In the past few days I’ve been avoiding the junkyard in fear of running into the man. I realized I didn’t even know his name. I spent days and nights hiding in between the tombstones at the graveyard and searching for food in the botanical garden. Soon I understood I couldn’t roam around the streets of Lucky Palms for much longer so one day I gathered up my courage and headed towards the junkyard. The real point of my interest, however, were the abandoned mines.
As I walked past the two big boulders I’ve noticed the opened fire which could have meant the only thing – the man was at ‘home’. I gasped for air when I saw him. He was lying on the bed distanced just a couple of meters from me. My body froze, but my mind was aware of the inevitable. If he turns around, he’ll see me and then everything is lost. I cannot wake him up.
I tried to walk as silently as I could hoping I wouldn’t wake him up. As I approached closer I could hear him snore. The man was sleeping like a log. What luck!
I sighed in relief when I stood in front of the entrance to the abandoned mines. I made it! Just one more step and I’ll be finally safe. Nobody is ever going to search for me in there… I’m pretty sure of it, I thought to myself as I climbed over the wooden plank blocking the entrance.
However, the path to safety wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I had to pay attention not to fall down through various holes in the ground while climbing over a toppled quarry tub and other barricades blocking the way. After what seemed like forever, I’ve finally reached my destination.
I slipped through an opening in the wall and found myself in what looked like the main chamber of the mines. The air was cold and damp and there was nearly no light. I couldn’t do much about the temperature, but I could summon fire and light up the place. I took a look around and noticed some torches scattered around the room.
I closed my eyes and when I opened them, suddenly it wasn’t dark anymore. I knew then, that this ability was essential to my survival until I would come of age. Even the most powerful scientist on this planet would mean no harm to me when I completely regained my magical powers.
Now that there was light I could finally see everything. There was a broken rail track leading from one side of the chamber to a dark tunnel on the opposite side, dozens of safety lamps, buckets, pickaxes, shovels and other mining equipment covered in layers of dust and spider webs.
In the dim light of the torches the mines looked like a safe hideout. The only thing missing though was the food. I will hardly survive on spiders and centipedes. If only I could conjure apples, I thought to myself as I observed the spiderwebs above my head.
I wonder what’s inside these barrels…
“Empty. Just as I expected. I won’t be able to stay here. If I stay I’ll starve to death like the unlucky miners,” I said to myself and caressed my belly. My stomach growled with hunger.
I need to go on. I have to find Arcadia, I thought to myself and walked towards the dark tunnel on the other side of the chamber.
The tunnel was very dark. I couldn’t even see the end of it. Maybe if I light up the torches…
I looked up at the torch and my gaze made it burst into flames. I still couldn’t see the end of the tunnel, but I saw something else and I knew what or rather who it was.
“Hello?” I called at the ghost. “Do you know the way to Arcadia?”
Instead of answering to me, the ghost simply disappeared. I decided to run after him. He was my only chance on finding Arcadia in the labyrinth of numerous tunnels and shafts.
I ran as fast as I could, but the ghost was nowhere to be found. I must have taken the wrong turn, because I ended up in the main chamber again. This is hopeless. I will never find Arcadia, I despaired to myself.
When I thought all my hope was lost, the ghost reappeared in front of me. I called at him to turn around, but instead he disappeared again.
I was getting angry. Why would he show up only to disappear?
I stood on the broken rail track and stared into the empty darkness. Something wasn’t right. Why would he play hide and seek with me? Is he trying to confuse me so I won’t find either Arcadia or the way back to Lucky Palms?
Suddenly, the air became colder and I knew that the ghost was standing behind me, but I was too scared to turn around.
“Boo!” a voice called out behind my back. I almost peed myself.
“F-finally I m-managed t-to scare s-someone,” he stammered, half smiling. What was wrong with his sense of humor? I don’t find scaring someone funny at all.
“That wasn’t funny,” I said to the ghost of a dead miner.
“I-I am s-sorry. C-can you f-forgive me? It was r-really s-silly of me…,” he apologized to me and somehow I felt he meant it. I knew then he wasn’t evil.
“I will forgive you if you take me to Arcadia.”
“A-are you s-sure you-you want t-to go t-there? It’s no p-place for a kid like you-you.”
“As you w-wish,” the ghost shook his shoulders and hovered towards the tunnel. I swiftly followed him.
Luckily, the ghost was silent most of the way and I was very happy about that. I didn’t know if his stammering had to do something with the fact of being dead for so long and not talking to anyone for decades, but then I remembered the man told me there were more miners who starved to death… I hoped his stammering would eventually go away, but if this poor miner was born this way I was determined to help him once I got my powers back.
It was nearly sunset when we reached Arcadia. This abandoned mining settlement was going to be my new home and the ghosts of the dead miners my new neighbors. I wasn’t sure, but something was telling me that I was going to be just fine. This place was exactly what I was searching for. Peaceful, quiet and somewhat out of this world. It seemed like as if the time had stopped. I still couldn’t believe I was the only living soul in Arcadia. The town of ghosts.
“You-you’re n-not the only l-living s-soul in-in Arcadia,” the ghost stammered the sentence after one entire minute and happily smiled down at me, pointing his hand in the distance.
I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that he read my thoughts, because I was simply fascinated by the foal standing on the hill. I am not alone.
“Thank you for showing me the way to Arcadia. You are forgiven, my friend,” I told the ghost while I was still watching at the foal.
“D-did you-you j-just call me f-friend?” he asked, dumbfounded.
“Yes. I am… Nathan,” I said after a moment of hesitation and offered him my hand.
“I am L-Lester. Lester W-Whitfield,” the ghost stammered and tried to shake my hand, but his hand just passed through mine. The feeling was very strange, but not unpleasant. “That’s B-Bobby B-Bennett,” he said and pointed at another ghost hovering on the path in front of us. “I-I w-will intro-intro-”
“Y-yes. I w-will introduce you-you two t-tomorrow. Let’s go-go home n-now. It’s g-getting l-late. It-it will b-be d-dark soon.”
“Okay, Lester. Lead the way,” I said happily and followed him towards his house. Lester’s home looked like all the rest of the buildings in Arcadia. Weathered wooden walls and rusty metal roof.
“W-welcome to m-my h-home. P-please, t-take off your s-shoes.”
“I don’t have any.”
“Oh. C-come on in t-then,” Lester smiled and motioned me to come inside, while he silently hovered through the door himself. I grabbed the door handle, but the door was locked.
“The door is locked, Lester.”
“Is it n-now?”
“Yes. I cannot get in,” I called at him.
“C-can you-you c-climb?” Lester asked me from behind the door.
“T-there is an open w-window at t-the b-back of the h-house. You-you c-can use t-that t-to get in.”
I walked behind the house as Lester told me. The window was too high, but luckily there was a table I could climb on. When I was moving away some of the pots and vases from the table I noticed a group of ghosts by a giant rock not too far from Lester’s house.
“Hey, Lester!” I called at Lester trying to make as little noise as I could. “There are the other ghosts over there by the rock.”
“B-better get in, N-Nathan.”
As if Lester’s words wouldn’t frighten me enough already, my heart skipped a beat when a deer suddenly appeared from behind the corner of the house. I quickly climbed on the table and through the window.
“I just saw a deer! The foal isn’t the only animal in Arcadia, is he?” I asked Lester with big excitement in my voice. If animals can survive in this town, I will as well.
“T-there are m-many a-animals l-living in Arcadia, N-Nathan. There a-are w-wild horses, d-deers and raccoons, sss-snakes, fish, b-butterflies… ”
“What about dogs and cats?”
“Hmm… H-haven’t s-seen a dog in d-decades, b-but s-sometimes I see c-cats around.”
My stomach growled with hunger. I haven’t eaten in days. “You don’t happen to have some food, do you?” I asked Lester with a naive hope. Everybody knows that ghosts don’t need food.
“A-actually, I h-have some f-fruit and v-vegetables.”
“You do?” I beamed.
“D-do you like g-grapes?”
“I like anything you have, Lester. Thank you,” I smiled at him.
“You c-can s-sit on the s-sofa and w-watch tele-television. I’ll be r-right back,” the ghost said and hovered through the wall.
What is television? I thought to myself as I observed the object in front of me. What are you supposed to see in it?
Meanwhile I pondered the purpose of the television, Lester was harvesting some grapes for me in his little garden. I wondered if the other ghosts were still there and what were they up to…
I really don’t understand the purpose of this object. Why would anyone want to watch at the black nothing? I looked out of the window. It was already dark and the stars were high in the sky. I was getting very sleepy, so I lied down on the sofa and closed my eyes.
“You-you should e-eat b-before g-going to s-sleep.” Lester’s stammering voice woke me up. He said he’d be right back, but I’m sure it took him at least half an hour. I guess ghosts need more time for everything.
“Wow!” I exclaimed when Lester placed the grapes on the coffee table in front of me. “Why do you grow food, Lester? You don’t need to eat…”
“G-gardening is my-my h-hobby. I d-do it f-for f-fun.”
“It smells delicious!” I drooled over the grapes.
“W-what a-are you w-waiting f-for? G-give it a b-bite!” he prompted. I looked at Lester, then at the grapes and back at Lester. I took a bite. The fruit was so juicy, so fresh and sweet. It tasted wonderful. “S-so?”
“It’s amazing, Lester. So juicy. So sweet. Best grapes I have ever had,” I smiled at the ghost. He looked very happy.
“I w-wish I c-could taste that,” he said with a dreamy voice and sat on the sofa next to me. “My m-mom used t-to m-make grape p-pancakes. They w-were t-the best. Do you-you like p-pancakes?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever had pancakes,” I looked into Lester’s blank eyes when suddenly I saw something move inside his head. “Lester, there’s something-”
I wasn’t even able to finish the sentence, because Lester turned around and that was the moment I realized I could see right through him. There was nothing moving in his head, it were the other ghosts of the dead miners standing by the window. I was scared.
“W-when the l-light go-goes out, w-walk to the w-wall behind us. T-there is a b-button. Push it.”
“What do you mean the light goes out?” I asked him, puzzled.
“You-you’ll see s-soon enough.”
I had absolutely no idea what was going on, but the other ghosts of dead miners weren’t making me feel good at all. Ghosts are supposed to be good, right? I was trying to convince myself while six pairs of blank white eyes were staring at me.
When the light went off, I panicked.
“G-go!” Lester screamed at me and from the tone of his voice I could tell he was scared as well.
I ran to the wall and pushed the button. The wooden panels on the floor began to shift and the next moment a staircase leading to a secret room below the ground appeared in the floor. I quickly walked down the stairs, leaving Lester behind.
What was going to happen to him? I worried.
When I reached the bottom I noticed the same button on the wall in front of me. I didn’t hesitate and pushed it. The floor began to shift again closing the hole on the ceiling. I was safe. Maybe.
Even down here I could still hear Lester’s frightened screams. It was terrifying. Not even in my past life have I been so scared.
“P-please… d-don’t d-do t-this to-to me… p-please…”
“… we-we all know t-this isn’t w-working… please-please s-stop.”
Oh no, what do I do now? I thought to myself as I stood in the middle of the room, listening to Lester’s wailing. Maybe I could hide under the bed? Nonsense. Ghosts and monsters hide under the bed. They’ll find me there…
“Guys, I think it didn’t work again. Maybe we should really stop scaring poor Lester.”
“Bobby is right. Only a miracle will cure his stammering. Let’s go boys, he’ll be fine.”
Suddenly, there was silence. It was even worse than Lester’s screams. “Oh my Dragon! What now?” I whispered to myself, half crying.
I ran to the door in the corner of the room. I grabbed the handle hoping the door wasn’t locked. Luckily this time around, it wasn’t. I knew it didn’t really matter if I hid under the bed or in this tiny bathroom, the ghosts could find me anywhere, though the little space made me feel somewhat safer then the open space under the bed.
I’ve never slept in a bathtub before, but there’s first time for everything, I guess…
My big thanks goes to Money1000125, the talented creator of Arcadia, an amazing desert post-apocalyptic world!
I’m so grateful there are such talented creators in the Sims community! I’ve been wanting to create my own world in CAW for years, but it takes so much time, effort and patience. I truly admire everyone who makes custom worlds for TS3. I fell in love with Arcadia at first sight! I would recommend this world to anyone who’s been dreaming about a world like this. Arcadia has a story of it’s own, but you can make any story happen there! You can download the world here.