ATW S3 Chapter 6: My Only Hope

“Okay, boys, you can watch one Star Wars movie, then it’s bedtime. If there’s any argument, you’ll all be sent to bed immediately. Do you understand?” Alexander searched Berjes’, Emerson’s, and Everett’s faces for any sign of rebellion and found none.

Emerson tentatively raised his hand, fearful of getting them all sent to bed for speaking out of turn.

“Yes?” Alexander asked.

“We usually eat a snack before bed, and there’s some leftover cake in the fridge,” Emerson explained.

Alexander sighed. “I’ll get the cake while the three of you decide which episode to watch. Deal?”

“Deal!” the three boys exclaimed, rushing over to the movie cupboard.

“We should watch A New Hope since Everett hasn’t seen any of them and that’s the first one that came out,” Berjes explained.

“Hey, don’t speak for–” Everett started. The rest of his sentence was muffled by Emerson throwing his hand over Everett’s mouth.

“I don’t want to get sent to bed this early, and I’m sure Berjes doesn’t either.” Emerson glanced over at Berjes, who nodded in agreement. “And you don’t either. Understand?” Everett nodded in resignation.

Alexander walked in, miraculously balancing four plates of cake in his arms. “Have you decided what you’d like to watch?” he asked.

Berjes nodded. “A New Hope.” 

Alexander’s ghostly skin wrinkled as he grinned.

Everett quickly downed his cake, grimacing at the rich chocolate. Lately, his brother and uncle had been pestering him for details of what, exactly, was going on. Mary Anne and Mindy had been fighting a lot, which had been practically non-existent before, and the two older boys knew it had started on the day Everett had been playing spies with Cynthia. Their latest tactic for gaining information– which Everett didn’t have– was through leaving him out and keeping him quiet. He knew they would stop if he gave them some made-up details, and had tried multiple times to do so, but something had always stopped him.

He could tell that this was different– they were putting him down to suck up to Alexander, but he had no idea why.

***

Once the credits rolled for A New Hope, Alexander put in episode five, and six after that. By that time, it was almost midnight.

Maybe Berjes and Emerson did have some idea of what they were doing.

***

It seemed like Berjes had just fallen asleep when he was awoken by a raspy voice, accompanied by a disjointed lullaby. Glancing down, he noticed octopus tentacles sticking out from the smoky oblivion under his bed. His first instinct was to scream, but he needed to protect his two nephews. He saw more tentacles sticking out from under Everett’s bed, but he didn’t seem phased by their appearance. While their weren’t any near Emerson, the other boy appeared to have heard the noises and woken up. Berjes cautiously stepped over the creature, taking deep breaths to steady his racing heart. Octopi don’t appear under kids’ beds. They need water to live. There isn’t any water under our beds. As soon as that final thought came to him, a part of Berjes accepted it as an explanation– Everett’s and his beds were next to inside walls, while Emerson’s was placed near an outside one. If a pipe in a wall had leaked, it would make sense that a hydrophilic creature would appear under their beds first. But octopi can’t live in Oasis Springs– there’s not enough naturally occurring water for them to survive. But when was that source dated? More and more sims had flocked to the desert city, and wealthier neighborhoods such as theirs had man-made ponds that highly resembled the real thing. An octopus will spout a black, inky substance when it’s frightened. 

“No, that isn’t right– ahh!” Everett screamed as a couple of the tentacles under his bed reached towards him.

“Everett!” Berjes yelled, running across the room. Everett was like a brother to him. Yes, he was prone to teasing the younger boy, but that was the kind of thing siblings did.

The tentacles didn’t cause any harm, but Berjes was still scared, and Everett looked downright terrified. “You two stay here– I’m going to get Alexander!”

Emerson and Everett ended up following him– Emerson wore a smug expression, while Everett’s jaw was set tensely. “tried to talk to it. was brave. You two and your wimpiness just scared them and made me fail!” Everett shouted. Even though his comments were directed more at Emerson, Berjes still felt his heart pang.

“Alexander isn’t down here,” he whispered once Emerson and Everett were close enough to hear.

Emerson’s eyes were glassy, as if he were about to cry. Berjes had a feeling this would only end in another shouting match and quickly intervened. “Let’s go back upstairs– maybe Alexander’s actually up there and I just missed him.”

Everett boldly threw open the door to their room after ascending the stairs, revealing that the monster under his bed had almost entirely disappeared. But the one under Berjes’ bed was still there, and he didn’t know how to get rid of it without help.

Emerson’s head jerked as they heard the toilet in their bathroom flush. Him and Emerson headed over to the other room to investigate, and Berjes was relieved to find that it was only Alexander. “Yes?” the older man asked, glancing uneasily between the two boys.

Emerson only looked to Berjes, who stammered, “W-we– I– there’s a monster under my bed and I can’t get rid of it!”

“Come on, I’ll help you,” Alexander said, leading the two boys back into their room. For once, his eyes weren’t consumed by darkness, and Berjes took this as a sign that his father was genuinely interested in helping them.

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