The Lighthouse

I knew I had to find it before they would let me out. My mind. My sanity. Myself. But how could I find what had been left light-years away? I’m not even sure when I lost it. Until I arrived at Dulex station, I didn’t know how long I’d been stranded on that ship. Lost in space. Alone.

Then the station hailed me and I thought all my problems were coming to an end. But they were just beginning. They hadn’t believed me and the station security thought I’d stolen the Tighar. Luckily, Peggy talked sense into her bosses and, once they realized I was a child of the original crew of the ship, I was allowed onto the station. My triumphant return to civilization.
03-31-16_10-39-23 PM2soft

It was too much. I don’t remember the weeks that followed, but that moment? That moment is seared into my memory.


Amelia turned off the monitor and Peggy’s face dissolved into pixels and then into darkness. The click lay heavy in the sudden overwhelmingly oppressive silence. The silence buzzed and hummed. No friendly voices to break the silence. Only her breath, jagged and rough. Sometimes she didn’t even hear that. Was she still breathing when she didn’t hear it? If she’d stopped breathing she’d notice, right?

03-31-16_10-24-55 PM

Amelia took a deep breath and exhaled noisily on purpose, the huff filled the room and covered up the silent buzz. Peggy said she thought too much and Amelia knew she was delaying the inevitable. Peggy was waiting.

She left the control room and headed up. She knew exactly where the main hatch was. Knew where the station was in relation to her tiny ship. Her home for five years according to Peggy. It felt like decades. It felt like only minutes ago her parents had waved goodbye and headed down to that planet. Amelia thought she could feel the weight of the station looming all around her ship. Like a giant swallowing a silver fish.

03-31-16_10-26-45 PM

The hiss of the hydraulic door surprised her and she looked down to see her traitorous hand still hovering over the lock.

03-31-16_10-32-43 PM

When had she gotten so close? Was she ready? Did it matter? If she didn’t leave, would they come in? Peggy had said to take her time, but Peggy was waiting and the door was opening.

She expected it to be bright. Or loud. She expected it to be different. Instead she stood in the doorway looking out into a room not much bigger than the one she’d left at least not across.

03-31-16_10-38-55 PM

She felt the station press onto as her eyes traveling up and up and up and up the grey walls. She closed her eyes and swallowed. When she opened them again she focused on the figures across the room. There were two of them. One was Peggy who smiled. Amelia smiled back and stepped forward.

03-31-16_10-36-02 PM

The moment her feet left the ship she froze. She was falling into the hugeness of the station. Swallowed by the giant. She could feel the metal floors spreading out beneath her like an ocean of metal. Slipping into the ocean that was the station. And she was a tiny ship cast adrift.

The station was different. The air smelt wrong, the hum of the fans were too high-pitched, the light just one shade too blue. It was all wrong. Her smile slipped as she struggled to keep above the waves. She couldn’t move, not even back into the safety of her ship. The Tighar wasn’t behind her. It had disappeared into this dark ocean.
03-31-16_10-39-23 PM2

Amelia’s eyes locked on Peggy’s, a lighthouse on a distant shore, shining. Peggy wasn’t smiling anymore, but that was okay. Her eyes were still smiling. The man next to Peggy moved, but Amelia wasn’t watching him. She was focused on Peggy. Peggy would fix this, she would be the light and guide her to shore.
03-31-16_10-39-23 PM2softdarklavabitdarkerplay2

And then the man touched her and she shattered. Sank into the ocean into the darkness. She was drowning.
03-31-16_10-39-23 PM2softdarklavabitdarkerplay

His touch burned and she heard screaming. Impossibly loud screaming, like a proximity alarm in pain. The screaming bounced around the grey room and Amelia knew it would never stop. She crumpled to the floor and the screaming didn’t stop. She could hear it over her own whimpers. That was all she could hear, the screaming, and her own lost voice. She couldn’t hear Peggy or the man.


“I told him to stay back,” Peggy explained when the drugs no longer clouded my every thought. They still made my mind slow, like thick oil oozing from a pipe and prone to wandering. But I could sit in this room now. Sit across from Peggy in this room and not be overwhelmed by the station. I still felt it falling away from me and sometimes I wanted to hang onto something, anything solid to keep from falling into it. But most of the time it was bearable.
03-31-16_10-39-23 PM2softdarklavabitdarkerplay2glow

“I told him to stay back, but he thought he knew best,” she sighed. I liked how her sigh filled the empty space of the room. It covered the hum of the fans that were wrong. “I’m sorry about that.”

She’d told me this before. Told me that she was sorry. They said it was a good sign that I was remembering things again. That it meant I was starting to find myself. I wanted to laugh when they said that, but I didn’t. If I started laughing it was hard to stop. And I wasn’t myself when I was laughing. Even I knew that was wrong. Wrong to not stop laughing, wrong to not stop crying.

“I remember,” I told Peggy. She was waiting for me to speak and I knew that’s what she wanted to hear. She didn’t want to hear about laughing and not stopping.

Her smile grew at my words and I had to smile back. Peggy’s smile did that. It made you want to smile. She smiled with her eyes and her whole body. Most of the others didn’t. They smiled with their teeth. Like sharks. I didn’t like them smiling and I never smiled back at them.

“What have you been up to?”

Everyday the same thing happened. I woke up. I took my shower under their watchful eyes. I ate their terrible healthy food and then they would have an activity for me. Sometimes it was fun, like running on a treadmill or taking a nap. Other times it was frightening like coloring the shapes and if you got the colors wrong they would hum at you, like the wrong-hum of the station fans. Like the colors meant something. Every third day, Peggy would come and we would chat. That was the best part. I wished they would let me cook.
03-31-16_10-39-23 PM2softdarklavabitdarkerplay2glowless

“I’ve been thinking about lighthouses,” I answer. It was true. Peggy was my lighthouse and I always thought about Peggy. I thought about what she said to me each day after she had gone. I loved it when she talked about her family. I was always listening, even if she didn’t think I was listening. Even when she thought I was lost. Her grandson was turning thirteen soon. He was going to have a party. It grounded me to hear her talk about what life was like on the station. Here, in this white place, it was too much like the ship – only worse because it was wrong.

“Is Tighar okay?” I ask. I don’t know what they did with my ship.

“It’s fine, they’re keeping it docked. No one is allowed in until it clears the court.”

“Court?”
03-31-16_10-39-23 PM2softdarklavabitdarkerplay2glowlesser

“For ownership. Don’t worry,” Peggy added as I figured out what she was saying. They were trying to take away my Tighar! “Don’t worry,” she soothed. “It’s just a formality since you were a minor when it came into your possession and so it has to be formally transferred to you now.”

I worried, but I tried not to show it and I did believe her when she said it would be okay. She also said it would be okay to leave the ship and that didn’t turn out well, but I was still alive and I hadn’t drowned. So I believed her when she said they couldn’t take my ship. I knew I was on that ship and even after I find myself here and they let me out, I still wouldn’t be right until we were back together again. Tighar and me.

That was why I had to find it. So they would let me out and I could go back to my ship.


Credits

 

24 comments

  1. Peggy! ❤

    Poor Amelia. I remember when the worst insane Sims had to deal with was wearing inappropriate clothing and talking to themselves. T_T You can just see how broken down she is…

    I really love the use of photo effects in the shots, too! Really adds a nice touch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She’s probably even worse off right now than when she was first abandoned, but this is something she has to pass through to continue, I think.

      I’m so glad the overt use of photo effects wasn’t too jarring! I had them in normally first, but even with the camera distortion, it didn’t feel right when I read it over. So I ended up adjusting most of the pictures to help convey her mood. I’m new at that (although Derelict is usually where I experiment!) so it’s good to know I’m on the right track.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Incredibly written, as always! Someday, I will steal your short-story writing skills 😉 Seriously though, I loved this so much. You know I love anything with Amelia. But this was just amazing. I loved your use of metaphors and the editing on your screenshots was so creative and so effective too!. It really made me feel for poor Amelia. Loved it ❤

    Like

    • She is ALL about the metaphors right now! Thanks for the compliment. I really enjoyed writing this.

      I’m glad the screenshot manipulation worked for you as well! I was a bit concerned, but it was late so I went with my gut.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, it worked so well. It’s all perfect! (The prose reminds me a bit of Surreal Darkness, in places!) I hope that you continue with Amelia’s story. She is, for me, your most real Sim–the one who completely steps out of Simness to become a living character. And of course, we all love Peggy! Is it Munterbacon’s 13th birthday, I wondered? If so, I wanted to go for the cakes, balloons, and laughter (cuz I don’t mind laughter that never stops!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • She is the least sim-like sim I have. And I definitely have plans for continuing her story.
      I recently read the Contrary Tail of the Butterfly Girl and it’s sequel which made me really interested in writing an insane sim again. All those metaphors gone rampant. The whole piece just flowed.

      As for Munter…maybe? Lol. Yes, It’s Dash’s 13th which I initially planned to be in this story, but this Amelia isn’t quite ready for that. So it’ll probably occur in her next story. She seems well situated to short stories.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really enjoying her tale so I think they’ll be more. As for the photo effects, I’m experimenting with “mood” – so I’m glad it worked out.

      Like

  4. Oh, Peggy seems pretty wonderful. Just what Amelia needs at the moment. The writing and the screenshots were excellent again. Especially when Amelia was panicking and being swallowed by the giant. So hectic and restless and afraid… I loved it! Wow, I sound pretty mean when I keep liking the moments when Amelia is the most miserable. I do really like her, but I have this bad habit of liking to see characters I like go through hardships. It makes them more interesting and stronger to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She goes through more hardships than all my other sims combined I think. But I agree you really see her character and her strength when she’s suffering the most.

      I was hoping her identification with the ship would come through here and it sounds like it did, in a way, she experiences what the ship experiences. So if it’s swallowed by a station, so is she.

      Liked by 1 person

        • And it helps me understand why she continued to fly it despite the terrible events that happened. I had wondered when I wrote her happy ending why she didn’t just settle station or planet side. I think she’d be even less sane if she tried that.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I felt so bad for Amelia. She seems so confused and broken. I feel like I’m missing a good bit of backstory here so I’ll probably have to read the other stories. I loved how the title connected to the story. The special effects were awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, was afraid the backstory might feel necessary. Darn. Yeah, there’s a good 9 post of story and another short story in this world and the last short story directly dovetails into this one. I had hoped it would stand alone, but it’s hard for me to divorce myself from knowing what happened before. I hope it still worked as a story for you. (Sounds like it might have worked a little).

      And yes, Amelia is suffering a lot in this story, probably one of her worse experiences. I wanted the shots to help reflect her mindset as the story progressed. Dark and ‘broken’ for the initial breakdown, too bright and fuzzy for the post breakdown and then coming back to the normal shots.

      Liked by 1 person

Your two cents,

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s