Categories
Left Behind

Smoke

“We’re heading out now!” yelled Mortimer from the front room, interrupting Cassandra’s reverie. “It’s parent’s day, so we won’t be back until six.”

Cassandra closed her diary. Alexander had joined a summer drama club, and returned daily with new stories of silly improv games and behind-the-scenes mishaps. She tuned most of them out, but Mortimer was all-too-happy to indulge his son’s newfound passion.

In the other room, Mortimer was continuing. “If you go out, don’t forget to lock the door – um, I’ve left some eggs in the fridge if you get hungry!”

“Got it!” Cassandra winced internally. Even to her own ears, her words had been half-hearted.

Mortimer paused. “Are you gonna be all right?”

“Yeah!”

“I mean, if you want I could drop Alex off and come back home –”

“It’s fine!” Cassandra’s teeth clenched. If he decided to stay –

“…Okay.” Mortimer didn’t sound entirely convinced, but he let it drop. “Love you, Cass!”

The door slammed. “Love you too, dad,” Cassandra muttered. She waited for the sound of the SUV pulling out of the driveway, then put her diary in her pocket and headed outside.

As she buckled the strap on her bike helmet and raised the kickstand, Cassandra sighed. At least I’m alone now. She turned the bike around and pedaled slowly down the driveway. Crossing the bridge out of town, she let herself pick up speed, and soon she was off the paved roads.

Zipping down the dirt path to the waterfall had become one of Cassandra’s favorite things – really, her only favorite thing. Away from the world, her head cleared. The sky and the trees didn’t expect anything from her. The river didn’t care how she felt.

Cassandra parked her bike near the top of the waterfall. It only took her a few seconds to find what she was looking for – the black guitar case hidden in the bushes.

Ears open to the gentle thunder of the water, Cassandra closed her eyes and let her fingers sing.

As the first notes drifted out over the river, Cassandra’s heart eased a little. Something inside her opened up the tiniest sliver, and the pain in her soul leaked out. It flowed into the song, flowed into the river, ran out of her body and became part of the world. Wings unfolding, the lump of sorrow in her body began to lighten and fly away.

Black smoke gathered around her feet, but she didn’t feel it. Pouring out of her body, creeping up her legs, it swallowed her feet with the chill of the grave and started to seep into the soil.

Lost in her melody, lost in her pain, she didn’t hear the gentle splash of feet in the shallows.

Categories
One-offs

Rowan’s Promise

I wrote this story for the Monthly Simlit Short Story Challenge! Please visit the forums and read all of the other June stories!
https://forums.thesims.com/en_US/discussion/956705/monthly-simlit-short-story-challenge/p1

I grew up in Evergreen Harbor, in the area surrounding Port Promise. All my life, I wondered why they would name it something so beautiful. So hopeful. Port Promise, as anyone could have told you, was the place where beauty and hope went to die.

I was seventeen and homeless, at the end of a pier with nowhere to go. Just another lost soul in the cogs of the dying machine – but that night, someone gave me a chance for the first time in my life. She came down the pier and brought me back up, and I left behind Kiana Maples and became Kia Moss to the woman I would come to know as Rowan Rindalle.

Cautious at first, I would watch her at work, entranced by the dance of her fingers on the glowing screen. The fabricator, she called it. An invention of her parents. What had happened to them, she never said – only that she would see them again one day.

With time, I came to understand. She was sick. A childhood illness had weakened her lungs, and the smog that filled the air would one day take her life. As cheerful as she was during the day –

– there were ghosts that haunted her dreams.

The idea that she needed me, that anyone could need me, was a revelation. There were things I could do, things that I had the power to change for the first time in my life – even if they were as tiny as cleaning a solar panel, or sweeping the floors of the stack of shipping containers she had turned into a home.

I put my strange skills to use. Finding useful bits and pieces in the trash had been my lifeline – suddenly, it became almost magical. I never tired of seeing her turn the scraps of my old life into something new and beautiful.

The first time she let me use the fabricator, I nearly cried. The hum of the machine, the tiny lattices that built themselves up under my hands, even the dye staining my hands was transcendence. It was music.

She would draw, sometimes, on a little tablet. I knew they were designs, but I didn’t know what for. I wondered, awestruck, at the glorious workings of her mind, her power of creation. Her frail body concealed the crystal cogs of genius.

It couldn’t last. Winter took her from me – took her from us all. The cold was just too much.

When spring came, I thought about leaving. Skipping town, going somewhere the past wouldn’t haunt me, somewhere the air would be clear. But – I wasn’t the person I had been. Kiana would have left – but Kia decided to stay. To plant, to grow, to make, to change.

The thing about Rowan was – she had a way of seeing the good in things. What could be, instead of what was there. She could see the promise in a port where hope went to die, or a hungry girl without a place to go. Even if she didn’t live to see her dreams come true, she never thought for a second that they wouldn’t someday.

I hope I made her proud.

Categories
Red Herrings

Back Online

Finally… Maybe now the stupid router’ll work…

Let’s hope the weather stays clear.

Welcome, Riley. Please enter your password:

************

Logging in…

Wifi network detected. Would you like to connect?

Yes!

Starting Simchat…

RHerring is online.

YuYuki24: Red!!!

RHerring: Yukiiiiiii

YuYuki24: I was worried about you! :0

RHerring: ya ik

RHerring: my parents got divorced

YuYuki24: :O

RHerring: it was really messy

RHerring: but it’s all sorted now!

YuYuki24: I’m so sorry!!!!

YuYuki24: Who did you go with?

RHerring: neither

YuYuki24: ????

RHerring: i’m an emancipated minor now

YuYuki24: !!!!!

RHerring: my grandpa left me a house in his will, so i moved there. i only have one year of school left anyways.

YuYuki24: So where do you live now?

RHerring: windenburg

YuYuki24: What???!!????!!1!?!!?!???1??

RHerring: ik it’s a different country and everything

YuYuki24: I live in Windenburg!!!!

RHerring: rly?

YuYuki24: Yeah!! 4 Olde Platz rd, right next to the park! Where are you???

RHerring: 1 bluffs way

RHerring: out on the island

RHerring: the signal is plum, i can only get wifi when it’s sunny

YuYuki24: 😦

YuYuki24: but EEEEEEEEEEE YESSSSS

RHerring: u seem excited 😉

YuYuki24: LOL my sister had to tell me to stop screaming

YuYuki24: I need to calm down

YuYuki24: Blicblock?

RHerring: sure!

Starting Blicblock…

Waiting for YuYuki24 to join the game…

YuYuki24 wins!

RHerring: gg

YuYuki24: GG! You’re getting better.

RHerring: ur still the best

YuYuki24: LOL. Yes I am

YuYuki24: Oops! GTG. Dinnertime

YuYuki24: But I’m so happy you moved here! TTYL

YuYuki24 is offline.

RHerring: cya

RHerring is offline.

Categories
Misadventures in the Noodlezone

Week 2, Day 1

Wait…

What was that?

Do you smell…

Ramen?

No. It can’t be!

Yes, that’s right my friends – That Noodle Place is back! We’ve resolved the… er… labor dispute we were having, and the staff is now ready to work again!

Septimus Sevens, greeting the customers. Sept, that’s not your job, you’re a waiter!

Lily Green, taking an order from an already-impressed townie!

Jeremy Dunbar, being friendly with a diner!

Renzene Clay, being Very Unsatisfied with his job – sorry, dude! He was merely Unsatisfied by the end of the day, though – wage increases helped a lot. Note to self – pay your skilled employees.

And of course Amya Hilliard, checking up on this sim from all the way out in Strangerville!

Yes, That Noodle Place is fully up and running again!

Delicious food! Exotic drinks! Happy diners!

Veggie dumplings and five-star reviews!

Sept fixing broken appliances! (The sink in that bathroom was also broken. Jeez.)

At the end of the day, nobody was mad and everyone was tired – but the affair was a net loss due to the higher wages. Renzene is a good cook, so I think it’s time to raise the prices a little!

Amya also racked up those perk points – here’s what we got:

Curious Customers

Curiouser Customers

and Ingredient Quality Options!

I also boosted the price markup from %125 to %175 – we’ll see tomorrow how that goes!

Sorry for the lack of Don – he was off doing other things 🙂 See you next time!

-X

Categories
Left Behind

Starting Over

In the small town of Glimmerbrook, five hours north of Granite Falls, there is a house on Creekshine Way with a history longer than a chain email’s subject line. If walls had ears, these walls would have heard enough life stories to fill a library – but right now, all they would hear is the rumbling of a blue SUV pulling into the driveway.

Car doors slammed as a man got out of the SUV and walked up to the front steps. He fitted a key from his pocket into the lock and turned it, then waved at the car.

With the joyous zzzip! of a hastily unbuckled seatbelt, a boy ran up the driveway towards the man.

“Well, here we are,” the man said.

The boy’s eyes went wide. “It’s so small! Will I have to sleep in the attic with the ghosts?”

The man shook his head. “No, Alex. Besides, I’m pretty sure there aren’t any ghosts in the attic.”

Alex’s brow furrowed. “But Dad, how do you know there aren’t any ghosts? They could be really sneaky ghosts that hide whenever somebody’s looking! Oh no, what if the ghosts are invisible?

The man laughed and pulled out his phone. “Well, we can check later, okay? Right now we have to decide what kind of pizza we want for dinner.”

As Alex’s eyes went wide at the prospect of pizza and his dad scrolled through the pizzeria’s website, a girl in a black hoodie watched them from a short distance. She’d spent the drive up with her earbuds in, trying to sleep, and still wasn’t in the mood to talk.

“Okay, pepperoni pizza with extra extra pepperoni. What about you, Cass?” The man looked up at the girl.

“I’m not that hungry.”

“Do you want something else? There’s a mexican place that also does takeout, and we passed a chinese restaurant on our way here…”

“I’m not hungry.”

The man looked at Cass, then back at Alex. “Hey, why don’t you go inside and see how it looks? I’ll catch up in a moment.”

As Alex ran off into the house, the man put his hands on Cass’s shoulders. “Hey, if there’s anything I can do, just let me know, okay?”

“I’m fine, dad.”

“Just so you’re sure. I don’t want to…”

“Really. I’m fine.”

The man chewed his lip nervously. “You have the bike we bought?”

“Yeah.”

“I just want to make sure you know you can go out whenever you want. Just text me when you leave.”

“Thanks.” Cass shrugged him off and went into the house.


Cassandra Goth stared into the bathroom mirror. Someone else stared back at her. Would Mom even recognize me right now?

She wanted to hide. She wanted to cry. She wanted to run, to scream, to claw at her skin until it bled, to dig herself into the ground and disappear.

She gave her reflection one last look and went back out to her family.

Alexander and Mortimer were still joking over pizza as Cassandra sat back down at the fold-out table. They’d go furniture shopping the next day, maybe the day after, but for now they were eating on camping equipment.

Cassandra chewed her pizza slowly. It tasted like cardboard. Halfway through her slice, she put it down and went into the bedroom to go set up her camper’s cot.

As she fell asleep, Cassandra felt for the necklace around her neck. It was warm from the heat of her body.

Her last thought before slipping into dreams was to think that it ought to be cold.

Categories
Oh no! A non-story post!

Hindsight

Hello, friends!

Oh, sorry. This is me. Xan. Xaneathmar. The author of this blog. Not a character. Sorry.

This is not going to be a story post. This is going to be a post about Important Things. The past, the present, the future, the furby illuminati – well, not that last one.

You see, it’s 2020. New year! New decade! Wow!

So, I figured I would take the time to look back on this blog. Talk about where it started, what I’m doing, and hint at my super-secret-not-at-all-evil-I-promise plans for the future.

InsaneSims is actually not my first ever sims blog. My first blog used my email address as a domain and hosted only a few posts before I migrated. Alas, those first few posts are lost – but they chronicled the (mis)adventures of the first two generations of the Lujan family, a matriarchal legacy of Insane sims.At that time the Erratic trait was still called Insane, and I planned to write mainly about the Lujans and other Insane sims, so I named my blog “InsaneSims”. That was back in 2016, but I’m still very fond of the name and have no intent of changing it. There are a few other posts from that time that still exist – one, Denorthe, was in part inspired by a school writing project; the other, New Life, was to be the beginning of a story called Red Herrings that I never continued. Shortly after that, my computer ate the Lujan save, and while I recovered it I lost enough progress that I transferred the Lujans to a new world, along with all of their Townies. I added a few characters that I’d come up with in the meantime, some of whom still exist in some form, and planned to give makeovers to all of my townies and ship them out to the Gallery. Two of those posts still exist, but my grand plans eventually fell through.

My next posts are from early 2017, and were created as part of the Pen Pal Project. My first sim, Dove, was an alien scientist – the next was a vampire named Aylin. Dove has largely disappeared, in part because her save was inadvertently deleted, but not before helping to establish the large, complicated world of the Collab for AAC. Aylin has showed up in a crossover with the amazing CathyTea as part of the third movement of her incredible New World Symphony, mentoring the young runaway Sylvia Zoranto – but there’s much more to Aylin (and her “dark form” Ingram) than I’ve ever revealed on this blog. More recently (in February 2018) we heard from her “ward” Tanvi – but the “Aylinverse” has more characters than just those few. Will we hear more from them? Only time will tell.

There are many “fragments” littered about this site too, such as the two posts of the House story, the scattered letters from Kiana (also a tie-in with the Pen Pal Project), the beginnings of a mysterious project entitled “For Whom the Bell Tolls“, the single post “A Beginning“, and a few more Pen Pal letters from Christy Galea and her ghostly friend Universe. All of them were once planned stories, but whether or not I revisit them depends on whether or not I still like their concepts.

September 2017 also brought the story “Friends“: a completed story in sixteen parts. It had a lot of holes and overall isn’t my best work – but I did finish it! By writing small, simple updates and posting several times a day when the inspiration struck, I was able to crank out a full plot in 10 days. I occasionally get the urge to revisit or redo this story – but we’ll see about that.

Most recently, I’ve put forward several new story beginnings, notable Strange Days and From the Logbook of Erika Oba. I may try to continue FLEO at some point, but Strange Days is officially canceled – I have plans for the characters, but they don’t involve SimsLit. The pilot for Renovatrix also came out, as did an initial post for something I wanted to call “Morning Glow”. Renovatrix is alive and well in my mind, but I don’t think Morning Glow will happen anytime soon.

My favorite posts, however, are “Alice” and “Juntas“. “Alice” was written for the Monthly Simlit Short Story Challenge and “Juntas” was written because I felt like it, but these short, one-shot stories are the ones I consider the best examples of my current writing. Dealing with themes of mental illness, lesbian relationships, and cultural paradigms, these stories provide the best example of where I want to go in the future.

Most recently, of course, I posted the short teaser “Rain“. I’m really excited about this story, and I’m hoping it goes well.

So, that’s the blog as it stands. Where are we going from here?

I’m hoping to post the first part of the story teased in “Rain” very soon! It’s not going to be an easy story – but I hope it will be good.

I have a couple episodes of Renovatrix partially screenshotted. I don’t know when they’ll be ready – but I hope you’ll like them when they come out.

I have a lot of ideas for reworking old stories and fragments to fit with my current writing and playstyle. Red Herrings isn’t dead – neither are House, For Whom the Bell Tolls, or even McKenna and her townies.

I’m going to try and post between 2-3 times a month at the very least this year. I don’t want to ever go completely silent again. With all the ideas I’ve got, it shouldn’t be hard.

Thanks for reading this long post. If you have any thoughts – comment! I’d love to hear from you.

Yours,

Xaneathmar.

Categories
Left Behind

Rain

There is nothing so hard as leaving without a chance to say goodbye.

Nothing, perhaps, except being left behind.

Categories
Strange Days Week One

SDW1: Day 1

Dear dangerous diary,

Last night I I decided to investigate the lab. On my own.

I went to talk to Erwin first. Like I thought, there was more to the picture than what we were told. So glad I can lipread – he’s bugged. I knew they had bugs in the Underground; I didn’t know it was that many. At this point, the Underground exists because it’s permitted. I should tell someone. They deserve to know. What point would it serve? If I tell them their op is a sham, they disbelieve me or panic. Neither will help.

Anyhow, I got something really useful. The sandies are always warning us about the fence around the lab – well, fence don’t work when it got holes! Big holes. I didn’t have to duck.

Apparently they’re very confident in their stupid broken fence. They just leave everything lying around. There wasn’t always useful info – I went through a lot of lunch receipts –

–but sometimes, I found some stuff. A lot of the scientists on the upper levels weren’t doing anything interesting, but there’s still the occasional note mentioning the impact on their work. Interference, noise – that kinda thing. I don’t think anybody who actually knew what was going on downstairs made it, which is good news for me. The sandies are just as stuck as I am.

The biggest piece of evidence for that is the door to the next level – closed. And locked. Even if somebody had an ID card, they don’t have it now. I might even have a leg up here if I can get one before they do.

There is one thing I’m nervous about, though. On my way out, I spotted some plant bulbs. Really big ones.

I’d be less worried if they didn’t glow.

Categories
From the Logbook of Erika Oba

FLEO Entry 2: Rats!

My dear future self,

I suppose that you will look back on this and laugh, sitting in an apartment in San Myshuno, but right now I feel like I drank a bar’s worth of Boiler Rooms! Ugh!

You, of course, will remember it – being awakened from a relatively peaceful slumber by the scratching of tiny claws of the floor. I turned on the lights only to see a little rat scurrying out of a hole in the wall!

Part of me knows, rationally, that the rat needed somewhere to go. It was raining heavily outside; I suppose it had been flooded out. Perhaps I should have pitied it, but I was rather startled.

I put down a trap at the hole as the rat scurried between my feet. Gyehhhh, I think there were two. One of them ran over my foot.

I’m going to have to fix these walls. They’re terribly drafty anyways.

-Erika

Categories
One-offs

Alice

I wrote this story for the Monthly Simlit Story Challenge! Please visit the forums and real all of the other June stories!
https://forums.thesims.com/en_US/discussion/956705/monthly-simlit-short-story-challenge/p1

She has insomnia – that’s what she told me that night we met at the bar in the dark hours of the morning. She can’t sleep, so she goes out for a swim. It calms her mind. Usually I roll over and ignore it, but I couldn’t sleep either. Something in the back of my mind told me to get up.

I found her on the pontoon, staring at the wedding arch. Her parents had made it out of fresh palm leaves just that morning. I can’t imagine what she was thinking, really – I never can. There’s an unfathomable sadness in those seaweed eyes sometimes, something I can’t really ever hope to understand. All I can do is be there.

I went up and stood by her side. After a while, she turned to me.

“The sea is beautiful at night.”

I put my hand on her shoulder. She looked away, then back at me. For a moment, I thought she was going to say something else – but she didn’t.

We went back to bed. For once, she slept.

The next morning, I was nervous. I’ve never been able to say how I feel in public, not once, so we’d decided to have our ceremony alone. I must have looked silly, walking down that empty isle in my white gown with flowers in my hair, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was the fear, however unreal, that something would go wrong, that she wouldn’t be there.

Then, of course, I saw her standing under the arch. My Alice. She was wearing her mother’s wedding jewelry, the blue-silver necklace with the matching earrings, and a fishtail gown in ocean blue. She had never looked more like a creature of the waves.

We said our vows to each other. There was no one else we needed, no-one we needed to prove our love to. Our witnesses were the sun and the sea and the sky. No-one else mattered.

We invited our parents over to celebrate later, of course. We all sat in our little kitchen, laughing and drinking kava. When they had all left, we stood by the bonfire we had lit and watched the driftwood flames burn blue.

In those fires I saw her at last. Through all the unfathomable depths of her soul a song came shining through, haunting and profound. It had no words, but it said everything it needed to say.

We lay in the sand till dawn, the waves lapping at our feet. Dolphins called in the distance. Somewhere far away, very far and very deep, I thought I heard a heartbeat.

I always used to wonder where Alice goes at night. Does she swim with the dolphins, chattering with them as they race by? I used to think so, but now I know better. She’s looking for tears in the depths of the sea, trying to find the sorrow that will allow her to drown her pain. If she finds what she’s looking for, will the shadow over her dreams pass by? Will the sun finally come up for her, and will she finally be able to dance in the rain?

There are good days and there are bad ones for her. There always will be.

Still, it’s just like she told me that day, as the dawn finally came to wake up the world. With her heart and her eyes and her music and her fire and her soul, she told me what her words could never accomplish.

She found what she was looking for in me.