It had almost been too easy, really. Procuring the remains of a dead Sim should be a little more difficult. But this had never been the hard part of the plan anyway. Not The Plan, mind you. This was just a little side project. A little fun to relax.
The hard part had been designing and building the spirit containment system. Ironing out its kinks. But now it was ready
Dolores was so not done with Minzi Cho. So many questions to answer, so much research to be done. Could a ghost feel pain? Could they be tortured in other ways? And could a ghost be... killed? Oh, the possibilities!
The ghost of Minzi Cho was, if anything, even less coherent than the living Sim had been. She was incomprehensible, yet obviously raging. Dolores observed with delight that the spirit containment system seemed to work flawlessly, as the fiery ghost struggled desperately.
Only snippets of the ghost's words could be understood. They were whispers, voiceless groans, barely audible over the faint humming of electricity in the room.
As Dolores stood there, watching, a strange feeling washed over her. This was not the sense of grim satisfaction she had anticipated as she was planning this. No, it was not a good feeling.
Slowly she walked over to her computer and pushed a certain combination of buttons.
A clicking noise accompanied the color change. The faint humming noise of the contraption quieted down.
Again, Dolores stood and watched. The ghost seemed confused.
"Come on out, Minzi," Dolores instructed. "You're free to go."
The ghost hovered in place for another moment, reluctant, before slowly passing through the barrier that had now been deactivated.
"You," the fiery figure started, pointing a finger at Dolores and looking more like her living self again. "... you called me Minzi."
Dolores had expected anger, an accusation, but not this. "Well, yes," she replied, "Minzi Cho. That is your name."
"Minzi... Cho." The ghost uttered the words slowly, as if she was trying to study them carefully. "Minzi Cho..."
It took a while, but Dolores managed to coax the spirit into following her outside. It floated off into the distance, into no particular direction, still muttering the name that apparently meant nothing to it now.
Hours later, after a short nap next to Trent, who was still sleeping soundly now, Dolores stood by the bedroom window and watched the lake. Her little side project had not turned out the way she had imagined.
Why had she let Minzi Cho go, after all the work she had put into planning this vengeance that was to go beyond death? Pity? Was she getting soft? Was it... remorse?
She didn't want to think too much about it.
Dancer was disgruntled about going for a ride in the rain, but did not refuse.
They ended up at the Bloom Heritage Museum. Whether this was intentional or not, Dolores wasn't quite sure herself.
Old family photos and some strange fruit were on display behind a glass wall. Dolores had heard the story of her mother's birth - being planted as one of these unusually large seeds.
There were paintings documenting every stage of Clover's life.
A row of photos. The face of Hannah, Dolores' grandmother on her father's side, was difficult to make out on the old photo in the dark corner.
Bloom had even painted Dolores riding Dancer, back when she first joined the household.
Family photos, too old for Dolores to actually care about.
Darwin had stashed some of his rarer finds here, instead of cluttering up the house.
Every room of the museum was crammed with useless junk. But still, Dolores felt a fierce sense of pride in the fact that Hidden Springs' best museum was dedicated to her own ancestors.
And soon, she vowed, it would be Hidden Springs' only museum.
Normally, Dolores watched with glee whenever a panicking crowd gathered around one of her fires. But for some reason, seeing her own elderly parents in the midst of the flames, trying to save a random little girl, shifted something within Dolores.
Maybe she just didn't want to see her own parents get hurt. There certainly was no reason for her to feel compelled to save someone stupid enough to catch on fire, much less a child she didn't even know.
But alas, it was too late.
Death came for the girl and took her. It made no difference to the Grim Reaper.
The newspapers called it a tragedy, a freak accident. Something about old wooden structures and faulty electrical wires. No one had seen Dolores start the fire.
Almost as if she was being defiant, pushing her luck, Dolores' Spooky Day decorations had an obvious theme this year.
A few extra wrinkles did nothing to improve her mood.
It wasn't quite Spooky Day yet, but the children's birthdays would not wait, so costumes were required for the party. Darwin was not amused.
Even in old age, Clover was a lovely flower princess.
Tyree the actual cop and his niece, dressing up as a cop, gossiped away.
It was a warm day, so soon a couple of guests ditched their costumes for their swimming trunks.
It was to be Darwin's last swim.
Clover was heartbroken.
In the meantime, Evelyn grew into a toddler with Darwin's eyes and hair color
After this tragedy, the triplets' birthday celebration was a subdued affair.
Eric chose to wear a baseball cap over his unusually colored hair, perhaps sensing that this would save him some trouble at school the next day.
Emily was a sweet girl, carefully trying to cheer up her mourning family as best she could.
One last picture of Dolores and toddler Esteban.
Dolores had always known that this one took so much more after her than his siblings.
Finally, little Evelyn was picked up off the floor so she could get a better view of her older siblings.