The responsibilities of her real life had drawn Odd involuntarily away from Alice's journal until that lunch time, when as usual she was holed up in the janitors closet. Slipping the journal from her back pack Odd flicked to the next entry and immersed herself once more in the life of Alice Tavarick.
What have i done? I have lead an impure life with a married man and now i must pay for it! My tears run all day long and still do not dry for the shame which i have brought upon myself is ghastly, but that which i have caused Charles is unbearable to me.Yet inside i can feel it, the life growing within me and it brings me warmth. It comforts me when i am alone in this dark place at night.
But how can i ever tell Charles the shame i have caused him?
I lay here at night and wonder if i should leave, run back home to my family? But what of the looks on their faces when they see what i have become? I do not think i could bear it.
I imagine telling Charles and seeing his face light up in joy and then i realise that this could never be. He is a good man, a man of deep beliefs and i cannot bring myself to destroy all that.
And yet the swell of my stomach blossoms in a telling way. My daytime garments conceal it well but i fear that the closeness between Charles and i will make keeping this secret from him impossible soon enough.
Today i told Charles of my deepest shame, yet greatest joy. His face belied his true feelings, i can see the turmoil my news has brought him.
For now he feels that he must chose between the love we share and his work here in Bridgeport. He tells me little of his day to day business but i know that the port is not faring well, trade has been drawn away to the nearby Barnacle Bay where docking is cheaper. I know he feels the burden of this personally as many of the workers are to be lost.
How can i in good faith expect him to leave with me? Yet how can i go without him?
Charles came to me today to beg me to stay here with him, under his roof where he can still be part of our child's life. He swears if things were better at the port that he would take me and our unborn baby away from here, far from Mrs Goldmar and her cruelty and we would live the life i dream of for us. I can see that it pains him to ask such things of me yet in truth there is nothing i would not do to be with him.
I have agreed to stay and to keep our secret hidden from all others. But what will happen when our baby is born? I worry that we will be discovered.
Odd shook her head as she eagerly turned the page. How could Alice agree to hide her child away? And for what? To save Charles the shame which they had both caused!
It made her blood boil at the thought that this woman had felt so besotted with this man that she had made such a poor decision, which would cause her child to grow up having the shame of his parents thrust upon him! She vowed then and there to never let a man cloud her judgement.
Sighing loudly she read on........Life is harder than i have ever endured. My baby boy is growing so big now and yet he has to see the daylight. Although he has my hair colouring his eyes are his fathers, just as angels they sparkle.
Charles seems withdrawn from us, he spends less and less time visiting. I think perhaps the shame of his actions have finally sunk in now he can see the fruits of our indiscretion. I tell him i will leave his house, so as to bring him no further shame but he forbids it. He knows that just one sighting of our baby's eyes would give our secret away and he fears what Mrs Goldmar will do to me.
Yet how can i in all good conscience allow my child to be raised in an attic? Locked away during the days when i slave in the household of his father. I fear what will become of him.
All day i have slaved in the kitchens under the close watch of Mrs Goldmar. Her standards have always been lofty especially when preparing to entertain guests, yet i cannot shake off the feeling that she knows. She watches me too closely and i fear that she has heard the baby crying from the attic.
I have tried to speak to Charles but stealing a moment alone with him has become near impossible, always it seems that he is too busy.
All this time i believed that he loved me, a poor farm girl who wished for more from her life, but i was so wrong! He is nothing but a cad, unsatisfied by his wife he seeks the company of other women as he chooses. But at the party tonight i saw the light and saw Charles for who he truly is.
How could i have sacrificed my baby's childhood for such a man? I cannot bear to stay in this place a moment longer and yet i have no means of escape. No money to my name with which to leave this awful place. But i shall take what i need to protect my child, i shall take what is rightfully his from his father and we shall be free.
Odd turned quickly to the next page in the journal, hopeful to read of Alice's escape from her life of servitude and the betrayal of Charles but the next page was blank. Searching frantically through the rest of the journal she realised that all of the remaining pages were blank. This was where Alice's story had ended.
But what had become of her and her child? Had they made it back to her parents farm and lived the life they both deserved? But why had Alice left her journal behind? And why had Odd been drawn into the house where she had served the Goldmars?
There were too many questions left burning in her mind over the journal and Odd stuffed it back into her back pack in frustration.
As soon as the school bell sounded, tolling her freedom, Odd ran straight to Fairchild's Emporium.
"Odette. I've been expecting you." Elsa smiled brightly as the bell above the door tinkled announcing her arrival.
Odd lent against the table by the door trying to catch her breath before producing the book on ghosts which Elsa had so kindly lent her the week before.
"Ah, you've finished it already." Elsa smiled, "It was illuminating i trust?"
"Yes, i learned a lot." Odd replied. She wanted to be more grateful to Elsa for her help but the weight of her disappointment was heavy, as in spite of all her studying she was no further forward to helping George or now working out what she should do about Alice's journal.
"Hmm, but there is still more you need to learn." Elsa surmised, "Come into the back room and you can tell me all about, Alice is it?"
Odd relaxed into Elsa's company immediately. She didn't need to stumble around for the correct way to explain things with her as Elsa already knew the questions that swam in her head.
Elsa flicked through the pages of the journal pausing at pertinent moments to tut or sigh her disapproval.
"And you say you were drawn into the house?" Elsa clarified, "Odette, the owner of this journal must be the spirit who lead you to it. Alice must have wanted you to find it."
"I agree." Odd shrugged, "But what am i supposed to do? The journal just ends, it doesn't leave anything for me to do. I don't understand what help i can be."
"Oh Odette, you can see many things that others may not but you cannot see what is right in front of your face!" Elsa smiled. "Did it never occur to you that Alice wants you to finish her story? She wants you to discover what happened next."
"But how can i do that?" Odd asked perplexed, "It's pretty obvious that Alice lived a long time ago which means she isn't around to ask now."
"Well that's not so much of a problem considering your talents now is it?" Elsa replied, tilting her head wisely. "Besides i don't think Alice is your only source of information."
"What do you mean?" Odd asked, screwing up her face in confusion.
"Maybe you should ask Alice's child, your friend George." Elsa smiled knowingly.
"What? You really think that George is Alice and Charles' son?" Odd asked, her mouth gaping wide in wonder. "But how can you possibly know that?"
"Well i don't my dear, but you said that you were trying to locate George's grave when you came by the house correct?" Odd nodded her agreement.
"I think this is Alice's way of helping you to help him."
"But how?" Odd asked still baffled by the turn of events.
"Well the journal gives us plenty to go on, we can look into the Goldmar's and see if there is any official record of Alice and George, i mean Tavarick can't be a common name now can it?" Elsa mused. Suddenly she paused and pressed a finger to her lips before asking, "When you were in the attic you said you sensed two forces at work."
"Yes, there was this locked door and whoever haunts it did not want me to go inside." Odd told her, reliving the experience and shuddering.
"What if that presence has something to do with George's death?" Elsa sprang up from her chair and paced to the bookshelf drawing a large tattered book down. "See here." She pointed, "A place where great tragedy has befallen a Sim can become tainted by the very memory of the events which occurred. The place of a heinous act of murder can become stained by the souls of those who committed the act or that of the victim whose life has been so abruptly ended."
"You think whatever happened to George could of happened in the attic?" Odd asked, her eyes wide at the thought of getting closer to the answers she sought.
"All i know is we have to finish Alice's journal, we have to find out what happened to her and to George and that means finding out as much as we can about the Goldmars." Elsa replied.
"We?" Odd asked, tilting her head expectantly.
"You came to me for help Odette." Elsa smiled, "And i will help you to find the truth."
The following afternoon, straight from school, Odd returned to Fairchild's Emporium. Elsa had taken the first step and traced the history of the Goldmar family back to the founding days of Bridgeport.
"Look right here!" She exclaimed pointing her finger at the monitor.
"What am i looking at?" Odd asked.
"This is a register of all of our City's founding families and right there is one Cornelius Goldmar, he settled here with his wife Dianne. He's listed his occupation as fisherman." Elsa told her.
Odd regarded the screen with interest. Who needs to converse with the dead when their entire history is all online? She mused.
"And see here" Elsa continued, "we can trace his family tree all the way through to the end of its bloodline to one Gwendolyn Goldmar, wife of Charles. Hmm interesting that Charles took her family name, look he changed it from plain old Charlie White." Elsa smirked knowingly.
"It says here that Charlie's father was a blacksmith, i guess he moved up in the world when he married Gwendolyn, no wonder he didn't want to leave her and run away with Alice."
"So it had nothing to do with the port workers losing their jobs? It was all about his greed." Odd shook her head as her distaste for Charles left a bitter taste in her mouth.
"There is no record of the Tavarick's though. I guess Alice's birth would have been registered wherever her farm was but if she died here then there should be a record of it." Elsa shook her head, "We're back at square one."
"Maybe not!" Odd exclaimed excitedly as she recalled her visit to the cemetery and the unmarked graves that were in abundance there. "When i visited the mausoleum the clerk told me that many Sims had slipped through the system and their deaths weren't recorded, i went looking for George's grave but what if i should have been looking for Alice's instead?"
"Perfect!" Elsa cried, "Now that you have a possession of Alice's you should be able to form a connection with her spirit, close enough to locate where she is buried. Then all we have to do is conjure her spirit."
"Oh is that all!" Odd retorted sarcastically, "I don't suppose you have a book here that will tell us how to do that?"
"We don't need one." Elsa replied brightly, "I think between a medium and a witch we have it covered." She winked.
I hadn't intended to make this a two parter but Odds story is so involved and I'm struggling to find the time this week to write the whole thing, so i hope this will be enough for now?
I also wanted to draw your attention to THIS a fabulous legacy written by Minty who has very kindly included Audra Traytor (Gen 2) in his story. Find out all about what Audra got up to when she left Bridgeport to pursue the vampire cure and the mysterious organisation she works for!