Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chapter 14: Bad Men

Diner 47, the diner that had been one of the favorites in this town before the interstate highway was built, was now an empty shell of what it used to be. It was named after the county highway that used to be the main highway through town until the interstate became the more popular road to take. Diner 47 closed, due to lack of customers, and sat empty for a long time. After the chemical attack, the military needed a place for the rations to be prepared and shipped. They turned Diner 47 into a Food Production Facility, and I got a job there. The pay was crappy, even compared to my police officer salary, but I wasn't about to complain, since I was grateful I had been able to find a job after my unfortunate termination.

Walking into the diner after parking my truck in the lot was a sad sight to behold. The once lively, colorful booths where giggling families and lovestruck couples used to sit were covered in dust and dirt. Some overturned chairs lay injured on the floor tiles, unable to hold themselves up any longer due to their legs being uneven and cracked. The walls, although still a somewhat perfect pattern of beautiful cheery tile at the top, were gross and grimy underneath from years of neglect. The floor surprisingly had held up well, although it wasn't as bright as it used to be since it had dulled from the lack of regular waxing.

As I made my way through the extremely dim hallway to the back of the diner, where I actually worked, I found myself wondering why the military had decided on making the little storage closets look like jail cells. It would have made more sense if this had been the old police station or something, but it was completely out of place in the back of an old diner. I had been working here for a little over a month, and still, every day on my way to my station, this hallway always made me cringe. I couldn't help but have my imagination run away with me at times, wondering if this place wasn't just the place where rations were packed, and if some sort of wierd activity happened here that no one but those in charge knew about.

I rounded the corner to the assembly line and saw that my co-workers were already there. Everett was standing at his station with his chin resting on his hands, looking bored. He was nice, and just like me, distrusting of most things the news tried to placate the public with. He used to be a firefighter until they shut that department down, so we essentially had the same problem that caused us to end up working here.

My other co-worker, Tiffanie, was crouching down by some of the baskets that were lined up near the wall, sorting out some of the rations. She was an older lady, with grey strands of hair speckling her darker pieces. Laugh lines crossed her face, which were evident of happier times in her life. She was usually quiet and kept to herself most days, only talking to Everett and I if she needed something work related. Our boss usually stayed upstairs in his office, but we knew he was watching because he would sometimes come out to stand on the balcony and look at us doing our work.

I made my way to my station and looked at the sheet of paper that told me how many rations and bottles of water to put in each box, as well as the corresponding addresses. I worked all day, and it was tiring. My stomach grumbled, but I kept pushing through. Lately my stomach was doing that more and more often. I don't know who made the laws when it came to working in an assembly line type of environment, but it seemed like they could care less if we employees were hungry. I found it ironic considering I had food right in front of me, yet I couldn't eat. I hated that the post-apocalyptic world I lived in had caused things to turn into a rather organized chaos. I didn't understand why things like labor laws all of a sudden just went out the window, but I guessed since this Food Production Facility was a new place built after the attack, that it was subject to the new world order of whoever was in charge these days.

I still didn't believe that the military was in charge because of the strange way they behaved that night they took my gun away. Our soldiers fought for good and defended our country, and took orders very seriously. I could only conclude that they were being given orders by someone who didn't have the country's best interests in mind. I wondered how many other things would become worse when or if, this "person in charge" decided to rear their ugly head. As I finished sealing up the last box on my station, I looked up and noticed the clock read five, signaling the end of my work day.

As I drove home, I thought about calling Gerard so we could discuss a plan to search for Iliana. I had been using my cell phone, and it was fine, contrary to the military's orders that they were dangerous. I had a hunch they were bluffing about that too, and my suspicions were confirmed when I found a small wiretapping device attached to my land line phone. It turns out the real reason they confiscated cell phones and issued everyone land lines was because they wanted to keep tabs on everyone. They were able to get away with it because most people didn't know their phones were tapped.

Gerard came over after about ten minutes, since he was off work as well and he didn't live too far from me. As he came into my house, he sat down on one of the arm chairs. I joined him in the living room.

"How was work?"

"The same old, packing boxes. You?"

"Patients are still coming in with side effects of the attack. Most of them are usually homeless, and too far gone to get better. It's depressing, really. By the time the symptoms occur, the chemicals have already wreaked havoc at the molecular level. Anyway, let's not talk about that. Do you have any ideas about how we should go about looking for Iliana?"

"Yeah, do you have a picture of her? I mean, it's not a great plan, but we could go and ask people if they've seen her. If she was taken from your house, and dumped somewhere, it's possible she's been squatting in one of  the empty businesses."

"Why wouldn't she just try to make her way back to mine and her house then? You know?"

"Well, she could have been injured when she was taken, so it wouldn't be in her best interest to try to walk home."

Gerard hung his head, and I realized that I might have just said something quite insensitive to him.

"Sorry, I don't mean like gravely injured, ah, crap, I'm not making things better, am I?"

"No, Francis, it's okay, I know what you were trying to say, I just worry about her. Sometimes the thought does cross my mind that she- might be... It doesn't really get any easier, I mean it's been a month and two weeks, but it doesn't hurt any less than the night it happened. I do have a picture of her in my wallet, so let's use that and see what we can do. I like your plan, it's doing something, at least."

I grabbed my keys, leaving my house with Gerard. We got in my truck and I drove to the middle of the city, which used to house the large shopping district. I parked at one of the meters, and scoffed a little at the irony that I would have been one of the people to enforce parking, but with the way things were now, parking fees were of no concern to anyone. Heading into one of the buildings, I believe which used to be the town's most popular mall, we encountered a lot of homeless people, some who were sleeping, some were trying to find food, and others who were trying to start a fire so they wouldn't be cold at night.

Gerard and I headed over to two people who were tending to a fire, and they looked apprehensive as we approached them. The man looked like he might run, but stood his ground, probably because he had nowhere to really go, and also since he most likely wanted to look tough in front of the woman he was with. The woman remained huddled behind the man, afraid of us as well. I raised my hands in the air, the universal sign of surrender, and nudged Gerard to do the same. The people looked a little less afraid after we did that simple gesture.

"Hi, we're not here to harm you. We're just looking for our friend."

Gerard pulled the picture of Iliana out of his wallet, and held it out to the man.

"Have you seen this woman anywhere, either around here or somewhere else you might have gone?"

The man looked at Gerard for a minute, probably gauging whether he should help or not, and then he gently took the photo from Gerard. He studied it a little, scratched his head, and then shook it from side to side. He turned around and showed it to the woman, and her eyes grew big, as if she might have recognized Iliana. She looked scared after that, and swatted the picture away. The man handed the picture back to Gerard.

"Did you see her? She's my wife, I need to find her, some people took her."

The woman continued to look scared, but she finally spoke. The man turned around to mind the fire again as she talked to us.

"I saw her one day. I was here, and I saw her get out of a car that the bad men drive. She went into the building across the parking lot."

"The bad men? Who are the bad men?"

"I- I don't know, but sometimes, bad men come out of the car and they take some of the girls away. They don't take me because I always have him around me."

"Okay, thank you for your help."

The woman nodded, and then turned back to the man, joining him in warming her hands over the fire, while Gerard and I left the building. When we got back outside, I looked at the building that the homeless lady had said she saw Iliana go into that day. It was one of those buildings that had retail space on the bottom, and apartment space on the top. I didn't want to believe it, but all those things the homeless woman said, 'Bad men,' 'take some of the girls away,' Iliana being dropped off at someone's apartment, all of the signs screamed that she was stuck in some sort of prostitution ring.


  1. AHHHHH!!!!! *Screams* It seems they are on the right track to finding Iliana. I hope they find her soon, so she can get back to some sort of semblance of a normal life with her husband. I hope there reunion is a happy one. :)

    The town you are playing in looks PERFECT for this story. I'm really enjoying the pictures with this story, and Francis the police officer *Faints* I know I've told you this, but you have a real knack for making hot hunks of sim men. His eyes are gorgeous with that little bit of stubble. Yum.

    I really like how you described the diner in the beginning of this story. It was actually really sad, that once along time ago there were happy families dining there and now its just a depressing run down place.

    Love this story to bits. More please?!?! Hehehe

    1. :) It sure does help to have a police officer on your side when you have a missing persons case. LOL. Yay, this is their first lead. Now they just have to figure out where she actually is. o.O

      I know, right? This town is amazing. Haha, I was so happy that it worked in my game. :) Thanks so much, I like trying different angles with my pictures to make them more interesting. LOL, I never tire of hearing that you like my Sim men. XD Thank you, thank you, *takes a bow* Haha. Francis is super hot isn't he? :)

      Aww, thanks, I am trying to experiment more with describing objects and places in detail because I don't do it often. I'm happy it came across well to you. I find I write about emotions a lot, and not objects, so I thought I'd add that into my writing too. :) Hahah, eee!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, amandra! :)

  2. Yay! I'm glad Gerard has finally found some clue as to where he can find his wife. Well, I mean, I suspect it won't be such an easy task, or the story would end in no time LOL, but still, it's good news :-).

    That tapping of phones business... *shivers*

    Oh, and I agree. The diner was so beautifully described... <3

    1. Hello! Haha. Mm yes, Gerard has a lead. Now he and Francis have to figure out where she actually is. o.O Her still being in town is great news for him. *nods* You are right, it will not be easy, nothing ever is in this world.

      Yes, the creepiness of the spying on citizens through their phones... ewww, LOL. It's so bad. >_<

      :) Thanks so much, Marta! I've realized I write about emotions a lot, and I am comfortable with that subject, but I wanted to challenge myself with some description type writing. I want to add a little more of that into my writing. I'm happy that it came across well to you. :)

      Thanks very much for reading and commenting, Marta! XD

  3. I love the town you're using right now! It really describes the whole 'gloomy, crappy-ness' of their current lives/situation. I hope that they find Iliana soon! They are on the right track, except they'll have to be much more prepared/ be ready to do some more work to get her back!

    1. So do I! That fog that is all over the place really adds to the effect, and I love it. Their journey to find Iliana won't be an easy one, and you're right, they'll have to think hard and be ready for whatever gets thrown at them.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, parabee. :D

  4. Yes! Making progress on finding Iliana! I agree with Amandralynn, I hope they find her soon and the reunion is happy.

    I wonder what's happening with those cell like things. It does seem odd that they're there. . .curious.

    I'm the same way, I like to write about the emotions and don't go into detail about things (Although I think you do a fabulous job at both!). Probably has to do with the fact that I'm an emotional person. I don't know how many times I've cried watching the Olypmics. . .

    Awesome chapter! I'm begging with Amandralynn - more please!!!!

    1. Yay a lead! Haha. They have a step in the right direction, but it won't be easy.

      The cell things... >:D LOL. When I built Diner 47, I took some inspiration from the Alcatraz prison. I wanted it to be a mix of cheery and creepy, with the highlights of DIner 47's happier days, and then what the military may or may not have added onto it. o.O

      Aww, I'm flattered, thank you. :) I am happy that the descriptions came across well to you. Haha, I've cried watching the Olympics too, like when the USA wins a medal, or when the anthem plays. XD Teehee, I'm thinking of ideas for the next chapter, even as I type this response. LOL.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, sandybeachgirl! :)

  5. I liked this chapter.
    I enjoyed reading about the old diner, though it's a food processing facility now. I'm glad Francis was able to find a job, too, though I miss him being a policeman. :( It sucks that he was forced to give up the job he worked hard to get, only to pretty much be a warehouse worker.
    I like how him and Gerard are getting close, too, it's nice to have a friend during times of turmoil and suffering.
    This town works so well with this type of story, I love the creepy fog everywhere hahaha
    Yayyeee they finally have something to go off of for finding Iliana :D I know how you like to torture us and I know this won't happen, but I'll say it anyways.. I hope they find Iliana soon! XD

    1. Francis misses being a policeman too, which is why he was so eager to help Gerard, and he felt lucky in a way that he could do some police type work again. He's always really bored at work, and he kind of goes numb.
      Yeah, it is really awesome that him and Gerard get along so well, being alone in a world like this is just miserable and can make a person feel desolate.
      LOL the creepy fog is so awesome, when I saw that it was EVERYWHERE, I was like *screams*. ROFL.
      They've got a lead... haha, sorry it feels like torture XD, I just feel like it's more realistic when things aren't as easy to achieve. It causes natural drama and hardships, which I love, rather than just pulling some random drama out of my ass. LOL. Plus I feel like when something is harder to attain, it makes it that much more worthwhile when success happens. It's good to have hope though, which is what I wanted to get across overall in this chapter, so yayee, haha. :)

      Thanks very much for reading and commenting, MrsOogie Boogie!

  6. What a great story you have there! I love the pictures, the pose player and CCs make the story much more realistic.
    I also love the way you write, very clear and relaxing, pleasant to read. :-)
    I'll go back to check the other chapters to understand better. It's something I'll be happy to do!

    1. Hi Eliroc! :) Thanks so much for the compliments. Haha, that is exactly why I use pose player and CC. I love to make things as realistic as I can.
      Aww *blushes* LOL, thank you again. I'm happy you enjoyed it.
      Teehee, yeah, I write chronologically, so it's usually best to start at the beginning, otherwise you're like 'what is going on?' XD

      Thanks so much for looking at this and commenting! I hope you enjoy the other chapters. :)

  7. How is she going to explain this to him? Oh, I could have left but...

    I hope they find her soon and as they running out, bullets flying, they grab the two boys at the orphanage. I really really hope they don't rescue gypsy and leave the boys there. ::fingers crossed::

    1. More of Iliana's point of view will come in later chapters. Things aren't black and white with all the stuff she's tied up in.
      LOL, I love that you want them to save Sebastian and Dmitry, with no mention of DeeDee. XD I know the reason why, but it still made me laugh. :) Heehee.

      Thanks for commenting, Taina. :D

  8. Hehehe.
    Once cop, always cop, they just can´t help it ^^

    1. LOL. The cop instinct is in his blood. XD Very helpful for Gerard though. :)

      Thanks for commenting, anna! XD

  9. Go get 'em!! I am slightly worried that somehow Leo is in charge of the whole thing and is telling everyone what to do. He is a crime lord. :( However, that is probably not the case, but it does make me think a little.

    1. *fist pump* Woo! LOL. :)
      Leo's not controlling the homeless people, he just takes advantage of them like the homeless girl said, he sends a car to take random girls away to his brothel when he needs more hookers.

  10. Yay!! They're on the right track XD

    Oh my god this story is so good, I think I say that every time I comment but it really is! Every chapter leaves me wanting more and that's what makes a good story. Keep up the great work *pats back* :p

    1. Yeah! The homeless people turned out to be super helpful, lucky for them.

      Haha, thank you. I never tire of hearing it, LOL. It gives me that extra boost I need sometimes when I'm having a bad day. :)

  11. Francis may not be allowed to wear the uniform but he'll always be a cop at heart. I've said it before, but I think the government may have messed with the wrong person. He'll stop at nothing until he gets answers!

    Was his co-worker Everett the one who rescued Iliana last chapter, or am I just imagining it?

    Also, I love your descriptions of this post-apocalyptic world ... especially the diner :)

    1. Yeah, that is very true. He went into the line of duty because that's exactly what he wanted to do, and it is at the core of his being. LOL. Any time the government does these kinds of things to society, there's always those few people who step up to the plate and don't put up with their bullshit. It's those kind of people who get real change to occur.

      No, this time you are not imagining things, and it is Everett who saved Iliana. Nice job! :)

      Haha, thanks so much. I enjoy detailing things to try to put the reader into the environment of the characters while they're reading. XD

  12. Ahhhh so his name is Everett...hmmm..I can sense that some drama might break out between him and Francis even though Francis says he's nice...Im not sure lol but How would he know about Iliana? And Oh man Francis is finally realizing what's going on with Iliana. I hope he can save her ....he's going to need a gun when he steps up to Leonardo lol :)

  13. Gerard* sorry I confused him and Francis up in my comment :(

    1. LOL, it's okay. You realized it enough to tell me about it. XD
      Everett won't have any drama with Gerard, he's not bad. He just happened to run into Iliana by coincidence, he has no idea who she's married to, or that Gerard is friends with Francis. Everett is part of a secret group (that you'll meet later) that helps people in society who are being abused, so his assignment the day he found Iliana was that he was supposed to go to the brothel, pose as a customer, and see if there were any women he could help escape. Everett noticed Iliana's wedding ring and just guessed that she might have been kidnapped because it seems suspicious that a married woman would be working as a prostitute. Everett only knows Francis because they work together.
      Haha, yeah, Francis probably will need a gun... XD You know Leo has one cause he's a criminal and he doesn't follow laws. LOL.

  14. Oh hey look, that co-worker sure looks familiar! ;) Now it's a shame that they didn't show that photo of Iliana to him! That being said, it still looks like they're on the right track. Although, if Everett already helped Iliana out, she may no longer be there, which would delay a reunion. Plus there's the additional complication that these "bad men" currently have control over the city. Yikes. I predict difficult times ahead....

    1. Yup, yup! Everett and Francis work together. LOL, yeah it is a shame they didn't have a picture of Iliana to show Everett, but at this point, Francis and Gerard don't know that Everett even went to the brothel. Francis and Everett don't talk much about personal stuff at work because they're in a "the walls have ears" sort of environment. They could both be considered 'conspiracy theorists' because of what they do in their spare time, and the new world order wouldn't be very happy with them if it found out what they were doing.

      Very true, despite them not having the information Everett already has, they have a lead anyway. LOL, yeah also true, paths may not cross the way they need to because of Everett. They've also got to be really careful and not draw attention to themselves so the bad men don't notice them on their radar because that would be very bad for Francis and Gerard.