Chapter 8.25 – Running

He has been running and hiding for at least a year.   He sensed almost immediately after murdering his daughter, Sandi, that something was wrong. He had anticipated instant gratification for his accomplishment. But instead, he became aware that he had failed yet again.   So he ran. And he continued to run, hiding with the rats and the other vermin; sustaining himself on the stuff they left behind.   —   But there is no hiding from something so wicked as Corwin.   He has proved to be spectacularly incompetent, in spite of the advantages he had paid so dearly … Continue reading Chapter 8.25 – Running

Chapter 8.24 – Journey

Life, even for a sim, has its ups, downs, highs, and lows.   Anna Barimen has experienced events in her life that touch every range of emotion. She had even briefly glimpsed into the afterlife and witnessed the promise of eternal peace, that some sims would claim, it has to offer. But for the first time in her memory, Anna is able to enjoy the tranquility of simple happiness which she derives from being a loving mother and wife.   And while motherhood is no picnic, she has come to cherish both the merits and the trials that are built in … Continue reading Chapter 8.24 – Journey

Chapter 8.23 – Fate

Ying had warned Luke that Sandi’s fate was intertwined with his. But he would never have suspected this is what she had meant.   Luke is the last to leave the cemetery after Sandi’s memorial. And it isn’t until after he is alone that he sheds his own tears. Out of respect for her firm religious disbelief, there had been no service for Sandi. But Luke prays for her, regardless.   Two graves have been placed at the Barimen family cemetery at Luke’s request. One is for Sandi. The other is for his child, whom he will never have the privilege of meeting. There is … Continue reading Chapter 8.23 – Fate

Chapter 8.22 – Static

Guilt, shame, disappointment, hypocrisy, betrayal; these words float like rotten driftwood through Luke’s mind while he holds Sandi and drifts off to sleep after spending the evening in bed with her.   Learning about Sandi’s pregnancy with his child has introduced a whole new world of confusion, uncertainty, and doubt. His thought processes had always been so clear and direct when the entity was a part of him. Luke’s personality is such that he only speaks when there is a tangible, concrete thought he is able to express. And right now, the entire situation seems to have decayed into an unworkable mess. So he says … Continue reading Chapter 8.22 – Static

Chapter 8.21 – Withdrawal

Luke and Anna lovingly attempt to recapture the remarkable bonding they had shared together a few nights ago.   It has been a catalyst for triggering fundamental changes in both of them. Family members fortunate enough to witness the transformation can only describe it as falling in love. Some of these changes seem insignificant, and are easily attributable to the euphoria of a new romance.   A number of other changes, however, are hardly insignificant. Anna’s addictions, having been neglected for too long, begin to assert their authority. No longer feeling alone, Anna completely surrenders to to her new-found faith. But the price of her … Continue reading Chapter 8.21 – Withdrawal

Chapter 8.20 – Lullaby

Forensic testing on drugs found in Anna’s apartment, uncover a very real and disturbing fact. Somebody had tried to silence her.   The drugs had been purposefully tainted with a toxic combination of chemicals that would have killed her in short order, had Luke not intervened when he did. Luke provides a good description of the jukie he had confronted inside her apartment, and gives investigators the knife left behind from the scuffle. There is little chance it will do any good, however. The military is generally pretty thorough about cleaning up after gaffes like this. The junkie Luke fought is likely already a … Continue reading Chapter 8.20 – Lullaby

Chapter 8.19 – Afraid

Luke drives home from the airport with Sandi, who is still dazed and asking why she hadn’t seen the facts for herself.   Luke ran to catch a plane as soon as Sandi’s father had been neutralized. Sandi hadn’t argued a bit when he bought an additional ticket on the same flight home. Many, many emotions (some of them conflicting) surface, rendering Sandi mostly unable to speak. Anger, grief, shame, embarrassment, disappointment; they all run the gambit through her already emotionally charged personality. But these emotions are highly concentrated as a result of the encounter with her father at the airport.   Sandi calls Luke early that next day. … Continue reading Chapter 8.19 – Afraid

Chapter 8.18 – Gamble

The city of Bridgeport was definitely not on Luke’s “must visit” list.   If anything, he’d made a point of avoiding places were there are more sims per acre, than trees. Circumstances, however, have required some kind of action on his part, as fallout from erasing the algorithm continues to build. Luke is certain that military brass suspect his involvement. But given that he was somehow whisked away to a strange meeting with Moira, then deposited back home, there is absolutely no substantial proof linking him to the incident.   Still, Luke had been promptly discharged from active duty with no … Continue reading Chapter 8.18 – Gamble

Chapter 8.17 – Choire

“The hand which strikes also blocks” – Wing Chun Take the fight to the enemy. The strategy is a timeless one. Having always been a sim of action before diplomacy, Luke finds that it suits his personality well. Before yesterday, He had not even been aware there was another enemy to contend with. He sensed the urgency behind Anna’s question about believing in ghosts, and knew immediately that what had started off as a simple apology earlier in the day, has now evolved into something much larger and significantly more dangerous. Convincing Anna to show him where she’d first encountered … Continue reading Chapter 8.17 – Choire

Chapter 8.16 – Simplicity

After the Jones clan’s successful bid to ruin the Barimen fortune, Amber took every precaution to safeguard against another attempt at a legal broadsides.   Now it seems her diligence was well worth the effort. A summons had been delivered via messenger to the estate. Both Luke and his cousin, Makayla, listen as Amber reads the document: You have been summoned to appear before the Sunset Valley Town Council at the specified date and time, to provide testimony regarding possible improper business practices perpetrated by Barimen Holdings inc, in violation of proposed legislation § 104-A (e), (g), (j), (k) and (m). Testimony … Continue reading Chapter 8.16 – Simplicity

Chapter 8.15 – Resolve

Wendell had already washed out of the military and started working as an independent publisher when he met a sensational, young author whose skill was matched only by her beauty.   During those days, his meat-and-potatoes was taking chances on aspiring authors who had been turned down by the big-time print houses. He had really never looked at himself (or his authors) as a farm league team competing with the majors. For Wendell, it was a completely different ball-game altogether. Wendell knew the moment he read Amber’s manuscript, that he had found something special. Only, it would take years for … Continue reading Chapter 8.15 – Resolve

Chapter 8.14 – Giant

The star of fame only burns hot and bright for a short time, then it quietly fades away into obscurity; drowned out by the new and younger stars that proceed it.   Ben, Lisa, and their band Grayswinder, had all been household names at one time. But as it is with all things, the experience has finally come to an end. Artheritis has ravaged Ben’s ability to play the guitar. And Lisa’s legendary voice has become weak and tired. They are neither bitter nor resentful – just simply accepting of the fact that they have little else to do now, but retire. … Continue reading Chapter 8.14 – Giant

Chapter 8.13 – Figment

Stress from recent events has been building inside Luke, and it has finally come to a low boil.   He had planned the visit to China as a relaxing escape from his troubles, and he is still bitter about having to cut the visit short after only one night. But Mark’s ghost was right. Wandering so far away from the estate was not only unsafe, it was foolish. It’s sad that the only bright spot in his personal life comes from the memory of a sim he met in during the short holiday. And as it turns out, she was … Continue reading Chapter 8.13 – Figment

Chapter 8.12 – Lesson

I apologize ahead of time. This post is significantly longer than my typical offering. The whole thing kind of flows together, and it just didn’t read the same way split up. Sorry!  — Shang Simla occupies a special place inside the hearts and minds of the Barimen family.   Luke’s trip here was not planned. Well, not entirely planned anyway. The idea had come to him after Desiree McAllister’s ghost suggested he speak with one of his ancestors. It is probably safe to assume that the arrangement did not actually require him travelling to China. The honest truth is that Luke has … Continue reading Chapter 8.12 – Lesson

Chapter 8.11 – Progress

When looking out from the top-floor breezeway, the sea stretches all the way out into the horizon.   There is nothing but water, as far as the eye can see. As huge as this mansion is, the sea could easy swallow it whole, and it would never be found. And it (the sea) is only just a small spot on the planet when viewed from space. Even the universe is just one paper-thin layer inside an infinitely complex system. And Kacey is out there, somewhere. The entity has reached out to her every night since the visit with Desiree McAllister. … Continue reading Chapter 8.11 – Progress