Author Topic: The Ghosts of Twinbrook (Life States Dynasty)  (Read 60763 times)


Offline hazelnut

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The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 12:14:53 PM »
Prologue, Part 1: Of Life and Deaths

Her original name is long forgotten, even by her.   Most likely, it was something like Unna.  Certainly, Anna, or a variant of Anna, was a name she used often in later years.  Her early life was hard but no different from anyone else’s – until the tribal elders realised that she wasn’t aging like the rest of the group.





Frightened of meeting another tribe and being attacked as a stranger, she went into hiding… and started to think.  Why did people live the way they did?  Why couldn’t they…

She was so busy inventing cooking, farming and the wheel that it was several centuries before she ventured out again to see what the rest of the world was doing – and found civilisations beginning to spring up.  She cautiously joined some for a short time and observed others, going back into hiding at the faintest suggestion that she might be unusual.

Eventually she found what would later be called Ancient Egypt, a society where a woman could be a scholar.  In various identities, she studied medicine, astronomy, mathematics and alchemy.  She kept quiet about the wheel – there was no point in drawing attention to herself.   But inevitably the time came when she was so wrapped up in her researches that she stayed in one place too long.  This time, they didn’t just settle for driving her out.  She was sealed up in a tomb, alive.



As the hours and then the days passed, she found herself becoming steadily weaker…



until she felt completely transparent.



Then a strange man appeared.   He was very thin, almost skeletal.  His voice had a strange, hollow echo.



“How did you contrive to get yourself locked in here?”
“I did not ‘get myself’ locked in!  It was imprisonment, not stupidity!”
“Really?  Can’t I even find it a little bit funny?  I can’t go around giving people a second chance because I feel sorry for them.  I do have a reputation to maintain, after all.
“Still… I suppose I’m here now.  Might as well revive you anyway.  Just keep quiet about it, will you?”



 “And maybe I’d better unlock that door, otherwise I’ll just be back again in a few hours.  I suggest you run away.  As far and as fast as possible.  See you later.”



She  thought it better to leave Egypt for a while and moved on, wandering around the Mediterranean.  The Greeks and Romans were great thinkers but they had some odd ideas about a woman’s place in society.  She learnt what she could while keeping a low profile.



Her own people had been physically fit as a matter of survival but she’d let herself go recently.  The Greeks had turned it into sport – and the Spartans even let women join in.  She developed a particular love of swimming – until the time when she became entangled in weeds….



…and, for the second time, she felt herself fading away.



“Death by waterlily?  That’s ridiculous.  I won’t take you this time – I want to see what other silly situations you’ll get into.  Wait a minute, haven’t we met before?”



She travelled further north, spending less and less time in society.   She was beginning to hear talk of witchcraft and suspicion was bound to fall on her sooner or later.  As Lady Anne, a minor member of the nobility, she lived quietly, socialising just enough to avoid suspicion and devoting her life to needlework, painting and charitable works.



It was no surprise that such a virtuous woman sponsored the building of a church, although its isolated location was a little odd.  When news reached the village that she had died while on a pilgrimage, work stopped, with only the crypt completed.  The rest soon fell into ruins.

Anna returned a hundred or so years later and made her new home in the crypt, turning most of it into a library/laboratory where she could continue her researches into life and death.

Eventually, she made her way back to the Nile.  She’d always loved the country, despite some of the people, and she knew there were useful papyri in some of the tombs, if only she could get in.  There were rumours of mummies who weren’t quite as dead as they were supposed to be but she didn’t believe a word of that – until she met one.



It was a long time since Sparta and she’d never taken the military training that seriously anyway.  Certainly, she was no match for a mummy.  As he knocked her to the floor, his face glowed.



The glow seemed to fly across and attach itself to her own face.  All done with mirrors, obviously.  As he returned to his sarcophagus, the mummy yelled something about a curse.  What nonsense!

But as her bruises healed, she realised that she did feel different – tired and hopeless. The world was starting to spin and a weird blackness was closing in on her.



 And one morning…



She felt herself crumble into a pile of dust…



 and then the thin man in the black robe was there and she was floating again.



“You again!  And a mummy’s curse this time.  Most people aren’t nearly so inventive.  What’s your name?”
“I use a variety of names – but I think of myself as Anna.”
“And I, of course, am the Grim Reaper.   I look forward to our next meeting.”

The next time she ventured into society, she found the world was changing.  Towns were growing and becoming more industrialised.  She’d studied Roman engineering a little but now there was so much more.  Her researches into immortality seemed to be leading her nowhere but maybe these new sciences would give her fresh ideas.  With yet another identity, she became an eccentric bluestocking.



Of course, her new hobby did have its dangers.



“Anna!  It’s been a while.  How are you… apart from being dead again?  You really are a constant source of amusement.”

And he returned her to life once more.


Next chapter



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TheTripWasInfraGreen

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 12:17:54 PM »
I love the intro.

Though it's a law that I have to read every story that even mentions Twinbrook.

Offline Roxanne07

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 01:14:25 PM »
I truly enjoyed the intro! Can't wait for more!  :D

Offline saltpastillen

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 01:45:42 PM »
What a wonderfully inventive use of the different costumes! Very entertaining and you've whetted my appetite.

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 02:45:56 PM »
This was a great introduction -- I'm certainly intrigued.
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Offline Silverbella

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 03:23:16 PM »
Very creative Hazelnut!  I'm especially impressed with all of the screenshots, it must have taken you so much time and effort to get them.  They're really wonderful.



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Offline hazelnut

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2012, 03:57:39 PM »
Thankyou, everyone.

Though it's a law that I have to read every story that even mentions Twinbrook.

I am playing the challenge in Twinbrook (when I finally get past the intro :).)

Very creative Hazelnut!  I'm especially impressed with all of the screenshots, it must have taken you so much time and effort to get them.  They're really wonderful.

Thanks.  The real pain was when I managed to delete almost all of my screenshots, about a week ago.  Fortunately, I still had some from the mummy's curse death (although not the best ones, which is why the pics are a bit sparse in that segment.  I couldn't bear to go through the two weeks of waiting again.)  Most of it was fun, though - I've not really used Sims in that way before.

Offline Katluvr

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2012, 05:23:54 PM »
Just. Simply. Awesome!  Can't wait to read more!

Offline Phantome-A

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 03:08:38 AM »
I'm excited for this one. That was an amazing start.

Offline Rowan

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2012, 03:15:28 AM »
Holy cow, AWESOME! I am so beyond awed by this approach! Genius! The costumes, locations, different deaths to match...wow. Fantastic.
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By samoht04

Offline hazelnut

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2012, 01:56:16 PM »
Thanks.  I'm glad other people are enjoying the story - it's been fun to write.

Offline hazelnut

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The Ghosts of Twinbrook
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2012, 02:34:36 PM »
Prologue, Part 2: A Cure for Life?

Later, it was unclear when the focus of her research started to change.   The incident at the bistro was the last straw, of course, but depression had been creeping up on her for a long time.  She’d always desperately longed to find other immortals.  There were stories but no real evidence – and none of the tales included repeated meetings with Death.   The immortals of folklore seemed to confine themselves to living a long time, rather than dying and being revived by a Grim Reaper who found them funny.  She was forced to conclude that she was alone.  She found herself spending more and more time out in the world, trying to distract herself with pointless activity.



New technology was bringing new distractions – but it also brought new ways to die – although only temporarily in her case.





It helped that women could have jobs now.  She found herself being promoted rapidly because of her considerable skills and experience (although her CV glossed over quite how much experience she had).  After a while, she’d get bored and move on.



She was decorated several times for bravery.  Her colleagues thought it was excessive modesty when she claimed not to be brave at all but, in fact, daring rescues are easy if you’re indestructible.  The main problem was that it brought her to people’s attention and meant she had to disappear again – and as society became more sophisticated, it was getting harder and harder to change identities.

Working as a chef should have been safe, as long as she was careful around hot oil. In fact, the job itself was fine.  The disaster happened when she left work one evening.





When she’d met Death before, it had just been the two of them.  This time, it was all too public.



She knew she’d have to go into hiding again – for a long time.  The papers were full of stories of the meteor strike and the woman who’d come back from the dead.  Most people were inclined to think it was some sort of cheap trick – after all, eyewitnesses can be fooled and the nosy bystander with the mobile phone hadn’t managed to get very clear pictures.  Even so, there were enough theories about her special powers to make her very reluctant to appear in public – and she wasn’t sure how long her crypt would stay undiscovered.  The nearby village had long grown into a town and new houses were being built closer to her refuge every year.

Even though she’d never socialised much with colleagues, she found that she’d got used to being around people every day, and now aloneness was turning into loneliness.  The constant fear of discovery was preying on her mind – and she was feeling the weight of her many, many years.  Desperation drove her back to her lab – trying to find a cure for life.  Poison was clearly too simple an answer – the Grim Reaper was bound to find yet another unnatural death funny.  But what if she could make it look like old age catching up with her at last?







“No, Anna – or whatever you’re calling yourself these days.  You did a good job with that potion – a blend of a standard ghost potion and several poisons, if I’m not mistaken – but I’m an expert.  You can’t fool me.  Back you go!



“The only way I will take you is if you do genuinely die of old age.”
“But I will never die of old age!  After thousands of years, I am still young.”
“You always did amuse me.  There is an answer to your problem and the key to it is not far away.  In this room, in fact.   I’ll leave you to find it for yourself, shall I?”



A key? In this room?  Probably not literally a key.  Maybe in one of the books, papers or scrolls she‘d amassed over the years?   Although it seemed unlikely that she’d missed a clue.



Perhaps it was one of the objects she’d collected: a holy relic – or a cursed one. Not that she really believed in such things.



Or, being really absurd, why not consider folk tales?  Maybe that old lamp was magic.  Not quite believing she was fool enough to try, she gave it a rub…





“Greetings, o mistress!  What is your heart’s desire?   You may ask for…”
“Yes, I know.  Three wishes.” (Is this real?)
“OK, so you know the form.  I can drop the panto dialogue. What do you want?  I can do health, wealth, fertility, long life…”
“Long life!  NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Oh, is that your problem? Most people want to live longer.”
“They would not if they realised what immortality is like.  Always hiding, always the fear of persecution.  I wish people would not hate me for being different.”



“What was that?”
“You made a wish and I granted it.  Now people will somehow fail to notice that you’re living for an unusually long time.  My previous immortal clients have found that very useful.”
“I wish… No, I had probably better rephrase that – I have no desire to cause a temporal paradox…”
“You wish I could have done that a few centuries back?  I don’t think I can mess with time like that, but you’re right.  Be very careful with your words.”
“But now I am tired of immortality, even if it will go unnoticed.  I just want to be at peace.  I have done so much, learnt so much – but now I am exhausted.”



“Sounds like depression to me – and maybe boredom.  You’ve done everything before.  Too many times.  What you need is a fresh start.”
“I wish that were possible.  Oh!”



“What happened? “
“I’ve given you the fresh start you asked for. I  removed your… well, knowledge, I suppose – some of your memories and all of your skills.”
“My skills?  Oh! All my discoveries, gone!  I cannot recall a single mathematical formula – not even a recipe.  I need to start studying at once –and then…   Er, what did you say?  Catch anything?”
“Oh dear.  I think I overdid things slightly.  You seem to have become absent-minded – and possibly insane, too.  Personality change can be a side-effect of that spell.  Still, it makes you more interesting. Geniuses are so dull.”
“So now I find myself ignorant and mad – but at least no-one will notice what a very old madwoman I am.  Thank you so much.”

They don’t have sarcasm in Genieland.

“Always good to be appreciated.  So what about that third wish?  Free the genie, perhaps?  Hint, hint.”



“Why should I free you?  You have yet to address my real problem.  I have starved, drowned, been cursed by a mummy, burnt to death, been electrocuted and hit by a meteor.  None of them killed me for more than a short time.  Apparently I have to die of old age… which is clearly impossible.”
“Your name wouldn’t be Anna, by any chance?”
“Yes. Well, that is what I tend to call myself.  Have we met before?”
“No, but Grim’s always talking about you.”
“You know the Grim Reaper?”
“Obviously.  We supernatural beings do have social lives away from you humans, you know.”
“He finds me amusing.”
“Well, if I did his job I’d probably develop a warped sense of humour, too.”
“He sends me back because he thinks it funny.  So now…  I wish to die.”
“Sorry, can’t do that one.  Grim has a monopoly.  There is a way you could free yourself – but it’s going to take a while.”
“I appear to have no shortage of time.  Tell me more.”
“Your problem, Anna, is that you have always fought death but you’ve never really engaged with life.  You were so scarred by your tribe rejecting you that you’ve never had a family or even a real friend since.”
“Popular psychology! Huh!”
“As I was saying, you’ve never really lived – but every time you died, it strengthened your grip on life.  You need to live a full life and, in the process, undo each of your deaths. “
“Undo death? How?”
“By caring for a ghost – or a series of ghosts.  Did you notice that each time you died, you briefly became a ghost?”
“Well, I remember feeling insubstantial – and as if I were floating.”
“That’s it.  Well, different deaths produce different ghosts.  You must locate the ghost of someone who died in one of the ways you did, and have his child – a ghost child. Then you must care for that child and ensure its success in life… death… whatever.   Then that child must find a ghost of another type to continue the line.  And so on.“



“I have to, um, have a romance with a ghost… and produce a ghost child?  How is that possible?”
“Ideally, you would need help from other scientists – I know of groups who are trying to bring ghosts back to some kind of life.   And, of course, you’d need to work on your social skills.”
“So where would I find this ghostly spouse – and the helpful scientists?”
“I think Twinbrook would be your best bet.  Spooky-looking place, though.  Do you mind fog?”
“No. I lived in Britain through the 1950s.  Fog doesn’t bother me.   I suppose I had better start at once.  Could you arrange an introduction to an eligible ghost?”
“It’s not that simple.  You have to earn the right to produce an heir.  So will your descendants. You will all have a series of tasks to complete – I can give you the details, if you’re really determined to do this.”
“Very well.  What choice do I have?  Please, genie, will you tell me these ‘details’ and then send me to…  Twinbrook, was it?”


Next chapter

Offline Wiry

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook (updated 10 Oct - Prologue, Part 2)
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2012, 02:41:54 PM »
Will be reading, because of Genies.  *Twitch* GENIES!
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Offline Rowan

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Re: The Ghosts of Twinbrook (updated 10 Oct - Prologue, Part 2)
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2012, 03:07:46 PM »
Wow, nice! Excellent backstory, explanation and segue into the challenge. Can't wait to see more!
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