Chapter 6.12 – Butterflies

Doc gives the all-clear signal to Gerard through the open door, then quietly sits down next to Kacey.
 
Having lived on the streets all his life, Doc has become very familiar with the signs of emotional defeat; when a sim’s spirit has been completely crushed. This is what he sees when looking at Kacey. There are no tears to cry, and no dignity left to preserve; she appears as a sim who has surrendered to despair. Still, there is some sign of hope. Although she has said nothing, he can sense through her body language that she is glad he is here.
 
Gerard enters and cocks his head. He had met Kacey while visiting the Barimen Estate in Sunset Valley, and spoke with her on only one occasion. She had not been shy about expressing her opinion that the entire concept of religion was rather silly. Actually, she made a point of avoiding the church altogether, along with any its ceremonies and celebrations of faith. She turns slightly to regard the pastor, her eyes showing something akin to contrition.
 
They sit together in silence for a short time, each lost in his or her own thoughts. There is something wholly unreal and dreamlike about this place. Doc hadn’t noticed it before entering the cabin, but he now feels the effect concentrated right at this spot. He recalls the dream from earlier today, about his family laying his memory to rest in an empty grave. It occurs to him now, that HE may be the one missing. Doc’s heart begins to race as a dark question clouds his mind. Is this …the afterlife?
 
Gerard speaks first; his soft, effeminate voice breaking the spell of silence inside the cabin. He has noticed the otherworldly quality to this place as well, and he gently asks Kacey where they are. He waits patiently while Kacey silently ponders the answer to his question. She finally meets Gerard’s gaze with her deep, blue eyes; but remains emotionless. Her uneven voice seems to match the surreal quality of the cabin’s interior.
 
She tells Gerard about a puzzle that fascinated her as a child. How do butterflies, all spread across millions of square miles, migrate to one tiny spot of land? How do they know? With a brain the size of a grain of sand; how do they know? There is little scientifically quantifiable evidence to explain how millions of bugs are able to participate in such a communion.
 
Nonetheless, each tiny insect is born with this inexplicable instinct; and each one spends the vast majority of its lifetime making the journey. And when they arrive, they mate. Then scatter back to the four winds. It seems ludicrous and irrational. But yet it happens; as if each one has a singular purpose to make the journey and produce the offspring that will, in turn, repeat the cycle.
 
She sighs heavily and blinks new tears out of her eyes. She looks directly at Gerard and asks, how did he know? Her voice quivers as she whispers that she chose not to listen until death itself looked her in the eyes. Then she asks him again, How did he know? After a few moments, Gerard smiles for the first time in a long time. On the verge of tears himself, he tells Kacey that some butterflies will dismiss it as ludicrous and irrational. But the ones that trust in faith and make the journey, become a part of something wondrous and beautiful.
 
Kacey hesitates as she turns her attention to Doc. The look in her eyes is now that of a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She quietly tells him that no apology can fix what she has done, but she begs his forgiveness all the same. This place is a reflection of the life he once knew. It is a place where the Barimen family does not exist. She paces the small room looking for the right words, but has little luck finding them.
 
I am not like you.
 
It is the best she can come up with. This land, this little cabin, or whatever it wants to be called; it is truly unique in all of reality. It is special, in that it exists in simultaneous realities throughout spacetime. And it is where her kind come to spawn.
 
Kacey tells the story of how, when she was a teen, she discovered that she possessed a very unique ability to alter reality; to mold and shape the fabric of time and space. Obviously, she did not understand what it was when she was young. But her brother, Reid, did understand. Technically, he is not really her brother. He found her, along with some kind of amazing artifact, in the abandoned mine when he was a young boy.
 
Even at that young age, he knew how to manipulate the situation toward his own end. He convinced his mother to take care of the angelic child with silvery hair, and claim her as a daughter; while hiding existence of the artifact from everybody.
 
As time went on, he slowly learned to control her with intimidation, fear, and …other things. When he found that David’s ancestors had written about discovering the artifact a long time ago, he became increasingly paranoid that David was attempting to regain it for himself. So he began hording any information that might lead David to its whereabouts. As she grew older, Reid subjected her to experiments. She learned how to use the artifact to calculate intricate changes in reality to suit Reid’s increasingly sadistic fantasies. But there was one place where her ability did not work; the land where the Barimen family lives. Not only that, but the Barimen family itself seemed to be somehow “immune” to her talent. It sent Reid into a wild rage, and eventually drove him mad with paranoia about David.
 
He started working out the computations needed to bend reality to a point where he would be some kind of all-powerful super being. She told her brother he was crazy; and what he was asking for was far beyond her ability. Then, while reading a very old diary, he discovered the algorithm. The entry was recorded by a young girl named Moira McAllister; one of David’s ancestors. It was supposedly a key to unlocking the secrets of time and space. Now convinced that David was “toying” with him, Reid demanded that Kacey use the artifact to begin calculating the algorithm. By the time he realized it would take centuries to complete, she had already become an adult and moved in with David.
 
She attempted to stop David from telling Reid about the wedding. The poor guy had no clue what really was going on. She can’t blame him for wanting to ask his best friend’s permission to marry his sister. David was cute and romantic that way. But Reid was already too far gone. He attacked David and presented her with an ultimatum (Chapter 2.20 – Madness). She would either move ahead through time, then bend reality back to give him the algorithm’s solution – or die together with David. She often wonders whether she made the right choice.
 
She had very little control of her ability at first, and she started moving in very small steps. But she soon became impatient. This, compounded by her grief over learning that David had married his first love, Ciara, caused her to become careless. Still fraught with emotion, she moved too far ahead, too quickly.
 
It was like being tossed around beneath a breaking wave as it crashed ashore. But even through the torrent, she could hear the “voices” guiding her out of immediate and imminent danger. Finally, she was able to reach out to the artifact and break out of the violent riptide. But she found herself going from one bad situation to another. Military scientists had discovered the artifact in the abandoned mine and started experimenting on it. Her unexpected appearance in their lab was accompanied by some kind of massive energy surge. The ensuing explosion killed dozens, and found her lying in a hospital bed, trying to remember who she was.
 
It was during her recovery she realized the artifact was alive, and that she was somehow attuned to it. It sang to her, comforted her, and seemed to be healing her wounds. Even buried beneath the wreckage from the explosion, it reached out to her. And again, after General Buford attempted to meddle with its unimaginable power, she was kept alive by the artifact. It sustained her body for more than fifteen years, buried beneath a mountain of rock. She was too close to the spawning grounds to use her ability to escape. But far enough away to make the subtle changes that would eventually lead Doc to her underground tomb.
 
Both men exchange dumbfounded expressions. Under normal circumstances, Doc would have chalked this kind of talk up to severe mental illness. But given every other unexplainable occurrence over the past few years of his life, he has no reason to question either her story or her sanity. And while her story does explain much, There is still one outstanding question bothering him to his core. What happened to Hope?
 
Kacey’s expression wilts again and she sighs. She explains how badly she needed comforting and intimacy after being buried alive for so long. Khaliq had somehow learned about her abilty and played his charm perfectly while appeasing her emotions. He knew exactly when and how to strike. He demanded that she use her power to transport him back in time to a point before Mark Barimen escaped a militant training camp in the Middle-East. Even though she refused to do it, the artifact decided differently and transported them here. Khaliq succeeded in his plan, but there have been consequences. Mark’s death sent a shockwave through spacetime, erasing his entire lineage dating back to when Sunset Valley was first settled. This cabin is all that remains of their legacy.
 
Doc can see there is more that Kacey is not telling them, and he waits for her to speak again. When she does not, he asks her about the part she has left out. She looks up at him with regret in her eyes; her words causing Doc to shiver as they are spoken. Like a cracked mirror, the local reality now has two reflections. Kacey apologizes profusely, then confesses to displacing both he and Gerard from their “side” of the break, to help her figure out what to do. She could think of no other sims who would believe her incredible story long enough to help.
 
But if she does not find some way to repair it, the break will soon be complete; then there will be nothing she can do to bring them back together.
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9 thoughts on “Chapter 6.12 – Butterflies

  1. It’s nice to finally see Kacey’s story put down in one place, she’s such an intriguing individual! I really hope she, Doc and Gerard find a way to fix what has happened.

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  2. I, too, am so happy to know the “truth” behind Kacey! I’m also amazed you wrote so that my simple, non-SciFi brain could understand what you were saying. Great job!

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    • Heh, thanks! I promise the sci-fi part will take a backseat now that the main plotline has been revealed. In fact, Kacey will probably be absent for the next chapter or two (unless I think up something really juicy).

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      • I certainly don’t mind the SciFi (at least in your awesome story) so long as I understand it, and you do an awesome job of making that happen

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  3. I love how you’ve made all of this make sense. I love Sci-Fi, so it resonated with me. Every time you post a chapter with reference to one previous, I go back and re-read. I am so amazed and a in awe of your ability to maintain the story for this long. It all makes perfect sense.

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  4. The revelation from Kacey is just beyond awesome! :}
    Since the last chapter I was thinking that it had to be something along the lines of time travel or someone manipulating time. :}
    You have led up to this point brilliantly and I also cannot believe how you maintained this storyline for so long, letting what needed to be known out a little at a time until now.
    Its such a relief to hear what is happening and more so to learn that it was Khaliq that forced her to do something she didnt want to do. I know cant wait for the solution, for Doc to be reunited and for time to be fixed. :}

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