Chapter 2.9: A Nightmare of Whispers

Ugh…

A humming noise stirs Briar awake and she opens her eyes with difficulty. Everything is blurry and dark, expect for two suns -no, lights- sparking and popping above her. Something glows an eerie green in the corner of her eye. She has no idea where she is.

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She lifts her head off a pillow and pain lances sharp and hot through her head. What the heck? Mind throbbing and disoriented, she tries to blink away the blurriness. It doesn’t work, but Briar can still make out the shapes around her. She seems to be lying on a creaky bed with a patterned green quilt, which looks very out of place. The room is cold white tile and quite big. And some sort of… metal table to her right. Unease rises up inside Briar when she realises the black mass on top looks like a pile of ashes among iron handcuffs.

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Trying to move her head as little as possible, she moves her eyes to the left. A pale arm and a blood-red dress- someone else is here! Briar is about to speak when she remembers what had landed her in this… mad scientist lab. The cool, dark woodland, a brief flash of pain and then blackness… Something or someone had knocked her out.

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Panic rushes through her head. I’ve got to get out of here. Briar begins quickly analysing her situation. From moving her arms slightly, she can tell she isn’t constrained to the bed. She might be able to jump up, but fat chance when she’s this dizzy, and when there’s seems to be no doors or windows at all.

Just as the real fear begins to set in, someone comes running out of the shadowed end of the room. The figure feels familiar. Even in her daze, Briar recognises the blonde hair and white-suited silhouette.

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“WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?” The words explode like fireworks in Briar’s ears and she tries not to wince. She honestly can’t tell if Ash is yelling at her for getting herself abducted or actually at the lady in red beside her. Her brother skids to a halt, heaving for breath. He glances at her once before turning furiously to the woman.

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“Your husband and I made. a. deal.” Ash spits out through gritted teeth. Vaguely, Briar wonders what the deal is, but her head is starting to seriously hurt and she concentrates on not swearing. A voice as chilling and as clear as ice answers him. “Pity.” She says coldly. “This girl is interfering in our business.” “It was a promise, and you know what will happen if you break it.” Ash’s voice sounds like a buzz now. The lady in red turns to look into Briar’s face, and this time she very nearly swears. The woman’s face is the cruelest and gauntest one she has ever seen.

The woman studies her with piercing hazel eyes. “Very well, she will be released. A shame. I’ve rather missed experimenting.”

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***

“Briar! Briar, are you okay? Wake up!”

A voice shakes Briar out of her unconsciousness. A worried face swims into her vision, a bespectacled face with evening sky-dappled leaves rustling behind her.

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“Allie?” Briar scrambles to her feet and almost falls over- her head is pounding. Her eyes slowly start to clear and soon she can see Allie Beard normally. “Oh, Briar, what happened? I saw you lying on the ground after I was walking home from a party, and you looked like you had passed out!” Allie waves her hands around fretfully. “Are you okay? Do you need to go to the hospital?”

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Briar rubs her sore temples to try soothe them, and to straighten out her crazy memories. “I’m… not sure.” She says slowly, remembering Ash. “I think I may have…” Upon looking at Allie’s increasingly worried expression, she decides to lie. Was it all just a nightmare? “I think I may have bumped into a tree. Silly me.” She jokes weakly. Luckily, Allie seems to believe her and her face relaxes into a relieved smile. “Okay then. I’ll walk you home anyway, just in case.”

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By the time she reaches home, Briar’s headache has dulled and all she is looking forward to is a good nights sleep, so she can try sort out reality from nightmares when her mind is clear. However, as soon as she walks in through the door, Isla jumps at her as a bundle of excited squealing and energy.

“GUESS WHAT BRIAR?!” She shrieks. “I’m guessing it’s something stupid, so good night.” Briar snaps and attempts to move around her little sister. “No, you have to listen!” Isla hops up and down, effectively blocking Briar’s way up the stairs. “Fine, what?” She sighs, deciding to get it over and done with.

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Gleefully, Isla spins in a circle before starting on her story. “Okay, okay, soooooo today we got assigned our partners for our history project and Jeannie was away so I was the odd one out and so I had to go with the other odd person out and GUESS WHO HE IS? CLAYTON ALTO!” Isla squeals without even bothering to wait for Briar’s answer.

“Yes, great. Hurrah. Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to bed.” Briar rolls her eyes and leaves her sister still happily twirling behind her.

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Tired and annoyed, Briar wearily climbs the stairs with her… nightmare?… still swirling in her. However, she meets another interruption. It’s Fern, standing in Briar’s bedroom with her arms crossed. “Mommy, I want to go to sleep.” She whines at her mother. “Sweetie, all I want to know is that if you’re alright. You’ve been a bit distant lately. Is everything with Max okay?” Fern asks gently.

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“Mommy, don’t worry. It’s just that work is a bit stressful. I want to get a promotion.” Briar finds herself lying for the second time today. “If that’s just all…” Her mother says doubtfully. “Yes, I’m totally fine.” Briar says firmly. She feels the need to change the subject. “Anyways… what’s with the fashion change?” Fern smiles and looks down at her new dress- soft, sea-blue with lace. “Oh, this? I just feel like I’m getting a bit too old for my lace top and high heels. This is much more comfortable. I’m not as young and fit as I used to be.”

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Fern gives her daughter a sad smile and Briar feels a twinge of pity. “Mommy, I think you are beautiful and will always be.” She hugs her mother. “Thanks, sweetie. Oh, and remember Briar… I will always be here if you need any help.”

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***

“Sim Nation was founded on 6th February 1512, not the 20th February 1215.” Clayton Alto leans over to point the mistake on Isla’s history paper. She blushes furiously and mumbles a ‘thanks’ as she rubs out some words. “How do you know so much about history?” She asks timidly. “It’s interesting to learn about the past, you know? So we can learn from our mistakes.” Clayton explains cheerfully. “I’ve never really thought of it that way.” Isla says thoughtfully, and smiles shyly at him.

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They chat for a while more, Isla jotting down notes a little messily from gazing at Clayton too much. He  doesn’t seem to notice, however, and continues to explain all he knows about Sim Nation’s history- which is a hell of a lot. “Okay, enough of me being a history geek.” Clayton half-smiles. “How about you? What do you like?” Isla is startled. She wouldn’t think that a guy like him would like to know a girl like her’s hobbies.

“Music and art, I guess.” She sighs. “I love playing the guitar and painting in my room all day. I can pour all my emotions into my paintbrush or into the notes of a song. This way, I can turn all my stress and worry into something beautiful. I know it’s a bit silly but…” She looks down, embarassed. “I don’t think it’s silly. Music is really amazing, I love to play piano as well.”

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Oh my god, this guy is such a classic. Briar flops into the seat opposite, finally tired of listening to the two from the kitchen. “Hi.” She interrupts her little sister’s gazing-into-eyes-dreamily thing. “I’m Briar.” She gets her first good look at ‘the hottie’ (quoting Isla & Jeannie), who returns the greeting politely. She is unpleasantly surprised. Sure, he’s okay looking, but his pale skin, and glowing eyes- freaky.

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Briar knows enough of the supernatural by now that this guy might be a vampire. That does make her worry. If he is a bloodsucker, he might just do that to Isla. Dangerous, especially as her sister doesn’t seem to be able to see the supernatural. And yet… as Briar watches Isla enthuse about music with Clayton, all shyness and awkwardness forgotten, he doesn’t seem to be threatening or possessive, or even human teenager jerk-pervy at all. Just a well-mannered boy, maybe with just strangely pale skin. Huh. Weird.

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After finishing their history notes, Isla invites her new friend outside to play in the pool, as spring is in the air and it is a warm day. Briar watches the boy carefully for any danger signs. However, all seems normal. The only thing weird is that for a breath holding contest, Clayton manages to stay underwater for longer than humanly possible.

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After that they hang out on the loungers, under the shade of a patio umbrella. Briar only hears snippets of their conversation, but she can tell they are talking contentedly about upcoming concerts and art exhibitions and the such.

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It’s only an hour later when Clayton has to return home and the two exchange farewells in front of the garden. To her unhappiness, Briar has to admit that her sister actually is crushing on the right guy. So maybe Isla is right- she won’t do anything stupid, because Clayton doesn’t appear to be the kind of guy who would make her do something dumb.

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“So… see you at school tomorrow. Thanks for having me, it’s been really fun. I’m glad we became project partners.” Clayton says and Briar can literally see her little sister melting. “Me too! See you tomorrow.” Her sister says breathlessly. Clayton grins at Isla, and that’s when Briar sees them.

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Fangs. White, shiny, sharp, real fangs.

So Clayton Alto is a vampire. Damnit.

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She retreats into the house and her sister follows her, looking absolutely and totally in love. “OMG isn’t he just so adorable?!” Isla sighs happily, gazing off into the distance and skipping around. “Um… Isla…” Briar bites her lip nervously. She may not take this well. “Yeah?” Her little sister asks, half-listening.

“IthinkClaytonisavampireandyoushouldsteerclearofhimbecausehemightbedangerous.”

Isla looks at her with a very confused face. “A… what? Vampire…?”

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“Yeah.” Briar says defiantly. “So you shouldn’t hang out with him. He may be dangerous.”

“Seriously, Briar? Of all the things you could make up, a vampire? Clayton is totally not dangerous. He’s really sweet, and he loves music too, and he’s not like all the other stupid boys!”

“I’m not lying! He’s a vampire!” Briar exclaims.

Isla jabs a finger at her older sister. “Look, I’m not a kid anymore! I’m not falling for your tall tales anymore. Vampires. Don’t. Exist. Stop making things up just because you don’t like him!”

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Briar runs out and slams the front door shut at that. Why doesn’t her sister believe her? She’s so upset that she almost doesn’t notice Ash driving off in the car. Almost. Where is he going to in this hour? The thought of that brings back the ‘nightmare’. Maybe she should check out what he is doing.

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Briar hops on her old bicycle and pedals down the road. The evening is sweet and tastes of coming summer, of new flowers and warm breezes. The car stays just out of her reach, but she can tell where it is going- out up into the hills.

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The sky has melted into a deep tangerine by the time Briar jumps off her bike at Crystal Springs. She’s never been here before- it’s isolated and rarely any locals come here. What would her brother want to do here?

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She runs through a ravine and up into a small valley, with a lake shining in the middle. Briar’s legs are rather sore by now, so she slows down as she reaches the rocky shore. There’s someone else on the other side, partly hidden by a dark copse of spruce and redwood trees.

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Creeping around the shore, Briar hides behind a juniper bush. She can see through the leaves that there are several metal contraptions there, as well as piles of old crates. Her brother is talking to another blonde man- who, though? Luckily, the wind carries scraps of their conversation to Briar’s hiding place.

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Hmm. Briar slips her cellphone out of her pocket and carefully turns the camera on. Maybe she can take a video of them to try figure out what is going on.

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To her shock, she sees that the blonde man is none other than Xander Clavell, her blasted father. Peering at her screen, Briar notices that he seems to be yelling at her brother. Oh, nothing new about that. She instead scans the machine-type objects around them, but she can’t recognise them. None of them have any special insignia or anything.

“Full moon… few days… why is… finished?!” Briar hears snatches of what Xander is saying, who stamps his foot childishly. Ash leans back subtly. “Something… lunar… not aligned… phases… power not enough…” “Get the… ****… done!!!”

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Xander marches off a little to the side and gestures wildly at his son. “Switch… test… now…” She hears him shout. Ash looks irritable and reaches down to press something at the base of what looks like a giant, swivelling light.

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The machine creaks and pops for a moment, and then a beam of light, so bright Briar closes her eyes, shoots up into the night sky.

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***

Hey guys! Hope you enjoyed this chapter. Just letting you know that things are starting to intensify and will continue to do so until Chapter 2.14. That will be when all this supernatural + Ash mystery is finally exposed. So about five more chapters and two-three after that, then we should be seeing some Generation Three heirs appearing! This generation shouldn’t be finished till Christmas though. 🐶

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21 thoughts on “Chapter 2.9: A Nightmare of Whispers

  1. Aww Ash still cares about Briar enough to get her released! I hope that awful looking woman didn’t do anything horrible to Briar after she was knocked out.
    So the mystery “hottie” is a vampire. I am very curious as to why Briar is the only one who can see them as supernatural. I hope he turns out to be good for Isla and not hurt her!
    Oooh, this beam of light is fascinating. Darn cliffhangers!! Ash has built something for these people, and I am sure it is nothing good! And OMG heirs! Can’t wait. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, I wanted to show that Ash is still looking after Briar while doing the crazy things that he is doing, and despite him being really distant from her. Luckily the evil woman hasn’t done anything… yet. She’s keeping on whatever promise they have for now!
      I liked trying to make Clayton look good lol. Dunno if I did because it’s quite hard to make teen boys in Sims 3 look nice. Isla and him are quite cuter together than I initially intended, actually 😊 Let’s hope Clayton doesn’t kill that vibe! Also I think in the next chapter Briar will actually get a good idea why she’s the only one who sees him as a vampire.
      Lol I love writing cliffhangers! 😝 I can’t wait to start writing the next chapter, which should be up by tomorrow evening.
      Argh I am really excited for the moment when the third generation pops up! I am so excited that I have already thought up their genders, names, personalities and even clothes LOL. I’ve actually started writing the plan for the next generation, I’m that hyped for it! It will be real fun to write. 🐶

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm I wonder what that lady wanted with Briar…. Thank goodness Ash saved her before anything super bad happened. I’m glad Isla and Clayton are getting alone though! Hopefully his vampire-ness isn’t a bad thing.

    And huh… Xander and Ash are summoning aliens? Lol I really want to find out what they’re doing! Nice cliffhanger 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay Ash to the rescue! Made me happy while I was writing that scene 😊
      I was going to make Clayton act like a total jerk until I saw him and Isla being all cute together. He originally wasn’t meant to be a vampire as well until I thought I should link his story with Briar’s. Let’s hope none of his vampire-ness kicks in in a bad way!
      Spoiler alert: that was a fake cliffhanger. Just because I’m mean (and I didn’t intend for it to finish that way until I got kicked off the computer). Lol. There’s a real one in the next chapter though! That should be posted tomorrow~ 🐶

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes finally finished reading this chapter. It’s hard to know what other readers are feeling right now because I already know what’s going to happen hehe. But that bit where Briar was talking with Fern was so sweet I literally got tears in my eyes. Wow I am an emotional person. And Clayton looks terrible with his pale skin. I can’t wait until you make him…you know. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t even tell if you’re joking about the Fern bit. Lol.
      Haha I need someone to tell my plans because you are much more helpful than my sister who is literally like, “I don’t care. Shut up.” Which is probably what you feel like sometimes since I always talk about Sims but meh. 😘 Yep, vampire skins are real weird so I am very excited for that moment!!!

      Like

  4. It seems like the town is filling up with supernaturals. Isla really likes a vampire, hope it works out and he doesn’t try to feed off her… Wonder what that flash of light was and the memory of Ash and that sinister looking women…talking of experiments? Very interesting chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The start of the chapter is awesome. Very well done in terms of the photos and the writing and how the scene unfolded. I love that we see Ash defending his sister and that Briar also gets a glimpse why he’s acting the way he’s acting.

    The contrast of that scene to that moment with Fern and then Isla’s vampire crush is almost jarring, because of how different in tone it is. But well… Briar is being swept away by all these events, and I can definitely feel thing escalating.

    And then we see Xander again, and it just ruins everything. I really hope he gets what he deserves in the end. I still feel so sorry for Ash, so much so that I want to adopt him or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ok, the shots at the beginning were absolutely amazing – straight up masterpieces! From the angles to the blur – A+ Then from that intensity we end up back with Isla and her crush, who is cute but another supernatural, this town is just crawling with them isn’t it? Nice to see Ash is still looking out for Briar because his attitude as of late had me doubting him, even though I know he started this in the first place to protect his family. I feel like Briar will click as to what’s going on any moment now – finally

    Liked by 1 person

  7. They must be doing horrible things to people, as Ash went all frantic about getting his sister released! Good that he still cares. 🙂 Briar / Isla / Vampire = How frustrating that she can’t get through to her little sister. How frustrating she’s the only one who can see the supernaturals…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. All sorts of supernatural creeps are crawling in the night. I loved your use of the filters for the beginning pictures. Ash is… still on my shit list. Yes make a deal and then let’s just NEVER tell your sister about it. Coolbeans!

    I love that Briar isn’t the classic heroine. She’s got some flaws and it really helps to start rounding out her character more. I feel a bit bad for Isla, but I guess Briar gets what she deserves towards the end.
    Also, I’m partial to Vampires meself, they’re a fun bunch of lore-sources.
    Plus that one seems pretty cute. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like the pics! I remember actually being proud of those, back in the day 😂
      I do also like that Briar is on the weird side. I still don’t really understand her, but she was definitely interesting to write.

      Like

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