“Welcome!” The words sounded loud to Don’s ears. He had grown accustomed to silence.
“Thank you,” Don replied. “Sorry to trouble you, but–“
The red-haired sim cut him off, “No trouble. Come on inside. We were just getting ready to sit down for our noonday meal. You are more than welcome to join us.”
Don walked inside a rustic homestead. “Kelli, this looks great,” the sim said, motioning Don to join them at the table.“We harvested the pomegranate this morning,” Kelli said, smiling. Don took a bite; it tasted unlike anything he’d ever eaten. “Superfood salad,” she said. “We grow everything we eat.”
“Let me introduce you,” the red-haired sim said. “I’m Emery, Kelli’s my sister.” Don nodded; he could see the resemblance. “My wife, Meagan, and her husband Maurice.”
“Nice to meet all of you. My name is Don.”
“Where’s Emerson?” Maurice asked abruptly. “My sister is often late,” he explained to Don. “Not you,” Maurice told Meagan, “I should say our sister is often late.”
The door opened, and a woman bounced in.
“Sorry I’m late, but I was playing with Daisy.” she said. “Hello!” Emerson stopped in her tracks. “And who is this?”
“I’m Don,” Don said.
“And I’m very pleased to meet you,” Emerson laughed. She had a lovely laugh, Don thought. “Welcome to Walden’s Pond. We have everything you can possibly need — or want. We never have visitors anymore.”After their meal, the sims returned to their activities. Don wandered through their large garden, strolled through the orchards, saw their workshop and agreed that the farm had everything. “I’ve finished watering for today,” Emerson said when Don caught her eye. “Let me take you on a complete tour of the farm.” Don followed her to a launch pad. “Come on, I’ve been in the rocket tons of times. We’ll just go up high enough to give you a good view of the place.” Don hesitated but only for a moment. The twinkle in Emerson’s eyes was enough to make him want to try something new.
“Buckle up, Buttercup,” Emerson said as she pushed the launch button. Don felt his head pinned to the seat as the rocket headed straight up. “Now look out the window. It’s the best view around.”
Don could see the entire farm in its neat rock-wall enclosure. The farm was on an island, surrounded by water as far as Don could see. He saw the beach and the bridge he had just stepped off of a few hours ago. Yet, Don could not see where the bridge went: It seemed to just vanish in low-lying clouds.
“How long have you lived here?” Don asked.
“Always,” Emerson said. “Why would we want to live anywhere else?”
Emerson’s story sounded very strange. How could one not remember anything but living here? It was beautiful, Don thought, but wasn’t it impossible to just live here, no family, no connections. He wondered if Walden’s Pond was one of the bunkers George and Bella had been discussing. Maybe they weren’t all off world, or maybe he was on Sixam. Don had no clue what Sixam looked like — were Emerson and her family off-worlders? They had a rocket ship. Emerson neatly landed back on the pad. Don climbed out of the ship, feeling proud that he had gone into space. Well, higher than he’d ever been at least.
“Time to feed Daisy,” Emerson scaled the metal stairway. “Last one there’s a rotten orb!”
Don followed her, deep in thought.“This,” Emerson interrupted Don’s thoughts, “is Daisy.” Don immediately recognized the cow plant, safely penned. “Want to feed her?” Don shook his head and watched as Emerson went into the enclosure. “They are my pet project,” she said. “I have been breeding them to be gentler. I’ve discovered that I can feed them different food and milk them to get varying essences. This is an experimental try here.” She tossed a packet into Daisy’s open mouth.
“Nobody gets harmed, and we fetch a terrific price for the milk. By the way,” Emerson glanced at Don while petting Daisy. “Don’t take the cake.” Don nodded; he remembered that from the Labs.
“You can feed Mabel if you’d like.” Don politely declined. He still had a lot to think about. Even though Emerson didn’t remember anything but life here, she still was working on a project. And who was it who bought the cow plant essence milk? For the time being, at least, Don was stuck here. Maybe he could find the ingredients he needed to perfect the serum. That’s why he was here, after all.
Besides, it could be worse, Don smiled, watching the yellow-haired gal bravely feeding the hungry cow plants. Walden’s Pond wasn’t so bad.