Introduction: Ten-year-old Helga Pataki has a reputation for being one of the meanest bullies at PS 118. On the outside, she is as tough as they come, always yelling at people, scowling, and always ready to put up her ever-ready fists, "Old Betsy" and the "Five Avengers."
Yet, on the inside, she is a shy, smart, sensitive girl who stands up for her best friend, Phoebe, and dreams of being with Arnold, the boy she secretly loves deep down. Helga always allowed her insecurities and her reputation to keep her from expressing the deep, caring person that she truly is to all those around her.
One day, a terrible crime is committed at PS 118 and all of the evidence and suspicion points to Helga. Suspicion mounts and everyone except for Phoebe and Arnold believes her to be guilty.
Following a terrible miscarriage of justice, Helga is sent to a brutal juvenile detention center where she must endure every terror of imprisonment; from a pair of homicidal inmates and a resident psychologist who holds a bias for bullies in particular, to the unwanted attentions of a sadistic female head guard who abuses both her authority and the inmates.
Even through all of the trials and tribulations she must endure, Helga will discover new friends in several inmates and learn something of her own life and how she is seen by those she kept her distance from her whole life. At the same time, Arnold, with the help of his best friend Gerald and Helga's best friend Phoebe, must discover the truth of who framed Helga before their friend is destroyed by the injustice that took her away from them.
Can Helga survive? Can Arnold and the gang find a way to prove her innocence? Will Helga be destroyed, or find her redemption in juvenile detention? Who framed her and why?
Let's find out if Helga can survive being—Falsely Accused.
Disclaimer: I do not own "Hey Arnold!" Nickelodeon and Viacom do, nor did I create the characters of the show, Master Craig Bartlett did, I myself can only dream that I had that sort-of talent.
By DarthRoden (a.k.a. Carl)
Prologue: A Prayer in the Dark
It was very dark in the little room. So dark in fact that the young girl couldn't see either her hand—or anything else for that matter—in front of her face, not that there was very much to look at in solitary confinement, also known to the rest of the general population as simply "The Hole."
In this case . . . "The Hell Hole."
She lay there, unblinking, on the uncomfortably bare cot, her hands resting behind her head because there was no pillow. There were no blankets either, nor was there any real need for them as the room was very hot. She was sweating, the smell of her own musky body odor, along with the stale smells of the small room's previous occupants, both human and otherwise, filled her nostrils—or rather, the one that was not filled with dried blood.
The girl breathed through her mouth, causing her bruised ribs and battered face to hurt slightly. She wondered if her nose was still bleeding from the beating she'd receive earlier. Touching it, she winced and felt nothing sticky cling to her hand, just the rough feeling remnants of dried blood clinging to the bottom of one of her nostrils.
How long have I been in here? She thought to herself. The rational part of her mind told her she'd only been inside the small, dark room for about an hour or so, but the less than rational part of her thoughts wondered if that were really the case. Idly she asked herself, Is there even such a thing as time in this place? A part of her was worried she was slowly going mad here—a fear that she'd seen was not entirely unfounded in this place.
A small squeaking noise made her flinch slightly on the cot. She couldn't see the source in the darkness, but she heard the sound of those scurrying little feet quite clearly. Her heart sank in her chest. It was a rat!
The girl closed her eyes tightly in terror. She was afraid of rats, absolutely terrified of them! Her imagination caused her to picture the evil-looking creature in her mind's eye in all too vivid detail.
"Please go away," she whispered in a very small, scared voice, shaking despite the oppressive heat of the small dark room. A spart of her worried about being bitten by a rat in the middle of the night (or was it daylight outside?) and getting rabies.
They can smell blood; a small panicked voice in the back of her mind reminded her. The rat shrieked, probably fighting with another one of its kind in the air vents.
The girl then turned on her side, feeling the effects of the beating she'd receive earlier by the other inmates. Tough girls, all hardened thugs and criminals. Real bullies, not like she was, or rather had been before she came to this place.
She crossed her arms across her chest, holding onto her bruised and aching shoulders, and began to cry softly. Crying came a lot more often to her these days than it had before.
A part of her was very tired, hoping that sleep would soon take her. Yet, despite that, the girl was afraid to shut her eyes. Afraid of the rats, afraid of the dangerous prison guard, and most of all, afraid of the dreams she might have.
I don't want to be here! She thought to herself desperately. I didn't do anything wrong! I don't deserve this! I'm innocent! Someone please believe me!
But nobody had believed her when she told them these things. Not the police, not her classmates. She wasn't even certain that her own parents really believed her deep down—not that it would be much of a shock to her if she knew for a fact it was true. Neither of them really noticed her much when she had been around and barely knew her when she was.
So she ended up here, tossed into this hell, rejected by her peers and all those whom she considered her friends.
No, that wasn't entirely true.
There were at least two people who totally believed in her innocence. Her best friend, Phoebe . . . . and the golden-haired, football-headed boy that she loved with all of her heart.
As she shut her eyes, wishing in vain for sleep to come and yet hoping at the same time that the nightmares would not come with them, Helga Pataki, through her quiet tears and sorrows, whispered a small, sincere prayer through her sobs. "Oh Arnold, my love, please, save me from this nightmare."
To be continued . . . .