Chapter 8.7 – Confusion

Much has happened in this simple, little chapel.
Generations of Barimens have been married here. And just as many have been put to rest. It has provided comfort, inspiration, joy, and healing to those who have chosen to come and worship every week. What transpired here earlier today, however, leaves an ugly smudge upon Luke’s perception of this place.
Months have passed since Grandma Faith’s death and the troubling confrontation with Corwin. During that time, Luke has found himself thinking about his girlfriend, Sandi, more and more. He is not the kind of kid who falls easily to infatuation. In fact, he’s probably slower than most to get the flame started. When it comes to his relationship with Sandi, this is probably a good thing. She’s pretty much his opposite in this regard; a true hopeless romantic, always dreaming up some romantic escape for him to take part in.
The past few weeks had been especially good, particularly since he’d built up the nerve to finally kiss her. Luke has never really spent a lot of time with any one sim outside his family. So having Sandi attached at the hip every day of the week (including weekends) did require some getting used to. But it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. There have been some sticking points, especially where religion and faith are concerned.
Sandi’s family does not attend church. In fact, they pride themselves in the fact that they do not. He discovered this when he brought up the topic for the first time. Sandi immediately became uncomfortable and upset, so he agreed not to bring it up again. There had also been a mild confrontation with Sandi’s father concerning the matter at her house one afternoon. He had made it clear to Luke that he would do whatever was necessary to protect Sandi from foolish, superstitious notions. He chided that no reasonable sim in this day and age still believes in that kind of nonsense, and that Luke should wise-up if he wanted to continue dating his daughter. Luke didn’t really understand what Sandi’s father was so concerned about, so he just dismissed it as a paranoid dad thing.
Then came the news that Sandi’s mother had been accidentally electrocuted. Nobody ever practices what to do or say in that kind of situation. Luke had no idea how to help Sandi other than bring her to the place that provides him comfort. He figured it might help her too. Only, it didn’t go quite the way he had pictured it.  She had been clinging to him most of the day. But when they arrived at the church, her mood changed abruptly.
She instantly became disgusted and insulted, then demanded to know why he brought her here. Luke attempted to explain that all he wanted to do was help by sharing what makes him fell better when he is distraught. But it was already too late. She lambasted him for believing something so stupid, reminding him that he had agreed not to talk about his childish fairy tales.
Luke attempted to apologize, but she was already on the phone with her father, asking him to come pick her up. And that REALLY didn’t go well. When he arrived just a few minutes later, he accused Luke of trying to fill his daughter’s head with lies while she was emotionally vulnerable. Then, after complimenting his daughter for her quick thinking, he shouted various profanities and insults directed toward Luke’s intellectual capacity (or lack thereof). Then he forbid Sandi from spending any more time with Luke.
All he wanted to do was help. Luke buries his face in his hands and closes his eyes in confusion and anxiety; wondering how something so harmless could have turned out so badly. He wants believe that it was just the grief and anger over losing her mother that had caused her to snap. But he suspects that her reaction touches on something that is buried much deeper than that. Luke breathes a heavy sigh, and just for a moment, feels badly for his oldest friend. Not only because of her mother’s death, or the falling-out; but because he cannot imagine how empty and alone it must feel to live a faithless existence.
There are many paths a sim can travel during their lifetime. And regardless of the path they choose, what matters most is that they possesses the free will to make the choice for themselves. After all, what good can come from the gift of perfect love if a sim does not wish to receive it?
The voice in Luke’s mind is gentle and kind, but peppered with an edge of excitability. During his life, David Barimen was known worldwide for his charitable medical work and keen sense of fairness. He was a gentle sim in every manner of the word, having only raised his voice perhaps once or twice over his entire lifetime. But despite his profound kindness, he was oftentimes blinded by a naive innocence. And because of this, his story ended with tragedy and heartbreak.
Somehow sensing that Luke is in no mood to talk, David continues. He tells Luke that Sandi reminds him of a sim he used to know. They had shared many conversations like the one Luke had with Sandi today. But his friend had never been quite so obstinate or abrasive. There is a long time where the two sit together in silence, before David continues. Her name was Kacey. She was a unique sim, with beautiful silvery hair and brilliant blue eyes. There had been a time when he was love with her. He had even proposed marriage. But then something terrible happened. And afterwards, Kacy disappeared only to return weeks later just to break off the engagement. It was the last time he saw her.
Luke opens his eyes and stares at David. He feels an instant connection, like he has somehow known David his entire life. Luke shifts around his pocket, finds the ring his grandmother had given to him just moments before her death, then holds it out for the spirit to see. David says nothing has he studies the object with a stunned expression on his face, as though he had just seen a ghost. He eventually recovers, and mumbles that seeing the engagement ring he gave to Kacey has brought back some very fond, and long forgotten memories.
Luke whispers the question that has been bothering him for weeks. Who is she?
David offers a weak smile in response. Even though Luke can only hear David in his mind, his voice is still distant and quiet. He had known Kacy when she was just a small baby. He can even recall the first time he saw her while visiting his best friend Reid’s house one afternoon after school. David chuckles that he had never been terribly observant or curious as a child. His mind was always preoccupied with fishing or playing pirates on the beach with his friends. So it never occurred to him to question why Kacey’s mother had never been pregnant. David pauses and smiles a warm, grandfatherly smile. He understands, now, that Faith has tasked Luke with returning the ring to Kacey.
Luke’s face contorts as he verbalizes his confusion. How he is supposed to find some ghost to give her ring back? Wouldn’t it just be easier for David to give it back to her, instead?
David floats toward a window and appears to be looking out of it for some time before speaking again. He quietly tells Luke that there is no ghost to find, because Kacey is still very much alive. His words cause Luke to shift suddenly in his seat. Knowing the response made absolutely no sense to the troubled teen, David apologizes. He has created more confusion for Luke, rather than clearing any up. David reassures Luke that he has only to keep the ring safe. And when the time is right, Kacey and the ring will find each other. 
David’s spirit turns to leave, but Luke shouts for him to wait. He springs to his feet and asks, with quite a bit more emotion than he had intended, why David and the others have been seeking him out. David’s ghostly eyes sparkle as he smirks and chuckles, admitting they have all been wanting to ask Luke the exact same question.
Luke stands motionless and imperceptible while watching from a safe distance, uniformed military personnel working around the old abandoned mine. Alex had hinted to him that something big was happening at the excavation site. And he was right. Having blasted through the landslide that had covered the original entrance, workers have now built a huge structure around the entire area. What’s most intriguing, it that they’ve started moving in some massive equipment carried on semi trailers. Unfortunately, the equipment has been carefully concealed under layers of canvas tarps, so Luke is unable to make out what it is.
He is about to leave when he hears a strange sound, barely audible over the noise of heavy machinery and diesel engines. It sounds like many sims, all whispering together in unison. Or maybe it is just one sim; his barely audible voice multiplied hundreds of times.
Luke looks around, attempting to locate the source of the noise. He deftly climbs over steep rocks and around ancient trees. Whoever it is, he seems to be moving. But the question is whether he is running away from Luke, or leading him somewhere.
He finally finds a densely wooded area where the ground has caved in and exposed a small fissure in the hillside, concealed by large rocks and overgrowth. The voices have disappeared. And, quite honestly, Luke has no idea where he is. As it begins to grow dark outside, Luke can see that there is a faint light emanating from somewhere deep within the fissure. As he moves closer, he can hear what sounds like a hammer chipping away at rocks echoing from the opening. He is nearly at the mouth of the fissure when the sound stops.
Luke looks around for somewhere to hide. He should probably just run back the way he came and try to find this place again in the morning. He quietly backs away from the cave-in and walks a few tentative steps backward before turning to run. But before he can take a step, he is startled by a figure standing immediately before him. Just the same as it was with the others, Luke knows immediately who this sim was in life. His name was Reid Kimura. He also knows immediately that this meeting has been carefully arranged.
And this is what worries him most.

6 thoughts on “Chapter 8.7 – Confusion

  1. EEEEEEEE! REID!! Is his ghost orange? Does that mean it was a fire? Or was it brown?
    Sigh, so sad for Sandi & Luke :l they were so close. But I guess the thing between them can cause a rift like that. I assume she’s an Athiest then? An extreme one… ._.


    1. Aye, Sandi and her father are victims of some very dirty dealing by *something* that will stop at nothing to get at Luke. And what better entry-point than a family that does not believe?
      “But he suspects that her reaction touches on something that is buried much deeper than that.”

      BTW, this is getting into some sci-fi, fictional stuff concerning demons, angels, etc… not really intended to be preachy. Sorry if it comes across like that :/


  2. I too wonder why Luke is meeting all these ghosts from the past..and Reid..uh oh…just reading his name I know nothing good can come from this meeting.
    I feel ever so sorry for the separation between Luke and Sandi..and it gives me chills reading that its all a part of something that wants to get to Luke.


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