SEASON 1: OPENING CREDITS
CW: Strong language, adult situations, violence, and reference to overdose (I use the in-game mechanics of the bubble blower but still want to flag it just in case)
Straud Manor, Forgotten Hollow
“You know, if I had a completely abandoned mansion waiting for me outside of Glimmerbrook, I damn well wouldn’t be sleeping in a crappy apartment above a broom shop.” Akira’s voice echoed through the house.
“It’s a coffee shop now,” Caleb cracked open an eye and stared at the fae’s boots, “And you do have a mansion waiting outside of Glimmerbrook.”
“Yeah,” Akira smirked, “But my mansion has Titania in it.”
Caleb laughed and then winced. His head felt stuffed with cotton. “You act like being the Queen of the Fae’s brother is a bad thing.”
“I thought if anyone understood complicated family dynamics, it would be you.” Akira offered him a hand, pulling him to his feet.
They made their way to the kitchen where Caleb filled a grimy glass with water and sucked it down until it sloshed in his stomach.
“If you hate this place so much, why are you here?”
Caleb didn’t answer.
Akira spread his arms wide. “It would be helpful to know exactly which Caleb I’m dealing with: Depressed Caleb or Depressed Caleb.”
It was a fair question. Caleb set the glass down, his head clearer. Why did he come here? If he wanted Straud Manor, it was his. No one lived here anymore, including his father, who abandoned the place in 1882. Now there were only the squatters who were too afraid to steal, but not too afraid to trash the place.
“Hey,” Akira snapped his fingers, “We got a case if you’ve sobered up enough to come to work.”
Caleb turned around to find his partner smiling.
“I wasn’t that drunk.”
“Do you want to know how many times you referred to yourself as Vatore Caleb?”
Brindleton Bay Country Club
“The thing is, film sets are different.” Martin Prowl, movie producer and notorious close-talker, swirled his nectar glass sloppily. “Don’t be surprised if you find it overwhelming. Take it from me. I got age and experience, sweetheart.”
Anastasia’s byline as Blythe August in the first talkie said she’d forgotten more about movies than he’d ever know. But that was the thing about being a 950-year-old vampire actress. You had to do a lot of pretending, even when you weren’t on camera.
“Excuse me. I’ve gotta see about the little boy’s room,” Martin said, letting his glass slip from his fingers and roll on the floor. He tripped on it, and though Anastasia was supposedly Simnation’s sweetest actress, she didn’t move a muscle to help.
Maybe if she got lucky, he’d break his neck.
The catering spread was nothing compared to the warm, slick taste of—
She gripped the wall and leaned against it, trying to get control of her hunger. The only reason Anastasia set foot in Brindleton Bay was because of a celebrity fundraiser. With the smiling, autographs, and pretending to care about the Deadgrass Island Lighthouse complete, it was time to escape this hellhole of terrible memories.
The decision came just as her girlfriend, Jimena, entered the room with a reporter from The San Myshuno Times.
Quick as a whip, Anastasia ran out the other door. She’d already suffered through a conversation with Martin Prowl. A gossipy reporter asking about her plans for marriage was too much.
Her nonexistent plans—
Anastasia was married once.
It hadn’t worked out.
Besides, she had no interest in explaining to her girlfriend why she had a list of aliases long enough to impress the Sim Mafia. Or that she had seen and sometimes caused the fall of empires, tangoed with despots…
…been a despot herself.
The second floor was busy too. Desperate to avoid more mortals, Anastasia slipped into the other ballroom, crossing her fingers that the silent auction was empty.
A sullen-looking girl stood by a registration table in the corner. “You can’t be in here. The silent auction doesn’t open for another hour.”
Anastasia plastered on a fake smile, fanning her hand across her chest. “Yes, well, I need to leave early, so I’d like to bid on something right now.”
The girl cocked an eyebrow. “If you bid on it now and then leave, you won’t be here to collect if you win.”
“Oh, silly me. Why didn’t I think of that?” Anastasia felt her eye twitching. Fucking teenagers. “Let’s skip the whole bidding part, and I’ll just buy something.”
“But the value of the items is—”
“Twenty thousand simoleons. What does that get me?”
The girl seemed to perk up. She gestured at some rare books—sims and their damned antiques—when a 19th century evening gown caught Anastasia’s attention.
It was beautiful, the sort of thing she might’ve worn herself a lifetime ago. In fact, she remembered when this design was all the rage. Lilith bought a matching set for her and Morgyn, and they were the toast of the Solstice Ball. The entire family managed to spend the evening together, not a single stabbing or argument between them. Even Vladislaus had been on his best behavior. Astounding, really, since things so quickly went to shit.
But it was a nice memory, and a mother was entitled to those. “I’ll take that gown,” she said, “Whatever the cost.”
Pizzazz House, San Myshuno Suburbs
Of course, her sister would get held up by something so glamorous as a last-minute surgery. In the Pizzazz family, that sort of emergency was solid gold.
“I’m so sorry,” Patricia said.
“Don’t apologize! You took an oath, and what if they died because you waited? Malpractice suit waiting to happen.”
Of course, her mother, the hospital administrator, would think that. Penny took an annoyed sip of nectar and shared a knowing glance with Uncle Ed, the fellow black sheep of the family. It wasn’t just his job selling vacuum cleaners that put him on the list; it was the fact that he enjoyed it and, to the horror of Penny’s mother, had no aspirations to move beyond it.
Ed thought his sister was a snob, but he never lied about his work, whereas Penny lied all the time. Being a Page Two Journalist for Sims InTouch magazine was embarrassing, and Penny did not feel generally satisfied. She felt stupid. And she couldn’t stop trying to win her family’s approval even if the only points she scored at dinner came from needling her sister.
“So Patty,” Penny held up her nectar glass in a mock toast, “What is the hospital’s policy for their highest-paid surgeon working late if the sim doesn’t have insurance?”
Patricia’s eyes went cold, and Penny could tell her quip hit its mark. Sister or no, if Penny worked for a real paper, an expose on Simnation’s fanciest hospital, and its top surgeon would be her story.
“Oh, that’s enough about me, sister,” she flashed a saccharine smile, “Why don’t you tell us everything that’s going on in the riveting world of tabloid magazines?”
“Big story about a sim outside the system who wants to report on a threat in her neighborhood.” Penny didn’t miss a beat.
“Oh, that’s interesting,” her mother said in a disinterested tone.
“I’m also looking into freelance work. Oh, and the paper might promote me to—”
“Why not go back to school?” her father interrupted, “Get a graduate degree, use that to launch your actual career.”
Penny flinched. “Yeah, maybe.” She ignored her sister’s smirk as she fiddled with her nectar glass.
Thankfully, her Aunt Teena swept into the room, chattering about her Starlight Accolades nomination for her latest artistic work. Everyone cheered, and Penny used the opportunity to step outside and text her best friend, Alice.
Penny snorted, picturing her mother’s face after finding out the sim with the neighborhood threat was a crackpot who insisted that werewolves infiltrated the house next door.
Penny bit her lip. Alice had a unique, aka “nonexistent,” relationship with her family. She left home the moment she turned 18, and when house arrest forced her to return, she left as soon as her probation started. The woman had firm boundaries, which Penny envied.
Penny laughed, but her stomach sank when she saw her mother motioning for her to come back inside. She fired off a text, wishing Alice good luck.
Henford-on-Bagley looked as if a team of artists had designed it, complete with quaint food stands and a few little old ladies ready to slip arsenic into your tea.
“Please don’t poison me,” Alice said through a clenched smile. She waved at two women dressed like extras from the set of Of Tea and Treachery.
The glint of the windowpane in the shop behind them caught her eye. Alice’s feet automatically carried her over to the display, her hands lightly pressing the glass to check for loose panes. She peered at the sales floor, looking for the telltale red lights, before realizing the store had no visible alarm system. A thrill went through her. How long might she case a place like this? A day? A week?
With effort, she forced herself to take a step back. “You don’t do that anymore,” she hissed.
The two ladies looked up, scandalized. Damn, they had good hearing!
“I mean, I don’t buy plates anymore,” Alice assured them, hands thrust out in front of herself. “I just…er…make my own.”
The women appeared unconvinced and other sims started looking at Alice like she was crazy. Confidence waning, she made her way into the Gnome’s Arms Pub and approached the bartender. “Hi! I heard you guys were hiring?”
“Yes! Thank llamas! You must not be from around here; no one else in this damn town has even bothered to apply. What’s your name?”
Shit. Alice mumbled her name.
“Alice Smartin?” the woman asked.
“Uh, sure, but—”
“It doesn’t matter; it’s not like we have a budget for background checks. Anyway, I’m Sara Scott, the owner,” she stuck out her hand, “My partner and I just adopted, so I’m a bit swamped. I need someone for the evenings.”
“Oh! I could definitely do that; I love the night!” She loved the night? What a fucking insane thing to say. “I mean, I’m available. I’m a great bartender, and I won’t slip arsenic into anyone’s tea.”
“What the hell?”
Alice pinched the bridge of her nose. Usually, she had a better filter, but the move to Windenburg had been stressful. Especially with a spirited toddler. “I’m sorry. I’m exhausted and a little bit off my game. I came here because I had a terrible breakup and I’m trying to start over but—”
“It’s okay, I get it,” Sara put a hand on her arm. “Just promise me no arsenic, and I think we’re good.”
Alice held up her two fingers. “Scout’s honor.”
“Outstanding,” Sara clapped her hands. “Can you start tomorrow?”
Caleb’s Apartment, Glimmerbrook
The crime scene wouldn’t leave Caleb’s mind.
Nine werewolves, limbs broken, throats torn open, eyes gouged out. “Bloodbath” was an understatement.
He collected the mail—bills, junk, and a distinct black envelope. As soon as his fingers touched it, the paper transformed into a box.
He knew what it was, and so rather than open it and subject himself to the vitriol, he tossed it into a bin with the others.
Despite 140 years of service with the Magical Investigation Unit, creatures still didn’t trust him. “That family,” they would say, and Caleb would find himself getting defensive even though he effectively agreed with them.
Most vampires chose their families, which sounded idyllic, but they were plagued with the same problems as any other family unit with an immortal lifespan. There were power plays, feuds, arguments that lasted centuries. And the act of choosing was one-sided. Caleb and Lilith were made; they didn’t select the creatures who raised them from fledglings. Who in their right mind would choose his parents?
Well, Lilith probably would. But that’s only because they corrupted her. Now Caleb ignored her calls the same as he did with the rest of the family. He didn’t need guilt or useless gossip from Uncle William or Morgyn.
After stripping his clothing, he jumped into the shower, hoping it would perk him up. At 300 years old, he was still a young enough vampire to require some sleep. Not that there would be any tonight.
The slaughtered werewolves were from three packs—Brown, Pappy, and Wolff, and the slaughter wasn’t the worst of it.
“Their teeth are missing,” the acolyte on the scene told them. “Every single one. Yanked out of their heads.”
Goth Summer House, Brindleton Bay
Begged. Of course, that’s how Mortimer would characterize it.
“You put her on a flight alone!” he shouted.
“Keep your voice down,” she whispered, “And yes. Cassandra is damn near sixteen years old. I don’t think it’s crazy that I expect our teenager to take on some more responsibility!”
“Responsibility, yes. Making up for your lack of boundaries around work, no. Damn it, Bella, you told me you care about this but you let Cassandra take your place.”
Bella turned away. She had promised to sort and tag the items for the fundraiser two Christmases ago. Instead, she’d been assisting Newcrest with a major heist case.
To be honest, she thought the kid did an excellent job. A few dusty vases, a dress that some celebrity paid twenty thousand simoleons for—Bella was proud. And Mortimer would be too, if he wasn’t so obsessed with his family traditions. It was already a headache spending part of the summer here, and arranging this fundraiser for some Goth family commitment to the historical society, was annoying to every family member, including the cat.
Maybe it was because the men in his family died young and tragically. That had to do something to the male ego, right?
Bella dug deep for an apology, because that’s what you did after nineteen years of marriage. “I do have boundary issues. And I’m sorry all that stuff ended up being donated.”
“It’s not the things,” Mortimer said quietly.
When she first joined the force, Mortimer would sit up every night, quizzing her on traffic violations and arcane statutes, while Cassandra was miserable and teething. He loved her and it wouldn’t kill her to try harder. “I know, I’m sorry,” she kissed him, “I promise the rest of this weekend is just you, me, and the kids.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her phone flashing on the dresser. “Let me just take a shower. I can’t stand all this make-up and hairspray.”
Mortimer laughed, “I think you look gorgeous.”
“But you also like me in sweatpants, right?”
He tucked back a lock of hair and kissed her hand. “Dressing like this every day would be impractical.”
Bella playfully pushed his shoulder, using the movement to grab her phone. “Be serious.”
Once in the bathroom, she flipped on the shower and pressed redial. “Alright, Deacon, talk fast. What have you got?”
“Whoa, didn’t expect you to answer.”
“I didn’t answer,” Bella said, “I called you back.”
“Oh…yeah, the phone did ring here.”
She could almost hear the wheels turning in his head. Deacon wasn’t necessarily stupid. He was just…Deacon. “What did you call me for?”
“Got a body in Willow Creek Park. Badly burned, looks like a bubble blower overdose, but…”
Her stomach did a flip. Willow Creek Park was right by their house. “But what? Do we know who it is?”
“Not yet,” Deacon said, “But it looks like they had a bit too much passionfruit flavor. The only thing not burned up was this tooth necklace.”
“Yeah,” he hesitated. “At first the ME tried to play it off, but the news got a shot of it around the victim’s neck and…” he sighed and Bella could hear him fidgeting at his desk. “Back home, we saw shark teeth all the time. They washed up on shore, or you find them when you’re out surfing. But this wasn’t like any tooth I’ve ever seen.”
Her stomach did another flip. “Alright, I’ll look at everything on Monday.”
Gnome’s Arms Pub, Henford-on-Bagley
The damp made sounds.
Boots squishing in the mud, heavy panting when sims blew out a hurried breath. In this weather, catching prey was easy.
Their hearts beat with sheer annoyance, and Vladislaus, ever the beast, could easily find them.
He wasn’t hungry, but the habit of hunting was hard to shed.
What a fascinating choice of word. As if to suggest that sportiness somehow made it different from outright killing. For a thousand years, Vlad did both, lured by the sweet scent of adrenaline, the exquisite flutter of a pulse in motion. Just a flicker of fear, a flash of fangs and—
A door creaked open, flooding the back alley with light. Vlad clenched his jaw. “I was just coming in.”
“I’m sure you were,” Latimer frowned.
The old man turned on his heel, not waiting to see if Vlad would follow. “And I hope you’re planning to get your ass beat in chess. I won’t take it easy on you just because you’re feeling melancholy.”
“I wouldn’t dream of asking,” Vlad replied, “And I’m not feeling melancholy.”
“Sure,” Latimer chuckled, as they sat down. “Age before beauty.”
Vlad’s hand was already hovering above his chess piece. “Obviously that means I go first.”
The game puttered along in companionable silence. Vlad was almost sure his mood had escaped his friend’s notice, but the sim missed nothing.
“Why are you sad?” he asked.
“No particular reason.”
“I am old, Latimer, there’s a lot of things for me to be occasionally downcast about.”
The sim quickly captured one of Vlad’s pawns. “That’s a very vague answer to a specific question. I talked to Lilith on Simsbook, by the way.”
Just perfect. Vlad knew what was coming; his daughter was nothing if not skilled at guilt trips.
“She said you ain’t called. In fact, William and Morgyn just bought a new house, and you never even sent a gift.”
Vlad captured a knight. “I sent a gift. An espresso machine. Morgyn deemed it an unacceptable color and returned it.”
“What about Lilith?”
“Lilith is…” Vlad paused, trying to remember exactly what it was they were even fighting about. It might be nothing. Sometimes her claws were out merely because she wished to be left alone. Vlad understood the sentiment, even if he was never really alone himself.
Latimer sighed, “You can’t be in a feud with every member of the family. There’s—”
“I’m not feuding with you,” Vlad said calmly, but in a tone that brooked no argument. “Not unless you force me to spend my next thousand years waiting for your move.”
Alice’s Cottage, Windenburg
She poked her head in Gwendolyn’s room, unsurprised to find the toddler sitting up in her bed.
Alice folded her arms. “Book, huh? You know you’re supposed to be sleeping.”
“No sleep. Book.” Her daughter looked unrepentant. It was an expression Alice kind of liked—at least on a toddler. On Salim after she caught him cheating on her? Not so much.
“Alright, fine.” Alice chose a book and took a seat on the bed. “This story is called Your Mom Got a Bartending Job! Isn’t She Cool?”
Gwendolyn giggled, “No, mama no cool.”
“Ouch, fine, let me check again.” She pretended to examine the cover. “Hmm, my bad. It’s called Oh My Gosh, Your Hair is Made of Spaghetti.”
Gwendolyn cackled and clapped her hands. This was her favorite game. The titles would grow sillier until they both collapsed into laughter. Alice tried to muster up another joke, but it was difficult. She was still reeling from the last fight with her father. He had very specific views about how Gwendolyn should be raised, and none matched Alice’s.
“This is our fresh start.” She kissed the toddler’s forehead and breathed in the smell of her shea butter shampoo.
“No kiss,” Gwendolyn growled, “Now book!”
“Now book,” Alice agreed. “The Adventures of Pink Ruffle. ‘Pink Ruffle was a pirate, but no one believed her. Girls can’t be pirates! And they can’t sail ships. But Pink Ruffle was a pirate, and her ship was called The Cordelia…’”
English Manor Wedding by irrelephant7
POSES & ANIMATIONS
Werewolf Costume by Natalia- Auditore
Random Couples #9 by ScioPhobis
Phone Talk Posepack by Natalia-Auditore
Drinking Stand Poses by Natalia-Auditore
Get Stabby by JoanneBernice
Combat Knife by Quiddity-Jones
Medieval Slave Dress by Natalia-Auditore
Renia Dress from the December 2021 Collection by Sentate
Table Manners Pose Pack by Something Wicked Sims
Toddler Poses #3 by simsgami
Song is “Home” by Marc Broussard
“News Stand” location by SerenaL13
“News Filming & Production” location by Jonboy1979
“Police Headquarters Room” location by zitapita13
With a Bottle of Beer Animation by Grindana
Depressive Pack by Zac Frietas
Movement Animation Pack by Cicada Games
Fight Pack by Cicada Games
Intense Confrontation by FlowersSimFactory
Vampire Animations by Grindana
Vampire Battle by Cicada Games
Alexi by Moriel
Lady Boyle Set by Moriel
Simlish Handwriting Fonts by Franzilla
Stand Up by WTS
Animation Pack #21 by SovaSims
Exclusive Pack #10 by SovaSims
Cool Walks by Steven Studios
Animation Pack #14 by StorySimmer
Various Idles by Steven Studios
Exclusive Pack #13 by SovaSims
iPhone by Solistair
Animation Pack with Glasses by Grindana
Abduction Pack by Cicada Game
iPhone 7 plus decor by MXIMS
Fashion Photoshoot by Shushilda Sims
And shout out to the “CAS Unlock” Sim by SC_Admin which saved me a thousand headaches for costumes!