Chapter Three - Googles and Rocks
Back to: Chapter Two - The Dream Next: Chapter Four - Unanswered Questions
Romany felt very unsettled and tense after her unpleasant dream. She had had that dream many times before and she always felt like she was missing something. What HAD made Seth turn on her like that? Was he just a homeless lunatic? Or was there something more to it? The way he had spat her name, like it was dirt.

Shaking her head, she decided she wanted to get away from the bench and her park for now. A change of scenery would do her good. She set off down to Central Park, breathing a sigh of relief at the welcome distraction she knew it would bring.

Being a sunny Saturday, the park was fairly busy. Romany was feeling hungry by now and rummaging in her back pack, she found the over ripe tomato she had found in the trash the day before. When you are homeless and don't know when your next meal is coming from, even over ripe, spoiling tomatoes tastes like caviare.

As she ate her tomato, she noticed a plump elderly lady wandering her way. Romany had to pay her taxi fare tab this morning and only had $7 to her name. She licked her lips clean of the slightly foetid tomato juice and strode forward to intercept the lady. Time for some mooching.

The elderly lady was quite compassionate and very kindly gave Romany $34. Romany was stunned, she hadn't held so much money in quite some time. Her initial instinct was to go to the grocery store and feed herself up, but she reminded herself of her dream. Owning her very own lot. She would put it away in the little hole in the ground under her creepy tree in the park, with the rest of the money she was saving.

As Romany stood dreaming of her own lot, she became aware of a very pungent aroma. It was not a pleasant one and she began to look around for the source. Suddenly she realised that the source, was her. She needed a bath and fast. Central Park had a lot of things, but a bath or shower wasn't one of them!

Wandering out of the park and over the road, contemplating bathing in the cold river that ran near her own park, she spotted the Wellness Gym. A gym always had showers...just think of all the stinky sweaty people after their work outs! Perhaps she could just slip in unnoticed and give herself a shower. She waited for a gentleman to go in first and slipped in behind him. Pin pointing the ladies toilets, she looked at the floor and made her way in what she hoped was a discreet manner, inside. There were showers! She hopped in one, enjoying the caressing heat the cascading water enclosed her in.

Oh it felt glorious to shower. All the grime washed away, Romany stepped out of the shower feeling a new woman. Unfortunately that tomato hadn't done much but take the edge off her hunger. She still had to do something about that. Scanning the gym, she noticed a little kitchen area in a room off to her right. It was empty. Stealthily creeping in, she quickly helped herself to some bread and jam.

It was a simple meal but all that bread really filled up her tiny stomach. She was so full her stomach actually hurt a little. She washed up after herself, feeling a little guilty and decided it was time to move on before she drew attention to herself.

Wandering back through the park, musing on how to spend the remainder of the day, she saw some lovely colourful butterflies near the swings. She could do with a bit of fun. All this trying to survive stuff, really takes it out of you. She crept up to the butterflies....paused and waited....then leapt forward! She could feel a delicate fluttering in her hands.

She peeped between her fingers and saw the little colourful butterfly within. Romany had seen a local collector store just up the road and was sure this little one would come in at a few simoleons. Tucking it away in a jar within her back pack, she set off to see if she was right.

As she passed the pond in the park, she noticed a man trying to get her attention. She stopped and turned to him as he approached.

'Hi there, I know this sounds strange but you aren't any good at fishing are you?' he asked her hurriedly.

'Well yes, I am a bit of an angler,' she replied haughtily.

'Oh good, I really need to catch three fish for the fish market before the end of the market day but I have an emergency at home and cant do it. My boss will be furious if he finds out. You couldn't do me a huge favour and catch three fish for me? I will pay you $220 simoleons if you do! Just bring them down to the fish market before the end of the day!' he pleaded.

'I suppose I could do that, I haven't got anything else planned,' she replied quietly. In her head she was thinking...$220 simoleons!

'Oh thank you so much, I will see you a bit later on then!' the man said gleefully before running out of the park.

Romany figured there was no time like the present to get started and pulled out her home made fishing rod.

With her Angler skill, she soon landed three goldfish and took them straight to the fish market.

The gentleman was as good as his word and paid her $220 simoleons with his thanks. Romany was delighted, her dream of owning a lot didn't seem quite as unachievable with the money weighing down her pocket.

Feeling rather lucky, on her walk back to her park, she raided a couple of trash cans when she hoped no one was looking.

Raiding bins was a dirty job, but you could get some real treasures if your luck was in. And Romany's luck was in indeed. She found a pair of Simlife goggles, a moodlite candle, another stuffed toy and some space rock. Taking them to the local pawn shop, she walked away with $12400 simoleons. Absolutely unable to believe her luck, she sat down outside the pawn shop and began to cry. Never had she ever had so much money. So much money. That was a point. She was a homeless tramp with $12400 in her pocket. She needed to get back to the park and stash it away as quickly as possible.

Running all the way home she quickly buried the money beneath her tree. It was afternoon by this point and after so much work in the morning, she felt awfully tired. Her emotions were all over the place too, with the bad dream and now the unbelievable sum of money hidden below her tree. She laid on the bench and quickly fell into a troubled sleep.

When she eventually awoke, it was very early in the morning. Around 2am she thought. She couldn't get back to sleep, it was rather cold. She supposed the best way to keep warm would be to get on the move. Where could she go though, that was safe? An image of her late father suddenly came to mind. That was it, she could go to the graveyard. Despite how they might seem, graveyards are actually very safe, noone wants to hang out in them!

She slunk off to the local graveyard, trying to be as quiet and invisible as she could. It was, as she thought, empty. Walking through it, she noticed the door to the vaults was ajar. How creepy. Romany wasn't one to scare easily though and it occurred to her that it might be a little warmer in there than it was outside. She wandered in. It was very very dark, she couldn't see a thing. She felt something between her toes and scooped it up. It turned out to be a rare seed, she didn't know what of. Probably could be sold however. Carrying on, she was just starting to warm up when something cold touched her arm. Spinning round, she saw the most dreadful, terrifying apparition before her. Screaming she whirled on her heel, tripped over and landed hard on the dirty floor of the vault. The adrenalin running through her veins had her spring to her feet and dive for the door.

Out in the dawn, she collapsed on the floor, gasping for breath. She didn't know what it was she had seen, only that it was something no person should see and she would not mention it ever again.

'Hello hello hello! And what are we doing in the graveyard at this time of the morning?!' called a familiar voice.

Romany looked up and sighed. So much for staying out of trouble. It was Jack Bunch, from the law enforcement. He had given her a few simoleons once, but no doubt he would now have to take her in.

'Well, if you haven't guessed already, I am a bit stuck for somewhere to stay at the moment and thought the vault might be a good idea. Just take me away, cant be worse than it was in there,' she sighed wearily.

To her surprise, Jack laughed, a deep rolling laugh that reminded her, painfully, of her father.

'Oh I am not a policeman young lady, I am with the military. You cant stay out here all night, with the ghosts. Why not come home with me, I am sure my wife can help clean you up and give you a bed for the night,' Jack said, warmly. He felt for this little waif of a girl with the unsightly scar across her face.

'I don't have to leave here if I don't....what? Sorry? Did you say I could come and stay with you tonight?!' Romany said, disbelievingly.

'Yes I did, little lady, but only once you have washed all that dirt off you and sorted that terrible hair. You look like you have seen a ghost!' Jack chuckled.

'Oh ha ha, if only you knew!' Romany retorted, following Jack out of the graveyard and down the road to his house. He let her in, and she stood in his lounge, still and peaceful. It had been so long since she had been inside a home, and this was a real nice one. She complimented Jack on it and he was very pleased.

Jack left her to get cleaned up and put out fresh clothes for her to wear in bed, before saying goodnight and taking himself up to his wife. Romany took a long time bathing in a proper bath, eating fresh hot dogs and watching TV. She savoured every moment of being in the welcoming and overall safe abode of Jack, his wife and children.

Finally she felt herself growing sleepy and went to the bedroom. This would be the real treat. Lying in a real bed, with real sheets in a real room, with a real roof over her head. She tentatively slipped between the sheets. Heaven. Absolute heaven. Closing her eyes, she prayed she wouldn't have one of her dreams and scare the Bunch household. Swiftly, she fell into a deep sleep.

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