Chapter 38: New Beginnings

May 30, 2010 at 9:37 pm (Generation 4)

Losing Alisa was easier than losing Ariane had been. He and Alisa hadn’t known each other as long, and this time he had practice – and Alisa had made sure he knew that it wasn’t necessarily over for good. But just because it was easier didn’t mean it was easy. Baby’s poetry took on a decidedly darker tone as he tried to process this new loss.

He hadn’t seen her since that night in the library, but when it was time for his birthday, he invited her over. He was afraid she wouldn’t come, but she made it there just in time.

He didn’t ask her about their relationship, and she didn’t volunteer any information. He knew she must still be trying to decide. He tried to be patient, and focus on getting his next book out, but he didn’t know how long he would be able to wait.

Finally, she invited him over to her house. He came over as quickly as he could, and ignored the glares from her family members. For a long moment, she didn’t say anything. With some apprehension, Baby asked her if she had thought any more about their future.

“You know things wouldn’t be easy for us,” said Alisa. “I want to focus on my art and music, but I know you can’t give up your poetry – so if we both follow our dreams, neither of us will make much money. We might be homeless for the rest of our lives. I want a family, and I’d rather raise my children with a roof over their heads. And my family would never approve. Besides, your mother could decide to come after you at any time.”

Baby’s face fell. He braced himself for another loss.

“But I don’t care about any of that,” Alisa continued. “I know I shouldn’t, but I don’t. All that matters to me is that I love you.”

Her answer was better than Baby could have dreamed.

Right then and there, he asked her to marry him.

She said yes, heedless of her family’s disapproving looks.

A moment later, Alisa’s mom, who had been hovering in the background, confronted him. “Everything my daughter said about your relationship is true,” she said. “If you marry her, you’ll be ruining her life. If you really care about her, you need to let her find somebody else – somebody who can give her the life she deserves.”

“She’s right,” Alisa’s uncle jumped in. “Alisa deserves better than someone like you. Surely you can understand that.”

Baby tried to defend himself, but the words came out jumbled. He was only making himself look worse.

“I’ve heard enough of this,” said Alisa. “Let’s get out of here.” He followed her out of the house and to his home behind the billboard.

Baby had been afraid Alisa would change her mind once she actually tried living like him, but she wasn’t deterred. She slept in the park at night, and during the day she played guitar around the neighborhood like Selah had.

She and Baby had a quiet wedding one night in the park, just the two of them.

Alisa got herself an easel and set it up behind the billboard. Her parents had always discouraged her art, so Alisa had focused more on music, but now Alisa realized how much she had missed it.

To Alisa’s amazement, as soon as she finished the painting she found somebody who wanted to pay $160 for it. It wasn’t much, but to her and Baby, it was a lot. Maybe it was time for her to put her guitar aside and focus on painting for now. She loved both art forms, and for now painting seemed to be more lucrative.

Some things about her new life were hard for Alisa to adjust to. She had always had food readily available, for instance; now she could no longer take that for granted. Homelessness was starting to wear on Baby, too; he missed having a real bed, and he was starting to hate the outdoors.

But although it was a difficult life, it also allowed them a lot of freedom. Alisa spent her days painting; Baby spent his time in the library, writing poetry. Neither of them were willing to give that freedom up.

There was one part that Alisa found harder to deal with than all the rest of it combined. She wanted a big family; at the very least, she wanted a baby. But she just didn’t feel comfortable raising a child without a place to live. For now, they were waiting until they could afford a house… but Alisa knew that might never happen.

Alisa waited for years, and every year her dream of a family seemed a little farther away.  But finally nature intervened, and waiting was no longer an option.

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Chapter 37: Torn

April 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm (Generation 4)

Baby didn’t know what changed, but gradually Alisa became more receptive to his advances. His life would have been perfect if not for his nagging thoughts about his mother and the child locked up in her house. He tried to push those thoughts out of his mind; there was nothing he could do about it right now. Right now, he knew, he should just enjoy what he had with Alisa.

Baby didn’t know it, but Alisa didn’t have much hope that their relationship would last. Her family didn’t approve of her dating a homeless poet who didn’t even go to high school; she had told her parents and uncle about him, back when she and Baby were just friends, and they had made their feelings abundantly clear.

That was why Alisa had rejected Baby’s advances for so long. She had always felt about him the same way he felt about her, but she hadn’t wanted to let herself fall for him when she knew eventually she would have to give him up. And she was afraid that when it did end, as it inevitably would, she would lose not only his love, but his friendship.

But the more time she spent with Baby, the more she was determined to make this work. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t convince herself that she would be able to give up Baby and get on with her life. What they had was something special. It was a once-in-a-lifetime connection, and she wasn’t

With some trepidation, she brought Baby over to meet her family. Maybe he could win them over. Maybe they would see what she saw in him.

She should have known better.

He cooked himself breakfast while the rest of the family looked on in consternation.

He came up to Alisa’s uncle in the bathroom and started reciting poetry.

He became fascinated with the house’s antique bathtub.

Alisa’s family already worried about her. Her uncle, a waiter who had always aspired to a corporate career, always got this pensive look on his face when she talked about trying to make a living as a professional musician.

So at the end of Baby’s visit, they made it clear that they didn’t want Baby anywhere near Alisa.

Alisa’s graduation was only a few days away. The night after she graduated, she told Baby, her heart breaking, that she needed to take a break for a while, to see if she could figure out where to go from here.

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Chapter 36: Return

April 11, 2010 at 8:49 pm (Generation 4)

Baby had sworn to himself that he would never come back to this house. But he had to find out what was going on.

His heart pounded as he approached the house. He didn’t know whether his mom was home, or how close he was to being caught. He briefly considered turning around and running back to his place behind the billboard – but if his mom had another child, if he had a sister out there, he needed to know about it.

Baby peered in the windows, but didn’t see anything suspicious.

But was that the faint sound of crying he heard, from up in the attic where his great-aunt had been imprisoned?

Baby didn’t know how long he hesitated in front of the door. If he walked inside, he might be walking straight back into his mother’s clutches. She might be glad not to have to feed him anymore, and send him right back out the door – but she might have been angry all this time at how he had run away, and how he had taken Selah with him. He didn’t want to find out which it was, or what she might do to him.

But there was a kid in there – a kid who needed help.

Baby took a deep breath and opened the door.

The house looked the same as it always had. Baby shuddered. He had never realized just how glad he was to be rid of this place until now, looking at it through older eyes.

He tiptoed up the stairs, listening for the sound of footsteps, and for his mother’s voice. He didn’t hear either of those things, but he did hear something else. Sirens. He paused, listening. It wasn’t his imagination – they were coming closer.

He hurried down the stairs and out of the house – but he wasn’t fast enough. The police officer blocked his path and ordered him into the police car, brandishing a wrench and flashing him a sinister smile.

Baby’s heart raced as the police car drove slowly down the street. Had he simply set off a burglar alarm – or did this woman work for his mother? He had a sinking feeling that it was the latter.

His suspicions were confirmed when, after a few minutes, the officer spoke. “I know who you are,” she said. “And your mother knows you were here.”

“She knows you’ve been hiding from her,” the woman continued. “But she doesn’t need you anymore. If you leave her alone, you have nothing to fear from her. If you don’t…” She left the unfinished threat hanging in the air.

Without another word, she dropped him off behind the billboard.

Baby didn’t know what to do. His mother had a kid in that house – a kid who was crying in the attic. But how was he supposed to get to the kid without alerting the police again? And even if he did manage it, what then? He obviously hadn’t hidden from his mother as well as he had thought. If he took the toddler from her, it was only a matter of time before she found them.

No matter how much he thought about it, he didn’t see anything he could do right now except leave his mother alone like she wanted. But he vowed that it wouldn’t be that way forever. He would save that kid, no matter how long it took.

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Chapter 35: Old Friends and New

April 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm (Generation 4)

Baby’s relationship with Ariane was changing, and not in the way he might have liked it to. He had always assumed they would grow up and get married and spend their lives together… but instead, despite their enduring bond, their lives seemed to be taking different paths.

Ariane had always been unfazed by his oddities, but at heart, she was an earthbound person. She loved good food, and the feel of pavement under her feet as she jogged. She read Baby’s poetry, but she never really understood it… and she didn’t understand why Baby spent all day writing it instead of going out and getting a job so he could afford a house one day.

They had rarely fought before, but now it was becoming a regular occurrence. Ariane didn’t understand why Baby would waste his time scribbling in the library when his life needed to be rebuilt; Baby didn’t understand why Ariane wanted him to give up his dreams for the sake of something as comparatively unimportant as a house, and felt betrayed.

He hated the way she looked at him now. It was like she was losing her ability to see into his world – or he was becoming even more distant from hers.

They still talked, but it just wasn’t the same.

Baby felt more lost than ever. He felt like the foundations of his world were crumbling – first he had lost his home, then Selah, and now Ariane. All he had left was his poetry, and he worried that even that would desert him, now that he was losing everything else. What would keep him anchored to the world now?

Baby knew he had to learn to live without her. Whether he liked it or not, they were growing apart. It was difficult, but after awhile he started getting used to not talking with her about everything. They saw each other less often, and Baby spent even more time in the library, or just wandering around downtown the way he had when he was younger. He still didn’t feel like he was really part of the world, but he thought he could live in it without Ariane’s help.

That was when he met Alisa.

She came into the library one day and asked him what he was working on. He told her about his published poetry, and she was enthralled.

Soon she was coming to the library every day to talk to him. Baby kept her at a distance at first, afraid that he would be betraying Ariane by getting close to somebody else – and afraid that Alisa would realize he was the weird kid she and all her classmates had teased in school.

Alisa didn’t know much about poetry, but she loved to paint and play the guitar. Baby confessed his own ignorance of music, but told her about his great-aunt and how much she had loved it. Baby and Alisa spent many hours comparing their respective art forms.

The only thing that bothered Baby about their friendship was that it didn’t seem likely to turn into anything more. Whenever he tried flirting with her, she was completely unreceptive. He loved being friends with her, but he wanted more. The more time went by, the more she seemed perfect for him.

But all thoughts of romance were driven out of Baby’s head the day he went to the library and saw his mother… with a toddler on her hip.

Baby hid behind a bookcase, shaking. His mother left without spotting him.

But that brief glimpse left Baby full of questions.

Who was that toddler? What was Baby’s mother doing with her?

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Chapter 34: Homeless

March 26, 2010 at 9:32 pm (Generation 4)

Selah and Baby’s new home wasn’t much to look at.

No, they didn’t live in one of those trailers. Technically speaking, they didn’t live anywhere. They spent their first few days in the grass behind a billboard in the poor part of town. Neither of them had the money for a house; besides, they needed to stay out of Marysia’s reach, and that meant staying hidden. They started to think of the empty lot behind the billboard as home, even once they lost some of their fear and, out of necessity, began to venture into the neighborhood.

Living like this wasn’t easy. They slept on park benches…

…they stole food from picnics…

…they showered every morning at the town pool.

Sometimes Baby wished he had never left his mom’s house. Sure, his mom had ignored him all the time, but at least there he’d had a bed and a refrigerator full of food. But whenever he started thinking like that, he made himself remember Selah. If he hadn’t done what he had done, she would have died up there in the attic. She would never have been free again.

Even though Selah couldn’t understand what Baby was talking about half the time, the two of them found out that they had a lot of things in common. Their love for the arts, for instance – Selah was a musician, and Baby was a poet, but the two pursuits turned out to be more similar than they had thought at first. They also bonded over their experiences of being teased at school; neither of them had many fond memories of the place.

But Baby still wished he could go back. In a lot of ways he had been miserable there, but he loved to learn. With his mom searching for him, though, school was out of the question.

To make up for it, he spent lots of time at the library reading about the things that interested him.

Mostly, though, he wrote poetry. Now more than ever, he needed the clarity it brought. Besides, his mother had never found out about his first book of poetry, which meant he could publish more books without risk of being caught. Maybe eventually he would make enough money that he could buy a house for himself and Selah.

While Baby was in the library, Selah spent her days playing guitar in the park. Sometimes nobody seemed to notice that she was there, and she could relax into the music as if nothing else existed; sometimes people would stop what they were doing and listen to her play. Nobody recognized her as the kid they used to tease so many years ago; now she was an accomplished musician, somebody who could make them smile. Selah had finally found her place in the world.

She died doing what she loved.

Baby didn’t know what he was going to do now that Selah was gone. She had been his anchor as he tried to figure out how to adjust to this new way of living; now he was on his own.

That night, he cried on Ariane’s shoulder. He had stayed in contact with Ariane, despite knowing how important it was to stay hidden. He had been willing to give up a place to sleep and a roof over his head, but he refused to give up Ariane.

As always, Baby found solace in poetry, and it wasn’t long before he published a new book.

Even his writing couldn’t ease his pain entirely, though. Now he felt more than ever like he inhabited a completely different universe from everybody else, with completely different concerns. While the man ahead of him at the pool talked on the phone about his fears of running into an old lover, Baby was consumed not only with grief, but with guilt. He hadn’t had nearly long enough with Selah. He kept thinking that maybe if he had helped her escape sooner, things would have been different.

But like Ariane kept telling him, there wasn’t any point in thinking that. He had given Selah her freedom, and she had given him a new life. She had been happy with the way things had turned out, and he should be too.

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Chapter 33: Escape

March 25, 2010 at 9:40 pm (Uncategorized)


Marysia was beginning to get the impression that she wasn’t going to advance any further unless she made an effort to get to know the other people in the organization. So she suffered through countless hours of boring conversation… until she met April. She genuinely liked April; the woman was fun to talk to, and a lot less annoying than Abbie. Besides, April was new to the organization and to Riverview; it couldn’t hurt to get one of the underlings on her side.


But April, like Abbie, was much too excited to find out that Marysia was a mother. Once April found out about Baby, Marysia was forced to listen to endless stories about April’s daughter Delia, who was apparently a musical prodigy. So much for April being fun to talk to.


But when April mentioned Delia’s father, Marysia was suddenly very interested.

Delia’s father, April’s husband, was named Antwain Bullock.


Marysia couldn’t believe her good luck. After all her fruitless searching, Antwain had simply fallen into her lap. Finally, she could get her revenge. She wouldn’t need to be tortured by her memories of him any longer – and she wouldn’t have to endure sharing the house with Baby.


Meanwhile, Baby was still searching for the key. Finally, he got the opportunity he had been waiting for – while his mom was at work, he snuck upstairs to her bedroom and searched her dresser. He touched everything with caution, afraid his mom would know what he had been doing – but he forgot his fear once his fingers touched metal. The key! He had found it! Now he and Selah could both be free.


When Marysia started talking to Baby, at first he thought he was imagining it. Then he was afraid that maybe she had found out about the key. But she didn’t look mad… Had she found out about his book? Maybe she was even going to congratulate him on getting it published.

Instead, she told him that she had found his father, and that Baby was going to get to meet him very soon.

Now Baby didn’t know what to do. He knew he should free his great-aunt… but he couldn’t free her and then stay with his mother. She would know who had let Selah out of her prison. He would have to run away – and if he ran, he would never get the chance to meet his father. He had yearned all his life for a parent who actually cared about him; now that dream might finally be about to come true.


When he asked Ariane for her opinion, she didn’t even have to think about it. She told him he had to rescue Selah, that he wouldn’t be able to live with himself otherwise. But still he hesitated. He knew Ariane was right – but she was asking him to give up on a lifelong dream.


He would wait until his birthday, he decided. It wasn’t that far off. And that would be a perfect time for his mom to bring his dad over to meet him.

But when his birthday came, his mom wasn’t even home. Ariane came over, and even baked him a birthday cake; her thoughtfulness made him feel a little better, but couldn’t erase his disappointment.


Baby hoped that his birthday would bring some clarity. But being older didn’t necessarily mean having more answers. Baby was just as lost now as he had been before he had blown out the candles on his cake.


Now that Baby’s birthday had come and gone, Marysia knew it was time to put her plan into gear. All she had to do was bring Baby over to Antwain’s house when she knew April and Delia wouldn’t be home. The rest would take care of itself. Energized by how close she was to bringing her goals to fruition, she stayed up all night exercising and putting the final touches on her plan. Tomorrow would be the day.


But Marysia wasn’t the only one awake. It was one of many sleepless nights for Baby. As he lay in bed thinking over his options for the thousandth time, he heard soft sobbing coming from upstairs. He knew it wasn’t his mother. Selah was crying. Baby knew she must have given up hope; she must have assumed he wasn’t coming back with the key.


Baby knew what he had to do.


He was turning his back on his one chance at having the family he’d always wanted.


But Selah was his family too.

The furtive noises as Baby and Selah made their way downstairs woke Marysia up.

But by the time she reached the door, it was too late. They were gone.

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Same Story, New Location

March 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm (Uncategorized)

Since Sims3Legacy.com and all the blogs attached to it seem to be gone, I’ve migrated the Avalon legacy over to WordPress.com. Luckily I was able to import the entire blog, so everything should still be intact (besides my blogroll, which I’ll have to rebuild from scratch anyway since most of the blogs on it were Sims3Legacy.com blogs); the only difference is the theme, which I was able to change to something I liked better since there are a lot more themes available here.

I don’t know what happened to Sims3Legacy.com, but even if it comes back, this will be the Avalon Legacy’s permanent location. This blog is more flexible when it comes to design, I don’t like the thought of losing the blog again, and the Sims3Legacy site has been filled with spam for months. I liked the community there, but unfortunately, most of the site’s active participants seemed to have left before I got there.

I’ll be posting the next update soon; in the meantime, if the old Avalon Legacy blog is on your blogroll, could you update the link so it goes to the new location at https://avalonlegacy.wordpress.com ? I want to make sure all my readers can still find me.

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Chapter 32: The Key

March 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm (Generation 3)

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It had been a long time since Baby had seen the ghost who used to hover over his crib when he was a toddler. But one night, soft whispering noises woke Baby from his sleep; he looked up to see the ghost standing by his bed, smiling at him.

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“Who are you?” asked Baby.

The ghost didn’t answer. He motioned for Baby to follow him.

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Following the ghost, Baby crept into his mom’s room, terrified. He wasn’t allowed in there; he didn’t know what would happen to him if she woke up. But she didn’t stir. He snuck past her and up the stairs, to a part of the house he had never seen before.

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And found an old woman in a cage.

For a minute he thought he was dreaming. He rubbed his eyes, but the old woman didn’t go away. If she wasn’t a dream, she had to be one of the things that only Baby could see – like the ghost, or how his mother really felt about him. The things that got him in trouble when he talked about them.

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“Who are you?” Baby asked – the same question he had asked the ghost.

But this time he got an answer. “Who are you?” the woman answered back in a sweet high voice.

Baby explained who he was, and who his mother was. The story made her cry, although Baby wasn’t sure why. She asked about somebody named Callie, and Baby told her he’d never heard of her, which made her cry more. Baby felt terrible. He should never have come up here; all he had done was make an old lady cry. Why had the ghost led him up here?

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“I’m your great-aunt Selah,” the woman told him. “Your mother locked me up in here a long time ago.” She briefly explained to him how it had happened. Baby knew he should be shocked, but he could easily believe his mother was capable of something like that.

“I want to get you out,” Baby told her.

“You have to find the key,” the woman answered. “I don’t know where your mother keeps it. But if you find it, I promise, we’ll get out of here together.”

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Baby wanted to stay and talk some more, but his mom would be waking up soon. He hurried back to bed, his mission clear in his mind. He had to find the key. He had to save his great-aunt. Once he did, they could both get away from his mom.

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Chapter 31: The Poet

February 19, 2010 at 9:38 am (Generation 3)

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The more time went by, the more aware Baby became of how different most kids’ lives were from his. Most people had families like Ariane’s, with parents who talked to them and cared about them. Baby learned to keep quiet about the way things were at his house, because otherwise people got mad at him for making stuff up.

Even Abbie, who hardly ever raised her voice, got mad when Baby talked about his mom. She knew Marysia, and Marysia would never neglect her child the way Baby was describing.

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But Ariane always believed him. And she said he could stay at her house whenever he wanted.

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He couldn’t stay at Ariane’s house all the time, though; sometimes Abbie made him go home, insisting that his mom wanted to enjoy his company sometimes too. Baby found ways to keep himself entertained at home. Mostly he studied and played chess. He refused to watch TV; the TV would always remind him of Derek.

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He sometimes went downtown and just watched people go by. He had never quite felt like he was in the same world as everybody else; instead of easing his feeling of disconnection, his trips downtown only accentuated it. He felt like there was a thick wall between him and everybody else; they didn’t understand the things he did, and he didn’t understand the things they did. He didn’t know if it was because of the way he had grown up, or if he was just born this way.

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The one place he felt at home was the library – because that was where he discovered poetry.

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The other books in the library all seemed the same to him. They all talked about the other world, the one everyone else belonged to. But poetry… that was a part of his world. Reading it, he felt like he wasn’t alone – like there were other people living in his world.

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One day, he sat down at one of the library computers and started writing his own. It wasn’t as good as what he read in the books, but it helped him feel less lonely. It was slow going; Baby hated computers, and somehow the one he was working at always seemed to break at exactly the wrong moment. But he persevered.

He never showed his poetry to anyone but Ariane, but secretly he dreamed of writing his own book of poetry one day, sitting a book of poetry that would sit on the library shelf with all the others.

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One day, he accidentally turned one of his poems in with his homework. That day, his teacher asked to see him after class. When she explained what had happened, Baby was mortified; he started to run from the classroom, but she stopped him. She said she wanted to show Baby’s poetry to a friend of hers, who could help Baby get it published.

Baby didn’t want to show his poems to anybody else… but his yearning to have a book of poems published was too strong to ignore. He gave the teacher his printouts of the poems he had written.

He left school that day filled with joy. Even if his teacher’s friend couldn’t really get his poems published, somebody else had read them… and understood them. Somebody had seen into his world.

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A few weeks later, his teacher met him at the door with good news – her friend wanted to publish Baby’s poems! Baby was beside himself with excitement. She needed a note from his mother giving permission; Baby wrote it himself. He knew better than to tell his mom about this; he didn’t know why, but he knew she didn’t like people knowing too much about him.

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Baby had never been so happy as when he held his own book of poetry. It looked just like the books he had read in the library. Now his book sat on the library shelves side-by-side with the books he loved. No matter how miserable his life with his mother was, nobody could ever take this away from him.

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Chapter 30: Companionship

February 12, 2010 at 9:27 am (Generation 3)

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Ferby and Selah were often kept awake by the sound of a squalling baby. Whoever the baby was, they wished they could help – or at least know more about what was going on. But Marysia never spoke a word to them when she delivered their food every day, no matter how much they begged.

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Their one comfort was that they had each other. Long ago, so long ago they could barely remember, Ferby had thought Auryn would save him, and Selah had thought she would be alone forever. Neither of them would ever have expected this. Neither of them would have chosen it. But Ferby and Selah knew each other much better than Ferby and Auryn ever had. And after all this time trapped in the attic with Selah, he had never once tried to hurt her, however much he might have wanted to. That had to mean something.

In the end, Selah had been the one to save Ferby, this time from the insanity that would have come with being imprisoned alone.

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But when Ferby died, Selah lost her only companion – as well as the faint hope that someday they would be free again.

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Ferby tried to assure her that it would be okay, that even though he didn’t get the chance to be free again before he died, she would. But he didn’t know whether she could hear him.

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Ferby had been the only thing keeping Selah sane all these years. Now he was gone, and she was alone. She would be alone until she died.

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For Marysia, all Ferby’s death meant was that she had one less thing to worry about and one less mouth to feed. Yes, Ferby had raised her, and she was grateful to him for that – that was why she had let him live out his natural lifespan instead of killing him. But she wasn’t sorry he was gone. He had been meant to be like her; he had told her as much, when she was a child. But he had let his silly ideas get in the way. He had crippled himself, turned himself into one of the sheep that existed for people like Marysia to use.

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Ferby’s death did make a difference to one other person, though – Baby. At night, Ferby often checked on Baby, and comforted him so he could sleep. Baby didn’t know who Ferby was, but he no longer felt quite so alone.

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Although Marysia wasn’t sad that Ferby was gone, his death did serve as a wake-up call. She had been coasting along, assuming she still had plenty of time ahead of her. It was time to change that. It was time to fulfill her ambitions and rise to the top of the criminal organization, where she belonged. And it was time to find Antwain. She had waited long enough for her revenge.

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That meant stepping up her efforts to win Abbie over, too. Not that it was difficult. Abbie was hungry for friendship, and especially wanted another mother to talk to. Marysia gritted her teeth and suffered through hours of talk about their kids. Abbie had twins – Alfredo and Ariane, a boy and a girl, who were slightly older than Baby. She thought Marysia’s choice of name for her son was kind of odd, to say the least, but she didn’t seem to suspect Marysia of anything more than being a little clueless when it came to kids.

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At Abbie’s urging, Marysia started visiting their house with Baby. This was the most attention Baby had gotten from his mother since he was born – and Baby’s first taste of real family life. Although he was too young to articulate it to himself, he knew he wanted what was in that house. He cried whenever it was time to go home.

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As soon as Baby got old enough to take care of himself, Marysia stopped hiring babysitters; she didn’t want to waste the money if she didn’t have to. Baby quickly learned to be self-reliant; if he didn’t make his own food, he would go hungry.

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Marysia didn’t want to send Baby to school, but now that Abbie knew about him, she didn’t have much of a choice. She dreaded his first day of school, but not in the way most parents did. Sending him to school meant letting even more people know he existed.

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Baby was just happy to get away from home for awhile. But his happiness didn’t last long. His weird name and eccentric fashion sense didn’t win him any friends; he soon became the butt of everyone’s jokes. And his teacher didn’t know what to make of him. Most of what he said didn’t make any sense… but he was by far the best student in the class.

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His teacher kept trying to set up an appointment to meet with Marysia, but Marysia always had an excuse ready for why she couldn’t make it.

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At home, he had gotten into the habit of talking to himself, because there was nobody else to talk to; now he did it all the time. It didn’t help endear him to the other kids at school.

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He spent most of his time at the Scroggins’ house. His mom didn’t care where he was, and when he was over there he could pretend Abbie was his mom.

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Alfredo didn’t like him. He kept asking his parents why they had to let the weird kid from next door come over so often. Baby kept away from him as much as he could; he didn’t like Alfredo much either. Something about Alfredo reminded him of his mom.

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Ariane was different. She didn’t seem to care that he was that weird kid who talks to himself and comes to school in his underwear. She would listen to him talk for hours, even if she couldn’t understand what he was talking about.

For the first time in his life, Baby had a friend.

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