Growing up on an island had its ups and downs. Pauline loved the sea surrounding her, being able to run among the sandy beaches barefoot and the lush nature. Every tree was her treehouse, every rock was her observing platform, every bush was her fort.
And best of all, she got to share the island with her mom. There was nothing her mom couldn’t do, and nothing she wouldn’t be able to teach her.
Her mom was the most amazing person Pauline had ever met.
Of course, she was also the only person Pauline had ever met.
Pauline often wondered what was beyond their little piece of the world. She knew there had to be something, since her mom sometimes left with all of her paintings to go to a place called the mainland. All Pauline knew about it is that it was a dangerous place that her mother was protecting her from, so she would never go there.
But still, living on a single island makes you feel restless.
And so one day, when Astrid fell asleep, Pauline decided to see how far the island would go. As long as she didn’t go past the shores, she should be safe, after all…
But what would the rule be for a secret passage going into the shrubbery at the far end of the island? Pauline hesitated. She looked back towards the cottage she grew up in, took a deep breath, and walked through the branches.
What she discovered was like nothing she’d ever seen before. There must have been a castle here a long long time ago, but not much has been left. Instead, a gorgeous natural pool lay ahead of her.
Eager she climbed up onto the platform and dove straight in.
It was the most fun she’d ever had.
She wasn’t sure how much time she’d spent splashing in the water, but her initial excitement was gradually replaced by inexplicable sadness. How come she hadn’t known about this place, even though it was so close to her home? And what else could be hidden from her right under her nose?
“There you are!”
“You gave me such a fright, Pauline,” Astrid exclaimed. “Why would you wonder off on your own like that?”
“We’re still on the island,” Pauline shrugged. “Isn’t this place beautiful?”
“Now listen to me young lady, you can’t just sneak away like that. The passage to the Bluffs is hidden away for a reason,” Astrid scolded her daughter. “You cannot come here!”
“But why?” Pauline yelled angrily. “This isn’t the mainland! There are no monsters here! I was just bored.”
“Just because it’s safe now doesn’t mean nobody will show up,” Astrid replied. “Come on, we’re going home.”
“No! I don’t want to, I’m not going anywhere,” Pauline shouted.
“This is not a discussion, missy. We are leaving,” Astrid stood up, frowning. “I’ll explain when we get home.”
Pauline followed her mother begrudgingly.
She’d never been this angry at her mother.
There better be a good reason for all this. If not, she would run away from home, she decided.
“Sit,” Astrid gestured towards the bed as they entered the cottage. “I suppose you’re now big enough to learn the truth.”
“I told you that we can’t go to the mainland because the place is full of monsters,” she continued. “But the truth is… it’s not them. It’s us. We are the monsters.”
Pauline’s jaw dropped as she watched her mother twirl around and turn into a strange green creature with bug-like eyes.
“This is my true form,” Astrid told her daughter. “You would have been too little to remember seeing me in it. But this is why your skin is green. And so we must hide. We don’t belong on this planet, Pauline. Our ancestors are not like anyone else.”
“But, I don’t understand,” Pauline looked at her, puzzled. “You’ve never looked like this before.”
“I’ve always looked like this,” Astrid shook her head. “I’m a full alien, meaning that I have some… powers. I rarely use any of them, apart from the power of disguising myself. I can make myself look like a regular sim, but the true me is still there, underneath. That’s why I can venture out there, unrecognised.”
“So teach me how to do it,” Pauline exclaimed. “And then I can go with you!”
“I wish I could, sweet girl,” Astrid sighed. “But you’re only half alien. You will never be able to disguise yourself. So you must stay here, where it’s safe. Where no one will hurt you. You understand?”
“Now be good, and play in here,” Astrid handed her daughter a set of crayons. “Why don’t you paint something beautiful?”
Something beautiful. Easier said than done. Pauline stared at the crayons in her ugly green hand. She’d never thought about it before, the way she looked.
How could she not have seen it before? She was hideous. And because of that, she would never be able to be seen by anyone.
In the years to come, Pauline would never forget this day.
I don’t even know what to say. This is so depressing. I can’t believe Astrid feels this way about herself and her child…
I know, sorry! Astrid has a pretty distorted view of the world.
Aww poor baby Pauline. Someday I hope she can see that she is no monster and that she is beautiful.
Hopefully she will! Thanks for reading 🙂
Nooooo!! Poor Pauline. This is gonna wreck me, I just know it.
Sorry! She’s stronger than you might think 😉
Oh, my poor baby 😦 I can’t believe Astrid told her child that she’s a monster, seems too cruel. I understand she wants to protect her, but still.
Not cool at all. Astrid has pretty unconventional parenting methods, that’s for sure!
I love this story so much!
Aww thank you!
Wow. Just wow. I’ll admit I’m remembering your Bloomer banner with the green women dancing with the flames – it seemed like such a powerful scene (and maybe it is) but this story is not going to make it easy for either of them. I can’t wait to read it unfold. Surprises at every turn.
Definitely didn’t have it easy! Though Astrid’s biggest obstacle has always been Astrid.
Oh goodness. I have completely abandoned #TeamAstrid now. WOW. I am having a hard time feeling bad for her. SHE is a monster for the way she’s treating her own child! I don’t care what she says her reasons are, she is beyond selfish and I really hope Pauline will grow up to see that and will break away from her mother as soon as she can! (Pauline is adorable, by the way)
I’m so sorry. I should be more sensitive. You know how upset I get when people say unkind things about Mari or Stefan, so I’m being such a hypocrite right now. I’m just so frustrated. Oh God, is this what my readers feel like all the time? *questioning everything* Hahahaha
Don’t apologise, I find it hysterical. This may be a good time to mention that I abandoned #TeamAstrid sooner than anyone else did. I think we were talking on Origin around the time when the whole Mari thing was going on and you were saying how you found it difficult to not get offended when people criticise Mari, and I said I was experience the opposite, where my heiress is acting horribly but people don’t seem to call her out on her crap because she always positions herself as the victim… well, I was talking about Astrid. I was actually surprised by how long people still rooted for her (this one seemed to be the deal breaker for people haha).
You’re right, she’s completely selfish and always tries to run away from her problems. And her cowardly behaviour affects others significantly, and she still does it nonetheless. The thing is, there was actually a huge time jump before this generation (I covered all of generation 6 in one chapter, but don’t read it, it wouldn’t necessarily mean a lot to you since it was more to tie the loose ends and bridge the gap from generation 5), so everyone came to Astrid at the point where you got to know her, without knowing much about her past. But I always thought that maybe the sob story we get at the beginning might not be completely accurate, since the chapters were written from her POV. She says nobody in Newcrest ever accepted her because she’s an alien, but knowing how much she likes to make a victim out of herself and shift the blame to others, is that really true?
Oh Pauline. I understand why Astrid said the things she did, but that must have scarred her daughter in some way. I hope Pauline comes to learn that she’s special and beautiful as she grows older.
Pauline didn’t have the best of upbringings, to say the least…
Oh man! Astrid has never learnt to love herself and now the cycle continues with her daughter. I’m so mad that she taught her daughter something like that, but I can sympathise with her view and can see how she’d formulate that unhealthy thinking about herself.
Man I love your writing. What a punch in just a sentence.
I feel soo bad for Pauline.
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You are very forgiving. I think this chapter was a deal breaker for most when it came to Astrid.
And thank you!