#1 16th Jul 2015 at 12:47 AM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:31 PM.
The Mayfield Family, a Sims 3 StoryI'm not exactly sure how it's done here, so I apologize if this in the wrong place, not in the proper format, etc. Please correct me, tell me what's wrong and I'll do my best to fix it/not repeat the mistake.
WARNING: There will be spelling errors! Most are there on purpose because the sim narrator has a thick accent and I wanted to communicate that. If you have suggestions on how I could better write that, suggest away!
I have a wordpress blog: The Mayfields, a Sims 3 Story, but I'm not getting as much helpful feedback as I would like. If you guys could give that a visit and comment there too, great! If not, thank you for being here! ^_^
This is just a story I started writing about a random family I've been leisurely playing. I think they're interesting and I wanted to share that. Okay, here goes.
1.0 â A Fresh Start
My skies, but Iâd never before seen such a bootiful sight! When Bernard anâ Susan were talking of moving towns, why, I thought weâd be heading tah thuh town over, Bigsburg. But no! They plum packed us all up, kids anâ all, anâ we drove all thuh way across this country from Pleasantville tah Sunset Valley. Anâ, my, if it werenât a pretty place. All snug anâ tucked up against those green, green mountains anâ thuh big blue ocean on thuh othuhrside! That first day, I fell in love with thuh place. I wanted thuh rest of my children to be born an' raised right thuhre. I wanted my gran'kids to be born an' raised thuhre! I wanted a big olâ place with lotsa' room an' I wanted a big family to match.
For lan'sâ sakes, Ellie, youâre getting ahead aâ yourself!
Iâm Ellie Mayfield, an' hereâs my little family. That han'some devil is my husban', Bernard Mayfield, an' behind him is my sister, Susan Thompson. Thuh little blonde bundle off to thuh side is my daughter, Chloe Mayfield. Bernardâs not her daddy, but you couldnât tell with thuh way he treats her. An' thuh cute little guy in thuh flowers is my nephew, Thomas Thompson. I begged Suzy not to name him that, but that was our Daddyâs name, rest in peace. She never did mention who Thomasâs daddy was. Anywho, here we all are!
ďżź** Right to left: Chloe Mayfield, Bernard Mayfield, Susan Thompson, Thomas Thompson, an' Ellie Mayfield. **
It all started a year back, right before Momma died. I was young an' a single mothuhr. Iâd quit school to have Chloe. Her daddy was a good-ferâ-nuthinâ though. Chloe was just a couplaâ weeks old when Momma died. Daddy, though he hadnât liked Momma (âcept fer a few months back when they were still hot-blooded), he came to her funeral. Afterwards he packed me anâ Chloe up an' took us to Pleasantville. I thought is was so big an' chic! I met my big sister Suzy. Her momma was Daddyâs wife, but she died years back when Suzy was jusâa kid. Anywho, Daddy got me anâ Chloe moved in with him, an' it wasnât long afterwords that Suzy got her fancy degree from college. That summer Iâll never forget. Suzy had her baby boy (sheâd been busy with school at thuh time, so I took careâa him). An' in mid-June, I met my one-anâ-only.
Iâll remember that day always. I was out widâda kids in thuh front yard, watching âem toddle through Daddyâs flower beds, when this blue-eyed hunk walked up anâ knocked on our front door. He noticed me after a coupla' seconds, anâ he went all red an' stuttery. He was a cutey. Still is. I said hi, anâ he ran away. But thuh next day he was back with a bundle oâ roses anâ sweets for thuh kids. I didnât waste no time. I pulled every trick Momma ever taught me. By thuh end of thuh summer I was Mrs. Bernard Mayfield an' Chloe was Chloe Mayfield. Sweet guy, my Bernard, he wanted Chloe to be his, no ifs, an's, nor buts.
Turns out, Suzy an' Bernard had been best friends since Daddy an' Suzy had moved to Pleasantville. Anâ thuhyâd been making plans. Not marriage, no! Iâd nevah steal a man from mah own sister! But thuhyâd been wanting to leave Pleasantville since high school. Go somewhere more âhappeningâ. Me, I was so caught up in thuh wedding anâ heavenâs happiness that I wenâ along with whateveah thuhy wanted.
Anâ thatâs how I found mahself in Sunset Valley. Mah sister, mah husban' anâ thuh two kids on thuh lawn, all staring at our new home.
It werenât much, but I jusâ knew we could make it work!
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#2 17th Jul 2015 at 6:56 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:29 PM.
1.1 - Bumps an' BruisesYay! I can't believe people are actually reading this! *does happy dance*
My blog is farther along than this is, but we'll catch up soon enough...for reasons... >.>
Any feedback would be welcome. I'm sorry if the spelling puts some people off. If you can push through it, Gen 1 only lasts a few chapters.
1.1 â Bumps an' Bruises
Werenât exactly easy, right off, nah. Bernard anâ Susan had tah settle fer less than thuhy wanted jusâ tah put food on thuh table. But theyâre both hard workers, an' I had no doubt that their dreamsâd come true someday. Suzy wanted tah be a astrahnut since she were a little girl, anâ Bernard wanted tah âhead his own search âstablishmentâ. Something about breeding thuhm there compotahs widâ fish. I honestly have no idea. As fer me, I just wanted tah look after my family anâ make sure thuh kids grew up right. I wouldnâtâve minded learning more than even Momma did âbout cooking, but thatâd be fer later.
While Bernard an' Suzy were out making money anâ working fer their dreams, I stayed home witâ thuh kids. My momma raised me right, so first thing I did was set out tah meet thuh neighbors. Only met one âfor thuh kids were tussled out, Beau Andrews, whoâs got a wife, but I never did see hide nor hair aâ her. By thuh time we got home, thuh furniture guys had got thuh cribs out anâ hooked up thuh power anâ water. We were moved in!
Our little family quickly settled into a routine. I made breakfast early each morninâ, jusâ soâs Susan could eat somethinâ âfor she ran to work at 5am. Then Iâd wake anâ feed thuh kids. At hafâpas 6, Iâd put a plate oâ breakfast in Bernardâs sleepy hands âfore he left at 7. Then itâd just be me anâ thuh wee ones. Iâd cook while they played on thuh floor. I always had one in thuh walker until they could both toddle an' tussle togethuher. I think I spent most aâ mah time cooking an' canning an' cleaning an' trying to keep up with thuh kids. I taught âem both to talk an' walk by thuh time Susanâs first proâtion came around. An' Chloe was potty-trained when Bernard came home witâ news aâ some kindâa extra work he was working on witâ his boss. My Chloe always was a quick study, though where she got that thuh Lord only knows. Training Thomas, now that was a mite harder. He werenât near so quick as Chloe, but, my Lord!, was he stubborn!
I was still trying tah potty-train Thomas when Bernard anâ Susan finally got those promotions. I was so proud anâ happy fer them!
Iâve always been a get-up-anâ-go kindâa gal, so when I started feeling more anâ more tuckered out each day, I thought I might be cominâ down witâ somethinâ. It took me a couplâa weeks tah figgerâ it out. Me anâ Bernard, we were gonna have a baby!
My wish has always been to have a big olâ family, all my own. Me anâ my hubby cuddled up on a front porch swing while all our little ones played in thuh yard. NowâŚit were coming true!
That next year, in early spring, still frosty anâ glitterinâ, Bernard anâ me brought home our little girl, Shaye Mayfield, named for Bernardâs mama. Sheâs got some wild hair, that one! All blonde an' blue-eyed, sheâs a good kid though, takes after her daddy.
I donât know if a new baby made âem work harder or if we finally got a break, but Susan an' Bernard were both promoted not long after Shaye was born. Things got easier, for sure, but our tiny house was cramped. Then Tommy an' Chloe started school. Anâ it just didnât make sense tah Susan anâ Bernard tah have two schoolbound kids sharing a room with thuh new baby.
Susan started talkinâ âround fer contractors. It was time fer a biggaâ house!
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#3 18th Jul 2015 at 11:51 AM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:28 PM.
1.2 Growin' Pains1.2 â Growin' Pains
It took time, that biggaâ house. Buildinâ takes time anâ money, anâ the last we dinât have much oâ. But we made due. Tommy anâ Chloe got their own room, sepâret from the babyâs, anâ witâ thuh lilâ left over, Susan got one oâ them fancy computurs tuh work at home on. Shaye moved into Chloeâs old crib in mine anâ Bernardâs bedroom since there jusâ wanât enuff money tuh finish thuh expanshun.
That day mah heart jusâ âbout broke fer pride anâ gloom, seeinâ my babies off tuh their firsâ dayâa school! Iâll always âmember it. I wuz so happy ferâ em, Chloe anâ Tommy. They were gonna go anâ get a eduhcashun! But that dayâŚTommy, he came home so mad! Iâd nevuh âfore seen that boy so stewed! He wuz always so happy anâ friendly! Anâ Chloe, she wouln't tell me nuthinâ! Jusâ picked at her dinner anâ then ran off tuh thuh park. Iâve nevuh known what goes on it that gurl's head!
Chloe nevuh told me nuthinâ. Tommy calmed down, but I coulnât get anythang outâa him neither! Those two were true blood. None oâ âem were gonna say anythang âtil thuh othuh one did. They nevuh came home upset after that, so I let it go. Those kids hadâa way oâ workin' thru thangs. I werenât gonna pry.
âRound thuh same time, Susan anâ Bernard bofâ got proâshuns.
Shaye werenât a month âfore I found out I was witâ child again! I was so excited. That didnât last long. I started feeling really run down. I couldnât eat nuthinâ, it all just made me sick. An' I dinât have no energy tuh play witâ Shaye so much. I got real big anâ could hardly walk. The doctors said itâd be best if I rested in bed. Maybe it woudun't a been so bad, but Bernard were also feelinâ sick anâ not atâall right. He said he kept havin' bad dreams that putâim in a right funk fer thuh rest oâ thuh day.
So I had a sick husband, still workinâ hard, a ânuther baby tuh look aftuh anâ two kids off doinâ who knew what! I coulnât rest! I kept on mah feet!
I were gettin' big when Susanâs final proâshun came. Aftuh six years oâ hard work and detuhminashun, Susan got her dream! She was promoted tuh astruhnut. Thuh next week she got called up tuh space. She werenât happy âbout leavin' her baby boy wifâout his mama, let alone me in suchâa state.
I dint see mah big sister fer a long time.
It were dead winter when I gave birth, too early. As I wuz goinâ intuh labor, Bernard wuz workin' late at thuh lab.
I had tuh call a babysitter fer thuh kids while I drove myself tuh thuh hospital. I donât âmember much. There were âcomplicationsâ. Lots. An' thuhy gave me all sorts oâ drugs tuh help with thuh pain. I had triplets, two girls an' a boy. I wuz so happy when thuh doctors told me. Two more daughters an' our first son! But thuhnâŚapparently thuh complications got worse. My baby boyâŚdiedâŚan' one oâ thuh girls wuz so weakâŚthuhy told me she werenât gonna make it neither.
Oh, what a state I were in when Bernard got tuh thuh hospital. One child already dead an' anothuhr expected tuh jusâ stop breathing at any moment! But my BernardâŚheâs a sweetheart, an' thuh strongest man I ever did met. He kept me goinâ. He kept us all goinâ.
We named thuh boy David, after mah youngaâ brothur. His older sister wuz Medea an' his younger sister wuz Lucy.
We brought home thuh twins an'âŚI barely held myself togethuhr. Even with that, I still cried myself tuh sleep that night. I jusâ kept thinkinâ âbout what lilâ David wouldâa been like. What he wouldâa looked like. How he wouldâa acted.
Thuh next day, Bernard came home from thuh lab early.
He wuz so shy an' stuttering, trying tuh explain that he had somethinâ that might help but he didnât know fer sure if I would want it, an' on an' on. Finally, he just passed me a basket.
Inside was a little baby with dark green skin.
Bernard wuz talking about how thuh lab had created it from some skin or somethinâ thuhyâd found. I donât know, I werenât really paying attention.
âWhâwhat do you think?â Bernard finally asked.
âHeâs preciousâŚâ He felt warm in my arms. An' he opened his eyes an' oh! Those dark eyes, I fell in love! He yanked my hair an' babbled something, but I couldnât stop smiling. He were too cute! Even with green skin. âYou cutey gotta name?â
âWell, we never thought of it, just DNA-OD. It stands for DNA Off-world Duplicate.â He paused. âNo one really thought about what would happen to it after it was born.â
âWell, thatâs no name fer a baby.â
âSince it was just me and the tech guys, we figured in order to really study how different humans an' aliens are, we should have an alien grow up in a normal, human environment, away from the lab, but still closely monitored.â Bernard smiled at me. âHeâs all yours.â
All mine. This little thingâŚwas all mine. My son.
âDonovan.â I donât âmember where thuh name came from. I hadnât wanted tuh name him âDavidâ. That wouldâa jusâ made him a replacement tuh thuh son Iâd lost, which woulnât honor neithuh of âem. But Donovan had a exotic sound tuh it. Something different. An' he was somethanâ different.
#4 21st Jul 2015 at 6:38 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:28 PM.
1.3 - Livin' LifeJust a warning, this chapter is pretty image-heavy. So if your internet sucks (like mine), give it a minute to load.
1.3 â Livin' Life
Donny, he helped in a lot of ways, just by being thuhre. It still hurt, but not as much when I could hold Donovan in my arms. He was warm, real, alive. An' mine. I donât know if I was sick, but after he was added tuh our family, I started feelinâ better. I got back to cookin' anâ cleaninâ anâ cannin' thuh stuff from Bernardâs garden. Yesser, I was feelinâ better anâ better!
Donny was such a oddball! Dark green skin, big black eyes, an' no hair at all! But he were smart, I could see that. He reminded me aâ Chloe. But where Chloe had been painfully shy (still is), Donny was so friendly! Always willing to play with anyone, even Medea, though sheâd get impatient an' start throwing blocks âround. Everybody loved him! Tommy was a lilâ shy at first, mostly curious why Donovan looked so different. Chloe thoughâŚI think she picked up how smart Donny was. Iâd catch her reading medâcal journals tuh him! Of all thuh things! Yesser, Donny helped our family, just by being him.
DonnyâŚI neâer had tuh worry âbout him. Always healthy anâ happy. A mamaâs dream.
Lucy werenât near as strong as Donny or Medea. When thuhy were born, thuh doctors warned us that she wouldnât see her first birthday. I worried for a long time, but Lucy surprised us all! Sheâs a fighter! Thuh twinsâ anâ Donny anâ Shayeâs firsâ birthdays passed wifâout a hitch. Anâ then their seconââŚanâ third..anâ fourth! Anâ Lucy just got stronger! Still weak lookinâ, and still a bit thin, but sheâs still here. I neâer lost her.
As toddlers, all four oâ em ran me ragged!
Shaye, mine anâ Bernardâs firsâ, wuz so precious! Sheâs such a good kid, but so ditzy! She were ferevuh fergettinâ what she were doinâ. Iâd find her outside suckinâ her thumb anâ sittin' in a dirty diaper cuz sheâd ferget where the potty chair wuz!
Donny, witâ his cute, funny accent, I dunno where he got it, I hardly had tuh teach him tuh talk, nor walk.
Right after him, Lucy was easily taught as well, bit slower, but she had tuh rest often.
ThenâŚthere were my Medea. She were stubborn an' easily frustrated, a true hot-head. Her first word wuz âballâ. Dear lord! Wuz I ever happy when she said it! It took months!
It got soâs I couln't get much rest! Days spent carinâ fer toddlers anâ nights spent lengtheninâ jeans. I knew Tommy wuz gonna be tall, jusâ like his momma, but Chloe wuz growinâ like a weed! I sure am glad that thuh older kids were always happy tuh help out when I needed a nap.
It were near Shayeâs birfday that Bernard got that lasâ proâtion and became a âCreatyah-Robut Cross-breeduhââ!
Anâ then straight on up tuh âMad Scientistâ!
He looked mighty fine in that uniform!
Everyâun got a bit olderâŚ
âŚAnâ we finished thuh house.
Bernard finally retired.
Anâ I got a surprise! Susan was back on Earth! Hallelujah!
She couldnât buhlieve her son, lilâ Tommy, had become 16! Last we all saw her, the twins anâ Donny werenât even born! Sheâd been gone a long timeâŚ10 years! Iâd missed her somethinâ fierce. We all had.
Through it all, Bernard stayed true tuh me anâ I tuh him.
It seems like it was jusâ yestuhday that we moved tuh Sunset Valley. Anâ then, allâa sudden, I had teenagers tuh cope witâ and a empteh house at lunch. Bernard anâ I had gotten old. He wuz still a looker though!
Witâ thuh kids all in school anâ not runninâ me ragged, it were easier fer me anâ Bernard tuh have some quiet time tuhgether.
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#5 21st Jul 2015 at 6:51 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:28 PM.
1.4 - I Was Young and So Were You1.4 â I Was Young an' so Were You
Ahhh, that were a mild winter. I tried tuh teach mah kids tuh skate. Only got Donny tuh. He humored his olâ ma, such a good kid!
Anâ thuh kids had so much fun in thuh snow! Oh, but it warmed mah olâ heart! Theyâre all such gud kids! They made thuh most oâ that winter, full oâ snow days it were. Bernard worried that their school gradesâd be affecked, but I wuz sure theyâd be fine. Theyâre all bright kids, even Shaye! âLetâem be kids!â Iâd say. At least fer a while yet.
That winterâŚIâll neâer ferget it. I mayâve gotten olâ during it, a lilâ slower maybe but I wuz still hot-blooded! Anâ so wuz mah Bernard! Now that the kids were outâa thuh house most days, I had Bernard all tuh mahself! OhâŚso many nights staring up at thuh stars anâ cuddlinâ on thuh couch. I remembah how he used tuh suhprize me in thuh hall while I wuz doin' laundry. Heâd grab me from behind anâ twirl me arounâ! Weâd dance like no one wuz watchinâ, jusâ us twirlinâ rounâ anâ rounâ, laundry scattered on thuh floor. Up anâ down thuh hall, rounâ the livinâ room, thru thuh kitchen anâ straight on tuh thuh bedroom!
We wuz a real close-knit family, anâ that winter jusâ made us closer. Bernard wuz retired, so he could spenâ hours wifâ thuh kids: helpinâ wif' homework, talkinâ âbout fishinâ anâ computers. No fights, no school troubles, no worryinâ late nights at thuh lab. That winter wuz so perfect. Like a dream Iâm tryinâ tuh holâ on tuh fer when I wake up. Anâ it jusâ seemed tuh get better eâryday! Susan even said she planned tuh retire. I jusâ couldnât buhlieve it!
Nevuh thought sheâd give up her fancy space ship. But Susan said she wuz gittinâ old. We all were. Anâ she wanted tuh spend more time witâ thuh kids. After all, sheâd missed ten years oâ her only sonâs life. She said she dint want tuh miss anythang else. She gave her notice anâ wuz due tuh retire aftuh one more mission.
She neâer made it home.
#6 23rd Jul 2015 at 4:24 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:27 PM.
1.5 Mama's Bittersweet Memories1.5 â Mama's Bittah-Sweet Memories
Two yearsâŚthatâs how long I had her back. Two years! Tommyâd been ready tuh graduate! HeâŚheâs such a good kid. While I sit here witâ mah scrapbooks, he anâ Chloe take care oâ thuh younâuns. He neâer deserved thisâŚthis heartbreak. Noneân âem did. Not himâŚnot meâŚ
Anâ nowâŚanâ now Bernardâs gone too! At least he went peacefully, not in flames like mah poor sister. He was 59 years old, she 57.
Anâ me? Iâm feelinâ mah age finally. Nah, Iâm feelinâ older. BernardâŚhe was mah everuhthang. Whatâs left when everuhthangâs gone?
I canât look at Medea no more. Thuh bigger she getsâŚthuh more she looks like her Daddy. Sheâs got his eyesâŚhis hairâŚhis smileâŚ Anâ Donovan! Oh, DonnyâŚit ainât yer faultâŚmoreâun anyâun, itâs Donny that makes me think aâ Bernard. After allâŚwifout Bernard, Donny neâer wouldâa been in mah life.
As I stare down at these piâturesâŚ
âŚthese memories I been storinâ up all these yearsâŚ
âŚI jusâ feel so tired. Iâm tired oâ the hurt! IâŚI werenât ready fer him tuh go! Lord, I needed him! Like plants need sun anâ fish need watuh, I need him!
LifeâŚlifeâs got no meaninâ wifout him in it.
Chloe graduated the Community School for the Gifted with Highest Honor and as Class Valedictorian. Her fellow classmates voted her âMost Likely to Take Over the Worldâ.
Thomas graduated the Community School for the Gifted with Highest Honor. His fellow classmates voted him âMost Popularâ.
#7 23rd Jul 2015 at 4:45 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:26 PM.
2.0 And It's Just the Beginning...2.0 â And It's Just the Beginning...
Aunt Susan. Trapped in a fire trying to save the rest of her spaceship crew.
Daddy. Stroke as he donated money to a charity.
Within four months, they were all gone, one right after another. Aunt Susan, Daddy, MomâŚall gone. Never coming back.
My name is Chloe Mayfield. I just graduated from the Sunset Valley High School. And Iâm the head of this family now.
And so begins the second generation. If you want to know family member traits and stuff, here is a sort of Generation 1 Summary.
#8 28th Jul 2015 at 5:51 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:26 PM.
2.1 Dreams and Real Life2.1 â Dreams and Real Life
Ever since I was a kid, Iâve wanted to be a World Renowned Surgeon. I donât think thatâs going to happen now. Thomas and I, we can just barely keep up with the bills as it is. Thereâs no way we can do that, take care of Shaye, Medea, Lucy and Donovan, and pay my pre-med tuition.
In some ways, I hate Mom for that. She was selfish, giving up on life when Daddy died. Sheâs left me with nothing! Because she was selfish, I have to give up my dreams!
Maybe Iâm the selfish one. I justâŚI wanted to help peopleâŚlike Daddy didâŚ
All of us are hurting right now. Donovan blames himself, Medea blames herself, Lucy is confused, Shayeâs taken to living in the woods and Thomas thinks he has to be the strong, stoic man of the family. But Iâm the oldest. Daddy always said my most important task was to look after all my younger brothers and sisters, even Thomas. I have to quit brooding and step up now.
After Daddy died, only a few weeks after Aunt Susan, Thomas and I started looking around for jobs. We were both still in school, but Thomas managed to get a part-time job at the bookstore. As for meâŚno one wanted to hire the âMayfield Vampireâ. I was that creepy kid who always hung around the graveyard, and in a town like Sunset Valley, thatâs enough to get you black-listed for life.
But I foundâŚother ways of acquiring money.
When I was a little kid, Daddy taught me how to do different things with the computer. Iâm not proud to be using what he taught me to steal, because thatâs what hacking is: stealing, but we need the money. I have no choice.
Now with Mom gone too, people are starting to just look the other way. After Aunt Susan and Daddy died, people would bring food over. Theyâd sit up with Mom and were there for her. Now that its just me and Thomas, things seemed to have changed. Now theyâre remembering every rude comment Aunt Susan ever made, and every time Daddy never attended a party (always because he was working late, not out of some spite as they all seem to think).
I hate people. I really, truly hate people.
I shouldnât complain though. Thomas usually takes care of those people. Everyone is instantly at ease around Thomas, and so much more willing to let things go with him. I havenât met a person who could stay angry at him, not even Medea. Heâs like Mom was: everyoneâs friend.
Iâm much happier sequestered away in the study, churning through piles of data. I probably wouldnât have made a good doctor anyway. Doctors are people-people.
#9 28th Jul 2015 at 5:56 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:26 PM.
2.2 It's Always Darkest Before Dawn2.2 â It's Always Darkest Before Dawn
I was down at the grocery store, buying the next weekâs food (Daddyâs garden wonât carry us far since none of us know anything about gardening) when I overheard Dr. Wainwright talking with a colleague about some experiment that the lab was trying to repossess. The DNA-OD experiment. My heart stopped. I ducked behind the potatoes until theyâd left.
I knew that phrase. Iâd been almost six years old when Daddy brought home Donovan, but Iâd never forget something like that. I overheard him talking to Mom the night before, talking about a cloning project heâd led at the Labs. A project to clone an alien DNA sample found out by Lucky Palms, a project called DNA-OD.
Could they do that? Repossess my brother?! I didnât know. I had to find out!
It didnât take long. In fact, the answer was waiting for me in the mailbox when I got home later that evening.
âTo Whom it May Concern:
Experiment DNA-OD (what you call Donovan) was lent to you family by Dr. Bernard Mayfield December 21st, thirteen years ago. Upon the doctorâs death, Experiment DNA-OD was expected to be returned to Landgraab Industries Laboratory. As that has not happened, matters have been raised to its immediate retrieval.
Dr. Bunch will visit you promptly June 15th at 3:00pm. She will collect Experiment DNA-OD and return it to the Landgraabs Industries Laboratory. Included is a packet containing certain legal articles and a release document requiring your signature.
Thank you for you cooperation,
Dr. Sabrina Funke, Creature-Robot Cross-Breederâ
The page crumpled in my fist. I was shaking. They couldnât do this. They couldnât do this! Weâd already lost so many people in this family!
I jerked upright. Thomas was standing in the doorway, still in his pajamas, it being past midnight.
âSomethingâs wrong. Whatâs wrong?â
âThe LabsâŚtheyâre sending someone over todayâŚto take Donovan away. They own him! Legally, they own him! Iâve been looking for something, anything, to use against them! But I canât find anything! And now theyâre going to take him away!â
Thomas gently pulled me back down into the seat I hadnât known Iâd left. Then he slowly pried my hands from my hair and hugged my close. âCan I see the letter?â
I lifted up the balled paper.
âI see,â he said after a bit.
âThereâs nothing we can do,â I whispered.
âThatâs where youâre wrong,â Thomas said calmly. Heâs always been the calm one. Heâs been my rock, ever since we were kids. My best friend.
âHow so?â I snarled. âI canât see how weâre going to get out of this! So if you have any suggestions, please, share!â
âWe can leave. Middle of the night. Leave no trace. Never come back.â
A toilet flushed. Footsteps echoed up the hall. We both waited until the bed springs creaked.
âWe donât have the money for that!â I whispered furiously. âEverythingâs still in Momâs name since she never wrote a will!â And the men at City Hall had just sneered at me when Iâd tried to challenge it. Mom, while just a homemaker, had been everyoneâs friend. I was just her creepy, illegitimate daughter.
âWe have our college funds.â
My heart stopped. Our college funds. Together, Thomas and I probably had around $20000. Was it enough? Food, clothing, a new houseâŚmaybe. It had to be. It was our only shot at keeping what was left of this family together. It had to be enough.
âWell, there was no way Iâd afford med-school anyways,â I said with a grimace. I quirked an eyebrow at him.
A sharp bark of laughter was my answer. âGoing to college was Momâs and Aunt Ellieâs plan for me. All Iâve ever wanted is a new guitar and enough time to play it.â He shrugged. âAnd I can wait a bit for that. Whatâs important is keeping us all together and safe.â
I nodded. We were in agreement. We had a plan. All that was left was to pack.
Note: I've started updating my blog regularly again. Every Friday you can expect to see a new chapter there . Until this thread is caught up with my blog, I'll be updating here every Tuesday and Thursday, usually two chapters at once. Once we're caught up, it'll probably shift to Monday updates.
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#10 1st Aug 2015 at 1:39 AM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:25 PM.
2.3 When the Going Gets Tough...Warning: A bit of language ahead, nothing major, but thought I'd give a head's up.
2.3 â When the Going Gets Tough...
We had to be long gone before noon. Otherwise those so-called âscientistsâ would be by at 3pm to pick up Donovan. Assholes.
We had to be quick.
Thomas packed some food for the trip while I woke the twins, Shaye and Donovan.
âWhââ insert massive yawn. âWhereâre we going?â Medea asked, still stretching.
âWellâŚâ Think, Chloe, think! âWell, Thomas and I were thinking, we havenât been on a weekend trip in a while and maybe its a good thing to do. You know, spend some family time together before school starts up again. Spur of the moment, I know, butâŚâ
Lucy gave me one of her too-rare smiles. âI think thatâs a good idea,â she said in her soft voice.
Donovan looked me up ad down. Heâs a genius, just like me. Thereâs not much that gets past either of us. But he shrugged. âWell, if thatâs what weâre doing, thatâs what weâre doing.â
Thank you, I mouthed to him as he passed me into the hallway. He stared hard at me, then winked.
âMaaan,â Shaye mumbled, her blue eyes half-lidded and distant. âThatâs such a great ideaâŚgetting back to nature âfor the Man drags us back in chaaains.â She gave me a slow, lopsided smile.
I tried not to shudder. ChainsâŚright.
Once everyone was up and getting dressed, I ran back to the study. âCâmon! Print faster you stupid thing!â I was tempted to kick the ancient computer, but I needed maps. I wasnât sure where we were going, but I wasnât going without proper directions.
âWeâre packed,â Thomas whispered from behind me. âShaye, Donny and Meadâs dressed. Just waiting on Lucy. I got enough food to last us a few days.
âGood.â I tapped my foot.. âGod daââ âItâs taking too long! âGet everyone out to the van,â I gestured to Thomas, then grabbed my pda, an early graduation gift from Daddy. It was timeâŚthis was going to be hard.
I knew all about locating technology, heck, Iâd used it several times to track Shaye down, frickinâ wild-child she is. I knew that all pdas could be traced, eventually, with enough time and patience. It was just something I couldnât chance. I carefully laid the slim device in the desk drawer. It took all my will to close the drawer and turn to the printer. Daddyâd built it himself, just for me.
The printer was an old, ancient monster, but it seemed to take even longer than normal. After an eternity it was finally done. I grabbed the maps and shoved them into my backpack. One last thing. I tore into the computer, kicking and stomping until it was in pieces, particularly the hard-drive. Otherwise they might trace us! Am I paranoid? Probably!
Everything was in place, everyone out in the van waiting.
We left everything as it was: the beds unmadeâŚ
âŚthe dishes from breakfast still on the tableâŚ
âŚthe sprinklers still running in Daddyâs garden.
Daddyâs gardenâŚIâd miss it. It was the last piece I had of him. Thomas wiped a tear from my cheek before the others could see. I started the van and drove down the hill, away from the only home any of us had ever known. A place full of memories. Good and bad, vivid and vague, sooo many memories. But it was time to move on.
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#11 1st Aug 2015 at 1:53 AM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:25 PM.
2.4 ...the Mayfields Head to China?2.4 â âŚthe Mayfields Head to China?
Is this right? I took another swig of burnt gas station coffee. Did we have any alternative? Anything at all? My mind kept going round and round, wondering if leaving the Valley really was what was best for the family. Was there really no other choice? The sun crested the mountains behind us as I drained Thomasâs cup. He snored softly in the seat next to me.
âStop it Chloe,â Donovan whispered behind me. He unbuckled and leaned forward. âI can hear you thinking and itâs been bothering me all night.â
âSorry,â I murmured. Donovan didnât like reading minds. âInvading peopleâs privacyâ he called it. But he didnât really have a choice if people âscreamed them outâ.
âSo, whyâre you putting yourself through the Inquisition?â
âI justâŚI wonder if I jumped too soon,â I responded. âWas there some way I could have turned this all around? An alternative to making us all fugitives?â
âMaybe.â Donovan shrugged. And I saw it, that little flinch, liked Iâd slapped him.
âIt has nothing to do with you,â I whispered, feeling like an ass. âYouâre my brother. Iâd go to the ends of the earth for you.â My knuckles tightened on the wheel. Then I chuckled and waved him back. âIâm just being pedantic.â
âSoâŚyou donâtâŚregret anything?â Donovan asked.
âAbsolutely not. Never think that! Youâre my brother! Iâd do the same for the twins or Thomas or Shaye. And itâll probably happen again when some government wants to drag Shaye away for public indecency or something!â
He laughed and settled back down in his seat.
Did I regret my choice to run away rather than hand him over to Dr. Funke? NO! Never. I just wished I knew what Iâd thrown us all into. We were officially on the run. From Landgraab Industries today, but maybe the entire Simica Government tomorrow! And I still had no idea what to do! I resisted the urge to smack the steering wheel. That wouldnât help. It might just wake Thomas up and get him concerned too!
And Iâll swear to any deity you want that I heard my Mom then! Life donât follow no recipe, sugah. Anâ it donât have no map neithuh! Itâs a advenchah!
Not helpful, Mom, I thought, shaking my head. Even from beyond the grave, she was confusing.
âHickâwhaâwhatâd we hit!â Thomas jerked upright and spun in his seat, blinking rapidly.
âItâs all good!â I called back to everyone. âJust a pothole! A bad pothole.â I prayed Shaye wasnât awake.
âOh, good,â and Thomas dropped back into sleep.
âDammit,â I muttered, trying with one hand to shove papers back into the glove box that had popped open while keeping my eyes on the road. âThomas! Thomas? Crap.â
âI got it!â Donovan called, unbuckling again.
âGet back in your seat!â
âThomas andâŚDonovanâŚstupid hedgehogs!â I continued to grumble, trying to close the overstuffed compartment. Iâd barely closed it when it popped open again. âOh, for Euclidâs sake!â I grabbed the bundle before it could hit the floor, then swerved back onto the road.
âI could helââ
âNo! You stay buckled!â I sat back up and straightened out the van. âWith the way Iâm driving,â I muttered to myself before glancing down at the troublesome papers.
Receipts, old napkins, and a fold-out map ofâŚChina? Not a map to China, but of China. Why would we have a map of China? And I heard in my head, Lifeâs a advenchah, sugah!
âHmmmâŚhey Donovan, you want to go to China?â
âSoâŚwhyâre we going to China?â I asked glancing over at Chloe.
âBecause I decided.â
âDecided what?â Sheâs always been this way. Sheâs really smart but kinda dumb too. Sheâs so smart she doesnât even notice and just thinks everyone thinks at the same rate she does. It made for an interesting childhood.
âBecause I decided to go to China,â she responded, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. She went back to studying the map.
âBut why?!â I ran my hand through my hair. âIâm tired Chloe. Weâve been driving nonstop for six days. Why China?â
âBecause itâs the farthest country out of Simica. Because itâs the easiest to get into since only we have passports. Because itâs a country that Landgraab Industries doesnât have a base in, and because I can speak Chinese. Need I continue?â
âNo, no, I get it.â It was Chloe again, thinking five steps ahead of the rest of us.
âTake the next exit.â
âGot itâŚwhenâd you learn Chinese?!â
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#12 4th Aug 2015 at 4:41 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:24 PM.
2.5 The Great WallWARNING: There's some mild language in this chapter, like your uncle stubbing his toe and cussing. Just thought to mention in case it offends someone.
2.5 â The Great Wall
It took a few weeks of driving, another week on various dusty trains, and several nasty conversations with border control, but we made it. We were in China!
âWeâre staying at HĂŠhuÄ de fĂĄngzi,â I told Thomas, him being the only one still awake this late.
âSounds fancy,â he muttered. âCan we afford it?â
âThomas, itâs just a boarding house.â I snickered. âAnd you said my ballet lessons would never be useful.â
He sighed. âChloe, not everyone can pick up a language just from listening to their dance instructor curse.â He shook his head.
âWeâre here!â Donovan cried, surprising us both. âShang Simla!â
Shang Simla was a small farming village tucked between large, green mountains and the Great Wall. It was known for its sake and the local martial arts academy. Otherwise, it was quiet and the people kept to themselves. Perfect.
We arrived early in the morning, before 8am, a time when Sunset Valley would be desolate. Shang Simla was positively bustling!
It didnât take us long to find the boarding house. It was massive!
âItâs huge,â Thomas muttered, staring up at the ancient building. âWe could get lost in there!â
âMy thoughts exactly,â I replied, smiling. Perfect.
âNah,â Donovan piped up. âItâs just that itâs on top of a mountain. I bet itâs real cozy!â He sprinted up the steps, Medea close behind him.
The rest of us followed more sedatelyâŚsome more than others. âGet a move on, Shaye! All the bedsâll be taken by the time you get up here!â
We didnât have much with us. Some books, a change of clothes for each of us, and miscellaneous sentimental objects. Needless to say, unpacking didnât take long.
âWhat we need now is to blend in,â I murmured to Thomas as he surveyed the contents of the house fridge.
I stopped and stared at her. âChloe, we have two pasty blondes, a couple of tanned redheads and a green alien.â Hardly asian material.
She continued to stare at me, her head cocked at an infuriating angle.
I sighed and admitted defeat, pinching the bridge of my nose. âTake the girls to scout out locals. Iâll take Donovan and scrounge up some suitable clothing.â
Chloe brightened and ran out of the kitchen.
âAnd cut your damn curls!â I called after her.
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#13 4th Aug 2015 at 4:50 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 22nd Sep 2015 at 11:32 PM.
2.6 Explorers and Dead BugsWARNING: Mild language.
2.6 â Explorers and Dead Bugs
For those first two days, I kept to the room I shared with Thomas. I read the few books left by previous tenants and quickly grew bored. Luckily, Thomas soon found us appropriate attire. He came back from the market place one afternoon lugging an armful of colorful silks.
âOh my gosh!â Lucy squealed.
âThat was my ear,â Medea hollered back. She grabbed an armful of green and stomped off to the room she shared with Lucy and Shaye. Shaye had been getting on her nerves lately, apparently.
âThatâs for the girls. There wasnât much in yourâŚummâŚsize,â Thomas said handing me a bundle of white fabric. âThat explorer lady, Bion, helped me, you, and Donovan out.â
âOh,â I tried not to be disappointed. It wasnât logical. But Iâd always admired the asian fashion. âVery well.â I took the white top and pants and went to change. I turned and squealed, dropping my bundle.
âTa da!â Donovan bounded into the room. He struck a pose in his borrowed clothing. âI am now an actual explorer! How awesome is this?!"
âOh, Donovan,â I muttered. âYouâre too excitable.â
âNothing!â Thomas answered brightly, ramming his hands into his pockets. Donovan stood beside him, looking confused.
âOkay?â I left for my room, shaking my head.
I watched Chloe leave, then whirled on Donovan. âWhatever you do, donât tell Chloe about the tombs,â I hissed.
âWhy not?â he whined.
Typical thirteen-year-old, I thought. He might be a genius, but he doesnât think! âBecause sheâll worry!â And when Chloe worried, she researched to calm her mindâŚand sometimes developed new weapons of war.
Since I was eight, Iâve been hiding the remnants of her hobbies from our trio of parents. I dismantled the reloading and sound-barrier breaking potato gun, disposed of the bone collection from the catacombs she was studying, and destroyed the robotic rabbit that periodically exploded and rebuilt itself. I really, really didnât want to have to continue that in China, where the people were a hell of a lot more perceptive than in Sunset Valley.
âYou donât want Chloe to worry, do you?â I appealed, trying to sound less manic and more like a caring brother just looking after his sisterâs mental health.
âNo,â Donovan answered dutifully, but he actually sounded sincere, so I let him go.
At the front door, he turned back. âIâll make sure she doesnât worry,â he said solemnly, holding the door handle. âIâll be very safe.â
I nodded. âJust donât tell her and everything will be fine.â I hope. Donovan left, probably to check around town for adventures.
âI feel so pretty,â Lucy breathed, twirling into the common room. Sheâd even done up her hair differently. Medea scowled from behind her, but she was dressed as well.
âLooks like everything fits,â I acknowledged. âYou two clean up nice.â
Lucy beamed. Even Medea gave a little smile, fingering her new green vest. âWhereâs Shaye?â
The smiles dropped. Medea opened her mouth, but Lucy beat her to it. âShe wonât wear it. She keeps saying that silk is from dead bugs.â
I sighed. Shaye displayed her animal-loving tendencies in odd ways. She ate eggs and most meats, but couldnât stand leather, milk or, apparently, silk. âIâll talk to her.â I sighed again. Lucy gave me a sympathetic look.
The next chapter will be up this thursday, and then we'll switch over to an update every Monday.
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#14 6th Aug 2015 at 4:53 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:23 PM.
2.7 Adventure!2.7 â Adventure!
âI took your advice,â I said as I entered the kitchen. Thomas was flipping pancakes. Heâd finally progressed past burning things beyond all recognition.
âI cut my hair.â I fingered a curl by my ear. It had been a hard thing to do, but necessary to save money. Iâve been growing my hair out since I was nine. Mom always said how she loved my curls, how they made me unique, since neither she nor Daddy had had curls. And Aunt Susanâs hair had been as straight as Pythagorasâs lines. Mom said I took after her mother.
Thomas turned around, a plate stacked high with breakfast in one hand. He looked at me critically, then nodded. I let out the breath I hadnât even noticed Iâd been holding. If Thomas thought I looked fine, it was fine.
âIâm heading out to the market,â I told him.
âReally?â He looked surprised.
I nodded. âIâm out of reading material.â
He chuckled and nodded. âIâll see you later, then,â and he dug into his only slightly crispy breakfast.
Outside the air was crisp and clean. Somehow it was easier to breathe in Shang Simla than back in the Valley. I considered this. I wasnât sure if it was due to the emotional responsibilities and consequences Iâd left behind there or the lack of industrial pollution in this part of China.
It was a long walk to the market, but enjoyable. It was a cool spring day, and I spotted a few dragonflies zipping over the stream beside the path. There were colorful birds high in the trees and interesting beetles scurrying along the ground. Everything was beautiful and peaceful. I felt a smile slip onto my face and a spring enter my step.
The market was a bit disappointing. The only merchant selling books didnât have much beyond fiction.
Still, I found a few fishing manuals and a chinese cookbook and made my way home.
I heard nothing, absolutely nothing, and Donovan skidded into the room.
He looked around and his grin dipped. âWhereâs Chloe?â the excited teen asked.
âYou just missed her,â I replied, carefully setting my plate in the sink. âWhatâs up?â
The grin reappeared on his face. âI found ancient scrolls!â He drug me into the dining room and plopped his bag on the table. It smelled of dry dust andâŚsoot?
âWhat have you been doing?â
âWellââ he began, opening the bag. A plume of smoke puffed from it.
âNo, wait, I donât want to know!â
âOhâŚanyway! I found ancient scrolls!â He laid them on the table, still babbling. âThey feature some ancient recipes for making fireworks!â
âWait, you can speak Chinese too? When did this happen?!â
Donovan gave me a look, one, until this point, Iâd only seen on Chloe. âChloeâs been teaching me.â
I began to panic. Oh God, not the bunnies!
Donovan scrambled in his bag and pulled out some charcoal rubbings. âDonât worry. Iâve been telling her Iâve been sight-seeing the ancient landmarks around town and finding cool glyphs. Sheâs been happy to translate them for me and has been teaching me some on the side.â
I calmed down.
âShe helped translate the last riddle in the last tomb and I found these in there.â He gestured to the scrolls. âAnd I know sheâs already read through everything else in here, so I thought sheâd like something new.â He beamed up at me innocently.
âOkay,â I said slowly. I couldnât see anything immediately wrong. Donovan meant well, obviously. But where he and Chloe were concerned, the whole world should fear their well-meaning. That was how that damn rabbit had been born. I shuddered.
âFine, justâŚa bit chilled.â I stood up. âChloe should be back this evening, if you want to stick around.â I brightened. âI made pancakes. They might be a bit cold, though.â
Donovan raised an eyebrow. âYou did?â He glanced at the counter warily.
âAnd theyâre fine,â I barked.
âSure,â and he went to the fridge.
âFine, fine, donât eat my cooking!â I threw my hands in the air.
âWoo!â Medea entered the kitchen. âDonnyâs back! We can eat tonight!â More cheering sounded down the hall.
âSo,â Donovan began, as Medea and I sat down at the table. My cooking was okay, but Donovanâs was way better, even if it took longer. âGuess what I did today.â
âWhat?â Medea asked warily.
Donovan grinned over his shoulder as he tossed seemingly random things into a wok. âI visited,â he paused, the Drama King. âThe Dragonâs Maw!â
Medea gasped. Clearly she had heard about this place, though I didnât know how. Shaye and Lucy wandered in, both curious.
âItâs a tomb!â Donovan continued, grinning.
And while he made a late lunch, Donvaon told us tales of hidden doors and ancient locksâŚ
âŚfire traps and dead kingâs coffinsâŚ
âŚwater wells you entered in one room and came out in a completely different roomâŚ
âŚuncovering forgotten treasuresâŚ
âŚand ancient secrets.
Thanks for reading! See you next Monday! ^_^
#15 11th Aug 2015 at 7:15 AM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:23 PM.
2.8 Medea's Secret2.8 â Medea's Secret
I wandered through the house, listening. Nothing, not a sound. To say I was confused would have been a drastic understatement.
Click. My head swiveled towards the sound. âHello?â I headed into the common room.
Lucy looked up. âOh, hi Chloe,â she murmured and smiled at me.
âHey, where is everybody?â
She considered this. âWell, Shaye and Thomas went out to the market a little bit ago and Donovan left for town a bit after them. AndâŚMedeaâŚI think she left early this morning, before everyone else.â Her smile dipped. âIs everything okay?â
âHmm? Oh, noâerhm yes! Everythingâs fine! I was just wondering.â I wandered to the back porch. Behind me, there was a soft click.
Everyoneâs outside. I leaned on the railing, thinking. Thomas would be going to that old fisherman. Heâd gotten a job playing his guitar outside the old manâs shop and it was helping to pay our room and board. Shayeâll take any excuse to be outside, so she probably went with him. DonovanâŚDonovanâŚhe might be at the Hot Springs. He said something about checking out the glyphs there last night. That left Medea.
And that was where my brain was seizing up. Medea wasnât like Shaye or Lucy or Donovan. She didnât see natural beauty in the forests, she hated the mosquitos and the lack of proper transportation. She didnât believe in getting to know a stranger just for meeting them and seeing their perspective, if they didnât have similar interests as her, she wanted nothing to do with them In the last few months, sheâd made an enemy of nearly every other explorer in the boarding house.
Medea hated the people of Shang Simla almost as much as she hated their lack of cars. They were a quiet, peaceful people. Medea was loud andâŚopinionated. And those opinions hadnât found any fellow thinkers since we first arrived in China.
So where could she have gone? I pondered.
I sighed and went back inside. There was another translation waiting for me.
It carried on for a few more days. Thomas left the house every morning at 7am. With him, when she could drag herself out of bed, went Shaye. Donovan made breakfast at 8 and left for some ancient temple or some such soon after. Lucy went back to her watercolors and I to my translations.
And no one would see Medea. Finally, Iâd had enough.
âThat might be good,â I muttered, stepping back. I heard a half-choked gurgle behind me.
âHmmm?â I tapped my chin. I might have to rebalance the third quadrantâ
âWhat are you doing?â
I looked up. Thomas was standing beside me, his eyes wide and flickering from me to my project and back.
âWhat? Oh, this? This is just an ancient pulley system that Iâm testing out.â I waved my hands vaguely. Iâd seen some diagrams in a scroll and improved upon the idea from there. Thomas didnât need to know that the diagrams had depicted an ancient tomb trap. âIâm setting this up so I can better visualize it.â
I stared critically at my work.
âDoes it have to be right outside the girlsâ room?â
I contemplated this. âYes.â
It was just before dawn when my alarm went off. Iâd prepared myself with several cups of oolong tea and a particularly nasty scroll. The near-invisible fishing line pulled my light out.
I waited several minutes, listening hard. There! A slight rustling from upstairs, like someone getting dressed. The sound of a door being eased gently open. And the squeak of the hinges Iâd attended to last night after everyone was asleep. Silence. The silence of someone listening very carefully and praying no one had heard that. I smirked.
Finally, someone upstairs treaded softly down the steps. I frowned. Normally Medea tromped like an elephant everywhere she went. No one wore shoes in the house, of course, but still. It was Medea, car enthusiast and elephant! I heard the last squeaky step, and then silence again. Then the soft padding of bare feet across the wooden floor. A small thump and then running that faded away.
I ran out of my room and down the hall to the window facing the front porch. I caught sight of a flash of green as Medea vaulted over the railing and down the mountain. I blinked twice. Then scrambled out the open window after her.
Iâd always prided myself on being fast and light on my feet. Iâd needed to be, between schoolyard bullies and Momâs catlike ears. But Medea was outdistancing me easily. She was quite athletic, of course, but still.
I skirted through some bamboo and stopped to rest and think. At my outcropping I could see her course.
Their first day in Shang Simla, Medea had escorted Shaye to the Scholarâs Garden. Sheâd heard it was some kind of beautified wilderness or something. And it had been one of Thomasâs early rules: Nobody traveled anywhere alone.
Anyway, Medea had lounged about, bored out of her skull while Shaye ran amuck staring at the insects. Sheâd glanced down the mountain and seen the Phoenix Martial Arts Academy. Whatâs more, she saw the current Master training a student. And sheâd been fascinated.
Sheâd watched for a time while Shaye stared at the sun through a telescope.
Then sheâd wandered over to the training dummy in the corner and made some attempts to copy the student. They were less than perfect.
But Medea persevered.
Each day, earlier and earlier, she went back to the Garden, peered over the wall and studied the students and their master. And she learned. She got to the point where she could break oak boards in half with one swift jab. Then, one student levitated off the ground. Medea stared. Humanâs didnât fly! They couldnât! Except in airplanes! Sheâd questioned Chloe, her scientific sister, extensively about it the next day. Chloe agreed, humans couldnât fly. But the next morning, Medea watched as another student floated off the ground, a look of serene calm on his face. She glared at the training dummy. Sheâd come this far. Nothing was going to stop her from mastering the skill. She marched down to the Academy and asked the old Master how people could fly.
Heâd laughed. âIt form of meditation,â he told her, his accent thick. âOnly complete calm of mind and body, you can achieve.â Behind him, the student sighed, a soft smile on his face. âYou must master Dancing Wind before you attempt,â and he gestured her towards the beginning class, six children, ages five to seven.
Medea glared at him and stomped out. What was Dancing Wind? She didnât know the names of any of the forms. She didnât even know the name of the art she studied! But that wouldnât stop her. Sheâd made it this far on her own. Sheâd finish this on her OWN!
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#16 17th Aug 2015 at 10:12 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:22 PM.
2.9 A Year in China2.9 â A Year in China
Spring bloomed into Summer, and Summer faded into Autumn. Though you couldnât tell just from glancing out the window. Shang Simla remained, for the most part, green, but there was a bite in the air that hadnât been there before. And it rained all the time.
Even with the rain, itâs so peaceful here, I thought, gazing out the window at the countryside.
I was taking a moment for myself. For the past four months I had been decrypting an ancient code Donovan had found. Heâd been so ecstatic when heâd found it. Supposedly it would lead to some warlordâs forgotten treasure. Iâd finally finished it this morning. It had been a pain, since Iâd never seen the entire manuscript, just bits and pieces. Journal entries, mostly. Very difficult and time-consuming for me, but whatever Donovan was doing, the elders were paying him nicely. Between him and Thomas, I hadnât had to resort to hacking for over a year. Theyâd kept the rent paid and all of us happily fed.
It had been a good year. Donovan had had such fun running about the countryside, especially when weâd all agreed the buddy rule was unnecessary. Donovan was more alive than Iâd ever seen him. The way he told the explorerâs tales, full of drama and intrigue, like they were his own.
Shayeâs bug collect had grownâŚextensively.
Lucy and I had enjoyed the house. It was very open and airy, and we both agreed that the scent from the chinese maples was exquisite. Often, Lucy and I were the only ones left in the house during the day. She and I would often read together or chat, something we hadnât done before. Possibly because of our age gap. She was undoubtably intelligent, not a genius, like Donovan or I, but she saw things that others would miss. She was normally quiet, not because she had nothing to say, but because she was in deep contemplation. Our conversations were fascinating.
Medeaâs skill at martial arts had grown. And she had as well. I gave up spying on her a long while ago, but Iâd still seen the change. She was happier, less angry. Sheâd made some friends and seemed to find her place. Sheâd still never joined the Academy proper. She was still Medea, still stubborn, and would happily rage at the explorers for hours at a time. But she and Shaye had grown closer. Sheâd seemed to find that inner peace Shaye was always talking about.
And if Medea and Shaye had grown closer, Lucy and Medea had become inseparable. Theyâve always got along, but now it seems theyâve become best friends.
Living in China has changed us all. Even me. Iâve felt calmer. Less in control, but happier with that. Itâs like I left a part of me behind when I came here, a part I no longer needed. The Elders would say Iâve grown.
I gazed out over the still countryside and shook my head. Itâs not fair, I thought angrily. Weâd finally been able to rest, to relax, to live! Donovan was more alive than Iâd ever seen him. And China had had such an amazingly good affect on Medea! We were happy!
Iâd let down my guard. Allowed myself to think we could settle down again. Just move countries and all would be fine. But no. Itâs not fair!
I took a deep breath and sighed it out. This wonât be easy, I thought, glancing back into the common room.
Thomas was playing. Donovan was spinning around the room. Shaye and Lucy were dancing together. Even Medea was swaying a bit. But it needs to happen. I wonât let them take Donovan. I wonât let this family break apart.
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#17 25th Aug 2015 at 6:46 AM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:21 PM.
2.10 Welcome to Al Simhara, Land of Sand and Crocodiles!2.10 â Welcome to Al Simhara, Land of Sand and Crocodiles!
It's technically still Monday! >.>
âAnother year, another country,â Thomas muttered in the passenger seat.
âPlease donât,â I murmured.
âIâm sorry.â He ran a hand over his face. âI know why, butâŚâ
âI know.â I stared fixedly at the road. âTrust me, it wasnât an easy thing to do. I was just as comfortable as you guys. Probably even more.â
We fell into silence as I drove through the night. Memories of the last moonlight run flitted across my mind. They werenât happy memories.
âMedea wonât be happy,â Thomas muttered finally.
I winced. No, I imagine not. The first time, when weâd left the Valley, Iâd told her we were going camping. After the first week on the road sheâd gotten suspicious. When sheâd found out we were never coming backâŚthere had been rage. NowâŚwell, she hadnât said a word for four days.
Donovan had been sad, and scared, though heâd tried not to show it. Heâd packed his bags dutifully and knocked Shaye out for me. Lucy had cried.
We made it into Egypt with little fanfare. The town we found ourselves in was one suggested to me by one of Donovanâs explorer friends. It was called Al Simhara, and it was hot as hell.
There was no boarding house, no inn, no motel, nothing like that at all. There was a large, community camp site. And it was bring-your-own-tent.
âOh, yes,â Medea began, staring at the barren earth. âLetâs leave China to come to some barren wasteland in the innermost circle of Hell!â She stomped away.
Deep breath, inâŚand out. Thomas made to put his hand on my shoulder, but I shrugged him off. A week in the car with the same people was too much, and I suddenly felt a desperate need to be alone. Nothing I do is ever rightâŚ
I watched the two sisters stomp away in opposite directions and knew it was going to be a long stay. I sighed.
Donovan might have left some adventures behind in Shang Simla. And the girls had left their hobbies. But Chloeâd left her peace of mind. She was on edge again. And I wasnât quite sure what she would do next.
I shook my head and asked a local where the market was. After a good fifteen minutes of miscommunication, I flagged a passing explorer and got my directions.
âHey, kids!â I called. Four tired faces turned towards me from different sides of the camp site. âIâm heading to the market for a change of clothes. Anyone wanna come with?â
Lucy brightened up. Her favorite part of Shang Simla, besides the watercolor paintings, had been the clothing. Medea scowled and stomped away, probably to terrorize some poor explorer.
âIâll stay here with Mead,â Shaye volunteered. Donovan suddenly looked a lot happierâŚand a bit relieved.
âGreat!â he grinned. âThen Iâm off forââ
âThe Buddy Ruleâs back,â I interrupted. Donovan opened his mouth, probably to argue. âEspecially for you!â He deflated.
âI guess Iâll go to the market,â he muttered.
âThen get a move on!â
A few hours of frustrating haggling and miscommunication (whereâs Chloe when I need her?!) later, we had a change of clothes for the girls. Donovan and I were keeping our explorer duds and ChloeâŚwell, when a girlâs a double D, sheâs got no alternative.
âHey, Luceââ I stopped and looked around. I could see Donovan having a suspicious conversation in the corner. And Shaye and Medea had shown up, Shaye talking to a farmer while Medea scowled into a basket.
But I couldnât see Lucy. Itâs okay, I thought, trying to calm myself. Sheâs probably checking out those colorful tiles outside the bazaar again. I paid the book merchant and headed for the gate.
âOh my gosh! Thank you so much!â
I turned and saw Chloe and Lucy in one of the bazaarâs open shops. Thank god! I jogged towards them.
Chloe shrugged. âYouâve always been interested in photography, so I thought an actual camera might give you somethingâŚto focus on.â She looked at the ground and scuffed her worn shoe.
Lucy beamed up at Chloe and hugged her. Then she ran past me, out of the shop, waving ecstatically as she did.
âStay with Donovan,â I called after her. Thatâll keep Donovan out of trouble.
With Shaye keeping Medea in line, and Donovan keeping Lucy, and by extension himself, safe, I turned to my last sibling, and the one I worried the most about. âWhatâs up?â I asked casually.
Chloe shrugged and looked away, but I could see that some of the tenseness was gone from her shoulders. And her freckles didnât stand out so much.
I reached over and pulled a curl.
âHey!â came to indignant squeak. But she was smiling.
I laughed and pulled her into a bear hug. She squealed and struggled, but half-heartedly. I gave a big squeeze and let her go. Her smile was exasperated, but her eyes were bright.
âSo, whatâs on the agenda?â
I leaned against the adobe wall and thought about it. âWell,â I began, glancing around. âDonât expect to see Donovan or Lucy for a while. Lucyâs probably dragging him to those pyramids right now.â
Chloe grinned. âI thought she would. And together theyâll stay out of serious trouble.â
âAnd Shaye wanted to get a closer look at the farming methods here. And,â I scratched my head. âI know Medea left with her. They had a basket with them. Maybe to collect plants?â I shrugged. âYou?â
âThereâs a project from China I still need to finish.â She cocked her head to the side. âWhat about you?â
âMe?â I grinned. âIâm going crocodile hunting!â
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#18 31st Aug 2015 at 7:14 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 2nd Sep 2015 at 6:20 PM.
2.11 It Could Be Nothing...2.11 â It Could Be Nothing...
It was late at nightâŚor early in the morning, depending on your perspective. Everyone was asleep in their tents. Except for me, that is.
I was putting the finishing touches on a project Iâd started in Shang Simla. I wasnât kept entirely busy with ancient translations and the inner workings of nasty traps. Iâd had some free time every now and then. Enough to grow bored. Iâd started building my own computer. Shang Simla was pretty limited on electronics, but enough explorers broke phones and such that I was never wanting for parts.
And now, it was almost complete. I decided to try a test run.
Not as fast as I was hoping. And there seemed to be a memory leak somewhere, but Iâd deal with that later. For now, I had a working computer for the first time in over a 16 months. It was heaven! I started writing worms. Landgraab Labs will never catch me off-guard again.
âAnd where are you two off to?â
Donovan turned around, âguiltyâ written all over his face. Lucy smirked up at me.
âThe pyramids,â she said sweetly. âI got a few shots in yesterday, but I havenât got any interior photos. And I want a black and white sarcophagus shot!â She smiled softly and tucked a lock of sandy brown hair behind her ear. To say ânoâ was to kick a puppy.
âFine,â I said. âBut be back by sunset!â They ran out of camp, giggling the whole way.
âYouâre such a push-over,â Chloe muttered, staring after them.
I shrugged. âLucyâs a careful kid and theyâre both smart. Theyâll be fine.â
I started thinking about the fishing trip I had planned for later that afternoon. I still need to figure out that net thing. Egyptian fishermen didnât use fishing rods, but a net strung between two poles. Iâd been struggling with it for almost a week now.
âI need to talk to you,â Chloe whispered beside me.
My heart seized up. âAbout what?â I asked, as casually as I could, keeping the squeak to a minimum.
She cocked her head to the side and considered me. I started to fidget. âWhat?â
She shook her head. âNothing important,â and she walked away, hands in her pockets.
âGod, sheâs annoying.â It could have been a thought from my own head, except for the voice.
âSheâs got a lot on her mind,â I told Medea. Maybe this time I can bring her around.
âYeah, and she doesnât share it with anyone! She just expects us to go along with whatever she says without any explanation whatsoever! I hate it! I hate her! I hate life!â
I didnât have anything to say to that. It was something Iâd always thought about Chloe. Hearing it said out loud thoughâŚI felt really guilty all of a sudden. âChloeâsâŚâ I groped for a suitable word. None came to mind. ââŚcomplicated.â
âBut she doesnât have to be!â The teenager in front of me seemed hellbent on staying angry. She stomped her foot for emphasis.
I shrugged. âAnd you donât have to be angry.â Confusion overtook Medeaâs face. âBut some things canât be helped,â I continued quickly, knowing an opportunity when I saw one. âWe all are the way we are. And thereâs no changing thatâŚat least, not easily. Chloeâs got her reasons and a method to her madness. Youâll just have to wait and be patient with the rest of us.â
Medea looked up at me, lips pursed. Then she turned, walked over to the nearest wall and kicked it. But at least she didnât scream and immediately tackle the nearest adventurer. Itâs progressâŚif only I could make some with Chloe.
IâmâŚconfused. I wandered to the back of the campsite. I was tired, but I couldnât sleep. Last nightâs discovery weighed heavily on my mind. And I canât tell Thomas...heâs finally starting to relax again. I bit my thumb, thinking. What now? MorcuCorpâŚIt could be somethingâŚit could be nothing. Just because a business was greatly invested in Landgraab Labs didnât necessarily imply that it was evil. âWhy did it have to be here?â
âDamn!â I kicked a handy palm tree and immediately regretted it. I leaned against it and sighed. Iâll keep a close eye on all transactions. If anything suspicious pops up, Iâll act. When, and if, that happenedâŚuntil then, Iâd have to keep quiet and watch. I sighed again and rubbed my ankle. I could see the sleepless nights stretching ahead of me.
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#19 10th Sep 2015 at 6:42 PM
2.12 It Could Be Something2.12 â âŚIt Could Be Something
Hi! *waves frantically* ^_^ I'm glad you're here! Sorry this is a bit past the expected date, but I actually forgot I was listing the Mayfields here. Life's been a bit crazier than usual. My bad.
But thanks for being here! ^_^
âAnd then the whole boat shook andâŚâ
I blinked rapidly, resisting the urge to rub my eyes and yawn. Instead I nodded and smiled while Thomas spoke. I couldnât remember the topic. Something about fishing.
ââŚand then this monster of aâŚâ
I need coffeeâŚIâd spent the last few weeks staying up late. As far as my family knew, I was just getting up early. To look for rare metals and gems, a hobby Iâd picked up soon after we moved to Egypt. Iâd grab a bowl of cereal at 7am, chat with Thomas over breakfast, then head out to this little oasis Iâd found and nap.
âChloe? Are you even listening to me?â
âThat sounds exciting!â I blinked rapidly, trying desperately to regain my focus and not yawn. In front of me, Thomas sighed.
âSo, whatâre you working on thatâs got you up so late?â
I blinked. Of courseâŚ If anyone would notice, it had to be Thomas. âNothing really,â I waved a hand vaguely while using the other to stifle a yawn. âJust a minor project left over from China. I hate to leave it unfinished.â I avoided Thomasâs brown gaze and looked up at the sun. âI have to get going. Iâll be late, so donât wait up!â And I ran out of camp. I had a sleeping bag to find.
I didnât trust those rickety scooters the locals rented to tourists. So after taking the slightly less rickety bus out of Al Simhara and across the river, I walked. It wasnât that bad, it still being too early to really get hot, and my tiny camp site wasnât too far. An hourâs walk, maybe two. I could deal.
Egypt really was beautiful. Not as green and vibrant as China, but beautiful, in its own way. A dangerous kind of way. I liked it.
Cacti are remarkable, I marveled. They protected themselves with spines, some laced with poisons, while beckoning with large, brightly colored flowers, the only color for miles of blank, beige canvas. They were also an ingenious storage for water, holding liters at a time, in order to last between sparse rains. I bent over to admire a particularly bright flower.
As I ran my fingers over the petals, I wondered if this was one of the poisonous kind. Probably not. The spines were long and large enough to deter most animals. No doubt, poisonous ones had much shorter spines, more delicate to break off and stick in the animal. At least, thatâs what I presumed.
I broke off a pad and resumed my walk, meticulously pulling the needles out. A cactus pad was a good source of water when chewed, particularly when one had forgotten oneâs canteen back at camp.
I walked for a while, sliding down dunes to conserve energy. Periodically, I would pluck another cactus pad and de-spine it as I walked. Not only was it good for water, but Donovan could make fantastic dinners with cactus pad. Delicious.
I donât recall exactly how far I walked, or in what direction. But the sun was high in the sky when I stopped walking and actually took a look around. I didnât recognize this area. The dunes were craggily, more solid and there were boulders in the distance. Perhaps a higher elevationâŚ? And is the temperature increasing? I rubbed my eyes. I was so tired.
Perhaps if I had been more rested, I would have done things differently, or, at least, more sensibly. As it was, I simply plopped down onto the ground and passed out.
Somethingâs up. I watched Chloe run out of camp, wobbling slightly, she was so sleep-deprived. I took a sip of my chilled tea and nodded to Lucy, the other early riser.
Normally, whenever asked about her latest project, you had to use duck tape to get Chloe to shut up again. Not even a code name this timeâŚThat just wasnât right.
It could be nothingâŚit could be somethingâŚ I shook my head. No, I knew Chloe. I knew her. Something was definitely wrong and I had to find out what.
âHey, Donovan,â I called, rummaging in my tent for my satchel and canteen. âIâm heading out for a bit. Stay at camp.â I thought for a moment. âAnd Shayeâs in charge.â
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#20 21st Sep 2015 at 7:15 PM Last edited by FluffyMao! : 28th Sep 2015 at 5:06 AM.
2.13 - Under the Desert SunSorry this is late, life's been trying to drown me in homework. :P
WARNING: Mild language, dead-ahead!
2.13 - Under the Desert Sun
After the first twenty minutes, I grew worried. After the first hour, I was panicked. As the sun rose higher and higher in the sky, so did my heart into my throat. Where is she?!
I was no stranger to tracking down Chloe. Hell, Iâve been doing it since we were eight! But never in the desert. The terrain was totally different from the green mountains of the Valley, always muddy from rain, with foot prints clearly visible to anyone bothering to look.
I kept walking, scouring the dunes for any sign of my wayward sister. And each minute that ticked by, was another I could lose her forever. Why didnât I pay closer attention to her?!
âDamnit, Chloe!â Sheâs supposed to be the smart one! As soon as I thought it, an old voice rose from the depths of my memory.
âGenius isnât the same as intelligent, Thomas. Chloeâs smart, but she doesnât always have good sense. Thatâs where you come in.â
Dad. Heâd gotten it. After every school assignment that differed by letter grades, after every mechanical monster Iâd found under my bed, heâd give me a warm glass of milk and explain gently that Chloe was different. That she didnât always think in the same ways as other people. (Try never, Dad!) And that sheâd need someone to look after her. So I cleaned up soot-covered sheets and chased off bullies twice my size. Because, while Chloe was damn smart, sometimes she didnât think before she started something. She needed me to make sure nothing bad happened. To her or anyone else.
âI fucked up this time, DadâŚand I donât know if I can fix it.â
The desert sun beat down on me, but I didnât feel it. It was nothing more than a dull orange ball above me, after all. Irrelevant. Inconsequential to the space my mind currently occupied. This fantastic state of mind in which I thought faster than ever before. Puzzles were solved and mysteries became clear. I understood everything. Edges and vertices stretched into infinity around me. And I was connecting more.
Donovan. An alien clone born of my fatherâs intellect.
MorcuCorp. A company dealing in ancient relics with a dubious method of acquisition.
The two were connected. How? I didnât bother questioning, merely following the brilliant trails flashing across my brain.
Donovan had mentioned MorcuCorp, recently, in fact. There were several locals vocally against the company. More than a few. Egypt in general was fed up with them. Stealing their culture, they said.
Mena Lufti was particularly against MorcuCorp.
Sheâd hired Donovan to get dirt on the company, because he wasnât a local and thus more trust-worthy in the companyâs eyes. There is no dirt.
She was right on one thing: MorcuCorp was after more than relics. Or rather, certain relics that held more than monetary value. That much Iâd gleaned from my research. MummitoniumâŚa metal mentioned by the locals, usually in relation to MorcuCorp. Incredibly strong, but easily shaped, and said to have come into existence by the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Said to be able to cheat death if ingested. Extraordinarily rare. I have some. Was that all there was to it?
No. There was a certain collection of artifacts that might be more precious. The Relics of Life and Death! Egyptian myths spoke of relics that held power over a humanâs body and mind. Hypnosis and deathâŚAgragoriumâŚa metallic substance that induced hypnosis, a vegetative state, and finally death in all Simearth lifeforms. It was most commonly found in liquid form within Mummitonium deposits, and the largest deposit of Agragorium ever recorded was found during the construction of the Great Pyramid. AgragoriumâŚone of the rarest and most expensive substances found on Simearth. Dr. Mayfield had worked with some. Iâd seen Dadâs published papers on the subject. Heâd written that the substance interacted intensely with certain carbon-based lifeforms. After those experiments, Dad had brought home DonovanâŚHmmm.
87% chance that the Relics are either made of Agragorium or contain samples of itâŚwhy want it though? It was worth 31.42 million times itâs weight in gold, but incredibly difficult to contain without contamination or leakage. The only substance that could contain it was Mummitonium, a nearly as rare and expensive metal.
MorcuCorp is invested in Langraab IndustriesâŚis there a stronger connection?
Another trail of thought burned across my cortex, obliterating anything else: Who is MorcuCorpâs highest investor?
Cecelia MontrapâŚno, outbid two years agoâŚby Susan Funke! She held over 40% of the MorcuCorp stock.
And Dr. Funke had been Dadâs colleague throughout the Agragorium and DNA-OD experiments. The one whoâd gotten next to no academic recognition. Now she was the current head scientist of Langraab Labs. And the one who wanted Donovan.
It all made sense.
I opened my eyes.
It was 5pm when I found her, leaning against a boulder, scribbling furiously on it with a piece of chalk. Iâd tried to get her attention, but sheâd stared right through me. Her lips moved, but not a sound came out. Her blue eyes were wider than usual and fixed on something I couldnât see.
Iâd never been more terrified. Iâd called her name repeatedly, shaken her, slapped her. Nothing. Sheâd stared ahead. Lips moving, fingers drawing strange shapes in the air. When Iâd let go of her, sheâd picked up another chip of chalk and started writing on another boulder. I could only watch.
God, I hope youâre okayâŚwherever you are.
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#21 28th Sep 2015 at 5:05 AM
2.14 - Until the Sun Comes Up2.14 - Until the Sun Comes Up
I stayed with Chloe all night. I must have dozed off at some point, but I canât remember when. I remember watching her scurry from boulder to boulder, lost in a place I couldnât reach. I remember worrying and crying and shouting at her from time to time.
I remember her collapsing.
I remember panicking.
I remember checking her pulse and pupil dilation and whether she was breathing! You had me so worried!
I remember feeling her temperature. Too hot!
I remember splashing water on her face, forcing some down her throat, then wrapping her in my jacket when she started shaking. I remember praying to whatever deity cared to listen. Just let her be alright. Just bring her back safely!
I remember hearing her start crying and vomiting and just being thankful she was alive!
You put me through hell, Chloe. Donât leave me now.
Opening my eyes was like trying to pry open an ancient pickle jar. My head was pounding and something had crawled into my mouth and died gruesomely. I tried to sit up.
âArghâŚâ I didnât even have energy to groan properly.
âThank god!â A pair of arms yanked me upwards and squeezed me tight. I choked. My blouse felt wet.
âThomas?â I mumbled.
âWho else you fucking moron?!â He looked pissed! Then he hugged me again and muttered something about me scaring him.
âDonât do that again!â He squeezed me tight and then started yelling. âWandering off in the desert without food or water or a map! While asleep on your feet! What the fuck, Chloe?!â
ââM sorry,â I mumbled, trying to look contrite while wishing heâd be quiet. Really, my head couldnât take that! My whole body felt sluggish and my stomach threatened to empty itself.
âWhat were you thinking?!â
I tried to remember. A rush of information flooded the forefront of my mind. Too much to convey. âMorcuCorpâŚtheyâre badâŚreal bad.â My eyes closed. I felt like death.
Thomas sighed. âWhy do you do these things?â he whispered. Was he crying?
He gave a sharp laugh, more of a bark. âIâll bet.â He helped me to my feet. Then, half stumbling, half walking, we made our way out of the desert.
I honestly donât remember the walk out of the desert. I think some tourist bus picked us up, because we made it back to camp by noon. We mustâve looked like shit. Chloeâs hair was all over the place and her eyes were bloodshot. Our clothes were rumpled, stained, and torn in places. Lucy started crying when she saw us.
âWhat happened?!â demanded Medea. Her voice shook slightly. She stared at Chloe.
What happened? I peered over at Chloe. Iâd like to know that myself.
âBad cactus,â I answered. âShe needs some sleep now.â
Instead of backing up like the girls, Donovan stepped closer and peered at Chloe.
âLooks like the hallucinogenic effects of Opuntia basilaris.â He pried open her eyelid and scrutinized her eye, which was more red than blue. âI suggest forcing some milk down her first. Itâs important to flush any remnants from the system and milk contains proteins that should counteract any residual effects of the cactus juice.â Donovan studied Chloeâs face for another second. Then, more to her than to me, said âIâll grab your bottle.â
Iâd just gotten Chloe to drink a large glass of milk (still warm from the goat), when Donovan came over with a blue water bottle. Chloe took a swig. A few seconds later, she was out cold.
âShe was more tired than I thought,â I muttered, bundling her more careful in her sleeping bag and closing the tent.
Donovan shrugged. âHallucinogens can be mentally draining.â
I glanced over at my youngest sibling. âHow do you know so much?â
He shrugged. âI wrote a paper on commonly found natural hallucinogenics when I took that online bio-chemistry class from Sim University.â
I ran a hand over my face. Sometimes, Donovan acted so much like an excitable puppy that I forgot that his IQ was right up there with Chloeâs.
âWill she be okay?â The voice was so soft and timid, I almost thought it was Lucy asking. But no, Medea stood behind me, looking small and scared, and trying hard not to show it.
âThis isnât the first time Chloeâs done something stupid,â I chuckled, ruffling Medeaâs hair. âSheâll be up and bothering all of us tomorrow.â That got me a small smile.
Medea took a shaky breath and sighed it out. âOkay,â she whispered. âOkay.â Lucy reached out and hugged her, for once, looking like the supportive twin.
Donovan started expertly roasting some fish while the girls chatted quietly.
As for me, I sat down outside Chloeâs tent. When you wake up, Iâm getting answers!
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#22 4th Oct 2015 at 4:03 AM
2.15 - Understanding Madness2.15 - Understanding Madness
After âmy little stuntâ, as he called it, Thomas refused to let me leave camp. For days, I tried convincing him I was fine. That I was well-rested and healthy. He would hear none of it. Once, I made the mistake of reminding him that I was several months older than he was.
Iâd never seen Thomas angry before. Confused, yes. Impatient, yes. Frustrated, yes. But never angry! Thomas angryâŚIâd never been able to picture it. Thomas angry was likeâŚlikeâŚShaye sensibleâŚ.or Lucy headstrongâŚor Medea sensitive! It just didnât make sense to me!
Heâs scared! Thomasâs violent stance and harsh wordsâŚwhy? Nothing makes sense.
After thatâŚdiscussion, I kept to my tent and did whatever Thomas thought was best. After a few weeks, he seemed to have calmed down. He even apologized for his actions! An apology I refused. It was my fault, after all. Whatever had happened had scared himâŚlike it had scared me.
And yet, here I am.
I gazed around. A dead end. High above the desert, surrounded by boulders, was where I had found myself weeks ago. How? I was still stumped. How had I managed to lose myself so thoroughly? Thomas blamed the cactus I had consumed. I didnât recall eating any cactus. I didnât remember my trek through the desert. I didnât remember drawing the formulas that covered every inch of every boulder.
I didnât remember any of it.
But I did remember the feeling. An out of body experience, Shaye would call it. Iâm not sure her terminology is so far removed from exactness. Whatever the term, the experience terrified meâŚand enthralled me. Iâd been able to think faster than Iâd ever before, make logical jumps without a nanosecond wasted. The feeling of understanding everythingâŚsomeday Iâll recreate that.
But I wasnât here to theorize. I was here for answers. I couldnât recall any of my actions, but I could still feel the sizzle of thought that had raced across my mind. Whatever I had thought while here, it had clearly been important. And the connections were still there, I was sure. I just have to remember.
I watched her closely. It was like a physical pain, being back in that place. But Chloeâd insisted. And I wasnât about to let her go back alone. But I couldnât stand the place! Every inch of it, every grain of sand, was a reminder of how close Iâd come to losing her.
Iâd interrogated her right after sheâd woken up. Thatâs when I learned she was as scared as Iâd been. She couldnât remember anything. She didnât know what her cryptic message âMorcuCorpâs badâ meant, or why sheâd been out in the desert to begin with. The last memory she had was talking to me about fishing. 38 hours, I thought to myself, running a hand over my face. Sheâs missing 38 hours!
âIt was most likely filled with hallucinations,â Donovan had told me. âAnd, perhaps, a complete catatonic state.â
âBlackout. She mightâve passed out at some point.â
I tried to find some peace of mind from that conversation. I canât help it! Every time Iâd written it off as: âYeah, sure, normal, harmless hallucinations!â another part of me piped up: âAnd when has Chloe ever been normal?â I couldnât help it! Chloe definitely hadnât been sane last time we were here, but she hadnât been crazy either. Sheâd been on to something.
âAnd now weâre here,â I muttered. âTrying to figure out now whatever you figured out then.â
I felt like punching something. Why canât things just be normal?!
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#23 11th Oct 2015 at 4:28 AM
2.16 Busted!2.16 â Busted!
Itâs fine, I tried to convince myself. I stood watching Chloe jog down the dirt road towards the bazaar. She packed three canteens of water and an extra sandwich. Sheâll be okay.
âSheâll be okay, right?â
The timid voice broke through my thoughts. I jerked around, then remembered to look down.
Medea. She was worried, but unwilling to show the world anything but grumpy, hormonal teenager. Somehow, seeing her made me feel better about the whole thing.
âYeah!â I chuckled and ruffled her hair. âYeah, sheâll be fine!â And I believed it.
âWanna see if we can get Shaye drunk?â
This has to be this one. I gazed up at the ancient structure, the same color as the burning sands behind it. I was tired and over-heated. I took a swig of water from my canteen.
The past few weeks of research and excavation had lead me here, to the Great Pyramid. Everything I could learn about the Relics of Life and Death pointed to the pyramids as the final resting places. And everything I could dig up (literally) had lead me to the Great Pyramid. Iâd already spent the better part of a day examining every inch of the pyramidâs base. The sun was sinking behind me and I was no closer to entering the over-glorified triangle than I had been that morning!
âDamn!â I stamped my foot childishly, feeling tears prick my eyes. So close!
As the sun finally slipped behind the sand dunes, I heard the soft, but unmistakable, sound of stone grinding against stone. I watched in awe as a huge sandstone block slowly slid into the earth, revealing the pyramidâs openingâŚ
âŚand Donovan and Lucy!
ââŚweâre so busted.â
âWhat the hell?!â
âI can explain!â Donovan cried out, waving his arms frantically.
I opened and closed my mouth, gargling bits and pieces of words. It was all I could do to try to parse the scene in front of me!
Donovan, babbling about tombs and mummies while Lucy moaned behind him about being grounded for life.
âGrounded?â I managed. They stared at me.
âAre you mad?â Donovan asked, tense.
But my mind had managed to catch up with the latest sensory input. âWere you just in there?!â
âYes,â Lucy squeaked.
âDid you find a relic?! Smallish statue of Anubis, odd rust coloration, possibly flecks of silver?!â
âUmâŚI-IâŚdonât know,â Donovan stuttered. âI found a statue of Anubis, butââ
âBut itâs solid gold!â
Sure enough, the small relic Donovan produced from his backpack was gold plated. Though not solid gold throughout, it certainly did not have an Agragorium core.
âIndeed,â I muttered, passing the relic back to my brother and thinking hard. I squinted at the pyramid, muttering calculations under my breath. Turn your face to the newborn godsâŚsunriseâŚeast.
âTell Thomas Iâll be home late,â I muttered to Donovan and Lucy, then started counting steps eastward.
âButââ Donovan and Lucy shared a look. âWait!â
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#24 26th Oct 2015 at 7:18 PM
2.17 The Beginnings of MadnessChloeâs PoV
If I could find the Relics of Life and Death before MorcuCorp did, there was a possibility I could use them as bartering pieces. I wasnât completely clear on how. But if I had them, I might get a hold of the upper hand, so to speak. I could threaten to destroy them at the very least! That might convince them to turn a blind eye on Donovan. Maybe evenâ
âWhatâs this about?â Donovan demanded.
I jerked around. I hadnât realized theyâd followed me! âStuff,â I responded. I averted my eyes.
Donovan quirked an eyebrow. âThis has to do with MorcuCorp, doesnât it?â
âMaybe.â I shifted uncomfortably. The last thing I needed was Donovan too close to the people I was trying to keep him from.
Donovanâs eyes widened. âMaybe you can help us!â
Donovan and Lucy shared a glance. Lucy whispered something to him.
âOkay, so this MorcuCorp company is just bad news. Theyâre ripping off the locals and, in some cases, stealing from them! Lufâsomeone asked me to take a look into the companyâs tax records and see if I can find anything that would work as blackmail to make them leave Egypt alone.â
âBlackmail?!â A second after the word left my mouth, a nasty little voice from the back of my mind muttered, And what do you do? âWhat kind of blackmail?â
âJust enough to get them to stop this black market trade!â Donovan insisted. âBut for that I need to see their records, which I canât because theyâre in their headquarters, which I canât get into because itâs super secret and I need to bribe the guards to get into with a metal I canât even find!â He took a deep breath. Lucy nodded emphatically from beside him.
âAnd what are you doing in this?â I asked her, hands on my hips.
She held up the camera Iâd given her months ago. âDocumentation.â
Thatâs not a bad idea. I turned around and paced a few steps, turned again and took a few steps back. I looked up at the sky, pondering.
If I could get my hands on the companyâs tax records, a whole realm of possibilities could open up. What would I do with that information? It would depend upon what was there. If I can find some proof of tax evasion or somethingâŚAn interesting idea. I shook my head. An idea for later. First, I would have to see if the information could actually be obtained. A thought occurred to me.
âWait!â I whirled around. âHow did you two get caught up in all this?!â
âUhâŚâ Donovan glanced at Lucy. âJustâŚuhmâŚIâŚlike helping out the localsâŚand at firstâŚat first it was just, like, exporâsearching throughâŚplaces forâŚmissing objects, you know, that people had lost. And then Lucy started her photography and I didnât want her out doing that alone, you know, âcuz the desertâs dangerous and I didnât want her getting hurt. Then she started getting noticed by people at the bazaar for her photos and then Ms. Lufâsomeone said they wanted us to help defâfind proof that MorcuCorp was destroying the unique heritage of Al Simhara.â
Donovan carried on, with Lucy nodding along beside him. I stood, rubbing my chin and reading between the lines.
The two of them had been into the tombs and ancient ruins scattered throughout the desert around Al Simhara. Performing missions for certain people, finding missing objects (doubtlessly ancient relics, perhaps family heirlooms), and exploring cordoned off government land. Youâve got no right to judge, that nasty little voice whispered.
I sighed and stared out over the desert while Donovan babbled on. Night had truly fallen, darkening the barren landscape. The moon was starting to rise above the dunes.
What if we could do it, I wondered. What if we could somehow find this âsecret headquartersâ that MorcuCorp has? What if we found something? I shifted my foot, watching grains of sand flow done the dune, gathering more grains and speed along the way. What if I found their financial records, bank accounts, routing numbersâŚwhat if? What if I could ruin them from the inside?
âWhat metal did you need to find?â
Thanks for reading! ^_^
#25 2nd Nov 2015 at 10:32 PM
2.18 - Just Once More2.18 â Just Once More
I was the happiest Iâd been in a long time. Donovan wasnât doing anything extraordinarily dangerous, Chloe was back to hunting for metals, and Medea was beginning to cool down and actually bothering to talk to Chloe again. Lucy and Shaye had both found actual hobbies and neither needed me around for company anymore. I could slow down, take it easy, maybe think.
Life was starting to look up again and I was determined to enjoy it. Iâd taken the day for myself and had gone up near the cliffs to fish. There was a slight breeze to lower the temperature and the palm trees provided some shade. The fish werenât really biting, but that was okay. It was a beautiful day in the Egyptian desert.
I donât remember what brought it on, but a face rose to the front of my mind. A beautiful face. One I hadnât seen forâŚyears.
âWe left Sunset Valley over two years ago,â I muttered to the breeze. I havenât seen her for two years. And we hadnât exactly parted on good terms. Unless you call an email sent at 3am and then nothing a good break off.
âI wonder what sheâs doing.â I stared into the distance, just picturing her face, remembering her laugh. Sheâs probably moved on. And why not? She was young and beautiful and full of life andâŚcompletely and totally amazing.
Weâd known each other for years. Ever since we were kids. After all, Sunset Valley wasnât that big. But weâd never really interacted. Then high school happened. And Iâd started noticing her. How could any guy not?! She was beautiful, long legs, kissable lipsâŚand feisty! Her temper was legendary! But that just made her more irresistible. I couldnât work up the courage to ask her to prom. But I did ask her to dance. Iâll be dead and buried before I forget that night.
Every now and then, I thought of sending her a letter. Iâd think of all the sappy things I would fill it with. A few lyrics Iâd written myself, a pressed flower from China. And maybe a photo, just to let her know I was alright.
But then Iâd remember why Iâd broken up with her to begin with. That me and my family were on the run. That any contact to past relations might bring Landgraab Labs to our tents. That it could be just as dangerous to her as to us. Then Iâd tear up the paper, grab Shaye and that Davis guy and weâd drink rice wine until the wee hours of the morning.
âAnd this is what free time gets me!â I kicked a convenient rock and ran a hand through my hair, wishing Medea was around so I could break up a fight, or that one guy was getting too friendly with LucyâŚor that Chloe was up to something! Anything to distract myself!
âSheâs moved on,â I told myself sternly. âProbably got a nice guy, a steady job, a kid on they way.â Somehow, I couldnât picture it. Not from her. âSheâs probably not even in the Valley anymore!â
I slumped to the ground, my hands limp and empty. One more kiss, I thought, closing my eyes to better picture her face, her cheeky smile. Just once more, then I swear, God, Iâll never ask for anything else.
Thanks for reading! ^_^
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