Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cassada Play 23 - Ryder - Mysterious disappearances

After the news broke that Ryder's twin, Gordon, had died in a murder-suicide pact with his wife, Cass, Ryder felt something snap inside of him. Ryder knew his brother would never kill himself, that he had too much going for him, and he had too much family to support him. Something simply didn't sit right with Ryder. The rest of the family was mourning, but Ryder was researching. He found that Cory and Josh couldn't be contacted, no matter who he called and how many colleges, foster homes, and shelters he located. They'd simply disappeared. With Cory and Lakshmi being best friends, and her not having heard from Cory in years, it all failed to add up. His nephews disappeared, his brother dead, his sister in law dead. None of it made sense.Ryder uncovered a diary among Gordon's belongings that he was given in several big boxes. He assumed it belonged to Cass. The entries kept making mention to Yingwe, the musician. Not that Ryder knew Cass' musical taste, but why would she keep mentioning how hard the musician was making her life?
Then there was a mention of a pregnancy. But it was not Cass' diary after all, but Gordon's! How could Gordon be pregnant? It simply wasn't possible. Ryder was in a state of disbelief, but there were details of pain and labor and a baby. The dates were somewhat vague, but Ryder knew how old the other kids in the house would have been at the time of this birth description and it mentioned the other kids. Did Cass give a child up for adoption? With as much as she loved kids, it wasn't likely they'd do that - not without offering the family to take a child first. What was this about?
Then there was a slip in the coding of the entries and Ryder went back and re-read every one. Gordon had been pregnant. He had alien babies. It was hard on Cass, yes, and also hard on Gordon. He had to keep them secret because if his government job found out, well, there was no telling what would happen. But now that they were all dead or missing (except the girls, Giselle and Miranda, who were in foster care and none of the family was able to adopt them), Ryder knew what would happen - because it had happened. The government had found out about Gordon's secret. Before that, he'd sent the kids away to keep them safe. He hadn't told the family in case something got out. And now that the government knew, they had to keep Gordon and Cass quiet - the only way they could, by killing them. Shocked, but moved to action to avenge his twin's death, Ryder sprung into action.
Ryder used his connections up high to call a press conference. It would take place in three days time, just enough time to rally all the officials needed to shut down that branch of government and find out what happened to the alien babies.
Not an hour after his phone call went out, Ryder received an incoming call. "Mr. Fanboy, we do not want you speaking to the public about this sensitive matter. Please cancel your speaking engagement or we may be forced to intervene."

"You will not threaten me, whomever you are! Don't call here again."
But Ryder was visibly shaken by the call. They - whoever they were - were monitoring his phone.
With a storm raging outside, and an emotional storm raging inside, Ryder took his frustrations out on his piano.
That morning, the papergirl left a suspicious package. Ryder scooped it up in a plastic bag, unopened, and dumped it in the garbage.
Over the next couple of days, Ryder became suspicious of everyone. His gardener, Jerome, who had worked for him for years, now fell under scrutiny. When he smiled and waved up at Ryder watching in the window, Ryder drew the blinds and retreated to his bedroom.
That day, his usual carpool buddy, Scott, wasn't there, but a different car came. Ryder was friendly enough stating he'd drive himself to work. He called in sick.
The only person Ryder dare speak to was his girlfriend, Tracy. He had complete trust in Tracy. He had brought her over from a war-torn island to live in luxury in the house he had built for his brother, Alessandro, and Alessandro's wife, Amy. Tracy worked as their nanny, and she and Ryder had a child together, Nico. One day Ryder would get around to marrying Tracy, but not in the midst of all this chaos. He asked her to come over the day before the press conference.
"Tracy, I don't know if my house is bugged, but I know my phone is. Listen, I'm in danger, and I will tell you only what I feel you need to know to keep you and Nico safe. Pay attention. Tomorrow, I am holding a press conference to expose the government agency responsible for murdering my brother and his wife, and possibly their two older children. Further, I want you to take the number I'll slip into your pocket when we kiss and if anything at all happens to me, call and speak to Lisa. The number is written backwards, so don't dial it like its written. Nod if you understand."
Tracy nodded. They kissed deeply. Ryder slipped a note into Tracy's back pocket. "Pretend like nothing is amiss, Tracy. Let's have lunch."
But things were tense. They had lunch and Ryder toasted to Tracy's beauty and caring nature. After lunch, and a game of pool, Ryder asked her to stay the night, and leave in the morning, if it wouldn't be too hard on Nico. Tracy called Alessandro and Amy and cleared herself for the night. Nico said goodnight and "I love you" to Ryder. Ryder nearly wept.
Around 11pm, the phone rang again.
"We have asked you to cancel the speaking engagement. Are you going to comply?"

"I asked you to stop calling here," Ryder said and hung up.
The phone rang again at 6pm. Ryder assumed it was "them" again. It was Lisa, confirming tonight's conference and asking if Ryder wanted a limo sent or would drive himself this evening. Ryder said he'd drive himself, not wanting to get into possibly the wrong limo and have "them" take him where ever they took the aliens - and possibly Cory and Josh.
Ryder went back to sleep for an hour and was awoken by a startled Tracy. "Ryder, there's helicopters circling your neighborhood. Do you suppose...?"

"You should go, Tracy." He kissed her hard and hugged her harder and made her leave right away.
Ryder readied himself for the press conference, ironing his tie and gelling his hair. But somehow, he never showed up, and even if he had, there would have been no one there to greet him.
That afternoon, during a nap, Tracy had a dream about the kids in her care being lined up in her yard and killed in a firing squad. Her family often got these kind of dreams when something bad was happening or had just happened. She immediately thought of Ryder. She phoned his cell but could not reach him.
Half an hour later, Tracy got a call stating Ryder had died in a traffic accident. The man on the other end of the phone made a comment about fast cars like he owned, as if it were Ryder's fault.
Now Nico would truly grow up without a father, even if Ryder didn't live with them, he was always there for Nico.Tracy was broken up about it, but remembered that Ryder had asked her to call Lisa on the number in her pocket if anything happened to him. Who was Lisa? Was she an ex-girlfriend? Tracy didn't know the name from the family, so it probably wasn't a relative. Surely he wouldn't have Tracy call and ex. No, that was madness. Must be a friend from work. He mind scrambled for answers in her grief.
As Tracy made her call, Amy got the notion to "leave" and did. One minute she was there, in her jammies, and the next, she was just gone. She said not a word to anyone.
[Note: this really just happened. It said "leave" under Amy's action and nothing I did stopped her.]

Tracy called Lisa, dialing the number backwards from how it was written. A female voice at the other end answered. "Hi, Lisa? You don't know me, but you knew Alessandro. He told me to call you if anything happened to him. Do you know what's going on?"
"I sure do. Tracy, right? We've been expecting your call. Meet me at the coffee shop, the one downtown. Be there in 15 minutes. We'll be waiting."

Tracy thought "we?" Shouldn't she say "I"? Something seemed off. Like a setup. But who else did Tracy have to turn to? She told Alessandro she was running to the store and would be back shortly. But she simply disappeared.
[Note: that one was intentional]

Alessandro waited the night and next day and neither Amy nor Tracy came back. What was going on with everyone lately? Bad enough his brother, Ryder had just died, now Tracy took off, leaving her son Nico behind?!? And could she? How could she leave everything and just disappear. No note, no phone call, no I'm sorry. Nothing, just disappear? Alessandro missed several practices of street luge as he had five children to care for. Those missed practices included one where a scout was watching and a teammate of his was picked up for the pros. Alessandro was angry and hurt.
Gianna tried to comfort Nico. "If we get lots of gold stars at school, our moms are sure to come back."
Happy toddlers, Jorge and Jordan, started to mope about, refusing to play, crying more, missing their mommy, and their nanny. Alessandro did his best, but it never seemed good enough. His temper grew short with them and he found himself snapping at the twins, which made him feel even worse.
Years passed and Alessandro tried to live off what he could in savings, working only when he could find a short race. The kids were growing up so fast.
It seemed only yesterday they were playing together in the waves.
Alessandro missed their youth. But at least the older three could be happy.
I asked Sandro to change his hair. There was just too much mohawk in this family.The younger two seemed so sullen.
Even on their birthday, neither smiled or expressed any interest in opening presents or playing.
They rarely talked, and when they did, it was only to one another, and in that kind of twin language no one else understands. Based on their lack of verbal skills, they were deemed "special needs" and placed in slow classes. They weren't slow, just withdrawn. Being so young when Amy (and Tracy) left, Alessandro was surprised they hadn't bounced back yet.
But then, Alessandro hadn't bounced back either.
Since the twins wouldn't speak to anyone else, Alessandro thought it best to separate them. Jorge shared a room with Sandro.
Jordan shared a room with Gianna.
Nico kept the suite he and his mother had shared.
And Alessandro, of course, kept his bedroom suite, now missing Amy.
It all came rushing together for Alessandro one night. Everyone was in bed and tucked in. He made a late night snack after coming home from luge and showering. "She left and must have started over somewhere. Amy. She started over. Just like she did with me."
"No memory of her previous life. No memory of her husband and children. No memory of any failures or regrets, she just left and started over. She probably has a new husband and children now."
"Could it be true then? The rumors that Giana is my father's daughter from an affair Amy Aha had with dad? No! What did she say 'those Fanboy eyes'. It could be true. How could she do that to me? Make me raise my half sister like my own daughter? How could she cheat on my mom like that? And to just leave? To just leave me..."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cassada Play 22 - Gordon's House

When we last checked in on Gordon & Cass' house, we learned that Gordon had an additional set of alien babies, making 3 alien babies total. The family needed the secret to stay secret, and with two sets of human twins in the house, it was very difficult. Plus, Cory already knew. He was mature, but Cass couldn't be sure Cory would keep his lip buttoned. Gordon and Cass made the hard decision to take all the kids out of the military-based school they attended on the campus of Gordon's base and move them to private boarding schools.

While away at school, Cory made a new pal and told him about the alien baby (he only knew of the one, Yingwe). Of course, the friend thought Cory was making up stories or was crazy. They stopped being friends after that. But Cory felt he had to tell someone.Josh, ever the skeptic, threatened slightly older brother Cory with bodily harm should he keep up "that crazy talk". Josh reminded Cory he was ruining his chances to meet pretty girls by seeming creepy - and since these things run in families, was ruining Josh's chances to meet pretty girls too, so he'd better keep silent. Animosity grew between the twins.
At a different school, based on their age, Giselle and Miranda were doing poorly. They had different classes, and it was the first time they'd been away from home or away from each other except to use the bathroom. They didn't even share a bedroom anymore, being in separate dorms.
Back at home, Cass was swamped in the usual number of childcare responsibilities. Having three babies doesn't sound like much more than having two, but it felt a world different. Possibly because she'd never truly bonded to these strange children like she had her own. She knew at any moment, the government could come and take them all away. It made the wall she'd built between her and the alien children necessary. And what might happen to her and Gordon if they were found out? And how long could they really keep this secret? It was heavy on Cass' mind. That and the fact that she missed her kids dearly and wept for them hourly.
Gordon helped out. He had to wear a special maternity bra under his uniform as he was leaking during the day when his body knew he should be feeding his babies. He couldn't just go in the bathroom at work and express milk, though, could he? The secrets drove a wedge between Gordon and Cass and kept getting deeper with each resentment.
Things seemed almost normal for Gordon. He got to leave the house. Cass couldn't. He got to go to work everyday and talk with his peers. Cass couldn't. He got to leave the stress behind and go be normal for at least 8 hours, lately it was closer to 11 hours most days. Cass couldn't escape her life, the life Gordon had thrust upon her, the life she'd agreed to when the married just after college.
Cass had all the drudgery of house cleaning and child rearing and no release. But she couldn't complain to Gordon. He was keeping a secret that could land him in prison based on his level of Intel at work.
The alien babies were much more needy than human children. They had to be fed nearly every hour. They had to be changed just as often. They cried and since no neighbors could be allowed to know they had small children in the house, Cass had to do everything in her power to keep them silent. It was exhausting and at some point, she simply couldn't take it anymore. You never know how much you can handle until you get to the breaking point.
That point came when she got the call that her girls were failing out of school and an investigation had found Cory unstable. The schools didn't think her kids were going to be able to stay there and an investigation was scheduled to be carried out on Cass and Gordon. Cass knew that would mean disaster. But what was the alternative? She hadn't the sleep or nutrition to be healthy or make sound decisions anymore. She was wasting away under the strain of this secret life.
Meanwhile, Gordon's superior was watching him closely. She decided to drive him home that day, not unusual, but this time she stated she would come in for something cool to drink. Gordon said Cass was ill and couldn't have company. When his superior pressed him for details on the illness, Gordon stammered. His superior barged in and heard one of the alien children whimpering.

"Just as we've suspected, Gordon. I have to commend you on keeping the secret this long - though our spies knew there was more amiss than you let on to. We'll be confiscating the children."

Gordon knew this day might come. He raised his weapon and pointed at his superior. "And what of my wife and I?"

"You need to put the gun down, Gordon. You two will be dealt with through the appropriate protocol. After all, you don't think you're the only one we've had abducted for this experiment do you?"

Gordon, hands shaking, fired the weapon and killed his superior. Then he turned it on himself, knowing the life he'd lead as part of the experiment was to be worse than death.
Cass, upstairs, heard the door. She tried to silence the baby as quickly as she could. Then she heard the two shots. It was as she knew deep down would happen one day. She couldn't possibly come with any more. Cass went downstairs, saw what she knew she'd see, and in a daze, killed herself next to Gordon's now-lifeless body.
The girls, Miranda and Giselle, were told that their parents had "gone crazy" and died in a murder-suicide pact. They were sent to a foster home that was run by the government agency Gordon had worked for, to keep an eye on them and make sure they said and knew nothing about the alien babies. They didn't. Cass never saw them grow up.Toffee, the cat, was placed in the foster home with them. In the pound he just yowled and they were eager to get rid of him.
The babies, and the bodies, were whisked away by the government agency that had been watching them for years. There was never a mention of it. The only thing the newspaper reported was that Gordon and Cass Fanboy had died in a murder-suicide pact and were survived by their two children: Giselle, and Miranda. What of Cory and Josh? They were expelled from school and returned home by cab to find the grisly scene of the three deaths in the living room. The government agency, having monitored the phone calls and knowing Cory knew more than he should, killed the two boys on the spot. There was no mention of them at all in the papers. Everyone assumed they'd gone to live with relatives, or backpack across the world, or whatever unstable teenagers do.
At age 18, Miranda and Giselle, having no mention of aliens, were given the family house. After a thorough cleaning, Giselle and Miranda, having chosen pleasure as their life's ambition, decided the house was big enough for a family. Giselle tried to change her ambition to just that. But something went terribly wrong. With all the bad memories in the house, something short circuited when she was supposed to be concentrating on wanting to have a family instead of what had happened to her family. She ended up wanting nothing more than grilled cheese sandwiches.

[Note: I set her to family, but when she changed lots, it messed up. I didn't realize her aspiration was so low when I used the device. Ah well.]
Still wanting a family - and a sandwich! - Giselle romanced the first guy who came over, Lord Overlord. Kind of a strange guy, and no chemistry, but still.
He likes sandwiches, and booty. And that's about all it took.
He even wrote her a piece on the piano. Grilled Cheese in A Minor. And yes, you play it with two fingers. Because the others are coated in the sticky melty cheese of love.Miranda thought it felt weird being back home after all these years, but Giselle knew it was for the best.

"Um, free house, furnished, paid for. And you don't have to work. Leaves you free for all those dates you have planned."

She does have a point.
Soon enough, Giselle was showing all the signs of pregnancy. Since she's a twin and her brothers are twins, Giselle wonders if she'll have multiples.

[I did not cheesecake her. I don't know what she'll have.]
Miranda, needing something to do all day to keep her mind busy, takes to revamping Cass' old garden, now overgrown with weeds and bugs.
[These ashes won't sweep up. I think its kind of bittersweet.]

The story ends here, but I just wanted to show the dog-walking walk-bys. This was within about 2 minutes of play: Perth walked Pandarus past the house then Scarlet walked Rudy by.