Tuesday, Simtember 13, 2416 | Silverton Estate | Bay City, Califorsimia
I can’t sleep now even if I want to…
I returned to my bedroom with the diary and stretched out on my bed. I didn’t even bother to take my shoes off before opening the book. My eyelids felt heavy, and while I may have been physically tired, I was intellectually intrigued and curious. The diary belonged to Isabella Julianna and the B.G. had to be Bachelor Goth. What other possible explanation could there be? If Mamma didn’t want to talk about her time at the Silverton Estate as a young adult, maybe Bella’s journal would shed some light and offer some insight. I wondered how long it had been hidden beneath the floorboards of the room downstairs – the one I had stayed in my first night and the one Ayesha was currently occupying.
Ayesha! Floorboard! I’d have to replace the board soon or she would ask questions… or hurt herself if she walked in unaware. I was too tired to lift myself from the bed and too excited to tear my attention away from the diary. I had no way of knowing when Ayesha would be back and what was the harm in reading Bella’s journal first?
A few of the pages appeared to be torn from the start. I wondered briefly what was on the missing pages but decided to move on and read the first available lines instead.
Simolá, 1st of Simuly, 2396 C.E.
The year of my birth. So Bella’s journal definitely coincided with Mamma’s stay in the city.
Bay City is colder than I expected for midsummer. A kind stranger on the subway told me it is the fog and the fact that Legacy Island sits on Simistral Ocean. I don’t really mind. It gives me an excuse to wear a baggy sweatshirt. The baseball cap and sunglasses is a little harder to explain, particularly at night, but the city is large and I hope to avoid most of its inhabitants.
The sweatshirt hides the scars, the ones I don’t really want to think about, but they are there, on my arms regardless. I am embarrassed about them, but not for the reasons most people think. I tug at the sleeves when a stranger’s eye wanders to my wrists, and I know what they’re thinking – that I self-harm. Given what I’ve been through, it wouldn’t be surprising that I’d harm myself. I’m not sure anyone would blame me even, but it is not the reason for the scars. I hide them because I am ashamed. I am ashamed because I was powerless to stop the attack and the scratches are a stupid reminder of my inadequacies.
“Kass, are you in there?”
Mamma’s voice called to me through the door. Instinctively, I sat up quickly and shoved the journal beneath the covers of the bed.
“Mamma? I’m going to sleep in this morning,” I called back, trying to sound like I just woke up.
It wasn’t exactly a lie.
“Oh all right,” Mamma replied. “I wanted you to know we were back that’s all and make sure you are okay after everything last night.”
“Fine,” I mumbled, and then listened for her footsteps echoing down the hallway before I pulled the diary from its hiding place and continued reading.
What had happened to Bella Goth? Why was she in the City at the same time as my Mamma? What’s this attack she’s talking about?
She was pregnant! I gasped. Maybe that’s how she knew Mamma. I felt a pit forming in the bottom of my stomach, in the dark place I tried to avoid entering, the place where fears grew from seedlings to full-grown trees. I didn’t want to go there. I kept reading.
The life that grows within me makes my body do strange things. My stomach decides it is a roiling ocean one minute, and its waves cannot be held back by my mouth and the next minute, it’s craving a burger, fries, and a shake because my eyes suggest these things to my stomach after seeing an advertisement on the side of the subway shelter. You would think that I would know this by now, the way my body acts completely counter-intuitively, given this is my third time in this condition.
Cassandra… and… and… Alexander… would’ve been born by now in… what was the date?… July 2196? I tried to remember how old Cassandra was, and I knew Alexander was only about a year older than me. She’s about 23, I think, if I remember right… as she had been 22 when I met her the day I decided to crash a Goth party and fruitlessly plea to Gunther Goth, Jr. to reinstate EXCES research at the Raven Research Syndicate. So Cassandra was about… I did quick math in my head… 3 and Alex was about a year, I think, if I’m calculating right. I slammed the cover shut and sat up pin-straight in shocking realization. Kass, you idiot! You’re missing the most important point! Bella Goth was pregnant! Pregnant! With a third child! What child? In all my obsessive following of Bella, I had never once come across the mention of a third child. Who was this mysterious baby? And why was Bella alone in Bay City instead of with her husband, Mortimer?
I wander the city. I don’t have a choice. My stomach compels me and my feet comply. In all my travels, I had never been to Bay City. This is why I figured I would be safe. No one would recognize me. No one will ask questions. No one will tell. I wander the City. I wander because I don’t know what else to do and I don’t know this place. It is unfamiliar, and yet there is comfort in the unfamiliarity. I can make choices. Choices no one else can compel me to make. Choices that affect me and only me for once in my life. I think I’ve been making choices for others for as long as I can remember. I please people. That’s what my mother said. It is my blessing and my curse.
I see a Diner across the street from me. Once again, I am faced with choices. Do I satisfy my hunger? I would have to use my cash. I don’t want to be tracked. I don’t want to be known. Do I keep walking by? I don’t want to stay in any place too long. I don’t want to be recognized. I don’t want to be found out. The lights flash. Walk. Don’t walk. Walk. Don’t walk.
I have no choice.
My stomach has decided.
I eat outside. It is the only logical choice. The patio outside the 24-hour diner is empty. It is after midnight. The blue-and-white tiles contrast sharply with the grey bricks and wooden picnic tables. I’m not complaining. I’m starving. I only ate a half chocolate-and-nut bar for breakfast this morning when I boarded the train in Lucky Palms. I used up the last of my cash to get here. I had only enough coins to get a hamburger. I try to console myself. The salt from the fries would make me bloat anyway. The shake is full of empty calories. The hamburger tastes like heaven. It tastes like heaven when you’ve been hitchhiking across country for two weeks and you’ve only eaten gas station and bus depot food. I finished my meal, feeling satisfied and surprisingly not nauseous.
I wander through the city after I found my sustenance. I don’t know where I can go or what I should do. I know only that I am tired. Exhausted is a better word. The city seems so harmless at night, so quiet and peaceful. Nothing is happening in the wee morning hours. I am tired. I need rest. I know it is a lie. Nothing is truly harmless. Nothing is perfectly peaceful.
I hear of the police chasing off homeless people when they sleep on park benches and outside places of business. I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to be chased away. I want to sleep. I don’t want to be found out. I can’t be caught by the police. They may mean good, but they will only bring me harm. I can’t go back. I can never go back. I am not the same.
I find a cemetery. No one will bother me in a cemetery. I will sleep with gravestones and urns and statues as strange bedfellows. I find a cold bench behind the mausoleum. It will do. I lay down, pressing my face to the cool stone. I can hear her heartbeat. The heartbeat of the city. She calls to me, regaling me with respite. I write these words, words that another living soul may never read, but that is unimportant. The words cry out to me like the heartbeat of the city. They cannot be silenced. They may be my only outlet, my only opportunity for a voice, even to an audience of one.
I curl up to sleep. I sleep and I hear the beating heart of the city. I hear her cries through the clattering of traffic over a bridge, through the squeaking rails of the subway trains, through the discordant horns of the taxis. I hear her songs through the gulls soaring over the bay, through the bells of elevators chiming, through shifts in the wind currents. The city breathes still even while her inhabitants sleep and she gently watches over those souls – soft, fragile, delicate souls.
I sleep. Tomorrow I will rise. The city’s heart will still beat. Tomorrow I will find her. Tomorrow I will search for Ms. Antonelli-Silverton. Tomorrow I will meet my hope.
“Holy cow!” I exclaimed.
Bella knew about my great-grandmother. How? What about this baby of hers she intimated at? Why was bisnonna her hope? What could Celestia Antonelli-Silverton offer her? Why was Bella on the run? I had so many questions. Too many questions.
I needed sleep. All that talk from Bella about sleep at the end made me even more aware of my own state of exhaustion. More sections of Bella’s journal would have to wait. My eyes were already playing tricks on me and I was watching the letters jumble and dance on the page as my eyelids grew heavier.
I set the book on my nightstand, kicked off my shoes, and crawled beneath the blankets. Bella’s diary would wait until later. It had sat beneath the floorboards of my great-grandmother’s estate for this long. A few more hours couldn’t hurt.
2.23, Pt. 2 Coming Soon!
- What else will Kass learn about Bella and her arrival in Bay City?
- Will she learn about Bella’s connection to her great-grandmother?
Author’s Note: What Was Changed?
- Dates were changed. You can learn more about the Simlish calendar here.
- I enjoyed creating the Bella Goth scenes in a Retro Vintage shade. I hope you enjoyed more about one of the most intriguing and mysterious women of the Sims franchise, even if this is just in past tense and through the eyes of her diary. Yes, this isn’t the typical view of Bella and you never see her full face. This is because this is Kass’s imagining of her, but also Bella is in disguise for a reason.
- The term “bisnonna” is great-grandmother in Italian.
- The year has shifted from 2100-something to 2400 something. This is mostly because of timeline errors and inconsistencies. I am trying to correct for that, and this really doesn’t change the previous reading drastically. I’ll hopefully post a timeline on the blog in the near future, and I will talk about this a bit more in an author note update and/or on the forums.
- Additional author’s note here.