|What are Little Girls Made Of?
by Michael Bard
© Michael Bard -- all rights reserved
"Mommy, where we going?"
"Cindy dear, you're going to the Star Fleet Museum - you'll be able to meet all your school friends."
"But I see them ev'ryday..."
"Today you'll be able to touch them," Cindy's mother responded as the gravcar settled to a halt outside of the town's transporter.
"Now come along, you need to get going." Sometimes she regretted moving out here, mostly because her daughter had nobody her age to play with and had attend school as a virtual presence. Still, her husband had always been a farmer, and the trees were so pretty this time of year.
"'Kay mommy. Can't Shelat come?"
"We talked about it before, your kitten is too young to come out with you. She'll be waiting for you when you get home."
Cindy pouted her lips and then mumbled, "You'd let me before your acc'dent. When you loved me."
Alison sighed. "Stop that! I still love you, and so does everybody else! The doctors made me all better. Your father and I've told you that."
"You aren't my mommy." Cindy set her lips into a stiff certainty.
Shaking her head, Alison climbed out and walked around. Ever since she'd been beamed to the hospital in New York with a liver infection, Cindy had been saying that she hadn't been the same. That she was as cold as everybody else where once she'd been warm. It was nonsense. Sure, it'd been the first time she'd ever had to use a transporter, but she just hadn't had to travel much. "Now come on, the technician is waiting."
The door creaked open as the two walked through and into the gleaming metal and plastic room. "Cindy Williams to be transported to the school outing at the Star Fleet Museum in San Francisco."
"Let me just check...," the technician pressed some panels and checked a viewscreen. "How's Michael doing? Still trying to get those vines to grow."
Alison shook her head, picturing her husband, in his grubby coveralls, fiddling around with the grapes he was always swearing would make the best wine this little town had ever seen. "Yea, he was there at dawn. He's put a little greenhouse up around them to protect them from the tornados, little signs." She chuckled. "He even sings to them every day."
The technician shook his head. "There it is - the co-ordinates are all set." He turned away and leaned down to talk to Cindy. "Now Cindy, I need you to go up the steps and get onto one of those circles. Can you do it?"
The room was so cold - how could they not feel it! "Will it hurt?" Cindy's voice sounded very small.
"Not at all - I've done it a thousand times. You won't feel a thing."
"'Kay." She skipped up on the transporter pad. "Ready." Her voice sounded small and quiet, and she could feel a hatred, an envy, a bone chilling terror, swirling all around her.
Cindy carefully held her hands against her sides and swallowed. She wouldn't move, although she almost did as her mother waved good-bye. Then the transporter tech moved the three switches down with an odd whistle, and then the room faded and she felt strange until the burning started. At first it was slight, just an itch on her skin, but then it grew stronger. Dutifully Cindy tried to remain silent, trying to press her lips together, but that's when she found she couldn't move. Swiftly the pain increased, from an itch, to a burning, to an agony that literally ripped the flesh from her tiny bones. She tried to scream but she couldn't move her lips and no sound came out. All she could do was faint.
She awoke still standing on the pad. The world was gray, dim. Cold. All around were echoes of pain and loss; the terror and loneliness of thousands and thousands. Tears started to fill her eyes as she turned around -- but then she saw her. Mommy! She was dim, misty, whitish, pieces of her were missing, but there was a warmth of presence that had been gone since her mommy's accident. She called out "Mommy!" but heard no sound but didn't care as she ran towards mommy and then right through her.
It was like running through a blanket, but thinner, finer. Had she killed mommy?! It was cold, cold and dim, but behind her it was still warm. Maybe... She spun around and her mommy was still there, arms outreached, beaming a faint warmth of love and desperate longing. Slowly she took a step forward, and then another. Finally her mommy tried to embrace her, and a cold mist brushed through her. Cindy swallowed and looked into her mother's black eyes, and felt her mother looking back at hers, and then they just stood there, basking in the love of each other's souls.
For a long time Cindy stood there, just luxuriating in the warmth of love she had thought lost, using it to shield her from the hatred and fear and death all around. Then a feeling of anger, a desperate hatred grew, swirling, and Cindy couldn't help but follow its lead and turn. As she watched a pad glistened and a glittering pattern of lights, spinning, stirring, appeared and solidified and quickly a form appeared.
It looked just like her! But cold, soulless, oblivious to the hatred and envy around it.
She couldn't help but step back from the creature and watch the girl who looked just like her run into the arms of another woman who looked just like her mommy...
Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments or questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org