Part 4: LET'S START ALL OVER
PART 4: LET'S START ALL OVER
Things have been… strange for me, lately. All the pieces are in place, I'm ready to put my plan into motion, but I've been obsessing over these freaky gyroid statues. Since the day I dug up my first one, I've found several more scattered around the campsite, hidden, buried. I wonder how many there are under here?
Oh, and after months of back-breaking labor, I paid off Tom Nook's debt.
It wasn't the great accomplishment I thought it would be, though nothing surprises me any more. I went to Nook to get my daily dosage of bitter disappointment, to find that he had used his ill-gotten gains to remodel his shop.
Oh shit. Here it comes.
I make a half-hearted attempt to be diplomatic.
What new house?
He asks me what color roof I like and before I know it, there's laborers banging on my walls all into the night.
I slept under the stars that night, cold and numb. Now I owe him even more money. He wouldn't take "no" for an answer. Where was he getting the cash for this kind of operation? Was he able to sell the fossils (which he paid me for in leaves) for real cash to some shady third-person party? Maybe the fossils are real after all… was this his plan for me, to mine free archeological child labor? It didn't seem… devious enough for Nook.
I get back to the grind. I gotta find more gyroids.
I've made a little shrine to the gyroids in the corner of my recently engorged house. When I found the first one it would make an occasional noise. Now I had a small collection of them and I had started to see images in my head or hear solitary, tinny words echo through the living room. I'd hear them whisper things like "dig" or "rain" but could never make out a whole sentence.
I would come home and find them in different positions, like they had moved when I wasn't watching. Now that there's several, I hear their voices more frequently, as if they talk to each other. I'd wake up in a cold sweat at night and creep downstairs to look at them but they were always motionless.
I know there's something really wrong about the gyroids, but whenever I think about throwing them out or destroying them my stomach knots up like a punch to the gut. It's like owning a childhood safety blanket made out of asbestos. In a sick way it's like they're my only friends...
I haven't thought about my escape in weeks, and my actions have become sluggish as though every step is a struggle to wade through swamp muck. When I'm not digging for gyroids, I'm engaging in some kind of mindless activity.
Monday I spent lazily catching bugs.
Tuesday I… don't remember...
Wednesday I think I fished or collected seashells. Besides Nook, none of the residents had said a word to me for weeks.
I had briefly considered (against my better judgment) trying to form some kind of pathetic relationship with some of them before I realized how futile it was. Residents constantly moved through camp without notice. Occasionally I would check my mail and find a letter stating that they had just packed up and left in the middle of the night.
Their letters carry generic farewells that I'm sure they didn't write. I don't even know who "Ribbot" was, but now he's gone. The houses they lived in are packed up or empty.
Gone overnight. Where are they going? And why?
It doesn't matter, the only "person" in town who even came close to being sane is a dog that makes an occasional appearance in the museum lounge area.
Slider's the only one that doesn't talk like a mental patient. He shows up late Saturday nights to play guitar. Sometimes his songs are the only thing that takes me away from this horror, if only for a few minutes. Over time I've realized that he comes here just to comfort me- nobody else ever comes to his shows. I think he truly feels pity for me, he always has a troubled look in his eye, like playing guitar is his way of apologizing...
Sleepy. That's how I felt all the time. Not tired, just sleepy. And that's why I was just lying on the ground that day, watching the clouds roll by and listening to the waves break on the shore.
It occurred to me idly that I never saw any birds in this camp, never heard gulls crying on the beach. I never saw any planes or boats go by. All I ever saw was rolling blue sky and puffy white clouds and tiny packages tied to balloons… wait, what? What the FUCK?!
The absurdity of this hits me like a bucket of cold water to the face and I jump to my feet, racing to the spot where the strong salty breeze was carrying the balloon swiftly past the rock walls of the camp.
I scanned for something to throw, anything, grabbed for a handful of rocks and started chucking. Just as the balloon was about to breeze past me forever, I made a lucky shot.
The hours spent skipping stones paid off and the package came plummeting down to earth with the faint tinkle of shattered glass.
I handle it cautiously like a bomb waiting for some fool to try to diffuse it. Pulling out the wrapping paper reveals… a busted desk lamp? It's utterly mystifying, who would set a desk lamp afloat on a balloon from this camp knowing that if it ever came down it would be useless? The thought crossed my mind that Nook was just continuing to play his mindfuck games with me, but… this didn't feel like Nook.
I dug carefully around the empty box to make sure I didn't miss something. I had. In the lining poked a small white triangle, the corner of an envelope tucked away between the wrapping paper and the box. The front was blank. Without a second thought, I tore it open and read.
You have got to be kidding me.