Editorial Note: I purposely avoided any spoilers about the StrangerVille gameplay beyond what has been posted online aplenty. So this is safe to read if you haven’t played it through yet.
“Nasty! All of it, just NASTY!” Esmée muttered angrily to herself while scrubbing every last item in the small trailer Nick and she rented, which would be their temporary home until somebody mercifully fixed their rental car and they could move on.
Ezzy had to capitulate to their fate, after finding out that there was absolutely NO cell phone service whatsover in this place. By now she had practically tested every inch of the small town, and the surrounding hills. Not even half a bar.
Internet was also a hit and a miss, but at least she was able to get one message through to Ethan, and he even responded before internet faded into a pleasant memory again.
Looking up she saw the movement just before the knock. And what she saw did not make her happy.
“Nick! NICK! There are weird people at our door!” Esmée burst into the bathroom.
“Just answer and tell them we’re not interested.” he said from the shower cabin, rubbing soap from his face.
“Nick, they are REALLY weird.”
“Ez, I am in the shower.” his patience was not what it usually was either.
“You’re clean enough!”
Nick dried off and got dressed quickly, before angrily answering the door, when was surprised how accurate Ezzy’s observation had been.
So he went outside all the way, shutting the door behind him, walking a bit away from it, hoping they’d follow.
“Well … ummm … howdee guys?” he tried.
“Excuse me? I am not sure I understand …”
“Damn, Ez wasn’t kidding, y’all are HELLA weird. Look, dudes, we’re just passing through ….”
“Right, totally agree! Look bruh, I need ya to get the heck off my lawn now, my girl’s scared. You copy?”
“COPPPPPPPP – EEEE! GO!”
“We are trying, believe you me, but one of you weird scarecrows is holding our ride hostage, so I am gonna go back inside and after calming my wife, and I look outside, I need y’all’s asses to be gone, okay. I do not know what you all are on, but I’d find a better dealer.”
Nick went back inside, his heart pounding, but he kept an unfazed facade for Ezzy.
“Was nothing, baby. Just some local tweakers.”
“Probably in case they get the munchies. See, they are leaving now. No biggie.”
“I have no idea how to get through till Monday. This place is the pits of hell.” Esmée moaned, so Nick hugged her, relieved himself that they left on their own devices. He wasn’t sure he really wanted to pick a fight with those weirdos.
“No kidding. At least now we know why it is called StrangerVille. Very aptly named if you asked me. Wanna go for a walk?”
“A walk? In this heat?”
“You didn’t mind the heat in Sulani.”
“THAT is not even comparable. Plus, we basically lived in our swimwear there …”
“I am sure the guys here wouldn’t mind watching you walk around in your bikini … ”
“No, I’d punch them all out for staring at ya. Come on, let’s explore.”
They barely left the trailer park and already ran into the next odditiy.
Odd, even by StrangerVille standards. A guy with a strainer on his head. Nick burst into loud, uncontrollable laughter.
“Hey, check that guy out. Yo, gackk gackk goo goo” Nick laughed, imitating the incoherent speech of the visitors.
“Greetings to you both. And I am not possessed, if that’s what you are referring to.”
“You just wear tinfoil hats as a fashion statement?” Nick could barely speak for laughter.
“No, for protection.”
“Protection from what? This is gonna be good. Oh wait, let me guess: The harmful rays from the microwaves and cell phones?”
“There is no coverage here.”
“Yeah, why is that?!” Ezzy asked dead-serious, while her husband was trying to keep a straight face – and failed.
“Because THEY don’t want us to call for help. We cannot leave either.”
“Tell me about it!”
“I am sorry, I have to get to work.”
“Work? Where? In the local soup kitchen? Because of your strainer….. BWAHAHAHA.”
“That would be silly. I run the shop over here.” the guy replied dead serious.
“Of course! How idiotic of me, naturally you sell random gizmos and gadgets and more tinfoil hats. Duh!”
“Maybe you should take a look. You may need some of these things.” the shop owner told Nick completely unfazed by the ridicule.
“We have no room in our luggage for tinfoil hats and ET autographs…”
“Come on, let’s look. And I am so taking pics!” Nick chuckled.
Nick began to inspect and photograph the odd oddities the guy was offering in his shop, while Ezzy only wished herself far away.
“If you wanted to help, you can go to the abandoned lab and look around there. It holds answers…” the guy cryptically whispered.
“Come on we’ll go look at that lab.” Nick said excited, while pulling Ezzy along with him.
“What lab?” Ezzy asked confused.
“The one he mentioned.”
“Did you listen to anything he said?”
“Unless anything was about how to get out of here faster, I really do not care what he said.”
“Well, then you will just have to come with me.” Nick shrugged.
Utilizing a handdrawn map Nick received from the oddities shop owner, they made it to some very obviously abandoned building that was clearly no longer up to code, to put it mildly.
“What is this place?”
“A secret lab.” Nick sounded excited.
“Then we shouldn’t be here, Nick.”
“It’s abandoned. We’re fine.”
“You have GOT to be kidding me! KILL. ME. NOW.” Ezzy moaned.
“What the hell is THIS?” Nick stopped both of them in front of a strange plant, pulsating in purple.
“I’m no botanist but if you ask me, looks like a nuclear cabbage. The entire town is littered with them.” Ezzy grumbled.
“Yeah, I have seen them too. Seriously, is NOTHING in this place normal?”
They poked around the outside until Nick found a way in, dragging Ezzy along.
“Great, breaking and entering in the weirdest place on earth. At least I don’t have to call my lawyer, he’ll be in the cell next to me…”
“Quit being so whiney. It’s an adventure! You wanted something to do till Monday. Ta-da, something to do till Monday.”
“What? Getting our asses tazed, handcuffed and thrown in jail?”
“They would only do that to me, you are white and a girl. Nothing to worry about, you grumpy lady.” Nick chuckled and kissed her.
“Wow, we almost went two weeks without you mentioning you’re bi-racial….”
“It is something to be considered sometimes. Just the world we live in.”
Eventually they left, to have dinner back in the trailer.
Discussing what they found, their thoughts and what to do about their situation.
And the usual desert.
The next morning over breakfast, Nick had decided to get to the bottom of the reason everything was so off here.
Esmée had the hardest time getting him to agree to stay put and just wait till the car could be fixed. Nick reluctantly agreed.
But when he went to take a shower and found odd purple vines growing in it, he burst out of his collar.
“That’s it! That is just nasty! This has to stop! I am going to talk to the odd dude and see if he can point me into some direction!”
To spare Ezzy from having to deal with it, he cleaned out the vines, then left.
Over the next days Nick became illusive, spending most of his time investigating, researching, talking to people and other things he kept from Ezzy to not worry her, while she mostly sat in the trailer reading and reminiscing about their wonderful honeymoon in Sulani. Monday had come and gone, there was no sign of the repair shop guy – or their car! Both of them were very unhappy about that situation, and Nick’s constant absences were not sitting well with Ezzy.
Naturally, this cause friction.
“Nick, I WORRY about you!”
“No need, I am careful…”
“Until you are not .. then what?”
“Oh, you know me. I can talk my way out of everything …. come here, gimme some love.”
Holding his young wife, Nick couldn’t help but worry.
Truth was, Nick was worried. Very worried. The pollen had increased, making breathing hard and visibility was low. He was worried if he didn’t do something, that guy would never come back and nobody would ever fix their car. And Ezzy wasn’t feeling so well anymore either. Just a matter of time she or both of them got infected by that brain-eating disease which seemed to have befallen so many of the population.
Then one night at the lab Nick heard footsteps. He inched towards the source and was shocked.
“There you are! Finally!”
“Ez, what are you doing here?! You shouldn’t be here! It’s not safe. For you, I mean.”
“You are here, I am here. You want me to go, you will go too.”
“Goddamn you and your stubborn head!”
Ezzy proved to be very helpful, a fresh pair of eyes and her observing ways found a few clues he had missed, that ended up being the last few one needed. Once he had accomplished his tasks, he headed into town.
“Ok baby, I am going into the bar to find some people to help me. You go home and lock the door, I will be there as soon as I can.”
“Wrong. WE are going into the bar to recruit some help, then WE go do the task, then WE go home, together.”
“Come on, let’s get us some help.”
“I’ll be at the bar …”
“God dang it! Why did I have to fall in love with such a hardhead?! Hey, wait up!”
They recruited two people and the quartet managed to accomplish their task.
The very next day the young couple awoke to their rental car parked outside the trailer, washed, fueled up and ready to go with a note “Complimentary for the Hero of StrangerVille”.
They were packed in no time.
One last look as the trailer park began to get smaller in the rear view mirror.
“I have never been happier to get home!” Ezzy sighed after the taxi dropped them off at Nick’s penthouse.
Naturally they had informed all family and everybody, even Nick’s parents, had offered to pick them up from the airport but they just wanted to go home and rest.
While the initial idea had been to drive home, after their unplanned detour they took the rental car back to the airport and flew home.
Nick called the law firm for some more days off, unpaid.
The very next day Ezzy already wanted to go visit Ethan and meet her new nephew, who had been born when they were still away.
It was surprising every time to everybody how close the twins had always been and still were, hugging each other like they had not seen each other in years.
Ezzy nearly cried holding her little nephew for the first time.
Nick was more than happy to oblige, not only to meet Blake Cameron, his nephew-in-law but also to talk to his best friend.
He had missed his friend, even though most of the time was monopolized by Ezzy, who evidently had missed her twin brother even more.
A new adventure didn’t take to long to materialize for the young couple.
The following weekend they invited the entire family for dinner.
Interestingly enough, it was grandpa Everett who noticed the dead giveaway wall decor first, after most others had completely overlooked it.
Needless to say, this adventure was going to be a much longer one than any of the couple’s previous ones.