Introduction

It's hard to believe that at the time of posting this introduction, it had been two years since I first started typing this story. "When Realities Collide" was my first real attempt at a HA! chaptered story, started December 21, 2003. I was very active in the fanfic community at the time, reading countless fics by amazing authors, and wanted to see if I could write a story of my own. This was the result.

Of course, I never really gave this fic a chance. I always thought it was a mediocre story, and that I would never reach the pinnacle of creative talent hit by so many other writers out there. Some people have such a knack for putting words together, pulling off some truly astounding stories. I know I could never write something so great, by this was my first effort to see if I could make it as an author. I wanted to write a sizeable story that would offer a lot of reading pleasure for readers out there, where things got a little hectic in the HA! world. Looking back on it now, reviews and all, this was a pretty good fic. I still wish I could have made it a real "epic" of 50,000 plus words and 25 something chapters. I never saw it as a real good fic with the way it was written, etc, but yet others who read it thought it was pretty good. That's the problem when you write or draw something; you may never be satisfied with it, but others may look and it and think it's the greatest thing ever. In the end, I think this fic was surprisingly successful for what it was.

My purpose of revising and re-posting everything is that for being my first chaptered story, it's somewhat of a mess. And since I have grown to be such a perfectionist, it needs to be cleaned up a bit. Moreover, my computer died in March 2005 and I lost a little bit of revisions I had made for the last two chapters. I read through the whole story again and changed minor areas so they read better. I also found a great deal of spelling errors, and after all these years I thought I had made this story error free. I also left the original authors notes to all the chapters, and labeled them as such because they are heavily dated now, but I still wanted to keep them for nostalgia. Doing all of this makes me feel I have closed a somewhat abandoned project and now I am free to peruse another. It's also one last effort to catch any new readers and reviewers that didn't discover this fic the first time around. :)

I just like to say thanks to everyone who helped me with this story – and you know who you are. I learned many things about creative writing as I wrote this fanfic; it was quite the experience.

Cool Steve, December 2005

o----o

It was around 11pm on Saturday night. I was in my room, eating some reheated leftover pizza. I had just read some great Hey Arnold! related fanfics and I thought 'Wow!'. The stories people came up with about the show, about the Arnold and Helga relationship; wishing I could write something like that, a story that would stand out from all the rest. But I was fooling myself. I could never come up with the complex writings and storylines others have blessed among avid readers. Sure, I tried writing one fic, about the Arnold and Helga relationship with Lila being in the way, but it was going nowhere. MDT, a great HA! fanfic writer was going through it for me to edit it, but I still felt there was no hope. I knew the story did have potential, maybe if someone else had written my idea it would have turned out the way I wanted.

I sat there in my lounge chair, with my laptop on my lap trying to come up with an idea. Some complex…love story of sorts, but just couldn't get ideas to flow. I started to think of the writings in some sitcoms and movies to get some sort of idea, but everything was a blur. I needed inspiration…I needed something

So I went downstairs, careful not to wake my mother who was asleep, to the living room. I pulled out a tape with some Hey Arnold! episodes I had recorded off TV. I put the tape in the VCR and started watching. With laptop by my side, I tried vigorously to get an idea.

It was getting late, and while trying to look for an idea to write about, my thoughts started to wander. I started to think about Arnold's world; about the neighborhood, the kids, about how cool it would be to just dive into Arnold's city, to take a look around in his universe. 'Man, would that ever be cool.' I thought, 'To actually meet Arnold and the gang.'

It was about midnight and I was getting tired. I just sat there, watching episodes of my recorded show. But something…wasn't right. Maybe it was the glare from the TV just playing a trick on me, but it seemed like the picture was glowing brighter than usual. In fact, it was…I perked up.

"What the hell…?" I trailed off.

I got up from the crossed-legged position I had been sitting in on the floor and was on my knees in front of the TV. The glow was even brighter now and cast a white beam across the dark, unlit living room. 'Something is really wrong here, but what?' I thought.

I reluctantly reached out my hand to touch the screen, and as my fingers touched it, the screen rippled like throwing a pebble into a pond. 'Okay', I thought to myself, 'no more late night leftover pizza for me.' Curiously, I pushed my hand in a little further and I found my hand could go through the screen; it was just like putting your hand into a bucket of water. I could see my hand on the other side…except it was flat, and had a peachy cartoonish skin color to it.

"What the…? -" I was cut off. Suddenly the glow flashed into a blinding white light…then everything went black.