Short Stories

Introducing Paramours in Paradise & Sweethearts in Sulani

Posted on Updated on

Welcome to the Isle of Sulani. Some come for the beach vibes. Others come for the colorful culture. Still others come hoping to catch a glimpse of the rumored merfolk. You come in hopes of meeting your life partner.

Soak up some sun on the shores of our acclaimed beaches. Grind your own kava, an island delicacy. Dive into the crystal clear waters of the ocean, and catch the white-capped waves and ride along with dolphins. Hike the lush green hillside below the island’s active volcano. Step right into an island paradise and experience the magic of falling in love.

Does it sound too good to be true? The catch is…you’ll be competing against other people for the chance of a lifetime – to meet your true love.

(As for the rest of us, pull up a chair and imagine yourself sipping your favorite beverage while lounging lazily beneath a palm tree as you travel alongside the adventures of our bachelor, bachelorette, and all the contestants on the Isle of Sulani).


Sul sul! Lizzie (or livinasimminlife) here and I’m debuting a brand new Bachelor & Bachelorette: Sulani Style challenge. I bet you’re wondering how Lizzie is here… in Sulani… when she’s got a family in San Myshuno. Okay, you caught me. I’m obsessed with interconnecting my Sims stories, and so for the sake of this story/challenge, I’m saying this is her third life, but I digress.  Scratch that! I realized timing wise, Liz is about in her late 40’s here.

Paramours in Paradise and Sweethearts in Sulani slots for candidates almost full, but I thought I’d share the challenge background for my regular readers. If you missed your chance to submit a Sim, you can do one of two things: 1) submit an alternate (yes, I have some twists up my sleeve), or 2) wait for me to debut the challenge again…another season, another world.


B&B
Do you have what it takes to tame a wild heart in paradise?
Bachelor/Bachelorette Challenge Rules

XUrbanSimsX created the official Bachelor/Bachelorette Challenge rules for The Sims 4. I will be tweaking for my own challenge/story.

  • Every 3 days, there will be an elimination. The contestant with the lowest relationship with the bachelor/bachelorette combined with the lowest amount of votes from the public [that’s you!] will be removed from the running.
  • Contestants will build a relationship through tasks and activities with the bachelor/bahcelorette (i.e. group activities, group outings, and one-on-one dates.) The bachelor/bachelorette will make a genuine effort to get to know each of the competitors better, but autonomy will be on full.
  • All romantic actions are allowed, except Woohoo and Try for a Baby.
  • All Sims will need to be without jobs (because this removes the annoyance of cancelling out going to work). However, you can definitely tell me what job a Sim has.
  • We will not be leaving the island. All activities/dates must be in Sulani. I also added all sorts of different lots to the island for more activities/date options.

Additional Notes 
  • Personally, I want the contestants to have as much fun as possible. We will try and explore all the island has to offer during this challenge.
  • I also want our bachelor/bachelorette to have an opportunity to have a conversation/interaction with each of the contestants before the elimination (so as to try and encourage actual connection beyond mere physical attraction). This is also the reason I picked every three days for elimination to give everyone an opportunity to get to know one another.
  • While I won’t discourage drama, I also want my bachelor/bachelorette to have a genuine connection to his true love. This is more than a meat market. I want to respect the autonomy of each Sim and I’m looking to include lighthearted fun.
  • Typically, in Bachelor/Bachelorette challenges, all other relationships with household members must remain platonic with maximum effort focused on the bachelor/bachelorette. That’s not my play style. If other romance(s) happen, I’ll roll with it. Might create some interesting challenges. 😉

Feel free to vote in the poll for what kinds of date activities you’d like to see. Original poll posted here. I want this story to be interactive, so there will be lots of opportunities to vote over the course of the 21 days on the island. Be sure to come back and visit often.

Can a brave and interesting partner tame his ways and get him to settle down? What wonderful man will woo the heart of our lovely bachelorette?
Casting Call

Here are the casting guidelines. If you’d like to submit an alternate, you can do so here.

General Rules for the Casting Calls:
  • To be fair, only 1 Sim per creator will be accepted to each individual challenge. However, you are welcome to submit a Sim for both challenges.
  • Aliens, mermaids, and vampires are allowed.
  • Traits and aspirations can be whatever you choose (if you want additional traits, I will accept up to 2 more as I have a mod that allows for additional traits).
  • Skills – I’d prefer at least 2-3 skills (or I can cheat and add these for you), but only 1 can be maxed.
  • Attire – Be as creative as you’d like with your outfits and include as many as you’d like.
The Technical Specs:

I have all the expansions, except Get Famous. I have all game packs. I have all the stuff packs, except My First Pet, Fitness Stuff, and Backyard Living. I do use CC, but I’d prefer no CC for ease of upload. Thanks.

Casting Call Submission Guidelines:

Is your Sim looking for love? Perhaps they can find a life partner in Levi or Breanna. The Submission guidelines are the same for each contest, with the exception of hashtags. Upload your Sim to the Gallery with hashtag #livinasimminlife and #paramoursinparadise for Levi or #sweetheartsinsulani for Breanna.

Please include the following info below with your submission:

  • Creator Name + Origin ID
  • Sim Name
  • Age (YA, A, or E)
  • Star Sign (I know it’s not included in TS4, but I like this option).
  • Hometown (TS4 World)
  • Occupation (or if none – no judging here)
  • Aspiration
  • Traits (Up to 5 + the aspiration bonus trait)
  • Skills (You can pre-set up to 3, with only 1 skill maxed)
  • Favorite Drink
  • 1 Turn-On and 1 Turn-Off (like in TS2:blush:
  • Bio (I’ll be using this information in my “Meet the Contestants” Interviews. Feel free to be as detailed and creative as you’d like. Optional things to include: 1-3 things your Sim is looking for in a partner, any family you’d like to mention, and a question for our bachelor and/or bachelorette).

Paramours in Paradise

Paramours in Paradise – the premise is simple – 7 ladies…or gents (Levi doesn’t discriminate) will compete for the hand of our bachelor, Levi Parrott. Over the course of 21 days, you will live in the lap of luxury on the beautiful island of Sulani. Throughout the competition, the contestants and bachelor will live under one roof and participate in various island activities.

Levi Parrott is already zipping around the island. You could soon be splashing in the waters of the Panthalassan Ocean right alongside him!

Sweethearts in Sulani – Does your Sim long for the perfect life partner? Perhaps they can find love with the beautiful Breanna Gaines. Be one of the 7 lucky lads to be chosen for this competition.

Here’s Breanna already lazing away. You could soon be soaking up some sun and fun right next to her!


Over the course of 21 days, you will live in the lap of luxury on the beautiful island of Sulani. Throughout the competition, the contestants and bachelor will live under one roof and participate in various island activities. Be an o:) to your roommates or a >:) to the other contestants! Anything goes… except woo-hoo and try for a baby during the competition, because of course, Breanna is a proper lady… and Levi, well, he is working to tame his wild ways!


Will your Sim be the one to receive a rose and go home with our lucky bachelor or bachelorette?  DeadlineAugust 2nd for cast and alternates!

Once chapters are up, readers will have an opportunity to vote for candidates to improve the chances of a certain Sim participant. You don’t need to submit a Sim to participate and vote. Follow along in the forums thread and on Tumblr for sneak peaks and previews all this upcoming week, and be sure to follow the blog to catch all the juicy drama and fabulous fun.

Sul, sul, everyone!

The Lost Christmas (a short)

Posted on Updated on

Author Note: This story was written for LegacySims2017 as part of a Secret Santa Exchange (December 2018) hosted by Karilan. Sorry it took me forever to upload to here. Enjoy Christmas in June! 


It was two days before Christmas. I was lost somewhere in Granite Falls National Forest, driving on fumes, the cans attached to my rear bumper long ago lost on the windy snow-covered roads. I rounded another sharp curve, blurry-eyed. Then everything was went white.

As I stepped from the vehicle, I’m not sure what was worse – the shock of the frigid mountain air or the shock of the near fatal accident. Limousines are not designed for traction. Leaving the driver’s side door ajar, I winced as I glanced over the rock face. Whoa! That’s a long way down!

You may ask how I ended up here. I was a runaway bride. It’s not what you think. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy proposes. Girl says yes. Boy leaves girl at the altar. Jilted bride steals the limousine and drives herself deep into the woods. Story of my life.  

A sheer jewel-studded wedding dress is not ideal winter wear. A car horn honking brought me out of my miserable reverie. Truck lights temporarily blinded my view.

“Ma’am, what are you doing wandering our roads at night?” the female driver inquired.

“Can I get a lift? I uh…crashed.”

The woman, dressed in a bright orange ski suit, threw a blanket over my shoulders and helped me in the passenger side.

“The name’s Aspen Beckett,” the redhaired woman said.

“Bren…da…” my teeth chattered, as I placed my frozen hands against the vents.

“What are you doing all the way out here? You could’ve died of exposure.”

“Look… can you take me back the other way? I can show you where my vehicle is.”

“No can do,” Aspen said. “Avalanche. About an hour ago. Came to investigate. Only way to go is up,” Aspen continued. “I know a place where we can get you a change of clothes and a hot shower.”

I closed my eyes, and leaned my head back against the seat. “Sounds wonderful.”

Forty minutes later, I emerged from the camping restroom, almost reluctantly. Aspen found clothes and boots in my size, miraculously, in the lost and found box. She explained some skiers, snowboarders, and committed outdoor enthusiasts liked to camp in the National Forest even in the winter so the Rangers kept the bathrooms open and the hot water running. I was grateful to be rescued.

“You’re not a Ranger, are you, Aspen?” I asked.

The woman laughed. “No. I’m not. I guess you could call me a search and rescue specialist.  I work with the sheriff’s department and the National Park Service, but I’m an independent contractor. I hire out as a guide sometimes too. I’m coordinating with the National Park Service to find and rescue the trapped civilians up here.”

“Trapped?” I hated the nervousness creeping into my tone.

Aspen laid a hand on my shoulder. “Come on townie, I’ve got more to pick up.”

We drove to a small clearing in the woods about twenty minutes away. Aspen hopped from the vehicle, urging me to follow. She approached a group of four people, three men and a woman.

“Everyone okay?” she asked, briskly.

They all answered with a variant of ‘yes.’

“Brenda, this is Mathias Watson,” Aspen nodded to a man mostly dressed in blue, with a beard and beanie cap. “And Neal…” she indicated to the man in the grey jacket and fedora.

“Over there is Paisley…”

“Hey,” the woman dressed from head to toe in pink waved.

“And that’s Spencer doing the sit-ups in the snow.”

The man dressed in black grinned as he leaped to his feet. “Just trying to keep warm, Beckett.”   

“And this is Brenda everyone.”

I smiled shyly.“Hi.”

“Let’s move out,” Aspen hollered. “We’ve got one more to collect.”

Paisley collapsed in the snow. “It’s almost ten,” she complained. “My feet hurt.”

“They’ll hurt worse if you get hypothermia,” Spencer warned, covering his face as he blew hot air to warm his hands.

“Wait… um…” I interjected glancing back at the road longingly. “Shouldn’t we drive to shelter?”

“It’s over a day’s drive,” Aspen stopped in her tracks and called over her shoulder. “I’m not risking it this late at night.”

“But…but…what…about… the bath…bathrooms?” I sputtered.

“You wanna hang out in there all night?” Neal chortled. “Be my guest, lady.”

“Best to bed down for the night,” Aspen said, before continuing down the trail.

I fell in step next to Mathias. “I thought she said it was a day’s drive to the shelter,” I said quietly.

“It is, but there are tents up ahead, sheltered from this wind,” Mathias explained.

“Don’t forget me.”

A skinny man in a white coat approached from beyond a grove of trees. A shock of dyed pink hair peeked out from beneath his tall white hat with a sprig of holly attached.

“Is that…” I gasped. “Jonny Vasquez? The rock star?”

“Must be celebrity weekend,” Paisley walked up beside me and linked arms as if we were old friends. “Neal over there is from Neal’s Wheel of Deals. You know the TV game show?”

“Actually it’s Greg,” the man called Neal said, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Greg is my given name. I just use my middle name for the show.”  

“Now we’re seven,” Aspen said. “Let’s keep moving, townies. Don’t want you all the freeze to death before midnight.”

“She’s… interesting…” I noted.

“She’s focused,” Mathias said. “We want her to be. She’s our guide.”

“Our ticket outta here,” Spencer added.

When we arrived in a larger clearing, several tents dotted the leeward side of the mountain. Aspen and Mathias built a fire, and we all quickly gathered around for warmth. Jonny knelt in the snow, munching on a sandwich he pulled from his pocket. Aspen retrieved weiners and marshmallows from her tent while Mathias passed out water.

“Good to stay hydrated,” he smiled as he handed me a bottle.

“Thanks,” I replied graciously. “So what are you all doing up here?”

“Skiing. What else?” Spencer declared. “We’ve got a few days off for the holiday.”

“What do you do?” I inquired, starting to feel warmer as I cooked my hot dog.

Spencer replied, “I coach wrestling.”

“My friends dared me to come out here,” Paisley said as she threw another log on the fire. “Didn’t think I could handle it. Said I was too prissy.”

“You are prissy,” Jonny piped up.

“Oh shut up!” she snapped. “You freaked out when snow fell off a branch onto your shoulder earlier.”

“Yeah so… I don’t think we’ve met,” Jonny set down his stick and marshmallow and walked over to shake my hand. “I’m Jonny Vasquez.”

“I’m Brenda,” I replied. “Are you here to ski too?”

“Naw…” he shook his head and offered a toothy grin. “Just passing through. Got a gig with me band on Christmas Day. Band mates thought I was crazy for driving over the mountain. Maybe I am,” he shrugged. “Long drives is when the lyrics come to me.”

“And what about you?” I asked, looking up at Mathias.

“I do this every year. Get off grid for a few days,” he replied. “I’m a computer programmer by profession, but cubicles will be the death of me. It’s trips like these that remind me why I’m alive.”

“To freeze our arses off, eh?” Jonny smirked.

“Something like that,” Mathias chuckled, rubbing his beard thoughtfully. “Do you need anything Aspen?”

“I’m going to grab paper plates,” Aspen replied, walking toward her tent.

“Greg? You haven’t said anything yet,” I asked.

“Uh…it’s rather embarrassing,” he grinned sheepishly.

“Aw… come on, Greg, we already know all about it,” Paisley smirked.

“About what?” I frowned.

“I kinda had a meltdown on live TV last week,” Greg groaned. “My producer suggested I take a holiday to think about things. I don’t know if the network wants me back.”

“So you came up here?” I said, more as a statement than a question.

“Yeah,” he admitted. “The mountains seemed to be calling to me.”

Jonny offered to entertain us with some songs, fetching his guitar from a tent while we cooked our supper.

“You’re welcome to bunk with Paisley,” Aspen suggested.  

“Mine’s the big pink tent,” Paisley grinned. “Ooo…” she clapped her hands. “It’ll be fun to have a bunk mate. It’ll be like a sleepover.”

“It is a sleepover,” Spencer rolled his eyes.

One by one we all turned in. Jonny stayed behind to put out the fire, humming a little diddy as he climbed in the tent next to ours.

“Isn’t he cute?” Paisley grinned, propping her head.

“Who? Jonny?” Another man was the furthest thing from my mind.

Paisley nodded. “You never said why you were here.”

“Oh,” I gripped the edge of my pillow and bit my lip, grateful it was dark and Paisley couldn’t see my face. “I slid off the road.” It’s not the whole truth.

“Wow,” Paisley replied, shifting in her sleeping bag. “I’m glad you’re safe.”

“Me too,” I closed my eyes.

Daylight came sooner than I would’ve liked. The tent was insulated from the elements, but outside, fog hovered around the campsite. A bald eagle soared overhead. A good sign, I smiled.

“Let’s go,” Aspen yelled after we finished eating a quick breakfast of granola and dried fruit.

“We could’ve at least made a pot of coffee,” Paisley whined.

“You stop without telling someone. You die. Keep your eyes on the person in front of you. We’ve got one more to check on. Any questions?” Aspen hollered.

“Yeah, how come you slowpokes can’t keep up with me?” Jonny teased, starting an enthusiastic pace. 

“What are you looking for, Spencer?” Paisley inquired.

“I hoped I could see the valley where I’m from,” he shaded his eyes. “But you can’t see anything.”

“It is a winter wonderland,” I breathed.

“Or a death trap,” Spencer muttered.

“Do you have someone waiting for you?” Paisley asked.

“My wife and kids… I didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms with them though when I decided to take a solo vacation,” he added.

“Don’t worry, mate,” Jonny tried to reassure. “You’ll see them soon.”

It was nearly nightfall when we reached what appeared to be a dead end in the forest.  

“Now what?” Mathias asked.

“I sure got a rotten deal on this trip,” Greg moaned.

“This can’t be it,” Jonny said.

“If only the wind will stop blowing,” Spencer lifted his arms to shield his eyes.

“It’s so cold,” Paisley groaned.

“Who else are we trying to find?” I inquired.

“Townies, don’t worry,” Aspen remarked, pointing to a grove of mostly green vines and branches. “This cave leads to a hidden valley in the mountains with a helicopter landing pad and a Ranger tower. We can radio for help there. I know these woods like the back of my hand. Trust me.”

Mathias agreed first. “Okay, what choice do we have?”

“Ew!” Paisley squeaked. “There could be bugs or bats or bears even.”

“I’ll protect you, love,” Jonny moved closer.

“We can’t go back now,” Spencer shrugged. “I say forward. Greg?”

“Well,” Greg grimaced. “If you insist.”

“I trust your judgment,” I nodded to Aspen.

When we reached the other side, Aspen ran away from the group.

“Wait, where are you going?” Spencer called out.

“There’s a spot up ahead where we can build a fire and camp for the night. Look for the logs,” Aspen called over her shoulder.

“Wait… what?” Jonny started to follow their guide, but Mathias stopped him.

“Let her go,” Mathias replied. “I know where we are.”

“But…” Jonny protested.

“We’ll be okay,” Mathias said softly. “This way.”

“You crazy old coot!” Aspen approached an elderly man with gray hair and torn clothing staring out into the snow and fog. “Why don’t you have a jacket?”

“Aspen, is that you?” the man croaked, glancing over his shoulder.

“Yes Cecil, it’s me. Sheriff sent me on a welfare check,” she replied, irritated. “You’re out here without a coat or proper shoes…” she noted the holes in his tattered boots.

“You got townies with you?” he asked.

“Yes, we can get out in morning by helicopter assuming we can call out,” she replied.

“My radio still works,” Cecil sighed. “It’s good to see you Aspen.”

“Get inside and warm up. I’m going to go check on my townies,” Aspen ordered.

“Who is that?” I asked as I settled on the log bench.

“Cecil Beckett,” Mathias responded. “Aspen’s dad.”

“Really?” Greg said, incredulously. “He lives way out here in the National Forest?”

“Who’d wanna do that?” Jonny asked.

“Who’d want to get stuck with six strangers on Christmas Eve?” Paisley asked, scooting closer to him. “But here we are.”

“Some people love the seclusion,” Mathias surmised.

“You know Aspen pretty well, don’t you?” I surmised.

“There isn’t a better guide for this wilderness,” Mathias offered. “I’ve met her a few times. This is the first time I was snowed in by an avalanche.”

“I’m glad we’re in good hands,” I said.

“Sorry about the hot dogs,” Aspen said, rejoining the group. “Not much of a Christmas meal.”

“It’s not a problem,” I replied. “I happen to like char-cooked weenies.”

“Frankly, I only relish making them when I’m in a pickle,” Jonny teased.

Everyone laughed.

“Is your dad okay?” I asked.

Aspen blinked. “Mathias told you? Yeah. He will be. Sometimes he forgets his coat when he goes outside. He’s got a tiny one-room cabin up the hill a little more.”

“Did he want to join us?” Paisley asked.

“Naw, he’s fine,” Aspen said. “Sorry guys. It looks like our rescuers won’t be here until day after next. I radioed for help and couldn’t get anything sooner. We’ve got plenty of water and the tents, and Cecil offered us more food if we run out. Looks like we’re stuck here for Christmas.”

Suddenly, I realized I could provide an alternative. “Aspen? Do you mind taking me back to the radio? I think I have an idea.”

Christmas morning arrived.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Aspen stared up at the humongous pine tree. “Takes your breath away, this kind of morning, doesn’t it?”

“You really love it here?” Mathias observed.

“Of course, these mountains are my home,” Aspen smiled.

“Picture to commemorate the day?”

“Sure.”

“Happy Christmas, Aspen.”

He handed her his phone with their picture.

“This is going to be my new background,” she grinned. “Happy Christmas, Mathias.”

“Look what I found,” Paisley said, mischievously, holding up a sprig of mistletoe.

“Where’d you find that?” Jonny inquired. “Wait… why am I asking?”

“Oh kiss me, you big goof!” Paisley insisted.

“Katherine… it’s Spencer…before you say anything, I’m sorry…Where have I been?… I finally got reception…No, I’m okay… hey… it’s alright…and Katherine?… Tell our girls Merry Christmas!”

“I can’t believe how beautiful it is up here,” Greg murmured to himself as he gazed up at the crystal blue, not a cloud in the sky. “I feel… peaceful.”

I smiled as I inhaled the sharp mountain air. It felt good to help friends. They are my friends, aren’t they? As I watched the sun rise above the peaks, I knew. I’m going to be okay.

About midday, Cecil invited us to a winter picnic of chicken and corn. It was nice to have a hot meal for the first time in three days that wasn’t charcoal-coated. As we sat on the stone bench outside Cecil’s cabin and shared a meal, I felt gratitude.

“I’m grateful for Aspen our guide,” Mathias said, lifting his cup of hot cider.

“Hear hear,” Spencer clinked his cup with Paisley’s. “I’m grateful we didn’t freeze.”

Paisley beamed, and whispered to Jonny. “Should we tell them?”

“We’re a couple,” Jonny said, kissing Paisley’s cheek. “I’m grateful for Paisley.”

“And I’m thankful for Jonny,” she said.

“Aww…” Aspen smiled.

“I’m… uh… grateful for…I called my boss this morning and quit,” Greg said.

“Really?” came a chorus from Paisley, Jonny, and Spencer.

“Yeah,” Greg shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets. “The job wasn’t making me happy. I’m actually thinking of getting back to my artistic roots…photography maybe. These winter scenes are incredible. I got some good shots on my phone.”

“Hear hear,” Aspen repeated. “I’m grateful for my dad,” she smiled up at the man at the head of the table. “And for this meal with old friends…” she winked at Mathias. “And new!”

“And I’m grateful for all of you,” I swallowed hard, and stood up as I continued. “I started this weekend, depressed and devastated. My man left me at the altar two days ago…”

This brought a few gasps and sympathetic looks from the group.

I waved my hands. “It’s okay. We obviously weren’t right for each other. And I could’ve been home feeling sorry for myself, but instead I ran away to the mountains and found all you guys. And that’s…” I choked back the tears. “…a pretty amazing Christmas gift.”

“Hear hear!” Spencer raised his glass.

Paisley offered me a hug. “I’m really glad you are here.”

“Me too,” I smiled. “Happy Christmas everyone.”

We were interrupted by the sound of helicopter blades. Everyone looked bewildered.

“I thought we weren’t leaving until tomorrow,” Spencer frowned.

“Oh,” I laughed. “I called my editor.”

“What?” Paisley asked, confused.

“I’m Brenda Hart… the novelist…” I announced and wiped my mouth on the napkin.

“Oh my gosh!” Paisley pieced it together. “You’re that celebrity author!”

“Yeah, something like that,” I grinned. “We’re all going home tonight.”

We reached the town at the foot of the mountain by the early evening. Everyone was excited to be going home, but sad to leave their new friends. The weekend was a whirlwind we weren’t soon to forget. The lost Christmas was the perfect present.

Supposed to Be (October 2016 Short Story Challenge)

Posted on Updated on

She was supposed to be dead. 

Everything was a mangled mess of bones and skid marks on her clothes and tangled red hair and blood everywhere. She was no longer recognizable. She was no longer human. She was about to cease to exist. 

She heard the voice of her former lover wailing and moaning in the middle of the road, rocking what was left of her back and forth, well, what was left of her. She heard the sirens blaring in her ears as no doubt paramedics and police and the fire department had been called. And she felt so cold. Cold to the touch like a tin cup on a winter day. 

She was supposed to be dead. 

screenshot-98

She expected the end of the road. She didn’t expect this… tube of golden light. She felt weightless. For a moment, she ceased to exist. Then she simply… was again.

screenshot-96

Somewhere along the way, her life had taken a sharp turn. She was supposed to be dead. Now she wasn’t. As the memories faded, Elaenor Hart sat up on a cedar wood park bench and felt the embrace of sunlight on her skin. She lifted her perfectly in-tact arms and stretched, half-expecting her existence to be a nightmare and for her arms to detach from her shoulder blades. She stared at her hands as if seeing through the fresh eyes of a stranger. Nothing crushed or bruised here. Not even a dirt smudge.

screenshot-107

Elaenor wobbled to her feet. She felt the sting of a static shock, the remnants of a blueish lightning encompassing her whole body. She stood paralyzed, frightened. She closed her eyes and tried to hum… anything… but no sound came out. Was I electrocuted? 

Elaenor dared peek, and she noticed the blue light had faded. She no longer felt the surge of electricity. She could move again. All her limbs functioning properly. She cleared her throat.

“I’m supposed to be dead,” she squeaked out.

So the vocal chords are working. 

She stomped her right heel. Solid ground. She wasn’t floating. She wasn’t falling through.

I’m not a ghost. 

She was boxed in by hedges, and grass that looked a little too green and a sad little fountain gurgling like a drooling baby above grey stones.

Where am I? 

Elaenor took two tentative steps back and found herself standing on a sidewalk in an unfamiliar place. Glancing up and down the street, she saw a few houses and some traffic on the road. From the position of the sun in the sky, she guessed the time to be approximately mid-morning, and judging from the heat of the day, she figured this was summer.

I must be dreaming, she surmised, gently tapping her forehead in a “duh” realization. Then why does this feel real? she thought in dismay after pinching herself a few times.

I see my shadow. She twisted her toe in the grass. I feel like someone just walked on my grave. She shivered.

screenshot-115

Am I dead? 

She wandered between the hedges, slightly taller than her head. She peeked over the sides. One way was the fountain she had just left. The other way was a row of deep blue hydrangeas. A bumblebee landed on one of the blossoms, buzzing a tune.

Why can’t I hum? she thought in dismay.

screenshot-116

She walked until there was an opening in the hedge. Three artist’s easels stood, surrounded by rose bushes of various colors. Roses used to make me smile, she thought. Why does that feel like a new statement instead of a memory? 

Ben used to get her roses on Friday nights after work.

He would say, “Roses are red and I love you…”

She would giggle. “Ben, you’re supposed to say ‘violets are blue, then something like sugar is sweet, and then you can say the ‘I love you’ part.”

He would wrap his arms around her and bury his face in her neck and kiss her. “But I like to skip to the good part.”  

Her own laughter echoed in her head over and over again, drowning out any bit of Ben’s voice. The man she had loved and lost. Like Jason. She felt cold again. No Jason lost me. 

screenshot-117

Elaenor crossed the pathway to another opening in the hedge. This time she discovered an antique table with an intricate pattern and two chairs. The objects seemed so benign and yet lonely.

More roses.

Roses used to make me smile

Instead, Elaenor found the overpowering scent to be sickly sweet causing her stomach to turn. She quickened her pace, her heels clicking on stone through the maze of hedges.

screenshot-120

Is this park my purgatory? 

She paused to let a pair of ants cross the pathway.

I’m a giant compared to them. 

She swallowed hard.

It was a giant compared to me. 

As the ants scampered beneath the skirts of the hedge line, Elaenor realized she didn’t stand a chance against the truck.

Yet I’m still here… 

or am I?

A loud creaking sound startled her. Elaenor whirled, trying to deduce the direction of the sound. It came from the small stone building behind her.

screenshot-118

As she approached, she realized the door didn’t completely reach the ground.

A public bathroom. 

“Hello?” she called out after hearing the creaking again.

She gulped and summoned all her courage, shoving the doorway open.

A motion-sensing light flickered on, revealing no one and no critter hiding behind the door. A forlorn toilet stall. A tiny window offering a view of trees. A leaky sink with creaking pipes. She breathed a sigh of relief after checking the second room and finding more of the same, save an urinal. She wrinkled her nose. Public restrooms. 

Wandering back outside, she meandered down the pathway, past the empty garden box to a place under the trees. She found a familiar lime green bedroll. Her mind fought with her memories. I don’t recall owning a sleeping bag, but somehow I feel like this is mine. 

Elaenor continued down the pathway between the green hedges. One foot in front of another.

One step.

Two step.

Three step.

Heartbeat.

I’m still alive. 

Reality looked like a dream. It felt like a nightmare. She had the sinking feeling she wasn’t in Windenburg anymore. Where am I? Is this heaven? Or hell? Or somewhere in between? 

screenshot-123

She came upon a picnic table area, outdoor grills, and a fire pit under a grove of trees. The ropes on the edges of the table were swinging back and forth in the slight breeze. She gulped her fear, crushing it into a little ball and shoving it into the deep abyss of her abdomen. This isn’t as bad as it feels. 

Elaenor followed the pathway to the edge of the park, or wherever it was she was. She noticed a thin redhaired woman, approximately her age, across the street. She waved and called out, “Hello?”

Every step she took across the pavement felt like she was running through a pool of red gelatin. She looked down at her toes and thought in horror – It’s not gelatin. It’s my blood. 

screenshot-126

“Hi there,” the redhaired woman called back, pulling her back to reality, if that was what she could call it.

Her hand pumped the blood in Elaenor’s own.

“Hi, I’m…” she paused for a moment, wondering what to say.

I’m lost. 

I’m confused. 

I don’t know where I am. 

I don’t know why I’m alive. 

I’m supposed to be dead. 

“…Elaenor…” she said simply.

“Susan… Wainwright,” the woman responded. “Are you new in town? You look a little lost.”

“Do I?” Elaenor laughed nervously. “I am. I can’t seem to remember…”

Why I’m here… 

“…where we are?”

“This is Sunset Valley,” Susan smiled slightly.

“Sunset Valley?” Elaenor repeated incredulously.

“Yes,” Susan frowned. “How did you get here?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never heard of Sunset Valley,” Elaenor said worriedly.

“Well the Valley’s always been here,” Susan laughed as if finding the whole situation incredibly amusing.

screenshot-127

She stood silently waiting for Elaenor to join in her laughter, crack a joke, say anything. Instead, Elaenor stood dumbly, processing everything Susan…was it?... just said. I’m supposed to say something. Smile. Or laugh. Or did I lose my language processing skills?  The sunlight was a little too bright. The air was a little too warm. The birds were singing a little too loud. A car drove by and Elaenor nearly jumped out of her skin.

Was I actually in my skin? 

“Where do you live?” Susan was asking.

Elaenor couldn’t speak. It was like she was suddenly mute. It took her a moment to realize her hands were shaking… badly.

screenshot-128

“Maybe you should see a doctor or somethin’,” Susan suggested. “I can drive you to the hospital.”

“I’m fine,” Elaenor said gruffly, turning quickly to conquer the sea of asphalt between her and her new home. A thousand thoughts pooled in her brain.

She probably thinks I’m an idiot. She might think I’m mentally ill. Am I mentally ill? Am I unstable? I’m not a ghost. I’m too pretty to be zombified. I am not dead. I am alive. How do I know this place is my home? She said Sunset Valley. How did I get here? Wasn’t I in Windenburg? How did I survive? What is this place? Where is this place? 

screenshot-130

As Elaenor crossed the divide, she realized it was like she was transported to another universe. She raced through the aisles of green, trying to make sense of her new reality. She rounded the corner and let out a screech as she was greeted by a rather tall woman with dark sunglasses wearing a freakish llama suit.

screenshot-156

“Hey, watch where you’re going!” the woman snapped.

Her teeth looked angry.

The llama’s teeth looked angry.

“This isn’t happening,” Elaenor said, more to herself than the llama girl.

“What isn’t happening?” she asked.

“Who are you?” Elaenor asked in return.

“I’m Nichol. Who are you?”

“Elaenor… Elaenor Hart… I’m Elaenor Hart…I’m Elaenor Hart…”

“Why do you keep repeating yourself?”

“To make sure I’m real.”

“Okkkkkaaaaayyyyy…. well, I’m just on my lunch break from making my rounds in the neighborhood…you have yourself a nice day…” she said.

screenshot-150

Elaenor could see the road in Nichol’s sunglasses. She could see the sea of green. She could hear Jason crying. She could hear Ben’s voice saying “Roses are red…and I love you.” She could hear tires screaming. She could feel herself falling. The green called to her. It called her to a new home. The road called too with a message of destruction. It smelled like burnt tar. The green called again.

Choose life. 

Choose death. 

Hurry up. 

Make your decision. 

That’s it, Elaenor decided. I’ve fallen down the rabbithole. This must be Wonderland. I’m… dreaming… but I’m not. This is real. I am real. I am alive. 

But I was supposed to be dead. 


Author Note: 1813 words and 15 pics later…I sort-of intended this to be a “just for fun” post, then I realized I fit the special requirements for the month – within 2000 words and 15 screenshots. Woot!

The surreal feeling of waking up in another world after thinking you were dead kind-of fits with the “spooky” October theme of the short story challenges on the forums. I bobbed back and forth between several ideas for my submission before choosing this story line.

I choose this character and this story for a very particular reason. Elaenor Hart made an appearance in my very first submission for the short story challenges over on the forums. She was the former girlfriend and lover of Jason, my main character in my short story, Choices. The ending was incredibly sad because Jason reflects on how he lost his one true love due to his own stupidity and absentmindedness. Upon encountering Elaenor once more, he tries to take her photograph again, only to have her become angry and run away. She’s then, subsequently, hit by a car “off screen.”

Jason and Elaenor weren’t originally my creations. Their stories were created by me, but the pictures were from an anonymous person on the forums. You can read the original prompt here. The pictures were from TS4 Windenburg. I don’t own TS4. One of my lovely Simming friends on the forums, CathyTea suggested recreating Elaenor and Jason in TS3.

So recreate her I did.

I thought about how cool it would be to have Elaenor resurrect or somehow be transported to the world of TS3. In fact, she’s not dead, but very much alive in Sunset Valley.

Now that I’ve written a novel and I’ve doubled the length of this post… :p

…Carewren123, the moderator for the short story challenges on the forums, is stepping down this October. As a tribute to this lovely Simmer and as a thank you for all her hard work, I wrote this story entry. It felt only fitting to write a story based on the first submission I ever did for the challenges. Carewren123, you will be missed and all your work is appreciated. Good luck with all your future endeavors!

Interlude: Summer Reading

Posted on Updated on

This is true love – you think this happens every day?”

It was a strange question for Gage Briody to hear on a midsummer afternoon in the public library. He had come in search of fresh literature, something to get his mind off his recent dalliance with the paparazzo girl. Perhaps a good biography or a spill-chilling horror story. Anything but romance… his heart had taken enough beatings. Yet on Monday morning at exactly half-past-eleven, he found himself reconsidering his views on love.

Screenshot-5

 

He propped against the doorway, listening to the librarian read. He had never seen anyone command a room’s attention like her, even if the room’s occupants were under the age of ten.

There was nothing remarkable in her appearance, brown hair, red-rimmed glasses, petite frame, dressed in pale pink. Yet she spoke as if every word was alive. She was enchanting.

When the reading was done, one little girl waved her arm around urgently.

“Miss Shelley?”

“Yes Susie?”

“Why is it that the boy always rescues the girl? Why can’t the princess rescue the prince?”

“An excellent question, Susie,” she began slowly. “…and you know what, she can. She can fight those very same dragons and rescue the prince. All she has to do…” she paused, looking at Gage before continuing. “...is believe in her heart that she is very brave.”

Something about the way she said ‘heart‘ made his own skip a beat.

Screenshot-10

“Can I help you?”

His heart thudded. Speak up, man, he chided. Don’t go all gooey-eyed and tongue-tied or she’ll think you’re a fool. 

“You are wonderful with them, Shelley,” he fumbled for the words like a child ill-prepared for the school spelling bee.

“Thank you, Mister… uh… I’m sorry… I don’t know your name. I haven’t seen you at children’s story hour before.”

“Oh I have more than enough reasons to return now,” he flashed her his best smile.

“Yes,” her smile tightened and he hoped he hadn’t irritated her. “My name is Constance. Shelley is my last name.”

“Constance,” he repeated. “I’m sorry. I assumed. I’m Gage.”

She shook his hand. “Pleasure to meet you, Gage.”

“How does one become a children’s librarian?” he asked.

“Are you looking to become one?” she teased. “It’s a long story. Now if you don’t mind, I have work to finish before my shift is done.”

“Have coffee with me,” he offered before he knew what he was saying.

“Excuse me?” she laughed, this time with an edge of nervousness.

“Then you can tell me about being a librarian…” he added. “And maybe recommend a good children’s story. I haven’t read many.”

She looked at him as if he had just given her a line.

“I’m serious… I didn’t really read when I was a kid, mostly because I was bouncing between foster homes.”

“How sad!” she said, and he felt a twinge of annoyance as he wasn’t looking for pity. “Reading is magical for a child… and an adult.”

“Grab coffee with me and we can talk about all the reading I’ve missed,” he offered.

“I can’t,” she replied meekly. “Try Princess Bride. I was just reading from it and I can’t recommend it enough. Lilith at circulation can help you.”

Screenshot-50

Gage’s eyes widened in shock. This was only the second girl in his lifetime to resist his charms. He was intrigued, but he couldn’t hope to convince her now. He didn’t want to appear desperate. He checked out a copy of The Princess Bride and found a park bench.

It was nearly eight-thirty when he closed the cover. Constance was right. It was well-worth reading.

Screenshot-99

Within a half-hour of wandering Four Bridges Park, Gage found an all-too-willing town gossip by the name of Nellie Spenster to dish on the mysterious librarian. He learned she was raised by a single dad. Her mother died young. She always had her nose in a book, and she was devoted to her dad. Upon his death, she inherited the library. He also learned she had a masters in library sciences, and that she had her heart broken by a young man from college.

So she’s single! he felt hopeful.

He would have to be respectful, but persistent. He had full confidence he could take her out for coffee by the end of the week. Upon returning the following evening, he made his offer again.

“Just a casual coffee,” he said. “Not a date. I’d like to get to know you better.”

“Then it is a date?”

“No…” he frowned in frustration.

“No?” she tiled her head. “Because you’d like a date. You’re just friend-zoning me so I’ll feel more comfortable.”

Screenshot-91

His mouth dropped open before he could stop himself from looking like an idiot. She started to walk away and glanced over her shoulder.

The Phantom Tollbooth. Brilliant fiction.” 

He read the recommended book and returned the next day.

Screenshot-59

“Are you Princess Rhyme or Reason? Might I rescue you from the Castle in the Air?” he smirked.

“No,” she smiled coyly. “And neither. I fancy myself as Humbug.”

He scowled. “Hardly!”

She giggled. “I’m kidding. Though now that you mention it, you need to flatter me into being your tour guide.”

He grinned slyly. “I’m not that green.”

“Oh yes you are,” she replied. “Where the Red Fern Grows. You’ll cry.”

His eyes widened in surprise. “I don’t cry over books.”

He cried, though he wasn’t about to admit it to her.

“Finished already?”

“Yes. It was good. Will you have coffee with me now?”

Screenshot-67

“You’re too young for me.”

“I’m eighteen. I’m a man.”

“That is not enough to make you a man. Read To Kill a Mockingbird.”

He was intrigued. He took three days to finish it.

When he returned, she inquired, “What did you think of Atticus Fitch?”

Screenshot-34

“He was committed to his principles whatever the cost,” he responded, though he was still in the dark about what that had to do with his standing invitation. “I take it that’s what you’re looking for… come on Constance. I keep coming back. That’s got to count for something. I want to get to know you over a cup of coffee. Is that too much to ask for?”

“Read Island of the Blue Dolphins.”

“And then?”

“You said you wanted to get to know me.”

Gage tried to read into the story. He was halfway through the latest recommendation when he was hit with a sudden realization. He was getting to know her. Maybe not in the way he’d like. Maybe not face to face. Yet there was something beautiful about sharing literature, something intimate in nature. He saw snarkiness like Buttercup in The Princess Bride, and a spirit of adventure like Milo from The Phantom Tollbooth. He sensed loyalty in her like coon dogs from Where the Red Fern Grows and commitment to principles like Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird. After finishing the last sentence of Island of the Blue Dolphins, he wondered if the librarian led a lonely life on her an island of her own making.

Screenshot-92

Thirteen days after he met Constance Shelley, he did something he hadn’t done before. He dressed in a pair of nice slacks and a pullover blue sweater. He walked to the Wright Reading Room and waited on an outside bench until the library closed. He saw Constance lock the doors.

What does it mean?”

“Uh… Gage…” she looked surprised. “What does what mean?”

“Island of Blue Dolphins… it has some personal significance to you.”

Screenshot-113

Constance looked at the ground, “My mother gave it to me… on my twelfth birthday… before she died.”

Her expression seemed fragile as if her carefully locked away tidal wave of emotion would break at any moment.

He stayed silent. He knew the pain of losing a parent.

“Did you need to return something?” she broke the silence first.  “Or are you here to ask me for coffee?”

“No, I…” he started and stopped. “I just came to tell you tonight that I brought you a gift…”

Her eyes widened.

“Don’t worry, there are no strings attached,” he reassured, running back to the bench and pulling a bouquet of purple peonies.

Screenshot-119

“They aren’t terribly original, but they’re not roses. I didn’t want you to get the wrong message,” he laughed awkwardly, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I just wanted to thank you… Constance… for my summer reading… and to tell you I won’t be asking you for coffee again.”

Gage started to walk away, and was pleasantly surprised when he felt her hand brush his, and he stepped back in front of her.

Screenshot-122

“Tea.”

He stood, dumbfounded.

Her face broke into the most beautiful smile he had ever seen as she spoke four little words that in any other context would have been a mere passing statement, but tonight they had special significance. They gave him hope.

“I don’t drink coffee.”


Word Count: 1479 

Picture Count: 12

Author’s Note: This story was submitted for the August 2016 Short Story Challenge over on the Sims Forums and placed third! Hooray! The month’s theme was summer love. You can read about contest and vote here

participant

At the suggestion of CathyTea from Cathy Tea’s SimLit Anthology, I decided to write a story about Gage Briody who has made appearances in multiple stories of mine. What better way to reboot his story – From Riverview, With Love!

I’ve also always wanted to do a story with Constance Shelley as I think she’s a beautiful base-game Sim. I tweaked her appearance slightly and gave her a bit of back story, but I think she’ll make a fine addition to future stories of mine, and Gage’s life. I kinda had this song rolling around in my head while I was writing her character. Brownie points for anyone who knows this musical. 😉 And yes, the original is the best in my opinion. (FYI, the sound is a little quiet at the beginning of the clip.) 

I hope you enjoyed!  

Previous Post: 1.2 First Warning 

Next Post: 1.3 Artist in Residence

Flowers Grow Back: Sim Short

Posted on Updated on

Screenshot

“So that’s the idea… how I’d like the company to grow. What do you think?”

I looked out at the almost empty room of the Laffalot Funeral Home dining room, occupied only by my office-assistant-by-day-embalmer-by-night and my bumper-sticker-wielding groundskeeper, an improvement over last month’s meeting with only one attendee.

When you’re in the death business, it’s hard to find people who want to work for you. It’s especially hard when you have an unusual outlook on the typically grim line of work.

Emmy came to me recently, highly recommended by a reputable source. It’s hard not to hire someone who receives high praise from the Grim Reaper.

When you’re new to the business, hiring on an embalming apprentice is the way to go. Emmy learned fast and was an excellent assistant. I especially appreciated her thinking-outside-the-box.On the first day, she put superglue in the shoes of the undead. When I asked her why, she told me when the Zombie Apocalypse happened, she thought it’d be funny to watch them try and put their shoes on. I knew immediately she was the one for Laffalot.

And Earl, well, he was the best I could get, and his odd love of bumper stickers on coffins really wasn’t that terrible, especially when he maintained our lawns to perfection.

Unfortunately, not everyone appreciated our quirkiness. In the last months, I had ten assistants. I couldn’t get a real counselor to take us seriously, but I found a physical therapist who offered discount meditative yoga classes every other Thursday. I still hadn’t found a minister to give eulogies. We needed to grow, or I’d be forced to shut our doors.

“So let me get this straight, Asher,” Earl, the groundskeeper said in his classic monotone. “You want to offer unique memorial packages with abnormal names in hopes that will help us grow in the death business?”

“Yes, we can really put ourselves on the map with packages like Death By Chocolate. We can have a chocolate-colored coffin, serve chocolate foods, and of course, have a chocolate fountain,” I promoted enthusiastically.

“Interesting,” Emmy, the bubble-gum chewing, twenty-something assistant/embalmer spoke up.

“What map?” Earl asked, less convinced. “We’re the only funeral home in the Valley.”

“But most people go to Bay City or China Beach for services. With our idiosyncrasies and ingenuity, we might just drum up more business and grow even bigger.”

“You mean more than one funeral every other month?”

“Exactly.”

“Well, I like it,” Emmy replied. “We should start implementing things immediately. Maybe even print up some advertisements.”

“Great idea, Em!” I exclaimed. “With a little work, I project we could have one funeral per month… maybe even get some business from Bay City.”

“What we really need,” Earl piped up. “…is a famous customer, and ask him or her to spread the word on their Book of Faces and Tweeter things…”

Emmy widened her eyes.

“What?” Earl shrugged. “My bro’s in the bumper sticker biz. I know social media stuff.”

“Now that’s thinking outside the box, Earl,” I enthused. “If only someone famous would die.”

Screenshot-76

Just as I spoke, the tiny bell above the front entryway dinged, alerting us to a new customer.

“This is our chance, team,” I said, rushing out to meet the potential client.

“Are you the mortician?” the man asked, his eyes wide and sad.

I stood speechless. I heard Emmy gasp behind me. I couldn’t believe the famous Mortimer Goth was standing in my funeral parlor.

“Uh,” Emmy coughed and walked over to introduce herself. “Are you looking for funeral services for a loved one?”

“Yes, for my wife,” Mortimer whispered.

Screenshot-82

“I’m sure Asher Specter, our funeral director, would be glad to assist you in any way he can and give you a tour of our facilities,” Emmy said, looking expectantly in my direction.

“Of course,” I cleared my throat. “Pleasure to meet you, Mister?

“Goth,” the man replied. “Mortimer.”

“Mr. Mortimer Goth,” I smiled. “Step right this way to my office and we’ll discuss the details.”

Screenshot-93

“So why Laffalot?” Mortimer asked as he settled into a comfy chair in my office.

“Laffalot Funeral Home where laughing a lot is our specialty,” I grinned, and then sobered once I saw my potential customer’s frown. “We believe here, at Laffalot, that your loved one’s journey to the afterlife should be smooth and that laughter has every bit of a place at the funeral as tears.”

“Interesting. So do I need to sign anything?” Mortimer answered.

“Don’t you want to hear details about our packages?” I asked, and started pitching the same ideas I had told my employees just moments before. “We offer a lovely Morning Mourning package for the early birds, Midnight Madness for the late night owls, or a Mystery package if you want a random combination of our other packages and you want to be surprised. Oh… oh! If you like thrills, we have a very interesting Take Life By the Hands Again package with a skydiving option, but you’d have to take the brief class with the instructor… that is me… first.”

“Uh…” Mortimer shrugged. “How about a simple package? Got anything with just flowers? My wife enjoyed the garden.”

“Do we have anything with flowers?” I exclaimed, clapping my hands. “We have an Azaleas in the Afterlife package, Death Couldn’t Stop Us Daisies package, and Eternal Rest Roses package.”

Mortimer seemed to think for a minute. “Roses… Bella liked roses…”

Eternal Rest Roses it is… now if I can get you to sign some papers, tell me the size of the ceremony you’d like, pick out her final resting home, let me know when you want a service, and you’re good to go,” I smiled.

Screenshot-211

When Mortimer left, I found myself jumping up and down for joy in the lobby.

“Emmy, this could save us!” I shouted joyfully. “We need this kind of business. The Goths! I mean, it’s perfect!”

“That’s great,” Emmy said enthusiastically. “When does he want the service?”

“Two days… Saturday…”

“But you still haven’t hired a reverend…”

“Oh I didn’t think of that. Well I’ll have to do more interviews.”

Screenshot-191

“But wait! We offer a great severance package…” I called after the interviewee.

His efforts were in vain evidenced by the slammed door.

“…if you try us and don’t like us,” I said halfheartedly.

“Lost another one, Ash?” Emmy poked her head out from behind the front desk.

“I don’t get it, Emmy,” I paced in the main entryway. “I’m a funny likable guy with degrees in business, economics, religion, I went to culinary school, I do yoga, and I’m a certified skydiving instructor. Why would anyone not want to work with me as a funeral director?”

“Not everyone gets your humor, Ash,” Emmy replied in a much-too-cheerful tone. “But you know you always have me.”

I still felt dejected. I interviewed too many applicants, none suitable for the position. Everyone was…

Screenshot-279

…too inexperienced,

Screenshot-74

…too inappropriate,

Screenshot-283

…or really disliked me.

“Emmy, what am I going to do?” I grunted. “Mortimer and his family will be here for Bella’s service soon and I don’t have a pastor or a priest or even a military chaplain.”

“You could do it,” Emmy suggested.

“Me? No!” I shook my head.

“But you have that religion degree… I bet you’d give a great sermon… do they give sermons at funerals?”

“Not really, but I guess I’ll have to… I’m all we got,” I decided.

Screenshot-299

“Are you ready?”

I had been pacing for over an hour, drawing a total blank on the right words for my eulogy. Bella Goth was glamorous, beautiful, and kind-hearted. Everyone knew her because she had disappeared over seven years ago. The theory was abducted by aliens. Whatever had happened, Mortimer had finally decided enough was enough and to accept that she was probably dead. That’s what made saying the perfect words so important.

“The family of the deceased is waiting,” Emmy informed me.

“Here goes,” I said, straightening my tie.

Screenshot-265

Winter has dawned as the sun has set over the Valley. A great shadow passes and a rose once here is with us no longer.

In life, she bloomed boldly, opening her face to the sun and gracing us with the warmth of her presence.

In death, she still loves deeply, evidenced by the seeds she has shared – the memories of herself hidden in our hearts.

Death, like a thorn, pierces deeply as we anxiously wonder if the sun will appear again.

We enter the dark night of the soul and we cry for the rose no longer with us.

For a little while, we will bear the burden, yet we remember the hope in loss that weeping lasts only for a night.

We recall the ancient promise of those gone before us, though winter snows impress upon the earth, spring will come, and the flowers will grow again.

Screenshot-273

If only I knew how much truth my final phrase really had.


Word Count: 1489

Picture Count: 12

Author’s Note: This story was submitted for the May 2016 Short Story Challenge over on the Sims Forums. This month’s theme was growth. You can read about contest and vote here

Asher Specter makes an appearance in my main story, The Krazy Crazy Life of Kassiopeia Fullbright in Chapter 26. First of all, I love creating quirky elder characters in the Sims because I don’t feel like there are enough, and they are a little too restricted usually. Secondly, Asher was a great character and he deserved to make a reappearance. I also have been fiddling around with the Goth family, Bella in particular, in my stories and so this gave me a chance to write about her without an actual physical appearance.

You can read more about Bella and her appearances in my stories here. I hope you enjoyed this installation of Sim Shorts.  

 

Choices: Sim Short

Posted on Updated on

He went to sleep alone.

1

Jason always slept alone. He woke up alone. He ate alone. He worked alone. He watched TV alone. He did everything alone. He shouldn’t be surprised. He made his choices. He had to live with them.

Tonight was different though. Tonight he had the heaviest heart. He wished he could take it back – those terrible words he had uttered that day in the woods. If he had, maybe she would still be…

…once upon a time he had a love… the love of his life, Elaenor Hart.

He loved everything about her – her sunkissed tresses,  the way her skin softly wrinkled around her periwinkle blue eyes and her mouth when she smiled, the way she looked at him with complete and total adoration, how her laugh sounded like music filling a concert hall, the way her lips would pout when she wanted something and he just had to give in.

He loved the way she hummed when she was elbow deep in the water when washing their dog, Francis. The dog would make such a mess with mud and bubbles everywhere but the tub, but she would still hum as if she didn’t have a care in the world.

He loved the way she did everything differently – she would make breakfast for dinner, she would sign her name sideways on a birthday card, and she even spelled her name uniquely – E-L-A-E-N-O-R.

He loved the way her hips swayed when she would dance at the sink while washing dishes or when she was switching laundry from the washer to the dryer.

He loved the way her feet would tap when standing in line anywhere – the grocery store, the bank, the bus, at the cafeteria. It wasn’t an annoyed “hurry-up” tap, but a “making a moment happy.”

That’s what she called many things – when she teasingly tugged on his tie, when she would steal a french fry off his plate, when she would make him chase her up the stairs, when she added a smiley face to his pancakes, or when she would catch him off guard and squirt him with soap in the shower. Whenever he would ask what she was doing, she would say “I’m making the moment happy, Jason.”

Oh! his heart ached as he pulled back the covers on his bed made for two and slipped between the sheets for a solitary night’s sleep. If only he could go back to those happy moments! If only he could’ve made moments happy for Elaenor.

Jason fell into a fitful sleep, haunted by the things he chose and disgusted by the things he didn’t do. I… I… I… didn’t deserve her…. he muttered to himself as he tossed and turned. I didn’t really love her. Not the way I should. If only he had let go sooner, maybe today wouldn’t have been so painful.

2

Today he had found himself looking at it again – her photograph on his wall. It was the only photo of hers that he kept. He didn’t know why he kept it.

Elaenor had asked him to meet her in the woods. In their special place. He had been surprised she had called him. Surprised was an understatement. He was floored.  She had left him behind. She had chosen someone else. She was getting married… and not to him. He didn’t blame her. He wasn’t angry. He just…. felt… sad…

When he drove out to meet her, he found her – a vision in white – standing in the field, caressed by the hyacinths and hydrangeas, the soft summer grasses curling around her feet. When she turned to face him with that quintessential Elaenor look, he couldn’t stop his jaw from dropping. Breathtaking! 

Wha…wha…what are you doing here?” he asked.

I want you to take my photograph… one last time,” she requested. “Will you please?”

Um…” he swallowed hard.

You’re the only one who could ever capture the essence of me,” she added. “I… I know I probably have no right to ask you…

You have every right. I’m the one who has no right to see you, he tried to say but the words stuck in his throat.

I want to remember this,” she said. “Did you bring it?” 

He bobbed his head and reached into his camera bag strapped over his shoulder. He started toward her, but his step faltered. She reached out and took his hand, inviting him into the moment. When his hand found hers, she giggled, tilted her head, and crossed her eyes.

What are you doing?” he frowned.

Making the moment happy,” she laughed, releasing his hand and swirling around in her wedding gown.

He took many pictures of her, feeling like every click of the camera shutter offered the opportunity to witness “happy” for the last time. He shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t be doing this. What would Ben say?

Elaenor had left him, but Jason was the one that really left her first. He chose the late nights in the dark room when she’d beg him to come to bed with her. He chose to travel for weeks at a time for the photography shows. He chose to use the money they had been saving for their dream home to pay off his college debt so he could afford to go for his masters. She had been crushed. She had every right to be angry with him. She had every right to leave him. He would’ve left if he was in her shoes.

Still…

…he had a lot of firsts with her – first date, first kiss, first love, first apartment, first… well… he allowed himself to smile in his dream. In ninth grade, he saw her across the cobblestone street sitting at the cafe, hair in a gloriously messy side braid, head tipped downward, fully immersed in a novel. He silently pulled his camera from his side bag, sat down at her table, and snapped her picture. She had looked up at him, blinking in surprise, and said, “Hi I’m Elaenor. I’m going to smile now so you can take my photograph again.” She tilted her head and and offered him that beautiful heart-melting smile of hers

And that’s just who she was.

3

The day of her wedding, he was nowhere to be seen. She had asked him to give her away to Ben. He was her best friend and first love in spite of everything.

But he just couldn’t do it. Instead, he drove to the woods, overlooking the waterfall. As every drop of water gushed over the rock-face, he felt little bits of his soul trickle away. He knew he was letting her down… again. He couldn’t help it. He just couldn’t look on her face when she said “I do” to someone else.

4

After sitting on the hill for several hours, he knew what he had to do. He walked down to the field – their special place in the woods. He approached with trepidation, his heart thudding with each step toward the wishing well. The stone-cold face of the man at the well stared at him through soulless eyes. How the face of stone managed to grant wishes, Jason didn’t know, but everyone who lived in town knew the old wishing well possessed an otherworldly power.

5

Jason lifted the coin to his eye, staring at the metal as he uttered words he never thought he would ever say aloud. He watched the coin tumble down the sides of the wishing well… clink… clink… clink… and said goodbye.

7

Today was the first day he had seen her in six years. He passed by her in the same place he had met her all those years ago. She was still just as beautiful. Though her side braid be a little neater, a few locks fell gracefully against her cheek. She raised her hand to push a strand over her ear without breaking concentration. Of course, she was reading a book.

8

Jason walked right on by. He couldn’t stop. He couldn’t do that to her. He couldn’t just pop back into her life and reverse the hands of time. He couldn’t just say ‘hello’ and hope she’d look up at him and smile. I can’t just ignore my heart either, he had thought. He was still in love with her… perhaps now more than ever.

9

Jason noiselessly slipped into the seat across from her. She didn’t seem to notice, eyes still drinking in all the delicious words on her page. He reached for his phone, slipping it out of his pocket and raising it ever so slowly to snap her photograph.

She looked up at him, startled by the camera light. This time she wasn’t pleased. Her brow furrowed, her mouth morphed into a frown, and words he hoped he’d never hear from her left her mouth.

He. deserved. every. punctuated. word.

He deserved to be left alone in the chair at the cafe. In a way it was fitting. His relationship with Elaenor had come full circle. They were strangers passing by in the street. It was fitting. He had thrown their relationship away once before and she had left him. He threw their relationship away again in the wishing well. Today she left him again.

10Jason  stared across the table at nothing, as if staring would make her re-materialize in the chair. He was so stupid. He shouldn’t have said anything. He shouldn’t have stopped. She didn’t want to see him, hear from him, or sit across the table from him let alone be in the same zip code. He didn’t blame her.

He made his choice.

He had chosen his art over her.

He had no right to want her. She belonged to someone else.

He had no right to need her. She needed him twice and he had let her down.

He had no right to ache for her touch. She fell asleep in someone else’s arms now.

He made his choice. He had to live with it.

Snap out of it! Jason grunted and shook his head wildly. He resigned, letting the cobwebs settle over his almost happily-ever-after. She’s not yours to have and to hold. 

Jason shoved his chair back in frustration, the legs collapsing. He didn’t care. He had to get over this stupid crush… lost love… the girl who got away. He was about to walk away from the table when he realized she had been so hasty to leave that she left her book behind.

Don’t do it! Don’t do it, man, he shook his head and looked away. But she probably wants her book, he argued with himself. This is the last time, he resolved, snatching the novel. The last time, I swear. 

“Elaenor, wait up!” he called.

6

Jason hoped she wasn’t out of earshot when he stepped out into the road. He felt his heart lightening with every step closer to her. Just once more, he could gaze upon her face and see the light dancing in her periwinkle blues. He wouldn’t bother her again. He’d go out of his way to avoid her. He would leave her alone, he promised himself, if only… Who am I kidding? She was almost to her car.

“Elaenor, wait, you forgot your…” Jason called again.

The sound of shrieking tires interrupted his shout. The smell of burning rubber assaulted his nose as he dropped to his knees in the worst kind of shock and sorrow. The love of his life lay crumpled only a few feet from him.

Elaenor would forever be and only be… a melancholy memory. 

Word Count: 1930

Author’s Note: This story was written for April 2016’s Sims Short Story Challenge by Carewren123 on the forums. I’m excited to say I’m actually submitting something this month. For this month, I had to use someone else’s screenshots and write the story. I had such fun writing this story that I may recreate Jason and Elaenor in the Sims 3 and fill in some more of the gaps. Okay, I’m going to go cry now since I’m sad I killed her Elaenor off already. 😥