While some children dreamt of candy, school, or some other mundane thing; Helen dreamt of the stars. Not literally the large balls of gas but of everything that was and could be between them. She’d curl up, with a blanket, on her parents’ balcony and stare up wondering what was waiting for her up there.
As a lanky, tomboy her high school years were spent ignoring the cruel words of her classmates. She didn’t like school despite the fact that the teachers said she was brilliant. She didn’t try hard and passed most of her classes with a B average. She didn’t care. She knew the stars were coming for her.
There was one classmate that didn’t tease her. Abby was Helen’s best friend despite the fact that they had nothing in common, other than space. While Helen read books about space written by Asimov, Bradbury, and Clark, Abby read about space from authors like deGrasse-Tyson, and Hawkings. They agreed that there must be life on other planet and spent nights with a telescope discussing what they’d do if the aliens visited earth.
It was on one such night at the end of august, when the nights were hinting that they would get cooler soon, that they saw what they thought was a shooting star. The night was calm and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. They had the most beautiful view of the universe. It was one of the few perks of living in a small town.
Jumping up to the telescope, Helen looked through the eyepiece and aimed it towards the falling star. “That meteor is really close.” Helen was excited as she listed off the measurements on the telescope and even more so as they calculated where it could have landed.
“That’s no more than a few hours away,” Abby said with awe. They had calculated that it must have fallen in a certain radius that started a couple hours of driving on back roads.
“Let’s go!” Helen yelled and ran through her parent’s room and down the stairs before Abby had a chance to argue.
“Be careful,” Helen’s mother said as they left the house. Abby’s mother would have freaked out and forbid them to leave at this time of night but Helen’s mother had spent all of Helen’s life confused and trying to bond with her only daughter. She didn’t understand her daughter but she tried her best to be encouraging. That meant if Helen wanted to run out of the house at eleven at night, she’d make sure the girl had a cellphone and knew she could always call for help.
The mother and daughter looked nothing alike. Helen was tall and stick-thin, with dark honey coloured hair and a brownish skin with high cheekbones that hinted that she may have native blood. Her mother was a short and rotund white woman with bright red hair. It hadn’t been a surprise to Helen when her parents had first told her she was adopted. She’d never been curious about her biological parents. They weren’t important to her. Only the stars were.
Helen had had her licence since her seventeenth birthday, a week and a half ago. This was the first time she’d been happy that her parents had forced her to get it as soon as possible.
As Helen drove, Abby used her tablet to pinpoint where the meteor had come down. If they had lived in the city it would have been easier to find. Everyone would have been talking about it on twitter but here in the middle of nowhere, everyone was either asleep, watching tv, or drinking at Pepper’s, the popular girls party. It meant they had no help in finding it but they didn’t have any competition to get there first either.
There was a little chatter on some astronomer sites and a few groups online but no one seemed really that interested. With the estimated size of the object being no bigger than a large RV and it’s entry into the atmosphere the meteorite that they would find couldn’t be bigger than a tennis ball. It didn’t matter to either of them. It would make a great souvenir.
They had a lot of trouble finding the impact site. It wasn’t like in the movies were half the forest would be squished and fire was everywhere, practically pointing to the impact site. It took them almost two hours of searching before they found what must have been the impact site.
It was tiny, the crater was no bigger than a dinner plate. “There must have been a lot of water or it broke apart,” Hele was disappointed. Despite the small size of the crater she kept the car lights on the place and got out of the car in hopes of getting some part of the rock that fell from the stars.
With her eyes on the ground she didn’t notice anything odd about the area until she heard a hollow banging noise. Looking over to the side she saw a woman with a pipe or tube that was as long as her arm. She wielded it like a sword. Lying at her feet was Abby.
“I’m sorry we didn’t mean to trespass, did you kill her?” Helen was caught between the urge to run away and the urge to defend her friend.
“No of course not, I’m not a savage,” the woman said and stepped toward Helen. The woman’s amber coloured eyes glowed in the dark. Other than her eyes she could be Helen’s older sister or Helen in a few years.
“Who are you?” Helen asked all worries replaced with wonder.
“I’m your mother and I’m here to bring you to the stars where we’ll rule as queen and princess of the galaxy,” The woman stood up straight trying to look regal.
“Really?” Helen’s heart beat quickly, her dreams and fantasies were coming true.
“Of course not, why are we always so gullible?”
“You’re one of over three million in your clone batch. Our people are horrible parents so we leave our young with parents in backwoods worlds. You’re of age and it’s time to bring you home.”
“What’s going to happen to me?”
Looking annoyed the woman sighed and said, “You’ll be re-conditioned, implanted with the knowledge you need and then placed where the Superiors deem you’ll be most useful in the war against the enemy.”
“No, I’m not going,” Helen didn’t want to have her mind wiped. Or fight in any war.
“Oh for Grell’s sake. You’re not my last stop on this planet. I don’t want to deal with this,” the woman pointed her pipe weapon at Helen and with a soft sighing sound Helen fell to the ground.
The last time Abby saw Helen, she was being dragged into an invisible ship but no matter how many times she told people, no one believed her.