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ATW S3 Chapter 8: Be Like You

“Are you still mad at me?” Emerson asked as him and Berjes gazed up at the clouds.

Berjes thought for a moment. “No– but I do wish you hadn’t said that.”

“Why?”

That one question made Berjes think again. “I didn’t want us to waste one of our last moments around Mindy arguing like that. I want her to remember everything she loves, so then she’ll come back and we can all be a family again.”

“I don’t think it’s that simple,” Emerson replied. “Besides, if that’s your reasoning, then why are we out here when Mindy’s still here?”

“I need to think– by myself– for a little bit. You can go back inside if you want.”

Emerson nodded and got up. Berjes had been acting this way a lot more lately– always wanting time by himself, wanting to talk without any of Emerson’s comments. He tried to be understanding, but he just didn’t get it– maybe it was just Berjes’ way of dealing with things. Or maybe it’s a sign that he’s getting older and doesn’t want to play childish games with you anymore.

Inside, the first person Emerson saw was Everett, who gave a hesitant smile and wave. He shook his head, joining his brother on the couch and hoping that whatever Saturday morning cartoons he was watching weren’t too dumb.

A minute or so later, the front door slammed shut. “Berjes?” Emerson called, but his brother didn’t answer, and there were no footsteps.

Later, he would realize just how left out of everything he was. Just like Everett.

ATW S3 Chapter 7: City Talks

Windenburg. As soon as Everett felt Timothy’s warm embrace, he knew the name of the city would always be synonymous with homeliness and warmth.

The older man was like a grandpa to him– much more than Alexander would ever be. Timothy always accommodated his obscure food preferences instead of making him eat whatever he thought kids should eat. He always let Everett make his own decisions, and if Timothy needed to choose something for him, he always explained his reasoning in advance. That’s why Everett didn’t cry the way his brothers did when Mindy announced to them that she would be leaving. “It’ll only be for a couple weeks,” she said. “I’ll even let Timothy bring the three of you to a city that’s near where I’ll be staying.”

Inside the small café, Everett could only feel the buzz of life– life that would always, somehow, be different for him than it was for others. He was reluctant to sit outside, knowing it would just be him and Berjes, who needed some quiet night air to finish his homework, but the energy was just too much for him. Every little thing in his body– cells, Berjes had called them– was shaking with excitement, and he just couldn’t sit still inside the crowded establishment while Timothy ordered food for Emerson.

Outside, the buzz grew more faint, coming from the music that poured out of a nearby night club (“You’re not allowed to go there until you’re an adult,” Mary Anne had warned), fluttered in the breeze like the many colorful flags and banners, and radiated off the few remaining sims in the plaza, hurrying off to their destination for the evening. Emerson pulled out the chair across from Berjes, wincing as it scraped against rough cobblestones, at sat down across from the boy who would always feel like a brother to him.

That’s when he noticed the way Berjes’ eyes could see through his own, finding out exactly what was going on inside Everett’s mind. “You don’t want to be out here, do you,” Berjes whispered softly, more of a statement than a question. Everett said nothing, wondering how a sim could know that well exactly what he was thinking, wondering what else someone could see if they stared long and hard enough.

“I can’t tell what you’re feeling,” Berjes replied to Everett’s inner thoughts, “but I can guess. You’re startled, curious, scared, comfortable, and yet… angry?”

Angry? What could he be angry about? He had been mad about the Star Wars incident at first, but it had only taken him that one night to get over it and move on with his life. Then he knew. “I just want a real family.” Berjes made a quizzical expression, to which he replied, “I want sims who always love, and don’t try to make me feel bad, and stand up when things aren’t right, and always stick around, and know everything.”

Berjes sighed and shook his head. “I shouldn’t be the one to explain this to you.”

The two boys just looked at each other for a moment, each wondering what to do, until Berjes scooped up his notebook and pencil and headed inside.

Everett’s gaze was still frozen on the spot where Berjes’ eyes had been. He still wasn’t quite sure if he understood.

“Look at this, Berjes!” Emerson called as he saw his brother enter the café. Then, softer, after the older boy had sat down at the table: “This is called a crepe, and it’s really good, and when you pull it apart you realize that the inside is just a work of art, and–”

“Thanks for spoiling the magic,” Berjes interrupted, rolling his eyes while smirking at his brother’s enthusiasm.

“Oops, sorry,” Emerson replied sheepishly.

“That’s okay– besides, I haven’t seen you this enthusiastic in a long time– not since Mary Anne and Mindy first brought Everett home,” Berjes replied. Emerson’s expression mellowed at the mention of the youngest of the three. Emerson knows what he’s doing isn’t right.

“We were a family then. We were complete. And now–” he gestured at the pain of glass separating the two of them from Everett, who was still sitting outside– “we aren’t.” Berjes was about to speak when Emerson amended his statement. “You can’t be on both sides of the window at once. You have to choose one.”

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.

Liebster Award

I was recently nominated for fabtiffsim for this award. Thank you for the nomination!

Rules for Acceptance:

  • Say thank you to the person who nominated you for the award
  • Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you
  • Nominate and let people know
  • Ask 11 questions to those you nominated

Answers to fabtiffsim’s Questions:

  1. What’s your favorite planet?

Mars, because I watch way too much science fiction about it.

2.    My favorite animal is the great white shark. Are you super scared of them or just a little scared of them?

Just a little.
3.    How many great white sharks have you seen?

None in the wild– I might have seen one at a zoo or aquarium or something, though, and that’s probably the closest I’ll get while living in Minnesota.
4.    One of my favorite food’s is sushi. How much wasabi can you eat?

I’ve never eaten wasabi (probably because I can’t eat sushi due to being allergic to fish), but I’m really good with spicy foods, so I could definitely eat some.
5.    If I bet you $5 Canadian dollars (so basically nothing) that you couldn’t eat a whole tablespoon of wasabi, would you take that bet?

Sure!
6.    Tom Hardy or that wiener that plays Captain America?

Tom Hardy because when I looked him up I saw Star Trek mentioned on his Wikipedia page, and I’m more into sci-fi than superhero movies.
7.    Can you guess which one of the actors from the previous question I would pick?

Tom Hardy, assuming that you meant wiener as an insult.
8.    Do you like brussel sprouts?

It depends– if they’re cooked and served with some tasty sauce (maybe some of that wasabi from question 5?) then yes.
9.    What if I cooked them with bacon for you?

I’ll definitely try it, but you’ll have to come to the US.
10.    What’s the best Sim Death you have witnessed? (Not on youtube or something stupid, one that happened in YOUR GAME right in front of you OWN FACE)

Best sim death… uh… I probably already told this story, but it was when Rosalynn (Garcia) Goth died. Her son, Henry David, was proposing to his girlfriend upstairs and she was dying in the kitchen AT THE EXACT SAME TIME and I had no idea what to do. Lately I had been having trouble with relationship progression in the game, so I was worried that Henry David would be rejected, but at the same time I wanted to see Rosalynn (okay, it was probably more Grimmy than her), so I quickly paused the game and texted a close friend that knows I play sims but doesn’t play herself and asked her what to do. She said to watch Rosalynn, since it would be my last time seeing her in non-ghost form, so I watched her. A notification popped up telling me that the proposal went fine, which I was SUPER thankful for, and then I was able to watch the rest of the reaping in peace.
11.    Have you or your family/friends ever seen a ghost? Explain yourself.

Assuming that you mean a non-sim ghost… during my first year on my school’s robotics team the code kept acting up and we said it was a ghost doing it. We named it and everything, but I don’t remember the name now. I still don’t know exactly what went wrong….

My Nominations: 

The Velasco Legacy

Just Another Willow Creek

The Keen Legacy (and other stories)

Life of the Majolentes

Lost In Wonderland

Questions:

  1. Why did you decide to start writing SimLit?
  2. What’s the funniest mishap or blooper moment that’s happened in your game?
  3. What’s one fun fact about yourself?
  4. Does anyone you know offline know that you play sims?
  5. What’s your favorite part about the simming community?
  6. What’s one thing that always makes you smile?
  7. Favorite expansion/game/stuff pack (this can be from any sims game you’ve played)?
  8. What’s your favorite dessert?
  9. Favorite color?
  10. Favorite memory?
  11. What’s something about yourself that you’re proud of?

Short Story: Max and Me

“Dad… I know what happened to my brother.”
He just looks at me, solemn-faced. It’s an unspoken rule that we don’t talk about Maximillian, the oldest of the family. We all just go about our days, pretending that we don’t think of him whenever we spend time with the stray dog that he brought home when we first moved here. Otis misses him—it’s obvious in the way he just lays outside sometimes, waiting, when he has a perfectly nice dog house. Or when he reverts to his old street-dog ways that Max had been training him out of. Sometimes I wonder if Gretchen, the youngest in the family, even remembers him.
Here’s the thing: I know a lot more about my brother than anyone else does. We’ve shared a room for as long as I can remember, and sometimes things happen in the middle of the night that you have to get out of your system. We were each other’s confidants: I knew all about his failed attempts with girls, he knew how far I would go just to make friends. And how those attempts hadn’t worked out in my favor. But when morning came, we didn’t talk about those things. We each went about our days, and the subject never came up again. Sometimes I wish it had.
“He told me the night before that… that he was going to skip school and go to a… a party.” I purposely leave the details obscure, just in case he does come home. It wasn’t just a party.
“We can go back and try it again,” my dad replies. Even though I know what I’ll lose—what we’ll lose—my brother will be back, and that will be enough. But I—we—will have to be more careful next time. If I could, I’d follow my brother to the ends of the Earth, to the moon, to the stars.
But all that wouldn’t work out well for me, because sometimes his instincts kick in, and sometimes you really do need an ordinary human. I’m the only one who understands this, because I’m the only one who knows the truth: Maximillian is a werewolf.

Author’s Note: This story was written for the June 2017 edition of the monthly short story challenge on the Sims Forums, in the for fun category. This month’s theme was A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words– meaning that you can use one screenshot and 0-500 words. This is from a neighborhood that I’m playing just for fun right now, where there was a glitch that made Maximillian disappear for awhile. This was a screenshot I took before I quit the game without saving in order to get Max back, and the story just kind of came to me when I saw the look on Bredan’s (the narrator’s) face.

Sims Pride 2017 Incoming!

This is a super easy and fun way for any simmer to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. I did it last year and it was a ton of fun. I would highly encourage everyone to participate!

It’s that time again! Last year I hosted Sims Pride 2016, a Sims pride homage to our beautiful and diverse Sims and Simmers! After the overwhelmingly positive response to this, it’s time for Sims Pride to return, and I’m hoping to see an even bigger turnout for our “photo parade” this year!

What is Sims Pride?

Sims Pride is a time to highlight LGBTQQIAAPP Sims and Simmers in the community! This homage will be using screencap submissions from the Simmer community of Simselves, Sim story characters, or favorite Sims that would fall in the LGBTQQIAAPP spectrum. I suggest you check out Sims Pride 2016 to get a better idea of the event.

Who can participate?

Sims Pride is all about highlighting Sims of sexual orientation or gender-identity diversity, as well as any and all allies of the LGBTQ+ community. If you have a Sim or Simself that falls within…

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ATW S3 Chapter 5: Rumor Has It

Everett and Cynthia crept into the house, setting their backpacks down (gently) on the floor next to the front door. Mindy’s pensive expression and the force of her fingers against her phone screen told the pair that she was their target for today’s mission. They followed closely (but not too closely) behind as she knocked quietly on the bathroom door. Mary Anne opened it, took one look at her wife’s face, and let the other woman in, locking the door behind them.

Cynthia and Emmett split up– one blocking the door to the hall and the other to the kitchen– and held their breaths, hoping for some juicy information.

“Mindy, I know something’s up,” Mary Anne said calmly.

“I know, and next you’re going to tell me that I can tell you anything, no matter what it is, but this– this is something that I know you’re not going to be happy about.”

Indecipherable whispering followed. The two spies were about to give up when Mindy started shouting.

“Why am I not allowed to care about my own family?! I know how my brother gets. I might not have been there the first time it happened, but I’m not letting that man get away with hurting him again unless I’m there to protect him! We took in your brother when Henry David and Hailey couldn’t– I don’t understand how this is any different!