WHERE IS HELEN?
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She would have given everything she had to him if only he had asked, if only his arrogance did not lead him to kill her. But now, her ghost has no love, her ghost is all about revenge. Funny thing is, he buried her in the same house that she built with her own money, brick by brick. Is it possible to get a good night sleep after burying your own wife in the same house you're sleeping in? What if you can't sleep? What if you can't move out of the house and the ghost won't let you sell it either?
On the cold Christmas Eve of 1996, in the third room on the second floor of the Saint John's hospital at Burnington Hills, approximately two minutes before the clock struck midnight, a woman in labor, supposed to have had her child three minutes earlier, was tiring the surrounding midwives by screaming "Push!", all for the reason that she wanted to have a child on Christmas Day. You see, her husband was born on the twenty-third, and she was born on the twenty-fourth, so she wanted her first child, or perhaps her only child, to be born on Christmas Day. Her husband was not supportive of the idea, but he stood beside her anyway, holding her hand throughout the five minutes of her stubbornness. Finally, when the bells of the church right opposite the hospital began to chime, she gave in to cooperating with the midwives and had her baby girl, an infant clothed with beauty. But just as stubbornness always comes with a price, her baby made no sound of a cry like a baby should when it's brought into the world. She grew scared and began to cry when the infant was pronounced dead. It was explained to her that she kept the baby inside her longer than she should have and should have agreed to the c-section proposed by the doctor. Her stubbornness had, hence, resulted in the baby contracting hypoxia, which one midwife explained as the loss of oxygen.
As her husband leaned over to hug her in comfort, "She's breathing!" the doctor exclaimed, racing towards the couple. "She is?" asked the surprised first-time mother. "She lives!" the doctor shouted. "Oh, good heavens, thank you for saving our child." The new father prayed and gently wiped off the tear racing down his cheek like Bolt. He hugged the doctor almost so tight that his wife shrieked, but all this is an account of what happened on the first day Helen came into the world.
Several minutes grew into hours, and hours into days; days matured into weeks, and eventually months produced years. Helen matured mentally and physically; she earned herself the name 'fair Helen', for her beauty was like that of a goddess. Often times, she would be seen spending so much time after a shower in front of the mirror, admiring herself and combing her hair over and over and over again, caring nothing about the time, even if she was getting late for school or church. "Helen!" Her mother would call out to her, after filling her little bag with morning and afternoon snacks, which she would not leave for school without, "you're getting late for school," she would say to her. The little girl would roll both eyes to a corner, be it the left or the right, and hold her chin up, "How do I look, mother?" She would ask, and her mother would look at her surprisingly and respond, "You look amazing, honey. I'm just wondering the look on your teacher's face when she notices you coming to school late again. Now let's get going!" "Yeah whatever!" Helen would reply, grabbing her bag and slipping her homework book into it. Homework books were the only books they were allowed to bring home to prevent her or students her age from ripping their books apart or misplacing them. After putting hers in her bag, she would run outside and grab a seat in the back seat of her father's hatchback, then she would greet him and say, "Can we leave the lady behind? She's too slow for my liking." Her father would laugh and say to her "Sure, right after you graduate, we will leave her behind; do not worry". She would blink several times, shaking her head with a smile on her face.
At school, she was like the top girl; everyone, especially her teachers, admired her so much. She was obedient, humble, very studious, and, well, a little bit naughty. Her friends were countless; she struck up a conversation with anybody at all she met, not caring about class, age, height, sex, or anything else. Some called her talkative, but she termed it "being friendly". Among her friends was Stephanie, her closest friend from a rich family; the two spent most of their time together.
Every day after school, when Stephanie's driver came to pick her up, Helen would go along with her to spend the rest of the late afternoon at her house, and later on, when her parents were coming from work, they would pick her up and take her home. At Stephanie's, she had access to a private luthier hired by Stephanie's father to teach the two how to play their favorite instrument, the violin. It was during these practice sessions that Helen wrote a lullaby for her parents, which she titled "Sleep, my dear." She loved the song so much that before her parents slept each night, she would sit in the middle of their bed and begin to sing.
"Sleep, my dear, for the moon shines bright. Close your eyes. Let go of your fears.
Till the sun comes along with cheer, I will sit right here and sing."
And whenever she woke up before they did, they would find her sitting next to her sleeping mother, singing the morning verse of the song, which went:
"Wake, my dear, for the sun is here, and it comes along with cheer,
May your day with all joy be filled, so your face will glow with smiles."
One night, as they were driving by the cemetery on their way from Stephanie's house, Helen asked her parents why they had been driving for almost thirty seconds by the cemetery and had not come across even a single ghost. Her mother smiled and commenced searching her mind for a reply that would not break her little Helen's fragile heart. Knowing well that there were no such things as ghosts, her mother asked her a question in return. "Well, Helen," she began, "let me ask you this. What do you do after dinner when I have kissed you good night because you're tired from an adventurous day at school and evening at Steph's house, huh?" Even though the inside of the car was a little too dark and Helen could not see her mother's face clearly, she could tell from her mother's tone that she had a smile all over her face, so Helen smiled back and answered, "Well, that's an easy one; I fall asleep because it's bedtime." Her mother wrapped an arm around her neck and said, "Take it that all these ghosts have fallen into a deep sleep, just like you; they had a really long day and would appreciate it if we kept quiet and left them alone." Helen rested her head on her mother's shoulder and then gave a silly laugh, a smile carved on her mother's face as she began to wonder which part of what she said was funny. "Jeez, you are such a bad liar," Helen said, still laughing. Her laughter was so funny to her father that even he began to laugh along with her. "Huh?" Her mother said clueless, "I heard, and not from one person or two, that ghosts come out only at night, so I'm wondering which ghosts you see wandering around during daytime and how you got to know they're tired by now. Daddy, I think she's been hallucinating these days," Helen explained, teasing her mother in the end. All three of them were laughing their hearts out when her mother stopped and tried to defend herself with "If you're this brilliant, why would you disturb my peaceful evening, huh?" She tickled Helen's rib cage and hugged her tightly.
When the laughter finally subsided and everyone was quiet, "One day when I'm like one of these," Helen said with a calm voice, "I will run around the house, playing hide and seek with you, and at night I will sit by your pillow and watch you sleep like you do every night for me when I sleep before you, and I will sing you the lullaby you love so much." "Helen, don't say that," her mother whispered as she ran her fingers through Helen's hair. Immediately, the little girl noticed a figure, which looked almost invisible, crossing the road. "Ghost!" She screamed, pointing to the windshield. Her father got frightened by her scream and quickly stepped on the brake, but fortunately nobody got hurt; they all had their seat belts on. "Helen! Why would you scream like that?" He asked her, a little annoyed at how impromptu that came out and how he could have lost focus. "Ggggg..." Helen was struggling to say the word 'ghost', but her words couldn't come out, and her fingers were still shivering, but her right hand was held in position, pointing at the windscreen. "Come on, you're better than this, Helen," her father replied, disappointed. "Joshua!" Helen's mother called out to him, her voice curtailed by fear. "She's cold," she said to him. She had her hands on Helen's forehead, checking her temperature. "I'm sorry, I'm sorrr..." "Shhhh," Helen's mother said, placing her finger on her lips to prevent her from talking. Her father started the car and drove them home.
Later that night, the McDonagh couple were gripped in fear as Helen's condition continued to worsen. She was as cold as ice, shivering profusely with a pale-looking face. Joshua, her father, tried calling the numbers of doctors he knew, but the ones that went through would not answer his calls. Chelsea, Helen's mother, on her part, had warmed up a towel in warm water she prepared immediately they got home and pressed it on Helen's forehead with the hope of seeing some improvement. The two sat beside Helen for almost three hours, observing for positive changes, until the clock struck eleven later that night. Helen sat up on the bed with her back resting on the pillow that separated her back from the wall, rubbing their shoulders gently to wake them from their quick doze. "You're supposed to be taking care of me," she said, breathing heavily. Their joy was quickly restored as they wrapped their arms around her, tears of joy slithering gently down their ch
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