Chapter 6.17 – Maelstrom

It is done.
 
But it was no easy task. Finding the machine was nothing compared to Kacey’s daunting effort afterwards. They opened the gate between realities and were immediately pulled into the maelstrom. Kacey was able to protect them from the worst of it. Honestly, Doc was unsure how she was able to do it. He was sure, however, that she would not able to keep up the titanic effort for long.
 
He had heard Kacey’s frantic voices telling him that she would not be able to continue shielding both men. Doc was willing to make the sacrifice to save Gerard, but the good pastor seemed to already be one step ahead. Perhaps Kacey had discussed this possibility with Gerard during one of their private discussions. Or perhaps it was decided the evening they slept together. Regardless, before Doc was given any opportunity to react, Gerard had already disappeared into the chaos; having been swept away instantly as Kacey let go of him.
 
It was not until they found the other side, and he had stepped onto solid ground, that Doc was certain they would survive the ordeal. He knew something was amiss when Kacey had not emerged with him. Incredibly, she had turned right back around, headlong into the maelstrom; presumably to go and find Gerard. What he saw while looking back into the machine after her, had rocked him to his foundation and left him completely speechless. And speechless is what he remains his entire lifetime. He never speaks about what he saw, just before shutting down the machine.
 
He stares at the dormant machine for a long time. It isn’t until he breaks free from his state of shock, and thinks to check the current date, that Doc’s worst fears are realized. Much time has passed since his disappearance; enough time so that his sons are now grown men. A thought crosses his mind, but he does not allow it to gain footing. Entertaining the hopeful possibility of using the machine to travel back in time, could be disastrous. Doc wisely walks away, but not before ensuring that he never gives in to the temptation of undoing the work they have just completed.
 
Emerging from the cellar, and into the sunlight, Doc smiles broadly to see Sunset Valley back the way it is supposed to be. He takes a cab to the massive Barimen Estate, and finds that a number of guests have already arrived. The family has gathered here. He has a sense that they all know what has happened. He does not know where their knowledge originated, or how they understand what his role was in the whole affair. But somehow, they know.
 
Hope is there to meet him with open arms and tears. She has missed him terribly, but is proud of him beyond words. Not every sim can lay claim to having saved the universe. Doc allows his anxiety of the past weeks to melt as he holds is aging wife close to him. There is not a dry eye in the room as the two express their boundless love for each other.
 
Doc makes eye contact with Faith. Hers was the first face he had seen in Sunset Valley, and he knew immediately she was something special. He nods and thanks her, but he is not sure why. Perhaps the overt kindness she had shown him as a child had opened his heart and allowed him to see things in a new way. Perhaps he has been wrong about things all along.
 
Ben takes some measure of satisfaction in knowing they finally understand what it feels like. He had been right all along, but the drama did not unfold for the other members of his family until much later. But regardless how long it took for them to see it, they each know now, how close they came to extinction. But no other living sim, poor Jimmy included, seems to have any clue a comically significant event had just occurred. There is no explanation as to why only the Barimen family knows, outside of the fact that they all share a common ancestry. Could it be some kind of family trait? And why was he able to sense it so much sooner than the others?
 
Both Faith and Sarah remember Ben’s tantrum, though there is no evidence it had occurred. They also remember Dr. Kennedy, the hospital, and Maria; despite the lack of any proof they had ever existed. In fact, all the sims and locations that had vanished, seem to have been lost forever. He does not linger for too long on the details. It is what it is, and thinking about it makes his head hurt. Though he does wonder what his life with Maria would have been like. Would they have been happy?
 
During the weeks that follow, Sarah becomes an adult and explodes onto the music industry. But rather than performing, she uses her natural business acuity and becomes a rising force. She does a brilliant job acting as her brother’s manager, and brands his music under the name Grayswandir. They are both instantly successful, Ben becoming wildly so. He plays to sold out venues every time he announces a gig.
 
Ben and Sarah enjoy a very healthy working relationship while carrying their life-long friendship forward into adulthood. Ben’s acute musical sense helps Sarah identify the good auditions from the bad. He rarely is wrong about new talent. It is a formula that proves to be nearly flawless. Before long, Sara has built herself an impressive portfolio of new artists, and Barimen Records is born. It muscles its way onto the music scene with its star, Grayswandir, leading the way.
 
Ben sits with his family and listens while his first recorded hit, “Black Road”, debuts on the airwaves. And he smiles. For the first time in his life, Ben is truly happy. He lets the music carry him to a place he has never been before. It is a place where he is free from the bleakness of watching the world around him crumble.
 
It is a place where he will never again have to worry about witnessing the end of the world.
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8 thoughts on “Chapter 6.17 – Maelstrom

    • LOL! His hair is still blonde. I think my video card undersaturates colors in certian lighting conditions, especially “daylight” type settings. What I really need is a monitor upgrade so I can get a better idea what my GPU is actually spitting out 😛

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  1. That was something, seeing Kacey sprout wings! I know you already revealed everything about her, but my lazy (and apparently not good memory) self doesn’t want to go back — was she some creature akin to angel?

    I’m so glad everything seems to be back to “normal” for the Barimen family, and it didn’t take ten generations!! 🙂 I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the family…and particularly who Ben settles down with! I think he’s earned himself a nice, pleasant life — though knowing you, that won’t be the case 🙂

    Great job! I wish I could write like you! For one, I haven’t had any blogging time lately (even though I’m hoping to start a new “modified” legacy next week, after my exams are over) and two, I could never come up with such an elaborate plot! Kudos! You really should look into expanding on this idea — I could see a series of books, or something similar…just saying!

    Awesome job, as always! Hope your wife is doing well!

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    • Heh, I think Ben is done paying his dues. There may still be a few bumps in the road for him, but he’s definitely done with the big stuff. But there is the little detail of not having a prospective mate. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out. 😉

      To answer your question about Kacey, I’ll direct you to this post. You may have to read between the lines a bit, but I think it’s pretty telling.

      I appreciate your confidence in my ability. But honestly, writing captions for pictures is a whole lot easier than having to paint the entire picutre with words. I work for a giant book distributer and know some budding authors. It is a grueling business, to be sure.

      And thanks for asking about momma and baby! We’re due the end of August and she’s aready counting down the days, hehe.

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  2. Fantastic. The picture of Kasey with wings was stunning and poignant.

    However, I have a question/concern: Is this the end of the Barimen Family? Ben is the heir, but he lost Maria. Will there be someone for him of have you closed the last chapter on this book only to begin another?

    I’ll read whatever you want to write, but this chapter ended with such finality that I just had to ask if the story was finished.

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  3. Yeah, looking back at it now, it does kinda smack of “the end”. I guess in a way it is the end of the “temporal loop” story arc (with the exception of one last post — a doozie, I hope).
    But the Barimen family will continue marching on. We just have to find poor Ben a girlfiend. Hehe 😉

    And thanks again for reading. I will keep my promise about catching back up with reading. School is almost out. And that means both Scouts and Sunday school will also be taking a break. That will free my time up significantly to do some leisure reading… at least until the baby arrives! lol!

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  4. Beautiful, just beautiful! I was in silent awe at that image of Kacey, it was mystical and enchanting and gorgeous.
    I am so excited to see the Barimen family finally all together again with Doc back home. And it gives me great pleasure that they all realize exactly what Ben was going through, that he was indeed not crazy and experiencing something that could of very well been their end. I hope they realize just how awful it must have been for him to have him go through that by himself.

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