View character profile for: Helen Bein (deceased)
Somewhere lost in a dream…
"Come on in, Helen. It's cold out there," her mother called.
Little Helen Bein turned to where her mother stood waiting, silhouetted in warm kitchen light, offering her a mug of hot cocoa. Helen trudged through snow, bundled up in her furry parka and little pink snow boots. Mama called them her moon boots. She stomped to the stairs of the back porch and knocked the snow from her boots. Mama led her to the table to sit and sip her cocoa next to her older brother. Helen loved him, he was her protector and even though they were 6 years apart, he would always take the time to listen to her. He lifted his mug and clinked it against hers, then sipped his cocoa.
"Mama, I lost my toy." Helen said.
"Oh no! Which one, baby?" Mama responded kindly.
"I... I forget."
"Hmmm. Well, I know what would make you happy. Maybe there's a new one here in the fridge." Mama said.
"The fridge? Mama!? That doesn't make sens..."
When Mama opened the door, the light didn't come on but she saw the legs of a giant pale spider slowly began to crawl out.
Helen screamed and Mama slowly closed the door and it was gone. Helen couldn't breathe and she cried. "Mama!"
"Oh, don't worry about that, baby. It's not real. Come here, it can't hurt you. Let Mama take care of her angel. It's all gone now, see?" Mama picked her up in a hug. Helen hadn't felt so happy in so long. The embrace was warm, safe, loving and... everything. Helen was tired, had been for a long time... but she felt that it was finally ok to rest.
In a flash, the cocoa and kitchen were gone, Mama was carrying her up the stairs, the moon boots and parka were replaced by rocket PJs and fuzzy slippers. Mama was setting her down on the bed.
Mama was humming a song. She sat there for a moment, humming and singing but Helen's body was feeling weird. She held her chest and her stomach.
"What's wrong, sweety?" Mama asked, then she smiled. "Do you have a baby kicking around in there?" Mama mocked surprise, putting her hands to her open mouth. That made Helen laugh. Mama could be so silly.
"You're Mama's tough little girl aren't you? Rrrrr!" growled Mama, flexing her arms like a weight lifter. Helen wanted to cry. The weird sickly feeling made her scared but she copied Mama and flexed her little muscles. "Rrrr!" she said, and Mama put her hands on Helen's tummy.
"See? All better." Mama said, sitting on the edge of the bed with her hands in her lap. Helen did feel better almost instantly.
A thought returned to her then and Helen stood up. She peaked out her bedroom window to the backyard to get one last look at the snowman she had been building earlier... but wait... there was nothing out there... the backyard just sort of bled into darkness, dotted with a field of stars. The pin pricks of light began to twinkle and pierce through the void like rays of sun... rays of sun filtered through bullet holes... in her dusty, war-torn colony home. NO! She shook away the bad memory and turned to look back at Mama, who was smiling tenderly, then she was tucking Hel into her bed. For a moment, just before Mama flipped the switch and the lights went out, Hel thought she saw streams of blood running down mama's jumpsuit. Then it was dark.