After a couple of months, several overnight fishing outings later, and growing the beginnings of, well, let’s call it a beard, Marley hasn’t found the inspiration needed to finish the repertoire for his first complete studio album.
“I’ve had it with this!” Marley says aloud as he throws his blanket off when getting up in the morning after a night filled to the brim with spirits and a blur to finish but without a new chorus or a mere idea.
With a clear chip on his shoulder, Marley gets dressed and carries a couple of suitcases to his room before he stops to think for a minute without changing his mind.
He ends up filling the smallest of the three with enough clothes to last him at least a week or two. Lastly, he grabs his goolish guitar and heads upstairs.
Marley stops his path abruptly when he sees Abel heading to the living room. He follows Abel to the couch and says: “I need to get out, Abel, you get that? I’ll only be available for you the coming weeks. If you’re okay with that of course,” with more empathy in his voice, Marley continues, “I need your help, bro.”
“You can reach me with my cell phone,” Marley then says while tossing his mobile phone on the coffee table in front of Abel. “I’ll call you within the next day or so to give you my new number. I’ll get a new one while I’m out. We cool?” Marley concludes.
Abel only nods in return and puts the phone away.
“Right, see you in a couple of weeks, bro!” With those words, Marley takes off, leaving Abel to fend for the family once more.
It’s just that Marley’s responsibilities towards the family, his sudden success taking off after touring, and the strain from his contract deals whether it be the Council’s or the record company’s, are taking its toll.
Marley’s trying to find some sort of carelessness again to write his lyrics. So on a whim, he’s decided to venture out to hopefully get his creative juices flowing again.
While starting his hike through Willow Creek, Marley runs into Angelina and her roommate. The roommate is off quickly after they start chatting tho Angelina asks Marley to hang out for a little while. Marley stays for a bit, he and Angelina spend some time talking outside her home.
Though as soon as Angelina asks Marley about his love life, Marley is soon to jinx the vibe when he gives her his view on those matters. She looks at him blankly in return. Marley decides to greet her and is soon on his way again. He really needs to get away from it all, go off the radar, even if it be only for a couple of weeks.
He’ll start walking and will live off the land as much as possible, just him, his guitar, notebook, fishing rod, and camping gear. All Marley needs to do before he’s truly on his way, is grab a new cellphone and he’s set to head out into the unknown.
After Marley heads for the park to enjoy some lunch and check his fishing gear, he heads out of the town’s center. Knowing he has all the gear he could possibly want, he grabs a loaf of bread from the bakery and heads east.
In the distance, Marley spots the industrial cranes and bridges behind the last row of residential lots. He suddenly stops to look around, he remembers this street. This is where he’s seen the tree similar to the one back in Granite Falls. While trying to figure out where he has seen it last, Marley spots the tree to his left, closer to the creek.
Marley laughs out loud as he walks by the tall tree. Looking towards the water’s edge, over the railing, even out over the water across the creek, he doesn’t spot a single tree like it as tall or wide and covered in these strange fungoid plants.
Returning to the tree, Marley kneels in front of it to study its trunk. It’s overgrown with parasites, he touches one of the parasites on its bark. Funny enough, the stuff feels warmer to the touch than anticipated.
On studying the leaves more closely, Marley is in awe of the spectacular condition they are in. Out loud, Marley compliments the tree on its appearance. When he touches the trunk of the tree, the bark seems to give.
The bark does indeed give way and shows Marley an opening. Marley’s not sure what to do at first though when he looks up at the tree in wonder a strange welcoming feeling gets a hold of him. He decides to venture in and see where this leads him.
It sure takes a while for Marley to wade through all that he encounters and just when he thinks this tunnel will see the end of him, he reaches what he thinks must be the other side of the tree.
He finds himself standing in a familiar spot, he’s been here before! Marley feels his heart drop. He’s standing at the clearing he visited as a young man. It’s where he first met his muse, a woman with a pull greater than any sim Marley’s ever met before and after.
Marley then hears a soft, somewhat familiar sounding voice behind him: ‘You’re cheeky. You keep wandering in uninvited. After the last time and my chanting incantation, I thought you would stay away.”
Over the moon, even tho taken aback by the woman’s words, Marley turns around to catch a glimpse of his mysterious muse only to see that there is no one to be greeted there. “Show yourself, is all I ask,” Marley says.
“You’ve already seen me once too many. I don’t know you and can not be seen talking to strangers,” the female voice replies strictly.
“Tell me why not. What have I done wrong? I’ve written you a song. Please let me take my guitar and play it for you.” Once Marley utters these words, he wants to kick himself in the head. That sounded way too eager tho it’s nothing but the truth.
“Let me hear it, and I will tell you my name, is all I promise,” the voice teases.
Marley eagerly starts plucking his guitar, channeling all his emotions in the song that made his first hit single. His voice softly accompanies the chords he plays. When he puts his guitar down after playing the song to his muse, the surrounding forest is quiet.
“Have I scared you off again?” Marley tries with a careful smile. When he hears a giggle, he turns left and walks a few feet in the direction of the laughter.
“If that song didn’t touch my heart, your lovely smile would certainly do the job, don’t you think?” Marley hears his dream woman say. “I’m Ruby, a pleasure to meet you but I’m off now, been standing still in one place for far too long now anyway.”
“NO! Ruby, wait! Wait! I’m Marley, hi, great meeting you tho I must see more of you. When can I find you here again?” is Marley’s plea, fists clenched and a desperate look in the eyes.
“I can’t be found the same way twice. There are rules but no. No, I can’t. You’re an outsider. I don’t know where you’re from or if you are to be trusted. Most of all, I’m not allowed tho I do wonder how you keep finding me,” the woman says as if Marley is ignorant.
“Not many sims wander around these parts of the woods. Not that you look like a regular one anyway. How come you dó wander here and how come you can hear me, and feel my presence?” The woman thinks aloud without expecting answers from Marley it seems.
“Are you done now? Know that all I want is to see you again, meet in person so we can sit and chat to answer all those questions of yours,” Marley says with a smile but with urgency in his voice continues: “So, when and where are we to meet again?”
“Okay, handsome, I’ll cave if you keep insisting,” she mockingly laughs, “Find me again, thén we will meet in person,” Ruby’s sweet voice whispers.
Marley feels a draft after Ruby’s whispered that delightful promise in his ear, his eyes closed to take it all in. When opening his eyes, all he sees is a couple of small animals, foraging, flying, or fading in the distance.
Empty-handed, without a single clue on how to find her again, Marley is again alone in the woods. When he turns around, even the woods surrounding him have disappeared. He’s standing back on the outskirts of Willow Creek.