Chapter 1.30 – Without Shoes

Warning: Suicidal sims, suggestion of exploitation, generally awful.

16 years earlier

Caleb had been stargazing on his bench when the human had appeared. She was barefoot and without a coat in the frigid November weather; he felt even colder than usual as he looked at her.

She must be lost but he didn’t know where she might have come from. He was in the middle of nowhere; the nearest village was miles away. Had she really walked miles through the forest like that?

She hadn’t acknowledged him sitting there on the bench. Blinkered, she had made her way straight to the cliff edge and was lingering there, looking down at the raging waters below, singing something to herself that sounded like a lullaby.

Caleb didn’t know if it was truly what she intended, but she was about two steps from falling to her death. He stood up and cleared his throat.

She turned slowly towards him. If she was surprised to see him there, she didn’t show it.

“Hello,” he said. She blinked and looked back down at the river. “What are you doing here?” he asked, walking towards her.

“Don’t come any nearer,” she hissed and held up her hand.

“OK,” he said stopping in his tracks.

She turned back towards the cliff edge and inched her feet forward.

In an instant, Caleb had a hold of the back of her dress.

“Don’t touch me!” she screamed at the top of her lungs. “Get off!”

“You could have fallen.” He pulled her back from the edge and let go.

“Uh, yeah? That’s the idea.” She fell to her knees, clutching her chest, trying to get her breath.

Caleb had, a few times, flirted with the idea of ending his eternal existence, but it still amazed him to learn that humans would ever want to cut theirs any shorter. Especially one so young.

“Why would you want to do that?” he asked, softly.

She got to feet and squared up to him. “What do you care?”

They stood in silence for a beat, the icy wind whipping around them. She shivered in the thin dress she was wearing but made no effort to go back towards the cliff edge.

“Would you like my jacket?” he offered.

“No,” she retorted. “Why are you men always trying to get your kit off?”

“You look cold.”

“Of course I’m cold! It’s freaking freezing up here! Aren’t you going to talk me out of it?”

“Yes. Don’t you want me to?”

“I don’t know!” She sat down on the bench, her head in her hands. “Yes? No?”

Caleb sat beside her.

She slapped her face in frustration. “Get a grip, Rose,” she said to herself. “You can do it.”

“Don’t do it, Rose. If the rocks don’t outright break your neck, the temperature of the water will put you in shock. You’ll either drown or have a heart attack,” Caleb said quietly. He was thinking of the time that he’d jumped down there. None of these things had happened, of course; he had washed up on the riverbank in Glimmerbrook, disappointingly intact. He didn’t feel Rose would be so lucky.

“Who even are you?” Rose spat. “Why are you up here in the middle of the night? Are you thinking of jumping, too?”

“Not tonight.”

“Are you some sort of forest-dwelling pervert?”

“Not really.”

“Are you an escaped convict or something?”

“I’m Caleb,” he said holding out his hand. He wouldn’t usually offer to shake hands with a human, but she was surely as cold as he was.

She looked at his hand, then his face and shook her head. “Why do you look like you got dressed in the dark? You’re such a weirdo.”

He shrugged. He’d been called worse.

“Where did you come from, Rose?”

“The moon.” Rose rolled her eyes.

“Did you walk here?” Caleb asked looking at her bare feet.

“No, I flew.”

He was trying to find any kind of common ground. He decided to create one. “Ah, I see. You flew here from the moon to commit suicide in front of the local forest-dwelling pervert,” Caleb said. “We’ve all been there.”

Rose smiled briefly but immediately set her face back into her unconvincing scowl.

“Exactly. I knew you’d understand, Forest Creep. Look, I’m not crazy, OK? I just didn’t have time to put shoes on,” she said, like that explained everything.

“All right.”

“I had to leave. I just… ran.”

“From what?”

She was singing again, fiddling with something in her pocket. She sighed, “I’ve done something awful. Really awful.”

“Whatever it is, I’m sure you can seek atonement.”

“‘Seek atonement’? Are you from the past? I’m not some Watcher-botherer,” she snarled. She lifted her face, her cheeks glistening with tears. “Can I show you something, Forest Creep?” She didn’t give him chance to answer; she reached into her pocket and handed him a crumpled photograph. “This is Jenny.”

“Is she your sister?”

Rose shook her head, her tears falling faster. “No, she’s my daughter.”

Caleb looked at the photograph, then back at Rose.

“I know what you’re thinking; that I’m too young to have a kid? You’re, like, not wrong,” she sobbed, “But that doesn’t mean it was any easier to give her away.”

“Her father—“

“Ugh. I didn’t want her to be stuck with him.”

Caleb thought for a while, wondering what to say.

Rose dropped her head back to her hands, her body dissolving into sobs. “I can’t do it! What if Jenny tries to find me one day? What will she think if she finds out I dumped her and jumped off a cliff? She’ll think I didn’t love her at all.”

Caleb nodded, wondering if that’s how Lilith felt about him.

“I don’t know what to do, Forest Creep. I can’t go back now. If I rock up back at The Tower like this…” she motioned to her nightdress and bare feet.

Ah. He was familiar with The Tower. So she was from Windenburg.

He wanted to take her to Lilith. But how to ask a young stranger back to his house in the middle of the woods without sounding like, well, exactly what she’d called him? “There’s someone you should meet. She’ll be able to help you. If you come with me?”

Rose folded her arms. “Yeah, I’ve heard that before. Thanks, but no thanks. I’m going to carry on walking. Start over.”

He couldn’t just let her go. “It’s not safe out here. She can help you start over. She helped me to.” A few times.

“Why did you have to start over?” She sniffed and wiped her face. “What did you do? Go on a rampage, boring people to death?”

“Something like that.”

“Yeah, right. Don’t pretend to be interesting. Next, you’ll be telling me you’re a vampire or something.”

“Oh crap.” She got to her feet and backed away. “Are you trying to lure me to your lair so you can kill me?”

“What? No!”

She turned on her heel and sprinted off down the path.

“Rose! I’m not going to kill you!” he shouted, sounding like a complete madman, as she disappeared into the darkness.

Caleb hesitated. If he followed her she’d think he was chasing her down and he’d only frighten her more, but if he didn’t…

He headed off down the path in pursuit of Rose. Wandering in the forest barefoot was one thing, but running through it, afraid, without shoes would be quite another. He knew every tree and turn; he’d surely catch up. He’d surely find her first.

The air around him grew heavy, crushing him on all sides.

Caleb fell to his knees.

He could no longer sense the girl anywhere.

23 thoughts on “Chapter 1.30 – Without Shoes

      1. Well, I’m fine 🥰

        I had been warned that there is a cruel monster in the neighborhood.
        Like a real predator, he is nourished by fear and now I have a clue who actually killed Paul.

        I get even more sympathy for Caleb 💖
        It’s not because I did not like him before, but he was a little fuzzy and I could not really place him.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I think this is my favourite chapter of the story so far (not sure what that says about me).

    Also, crazy that I’ve gone into this not really liking Caleb as a premade and you’ve somehow managed to make him my favourite character. Loved him in this chapter.

    I’m sure the murder monster at the end will not be a problem for anyone… It’s been 16 years, and there’s definitely no throat ripping vampires lurking in the woods now… oh wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It says that you’re a lovely, well-rounded individual who just so happens to enjoy reading about suicidal girls, forest-dwelling perverts and murder monsters.

      Yay! Caleb is someone’s favourite, at last. I think every character is someone’s favourite now.

      The Vatores are my favourite pre-mades, as you can probably tell. From the moment I saw them, brother and sister living together for eternity with no other friends, trying to be good vampires in their strange clothes and weird, creepy old house I started devising a story for them. And holy hell, has it snowballed. 😆

      Oh yeah, he’s definitely moved on. It’s all totally safe now. Honest. Ignore Paul; he probably just keeled over from being out in the cold in his boxers all night and got snacked on by Robert the blood-thirsty cat.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh oooooh!!!!!!!! The tidbits here.

    First off, I just want to say that I’m actually liking Caleb for once. I hope you have more chapters of his pov like this somewhere in your drafts *peeks*

    And then when Rose showed him a picture of Jenny,Caleb asks if that’s her sister but she said daughter. That didnt make sense to me because it said 17 years ago so it should be an infant pic shes showing unless…. Mel has a sister?!!

    Rose’s husband needs to burn at the pyre

    And then Rose funnily KNOWS about vampires. Unlike Mel and Faith even April who needed convincing or research to know they exist. So is it 17 years ago that people knew abt vamps or because its Windenburg that the entire town knows about vamps????

    Geeez that last pic monster dude is creepy.

    Is that your pose? Have you started putting your poses in? Younger caleb on the ground pose looks amazing.

    And i reached my destination. If i miss something ill put it on your thread.

    Like

    1. Stop peeking! Bad Foamy! You’ll get what you hoped for.

      Wait, OMG you LIKE CALEB?!

      It *was* an infant pic she was showing. Rose is very young. Too young to have a husband, for sure. I didn’t want to make it overt but I guess I just have, lol.

      I think Rose was just throwing out a random insult, like ‘Forest-Dwelling Pervert’ and ‘Escaped Convict’ and Caleb didn’t react quickly enough to ‘Vampire’.

      Yeah… he even gives me the creeps and I made him. 😨

      My pose… one sec let me just check… um no, just carefully positioned/timed EA animations in this chapter. You’ll know my poses because they are completely shit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like Caleb here. I think its because I’m finally reading a chapter where he’s conversing not with Lilith or Adult-teens. But a proper adult. As I say this though Rose seems a tad too young so there’s still… *reads the rest of the comments* Oh jeez. I guess I celebrated too soon. Kay. Sigh.

        Well done >_> I can’t imagine making something that becomes the stuff of my own nightmares. I dont have that amount of bravery. Hopefully he gets a crap end at the end of your story 😀

        LOL I’m sure they’ll turn out fine. XDDD I’m gonna bet on it. I smell perfectionism on you. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooo, this chapter was so good! I guess I like dark, depressing chapters that end in people getting attacked by murderous vampires, lol.

    Now I want to know more about Caleb and his troubled past. I really like both the Vatores, don’t know who is my favorite of the two. I also have a soft spot for Mel, especially after this chapter.

    Oh man, the suspense is killing me. Did Rose die? Get turned? Taken to a vampire dungeon? Regardless, I’m guessing she never makes it back to this tower that she lives at.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re in good company.

      I’m sure Caleb’s past will be explored at some point.

      I only keep you in suspense until next chapter this time. 😁 I don’t know why I’m grinning, none of those options sounds particularly great. Although the Tower isn’t either, so…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Damn it!!!!! What is going on? Also, why are you giving Caleb and Lilith depth and layers and now I have complicated emotions about them?!?!!??

    I love this.

    I have a million questions about Rose and The Tower but I am going to shut up and keep reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even poorly thrown together pre-made sims get full backstories and personality profiling in my game.

      Ah, those questions will be answered but not for a while. Got a whole other load of shit to wade through first.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. uh is Rose instituted somewhere? Jenny = Mel I’m quite sure.
    If Rose is so young, suicidal + if she really is instituted I can’t help but think about quite some nasty things that happened to her, probably authority figures blah blah 🤮😭
    I don’t wanna think about it ok

    Oh I have an inkling about who’s creepy vampire #2 (#1 is Caleb ok) and I am excited ehehe

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, okay. This here part confused me a little at first. Now that I took more time to stare at it, I realized that Rose actually got scared because Caleb didn´t say anything at all to her joke about him being a vampire. The picture where she´s covering for a moment looks a little like she´s laughing instead and it threw me off.

    What else did I glean from the chapter… that there used to be a place in Windenburg called the Tower and it´s obviously a very bad place. Not sure what kind of bad place, exactly… but bad. Wonder how poor Rose ended up there. I suppose the simplest explanation would be that the Tower is a residential and it´s owner is really mean and probably so are his friends. But there is so many more options… not enough info yet for a proper guess.

    And finally…

    Wanna know what my first thought was at the ending there? “Well /that/ sure as heck isn´t Vlad.” Now, I expect we´ve found the source of the danger in these woods. Sure, this was some time ago… but for this vampire to have moved away and some new danger to appear… especially since both of these dangers would have to be something neither of the Vatore siblings can make go away… that sounds like a bit too much coincidence, here. Besides, Caleb stuck around for this long. Why wouldn´t the other do the same? Forgotten Hollow seems like a good hunting ground and/or hideaway after all.

    Also, I notice that Caleb thought Rose was in a whole new danger once she got scared. Makes me think back to the talk about feeding on fear…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She might have been laughing with fear. Is that a thing?

      You’re not wrong in that it’s a bad place and the owner is mean.

      No, it most definitely is not Vlad. Forgotten Hollow is a great hunting ground, always weird humans wandering around in too few clothes.

      Ah, Not-Vlad sure appears to fit the description of one who feeds on fear, doesn’t he? Or possibly laughter, depending on the camera angle. 😆

      Like

      1. Actually… now that you mention it, I think it kind of is. Like when you are trying to hide that you´re scared and it comes out as that sort of nervous fake-laugh. XD

        XD

        And that is a very, very good thing. I cannot ever take Vlad seriously with that weird face of his.

        Oh. My. Gosh. There you go again with that not-spoiler thing. I´ll say it doesn´t only depend on the camera angle. It also depends on the writing angle… how can someone be scary and funny all at once? I don´t know, but our Mr. Mysterious does pull it off, somehow.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Whoops. Glad I haven´t gotten to see your scary side yet. 😀 I guess that with our evil vampire, it´s the whole spectator thing. Much easier to appreciate someone´s more light-hearted side when on the other side of a screen. X´D

            Liked by 1 person

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