Disclaimer: I own nothing. However, if Power Rangers did those spiffy novels like Star Trek and Star Wars, I'd be set for life. No infringement is intended.
Author's Note: This is the real end-- I swear! Thanks to cmar for pointing out a few things that I overlooked! With that, enjoy! --EK
DEAD MEN DO TELL TALES
By Etcetera Kit
He stood on the front lawn in front of the house, staring up at the slightly awesome presence that old Victorian houses seemed to have. It had been over six months since their stay in the House on Haunted Hill. He was graduating from high school in a week and moving on to UCLA, away from his twin brother, his fellow rangers and from the safety net that he had grown to rely on in the last two years. He wasn't entirely sure why he was back at the house. Something had drawn him there. Maybe it was to make sure that the ghosts had gone to rest.
Conner took in a deep breath, fingering the key he had gone through some hoops to get. It was now or never. He walked up the front walk and stepped onto the porch. Someone had fixed the door from where they had kicked it open and destroyed the knob with a two by four. He inserted the key in the lock and turned, the door swinging silently open. Someone had also done some badly needed repairs and renovations since their stay.
The front entry hall was clean and sparkling, the ominous cobwebs that had hung from the ceiling gone. The chandelier caught the mid-morning daylight and reflected shards of rainbow light onto the walls and floor. Despite the different look, the house had the same feel and held memories… the ghosts' memories and their memories. He and Doctor O had many discussions while the search for the bodies was going on and the analysis of the skeleton and while the law firm was looking for the heir and settling the wills. He, Doctor O, Andros and TJ had been the first ones informed on all that progress since they were the closest.
"The police identified the skeleton in the pantry."
"Yeah. It turns out Carter's theory was right. It was the body of a person who has been missing for twenty years. The murders broke into the house and left the body there."
"Did they find the murderers?"
"No. That trail is cold."
"Did it have anything to do with the house or the Westmoors?"
"There's no evidence for that. That law firm is now working with the police."
"So that skeleton will be laid to rest?"
"The family is making the arrangements to have the remains shipped to their home."
He looked down the front hall. The doors leading to the kitchen and the formal dining room were open, unlike during their night in the house. The door to the parlor was open. He stepped into the open doorway, looking at the restored furniture and the cleaned room. Closing his eyes, he could picture it as it had been then, with the sheets on the furniture and the dust everywhere, their things scattered about, the cow flashlight mooing. He could see Leo, sitting up all night because of his broken arm and Wes shivering from near-hysteria. Straining, he thought he could hear Eric muttering about sleazy publicists and trip wires.
Leaving the parlor, he walked down the hall to the large living room that could function as a ball room. The large sweeping staircase was still intact and looked impressive now that it was devoid of the rotting carpet and loose boards. He gently ran his hand over the banister, now fresh with polish and not dust.
"The law firm found the heir."
"Who was she?"
"You're not going to believe this."
"No. Apparently the grandmother had forged much of her past, joined the army and met Ashley's grandfather. No one asked any questions."
"Amazing. So now Andros and Ashley have a share in the inheritance?"
"Definitely. Apparently the woman is already offering to pay off her children and grandchildren's debts."
Conner smiled, remembering when Ashley's grandmother paid off the mortgage on their house, their cars and most of their outstanding bills. It had been a blessing for the couple, especially since they had two little ones. Andros would never talk about his financial situation and no one had really been aware that he and Ashley were drowning that badly in debt. Neither of them showed the strain. He shook his head. Between the inheritance and the money from spending the night in the house, the Hammonds were well-off now. The publicity money certainly helped the rest of them along.
He shook his head, gazing up the stairs to the hallway where he, Eric and Cole had seen the first ghosts of the evening. It was amazing how many weddings and funerals he had been to during the past school year… and an odd baby shower. First there had been Cole and Alyssa's wedding, then the funeral for Charles and Thomas followed by a baby shower for Dr. Cranston and Kim's newborn, Caroline… Then came Eric and Taylor's wedding… And none of this included Dr. Cranston and Kim's wedding that had happened only two weeks before their fateful stay in the haunted house.
"The police have found a skeleton buried in the basement."
"From what we were told, it should be Thomas."
"Precisely. Apparently, when cleaning out the house, the police found a lock of hair that was Thomas'. The DNA matched up."
"He'll be buried in their family plot with the others."
Memories… Most of the members of the ghost family were happily buried in their family plot in a graveyard near the house. A project had gone on to clean up that graveyard in addition to the house. The house was now a historical landmark. Part of the reason he had been able to cajole them into giving him the key was because he was part of the group that catalyzed the preservation of the house. It had been added to a 'ghost tour' that was set up in Angel Grove and featured various haunted sites.
He had had to sign more affidavits then he cared to remember. He had to give the police a detailed account of what happened in that night, along with various forms for the supernatural societies and historical societies. Never in his wildest dreams would he have pictured spending the night in a haunted house would have caused him so much paperwork. On top of his paperwork for UCLA… it had been a crazy few months.
"The police have ripped apart that old prison graveyard."
"I'd imagine. The records were so terrible."
"Apparently the records helped. They managed to locate a skeleton that they believe to be Charles. A lock of his hair helped."
"Where are all these locks of hair coming from?"
"The mother was into scrap-booking and documenting her family. Locks of hair were among the insane amount of mementos they found in the house."
"I guess that works out well for us."
"It certainly does. Mrs. Hammond called to let me know a memorial service is being held for Charles and Thomas. We're invited, along with all the others."
"Are the others coming?"
"Not for this. But they're all going to send flowers and whatnot."
"I guess that publicity money helped in the long run."
They had done what they promised they would do. The inheritance was now in the hands of its rightful owner and the bodies were laid to rest properly. The only thing left was to find out if the ghosts really were gone.
Conner ran one hand along the banister, before heading down a long hallway on the first floor that led to Lord Westmoor's old office. He opened the door. Sunlight poured through the open windows and the office looked like someone would walk through the door at any moment, holding a sheaf of legal papers. He smiled. So many people had been affected by what was originally a goofy idea for some Halloween fun.
He looked up at the faint ghost of Lord Thomas Westmoor standing behind the desk. He was and was not surprised to see him there. "I thought you passed on," he said softly, a wry smile coming over his face.
"I shall." The ghost shrugged. "The others have. This place is no long violently haunted by the half-insane." He paused. "There's nothing here for you, Conner."
He suddenly realized that the ghost should not know his name. He said as much.
"I learned all your names," he replied simply. "But what you are looking for is not in this house or in anything related to this house."
"I just wanted to see if we helped you."
"You did and, for that, we are all grateful." He smiled. "You are young. Life, to you, is one great adventure. But you must find what really matters, you must find who you really are." Lord Westmoor raised a hand in a goodbye salute. "I must go. The others call to me." He faded from sight, leaving the room quiet and filled with sunlight once more.
He shivered despite the fact that it wasn't cold.
They had succeeded. That phrase rang through his head, the enormous implications slowly dawning on him. But Lord Westmoor was right. What he needed to find was not in this house or in anything related to this house. In many ways, he still did not know who he was. He thought of the others, a smile coming to his face. Not his fellow rangers, but his fellow red rangers. Jason… Doctor O… TJ… Andros… Leo… Carter… Wes… Eric… Cole… They seemed to be the people he connected with and who he felt like understood him. They all knew what it was, they shared the red ranger legacy.He took a deep breath and walked out of the house into the sunlight, ready to face his future…