Thanks! I'm always glad to hear that people are enjoying the story. Not just for ego purposes; I worry sometimes that it's just slowing the thread down. I'm hoping that this post, with some help, I'll kick it up another notch.
Just found this thread while I was at work and spent the whole day reading through it. 2008 must be declared the year of the LP thus far, I never thought I would find a story that fit with Sim City and have it actually be entertaining. Also, a few of the random Jim moments nearly made me lose it in my cube at work. Great job!
After leaving my resignation letter on the table of the City Council chambers, I immediately took the subway car home and started packing. I packed light; only a few changes of clothes, some easily portable food, and as many water bottles as I could fit in my pack. Flying out of this place was obviously not an option, and I highly doubted anyone would willingly drive me out of the city. That left me with only two options, as I saw it. I could try and steal a car, or walk. Never having attempted to steal a car before, I figured walking was probably the way it would have to be.
I had no idea where City Name was in relation to the rest of the state, but I figured that heading to the south-east was probably my best bet. Any other direction and I ran the risk of wandering into the Boundary Waters or the Dakotas, which would drastically reduce my chances of coming across civilization. And so I took the subway to the furthest stop in that direction and started walking.
At least, it would be the furthest stop in that direction if the city hadn't expanded once again. I emerged from the subway station to find development as far as the eye could see. I checked the station map and saw that I was still far away from the edge of town.
Well, no matter. I was already planning on walking; it didn't matter if I was going to walk through city or woods. Besides, maybe I would get lucky and someone would have left their car running unattended. As I made my way through the streets, I noticed a billboard advertising the new "Hilldale" neighborhood, apparently yet another new development project on the north side of the river.
I made my way through the city, heading for what I knew were woods on the borders of the town. As I walked down the sidewalks, I was struck by how normal the city looked. The sun was shining down on a residential neighborhood, houses all lined up, with carefully groomed lawns. Some had children's toys scattered in the yard. During moments like these it was impossible to imagine that I was anywhere else but a present, normal suburb. I treasured these rare times where I could simply pretend that the insanity I had experienced was just my imagination. That everything was...normal.
Finally I had reached the edge of town. And it was a very definite "edge." On one side of the street was a building, and on the other side of the street were trees. The road continued to the east for as far as I could see, but to the south it was all forest.
I crossed the road and left the city.
As soon as I passed the tree line, the forest seemed to close around me. The trees were so thick that it was hard not to feel claustrophobic. The forest also had a strange feel to it. I hoped it was just my nerves and imagination, but it was hard not to feel like I was not welcome here; that I was an intruder in this place. It was a very disconcerting feeling, and one that I realized I had not felt in the city. Which was strange, now that I thought about it.
The ground was becoming steeper and steeper with each step. I was starting to climb out of the valley and into the bluffs overlooking the city. I climbed for what seemed like an hour before I needed to stop and rest. I found a place to sit down and looked out over the city. And then my blood froze.
There were people down there. I was far enough away that they were difficult to make out, but there were definitely people down there. That wasn't what freaked me out, though. There were probably seven or eight figures standing at the edge of the road. Just standing there. Watching me. I don't know how I knew they were watching me, but I just did. In my mind's eye I could see them standing there with their heads tilted back, looking up into the bluffs, exactly at the spot where I was standing.
My previous exhaustion forgotten, I turned and started running. I hit another incline, steeper than the one before, and had to drop to all fours to scramble up it. I turned around and looked down at the city again. The figures were still there. They hadn't moved, but they were still watching. Somehow I knew they were still watching.
I reached the top of the bluffs, dirty and exhausted. I staggered away from the edge, and kept moving until I couldn't look down over the city anymore. Since there was no sign of pursuit I collapsed in the dirt, panting. After I caught my breath, I looked around. I could see a clearing up ahead. I figured that would be a better place to rest, so I headed there.
When I got there, though, I saw something that took my breath away.
: No. Oh god, no. That's...that's not possible...
A special thank you to forum goon Nonbaka for this insanely awesome picture. He'll be doing the final "reveal" scene as well.
For those of you unsure of your Midwestern geography, this is what the Boundary Waters are.
The city is expanding at a pretty rapid rate, and there haven't been too many choices for people. Coming up next update, however, we'll get another option. Also, coming tomorrow, another big picture of the city.