Friday, October 2, 2009

Chapter 4 Back to Life

Edith - 12
Michael - 10

"The Old Man wants us to go with him to the village tomorrow. Do you want to go?"

Michael's voice softly broke the silence of the candle lit room.

Both of us were young kids. The difference was that he had the mental capacity of someone much older. Having filched those of the adults around him who were experimenting on him and those that had broken in to help him, he also had the experience of someone much older and knew more of the world than I did.

It didn't help him understand my reaction to that terrible night-- That Night months before this invitation which changed my life and his forever. Even with all the time he'd spent inside my head before it happened, he still seemed to have trouble understanding.

I remember shaking my head in the dim light. Nights spent in the same room with him awkwardly ignoring the silence between us was already hard enough. The last thing I wanted was to go somewhere with him and one of the other experiments who were occupying the lab.

His small body shifted. The mattress hardly moved under his weight. Most likely his eyes were on me as I huddled on top of the covers pretending to nap. "I think you'd like it," he softly countered.

Maybe he was talking in code. Maybe "I think you'd like it" meant he would finally get rid of me, give me away to someone in the village and have done with it instead of keeping me awkwardly at his side when we ate with the others or having me stay in the room when he was gone.

So I'd partially hoped and feared. I nodded. "Okay."

I'd never had any issues with the Old Man anyway. He'd always been the kindest to me; he usually served me first with a smile that seemed to understand. He was called "Old Man" because he was so much older than the others. Grey hair peppered throughout his black hair similar to the way my father’s would have been if he'd been given a few more years.

“I had a daughter your age,” the Old Man said as we walked into town from the spot he'd had Michael teleport us to. “Her name was Maya. Looked just like her mother.” Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Michael ignoring our chatter. “The point is I know how a young girl should be treated. Being locked inside a room isn’t the way.” The Old Man smiled gently down at me, but I could see his eyes looking past me at Michael. “You must get bored sweetie.”

“S--sometimes.” There were so many other issues that boredom was of my lowest concern by that point. I was only twelve, and I was locked in the remnants of my home surrounded by dangerous experiments-- sharing a room and a bed with the most dangerous of them. The one who I had thought was my friend.

Once we were at the village, the old man gave us leave to go “do kid things” while he did the bartering and trading. It was the first time in months that I’d had any sort of leverage on Michael. I knew he didn’t understand what it was like to be a kid, even though he was younger than me.

We walked around until we saw some kids playing. One kid was chasing another around until they were out of breath. “What’re they doing?” Michael asked with a small amount of contempt in his voice as if whatever it was could only be beneath him.

“They’re playing tag.”

It had probably been the most I’d spoken to him since that day. Michael's eyes focused on me as he caught his breath. Hesitantly, he asked, “Did you want to go play it?”

The kids ran around on the other side of the fence laughing until they couldn't breathe. Truly terrified crying, painful hurt crying ended much in the same way, and it reminded me exactly of That Night.

My throat tightened, and I looked away. “No. Let’s walk around some more.”

Michael gently took my hand and lead me to a small junk shop where he bought me some books. The unknowing shop attendant smiled at him. “Buying your big sister some books. Isn’t that sweet of you?” I’m sure I turned quite red in the face, but Michael only accepted his change with a small thanks.

It was when we were heading back to the meeting point that the trouble started. There was a group of kids loudly cheering as a few of the older kids pushed one in particular, taunting and jeering him the same way the other experiments had on That Night.

Michael’s hand fell on my arm. It was a surprisingly small hand considering what I knew he could do. Breaking free of his grasp was not difficult at all. Before I had a chance to stop and think, I was in the middle of the fight.

“Leave him alone!”

My hands wrapped around the arms of the older boy, pushing him out of the way. The others who were now behind me stopped to stare at me in surprise for a moment before they scuffled off laughing to themselves.

The boy wasn’t grateful at all. “Man, I’m never gonna live that down. Getting saved by a girl?” He wiped at the sweat and tears on his face. Once he was put together, he eyed us suspiciously. “Hey, where are you guys from? I’ve never seen you around here before.”

I glanced over at Michael. Just from his expression alone it was clear that he was no ordinary ten year old. “The lab,” he said as if he didn’t expect it to be questioned.

The boy's eyes widened. “I heard no one survived…”

“We did.” At the boy’s look, Michael seemed satisfied enough to take my hand. “Let’s go, Edith.”

On the walk back out of town, I tried to understand what had happened. It was clear that people must have known about the lab. Didn’t that mean they also knew what was going on? And if they knew what was going on, and they had heard that something bad had happened to us out there, why hadn’t anyone done something?

The thoughts stewed as we walked to a safe distance to teleport away. The Old Man tried to make polite conversation, but Michael has never been one for conversation and I was in no mood. Finally, before we teleported, I got up enough urge to blurt out, “Why didn’t they do anything?”

I stopped suddenly enough that Michael and the Old Man were a step ahead of me. Michael had to turn back to look at me. “People aren’t like you, Edith.”

The Old Man was sure he’d missed something. So he asked, and Michael explained to him what I had done. The Old Man only chuckled. “The ignorance and innocence of youth.”

“They stopped though!”

Michael said quietly. “Because I stopped them.”

At that, the Old Man’s eyebrows furrowed. His one syllable word came out carefully. “How?”

“They’re all alive, Old Man.”

Michael’s words seemed to reassure the Old Man, but the casual way he said it only reminded me of that night and how easily he could snuff out multiple lives. To save one person from a normal schoolyard teasing, I had put a small group of children at risk.

Next Chapter -->


  1. I was pretty excited when I saw the update.

    Michael is creepy even as a kid. The expressions you were able to capture of him were "shiver" worthy. What an excellent job.

    Even at that age, he's very confident isn't he. Very aware of his own abilities and what they can do.

    I sense Edith is only now becoming aware of just how dangerous Michael can be.

    A great update as always. I really enjoy reading about this world. It's so different from anything else I've read.

  2. You've really made it clear that Michael and Edith have an extremely complex relationship. From the flashes we have of the present, she seems so...defeated (except for when she's dealing with the female experiment in chapter 3). Here, she's grieving, but she still feels a need to help others. I wonder if that is why Michael keeps her around--because she isn't like the others, and he finds that valuable in some way?

  3. Thank you Carnaxa! He is definitely a creepy kid who knows exactly what he can do. He spent a lot of chapter 2 exploring them-- with Edy unfortunately. And poor Edy really had no idea. But yes, by this point she is just coming to realize how dangerous he can be.

    And thank you. It really means a lot to me that you're enjoying the world. This poor thing has been years in the making.

    Thank you, Rachel. I worry that after Michael and Edith, I won't be able to capture anything else like it again.

    Defeated is a good word for her. Even when she's dealing with Gina, it's really small things she fights over-- the use of her name and a dig with Michael's name.

    You're pretty close, pretty much dead on about why he has kept her with him all these years. I'm thinking there's a specific reason which might be clear in Chapter 2.

  4. Michael is so creepy - those sinister sideways glances TS3 kids do all the time must be perfect for Michael! He's very unsettling, even as a child. I know I've said that before!

    So the question of where Edy's father is has been answered. I figured he might be dead and now I'm curious about the whys and the hows of his death.

    I'm so hooked on this. Each chapter answers some questions and brings forth new ones!

  5. TS3 kids are utterly creepy. There are even some times when Edy creeps me out! Unsettling is another good word, especially for Michael. He's very unnatural in so many regards.

    Oh, we'll get to that part soon, most definitely. That is one part that I am pretty sure I won't have to change or edit at all. Pictures are already done even. (I needed it for the preview to Chapter 3-- heavy hint. ;) )

    Oh thank you Carla!

  6. Oh my! What did he do? And I remember the preview pic from ch. 3, and I can't wait to find out more!!!

    I have to agree with Carla, you're doing a wonderful job of answering questions while bringing up even more. Perfect storytelling format!

  7. All caught up, as I said, I stand in awe of storytellers that can craft their own worlds and mythos. Amazing stuff here. And yeah, Micheal was even creepy and had a disturbing presence as a kid.
    I am still trying to get past the look of Sims3 Sims, LOL! So different from Sims 2! And I agree, the kids are a little...ick.
    You are unfolding this at just the right pace, asking and answering questions, great storytelling.

  8. What did he do indeed! Whenever I think that though, I hear myself in my auntie/responsible adult voice asking him, "Just what DID you do?"

    Thank you, Laura!

    Hi, Drew! Haha, I just caught up on your story like yesterday myself.

    Sims 3 took a long while for me to get used to, even with CC. The benefits out weight the weirdness though now. It is so much easier to play around with the Sims 3 sims for posing. They'll move their heads and eyes to look at the targets, and while sometimes that creates some really weird looks, sometimes it makes for some really awesome shots.

  9. Agree, great story telling. I got shivers from the story paired with the photos. You've done a great job at showing Michael with a strong presence, that is more than you'd expect in a child. ditto on the unsettling comment.

  10. Thank you, Maisie. I have to admit to having a soft spot for Michael as disturbing as he can be. I'm rather afraid of some of the things he's going to do in future chapters.

  11. Hi there,
    I only came across your story today and I'm already enthralled. I'm intrigued to find out what's going to happen next and what has already happened!

    I haven't read many stories told in the first person narrative before but it was definitely a good choice! I really feel for Edy; she seems so kind hearted and genuine.

    Your world has a me a bit fearful of Edy leaving the house, but I get the impression that Michael would find some way to save her. Even if he appears to be otherwise occupied...

    Your shots are lovely!

  12. Welcome Paula!

    Oh, you are definitely picking up on some of the things I'm trying to throw out there. Makes me so happy to hear it. Because he is what he is, there is no way around it, but he and her were best friends once. It's part of what makes her so sad now.

  13. I love the way Michael is trying to comfort Edy.
    Michael has a natural contempt for the 'weaker' species, but I think he'll never forget how good Edy was when he was alone and afraid of the doctors experimenting on him.
    It must be terribly scarring to be submitted to lab practices when you are only eight years old with no family or relatives,locked up in a cell...
    I assume this is Edy brought back to life by The Old Man here? Or is there another horrible night yet to come?

  14. Yes, this is the incident Edy is referring to when she says the old man brought her back to life. This was technically his trip he arranged-- something he didn't need her or Michael for. Edy is very thankful that he invited them along, though I think she is sort of missing something.

    I have to agree with you. I don't know this, because Edy doesn't, but I do wonder about his parents. I am rather sure he did have parents. At least when he was really young.

  15. So very, very complex, yet so subtle! I know I am so far behind on everything, but I can't wait to catch up and read the rest!

    Totally. Awesome. :)

  16. Ooh, thank you. That really means a lot considering you were the one who inspired me to finally tell this story. ^__^

  17. A lot of people said it for me, but you did an awesome job with the screenshots! The looks edith and michael made were spot on! (it helps that the sims 3 sims are creepy, though.)

    Oh, wow! Now I am really starting to appreciate this story! I'm finally understanding it, and it's really good. Now I need to keep reading!

    Loved your descriptions too, btw, like the salt and pepper hair of Old Man.

  18. Thanks, Bbop! Yeah, there is a use for creepy, lol.

    I'm glad you're getting into it. It's definitely not a typical sims story. (It's not really a sims story at all.)