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The Cullinan Legacy - Introduction
Published Jul 30, 2009

Written By

Liz M


Page 1 / 22

When I was twenty years old I ran away from my father's house. I didn't plan it. I didn't have anywhere else to go. I took no one with me except my dog Samford and told no one I was going. One day, a few weeks after my mother died, I just made the decision, grabbed a few clothes, emptied my savings account, wrote a note and left. No one came after me.

When I was twenty years old I ran away from my father's house. I didn't plan it. I didn't have anywhere else to go. I took no one with me except my dog Samford and told no one I was going. One day, a few weeks after my mother died, I just made the decision, grabbed a few clothes, emptied my savings account, wrote a note and left. No one came after me. I lived as a tramp for several days. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my money yet and was afraid to spend it in case when I did decide I didn't have enough. At night I curled up next to Samson for warmth. During the daylight we walked, rummaging in rubbish bins and picking berries from bushes for food. We walked until I felt like the souls of my shoes were wearing out. We passed through towns and cities, crossed open countryside, and then followed the coast. I had no idea where I was going or even what I was looking for. I just figured I'd know where to stop when I found it. Six days after we started out, our path along the coast brought us to the little town of Lamberton. It was a charming little place, unspoilt by the passage of time. We'd passed through several towns and villages but here at last I started to feel a sense of something or other. I couldn't really put my finger on it, but something inside was telling me to look for a place to stop. We walked around the town, through the residential streets. They were perfectly pleasant and I could probably afford some of the smaller houses but none of them seemed to grab me. A more rational voice in my head - one that sounded a lot like my mother - was telling me that beggers can't be choosers, and that I should be looking for somewhere practical. But I've never been able to settle for anything I didn't really want and my instincts have always been very good at telling me what feels right. Having been around the town several times and not found anything, I began to feel disappointed.

"I guess we'll have to keep going then," I said to Samford. Samford. Why did I choose that name, I wondered as we followed the road out of the town and up a hill. Could have just been Sam, but I've always been a bit of a snob.

I was still smiling at this thought when I noticed something odd. On the pavement in front of us was a rusted mail box and a trash can, as though there should be a house there. But there was just an empty expanse of grass.

And then I stopped in my tracks and looked around. Something in the distance had suddenly caught my eye. All around me was untouched land - except for a single tree standing in the middle of it. I don't know why, but I found myself walking towards it.
It was a lemon tree. How peculiar to find a lemon tree sitting here like this with nothing around it. It was almost like it was waiting for something. And here was I looking for something. I looked around at the mail box. This land must be for sale. The rational voice was starting to take on a stern tone. You need a house, it said, or an apartment. You'd have to be crazy to buy a huge plot of land with no money to build anything on it. But there was another voice talking in my head, one that was directing my feet back down the hill to the estate agent I'd seen in the town earlier. I'd left with nothing. To start from scratch, to build something that was entirely my own bit by bit from nothing, was a dream of mine, one that I couldn't pass up just because it wasn't practical. The estate agent seemed very happy to find someone interested in the land. Apparently there was a gas line underneath it and no one wanted to touch it. He assured me it was safe, it just meant was that I couldn't dig on the land, which I didn't mind at all, especially as it meant the land was cheap, and the deed was signed in the name of James Cullinan. Even still, I'd left home with 20,500 simoleons and just spent 19,700. I certainly couldn't afford to build anything. As I made my way back I bought a tent for 650 and took out a free newspaper subscription. I was really running on empty now and the first thing I did when I got home was look in the paper for a job, any job. But there was nothing, or at least nothing I knew how to do. That's when the first twinge of fear crept through my skin. And it wasn't helped by having to frantically stop Samford from digging holes. Had I just made a horrible mistake? I was wondering what I should do next when a man came up the hill. He didn't say a word to me, or even look at me, he just dropped a parcel on the grass and walked away. I stared after him. Did the mail man forget his uniform or something? I opened it and to my astonishment I found a brand new computer inside! There was a note saying that these parcels were given by the local council as a welcome to the neighbourhood present to all new residents. The note hinted that what they really wanted us to use it for was to find a job. They don't want lazy layabouts who can't pay their taxes, I thought with a smile. Not that I had any objections to that use! I set the tent I'd bought up next to the lemon tree, and managed to buy a very cheap desk and chair and set the computer up on it. As I stood and looked at it, it occured to me how this little camp was now my home. I think at this point most people would have wailed with despair, but I was restless with excitement. I didn't mind roughing it for a while at all. Heck, I hadn't even had a tent the last few days. This was a step up. But the excitement was short lived as I browsed on the computer. Most of the jobs on there were the same ones that were in the paper, and the new ones weren't any good for me either. A shiver of dread ran down my spine as I realised that I couldn't afford to buy a fridge. I bought a chew toy to stop Samford from resorting to digging holes for entertainment. After that I only had 33 simoleons left. That wouldn't even buy me a pizza! And my bladder had started to protest. I made a decision to rethink what was important and start to think hour by hour. I decided to return the desk and chair and the chew toy. Now I had enough to put up a bit of dry wall and a very cheap urinal. One problem solved. Luckily I'd managed to get breakfast that morning, but I knew I'd have to find food again within twenty four hours. Around late morning a welcome wagon arrived on my land. There was a rather pretty blonde called Marisa Bendett, a guy in shorts and pulled up socks called Benjamin Long, and a woman with brown hair called Brandy LeTourneau. They seemed pretty friendly but I got the distinct feeling that they were startled at my living conditions and trying to hide it. They didn't stay long. I felt pretty defensive after they'd left. So I had to sell the urinal and it's wall off again to buy Samford a dog bowl. And so I had to sleep in a tent with autumn just around the corner. There was one thought that I knew could keep me going through anything, and that was that I would rather be here living like this than back home with my father. My tyrant of a father who had to control everything and everyone around him, who scared everyone he came into contact with so much that he eventually led my mother to stop eating. The very thought of crawling back there sickened me. Besides, these neighbours couldn't envision what I could. They didn't see what I could see sitting on this land - an estate so grand that it would be the admiration of the town, and a proud family line that would be respected and valued for countless generations. But right now was a totally different story. I was beginning to feel peckish, and I needed to find some money soon or those dreams would never get the chance to become reality. In desperation I picked up the paper and browsed through the jobs again, reconsidering each one. They really weren't anything that I could do. Even starter jobs require some basic skills. But then I noticed that there were also jobs for pets. Something inside me brightened slightly. But there was only one job that started today, where the job hours hadn't already begun - an opening for a vermin chaser. And Samford wouldn't come home until one in the morning. That might be too late. Could I survive until then? I was sure Samford could do the job, he'd caught mice before. It wasn't a good option but it was my only chance. I applied Samford for the job and it was accepted.

"Our survival's all on you now boy," I remember telling him, looking into his soft dark eyes. "You can't let me down okay?" I got the feeling he understood.
By the time the carpool arrived at five, and Samford went cheerily off to work, I watched him go with fear and dread twisting in my chest. My stomach was starting to ache uncomfortably and I had no idea whether I would even see Samford again. Suddenly I found myself completely alone. For all I knew I might die here like this. I pushed that thought out of my mind. Throughout the evening I tried to distract myself from the ever-increasing hunger by doing a bit of bird watching. But it only took the egde off my fear. It was always still there, in the back of my mind, and as the night began to draw in it turned into panic. Darkness fell and there was still hours until Samford got home. It began to rain. I took shelter in the tent and after a while, with nothing else to do and unable to stand the morbid thoughts racing through my head any longer, I lay down and eventually dozed off. I awoke to the sound of a car engine. Jolting upright I looked at my watch. It was one o' clock! Quick as a flash I unzipped the tent flap and sprinted towards the mail box. The moment he got out of the car poor Samford collapsed onto the grass with exhaustion. I didn't disturb him to bring him back over to the camp. But he'd brought home a day's wages - 107 simoleons! I still couldn't afford a fridge, the cheapest one was 200. I was extremely weak now. I knew I probably had an hour left, maybe two at most. But there was one thing I could afford, and I'd made my mind up hours ago... I bought a table and phone and called for pizza! They promised a fifteen minute delivery. I was half tempted to leave a note blaming them for my death if they were late. Maybe Samford would get money from a lawsuit. But, haha, of course they wouldn't blame the pizza company for not delivering quick enough, no, no, they'd blame the stupid idiot who spent all his money on a useless oversized plot of land!!! I paced up and down on the pavement, counting down the minutes and waving frantically at the sky as though my hunger-addled brain thought the Sim Gods were going to drop half a dozen pizzas on my head if I screamed at them enough. As fifteen ticked by, I heard the sound of wheels and an engine coming up the hill. I practically leapt into the air as the pizza delivery car appeared into view. I had never in my life smelled anything as wonderful as that pizza. It was the smell of life to me. I felt bad about not being able to give a tip but even if I'd had the money I didn't have the time. As I munched away, feeling the hunger begin to receed and energy flow back into my limbs, the enormity of what could have happened continued to linger over me. I had never gone hungry before in my life, and the experience of nearly starving to death was not something I was keen to repeat. After eating three slices my stomach was sufficiently full and I put the rest away for later, feeling a little smug for having food stores. As Samford dozed peacefully, I lay down on the grass, savering the full feeling in my stomach. The sky was completely clear now, the rain clouds had moved away, and millions of stars were twinkling benignly back at me. In that moment I felt very small, and mortal. Like in the grand scheme of time I would only really be here for a the blink of an eye. I had no idea then what would happen to me, but I was determined to make sure that tomorrow wouldn't be half as bad as today.

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queenmarci8284Sep 27, 2009

This is really good, I love how you start it off!

clairepitts1994Aug 25, 2009

ahahaha I did the same thing as fredbrenny!! So excited to see a part of the cullinan legacy that I hadn't read!! Awsum intro. Awsum writing....Awsum!

anura32Aug 24, 2009

Good one. I read the later part first and then this one. But still I liked the story. It is awesome.

fredbrennyAug 22, 2009

I read the second part first! Then I saw this one...I LOVE it just so much! Thanks! Wonderful story!

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