It was Zahra’s day off, and she and Cycl0n3 took a much-needed morning together. They slept in luxuriously late. Adjo made sure that little Charles was taken care of before the twins headed off to school.
Romance was in the air. Lance jumped up at breakfast and asked Layla out on a date. She spent such long hours working at the bistro, and she never got a chance to experience the romantic atmosphere as a customer. He wanted to fix that.
The two of them looked sharp in their formals.
The afternoon was everything they’d hoped it would be.
Cycl0n3 and Zahra rolled out of bed and quickly fell into the usual topic of conversation: their son.
But this time Cycl0n3 called a halt to it. Zahra had been working her tail off at the science lab, then coming home to work her tail off tending to Charles. She needed to take some time to herself away from both work AND family.
He kicked her out of the house to spend the afternoon at the spa getting a massage. But not before he showed her is appreciation.
It turned out to be the last wish he would have a chance to fulfil.
Alone in the house, he headed downstairs to play with Charles.
They read together from a math-for-toddlers book. Charles’ eerie ghost voice piped up against his father’s. Cycl0n3 felt completely fulfilled.
And then a strange sensation came over him. It was as if the wind blew through him, and he was the wind, and it called to him from beyond the pale.
Alone on the back deck, Charles went on reading until Mommy came home.
Zahra returned, flushed with a good massage and feeling carefree, to find her ghostly son alone in the house. At first she was furious. “Where is your father?” she demanded of little Charles.
Charles looked up at her with penetrating inhuman eyes, and she realized for the first time that he truly was something different.
“Daddy went home,” he said.
Then her eyes fell on an urn sitting on the deck. She hadn’t noticed it in the pile of Charles’ toys. Suddenly she understood.
Nobody knew exactly what the science lab had done to Cycl0n3. Somehow, in her heart, she’d always just assumed he was immortal in his half-ghost, half-human form. Apparently not. The Netherworld had called him back.
She picked up the urn and placed it in her bedroom, hoping against hope that he’d rise again, in whatever ghostly form he was permitted. But even when the other family ghosts came out to play, the urn was silent.
(It turns out that Cycl0n3 was “living” on borrowed time. I knew he had a lifespan of sorts, and that he’d be called back into his gravestone eventually. However, when he married Zahra and changed his name, his gravestone got borked. Apparently EA in its infinite wisdom was using character name to attach the ghost to the gravestone, and Cycl0n3 Sample couldn’t be using Cycl0n3 Sw0rd’s gravestone. This caused some other glitches I was struggling with, since the character was now duplicated — the version of him in his gravestone and the version I was playing. When I figured this out, I had to use some of Twallan’s mods to get him to terminate gracefully, but that also ended up destroying his gravestone. I’m terribly grumpy about this; I wanted the whole family to be in the graveyard. I’m still trying to see if I can export Cycl0n3 from a previous save file and get him properly stowed in a gravestone, but I may just call myself lucky for having a functioning game file and give up.)
(ETA: Fixed the last picture. Somehow the mood was lost when instead of Zahra sleeping alone, the last pic was of Shanni taking a bubble bath. Woot.)