Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Generation Four— Chapter One: One Little Mistake …


     All three of the kids were deep into grief. They went off to work each day, did the best they could, but morose still clung over them like a black rain cloud. One evening a friend of Janeille’s called and invited her out to the club for a dance party. Hanging onto her cell phone, she hollered at Marc, Megan, and Karly to see if they wanted to come. All three agreed it would be good to get out and at least try to have some fun. The evening was well spent.

     Marc took to the dance floor first and called for a group dance. Slowly, the girls, including his fiancee joined in. As more and more people entered the room, they too, joined the group dance. Marc felt this was in all ways a tribute to their late father, who had taken after his own father and grandfather. Erik was quite the dancer, truth be told, and so was Ayden and in his turn, Nathaniel. The best thing that happened that evening was to see the spectres of both Ayden and Nathaniel, joining in the fun. Marc chatted with his father, got some much-needed advice, and then let his sisters know who was there. He then asked Nathaniel what he thought about Karly. When his father said he hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting her, Marc quickly amended the situation.
“She’s a really nice girl, Marc. Don’t let that one get away.”

After about three months of mourning, Erik Cantrell told his great-grandson that it was time for a wedding. He spoke to both the bride and the groom and they agreed. Once again, the patio was adorned with a wedding arch, flowers, runners and some really pretty lights that looked like potted plants. Gowns were returned from the Willow Creek Dry Cleaners as well as tuxedos. The wedding invitations went out, once again, and the same caterer and staff were hired anew.
     The day of work over, the bride and groom rested up for their big event. As the early evening descended, the guests arrived. Marc’s sisters spent time dollying themselves up, donning their lavender bridesmaid dresses. Karly took a nice long bath with essence of rose to help relax her and make her ready for this big moment in her life. She even used a mask of greens and was appalled with just how long all of this took, spying the clock on the wall in the original master bath. Jumping out of the jet-tub, she scurried to get herself dressed in her formal wedding gown. She could hear the excited murmuring of guests downstairs.
At last, she was ready, taking that one final glance at herself in the mirror. Marc was waiting for her at the base of the stairs. They walked outside into the cool night air and stood before the wedding arch. Classical music wafted on the slight evening breeze. Everything was so beautiful she nearly wept. Catching a quick glimpse at Marc, she thought she saw tears in his eyes, too. Hopefully, it was for joy and not more anguish he was feeling. Losing both his father and his uncle within days of each other had taken a toll on him. He just wasn’t his jovial self, of late. 

Finally, the moment arrived. The traditional Wedding March played in the background.The two exchanged their vows and Karly slipped a ring on Marc’s hand. The patio was full of friends, family and good wishes. Marc hugged his bride and made his way over to the wedding cake to take a slice for them, which he shared with his bride. 


  Pretty soon, the gathering moved inside. The one thing Marc forgot when planning the event was outside tables for their guest. Most crammed into the kitchen sitting around the small table.
      Marc cornered his bride, spoke loving words to her, kissed her and then moved aside when she grew uncomfortable. Not everyone was used to such outward displays of affection. Despite the fact that at one point, she was the aggressor. He resigned himself to waiting until later. Standing behind those seated, he became aware that one of his guests, Madeline Crow, wasn’t feeling well. She looked a tad pale, and moved in such a way, he thought she might faint. Worried she’d fall right out of her chair.  

“Maddie,” he said, “are you all right?” Not having a thermometer on hand, he reached to touch her face, to check if she was hot. His patients often commented he had a gentle touch, so he was unaware that he had stumbled in any way. What he managed to do was caress Madeline’s cheek. One look at Karly, let him know his method wasn’t just a little wrong, it was quite wrong. He caught that flicker of anger in her eyes and withdrew his hand immediately. 
To top it all off, suddenly, Madeline jumped into his arms, as if invited to do so. There he was standing in his kitchen, on his wedding day, with the wrong woman in his arms.  How? He looked around, increasingly uncomfortable. Feeling sweaty and awkward. 

Karly, in the meantime, flirted openly with Forest, another guest. Forest grinned, enjoying the attention and flirted back. Marc at once bristled. Who was this guy, how did he get in, and why was he dishonoring his hosts like this? Just how long had this been going on behind his back! “Hey, hey, hey, the woman is spoken for, or were you so late to the event you didn’t see what was going on at the wedding arch. The woman is my wife. Your attentions are unwanted and way out of line, bud.”
“You’re one to talk,” Forest shot back. “Weren’t you just flirting with another guest, yourself? Open marriage, maybe?” 
“Hardly.” Marc had a drink in his hand but although he seriously contemplated throwing it at the guy, he didn’t wish to douse the other guests next to him. Instead, he invited the guy into the hallway. Forest got up and reluctantly followed Marc out of the kitchen and into the wide corridor.
Marc wasted little time. “Just what did you think you were doing, coming onto my bride like that, eh?”
“I came onto her — she came onto me!”
“Get out of my house. Now.”
After this rather heated exchange, Marc was surprised to find Forest upstairs. Hadn’t he just thrown the guy out?  That cut it. Marc went right up to the guy and a fight ensued. Marc wasn’t really one to fight, and had never struck a soul, but this guy had spawned anger in him. Deep, blood-boiling anger. He balled up his fist and landed one right to the guy’s jaw. Marc was under the sad impression that was all he need do to restore his bride’s honor. If so, Forest never got the memo, because the guy fought back. Boy, did he ever fight back. Finally, the two pulled apart. Marc was dazed but firm, as he insisted Forest leave the residence.     

Before anyone realized it, dawn broke. Marc was exhausted having never gotten to bed. Never had his wedding night. He was sore, miffed and shaken by the whole thing. Was he just the unlucky type? Karly, paid him little heed as she rushed out the door to work. She was an Intern at the medical clinic and didn’t have enough time on the books for a vacation. Begrudgingly, Marc watched her go. He wished now, he had simply grabbed up his wife and headed into the closet in the spare downstairs room for some much desired woohoo. As it was, she wouldn’t be back home again until after three. He busied himself cleaning up after last night’s affair.   

Monday, March 28, 2016

Generation Three— Chapter Seven: When Wedding Bells Don't Chime

Nathaniel began to realize by just how poorly he was beginning to feel, that his days were numbered. He sat down on his days off and made sure to crank out those last two novels that were wrestling around inside of his head. Finally, the drafts were completed. He sent both manuscripts off to his publisher. By now, Marc was almost halfway up the ladder of his chosen career, and still no bride on the horizon. Nathaniel gave up hope of ever meeting his grandchildren. He knew from experience that finding that right someone didn’t come so easy. He wouldn’t mind Marc taking so much time at it, were he actually out looking.
Oh, he made a pretext of going out on the ‘town’. Nathaniel was certain it was just for his sake. Marc was half-alien, after all. Would he even have a family mind set about him? Nathaniel waited for the lad to return from the medical clinic late one afternoon. “Marc,” he hailed as the young Sim walked up the curvy drive. 

“How was work, you look tired.”
“Good. I even finally got the courage up to speak to Karly.”
“Karly? Who's this?”
“The receptionist at the clinic. She’s really nice. In fact I may ask her out on a date. That is, if you think it’s a good idea to take a girl to the park. I want to check out that wishing well uncle Jaylen talks about.”
“I think a park is just fine, son.” 
“Good, I’ll just call her, now.” Already the youth was on his cell phone. Nathaniel, feeling mildly encouraged with this news went inside the house. He just didn’t feel right.
Marc chatted with Karly, who met him at the park. Happy to learn she was single. They spoke about work, then moved to their mutual interests. The conversation grew deep at times. She was a very interesting person. He liked her — a lot. Kicking himself for taking so long just to speak to her. As they strolled farther into the park, he came face-to-face with the Whispering Wishing Well.  His uncle had suggested he offer the well a few Simoleons, if he desired for a positive outcome to his wish. Marc was sparing with his first offering. Only one hundred Simoleons. The well made it known his alms-giving was woefully inadequate. Not wishing to make a bitter mistake, Marc again reached into his pocket and made what he hoped was a more generous gift. One-thousand Simoleons. This time the well was pleased. 

“I wish for romance,” he said, in between bites of the hot dog Karly had grilled for them.
Plunking a single Simoleon into the well, this time, he could hear it splash. A strange green light emanated from the depths of the structure. Marc found himself having words he’d never had before in his head. He walked over to Karly, flirted with her and then boldly kissed her. She didn’t pull away, which was a good sign. He asked her to be his girlfriend. Her smile was alluring. They talked for a bit more, and then he got down on one knee and right there before the others at the park, proposed to her. She said yes and jumped into his arms. Marc was very happy. He couldn’t wait to tell his father. He knew Nathaniel was growing more and more on the morose side, the longer it took Marc to find someone. He hoped his news would perk the elder up. 

Jaylen was waiting out front when he returned. Odd, Marc thought. He was about to tell his uncle his great news when something drew him indoors. Seeing Grimmie at the park didn’t ease his mind, in the least. He barely made it to the dining room, when the girls cried out in anguish. There on the hardwood floor Nathaniel lay. Being in the medical profession, trusted to treat patients, Marc felt his father’s neck. No pulse.

“Dad, you can’t be gone. I just got engaged.” Cradling the Sims’ head in his lap, “Wake up. Dad, you’ve got to hear me. Karly and I are engaged. She said yes. I don’t even think she minds that I’m part alien. Oh, Dad. Oh, Dad. I’m sorry,” he sobbed. “I just wanted you to know my good news…”
Things were rough, but the triplets under the guidance of their ghostly great-grandfather and their uncle managed to get through the days. Karly and Marc decided she should move in, so they could save enough money for their wedding. Finally, the day arrived. Gramps was busy in the kitchen baking the cake, while the back patio was prepared for the ceremony. A beautiful wedding arch, with potted pink flowers to either side of it, with two rows of outdoor benches for the guests to be seated. The tables for the food and the special draped table for the cake were brought down from the grand room on the second floor. 

    Marc got into his tuxedo, the girls in their bridesmaid’s gowns of a light lavender. Gramps was the last to get dressed, stepping aside as the hired caterer took over his kitchen. Even uncle Jaylen looked all polished and ready for the Big Event. 
The guests streamed through the wide foyer. Marc decided to find his uncle so they could get things started. The Sim was in the formal living room, watching a comedy on the giant tv. Just as Marc came into the room, Jaylen clutched at his heart and slowly sidled to the floor. The guests, all in tears, gathered around him. Marc didn’t even try to bargain with Grimmie, this time. He’d been sorely rebuffed when he tried to plead for Nathaniel’s life. In a long line, his wedding guests trailed out through the back door of his house, and over to the row of headstones from their small family cemetery. The women weeping piteously. Marc found his bride and she clutched him tight, crying into his shoulder.

       “Marc, if you don’t mind too much, I think we should send everyone home for now.”
“Cancel the wedding?”
“Or course, we simply can’t carry on as if nothing has happened tonight. You’re uncle is dead. We’ll just postpone it for a few weeks. I wouldn’t feel right getting married under the present circumstances. It’s kinda creepy, don’t you think?”  

     Marc ran his hands up and down her arms, nodding. “I just really wanted to be with you, is all. I’m not in my right head. This isn’t how I’d imagined tonight would be. We should be dancing and making merry. I can’t believe he’s gone. Dad just died. And now Jaylen, too. I’m just so very sad.”
“Come,” Karly said, guiding him inside. “You need to eat something.” They sat at the dining room table, after each grabbed a serving of food the caterer had made.    


Generation Three— Chapter Six: I Don't Remember Growing Older, When Did They?

The last week of school for the triplets was beyond difficult. Besides that kerfuffle with Tatum leading to the Principal suggesting Nathaniel move Megan to another school, there was the days of Finals. Testing, testing and more testing. And when they weren’t testing, there was the endless rehearsals for the formal graduation ceremonies. Nathaniel kept tabs on how his children were doing. Both of the girls were pulling strong B's, while Marc had A's across the board. He was very proud of all of them, remembering how he teetered on the edge of defeat with so little time to climb out of the scholastic hole he’d dug for himself. Also, with Megan ditching school so often, this was quite a feat for her to pull off. He wondered just what was going on between Tatum and Megan. Seems their association began back in grade school … 
The three kids would study together. After numerous conversations with each child, he helped them find their ‘true calling’. Megan had a head for business, taking after her second great-grandfather, who had been a shipping Magnate. Marc had a need to help people, so he talked of becoming a doctor. Janeille, on the other hand was so very undecided. Nathaniel felt her pain as she often flip-flopped over which direction she should take.
Finally, the day of Graduation arrived. The family went to the school stadium to watch their children receive their diplomas. After all of the speeches, the pontificating and the pomp and circumstance of the moment, Nathaniel was glad when it was finally over. He gathered up his children and they went home to have a nice festive meal.  There was a rule in the Cantrell household, that all phones were banned from the dinner table. The kids were very excited, and in her excitement, Megan forgot to place hers in the basket on the mantle of the fireplace in the dining room. Of course, it went off. A chime to let her know she had a text message waiting. Unconsciously, she reaching into her pocket and read the text. Then she looked up and caught her father’s less than pleased expression. 
“Sorry, Daddy, I just forgot. But can I go?”
“Go where?” he said.
“My friend just invited me to Singles Night at the bar. Can I go? Please, please, please, please, please,” she squealed.
“What about our family celebration?”
“I’m done eating,” she said, quickly wiping her mouth on her napkin, as she was already half out of her chair. “Really, I couldn’t eat another bite.”
Nathaniel was disappointed, but glanced around the table. “Anyone else mind if she goes out?”
Disguising his real thoughts Marc shook his head, “Maybe she can meet some guy and we can marry her off,” he quipped, stabbing at the grilled chicken on his plate. “Get her out of the house.”
“Ha-ha!” Megan said back, walking behind his seat, heading out of the room. “You wish, little brother.”
“Little — what? We’re twins.”
“Don’t forget I was born before you. By eight minutes.”
“Okay by me. Old lady.”
“Well, if she’s old, what does that make me?” Janeille said. “I was born a few hours before the two of you.”
Nathaniel gave the okay and with that Megan rushed out of the front door. “Don’t’ wait up,” she hollered.
“Stay out of the Beam of light!” Nathaniel said back. Now that they were nearly grown, he fully expected the aliens to come claim them. If for nothing more than to give them their ‘assignment’.
“Oh, Daddy, they don’t want me back. It’s like you keep saying, I’m too much trouble!” 

Birthdays hit with a vengeance. Nathaniel was an adult one moment and an Elder the next, practically as soon as he blew out the candles. The family had a nice party for him. This time, they utilized that grand room on the second floor. They also had a DJ rig and a dance floor. It was fun and the party went until dawn. Shortly thereafter came the children’s birthday. One by one they blew out candles and presto! A Young Adult emerged. Jaylen also became an elder. Sadly, his birthday slipped by quietly. 

Megan was the first to get a job. She knew up front where she was headed and went into Business, just as she’d talked about. Marc, too entered the field of Medicine, starting out as a level three Medical Assistant, to everyone’s surprise. Good grades count for something, after all. Janeille first joined the Detective track, quit, joined the Athletic track, which pleased Jaylen for about a minute. That is until she quickly quit. Finally, she ended up with her first love, after Nathaniel stepped in. Reminded of what his father had told him. “Find your passion,” he told her.
“Well,” she said. “I do love computers and all of that technical stuff. I was even able to hack into a site, once. And I love playing video games.”
“There you go,” Nathaniel said. “Why don’t you become a Tech.”
“A Tech? Oh, a Tech! I could totally do that. Thanks, Daddy!” she kissed his cheek and with a few clicks on her phone landed a job.

      Marc’s first day at the Clinic proved challenging in the manner that appealed to his genius. He swabbed a patient’s cheek, but before he tested it, Marc thought it a good idea to perform a practice analysis to get acquainted with the machine. Through this, he discovered an element. Curious, he thought with glee. Then he ran the sample through. What ever it was, it was over his head. He turned to the doctor next to him and passed the patient file over to her.  
He saw many patients that day, but although he was exhausted upon his return home, he felt fulfilled. He was going to enjoy this career, he was certain. In the ensuing days he had off, he went to the community garden on the other side of town. There he met a curious woman, who offered him a rare fruit kit to grow. Before he left to go home, he asked her for fertilizer. Then Marc commenced growing a garden. This was very new to him, but as a potential doctor, he felt it incumbent upon him to be the example for his patients. Eating healthy homegrown foods was key. He planted various things: an apple tree, a plantation tree, the Growfruit, some carrots, basil, grapes, strawberries, and spinach. Tending the garden was relaxing. Where he didn’t know stuff, he bought books to read. Great-Gramps was also into gardening, from all of that harvesting he’d do just to help make ends meet each month. Marc could often find him ‘talking’ to the plants.
“Gramps, does that really work?” 
“Why, yes, yes it does. Do you not see the aura around each plant? They have feelings, you realize. They need to know we love them, in order for them to do their very best.”
“Oh, you’re encouraging them.”
Marc did a little of this harvesting, too. He found some odd things. Some rather beautiful decorative eggs on stands. These were obviously highly valuable items. In fact, some of them were a tad familiar. He recalled seeing pictures when studying history. Faberge, a well-known and respected jeweler from the last century, or so, had been commissioned to make these for a royal family each Spring holiday season. Was there a thief in the neighborhood? Was this booty being stashed for a time when they could come back and safely collect it? Marc, carefully packed each egg away. Perhaps, that Growfruit woman would have some knowledge of it.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Generation Three — Chapter Five: Boil, Boil, Toil and Bubble, Alien Twins Are So Much Trouble

   Nathaniel knew something was up. The twins, in particular, more than Janeille, anyway, were having a very difficult time as they made the transition from child to teen. At first, he was lulled into thinking it was the normal teenage angst that had beset both Megan and Marc. However, Megan was always gloomy, seemed to be part of her nature, so when she skipped school here and there, beginning in grade school and continuing throughout high school, he mostly shrugged it off. Megan, was just being Megan. What he didn’t anticipate, was the change in Marc. Marc had always been stalwart. The most level-headed of the three. Nathaniel did his best to remain close to his son, to help him become a man.
     Still, in the back of his mind were the words his grandfather spoke when the aliens released him again. “I can only hope my great-grandchildren won’t grow up to be so sinister in their aspirations.” Nathaniel’s anxiety kicked into high gear when he learned that both Megan and Marc were being rather careless in their behavior. Janeille complained mightily when Marc outright read her thoughts.

This, in apparent retaliation for when she accidentally walked in on him while taking a shower. Then, he got a concerned call from the school principal.  

“Mister Cantrell,” he began, “Were you aware that your daughter, Megan, left school midday and never returned to campus? I’ve also received a complaint from a boy named Tatum, that she willfully invaded his thoughts. Personally, I think the boy has been watching too much of that old TV show from the sixties, myself. But, still he seemed rattled and has requested a change in his school schedule to make certain he’s not in the same classes as she. You can see my problem, can’t you? It’s late in the school year to make such a switch. And if I don’t address the problem, the school is facing a lawsuit.”
“I see,” Nathaniel said. “So, you’re asking me to transfer my daughter to another school, is that it? Like you said, it’s rather late in the school year to be making such switches.  We’re talking a Sim week left. I’ll talk to Megan about the alleged incident. But the notion she somehow invaded his thoughts willfully or otherwise— well, you have to agree that’s simply ludicrous. Unless he means he has on hell of a crush on her, that is.”  Nathaniel’s laugh was more of a nervous nature than true levity. “All right, okay. At the very least, she will apologize to the young man, and perhaps, that will quell the difficulties.” 

   “Talk, talk, talk! That’s all anybody wants to do these days. Never solves anything. I’m about to expel your daughter from my school! Stick that in your box of writing tricks and turn it into a bestseller. Good day, sir!” 

Nathaniel let out a heavy sigh. What was he to do? The twins were, indeed, out of control. Elsa, for the longest time, would keep tabs on Marc either by randomly inviting him to hangout at her place, or calling and asking if she could hang out here. Why did she suddenly stop? He wondered. Nathaniel rubbed at the growing stiffness in his neck. What, indeed, was he to do? 

Jaylen, who was now on a minor league walked through the room. He saw his brother and frowned. “Hey, what’s up with you? You look like the world is sitting on your shoulders. Want me to massage that out of you?” He reached for his brother’s shoulders.
“It’s the twins,” Nathaniel said, stepping behind the bar and mixing himself a drink. “Want one?”
“One of the twins?” Jaylen looked confused. “Oh, no, not a drink, unless it’s strictly fruit or vegetable juice. Got a big game coming up. So, what’s up with the twins?”
“I’m not sure. They both seem restless, discontent,” Nathaniel held up a hand. “Yes, I know what you’re about to say. That’s normal for Megan. But, it’s not for Marc.”
Very slowly Jaylen nodded his head. “If you don’t mind, I think I know what may help.”
A few nights later, Jaylen received a phone call from Jackie Harris, inviting him out to a local bar for “Alien Night”. Nathaniel had just gotten home from work. “Nate, hey,” Jaylen began. “Okay if I take Marc and Megan out for a little while tonight? Let them burn off some of that pent up steam? Might help, you never know.”
“Sure, something’s got to give.”
With that the uncle invited the twins to Windenburg for a night out. Standing in front of the bar, Marc looked at his uncle. “What’s this all about, Jay?”
“That’s uncle Jay to you. Just thought you two needed some time away. You know, to let your hair down, and your disguises.”
“Disguises,” the twins said in unison. Marc half-laughed in his obvious discomfort.
“Yeah, you see tonight is Alien Night at the bar. Thought that being around others like you might make you feel more at ease with yourselves.”
“Like us? What are you saying? How did —”
“I was there when you two were born. Your father is my only brother and I remember how he was abducted right before he married Sophia, who, by the way, wasn’t your biological mother. We all thought your Dad’s  “morning sickness” and his sudden weight gain was empathy for Sophia who got pregnant right away. Then you two were born. Now, come on, off with the disguise and get on inside and have some fun.”  

Reluctantly the twins complied, feeling rather naked, at first. Then they saw several people dressed like they were slowly trickle into the establishment. Most of them bore a greenish hue, while the twins were lavender in color. But, all were bald with black eyes. The two went inside. Before long, Megan was laughing and having a very enjoyable time. Marc was a tad more reluctant. After a time, when an older female alien kept giving him the ‘eye’, he finally took a seat next to her at the bar. They chatted and pretty soon he was feeling flirty. This scared him a bit. He’d never felt this way, before, but perhaps he was just growing up? 

Looking around, he didn’t see his uncle anywhere. Taking a quick walk outside, he finally found the Sim. Asleep in a bush. Marc went back inside the bar. About an hour or so later, Jaylen collected the twins and brought them back home. “Back into your disguises, in case the others are still up. I don’t want to answer questions — and neither do you.”  

“Okay,” Marc said. With his hand on the doorknob, he turned slightly toward his uncle and said, “Hey, Uncle Jay, the next time there’s an “Alien Night” will you let us know? That was fun. In an odd sort of way.”
“You got it. Come along, Megan. You both have school tomorrow.”

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Generation Three— Chapter Four: Thrice Is Not A Charm

Nathaniel got up from his desk in the office where he was working on his latest book. Hungry, he was crossing through the long, formal dining room on his way to the kitchen. He stopped in his tracks midway, hearing the low, ominous humming sound emanating from above the house. He didn’t need to look to see what it was. He knew, he’d heard it twice before. Which was good, since he found his feet more or less glued to the hardwood floor. He couldn’t move if he wanted to and wondered if he was paralyzed in the same manner when caught in that beam of light? His heart thumped almost to that ominous pulsation. He broke out into a sweat. The children!  

     Glancing about him, he quickly realized all three were in the same room with him. Sitting in the corner of the dining room, just outside of the office, Marc and Janeille were playing a game of chess, with Megan kibitzing as she watched them play. Sophia came into the room, moments later, a plate of steaming food in her hand, ready to eat. Pretty soon he could hear Jaylen laughing as he watched a kids show out in the livingroom. That left Gramps. 
     Where was he? Nathaniel realized he'd been so engrossed in his writing, he hadn't see Gramps in quite some time.
“Gramps?” Nathaniel called out, trying not to panic. The last time the aliens were here they threatened to take the children away. His children. Were they now in the process of kidnaping his already deceased grandfather? Would they try to use the spectre of his ancestor as a bargaining chip?
Nathaniel searched the house, all three floors, top to bottom. No Gramps. He chanced going out back to their private family cemetery plot. Often Erik could be found there, mourning either Zoe, or sometimes even Jade. The ghost was very sensitive and very sweet. Nathaniel wished he had known him when he was alive. He hated to think the aliens had him captive, possibly torturing him. Oh, the nightmares … 

As if by design, several of the home’s appliances went Ka-blewey.  Erik generally was the one to make these repairs. Jaylen had long since gone to bed. So, Nathaniel rolled up his sleeves and tackled one job after the next. First the downstairs toilet overflowed. Then the sink in that bathroom sprung a leak. The dishwasher decided to wet the kitchen floor — for once Nathaniel praised his grandfather for having chosen real stone flooring. Linoleum would have split under this small flood. Nathaniel carefully mopped up this water before he tried fixing the appliance, understanding that water and electricity didn’t mix. Despite his cautious approach, he came away from this repair feeling dazed. He’d been zapped. But at least he’d finally pulled the dwelling back together, and tackled the Great Flood of Cantrell House. Not a bad title, he may have to write another How-To.
The work was a tad exhausting, but at least, he was kept occupied. And so distracted, he wasn’t thinking, for once. Which was a good thing, he decided.
After hours had gone by, Nathaniel was alerted to the same haunting thrumming, pulsating sound again above the roof. Shortly thereafter, Erik floated his way inside the house again. 
“Gramps!” Nathaniel greeted the entity, with a big hug. “Are you okay?”
“Nathaniel, please forgive me for ever teasing you about your unfortunate experiences with those, those… beings. I can only hope my great-grandchildren won’t grow up to be so sinister in their aspirations. It’s my opinion, they wish to take over our planet through interbreeding.”
“And that’s putting it kindly. Did they hurt you in any way?” Nathaniel looked over his ghostly grandfather. “They didn’t go near your navel, did they?”
“No, no. I think they perceived I was too old and too dead a specimen for their usage.”
“Good. For once I think I’m glad you are dearly departed.”
“Me, too. But, if you don’t mind, I would like to get in a bit of shut-eye.”
“Certainly. I understand. I’m just glad you’re okay.”
“I think so. Goodnight, Nate.”
“Good night, Gramps.”  
Shortly thereafter, Nathaniel celebrated his birthday. He was now a full adult. Two Sim days later, so did Jaylen. While Nathaniel’s birthday consisted of a cake and a few congratulatory texts from friends, he made sure to throw a bash for his younger brother. Falling on a weekend as it did, made it easier to do. He didn’t have to worry how late the children stayed up, as they, too, were included in the guest list. 

    Nathaniel was quick to show off his dance moves, perhaps to prove he wasn’t ‘over the hill’ just yet. He did get his brother to kick up his heels for a bit. The most fun he had, was when Marc joined him on the dance floor. After the birthdays were over for another year, Nathaniel concentrated on the house. He decided the roof needed replacing.  

     Jaylen worked hard and was soon promoted. He was also given a choice of positions. He could become a Trainer or he could try his hand at Sports. Jaylen chose the Sports track. He continued to workout, but one day he saw a rather curious thing. He recalled how his father and his now late grand Auntie Bree had the Gift of second-sight. His father’s was more pronounced in the visitation of ghostly entities. Auntie Bree would get visions of future events. Jaylen punched at the bag, trying very hard to ignore the thing working out next to him. Perhaps, it meant nothing and would go away. Fearing ridicule, he said nothing about this obscure event.  

A few Sim days later, he was very grieved when his sister-in-law passed away very early one morning. He sometimes wondered if she was okay, mentally, or if Sim-senility had taken over her mind. She was cooking at the stove when suddenly a fire broke out. He was just in the other room and heard her whimpering oddly while trying to put it out. He grabbed the other extinguisher their father insisted they keep, and ran to help her. It was Sim days before they could replace the stove. But, at least she didn’t burn the kitchen down. Insurance was nothing short of a joke. The family cleaned up the mess. And, now she was gone.  

    Sad, sad thing. He felt for his older brother. Nathaniel had already gone through the emotional wringer. What more could this Sim take?