CW: Strong language, adult situations, violence, references to sex, and some gore.
Vlad’s House, Henford-on-Bagley
Vlad replayed Alice’s words a thousand times—in the shower, lying in the bed he didn’t sleep in, now while chopping vegetables. Already she’d upped the ante, looking positively gleeful whenever he visibly struggled to keep one of her concoctions down. What would she dream up next?
And how long until she brought him to his (preferably not literal) knees?
“Are you thinking about that bartender you’re obsessed with?” Latimer teased as he shuffled into the kitchen.
“I’m not obsessed.” Had he had increased their visits to the pub from weekly to almost daily? Yes, but he was merely making himself available to Miss Martin for her observation. And it paid off. “She asked me on a date, remember?” Vlad thrust his shoulders back, “Our interest is mutual.”
That tone. “What?”
“Do not get carried away. Does she think you’re cute? Yes. Does she have the same unwavering intensity you have about this spark between you? I don’t think so.” He crossed to the oven, sniffing in disapproval at the whole grain bread proving inside.
“She tells me about the creatures she hates and serves me increasingly vile cocktails.The only thing she could do to further demonstrate her interest is stabbing me.” Vlad paused, letting the fantasy play out in his mind. “Do you think she’d stab me?”
Latimer stared. “This is why you’re divorced.”
“It is not.” Vlad scooped some pepper seeds into the trash. He wasn’t an idiot. He just had a type. Gender didn’t matter. His sexuality was, as William described it: anything that could potentially kill him. “I am divorced because I married a nightmare made flesh, and we were miserable long before our stabbings went from playful to hateful.”
“There’s such a thing as a playful stabbing?” Latimer held up a hand, “Nevermind. Don’t answer that. Instead, tell me what the hell is going on with this grocery delivery.”
It was only a matter of time before this came up. “Nothing.”
“Nothin’?” Latimer was aghast. “It’s all vegetables!”
“Is that a comment on my cooking?”
“It’s a comment on how terrible it is to be deprived.”
“You’re being absurd.” Vlad returned to chopping vegetables. “You are not deprived, and your meals are not suffering.”
When the doctor mentioned a low-salt, vegetarian diet, the look on Latimer’s face had been mutinous. His friend was, in fact, wearing the same expression now. “You don’t know that! You don’t even eat!”
True. Food was not a thing Vlad could consume anymore. “You need only submit a recipe request; I’m perfectly capable of following directions.”
“But not capable of listening!” Latimer snapped his fingers, “I don’t intend to spend my final days eating like a damn rabbit because some doctor thinks it’ll give me a day. I’ll eat what I want!”
“You’ll eat what the doctor tells you!” Vlad slammed his fist down, forgetting his own strength and cracking the countertop. He turned, nostrils flaring. “If it buys you a day, an hour, a fucking second, I will see it done. And your health, Latimer Alexander Jones, will be preserved whether you are a willing participant or not.”
Decades together kept the sim from fleeing, but he still took a step back. “This is about Betty.”
“It’s not,” Vlad croaked.
“Sixty years, and you don’t think I can read you like a book? I miss her too.”
Once upon a time, the three were inseparable. Vlad had even endured decades in a Newcrest suburb just to be close to them. They held his heart, even if physically, such a thing did not exist anymore.
“Sims die,” Latimer said gently. “It’s what we do. You couldn’t have stopped Betty from dying, and you can’t stop me.”
San Myshuno Metro Police Station
Sims died. It was a universal truth. Though they didn’t usually move after they expired, as with Eliza Pancakes. The ME identified her body not long after it was brought in. She and her mysterious tooth necklace migrated far from the bubble blower where she supposedly overdosed.
“Run it again,” Bella demanded. The lab tech assigned to the case cringed.
She was being abrupt, but everything about this situation had her rattled. The press was having a field day with stories of a new sinister passionfruit flavor hitting the streets. The San Myshuno Times ran a headline that literally said:
“I thought it was always the spouse, like the first rule of murders,” Deacon remarked as he came up behind her. “Although, if I were a husband, it would be really weird if I had to kill my spouse just because the law says so.”
Bella raised her eyebrows, “That’s morbid.”
“I don’t make the rules,” he replied with mock solemnity, “I just follow them.”
They both laughed. You had to in this job. It was the only thing that kept you from screaming.
“So you don’t think we missed something?” she asked as they grabbed a seat. Deacon was a strange guy. But he was good at spotting clues or considering motives that others missed.
On the outside, Bob looked like the perfect culprit. It was no secret that he and Eliza were having trouble. In fact, that was the very first thing he mentioned when he opened the door.
Bella leaned in hard, but he was adamant. “Eliza is dead, and we had problems. Lots of problems. She was a gold-digger, and I’m a bit lazy. I was divorcing, not murdering her.”
“He’s not a nice dude,” Deacon said, “But like, there are easier ways to kill your wife. And having problems isn’t proof of anything besides, like, marriage being hella hard. Which seems true because everyone complains about it.”
Bella agreed. Not only did Bob have an airtight alibi, he was also adamant that Eliza didn’t like bubble blowers or use them. Why defend her in a way that made him look more like a suspect?
“Y’all wanna see what I’ve got?” the tech asked.
Bella and Deacon nodded.
“Well, it’s not much,” he said, leading them over to the machine. “It’s canine in nature, but it doesn’t match anything in the database, and it’s partially laced with sim DNA.”
“So, what does that mean?” Bella asked, peering at the screen, trying to make some sense of the jumbled numbers, letters, and squiggles.
“You’re looking for a werewolf?” At Bella’s frown, he hid his smile. “Sorry, bad joke.”
It was a lead, a useless one, but that wasn’t the tech’s fault. “I’m gonna get some fresh air,” she said to Deacon, “Try to think of something else.”
As she passed the front desk, Marley jumped up, pretending to file paperwork, but Bella caught sight of the magazines she left on the counter.
The cover of Sims InTouch drew her attention:
absolutely love the description of Vlad’s sexuality : p I love the scene with the vegetables and how Vlad’s response is in such Vlad style: ‘I will care about you, damn it, and you will let me care about you!’ – Although it’s pretty sad to know it’s because Vlad doesn’t want to lose someone else close. That’s the trouble with eternity I guess, you would never really get used to losing the people you care about over and over. And even if he’s thinking about Alice intensely, maybe it’s the same thing: is it worth getting to know her even more if he’ll only lose her anyway? Wonder if he feels that way about her too…
“You’re looking for a werewolf?” At Bella’s frown, he hid his smile. “Sorry, bad joke.” Joking aside, very likely not far away from the truth! For once a tabloid story may actually turn out to be true, though that’s not a good thing this time around 😂 Unless you’re like me and would stand there in awe at a werewolf, even whilst it mauls you 😂
I love the contrast of Akira itching to beat the shit out of somebody and Caleb doing his best not to let it come to violence. Damn it Akira, shouldn’t have said anything! I hope the two of them can take on 3-4 werewolves at once in a fight : p
Ooh interesting. So the tooth might be a sort of good fortune charm and not a trophy like I thought? Ohh man Akira’s bow is awesome. IDK what makes archers so cool, probably because it makes me think of DnD. What’s cooler than fighting multiple werewolves off with a bow?
Hmm so the drifter wolves have cut themselves off from toxic family. I wonder if Penny will come to meet them properly down the line, and if she’ll take some inspiration to leave her pushy family from them… That little animation with the werewolf and Bella/Penny was awesome! The vamp ‘rawr’ animation is really good on the werewolf.
LOLOL SAME! Some days I am like: is Vlad my stand-in character for myself? Anyways, yes, Vlad is a pan king and a feminist, in addition to being a murdering monster with truly outrageous opinions about appliances. You hit the nail right on the head; even his “caring” is, like, somewhat threatening. Oof, you are honing on something I’m not even sure Vlad has been able to articulate for himself yet. If he wants to be part of the world, he must deal with mortal lifespans. It makes his life fuller and lonely because he will outlive them.
Man, the only dude who gets it is the crime lab tech! And maybe a tabloid! Hunt down that werewolf! I would be no help either, the CC for this werewolf costume got me shook. There is someone making a werewolves mod and I’m so tempted to download it because dang it, we need werewolves in this game.
Ahhh I love archers too. I’m about to DM a new campaign for friends using Eberron and I was definitely like: steampunk archers are cannon (oh god the nerd levels are so high right now).
Maybe Penny will get lucky and something will inspire her to set firm boundaries with her family…
or maybe not…
heheh! Glad you like the machinima!
It’s always fun to work things out through writing it into a character! For me it sure is easier than opening up to people about things : P Although sometimes it’s without intention and then you just come to a realisation like o.o On a side note, I always appreciate the diversity of your cast. < 3
Oh so it's a costume! I somehow didn't figure that out even after watching the machinima. I thought it was just a bunch of models in different poses *facepalm* To be fair if we ever get werewolves, I reallllly would want them to look like this, like Skyrim-esque anatomy-wise werewolves. Wishful thinking on my part though : (
On behalf of the (surprisingly large) group of flower-crown-fairy-prince-boys-or-mean-goth-girls-who-can-rip-a-man-in-half-with-their-bare-hands bis, I humbly ask Ms. Pizzazz to not make that sneering face anymore, especially while wearing dark lipstick. I HAVE THINGS TO DO.
Gonna try to keep this short and maybe let someone else mention the hilarity of naming a werewolf Shiloh.
Reading between the lines, if Vlad is interested in Alice, she is dangerous. Enough to pose a threat to an elder vampire. And I haven’t said this before, but Latimer is a welcome addition. Vlad’s at his best when he has someone to take care of. Doubly so when it’s some random person he found and decided they were his person. JIMMY. (Now I have to go back and remind myself what happened to William & Morgyn in this universe—pretty sure that in the main universe they’re busy getting themselves some trash books, as in dug out of the garbage rather than guilty pleasures, but dunno if we’ve seen them yet here.)
That having been said, I’m judging Latimer on whether the sentiment behind “it’s all vegetables!” was “…and low-salt vegan cooking needs acidic components! Where’s the citrus, you scrub? Also, if the only thing you bought was fresh produce, I hope every shelf in this pantry is already filled with legumes and bulk spices in mason jars,” or “…waah! I don’t want to eat anything unless rape, torture, or murder of sentient beings was involved!” Could see Vlad going along with either, although he already has a step up. Eating humans is already vegan. We’re terrible for the environment.
A+ transition into Bella’s part. Stunning. And you’re also reminding me to do that “mmm! Pancakes!” fanart.
Deacon is exactly the character I would want to play if I found a D&D group, which is low INT/high WIS. “He’s not a nice dude”? “Marriage is hella hard”? You’re killing me, man.
Canine in nature, partially laced with sim DNA—well then, uh, like, insertions? Is werewolfery retroviral? If so, how is the host DNA mostly canine if the subject started as a sim? I can’t imagine the genetic makeup changing w/ the moon; it has to be some sort of time- or light-dependent phenotypic plasticity. What percentage of genomes do canines and sims already share, that would cause the lead scientist to identify some sequences as sim-specific and not regular mammalian genes? How many questions are you prepared to answer about the werewolf genome?
Even the author of that study knows alpha wolves are a myth! Hah! Wow, Caleb is really moving in on my territory, huh? First with the risk aversion, now he’s the one pointing out when someone has cute shoes? But I do appreciate that BBD has found its own version of two rival groups walking slowly towards each other and snapping while 1950s music plays in the background, which, of course, is shoe based.
Those shoes were pretty cute.
So now we know who was collecting teeth, but, with all my heart, I wanted the werewolf-teeth theft to be someone’s attempt at tricking the tooth fairy. Could be more than one tooth thief. Teeth thief?
Machinima is beautiful as always! Before now, I hadn’t considered the logistics. DAMN. It didn’t occur to me that you’re limited by which animations are available, along with all of the cinematography and the framing, making it fit into the existing storyline… are you sure this is your low-key? BECAUSE VIDEOS SEEM HIGH-KEY.
Listen, I don’t even control Penny anymore. She controls HERSELF. She is an unstoppable force, and I’m sorry for you and your tasks.
I honestly have no excuse for my naming conventions, and I won’t apologize lol.
You are so right about Vlad. He always needs someone he is irrationally attached to because comedy, but also because I think it keeps him from becoming a completely feral monster. He’s not a good person (vampire), so he needs external motivation to try and move through the world without destroying it. (JUSTICE FOR JIMMY) Seriously though, I really just love writing Vlad/human sidekick scenes.
I see that you’ve from “what makes Alice dangerous?” to “Alice is obviously dangerous at a def con most extreme level.” We shall see if you are right…
‘Eating humans is vegan’ LOL I am dead. (and you know their pantry is just debug versions of foods stacked neatly next to each other on an open pantry that has magical game mechanics to keep things from spoiling)
Vlad is probably using v little salt and/or acid. I mean, he could, but the doctor had both those things on the ‘no’ list, so…
I am prepared to answer no questions about the werewolf genome partly because my understanding of how DNA works is TERRIBLE. Umm…thing zippers and unzippers, some parts of the zipper from a sim, some parts of the zipper from werewolf and then..er…poof magic? Yes. That’s how it works. Poof magic.
I missed the opportunity to make an NFT joke but not an alpha male joke. I hope I have redeemed myself. Also, please stan Caleb more! He deserves it!
Please hold onto your butt for shoe-related shenanigans coming in a few chapters.
Could be more than one tooth thief? Interesting theory.
Haha, thank you! I am so indebted to all the people who make animations. I could not do anything without them! Also, weirdly this is low-key? It was a pretty straightforward set to build and shoot. I didn’t have to keyframe anything. But this is like the gateway drug. I’m working on a machinima for a future chapter that is just a mammoth because I got sucked in these little clips!
I finally have time to follow up on your story.
I love the dark background of your website that emphasizes the mood of your narrative.
Unfortunately, the link in the chapter overview, in the drop-down menu ‘Season 1’ does not work.
NB I have a technical question for your dropdown (spoiler) menus. I will write this in the WordPress thread in the Sims Forum.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA this is so embarrassing because I made a chapters page and then completely forgot to update it with the actual chapter links. #fail
I don’t know why WordPress marked your comment as spam. I’m sorry it didn’t show up at first. Welcome! I’m glad you like the vibes of the site 🙂 I was hoping it would get people in the mood for the story.
I’m jumping over to the forums to answer your technical question!
Oh my gods these two 🤣 Peak sexual attraction right there. “Do you think she’d stab me?” Dead. I’m dead. 😂🤣
Ouch. Vlad isn’t taking his friend’s mortality well at all. His intentions are good, but… don’t control a man’s final days when he doesn’t want you to. This is a heavy topic but I do think that letting Latimer live how he wants to is better than forcing him to spend his remaining time in a way he’s not happy with. Sometimes the benefit of prolonged life is not worth the cost of what you give up in return. This is still just over food, but I can see this getting very heavy very fast. Gah.
Eliza Pancakes had the werewolf tooth necklace? 😮 Ten points for the tech guy for correctly identifying the werewolf! Aaaaand he doesn’t know they’re real. Hm. I wonder if Bella knows they exist. Their family seemed to be aware of vampires back in the prologue. I can’t imagine that none of that knowledge of supernaturals tricked down the family tree… or maybe it will in the future.
[Apparently, Penny’s job wasn’t an embarrassment when her family could benefit from it.] Oof, isn’t that true for a lot of things. I sympathise with Penny so hard. Her glary scowl is a real mood (and really doing it for me today for some reason, oh my gods 🙈) Alice is right; Penny is kind of harsh. But Anastasia also yelled at her for trying to help and said she could have killed her. I’d say the score there is pretty even. Sexy panther 😂🤣 Oooooh Penny and Bella are joining forces? I am very down for that 😁
This chapter’s insistence at the gods not existing makes me all the more convinced that here too, they do exist. 😆
Motioning for her to run and Penny just picks up a baseball bat. I love this character. BWAHAHA omg that music in the background 😂 Aaaah that made me laugh much more than I should have. YES PENNY SWING THAT BASEBALL BAT! Well, if they didn’t know they existed before, they definitely do now. This is going to be delicious.
Vlad just wants a partner who will love him, support him, and occasionally, when warranted, run a knife through him. Is that too much to ask? LOL
You and Snow picked up on the same thing. Vlad is, so loving, but also threatening. I think control is something he is going to grapple with for this story. So many things are within his reach with vampiric powers and immortal lifespan. But not keeping his best friends alive forever if they don’t want that.
Me: who would be a good victim in this story?
Myself: how about some random townie you generate in CAS
Me: Eliza Pancakes it is
Actively trying not to respond to your comment about Bella’s supernatural family tree knowledge. Trying SO HARD.
Penny and Bella is the buddy cop adventure we all deserve!
Goads…what gods? Didn’t you read? It says the gods don’t exist…
Poor Eliza 😂 oh, the universal hatred for the Pancakes family. Ooooh did I hit a thing with the supernatural family tree knowledge? I did, didn’t I? Woo! Attention brain is working! 😗
1) WP (for once) showed the entirety of this chapter!! Hal-a-luuuuuu
I can’t stop thinking about the video. Maybe it’s the coffee. I get a little fixated.
1) What made you choose “Unchained Melody”? I can’t help but think of Ghost when I hear the song (the greatest love story EVER), which also has supernatural elements. But it’s a love story, and i don’t think Wolfy there was thinking about jumping Bella’s bones, not in the sexeh way anyhow. SO THEN I’m thinking, well it was nominated for Best Picture (The Oscars) but lost to Dances with Wolves, and LOL’d if that was why this song was chosen, and I am so sorry that I am being next-level annoying >.< I was super obsessed with the movie as a child and was salty that it didn't win.
2) I was yelling at Penny. YELL-ING. Running and hiding. WHAT? But, I get it. Survival. Then it seemed like even Penny was checking herself and came out swinging at that mangy mutt.
3) I'm glad they both survived that encounter. Physically anyways. Mentally… oooh…we'll see.
4) “You know what?” Penny declared, “I’d feel a lot better if we were having a shared delusion.” – HILARIOUS
Whoa! look at WP getting fancy!
Since you flagged the song, you get to hear my musical theme nerdery!!!! Hooray! First of all, Ghost is like one of my all-time fave movies. From Whoopie Goldberg going “Molly, you in danger girl” to that song playing during the sexiest pottery date ever, it’s just my happy place. Unchained Melody came out in 1965 (1966? Obvi I could Google this but I’m lazy) when women were expected to be the”doting wife and loving mother who takes care of the home.” We’ve come a far way, but not nearly as far as we think. It’s a theme I’m sort of exploring with Bella who appears to have both the “white picket fence” type of family life and a demanding career. On the surface, it seems progressive but there’s a lot of tension both from Mortimer and the demands she places on herself. So basically, I just imagine all her scenes with this undercurrent of classic tunes that don’t quite match the reality of her situation.
Okay, god, that was so much. I’ll shut up now. It delights me that it lost to Dances with Wolves (WHICH I ALSO LOVED) and I want to take credit for being that clever but I can’t!! Also technically this scene is the start of someone’s werewolf love story. More on that later hehe.
Uh yeah, physically fine and mentally a hot mess is a vibe in this story LOL.
Lol, let us not bless WP yet. Chapter 5 only showed the first part on WP. Le sigh. WP is a hit and a miss.
I. Am. ALL. About what you did with Ghost. This has elements of “The Feminine Mystique,” 😀 😀 😀
OOOOOH! Okay. Looking forward to finding out who the werewolf is and who is the object of the werewolf’s love (or vice versa).
I think a lot of us, everyday, walk with the façade of being physically fine and mentally a hot mess. Just makes your characters that much more relatable <3
Dude. Akira. He is DTF (Down to Fight), and idk why that has me…mmm. Whip them arrows, bb. Speaking of…violence, Daaaaaaamn, Vlad. Thinking about Alice penetrating you. I mean, sure, with knives, but penetration is penetration, right? I mean that’s one of the reasons why vamps are sexually appealing, their penetrating fangs 😉
Latimer is such an old farty dude. Grumble, grumble, I’m not going to live a miserable prolonged life it means eating healthy! Hahaha, I can’t blame him, but I get both sides of that coin. Vlad really is like his son. You would think as long as Vlad has been living he’d get used to death and the inevitably of loneliness, but still… idk, maybe it isn’t so easy to harden your heart against such a thing.
It’s really cute how Vlad schoolboy crushes on Alice, and YAY I can’t wait to see this date take place 😀 Question is, will Vlad bring the knives? :O
Dude. I really dislike Penny’s family. They’re ok putting her career down, but have no qualms using her when it suits their needs. They’re f’ing trash. Penny needs to take a chapter outta Alice’s book and tell her family to go get bit by a werewolf.
Bella and Penny are like a supernatural crimefighting duo I need more of in my life.
Great story 😀