Can you write about Karen’s opinions on her kids’ adventures? And her finding out about all the drama? 💗💗
Karen Wheeler liked to bake.
It was a coping mechanism brought about by too many PTA meetings. Rarely, she found, did people bother you when you were baking. Make the excuse of sticky hands or a request for dish duty, and people were generally quick to vacate the area. It allowed her a small spot in her life to think; to really take in the general calm and quiet she found scarce in a house full of three children.
So Karen Wheeler liked to bake.
She enjoyed the scent of melted butter, the sound of crackling spices, and the overall warmth that always emitted from her oven. It was comforting. The pie, she would think, was for Nancy’s debate team, the cookies for Mike’s latest D&D campaign, and the cake for Ted’s boss so he might finally get that promotion. She could think and bake and everything was normal. Perfectly, enjoyably normal. Karen Wheeler had never looked much for excitement.
But then Will Byers went missing. He went missing biking home from her house and, suddenly, Nancy was having sex, Mike was skipping school, and Joyce was kicking her out of her house.
Okay, so, Joyce was going through a lot. Karen understood that she wasn’t in the best frame of mind and needed her space.
And Nancy, well, Nancy was a teenager. Quite honestly, Karen was just relieved her daughter had waited until high school to finally pop the proverbial cherry. She remembered quite a few of her own former classmates who, in the dull heat of small-town Hawkins, had saddled up much too young behind the middle school bleachers. At the very least, Nancy had waited until she felt ready with a guy she clearly liked and an age that wasn’t entirely horrible. Karen couldn’t say she approved, but she wasn’t about to get angry about it.
She just thought Nancy would have known that.
But it was okay. Sex was a difficult topic for anyone to discuss, let alone a teenager with their parents. Karen understood. Her daughter was always so straight-laced, she had to be getting some sort of high out finally pulling something so “rebellious.”
Karen snorted as she plated a pie. Yeah, rebellious, right. Oh, the stories she could tell.
But that was neither here nor there. The sex wasn’t the issue. Hiding the fact that she’d been having sex while her best friend went missing was a slightly more important nugget of information. No matter that the cops seemed convinced Barbara had run away, Karen trusted Nancy. If her daughter said that wasn’t what happened, then she was inclined to believe her.
The problem was that Nancy wouldn’t talk to her!
What had she done that her children felt they couldn’t talk to her anymore?
She understood they were grieving. God above, even she was wallowing in some sort of third-degree heartbreak over Will’s death. The poor child had always been so kind - the only one of her son’s friends that ever offered to help with the dishes - and part of her couldn’t imagine the hole his absence would leave in her house. So, she understood the grief, but where Nancy was somewhere within the range of what she expected, Mike was just acting weird.
Her Michael. Her sweet son who was always a quick jump and away from inviting at least one of his friends over, was being sneaky. Skipping school, not eating, spending far too much time in the basement? All of those she could maybe explain away, but laughing at his best friend’s funeral? Not going to Will’s school assembly?
That was not her Michael.
Her Michael was the boy who’d broken down into tears in her arms. Her Michael threw tantrums at the dinner table when he was told he couldn’t look for his friend. Her Michael did not hide things.
Only he was. He was hiding things. He wasn’t talking to her. What had she done wrong? Did her children think she wouldn’t care? Did they think she wouldn’t understand?
She would! Or, if she didn’t, she would certainly try.
But they wouldn’t even give her the chance.
And Karen Wheeler felt like she was standing at the very edge of a story she had only one foot in. A story, she would later learn, that involved her son suddenly caught up in a government conspiracy about Russians and a little girl she’d unknowingly harbored in her basement for a week.
To think, her son had hidden another person in her house for a whole week and she hadn’t even known. Part of her found that terrifying. The part of her that had been taught how to pick locks was inordinately pleased. She got the impression that these government folks were not the friendliest of people and if Mike found it necessary to hide the little girl (because honestly, whatever the government needed with one of those couldn’t be good) then she trusted it was for the best.
She trusted her son. Even if he didn’t trust her back.
But then she got a call, and her world shifted.
“She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,” were the only words Karen could make out amidst her son’s sobbing. He was wrapped up in a blanket, surrounded by flashing lights and blaring sirens. There were bodies being carted out his school and his friends were a mess and all her son could say was, “she’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone.”
She hugged him close. Rocking him in her arms as if he were a baby. She marveled at how warm he was, how alive, and how she never wanted to let him out of her sight ever again. He would not, she swore, end up like poor Will Byers.
Only poor Will Byers was alive.
He was alive when they’d had a funeral for him and there was a body that had been found and Karen no longer knew what to think. The world didn’t make sense. Her daughter needed stitches from a cut in her hand (one frighteningly similar to the one on Jonathan Byers’, and when had Nancy started hanging with him?), and her boyfriend’s face looked like someone had taken a battering ram to it without so much as a warning.
What, she found herself thinking, was going on in this soap opera she had apparently lost the script to?
Sex, blood, child abduction and fake death. This wasn’t real life. This didn’t happen to normal, everyday people like Karen Wheeler. At least, she could reassure herself, it was over. Things would finally settle down.
The girl - Eleven was her name (and wasn’t that a horribly inappropriate moniker for a child, no matter how much her son’s nickname fit) - was a tiny mop of a thing whose only real joy seemed to come from being as close to Mike as physically possible, and eating her body weight in Eggos on a daily basis. She just appeared out of the blue one day after Halloween, tailing after Mike as if she were born to do it, and by that point, Karen almost wasn’t surprised to learn she was the same girl that had hidden out in her basement last year. But even though the information threw her, Karen found she liked Eleven. She was quiet, but nice, and had such a zest for life that Karen sometimes caught herself smiling just at the thought.
Oh, and she was a telekinetic lab rat stolen from birth by the government as part of some sort of conspiracy involving illegal human experimentation and Russians.
Honestly, it was always about the Russians with those people.
So, a telekinetic girl. And Will Byers had been abducted by some sort of interdimensional monster straight out of a B-rank horror film and was now being haunted by its Lovecraftian overlord.
Karen stared. She stared long and hard at the assembly of people sitting in her living room, took in their expressions of “yes, this really is the truth and no we’re not crazy,” and made a decision.
Cookies. Yes, she was going to bake some cookies. Everything was better over cookies. Maybe, if the world was kind, she’d be able to make some sense of this in her kitchen.
Then again, as she’d just realized, the world was rarely so nice.
I have a lot of thoughts about Fallout 4′s Institute and why the synths make very little narrative sense in Fallout 4′s own setting because it’s all (poorly) lifted from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which is based on an entirely different worldview and assumptions despite being also set in a post-apocalyptic nuke-roasted USA
you know what truly annoys me? people complaining about Jungkook and how little he interacts in social media.
it’s important to remember Jungkook does not owe any of us anything. The other boys post more because they want to, and that’s their business. It’s understandable how we would like to see more of his selfies, of course, but just… stop complaining about the fact he doesn’t like to interact on twitter. Jokes about it were funny at first, but now it just… isn’t. He doesn’t like twitter. He doesn’t like fancafe. and that has nothing to do with his fans. He records covers for us all the time, he’s extra sweet during fansigns, poses to his own fansites. He’s cool the way he is. He doesn’t like interactions, he ignores his own group members texts, he mutes his gcs. Let the boy be.
It’s a very hypocritical demand coming from people who mostly complain about others asking them things. If you don’t like being forced into social interactions, don’t demand or complain about other people’s.