Sim music plays. Background noise from the crew breaking down their gear is distracting but not intollerable. The off screen director’s voice grows louder as the lot comes in to focus. “Let’s wrap it up guys. Their memory of this time will become a hint of a dream or heck, more likely a nightmare.”
Ruyb looks around distractedly. “So this is it. It’s over. What happens to us? I mean… I’m just a host and if there is no more show, then…” She bites her finger lost in thought. “There is this Phase 3 you keep threatening the girls with but from the way you’re pulling the plug on the cameras, it looks as if you don’t need me. You won’t delete me… will you?”
The off screen voice attempts to reassure her. “Would I do that?” Ruyb’s eyes widen with a touch of panic. “Oh, bad choice of words, huh?”
“Well, to ease your mind just a smidge, the answer is no. You aren’t going to be deleted.” The off screen voice hesitates.
“What?” Ruyb crosses her arms in front of her defensively. “Oh for cripes sake, just say it.”
“You need to pack it up. You’re moving out of the host house.”
“Oh… well, as long as I’m not leaving alone…”
“He’s leaving, too.”
“What are you doing?” Magic shivers while watching from the front steps. She crosses her arms in an attempt to ward off the cold.
“Need simoleans…” Christina stares forlornly in to the empty tin in her hand. “Need… simoleans…” Her voice cracks. She whimpers in desperation.
“No you don’t. The asylum takes care of all your finances. Toots pays all the bills.” Magic shivers again. “Come inside before you get sick… and die.”
“Need… simoleans…” Christina’s voice breaks off. She shakes the tin back and forth in front of her, holding her sign and begs the empty road for spare simoleans.
“Death, Christina. That’s what happens here. You get sick. You die.” Magic sighs heavily. “It’s almost time to make a break for it. We go tomorrow morning while Toots is at work. The cameras will be gone. It’s our chance. Don’t mess this up for me.” Magic turns on her heel and heads back in to the warmth of the house.
“Simoleans?” Christina whimpers once more.
The voice breaks through her mental stupor. She winces mentally. She closes her eyes and takes a deep cleansing breath of the frigid clear air. “Mitch.” A soft smile breaks through her worries. Simply saying his name makes her feel stronger. She can do this. She can survive this place.
“What are you doing?” Mitch walks up behind her, takes the tin can and sign and tosses them in the trash. “You don’t need those.” His eyes widen a touch as his hand comes in brief contact with hers. “You’re freezing.”
Mitch ushers her inside. “Come on. I can’t have my woman panhandling in the streets, catching her death and leaving me before I have a chance to marry her.”
Christina almost stumbles into the house. “M-marry?”
Mitch chuckles softly. “When the time is right and I get you away from here… yes, marry.” Christina swoons. Turning in the doorway she whimpers as he steps closer. He wraps his arms around her waist and kisses her nose gently. “If you’ll have me.”
Her arms snake around his neck. She squeals excitedly. Her voice is rushed as she whispers to him. “Tomorrow… Magic says we leave tomorrow.”
His eyes sparkle as he grins at her. “Excellent. I’ll pick you up and take you away from here.”
“Ruyb, it’s time.”
“Hmmm, no… He’s at work. You’ll have to wait.”
“What are you reading?”
“Nonya.” Ruyb smirks, “None ya damn bussiness.” Ruyb laughs alone at her own joke.
“Okay, that’s it. I’m done with bossy sim me’s… especially my own. So we’re just going to do this the old fashioned way.” The voice drifts off.
Ruyb looks around suddenly feeling very alone. She slowly closes the book. “Butler dude?” She stands up, puts the book back on the shelf and grabs hold of a wall for support. “Roo!” Her stomach lurches. She gasps for breath. The whole house’s inards are sucked up in an invisible vacuum in the sky. She clings to a doorway, her legs above her head as her screams are sucked in to a void.
“Ruyb, let go!”
“Cyd? Cyd, where are you? Help me!”
Cyd reaches a hand out to her from within the vacuum. “Let go, Babe. We’re getting the family move out suction. It’s okay. It’s a bit unnerving your first time. We’ll be fine. Trust me.”
Ruyb whimpers in fear, yet she let’s go.
Heather’s grin is huge and her excitement is infectious. “I called the taxi. It’ll be here in an hour. Yay!”
Christina hesitates. “Um…”
“What?” Magic stares at Christina.
“Nothing!” Christina shakes her head a little too quickly. “I’m just… not ready.”
Magic closes her eyes briefly trying to calm her anger. “Then get ready. We leave soon.”
Christina still hesitates. “Well…”
“Well, I’m ready! Um, except I need to change.” Heather dashes for the room. “I’m so excited! We’re finally free.”
Magic is relentless. She doesn’t let Christina get away with half lame answers. Her arms are crossed before her to keep from grabbing and shaking the woman. “What did you do?”
Christina backs away. Magic takes a step forward. “Mitch is coming for me.”
Magic stops and blinks. She cocks her head to the side and grins. “Is that all?” Magic heads towards the bedroom. “You still have to get ready to go. You’re not leaving like that are you?”
Christina sighs in relief, looks at her pajamas and squeaks. “Oh!”
The taxi driver honks the horn… numerous times.
“Our ride is here.” Heather picks up the king and sighs softly. “I’m gonna have to get me one of these games…” She looks towards the bedroom. “Are you ready to go?”
Grunting noises come from the bedroom direction. Heather’s eyebrows furror with concern. “Just a… ugh, sec.”
“Do you need help?” Heather drops the king and heads to the bedroom. “Mag! What did you do?”
Magic waves a dismissive hand. “Worry about that later. Help me. We have to get out of here.” Magic maneuvers her body under one arm, while Heather gives her a disapproving frown. “Really. Now, would be a good time to help.”
Heather sighs softly before positioning herself under Christina’s other arm holding it around her shoulders and hoisting the woman up enough to ‘walk’ her out to the waiting taxi.
Heather bites her lip. “Oh don’t mind her… she um, well… tied one on a bit early today. We need to take her to get help. It’s for her own good.”
“Get in, Heather.” Magic’s voice sounds urgent from within the taxi.
Heather looks up at the clear blue sky as if searching for something. “Right.” She quickly hops in the taxi giving Magic and Christina a concerned glance.
Magic closes the door. “Drive.”
“Ew, Christina is drooling on me.”