Andy walked up the steps of the apartment with a tiny smile on his face. He’d hada lot of memories here, lots of good ones. He hoped things would stay that way,but realized that such a wish might be impractical, especially as he was about tobreak up with his girlfriend here. It was finally time to acknowledge that they wereheading in two different directions. It shouldn’t be too bad, though, Andy thought tohimself. Kiera was a reasonable woman.
He knocked on the door and waited a beat before he heard a shout from inside:“It’s open!” a female voice called out, and Andy walked inside to a comical sight.
He couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of his girlfriend. She wasn’t the best ofdancers.Hearing his voice, the woman asked, “Is that you, Andy?” before she peeked overher shoulder.
“Yup, it’s me, Kiera. How’ve you-” But Andy didn’t get much more in, as thewoman’s squeal quickly drowned his words.“ANDY!!!!!!” she exclaimed happily.
Andy barely had a moment to register before the spunky blonde hurled herself athim.“Whoa,” he said, taking a step back to brace himself.Luckily, he was used to this sort of thing. Kiera was a regular ball of energy.
“Oh my Plumbbob! Where’ve you been Andy?! It’s been AGES! I’ve missed youSO much. And OMP, you missed the greatest party ever last night! You shouldabeen there. Everyone one was asking about you and I was all like ‘OMP, I have noidea where he is, but he should like totally be here cuz this party is like EPIC’ andanyways where you been?!”“Mmmpf” was the only response that could be heard.
“Huh?” Kiera stopped squeezing Andy long enough to give him a questioninglook.Andy, freeing himself from Kiera’s hair, took a breath and said “It’s good to seeyou. And I missed you, too.”“Oh.”
Jumping down, Kiera gave her boyfriend a glance over. “So what ya’ been up to,superstar? You’ve totally been avoiding me.”“No, I haven’t-” Kiera gave him a look. “Well, okay, not on purpose. I’ve been busylately, with some work stuff.”“Work?” Kiera asked, surprised. “Since when do you work? I thought you onlytemped and picked up tips whenever you performed at the Lounge.”
“Well, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I’ve got a lot of stuff to tell you-”“I’ll say! And boy, do I have stuff to tell you! You should’ve SEEN what Lilly andDom were doing on the couch last night, and of course, Amin couldn’t hold hisjuice and threw up in the bathroom AGAIN, and – Oh! OMP, how could I forgetSandy’s drunken strip-tease/karaoke number?! I’m telling you, it was EPIC, you-”“Kiera, hold on a second. I’m being serious; I’m trying to tell you about my plans.
“Plans? What plans?”“My plans. I’ve been thinking a lot about my future lately-”“Oh, those types of plans. Andy, you know I hate talking about the future. Yougotta lighten up, live in the moment, concentrate on the-”“Kiera.”
“Look, I know you like to be spontaneous and that you’re all about having fun; it’sone of the things I like most about you. But I’m different. Or at least, I’m becomingdifferent. The thing is Kiera, I’m at the point in my life where I want to settle down.”“Settle down?” Kiera cocked her head to the side. “What does that mean? Soundsominous.”“It’s not. It means I’ve been thinking about buying a house. Getting a steady jobeven, maybe-”
“In other words, you wanna be boring and predictable.”“Kiera…”“What? That’s what it sounds like,” she shrugged.Andy sighed. “Look, Kiera, I wanna start a family soon-”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! You KNOW I don’t do kids. I mean, maybe one day. Like oneday far off. But that’s like forever from now, you know? I mean it’s a long, long,long, LONG ways away. Ages from now. I mean who really wants to spend theiryouth chasing after rugrats when they could be jetting all over the world or goingafter their dreams, you know? Not that I’m going anywhere any time soon, but hey,we could totally make that happen. HEY, you know we could go to-”“Kiera! Focus!” Andy tried to bring Kiera back to reality before she ran off onanother tangent.
“Look, I know you don’t want to have kids right now. I understand; you’re not reallysure what you want to do with your life and you’re focusing on having fun andtrying a bit of everything. Plus, I know how wrapped up in your magic studies youare, or at least, how you’re supposed to be. All that’s really important to you and Iget that. You aren’t ready to settle down… But I am.”“…I don’t get it.” Kiera said, looking confused.
“I mean you wanna settle and marry and stuff, but you know I don’t. And you’recool with my decision. So, like what are you trying to say? Because there is, like,no resolution. I mean, how are you going to marry and have kids if I don’t wannamarry and have kids yet? There’s like, no point to even bringing it up.”
“Oh, dear,” Andy muttered softly. “This is going to be harder than I thought… Okay,Kiera, think, sweetie. Real hard, okay?”Kiera stood there, staring at Andy for a minute or two. “…Wait. You’re not sayingthat we should break up?” Andy sighed and raised his brows. “OMP, you are!”“Yes, Kiera. That’s what I’m saying. I think we should break up.”
Kiera laughed nervously. “Is this some kind of a joke, Andybear? ‘Cuz if it is, it’snot funny.”“Why would I joke about something like this?” Andy looked at Kiera patiently.“But you can’t really… I mean… There’s just… You… But…” Kiera fumbledaround, searching for the right words. “We’ve been going out for so long…” Shefinally managed to get out softly.
“…How can you be so willing to throw away everything we have without eventrying to work things out?”“Kiera…”“Don’t I mean anything to you?”
“Of course you mean something to me. You will always mean something to me-”“Then I don’t understand why you won’t give me a chance! Okay, so maybecommitment scares me a bit right now, but we don’t have to rush and doeverything all at once, right? I mean, it’s not like you need to have a babytomorrow, right?”“Well, no…”
“Right, so we could take baby steps. We could- We could… We could move intogether! We could make a commitment by getting a place together and talkingabout all that other stuff,” Kiera rushed out, relieved she’d thought of something.“Kiera, I do not think that’s a good idea.”“Why not, it sounds perfect!”“It sounds like a hasty decision, not like something you’d actually want to do.”
“How do you know, huh? Maybe it is something I’d like to do, or at least be okaywith, especially if it meant the alternative was losing you forever!” Kiera suddenlylooked worried.“Kiera, I’m not trying to hurt you, honest. I just… You shouldn’t move in with mejust because you’re afraid of change.”“It’s not just change! Andy, don’t you realize that I… Don’t you know how I feelabout you?”
“I do,” Andy replied. “And believe me, I care for you, too. But… It’s just finally timeto admit that we’re going in different directions. We both want different things inour lives. At least right now.”“So why can’t one of us just wait for the other to catch up? Compromise, youknow? Isn’t that what relationships are all about? We may be on differentwavelengths now, but if given time, we’ll get back in sync.”“Or not…,” Andy muttered.
“What?” Kiera said faintly. She sounded hurt, too.Andy sighed. Trying to be gentle, he spoke up: “We might never get ‘back in sync’so to speak, Kiera. We’re two very different people with very different goals. Andstaying together wouldn’t be fair to either of us - if I made you give up your dreamsor you made me give up mine, one of us, or very likely the both of us, would bemiserable. We both deserve to be happy and get what we really want.”
“I know exactly what I want Andy, and I know that I’d do anything for you, to staywith you. Let’s just face the facts, ‘k? You don’t really care that much about me.”“Kiera, I do care about you-”“If you did-”“It’s just that,” Andy continued, fighting to be heard. “You’re not exactly who Ipictured settling down with.”
“You would- wait what?” Kiera paused, trying to process what she heard. “Youwhat? What does that mean? Am I not good enough for you or something?”Andy rubbed his temples. That did not come out well at all. “No, that’s not what Imeant. I… It’s just that you… have a lot of good qualities. Like the ability to find thebest party on a Saturday night and the perfect place to eat for less than $20 at 3o’clock in the morning for instance. You can make anyone laugh and have theuncanny ability to make anyone feel comfortable around you…”
“And that was great – you were – are – great. Oh, geez.” Andy took a breath. “What I meanis, that it was fine to date you while I was young, out on my own for the first time and stuff.”“You still are young!” Kiera butted in.“Well, yeah, but I want to buy a home and start a family now.”“What’s with all this family business! You don’t even like kids that much; you’re knowledge!”
“That doesn’t mean I can’t want a family. Kiera, can’t you understand that I need tofind someone who thinks a bit like me, wants some of the things I want? Someonewho can be serious. …And responsible.” Someone who wouldn’t be afraid ofchanging a dirty diaper or two, Andy thought to himself.“And you don’t think I can be any of those things?”“No, it’s that I know you don’t want to be any of those things.”
Kiera was a little stunned. Andy had never spoken this way to her before. He’dnever been so - so… mean. “I- I could change-” Kiera tried again.“But I don’t want you to!” Andy sighed for what seemed like the hundredth time.“Kiera, look, it was nice while it lasted, but you and I aren’t going to work out. I docare about you, but it’s over between us - and, no, I’m not going to cheat on mywife.” Kiera closed her mouth and swallowed her unsaid comment. Andy justshook his head at her. “I’m not that type of guy, Kiera.”
“But you’re supposed to be my guy…”“Not anymore, Kiera. I had hoped – you know what? It doesn’t matter what I’dhoped. I just can’t be your boyfriend anymore, Kiera. I’m sorry, but we’re over.Goodbye.” And with that, Andy turned around and headed for the door. He knewhe shouldn’t linger; it’d only make things more awkward. Things didn’t turn out likehe’d planned, but sometimes life is like that.
Andy may have seemed at peace with everything, but Kiera felt far from the same.Inside, she was a wreck. Her head was still spinning, trying to figure out how thelove of her life could just walk away with a terse goodbye. She and Andy had beenthrough everything together; why didn’t he feel the same way about her? Whywasn’t his heart breaking at the thought of a future apart? How could she berejected so easily?“F-Fine,” She choked out, speaking to Andy’s retreating back.
“Leave, see if I care,” she taunted. She swallowed, trying to come up withsomething, anything, really, that would hurt him as much as he hurt her. “You’ll bethe sorry one; you’ll see. You’ll wish you had never let me go – You’ll be miserablewithout me.” And she desperately wished it would be so. All she could think of wasAndy in pain, in absolute anguish without her until he could take it no more – andhe’d come back. She wished for that more than anything at that moment. “You gohave your stupid babies,” she continued. “Like I care about dumb stuff like family! I- Ihope your stupid descendants all die!”At those words, a strange power filled the room, causing the air to crackle.
“Wha-” Kiera stared in a daze as power leapt from her finger and grew with a forceshe’d never seen before. She stumbled backwards as the energy ball stripped hermagic from her and hurled itself forward. Towards Andy.
Helpless, Kiera could only stare in shock as the energy ball hit Andy and causedthe man to start convulsing. His arms and legs flailed about as Andy’s face twistedin agony. His mouth was locked in a soundless scream as power whirled abouthim, burning every inch of his skin.
“No, stop!” Kiera yelled, finally finding her voice, but it was too late. The power glowedand deepened to a sinister green before being absorbed into Andy’s flesh. Theconvulsing grew more violent then, causing Andy’s eyes to roll up inside his head.
“Oh, my Plumbbob…” Kiera gaged, but forced herself to watch, trying to figure outwhat exactly was happening so that maybe, just maybe she could reverse it.Problem was, this- this thing was unlike any magic she’d ever seen before.“Please don’t die, Andy, don’t die on me…” she whispered.
Suddenly, as if on command, the convulsing stopped and Andy’s body swayed…
Before collapsing to the floor. Sparked to action, Kiera rushed to his side andchecked to see if he was still breathing. He was.“Thank Plumbbob,” she whispered.
“Holy, crap, what have I done?!” she asked herself as reality sank in. Quickly, shemade Andy as comfortable as possible then raced upstairs to grab her spellbookfrom her workroom. There had to be something on what she’d done.
Hours later, Andy woke slowly. He rubbed his eyes, trying to figure out where hewas. A few seconds later the room came into focus.
He recognized the room; It was Kiera’s living room. But why was he asleep on thecouch in her living room? Didn’t he come over to break up with her? What hadhappened? They were arguing then-
“Andy,” Kiera said tentatively as she approached him. She was so relieved he wasawake. It had been hours and he had made no signs of improvement, nomovement or anything. “Andy?” She asked again.Andy sat up. That was a bad idea; his head began pounding and Kiera’s voicewasn’t helping. What happened? He asked himself. He thought back and tried topiece things together.
Kiera hovered over Andy; she didn’t know what to do – it’s not like she was adoctor. She grew more and more worried the longer he didn’t say anything. He justsat there, holding his head and it was making her anxious. What if there was moredamage than she thought? What if he never spoke again? What if-“K- ACK!” Andy tried to speak but ended up coughing. His throat was too dry.“Do you need some water?” Kiera asked. “I can get you some water, just hold on.”
Heading towards the kitchen, she paused to look back at Andy. This was all herfault. She hurt the man she loved the most and now he was in pain. And what’smore… What if she couldn’t ever fix it? An uneasy feeling settled over her. Shakingher head, she hurried to the kitchen to get Andy some water.Meanwhile, Andy tried to remember his last few moments of consciousness. He hadsaid goodbye to Kiera – or tried to anyway. She was upset and kept ranting aboutsomething. He was at the door when this strange thing came out of nowhere…
“Here’s your water,” Kiera walked back into the living room only to be met with avery irate Andy.“I don’t want your flippin’ water!” He shouted and tried to push the glass away, butwas soon plagued with a fit of coughs. Reluctantly, he accepted the water andgulped it down so he could continue his yelling. “You did something!” He finallymanaged to get out. “You- You cursed me!”Kiera stared apprehensively at Andy for a moment before nodding. “Yes, I think so.”
A little taken aback at her honesty, it took a moment before Andy could make hisreply. “How could you?”“I didn’t mean to, honest! It was an accident. I was just thinking- or rather, I wasn’tthinking and- and-” She gulped. “My magic got away from me. I didn’t even know Icould do that; it wasn’t intentional and I-”
“I don’t care about your excuses! You used magic on me! You cursed me. Justseconds after you were telling me how much you care about me and how youwant me to reconsider breaking up with you, I might add. Well, you really showedme how you feel. It’s so good to know. ‘Scuse me if I want to get as far away fromyou as possible now.”“Wait, please; you have to stay!”“Why? So you can finish me off?”
“What, no- Andy, it was an accident, I swear! Please, you have to stay, maybe I canfix it-”“Maybe?”“Um, well… I’m not exactly sure what I did…”“WHAT?”
“That’s what I was trying to tell you – that spell, or curse or whatever, is unlike anymagic I’ve ever seen or studied! I’m not quite sure what I did-”“How can you not know? You did it!”“But that’s just it! I don’t even know what I did- I told you, I didn’t mean to do aspell. And it’s not like life threatening curses are in The Witchiest Witch’s Spellbookfor Beginners, you know. I don’t even start free form spells until chapter 10…”
“Great, so I’m cursed for life because you’re a slacker! Just what did you do to meanyway? Am I going to grow horns or something?”“Um…”“You don’t even know?!”“I’m trying here, okay? Doesn’t that count for something? That I’m trying to fix mymistakes?” Kiera took in Andy’s angry face. “I guess that’s a no.”
Kiera sighed. “Look, while you were passed out, I looked up curses in my magicbooks-”“Oh, really? Find anything interesting?”Choosing to ignore that comment, Kiera went on. “And basically, the way free formcurses and spells work is that a witch’s power is given to whatever words arespoken during the incantation.”
“Meaning?”“Meaning that, um, whatever words I spoke, whatever I hoped for, will come true.”“So what did you say?”“Well, it looks like you’ll be okay, because I didn’t actually wish you any harm.”“What did you wish?”
“So, on the bright side, it looks like you’ll be completely fine- you don’t haveanything to worry abo-”“Kiera! Just what the hell did you say?!”“I… I, um… Sort of, kinda, maybe… wishedthatallyourdescendantswoulddie.”Kiera rushed out in one big breath.Stunned, Andy, blinked at her. “You… wished what?”
“Andy,” Kiera said softly, “It was an accident, I swear…”“No, no it wasn’t. That’s what you really wanted. You didn’t want me to be happyand follow my dreams, you wanted me to suffer-”“Andy, please. I can fix it! I think. We could work things out and try-”“Work things out? Why the hell would I want to trust you ever again? You cursedme!”
“Because… Because I’m your girl-”“Oh, no you’re not. I won’t ever make that mistake again. You are not my girlfriendanymore, and I can’t even fathom how you could think I’d want anything to do withyou after what you did to me!”“But Andy-”“But nothing. I never want to see your face again. I don’t want to talk to you or haveanything to do with you, ever.”
“But what about the curse? How are you gonna-”“I don’t know, but I’m not getting any help from you. You’ll probably only curse meagain.”“Andy, I-”“Enough, Kiera. I don’t really care what you have to say anymore.” With that, Andywalked out the door, leaving Kiera standing in the middle of her living room with astunned look on her face.
***** After I stormed out of that wretched apartment, I wandered around town a bitbefore I finally decided to head over to the Lucky Shack. Because when you’ve hada day like I’ve had, you need to drown your sorrows in juice. Lots and lots of juice.Yeah, I was there a while. Who could blame me? I was freakin’ cursed. For life, asfar as I knew.“Bartender,” I said, looking at my empty cup. “ Give me another one.”
“Okay,” she responded. “But this is your last one.”“Wha? Why?” I asked indignantly.“Well,” she shrugged. “You’ve been sitting there for a couple of hours. Andhonestly,” she glanced over the top of my head, eying the rest of the bar, “We getenough crazies in here.”“Hmpf.” I didn’t know what to make of that. Was this chick calling me a ‘crazy’?
“You’d drink, too, if you were cursed,” I muttered.“Cursed?” The bartender questioned as she fixed the drink. “What, the head evilwitch get you?”“Huh, I wish. At least she woulda known what she was doing, you know?” Shenodded noncommittally. “No, it was a stupid, hot-headed novice who may or maynot have doomed my descendants to instant death upon birth.”
“Ouch,” she replied just before switching on the blender.Ouch. What an understatement. Still she seemed pensive as she poured a drinkinto a glass. “So you see my dilemma?” I prompted.“Yeah… But I still have to cut you off.”Hmpf. Figures. “Fine,” I reluctantly agreed. Then she stood still for a moment,looking me over.
“What?” I asked her.“Do you know how to fix it?” She said after a moment. Hmm, if I knew how to fix it, Iwouldn’t be in this bar, would I? I almost told her that, but opted for a more polite‘no’ instead. At that the bartender tapped her chin. “You should go see someone,”she said. “You know, another witch. Maybe he or she can reverse the curse.”“And just where am I supposed to find another witch?”
“Well, there’s one on the north side of town,” she responded before finally placingmy drink in front of me.What, she put up a sign or something? I must have said this aloud, because the bartender answered me. “No, butthere are a lot of rumors about her. People say she can do some… unique things.”
At that comment, I looked up. “What kind of things?” I asked suspiciously.“Well,” the bartender paused. “She knew you’d be here for one. She said a cursedsoul with red hair and a black tee would come in here tonight. I thought she wascrazy, but…” She shrugged as if to say ‘but here you are.’ “Anyway, she told me togive you her address.” She reached in her pocket for a slip of paper and put itbeside my drink.Hmm. If she knew I’d be here, why didn’t she come meet me herself?
I must have said this aloud, too, because she shrugged again and replied:“Who knows? I hope your curse thingy works out, though,” she said as she walkedover to help another customer.“Thanks, I guess,” I muttered.
Hmm. I mulled things over as I sipped my juice. It couldn’t hurt, I reasoned. Ieyed the address. It wasn’t too far either. Okay, I’ll give a go, I told myself as I putthe paper in my pocket. What did I have to lose?
***** And so the next morning, I found myself walking up to a swanky building withan uneasy feeling in my stomach. It was weird. The place looked more like an officethan the dwelling of a witch. Though I suppose a witch could live anywhere. Still, Icouldn’t help but feel that I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.
Nothing about the place was particularly suspicious – the grounds lookednice, immaculate and well-kept. The fountain was impressive and the walkway wasspotless. And yet, to my mind, those bright flowers were concealing somethingsinister.
“Come on, Andy, pull yourself together,” I tried reassuring myself as I reached forthe door handle. “You’ve got to find a way to lift this curse, so there’s nothing wrongwith this place and you’re just being silly.” I stepped inside the building.
Where I was once again surprised. I was definitely in a lobby, and while theroom gave off a high tech and professional air, there definitely were someidiosyncrasies. Like the teen at the reception desk. She was yawing as I walked upto her.“Um…” I wasn’t quite sure what to say. “I’m here because-”
“Uh, huh,” she cut me off before turning to her computer and tapping some keys.“You’re right on time. Feel free to take a seat and I’ll call you when she’s ready.”“But… who’s this ‘she’? And how-”“Boss will explain everything when you go in to see her. I’m just an intern, so I’mnot at liberty to answer any of your questions. All I do is answer the phone,m’kay?”
“Okay, then...” I turned around to look at the lobby. ‘Right on time’ she had said.But how could I be on time if I didn’t have an appointment? The chairs lookedcomfy, but I opted to loiter near the desk instead. I was still a bit uneasy, and Iwanted to try and get a peak at the computer so-“Holy crap, is that a pool on the other side of that glass?”
“Yup,” the teen responded. “And you can go up now.” She pointed to the elevatorin the corner.“What is this place?” I couldn’t help but ask her. She pointed to a stack of businesscards on the edge of her desk. I took one as I walked to the elevator. ‘Sim Studios,a division of DragonStar, Inc.’ it read. What the hell? It sounded like a productioncompany… More confused than ever, I went into the elevator.
The elevator let me out in a small hallway with one door. After a quick knock, Ifound myself in an empty office. I took a seat, not sure what or who to expect.
I didn’t have to wait long before a woman walked in. She was young,probably still in college, but she was no assistant. She sat down opposite me.“Uh, excuse me, but… Well, I was given your address by someone, a bartender,actually, but I don’t think I-”“Andy,” she said firmly, cutting me off. “Relax. We’ll get to your questions in time.”
“Huh. Um, how do you know my name? I don’t even remember giving it to thereceptionist-”“That’s because I gave it to her.” She paused, then heaved a big sigh. “Look, I’monly going to say this once: I really can’t answer your questions on how I knowwhat I know, but compared to you, let’s just say I’m omniscient and omnipotent,okay? Now on to business. I hear you’re cursed.”
I sat back in my chair, confused, but deciding to go with the flow for now. Ididn’t know too much, but she, whoever she was, obviously wanted something fromme – a fact I might be able to use to my advantage. “Yeah, I cursed,” I finallyanswered her. “At least I think so. Listen, what should I call you?”“Oh, I’m sorry; I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Kelyns. But you can call me KB,”she smiled. There was evil behind that smile, I was sure.
“Right. Well, KB, I’m not too sure what exactly is wrong with me, but since thewitch that did it had said-”“All your descendents will die, or something like that, right? Yeah, I know. Listenthe way curses like that works means that her words will come true, so-”“Wait, wait, wait – how did you know that?”
“I told ya, kid, I’m omniscient. Look, we aren’t going to get anywhere if you don’t payattention.”Kid? Kid? I was several years older than her and she was calling me kid???“So about the curse,” she continued. “Basically, right now, your descendants are alldoomed-”“But you can fix it, right?” I looked at her expectantly.
“I can’t undo her curse-”“Then what am I here for?”“I can, however, alter it.”“Alter it.” I said skeptically.“Yes. Haven’t you ever read a fairytale or story where an evil witch cursessomeone?”
“Well, in the stories, the good witch can’t undo a spell another witch has done;they can only alter the spell. The same is true in real life. I can’t undo the spell, butI can alter it.”“To what,” I asked suspiciously.“Well… I won’t be able to save all of your children, but I can save a few-”
“What? Look, what do you want?” I interrupted.“Huh?”“What’s in it for you? Why help me? Why lead me here?” KB gave a tiny smile. Again, a flash of evil. “Okay, Andy,” she said. “I’ll beupfront. I want you to start a legacy.”
“A legacy?”“Yes.”“A legacy in which people die every generation.”“People die all the time in legacies.”“Yeah, but usually the oldest generation is dying, not the youngest.”
“I just don’t see what’s in this for me-”“Didn’t you tell your girlfriend - excuse me, ex-girlfriend, now isn’t it? Didn’t you tellher you wanted to start a family and settle down? Well, here’s your chance to haveone. It’s practically guaranteed.”“Yeah, and so is the death of my children. Look, I just don’t think I could have kidsknowing that one or more of them will die and that I’m the reason.”
“Andy,” KB said forcefully. “This all may seem a bit unorthodox, but remember noone really knows when they are going to die. Even if you hadn’t been cursed,there’s no guarantee that your children would live long, happy lives. They could liveforever and be miserable. Some great calamity could befall them. You never know.My point is that there are no sure things in life. The only thing you can do is liveyour life and make the best of any situation. You must ‘enjoy the moment with allyour might...whether it’s gloomy, whether it’s bright.’ So to speak.”
“Whatever happens will happen,” she continued, “And this legacy will happen. I’vealready invested a lot in this. Now, I’ve drafted a contract here, and I think you willfind most of the terms agreeable. But you have to realize, Andy, that you only havetwo options.”“Oh, really?”“Yes. You can either take this opportunity to negotiate or find yourself fightingagainst chance, if you will.”
I knew she was evil. I guess there was no real harm in looking at this thing,was there? I mean, if she wanted me to do this, there had to be some perks inthere, right?“There will be death in your family. How much or how often, I can’t exactly say. Butas for potential heirs – Well, let me explain it this way. Your family will be collectingghost colors –”“Collecting?”
“For lack of a better term, yes. Spares will provide new ghost colors and with eachcolor, a new immunity. After ten generations, and all the ghost colors, the familywill have enough immunity to permanently lift the curse. To ensure fairness, thespare chosen to be the generation’s ghost color will be chosen in the samemanner and method that the heir is chosen. But any direct descendant of the mainfamily line eligible for heirship who refuses to participate in the competition forheirship forfeits their chance to be heir and consequently, automatically becomespart of the family’s ghost collection. The heir selection process will then proceednormally.”
“After the heir selection is over, the remaining spares will become creatures.”“To build up ‘immunity’ in the family?”KB shrugged. “Not really, I just think it’d be fun to have clans of each creature. Butif you want to think of things that way, go ahead. It certainly couldn’t hurt to have afew supernaturals in the family.” Ignoring my eye-roll, she went on.
For the next hour or so, KB and I went over the ‘contract.’ She explained allthe rules to me and told me what things would be expected of myself and futureheirs. She was very forthright and answered all my questions, but there was onething she wouldn’t tell me: what the selection process for the heirs would be. Shedescribed it as an ‘ordeal’ and told me each generation would face a new task, butthat was all she said. That part of the contract would remain undisclosed until Isigned.
“Well, that pretty much sums up all the more unusual aspects of the contract;everything else is pretty much legacy standard. Now that I’ve explained everythingwe can begin the negotiations. Is there anything you’d like to see in the contract?Besides the obvious, of course.”The more I had thought about it, the more I had realized that she was right aboutmaking the most of life. And since she seemed pretty sure that this legacy wouldhappen with or without my consent, I figured it might be to my advantage tonegotiate while I still had the chance. “I do have some considerations…”
“Naturally, I want the best for my future children and myself.”“Naturally.”“And this is one way I can guarantee some happiness for my family?” I raised abrow. She didn’t object, so I continued. “I have heard of legacies, heard of strictfamilies in which sims are forced to marry for genetics, job positions, or wealth. Idon’t want that for my family. I want to marry for true love and I want all mydescendants to have that choice.”
KB nodded. “Three bolt couples. I think I can make that happen. Go on.”“Well, I also want to ensure that my family has as much fun and happiness aspossible, given the- the circumstances. So I want parties for every birthday, familyvacations every generation, and if there are going to be generational familycelebrations, bow about one not surrounding the heirship and death?” At this KB had started to frown. Perhaps I was asking for too much. Butreally, who could blame me? She was asking for a lot, too. I mean-
“Well,” KB finally spoke up. “Another family celebration I don’t mind; it’s thebirthday parties that will be really tedious. I don’t usually hold parties for infantbirthdays. Not to mention that earning enough money for a vacation will be reallydifficult for the first generation… And yet,” she mused, “Life is more interesting withchallenges… So why not? Deal.” Relieved, I let out a great sigh. “Great. There’s more, though.” This would bea tough sell, I knew. Legacies were famous for “skill grinding.”
“I don’t want my family wasting their childhood trying to earn skill points. Theyshould be able to have fun, you know? So no skill grinding. I mean, if they’re doingsomething they like and happen to earn skill points, fine. But skilling shouldn’t betheir life. And while we’re at it, teens should be able to have fun, too. At least oneouting or date on a community lot each would nice and I think you should limit theskilling scholarships to one, if any.” I held my breath again, unsure of her reaction.But to my surprise, she smiled.“Sure, that’s fine,” she said casually.
“…Really?”“Well, yeah. It makes sense considering that the heir won’t be chosen until allcandidates are teens. It’d be pointless for them to spend their childhoods skilling up ifthey aren’t even going to be heir.”Hmm. I didn’t think of it like that. I guess I needn’t have worried after all. Well, thenegotiations being done, KB and I went ahead and signed the contract. My cursewould be lifted. Somewhat. It was my only option, though. My only chance to havekids. …Right?
“Any last questions?” She asked as we wrapped things up.“Yeah, just one. Why the contract? It’s not how legacies are usually done.” At this KB sighed and actually looked quite guilty. “I won’t go into details, but…The last… project that I worked on turned out to be a bit of a mess. This way, thecontract lets you know where I stand and hints at what you might expect. You knoweverything you need to know, including the fact that I will not be meddling on yourbehalf. I’ll be your friend, your confidant, if you want. But I’m not changing the rules.”
“What do you mean?”“I mean, that this contract, this legacy, and its rules, however bizarre, are serious.There will be no exceptions or special circumstances. If you or your descendantsviolate the terms of this contract, the appropriate violent and irrational judgmentwill be swiftly enacted on all violators.“…Wait, what? Why didn’t you tell me that before I signed the contract?”
“I did! I mean I am. I think I’ve tried to be very honest and give you as much info aspossible before you sign. It’s exactly why I’m telling you the consequences ofbreaking the contract now.”“KB,” I grumbled frustratedly, “I signed the contract three minutes ago!”“…Oh. Oopsie!” She shrugged. “Oh, well.”
“What do you mean ‘Oh, well?’ I just signed the life of my children away and nowyou tell me that I can’t ever get out of this contract?! You- You tricked me.”“I mostly certainly did not. I gave you a copy of the contract; you had a chance toread it, modify it, and ask any questions. No one forced you to sign it and I nevertold you that you needed to make a decision today. You signed of your own freewill, buddy, so don’t blame me for your oversight and hasty decisions.“But… But…”
“Face it, Andy, this legacy is already in progress. You signed up to be the founderand the contract allows me to document the process. Now, you’ll be taken to yournew home tomorrow and given a new last name.”“But-” KB ignored me. “You’ll be moving to a new neighborhood, too, so hopefullyno stalker ex-girlfriends. A residence has already been picked out for you.”“But you can’t-”“I can, because you signed. That’s the end of it.”
This sucks! I turned to go before I remembered something. “How do I reachyou, if there’s any problems?”KB brightened at the new topic. “Well, I’ll be moving, too, but really, all you have todo is think.”“Huh?”
“Hmm, how to explain? …Well, I guess you could say I have telepathy; you think it,I hear it and sometimes you can hear my responses, too. Now if that’s all, I’ll saygoodbye; you’ve an early day tomorrow. Oh, and good luck. You’ll need it with theextreme start and all. That definitely makes the well-dressed handicap difficult.”“What? I don’t remember signing up for any of that!”“Dude. Did you read anything in the contract?”
“Oh, crap, what the hell did I get myself into?”******Hmm, well, to find that out, readers will just have to wait until chapter one! Latersimmers and happy reading!“Am I going to hear commentary in my head all of the time now?”