“Damnit, those stupid brats,” Mason cursed as he turned over in his bed for the eleventh time. The neighbors were having the time of their lives, screaming, laughing and playing. It was understandable, it was Christmas Eve after all. Still, he was trying to sleep and having no one to spend the holiday with could make a person pretty bitter. Mason got up angrily and headed for the window. “Would you just shut the heck up? Some of us are trying to sleep!”
“Scrooge!” One of the teens called back.
“You little fu-” Mason began, but was startled by a hand on his shoulder.
“Now. you shouldn’t really be so hard on them. It’s Christmas Eve, they’re just having some fun!” The person standing in front of him was a face he knew well. It was one he dreamt about for ages. He had missed her beautiful smile, her sparkling eyes, the way her hair waved…he missed everything.
“Athena….” Mason held his arm out to her. He wanted to hold her in his arms, kiss her lips once again, but he couldn’t move. She took a step backwards and laughed a cute little laugh.
“I’m not the girl that you think I am. She is gone. It tends to happen to those with no time on their hands. Athena Gray, what a lovely name…hmm, I apologize, I’m getting off track. I am the ghost of Christmas Past. I have taken the shape of Athena to remind you of one of the good things you had once had in your life. Now, shall we begin?”
“What the hell?” Mason rubbed his eyes. “Christmas past huh? Is that why you’re dressed like that?”
“Precisely Mr. Moon. Now, if you don’t mind, we must hurry this up. I have other people’s holidays to save.” She tapped her foot impatiently. “Oh wait a second, why am I even asking you? Let’s just go.”
With a snap of her finger, Mason felt himself being transported somewhere. It was unlike anything he had ever felt before. “This isn’t time traveling…where the hell are we?”
“I’m not a time traveler. What we’re doing right now is hovering. We’re in between dimensions. Does this house look familiar?”
Mason looked around. “Is this….the house I grew up in?” The boring black couch, gray walls, hanging plants everywhere…it was just as he remembered. He spent some of the greatest years of his life in this huge house. His parents were scientists who were paid well. The large spacious house with sophisticated future designs reflected that. It was kind of boring, dull and empty but at least he had synthesized meals on the table unlike some of his friends. Not everyone was fortunate enough to have the newest technology. “How are we here? This time is locked…”
“Ding ding ding! You’re right! Emit locked this time period for ALL travelers, which I guess is just you and him, huh? I wonder why he’d do that?” ‘Athena’ wore an all-knowing smirk.
“Shut up!” Mason growled. “That’s none of your damn business! Now, answer my question!”
“Touchy subject, huh?” She poked his arm, waiting for him to flinch before speaking again. “Nobody is allowed to touch this time period. Not even us ghosts. Like I said before, we’re hovering in between dimensions. We’re not part of this dimension or the one you live in, so we haven’t materialized. Basically, we’re just watching the events of the past. We can’t interact with anyone or anything here and they can’t see or hear us.”
“That’s real?” Mason’s eyes widened.
“Mr. Powerful Time Traveler isn’t so powerful and all knowing as he makes himself out to be, huh?” ‘Athena’ crossed her arms over her chest. She enjoyed watching him squirm. He needed to realize he wasn’t the center of the universe.
“You don’t know what I’m capable of….don’t take me lightly!” Mason said angrily. He shut his eyes and tried to focus. He needed to get out of here before it was too late. He didn’t want to see what was about to happen. “Damnit!” He cursed.
“You can’t time travel when you’re in between dimensions. Don’t you get it?” Mason was about to say something else when he heard a familiar voice.
“Mason is going to love this gift.” The woman turned around to make sure that no one had seen her place the present under the tree and turned back around to admire it.
“Mom…” Mason whispered. “I can’t stay here. I need to go now. Take me home, please!” Mason clutched ‘Athena’s’ arm and pleaded.
“Mason, I know this is going to be hard for you to watch, but you’ll never change if you don’t see what destroyed your spirit in the first place. I don’t care about what you’re doing now, that’s none of my concern. My job is only to get you your Christmas spirit back. It’s not like you’ve never had it…you’ve just lost it and to get it back you need to find the root.”
“I know what the root is!” Mason shouted. “I know what happens. Do not make me go through this twice!”
“I’m sorry, but it isn’t up to me. It’s how things have to be.”
“Who says that I need spirit anyway? Who made it a law that I have to be nice and happy and cheerful all the damn time?”
“When you’re a grinch, others suffer! Have you stopped to take a look around you once and a while? Athena, Noah and Apollo. Those are three people whose lives you have tried to destroy! Do you really think that everything is okay?” ‘Athena’ shook her head vigorously. “You have got to stop this. There is no turning back now. You are going to relive this night and there isn’t anything that you can do about it! In fact, I don’t want to hear your nonsense anymore. I’ll be back for you later!”
“What! No, come back!” Mason shouted at her fading figure. “Damnit!” Mason tried to kick the sofa in front of him but his foot went straight through. “This sucks!” There was nothing Mason could do but watch the events unfold.
“Marilyn, honey, I’m home with Levi. We had a blast at the Daddy and Me holiday party. Isn’t that right son?” Levi giggled in his dad’s arms.
“More daddy! More daddy!” Levi squealed in delight.
“I’m glad that you had fun with your dad, Sweetheart.” Marilyn kissed Levi’s forehead. She then began to walk off, ignoring her husband.
“Marilyn. please. It wasn’t my decision, you can’t possibly be mad at me!” He quickened his pace to catch up with the red head.
She stopped short and spun around to face him. “It’s Christmas Bryant! It’s Mason’s favorite time of year! We can’t go to work. At least one of us should stay home with the boys. They shouldn’t be alone. We had to work on Thanksgiving and…”
“Baby, the science facility needs both of us. We’re so close to a breakthrough! Don’t you want a better future for our sons? The boys can go over to your sister’s house. She won’t mind having them over.”
“Stop with that! They’re our kids. We can’t just keep dumping them on my sister. Nandy is having a huge party with all of her wife’s friends. We shouldn’t bother her with our kids! Bryant, I’m staying home!”
“We need you Mar, there isn’t anyone else we can trust. You know that. I love Mason and Levi with all of my heart. If there was a way around this, I’d be the first to suggest it. I promise that we will make it up to them. I promise you.” He squeezed her hand tightly. “A better future for our sons is what matters.”
Marilyn stared down at his hand in hers. She traced his fingers with index finger. “I know that. I love them so much and I hate that we have to keep leaving them like this. I just wish there was another way, you know?”
“Mason will understand. He’s old enough.” Bryant leaned in and kissed her forehead. “Everything will be alright.”
Time seemed to skip forward after that moment. Mason was now staring at a younger version of himself.
“Why’d you dye your hair? The red is so hot.” The ghost reappeared.
Mason narrowed his eyes. “I’ve seen enough already. Can’t I go back to my own dimension?”
“So, you’re not even going to answer my question? Fine. Whatever. I hate repeating myself. You cannot go back until you see all of this. Once it’s over you’ll go back home. I’m just here to remind you.” She snapped her fingers and once again began to fade away. He wished her visits weren’t as brief. She sounded, looked and smelled like Athena, but she acted maliciously, unlike his love. Still, he wouldn’t mind being around someone he could communicate with and rely on.
“Mom, are you okay? Synthesized Dim Sums are your favorite. Why aren’t you eating?” Young Mason shoved another spoonful of food into his mouth as he watched his mother contemplate her next move.
“I’m sorry honey. My mind is somewhere else entirely. I’m not very hungry.” She propped her elbows on the counter and shut her eyes. Mason never realized how stressed his mother really was all that time. Watching her now, he noticed the prominent wrinkles around her eyes.
“Is it about work again?” Mason wondered aloud.
“Kind of.” She let out a long sigh. “I guess I’ll just come out and say it. Your father and I have to go to work on Christmas.” Mason watched the frown form on his younger self. He remembered trying to hold in his anguish, but his mother always saw right through him. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s Christmas, can’t your research wait?” The young Mason tried to make the conversation sound casual but the way his voice cracked gave it away instantly.
“I wish. We’re so close. The higher ups don’t want us to waste any time. We’re so close to cracking the code. Those mysterious markings on that stone tablet that we found are the key to a Utopian future. Once we finish with that, the development stage will begin and your father and I can take a break for awhile and spend some time with you and Levi.”
“I guess I understand,” Young Mason said, standing up.
“Honey, you didn’t finish your food.”
“I’ve lost my appetite. I’m going to my room.”
“Listen, Mason. I’m sorry! I’ll call Nandy and see if you can go over there for the holidays!” Marilyn called after him.
Once he reached the stairs, he turned around. “Don’t worry. Levi and I will be fine over here.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m fine, mom. Don’t you have work to do?” With that, young Mason left an obviously pained mother. Marilyn was just as upset with the situation as Mason was.
Once again the scene changed in front of Mason.
“Merry Christmas, Lev.” Young Mason leaned down and kissed Levi on the cheek. “I’m sorry, I’m not that great of a cook. I can’t synthesize as much as Mom and Dad can. I hope this is good enough for you.” Mason placed a small plate of raviolis in front of his brother.
“Yum yum!” Levi laughed, digging his fist into the bowl and messily shoving some pasta into his tiny mouth. “Good!”
Young Mason couldn’t help but laugh. “You just think that today is like every other day huh? Ignorance is bliss.” With Levi eating happily, young Mason finally found the chance to talk to his parents before they left.
“Me go wif Mase! Me go too!” Levi tried to get his brother’s attention.
“You’re done already?” Young Mason laughed at his little brother’s antics. He wouldn’t eat if he saw Mason walking away. Levi hated being alone. “Alright, you can come with me. Let’s go.”
“Mom. Dad…” Young Mason began.
“Daddy!” Levi squealed and reached out his arms.
“Hush, Lev. I’m trying to tell them something,” Mason said as he passed Levi over to his father. Levi leaned into Bryant as he watched his older brother form his words.
“Is something bothering you?” Bryant asked.
Marilyn grabbed her son’s hand and held it, as if willing him to speak. “I just…I want to give you your gift. You won’t be back until midnight but by then, Christmas will be over so I want you to open your gift now.”
“But, we always open our gifts together,” Marilyn said.
“Yeah, but this year is different. Just open it.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. “It’s for both of you. I couldn’t afford much, sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. It’s the thought that counts. It means a lot to us, thanks kiddo.” Bryant leaned over and ruffled his hair. “So what is it, Mar?”
Marilyn began to tear up and she hugged Mason tightly. “Did you write this yourself?”
Young Mason nodded meekly. “Yeah…”
“Bryant, read this.” She handed him the handwritten poem. It was scribbled on a crumbled piece of paper. Mason could recite the poem to anyone, still to this day. He had no idea what to get his parents for the holidays. When his mother told him that they weren’t going to be with him on Christmas, he was upset and decided to just write his feelings down.
“Just know that the only thing that separates us is time…” Bryant finished reading the poem aloud. “Mason, this is truly incredible. It means the world to me that you put so much thought into this. No matter how far away we are, the only thing that separates us is time, but don’t fret. Time is a lovely thing. It heals all wounds.”
“Dad, Mom. I love you guys.” Young Mason hugged them both tightly. “Have a great day at work.”
“We’ll be thinking of you the entire time. Don’t stay up too late. Aunt Nandy is going to call a little later to check up on you, okay?” Mariyln asked.
“Mhmm.” Young Mason nodded. “I’ll see you later.”
Mason couldn’t take it anymore. “Stop it! Don’t say goodbye! You can’t leave!”
“They can’t hear you Mason.” The ghost of Christmas past rolled her eyes. She was now standing next to Mason once again.
“You know what’s about to happen. How can you let them just leave like that!” Mason shouted. “Do something!”
“There is nothing I can do. We can’t physically interfere in this world. It’s going to happen no matter what.”
“Mom! Dad! Stay home, please! Don’t go!” Mason yelled. He didn’t care if they couldn’t hear him. He wouldn’t sit back and allow this to happen. Not if there was a slight chance he could stop it.
“Come on Mason, there’s another scene I need you to see. It’s almost over. Just a little more.”
“No…please…” Mason whimpered.
Christmas at the Moon household wasn’t very eventful. Young Mason and Levi watched some cartoons until Levi fell asleep. After Mason put Levi in his crib, he decided to watch some corny holiday movies until he eventually fell asleep. It wasn’t until his phone began to buzz that young Mason awoke.
“Nand, what’s up?” Young Mason yawned.
“Is everything ok over there?” Her frantic voice rung through the speakers.
“Yeah, why? What’s up? Levi is asleep upstairs and I was taking a nap on the couch.” Young Mason stretched his arms over his head.
“Thank goodness. I thought something happened!” It wasn’t until then that young Mason noticed that something was off.
“Nandy, what’s wrong? Did something happen? You sound like you’re crying!”
“Mason….I’m so sorry!” It was as if she was waiting for his permission to let her emotions overflow. “They’re dead.”
“What are you talking about? Who’s dead?” Young Mason asked. He held his breath, hoping that Nandy wouldn’t say it.
“Your….your…parents. Both….I’m so sorry!” Nandy sobbed some more before continuing. “There was an explosion. The whole place burned down.”
Mason watched himself drop the phone. Both of them held their breaths. Young Mason then fell to the ground and began to sob. His whole world was crashing down around him and Mason had to watch it happen all over again.
“Christmas Past. Come back! It’s over!” But there was no response. Mason could only watch himself fall to the ground in compulsive sobs.
“Mason…I’m coming over right away!” Nandy said through the phone. He rocked back and forth, holding his knees up to his chest.
“This isn’t fair!” The young boy shouted. “It’s Christmas! They should be home! No!” Mason wanted to crawl in a hole and hide for the rest of his life rather than see this happen again. He was dreading it.
“Are you happy now? Huh, Mrs. Hovering Ghost? Now you know why I have no Christmas Spirit. Now you know why I hate Oasis Landing. Now you know. Are you happy!” Mason shouted with his own tears streaming down his face.
A voice began to speak to him. “It isn’t over yet Mason.”
Before Mason could even wipe his eyes, another scene unfolded before him. It was his parent’s funeral. They had decided to hold it at his house, Both Marilyn and Bryant were wealthy and left Mason and Levi quite a bit of money. Mason remembered this conversation as clear as day. It was what fueled his desire to interact with the Gray family in the first place.
“Sandra Castle, one of your parent’s coworkers. How come she didn’t die, did you ever wonder? I thought everyone died that night.” The ghost appeared once again.
“She wasn’t called in until late that night. She arrived just when the fire was starting. My mother pushed her out of the way of the flames.They were good friends.” Mason looked away.
“Interesting.” The ghost placed a hand on her chin as if in thought.
“Mason? You know I loved your mother to death right? She was my best friend.” Sandra began to speak. Young Mason nodded. “Your mother gave up her life to save me. She pushed me out of the way of a falling plank. I owe my entire life to her and I am so grateful for that. I want you to know that she was an amazing woman and she left me with some last information to tell you, She said it was really important.”
“What is it?”
“Sierra Gray,” Sandra said.
“Who is that?” Young Mason asked.
“I don’t know. There wasn’t enough time for her to explain, she just wanted me to tell you that. I’m sorry son.”
Young Mason began to run away. It was a lot to take in. His mother had died to protect someone else. She had left him with a message, she had been thinking of him until her last breath. He wanted to curl up into a ball and die.
“Where are you going?” Nandy pulled him into a tight hug.
“Nandy…oh my God. They’re gone. They’re really gone! I keep telling myself that it was all just a dream, but I keep waking up in this empty house!” He clutched her shirt and began to cry harder. “I…I miss them!”
Nandy pulled him closer and began to stroke his back lovingly. “I know it hurts. Marilyn is my older sister…I…I can’t believe this is happening. I…I’m here for you no matter what, Mason. Okay? Do you understand me? I don’t want you to go off and do anything stupid.”
“I love you Aunt Nandy.”
“I love you too, Mason. So much.”
The scene had faded into a new one yet again. Young Mason was curled up by the Christmas tree, sobbing.
“Do you remember this?” ‘Athena’ asked.
“Vividly,” Mason choked out.
Young Mason turned his parent’s gift to him over and over again in the palm of his hand.
“You never really did open that, did you?” ‘Athena’ turned to him. Mason stayed silent. “Did you ever stop to think that maybe you aren’t doing what you’re doing to enact revenge on Oasis Landing like you’ve been telling everyone? No matter how angry you are at the government of Oasis Landing, you don’t want to destroy it. You want to make it better in hopes of bringing them back, don’t you? that’s why you and Athena got along so well. She was going through the same exact thing. She was the only person who truly understood you.”
“She’s dead! My parents are dead. My little brother is going to die soon. Who else do I have left!” Mason shouted angrily. They were now back in Mason’s room.
“I can’t tell you why Emit decided to lock your timeline. I wish you could go back and stop this from happening. I wish you could go back and change everything. If your parents never died, if you were with Athena and if your son had a child, it would all be okay. I wouldn’t be here. You would have never lost your spirit. But, then again. Without this incident, you would have never met Athena. There’s so much that you need to sort out in order to be happy. I was just the messenger. I thought I could help you.”
“You can’t!” Mason yelled bitterly. “Just leave me the hell alone!”
“Have a Merry Christmas Mason.”
“Bite Me!” he growled as she faded away for what he hoped would be the last time. He couldn’t stand to see her anymore. He jumped into his bed and lay awake for hours, contemplating what life really would have been like if none of this ever happened.
This is part one of a two part Christmas Special. The next part is more light hearted, I promise. I’m just trying to shed some light on Mason’s character a bit. Thank you for reading. I have this new story out called Sim Star Idol. Just click it and you can read it. It’s like a reality show with some sims sent in from other Simmers. It’s a lot of fun, check it out! 🙂 Oh, I almost forgot. Happy Holidays!