MMPR A look into Shizophrenia diseasing a Ranger. Title obviously playing off 'A Beautiful Mind', which was my inspiration.
William Cranston glanced up at the ceilings of both his small cells; the one he made for his mind and the one they made for his body. He had been sitting there for days, his thoughts floating above him in full view, written out like a script in his distinct handwriting, only they were twisting and turning so that each word looked melted. He thought of everything he could, his busy mind not resting. He thought of his friends, the last time he saw them, his life as a Power Ranger, and the key sitting in the mental manifestation of himself - the key that was crafted by his own will to keep the door to his cell locked. Like his mind, the cell was cold and painted blue, hidden by the shadows of a disease that took over his body.
Schizophrenic...That's what they called him.
They said he saw things that didn't exist, heard things that weren't there. The dark half of his brain, the one where the sickness dwelled, was a brutal beast. Like Ying-Yang, he was told, the dark was just as much a part of him as the light. He wasn't sure it was true or not, that he was a schizo, only that it was the only logical conclusion he could live with. He was crazy either way. His black-outs, the mysterious new "friend", the way his old friends gave him that look, the one that made him feel small and lonely... he didn't want to say it was natural, that he was just mentally disturbed. He felt like something was missing from him, like a section of his heart or of his soul. He felt /sick/.
Billy was just sixteen but he knew what a soul was. Coming from a Catholic background had provided him with at least that much information. He had believed that everyone had a soul and that all were good on the inside, even though he had seen the darkest evils of the world. He wasn't sure if he believed he had a soul or not - and if the doctor's were right, did he have two? Would one half of him go to Heaven while the other to Hell? It was very confusing...
Angel Grove High school, located in California, was Billy's first "real life experience", as some said, but he thought that his counter-life as a Power Ranger, a magical teen warrior using the powers of an ancient alien sage, was far more real than that horrid place. There was nothing real to it, just a reoccurring nightmare that haunted and corrupted him. The people of the school, the teachers and students both, drove Billy up the walls will their teases and taunts (nerd, loser, dweeb...), making him depressed and constantly nervous. He was deathly afraid of confrontation of any kind thanks to them, especially when somebody showed genuine interest in him, rather than as a cruel joke. It made him another statistic in the study of serial killers.
Actually, creds were due where creds were due; it was Billy's choice, but it came from the influence of the school... that and his little friend, who appeared somewhere in biology class.
His friend had no name only the charming appearance of a fellow student he held dear; dark brown hair, dark eyes, with a great smile and a personality that anybody could feel safe with. His voice was so soothing and soft, always calm and always wise. His friend told him many things, almost unbelievable things, but in the end they were all true. Billy knew they were true. Billy took a shining to him immediately.
The melody of the outside world danced in the air of his cell and Billy sighed, looking away for a moment. He could hear heaven, he could hear the angels singing, and it was so happy. It seemed unaffected by the world below, the world that drowned itself in the evil ways and Billy longed to be there. But he felt like he never could go. What would he tell God when he got up there? Would he tell him every small detail of the children he murdered? Would he tell of his secret desires and how he let God down so many times before? Would he tell how he betrayed those who were counting on him? He couldn't do that. He felt ashamed to even admit it mentally, which was his only haven as of the moment. He prayed for answers but never got them the way he wanted.
He could hear heaven fine, but he felt like maybe heaven wouldn't hear him so well.
The door clicked, opening and he glanced up. Inside of his mind, he couldn't see beyond his own green eyes but he could make out black shapes. Once the focus cleared, like in the viewing orb at the Command Center, he realized it was only one. The shape of the man, tall, like Billy's father, walked inside the light of the doorway and sealed the darkness behind him. Billy could no longer see him so he lowered his head, tracing the shapes on the stone with his fingers. His mental self stood up and walked to the bars of his cage trying to see beyond his self-made borders, but he couldn't. He couldn't see anything.
"I am Patrick Fitzhugh, a psychologist," Said the voice. It was soft and calming. Billy read in a psychology book that it helped soothe the troubled mind, like a mother's voice would a wailing baby, but it didn't help him any. Billy had learned not to trust voices like that. "Want to talk about what you did?"
There were the low thumps of shoes against tile and then there was the squeaking of a mattress as the man got on his bed. Billy readjusted himself on the floor and lowered his head further. His eyesight began to slowly return as his mental self tried to push the metal door open, but he couldn't allow that. He willed himself to step away and get back on the floor. He couldn't be free again. He wouldn't let himself be free again. Not in this life. Not as long as he had a conscience.
Billy decided he wasn't going to answer him. What good would it be to say aloud the horrors of what he'd done? To waste spit and breath on words that would be lost in the paradox of time, trapped forever for their past selves to catch and repeat? It was a never-ending cycle of nonsense and Billy would be no part of it. Words were useless.
"Do you know what you did, Billy?"
Billy smiled and that got a response. He heard scribbling, knowing that the shrink was jotting down his every reaction. Somehow, a small smile might be important in court. After all, he was smiling because he thought the professor was dumb - how could he not know - but the shrink would probably put down that he had some perverse sense of humor and thought he was playing some big joke. God how he wished it was a joke.
His thoughts bubbled up above his head in that neat little cursive but they were all soft and calm, like that voice. They said things slowly, things he wanted his mouth to say, but he kept them up, away from the hole that sucked his thoughts out and gave them to other people. Billy wasn't sure who was speaking in his head, but he was sure he didn't like what they were saying. They were annoyed at the doctor; they wanted to shut him up. They wanted him to shut him up.
There was a Fitzhugh Billy had killed in the school. Her name was Jeanne. He cut off her fingers and stuck them down her throat. Maybe Patrick would like the same?
Maybe, a horrifying thought indeed, they are the same flesh and blood?
Words, just words. It was amazing how much power they held. "Are you just going to let them walk all over you?" Those words were said by his friend, the spawn of biology. "It's like you're waiting for a hero, but you could fight back for yourself!" Yes, a true hero. Billy used to be Catholic; he used to believe in God, Jesus, and Mary. But that voice inside convinced him that there was no such hero, just him. He had to save himself.
Out of the many people dead, there were barely ten that Billy knew as friends, and seven that he absolutely hated - Jason Scott, Kimberly Hart, Trini Kwan, Zack Taylor, Tommy Oliver, Eugene Skullovich, and Robert Bulkomeir.
Billy remembered Jason and the way he kept pretending to like him. He was taller than Billy, much taller, and would take advantage of him in every possible way. When the school was packed like a Japanese subway, the jock would step aside and let everyone crash into him, push him over. He kept pretending to want to help, but he would take their karate lessons and beat him up with them. These constant revelations kept picking at Billy like a sore and, like a sore, Billy only got more inflamed the more he was picked on. Jason always tried to kill Billy. The jock even almost snapped Billy's neck in two on one kata, though Billy never broke any bones. Just his spirit was damaged.
But he knew that wasn't true. Jason was a good friend. He tried to help Billy, tried to teach him how to defend himself. Billy knew that. It ate at him that he knew better. He hated his disease.
Kimberly was the apple of Billy's eye, his very temptation. She was petite and beautiful. Like Jason, she had dark brown hair and glowing green eyes, her lips were soft and red and her body was perfect. But she ignored him most of the time. Every time he tried to show her he was interested, he'd get the same response as though speaking to a brick wall. He tried holding her hand, even sneaking a kiss in on her, but she turned around and wrapped herself in Tommy's well toned arms, flaunting the fact that she was now taken. She tore his heart in two. They had shared so many things together - being turned into punks, swapping brains... but she chose the handsome stranger over him. He was just dorky. She spoke harshly about him when she thought he wasn't around and told rumors strung together with the help of her 'brother', Jason - of course, he never heard it, his friend told him these things. Billy would have forgiven her if she had only acknowledged him. But, of course, she didn't.
Trini was a green meany from somewhere in Asia. She mocked his every being with her constant flirting, wanting to dance with him and get real close, only to say that she felt nothing for him. They were 'just friends'. She mocked his father, his lifestyle, the way he did in karate, the way he got straight A's, and she mocked him about Kimberly. She said it was playful, as did Zack who often joined her with their mocking, but she played a cruel game. It was a never-ending slap to the face. Cold and hard, always making Billy cry - though not in public. Billy only wished she'd go away.
Bulk and Skull were always taking Billy's things, especially his time and money, and were the tamest of everyone because they never pretended to be his friends. Whenever he presented something special to him, they'd take it immediately and hide it from him. He'd search for hours, but only one or two items had been recovered. They stole his answers from his school work, flaunted any secrets of his they found out to the school, and continually beat on him. He could really kick their asses if he wanted to, he proved that to them before he shut them up forever, but he was scared. He was frightened of them, of their humiliation, and they loved it. They loved being able to chase him across a room because he didn't want to be slid across the newly mopped floor, or whatever else they thought of doing to him.
Then Tommy threatened him all the time. No matter what Billy did, Tommy would do it better. Karate, winning over Kimberly, leading the team... and Tommy was evil once, so Billy had no doubt that were Tommy to turn on him like Billy knew he wanted to, he could tear Billy's head right off his shoulders. He didn't know if the twit had enough guts to actually do those things, because Tommy was a 'nice guy'. Sure, he was plotting behind Billy's back to one-up him, to get there before Billy did, but he was as much a coward in the end as Billy was. God, he loved seeing him cry.
And finally, there was Zack, who was guilty more by association than anything else. But he was no doubt part of the cruelty too.
His new friend told him all these things, and even though Billy's brain could figure out that it was lies, that his friends were kind and caring, he let it get to his head. The disease amplified his thoughts, tore at his feelings until it managed to break him. Yes, he needed a hero, but it wasn't from any bully or tormentor. He needed to be saved from himself.
He tried to tell Trini, to tell Jason, but they didn't listen. He'd tell them quite frankly that he thought he was going insane, and they'd tell him 'don't worry'. They thought he was exaggerating, that he was just being Billy and over-worrying about something as simple as lack of sleep. Now they were dead. Boohoo for crazy Cranston.
The shrink moved on the bed then began to write some more. Billy leaned towards the bars, planting his cheeks firmly against them. He wanted to tell him, to explain, but it would do no good. He'd be convicted then sentenced to death, or he'd be kept in the mental ward forever. It was a lose-lose situation, so it was better to let life take its natural course. Billy had nothing else to do.
"Billy, you were doing excellent academically. You had lots of friends, a great personality and were kind. You tutored young children, you helped out with the community... why did you feel the need to strike out?" The shrink leaned closer until Billy felt his breath on his ears. It was warm, but it smelled stale, like the doctor had just woken up from a long night of drinking. Then he said something in full emphasis, like it was his theory in the alpha form. He wanted confirmation, he wanted proof. Too bad he was speaking to deaf ears. "Did somebody... hurt you? Did your father hurt you?"
Yes, somebody 'hurt' him. Friendship hurt him. Bravery hurt him... Love hurt him. Someone had once told Billy that she loved him. She would keep him safe. Love had given them so much and she had him believing it was something good. Love only took. It took his heart when his mother died. It took his heart when Kimberly danced with Tommy. It took his fucking sanity away.
Everyone died. Love did that.
Billy loved it when he broke Jason's arms, when he beat him over and over and over again. Billy loved it when he ripped Kimberly's heart from her chest and made her eat it. It was just like Billy felt every time she turned her tongue on and he was happy to see she felt the same agony. Billy loved it when he removed Trini's face and told her what he thought about their friendship. He loved it when he tried brain surgery on Zack and squished his remains into his locker. When the police had found them, they could barely hold their lunches in. They had weak stomachs for cops, Billy figured, although it wasn't everyday you pulled a brain from a biology book. Tommy's thieving hands and eyes were jabbed were pens. Bulk and Skull were found in the trash disposer, killed in their favorite way to humiliate him.
The other students and teachers found really only got on his way. They didn't deserve it, but they got it anyways. All his creative energy had been wasted on those he loathed the most, though, and they were just chopped into tiny little pieces.
Billy's sadistic soul had taken flight like an eagle, and like an eagle it soared above everything, watching with predatory eyes for food. Billy had enjoyed the moments of freedom, he could never deny that, but it was afterwards he finally grasped what he had done. He had felt the guilt, felt the realization that he had brutalized his best friends. That he had potentially handed the world over to Rita over his selfish paranoia... He fell to the ground screaming their names, begging God, Zordon or whoever else was listening to let it be a bad dream. That he hadn't killed his friends. That the sickness hadn't taken over his life as it had taken theirs.
It was just too late by then. When he realized that the blood on his hands was real, Billy Cranston knew his life was over. Everything was over. He never hated love more than when he knew his loved ones were gone, and that the hollow feeling in his heart was where they used to be.
"Are you sure you don't want to talk?" The shrink asked.
A tear rolled down his cheek as he remembered the way they had all laughed at stupid jokes. He wanted to tell the shrink he was sorry, so very sorry, but it would do no good. He was damned if he did, they'd know he was at least partially conscious during the attacks; then again, he was damned if he didn't.
He ran to the door and reached outside the bars, feeling for the key. It came into grasp a moment later and turned. The room came into view, the padded room with the single bed and tall man who looked so much like Jeanne that Billy at first thought they he was her. Billy blinked twice to hold back any more tears, but they came anyway. He jotted it down.
"I didn't mean to," Billy replied, his mind trying to put large, complicated words in the way. He was so used to using his vocabulary; it felt just weird to say things simply.
The man tilted his head, like a puppy observing some silly thing their owner was doing. He squirmed on the bed, the metal whining as it readjusted itself. Billy watched with an indifferent look at one pen escaped the shrinks grasp and rolled under the bed. It was a red pen - Jason's favorite color.
Billy took note to remember it.
"Just tell me one thing," The doctor said, looking deep into Billy's eyes. He felt him prying, trying to open his mind. Billy felt himself growing angry at that. "Why did you kill them? Was it because they were mean?"
"They weren't..." Billy thought about the answer, thought about his friends and all the feelings that had built up inside. He wanted to tell the doctor that he was like a soda, and they shook him for too long. But he couldn't. They didn't do anything. He was tainted and had exploded all his own. "I just wanted the pain to /stop!/"
"I see..." The doctor's eyes glowed with understanding and he chewed on his pen. Billy hoped in the back of his mind that it would burst and the doctor could taste ink. "So you were being bullied."
"I'm not right," Billy said, not finding any other way to say it. "One minute I feel fine, like myself, and the next..."
"That's because of your schizophrenia," The doctor said.
Billy's yin popped out and gave the doctor a cold stare. He didn't really want to talk, or to relate to him at all. He just wanted him to admit that he was crazy. They wanted him locked away in a padded room forever, to monitor, to watch him. They probably thought that he was just 'too young' for the death sentence, even though he had killed a school in cold blood. He had murdered his friends and they wanted him to live a normal life doped up, sitting in the corner with a stupid smile on his face as his brain screamed at the pain of his memories.
The doctor nodded, wrote what he wanted on his little paper and then stood up. He packed his pens and notebook into a small pack, and then gave Billy a reassuring smile.
"Schizophrenia is a disease that affects your brain severely. It causes illogical patterns of thinking, like extreme paranoia, and it can also cause delusions and hallucinations. It can also cause you to make up another 'personality', if you will. Not a separate entity in your brain, but rather an increase in some types of emotions, such as anger."
The doctor smiled at his explanation, glad that Billy had confirmed their fears. Billy scoffed at him - wasn't it already established that he was mad? The doctor turned and left, and Billy felt relief. He didn't say exactly what he wanted to say, but his message was conveyed. Research, interviews and anything the police can manage would reveal his story to its every detail. Mothers would cry, their children being hoisted away in caskets, and then send their living children back to school. They'd be teased and taunted, suffer from some disease that amplified their worst attributes and murder those closest to them. Maybe they wouldn't be sick, either, just tired.
Billy liked to blame his actions on the sickness. He didn't hate his friends, didn't want to see them hurt. But he couldn't blame it all. After all, he would have done anything to be normal. He would have killed to be accepted, just once.
That's why you loved your friends, his mind said, remember? They accepted you.
Yes. Jason accepted him. He killed Jason. God damn him.
The sunlight hit the window and Billy smiled for the last time before reaching under the bed and pulling the pen out. The walls were smooth cloth, but there were several things underneath that were perfect for his intentions. He rammed the pen into the cloth and pulled down, tearing into it until it spilled on the floor. He took it all out, until his hand touched stone. He heard scraping as he rubbed the pen up and down, wearing around the sides. After a few moments, he pulled it out, revealing the newly sharpened tip.
He heard birds singing and felt the new day. Walking over towards the window, he could see his new 'friend' sitting on the bed where the doctor had been. The hallucination stood up and cross his arms, striking Jason's infamous pose, and smile.
"You killed my friend," Billy said, staring into his eyes. "You killed my friends, and I'm going to kill you."
Before the hallucination could protest, Billy jammed the pen deep into his brain, killing the disease. Outside, the sky was blue, without a single cloud to flaw it.
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