Monday, 26 August 2013

Chapter 1.14 - Lost and Damned

They arrived at an old, seemingly abandoned house just as the sun disappeared behind the horizon. Charlotte gazed at Chantia with a mysterious smile before disappearing into the house through the weathered front door. Chantia shuddered slightly as shivers ran down her spine.
Very cautiously, Chantia walked to the house and opened the door, shyly glancing inside. The sight inside that greeted her was enough to make her leave the safety of the doorway completely. She had expected the house inside to be old and weathered and ruined, but it wasn’t. She would almost say it looked cosy, if it wasn’t for the darkness and mist filling the house.
“What is this place?” Chantia breathed in amazement as she looked around her in awe.
The soft giggle sounding behind her caused her to spin around with her heart in her throat. She only relaxed when she recognised the figure standing in front of her.
“This is my home,” Charlotte explained, gesturing at the room around her. “This is the only place where we can use the items around us, so we’ve been living is this house ever since we found it.”
Chantia stared at Charlotte, her head spinning with questions. She continued staring at Charlotte for a couple of seconds as she tried to decide which question to ask first. She finally settled on asking the one that was foremost on her mind.
“Us? We?”
Charlotte nodded with a broad smile on her face. “Yes, us,” she confirmed before drifting towards the next room, gesturing at Chantia to follow her. “I live here with four others like me. Eternal…life, death, unlife, whatever you wanna call it…can get rather lonely after a while,” Charlotte explained before turning inquisitive eyes towards Chantia. “How much do you remember from our first meeting?” Charlotte questioned the living girl.
Chantia furrowed her brows, trying to remember. “Not much,” she confessed. “Just something about a song and being special…” She shrugged. “Not much,” she repeated.
Charlotte smiled reassuringly at her. “I told you that you are a very special girl,” Charlotte reminded Chantia. “Because you were exposed to The Song when you were very vulnerable, you are able to see us; the Lost. You are special in that you are one of the very few Living that are able to see the Lost and Damned.”
Chantia stared at Charlotte with wide eyes. “The Damned?” Chantia breathed with a hint of fear in her voice.
Charlotte shrugged nonchalantly. “Yes, the Damned,” she confirmed. “Lost ones who have drifted the worlds for so long that they have forgotten what they used to be,” she explained. “The magic of our sister world has twisted them beyond recognition,” she clarified before shaking her head as if to dislocate unpleasant thoughts. “But that is a very long tale that is best left till later,” Charlotte stated and continued with her original subject.
“Thing is, because only the Exposed can see us, it can get very lonely and depressing to walk amongst the Living and never be seen, so we Lost tend to drift to each other, if only to alleviate the loneliness,” Charlotte continued her explanation. “That is why I brought you here,” Charlotte finally explained. “I’d like you to meet the others,” she stated and came to a halt right in front of the door leading to the next room.
Chantia blinked and looked at the door, softly biting her lip. “I don’t know,” she hesitated. “What if they hurt me?”
Charlotte shook her head, trying to reassure the younger girl. “They won’t,” she promised. Helen can be a bit scary, but the others are all very nice and none of them will ever try to harm you,” she vowed and placed her hand across her heart. “I promise.”
Chantia took a deep breath and nodded. She was a brave girl; she had nothing to be afraid of.
Charlotte beamed at Chantia and drifted through the door into the room. Chantia hesitated a second before knocking on the door and entering the room.
She felt a bit uncomfortable at the colourless gazes fixed upon her, but she forced herself to stand straight.
“Hi,” she greeted them, shifting a little, “I’m Chantia.” Silence fell across the room for a second as the ghosts all stared at her. It was finally broken when the white ghost placed her hand on her chest.
“Oh my,” the ghost stated, “you can see us?” At Chantia’s nod, the woman stood up and approached Chantia. She inclined her head towards the living girl before introducing herself. “I am Angelica Shipp. It is very nice to meet you, Young Lady Chantia,” she stated before gesturing at the others and introducing them. The orange ghost was Helen Wills, the darker blue one was Clint Hewitt and the light blue ghost teen was Frederick McLaughlin.
Chantia nodded at them. “Nice to meet you,” she replied pleasantly. Angelica smiled proudly at her before gesturing the girl towards a seat. Chantia gingerly sat on the chair, half-afraid that it would collapse beneath her, but it didn’t.
“Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself, young lady?” Angelica asked with a pleasant smile on her face. Chantia glanced at Charlotte for guidance, but the broad smile on Charlotte’s face reassured her, causing her to fall into pleasant conversation with the ghosts gathered around her.
On the other side of town, Evelyn was getting frantic. She couldn’t find her child anywhere in the house nor the yard. As the Full Moon rose into the night sky, she was sharply reminded of the first time she couldn’t find her child, only to later find the girl staring at the moon. Frantically, she called Chantia, hoping the girl would answer, but the call never connected.
“Stay here,” Evelyn ordered Mia before locking the doors and leaving the house, anxious to find her child. She searched at the school, the park and even the beach, but she couldn’t find any sign of her child.
Back at the ghosts’ house, Chantia started in surprise when she noticed how dark it had gotten. She turned to Charlotte, realizing she needed to get home.
“I have to go home,” Chantia told the ghost with an imploring look in her eyes. Charlotte stared at Chantia for a couple of seconds before she shrugged, giving in to the girl’s silent pleas.
“Okay,” Charlotte agreed, “but promise me you’ll come visit us again?”
Chantia nodded fervently before pulling her incorporeal friend into a hug, missing the awed expression on the ghost’s face. “Of course,” she promised earnestly. Charlotte smiled and a bright circle formed around Chantia.
Another flash of light later, Chantia found herself standing in the living room of her house with Charlotte nowhere in sight. Mia looked up from her playing, staring at Chantia with a questioning eyebrow.
“Mommy’s looking for you, you know,” the younger girl stated nonchalantly. Chantia immediately scowled.
“No one asked you!” Chantia snapped and spun away from her sister, stomping off towards their room.
Mia merely shrugged and sent a text to their mom before returning to the blocks in front of her. Minutes later, Evelyn returned and immediately went to the girls’ room at Mia’s gesture.
Upstairs, Evelyn started scolding her daughter. She had been terrified to find her child missing and Chantia’s current attitude towards her was definitely not helping either. The argument escalated until Evelyn finally grounded the girl.
“I hate you!” Chantia declared venomously. “I wish you weren’t my mother!” With that Chantia fled out of the room and into the bathroom, locking the door behind her.
The atmosphere in the house was tense for the rest of the night, especially when the girls finally retreated to bed. Before bed, Chantia got in a major fight with Mia, causing Evelyn to revoke her privileges even further.
The next couple of days that passed after that event were a complete nightmare for Evelyn as Chantia tried to show her mother her displeasure. Everything started to go wrong around the house, such as sinks sprouting water at inopportune moments…
…additional cases of shower dye…
…and the toilet overflowing after use.
Evelyn scolded Chantia after each prank, but the girl merely raised an eyebrow and shrugged, booby-trapping another object right after the scolding session. Nothing Evelyn did seemed to help with the girl’s attitude.
To top things off, the relationship between Chantia and Mia was at an all-time low as the girls constantly fought whenever they were in each other’s presence. For the first time in her life, Evelyn started to gain a bit of respect for her mother. She considered phoning the woman for advice a couple of times, but never did. Her mother had disinherited her, so there was no way the woman would help her with her problems.
There was no use trying.
The title of this chapter is from the song ‘Lost and Damned’ by Kamelot.
I should probably mention that Evelyn aged up in this chapter, but it never really came up. As you might recall, I had tremendous problems with the full moon and CTDs and Error 12’s. The day of the full moon and the day after it were terrible for my poor game, since Mia aged up the day of the full moon (which was usually a crash-worthy event), I couldn’t save during the full moon and Evelyn aged up the day after (which was another crash-worthy event!). The first time Evi aged she got a midlife crisis and I really wanted to put it in this chapter, but then my game crashed and I lost the midlife crisis. The next time she aged the game saved perfectly with no CTD, but she didn’t get the midlife crisis. I decided that I’d rather have a playable game without the midlife crisis than an unplayable game with it. 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Chapter 1.13 - Premonitions and Reunions

Of course, Evelyn should’ve known that things wouldn’t remain settled for long. She loved her daughter unconditionally, but sometimes she couldn’t help but worry over the fact that her daughter was…different.
It started off quite innocently. Evelyn and Chantia had been eating dinner when Chantia brought up a different kind of topic than usual.
“Trent House’s grandmother is going to die tonight,” Chantia stated nonchalantly. Trent House was one of Chantia’s classmates. Evelyn choked on her food before staring incredulously at her daughter.

“Chantia! You can’t say something like that!” Evelyn admonished the girl. Chantia merely shrugged her shoulder before taking another bite of her vanilla muffin.
“What? It’s true,” she insisted. “I can hear it. The Song…it’s singing for her. When the current repeat is done, she’s going to die.” She cheerfully hummed a low tune, the sound causing shivers to run down Evelyn’s back. It was almost as if she could feel the presence of Death in the tune Chantia hummed.

“That’s nonsense,” she sniped. “You can’t just go around claiming people are going to die.” She was deeply frightened by her daughter’s behaviour, once again reminded of that strange night when Chantia had been a toddler and Evelyn had found her staring at the moon. It wasn’t normal. It wasn’t normal to stare at the moon and it certainly wasn’t normal for children to predict people’s deaths. “Don’t ever say that,” she warned her daughter.

Chantia blinked in surprise and stared at her mother before cocking her head slightly. “Why not?” Chantia questioned. “It’s true,” the girl insisted again.
“I don’t care if you think it’s true or not, don’t say it,” Evelyn lectured the girl. Her head spun with the implications of Chantia’s words. It was nonsense, of course. It had to be. There was no way her daughter was able to predict people’s deaths.

Chantia threw her hands up in surrender. “Okay,” she promised, clearly confused by her mother’s behaviour. Evelyn accepted the promise and spent the rest of the night trying to drive the event out of her mind. Of course, her attempts were futile. She laid awake until late in the night.

The next day at work, she realised her fears hadn’t been unfounded. It turned out that the Chantia’s classmate’s grandmother had indeed died the previous night. The woman had been ill for some time and had finally succumbed to her illness, so it didn’t come as a surprise. It could be a coincidence that Chantia had predicted the woman’s death. Still, the implications of that event caused shivers to run down Evelyn’s spine. She had to see Gustave, discuss it with him. It was time to go to Champs Les Sims.
Later that night, Evelyn called Gustave to tell him of her plans. She didn’t tell him about Chantia’s premonition, deciding it would be better to tell him face-to-face. He was ecstatic to hear that they were going to Champs Les Sims. They spent hours on the phone, making plans and discussing options.
Evelyn made the reservations for their trip and on the days when Chantia had her afternoon activities, Evelyn spent time in the library, again searching for possible answers. Unlike the previous time, she got a couple of leads, but none of them were conclusive. The one lead she thought held the most promise ended up culminating in information about joining some kind of mystical club that specialised in paranormal events. Evelyn wanted nothing to do with that whatsoever, so she was forced to put a halt to her search.
Chantia enjoyed school a lot, as well as the Scouting Club she belonged to. In her opinion, the school she attended was the best one to ever exist. Of course, the field trip the school arranged to the Landgraab Industries Science Facility did nothing to disabuse her of that notion.
She enjoyed the field trip immensely, hearing about the history of the Science Facility and looking at their past discoveries and inventions.
The best part though was when they all got souvenirs! She loved the science model she received and proudly displayed it in the bedroom she shared with her sister.
When she got home though, her day took a turn for the worse. She had forgotten that it was Mia’s birthday, but she was quickly reminded of that fact when she walked into the house and noticed the large birthday cake on the counter.
She glared at the toddler playing happily on the floor before stomping off to her room to do homework. She wanted nothing to do with her sister’s special day.
Unfortunately for Chantia, Evelyn wouldn’t let her stay in her room while celebrating Mia’s birthday. While Evelyn enthusiastically helped Mia blow out her candles, Chantia stared on, sulking the entire time and hating every second of it.
Mia on the other hand, enjoyed every second of it. She got to have cake! And she was going to be a big girl!

Evelyn cheered happily for Mia, never even noticing that Chantia quietly slipped out of the room. Mia didn’t notice either, for her entire attention was fixed on the large cake in front of her.
Chantia took refuge in the bathroom, unwilling to face the celebration in the kitchen. It was there that she saw something familiar and entirely forgot about the birthday her family were celebrating.
 “You’re…Charlotte, aren’t you?” Chantia asked the familiar figure standing in the bathroom. The golden girl swung around with surprise evident on her face. Her face lightened up in joy at the sight of Chantia standing in front of her.
“You remembered!” Charlotte exclaimed happily. “I thought…I thought you wouldn’t,” she confessed. Chantia tilted her head, staring at the transparent girl.

“Of course I remember,” she stated matter-of-factly. “Why wouldn’t I?”
Charlotte shifted slightly before making a grab for Chantia’s hand. “Come on, let’s get out of here!”
Chantia pulled back slightly. “We can’t! My mommy and she are out there!” Chantia protested with a scowl on her face.

Charlotte paused, looking intently at Chantia. “So? How does that make a difference?”
“I don’t want them to see me! Mommy’s going to make me sit there and watch the baby be happy!” Chantia tried to explain.
“So basically, you just don’t want them to see you?” Charlotte questioned. At Chantia’s confirming nod, she continued. “Oh, it’s okay then. I can get us out of here without anybody seeing us.”
Chantia stared sceptically at the ghost. “Are you sure?” Charlotte nodded fervently, causing Chantia to give in. “Okay then, if you’re really sure…”
Charlotte beamed happily at the concession. “Great!” she enthused and before Chantia was completely aware of what was happening, a bright light sprung up around them…
…and the next moment, they were standing outside, causing Chantia to stare around her in surprise.
“That was…” Chantia stammered, trying to explain the experience.
“Pretty amazing, huh?” Charlotte finished for Chantia, causing the younger girl to nod stupidly. “That is one of the few perks being a ghost have,” she explained.
“So, you really are real?” Chantia questioned. “I always thought…I thought that you were just a dream, or something,” Chantia confessed. “When I tried to tell Mommy about you, she said you weren’t real.”
A sad look slipped onto Charlotte’s face. “Yeah, she would,” she agreed. “That’s what most people will say, Chantia,” she girl confessed.
“But why?” Chantia asked, cocking her head slightly in confusion. Charlotte shrugged in response.
“Because not many people can see me,” she confessed. “You’ve been exposed to The Song, so you can, but other people-“
“The Song?” Chantia interrupted the ghost. “You mean this one?” Chantia asked and hummed the tune softly. Charlotte’s colourless eyes widened in surprise at the sound.
“You can still hear The Song?” Charlotte asked breathlessly. Chantia nodded, confused at the ghost’s reaction.
Charlotte leaned forward eagerly. “Come with me,” she begged the living girl. “I want to show you something.” Without hesitation, Chantia nodded and the two of them disappeared in a brilliant flash of light.