and gut, revealing a cage of thin rusty bars. His name was Torikago Furaibo, the Bird-cage Vagabond.

 

The Blue Ranger was trapped in a pocket dimension within the cage.

 

Dragon Ranger alone battled the Gorma. The Red Ranger spun forward with a reverse sidekick that slammed against the villain’s chest, knocking him onto the ground. Dragon Ranger held his Thunder Sword down towards the villain.

 

“Release Rocky,” Dragon Ranger said. “Now.”

 

“Or what?” Torikago taunted. “You kill me, you kill your blue friend.”

 

Dragon Ranger moved his blade closer to the villain’s neck. “Rocky would rather die than spend the rest of his life rotting inside of you. Last chance.”

 

Dragon Ranger pressed his blade hard against the villain’s neck, hoping the Gorma would not call his bluff.

 

The villain started to shudder. A burst of blue light shot forth as Tenma Ranger teleported out of the creature within a streak of light.

 

Tenma Ranger keeled over in pain. The villain’s pocket dimension had drained him. Dragon Ranger kneeled down next to his friend and helped him back to his feet.

 

The villain pounced forward and swung his sword downward. The Blue Ranger pushed Dragon Ranger out of the way and took the blow across his chest for his leader.

 

Dragon Ranger rolled into a crouched position and armed his ringed Star Blade. He hurled the blade forward, and it slashed across the villain while passing him by.

 

The Red Ranger looked to his teammate. “Let’s hit him together.”

 

Tenma Ranger nodded. “You got it, Tommy.”

 

The Rangers snapped into fighting stances, placing their fists against their palms as the dragon and Pegasus eyes on their helmets flashed with power.

 

“Heaven Fire Star…”

 

“Heaven Gravity Star…”

 

Together, they shouted. “Fire Tremor Destruction!” They thrust their hands forward and produced crackling waves of flame and gravity power. The waves combined into a single roaring stream of energy that shot through the monster and exploded.

 

***

 

ADAM

 

Detective Park and his partner stood on either side of the apartment’s wooden door. They had their guns raised. Park nodded to his partner. The partner turned and kicked in the door as Park and the other officer moved in.

 

“On the ground, now!” Park shouted.

 

Four crack dealers panicked and rose to their feet, some of them reaching for weapons. Park pounced forward and slammed the end of his pistol against a dealer’s neck.

 

A second dealer pulled an automatic weapon, now legal and easy to purchase, and opened fire. The weapon gunned down Park’s partner.

 

“No!” Park shouted. He triggered three shots that knocked the dealer backward.

 

***

 

Detective Park returned to his home after a long day. He sat down at his kitchen table and slowly removed his jacket. His partner of 20 years was gone. He should have been able to stop it, he told himself. He was getting sloppy.

 

The door creaked open, and Adam walked in. It was half past 10 p.m.

 

“I hope for your sake you were at the library,” Park said.

 

Adam kept walking towards his room and said nothing. Silence had become his new method of defiance during the past few months, Park thought. Adam had changed. He rarely even read fantasy novels anymore.

 

Park rolled his hands into fists. He had failed as a father, he told himself. His own son just waltzes in after being who knows where and does not say a word. Adam could be on drugs. Or who knows what.

 

No, Park told himself as he stood and started walking towards Adam. He lost a partner. He was not about to lose a son too. “Just a second, young man. Where were you?”

 

Adam stopped, but did not turn to face his Dad. “I was out.”

 

“Out where?” Park asked firmly.

 

“Exactly where I told mom I’d be,” Adam snapped. “Did you ever stop and think that maybe I called her and told her I’d be late?”

 

Adam stormed back into his room.

 

Park stood still. He had failed as a father. He had failed Adam, he told himself, just like he had failed his partner. Who knew what trouble the teenager was into, all because of his father, Park thought.

 

***

 

Hours earlier

 

The Gorma had a hostage. The lean, muscular villain’s skin was like brown cactus, covered with short spikes. The Gorma had a single eye on his forehead, above a jaw that split into three segments.

 

The villain’s name was Saboten Shogun, General Cactus. He had his left arm wrapped around a girl’s neck and his right hand against her head. He could have snapped her neck with ease. The girl’s face was covered with a white mask.

 

“Your armor,” the villain said. “Deactivate it.”

 

Lion Ranger rolled his hands up into fists. A hostage was involved. He had to do what the villain said and try to gain control of the situation in a subtle way.

 

The teens powered down their armor and returned to their normal guises.

 

“Just let her go,” Adam said. “She doesn’t have anything to do with this.”

 

“She does now,” the villain said as he ran a tongue along the girl’s cheek.

 

“Typical Gorma,” Adam said. “Hiding behind an innocent girl.”

 

The villain narrowed his eye. Saboten tossed the girl aside and fired a volley of darts from his chest. The rangers rolled for cover and armed their morphers.

 

“Aura Power!” they shouted as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

The Rangers rolled into crouched positions. “Thunder Blasters!” They fired lances of energy that exploded against the villain and knocked him backward.

 

Lion Ranger leapt forward and lifted the girl from the ground before jumping to safety. Her face was still frozen with fear. The cactus Gorma launched a volley of darts that spiked through the Green Ranger’s armor, each needle sticking halfway into his skin.

 

Lion Ranger collapsed in pain.

 

Kirin Ranger and Phoenix Ranger armed their Thunder Staffs and leapt forward towards the monster. They speared their staffs against the villain, knocking him backward.

 

Tenma Ranger spun forward to attack next. A Star Blade in each hand, he passed by the monster while slashing both blades across the villain’s side.

 

Dragon Ranger slammed a jump kick upside the villain’s head and spun forward with a reverse sidekick, slamming his heel against the monster’s chest.

 

Meanwhile Lion Ranger slowly rose to his feet despite the pain. He clenched his jaw and tightened his every muscle. The needles popped out of his armor. The Green Ranger snapped around to face the Gorma monster.

 

“Lion Staff!” he shouted as he twirled the staff into a fighting position and leapt forward.

 

Lion Ranger cracked the staff down against the villain’s collar bone while landing. He spun forward, bashing the left end of his staff across the villain’s head. Lion Ranger looped the staff back around, crashing the weapon against the back of the villain’s neck.

 

The Rangers regrouped. “Kiryoku Bazooka!”

 

The bazooka materialized above the Rangers as they stood in formation. The bazooka slowly lowered. Lion Ranger, Tenma Ranger, Kirin Ranger, and Phoenix Ranger stood on the sides of the weapon. They inserted their Star Cutters into the bazooka’s casing to hold the weapon.

 

Phoenix Ranger loaded each of the Rangers’ gems into the cannon.

 

The bazooka whined with energy as the Rangers aimed forward.

 

“Kiryoku Bazooka,” Dragon Ranger said. “Fire!” the bazooka nearly blasted itself out of the Rangers’ hands as it fired a massive discharge of energy. The energy blast streaked forward, a comet of power as it exploded through the Gorma, incinerating the villain with a massive explosion of spark and flame.

 

To be continued…Chapter 20