Chapter 9.9 – Inferno

It is a universal truism that any confrontation in any schoolyard, will immediately attract a throng of vocal and rebellious kids itching to see a fight.
 
And when this fails to happen one afternoon after school, Adam realizes there is something very, very wrong. Adam had been discussing his birthday with friends after dismissal.
 
It took less than a minute for them to scatter after Noah overheard this, and pushed his way through; leaving he and Adam face-to-face, alone in the schoolyard. It was as though Sunset Valley had held its breath. Not a bird was left chirping, and not a bug was left buzzing.
 
The air of impending hostility surrounding Noah’s threat could not be ignored; Enjoy the ashes, freak; it’ll be the only thing you’ll have left to inherit.
 
Now, in the present, Noah’s dangerous words immediately awaken something latent from deep within Adam’s being. Clarity finally emerges from the obfuscated muddle of useless questions paired with irrelevant answers. The problem, it seems, is that Adam had been asking questions which were where bound within the context of a human sim’s observable domain. But Adam is not a human sim.
 
It is during this moment, in which Adam sees into his brother’s hateful heart. Noah’s cruelty has become a tangible and real thing. It manifests in the form of a creature that now calls itself Hendrake. But it is no singular beast or being. It is the cumulative amalgamation of arrogance and narcissism, jealousy and avarice, greed and gluttony, fornication and sodomy; from all beings across all times.
 
It is the spirit of hubris and insolence. But it had not always been so potent as it presents itself now. Over time, too many sims had opened their hearts to it’s enticing seductions and sinister perversions. Once it finally grew strong enough, it desired a way to demonstrate its contempt.
 
Adam’s ancestors had been peace-loving and gentle. Forged via the same incomprehensible force that had willed the universe into existence; they had been blessed with gifts to travel anywhere and to any time; for the purpose of spreading the message of perfect love throughout the universe. Hendrake commanded the Legion that destroyed the home of Adam’s ancestors, effectively silencing their voices for many eons.
 
This is the threat Adam now confronts. Noah had killed Flora. He had done it to evoke the emotions that would give Hendrake a toehold into Adam’s psyche. The intent is clear. Hendrake wishes to crush whatever remnants stand in his way of changing the universe to fit its corrupt vision. Adam and Kacey pose a direct threat to any further progress. It will leverage any means possible to finalize his and Kacey’s mutual oblivion; even if it means destroying everything – just as it had done to the Garden countless ages ago.
 
Adam emerges from the revelation feeling sick to his stomach; with panic welling up inside his throat. In conflict, there often comes a time when diplomacy no longer follows the path to resolution. He now realizes that what has come to pass is unavoidable. The time has come for him to pick up the shield and sword; and fight.
 
South Sim Beach is the one place where Adam can always escape the taint of Noah’s wretched presence.
 
Adam had been the one to suggest surprising Amber with a visit for his birthday. He’d managed to convince Luke and Makayla, after reminding them that Amber hadn’t seen the girls since they were babies. They weren’t necessarily opposed to going on the trip. But they are understandably concerned about leaving Noah alone at the estate. Adam inevitably wins the debate with the observation that Noah will do whatever Noah wants, whether they are there or not.
 
Seeing no benefit in giving Hendrake and Noah an easy target, Adam pushes his family through space-time. The resulting car trip to South Sim Beach is reduced to something approaching instantaneous. The bold move provokes unhappy protests from both Luke and Makayla. Adam hides the true reasoning behind his actions, and assures them that they did not really want a twelve hour road trip with two very energetic girls and one very uptight teen. Besides, it gives them twelve more hours to spend with Amber.
 
With Wendell’s recent passing, Amber had been alone inside her mission-style home on the beach. They’d both understood that the age difference between them would eventually play out in this way. But it still hasn’t been easy for her. Needless to say, she is thrilled to see her son and his family.
 
 —
 
They spend a couple days (and many, many, many simoleons) visiting Magical Mouse Land, then hang out together at Amber’s beautiful beachfront home. Adam spends quite a bit of time visiting the same spot where he and Flora had made out a few years ago. Here is where he apologizes to her, and promises that her death will be vindicated.
 
On the night of his birthday, Adam is treated to a surprise party courtesy of Amber and her long list of friends. When bedtime arrives for Grace and Joy, Adam follows Amber and the party to a local club. Although he is not feeling terribly celebratory, he plays along; knowing that both Luke and Makayla will enjoy being back in their comfort zone after all the party guests leave.
 
He spends the next few days meeting new sims and building friendships.  Amber, meanwhile, does her best match-maker routine, and introduces him to a number of her younger, single friends. Adam does his best to relax and enjoy the company. But an unconscious timer in his head continues to tick down. To what? He’s not entirely certain.
 
On more than one occasion, he’s been obliged to tell those young ladies who ask, that he’s already in a relationship. At least that’s the conclusion he has finally reached.
 
Kacey has occupied his every waking thought since before Flora’s death. How could he possibly commit to a relationship when another woman has already captured his heart? It’s such an unusual situation, to be completely enamored with a woman who may not even exist. If he could only just reach out to her… if only there was some way to find her…
 
It’s all the more reason to put an end to Noah and Hendrake. Adam silently steps out of Amber’s beachfront home, late one evening, while everybody is asleep. There is no time to explain; no time to say goodbye.
 
The only thing there is time for now, is avenging Flora’s death and ending the hunt; one way or another.
 
An unoccupied squad car parked haphazardly in front of the estate, predicates the presence of trouble, even before the ripples of displaced space-time fade from around Adam’s form. The driver’s side door has been ripped off of its hinges, and smashed through the front windshield. He hesitantly checks for survivors, then breaths a sigh if relief when he finds the front seat empty. His solace does not last long, however. Barely audible screams, from both a man and a woman, emerge from inside the darkened estate.
 
 —
 
An orange flicker from deep within the structure, ignites a gruesome scenario in Adam’s head. Noah’s unexpected voice startles Adam, and he whips around, reflexively taking a defensive posture. Noah is standing only a few feet away, where there had been nobody standing only seconds beforehand. He mockingly offers his brother with a vulgar birthday greeting, then chastises Adam for ruing his plan to roast Makayla and her brats alive. Then he smiles and boasts about his own masterful creativity for substituting the Flaumels.
 
The way he sees it, Adam has two viable choices. He can stay and attempt to pulverize his naughty brother, who may just decide to burn down the adjacent mansions if he’s left to his own devices. Or he could save the Flaumels, who will surely be burned to death in a matter of moments inside the inferno that now rages unchecked through the estate.
 
Acrid, black smoke has invaded the otherwise pleasant evening air. Adam shakes his head in disbelief. This is almost too crazy to be real. Contributing to the surrealism, is Noah’s sinister taunting. He recounts with exacting minutia, his sexual encounter with Flora on the bluff the night she vanished. Then, as though it were still part of his encounter, Noah describes with unimaginably vivid and gory detail, the process of ending her life. It was, in Noah’s words, delicious.
 
Shock and fear, coupled with his overwhelming desire to rescue the Flaumels, douses the sickening sensations of rage and grief that Noah has exposed; after reaching in and ripping them out of Adam’s gut. Using his painful emotional response as fuel for his determination, Adam launches toward Noah, baring his teeth and growling like a feral beast. But no physical contact is made. Adam disappears mere inches away from his brother.
 
Adam has learned that entering the space-time continuum has some parallels to diving into a swimming pool. One can interface with it smoothly, injecting into the medium with very little disruption. One may also cause tremendous disruption when interfacing with the local space-time; or as it’s called colloquially in swimming terms – “doing a cannonball”. This causes no more damage to space-time than a cannonball causes damage to the water in a swimming pool. Anybody close enough to the event, however, is sure to feel the aftershock.
 
Waves of inter-dimensional disruptions wash completely over Noah, who is both unprepared and unconditioned to this kind of disorientation. He falls immediately to his knees and begins retching from the experience, then mercifully falls unconscious as his inadequate sensory facilities become overstimulated in an attempt to understand and interpret what had just happened.
The estate’s interior has taken on a hellish quality. Blackened remains of furniture glow orange where greedy flames consume any remaining fuel before leaping to its next destination. Adam shifts from room to room inside the massive structure. Explosions shake the besieged building, simultaneously breaching previously unharmed sections of the home, and adding fresh accelerant to the raging inferno. Noah had worked hard to assure that nothing remained standing. Adam shifts from room to room, narrowly escaping explosions and the collapse of weakening supports.
 
His chest burns from inhaling poisonous smoke and the exposed parts of his body are badly burnt. If he lives through this, he may never be the same again. He had been through many rooms in the estate, but there are still many more he has not checked. Sadly, there is still no sign of the Flaumels. If he has any hope of saving them, he must think like his twisted brother. Noah would hide them where they would likely be able to survive the longest, but with the least opportunity for escape.
 
The cellar…
 
Heat from the massive hellfire above has turned the cellar into a roasting pit. He sees the Flaumel’s remains, where they had died embracing each other.
 
A profound sensation sweeps over Adam. It is a mix of grief, sadness, rage, and disgust. A conversation he’d once had with Mr. Flaumel springs into Adam’s mind …entire families had died
 
Before Adam can pull himself away, an explosion rocks the cellar. It had detonated directly above him, and it sends burning support beams and building material showering down.
 
His injuries are grievous. Is this how it ends? Noah wins? As the heat and smoke finally overcome his consciousness, Adam’s thoughts fade to a sentiment he’d been feeling for years, but had been unable to form into words; until now.
 
Kacey… I need you…
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2 thoughts on “Chapter 9.9 – Inferno

  1. :O! Aww! It’s getting better and better! I was hoping Kacey would save him! :3 So awesome!
    Now that they’ve grown into their cheekbones its easier to tell the two apart. Noah’s new hairstyle is actually very fitting to his face and character. And Hoorah! He faceplants the pavement. Yay 😀
    On the technical side, I’m wondering how many times the Adam-sim actually died burning in those flames. How did you get him to not react to the fire like other sims would have? (Unless its the brave trait)

    Like

    • Heh, I had him join the firefighting career (and he does have the brave attribute) 😉
      I loved the wild hairstyle for Noah. You’re right, it fit him to a tee!
      We’ll just have to wait and see how Kacey fits into this mess. It should be fun!

      Like

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