Monday, May 18, 2015

Liebster Award

I'm proud to say that The Compound has been nominated by MrsOogieBoogie, author of The Insane Dubois Legacy, and lovesstorms, author of Lovesstorms' Stories, for the Liebster Award. This is my tenth nomination, and the second one for The Compound. My first was Jinx, who nominated my Wordpress blog, where I keep a compilation of links to my actual stories. Second was MrsOogieBoogie, who nominated The Compound, my completed story about a cult. Third was MsMidnightBlonde, who nominated Blink of an Eye, my apocalyptic story. Fourth was Stormy, who nominated Echoes of Eternity, my legacy. Fifth was Daijah V, who nominated Painting the Townies Gorgeous, my challenge story. Sixth was from Julie, who also nominated Echoes of Eternity. Seventh was from hellohannah2, who nominated L'amour Vrai, my Disney story. Eighth was from AndanteZen, who nominated Echoes of Eternity. Ninth was from sandybeachgirl, who nominated Echoes of Eternity. Thank you all for thinking of me.

The Liebster Award is an award passed on to bloggers from other bloggers to show appreciation and recognition for their stories. There are some rules that come with accepting the award, which are as follows.
  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the blogger who presented the award and link back to their blog.
  3. Nominate 5-11 bloggers whom you feel deserve this award and have fewer than or equal to 3,000 followers.
  4. Answer 11 questions posted by the nominator, and ask your nominees 11 questions.

My Nominees

Since my first nomination was from Jinx, I have already nominated five bloggers for the award, so I won't be nominating them again, but these were the ones I picked, just for information's sake, and also if you are looking for something to read, these are five amazing stories worth checking out.
  1. The Insane Dubois Legacy by Simcomix aka MrsOogieBoogie
  2. Another Life to Live by MsMidnightBlonde aka RaeNic
  3. Different Winters by LilyShadowWriter
  4. Perfection by littlesims2chick aka alexandrea
  5. Summerdream by caterpillarsims

Questions from MrsOogieBoogie

1] In everyday life, how often do you find yourself thinking about your story or your characters (when you’re not working on it)?
Quite often, actually. It's not constant, like all day, but I will usually think about my story or characters at least once every day, and what scenarios I want to put them in, or what things I might need to download, what sets I need to create, any additional Sims I need to make, basically things that will need to happen before I can post the next chapter. I will also think about the chapter itself and where I want to go with it and how it will tie into everything else, both having it make sense with the chapter before it, and the chapter that will be written. There are times during the day when I'm focused on doing something else that needs my full attention, when I will purposely not think about my story, but I'd say if I'm just doing something random that doesn't take much brain power, like cooking, Sims stuff will not be far from my mind.

2] How did you come up with your idea to start your story/legacy? Was it something you wanted to do for a while, or did it just come to you out of the blue?
The idea for The Compound came initially when I watched the television show, The Following, which is about a cult. It was chilling, and it resonated with me because I had been in a cult-like experience when I was in college. I had been wanting to try to write about my experience in a fictional atmosphere for some time, I had some Word drafts where I was trying out different styles of writing, but I wasn't entirely sure I was going to publish until I saw The Following. Cults are not exactly very popular, so I wasn't sure how many people would be interested. When I saw the show on tv, though, it made me think that 'hey there's someone else who wrote about a cult, and I find it incredibly interesting, so maybe I should just go for it,' and so I did. Thus, The Compound came to be.

3] What’s your process in bringing in new characters? How do you choose their traits and their personality?
I will bring in new characters usually when I feel like the story line I have written for the existing characters needs to be expanded upon. When I first started The Compound, the four main characters were established, and as I got into the meat of the story, I felt like two of the characters, Verona, and Absolon, needed more of their story told, so I introduced some new characters at that time, which were Verona's parents, and Absolon's parents. I choose their traits and personality from a back story that I give them in my head, based on the existing story line at the time. This way, everything flows together and the new characters make sense within the story, as if they were always supposed to be there.

4] What’s your favorite view to write? First, Second, or Third person?
My favorite view is First Person, hands down. I feel like I tend to be really passionate, and immerse myself in a character when I write them, so first person is the most effective view for that. If I need to show another character's perspective, I will just switch to first person for the other character, and then go just as passionate and immersive for the other character too. However, for The Compound, I wanted to try a different writing style, so I mixed First Person with Third Person, and threw in an interview as well. It sounds complicated when I describe it, even to me, but I had everything sectioned off in the story, and I've had readers tell me it's a very effective form of storytelling. Basically, two of the main characters were in the cult, and two were in the real world. When I talked about the cult, I used Third Person, and when I talked about the real world, I used First Person. I wanted the cult to seem robotic and a bit detached from reality, so I felt like Third Person would portray that the best. The interview style was because the story starts off with readers seeing that the two main characters who were in the cult are no longer in it. The story is a series of flashbacks, but I'll say nothing more, if you're curious go read it, and I'll be glad to answer any comments you have. LOL.

5] What are your favorite worlds to play in?
Ahh. Favorite worlds. I love Starlight Shores (Showtime EP), Sunlit Tides (EA Store), Roaring Heights (EA Store), and this isn't a world, but a venue from the EA Store, The Last Venue of Amore. I love Starlight because it reminds me of one of my favorite cities, Los Angeles. Roaring Heights reminds me of my hometown, Chicago, and the 1920s atmosphere makes me happy, plus it comes with an old 1920s/30s car which is just perfect. Sunlit Tides because I love beaches and oceans. Amore because it's absolutely breathtaking for just being a bunch of pixels, and also because I was overcome by romance when I was playing in it. I am not a very romantic person, so I often need to find inspiration when I need to write a romantic scene, and Amore does just that. LOL.

6] What are your favorite types of stories to read? What interests you the most?
I really like stories that are heavy on the plot lines, and realistic. it doesn't matter if it's a legacy, standalone story, or a Sims challenge, as long as there's a good plot line. I'm most interested in stories rated R, or ones even if they don't give an R rating, just if they're not afraid of delving into topics that aren't as "accepted" in society. I like those the most because I think it takes great courage to write about things like that, and I like the idea of fearless individuals who are willing to write what they want to write without fear of offending someone. I also really like when I can tell the author puts a lot of effort into their story and when I can see that they are very passionate about it. It's much easier for me to like something if I can feel that the author cares about their story a lot as well.

7] Which character in your story can you say you relate to the most?
As I am today, I would say probably Camo. He's feisty, and he asks questions, without just bending over and being gullible. I will say in general, however, the four main characters of The Compound were all representative of parts of my personality at certain stages during my time in the cult. There was a time when I was completely brainwashed, times when I was starting to question things, times when I was scared about being punished, yet still trying to question things, and times when I backtracked.

8] What are the five traits that worst describe you?
Hot-Headed: I have a short fuse for certain things, and I can get really worked up over stuff I feel strongly about, sometimes to the point that I scare people, LOL. Sometimes I can also be misunderstood as bitchy because of this trait.
Couch Potato: Sometimes I have no motivation to do shit when I really, really should
Commitment Issues: I am married now, but I was never one to daydream about it as a young girl, and I didn't really give a fuck if I ever got married, if it happened, it happened, if it didn't, whatever. Before I got married, my longest lasting relationship was two to four weeks. I just dumped people the second they pissed me off because I didn't need that shit in my life. LOL.
Absent-Minded: I sometimes have the attention span of a fruit fly. LOL. I'll have something in mind I want to do, and then do it halfway, but then get distracted by something else and forget what the fuck I was doing in the first place. It can be something as big as forgetting that I was writing a forum post and then going to write my story, or something as little as looking at my wedding ring and seeing all the shinies in it. I always have too many tabs open in my browser, and often that is why I get distracted as well.
Heavy Sleeper: I like this about myself, but I have heard from hubs that I can be extremely hard to wake up. Also once I'm physically up, I'm such a heavy sleeper that it can take like up to 3 hours for my brain to wake up, so if you have something important to tell me in the morning, I probably either won't remember it or comprehend it in the first place. It takes me a long time to understand things in the morning, LOL, with some effort I can, but it takes like ten times the effort in the morning for me than it does during the rest of the day or at night.

9] If you could go back and change how you wrote your story, so that it would've gone in a completely different direction, would you? Why/Why not?
Nope. I wouldn't change a thing writing wise about The Compound. Since it came from such a personal place in my heart, and from my life, I felt like when I wrote it, it was exactly what I wanted to say at the time. Also, writing The Compound was healing for me, as I wrote each chapter, I felt like I was releasing a little bit of my burdens from the damage the cult instilled in me, and I wouldn't change that for the world.

10] Does your style of clothing ever some through in your characters? Or do you dress them how you think they themselves would dress?
Yeah, definitely. I often don't dress my female Sims in things I wouldn't wear, unless I have a specific style for their character already in mind. I'm not a huge fan of the modesty thing where everything is covered up and shorts are the devil, so I'll often have my female Sims wearing mid-neckline shirts where a little cleavage is happening, but I won't make them go hooker unless they're a hooker in the story. LOL. For guys, it's the same thing, except for instead of dressing them how I would dress myself, I dress them in clothes I would find attractive on a male. For some characters, I will have a defined personality for them, where their clothing plays a part in their personality, and then yes, I will dress them how they think they should dress.

11] What is something in game that your Sim does to others that you wish you could do in real life? No consequences or repercussions?
Ooh, no consequences? Hmm in game, that's harder. I'm going to have to think about this. LOL. The thing I wanted to do, the Sims can't actually do in game, so maybe I'll have to think about this in a different direction. XD  I find it funny when the Sims scare each other, but I already do that to my hubs in real life, so that doesn't count... hmm... pointing and laughing is fun too, but again, I do that to my hubs. I wish I could swim in real life, and I like how the Sims can just automatically swim when they get into water, and they didn't need to be taught. LOL. In actuality, I wanted to do some real evil stuff since there were no consequences, like off some people who really made my life hell for no damn reason other than they were assholes. XD
EDIT: OoooOoo! I would love to slap the shit out of someone on the street if I felt like they were being a giant asshole for no reason. LOL.

Questions from lovesstorms

1. When you write, do you choose the computer or paper/pen?
I always use my computer. I write directly in my Blogger editor because it makes for easy editing, and organization. I don't have to worry about 'now where did I put that page for that chapter?' LOL, knowing me, and how much I leave shit everywhere in my house, no doubt I would lose pages from my drafts if I didn't have it all in my computer.

2. Do you write your story ahead of time, then take photos (if you have any)? Or do you take photos, then write?
Neither. LOL. What I do is open Blogger, and then open my game. I'll write a paragraph or two, and then go in game to get the pictures for those paragraphs. Then I hit the "Windows button" and go back to Blogger, write some more, and then get pictures. I'm way too scatterbrained to take pictures before hand because I would probably not even know what I got the pictures for anymore if I didn't work on it right away. I'm a very visual person, so if I just write and write with no pictures, it's easier for me to get distracted, or get stuck.

3. What made you want to start writing? A book? Life? A person? Other?
The Sims. I never wrote anything until I bought the Sims3 other than school reports, but I never wrote for fun. I feel like Sims really opened my creativity as far as writing goes. Honestly, I didn't even know I liked writing that much until I discovered Sims. LOL.

4. What’s a country you’ve always wanted to visit?
Oh man, this is hard, I want to visit a lot of places, but they're mostly in Europe, which is not a country. LOL. I like Italy, I want to see the Coliseum, France for the Eiffel Tower, England and Scotland for the castles, and Germany for the World War II stuff. I'm a huge history nerd, so seeing anything that's "old world" is fascinating to me.

5. Outside of the Sims, what’s another favorite game you play?
Tomb Raider. Sims is the only game I play on the computer. I play Tomb Raider on my PS2, and I love everything about it, the shooting things, jumping around, finding treasures, riding motorcycles, disarming traps, it's just really fun. XD

6. When you become disinterested in your story/characters, what do you do?
I will change something in my story or characters to spice it up again. Usually if this situation happens, it means I need to start thinking in a different way for the story because what I am doing is clearly not working. LOL. Sometimes I'll question whether I need to add another character, which a lot of times really solves the problem because the new character adds a level to the story that makes it fresh, usually sparking that interest I was missing. Downloading CC helps too, it's probably not the best way to deal with it since I have too much CC as it is LOL, but it does make things more interesting. It's amazing what a new outfit, hairstyle, piece of decor, or car can do for my creativity. It's such a simple thing, but it is incredibly effective. Building a new lot or house helps too because it can give me ideas.

7. When you write, do you prefer quiet or noise in the background?
Noise, noise, noise always. Hahaha. I grew up in Chicago, and although this isn't true of everyone who grows up in cities, I myself can't stand the quiet. The television is usually the noise of choice when I'm writing. I usually watch shows on prime time, so like 7pm, but then I'll write during the commercials. Once the shows I'm interested in are over for the night, the tv still stays on for a few hours after that. I can't use music as my noise though, because I end up singing along to it, and then I can't type or think about the chapter properly. I usually end up typing the lyrics to the song, and then being like, what the fuck did I just type. LOL. It's only me and my hubs in the house, I have no kids, so as far as noise like that, like if my hubs is talking to me, sometimes I can't concentrate.

8. If everyone stopped coming to your blog, would you continue to write and share?
LOL. Yes. I'd definitely keep writing and publishing. I'm proud of what I write, and I always write for myself. Readers are a very welcome perk to my writing, but I don't write for my readers, so if they just disappeared one day, I'd miss interacting with them, but it wouldn't make me stop writing.

9. Do you have a routine for reading other blogs, like reading until your caught up on one, then moving to the next one? Or do you enjoy reading little bits of many stories?
It depends on the story, to be honest. The more I like the story, the more likely it is that I will read until I'm caught up. If I don't like the story as much, but it is still somewhat interesting to me, then I will read a few chapters, and then go on to a different story.

10. Do you keep a notepad & pen/phone/tablet by your bed for those late night ideas? If so, do you actually get up and write them down?
No I don't jot down ideas by my bed. Incidentally, I am usually up at the late night hours, since I'm one of those night owl Simmers who's still up at 2-3am, so I'm already at my computer typing them out. XD

11. When you write, do you just do a quick glance and post? Or do you take a day or two or more and proofread, move things around, delete, re-write, etc, etc?
Oh, god no. LOL Quick glances for me are non-existent. A single chapter will take me at least three days to perfect and publish, depending how motivated I am. I always maintain that even though I am writing for fun, it doesn't mean I should half ass it and put no effort into it. Three days is the quickest I think I've ever completed a chapter, from initial writing to the final completion with pictures. The longest I've ever taken is a few months to perfect one chapter. I proofread as I go because I like to make sure things flow constantly, text, and picture wise. If I change a sentence or a paragraph, I'll proofread from the beginning. I'll only rewrite if I've had a draft in Blogger that I wrote a while ago, which I haven't looked at and sometimes forgot what I wrote. If I reread it and I decide I hate it, then it gets deleted. More often than not, I won't hate the entire draft, so I will write some new stuff, and then move some old stuff into the new stuff, if it fits. If it doesn't fit with the new stuff, then it gets deleted.

My Eleven Questions

Since this is not my first nomination, and I didn't pick new nominees, I'm just going to list my questions here so others can see what I asked. There's no need to answer these again.

1. What got you interested in writing? Have you always been a natural writer, or did some life event spark you to start the hobby?

2. How serious are you about writing? Do you want to be a world famous author someday, or do you just write Sims stories for fun?

3. Is there a time of day that’s the best time for you to write?

4. What do you do to get over writers block?

5. What made you start playing Sims?

6. Do you prefer creating and writing about male or female Sims? Why do you prefer the one you do?

7. Other than Sims and writing, what are some of your other hobbies?

8. What are your favorite and least favorite expansion or stuff packs?

9. What is one of your greatest fears regarding your writing?

10. If you could pick five personality traits for your Simself, what would they be? I know when I do it, there’s always more than five I want to use, but just think of the first five that come to mind.

11. What is your favorite type of CC to download and why?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thank You

Well. The day is here. I have finished writing The Compound. I'd like to thank you all for reading. Yes you, my regular readers, my regular commenters, who I've loved socializing with through comments, as well as all the lurkers I've never socialized with in the comments. Thank you so much for showing support for this story and for all of your kind words throughout the span of this story. I have enjoyed the journey very much. This is most likely the last post I'll ever write on this blog, which saddens me. However, I am not going to stop writing, I still have my standard legacy story I am writing, as well as my 100 baby challenge.

I am pleased to announce that at the same time I was writing the finale to The Compound, I have been hashing out ideas for a new story called Blink of an Eye. I wanted it to introduce it as soon as this one was over. The story changed multiple times over the course of when I first thought of it until now. As a result, I have about three chapters done. I'll publish one tonight, and the next two over the next few days. For now, the link below will take you to the story blog and give you some general information on how the story came to be.

Continue to Blink of an Eye!

Chapter 38: Finale

Music Track - Play it if you want to listen. 

~ Late Knight Simmer ~

As the documentary came to a close, our very last interview segment was about how I felt when I heard that The Compound had been raided. It was five years ago, and I was sitting on the couch watching tv with Camo when the news interrupted our show.

"Breaking news. This live from Chopper 48. The Compound, a local homeless shelter, has just been raided. The Leader, also known by his real name of Marshall Lexington, is being arrested for running a shelter containing illegal drugs. The undercover officer placed within The Compound a month ago has bruises on his face and body from beatings he endured while inside. He has been taken to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. The Compound is going to be shut down. Some residents are not taking this lightly, purposely attacking officers and firing at them, screaming that they would die for The Leader before they will go with The Strangers. Reports from the undercover officer revealed heavy conditioning and brainwashing that went on within The Compound. Officers are detaining residents and they will be placed in a psychiatric ward for deprogramming. Now back to your regularly scheduled program."

Camo was excited when he saw the report, but I was scared because I thought for sure The Leader would manipulate the courts, be set free, and then come after Camo and I, killing us. Camo told me to have faith that we would be okay, and I wished I could share his courage. Time passed and no one came for us, so eventually I realized it was over, for good.

I had a good feeling when I finished the final interview segment of our documentary, which was named The Compound: Silicon Shores' Silent Danger.  Verona and Charles set up a release party to announce that they were going to be advertising it to some television networks.I was standing with Camo at the snack table when Verona went up on stage and started singing Stronger, by Kelly Clarkson.

You know the bed feels warmer
Sleeping here alone
You know I dream in colour
And do the things I want

You think you got the best of me
Think you've had the last laugh
Bet you think that everything good is gone
Think you left me broken down
Think that I'd come running back
Baby you don't know me, cause you're dead wrong

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over cause you're gone

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone

You heard that I was starting over with someone new
They told you I was moving on over you

You didn't think that I'd come back
I'd come back swinging
You try to break me, but you see

Thanks to you I got a new thing started
Thanks to you I'm not the broken-hearted
Thanks to you I'm finally thinking about me
You know in the end the day you left was just my beginning
In the end...

~ Stronger, by Kelly Clarkson ~

As she was singing, I observed Camo. He was immediately drawn in and I could see the love radiating from his eyes. Even after all the years they've been married, Camo is still as lovestruck as he was when he first saw Verona on the beach so long ago. If that isn't true love, I don't know what is. Absolon comes up behind me, wraps his arms around my waist, and starts grinding on me, enjoying the beat from the song. I love him so much, and I wouldn't have gotten as far in my healing as I have if it weren't for him. He and Camo are the most important people in my life. Without them, I don't even want to think about where I would be right now.

The Leader sits in his jail cell, staring at the wall. He's been in prison for five years. He has some friends that he talks to regularly, but most of the inmates find him insufferable and creepy. With those friends, he's been successful at teaching them his ways, using redemption as a way to lure them into his way of thinking. He counts on the inmates' guilt as a way to control them. Sadly, jail has not changed The Leader at all, he is still the same manipulative person he always was.

Petunia and Abilene have been irreparably damaged by their time in The Compound. They are now both residents of the Silicon Shores Psychiatric Ward. It is often that they get in trouble for trying to preach to the other residents, although it's not easy to convince anyone of anything since technically they are all crazy people just spewing crazy talk. Abilene on many occasions has tried to avoid taking her medicine and has gotten shock therapy some days. Petunia and Abilene sit together by the piano in the commons area, as it is the only time they can socialize with each other since they were given separate rooms. Their deprogramming class has not gone well for the instructors since both Petunia and Abilene refuse to acknowledge that they have been brainwashed. It is not likely they will be leaving the psych ward at any point.

In a cabin in the woods, on the outskirts of town, Barry and Zinfandel reside together. Barry is trying to get The Leader's teachings out into the world again because he and Zinfandel strongly believe in what they were taught. On the day of the raid, Barry took Zinfandel into a secret room containing a tunnel that led to the outside, far away from the television cameras and the helicopter, which couldn't see through the thick trees. From there they found an abandoned cabin, which they quickly fixed up as their new community location. A few people have already joined, enjoying the company they can get when the wilderness gets a little lonely. Some campers have even sporadically attended the free food they give some days of the week.

Barry sits at a desk to compose a letter, while Zinfandel is reading a book.

Dear Mr. Leader,

Greetings from Barry and Zinfandel. We were the only two who managed to escape the raid the day you were arrested. We have a cabin in the woods where we have started up your teachings again. Both of us still really believe in your goodness. I just wanted to write to you to let you know we are okay and that your mission is still going strong. In a few years if you are eligible for probation, we would love to have you come join us.

Forever your faithful servants,
Barry and Zinfandel

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chapter 37: Forever

The sun is beautiful today, shining brightly in the sky above me. The water ripples and laps against the shore, glistening from the rays of sunshine hitting it. The palm trees tower above me, waving in the warm breeze that's blowing across my face. I hope Verona likes my tux. I feel nervous even though I am happy as well. Life has been so much better since I left The Compound. No one berates me for being me, and my self-esteem has improved drastically.

Verona and I decided to get married at the beach because it holds significance for both of us. It's where I first saw her, and it's where we both went to look for each other after we had a big fight. Music starts playing, and I know it's time to start. Titanium and Joliana are walking towards me, arm in arm. Charles started dating Joliana after divorcing Verona's mom, and she's been a great influence in my life as well. She makes a good stepmother figure for Verona too, very supportive and loving.


I get tunnel vision when I see Verona and Charles walking down the aisle because Verona is so pretty in her dress. It's one of those old fashioned puffy dresses and she looks like a princess. I can't stop staring and I feel like my eyes are dry. Shit, did I forget to blink? Verona comes up to me, and Charles places her hand in mine.

"I know you'll be happy together. I love you both."

Charles takes a seat with Absolon and Victor, and the minister starts the wedding. I'm holding Verona's hand tightly and shaking a little bit. She squeezes my hand to reassure me and I calm down a little bit.

"Now the couple would like to share with each other their handwritten vows."

I take a piece of paper out of my tux pocket, unfold it, and try to read the words without crying.

"Verona, from the moment you stepped into my life, you began changing it for the better. I was so naive and sheltered, but you taught me so much. You opened my eyes and made me realize the world for what it really is, instead of the cold, dark place I once thought it to be. Your smile warms my heart and now that I've found you, I can't imagine my life without you. I am ecstatic that on this very special day, I will become your husband."

Verona's eyes fill to the brim with tears as she smiles at me. When she said we should write our own vows, I was pretty terrified at first, but as I sat down to write them, I found that the words came easy. I just wrote what I felt. Verona takes a minute to clear her throat and then she speaks.

"Camo, I have always been curious about you. You were so mysterious, but it wasn't because you were choosing to be. I found some of the things I learned about you to be strange, but I wanted to be the one to open your eyes to the wonderful life you could have. I knew I loved you when I felt like I was going to die from the thought of losing you. I'm so happy that you are choosing to share your life with me, and that I get to be your wife."

I squeeze Verona's hand and the minister calls for the best man to give us the rings.

"Camo, repeat after me. I, Camo, take you Verona, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day on, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and health, till death do us part."

After I finish repeating the words all the way up until 'death do us part,' I put the diamond studded ring on Verona's finger, just above her engagement ring. I didn't get her the traditional gold band because I felt she deserved something more special than the standard.

"Verona, repeat after me. I, Verona, take you Camo, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day on, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and health, till death do us part."

Verona puts the silver ring on my finger, and I look into her beautiful aqua blue eyes. Then the minister says the words I've been waiting for all day.

"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Cheers erupt from the audience as I kiss Verona deeply and passionately, taking her by a bit of a surprise. She recovers quickly however, and kisses me back with just as much force.

"Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Camo and Verona Balestrom."

I have a last name now. It may seem like something that's so simple and normal to most, but because I was known only by a number until I was sixteen, it means something significant to me. Being able to share a last name with Verona is the icing on the cake, and I feel a deeper connection to her because of it. She means the world to me. Some guys would think it less masculine to take their wife's last name, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Chapter 36: Recovery

Music Track - Play if you want to listen. Also, mild nudity.
Late Knight Simmer

How was life after you left The Compound?

It was different. I had to get used to the idea that when someone wanted to talk to me, it wasn't because I was in trouble or because they wanted something from me. It was a little boring at first because without my scheduled class times, I didn't have anything to do. I had never really picked up any hobbies, and I didn't really know what it was that I liked. I didn't know who I was because the entire time I had lived there, I had never tried to find myself. I was a blank slate. Camo adjusted a lot easier because he knew what he wanted, and that was to be in a place where he felt appreciated and free to be himself.

My face had healed from the beating I'd endured, but my mind still had a long way to go before it recovered. Even after spending about a month with Absolon in Verona's house, I was still unable to sleep because I had nightmares that I'd be taken back to The Compound and beaten again. I felt like I was living a dream and that I'd wake up to the alarm signaling that it was class time. I constantly felt like I didn't deserve to be free. I didn't know where that thought came from, especially since I had been taught that I was better than everyone else, but I was suffering from a sense of worthlessness. This particular morning I had put on one of Absolon's shirts because it comforted me. I had felt like I was a bother to him most days so I didn't actively try to ask him to hang out with me.

Absolon came over and sat with me on the couch, putting his arm around me. I loved seeing the concern in his gorgeous eyes, and the way he held me was always so gentle. I felt safe with him, and that was the pure truth. He was so patient with me, all the time, even when I had nightmares, or acted irrationally. Absolon would often suggest things for me to try, which I appreciated, but that feeling that I was a bother to him took a really long time to go away.

"What do you want to do today? Do you want to learn how to play my guitar?"

"Oh, I don't know. I don't want to break it."

"You won't. Not unless you plan on slamming it into the ground with all your strength. Don't worry. If you don't like it, that's okay, I just thought maybe we could try to get you a hobby or something."

I nod at Absolon and he pulls out a guitar and hands it to me, looking into my eyes as he does it. He wraps my left hand around the neck of the guitar and places my right hand on the strings. I love his touch, it's always so gentle and his hands are so warm.

"Now, just strum a little bit. You don't have to worry about it sounding like a song, just get the feel of the strings on your fingers."

Even as I start strumming, Absolon keeps his finger on my hand, as if he doesn't want to let it go.

"The strings are really hard. Do you hurt yourself when you're playing for a long time?"

"Not really. I have a guitar pick for the strumming and I do get some callouses on my fingers, but it's not terrible or anything I can't stand. Now, with your left hand, press down on this string, and keep strumming, like this."

Absolon goes behind me and puts his hand around mine, while his other hand goes around my waist. I'm starting to feel like this morning is getting better than it had been.

"Do you want me to play something? You can sit with me."

"Yeah, sure."

Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it's still an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I'll admit that I was glad it was over

But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn't have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just somebody that I used to know

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was something that I'd done
But I don't wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn't catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

Somebody That I Used to Know - by Gotye

I couldn't believe how much my life changed over the next couple of months. I was living with people who actually cared about me and wanted to see me happy rather than control my every move. It was relieving not to worry about whether I was going to be tattled on, and even more exciting that I didn't have to walk on eggshells all the time. Eventually, the guilt that I had done something wrong by running away from The Compound wore off and I was able to see that I had made the best decision of my life. Pretty soon, I put The Compound behind me and they just became people that I used to know, except for Barry.

Barry was still fresh in my mind. The hate in his eyes when he pushed me against the bookcase that day and forced me to have sex with him still resonated at the front of my mind. I had nightmares that he would come find me and assault me again. It was putting me off from taking the next step in my relationship with Absolon, which was contradictory because I wanted nothing more than to be intimate with him. Absolon never pressured me thankfully, and I knew it was because he knew what I'd been through. There were many times I wanted to, especially any time I saw Absolon shirtless, but I always stopped myself. My whole life I had never had a good sexual experience, and I was fearful that it just meant I wasn't capable of enjoying it, that somehow I wasn't worth it. Deep down, I still felt like a piece of garbage that needed to be thrown away.

Have you gotten over those feelings of worthlessness since then, and how did you figure out your love life?

Yes, for the most part. Sometimes the feelings surface, but they don't linger for more than a day or two anymore. As for my love life, one day, I just couldn't take it anymore. I wanted to do more with Absolon than just kiss and hug him. I took a chance, and told him that I was scared, but that I really wanted it. He was hesitant at first because he didn't want to scare me, but he came up with an idea that worked perfectly.

I was having one of my more confident days since the escape, and Absolon had just bent over to pick something up off the floor. All I could do was stare at him. His jeans were really tight and I wanted to see what he looked like without them. I'd had days like this before, where I wanted to kiss him and have it lead to something more, but I always stopped myself. In my head, I was giving myself a pep talk about why I didn't need to be afraid of my own boyfriend, who'd been nothing but gentle to me. I don't even know how long I was concentrating on the talk, but all of a sudden Absolon was standing in front of me. I made my way over to him and kissed him harder than I usually did.

I was afraid I was going to chicken out again, but because I really didn't want to, I put my hands under Absolon's shirt, as a way to tell him that I really did want more.

"Hi, Titanium."

Absolon smiled seductively at me and hugged me to his body. He didn't do anything more, even though I knew he was excited with what I was doing. I didn't blame him because I had told him how rough Barry was with me, and that I was terrified of being held and groped like that.

"Absolon, I want to... but I don't know how to prevent myself from stopping halfway through if something triggers the bad memories."

"What about this? What if you initiate everything? I won't do anything except what you tell me to."

What Absolon said was like music to my ears. I was so happy that I was going to get the chance to take the next step in our relationship without any fear that I would be hurt again.

Now that I was given free reign to do whatever I wanted to Absolon, I knew the first thing I wanted was to see his chest, so I quickly unbuttoned his shirt. I continued making out with him ditching my clothing as I led him over to the bed, where I straddled him and rubbed his chest.

Once he was on the bed, I remembered how much I had wanted to see him without any pants on, so that was the next thing that fell to the floor. I looked at Absolon and he was smiling at me, obviously liking what I was doing. I climbed on the bed, leaning down to kiss Absolon. He put his arms around my neck and lifted his left leg to rest it on my hip. I looked into his eyes, smiling at him.

As we were making out, I felt Absolon against me and I wanted to show him how much I appreciated him. His breathing became more ragged and heavy as I held him in my mouth. I was feeling like I was ready for more so I slowly removed myself from him, and he let out a pleasure filled moan. He laid there with his eyes closed for a moment, but then he opened them and smiled at me.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do as far as positions went, so I just decided to go with the standard missionary position. I got on top of Absolon and put my hands on the bed. He looked at me with his gorgeous pink eyes and I kissed his mouth as I entered him. Absolon put his hands on my shoulders and continued his heavy breathing. I rocked my body back and forth on him, until I suddenly felt a build up of pressure that had happened the first time I was intimate with Abilene in the Intimacy Room, but this time it didn't feel forced. I didn't have to think about it feeling good, it just naturally did.

When the pressure relieved itself, I put my face next to Absolon's and kissed his cheek. He and I were both panting, and we laid there with our eyes closed for a few minutes.

"Thank you, Absolon, for not pressuring me."

"I wouldn't dream of it. Did you enjoy that?"


After that, any time we had sex, Absolon would let me do what I was comfortable with until I told him otherwise. It worked like a charm and I was eventually able to get over being raped. Barry no longer plagued my dreams, I realized I was capable of enjoying sex, and the best part of it was that I stopped feeling like a used piece of garbage.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chapter 35: Report

Music Track: Play when it shows up if you want to listen. 

~ Late Knight Simmer ~

I haven't seen Camo in days and I miss him. I'm a little worried about him because the conversation I had with Absolon about the shelter totally creeped me out.



"Hey, Verona, I found Mom, and your car. It's at the station, and it doesn't look like Mom did anything to it, except run it low on gas."

"Thank you, Victor."

As I leave the house and head for the police station, I see Camo and Titanium walking up to the gate. My heart does flip flops at the sight of Camo, and I run towards him with a smile on my face. My smile fades quickly, however, when I see that he has what looks to be a multitude of bruises on his face. They don't look fresh, but they look like they hurt. I can't stop the tears from flowing down my face as I collapse into his arms.

"Camo? What happened to your face?"

"I got punished."

"What? Why?"

"Titanium hugged me, and we got punished."

"Camo, that's ridiculous. No one should be punished for hugging their friend. You can't go back there."

"Believe me, I don't want to, but how do I get away with staying out? The Leader always goes out looking for people if they aren't back by curfew. I don't want to live my life on the run. He'd probably find me and punish me again for trying to leave. I don't know what to do, Verona."

"The Leader? Camo, that sounds really creepy. Do you seriously have to call him that?"

"He insists on 'Mr. Leader, sir,' actually, but I rarely say that. I don't address him as anything. I don't talk to him much unless he talks to me first.  Were you going somewhere?"

"Yeah, I'm going to the police station to pick up my car. My mother stole it last week. We can tell my detective brother you were assaulted, since it's obvious from your wounds, and get a restraining order filed so this Leader person can't make you go back there."

"Is your brother just going to think I'm lying because I don't like it there?"

"No, since you and Titanium both have wounds that are very similar, it looks suspicious, you know?"

"Titanium? We can be free from The Compound if we do this. It will work better if you come too, like Verona said, two cases of assault is stronger than just me going in. I know you were scared to come out today, but you must have done it for a reason. Will you come to the police with me?"

"Ye- yes."

Just then, Absolon comes running out to where we are standing because I sent him a text that Titanium was here. Absolon pulls Titanium into his arms and holds him tight. It's then that I hear Titanium start crying.

"Titanium, shh, it's okay. What's the matter?"

"I don't want to say it. I'm too scared. I'm broken, damaged, you don't want me. I don't know why anyone would want me."

I don't know what they did to him, but I am not letting him go back to The Compound. Not after seeing the bruises and cuts on his skin. The Compound already claimed the life of one person I loved, they are not going to take Titanium away from me.

"Titanium? Look at me. You are not broken. You are nothing but fucking perfect to me. Okay?"

Made a wrong turn, once or twice
Dug  my way out, blood and fire
Bad decisions, that's all right
Welcome to my silly life 
Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss, no way it's all good, it didn't slow me down
Mistaken, always second guessing
Underestimated, look, I'm still around 
Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than fucking perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel
Like you're nothing, you're fucking perfect to me 
You're so mean when you talk
About yourself, you are wrong
Change the voices in your head
Make them like you instead 
So complicated, look how big you'll make it
Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game
It's enough, I've done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons, see you do the same 
The whole world stares while I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in lying and we tried, tried, tried
But we try too hard, it's a waste of my time 
Done looking for the critics cause they're everywhere
They don't like my genes, they don't get my hair
Strange, ourselves and we do it all the time
Why do we do that? Why do I do that? Why do I do that?
Fuckin' Perfect - by Pink 

"What do you mean you're damaged? Just cause people have told you that you don't mean anything doesn't mean it's true."

"No, I get told that I'm better than everyone, it's not that. I'm damaged because- because I was- I can't say it, it's too painful. I don't want to remember it! You deserve better than me, I'm just a used piece of garbage."

Used piece of garbage? Oh crap, is that what I think it sounds like?

"Titanium, did you get raped?"

He looks at me briefly, and then looks to the side. He doesn't say anything, but the look in his eyes is telling me that I guessed correctly. I pull him close to my chest and try to keep myself from breaking down as well. For all the rules that place seems to have, it doesn't make sense that they would allow their residents to behave that way. I do know though, once they start suspecting any sense of rebellion, they go to great lengths to beat down the rebellious person, by any means necessary.

The day my family fell apart was just a typical Sunday afternoon. Mom had been staying at The Compound more and more, and she had finally come home, after almost a year. We were doing well without her, at least as well as we could. I knew Dad missed her a lot because he did love her. I hadn't taken it very well because I was mad at Mom for leaving and so I clung to Dad for support. When she walked in the door, she looked tired and like she had aged ten years since I last saw her. I don't even know why she came back. She stood in the hallway like our house was a foreign object to her, and she didn't look like my mom anymore, she just looked like a broken woman who was lost in her own body. I looked at her, unsure of how to even talk to her, even though I missed her desperately. Dad ran over to her and tried to hug her, but she pushed him away.

"Don't touch me, Enigma. I came to tell you that I've had a child for the good of The Compound."

"What are you talking about? You slept with someone else?"

"Yes, it's my duty to breed new residents so they can be raised with good values."

As soon as she opened her mouth and started talking like a robot, my anger surfaced and buried my feelings of missing her. I felt bad, but I was so angry at this woman who looked like my mother, but had taken my mother's mind and hidden it from me.

"Why are you even here, Mom? You clearly don't give a shit about us anymore."

"Absolon! Don't talk to your mother that way."

"It's true, Dad! She left us!"

"She's back now."

"Really? Look at her! She's barely here! She's like a shell of a human being! She doesn't love us anymore!"

"Don't say that, Absolon. She came back, that means she still remembers. We have to help her."

"No, Enigma. I require no assistance. I came because I'm here to recruit the both of you to come live in The Compound with me. It is dangerous in this world outside, you can be safe with me. You can be with me again."

"Fuck that Mom. Look at you! I'm not letting them turn me into what you've become! I'm not going!"

"We have to commit her to a psychiatric ward."

As soon as Dad said those words, Mom became lively, obviously disliking that option. She started arguing with Dad, saying she wasn't crazy, that she had seen the light, and that we didn't have to live in the darkness anymore, if we would just go with her to a better place. Dad tried to calm her down, but she wouldn't listen. She kept saying that The Leader had warned her that we might react negatively.

"The Leader? What the fuck are you rambling on about, Andromeda? Are you insane?"

"The Leader cares about me more than you do."

"What? Is he the one you slept with? Is he running some polygamous thing, where you're one of fifteen wives?"

"No. It was just a random resident. We do not believe in marriage."

"What?! You're married to me! What the fuck do you mean you don't believe in marriage?! Andromeda, what is wrong with you?!"

"You and Absolon need to come with me, it's better this way, I can show you the light. You don't have to live like this anymore."

I felt so bad for Dad, he looked so sad despite him trying to talk sense into Mom. It looked like he didn't really think there was anything that he could do for her.

"Stop it, Andromeda. Absolon and I are going to take you to a place where they can help you."

"No. I don't need any help. You and Absolon are the ones who need help. You are corrupted by this world."

"Andromeda, look at me. Forget about all the who needs help talk for a second. Why did you come back? You've been gone for a year. Absolon and I thought you just ran away because you didn't love us anymore. Do you still love me?"

"Yes, I miss you. That's why I want you to come with me. I was afraid that you both were still living in this corrupt world, I came to save you from the danger."

Dad tried to convince Mom that she was safe here with us, but I couldn't get over how blank and empty her eyes looked.

"Andromeda, Absolon and I are not in danger, but we both want you to come home. Stay with us. This is your home."

Mom shook her head, not convinced that we were fine, and that we loved her.

"No. The Leader said you would do this, he said you would try to make me stay with you instead."

Suddenly Mom bit down hard on something, causing her to start convulsing and foaming at the mouth. She fell and Dad held her in his arms. A few seconds later she was dead. She had bitten down on a cyanide pill. It was the worst thing I've ever seen, my own mother killing herself because she'd been so brainwashed she didn't even know her own family anymore.

After Mom killed herself, Dad started drinking heavily every night, and eventually, our relationship died as well. Everything we had worked so hard to build up in those few years fell apart. The Compound tears people apart, and they'd prefer it that you remain broken and empty. They can control you better that way if you have no fight left in you. They thrive on pain and suffering even though they tell you they're relieving you of it. I'll never forget the look in my mother's eyes when she said her last words, she looked alive as in her heart was beating, but her eyes said that she died long ago, when she joined that horrible place.

I hug Titanium close to me, sad that I thought of that awful memory. Titanium's my only family now since my dad kicked me out of the house, and I don't want to lose him. Verona taps me on the shoulder and tells me of her plan to go to the police. The four of us pile in my car and head to the police station.