Desierto Rojo, Episode 2, Big House (I&S)

Dear Ayesha,

When you receive this letter, I will have long since left Lucky Palms, Simvada. My dad’s health hasn’t been good. He’s had two emergency room visits in the last few months. Each time, he’s scared me half to death. I even think in my weakest moment I called Gage. Why oh why did I do that? We can’t pay our bills so we headed to Mexsimco. Yeah, I know running away won’t solve our problems, but maybe we’ll find a solution here. Dad doesn’t have insurance and I sort-of lost my job, because of my own stupidity. You’d be so proud of me, but I’m pretty ashamed of myself. I know I’m not making sense so let me start at the beginning. I’m practicing my Mexsimi so excuse me if things don’t make sense or aren’t used entirely correctly.

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Two weeks ago, I drove my “dying” father across the border into Mexsimco. We are staying in a tiny town called Desierto Rojo, the Red Desert. The desert sands are reddish orange, and it’s hot and windy here. Even when it rains, it is warm, like Lucky Palms, but worse. The humidity is much higher. The Rio Simnora runs through Desierto Rojo, a small but steady stream. I like to watch the reflections of the birds and the clouds in the waters.

screenshot-7Desierto Rojo has a small town center with a mishmash of businesses, houses for the elite Mexsimi citizens, a beautiful Jacoban church, some civic buildings, and a few cantinas. Everything else is outside the town center – mostly trailer parks and small housing communities, few and far between, and red-orange dirt and sand roads that extend to the horizon. It takes a three hour bus ride to reach the edge of Simerica. It takes another six hours to cross the state of Mexsimco and to reach the capital, Union City, or in Simspani, Unión. I am told that Unión residents are out of touch with the rest of Mexsimco.

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The state of Mexsimco is much larger than I would’ve originally thought. I guess, I’ve lived in a bubble almost my entire life, Ayesha. I think the world is opening up for me, and I’m seeing things with new perspective. It’s not an ivory tower out here. In fact, there are no towers other than water supply.

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It amazes me that Mexsimicans are treated as second-class citizens in the SimNation. It really is more of a territory than a true state. They are apart, but they are without. They have so little and yet so much. I’d argue that maybe we are the ones who are impoverished, not them. What they lack in material wealth, they make up for in familia y comunidad – family and community. In Mexsimco, they are not as blind to EXCES, nor are they as close-minded, at least among la gente, the people. I find they are incredibly friendly and generous, even strangers, even when I cannot speak the language properly. I’ll admit I’ve gotten Simtalian and Simspani mixed up multiple times. Romance languages.

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I received a recommendation to go to the Casa de la Esperanza, House of Hope, in Desierto Rojo. There is a woman here by the name of Rosalie Avila who cares for wayward supernaturals, those who have lost their way, those who need nontraditional medical care, those who have been kicked out of their homes, those who have lost their jobs, and those who have no where else to go. I’m not sure if I fall into the first or the last category.

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I came here to seek help from Rosalie for Dad. He was exhibiting late stage EXCES symptoms. After nearly two weeks here, he is walking again and he’s regained some of his muscular strength. He’s keeping food down, and oh I’m so happy, Ayesha that I could cry, because he was barely functioning before. He couldn’t even manage bladder control. That’s maybe TMI for you, but I felt so overwhelmed and tired, so incredibly tired. I can’t come home yet. I’m not ready to face Nonno and Nonna.

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Rosalie has been like a mother to me. She is so generous and kind, opening up her home to us and helping my father with treatments. The inn and restaurant has been in her family for nine generations, and Rosalie established the rest of the property as a sort-of halfway house and refuge for supernaturals and EXCES sufferers when she took over the business. I don’t know how she does it, running a business, caring for her supernatural residents, doing the laundry, cooking the meals, and raising a daughter.

screenshot-237Rosalie has refused payment. She tells me everyone “earns” their keep around here. She gives each person a job. For now I’ve been working in the cantina.  I’m much more focused on bar tending now that I have zero love distractions. I actually enjoy it. Rosalie lets me keep all my tips and she even lets me experiment with making my own drink concoctions on my own time.

So I haven’t told you yet, but things ended between me and Billy. He was a jerk and I should’ve seen that from the beginning and long before I got involved with him physically. I don’t really want to talk about it, but I’m pretty sure he cheated on me in addition to taking advantage of my crazy naive self. You once told me that it’s good to know the world, but maybe not every part of it. This is the part I wish I didn’t know.

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Dad has been staying at Casa de la Esperanza. I’ve been sleeping at the trailer, but most days I’m over at the inn with him. I’ve been saving up my tips for dad’s treatments. I managed to make enough to send a small payment back to Sun Health Hospital in the Palms. Although, the other day I did splurge a little and bought myself a little jar of peanut butter. You can’t find peanut butter hardly anywhere in Mexsimco so it was a real treat.  Rosalie gave me a jar of peach chipotle jam. I made myself a peanut butter and jam sandwich.

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I’ve met most of the residents of Casa de la Esperanza. Rosalie is a single mother of a beautiful eight year old girl named Esperanza Estella Juanita Ariadna. Rosalie named the house after her daughter, whom she says is the best thing that ever happened to her because her daughter was a beacon of hope. Estella is her grandmother’s name and Juanita is her great-grandmother’s name, and Ariadna was the name of the nurse who helped deliver baby Esperanza. When I asked her what name she preferred, the little girl told me she liked Juanita.

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Did you know puddle jumping is good for la alma, the soul? That’s what Juanita tells me. We’ve been puddle jumping  together when I am not on shift. I must say, at the very least, it’s stress relieving.

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There is a vampire who lives in the house. I was incredibly startled by him one day, especially because he waved his hands around when I nearly ran into him in el salón. Turns out he is harmless. His name is Miguel Carillo. Rosalie tells me his family tried to shove him into a garbage chute when he was a young teen and his “powers” began manifesting. He suffered brain damage. The poor guy is nearly thirty years old and he has the mentality of a fourteen or fifteen year old thanks to his horrific family. Rosalie tells me he is scared of most humans, and keeps his distance and he enjoys playing with toys and dancing.

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His favorite song is El Jarabe Tapatio, the Mexsimican Hat Dance. I’m including a link in this email for your enjoyment. I’ve danced with him a few times. Like Dad, he has lost much of his hair since he has a mild version of EXCES, even though he’s mostly vampiric. Rosalie tells me that he gets odd cravings, but he is unable to use some more advanced vampire abilities due to his brain damage. He’s never attacked a human as far as they know. Juanita calls him “vampiro adorable” or the lovable vampire. He is so full of joy and wonder, even if he’s heard the song thousands of times, even after everything that has happened to him. I hope to be like this some day.

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Noel Webster is Rosalie’s boyfriend. He is a self-described disenfranchised-physical-therapist-turned-writer-mystic-and-healer. He works with Miguel regularly to help him with memory exercises. Noel is the resident wordsmith. He came to Mexsimco to escape a multi-billion-dollar medical industry in the bulk of the SimNation and to write a novel. He has yet to finish, though he says he works on it religiously. He treats all the residents of Casa de la Esperanza with compassion and dignity, he adores little Esperanza, and he is totally in love with Rosalie.

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I love to watch the two of them snuggle on the couch in la cocina watching Mexsimican soap operas and sipping Mexsimican hot chocolate in the evenings. They are very affectionate. Did I tell you that both Rosalie and Noel are witches? They sure don’t seem like it. These are only the second and third witches I’ve met in my lifetime, other than Audrey.

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Sonia Oro is another resident of Casa de la Esperanza. When she was a werewolf cub, she was found to be the sole survivor of a tragic house fire. Her parents and siblings all died. Sonia was in and out of therapy in the States for a decade until she aged out of foster care.

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Due to her juvenile delinquency record, she was unable to go into public service so she hitched a ride to Mexsimco. They don’t look as closely at records as long as you pay taxes. She now works as a firefighter in the town of Deseirto Rojo. I am jealous of her stunning golden eyes.

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Brad Webster is Noel’s older brother. He left a promising career in medicine behind also in the SimNation, right after announcing to his parents his preference for men. Well, that, and he’s a witch. He followed Noel to Mexsimco to pursue stage acting and clothing design. All the clothes he sells help benefit EXCES victims. Isn’t that wonderful?

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He also does weekly poetry readings in the house restaurant, and sometimes reenacts scenes from Simspeare’s plays in the patio. He’s really dramatic and intense. His favorite is death scenes from Simlet.

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This really is a big house full of loving and compassionate people. So far I haven’t seen any ghosts, but Rosalie assures me they have been through here before. I’ve never experienced anything like it before, and I’m grateful I came. For awhile, I think I’ll be distracted enough to get over Billy and gain some peace of mind. I wish you could be here. I miss you so bad. Hope this e-letter finds you and you’re doing well and not giving your ‘rents too much grief. 🙂

XOXO’s,

Kass


Author Note: Okay so my Spanish is terrible. I apologize if I butchered the language. I wanted to add a few Spanish vocabulary words in here, but I’m not a native speaker. I adore this lot by Shady on ModtheSims called Mexican Flair and I’m looking forward to showing you more of it. Noel Webster is a play on Noah Webster, and the part about him being an author is a tribute to him. I’ve been wanting to get back to the EXCES storyline, because it comes up in KFLL, and will continue to be a prominent in the future. I liked the idea of creating a haven for supernaturals, and Mexsimco seemed like a good place to start this idea. If you’ve read any of KFLL, you’ll know that non supernaturals are pretty biased and prejudiced against supernaturals, and that EXCES is poorly understood, and victims of EXCES are badly treated. I wanted a safe place for EXCES sufferers and supernaturals, and Casa de la Esperanza was born. (I also have to thank RipuAncestor, who in part, inspired this idea with her own Ley Line Nexus in her fabulous story, Chrysanthemum Tango.) Hope you enjoyed this letter home!

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5 thoughts on “Desierto Rojo, Episode 2, Big House (I&S)

  1. I loved it! That place is gorgeous and the community seems really interesting and nice, and I’m looking forward to learning more of these people! Rosalie and Noel are adorable and seem like a great team to run that place. Miguel and Sonia seem very sympathetic and Juanita is lovely. The pic of Juanita and Kass jumping in puddles is so pretty!

    I’m also glad I managed to inspire you. Your supernatural haven seems really homely and lovely and warm.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to first mention that I love how she told Ayesha that she thought the people in Simexico (sp?) may not be monetary wealthy but the are rich in friendship and love. Money is not everything nor does guarantee happiness. This sounds like a wonderful place with caring people and hopefully they will be able to help care for her father. His health doesn’t sound good at all and they may just be able to make him comfortable in his remaining time.

    Liked by 1 person

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