Thursday, 6 December 2012

My Mechanical Heart - Chapter Six

As we get deeper and deeper in the beautiful holiday season, we also venture further into my Vaughan Weekly Serial Story "My Mechanical Heart". I feel that this chapter is a real turning point in the story and parts of it I waited patiently to write since it contains some of my earliest concepts.

I won't say much more than read on...but know that a piece of Helena's past lies ahead.

Chapter Six


-Helena Cope-

Helena's gears were left spinning; literally, from Will's show of courage at the school the day before. He had made her so proud not just since protecting her but standing up for himself.
The first day they had met, Helena perceived that there was a whole lot more under his surface than even her own. And while he did find adjusting to people ignoring him difficult, she was there for Will.
Some students had even approached them at their lunch table and expressed that they thought he was right and that Helena was okay. Maybe William didn't have as many people staring at him, but Helena noticed that he was happy and that, to her logic, seemed a lot more important that popularity.
And now that the weekend had arrived her and William were taking the bus Downtown Toronto. Helena was excited and nervous all at the same time, she wanted to hope that Will was right and that he could prove she was beautiful.
Not just for their classmates but for her sake.
This time when she heard the doorbell ring it didn't seem like the first sound of the apocalypse but instead the cheerful greeting it was always meant to be.
"Will's here!" She exclaimed, running down the stairs and grabbing the doorknob from Clarence.
Flinging open the door there was a broad smile on her face.
"Don't worry Mr. Cope, I'll make sure we stay out of trouble." Will said reassuringly, a laugh cracking his lips.
The expression on her Father's face didn't seem to exude anything further than trust though as he waved them to go.
On that note they took their leave.
There was a great need to switch buses many times on the way Downtown and Helena was enthralled by all the people who tried to avoid one another on the same bus. Even if they were sitting beside each other.
As building after building passed by them and grew increasingly larger, so did Helena's eyes. She seemed almost too interested in visiting her old neighbourhood and when she looked over at William, it seemed like something was bothering him. Like there was something on his mind that he needed to say.
"Will?" Helena asked, gingerly prodding his side with her finger.
"Helena, do you...know what you were created for?" He asked quite suddenly before adding a regretful. "Sorry."
Helena didn't mind though, she had in fact pondered this thought many times and besides knowing she was Clarence's art project she hadn't found a real purpose for herself.
"No...I'm sorry." She finally answered.
"Don't be." Will replied. "You shouldn't have to know." He decided.
"Do you know why you were created, Will?" Helena returned the question quizzically.
There was intense thought knit in William's brow that made Helena wrinkle her nose as she watched him. But when he finally thought of an answer his face dropped a bit.
"No..." He admitted, shaking his head. "I guess I haven't figured it out yet." Will admitted, smiling ironically at Helena.
She returned the smile and squeezed her friend's hand. "Then we're not so different...I suppose." She said softly, considering the fact and feeling just a little more human for it.
It was after that moment of quiet thought between that two that a bell on the bus dinged, the vehicle coming to a halt, doors sliding open.
"Oh, hey!" Will said, looking up at the street in front of them. "That's us." He exclaimed, grabbing Helena's hand, the two of them dashing off of the bus before they could be whisked further Downtown Toronto than they needed to be.
The dress shop wasn't on the bus route, so they had a little ways to walk through the inner-city to reach it. It wasn't so far though and on a clear, crisp Autumn day it was a real pleasure.
Turning into a side street which was lined with small artisan shops and tiny artist owned galleries.
Helena watched their windows with saddened meditation.
Each little gallery they passed by made her stiffen more and Will seemed aware of her tension as he stayed reverently silent. But when Helena froze in front of one of the more impressively designed studios, he placed a hand on her shoulder.
"What is it, Helena?" Will asked with soft concern.
She wanted to look at him, she really did. But it was impossible to look anywhere but through that window where Helena could see happy patrons admiring the various pieces of artwork present.
It was a trance-like state but somewhere inside herself Helena found her voice and dragged it out for William's sake.
"This was the last place we visited..." Helena mumbled.
"Wh-what?" Will asked, taking the chance to look away from Helena and into the art gallery.
"When Clarence and I lived downtown, when he created me...I was his piece of art and he had a dream for me. I was going to live in a Gallery, I would make people marvel at the ability of modern art and they would be inspired. So he made appointments with as many places as possible. We would visit the galleries and Clarence would present me. I would walk, talk and even do...art of my own." Helena would have continued but Will cut her off in surprise.
"You paint?" He asked in excitement.
"Not anymore..." Helena said in a discouraged tone. "I remember smiling all the time in those days. Clarence told me that I would be loved by everyone...but he was wrong. No one loved me. They told him that I was hideous...unnatural." Looking down at the sidewalk, Helena sighed.
"A mistake." Placing her palm on the window Helena's tone was tremulous. "So he kept making adjustments, convinced that everything would be okay." Helena winced at the memory. "That's how my arm got this way...and my lip..." Fingers slipping down the window, Helena left no mark there as a human would have. "But no matter what he did no one would love me. No one would accept me and nothing could fix me. I was so hurt by how everyone reacted that all I wanted to do was take my books and hide in my closet." Helena felt bad for dumping her past on Will but at the same time it felt good to tell someone. Not just someone, but William Auditore who she wanted to share her history with.
"They were wrong though." William asserted, taking Helena's hand and leading her away from the art gallery. "You know that, don't you?" He asked with innocence and a great measure of belief in his own words.
The discouraged look that Helena offered in return was clearly not convinced of Will's words. Another turn lead the two teens down a street of brownstone buildings.
"We're a block away from the shop. My aunt owns it and she'll help us find the perfect dress." William explained in a cheerfully strained tone.
But his words were on deaf ears as Helena stopped once more; this time in front of a brownstone building. William was pulled to a halt alongside her, staring up at the four story historic apartment house.
"What's this place?" William asked, looking at Helena in silent understanding that it held significance.
"This is where we lived." Helena said plainly, her voice drained of it's emotion.
"You're closet?" Will pressed with an eyebrow raised.
"Mmhmm." Helena nodded slowly. Silence was their companion for a long few seconds and even the traffic seemed hushed.
"Why don't we ask if you can see it again, would you like that Helena?" Will asked tentatively.
At the suggestion, Helena felt like her gears had all frozen. She wasn't sure what to say but looked to Will, squeezed his hand and nodded in a very small way.
"I suppose I would..." She admitted.
Will smiled at her and lead the two up the steps to the building. After some convincing to the woman on the other end of the security system and a little bit of pleading on Will's part they made in it in and were greeted by an elderly woman at the door of Helena and Clarence's old apartment.
"What do you children want?" She asked in a wily tone. "I've already bought cookies, chocolate bars and given out Halloween Candy this year..." She complained with one hand on her hip and another on her cane.
"Uh no, no..." Will said nervously. "I was just hoping that my friend her could see her old...um...reading nook. She's a bit homesick." He said to the testy woman.
Grunting, the lady shookreading nook here." She said with an added. "Humph."
"It's the broom closet." Helena explained, peeking over the woman's hunched shoulders.
The lady gave them a scrutinising look before moving out of the door way. "Don't take anything." She warned, ushering the teens inside.
William let Helena go in first, walking slowly behind her, giving her some space. She wandered around a little aimlessly at first picturing everything the way it had been before. "It's not so different..." She commented under her breath.
"There's something strange about her." She heard the woman whisper to Will, but Helena ignored it as she saw her prize. The worn wooden door of her old broom closet, the one place in the world where she felt safe and content. Opening it cautiously, there was a lone broom sitting in the corner.
"Is that it?" Will asked, looking inside.
"Yeah." Helena replied, pointing out some of the illustration carvings she had made inside the door.
"They're really nice..." Will said, running his fingers along the graven images.
Helena didn't say anything, but smiled at Will. She looked into his eyes for a moment and then gently pulled the door out of his hand slipping inside the closet. She stood in there for a moment before closing it and staring up at the light bulb above her head. Her mind swam with thoughts that had been present since that day Will came after her at the Library.
And she locked the door from the inside with a soft click.
Everything was quiet on the other side until William seemed to be scuffing his feet uncertainly.
"Hey Helena...we better go get that dress now." He said in his endearing voice.
But Helena steeled her mind to it and did what she felt was best. "Go away William, it's better. I'm staying here...you're better off that way. Take someone else to the dance. Someone pretty, normal...someone human. Just go away William. GO AWAY!"

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