No matter how guilty Lissa felt about the ‘Probe Threat’ incident, she had to admit that it had worked perfectly. Rashad had stopped throwing rubbish everywhere, and was even being civil to everyone. True, he never looked completely relaxed – especially when he was near her land – but she would take that over his previous behaviour any day.
She really shouldn’t make a habit of it, though. It would hardly improve sim/alien relations if she went around behaving like a caricature of bad science fiction tropes.
Her cooking was beginning to improve, too. She had no reason to cook most of the time, as there would already be far too much food left out on the picnic tables, but when she did the food was definitely tastier than before.
It wasn’t, however, up to the standards of some sims. Mila Munch seemed to be aptly named, Lissa decided, as the older woman critiqued her food. Not quite good enough for the upper crust of society.
Her home was looking a lot more homely, and there was a brand new addition to her furniture. She had finally saved up enough to buy the woodworking bench she had been eyeing! With this, she thought, she could easily make a lot of the furniture she needed – it would save a lot of money in the long run. So with that thought in mind, she began to work.
Yep. This was going to look perfect.
Got to get the measurements right…
Last few swipes of the knife and…
BAM! A wooden horse. Just what she needed. Every house needs a wooden horse. She had learnt that from the travel channel back on Sixam. Her friends would be so proud of her.
“My lovely horse~”
She had plans for the rest of the day, so standing around proudly wasn’t really an option. It wasn’t as fun with no-one around to admire her handiwork, anyway.
“Ok. That’s enough for now.”
Lissa ignored her protesting body and hauled herself off the ground and into the shower, only emerging when her phone started to buzz.
“Morgan!… I’m really glad… an ENTIRE classroom of ferrets?!… that poor hat… sure, I’d love to have you around tomorrow. I made something cool!… No, it’s not that… See you tomorrow.”
School sounded fun. She would have loved to experience it for herself, but she was glad to hear about it. Hopefully there would be more stories tomorrow evening.
Suddenly, Lissa gasped and clapped her hand to her mouth. She had the perfect idea for tomorrow. It was too late to get started tonight, but she could have it all done in time if she got up early. She was about to head to bed when she saw Moira walking past, looking at her garden.
“Ah. Hello Lissa. That’s a pretty strange tree you have there – I’ve never seen one that glows before. Is it from your planet?”
“Actually it’s from here. There’s a whole tree full of glowy fruits by the river. Would you like some of the fruit from mine? I’ve been taking good care of it, so it’s a little better quality than the wild ones.”
Moira smiled. “That would be lovely. Thank you.’
Lissa rushed off to pick a few of the nicest pieces from her tree, and then came back. Moira’s arms widened at the amount.
“Are you sure I can have all of these?”
“I am. I know you’ll take good care of them.”
Lissa looked so happy that Moira seemed quite taken aback.
“You are a strange one, aren’t you?”
“I’m beginning to think that it’s in a good way, though. If I didn’t know that you were stuck in Newcrest, I’d invite you along to my club. We do a lot of gardening there.” Moira brightened as a thought popped into her head. “Actually, I doubt they’ll ever have seen fruit like this before! They’ll be thrilled.”
“I hope they will like them.”
“Don’t worry. I imagine that there will be glowing trees sprouting up all over Windenburg by the time next year comes around.”
Lissa beamed. This was wonderful news. Maybe people would hear about the origins of the plants and come to Newcrest. She had met most of the regulars in the couple of months she had lived there, and it would be lovely to meet some new people.
Moira left, and Lissa went on her nightly cleaning walk. There were only a couple of paper plates left out, so it took almost no time at all.
She looked up at the stars and waved. Maybe her family were looking down at her and waving back.
Waking up in the morning was never a chore. She loved nothing more than an early morning jog before there was too much traffic. Early on in her stay she’d had a near miss with a convertible, and she had no desire to repeat that experience. She had become what Clara fondly called a ‘Gym Rat’, which had taken some explanation. She had not sprouted a tail or developed an extreme love of cheese – it just meant that she loved to exercise. Lissa supposed that could be true. It was justa shame that there was no gym here for her to be a ‘rat’ in.
All the exercise had the added effect of making her extremely hungry. Rashad actually joined her for a meal! He might have been silent and staring, but he hadn’t insulted her even once, so she counted it as an improvement.
The evening came, and with it arrived Morgan.
“I am so glad you’re here! Look! Look!”
“That is a beautiful horse, Lissi. You made it?”
“I did! Now I am a proper sim.”
Morgan raised and eyebrow questioningly.
“All sims have wooden horses at home. The tv said so!”
Morgan smiled at her friend. She wouldn’t be the one to tell her that wasn’t true. It was adorable, how proud of herself Lissa seemed. Maybe it would become a Newcrest tradition. Houses with horses.
“I thought that maybe you would like to come and try out my new item of furniture with me?”
Morgan startled. Her eyes drifted hopefully to the bed – no, it was the same. Shame. Then again, Lissa didn’t seem the kind to change her mind about things like that. It was one of the things she found so charming about her.
“Lead the way, star girl” she said, smiling as Lissa ran around to the back of the building.
“It’s a campfire! The man on the phone said that this was very popular when I called to order it. He said that there were things called marshmallows that you put in the fire, and that sims liked to tell stories to each other around fires.”
“Woah there, Liss. You don’t actually throw them in, you have to put them on sticks and roast them.”
“Are you certain”
Marshmallows are amazing, Lissa decided. They were just sugar but they tasted so good. She had tried eating sugar on its own before, and it had been nothing like this. Maybe she should throw some sugar on the fire one day?
“Should I tell a story now?” she asked as the fire became dimmer.
“Just a tic.” Morgan said, as she went to fetch some more firewood. “Right,” she said, chucking another log onto the embers and watching it crackle back to life, “now we’re ready.”
“This is a story that I heard from one of the scientists that came to our planet. They would sometimes stay and play with us once they’d collected enough data for their work. This is the story of ‘The Girl with Invisible Arms'”
Many years ago, there lived a family on a hill. They owned a huge mansion, and were very popular with the villagers who lived at the bottom of the hill. But one day, they simply stopped leaving their house. Every week, boxes of supplies would be left at the gate, only to disappear as soon as no-one was watching.
At first, the townspeople were concerned. They had been such a vibrant, happy family. This was very out of character for them. Many tried to get them to come to the door, but none succeeded.
Years passed, and the community began to forget about the strange residents of the mansion. Some of the younger ones had never seen anyone from the house, and despite the stories from their parents, they came to the conclusion that it was deserted. And yet the boxes still kept on disappearing.
8 years from the day the door had shut, some of the children decided that they would sneak in and investigate. It was just a creepy old house, after all. Nothing could harm them. So, in the dead of night, they broke one of the windows and climbed through.
The house was dark and full of cobwebs. There was no sign that anyone had lived there in a very long time. They decided to explore.
The entirety of the ground floor was the same as that first room – covered in dust almost an inch thick, and with creepy crawlies scuttling around their feet. They went up the stairs, which creaked and groaned underneath them. Some of them swore that they could hear music, drifting faintly from above them. The first floor mimicked the ground one, other than the remnant of a few tiny hand prints on the windows. So they went up. And up. And up. There were handprints on the walls now, too. And the floor. And even, they noticed, the ceiling.
The music was louder now.
All but one of them were too scared to go on. That one, almost stupidly brave, went up the final stairs into the attic. There was light, and music and so many toys. The boxes of food were here as well. The boy moved towards them and then stopped. There, in the corner, was a little girl wrapped in a rich velvet cloak. She smiled at him, and he felt something grab him from behind. He turned but there was no-one there.
He heard his friends begin to scream, and their heavy footsteps pounding into the floor as they ran caused the whole house to groan and moan around them. Then there was silence.
He turned back to the girl.
“Don’t worry,” she said, “I have them now.”
“What do you mean? Who are-“
His question was cut short as his friends drifted in, carried by their shirts which seemed to be in the grips of hands that were not there. They were so quiet now.
She looked around at them, and the boy felt that same invisible force grab his wrists and start to pull, whilst holding him still with even more impossible hands.
“I had been thinking we could use some big, strong arms around the place. Mine are many, but yours are far superior. They will be useful.”
Her cloak fell off and the scream caught in his throat. She had no arms. But the arms of her dress were moving, and they were pointed towards him.
Then she pulled. One could always use more hands around the place, she thought as she absorbed the first pair into herself. There was always so much to do in a big house like this. Then she flexed these new, stronger arms. This would make the others much easier to manage.
“So how did I do?”
Morgan stood there in stunned silence. She had been terrified. What kind of scientists told those stories to children?!
“Lissi, dear, if you ever have children do not tell them that story.”
“You didn’t like it?” she asked, her shoulders sagging slightly.
“Are you kidding? I loved it! It’s probably a bit too scary for kids, though”
“Mum thought it was funny.”
Morgan looked at her to see if she was joking, and then grinned.
“I have no idea how you grew up to be so happy with stories like that, but I’m not complaining. That was brilliant.”
“I’m sorry – I’ve got to get going, but we are so doing this again some time. I’ll think of a good story, ok?”
Well, Lissa thought to herself, that went pretty well. I think I like this ‘campfire’ thing.
I can’t believe I’ve been here so long! I’ve taken up carpentry, so soon I’ll have a steady income if all goes well. I’ve sent you a little wooden horse on the shuttle, so it should reach you soon. It’s the twin of mine, and they were my first projects. Maybe it could go on the bookcase?