Published on March 4, 2014
She awoke with a start, gasping for breath. Her nightmare, always the same one, was growing stronger.
Her sister’s deafening scream of terror. The Tricou disciples, her so-called friends smiling and laughing at her as they thanked her for convincing Grey, Lily, and Nata to join them that afternoon. Her body paralyzed with fear, except for the continuous chant of her inner voice, repeating that it was all her fault. Whenever she started making friends again, it came back. It didn’t matter who or what or where. As soon as she let people get close to her, it reappeared more intense than before. And that meant only one thing. It was time to move on.
Desdemona got up from the sweat-soaked sheets, feeling as though every ounce of strength had drained from her body, and began to pull her things from the hotel room dresser. She felt like she’d been doing nothing but “moving on” since she left her siblings. It felt like forever ago, but in reality it had probably only been a few years.
At first, they stuck together because they felt the safety in numbers. But as Lily’s nightmares continued, Desdemona found herself withdrawing from her brother and sisters. After all, if she hadn’t made them go to Hans Trap Door Co. with her, Lily wouldn’t be in the state she was, they wouldn’t be banished from Sim City, and their mother wouldn’t have had to become a vampire and be imprisoned in that creepy old house with only a ghost for company.
It had been easier than she’d thought to leave them. They’d been near a college town, and Desdemona had announced that she wanted to go. No one else had, so they had continued on without her. Their willingness to let her stay behind further convinced Desdemona that they did in fact blame her even when they said they didn’t. It was better this way, she thought, as she watched the car vanish in the distance. This way, they could start to heal without her presence constantly reminding them of what they’d lost.
After taking an exam to prove that she knew what she should, since she didn’t have a high school diploma, Desdemona entered college with a political science major. She attended classes, hung around the common areas of the dorm, and started to make friends. It was nice to be someplace where no one knew her history. Things went well through her first semester. She made the Dean’s list, which she proudly shared with everyone in a mass email. Then everything went to hell.
She’d spent the semester break at the house of one of her dorm mates, and they started hanging out when school started again. One night about two weeks into the new semester, Desdemona awoke in a cold sweat, screaming. That was the first time she had nightmares about what happened with her sister. Sadly, it would not be the last. Her dorm mates had awoken to her screams, and they’d understood that she’d had a nightmare, and had even gone to the cafeteria to make her hot chocolate to comfort her. She’d smiled and thanked them, but refused to talk about the nightmare. She didn’t want any of her new friends to know the pain she had caused to her family.
The nightmares didn’t stop, and soon Desdemona’s dorm mates began to whisper about her, wondering what was causing her to interrupt all their sleep with her screams night after night. Old Desdemona would have been sad by this development, but New Desdemona understood completely. After all, she’d already shown that she was a poor judge of character. And even though her sister’s calls and email did their best to maintain a happy tone, Desdemona could tell that Lily was still suffering. No, Desdemona didn’t deserve to have friends. She’d just end up hurting them too, in the long run. Desdemona pulled away from them, one by one, until all that was left for her was her schoolwork. But since she wasn’t sleeping well, if at all, it too suffered. About halfway through her second semester, she dropped out. She packed up all her worldly goods into a suitcase and a cardboard box, and caught the next bus out of town.
Eventually, the bus arrived in the city of Kingston, a bustling metropolis on the banks of a river. It was bigger even than Sim City had been, and Desdemona looked up at the huge skyscrapers and gulped. She’d never felt smaller and more alone in her life. Still, she figured the big city would be exactly what she needed. There were so many opportunities, and a million different possibilities of what she could do. Gripping her suitcase tighter in her hand, she made her way down the street towards a rather seedy looking motel. She would much rather have stayed somewhere nicer, but until she figured out what she was going to do for work, she needed to conserve her money.
Work wasn’t at all hard to find, with so many options available to her. Desdemona soon began working as a waitress. The pay wasn’t fantastic, but her friendly nature made it easy to build rapport with her customers , and that in turn improved her tips which made a huge difference to her finances. She picked up extra shifts whenever she could, and soon had enough money to rent a small studio apartment closer to the restaurant. It wasn’t much, but it was hers, and she was immensely proud of it.
Occasionally, she’d join her coworkers for a drink or two when they got out of work. Desdemona still didn’t think that she deserved to have any true friends, but it was nice to have a few people that she could talk to about trivial things every now and then. As long as she didn’t let anyone get too close to her, she didn’t think there would be any problems. Still, Desdemona wasn’t happy. At the end of the night, she came home to an empty apartment. It certainly wasn’t what she planned on her life being life, but it was what it was. Desdemona still didn’t believe that she deserved happiness, especially not after what she’d put her family through. She could support herself. That would have to be enough.
A few months into her stay in Kingston, Desdemona had decided to stop and pick up a pizza on the way home from work rather than suffer another night of restaurant leftovers. The pizza place was halfway between her restaurant and her apartment, and she’d done it several times before so she didn’t think twice as she made her way down the street to pick up her order. A few blocks before arriving at the pizza place, Desdemona found herself frozen in her tracks. Standing on the edge of the street was a vampire.
Her father had been a vampire since before Desdemona was born, so she was very familiar with how they looked, from their bluish skin to their blood-red eyes. It was actually pretty surprising that this was the first vampire she’d seen during her stay in Kingston. She’d seen a few zombies, and had been certain that she’d served a witch or two, but she hadn’t seen a vampire since she said goodbye to her mother back in Sim City. This vampire was a man, and he paid no attention to her as he stalked past the place where she stood rooted to the ground. When he vanished around a corner, she felt her muscles unlock. With one quick glance over her shoulder to make sure he was really and truly gone, Desdemona took off running, her pizza long forgotten.
She reached her apartment, slamming and bolting the door behind her. Her breath was coming in gasps, both from her sprint home and the sight that had sent her running. She honestly never thought she’d see another vampire again. She planned on avoiding them all together, unless some strange circumstance allowed her to return to Sim City and see her mother again. The Council keeping her father from her when she was younger combined with their harsh sentence on her mother and herself made her very wary of the creatures. They were trouble, plain and simple. As the adrenaline wore off, Desdemona felt her knees wobble, and she sank to the floor.
“You knew that you’d probably run into one sooner or later,” she muttered to herself. “Cities are a magnet for creatures like that, since they can blend in.” Still doesn’t make it any easier, especially not after everything. “Oh, shut up,” she muttered again. “I’m not having conversations with myself.” The voice in her head had no reply. Instead, her stomach rumbled, reminding her that her dinner had never been collected. Instead of venturing outside to go get it, she picked herself up and opened the freezer, though she know that its contents were pretty sparse. “TV dinner it is,” she sighed, as she tried not to think about the warm, gooey pizza that sat abandoned somewhere.
Sleep eluded Desdemona that night. She tossed and turned for hours. It wasn’t until the sun started to rise that she was able to get herself to relax enough to fall into slumber, and it was far too soon that her alarm clock blared, signaling it was time to get up and head to work. “Thank goodness for coffee,” she muttered as she started a pot before heading off to shower. Three cups and a few pieces of toast later, Desdemona headed off to work. She took a completely different route than what she normally did, not trusting herself to walk down the same street she had seen the vampire on the night before.
Work was busy that night, something Desdemona was grateful for. The hurried pace kept her mind occupied, and she managed to forget about her lack of sleep and the vampire that had shaken her so badly. When closing time came, she grabbed a bagful of leftovers and hurried out the door. Instead of walking as she usually did, she took a cab. She’d done well with her tips that night, and she figured she’d earned the peace of mind that the cab ride would afford her.
The cab let her off at the intersection right by her apartment. As she paid the driver, she caught something moving out of the corner of her eye. A person…no. Another vampire. This one was a woman, and she was looking straight at Desdemona. She felt her heart rate increase. Rather than wait for her change, she hollered “Keep it!” over her shoulder as she sprinted into her building. Once again she locked the door, putting a chair up against it for good measure. “Not that that will keep them out if they want to come in.”
After her sleepless night, she collapsed into bed and fell asleep almost immediately. But her old nightmare returned with vengeance that night. Desdemona awoke screaming, Lily’s voice echoing in her head. “No, no, no, no, no,” she cried. “Stop, please, stop! I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
Desdemona got out of bed, her shoulders slumped. “I can’t stay here.” Two vampires in two nights was just too much for her. The other supernatural creatures, thought they freaked her out, did not unnerve her in the same way those two vampires had. Sighing, she reached under the bed and pulled out her suitcase. Since she couldn’t sleep, she might as well pack. As soon as the sun rose, she could be on her way.
At eight that morning, Desdemona knocked on the landlord’s door. Luckily, her lease was month-to-month. With her returned security deposit in hand, she headed down the street to the used car lot. She bought the only vehicle she could afford, though it certainly looked like it had seen better days. She drove it back to her apartment, filling it up with her suitcase and a few boxes of things that she couldn’t bear to leave behind. She gave the street one last look before getting behind the wheel, determined to put as much distance between herself and Kingston as she could before nightfall.
Three days later, Desdemona was standing by the side of the road, kicking the tires of her car with all that she had. The damn thing wouldn’t start, and she had no idea why. Without a phone and with no houses in sight, she had no idea what to do. The sound of an engine caught her ear. “Please, come this way,” she mumbled. “Please please please please please.”
A battered old pickup truck slowed to a stop as it approached her car. Inside was an older man, and he called to her through the rolled-down window. “You alright there, miss?” “My car won’t start, and I don’t have a phone to call for help. Do you have a phone that I can borrow, please?” “I can do one better than that,” he said, getting out of the truck and reaching into the bed and producing a set of chains. “If you don’t mind, I’ll pull your car to my house, and see if I can do anything to get it running right.”
Desdemona hesitated, and the man chuckled. “You’re not from around here, are you?” “What makes you say that?” “Well, if you were, you wouldn’t have hesitated. Everyone from this area knows that I’m the best mechanic around these parts. Why, I’d be insulted, if I didn’t figure that you were just passing through.” “I’m sorry, sir,” she replied. “I’ve…learned not to trust people.” “City livin’ll do that to you. Now, can I offer you a tow?”
Desdemona quickly considered her options, and nodded. She helped him hook the chains up to her car, and then hopped into the cab. “Where you headin’ if you don’t mind my asking?” “Anywhere far away from Kingston.” “Well, Riverbrook is that,” he chuckled. “Name’s Keith. Keith Jiles.” “Desdemona.” “Got a last name to go with that?” “Yup.” Keith chuckled. “More of that not trusting people thing?” “Yup.”
Keith’s house turned out to be a warm and inviting old farmhouse with a large barn in the back. That was where they towed and then pushed her car, and Keith carried her suitcase into the house where a matronly woman was bustling about the large kitchen. “You bringin’ home strays again, honey?” she asked as she kissed him on the cheek. “You know me. Tammy, this is Desdemona. Desdemona, Tammy, my wife. She’ll be staying here until I can figure out why her old car won’t start.” “Oh, I can’t impose,” Desdemona began, but Tammy quickly hushed her. “There’s not a hotel or a motel for miles, deary. Why don’t you go freshen up before dinner? I hope you like fried chicken.” “Homemade?” Desdemona asked as her mouth began to water. “Deary, ‘homemade’ is the only kind of food we do around here.”
Dinner that night had been divine. Desdemona couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a home-cooked meal, and Tammy’s fried chicken had not disappointed. She’s been fairly certain that after three helpings of it her stomach would explode, but when Tammy produced a still-warm-from-the-oven apple pie, Desdemona was able to eat two slices. Not long after dinner, the combination of a very full belly and several days of basically living in her car caught up with her, and Tammy chuckled before leading her up the stairs to a small, homey bedroom. Her suitcase, which Keith had brought upstairs earlier, sat on the desk. “Bathroom’s right next door. We make an early start around here, but don’t feel like you need to join us. You look tired, deary. Sleep as late as you want.” “Thank you, Mrs. Jiles.” “What did I tell you earlier, deary? Mrs. Jiles is my mother-in-law. It’s Tammy.”
The next morning, Desdemona work up after one of the best nights of sleep she’d had since the incident. She flipped back the homemade quilt on her bed, and got up to look out the window. She was greeted with the sight of idyllic rolling hills and farmland. There was a pasture with sheep in it, and a field where what appeared to be corn was growing. She felt a wave of peace wash over her. “This place is beautiful,” she whispered, before gathering up a change of clothes and heading to the bathroom to get ready for the day.
Down in the kitchen, Tammy was busy mixing something up in a large bowl. “Sleep well, deary?” she asked. “Very well, thank you.” “You must be hungry. What would you like?” “Oh, I can make myself some toast or something.” Tammy put the hand that held the mixing spoon on her hip. “Desdemona, no one in my house eats ‘just toast’ for breakfast. Give me a second and I’ll whip you up an omelet.”
After breakfast, Desdemona put on a sweater and headed outside to the barn where Keith was busy poking at her car. “Have you figured out what’s wrong with it yet?” He chuckled. “I think it would be easier to figure out what’s right with it.” “Damn,” she swore. “I knew it was a piece of junk when I bought it, but I couldn’t afford anything better.” Keith nodded. “Lots of those car salesmen in the city make lots of money off of folks like that. Drives me crazy.”
“Well, I did what I could,” Desdemona said, slightly defensively. “Now little lady, I didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers. I’m sure you would have gotten a better car if you could have. Frankly, I’m amazed that it lasted as long as it did.” Desdemona sighed. “So there’s no fixing it?” “I didn’t say that. It needs a new starter and alternator, which I can get. There are a few other things I suggest that you get fixed before going anywhere, like the brakes and the suspension. With a little elbow grease and some new paint, this could be a very nice little car.”
Desdemona sighed again. “That sounds expensive.” “It can be as expensive as you want it to be. I can break it all down for you, highlighting the repairs that will make the car safer and more reliable. The cosmetic stuff isn’t necessary, but it would help the resale value down the road.” She raised an eyebrow. “You think there’s another sap out there dumb enough to buy this piece of junk?” Keith threw back his head and laughed. “You know what they say about a sucker being born every minute.”
Desdemona cracked a small smile. “So, now what?” He scratched the back of his neck. “Well, I can fix it up so it’ll run so you can leave, but it’ll take about a week to get the parts in. You headed anywhere in a hurry?” “Nope, I don’t have a schedule I need to keep. How much?” Keith went over to his work bench and worked some figures on a dirty notepad. “’Bout five hundred.”
Desdemona thought for a moment. Between buying the car and not having a job, the cost of repairing her car would leave her with virtually nothing once she got wherever she decided she was going. If she couldn’t find a job right away, she’d really be up a creek without a paddle. “That’s…not something I can really afford right now.” Keith nodded. “City livin’s expensive. Must have been hard to save anything.” Desdemona simply nodded, not really trusting her voice. “Tell you what. If you ain’t got nowhere to be, why not stay here for a while. Tammy and me, we’ve rented rooms to folks passin’ through before. There’s a café where you could wait tables, or the newspaper, which always need folks to review what’s going on in the area.” “I don’t know…” “Just think about it. Take the day, walk into town and explore a bit. See what you think.”
She did just that. It was maybe a half mile into the small center of town. Having always lived in cities, Desdemona found herself entranced with the main street, and how everyone really did seem to know each other. She stopped into the small café, but they weren’t hiring at the moment. The newspaper office, however, had been more lucrative. The editor had been eager to meet her, and she walked away with a job as a local events correspondent. It wasn’t the best pay, but she figured something was better than nothing. It would allow her to pay for her room and eventually the repairs to her car. Maybe she’d even earn enough to be able to fix her car up like Keith had suggested.
That night, over a dinner of turkey with all the fixings, Desdemona asked if there was a room available for her to rent. Tammy smiled a mile wide. “Of course we do! You do know that it includes three meals a day.” “Thank you. I figured since I don’t know where I’m going, I might as well stay here for a while. Maybe I can even save up enough to make that hunk of junk in the barn look like a respectable car.” “I’ll order the parts first thing in the morning. If you’re not opposed to getting your hands dirty, it would help with the labor costs.”
Over the next few weeks, Desdemona spent her days helping Keith work on repairing her car or in the kitchen with Tammy baking and cooking various dishes. Most afternoons and evenings were devoted to work for the newspaper, attending various events around town and in the area and recapping them. Eventually, she was able to save enough to purchase herself a laptop computer so she could work on her articles in the quiet of her room rather than the busy newspaper office. Despite the lack of variety, Desdemona found that she liked life in Riverbrook. For all its faults, the people genially cared about each other and everyone looked out for everyone else. She soon learned the names of the townsfolk, and the incidental things going on in their lives that polite conversation demanded she ask about when they met.
The only thing that bothered her about Riverbrook was how nosy the people were. Whenever she met up with someone, courtesy demanded that she say hello, but the residents of the small town always seemed to want to go further than that. They asked about how she liked her job, and how the repairs on her car were progressing. That she didn’t mind so much. She was happy to make small talk about inconsequential things. It was when they started to probe deeper that Desdemona got leery. Once she’d been there awhile, the townsfolk seemed to think her past was their business. They asked about her family, and if they were going to come visit her. They asked why a “nice young girl” like her didn’t have a boyfriend. And they asked about whether or not she was going to be staying in Riverbrook.
She commented on it to Tammy one day while they were working on dinner. “Don’t you worry your pretty little head ‘bout that none, deary. Folks in small towns like to gossip, and we haven’t had a new person come ‘round in a long time. Just you wait. In a few weeks, they’ll find something newer and more interesting to talk about, and you’ll be old news.”
One day, out of the blue, she got a call from someone named John, who said that he was marrying her sister Lily. He’d tracked her, Nata, and Grey down, and was hoping that Desdemona would be able to attend the wedding. Needing to buy herself a little time, she said that she really wanted to, but would need to check to see if she could get the time off. As soon as she hung up with John, she called Grey. “You should go,” he said simply. Desdemona hesitated. She was afraid that seeing her sister again would trigger the nightmares, which she hadn’t had since leaving Kingston. “I don’t know.” “Desdemona, this isn’t about you. This is about Lily. It would mean a lot to her to have all of us there, so you should go.”
She did go, and in the end she was glad she did. Seeing her sister happy with her husband and new family, Desdemona somehow felt lighter. Despite all that Lily had suffered, she had been able to overcome it and get what she had wanted. Maybe, someday, Desdemona would be able to do the same.
As she’d said goodbye to Lily, her younger sister had looked at her as if she could see Desdemona’s very soul. “Are you happy, Desi?” Desdemona stuttered a bit as she answered. “I’m trying, Lil. I really am trying.” Lily had hugged her close. “Keep trying. Don’t give up until you are.”
Upon her return to Riverbrook, she thought about what her sister had said. For Desdemona, happiness had always meant surrounding herself with friends. But friends had brought on the nightmares, and they had been unbearable, so she wasn’t sure if that was a realistic option for her. Being happy in the future would need to take on a different form, if she wanted to keep the nightmares at bay. As she tried to decide what happiness would look like for her, Desdemona began to seriously consider staying in Riverbrook long term. She liked the serenity the small town afforded, she liked her job, and she liked living with Keith and Tammy. It wasn’t exactly where she pictured ending up when she left Kingston, but staying someplace where she had a steady job and a roof over her head seemed liked a good idea.
Everyone knew that she’d gone to see her sister get married, so of course they asked about it. Still reluctant to share anything about her family, Desdemona had tried to satisfy their curiosity with broad statements about how lovely the wedding was, and how happy she was for her sister. Unlike the other times when she’d gently brushed them off, this time the townsfolk seemed genuinely rebuked by her lack of responses. One of the ladies who loved to tell Desdemona all about how well her chickens were laying said as much. “What kind of girl doesn’t like to talk about weddings?” “This kind,” Desdemona had replied before quickly walking away.
By the time the annual county fair rolled around, Desdemona was starting to feel uncomfortable in Riverbrook. She’d been sent to cover the event, and as she wandered around the produce displays and checked out the entertainment, she noticed that people were talking in hushed tones as she passed by. Their words were too soft for her to hear, but she didn’t need to hear them to know that she was probably the topic of their discussions. She tried to ignore them, but it was much easier said than done. Desdemona had always felt a bit like an outsider, but that feeling was never stronger than it was that day.
She sat down at a picnic table where Keith and Tammy were sharing a basket of fries. “Want some, deary?” Tammy asked, but Desdemona shook her head. Her stomach felt funny after watching seemingly everyone gossip about her, without bothering to hide it. “Now, you love fries. What’s bothering you?” Desdemona bit her lip. “Oh, I’m sure it’s nothing. It’s just…I kept noticing that everywhere I went today, people seemed to be whispering behind my back.”
Tammy frowned. “Deary, what did I tell you? That’s just what folks in small towns do. When Keith and I first moved here, folks talked about us all the time. Eventually, something else will come along that will capture their interest, and they’ll move on.” “I hope so,” Desdemona muttered. “Now, how about some fries?”
That night, Desdemona’s sleep was fitful, but she didn’t have the full-blown nightmares that she did back in college or in Kingston. When she got up, she felt extremely groggy, and it took three cups of coffee before she was able to think clearly enough to write her review of the county fair. Once that was done and sent off, she headed out to the barn where Keith was busy prepping her car for a fresh coat of paint. “Need a hand?” she asked. Keith nodded, and pointed to the grinder that was sitting on the work bench. “Go to it. It needs to be down to bare metal before we can repaint it. Have you picked the color yet? I need to order the paint soon.” “I’m thinking blue, but I’m not sure.” “Blue’s a good color.”
They worked in silence for a while, Desdemona’s focus entirely on removing the horrid paint and any trace of rust from the car. She finished the section she was working on, and called Keith over for his approval. “Nice work. You could make one hell of a mechanic if you wanted to, Desdemona.” She shrugged. “It’s a fun hobby, but I don’t know if I’d like it so much if I did it for a living. It’s kind of a solitary living, and I like being around people.” “Fair enough.”
Desdemona tried to stifle a yawn. “Up late working on your review last night?” “No, couldn’t sleep. Too much on my mind.” Keith nodded, and they went back to working on the car.
As they were cleaning up for the day, Keith spoke. “There’s something that happened to you that you want to get away from.” Desdemona spun around so fast that the ponytail her hair was in whipped around and smacked her in the face. Keith held his hands up in defense. “I don’t know what it is, but I do know this: you can’t keep running from your past. It always catches up to you.” She shrugged noncommittally. “What business of yours is it?” “None. But I can tell you’re a good girl, Desdemona, and you deserve to be happy.” “What do you know about what I deserve?” she mumbled as she tossed the rag she’d used to wipe her hands back on the work bench and stormed into the house.
Desdemona was unusually quiet during dinner, but Tammy chatted on enough to make up for the silence. Keith didn’t comment much, but at times he looked at Desdemona with a pointed expression. As quickly as she could once dinner was over, she hurried up to her room. Once there, she put on the comfiest pair of pajamas she owned and curled up on her bed. Her conversation with Keith had shaken her more than she cared to admit. The whole reason that she’d never told anyone about her past was that she didn’t want anyone to know. If people knew about what had happened in Sim City, they’d treat her differently. Not to mention the fact that her father was a vampire and her mother was now one. She’d never actually seen a supernatural creature of any kind in Riverbrook, but she could only imagine how well the townsfolk would take to someone like that.
She rolled over. Not that being treated differently wasn’t exactly what she deserved. Poor Lily was still suffering the aftereffects of what had happened; she’d gotten an email from Grey telling her that just a few days ago, along with the information that they’d gone their separate ways. “Poor Lily,” she whispered. “If only I hadn’t made you go.” She wiggled around until she’d pulled the sheets and quilt up over her. After a night of little sleep, she was exhausted. “I hope I can get some sleep some tonight.”
“Deary, wake up. You were having a bad dream,” Tammy said, gently shaking Desdemona’s shoulders. She sat up with a jolt, gasping in small breaths. “I…I’m sorry,” she managed to get out. “Oh, don’t worry about it. Everyone gets spooked by the boogey man every now and then.” Keith was standing in the doorway, arms folded. “You okay now?” “I think so. Go back to bed, you two. I’m going to get myself a drink and do the same.”
A week past, and Desdemona’s nightmares continued. Not wanting to wake Tammy and Keith up again, she’d taken to napping. Lots. It left her constantly feeling groggy, and the coffee maker became her new best friend. She thought she’d done a decent job of hiding what was going on, but as she crept down in the wee hours of the morning she overheard her hosts talking.
“I’m telling you, Tammy, that poor girl’s been traumatized by something. She needs to talk about it.” “Don’t you go pushing her, Keith. What she needs is someone to take care of her, and we’re doing that. She’ll open up when she’s ready.” “I wouldn’t count on it. I’d put money on her running away from something when I found her on the side of the road. I told her running away from her problems wasn’t a solution.” “Keith Jiles, you didn’t! You’re libel to scare the poor thing off.”
Realizing that there was coffee to be had at the café and free wireless where she could work on her latest review Desdemona slipped out of the house and into town. The conversation she’d overheard had left her stomach feeling as though a large rock was sitting in it. It wasn’t a good feeling. Desdemona had been so happy in Riverbrook, and now that happiness seemed to be in jeopardy.
The café was empty, as it was still very early, so she got to chatting with the barista while she made Desdemona a double espresso. “You know, Desdemona, I had some trouble with nightmares myself a while back. Got the doc to give me some pills to help me sleep, and it made all the difference.” Desdemona nearly dropped her coffee. “Excuse me?” “Oh, Keith was in here the other day, looking all tired and he mentioned that you were keeping everyone up with nightmares.” ”He did, did he?”
The barista nodded as she wiped the counter. “Oh, yeah. I told him to have you call my doc, to see if he could do something for you too. Guess he didn’t have a chance to yet.” “No, he didn’t. Thanks, but no. I’m not interested in sleeping pills.” The barista shrugged. “Suit yourself. If that’s not your cup of tea, I know a shrink the next town over who’s really good too.” It took everything Desdemona had not to scream or throw something. “No, thank you. I can take care of myself. Excuse me, I need to meet with my editor.”
She opened the door to the café with more force than was necessary, and stormed down the street to the newspaper office. It too was basically deserted, excepting for the light that was on in the editor’s office. “Desdemona!” she called as she looked up. “I wasn’t expecting to see you today.” “Hi Sara. I wasn’t planning on coming in, but I found that I need to.” “What’s up?”
Desdemona went into the office and sat down. “I need to quit. I’m sorry.” “Why?” “I need to leave Riverbrook,” Desdemona answered. When Sara raised an eyebrow, she elaborated. “Family emergency.” “Oh, you poor thing. I’m sorry to hear that. You were one of my best correspondents, and I’ll be sorry to lose you.” “Thanks. That means a lot.”
Sara leaned back in her chair. “I wonder…what would you think about freelancing for me?” “What do you mean?” “Like I said, I hate to lose you as a correspondent. Maybe you can’t cover local events any more, but maybe you could write about something else? Travel, book review, movie reviews, something?” Desdemona paused for a second. “I’d never thought about that, but I like the idea of still having a paycheck of sorts.” “Good. It’s settled then. You’ll write different articles and email them to me, and I’ll direct deposit your checks so you can access them wherever you’re going. Where are you going, by the way?”
“To my sister’s,” she lied. “She’s going through a rough patch, and she needs me. I might try travelling with her a bit, you know. I think she needs to get away from where she is.” “I see. Well, best of luck to you both. I assume you’re leaving soon?” “Very early tomorrow. I have a few loose ends I need to tie up first.” “Of course. Save travels, Desdemona, and I’ll be watching for those articles.”
Back at the house, Desdemona packed up her belongings once more and brought her things out to her car. As she closed the hatchback, she marveled at how different her car looked from what it had been a few months ago. It looked like a new car, and it ran even better. “At least something good came out of this whole mess,” she muttered before going back into the house.
At dinner that night, Desdemona told Keith and Tammy that she would be leaving early in the morning. “Running away again?” Keith asked. Desdemona shot daggers at him with her glare. “So what if I am?” Keith shook his head. “I told you running doesn’t help any.” “Neither does telling the whole town about my nightmares.”
Tammy gaped at her husband. “You didn’t!” He shrugged. “Everyone wanted to know why I looked so tired. I wasn’t going to lie.” “Having baristas offer to help me get sleeping pills or to set me up with a shrink is not helpful. I came here to get away from something, and now everyone knows my business. I can’t stay here anymore.” Tammy nodded sadly. “I understand, deary. I’m guessing you’ll be off before the sun’s up?” “Yes.”
The next morning, Desdemona was up ridiculously early. As she quietly went down the stairs of the house for the last time, she noticed an old picnic basket sitting by the door with a note with her name sitting on top. She picked up the note and started to read. Desdemona, Deary, I’m really sorry about what Keith did. I’m sure he thought he was helping, but he just doesn’t know when to mind his own business sometimes. I packed some food for you. Don’t worry about the basket; it’s old and I was supposed to have thrown it out a long time ago. I’m sure you’d rather forget your time in Riverbrook, but if you have a moment or two drop me a line to let me know you’re okay. I hope you can work through whatever it is that’s eating at you. Best, Tammy
Desdemona wiped a tear away as she refolded the note. She quickly crept into the kitchen and pulled a piece of paper out of a drawer. She scratched a quick thank you note before heading outside to put the basket and her computer into the car. Once in the driver’s seat, she took one last look around. “Goodbye, Riverbrook,” she said as she pulled out of the driveway, heading for places unknown.
For a while, Desdemona drove aimlessly, never staying in more than one spot for more than a few days. She reviewed hotels she stayed at, restaurants she ate in, books she read, and movies she saw. The pay wasn’t as good as it had been when she’d been covering local events, but she didn’t mind living a little frugally.
There were a few places where she stopped for more than a few days, but for some reason if she stayed somewhere more than one night the nightmares came back with a vengeance. “Damned vampires,” she swore. “Damned Tricou-following freaks. Why couldn’t they just have left us alone?”
She pulled out the map again, and studied it. She’d been to so many places, but none of them felt like someplace she’d like to stay for any period of time. She heaved a sigh. For a moment, she contemplated trying to locate a device like the one that Lily had used. It would be so nice to have all those horrid things that happened in Sim City not matter so much to her anymore.
She sank down onto the bed. Trying to locate such a device would be next to impossible. Eglantine had been the one to give Lily the device, and Desdemona had no way of getting in touch with Eglantine. “I suppose it’s what I deserve,” Desdemona said to the empty room.
She took one last look around the small room. She closed up the suitcase that she’d been living out of since she left Riverbrook. “Time to go,” she said to no one. “But where to?” She took a last look at the map. Cities were out; they attracted creatures like vampires, and she never wanted to see a strange vampire again. Small towns were safer, but they were full of gossips that stuck their noses into your private business. Surely there had to be a happy medium?
She folded up the map, picked up the suitcase, and headed out the door. She decided that the next town she found that fit the criteria of being somewhere between a big city and a small town would be where she stopped, and where she stayed for a while. There, she would do her best to leave her past behind her and finally make a fresh start.
***** Greetings! My name is SilverBelle, also known as Heidi. I normally write The Bradford Legacy, but after RoseFyre finished her turn with generation 9 of the Boolprop Round Robin Legacy, I had a crazy idea to do a spare story for Desdemona. It all started out with me wondering how Desi would handle her role in what happened to Lily. There are two more parts planned for this spare story. Part 2 will be out before the end of March (as it’s part of my SimStoCreMo goal), and I hope to have Part 3 out by then as well. Please leave comments on my LiveJournal. I hope you like what I have planned for Desi!
The Boolpropian Round Robin Legacy is a ... The Boolprop Round Robin Legacy Spare Story: Desdemona Doran ... and 10 of the Boolprop Round Robin legacy.
... Round .....the surface ... Boolprop Round Robin Legacy Spare Story ... Boolprop Round Robin Legacy Spare Story - Desdemona Doran Part Two. 581 Views ...
... Complete my BRRL spare story for Desdemona. ... Marjorie Thorne, Douglas Thorne, Franklin Thorne ... The Boolprop Round Robin Legacy Spare Story ...
Behind the cut are the two children born in my BRRL spare story. Up first is Esperanza Doran ... Boolprop Round Robin Legacy Spare Story ... desdemona ...
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CHAPTER LIST. Feb. 18th, 2010 at 5 ... the chapters for the Boolpropian Round Robin Legacy. Initially the story was going to be hosted ... SPARE STORIES ...
I bring you Chapter 4.15 of the Bohemian Legacy, part 1. A nd I have not updated my Boolprop thread for it yet because I am ... round robin; saffron; scotland;