Part 3: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
PART 3: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
It's time to man-up.
I've decided to confront Nook. I'm going to demand he let me go and if he refuses, I'll take him out and burn the whole fucking camp to the ground around me. The only thing I wasn't prepared for was his response.
He acts like it was his idea, like he's doing me a favor. As if all I have to do is pay off this house and he'll personally drive me home. I don't even want to know what "alternate methods" he thinks I should use to make money. In typical Nook fashion (which I have come to loathe) he continues to smooth talk me. He wants me to know that he's still the boss, he's still in control. I don't give a crap. I don't work for Nook any more. I'm leaving.
Friend roster? For my own safety?! Son of a bitch… yeah, I'm free to go… nowhere. I'm about to tell him exactly where to go, but I stumble on my thoughts, for some reason I can't seem to remember where I live. I can't remember my address. I've been here about a month now (maybe more?). But I should still be able to remember…
Maybe I can appeal to the other one.
Fuck this shit. I head back to Nook's and let him know the score.
He laughs, then he gives me a shovel and suggests I start digging. That smug son of a bitch, no court on earth would convict me if I beat the shit out him right here with his own shovel, but the truth is, I'm scared. I'm just a kid. As much as I hate Nook, the thought of actually killing someone makes me sick to my stomach. The icing on the cake is it wouldn't help me escape. I can't fight off the whole town.
I have to get my head straight.
1) I need a plan to get past the guard dogs.
2) I'll need to stock up on food to make sure I don't starve after I bust out of here- God only knows where they've taken me.
3) I'll need to be invisible. I'll stick out like a giant "CATCH ME" sign in this work uniform. Worst of all, after everything that's happened, Nook's going to be expecting me to try to break out of here.
4) I'll have to wait for the right time.
But first, I'll need to make some cash and let things settle down for a while. Maybe the best plan would be to look like I'm really listening, like I really care about paying off my palatial cardboard estate. But how am I supposed to pay it off?
Nook says he'll buy almost anything. I don't ask why.
His answer? Dinosaur bones.
What? Is he just fucking with me? He tells me to go talk to Blathers, the jerk in charge of the camp museum. I head over to the museum to find out what the hell he's talking about.
While I listened to the owl's patchwork explanation, I couldn't help but wonder why there would be dinosaur bones in a flat field on a beach. What exactly used to be here before this camp was built, anyway? And now that I'm thinking about it, why would anyone build a museum that doesn't have anything in it? The only reply I get from the owl is a shallow snore. Owls don't fucking snore.
I start to dig randomly. Now I know why Nook thought it would be hilarious to suggest I dig my way out. Only a foot below the topsoil is solid fucking limestone, and that's as deep as I'm going to get. How am I supposed to find anything like this?
A few hours later I'm starving, exhausted and pissed off at myself for believing another one of Nook's goddamn lies. I'm about to pack up and wash off in the waterfall when something odd happens. I hit something.
Could it actually be? It's hard to tell, it's covered in dirt and kinda abstract. With the sun setting behind me I sprint back to the museum to show the narcoleptic curator.
It seems… authentic, but I'm skeptical. This greedy asshole thinks I should just donate it to his echoing monument to failed ambition; he clearly couldn't give a wet fuck if I'm filthy, hungry and broke. I tell him to piss off, I've got raccoons to defraud. Nook's already closed for the day but tomorrow will mark the first step on my trip out of here.
8:00 AM SHARP.
I make a bee-line for Nook's.
I'm actually a little surprised when Nook agrees to pay me for my fossil, but my surprise turns to anger when I find out he's going to pay me in "Bells", his own imaginary bullshit currency. It's not real money, it's just a leaf that's been hole-punched. It's infuriating to think of how he continues to fuck with me at every opportunity, an up-turned smirk on his smarmy face all the while, but I try to play it cool. I think he actually gets satisfaction out of seeing me upset. I take his "money" and leave.
At first I was skeptical of Nook's decision to stop working me, but over time I've come to understand the method to his madness. He's been forcing me to make difficult decisions: for example, if I pick oranges to sell to him I'll go hungry, but otherwise I'll never pay off my debt. The same rule applies to almost everything in camp; I start every day forced to make a decision between working and starving.
I'm "free" but nothing has changed. But there's still one thing I don't understand. Why is he keeping me here? What does he want with me? I hate that son of a bitch.
I spend the next few weeks digging up fossils, getting them inspected and then turning them over to Nook for "cash", which I've started to accumulate en mass. I tried counterfeiting his idiotic system but he somehow knew which Bells were which. To punish me he refused to buy or sell me anything for a week.
After that I bought a fishing rod from him. I've been trying to learn to catch fish. Oranges haven't been providing enough nutrition alone and with the extra effort of digging I've begun to have dizzy spells, but most importantly I'm fucking sick of them.
I hated that I was starting to adapt to this life. I was becoming complacent. I hated that I had to play Nook's deranged game so that I could afford to escape. But I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I had saved up enough to buy a "costume" from the camp seamstress, which I used to secretly fish at night so I could stockpile some food for my escape without the all-seeing eyes of wandering residents. I knew that whatever they saw, Tom saw. I was keeping the fish alive in my house so they wouldn't go bad.
I told the seamstress it was for the Halloween event coming up soon but in truth it's going to help me blow this joint. During the day I'd change back into my work clothes to avoid suspicion.
In the meantime, I kept busy digging up fossils, bringing them to Blathers and then selling them to Nook. I was starting to lose track of time and this pushed me more than anything else to keep going.
I had gotten pretty good at recognizing where I might find hidden fossils- there always seemed to be small piles of cracked dirt where the fossils rested.
At first this struck me as being odd- what geological oddity would cause the fossils to be pushed from underneath, as though they were rising to the surface? And why did it seem like new ones appeared each day in areas where I hadn't seen them before? Over time, though, I would rely on their quirky nature to keep from wasting my entire day toiling in this dusty shithole of a camp.
Today was different. I was doing my rounds when a disturbed patch of dirt caught my eye, a more obvious crack than I was used to seeing. As I pitched my shovel into the earth, I was suddenly jolted by a screaming chill that shot through my arm like a lightning bolt. I dropped the shovel and it slowly faded off as I stared at the patch of dirt in shock like I had just seen an arm shoot out of it, clawing for brains. There was a long period of silence, nothing happened. I resumed digging and soon hit something lurking just beneath the topsoil.
It was a crude… statue? Like some kind of ancient graven image… and I caught myself muttering out loud "What the fuck is this thing?" when it snapped open it's rust-heavy eyes and stared into my soul, a metallic word pushed itself into my head, where it echoed like a tin can kicked against the wall of an abandoned warehouse.
An unexplainable emotion tore through my battered brain, like an unholy mixture of unbridled terror and insatiable curiosity. It was the kind of feeling that made idiots in horror movies open the back-lit door even though they know a maniac is waiting on the other side to chop them into tiny pieces. I had to find more of these. I had to understand what they were.
I wouldn't be showing this one to the owl.