Friday, April 23, 2010

The Ghost




She should have known better.

It was late at night and she was still groggy from re-reading one of her books by candle light when she heard the knock at the door. That in itself wasn't strange. Parents came at all hours during the night to drop off their children into her care. Normally she hopped up quickly and opened the door, already familiar with the knock.

But this knock was new. If she'd stopped to think about it, really stopped and not just slowed down, she would have called out instead of opening the door. Not that her door was much protection from anyone who really wanted in, it was still better than nothing.

And so when she opened the door, she was unprepared for the face peering back at her with his bright blue and very keen eyes. It was a boy who was probably a year or two older than her. Right away he gave her a bad feeling. He clearly had no child to drop off, so he could only be there for some other reason.


"I'm Aaron," he said as he took a step inside making her step back. He shut the door behind himself softly as he added, "You must be Mary."

Her instinct was to fight, but she knew she had no chance. She wasn't sure what told her that. He looked like a normal boy, and he hadn't made any threatening moves towards her. The name was completely unfamiliar to her even though he obviously knew her name. One of her survival techniques she'd developed over the years was knowing things about people she never met from over heard snippets of conversations, and she knew nothing about this one.

Right then she decided that she would give no more ground. Everything was a game to them, even something so small. Even if he pushed her, she wouldn't back down.

But he didn't press forward. He was staring at her books. "You do have a lot of books."


That caught her off guard. How much did he know about her? She didn't dare turn away from him, and she didn't dare tell him that most of her books were gifts. Brandon often brought them for teaching him to read. But she knew he was still too young to be able to barter, and he wouldn't have any resources to trade any way, so the books had to come from his older brother. She had once tried to thank him one of those times they stood under the tree together, their arms so close that she could feel the heat from his skin after his workout, but he'd refused to accept her thanks.

"Brandon says you're teaching him how to read."

He turned back to her, but she refused to move. He was too close. She was so focused on the game that it took her a moment to realize that he apparently knew Brandon too.

"Wait, you know Brandon?"

"And Jimmy. They're like my brothers."

That didn't comfort her. He still unnerved her. For once she had an inkling of what it must be like for everyone else around Jimmy.

"What do you want?" She asked him, steeling her entire body to prepare for anything.


"T'see what the big deal is." He looked down at her, his face impossible for her to read. It was an unfair advantage because she knew he could probably see her discomfort written all over her face. "I don't see it. You're just a human. Brandon, though, he seems to have bonded, and if I didn't know better, I'd think he was screwing with Jimmy."

"His power wouldn't work on Jimmy." She said it before she realized her mistake. Brandon's power wasn't something she was supposed to know about.

"So you do know." He smiled at her as if he'd caught her in a lie. "So you know he bonds easily? Last thing he needs is another one like his mom."

"What business is it of yours? How do I even know you're really his friend?"


He lifted a hand and gently brushed it against her cheek. "You are kinda cute when you're angry. I'll give them that."

She had to resist the urge to shove him away from her. There was no where to run. He stood in front of the only door and behind her there was only her bed.

Instead she shook her head, shaking his hand off her face. "What're you going to do to me? Are you gonna kill me or something?" The anger bubbled in her voice making it tremble ever so slightly. If he mistook it for fear, it would piss her off more. "This is a safe place," she added for good measure to let him know she wasn't scared. "You can't do that."


He grinned then. "There are things I could do that wouldn't kill you. They wouldn't even leave a mark where anyone could see. But Brandon would know."

It was oddly disorienting to know her safety was in mind reading ability of a boy barely even a decade old.

"Let's go outside. Less temptation," he said as he opened the door indicating she should go first. She didn't feel she really had a choice.

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


"You like him don't you?"

They sat on the grass by the playground. The air was warm and the ground was still dry. It was late, but not that late yet. Mary found herself distracted by the sky overhead. It was a rare treat to see the glowing balls of light in the sky. Normally, she wouldn't dare to come out in the dark, but since she had no choice, she figured she'd make the best of it.

"Don't most girls?" She replied tensely.

"Most think he's cute. There's a difference."

Mary fidgeted, poking at the grass blades at her feet. She'd never bothered to think about it and she was sure that Jimmy hadn't either. It was best that way. Maybe she was only a pest to him, but he was the one who kept coming around. She had no where else to be. He had no excuse.

There was some retort sitting on the back of her tongue that was shattered by the sound of someone walking up.


It was two someones who walked up, probably on their way to the abandoned lot next door where the fire pits sat. Mary swore mentally as her muscles froze again. She was supposedly safe on the grounds, an agreement that Shawn, the woman who was in charge, had with all the tribe members. But it was the middle of the night and the only one outside with her was no friend of hers even if he was supposedly a friend of Brandon and Jimmy. It had been his suggestion to come outside. Perhaps he'd planned it so that when she disappeared at the hands of the two assholes before them he could feign complete ignorance. If Jimmy cared enough to do something about it, he'd have his targets and probably would never suspect the hand his friend had in it.

Mary glared at Aaron.

"Hey, it's that girl." The larger one in front smiled down at her. "Wanna go to the fire pit with us? It's just right there." He nodded towards the abandoned lot. "We'll bring you back."

He gave her the creeps as much as Aaron. She knew if she stepped off the grounds they had her. They might even drag her off. How could she really stop them when they out numbered her?

Aaron's hand brushed against the small of her back as he stood to face the two.


"We're busy." Aaron stood facing her, but looking at them. She wasn't sure in whose hands she would really be safest in. He could hardly be better than the two he was facing.

The one behind was the one who whispered something about the full tattoo on Aaron's back. That sent shivers down Mary's spine. She knew what a full tattoo meant. Full rank, usually very high ranking especially if he already had a full tattoo at this age. Jimmy had the full tattoo as well.

The one in front still tried to appear brave. It was clear that he didn't recognize Aaron, but he clearly knew what it meant to see a full tattoo and not recognize the person with it. He took one look into Aaron's eyes and the whole thing ended quietly.

"Next time," he said with a nod at Mary before they continued on their way.

Mary stood up, her stomach feeling incredibly queasy. The full tattoo at a young age, the lack of recognition from two boys who should have looked up to him the way they did Jimmy-- it wasn't a good sign. It could only mean one thing. She'd heard whispers about it, but it was one of those things that people were split on. Either they believed it or they didn't.

She faced Aaron, looking up into his eyes as the moonlight filtered through the large tree and landed on him in splotches of light. "You're a Ghost."

Mary liked to imagine that she could face anything in her own way. And she often did. Because she had nothing, it was easy. But this one, looking up at him, she knew that if he didn't want to extend mercy to her, he wouldn't. It was like looking into the eyes of death. This was different from the others she had encountered since she came here. With the others, there was always a way out if you were quick and clever. But with him, she had a feeling she wouldn't be able to be quick or clever enough.

So it gave her a small amount of satisfaction to see him almost look surprised. "You know about that?"

She nodded. People talked and they sometimes forgot she was near. The Ghosts were very high rank in the tribe-- each a rank of their own. They only answered to the Leader of the Southlands. No one knew them or anything about them. Not even what they did. But it was obvious that they weren't known for anything good.

"We trained together you know. Jimmy's not much different from me."

Mary swallowed. Was he warning her? Was Jimmy a Ghost too? But everyone knew him. "No, there's a difference." Aaron's eyes were brighter than Brandon's in color, yet they lacked something. Maybe it was just the way he'd been eying her like prey, sussing out her weaknesses as she stood before him. "I think you like hurting people."

"Do you think Jimmy doesn't?"

She couldn't say anything to that. They only spent lunch times together hanging out under the tree. What did she really know?

"You've got guts, but you're reckless. And you're a fucking human so you're going to be nothing but trouble."

She couldn't say anything back to that.

"You're kind of an idiot aren't you? Most people would run the other direction from us as fast as they could and you probably walked right up to him, didn't you?" Aaron sighed. "Maybe you're just crazy." He put a hand on her shoulder and gently nudged her to turn around. "Go home. Oh, and when you remember this tomorrow, remember how I didn't touch you, would you? Brandon's already going to be pissed. Don't need Jimmy fuckin' pissed too."




Ages: Mary ~16, Aaron ~17/18


Closing in -->


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


Hello, semi-random entry that was not planned! This story line's been written for months already. And then along comes Aaron insisting that he get to pay her a visit to check her out and see if she's worth all the trouble.

In my junk thread over at VSS I said that it was a case of my gut against my head. My brain keeps going, "But do we need it?" And my gut is sitting around with a fake little mustache she keeps grooming and a beret she has fashionably pinned to the side of her head nodding to herself and talking to characters like Aaron.

Aaron and my gut ganged up on me. But on the plus side, I bring another profile, which was meant to be shared months from now when Aaron was meant to make his proper cameo.

20 comments:

  1. OMG, OMG, OMG!!! Wow, I'm so glad you went ahead with this! This was intense! When they were in her doorway, I thought she was done for! Man, I didn't think there was a boy who could out-creep little Jimmy, but this one just might be it!

    Just the name of his rank, Ghosts! "Like looking into the eyes of death" - I felt that!

    He grinned then. "There are things I could do that wouldn't kill you. They wouldn't even leave a mark where anyone could see. But Brandon would know."

    Eeek, shivers down my spine!

    I wonder if this meeting will have her thinking about how reckless she's been?

    Wow, so we'll get to see Aaron as an adult then? And he hates neutral humans too, huh? (Which Paula is, right?) OMG, I'm so scared!

    On a tangent, did you manage to get height differences working in TS3, or are they in different age stages?

    LOL @ your gut with the beret and mustache! You should listen to your gut always, it clearly knows what it's doing!

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  2. Ok. Are they born freaking psychopaths? Is there any hope? Why don't the humans all go jump off the nearest cliff? Or at least kill as many of those monsters as they can before they die? Nazis with superpowers.

    Powerful and eerie and completely maddening!

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  3. omg Laura, lol, thank you. My brain was very nervous about this piece, but my gut insisted. It really insisted that it should go right here no matter how much I questioned it.

    This meeting definitely shook her and hopefully made her think!

    Yes, when we next see Aaron, he'll be an adult.

    And yes, Delphy released a height slider-- well semi-released. It's technically still testing and it only makes them taller. He couldn't get it to work to make them shorter. For anyone curious, I have the link on my listing of hacks page which can be found either in the side bar or under the "about" tab.

    And shhh! She's going to get a big head and then that beret will REALLY look silly!


    lol, SB. Sorry, but yeah, in a way most of them are. I mean, it's a struggle to live, and these guys are part of the second generation. So they don't know anything else other than this. I hope to play around with this theme, maybe offer some hope along the way or some redemption. The characters themselves though have no issues with the way they are generally.

    It's sort of like premarital sex. Like grandparents look down on it, but people today are fine with it and think it's natural because really we don't know any other way. If that makes sense... I mean this world is completely something else.

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  4. Wow. Just...wow.

    So Mary is becoming rather important to Brandon and maybe even Jimmy. Either they're talking about her, or Aaron has some sort of ability that allows him to tell what they've been doing or who they're thinking about...

    I would be very surprised if they're talking about her. Hmm..

    It does sound like he's trying to warn Mary away from Jimmy. I wonder if she's a distraction? I also wonder if Aaron and others like him are worried that if Jimmy and Brandon develop feelings for mere humans that they won't be able to carry out some of their tribal duties? Hmm....

    I loved this! I like your beret-wearing gut. :)

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  5. Wow, Aaron is creepy, and reading his profile just made him creepier.

    It'll be interesting to see how this affects the way she interacts with Brandon and Jimmy in the future, something tells me that things aren't going to end too well.

    I'm glad you listened to your gut, this was a great chapter ;)

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  6. I'm really glad you didn't chicken out on posting this! It was amazing. I concur with Laura - shivers down the spine, for sure.

    I was on the edge of my seat the whole time because I was sure this would be the end of Mary. At Aaron's hands or the hands of the two boys who approached them later on, I didn't know. But I was very scared for her.

    Aaron is possibly the most unsettling character in Ruin so far. It seems that like Jimmy, he enjoys intimidating people but there's something else there. I guess I feel like it's possible Jimmy might actually care a little for someone else but I can't imagine Aaron caring about anybody, except himself.

    Aaron did seem somewhat concerned that Brandon and Jimmy would be angry though, which was interesting. But I'm interpreting that as Aaron feeling that would be an annoyance, as opposed to actually not wanting to do something they might not like.

    I'm still giggling at the image of your gut's beret and moustache! That certainly lightened the mood!

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  7. Rachel, there is a third possibility. Maybe others are talking about her. Jimmy and her have been hanging out a bit under that tree.

    Though I will say that I had an image around the same time this entry came up of Aaron and Brandon talking, and Brandon telling him to leave her alone. So it's possible they did talk about her a little.

    Aaron's a weird character. He's ultra creepy and at the same time pretty much exactly what he says. I really think he was just curious about her and wanted to see what the big deal was.

    Thank you, Rachel, very much.


    Poida, can things ever end well in a case like this? I think though you might be surprised...

    And thank you!


    Carla, oh thank you.

    Aaron is a very unsettling character. You're right that it's possible for Jimmy to care about someone else. I mean, he raised Brandon, and he's known to be very protective of his brother. So it's possible for Jimmy to care for and care about someone. Aaron though, he might care about Jimmy and even Brandon, but he's never taken care of anyone and I think that is a very big distinction with him.

    Aaron is possibly on par with Michael though I don't know his past. I don't think his past was nearly as extreme as Michael's with the isolation.

    Haha, and you're right, it does seem like he'd be more annoyed by Brandon and Jimmy's feelings than he actually was worried. That's perfect for him.


    I'm glad it lightens the mood. I think that's needed after this entry, lol.

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  8. I really like Mary already and now I am fascinated by Aaron (especially after seeing his profile).

    The tension in this chapter came through really strongly, you could feel just what Mary was feeling. Great stuff.

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  9. Thanks Rad. Aaron has managed to work his self in it seems in a surprising way. Though I can't promise anything from him any time soon. The bastard just wormed his way in.

    Thank you very much!

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  10. Just thought I'd drop a comment again. :P

    Woah, that was seriously an intense chapter. I'm really happy you decided to post it.

    Aaron is a really creepy character. (Strangely, I trust him more than I did Brandon and Jimmy at first. I have no idea what's up with my reasoning, LOL) When he kept touching Mary I got chills. And when the other guys approached them...OMG. D: I feel really terrible for her.

    You really are a master of creating tension in a scene. Teach me your secrets, please. ;)

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  11. Thanks Nicole. I'm giving your question some serious thought about the tension... I think the tension is part of the reason I was really terrified to post this.

    I sort of put myself into Mary's place and then I write it from there. If Aaron comes across as creepy it's because he creeps me out too. Absolutely makes my gut twist. So I guess the secret is something along the lines of method acting. Hmm, I think Laura made that comparison once, lol.

    I actually secluded myself to my bedroom and had all the lights off but one dim one when I decided to write this. Usually that helps me. Sort of takes away any inhibitions that I have when I'm writing. Plus, for this piece, I already had the pictures taken and that helps me a lot sometimes.

    I sometimes say that my writing (when I'm really into it) is something of a seance. Sometimes I come away and can't remember writing particular things. This was pretty close to that.

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  12. I read this a few days ago but hadn't got around to leaving a comment yet until today.

    I really like the way you used the term "Ghost" here and the way it was incorporated into the story.

    Aaron is an enigma and not a good one. I'm very curious as to why he felt the need to check up on the girl that has so captured Brandon and his brother.

    My suspicion is that he is making sure perhaps that Mary won't end up being a weakness for either of the brothers? Or is it really Aaron checking up or is he under orders from someone else.

    On the other hand, I'm thinking morbid curiosity on Aaron's part and perhaps a warning/threat ... intriguing.

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  13. Wow Lunar, you weren't kidding when you said the scary factor was going to be amped up. Aaron is shudder worthy. Great tension here, Mary is quite a magnet to these types.

    I don't know, but even though you say in his profile (great one, BTW)he and Jimmy are merely friends, that they have 'bonded' as brothers, My gut is roaring, I think they ARE brothers. If so, Mr. Smith gets around. You know me and my speculations.

    Could those fire pit guys look any creepier? Esp. the dink rubbing his hands together, ewwww.

    Aaron obviously sees Mary as a threat here, I would be shaking in my sneakers.
    Wonderful update, I love how you get me plotting and wondering what will happen next, a sign of an effective, talented writer~

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  14. Aaron is such a weird character, isn't he? I do get a sense from him that he's very honest. He doesn't really have hidden motives; he just won't tell you if he doesn't want you to know.

    Though if he's there as orders from someone else... oooh that's a good one. Because there's only one person he answers to.

    It could be all those reasons. Warning her, threatening her, and morbid curiosity.

    Thank you, Carnaxa. You bring up some good questions that I don't even have answers to yet, lol. But you never know when things will pop back up again.


    Drew, LOL! I told you. He makes me feel uncomfortable! Yeah, Mary is indeed a magnet, and not for no reason. She's a girl on her own, a temptation, a game, plus she's something like friends with Jimmy which adds another layer...

    Haha! I wondered if anyone would think that, and I had a feeling you might be one of them. That is one of those things I don't have an answer for actually. Henri could be Aaron's father, I can't say no to that right off the bat. Truth is that I don't really know, and I don't even know anything about his parents! He hasn't told me that much yet.

    Awww... thank you Drew!

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  15. I'm not usually into Sims stories that aren't really about Sims, but your stuff intrigues me and makes me want to read more. Nice use of posing to get great angles and expressions on your characters' faces. I kept wondering, "Now how did she do THAT?" Good stuff!

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  16. Thank you very much Jen! You know, it's actually all play for me. I pretty much play with them like I do with dolls and play through scenes. So really, I have my sims to thank for being such weirdly good pixel actors.

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  17. Dear Lunar,

    You should let Miss Gut take over more often. :) This is awesome!

    Mary is such a special human. She even makes a Ghost curious enough to visit!
    Brandon must have a very strong image of her in his mind. Can he connect two people in a physical way as well? Is it possible he somehow 'send' Aaron to Mary or is that too far-fetched?

    I love her to bits. Don't care if she's called reckless. I admire her spunk endlessly!

    Are you going to make 'Mary' a story in itself or is this still an intermezzo?

    Lovely, lovely chapter!

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  18. Shhh, Moondaisy! She's already smirking at me and twirling her mustache. I can hear her thinking, "Told ya so."

    Interesting theory, the truth is that I can't shoot it down. Aaron could be right or just suspicious. Brandon's power could do more than he realizes, and in a way, I think his bond is not 100% one way. It's possible that his strong bonding to others, like possibly Mary, makes other bond back to him.

    'Mary' is definitely a story on its own. It can be read without knowing anything about Paula's story. But I thought it just worked well here as a break and to give a little insight...

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  19. Aaron's interest in Mary is extremely scary. In fact Aaron is scary in general. From the look in his eyes to his expressions to his words he is a walking threat. And a ghost. My gut is telling me that whatever reason Paula ended up going with Jimmy may be somehow connected to Aaron. Furthermore, there may be some sort of correlation to Mary and Paula. This has definitely taken a much darker turn.

    I can see how it is possible that Mary can be viewed as a threat to Jimmy and Brandon's well-being since any attachment to her can be used as a weapon or vulnerable point. You have really cranked up the drama here and the intensity.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Aaron's bio as well. Very insightful and it makes this piece even more intense.

    Sorry if this comment posts twice. Blogger was being a brat.

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  20. I love hearing your theories! It lets me know if I'm on the right track.

    There will definitely be something of a connection between Paula and Mary. But then, I am always of the belief that our past shapes who we are, that's usually why I hop backwards to see scenes from character's lives in the past and come up with weird stories like this. So in that way, there is already a connection between the two.

    Thank you, Gayl.

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