Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chapter 11 Mark

“Edy hasn’t been out in her garden for a while.”

To anyone else making such an obvious observation, my only response would be, “Duh.” But Mel has such an innocent way of speaking that I just can’t be mean to her.

“Well, Mel, that’s why we’re here,” I say as I tip the watering can to pour water on the parched roots of the tomato plant.

It’s been two weeks now. Each day is a torturous trial to see who can be the most uncomfortably quiet. Edy usually wins because Mel and me are too busy glancing at each other trying to have silent conversations with just our eyes.

It’s a little ridiculous to be honest.

He’s different too in his way. Don’t get me wrong, he’s always been quiet, except for a few well articulated yet still grunted commands. But he’s never not talked to Edy for this long.

Just wish I knew what the hell happened.

“Will-- Do you think she’ll be okay?” Mel asks quietly. Like I’m the mind reader.

“I dunno. I don’t even know what happened.”

Mel picks at one of the leaves as I water the next tomato plant. “Mark, do you think-- do you think maybe he hurt her?”

Something about the way she asks makes me stop to look at her. “Hurt her? She didn’t have a mark on her. He’s never hit her best that I know.”

Mel doesn’t look up. “Not hit, but like-- hurt her.”

Right away, my stomach tightens. Something tells me the kind of hurt Mel’s talking about is the kind of hurt Edy wouldn’t know anything about. But it’s probably something Mel is all too familiar with.

I kneel and grab a weed at the base of one of the plants. “No. I don’t think so.”

Michael's already at his seat waiting for dinner. I'm pretty sure we're not late; he's early. But I hold my breath anyway as I put his plate down in front of him.

"Where's Edith?"

"Uh, well..." Is there a nice way to tell him that her seeing him probably won't be helpful right now? Somehow it seems that no matter how I say it, I'm going to end up getting hit or whatever the hell he does. Not that he has done anything to me before, but that's always been because Edy would get between us. "She's not feeling well."

Of course Michael then has to stand up. "Let me see her."

Well crap. He's only two years older than me, but he's still a big guy. I'm guessing it has to do with whatever they did to him at the labs. Not that his body is usually his weapon of choice from what little I've gathered from Edy.

"Uh..." Whatever happened that night made Edy cry too hard to speak. Edy still won't talk about it, and can I blame her? Edy, Mel, and me have all come to an unspoken agreement that we won't talk about those things.

Then I have to get a little mad. He can't demand to see her after doing whatever the hell it was he did. "Alright, look, we need time. She needs time." I try my best to stand my ground like my step father always said a man should. The man was an asshole, but he had a point.

He glares at me hard for a long moment before he concedes and sits back down.

Back in the kitchen, Edy seems to forget that food has to be eaten to get nourishment. She sits there breathing it in. I really don't know what to say to her since I really don't know what happened that night.

"He was asking about you, Edy."

Edy looks up at me then like she's angry at me. Me of all people! I just stood up to Michael for her, and she's mad at me! "He was out there? Mark don't do things like that for my sake!"

Edy is harder to impress than Mel. She worries all the time. Her thing is worrying about others. But I think that at least more than half the time, she doesn't worry about the right thing. I mean, here she is worried about me facing Michael when that's honestly the last of my worries. I'm almost sixteen now and I'm hiding away under the protection of a girl who's under the protection of a very scary Experiment. I know, doesn’t that just seem manly and adult? Well, at least if I ever leave I’ll be useful in some way right? I mean, I can’t fight, and I have no powers but I can read a lot.

I don’t really mean to sound bitter. But its true. It’s like I can’t leave here. If I ever did, I’d only be good for someone to test their skills out on me once. And just how long can I really stay here?

But this is supposed to be about Edy. Edy is the concern right now. It’s easier to deal with Edy and Mel than it is to think about my own future.

Next Chapter -->


Bonus: My crazy mind

Would you like to see what I deal with when I'm trying to work on this story?

The issue is that there are so many characters that pass through, each having some history that is what makes the character behave the way they do. Their history is what gives them connections to other characters that pass through the story. And seriously most all of the characters I add to the story end up having some story, so even if you don't hear it right away, it's there.

Let me show you a graphical representation of what happens when I start working on something:

Look ma, no spoilers.

Right now I am trying to work on Paula's story, but as you can see it gets complicated. My excuse is just that her story is the oldest to me.

What happens is that as I start writing, a character will pop up and then I have to travel down that branch and explore that character's relationship with some other character and see how it affects the current story. Sometimes it completely changes the story. (As of right now, those are all branches that I have explored so far.)

Michael and Edith are clouds in the sky here, but I had the same issue with this story. Mark, Mel, Gina-- those three in particular begged to tell their stories. And even though I couldn't fit them in this story, you see what happens. Mel sneaks stuff into this chapter, Gina will get her own story, and Mark... well he gets this chapter for now.

Anyway, I always find this stuff interesting when other people share this stuff with me, so I thought I'd share with you in case others find this stuff interesting too.


  1. Your character relationship tree is very interesting--I would never have thought to visualize my characters like that, but I can see how it could be done! I'll say more on this at VSS (my comment would take up, like ridiculous amounts of space).

    It's wonderful to hear about Mark and Mel again--and to see how concerned they are about Edy. I like the contrast of Mark's behavior and feelings (utterly normal) to what we can imagine is going on with Michael. It works really well to illustrate the strangeness of the situation.

  2. It was very interesting to see your character tree! I generally have no insight into what story-writers do to keep everything in their head straight - I just write Sullivan as I go, with no particular plans. So this sort of thing always catches my attention.

    Speaking of, I loved getting another perspective on this story through Mark's eyes. Mel seems pretty insightful for such a young girl, though I suppose she's grown up pretty fast. Like all of them, I guess.

    I really like that Mark is so protective of Edy. It was great to see him stand up to Michael like that, especially seeing it could have been at great personal risk. In Mark's mind, anyway. I get the impression that Michael actually wouldn't be too inclined to hurt Edy, Mark or Mel - they're important to him, for whatever reasons.

    By the way, I really like Mark as a character but also as a Sim. His face reminds me of someone in real life - an actor, I think - but I can't think who. Especially in the picture where he's getting angry at Michael. Love his freckles too!

  3. Poor Mark and Mel; they've been there, just in the background and out of the way like Michael asked.

    Thanks, Rachel. I'm glad this worked out in contrast to the rest of the story. Edy's just in no mood here to tell her story.

    Carla, I basically wrote Tierra de Legado as I went, with some planning ahead, but that was mostly based on game play. This is how I actually write since this story has absolutely nothing to do with sims. It's kind of fun-- it was my sims before sims. I'd just write and write, going through the tree.

    Yeah, Mark and Michael-- that's one relationship that is a bit dicey. I tend to think that Michael wouldn't hurt him; Edy's very attached to him. Still, Mark shouldn't test these things out!

    Thanks, Carla. Yeah I was noticing his face while taking the pictures, but I haven't got a clue who he'd remind me of. But the freckles are cute. I'm thinking of picking up some body freckles for him for just in case. XD

  4. Oh wow, Mel just broke my heart in this one. She's a very grown-up little girl, isn't she? I love that they're both looking out for Edy though.

    Mark is adorable! I just loved his "well crap" lol! So simple, yet so appropriate! :) And the poor kid, what an impossible lack of future for him to look forward to, and at such a pivotal age!

    Wow, that character tree! That kicks ass! I'm always very interested in a character's history too, and I can hardly even write them at all until I know where they've come from.

    And I wonder, if Paula's story is the oldest and most complicated, maybe you're meant to tell it last?

  5. Yeah, I think in many ways Mark and Mel are a little bit more grown up than Edy is. Though Edy's been the one taking care of them since they arrived there.

    I had a lot of fun with Mark. His voice came out clear enough I could taste it. "Hmm... bitter served with a little bit of humor. Tasty!"

    lol, thank. Yeah, it makes sense, but I didn't honestly figure it out until recently.

    The section of Paula's story I'm sharing actually takes place a few years earlier from the present of this story, and is an introduction. If it had come earlier, I probably could have or should have shared it first, but these silly stories come when they feel they would like to make an appearance.

  6. Poor Mel! A little girl should not know about that sort of thing and Mark is very mature to pick up on it and give her that simple answer.

    But before I forget, I was amazed she could speak, I thought her trauma had left her mute.

    Then again, he sounds refreshingly like a normal teenager, looks like one too. It underlines Michael's strangeness.

    The way he stands up for Edy is really cool. It's normal for his age and gender too to somewhat challenge the 'alpha-male'.

    I'm glad Michael allowed for it. He doesn't need to prove anything to Mark and it somehow shows again there is care and some remote respect for those he has taken under his roof.

    This was wonderful, a breath of fresh air! It als eased the high-strung tension in the story a little, even if Edy is not alright.
    Maybe because those other experiments have gone... and it's just about the people who actually live in this house.

    Wow! Love your drawing and I'm grateful for your bonus explanation. I can see how your story grows organically and appreciate the complexity of the actual story-telling. :)

  7. Mark is too experienced himself with the way the world works here. Unfortunately, he was not surprised, though he still didn't like hearing it.

    lol, I know what you mean. This is probably the most she's spoken to him as well. But she did speak in the first chapter. She sets him up for a horrible punchline.

    He was refreshing. A nice treat, and he is very normal despite the world he lives in.

    We will definitely see these guys again. I can promise that. I really love Mark too much.

    Thanks Moondaisy. Let me tell ya, you were missed! XD

  8. I had to come back and comment on your 'tree'. Yeah. I get that. Once you see a branch, you have to follow it back, see where it comes from, where it goes, and what it touches on the way. The graphical description is wonderful! I see things almost the same way but to see it as a tree is a revelation.

    Mark is a total surprise. The break in the tension that actually illuminates the 'main' branch. Astonishingly mature, resigned, but not cynical. And possessed of rare courage, although he seems to realize there really isn't any other option but stand his ground. Wonderful!

  9. I thought you would. The thing that struck me once I realized that there were more blogs with more stories, I was excited that there were other people like me who can't help it! And I was all sad because I hadn't seen Raine or Ryan in Sessions.

    Thank you. I really loved writing Mark. We have to see him again one day.

  10. It was exciting for me too! I'm interested in how you're going to handle it since I've found it difficult to really get into the 'branches' without going off on tangents. Rainie and Ryan...Ryan in particular threatened to hijack Sessions. They were in earlier chapters.

    You managed it perfectly. I'd like to check out your Valley Sun Sims Forum, particularly if you get into stuff like this!

  11. I do find your tree sketch very interesting. Lots of characters to explore there. I am hopeless at keeping track of more than three characters without confusing the hell out of myself!

    It was intriguing to see a chapter from another perspective of things and the situation going on between Eddy and Michael.

    Sorry for the comment spammage you will be getting. Catching up now that I am finally back home.

  12. It can be difficult. I want to focus the story, and I keep tripping over characters. It's just that the Southlands is such a populated place. Edy here is so isolated. She really only has one main focus.

    Paula is going to have three people to watch by the looks of it.

    But in my head, all these characters just hang out waiting off stage for their chance to tell their story.

    I'm wordy today! Anyway, thank you very much for your comments. It's a pleasure to have you back, and it's just as wonderful to wake up to your comments.