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Helen's Goodnight

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Helen trudged down the long corridor, her bed calling with it's beguiling siren's song, the shower in the en suite providing a melodic descant, the fire crackling another lilting line. However, the deep, sonorous bass line of life came not from her room, but from the one two doors along, left ajar for her. Warm, golden light spilled out over the crimson carpet, enough to brighten the path for Helen.

She needed no assistance in reaching that door, knowing the route blindfolded. No matter how tired she was, she had to visit that room first, to pay homage to its occupant. It wasn't that she was superstitious, but mornings were better for it.

Poking her head into the room, she smiled at the mass of blonde locks spilling over the pillow, small hands wrapped around a ninja Barbie and a tatty rabbit. Her eyes were closed, soft wumphs of breath one of Helen's only indications that a living child lay in the bed, and not (as her heart used to trick her) a marble statue. Almost on tiptoes, she crept further in, glad she had left her leather jacket in her office lest it creak and wake the sleeping girl. Had anyone been a witness, they would've seen Helen at her most vulnerable, love pouring from her very being as she stroked Ashley's hair from her eyes.

Kissing her fingers and brushing it to her daughter's temple, Helen whispered, "Goodnight, my darling," before turning tail and finally giving in to Morpheus' prodding, collapsing into her own bed mere moments later.

The next morning would be a good one.