Author Topic: Duty Calls Chapter 31: Vanquishing the Enemy (Completed)  (Read 14428 times)

Offline Magz from Oz

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Duty Calls Chapter 31: Vanquishing the Enemy (Completed)
« on: November 08, 2012, 07:25:16 AM »
Duty Calls - Chapter 1: The Search for Adam

Hi there, I’m Brandon and I’m looking for my errant brother who has neglected his duties to the family dynasty and skipped town.  We got a call from Ms Andrews, an investigative journalist my father hired to trace Adam.  She believes one of the new people to take up residence in Sunset Valley may be my missing brother.  Actually Adam’s my twin brother but as he is older by 43 minutes, he’s the first born and the dynastic duties rest with him.  But we are identical twins and as we look the same, our father suggested I personally go to Sunset Valley and ask if anyone has seen Adam.  So dad arranged through Ms Andrews to acquire a little cottage which would be a suitable base for me.  It is a nice little seaside cottage with a great view, but frankly, it’s not what I’m used to.

After a quick look through the house, I immediately set about finding news of Adam.  It’s early Sunday morning and there doesn’t seem to be too many people up yet.  I asked this guy who seemed to be taking no delight in playing the third wheel to an elderly couple!  I’m sure he said he name was either Alexander or Zander but he mumbles a bit.  He wasn’t unfriendly but there was just something about him that told me he is more than just a little bit shady and probably not all that well acquainted with the truth.  But I had to start somewhere so asked him if he knew Adam or at least, had seen another man who looked quite a bit like me?



He told me he didn’t personally know any Adam in this town but thought he had seen a guy who looked like me around.  He suggested I check with City Hall.  Why didn’t I think about that, I can at least check the Electoral Roll for the district.  After all Adam is old enough to vote.  So I thanked him and approached City Hall.



Oh what disappointment!  The town clerk told me that they do indeed have a list of registered voters but due to privacy laws, are unable to disclose its contents to non-locals.  Instead she suggested that I check out places in town where he might be.  What a great idea, Adam loves to fish and thanks to our father, I inherited the Angler trait as well.  I could get some fishing in while I’m looking.  If I find the best fishing spots, I’m sure to run across Adam if he’s here, as he never could resist the lure of the rod and reel for too long. 

So I tried Summer Hills Springs first, it was easiest to get to.  The fishing was okay but not exceptional.  So next I tried a place called Stoney Falls, which was also quite easy to get to.  Although spectacular, there were only two decent fishing holes, there, and no sign of Adam.  No sign of anyone!



Then I tried Pinochle Pond which is quite close to Stoney Falls but it was quite a hike across country.  Pinochle Pond also only had two decent fishing spots and disappointingly, no Adam.  So then I tried the most remote fishing lake at Crystal Springs.  It had four good fishing holes and a decent range of fish, but alas... no Adam.

Down hearted I went to the beach across from my new house as Adam likes salt water fishing but again... failure, no Adam.  I guess I was a bit too optimistic thinking I’d find Adam on the first day in town.



I met a young lad who seemed to be very knowledgeable about the people in this town.  He had an air of ‘old money’ about him.  He said he was sure there was no Adam in town but there was one fellow who goes by his online nickname but he couldn’t be sure what he looked like as the man hid behind dark glasses even at night.  He said there were always new people in town but he’d only met the lady who works at the Military Base.  He hadn’t met any others yet.

But I’m now too tired and hungry to look further tonight.  I’m sure there is a halfway decent restaurant in a town this size.  The lad told me there was the Bistro just at the top of the hill in front of the library.

I found the Bistro which is really just a short stroll up the hill.  Okay... the food was pretty ordinary but the locals seemed nice.  I’m sure some of these people might know Adam.  So I asked and struck out again.  No one there had heard of him.  They did suggest that I check out the other places in town. .This nice lady in black did tell me that the Bistro is the top restaurant in town but to check out the paper for hot spots where the in-crowd gathered.  Sure Adam is friendly, and from all accounts by the ladies in our hometown, he’s a great kisser but he’d generally not one for the dance clubs.  They’re too tame for his liking.  Anyway I think I’ll check out the other restaurants.  Since Adam and I are natural cooks, a trait we inherited from our mother, maybe he works at one of the other dining places in town.



Well today wasn’t a total bust.  This town seems to be what dad would call a “target rich environment”.  The young ladies seemed to outnumber the young men almost 2 to 1.  Maybe Adam hasn’t neglected his duty after all, but has gone in search of a fresh face to broaden the family gene pool.  Well I’ll just have to keep looking.  After all tomorrow’s another day.



Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline sdhoey

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Duty Calls Chapter 1: The Search for Adam
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2012, 07:38:38 AM »
Sp Christopher is hiding a secret after all?? I like your background story so far. Good luck finding him.



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Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 1: The Search for Adam
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2012, 01:21:18 PM »
Now this is unique and  interesting. I like the concept!

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 1: The Search for Adam
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 04:17:53 AM »
Very interesting story, I can't wait for more. :)

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 2: The Search Continues
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 08:03:44 AM »
Duty Calls - Chapter 2: The Search Continues

Rise and shine.



It’s a new day and a new search method is needed.  Adam hasn’t accessed his bank account or used any of his credit cards, so I think he must have a job... and he probably has an alias since everyone is sure there isn’t any Adam amongst the new people in the town.  If I ask around all the work places in town, maybe I can strike it lucky.  He can change his name but not his face.  Someone must have seen someone who looks like me as no one can’t hide their face from their work colleagues forever.

But where to start?  I knew which careers Adam shouldn’t go into based on our family ancestry, but as he’d skipped town maybe he didn’t care to follow “The Rules”.  So logically there was no career or profession I could definitely rule out.  First of all, I’ll try the obvious, the diner and the new coffeehouse that everyone is talking about.  Not a good start and again failure is dogging my heels.  Neither eating houses employ him so it back to foot slogging around town and knocking on doors asking questions.



So I’ve tried the Police Station, the Sports Stadium, the Military Base, the Science Facility, the Business Office, the Spa, the Bookstore, the Grocery Store, the Hospital and even City Hall, although surely politics is not the career of choice for someone trying to hide from his family.  So again I asked at City Hall if I can check their register of self employed people for his name.  Again I got the privacy law run around.  It was a long shot anyway, as I firmly believe he is using an alias.

The helpful town clerk suggested that my brother could make a living from selling fish, especially deathfish from the graveyard, to the grocery store.  She also informed me he could make good money growing vegetables and selling his harvests to the grocery store.  Similarly he could paint, or sculpt or invent objects which he could sell through the Consignment Store or write novels for royalties.



She said another alternative to actual work was to collect things - rocks or gems, small animals, insects and butterflies, or he could train a pet to hunt those things which can be sold without any store involvement.  She then asked if he played any musical instrument as he could busk and earn good money from tips if he was a decent enough musician.  Another avenue for funds was to complete opportunities in various skills.  If he had a wide enough friend base, they could offer him opportunities to complete tasks and would pay him some money.  Also if he had some wealthy friends, he could mooch from them and gain enough Simoleons to get by.  If he was adventurous, he could make buckets of money collecting relics and doing adventures in China or Egypt or France.  So he didn’t need to be registered as self employed to earn a decent living in this town.  I thanked her for her time and left.



That was so overwhelming and my heart just plummeted.  I didn’t know there were so many ways to get money other than just a regular job.  Not that anybody in my family has actually needed to work for generations, simply learning just how many ways there were to make money in this little town was daunting...I need a coffee.



Then just when I thought my day couldn't get any worse. Dad phones!



Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline sdhoey

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Duty Calls Chapter 1: The Search for Adam
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 08:06:56 AM »
Ohh daddy Steel

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 2: The Search Continues
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 06:15:42 PM »
Hmm, I'm intrigued!



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Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 3: Failure is NOT an Option
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 04:14:44 AM »
Duty Calls - Chapter 3: Failure is NOT an Option

When my luck is out, it’s waaaaaaaaaay out.  Well Adam was always supposed to be the lucky one (even though he doesn’t have the lucky trait).  Dad called and he wants results.  Now!  Pronto!  I try to tell him that no news is good news and Adam hasn’t yet broken “The Rules” against career or skills that I know of.  Dad says no news, no funds.  The clock is ticking and all that.  Adam must return home.  Dad has given me until the end of the week.  I have 3 days left to find Adam and convince him to return home.



I read the paper every day to see if he’s up to anything because Ms Andrews has assured us that she’ll write anything that’s relevant in her column.  So far nothing about Adam or whoever he now calls himself.  It looks like I’ll still have to do all the leg work myself.  Adam will need an income, even I’m raking up the bill living here.  By using the process of elimination, I can only positively rule out Adam mooching off friends, he hasn’t the trait.  So he could be doing any of a dozen things to make money and stay under our father’s very powerful radar.

Of all the options given to me by the lady at City Hall, my guess would be that he’s fishing at the graveyard for deathfish or he has a dog trained to hunt.  Whether he’s selling at the grocery store or out of his inventory is difficult to tell.  Gus, the guy at the grocery store was no help.  I’m not certain he’s got both oars in the water.

I am quickly running out of ideas.  I’ve been everywhere and spoken to just about everybody I can find in this town and that's quite a lot!  No one will admit that they know Adam but several have reported seeing someone who looks like me around the park or at the Bistro or at the beach.  But I just can’t be in two places at once and he’s never there when I get there.  Nor can I continue chatting to everyone indefinitely, not on dad’s dime anyhow.  Dad expects results.  I wonder if I can ditch this cell phone to stop his incessant progress report calls.  That probably wouldn’t work, because great-grandpa Andrew was in the military and I’m sure he knows people who can track any phone.  Also since I am a product of generation Y, I couldn’t live without my cell phone.  I’m getting lots of calls from the people in Sunset Valley already.  I’ve even been to a couple of parties just so I can talk to more people.



But the more I talk to people the friendlier they are getting.  Maybe a bit too friendly.  I’m constantly running into Agnes, the lady in black who seems to be everywhere I am.  I’m sure she is hitting on me!  And my phone rings a lot but it is not from people with information about Adam, if it’s not dad demanding an update, I’m fending off requests for a date.  Even from Ms Keaton.  Have you seen her husband for goodness sake, he’d murder me!  What can she be thinking?  And I’m sure Agnes is stalking me.  Last night at the coffee shop she was almost pawing me and I sensed she wants to get to know me really well.



So does Emma who works at the Bistro.  I met her again at Mick’s Karaoke tonight when I was checking it out.  Since there was no Adam, I just hung around hoping he may come later.  When Emma suggested we sing a duet, I’m certain she was disappointed when I decided one song was enough. 



I wanted to get home and sleep a bit so I can check out the graveyard later.  But next time Agnes calls for a date, I think I’ll accept as there is some mystery about her.  It may or may not be connected to Adam.  I’m sure she has connections to people in high places, so it’s probably worth my while cultivating her as a contact. 

You wouldn’t believe this but that was Agnes on the phone just now.  Asking for a date and at this time of night!  Well, I’ll never never know if I never never go.*  But why are we meeting at the newly relocated Fire Station just along Sun Song Avenue from my house?  Does she work there?  No, she wants to look at the stars.  I guess that can’t hurt.



That accidental touch of the hand was no accident surely.  Nor is the whispering of sweet nothings in my ear.  I do sense a real loneliness about her that is intriguing.  She has such beautiful eyes and a nice smile.  Whoo, hold on boyo, wait a minute, where do you think this is going.  I’m only here to do a job, not to look for a relationship.  Before I can explain this to Agnes, she says she’s tired and disappears in a nice easily detectable white coupe.  Oh heck, I need to clear my head but I’ve got to get some sleep first so I can go fishing at the graveyard tonight.  Oh look at the time, I have to hurry off to the graveyard now and I am really tired.



I only caught two nice deathfish because the resident ghosts just kept annoying me and putting me off my game.  Whew!  Do those ghosts pong!  The only good news I can glean from this situation, is that if the ghosts are this annoying to me, they will be for Adam.  I guess I can probably rule out fishing for deathfish as a way to make a good living after all.  Now to bed!

Why does my phone ring all the time?  Emma wants a date!  At this time of night!  At the Equestrian centre?  Seriously?  This better be worth it.  I’m way past tired.



Emma says she has seen my brother and he goes by another name.  Well duh, I guessed that.  For a kiss, she’ll tell me his new name.  For an unflirty girl, she sure is coming on strong.  Strewth!  Okay, a quick kiss.  Hmm... I could do worse.  So his new name is Christopher and he lives on Skyborough Boulevard.  Emma also warned me to stay away from Agnes as she has the Hopeless Romantic trait and will twist me around her little finger before I know it.  Definitely going to take that advice.

So now I know his new name and approximately where he lives.  Tomorrow is going to be interesting.  Wait it’s already tomorrow.  Make that, today is going to be interesting...


* For those who want to know... the Never Never is a term given to the Northern Territory in Australia.  There was a fairly famous ad campaign that "you'll never never know if you never never go".  I went for my 50th birthday, Uluru, Kakadu, Darwin, Katherine Gorge and The Ghan.  Total magic. 
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 3: Failure in NOT an Option
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2012, 06:55:43 AM »
This is very amusing! I can't wait to see the inevitable confrontation between brothers. :)

Offline sdhoey

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 3: Failure in NOT an Option
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 08:28:52 AM »
Face to face with the brother!! Can't wait to see this.

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 4: Tally Ho - The Hunt is ON!
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2012, 06:37:17 AM »
Duty Calls - Chapter 4:  Tally Ho – The Hunt is ON!

Okay I’m awake, I think.  Good lord look at the time.  Make that a quick shower and no time for breakfast.  I’ll eat an apple on the run.  May as well grab that paper too I’ll read it later.  Maybe not.  I hope I won’t have to read it at all.  I’m off to Skyborough Boulevard and door knocking.



As it turns out, Skyborough Boulevard is a fairly long street but there are not that many houses on it.  I’ll check out these out systematically.  Well of course, as it’s a week day there are not too many people at home.  I shouldn’t have slept in but I had a very very late night.  But it was so worth it to get this information on Adam.



Well that’s all the houses and no one is home except for that fruit loop, Gus.  He’s definitely working with an unformatted disk.  He’s singing to a tree.  I wish I had my cell phone handy to video a picture of that but as soon as he saw me, he stopped.  I could have scored a million hits on Youtube.  So what do I do now?  Loiter around the neighbourhood and hope for a glimpse of my elusive brother or come back later when people have returned from work?  Later will probably work best.  Maybe I’ll go fishing for more Angelfish to catch a few more Deathfish.  I could use the money.  I sure don’t want to go cap in hand to dad again, until I’ve got Adam on the plane home!

Hmm, Summer Hills Springs is fairly handy.  It’s a beautiful day, I think I’ll jog.  I see trees of green, red roses too.  Oh dear God, now I’m singing to the trees.  My mood is so light, I’m almost giddy with the thought of all this being over.  Oh my lucky stars, who is that at Summer Hills Springs and I think to myself... what a wonderful world (cue the music).  Get a grip boyo.



He turns and watches as I approach then turns back to reel in a minnow.  I go right up to Adam and I just don’t know what to say.  I’m standing there and I am so excited I can’t hold a thought in my head.  I don’t think I ever imagined it would be difficult to talk to him.  I’m relieved and angry and for the first time in my life, tongue tied.  I don’t know whether to hug him or Gibb’s slap him.  He says nothing, not even hello.  I want to Gibb’s slap him.



As I try to gather my thoughts he puts away his fishing rod.  “I can’t believe he sent you”, he says.

Yep, I definitely want to slap him.  “So, what did you expect? I asked.

“I thought he might have sent mum”, he said.

“Mum’s busy”, I replied.  “Did you know she was an architectural designer now?”  This has got to be the most inane conversation I’ve had (besides talking to Gus Hart).  “We have to go home.  YOU have to go home.  You’ve got so much to do and so little time and you’ve lost 10 days.”

“Not gonna happen”, he says matter-of-factly.  “I’m going nowhere.  I’m not completing any stupid Dynasty.  It’s all moot now anyway.  It’s too late, I’ve left the lot.”  Then he jabs his finger at me “And you’ve left the lot.  And I got a tattoo...”.

I don’t think a slap will help things but I’m willing to give it a try.  But for mum’s sake, I take a deep breath and try another tack.



“Adam, it’s your destiny...”

“Don’t call me that!” he interrupts, “I’m Christopher now.



“Whatever!  You have to go back.  Everyone’s worked so hard all this time to get to this point...” and again he interrupts.

“Forget it.  Read my lips, Bran.  NO.  NOT going to happen.  I’m not going back.  I’m not going to be an elder who hangs around the park or the library or watches TV for an eternity.  I’m not going to watch my wife die because she can’t be immortal and I have to be!  I’m not going to have a daughter who can’t get married and has to suffer the shame of having a child out of wedlock, because she has a houseful of old foggies who won’t die.”

“That’s the rules, Adam... um... Christopher and don’t call me Bran, you know I hate it!”  I’m losing my cool and I should have rehearsed what I needed to say so I don’t blow this opportunity.

“Why don’t you want this anymore?  You used to be excited about it when we were younger.”

He heaved a heavy sigh.  “Look Brandon.  When we were kids, it all sounded glamorous.  You’d be there to help me achieve my goals.  I had a place in history, a date with destiny and all that rubbish.  It seemed so important to get that Hall of Fame entry.  But then I grew up.  I understood what it all means for the people I love.  I realised that I don’t want to live forever.  I want a normal life with a wife and half a dozen kids.  You do realise that while I can get married, I can’t have my daughter until either you or mum dies.  Then she can’t have a child until my wife dies.  And I’m not going to be that person...” He abruptly turns away.  I think there are tears in his eyes.


I’m gobsmacked.  I never imagined he say something like that.  I thought he was just being selfish.  There I stood totally deflated.  All that self righteous anger and resentment evaporated.  I’m at a total loss.

“Why didn’t you tell me?  We could have talked this over with mum.  I knew the score.  She knows the score too.  We accepted that we can’t live forever.  But I never thought about how you’d feel for a daughter you don’t yet have.  But I can see your point.  There’s a chubby lady next door to me on Sun Song Avenue who has a baby and no husband.  I never see her with the kid but I hear it cry sometimes.  I also hear what people say about her and I wouldn’t want that for my daughter either, even though it’s the rules.”

The next thing he says has me scratching my head, “Those rules are for the watchers but we, the Sims have to live them.  I can’t be that Sim, I have to be me.  This is my life now, there’s a lot of new worlds and a lot of new Sims.  Sunset Valley is old news, and nobody comes here much anymore.  This is where I need to be.  I want that obscurity, to be left in peace, living my life and no dynasty obligations!”

Then he hugged me.  I didn’t cry but it was a near thing.  He was my big brother again and we talked and talked.  I told him about my experiences in Sunset Valley and about Agnes stalking me.  He gave me the same warning that Emma did.  I don’t think it’s warranted because I’m sure no one can coerce me into any relationship I don’t want.  Does everyone think I’m a few bits short of a byte?



We talked so much I didn’t notice the sun going down or how late it was.  I didn’t even notice the rainbow in the night sky until this gleaming white unicorn approached us.



I stood transfixed and just watched it.  I’d heard about them but never seen one before.  I turned around to share my delight with Adam... um... Christopher but I hadn’t noticed that he had slipped away.



Adam's Chris has gone again, and I still don’t know which house on Skyborough Boulevard is his.  And wouldn’t you know it, the confounded phone rings!  Oh crikey, it’s dad!  What am I going to tell him now!


NB:  A Gibb's slap is a light slap to the back of the head.  It's a wake up call.  From the TV show NCIS.
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 4: Tally Ho - The Hunt is ON!
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2012, 01:59:29 PM »
I actually teared up when Chris explained his side of the story. You have a fantastic knack for writing and convey their emotions well, and I love the little light-hearted bits (Gus the fruit loop :P). This is a very enjoyable read!


Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 4: Tally Ho - The Hunt is ON!
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2012, 12:06:02 AM »
Sorry forum, my link with photobucket seems to be glitched.  I'll rectify as soon as I can.

Magz
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 4: Tally Ho - The Hunt is ON!
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2012, 08:44:12 AM »
I wonder what Brandon will tell his father?

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 4: Tally Ho - The Hunt is ON!
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2012, 03:24:28 PM »
Duty Calls - Chapter 5:  The Unexpected

So dear old dad wants another update!  I have too much to think about to take that call.



But if I just cancel the call, he’ll ring again, and again, and again.  Instead I simply pitched that phone into the water just as Adam um Chris said he’d done.  I’ll get a new phone tomorrow.  It won’t take dad long to figure out I’m avoiding him, but I need the space.  I will call mum from the house phone, then leave it off the hook or there’s a chance dad will phone all night.



Talking to mum was the best idea I’ve had for a while.  She is so reasonable, and her voice so soothing, it’s a balm to my frazzled nerves.  She said she was glad I called and had found Adam.  She actually didn’t seem disappointed when I told her Adam wasn’t coming home.  She said she’s just happy he is okay.



She asked me if I am going to come home or stay with Adam.  I said Adam is now called Chris and I’d sleep on it and call her in the morning.  I thought I was going to have a restless night.  As I was tossing and turning, I suddenly realised that I didn’t need to know where Chris lived, I had his phone number.  In a lighter frame of mind, I fell asleep almost instantly.

I awoke to hear a faint clatter in the house.  Holy smokes, a burglar!  In the daytime?  How odd?  Not being brave and now without my cell phone, I began wondering if I should go out the back door and get the police officer next door, before I realised the burglar alarm is not shrieking.



This wasn’t a burglar.  Maybe it is that racoon that regularly knocks over my bin.  I could smell cooking.  Not a racoon.  Maybe Chris?  Oh God, maybe Agnes, or Emma, or Erin or Ayesha or any of a dozen ladies who’ve called asking for dates.  I came out to see, not any of the above, but my beloved mother, cooking my favourite breakfast, French toast.



Wow, mum in jeans and a sweater!  Nice! 

“Oh Brandon it’s so good to see you.” She enveloped me in a great big hug.  “I hope I didn’t wake you.  If you’re still tired I can put this in the fridge for later”.

“No, I’m hungry let’s eat.”



It was so good to see her sitting at my little table.

“How did you get past the burglar alarm?” I asked.

“You used the same code we had at home,” she replied.  Of course I did, I needed to remember it when I came home dead tired from looking for Adam/Chris.

She was smiling as she ran into my tiny kitchen to wash up.  I kept forgetting mum is so spritely but she looks years younger.  Wearing jeans with her hair down, she looks amazing.  I can’t believe it’s the same woman.  Chris has got to see this.  I told her so.  Then I heard a sound I haven’t heard for a long time.  She laughed.

She winked knowingly at me, “I cheated.  I used some of my lifetime rewards points to get a secret potion that made me a young adult again.”  She said, “Look, we all need to talk.  How about you invite Chris over while I freshen up after my red eye flight?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she could easily make it from the Chem Lab but then remembered it’s locked away in the basement so no-one else could super max out their Logic skill.  I told Chris, I had someone special he’d really like to meet.  He came straight over and mum hugs him the minute he walks through the door.



Oh my darling boy, you’ve cut your hair.  It’s... different.  I am so glad you’re all right!  Can I see the tattoo? 

“No mum,” said Chris with a grin, “only my wife or proctologist will ever see that.”

Mum said, “That’s interesting.  You wanted to break the rules but only a little bit.”

Chris sighed, “Don’t try to psychoanalyse me, mum.  I think moving out of the Dynasty lot was a not a little bit of rule breaking.  It was a major bit of rule breaking.  And if dad wasn’t so fixated on the whole family dynasty thing, he’d have known it was useless to send Brandon to look for me.  Metro is not going to overlook a dynastic heir skipping town.”

Mum said, “That’s true.  We have all lived our lives to complete that dynasty and if that was what you’d wanted, Brandon and I would have been there for you.  But now that it’s ended, we can all do what we’ve always wanted to do and not what our watcher wants us to do.  We’ll either be binned or deleted but from now on, our lives are our own.  Sit down boys, I’ve a lot to tell you.”
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 5: The Unexpected
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2012, 03:26:45 PM »
Sorry Forum, my glitch with photobucket continues.  There'll probably be less pictures in future episodes.

Magz
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 5: The Unexpected
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2012, 03:42:56 PM »
I LOVE this! Such a fresh perspective on the dynasty challenges. Their mom has a good head on her shoulders, though I am concerned as to how dear old Dad will react to this new development.

You are a fantastic writer. I look forward to reading more!

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 6: Sabotage
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2012, 06:42:59 AM »
Duty Calls - Chapter 6:  Sabotage

Lucky my tiny lounge room had enough chairs.

Chris nudged me and said, “Love what you’ve done with the place.  Who’s your decorator?”



We all laughed at that and it gave mum breathing space to gather her thoughts.  She took a deep breath and began, “First of all, thank you Chris, because, without your bravery, we wouldn’t all be free.  I like your new name by the way, is that for the Patron Saint of Travellers because you always wanted to travel?”

“No, I picked the name Christopher Steel from the two men on either side of me on the plane.  I took the first name from one, and the surname from the other and Steel is pretty close to our real name, so if I momentarily forget, people might just think I stutter.  I’d never flown economy before.  It was an interesting experience."

Mum laughed again.  I could really get used to hearing that sound.  “I found it unpleasant but anonymous which was rather comforting.  You see boys; I’ve left your father and that house full of elders.  It’s been like a prison to me." 



"You both know I married Alastair, your father, right after my high school graduation.  I went straight from a graduation robe to a wedding gown."



"There were so few eligible women in our town by the fifth generation, that I think I was the only halfway suitable choice.  I just didn’t know it.”

That I couldn’t believe.  My beautiful elegant mother... a fallback position?  I was outraged!

She continued, “But I was so flattered that this wealthy mature man was showering me with compliments and flowers and fabulous gifts."



"Before I knew it, he’d asked me to marry him and I accepted.  You see, there were so few eligible marriageable choices for me too.  However I did want a large family and if I’d known all about the dynasty restrictions, I’d have said no.  But I didn’t and the rest is now history."

"Oh, I had my little rebellions along the way.  You two were my biggest.  I was only supposed to have one baby, but I decided if I couldn’t have the five I’d wanted to fulfil my first lifetime wish, I was going to have as many as I could."



"I took Alastair’s fishing radio and when I could I listened to Kids music or I visited friends’ houses and watched Kids TV on their television as often as I could.  I went to the library and read those silly pregnancy books over and over again.  Much to the chagrin of Alastair and the elders, I had twins.  No-one else could be added to the house until one of us died.”

I was stunned.  Mum sabotaged the dynasty a long time before Chris did.  Chris and I looked at each other.  We’d got our math wrong.  Chris figured that he could marry but not have children till either of us died but mum’s right, Chris couldn’t have even married until one of us died!”

“I’m sorry boys.  But during my pregnancy, I saw what happens to the elders once they’ve achieved immortality.  They were either bored out of their skulls or zealously watching everything I did so I couldn’t mess up the succession or break the rules.  All the fun skill objects were locked away.  The elders do nothing all day so no one can’t inadvertently supermax another heir’s skill.  You may not know this but I had to forfeit my guitar just in case I left it lying around for one of the elders to find.  Not that any of them played but a future heir could, so nobody else was allowed to.”



I didn’t know mum played a guitar.  She enrolled me in the music club for an afterschool activity but then I recalled that I wasn’t allowed to have a guitar of my own, either.  But then I wasn’t the virtuoso that mum is, so it didn’t matter so much to me, but I do recall the house always full of music.

Mum collected herself and continued, “When the elders began discussing who would be the baby’s future spouse before Chris was even born, I realised that I had been a mere pawn to further the succession, and a dispensable pawn at that!”  Mum’s voice broke then.  Chris and I waited for her to continue.  “I also realised that I’d unintentionally backed my babies into a corner.  I’m not sorry that I had you both but I am sorry if my rebellion messed up your aspirations.  I can never make it up to you if I’ve I done that.”

Chris protested, “No mum, I’ve thought about this whole dynasty thing long and hard.  I really didn’t want to continue the dynasty under those rules.”

Mum nodded and continued, “Anyway I did my best to shield you two from the elders, Brandon, in particular, from their malice and Chris from their machinations.  When they weren’t watching, I let you two do things they wouldn’t have approved of, like chess at the park or using the computers at the library.”

“I remember you taking us to the public pool a lot even though we have a pool too”, I said.

“I gained my first athletic point at the public pool and my first gardening point when you’d take us to harvest wild fruit and vegetables so we could go fishing,” added Chris.



“I encouraged you both to widen your skill sets so you could make up your own mind which skills you wanted to achieve.  I let you play as much as you wanted at other peoples’ houses in the hope that they may have skill objects not locked away.  I hoped you would be strong enough to do what I couldn’t... break the dynasty rules and release all of us from that prison.”

“Now we can do all the things we want to do instead of what the watcher tells us to do.  Chris, you should change your lifetime wish into something you personally want to achieve instead of one no other immortal has previously done.  Take the career you want, marry the girl you want and have lots of children, not just one daughter.”  Chris just smiled.

To me she said, “Brandon, now you can marry.  While you didn’t have the same career and skill restrictions, you couldn’t have a wife or family.  So I beg you, have that family, be the husband and father you were born to be.  I hope the pair of you will provide me with lots of grandchildren before I die and maybe I can help raise those babies and finally achieve the surrounded by family lifetime wish I wanted for myself.”

Mum paused for a moment, sighed pensively then continued, “You see, to me, that’s the real meaning of a dynasty:  families loving and living, generation after generation, not living for generations under such tightly constrained rules.  Those immortal dynasties establish the skill and determination of the watchers, not the happiness of the Sims.  So I’m advising both of you to follow your hearts.  Carpe Diem and all that.  Be the Sim you want to be!”



When mum finished Chris and I both sat there stunned at her audacity and our reprieve.

Chris was the first to speak, “So... just curious, but who did the grandparents pick out for me to marry if I wasn’t yet born?”

“Sheryl” mum answered.

“What!” shouted Chris, “She was already a teenager when I was in nappies!  Surely she must be an elder now herself?”

My replied, “No, but she will be in 4 days time if she isn’t pregnant by then”.

“Ugh, is that the best they could do?” Chris said shaking his head.

“There aren’t many people who fit the rules and fewer and fewer townies with each dynasty.  As you know most of the NPC’s are vampires because our watcher started the dynasty before the last patch.  And I was assured by the elders, that older wives were best as they will die of old age much quicker than silly brand new young adults, just one day out of her teens, like I was.  The sooner the spouse and spares died, the sooner the next heir can be born.

As Chris digested that news, and I was, once again, irritated at being referred to as a spare, I asked mum if she had ever loved dad because it seemed an important question.

“I idolised him at first”, she replied.  “We honeymooned in France.  He was so romantic.  He was great when I was pregnant but not so much fun when I had you two.  He only wanted to be involved with Chris because Chris was the heir.  Although there were sometimes...” and her eyes drifted off into the distance before she collected herself.  “Sometimes I think that he was just compartmentalising, because he would also have to lose a wife and a son.  Alastair excelled at ignoring or rejecting incidents where deeper emotions could be aroused.  For instance, he wouldn’t discuss his mother with me at all.  Papa Andrew said Alastair and his mother were very close and he was genuinely devastated by her death.  Alastair wanted to resurrect her ghost but the others wouldn’t let him.”

“Do you still love dad?”  I asked.

“Hmm... hard to say,” she replied, “I just don’t know.  I’ve been faithful to him all this time.  I still get the occasional flowers and amorous hug.  I still get wishes to woohoo with him...”



Eww... more information than I needed to know I thought, but it was unclear to me whether she really wants to leave dad or just leave the dynasty lot.  There was just something in her voice when she talked about dad that meant it was not all done and dusted.

She continued, “But I can’t live in that house with all those bored elders, and so far, touch wood, I am not regretting it.  You two are my priority and we three can achieve anything we set our minds to.  So what are we going to do?  This house is only big enough for one and there’s not enough room for a garden.  Besides Alastair paid for this house, let’s go house hunting?”

As she ran to the door, Chris and I said in unison, “Money?”

She smiled sweetly and replied, “Oh I have money.  I kept every money bag I ever harvested and I have a dozen masterpieces in my inventory.  Did you know old Mrs Winston’s had an easel on her back porch?  She doesn’t even have a fence to keep out shameless trespassers?  Hmm... I also seem to have collected every car from the mansion’s parking lot.”  And with a swirl of heavenly perfume she waltzed out my front door...
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 5: The Unexpected
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2012, 04:30:03 PM »
Excellent. Absolutely excellent.

I love the backstory, the emotion, and especially Mum's rebellious streak. She is such a wonderful, lovable character and clearly adores her boys.

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 7: A New Beginning
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2012, 04:52:54 PM »
Duty Calls - Chapter 7:  A New Beginning

Mum grabbed the paper from my front lawn and turned straight to the Real Estate section.  Mum said, “There are a lot of houses for sale but I’d like to look around first.  Let’s go for a drive.”  The next thing I knew that we were all in great-great-great grandma Annette’s police cruiser driving up the hill.  Mum really had taken every car from the mansion lot.  Chris and I laughed a lot at that.

The first house we stopped at was a new house on the Redwood Parkway.  We all got out and looked around.  The views were magnificent and the house was modern with lots of glass to maximise the majestic views.  Mum read from the paper.  “This one is for sale at a good price.  It’s by Lynley1248 who is one of my favourite designers.  It is called Loess and has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms so there’s lots of room for a growing family.  There’s even a fish pond for the keen angler," she said pointedly to Chris.



“I could certainly live with that view,” he said, "but I already have a house".

“That’s nice dear.  How many bedrooms?” she asked.

“One,” he answered, “Well, two if I move some stuff around.  You know, you’re right it is small and would suit a single person or a couple but not a family.  Just how much is this one?”

“Well within our budget” she said being unusually coy.  I wondered just how much did she have stashed away from harvesting money trees all that time.  Probably squillions, and there I was worried about not having a brass razoo if I didn’t return home.

“Okay”, she said, “that’s a definite maybe.  Let’s look at some more.”  We all piled back into the police cruiser and headed off.  I hope nobody thinks we’re all apprehended criminals or rebellious teens.

She stopped the cruiser just around the corner and we got out to look this new house over.  “This is another by Lynley1248 and it’s called the Augusta.  It’s another great home for a family.” Mum said looking directly at me.



“Okay mum, thanks for the tip.  I’m only just getting used to the idea that I could have a wife, but somehow, I think house hunting’s something a wife may like to be involved in.  I want a house with a good sized kitchen and room for a big garden.  She may be looking for a pool or something else.  She may not like the decor.  You know I’m not fussy about colours and things like that.” I shrugged.

“Ya think, bro!” interrupted Chris looking at my clothes.

“All right, let’s just look at all the houses on offer, and we’ll see if one really grabs you,” She said always ready to mediate between us like we were children again.  “There’s one more by Lynley1248 just along here somewhere.  It was in the next block and looked really first-rate.



There’s no fishing pond,” Chris said and the veggie garden is too small for Brandon.

“Hmm,” she said, casting her expert architectural designer eye over the house, “but you can move the playground equipment around and plant the garden on that side of the house.  It’s easy enough to do.  Shall I mark this one as a definite possibility?”

“Yeah sure, mum but I prefer a full fence.  You know the paparazzi can be hideous”.

“Okay, good to know you particularly want a fence.  You know it won’t cost a bomb to add a fence to anything you like.  There are plenty of houses that fit our criteria, like the Blue Oasis by Lilygirl and the Suburbian by PolarBair and the Perth Manor by Dellena has 7 bedrooms."

Chris shook his head, “No mum, not another Dynasty house.”

“Okay, how about the Asian Fusion by Katluvr.  It has a Zen garden that looks amazing.”

“You want to learn martial arts?” I asked.

“Not particularly, but I’m not ruling anything out.  Besides you could take out the martial arts equipment and just have a nice veggie patch in there instead.  But since you particularly want a fence, I’d like to see the house listed here by Judewright and MrsFlyn.  Individually, these two designers are fabulous, but in combination I think they could be awesome.”

Mum drove all the way over to the other side of town.  Good thing, the paper lists the GPS coordinates for the house because I’ve never been over this way before.  I didn’t need to.  We all got out and just stared at the house.



Chris spoke first.  “You know mum, you’re going to need a new superlative.  Awesome is an understatement.  This is perfect for us.  There’s plenty of space for Brandon’s garden, the ocean is at the back door for my fishing and there lots of room for those kids you want to raise.  And...” Chris said dragging out the word, “the Serenity Retreat is just next door.”

“I have a remarkable vocabulary with a range of superlatives,” she said, “but I agree, this house looks to be the perfect one for us right now.  So, are we all agreed on this one?” she asked to which Chris and I nodded.  “Okay let’s contact the agent about buying the house.  Then we’ll go to your house, Chris and collect your things and swing by Myrtle Cottage to get Brandon’s stuff and we’ll be moved in by nightfall.”

Jumping back into the police cruiser, we stopped at Chris’s house to collect his gear.  He said he already cleaned the house this morning.  At Myrtle Cottage, mum rang the agent, Chris cleaned the bathroom and I cleaned the kitchen. 



Locking the house for the final time, I was so excited, I didn’t notice the man standing beside the police cruiser.  Holy snapping turtles!... Dad!!!

Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 7: A New Beginning
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2012, 08:08:57 PM »
Oh no...this can't be good.  :o

Offline Hazelstar

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 7: A New Beginning
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2012, 04:13:48 AM »
0.o Update soon. This can't be good

Louise56

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 7: A New Beginning
« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2012, 06:34:26 AM »
I enjoyed the house hunting. I hope dad isn't there to make trouble!

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Duty Calls Chapter 8: The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men...
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2012, 07:34:57 AM »
Duty Calls Chapter 8:  The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men...

Chris and I were rooted to the spot as dad just stood there watching us all, but even I could see his attention was squarely focused on mum.  His expression was blank and his demeanour as inscrutable as always.

Mum made the first move, “Chris, take the cruiser and return the keys to Myrtle Cottage then go to the new house.  I’ll talk with your father.”

“No, mum,” Chris said, “We’ll stay.  This is our confrontation too!”

“Thank you for your support, but I don’t need it,” she said matter-of-factly.  “I want some time alone to talk to Alastair.  You two can get settled into the house.  I’ll see you both later.”

“Mum, how about if Chris and I stay inside, you can have privacy to talk to dad out here, but knowing you have safety in numbers if you need it.” I suggested.

“Thank you again, but no,” she countered, “Your father is not a violent man.  I’ll be fine.  I just need the freedom to say some things I don’t want you boys to overhear.  Anyway, you particularly wanted to transplant some of those garden plants.  Now’s the time to do that.  I will see you soon.”



I gave mum a reassuring hug while Chris eyed our father balefully.  Dad waved a greeting to both of us but didn’t speak, or even attempt to shake hands, so grudgingly, Chris and I left.  In the car, Chris said we’ll go around the block just to make sure but as we cruised past the house, they were not in sight, so we returned the keys to Myrtle Cottage.  With the keys returned we had no choice but to go to the new house but not before Chris drove around the town. 



We drove past the Bistro and the Diner, even over to the coffee house but we didn’t see them.  This reminded me of the problems I had hunting for Chris earlier in the week.  Talk about deja vu.  In the car, Chris and I didn’t speak but I believe our tension and thoughts were in accord, “Where were they and what was happening?”  If mum isn’t at the new house by morning, I’m getting Ms Keaton, that cop who’s been harassing me for a date, to post a “Be On the Look Out” all over town for them.



When we arrived at the house, it seemed so forlorn all in darkness.  Call me crazy, but the house seemed to know it was missing a vital element, our dazzling effervescent mother.  I think I should persuade mum to render the house as it looks just a bit too much like our old mansion.  I went straight into the garden to find some peace and tranquillity and Chris decided to help me instead of going fishing which I expected him do as this was his usual stress release.



He looked around the garden in the moonlight.  It was almost magical.  “Ahhh,” he said, “Feel the serenity.  Love the serenity.  Mate, all you need now is a bug zapper to complete the scene.”  I smiled.  Chris had always had a liking for quirky Australian movies and “The Castle” was as apt a metaphor as any other.  Except, for me, this house would not be my castle until mum was here.

“By the way,” Chris said interrupting my thoughts, “I’ve given you the beige bedroom beside the art nook, I’ve taken the blue room and I put mum’s things in the big bedroom.  We can swap later if you don’t like the arrangements.  So... how can I help?”



I told him my plans and we set to work.  Chris helped me erect the new Swiftgro gardening stations. Then we began transplanting the plants within the range of the stations.  These stations were supposed to save me a bucket load of time every day.  Given that the garden at the mansion took several hours every day to tend and this garden was bigger, I was willing to try anything.  After we’d transplanted everything the way I wanted it, we fertilized and watered.  This really was quicker than hand so I left Chris to it and began to tend to the bees.

Chris said, “Funny how you can hire a butler, a maid, a babysitter, a repairman, a DJ or a mixologist.  I wonder why we can’t hire a gardener?”

“Because they’d keep all the produce as they harvest just like mum did with the money trees”, I replied.

“Oh, right, of course!” he said, “Still maybe a gardener could just weed the garden instead of harvest, sort of like the reverse of the wild plants which you can’t tend but can only harvest.”



“That’s worth a thought,” I said grunting as I got stung again.  “I remember hearing that the dynasty founder had a stack of people to help him with the gardening.  Now all he does is planting and the spares tend the gardens. [Phone rings]  What is it with this town, why does my phone always ring when I’ve got my hands full.  “Grab that for me Chris. Back pocket!”  By the time Chris got the phone it has stopped ringing. “So who was it?”

“I don’t know the caller ID.  Want me to call it back?” he replied.

“Dear God no, it’s probably another woman calling for a date again.  The last thing I want to do is to encourage one of them.  I swear my back is going to break.  When does that retreat open in the morning, I’m going to need a massage?”

“I think maybe it’s a 24/7 kind of operation but we can check it out in the morning, speaking of which, it is morning,” he said stopping briefly to look at his watch then scanning the limited view we had of the road. “If I’m not dead by morning, I’ll treat you to that massage.  Why anyone would choose to do this day after day, beats me.  In the mean time, bend at the knees to save your back.”

I do this because I’m a green thumb and I love the outdoors.  I’m programmed to it.  I know that Chris’s small talk was simply his coping mechanism.  He needed to crack jokes and chatter because it helped him not worry about us having left mum alone with dad.  Still I wish Chris would save his breath and just work.  My lower back is killing me and I pong.  If I survive tonight, I’m getting an outdoor shower and a coffee machine.

Chris and I worked without saying another word but I knew that Chris was as worried about mum as I was.  Mum is right, dad is not hot-headed but still there was something very bizarre, albeit not menacing, about the way he just stood there not saying anything.

Every time car headlights appeared on the road, Chris and I would momentarily stop, hoping it was mum in a taxi or perhaps one of the other cars she’s stashed in her inventory.  Whenever the headlights passed by, Chris sighed heavily and I realised that I too had held my breath.  I let out my breath and got back to work.  When Chris suddenly keeled over, I realised just how late is really was and mum still hadn’t come home.  I left Chris sleeping where he was, I was too tired to even try to help him to his feet.  If I wasn’t so tired, I go for a swim in that enticing refreshing pool.



My subconscious kept chanting “Please be okay Mum.  Please be okay.  Please be okay”.  Wherever mum was, she’d be just as tired as we are, but like Chris, I was probably just going to work til I dropped because sleep would be impossible.

As the first rays of morning sun crept over the horizon, Chris’s cell phone rang.  I woke him to take the call.  Chris smiled, the caller ID said it was mum’s phone.  Then I watched increasingly worried as every bit of colour leached from his face.  When he hung up, with a shocked expression, he said, “That was Donnovan Steel, the guy I met on the plane.  Coincidently, he’s a police officer in Lucky Palms.  A meteor crashed into the Lucky Simoleon Casino and he’s calling from a cell phone which somehow survived the carnage.  He said he hit redial.”  Chris’s mouth opened but no sound came out.  Then he choked out the words his voice full of tears, “It’s mum’s phone!  Donnovan said there were no survivors!”



I fainted...
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

 

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