Meet Valerie Newcrest: a recent high school graduate who managed to learn absolutely nothing during her formative years, save for a love of romance, cleanliness, and being as far away from a classroom as possible (typically, outdoors). After leaving education with no prospects and heavy disappointment from her parents, Valerie was desparate for anything at all that could get her away from her hometown, Willow Creek.
And that was when she saw the advert: “Simsville Council want you to help establish a new neighbourhood! All applicants considered. Terms and conditions: lifelong commitment, you can never leave the new neighbourhood.” Contact details were posted underneath, and Valerie knew she’d found what she was destined for. She went along to the interview and found she was the only Sim interested, and got the job by default; no further information necessary.
When Valerie signed up, they’d mentioned that costs were flexible and they would work to provide her with basic housing dependent on how much money she could front. The tiny shack housed only a camping bed and cooler. Still, it was Valerie’s and Valerie’s alone, and nobody could take it away from her. It warmed her heart to know that.
Valerie immediately got to work planting her first daisy bush, but found that it took much less time than she’d expected. Being a beginner gardener, she’d assumed it would take most of the day to bury her first seeds, but she had vastly overestimated how hard it would be. With only one small pot provided, there wasn’t much for Valerie to do until she could raise some simoleons to pay for some planter boxes.
Valerie immediately began exploring the neighbourhood to see if she could forage anything to earn her some money. The best find was a minnow buried in a pile of dirt. It was a little unsettling, and Valerie’s first thought was that it was indicative of a cult presence already establishing itself in her neighbourhood. She decided to keep an eye out for any suspicious individuals. The new neighbourhood was being set up as a result of gangs and violence in other regions of Simsville; if a cult managed to lay its roots this early in the development of the new neighbourhood, Valerie knew it had no hope of surviving.
Valerie decided to try her hand at fishing with the remaining time in her first official day as mayor, but found she got frustrated very quickly with the fish refusing to bite. It was as if they could somehow sense that her tackle was one of a novice, and they chose not to bite to spite her. However there was one positive in the situation, as Valerie made her first friend: Lily Feng. Lily immediately came across as intimidatingly smart, but Valerie quickly realised that Lily was no threat to her. Lily was keen to share her plans of dominating San Myshuno with her corrupt politician husband, which meant she’d have little interest in a few miles of undeveloped land outside Willow Creek.
Valerie used the little money and confidence she’d gained from catching a Perch to buy a discounted plate of Popcorn Shrimp at the local food stall, and couldn’t help but notice there was something a little… off about the vendor. “Perhaps he’s part of that fish-burying cult,” Valerie thought to herself as she took a seat at a nearby bench and tucked into her first meal.
After the sun went down, Valerie decided to give fishing another go and found herself having rather more success this time! Selling the bonus fish she caught late at night, Valerie finally had enough money to buy that planter box she wanted. She decided to plant some bluebells and snapdragons she’d found around town, along with the rest of the daisy seeds Simsville Council had given her, and then call it a night.
It might not seem like much of a home, but to Valerie it was everything.
As Valerie got to work planting her flowers before turning in and ending her first day as mayor of the new village, she wondered about what the future of the place would be and how the park she was going to establish would impact the growth of the town. She still hadn’t decided what to call her neighbourhood; Simsville Council had told her she could name it anything she wanted.
Valerie couldn’t help but be reminded of the story of how her family got their last name. Her grandmother had told her many times when she was a child. Valerie’s ancestors had been part of a wealthy and established family in Simland, the country they eventually emigrated from. The Specter family, apparently. But Valerie’s great-grandfather had removed himself from the family tree after his sister-in-law had a child with death. The rest of the family wanted to sweep it under the rug and move on, but Valerie’s great-grandfather wouldn’t agree to that, and so left the family to establish a new family.
“When he left town to move elsewhere, he ended up making quite a name for himself in Simland,” Valerie’s grandmother told her. “He set up in a new town and established himself as the greatest judge in Simland. The Royal Family wanted to honour him and his descendants for the services he’d provided by adding his family to The Order of the Plumbob, but they couldn’t do that without a family crest.”
And that was when Valerie caught on and understood. “So he neeeded a Newcrest!”
And suddenly, the name of her new neighbourhood seemed obvious.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading the first chapter in my first ever simlit story! Please let me know if there are any issues, and the next chapter will be out at 7pm GMT on 10/01/2019!