Til Death Do Us Part, Part 1 (Side Tracks)

I, Joseph, take you Elizabeth…

…to be my lawful wedded wife…

…to have and to hold from this day forward…

…for better, for worse…

…for richer, for poorer…

…in sickness,  in health…

…to love, honor, and cherish…

…til death do us part.

Til death do us part. The words seemed to mock him now.  When he made his vows, pledging anyplace anytime,  for her,  he would always fight,  Joseph didn’t expect to lose his wife in six months.  There had to be some sort of mistake.  This wasn’t how it was supposed to end.  This wasn’t what was supposed to be.  Joseph couldn’t believe his stupidity.  He practically accused Lizzie of an affair, even though she assured him time and time again she was with him. When they recovered her phone,  Joseph saw the last person she called was not Don, or some unknown male name,  but Riley.

Idiot! And then he went and kissed another woman, a practical stranger because of a moment of weakness? A matter of confusion? How could be ever clear his conscience? What must have gone through Lizzie’s head in her final moments?  Pain beyond belief? Paralyzing fear? Staggering betrayal?  How could be ever clear his conscience? He lost the love of his life… and his unborn child and he could never forgive himself.

He hadn’t found time to plan a memorial. He couldn’t bring himself to call her family.  Riley and Annie agreed to call everyone for him as he walked around in a daze, awash with grief. What do you even do after someone dies? Joseph spent a half hour S’moogling the topic before growing too disgusted and depressed to continue. How could a person’s life boil down to doling out insurance benefits and notifying next of kin, employers, and friends? Joseph didn’t want to decide between coffins or cremation or whether to serve chicken or pork at the funeral lunch or if he wanted a wreath of flowers or a simple bouquet. Lizzie was so much more than that.  She mattered so much more than that.

What have I done?

Joseph found an intriguing sidebar in his search. Something about experimental procedures. No guarantees. Highly dangerous. Possible revival from the dead.  It was worth looking into,  he figured. There were many mysteries of the universe that people just didn’t understand yet.  He never really believed in ghosts but now anything was possible.  He needed to believe it was possible. He wanted Lizzie back,  and not just because she was his wife.  He was her husband.  At this point, he was willing to go to hell and back if it meant he could be with her again. Why did I have to be so possessive? Why was I so jealous? It was all utter nonsense.

After learning that high-ranking vampires had the ability to revive the dead, Joseph hopped in his truck and drove through the night to Hidden Hollow. He wasn’t sure how he was going to make it in the door since he didn’t know any vampires personally, but he was willing to try anything. He was willing to pay any price. Anything to bring Lizzie back. I killed her, he wept uncontrollably in the garden behind Tara Terrano’s home. A mere few months before, Joseph and Lizzie spent an unexpected honeymoon in the Hollow, happy and deeply in love. Now all hope felt lost. It’s my fault. I should be dead instead of her. 

The day seemed too bright, the birds too chipper, the trees to green. A few trees stretched dead branches to scrape the sky, but even they had buds of green erupting from the bark. Joseph sank to the bench in despair. The world went on.The sun still shone. The birds still sang. The trees still grew. The bugs still buzzed. The universe didn’t answer his plaintive cries for mercy, for peace, for relief.

Joseph wasn’t sure if he was confused or just insane for doubting Lizzie’s faithfulness, for letting that lady in neon to kiss him. It was like someone pulled out his brain and had a field day with his internal organs. Nothing made sense. Everything was inside out. His world was upside down and everyone else’s was right side up. Well, maybe that wasn’t entirely true.

He had silenced his phone an hour ago after it kept ringing continuously. First, Eddie and Essie, his in-laws. Then Nora and Lee simultaneously. Then Sammy. Then Eddie again. Then Julian. Then a handful of friends. Then his boss. He hadn’t called in and he would probably be fired if he didn’t. Typically missing work for any reason stressed him out, but today he didn’t care. Then Essie again. Riley. Cathy. Sugar. John. Then the cycle started all over. He couldn’t deal with their probing questions. He couldn’t handle their condolences. He didn’t deserve condolences or platitudes or kindness. He killed Lizzie… they just didn’t know it yet. 

“I won’t ask how you are doing,” Tara said, joining him on the bench. “I hated that question when my husband and daughter passed.”

“You had a child?” Joseph sniffed.

“Yes, a little girl. She was…” Tara smiled sadly. “…a rosebud about to bloom when she died.”

Joseph frowned. “How can you say that?”

“Say what?” Tara asked.

“Di…” he couldn’t even bring himself to finish the word. “It’s… so… final…” he shuddered.

“It’s the cycle of life. First there’s life, then there’s death. My people understand this even more than other Sims. Our length of life is often much shorter,” Tara explained. “Everything dies. We must accept this in order to truly appreciate life.”

“Like not take things…or people for granted?” Joseph inquired, swiping at tears forming at his eyes.

“You were granted a gift, Joseph,” Tara said softly. “However brief, it was beautiful what you and Lizzie had.”

“But I plumming ruined it!” Joseph exclaimed, and Tara gasped at his punctuated string of curse words. “I plumming killed her… Tara… I killed her!”

Joseph felt hot anger coursing through his veins as he struggled to control his emotions. His heart bounced all over the place like a pinball in a machine.

“Anger is normal to feel, Joseph,” Tara said. “You shouldn’t feel ashamed…blaming yourself is natural too.”

“I don’t…want… I didn’t want… I don’t know…” Joseph dropped his head. “I feel like I’ve lost everything. I…” he interlocked his fingers behind his head and breathed heavily. “I came here to try and get it back. To make things right. I heard there was a way… to bring back the de…” he still couldn’t say the word aloud. “Lizzie,” he swallowed hard.

Tara exhaled and laid her hands outward. “Do you feel that?”

“Feel what?”

He grimaced as the air seemed perfectly stagnant. The birds had stopped chirping and he couldn’t hear any bugs bustling about anymore. Tara laid her hands out, palms up, and closed her eyes as she tilted her head slightly upward.

“Love,” she replied, her voice barely above a whisper. 

Joseph frowned. He could hear a catch in her tone and if he wasn’t mistaken, an infant smile formed at the edges of her mouth. As an aura of white light formed around her, Tara opened her eyes wide and made tiny fists with her green hands.

“Close your eyes,” she ordered gently.

“Why?” he did as he was told, but still felt the need to ask questions.

“I can feel her. I can feel Lizzie.”

“What?” his eyes fluttered open.

“Yes,” Tara lifted her hand and laid it on top of Joseph’s. “But this is good news. It means she’s close by.”

“Elizabeth?” Joseph called out. “Lizzie? If you can hear me,  I’m so sorry.”

“Shh,” Tara urged. “Close your eyes and listen… do you hear her? She forgives you, Joseph…she releases you.”

Joseph choked back a sob. “She is? She can? Wait…” he narrowed his eyes. “How can you know? How can you hear her? I can’t hear a thing.”

Joseph didn’t understand it, but his heart felt lighter, as if a weight had been lifted. Tara explained that many Plantae were healers with a deep connection to the earth. She could connect with Lizzie if the soul still had corporeal roots. Tara could sense Lizzie, and even if he couldn’t feel her presence, somehow Joseph knew his love was still there. 

When he opened his eyes, Tara was still glowing, but she was no longer smiling.

“I lost her,” she sighed. “It’s very fragile. The tendrils are fresh, but the roots are floating.”

“I don’t…” Joseph shook his head, misunderstanding.

“…um…” Tara scratched her leafy hair. “Think of a hydroponic garden. There are roots floating every which way in the water, but are not tethered to the ground anymore.

“You’re saying she’s in limbo?”

“Yes, The soul is a very delicate thing. In all normality, the soul passes to the next life. That’s what our ancestors have done for millennia, but… do you know the stories of how the PlantSims came to be?”


“The aliens… they experimented on my ancestors. We were never supposed to be, but we are. The aliens… they are necromancers. They can res the dead. They keep Sims in the in-between for experiments mostly,” she made a face. “Not all dead go there. Just the ones the Xenosi capture. Or the Titanav.”

“So it’s not fairy tales?” Joseph said.  

“Oh no. Titanav is real. On the planet of Titanav rules what you would call the Reaper. They are known also as Kr’v… that is what they call themselves. The Xenosi and their genetic friends, the Orbix and the Reapers… they can hold the dead and bring them back to life. We cannot ask them though. They are inaccessible.”

“You can’t bring her back?” his eyes widened with sadness.

She laid a hand across her heart. “My people can feel them because we were born from roots, but you…” she laid her other hand on his shoulder. “…would need to train.”

“Are you saying I can feel her? Touch her?” Joseph inquired.

“Not exactly. But the in-between is not far from here,” she added. “PlantSims can sense spirits, but we cannot revive them. But there is an alternative…and Joseph… it is dangerous…” she touched his forehead. “You have darkness here. And that is why you are not at peace. That is why you were tormented by false thoughts of betrayal.”

“What are you saying?”

“I have only seen this kind of dark aura caused by one thing. Mind manipulation. By a vampire.”


Tara just told Joseph that his mind had been poisoned by a vampire.  How could this be? He grabbed the sides of his head in instinctive shock.

“Do something,  Tara,” he begged.

She shook her head. “Only a pyre can lift a curse.”

“But I don’t feel it in my head,” Joseph protested.

“It’s pretty high level magic.”

“But I have clarity… now… I haven’t doubted Lizzie,  or wondered if she was telling the truth or not.  I know she is.”

Tara frowned. “In some cases,  I’ve heard very trong emotions can break through a pyre’s mind blocks. Like grief…”

“Or love,” Joseph replied,  excitedly.  “Tara? Tell me what I need to do to bring Lizzie back. You said there’s a way.”

“I can feel her… so she’s strongly tethered… to this place,” Tara began tentatively. “It’s possible…” she plucked a leaf from her arm. “…a pyre could resurrect her. I may know a friendly pyre who will help us figure this out, but the cost could be high,  Joseph.  Are you willing to pay?”

“Anything. I have to… make this right.”

Author Notes: Thanks for reading. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Xenosi (aliens which Tara speaks of), Orbix, and Titanav/Kr’v/Grim Reaper, you can read more on my other blog. Essentially, the Xenosi have long been believed to be the cause of supernaturals, creating them out of genetic experimentation for some unknown purpose, though possibly to prolong their own lives. It would make sense that they would “play” with death. Ghosts are a weird phenomenon in the Sims games, and in my Simworld, not much is known about them. This is the first time anyone has offered an explanation for them. Ghosts exist because the Xenosi (or Reapers/Kr’v) harvest the spirits, trapping them in limbo (or the in-between, as Tara calls it). I’ll continue more Friday on the subject. This chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph and game generated townie, Tara Terrano. 


Side Tracks 2 (LASL)

“Is this it?” I asked.

We stood in front of the only lit-up house on the block. The two story white frame home had a brick foundation, double deck porch, the grass was neatly maintained, and the front was decorated with a series of pretty looking plants, roses, lavender, red nasturtiums, white heliotropes, hot pink gladiolus and pink anemones, the upper porch dotted with red geraniums, and a sweet little bird bath stood to the side. The front porch even had an inviting little bench, but all I could think about was getting inside. I was feeling a creepy vibe in the air, and I was trying to shake it.

“I think so,” Joseph replied. “It looks nice.”

“It doesn’t have a sign,” I observed.

“But it looks like the man described,” Joseph remarked.

We heard a cheery, “Come in.”

We opened the doors together and stepped into a open living space. Joseph stopped and wiped his feet on the blue and white entry rug as I looked off into the room. Everything appeared fresh with a slight feminine bent in the decor. There was a vase of flowers to the left of an empty fireplace and a television mounted on the wall. The only thing that appeared out of place was the bright red couch, reminding me of movie theater chairs. The house smelled of fresh baked goods. I licked my lips. I didn’t realize how parched… or how hungry I was until that moment.

The doors slammed behind us, startling me.

“Hello,” a green-skinned woman approached us with the biggest smile on her face and dark green leaves on her head, large silver hoops swinging from her ears. “Sorry about that. The winds around here are… unpredictable…” she reached out her hand. “I’m Tara of the Terrano clan. This is my bed and breakfast.”

“Hey,” I reached for her hand timidly. “I’m Lizzie and this is…my husband…” my face relaxed as I said the word.

“Joseph,” he supplied, shaking Tara’s hand vigorously.

“I’m so pleased to meet you both,” Tara replied. “Where are you coming from? Where are you headed?”

“San Mysh…” Joseph began.

“San Myshun…” I started.

We both looked at each other and laughed.

“We’re moving to the city,” he said. “And we’re returning to Oasis Springs.”

“We got married today,” I continued, excitedly.

“Today? Congratulations,” Tara grinned, squeezing tiny fists in balls of enthusiasm. “I haven’t had many guests here in awhile, and I’ve never had newlyweds. How wonderful!” she stepped further into the living room.  “Please come in and make yourselves at home. Do you have a car? You can pull around and park behind the B&B.”

“No, we’re on foot,” Joseph explained. “We were on the train and we had some issues and won’t be able to re-board until tomorrow at the earliest. We were pointed in your direction.”

“I don’t get many non-sups here,” Tara said. “You said you’re from the Springs?”

“Oasis Springs,” I nodded.

“I spent some time there for a photosynthesis conference,” Tara informed.

“Oh what’s that?” I inquired, tilting my head.

“Discussing the future for the Viridi, that is the official name for us, our people… you know us as PlantSims, and trying to bridge the gap between the Viridi Plantae and the Sims,” Tara offered. “We look to find a sustainable solutions for our future.”

“If you don’t mind me asking then why are you here in the Hollow?” I asked.

“Lizzie,” Joseph narrowed his eyes.

“It’s okay,” Tara said. “I’m used to the questions.”

“I’m sorry,” I flushed. “Was that rude?”

“Don’t you worry your head about it,” Tara nodded. “I carved out this piece of land for myself as sups are more readily welcome in vampire hollows.I wanted to start over fresh after I lost my husband.”

I gasped. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you,” Tara said. “Now… this is a depressing topic for you two newlyweds. Please…” she swept her arm across the room toward the staircase. “Go upstairs and pick out a room. Anything is open except for the room on the northwestern corner. Feel free to settle in and I’ll make dinner for you. Is dinner at eight enough time?”

I glanced at my watch. It was six-thirty.

“Perfect,” Joseph grinned, pulling my wrist gently, but eagerly.

In the upstairs hallway, he whispered in my ear. “I can think of something to pass the time.”

Author Note: LASL is mostly a lighthearted story, but I want to explain a bit about vampires and PlantSim culture. I just released a chapter of Night Blooming Jasmine (shameless plug 😉 ) and the first prologue is told from the perspective of a vampire/vampyre, and I explained the culture there more. Basics? The SimNation government requires supernaturals to register. Some of those who don’t register live in supernatural-friendly states, known as hollows. Since I already determined the official “Forgotten Hollow” was in eastern Sim Union (a.k.a. Europe), this location will be called Hidden Hollow so I don’t disrupt continuity, because I’m weird like that, and love crossover. 🙂 

Other supernaturals (like PlantSims) might live there also. The government recognizes hollows as autonomous sovereign city-states. Police patrol the borders to keep unregistered supernaturals from leaving without papers. Many Sims are suspicious or prejudiced against vampires, and are afraid to venture into hollows. You can read more about vampires here.

PlantSims, also known as Viridi Plantae, essentially green algae, named for the Latin term which translates ‘green plants.’ Tara Terrano actually appeared in my first version of this story, originally following a different protagonist, and she visited Oasis Springs for a photosynthesis conference. You can read more about PlantSims here

This lovely lot that serves as the B&B (Corner Hidden Hollow) was made by carrasco_87 and you can download in the gallery. This chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself. Thanks for reading. 

Side Tracks 1 (LASL)

Sometimes life takes you in unexpected directions. The first stop our train made was unintended. Since we purchased tickets last minute, we didn’t get the most direct route home. Our train lost its baggage car. Don’t worry. The car was only derailed, not lost completely, but the bags were at the bottom of a ravine. Since it was almost dusk, the conductor and train engineer didn’t want to risk working on the train cars overnight. When we asked why, we were informed that it was because we were on the edge of the vampire hollow. No one dared go outside at night.

We had a few options. Those who purchased sleeping cars would be fine. There were a few available for upgrade if people wanted to pay because nothing is ever free. We could sit up all night in the other sections of the train. Or we could get off and ride a bus immediately back to San Myshuno. Joseph didn’t want to backtrack, and I didn’t really want to either. He suggested we try to walk into the Hollow and find lodging.

The train staff and passengers thought we were crazy. It was still almost four miles into the city proper beyond the police barricade. I didn’t know much about it, other than the unregistered vampires (and other supernaturals) had their own sovereign territories all over the world and the Sim National government left them alone… for the most part. I didn’t think it sounded too bad, though I had never met a vampire before so I didn’t really know.

The sun had almost completely disappeared beyond the Western mountain range by the time we reached the town. Since we didn’t have luggage, the trek was faster than it could’ve been. Illuminated fog rolled over the mountains into the high altitude valley, and the full moon faced off opposite the setting sun. We looked around. The streets were completely deserted. No vehicles of any kind passed us. Despite the fact that it was an warm early summer night, there wasn’t a single soul out and about.The area was nicely landscaped, appearing nothing like we had been told. Nothing seemed out of place or overgrown or abandoned, and yet the silence was deafening. I didn’t even hear crickets.

“Why is it so quiet?” I asked, rubbing my arms, despite the fact that I wasn’t cold.

There was no breeze. The air was still.

“I… don’t know,” Joseph replied, and I found the sound of his voice to be a comfort.

“Where should we go?” I inquired, edging toward him.

One of the passengers on the train had given us rather complex directions down the hillside on a barely marked trail from the train tracks and over a river by way of a narrow footbridge and through the woods. Oh wait… isn’t that a song? Yes, I smirked at the humor. Unfortunately without a horse, it would take us about an hour, unless we walked fast, which was nearly impossible with the thick underbrush.And a sleigh wouldn’t have made it over that bridge.

Most of the vampires in the Hollow didn’t want to be disturbed and wanted to be left alone, though they didn’t mind outsiders. It was the police at the border that cared who they would let back into the world. The system was strange. Thankfully, we both had passports and identification so we could get back. There was a PlantSim woman who rented to this passenger before, and he recommended her place as the only friendly lodging for outsiders.

“He said… up ahead…” Joseph rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “I guess, we should head that way…” he pointed toward the other side of the park in the center of the road.

“So um…” I swallowed hard. “Where are they? The vampires… the people? There’s a full moon tonight… isn’t that like their thing?”

As I said it, the words sounded dumb.

“I think that’s more of a werewolf thing,” Joseph shrugged.

“So the vamp…they won’t come out… under the moon?” I asked nervously.

“I don’t know,” Joseph’s eyes widened. “There’s only one way to find out.”

“What?” I narrowed my eyes.

I… vant… to…suck…your…blood…ahhh!” Joseph joked, leaning in to trail a series of kisses up my neck.

“Joseph!” I protested. “Stop it. That’s not funny.”

“Sorry,” he smiled. “I couldn’t help it.”

Author Note: Hey everyone. I got sidetracked in Forgotten Hollow. I’ve been wanting to play since I purchased the Vampires pack, and since I had an extra file of my ISBI, I decided to send the newlyweds to the Hollow. Then I enjoyed the game play so much, I decided to include it in the story. Since they didn’t have any luggage and I was too lazy to find CC, I decided the loss of the luggage car made the most sense for why they got “stranded” in the Hollow. This chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself. Thanks for reading. 

1.10 Company (ALOW)

Jenara found herself watching over the podlings for nearly an hour. Each one was different, reflective of its comrade in a way. One glowed purple, the shade of a plump dragonfruit, and she could sense the rare and generous spirit of this podling’s counterpart, Tara. Another glowed a bold red, reflective of the heated emotions of its counterpart,Vito. Garbanzo’s podling glowed a vibrant fuschia color, and Jenara blushed thinking of his kind and extravagant words.

Snapping out of her reverie, she headed inside, barely having time to put on a pot of coffee and set out her cakes before the arrival of her neighborhood guests. She didn’t even have time to change. Jasmine came shortly behind, bringing Tara with her. Jenara found herself feeling disappointed when Garbanzo didn’t make an appearance.

Tara cornered Jenara and thanked her once again for caring for the podlings, and relayed her happiness that the younger woman was so generous in allowing a stump on her lawn. Jenara told her it was nothing, and she was enjoying the education and the experience, plus she was happy to meet fellow PlantSims attending the conference, and help be apart of a worthy cause. Tara asked about the PlantSims Jenara had met, and apologized on behalf of her husband. She also made a quick comment about Gar, being quite the ladies man, despite his attachment to another certain PlantSim. Again, Jenara felt disappointed. Perhaps she had misread his intentions, and maybe he was just being nice, but from the way Tara portrayed the man, she had probably flirted with a married man. Talk about awkward.

Despite her completely embarrassing encounter with Don Baxter and the Waterside ladies, they still made an appearance at Jenara’s gathering. Don even brought a friend, J Huntington the III, a local technician, who had much to say about setting up the website of the PlantSim conference and managing a chat room for supernaturals and Sims alike to get to know one another and promote peaceful relations. He even offered to put in a good word at his workplace for her if she wanted a job. Jenara found him to be a bit self-absorbed, but she was happy to meet another fellow tech with an interest in geeky things. She even had the time to debate various Star Trek captains with him, though she wasn’t sure she could forgive him for liking Archer the best. Jenara decided to keep her “lame” comment to herself as that wouldn’t have been polite.

Don nodded to her in his casual “wassup” kind-of way as he passed by Jenara and Tara. He was carrying two plates, one with a slice of Jasmine’s banana chocolate chip bread and the other with a slice of cheescake from Jenara’s kitchen. He brought the desserts to his friend, J. As much as Jenara was enjoying learning about Tara’s PlantSimness, she found herself straining to listen to the two men on the couch.

“This house is cool,” Don was saying.

“Yeah, and it’s resident is pretty cool too,” J said, munching on the banana bread. “Do you think that Jenara chick is into me?”

“Dude, you think everyone is into you!” Don punched his friend in the arm.

“I can’t help it. I’m great,” J grinned much too smugly.

Jenara resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.9 Petit Chou

1.9 Petit Chou (ALOW)

After dinner, Jenara decided to go for a jog to clear her head. She had collected many thoughts over the past few days and her list of projects just kept growing. Gardening. Eco-friendly practices. Recycling. Living conscientiously. Renovating her yard. Taking care of her parents’ home. She had barely time to process even deeper things lurking int he background like the PlantSims and their podlings, her ex-boyfriend, and the loss of her great aunt.

Stepping outside, she was about to jog down her street when she noticed a PlantSim man standing next to her stump. Feeling overly-protective, she strode across her lawn and asked what he was doing when she noticed he appeared to be meditating over the podlings.

“I was saying a prayer for their well-being, petit chou,” he said softly.

“A prayer?” she frowned, wondering if it was anything like her thanks for her strawberries.

“Yes, a familiar chant among my people. Please join me,” he offered his hand in invitation. “I must thank you for caring for these podlings. Many do not have your courage.”

“I don’t know if I am that brave,” Jenara shrugged.

“Yes, you are, I can tell you have strength of heart. Us PlantSims can sense these things. It is in our nature, no pun intended,” he smiled broadly. “You are very brave.”

She smiled shyly. “Thank you,” she felt flattered.

“I suppose I should introduce myself since I am in your yard,” he replied. “I am Garbanzo, but my friends call me Gar, and I am eternally grateful to you…” he tipped his hat. “…for your caring and kind spirit.”

She flushed, feeling flattered. “Thank you, again. ”

“It is a pleasure to meet you, petit chou,” he reached for and kissed her hand before she could stop him.

“Oh my!” she giggled, and quickly pulled her hand back.

The sensation left her skin tingling with pleasure. The attentions were nice, but it was much too soon, even if the man was handsome.

“Um… what was the prayer you were saying?” she inquired.

“Oh just a few phrases we all learned as podettes, but I have something else you might like to hear, hmm?” Gar asked.

She nodded enthusiastically.

It is the whistle of the wind,” he said, followed by a whistle. “...the wind which guides our feet to safety. And the song of the bird… which serenades and fills our minds with hope. And the whirr of the bumblebee…which pollinates the flowers to enable life to continue. And the hum of the dragonfly… who is carried on a breeze and smiles down on nature.”

“Wow,” Jenara gasped. “That is beautiful.”

Gar continued. “It is the howl of the lone wolf at night, crying out for the company of his companions. We are not alone. It is the caw of the crow… seeking the food which others leave behind. It is the prattle of the peacock… attracting the attention of its mate…

Something about the way he said mate made Jenara blush.

“...it is the dance of the grass… the blades flapping in the breeze as the sun caresses their cheeks and brings warmth to their souls. It is the coming of twilight… the light fades and we close our shells to the sun and open our hearts to the stars.”

“Oh my,” she breathed.

“Do you like it, petit chou?” he inquired.

“Like it? I love it!” she gushed.

“I wrote it myself,” he admitted.

“What? Really? That is incredible. You are quite talented.”

“Thank you, petit chou.”

She wrinkled her nose. “What does that mean? You keep calling me that… petit chou…”

“Ah,” Gar pressed his hands together. “It is Championne for ‘little cabbage.’ We PlantSims like to use plants for terms of endearment. I hope you do not mind, little one. It is a compliment of the highest order. I do not know your name.”

“Oh,” she flushed. “I am Jenara.”

“… Merveilleux!” he exclaimed. “What a beautiful name! Like the month, January.”

“Yes,” she smiled. “Like the month.”

“Oh then that explains your connection to these podlings. To be named for a passage of time is a wonderful thing,” he said.

“I didn’t know,” she replied. “I guess I never thought of it that way.”

“I shall leave you a podling, oui?” Gar said, making sweeping gestures with his arms. “You are a lovely person for caring for such delicate and innocent creatures.”

Jenara flushed, pleased. This was too much. All the compliments. She appreciated them, but was beginning to feel overwhelmed.

Au Revoir, petit chou!” Gar said, kissing her hands again, before backing away and continuing down the street.

Jenara lifted her hands to her chest, feeling overwhelmed with emotions. “Au revoir,” she repeated softly.

Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.8 Gifts

Next Chapter: 1.10 Company

1.8 Gifts (ALOW)

After a productive afternoon at the store, Jenara returned home and breathed a sigh of relief, that the PlantSim stump was still in her yard, appearing in tact. She was a bit concerned after all the things Vito had said, and some of the things Jasmine had told her, about people creating problems for the PlantSims and the danger many podlings faced. She hoped it would do her some good to house the podlings outside her home, though she would’ve felt better if Jasmine had placed the stump in her back yard instead of her front.

Heading downtown, she had purchased supplies to build protective fencing around the podling stump, and rocks for her walkway, and fresh flowers and plants for her new flower beds, that she could build herself with the wood she purchased. She also made a trip to the grocery store to buy plenty of food in case she had more neighbors or PlantSims stop by, and stepped into the bookstore, but was unable to find digital copies of the books she wanted. The store owner suggested she visit their website, which she did immediately on her tablet and selected a book about Gardening 101, The Prologue to Prejudice, PlantSim and Sim Relations, and the History of PlantSims. She figured tonight she would have plenty of reading for beneath the covers.

Jenara wandered into her kitchen to stock her refrigerator. Jasmine Holiday had called while she was out and asked if she was willing to host an informal PlantSim and Sim neighborhood gathering for a talk, and of course, she agreed. Jenara was the first to admit she was relatively clueless. Perhaps getting together her neighbors would help mend fences and build bridges. Just in case, Jenara picked up a carrot cake with vanilla bean frosting, a chocolate caramel cheesecake, a gluten free alternative Deutchsim chocolate cupcakes, and a friendly favorite freezer bunny pops in case any kids stopped by. She wanted to have all her bases covered. She wasn’t sure what to serve at a neighborhood gathering.

Her stomach rumbled. Jenara opted for a bowl of raspberry yogurt and some fresh strawberries, sprinkling a little granola on top for a finishing touch. Her light evening meal was looking delicious as she carried it into the dining room. She was pretty pleased with the wide variety of fruit available at the market and how fresh everything looked – bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, mangoes, red grapes, and even lemons. She could easily make plenty of yummy snacks with her fruit bowl, or even jazz up a meal like she was doing now.

About to lift her spoon, Jenara realized that strawberries were a plant of sorts… just like all the fruit in the bowl before her. She recalled the words of the PlantSim man named Vito.

Those were my friends… my comrades…” he had said.

Can I really eat this now? she wondered, laughing awkwardly to herself.

Pulling out her phone, she pushed through the device until she found the e-book about PlantSim and Sim Relations. She clicked until she found an applicable passage.

Many Sims feel uncomfortable eating plants after becoming friends with a Plant Sim. It is only natural to feel this way. It is important to keep in mind while all plants, flowers, and trees are living, they are not all sentient. We, the authors of this book, want to help you understand the conundrum of trying to decipher who is and isn’t sentient. The important thing is to keep an open mind and to recognize the life energy in all things and beings. The fruit and vegetables of this world were given to provide you, a Sim, with sustenance, just as the sun provides food for a PlantSim. We recognize and accept the gifts of this world, and also respect the thing which gives us energy and life. We eat with conscientious freedom just as we would eat a cow steak or a lamb stew, as we remember our needs are important too and offer thanksgiving for each meal.

“Recognize and respect the thing which gives us energy and life?” Jenara repeated aloud.

She liked that. Thinking for a moment, she closed her eyes and bowed her head as a sign of reverence and said a few words in gratitude for the “gifts” she was about to receive. Sliding the spoon into her mouth, she savored the first creamy bite and then bit into the juicy strawberry.

The universe certainly grants good gifts, she thought.

“Thank you,” she smiled.

Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

Previous Chapter: 1.7 Stumped

Next Chapter: 1.9 Petit Chou

1.7 Stumped (ALOW)

As promised, a stump appeared in Jenara’s yard the same day. She wondered about the safety of such a thing right out in the open, but Jasmine Holiday, the PlantSim-Sim liaison assured her that once the pods were placed in their holes, they were sealed in place and no one could mess with them. Even so, she made a note to pick up fencing at the hardware store, and maybe even a heat lamp. She didn’t want the little podling to get cold, especially if she found more friends.

As if on cue, Jenara noticed another green-skinned PlantSim man wandering down her street. She approached, feeling enthusiastic about my new mission.

“Hi, I’m Jenara, what’s your name?” she waved.

“Vito. Not interested,” he replied gruffly, and attempted to keep walking.

“What do you mean not interested?” Jenara frowned. “You don’t like friends.”

“I don’t need ’em,” he replied. “And I don’t want to buy what you’re selling, girlie,” he snipped.

“What? I’m not selling anything!” Jenara protested.

“Are you sure? The last guy tried to sell me an anti-fungal cream. Can you believe that?” the man said annoyed. “As a PlantSim, we embrace all of life, even fungi. And I’d be happy to have fungi cohabitate with me. We’re all about symbiosis. An anti-fungal cream is an insult.”

“I see,” Jenara remarked.

“And the guy before that tried to sell me a subscription to the Money Market Lane Journal,” the man threw his hands up in the air. “Think about how many trees were killed just to make the paper for that ridiculous newspaper!”

“I never thought of that,” Jenara replied, making a mental note to cancel any paper magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

“Those were my friends,” he said dramatically. “My comrades… killed! So you people could read your news when you could just as easily read it online and save the planet!”

“I promise I’m not trying to sell you anything, and I’m not trying to kill your comrades…” Jenara explained. At least not deliberately, she thought worriedly. “And I’m just trying to get to know PlantSims in town for the conference. I met Tara earlier.”

“Tara? My wife!? What? Have you seen her?”

“Tara’s your wife?”

“Yes, she went out wandering and we were supposed to go jogging together, and I haven’t been able to find her,” he exclaimed worriedly.

“Oh, well, she went that way…” Jenara pointed. “…a few hours ago, after she gave me a pod.”

“What? Wait… she gave you a podling?” the man’s eyes grew wide and then narrowed. “I can’t believe it. We said we’d plant our podlings together. Why would she do it without me?”

He pounded his fist into his hand.

“I have a stump in my yard,” Jenara pointed back. “I’d be happy to keep your pod safe too.”

“Look, girlie, I don’t know you and frankly I don’t trust Sims. I don’t trust anyone. And God knows what you’d do with it. This whole podling babysitting initiative is stupid and a waste of time. We can take care of our own, and you can take care of yours. We don’t need to be comingling. We don’t need this. We don’t need this at all.”

He had now raised his voice to the point of yelling. Jenara took a step back in surprise.

“I’m sorry if I upset you…” she stammered.

He pushed past her, and stomped into her yard. “Is this your house?” he asked angrily.

She nodded.

“I suppose this will have to do since we have to keep ours together,” he reached into his pocket, pulling out a red podling and slamming it into a space next to his wife’s podling. “Are you happy now, girlie?”

“It’s Jenara,” she replied, feeling uncomfortable.

“I don’t care what your name is. Just take care of my wife’s and my podlings or I’ll sue you for everything you’ve got right down to that sweet little track suit right off your back,” he snapped.

Jenara flushed as she watched the PlantSim man stomp away. She could’ve sworn she saw steam blowing out his ears. She felt hurt as she had always thought of herself as a caring, nonprejudicial person, but he treated her as if she didn’t have a clue. And she was stumped as to how she made him so angry.

I titled this chapter “Stumped” which is pretty lighthearted given the heavy underlying topic. Please know my intent is not to make fun of PlantSims or anyone for that matter. Prejudice (racism, classism, sexism, ableism) is alive and well in the world, sadly. I don’t really want to dip into a heavy discussion here, but I like the ability of the Sims to talk about real world issues in a nontraditional way. I’ve already set up tensions between the supernaturals and traditional Sims and aliens in my other Sims stories because it is such a multifaceted topic close to my heart, and it’s so important that we talk about things and open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the things around us. I also hope that if anything, we can start gentle, healthy, constructive dialogues about our differences in hopes of making our world a better, more caring place. 🙂

Previous Chapter: 1.6 Plant Life 

Next Chapter: 1.8 Gifts 

1.6 Plant Life (ALOW)

Changing into gym clothes, Jenara decided to do some push-ups in the front yard. She figured it would give her a chance to work out her body while thinking about how she would like to landscape. She thought about some pretty rocks and a stone walkway and some lighting. She envisioned flowers blooming and bees buzzing about. Maybe she could make her own honey too. Perhaps she would take a trip to the garden center later today, if it was still downtown.

“Yoohoo!” a voice called out.

Jenara stood up and dusted off her hands as a lovely woman with braids approached.

“Hello,” she greeted.

“Hi, my name is Jasmine Holiday, and I am the official liaison between the Sims and the PlantSims in town for the photosynthesis conference,” the woman explained.

“Oh yes! I was just talking to Tara,” Jenara exclaimed. “I think it’s exciting. A liaison? What is it that you do?”

“I maintain friendly relations between the parties and coordinate their accommodations and help spread the word,” Jasmine replied. “I just saw Tara on the street and she said you’d be interested in attending.”

“Yes, but I…” Jenara laughed awkwardly. “I’m afraid I don’t know what it is that I’d be attending or doing. Maybe you can tell me.”

“Absolutely. We have guest speakers from all over the world come and speak about PlantSims, explain who and what they are, and share about their unique culture, all in an effort to build friendlier supernatural relations,” Jasmine explained. “We’re also giving Sims a chance to experience what it is like to be a PlantSim through interactive and immersive displays and events. We’d love for you to come listen to a talk, or try out our exhibits, and also invite your friends and family too.”

“Well… I don’t exactly have family, and I’m pretty new in town still,” Jenara said, adjusting her glasses. “But I am interested.”

“Also we’re looking for host families, people who can care for podlings,” Jasmine continued.

“Podlings? You mean baby PlantSims?” Jenara’s eyes widened as she realized just what Tara had left with her.

“Yes, they could grow up to be PlantSims, and they currently have an endangered status because people are not aware of these lovely living creatures when they walk around in nature. Many are crushed underfoot, or swept away by rivers because they nest or plant too close. Some are specifically targeted by hate groups. It’s really rather sad,” Jasmine explained.

“Oh that’s terrible!” Jenara explained. “Actually, Tara already gave me a pod, but I thought it was just a little piece of her…” she realized how dumb that sounded, given this was a podling. “…I mean… I didn’t realize…”

“It’s okay,” Jasmine shook her head. “Many people don’t. Wow… Tara gave you a podling? Just like that?” Her eyes grew wide.


“She must have gotten a good vibe from you. That’s quite an honor.”

“I guess, I kinda wish she had said something… so I could be prepared and all…”

“Don’t worry. I’ll send you some brochures and you can download a pamphlet about care of podlings from our website. In the meantime, I’ll get you a resting place for your pod, and any others that we send your way,” Jasmine said. “I have the stumps in my truck bed.”

“Okay,” Jenara replied.

Already she was confused and overwhelmed, but the project sounded interesting, and protecting life was a high and noble cause. She was happy to lend a hand, even if she knew nothing about plants or gardening.

And the PlantSim challenge continues… in story form. Some of these ideas, the podlings in particular, was an idea of mine for a TS3 PlantSim story I had, and I just never got around to writing. It works for this scenario so I’m keeping it in. Plus I was excited to see Jasmine Holiday wandering around the Springs. Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.5 Pod 

Next Chapter: 1.7 Stumped

1.5 Pod (ALOW)

Jenara chose to take a long nap in the guest bedroom. She had hoped to sleep off her complete and utter humiliation in front of Don Baxter and Sarah Waterside. However, when she awakened, she still felt embarrassed.

Llamas, she cursed beneath her breath. I can never show my face again in this town. 

Shifting beneath the floral comforter, Jenara flopped her legs atop the bed. The room was sparsely furnished, given it was the guest quarters. Her great auntie used to stay in this room when she visited. Jenara didn’t feel comfortable claiming her parents master suite. It somehow didn’t feel right even though they had been gone over a decade. She also didn’t want to sleep in the cutesy children’s play room.

Those days are past me. 

A memory flitted like a butterfly around in her head. A scared little girl. A nightmare. A monster under the bed. Daddy checking to make sure things were okay while the little girl climbed in her parent’s bed and hugged her mommy. Daddy returning to find mommy and the little girl asleep in each other’s arms. In the morning, they would awaken to find him sleeping in his daughter’s little bed, a poor night’s sleep causing the tall man obvious cramps.

That was Pops. 

Jenara smiled. She loved her father… or what she remembered of him. She loved her mother too. The whole thing felt strange being back in this house, almost as if it were their home and not hers. She wondered if their spirits still possessed its walls, and if they were watching over her.

Still fully clothed, she slipped off the bed and decided to look out the window, trying to ascertain the time. She had a good view of the square across the street. In the crosswalk, a pigtailed teenage girl dressed in black gave a snobbish look to a green-looking woman. Jenara gasped, wondering if the lady were an alien, and then realized, on the contrary, the woman was a supernatural – a PlantSim. Jenara pulled on her shoes and stepped outside just in time to hear the PlantSim lady say hello to “Miss Sandra Roth.”

The girl continued along her way, refusing to acknowledge the green-skinned, leaf-haired woman. Jenara felt an inexplicable sadness.

Prejudice alive and well. 

PlantSims were rare on Simterra, a supernatural race, a strange mix of genetics and plant biology. Jenara had heard many rumors about the green-skinned people, often mistaken for Xenosi, the dreaded aliens from the planet Xenosa. The Xenosi were most likely responsible for the supernaturals on Simterra, though no one liked to admit it. Jenara remembered hearing her father, a researcher, talking about mutations all those years ago when he didn’t think she was listening. She had caught rumblings and whisperings of experiments in Oasis Landing, the secret SimNation government city. Only those who worked there or those who had really good connections or deep pockets, or both, could enter the Oasis Landing. Jenara wondered if this woman on her street had come from there.

“Hello,” she called out.

The woman looked surprised to be greeted.

“Hi, my name is Jenara. What’s yours?”

“Tara… it’s nice to meet you Jenara. I don’t often get common courtesy from people,” she glanced over her shoulder at the teenager walking away.

“I’m sorry. I’ve just never seen a PlantSim before. I hope you don’t mind. I think you’re beautiful,” Jenara gushed.

“No, not at all. In fact, I welcome your questions… if you have any,” Tara smiled as she was practically glowing.

“Where are you from?” Jenara inquired.

“Here… there… where are we all from? The universe grants us existence, and we live for a short time and then move along,” she replied cryptically.

“I guess,” Jenara shrugged. “Did you move to the neighborhood?”

“No, a few of us are here for a photosynthesis conference, and then we’ll be moving on. We’re only here for a few days,” Tara replied.

“A photosynthesis conference?” Jenara repeated. “Wow. That’s cool. What do you do?”

“We open our arms to the sun and drink in its delights as we discuss the future, sustainability, keeping our planet green, and the like.”

“Sounds important.”

“It is. You know if you’d like to stop by Miss Jenara, I’d be happy to get you a pass. We could use more open-minded Sims attending to better understand who we are and what we hope to accomplish.”

“Really? You’d do that.”

“Absolutely. If you’re interested.”

“Yes please.”

“In the meantime, keep your eyes open to the light, and keep your ears tuned to the earth to hear the songs of the universe, and allow the center of your mind to be touched with the goodness of the world all around us,” Tara wished.

“Wow, that was beautiful,” Jenara remarked. “Thank you,” she bowed her head. “I wish you the same, but I can’t think up any poetic words.”

“The poetry is in your heart,” Tara answered. “You need only to listen.”

Jenara felt like saying something like “Namaste,” but figured that probably wasn’t the correct response. Instead, she merely said “thank you” again.

“In case I do not see you at the conference, I will give you one of my pods to remember me by.”

“A pod?”

“A piece of me. You can think of it as a PlantSim’s calling card of sorts. You walk in the woods and you find a pretty flower. You may pluck it. If you roll your pant legs and step into the river in your bare feet and you see a shiny rock, you might pick it up. A pod is a piece of us. It is a piece of the universe. It is our way of saying we are here, and you have noticed. It is a token of our deepest appreciation.”

Jenara fingered the beautiful purple pod the PlantSim woman placed in her palm. “Thank you. This is so generous of you. I am honored.”

“The honor is mine, Miss Jenara. Until we meet again.”

“Until we meet again,” she repeated, waving after her new mysterious friend.

Author Note: For fun, I’m including the “PlantSim” challenge in the storyline. Hopefully I can gain all 6 pods in time. We’ll see. Even so, I thought it’d be interesting to include this in the story. I’m glad Jenara crossed paths with Tara Varela.

Oh and Sandra Roth is the TS4 version of Cassandra Goth, since I’m renaming crossover characters, and Cassandra already appears in The Kassiopeia Fullbright Mystery Series, as does the rest of her family. Sandra Roth is based on the TS2 Roth family. I’m going to guess the “Roth” family is on vacation in Oasis Springs. Hope you enjoyed.

Previous Chapter: 1.4 New Neighbors 

Next Chapter: 1.6 Plants Life