Once upon a midnight dreary, as I labored, dull and weary,
Through a tiring routine performed a thousand times before—
    There I stood engaged in tending to my basic needs unending
    And the idle minute spending on the odd quotidian chore—
On the odd hygienic, skill, career, or culinary chore,
        Merely this and nothing more.
'Twas a cool night in October with the full moon watching over
And the fall mood snugly captured by the harvest-toned decor
Through which whiffing winds had brought the most distinctive smells of autumn,
An aroma fair that not a mortal being could ignore—
Merged with simmered homely flavors far too charming to ignore,
Warmth and spice and nothing more.
With the supper neatly plated—and a growling stomach sated—
Yet, a whim within dictated a desire still for more
I had thought before of staying, but compulsively obeying
Was my act upon relaying the command from in my core—
The command to cook another meal from deep within my core—
Stir and cook, and nothing more.
But preparing it felt hollow, with another soon to follow
Since I scarce could bear to swallow what already lay in store;
And this action, I suspected, was the fate I had accepted:
Swept and swung into the rapids of this purposeless encore—
Caught and carried in the vapid, vain and purposeless encore
To repeat forevermore.
Here my mind with horror brimming turned to morbid thoughts of swimming
From the inkling of forgotten rumor heard and lost before,
That some wretch removed the ladder; left one soaking from the bladder,
Who then, mortified, did splatter—swept like dust across the floor—
Cast inside a tarnished urn of ash and dust upon the floor,
There to rest forevermore.
Then—it seemed—I had unravelled, and through space and time I travelled
To some grim-fantastic world beyond the confines of Sims 4
In involuntary spasm—when I saw, across the chasm—
Saw a wisp of a phantasm watching; watching fiercely o'er!
And the presence of that distant eye that glared so fiercely o'er
Would be lifted—nevermore.
Nor my psyche had reacted before snapping out, distracted,
By the portent smell of smoke from out the glowing oven door:
For my pause—as I was learning—meant the dinner now was burning:
Ash and charcoal, swiftly turning into broadening uproar!
And my panic—with it—rising to tumultuous uproar!
All-consuming, evermore.
Here the watchful eye's abstention plainly hinted their intention:
A creator who constructed their creations to abhor—
Hence my friends, with deaths so tragic—merely victims to their magic—
Met an ending autophagic by the treach'ry held in store—
And I grieved, consumed by dreading for the end that lay in store—
It was fate, and nothing more.
In the face of certain dooming, with the autumn winds now looming,
I appealed to my commander—though they offered no rapport—
"Please," I begged of them, "you have to hear my cries for help!"—but after,
Felt the grim reply of laughter as it echoed through my core—
A foreboding laugh that chilled my being and trembled through my core—
Then a voice said "Nevermore."
Shocked was I to hear this masterwho had led me to disaster—
But my terror turned to hatred, and this hatred did outpour:
"Pray then, tell me, ghostly mystic, with intention so sadistic
With desires egotistic, with inhuman thirst for gore:
Pray—when will you end the sacrifice and quench your thirst for gore?"
Quoth the Watcher "Nevermore."
"Villain," cried I, "thing of evil!—Villain still, if man or devil!
Whether vicious, venting maniac, or vengeful god of yore—
You, who conquer and corral us! Is there method to your malice?
Is your bitter heart so callous as to wage a coward's war?
Can your helpless subjects forge a truce to end this pointless war?
Quoth the Watcher "Nevermore."
"Villain," cried I, "thing of evil!—Villain still, if man or devil!
By the powers that connect us, by the ones who fell before—
You, with tragic heart forsaken, with reluctance to awaken
to the lives your crimes have taken and the sins your soul has bore!
May it weighten with the murders of the Sims your soul has bore!
Curse you, curse you evermore!"
I was grasping, but there were no tools to counter the inferno
And through wreckage could discern no exit, save the burning door;
Under watch of one who made me, whose malevolence enslaved me,
Who made no attempt to save me; left me gasping on the floor—
And the restless flames unchained me from the body on the floor,
To awaken—nevermore.

Author’s notes:

(1) This was written as an entry in the Monthly SimLit Short Story Contest for October. Why not try your hand? We could always use new entrants.

(2) If you’re looking for more Sims-related black comedy/drama that blurs the line between author and character, and that has some extremely silly prose, you should check out Catastrophe Theory. If you want to see a brutal roast of SLC ft. stoned gnomes in a psychedelic basement, that’s my coauthor’s deal.

(3) CC/build credits: Hair is by Vikai; house is New Beginnings Starter by chenelclarke

(4) Don’t worry; I quit without saving. Lenore is fine.

The Watcher
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15 thoughts on “The Watcher

  • October 5, 2019 at 2:46 am

    This is amazing! I love the Poe references – not only the obvious one, but also the fact that “Lenore is safe” (whew – I thought she was lost!). How did you manage to keep the trochaic octameter the whole way through? (Apart from being a really talented writer, of course.) I’ll tell you something – you’ve set the standard this month. 🤯

    • October 5, 2019 at 9:58 am

      Glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I spared the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore. Thank you for your kind words 🙂

      I’m not sure if the trochaic octameter question is rhetorical or not, but I’m going to address it anyway. For each stanza, I came up with the story first, then the repetitive “-ore” rhymes, then the others, then the existing structure made it easier to fill in. Also, if you’re auditory, you can eas’ly tell a story with your chosen form of meter, and it wouldn’t be a chore. The alliteration/repeated vowel sounds, though, those are harder…

  • October 14, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    FANTASTIC! What a fun take on the old kill the sims gameplay! LOVED it!

  • Pingback:Monthly SimLit Short Story Challenge: November 2019 Theme & October 2019 Submissions w/ Vote – lisabeesims

  • November 5, 2019 at 5:30 am

    Love your story! I cannot help but feel sorry for all the Sims that passed before, under similar circumstances. 🙂

  • November 7, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    I was reading stories and simming, After reading yours, I went to check on my sims and the maid had caught fire from the dryer! As he withered and died in flames. Lol! I haven’t had a sim die by fire in a long time then I read your story and boom! Love the poem and the The Raven references. It feels like something written in the 19th century.

  • December 16, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    Lenore made me feel a lot of guilt about my own simming practices 🙂

  • May 11, 2020 at 7:07 am

    Man, I’m just here wondering if there is, like, anything you CAN’T do. I once tried to write a poem and it came off so shite it now just serves as my own personal laughing stock if anything. This is so, so impressive. I also, as always, adore your meta writing… I agree with the above person about Lenore making me feel guilty about being an absolute pos to my own Sims.

    • May 11, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      A List of Things Dolly Can’t Do:
      – Fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time
      – Stay asleep for a reasonable amount of time
      – Sleep, in general
      – A handstand
      – Find enough crows to feed trail mix so she has an entourage of crows when she walks around outside
      – Simple mechanics
      – Get people outside the SimLit community to read her shit
      – Cool knife tricks
      – Play a song on the piano that isn’t ‘Havana’

      Poetry is rough, dawg. The last three chapters of Book II are, by my current estimate, 25k–30k words, 10k–20k words, and ~160 words. Guess which one I’m most worried about. (okay I’m worried about all of them)

      Glad you enjoyed this one. Would you believe I posted it on /r/sims and it died in new? Twice? See point 7 above.

      • May 12, 2020 at 9:23 am

        Bro, I feel that. It’s outrageous that people won’t read your story, though! I’m sure if they actually made the effort, they’d love it.

      • May 12, 2020 at 3:22 pm

        Hah! You know, I can’t blame ’em. CT takes a LOT of mental and emotional energy to read, makes you devote headspace to 12 of this random woman’s sims, and undergoes drastic stylistic changes s.t. people who read the later stuff first get put off by the beginning and give up. No one’s starting it without a damn compelling reason.

        And the real story’s barely started: most of CT’s ‘hooks’ haven’t surfaced yet. “It’s good, trust me,” is weaker than “This is the one where the guy seduces the Von Haunt Estate ghost and it somehow makes sense,” and both are weaker than “Hold on—the sims do WHAT!? She set up WHAT?! How the fuck does that work?” The defining moment of CT doesn’t happen until the middle of Book III. I tell myself things will change when it becomes “the fic where [crazy thing happens].” On the other hand, I can’t even get a short relatable poem to take off. It’s a shame. But I’ve learned to be happy with the awesome readers I do have. It’s fucking WILD that other people have opinions on Xiyuan and Charlie and Claudia and Chantel and all these other guys that live in my head.

        (I describe Xaos, unsurprisingly, as “the one where the vampires walk around in crop tops and two-toned pants.” Too Hot for Fashion is one of your hooks for sure.)

      • May 15, 2020 at 10:22 am

        Yeah, it’s good to just like, try to focus on what you do have and hey, I always do see a lot of likes and comments on chapters that you write for those uh monthly award thingies! So you got that going for you, which must be nice. It’s hard to get shit to take off but I’m sure that once you manage, it’ll be much easier with the other stuff. It’s what I’m also hoping for, at least.

        Man, I love that description for my chaotic-ass story. Should maybe just change the blog’s tagline to that.

      • May 16, 2020 at 3:58 pm

        Bahaha, thanks for indulging the unnecessary-ass rant. Commiserating with other authors does take the edge off.

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