Something New!!

I’ve made a new story in TS4. I hope you will take a moment to read it.

https://arrangementoflove.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/chapter-one/

Chapter 86 Goodbye Island

Merri’s POV

I look around the small house that has been our home over the last several years. It’s a strange feeling to know that in the morning, we will pack up our things and head back to civilization, to Lucky Palms.  The children have never known anything other than the island. I can’t wait to see the rest of my family, to have a hot bath with just the turn of a knob, to talk on a telephone, to watch television, why then do I feel sad?

What could have been something that completely devastated me, has turned out to be the best thing ever. What if I had never gotten on that plane or if the plane simply made it to Monte Vista? I would never have met Ross, never have these beautiful children. We have turned this island into our home. I’m sad to leave.  That’s not strange, right? I take a final look around and walk into the bedroom that Ross and I share, he’s sorting through clothes, “We can buy all new clothes once we get home, Ross. These clothes are almost worn out.”, I say as I sit on the edge of the bed.

He stands in front of me and shrugs his shoulders, “I know, but it seems wasteful to just throw the stuff away. I guess after all these years of salvaging everything and using things until they fall apart will take a while to stop doing.  “, he says.

We lie on the bed and we just stare at the ceiling. “I can’t believe after all this time, we are going home.”, I say quietly.  He squeezes me close, “I know. Your parents seem really great. I mean, your mom, she never gave up. It took guts for them to pack up and just come look for you. It’s just too bad it took so long.”, he says.  I think for a while, “I think the timing is perfect.  I mean, if we had been rescued sooner, would we will still have all our children? If we had went home sooner, we may not have had the twins.  I never thought I would want 5 children, I would have seen the doctor and gotten that taken care of. I think the timing is perfect, I wouldn’t change anything, Ross. Our life hasn’t been easy, but it has been great here.”, I say with tears in my eyes.

He kisses me gently, “You’re right, as usual, Merri. I love you.” I look up as I hear little footsteps sneaking into our bedroom, Maggie and Jay both smile shyly.  “We are scared, Momma, to leave our house. What if we don’t like the new place? Grandma seems nice, but I want to stay here to play with our friends and what about Sassy?”, Maggie asks as she and Jay walk over to the bed.

“Maggie, things will be fine, even better than you can imagine once we get to Lucky Palms. You will love it, you will have Aunts and Uncles, and cousins to play with. We will come back to visit our friends here eventually. Just think, you and Jay can go to real school!  You will have so many friends, you won’t know who to play with first. Sassy will stay here, Isaac and Misty will take care of her for us. She wouldn’t like the big city since she is so used to the island.”, I try to explain.

“What if I don’t like the big city? I’m used to the island too.  Jay is used to it too, so is Leigha.”, she says. I hug Maggie close, “You will love it sweetheart. We will all be together, so we will be fine.” We all snuggle together and finally fall asleep.

I wake up early the next morning, even before either of the twins wake up for their bottle.

 

I walk outside and look around one last time. I know once the kids wake up, I won’t have another chance to enjoy this quiet.  I sit on the bench on the front porch that Ross built.

I can hear the birds chirping, all the animals are slowly waking up also.  I see Sassy, our dog, walking in front of the house and I crouch down in front of her and hug her tight. She has been a good dog and I’ll miss her. I don’t think it’s fair to take her away from her home though.

 

She will be in good hands with Isaac, I tell myself. Maybe once we get settled we can come back for her. I stand up again and brush a stray tear off my cheek, looking back at the house, I hear a little cry from one of the twins. I listen closer and can tell it’s Alora. I grab her a bottle before walking into the bedroom to feed her.  Harrison and Leigha will be up soon too, I fed Alora and change her diaper.

 

I snuggle her quickly before rushing to get a bottle for Harrison, he’s starting to wake up as I finish with Alora. Leigha stands up in her crib and starts babbling about something very important, I’m sure. I talk to her while feeding Harrison.Ross comes stumbling in the kids room and he scoops Leigha up from her crib.

 

She is a morning person and wakes up ready to play. He puts her in the high chair in the kitchen and fixes her breakfast.  Soon, the big kids are up and clamoring for attention and breakfast.

 

 

Settling Harrison back in the crib, I fix the kids some fruit salad.  They sit at the table and talk about the adventure we are going on today.

 

Ross and I are cleaning up the kitchen when Mom and Dad knock on the door.  Misty is coming later to take all the food that we have leftover and pick up the dog.  We all grab a kid and our bags and head to the beach to board the boat. Chris, Ariel and their children will be on the other rescue boat that arrived late last night. We quickly realize that the boat doesn’t have any cribs, so all the men run back to the house to bring along ours.  They set them up in the kid’s bedroom, it’s a tight squeeze, but we are used to that. We settle the babies in the cribs as Maggie and Jay rush over where there are some games and a chess table set up. They have never seen games like these before, electricity is something new to them.  Jay runs to the Whack a mole game and his face lights up, he and Maggie play and laugh.

 

 

I’ll never get them away from the game room. Leigha isn’t quite ready for a nap, so we take her back up stairs with us. We walk out onto the deck of the boat and watch as the island slowly gets further away.  Ross puts his arm around me and kisses my forehead. Leigha waves her little hand at our friends on the beach as they wave goodbye to us.

 

I walk around the houseboat and take in everything I see. Ross and I take our small bag to the room we will share.  I flip a switch and a lamp on the table comes on, I flip it off and then on again.

 

 

Ross laughs at me, but the simple act reminds me of all that we’ve missed.  I lay on the bed and sigh at how comfortable it is, a real mattress instead of one stuffed with grass. There is a desk with a computer in one corner and a dresser with mirror on the other wall.

 

I open the drawer and see some new clothes, in several sizes, both men’s and women’s. My Mother thinks of everything. I pull out some clothes and decide to clean up and change.  I walk out of the room and find the bathroom, it’s small, like a closet, but has all the amenities in it.  The hot running water feels so good, I use real soap and shampoo and come out smelling like rose petals.

I slip into the new clothes and look at myself in the mirror. I brush the tangles from my hair.  I hear Ross sigh as he takes his turn in the shower.  I smile to myself and wonder if I’ll ever get used to all this again. I know that I’ll never take it for granted again.

 

I look at Leigha playing with her bear on the floor and scoop her up. I take her upstairs and give her a bath in the sink. I’ll have to get Maggie and Jay in the shower soon, but for now they are having so much fun playing I hate to interrupt them. Leigha and I go upstairs and look for everyone else.  Mom and Dad are up top, Dad steering the boat and Mom soaking up the sun in a deck chair.

 

She sits up and hold her arms out for the Leigha as we climb the ladder.  I set Leigha down and she toddled over to her.  I sit in the other deck chair and lay back.  It will take about a week to get to Monte Vista, we will then take a plane back home.  Then we have to decide what we are gonna do.  We will look for a house, try to find jobs, get the kids signed up for school, try to get back to a normal life. It will take some adjusting.

That evening, Mom and I start to cook dinner.  I’m not used to cooking on a regular stove, Ross and Isaac had made us an old-fashioned wood stove. It worked, but was a lot of work.

 

 

Turning on the dial on the stove to heat it up, we work on baking some steaks. We haven’t had steak since being on the island, it smells heavenly.  We all gather around the table for dinner.

 

 

We hold hands and Mom speaks up, “I just want to give thanks for being reunited with my daughter, Merri. I’m so thankful she is alive, healthy, and happy. I also want to give thanks for Ross, who helped her survive all these years and for my beautiful grandchildren. I had hoped I would find Merri, but I never imagined I’d find a whole new family.  You are the bravest, strongest person I’ve ever known and I love you. I love all of you.”, she says with tears in her eyes.

Chapter 85: Rescue

Merrilee POV

We finally make it to the beach and everyone crowds around us. I lose track of the little girl in yellow. I can barely make out what each person is saying they are so excited and crying and talking at once. Rob holds his hand up and yells, “We are here looking for our daughter, Merri Land. Who are you all?  Do you know her?”. Everyone seems to stop talking at once, a tall man with short dark hair walks closer. “I know Merri, she is my wife.  I can’t believe you have found us. My name is Ross. “, he exclaims as he holds his hand out.

I rush forward and hug him close, “Where is my baby?  I need to see her!”, I cry.  “Our daughter, Maggie, has just run to get her.  It may take her awhile to get here though, she has her hands full.  We can walk up to the cabin.”, he explains.

“Your daughter, is that the one in yellow?  I thought she looked like Merri as we were pulling up.”, I ask. “Yes, that’s Maggie. She is 6 years now. She was born the first year we were here.”, he says proudly. Rob is lost in the crowd, talking to everyone. I hold on to Ross’s arm, “Is she ok?  I prayed that she would live and that she wasn’t alone. It looks like one of my prayers was answered, she isn’t alone.  Is she alright?”, I ask nervously. “Oh, yes. She’s great.  She just has her hands full with the twins.  It’s hard to get them all rounded up.”, he explains again. “Twins?  You have 3 children?”, I ask.

He interrupts, “Well, no… we have 5 children in all. The twins are just the newest addition to the bunch. “, he answers proudly. I stop walking, “Five children?  Oh my!”, I say as tears stream down my face, realizing everything I’ve missed.  I start walking again, when I look up, I see Merri.  My beautiful Merri. I run to her, crying and tears pouring down my face. She realizes who I am and runs toward me too.  I finally get my hands on her and pull her close. We collapse on the ground, crying and holding each other.

Rob finally catches up and bends down to hug her too. We sit on the ground for a long time, just holding each other and crying. “I knew you would come for me!”, she cries.  “I never gave up on you. I’m so sorry it took so long! We had rescue team looking for you, but they never came back with any good information.”, I tell her. “We finally just bought a boat and started searching ourselves! I knew we would find you, I could feel that you were ok.”, I continued. “I’ve waited so long for you to come, but we never gave up. I knew we would be found somehow. I have so much to tell you! Come, follow me to our house.”, Merri says. We walk to her house still holding on to each other. I’m not sure when I’ll ever let her go again.  Then, I see the children. The little girl in yellow, comes running up to Merri and hugs her.

“Mom, this is Maggie.”, Merri says proudly.  Then a little boy, smaller than Maggie comes running over, followed by a little girl toddling along.  Merri scoops up the littlest and says,”This is Jay and Leigha”.  We walk into the house, I’m surprised at how nice it is.  She leads me into a small bedroom, crammed full of bunk beds and cribs.  I see 2 tiny babies laying in each crib, tears stream down my cheeks as I scoop up one of the babies.  “These are Alora and Harrison.  They are only a few months old.” I sit on the couch, holding one of the twins and I’m surrounded by Merri and her children.  I try to hold and hug each one. “I’ve missed so much!”, I cry.  Maggie and Jay snuggle up on either side of me as Leigha tries to climb in my lap. I pass Harrison to Merri and pick Leigha up and sit her on my lap.

“I’ve told the children all about you. What  wonderful parents  you are and how much you love them,”, Merri explains as she gives her Dad a big hug. Rob picks up little Leigha and pops her up on his shoulders. She squeals with excitement. Ross shows us proudly how they have set up the indoor plumbing and water for the sink and showers.  We finally get all the little ones to bed and we sit in the living room talking and catching up on all that has been missed on both sides. They explain how Ross, Merri, Ariel and Teddy all survived the plane crash and then meeting Isaac, Chris, and Callie several months later and how they survived their boat sinking.  Reluctantly, Rob and I walk back to the boat to sleep, we had stayed up half the night talking and I could hardly bear to leave Merri. But, we all needed sleep and Rob needed to radio back to the mainland and let them know that we had found Merri and to arrange a rescue ship to be sent. Ross and Merri are giving us a tour of the island tomorrow and we plan on talking to all the residents.

The next morning, everyone gathers at The Well. It has become the informal meeting center of the island.  Ross starts off, “We have been rescued!  Merri’s family has found us and they have arranged a ship to come and take everyone home.  Unless there are some that want to stay?”  Everyone starts talking at once.  Isaac steps forward, “Misty, the children and I will be staying here.  We have made our home and have almost everything that we need.  Of course, now that we have been found, keeping in touch with everyone and the mainland will be possible.”

Once Isaac made his announcement, everyone else seemed to want to let us know their intentions also. Chris raised his hand, “Our family will be going back.  We love what we have created here, but we want to be back in civilization.  We may come back at some point though”

Alonzo steps forward for his family, “We will stay. I have no place in the modern world.  I’m not sure how I would be accepted. Callie agrees to stay and raise our children.”, he pauses and looks at Teddy, “You are part of our family too, we understand if you want to go though.  We do not want to keep you from your daughter, Cassie, but it would break Callie’s heart if you took her.”, Alonzo concluded.  Teddy then says,” I will stay, I don’t want to take Cassie away from her mother.  I appreciate you thinking of me in that way.”.

Ross finally speaks again after hearing from each family.  “Merri and I are going.  She has missed her family terribly, I want to see my family again. We may be back at some point though.  We want to raise our kids near our families.”.

Everyone is crying and hugging each other. After all we have been through it seems strange that we are going our separate ways.  Rob steps forward and announces,” A rescue plane will be dropping supplies later today.  Just some things you haven’t had for awhile. Some food, snacks, drinks, also some new books, magazines, and newspapers to help get you caught up with the world again.  The ship will be here at the end of the week, so everyone who plans on leaving start packing! Now that we know about this island, communication will be set up to keep in touch with the mainland.  Actually, you aren’t that far from Monte Vista.”

Everyone who is leaving  returns to their own cabins to starting packing, the others sit around the fire pit and wait for the shipment to come.  I follow Merri to her home and help her decide what to take with her.  She looks around her small home, “Well, there really isn’t much to take.  We only have a few bits of clothes apiece, the kids have a few toys, other than that. I can leave it all behind.  Everything here is threadbare and almost worn out. “, she says with a sigh.  I hug her close, “I’m so glad you are OK. I’ve been sick with worry.  I’m so proud of what you have done here, having these children alone here with no medical care. I’m amazed at how strong you are.”, I say to her with tears in my eyes.

“I’m just so glad I wasn’t alone, I wouldn’t have made it in the early days if it hadn’t been for Ross. He’s so strong and took care of so much.  It was such a relief when I found him, I didn’t know what I would do. Ariel and Teddy were just kids. Then finding Isaac, Chris and Cassie helped even more.  Isaac can build anything, he showed us how to get the water system set up.  I can’t wait to see everyone!  How is everyone at home? “, Merri asks.

We sit and talk all day, I fill her in on everything going on in LP. She shows me all around the island, telling me the story of how Misty came to be here and then the story of Dreama and Teddy.  For a deserted island, there has been some drama! I spend time with each grandbaby, spoiling them as much as I can.

Chapter 84: Searching

Merrilee POV

“Rob, I can’t just sit by any longer and not know what happened with Merri.  I think we need to go look for her ourselves. What do you think? The girls are off to University and it’s just the two of us. We should do it.”, I say.

“I don’t know, how will we find them if the professionals haven’t had any luck? It’s been years. Maybe it’s time to just give up, maybe she’s gone.”, Rob says cautiously.  “NO! I’ll never give up. You can’t give up either.  We support each other no matter what. “, I say shocked that he would even think such a thing.

“Of course I support you, Merrilee.  We’ll go, but you have to promise that if we don’t have any luck, you will accept the fact that Merri is gone.”, he says quietly as he puts his arms around me. “Okay, I agree. I have a good feeling though, it’s like I’m being pulled out to the sea by some invisible force. Let’s make arrangements as soon as we can. We can get Lauren to watch the house, the boys are married and in their own homes and the girls are at College.”, I say excitedly.

Later that day, Rob and I go shopping. We are on the lookout for a large house boat.  We have more money than we know what to do with, so money is no object.   We will have it delivered to the general area where the plane was last known to have contact. Houseboat shopping is fun, even more fun than shopping for a regular house.

We want one with plenty of room, in case… when we find Merri, there are other survivors with her.  I pray that she hasn’t been alone all this time. We look at several and find one that has enough room for 8-9 people. Below deck there are bunks that can hold 6 and it has 2 bedrooms on the upper decks with double beds in each.

A large, open kitchen with all top of the line appliances. It also has a large family area, with games, books, and satellite television.

Rob meets with the Coast Guard and they plan out our trip, we will be in contact with them at all times and we can arrange for fresh supplies to be airlifted to our boat.

Several weeks pass and we finally get the go ahead for our trip. We have all the supplies and have made all arrangements.  We have a huge party, inviting all the family over to celebrate Merri’s life and her soon to be rescue. Maci Jo and  Manda Beth are at University and couldn’t get away due to studying for finals, but the rest of them came.  Mason met his wife when he went to University, Ashley, as did Mason, his fiance Olga has recently moved to Lucky Palms, their wedding is scheduled to take place as soon as we get back.  As I look around the house at all the beautiful faces, I’m overjoyed to know that soon our family will be complete and Merri will be home. I just know it.

We fly to a small island close to the location of the last transmission from Merri’s plane. I look around and see nothing but water and small islands.  Rob has planned that we will be gone for about 6 months.  I just hope that is long enough to find her.  We board the boat and I take a look around making sure we have everything that we need.

Rob takes the wheel and we are off.  I stand at the front of the boat and watch the small island disappear. All the next day, we see nothing but water.

Finally, close to dusk, we see some land of to the west. Our first stop will have to wait until morning. We don’t want to explore the island in the dark. Chances are that this isn’t the island that Merri is on, but we are going to check every island that we run across. Rob let me know that the rescue company did not get out and search each island individually, which really hurt me.  As much as they were paid, they still cut corners. Our daughter could have been found if they had done all this themselves. I could barely fall asleep, I couldn’t wait to set my feet on the sand of that beach and look around.  I still felt that pull, it seems stronger, so I feel like we are heading in the right direction.

Morning breaks, Rob and I hop in the little dingy and head to the island. It’s much smaller than I thought last night and I don’t have much hope that anyone is here.

Rob pulls the boat up on the beach and takes my hand. It’s a beautiful little island, with clear blue waters and white sandy beach. we search the island and end up finding nothing.  No sign of life at all on this island.  I’ll not feel sad though, it’s the first step in finding Merri.

We head back to the dingy and get back on the houseboat.  Rob starts the boat up and heads to our next destination.  It takes 2 days to get there and much to my dismay it’s obvious no one is there before we even get out fo the boat, it’s small and rocky and covered in jungle trees. There is no way anyone could survive on that small rock. We drive past the rocky island and look as close as we can, we can’t even see a way to get the dingy close. So, we move on.

The next several weeks pass this way. Several beautiful islands, but no people on them. We’ve seen wild animals and plenty of fish but none of the islands have Merri on them.  I’m trying not to get discouraged though.  I still feel like we are heading in the right direction.

Several more weeks pass, we are now in month 3 of our journey.  We’ve had supplies flown in recently, so we are set for the second half of our trip. I am sitting on the deck relaxing in a deck chair when suddenly I feel my heart start to race. I feel short of breath, “Rob! Rob… I feel something.. I think something is wrong.”, I call to him.

Rob stops the boat and comes running.  He brings me a cool drink, thinking I just overheated.  “What is it, sweetheart? Are you ok?”, he asks.  Finally my heart slows back down to normal, ” I think I’m ok. I’m not sure what that was.”, I say.  I walk to the side of the boat and see the next island we are to explore.  My heart starts to race again.

“Rob, I think this one is it.  I have a feeling inside that Merri is close. I can feel her!”. Rob looks around and “I’ll try to circle the island, maybe we can see something more on the other side.”, he says quickly. I stand at the deck rail and keep watch. Rob slowly guides the boat closer and around the tip of the island.  That’s when I see it.  “ROB!”, I scream.  “LOOK!”, I point to the beach. There are people playing on the beach, several people in fact.

He takes the boat even closer and we can tell the people on the beach are waving their hands toward us.  Tears stream down my face, “I just know we have found her.”, I say.  “I don’t see her though, I see a bunch of people. They are probably just on vacation or something. Try not to get your hopes up so high, Merrilee.”, he tries to calm me down. “Are you kidding? Vacationing out here in the middle of no where?”, I ask.   As we make our way closer, I can see even more people have joined the original four people. There are now at least 5 adults and several children.   I wave my hand at them. They all jump up and down and hug each other.  I’m crying and laughing as I scan the beach. I don’t see Merri, but we have found someone.

We are close now, we transfer to the dingy and head to the beach. I look at each face, none of them are Merri.  My eyes stop on one little face though. A child about 5 or 6, it’s Merri, or exactly what Merri looked like at that age. I grab Rob’s arm, “Rob, look at that child in the yellow.  It’s Merri!  Look at that face!”, I yell. Rob nods his head in disbelief, “It can’t be Merri!”, he says. “No, but it could be Merri’s child!”, I exclaim. Rob still doesn’t want to get his hopes up, I think he had almost given up on Merri and is just here to help me move on, but I know that she is here. That is Merri’s child.  I would recognize my own grandchild anywhere!

Chapter 83: Alive?! Sorta…

The door slowly opens and I feel warm air for the first time in years.  I see a wedge of light from the crack in the opening, small hands are on the door struggling to pull the door open further.  It takes a moment for me to realize this is finally my chance for release. I push the door open further and see the small hands disappear.

I put my hands out in front of my face and slowly take a step toward the light.  “Ohhh”, the pain from being in this dead body for so long spreads through my body. Although, it’s not quite my body, this body is sluggish and heavy.  I take another small step and my hands push themselves into the light and out of the sarcophagus. I feel like I’ve been wandering for eternity in the darkness.

I hear screams and little feet running from the room.  My concern is not with stupid children, but of freeing myself from this hell.  The dim light hurts my eyes, but quickly adjust. I see now the light is not very bright at all.  I’m surprised I’m able to think and understand in this body, but everything that happened came rushing back.

Rob throwing the vial at me with this zombification curse in it and sealing me in a sarcophagus.  I never thought I’d be free, some kids must have found the tomb and let their curiosity get the best of them.  I slowly turn my head and look around, the room looks quite different from I remember. Maybe it has been longer than I thought.  I drag my body toward the opening in the room and see a long hallway, much different from the hallway I expected to see.  I’m in another tomb, I’m not sure how that happened. I’m able to recall small bits of time, wandering around in a long dark hallway, doors locked on all sides until I seen the slice of light  from this opening. I remember rushing, as fast as I was able, toward the light. This body moves slowly, but I try to remember the direction the children’s screams lead and I follow it. It takes a long time to make it down the long hallway, I wander around for what feels like hours.

Finally, I reach some stairs. This must lead to the outside. It takes some concentration to be able to manuever my way up the steps. I can feel warm air blowing in from the entrance. The children are long gone, but it’s just turning dusk so I have all night to explore.

I find myself in a graveyard, but much different from the graveyard in Lucky Palms.  This has a more tropical, lush look to it, whereas LP is dry and sandy. I see only a few gravestones scattered here and there, I follow the path and wonder how long this curse lasts or if there is a cure for it.   The path leads to a dirt road, not knowing which way to go I just choose the path of least resistance and follow it down the hill.  This place is deserted, no cars or people around.  I finally see a light in the distance and make my way towards it.  There are trees and tall grass everywhere. I make it to the light and see that there are a few houses grouped together and a small park.  This must be where the children live and play.  I walk toward the closest house and peer in the window.

There is a woman sitting in a rocking chair with a baby in her lap and a couple of kids sitting at her feet, she looks strangely familiar although I can’t remember how I know her.  I quickly, well as quick as I can, duck behind some tall grass and try to think about what to do.  It’s hard to think as a zombie, but I know enough to not let anyone see me.   I wander on down the road, trying to gauge the time. I suspect the sun would not be good for me, so I’ll need to plan on being back in the tomb before day break.

I see another park with a spring and some type of well. I bend close to the well and cup my hands to drink from the well.  I have an unending thirst, the water makes me feel a little better though.  After drinking some of the water, I’m able to think a little more clearly and I’m able to move a little faster.  I take another large drink before heading back to the tomb.

I make it down the stairs, just as the sun rises.  I explore some more of the tomb, but find nothing of use. It’s clear that this place was abandoned a long time ago. I wonder what it was used for though?

The next night and several nights after I wander around and have discovered that I’m on an island.  There are only 5-6 houses and only a few other buildings here.  I’m not sure how I got here, let alone the others. It seems like I’ve stepped back in time because there are no cars or electricity at all.  Somehow, we have all ended up on a deserted island. I just need to figure out a way to get back to Lucky Palms and back to my family.  I’m sure my brother has missed me after all this time. He will be so surprised to see me again. The big problem is figuring out who these people are, why they look familiar to me and how to get back.

Chapter 82: Curiosity

Merri’s POV

Life on the Island is interesting, especially when you have 5 kids. Maggie, Jay, Leigha, Alora, and Harrison. Many years have passed and we have made a wonderful life here on the island. I still long for my family, especially my Mother. We’ve always had such a strong bond, I hate to think of her grieving for me. I want her to meet her grandchildren and my husband. I know she would be so proud of what we’ve been able to do here.

We have had several close calls with rescues, though none have come close enough. Occasionally, we will hear an airplane fly over, but they never seem to see out bonfire. We don’t have any rescue flairs left, so we are stuck with the fire. It doesn’t burn bright enough in the daytime to make it noticeable.  I have a feeling its my family that is still searching. I’m sure any public rescue has been called off long ago.  If I know my Mother and Father though, they will not rest until we are found. I find comfort in that.

I help Misty with the school. We built a small school once all the babies started getting old enough.  Right now we have 4 students, my 2 oldest, Maggie and Jay, then Ariel and Chris’ oldest, Christina and then Cassie, the only child of Teddy and Callie.  Soon, Ariel’s son, Christian will start school, but he is only 3 right now.  We have started them around 4 years old and they seem to do well.

We, of course are teaching the children to read, math and Simlish. We also have lessons in painting and music.  We do the best we can with the supplies we have.  In the school-house, we also have a small area for the toddlers to stay.

Teddy’s POV

Since Dreama has been gone, Callie and I have come to an agreement about Cassie. Cassie spends 2 or 3 nights a week with me and Thomas, really there is no set schedule though. She can come and go as she likes.  It has worked out really well.  It’s still hard to believe everything that has happened and I still miss Dreama a lot. Well, I miss the person I thought she was anyway.

I keep busy with the baby, gardening, and helping out in the General store.  Being a single parent is not an easy job, but I am loving every minute of it. Cassie and I are becoming really close, at first she had a hard time understanding everything, but after the first few rough days she accepts me and realizes I’m not trying to take her away from her mom or Alonzo. Alonzo has always treated her like his own daughter and I don’t want to take anything away from their bond with each other. I’m grateful that he has always treated her so well, even though I wasn’t there she never lacked having a father figure. Now, she is lucky enough to have 2 fathers that love her.

Usually Cassie will come over after she gets finished with school and I’ll fix some dinner while she works on her homework.

We will eat our dinner together and then I’ll help her with any homework she had trouble with. She’s a smart little student though and only occasionally needs help. I enjoy spending time with her though.

When homework is finished, Cassie goes out to play with the other island kids.  There are 4 that are old enough to go out and play together, they are inseparable.

Maggie’s POV

“Come on guys! Keep up with me!”, I yell as I run down the path.  Today we are exploring and I’m the captain. Jay, Christina, and Cassie all run behind me.  I know where the best places are to explore cause I’m the oldest.  I run to the old ruins, close to the graveyard.  “Hey, we aren’t supposed to go here.”, Cassie calls out to me.  “Shut up, Cassie. Don’t be a baby!”, I yell back at her. Cassie is the youngest and never wants to do anything fun. “Mom says it’s dangerous here.”, Cassie says quietly back. “If you don’t stop whining, we won’t let you hang out with us big kids. Now come on!”, I say.  Cassie wants to play with us so she stops fussing and runs after us.  I stop at the front of the crumbled down door, “Ok, Jay you go in first.”, I command.  “Me? Why, Me?”, Jay asks.  “You’re the boy, boys have to protect us girls.”, I say. Jay likes to feel strong so he agrees, “Oh, Ok. Come on everyone.”

As Jay leads the way, we slowly creep down the stairs into the basement of the tomb.  A rat runs in front of us and Christina screams, which makes us all jump. “Stop screaming! You’re scaring Cassie. We need to find out where this tunnel goes.  Maybe it’s a way off the island!”, I say.  It’s gets darker and creepier the farther in we go.

We come to the end of the tunnel, the rest is buried in broken rocks and looks like it has caved in. We start to turn around and go back when I see something off to the right. “A secret door!”, I exclaim.

“I’m not going in there!”, Cassie says.  ‘Move outta the way, baby.”, I say as I bravely walk into the dark room.  The room glows with an eery pale light, we can see better but it isn’t as bright as the hall we just left.  We see a tall box against the wall.  It ‘s made completely of stone and it has a carving on the front like a mummy or something,  I’m not sure what it’s called.

I look back at the others and they are all scared and ready to run, I try to hide my fear and slowly reach out to touch the box. It feels cold, much colder than the room itself.  I almost take off running, but I’m the oldest, so I need to be brave. I grab onto the edge and pull with all my strength. It doesn’t  budge, so I pull harder and slowly the door starts to open.  The others start backing up, as I turn around.  “Look, it’s empty… “, I start to say as I suddenly see something move deep within the box.

I feel a rush of cold air as something starts moving toward me, “Run!!”, I scream as I turn around.  Everyone takes off and we don’t look back.

We don’t stop running until we get back to the entrance of the tomb.  Cassie is crying, Christina and Jay are hugging each other.  “What was that?”, Christina asks.  “I don’t know, but we can’t go back in there ever  again.”, I say. “We should tell somebody what we seen in there”, Jay says quietly.  “NO! Do you want to get in trouble?? It was probably nothing. The grownups would kill us if they knew we went down there. You all must promise to never tell anyone.”, I try to convince them. They all look at each other and then agree.

We walk slowly back to the park where we were supposed to be playing in the first place.  Jay and Christina sit in the sand box and quietly sift through the sand.

Cassie climbs up in the tree house and I sit on the swing, we are all too shaken up to play but we know better than to go home early.

Eventually the sun starts to sink in the sky and we know it’s time to go home. “Remember, don’t say anything to anyone.” I say before we go to our own homes. I take Jay by the hand and we walk in the house. We quickly eat dinner mom has prepared and go to bed.

With school and lessons, weeks go by slowly.  Everyone seems to be getting back to normal, I still can’t forget what I seen. I was closer to the box than the others and was able to get a good look at the thing in there.   I have nightmares almost every night, mom rushes in and hugs me close. She kisses me on the forehead and says, “It’s ok, Maggie.  It was just a dream. Mommy’s here and you are safe.”  I nod my head but only I know what I really seen in the box, a man. A horrible, dead man. I know he is coming for me.

Chapter 81 Resolution

Time passes and Dreama still is not interested in Thomas. She will let him cry for hours before tending to his needs and then it’s only the basics.  She hasn’t voluntarily picked him up just to hold him, not once.  I have to be there or she would let him starve, it’s like she doesn’t even notice the crying. I pick Thomas  up and take him for a walk, “Teddy, where are you going?  May I come with you?”, she asks sweetly.  “No, just stay here.  Thomas and I need some fresh air.”, I reply.  I haven’t touched Dreama since the baby was born, it’s not from her lack of trying. I just don’t feel the same about her. I don’t understand how she can resist this sweet child.  I walk to the park and run into Chris, Ariel and their children.  Ariel rushes over and scoops the baby  out of my arms. She snuggled and kisses his little face. “Oh, Teddy. He is so sweet!”, Ariel says.

She takes the baby and walks him around, showing him to Christina and Christian.   I walk over to Chris, “Man, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.”, I complain. Chris puts his hand on my shoulder, “What’s going on?”.  “Dreama! She won’t hold Thomas, she lets him cry. She doesn’t want him. I have to be there to make sure that he is feed and changed. I’m not sure how much longer I can do this. She’s constantly trying to throw herself at me, but…. I just can’t now.  It makes me sick to think how she treats our child.”, I explain

“Wow, that’s tough.  I can’t imagine a woman not loving her own child.  I mean, it’s not like you can get a divorce.  We could build her a separate hut, I guess but it won’t really change anything would it.”, he asks.  Suddenly, I remember something that Dreama had said to me shortly after she came here. “She told me once, that she can go back anytime.  I can send her back!”, I exclaim.  “What? Are you sure?  Can you do that? I mean, could you… ya know, let her go?”, he asks.  “I don’t know.  I think we need to have an island meeting. Tell everyone to gather at the Well.  I think I know what needs to be done.  Ariel, keep an eye on Thomas for me.  I need to take care of something!”, I say as I take off running home.

Dreama is lounging on the couch. “Dreama, you told me once that at any point that I can send you back.  That if I didn’t think it was working out that you can go away.”, I say to her quietly.

She jumps up from the couch, “No! Teddy, you can’t do that. Please.  Why would you send me away?”, she asks.  ” I don’t know you, Dreama.  You aren’t the person I thought you were. I don’t understand how you can reject our child. You refuse to take care of him. I thought you loved me, but you don’t, not really.  I made a mistake bringing you here, I’ve ruined everything. I’m glad that I have my son, so it’s not a complete waste. I know what I have to do now. I’m sorry.”, I say.

Dreama tries to run away from me. I quickly grab her arm and hug her close.”I’m sorry, Dreama!” I kiss her forehead, “Thank you for my son. I won’t be alone any more.”, I tell her honestly.  I keep a tight grip on her arm and lead her to the Well.

Everyone is gathered around as we walk in.  Callie and Alonzo even showed up.  The children are all off playing in a field close by.  I walk in front of the Well and pull Dreama to me. “I brought Dreama here, not really knowing what would happen. Even though I knew it was off-limits, I did it anyway, I was selfish. I am here to take full responsibility for this.  Dreama and I share a child and out of what’s best for Thomas, it’s time for Dreama to return to where she came.”, I say loudly for everyone to hear.

I hear shocked gasps from my friends and family.  Dreama really has no friends, she never even tried to talk to anyone here. “Dreama, it’s time.”, I say to her quietly.  “No, Teddy, please don’t make me go.  I’ll never be able to come back.  I’ll forget all about you and go to someone else.”, she pleads.

A moment of pain flashes through my mind as I think of someone else with Dreama, but I know it’s for the best. It’s the only way we can move on and all of us be a family again. I shake my head slightly, she can see that I’m not going to change my mind. She takes my hand and steps into the well. Tears run down her face, she reaches her hand out to me as I pull away gently.

My heart is breaking because I thought we could be happy and be a family. The water begins to swirl around her legs and mist begins to roll.  She slowly begins to sink into the water and then disappears.

I bow my head and let the tears flow.  Ariel comes walking over and hands Thomas to me. She wraps her arms around us, slowly everyone come over and hugs or touches my arm.  Slowly, everyone filters away and heads home.  Callie walks over to me, “I’m sorry, Teddy.  I know we’ve had our differences, but the sacrifice you’ve made for you son… it’s touching.  When you’re ready, let me know and I’ll not stop you from seeing Cassie.  I was wrong to keep her from you, I was just hurt.”, she hugs me gently and touches Thomas’ head.

She smiles at me as she walks back to her husband.  I feel lighter and better than I have in a long time, the guilt that I’ve felt since bringing Dreama here is gone. I snuggle my son, “It’s not going to be easy kiddo, but we will be fine.”, I say to him. He giggles as we walk back home.

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