For the record, this chapter kicked my ass. Sorry it’s so late, everything about it was hard lol.
Also, CW: this chapter gets pretty gory because paranormal shenanigans.
The In Between Inn
Mikel checked the radar screen one more time. He hadn’t kept it because he was sentimental—though he was that—he kept it because it was his. Or maybe salvaged.
That was the right word.
He salvaged it because it was his.
His. The word sent a shiver through him. Mikel, who had never thought of himself as particularly selfish, could not summon even an ounce of embarrassment over how good it felt.
You didn’t own things on Sixam 9. Not unless you won. Even royalty respected that rule.
In all his 310 quarks, or 36 planet rotations, Mikel had never won.
Not even once.
Turning to his bureau, he checked the settings on his simray before placing it back in the case. He felt protected at the In Between Inn but he also understood that protection was an illusion.
He flushed as he stared down at the case. He hadn’t ever wanted to use it. But desperate times…
His train of thought was interrupted by a loud banging on his door.
“Mikel! Are you making breakfast or what? We’re starving out here!!” Penny shouted, punctuating each word with a sharp knock.
The radar screen froze. It was impossible to get it to sustain any sort of connection when it was so far away from the rest of the console. He would keep trying though.
Penny banged on the door again. “Seriously. Mikel. For the love of practical magic, what is taking so long?”
She paused and Mikel heard muffled conversation.
“Also, Miko says we’re going to need tech support in about four days!”
He sighed. Though his job had been tech support on Sixam 9, he much preferred cooking.
A good meal made everyone smile and Mikel loved making his friends happy. He loved having friends.
He loved not being alone.
But from each according to his ability and all that.
“Just a minute! I’ll be right down!” he called out.
He could never say no to Penny. Omelettes…she liked omelettes. He’d make them with extra cheese.
Before he left the room, he opened the case one last time, unable to resist double-checking. He breathed a sigh of relief.
The simray was still set to “engage.”
Shrieking Llama Pub
Alice settled herself on a barstool and ordered a glass of Granite Falls Blanco. On the plus side, Ben was again taking up less of a presence in her mind.
On the not so plus side, her tailbone was fucking killing her.
She had hoped to find an alternative to her booking at the In Between Inn, but the bartender gave her the strangest look when she asked them if they had any rooms available upstairs.
“Upstairs? But there is no upstairs…” they replied with a confused shake of their head.
“Oh no, you must’ve misunderstood—“
Alice started to explain, but a man in a striking hoodie interrupted by tapping her lightly on the shoulder.
“Eh, I wouldn’t look for any answers from them. They’re mortals, and enchanted out of their sage-forsaken minds from the looks of it.”
Despite his gruff voice, the words unfolded in a seductive curl.
He was beautiful, almost creepily so. Alice stared at him dumbly. How the fuck was…what was up with his ears? Did no one else see them?
He motioned for her to follow him to the other side of the bar and reluctantly, with some nudging from Ben, Alice agreed.
“Oohh! One of the Fae! The Fae are the best!” Ben exclaimed.
“Oh for llama’s sake, elves too?” Alice hissed through gritted teeth.
“Yeah, so not a term we like to use,” the man replied, looking slightly taken aback.
“And what about you sweetheart?” he continued, “You reek of magic…”
Suddenly, the room felt very small. Alice got the sense that she should lie.
“Oh, I’m..er..new to the supernatural world,” she stammered, using her new excuse.
Alice didn’t have the faintest idea what that meant, but she nodded.
The answer seemed to mollify him. He leaned in close and gave her a smile that was so bright, it had to be false. It put Alice’s “Of Course I Can Help You Find That Item That’s Right In Front Of You” smile to shame.
“My name is Akira Kibo. The In Between Inn ain’t far from here, I could accompany you if you like.”
He winked, but Alice could not shake the feeling that something was wrong.
“Ummm…” she stalled.
“Oh…so that’s what he looks like. We should definitely leave,” Ben observed.
Alice didn’t ask Ben what he meant, because this seemed like a precarious situation and she had learned from her experience with Contessa. But later, she expected an actual explanation. Like a full rundown. With details.
“As if I’ve ever not explained something fully!” Ben gasped, sounding offended.
Alice tapped her foot.
“Fine! Yes, details later,” Ben mumbled after a beat.
“Wow, all that nectar is starting to press on my bladder! I might explode! Will you excuse me?” Alice said loudly, knowing that saying something embarrassing with enough volume was a great way to clear a path.
Akira looked startled but then gave her another one of those fake smiles, which just confirmed for Alice that she had made the right choice.
She walked casually towards the restroom. As soon as the door closed, she used the toilet as a stepping stool and climbed out the window.
“I don’t want to be followed,” she whispered, calling up the same incantation she used at Planet Honeypop.
Then she stumbled into the night, heart racing and slightly dizzy.
Caleb watched Vladislaus pacing in front of the fire muttering to himself about traffic patterns and gnomes and the dangers of the Windenburg countryside.
It turned out, “keep busy” had been the wrong advice.
First, there was the woodworking spree. Caleb glanced towards the music room which was now crammed full of chairs and tables in various sizes and styles.
Then Vlad had taken to playing the pipe organ. Loudly. For hours.
After William disabled the organ with a swift kick to the pedal board, Vlad took up reading, then re-sorting Caleb’s weapons, and then throwing those weapons at various pieces of furniture until Caleb hurtled a dagger into his back. The vampire had the nerve to look annoyed when he pulled it out, as if Caleb were inconveniencing him!
Once upon a time, Vladislaus kept himself busy torturing trespassers or plotting wars and although Caleb had wanted him off the path of destruction, he wasn’t sure he agreed this was an improvement.
“I’m sure she’s fine, just busy getting settled,” Caleb tried, looking longingly at an ax that was lodged in the wall. It would have to be resharpened.
“Something’s wrong. I’m going to find her,” Vlad snapped, misting out of the room.
“Vladislaus you can’t just—“ Caleb started, but Vlad was already gone.
Jumping to his feet, Caleb stormed towards the front door, but William grabbed him by the arm and forced him to slow down.
“I think it’s best we let him go this time. He’s head over heels and mad as a hatter. He’ll be back when he realizes he came on too strong and dear Alice threatens a restraining order.”
“And then what? You keep vetoing my plan for us to go after the Owl of Undoing,” Caleb grumbled.
“We help the poor fool learn how to date,” William replied knowingly.
Shrieking llama Pub
It only took five minutes for Akira to realize she was gone. At first he thought she was just some lost soul, the kind of charity case that usually found their way to the In Between Inn. But then, she hadn’t been glamoured. “Apprentice spellcaster” his ass.
Whoever—whatever—she was, she was no amateur.
He knew the Owl of Undoing would bring supernatural creatures out of the woodworks. They were all plotting to get it, if they hadn’t already tried to chase it down or infiltrate the baking contest. The spell, ‘it must be earned or freely given,’ would slow them down, but clever creatures could figure a way around it.
Alliances would be made, contractors would be hired. The gnomes, those heathens, would join up with anyone if there was a cup of coffee involved and sirens…well…you could pay sirens to do anything.
But none of that mattered to Akira. Even the prospect of facing whatever foul creature the God of Death was riding around in did not subdue his determination. He had to have the Owl of Undoing because he had something important to undo. He would lie, cheat, steal, or kill to see it through because Miko—
There was nothing more important than Miko.
Your forgiveness is the only thing that matters to me. You are the only thing that matters to me.
He had never stopped loving her, even as he destroyed what they had.
Whatever she was, he needed this woman to get him into the Inn. Growling, he rushed out of the bar to chase her down, not because he feared being too slow, but because time was definitely not on his side.
??? – Location Unknown
Head to the Windenburg countryside and just keep going until you get there? Those cheery directions did not mention the dark tangled woods that surrounded the property. How did she even get here?
She could see the Inn from behind the pub. She should be there by—
Alice froze, her heart slamming in her chest.
In the dark of the trees, illuminated by slash of moonlight, she saw a single, yellow eye.
Ben shouted it, but she was already thinking it. Already moving.
Alice flung her body forward, boots pounding on the ground, arms pumping to give her momentum.
Her foot snagged on a rock and she tripped, slamming downwards, her wrists absorbing the impact as she bit back a pained cry.
There was no time now.
Rolling herself up to her knees and then to her feet, she took off again. Stumbling, unbalanced, she made herself keep moving.
This time, she did not look behind her.
The woods stretched out impossibly in all directions. Disoriented, Alice dove for cover behind a tree.
she tried to catch her breath
as the world spun
“Alice, you cannot stop now. You have to keep moving,” Ben said firmly.
And she could hear the creature in the trees behind her.
Nodding, she dug deep and launched forward again, swallowing down her nausea.
Her dizziness didn’t clear, she knocked into a tree. Pain radiated down her shoulder.
“We’re going to call some lightning,” Ben instructed calmly. “Alice? Stay with me. This is going to work.”
“Ben I—” she put a hand to her mouth, trying not to puke. The echo of snapping branches and leaves crushed underfoot sounded closer and closer.
Ben grabbed hold of her terror and shouted it down.
“You are not weak, Alice Martin. You are a God. Now, call the lightning!”
And Alice did.
She searched, molecule by molecule, clumsily pulling it from the sky. With a cry she turned, drew away from the tree, firing it forward.
A motherfucking werewolf?
For a moment the lightning coursed through the she-wolf’s body, holding the creature aloft before tossing her to the ground. Singed, she fell down dead.
But another werewolf roared.
“Again!” Ben cried.
“I can’t! Ben! I can’t!” Alice screamed, waving her arms in an arc, frantically trying to call the power.
A small spark started in the pit of her stomach and exploded outward in a brilliant shield of light. The woods, finally illuminated, poured out its secrets, creatures fleeing from nearly every corner.
But Alice also felt emptied out.
The werewolf, having only been blinded for a moment, bounded towards her. He made a final leap but froze in mid-air becoming, in a way that her mind could not understand, a collection of separate body parts flung out in all directions.
A flash of bone and wing.
A red-eyed monster.
Dimly, Alice wondered why a dark angel was tearing the werewolf apart.
As she closed her eyes, she whispered a name that she didn’t even know she knew.
But she felt safe.
The Wandering Wood
The name she whispered was ancient and maybe myth, but it felt like his.
And also not-quite his at the same time.
Vlad schooled himself not to dive for her, not yet. She was still breathing. The woods had come alive at the scent of fresh prey and while the smaller creatures might have fled the light, the larger ones would not give up the hunt.
Not without a fight.
Vlad turned, wings spread, blocking an attack from the werewolf behind him.
Grabbing him by the throat, Vlad squeezed until he felt the bone between the chin and neck bend, crack, and then finally give way. It felt invigorating.
Tossing him to the side, Vlad turned and beckoned to the next one.
She roared and Vlad took advantage of the distraction to disappear and reappear behind her.
He tore her head clean off, the spray of plasma hitting him in the face.
A crunch. A hiss. Two more werewolves torn apart and he could scent the lightning in the air.
He knew things were different this time. He was different this time—more in control—but he didn’t understand why. Why would Alice run into a Wandering Woods? Why did he feel a connection to her that he could not set aside?
More werewolves were coming, a whole pack, he could hear them rushing around the trees and crashing through the bushes. He chanced a quick look at Alice, checking her over and noting her continued breathing.
Don’t panic, he told himself, turning his attention back to the task at hand. He needed the wizard at the center of the wood—end the wizard, end the magic.
Vlad turned in a circle, surveying the area. He tuned out the howls of the werewolves, the whistling wind, the eerie cricket songs, and finally, though it caused the anxiety to expand in his throat, the sound of Alice breathing.
A small fissure in the skyline so delicate, it was almost imperceptible.
He ran towards it and pulled, reaching through the magic.
It rattled his teeth, peeling the skin from his bones, but he did not stop.
OBSTACLE. OBSTACLE. OBSTACLE.
The pain was indescribable.
In the darkness, just beyond the rip, sat a wizard in a chair, eyes half-closed, chanting.
Vlad would have killed him anyway but when the wizard looked up, clearly terrified, his fear became a siren song.
Ever the vampire, Vlad dove and clamped down on his throat draining the plasma while the thing inside him uncoiled and sipped along the wizard’s terror.
They called him the Reaper but Vlad didn’t come for the death…
He came for the fear.
Shrieking Llama Pub
The woods snapped out of existence when the wizard fell into dust. Instantly, they were back at the Shrieking Llama pub. It was dawn and the moon still hung in the sky.
Vlad ran over to Alice, dropping to his knees to check her pulse.
The panic, which had been kept at bay in his bloodlust, came raging back as he gently touched her face and called her name. He knew her, knew he could not lose her, knew that somehow, she was all that mattered to him.
Her eyes fluttered open. Slowly, she sat up. He helped her to her feet, resisting the urge to crush her into his arms.
But that only lasted a second before he saw her swaying on her feet.
“You came for me? How?” she whispered, and he heard the recognition in her voice. She felt this too.
She reached for him, running a hand down the side of his face. Vlad had no sense of his own reflection, but he knew she felt bone. He must be terrifying.
Cringing, he tried to pull away.
“Don’t,” Alice commanded, clutching him tighter. “I’m not scared.”
He was powerless to deny her. He held her until her heartbeat slowed and then carefully, searching her eyes for disapproval, took a step back. The thing he felt for her felt was overwhelming. The part of him that had walked the realms for many millennia and whispered knowledge that was not his own sang with desire.
This was how it was supposed to be.
“All that lightning, the shield, that was because—”
“I’m the God of Death and you’re—”
Her sentence cut off abruptly as she leaned over and puked on his shoes.
The In Between Inn
Miko looked at Vladislaus Straud, standing in her parlor, holding Alice’s limp body. Plasma, guts and other things she did not want to think about dripped onto the floor.
This was not how it was supposed to be.
He shifted Alice in his grip and enunciated every word like it physically pained him. “I know I’m supposed to be here. This is the safest place for her.”
Miko looked down at his hands.
The flesh was still growing back.
The Wandering Wood. How could she have forgotten about the Wandering Wood? Was it too late, could she salvage this?
“She’s a god, but there’s something wrong. You and the Fates. You made a mistake. She’s still mortal. You…”
He swallowed and looked back down at Alice, “You have to fix her. Tell me what to do to fix her.”
His eyes were fervent, desperate…full of love.
Shit. It was way too soon for anyone to know that Alice was the God of Death, especially Vladislaus Straud.
Quickly, before he could even react, she unwound the magic and watched the both of them dissolve. The look Vlad gave her as he faded was so anguished, so desolate, that Miko had to turn away.
She had accounted for all the variables. She had a plan, one that ended with Alice winning the Owl of Undoing and Vlad, her greatest weapon, clearing the path because he loved her.
But not yet.
Alice’s very mortal body was in too much danger this early in the game. Love right now would make them a target, Miko had seen it happen a thousand times.
From the first to the 999th, the earlier they fell for each other, the earlier they died.
Funny that her entire plan hinged on that four letter word when it was the very thing that distracted her all those centuries ago. She was 2.69 seconds late in 1482. Too late to stop the Good Order Monks from opening a gateway to the Underworld and binding something dark and ancient. Too late to stop Josef Straud, heinous monster of the mortal variety, from offering his son up on a silver platter.
It was the beginning of the end, right there in the middle, which was how these things always happened. From there the timelines split so wildly that it was impossible for Miko to wind them back up.
It was her darkest secret…
That she had caused the ending of a world.
She had to fix it. And she would! The Owl of Undoing would come to her—earned and freely given and then she’d put the lid back on the box. It would work. It had to, because the alternative was too awful.
Gods and swords and steel and death.
Putting her hand against the curio cabinet for support, Miko let herself have a moment of despair. She still dreamed of him sometimes. In the tangled bits of time she snatched together for sleep and reflection, she often woke with his name still on her lips.
Akira. Akira. Akira.
But it had been centuries since he—
She let out an agonizing breath. He was long since gone now and Miko had accounted for all the variables.
Straightening, she walked behind the desk and put on her best smile as the doorbell jangled. Alice strolled in looking a bit haggard, but standing on her own two feet, B’Ollithiranon slumped behind her.
“Welcome to the In Between Inn!” Miko announced with a happy wave.
I know I say this often but this chapter REALLY could not have happened without all this great CC and amazing poses.
Poses by JoanneBernice
- Sims in Distress Part One
- Sims in Distress Part Two
- Sims in Distress Part Four
- Sims in Distress Part Six
- Rejection Kiss Poses
Silent Running by JoanneBernice and Quiddity-Jones
Poses & CC by Natalia-Auditore
- Anime Fight Poses
- Werewolf Poses
- Headless Outfit
- Male with Head in Hands
- Vampire Male Victim
- Angel Wings
- Desperate Girl
Poses & CC by Simmerberlin
- All My Life
- Emotions 2
- Emotions 4
- Emotions 5
- Emotions 6
Elf Ears by Sikoi
Half-Face Skull Face Paint by Satterlly
From the Sims 4 Gallery
Up & Up Inn by Kulthero777 (The lot is stunning! Just know that Miko’s parlor only exists on a fake soundstage in the fake movie studio I built for my sims and this story.)
The Misty Forests by Nicolitschi (This lot was everything I needed! If you need a good, creepy set piece then go download it!)
Werewolf Base by ScarfyLove (Listen, my computer is weak as hell. Natalia-Auditore had a beautiful cc werewolf costume but there was no way I could use it along with the other poses. Shout out to the genius creative simmer who made some werewolves using the Vampires pack!)