What Happens at Zero?

Captain Sparkles pushed the swinging doors open and stepped into the cooler air of the saloon.

01-26-16_7-18-35 PM

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, and when they did most of the patrons were looking at him with awe and surprise. That was expected, Captain Sparkles was well known in these parts. If he was there, then some evil-dooer was there as well.

He spotted the Purple Gang in the corner of the room, huddled in a corner trying to avoid notice. Too late, Captain Sparkles thought.

01-26-16_7-22-53 PM

“I’ll give you three minutes to come outside, Purple Mask.” Captain Sparkles announced in the silence that had descended upon the saloon. Only the jute box, playing a tinny banjo piece, could be heard after his announcement.

“And if I don’t?” Purple Mask, the leader of the Purple Gang sneered, but Captain Sparkles knew that was only to mask his fear.

“You don’t want to find out.” He turned and walked back outside, knowing the man would follow. He waited.

Purple Mask made it outside before the time was up. “Well?” he asked boldly, behind him stood his entire gang.

01-26-16_7-25-51 PM

“I’m here to stop your tyranny.” Captain Sparkles announced. A crowd was gathering to watch. “A duel. Ten paces, when the clock next tolls, we see who still stands.”

“Agreed. Today will be the day the world sees the end of you, Captain Sparkles.”

Captain Sparkles just laughed. “No one has ever beaten me at a duel.”

The two squared off, took their ten paces, and waited for the bell. Tick. Tock. Ten, nine, eight-

“James! Time for bed!”

-Seven, six-01-26-16_7-29-46 PM

“James!” His mother’s voice was closer now. “You better be in bed now. I told you to go to bed ten minutes ago.”

-Five, four.-

The door opened. “James!”

01-26-16_6-12-16 PM

“Mom! Just a little longer?”

“Now.” They stared at each other. “Three…” his mom started counting down. “Two…”

James jumped to his feet and landed in his bed before she said one.

She smiled. “Sleep well.” Then tucked him in and kissed him on the forehead. James stared at the shadowy figures below, Captain Sparkles would have to wait till tomorrow.

Second Night

Captain Sparkles peered down at the building. Smoke billowed from the chimneys. The townsfolk had been right, this bunker wasn’t so abandoned anymore. He watched as one of the purple gang snuck through the brush. Ducking low, he continued watching and his patience was rewarded when the man finally decided it was safe and sprinted for the door. Bingo, clearly this was the purple gang’s hideout.

01-27-16_9-01-14 AM

“James?” James froze, Captain Sparkles in hand. His mom’s voice drifted from the bottom of the stairs. “Are you in bed?”

“Getting into bed now,” he called back, then waited. Nothing.

Captain Sparkles raced forward towards the bunker, not bothering to hide his approach. They would know soon enough that they couldn’t hide from him. He reached the door in moments and, not bothering to pause, blew the hinges off the door with his trusty bubblegun.

“Purple Mask!” he called into the darkness. “I’ll give you to the count of ten before I come in there.” Silence answered him. “Ten! – ”

“James? Don’t make me come up there.”

“I’m almost in bed,” he called out. He hadn’t heard footsteps on the stairs, so that meant Mom was still downstairs. He was safe for the moment.

“-Nine,” Captain Sparkles called out. He peered into the gloom of the building, as the smoke settled. “Eight.” A red light blinked and…was someone moving in there?

“-Five – ” James jumped startled. That wasn’t the right number. Mom was counting from downstairs. “-Four-” he heard footsteps on the stairs. She was coming up. “-Three-” More footsteps, down the hallway getting closer. The closet behind him rattled unexpectedly. He turned to see the closet door shake. What?!

01-26-16_6-23-20 PM

“-Two-” the closest door rattled again in time with his mothers’ footsteps.

“-One-“And  was that smoke coming from the closet?!

James lept off the floor, his figurines scattering and jumped into the bed. He stared at the closet door as his mother opened his own door.

“Goodnight sweetheart.”

01-26-16_6-28-04 PM

“Goodnight.” James said still staring at the closet suspiciously. What was that?

Third Night

James sat in the center of his room and waited. Captain Sparkles and the Purple Gang lay nearby. They weren’t having any adventures tonight. He checked the clock again. It was almost time. Footsteps on the stairs.

01-26-16_6-09-59 PM

“You in bed, James?” his mother called up.

“Almost,” he answered, his eyes on the closet.

“James!” His mom said exasperated. “Do we have to do this every night? You have five seconds to get your butt into bed.”

He waited.

“Five.” Footsteps on the stairs. And, he stared at the closet, yes, there were footsteps coming from behind the door as well.

“Four.” Mom was almost at the top of the stairs. The footsteps from the closer were louder now too.

“Three.” The closet door trembled, reverberating with each step.

He clutched Captain Sparkles in his hand. But he was ready to run.

01-26-16_6-24-03 PM
“Two.” The closet door was shaking audibly. Smoke billowed from the center of the closet and red light shone from within.

“One.” His heart pounded in his chest. The closet door was pulling open now. An arm, clad in purple, reaching out. Two eyes shone red in the darkness of the closet.


James was in bed under the covers as his mother opened the door.

01-26-16_6-26-19 PM

“-ro.” She sighed heavily. “Goodnight James.”

He peaked out from the covers. The closet door was silent, the monster gone.

“Mom?” he asked as she started to close the bedroom door, “What happens if you reach zero?”

“You don’t want to know.” She smiled and glanced at the closet. “Oh,” she crossed the room and pulled the door closed.

01-26-16_6-30-30 PM

She turned to tuck him into bed. “Sweet dreams.” James tried to hide his shaking. She knew!





  • Sunny-Side Saloon by Miss_Frogstar
  • Tony “Meatball” Corleonesi as Captain Sparkles (Sim by Rory)
  • Vincent Salvatore as Purple Mask (Sim by Rory)
  • Peggy Doland as Female Bystander (Sim by Munterbacon)
  • Public Fallout Shelter by VIK-Ensouled


  1. The closet woohooing makes 2000x more sense now XD This was super cute! I think this is such an original take on the “countdown” idea too! I think everyone can relate to the good old “mom-countdown” 😛 Awesome, as always!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The first time I saw the full animations for closet woohoo – I knew it was needed for this story. The smoke, the noise. It was perfect!

      Glad you enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun to put together. I always pushed my folks as much as possible. Pretty sure they would have loved me to be scared by a closet monster. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m still laughing! “You don’t want to know!”

    And yay for the Raerei studio regulars! Love being able to see the studio cast showing up in all your short productions! 🙂


  3. Bwahahaha! I don’t think I have a single shift out in the public areas of the library where I don’t hear the “mom countdown.”

    Oddly enough, I think the main character from my short story this month could’ve been besties with James when he was a wee lad… they at least both have a love for superheroes!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is definitely no hiding from us moms. Lol!! We know. And you do NOT want us to get up. I really loved this story! I had no idea where the closet animation was from until citizen said where. It makes so much more sense now! I’ve not played with that animation yet. Be sure I will, of course. Fantastic job!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also had an overactive imagination, but never anything concrete like this, it was always just a “feeling” of danger from the dark spaces. I think that after these events, James will be going to bed on time as he should!!

      I had the idea of the closest before I saw the animation – but when I saw the smoke animation and realized what it could be used for!! Lol. I was concerned he’d leave the room when it started and I’d have to splice him in. But he was an excellent actor and stayed as intended for the whole parental performance, yikes! Good thing it was all pretend or he’d be traumatized!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my, this is so cute. The countdown you used is so familiar to all of us, and yet I don’t think I ever would have thought to write about it. Such a creative and fun idea!

    I just love the screenshots with Captain Sparkles and the Purple Gang. They’re so engrossing; I really thought what they were doing was actually happening. And the main character is adorable. Awesome job capturing the spirit of youth 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. I was hoping folks would think Captain Sparkles was the story, at least for a little while. It was so fun to put the ridiculous costumes on the sims and set those scenes up!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bwahahaha!! This was so much fun! Using the mom countdown for the theme was so creative! At first I did think Captain Sparkles was going to be the story, like a “The Incredibles” sort of thing — I laughed so much when I saw it was him acting out his toys! The animation for the closet really worked — as kids we were all scared of the closet and under the bed. Hands and feet tucked in! 😀 Sometimes there are drawbacks to having such a good imagination, lol! Such a great, enjoyable story!!


  7. This was so cool to read! Seriously, from James’ imagination, to the way too familiar ‘mom-countdown’ and the awesome screenshots. Original and super fun, just a great job as always! Awesome entry 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I had a darker idea first that I still might write someday, but I decided it was too much. Then when this idea popped in my head I knew it would be a fun one! I always did push my parents as far as I could. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This was so awesome and tense! And exciting! Such an original idea and creative use of in-game animations! I’m speaking in fragmented exclamations because I liked this so much! And I liked the Captain Sparkles adventures and the pics for them too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had so much fun being ridiculous with the super heroes. But well, James is creative so I figured he would be. This is one of my favorite short stories that I wrote.

      Liked by 1 person

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