Restart Story

You feel a violent jolt for but a brief moment and suddenly, it feels like you are floating, drifting through the [[grey sky]].
Taking a deep breath, you <<choice "try to haul yourself up">>. The pain seems to intensify tenfold and you collapse to the floor again, <<choice "tears streaming down your face">>.
As you cross the road, you feel your mouth filling with <<choice "hot saliva">>.
You also pray that that you're not really dying. And <<choice "throw up again">>.
You do, however, [[kick things up a pace]].
You pay the driver, thank her, and [[stumble towards your house]], fishing around in your bag for the keys as you go.
You prop yourself up against the traffic light, but it doesn't seem to help much. A [[car zooms past]] you at what you swear must be above the speed limit.
Why bother entertaining such a ridiculous message? <<choice "Stupid e-mails">>.
And <<choice "better">> for the environment...
You are suddenly (and, [[alarmingly]], quite violently) sick.
You clutch your stomach thinking of [[how long it's been]] since it was last cleaned.
You begin to wonder: What are you actually okay enough at doing? You've been working in that office for what seems like a long, long time. Thinking back to when you were younger, you are sure there were other <<choice "things you wanted to do">>. More exciting things. But reality can be pretty crappy - stamping out your dreams one by one until there's nothing left but a job tapping keys and saving to buy <<choice "things to fill the empty holes in your life">>.
It seems to take forever to get the blasted door open. A good deal longer than it normally does, anyway. As you enter, you shut it behind you and [[throw down your bag]].
Reality dims around you, as though you're falling fast into a tunnel. You feel [[dizzy and nauseous]].
You wonder if this is what dying feels like. You feel like you are <<choice "literally dying inside">>. Karen's voice is beginning to <<choice "fade into the distance">>.
You [[squint]] at your phone, but it's useless. Since when did putting tiny fonts on phones seem like a good idea?
And, as though your stomach had a <<choice "pair of ears of its own">>...
A few heads turn as you exit the office; it's really not been your best day. Feeling somewhat guilty about your lack of productivity and a whole deal of crappiness in general, you <<choice "head home">>.
You <<choice "really need to call your sister">>.
"I heard about you losing your job. And... I'm really sorry about [[the e-mail]] thing."
You can be such an idiot sometimes. But if you hadn't [[found your sister]], who knows how things could have turned out?
[[Phew]], that was...
[[OH SHIT]].
[[after button.]]
Hearing the beep, you ask her about the bizarre e-mail and hang up. As you pull the phone away from your ear, you <<choice "glance at the clock">> on the LCD display.
You hang up and start [[walking briskly]] towards the café, hoping that the email was just some kind of chain letter or something ridiculous.
Something <<choice "in the back of your mind">> emerges, through the taste of vomit and increasing dizziness.
You tell the taxi driver where you live and she [[pulls away]].
"Tara? Oh GOD, [[is that you]]?"
Now, normally you'd just hop on a bus, but today is no normal day. Instead, you decide to [[get a taxi]].
You open your eyes and you can just about make out Karen's form set against the background of flashing lights. The ambulance must be here. Perhaps they will [[save you]]? You feel yourself slipping into unconsciousness.
The phone tumbles to the floor as you fall, <<choice "doubled over in pain">>, onto the cold paving slabs.
Your mind wanders as you start to <<choice "wonder why you still work here">>. Naturally, the pay's good, but the hours are long and everyone here is <<choice "so incredibly dull">>.
She hesitates for [[a moment]].
Thoughts echo around your head: <<choice "Just why DO you work here">>? <<choice "Isn't there more to life">>?
~[[THE END]]~
As you <<choice "pull your phone out">>
After college you left for university, but ended up dropping out because of [[your health]]. Since then you've been working in that bloody awful office job.
Your vomit is a bright shade of red, but your vision is too blurred to tell if this is blood. Amidst the scarlet puddle, you swear that you can make out the remains of your mobile phone and, in the distance, you hear the sound of a siren. You're not sure if it's getting further away or your hearing is going. You close your eyes tight, trying to [[shut the world out]].
Around you, you hear people gathering around, talking in panicked voices. Some child is screaming. What a sight you must be right now. Try as much as you might, you can't [[summon the will]] to go on.
But [[you can't]].
[[Vomiting]] as you go.
"Girl, you need an ambulance, [[quick!]]"
Your shut your eyes tight and try to <<choice "focus">> on getting to the café, but the pain is rushing through your body like wildfire. You're <<choice "not sure that you can even walk">>.
You <<choice "brace yourself">> to be sick.
By <html><a href="">Maki Yamazaki</a></html>
Sadly, what you neglect to notice is a [[car tearing down the street]].
Something <<choice "in the back of your mind">> emerges, through the taste of vomit and increasing dizziness.
No matter how inadvertently you [[might have done so]].
The pain is [[getting worse]] in both your leg and your abdomen.
You can't put your finger on what it is, but something about that e-mail makes you [[pause for a moment]].
You imagine your [[warm, comfy bed]].
[[More choices]].
Like <<choice "going on holiday">> to escape the mundanity of working life...
You do actually feel a bit dizzy. And a [[little queasy]], too.
You feel actually feel giddy, and a little excited. <<choice "You're free!">> You're actually <<choice "free from that miserable job">>.
No, gosh damnit it, <<choice "NO">>! Of all the times to come down with something, <<choice "why does it have to be now">>??
That was a lie, though. You don't really cast haste on yourself. This isn't some <<choice "computer game">>, only the <<choice "cold embrace of reality">>.
"Anyways," she continues, "It was a good thing I was there... You know, what with our blood type being so rare and all that. [[Also...]]"
But instead you [[throw up, again]].
On second thought, scratch that. You actually can't remember what they look like, though she does have that photo of them [[on her desk]].
"Goddamned asshole! [[Somebody]] could have been hit!"
Hmm, The boss is looking in <<choice "your direction">> of the office. Maybe he suspects something?
A car, speeding down the street, <<choice "narrowly avoids hitting you">> (unlike the splashback from your breakfast you had this morning). However, the mess on the floor (which seems to include vegetables that you don't remember consuming) bounces off and <<choice "makes a mess of your shoes and trousers">>.
Just to [[put your mind at ease]], you decide to call her anyway - It's been a long time since you last spoke.
Letting out a sigh, you realise how much you need a vacation from all of this, it's [[wearing you thin]]. If you could at least get...
And [[video games]].
You pull your mobile phone out from your pocket. The time reads <<choice "1:52PM">>.
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, [[oh SHIT]].
The voices grow distant and you feel yourself [[slipping away]]...
Or <<choice "buying a car">> to...
[and <<choice "a brain, too">>]
But now is not the time to celebrate - your sister could be in danger. You decide to <<choice "try calling her again">>.
Your dear, old cat friends will never judge you; they're always there at the end of the day to help you feel loved and safe. You muse on this for a few brief moments before falling helplessly into a [[deep slumber]].
You're certainly feeling pretty ill. You've been sitting here for a good hour not doing much work. You hope the boss hasn't been watching you. Just to make sure, you [[glance over your shoulder]].
... Well, you're not entirely sure why you need a car, specifically. Public transport isn't always as bad as it seems. Plus, <<choice "it's cheaper">>.
Or drank. The coffee definitely <<choice "tasted quite off">> this morning...
You stagger into Café Nouveau, puking as you enter. The red is a deeper shade than before. It tastes of acid and [[metal]].
You decide to stop thinking about Karen and <<choice "concentrate on your work">> instead.
The house phone is right next to the stairs. You reach through the banisters and [[grab it]].
You're not entirely sure [[what's going on]].
... Somewhere, amidst the dimming chaos, you swear you can hear [[your sister's voice]]...
...[[six times]]..?
As you fling yourself around the corner, you stumble and [[fall over]], catching your knee hard against the pavement.
Your vision is dim and fading, and you cannot see who it is, but as you hear them dialling an ambulance you realise that it's <<choice "Karen, your co-worker">>.
You pause and contemplate where you want your life to go, but <<choice "your mind draws a blank">>.
Consequently, you expel the contents of your stomach, [[carrots and all]].
(Guess you paid attention to some things during science lessons at school)[[.]]
Perhaps you are going to die. Thinking back on your life, you wish you'd made better choices. Why, today of all days, <<choice "should it have to end like this?">>
You poke around until, blurry eyed, you find what you believe to be her number. You press the screen and <<choice "hold the phone to your ear">>.
You delete the message and get back to work. <<choice "Stupid e-mails">>.
You prop yourself up against the traffic light, but it doesn't seem to help much. A [[car zooms past]] you at what you swear must be above the speed limit.
You can't concentrate on work though. You don't feel so well. Perhaps you should go home and curl up in bed... <<choice "Are you ill">>?
And as suddenly as you fell into this dream-like world, you [[fall out]].
She speaks with a gentle, [[soothing voice]]:\n"I thought that we were going to lose you."
<<choice "BALLS">>.
<<choice "Games programmer">>?
The lady rushes over. It's Karen, who you [[used to work with]].
For a brief moment you are caught there in silent contemplation, your head swimming with thoughts and memories of broken dreams. Looking back, you wonder, is there no meaning to life at all? Or is there some higher being <<choice "watching over you">>?
Even as a child, you didn't have that many ideas. Other than vague desires of becoming a <<choice "game...">>
You close your eyes. In the distance, you can hear an ambulance, but you fear it may be [[too late]].
My Name is Tara Sue
"Don't worry about talking; you should [[relax]]. It'll be ok."
[[after button]]
This job has really killed your aspirations over the years. You can't help but [[wonder how your life ever came to be so dull]].
But, in fact, are probably only hearing voices due to how <<choice "incredibly ill you seem to be">>.
You [[consult your trusty workload spreadsheet]].
Jeez Louise, there is <<choice "SO MUCH work to do">>. What have you been doing all day? Dozing off into daydreams, that's what.
Why is it always carrots? You <<choice "don't remember eating">> ca...
You try to concentrate on something else, but your mouth just tastes worse and worse. You [[feel it coming]].
You decide to do the only sensible thing you possibly could. You grab your bag and blazer and, without a <<choice "second thought">>, you <<choice "leave the office">>. For good.
You shut your eyes and think back to when you were a child, running through fields with your sister. You recall hot summer days and [[cool autumn showers]].
You are on a bed in a hospital and your sister is by your side, [[smiling]].
Her voice feels like it's [[fading from you]].
Despite this, however, you can clearly see that there's a lot of [[blood]] in your vomit. You panic.
You can't [[remember how you got here]].
She seemed like the most beautiful woman in the world when she smiled at you. You [[smile back]].
It takes you only 5 minutes to get home, but by the time you reach it you feel [[dreadful]].
It doesn't take very long at all to spot a taxi. You flag it down and jump in, wobbling as you go. Perhaps you should have considered eating before going home, but you just [[feel too ill]].
Your eyelids seem to grow heavier. You [[miss your teddy bears]].
Try as you might, you just [[don't have the energy]] to stay conscious.
There is a moment of silence - just as you imagine it would be like to stand in the [[eye of a storm]].
Yeah, right. You have a chronic illness, but that's definitely not in the symptoms list, no matter how [[sick you're starting to feel]].
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Are you awake? Your head is spinning and you feel numb and exhausted. You can [[barely open your eyes]].
You decide to <<choice "delete the e-mail">>.
You lose consciousness.\n\n~[[THE END]]~
The pain is excruciating; you feel like <<choice "you're going to die">>.
Your pleas for help dissolve into whimpering and crying. You don't recognise who this stranger is - you are too busy sobbing. The pain burns through you. You <<choice "feel like you're dying inside">>.
As you leave the office, you <<choice "glance behind you">> and let out a short breath. Did you really do the right thing? You're going to have to be a lot more careful with money from now on and think carefully about your <<choice "future career choices">>.
"On top of being really ill, you needed a blood transfusion. You'd lost so much of your own." A [[small tear]] rolls down her cheek. You try to speak, but you don't have the strength to do so. All you can manage are small breathing noises.
Watching over you with a big, <<choice "ironic smile">>... Mocking you. You don't feel so good thinking about that.
From which, sadly, you will never awaken.\n\n~[[THE END]]~
<html><head><meta property="og:image" content="" />\n<meta property="og:title" content="My Name is Tara Sue" />\n<meta property="og:description"content="A browser-based text-adventure game by Maki Yamazaki" />\n<meta property="og:site_name" content="My Name is Tara Sue" />\n<meta property="og:url" content="" /><link href='' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'></head></html><<set $phoneSister = 0>><<set $emailRead = 0>>Your name is Tara Sue. You are 25 and <<choice "work in an office">>. Admittedly, your life could stand to get <<choice "a little more interesting">>.
It feels like hot irons being shoved through every part of your body. You can barely breathe. Worse still, your [[vision is starting to fade]].
[[. . .]]
Everything you ate for breakfast erupts onto the pavement, <<choice "carrots and all">>.
You just can't help it, it's as though your mouth is in autopilot and you are floating [[somewhere in the back of your mind]], powerlessly.
"You look a right [[state]]," she says.
You <<choice "point">> to the building a few metres down the road. Karen <<choice "shakes her head">>.
And vomit, [[again]].
<<silently>><<set $phoneSister = 2>><<endsilently>>[[Uh oh]]!!
You pause for a moment, pondering if you should maybe call your doctor, but then [[think of your sister]]. You need to at least get to the café; it's not far.
Around you there are lights and noises... [[People]]...
Perhaps it isn't some hoax after all... [[How did they know]] your sister's name?
[[Your vision is blurred]].
Your boss speaks with barely contained rage. He's not very good at hiding how he feels when dealing with people who [[question his authority]].
<<choice "Buy a house">>
Well, you can't really cast haste. But you do really [[wish your life were more like a video game]], sometimes.
Closing your eyes you [[try to shut it all out]]- the noise, the light, the pain, the sickness.
You dial her number swiftly and start to walk towards the café. <<choice "With great haste">>. You even <<choice "cast haste">> on yourself to speed up a little.
And now you're here [[pushing button]]
Well, easy come, easy go. You're not here to apply your womanly charms to strangers on the phone. A man answers the phone and asks you what the emergency is. You [[tell him]].
[[Quite literally]].
The voice of a familiar woman shouts from [[behind you]].
You could <<choice "leave her a voice mail">>? You <<choice "wonder what time it is">>.
The pain is unbearable and you lie there, weeping and screaming. You can't see straight. In fact, you can barely [[see anything]] at all.
Or <<choice "buying a house">> so in 25 years time you can stop worrying about paying rent...
You remember the e-mail and panic sweeps over you. Is your sister okay? You really hope so. You decide to [[try calling her again]]
For a moment you contemplate looking over at her desk to <<choice "satisfy your curiosity">>. You really should be <<choice "doing some work">>, though.
"No, Mama, I'm NOT drunk. <<choice "I meant to call Sis">>; I think she..."
You remember that looking at the floor can be seen as a sign of lying, so you force yourself to look your boss [[in the eye]].
Speaking of, what is the [[t-]]
Your sister has tears rolling down both cheeks now. You [[shake your head and smile]], chuckling a little to yourself.
You feel dizzy just [[thinking about it]].
You can't see it properly, but you know that Café Nouveau is [[just down this street]].
You <<choice "cry out in pain">>. Several people walk past you, ignoring you, but <<choice "one woman stops to help you">>.
Thinking of her brings a <<choice "smile to your face">>. She always knew exactly how to cheer you up when you were <<choice "feeling blue">>.
Somewhere up above, you swear <<choice "you hear laughter">>.
You remember the first and only time you [[fell in love]].
"I was in the area and decided to send you a prank message. I thought you would have [[realised it was me]]. You know how I like to make silly jokes. I even signed it 'M.' like I usually do, but... I guess you must not've noticed. I sometimes forget how you don't always pick up on small details like that. I, I... I just wanted to see you on your lunch break..."
The world appears to rush around you at a hundred miles per hour. You close your eyes to shut it out, but even inside your head, [[everything still spins]].
You close your eyes and [[the world fades]].
You [[yell out]] for help as hard as you possibly can.
You want to cry out, "Don't leave me here [[alone]]!"
You [[open your eyes]].
Maybe it had. Maybe you had all the choices you ever needed in life to do exciting things, but [[squandered them]].
You decide not to humour the e-mail and delete it immediately. <<choice "Stupid e-mails">>.
What a terrible thing to think! You [[assure yourself]] that Karen must have plenty of fun when she's not at work. Probably. She IS always smiling, after all. You really don't know. But it does get you thinking about how [[dull your life has become]].
The conversation seems to go on forever. Your speech is slurred and an intense pain is growing inside you. You must have [[vomited]], like...
Every day, you just sit there, tapping away at keys, never really creating anything. It's certainly [[not a fun job]].
[[With a breezeblock]].
All your life, all you ever wanted was to be happy. But you feel miserable. The pain inside you is excrutiating. [[Unbearable]].
~[[THE END]]~
~[[THE END]]~
Like a boss who is in <<choice "complete control of her own life from now on">>.
And not so silently, it [[dawns upon you]]:-
You tell him about the e-mail, but he's not looking particularly impressed. The more you talk, the more you realise that you're <<choice "beginning to waffle">>. But you are having a hard time finding a place to <<choice "stop talking">> where you don't sound like a complete tool.
Perhaps if things had gone differently you could have become a [[game...]]
... [[Whatever]]...
That's probably why it's been somewhat difficult for you to apply yourself all day. You hope the boss hasn't been watching you... Just to make sure, you [[glance over your shoulder]].
Looks like your boss caught you with your phone out. That's a big 'no-no' in the office. Perhaps now might be a good time to <<choice "make up a good excuse">> or <<choice "come clean">>... Unless you're willing to get <<choice "fired">>, here and now.
Your [[stomach]] is complaining at you, too.
... A [[few more hours of naptime]]...
Trying to think is too much. You close your eyes and [[slip back into the land of nod]].
As the office fades into the distance behind you, you are reminded that you'll have to go back there again as soon as you're better. You really [[wish you didn't have to]].
As you leave the office, you think that perhaps <<choice "it would be a good idea to try calling your sister">>, just in case.
Sighing, you decide it wouldn't hurt to [[try calling your sister]]. You reach into your bag and pull out your phone.
The more and more you think about it, the more that you're convinced the e-mail is a fake. Stuff like that only happens to people in [[movies]].
You [[recognise]] that voice.
Your <<choice "ex co-worker">>, to be precise.
"You need an ambulance, not a bleeding coffee!" She already has her phone out and is dialling the emergency services. You try to [[tell her about the e-mail]],
Your teddy bears will be waiting for you to [[cuddle them to sleep]] tonight, as always.
Your thoughts drift to when your were younger. [[Your sister]] would always...
There is a sadness [[in her eyes]].
Whose phone appears to be off. Or out of range. You try once, but it goes straight to her <<choice "voice mail">>, again.
Wow, did you really just do that? You question how [[dull your life has become]] when you resort to snooping on your work colleagues' desk pictures to see what their families looks like.
Drat, [[answer phone]].
<<choice "You keep telling them">>, "One day <<choice "somebody's going to get ill">> because of that thing- it needs regular cleaning".
"I'm [[gonna be sick]] again."
A few years back, when your sister still lived in the area, you'd sometimes meet there. She'd always have the special (no matter what it was) and you'd choose [[burger and fries]]- the safe option.
At first, you're [[not entirely sure]] what's happening.
[[Possibly the worst]].
You decide to fake sickness. Actually, to be honest, you really <<choice "don't feel so well at all">>.
<<choice "Or a car">>\n<<choice "Or whatever">>.
You lose your grip on the traffic light that you were holding onto and [[tumble to the ground]].
You poke around until, blurry eyed, you find what you believe to be her number. You press the screen and <<choice "hold the phone to your ear">>.
Before she even has time to say a word, you force yourself to try to stand and start limping towards the café on the corner. No matter what, you need to [[see if your sister is safe]].
As you begin to lose consciousness, you feel only pain and remorse.\n\n~[[THE END]]~
You don't recognise the sender, but the title mentions your sister. Do you want to <<choice "open it">>? It could be spam or a virus. Perhaps it would be better to <<choice "just delete it">>.
A woman rushes to your side. You can't even make out her face, but as she speaks, you [[recognise her voice]] immediately,
You ask your boss if you could go home as you're unwell, adding that you were just thinking of calling your doctor. And, as if right on cue, <<choice "you vomit">> all over the office carpet.
You're not always the best at reading facial expressions, but his is very easy to read. It seems that he's [[very, VERY angry with you]].
Oh, [[Mary]].
[[... Tara.]]
Dialling the emergency services, you are greeted with a [[sweet-voiced operator]]. Probably from Manchester.
You prop yourself up against a lamp post, but it doesn't help a great deal. Your head is pounding and you swear you're getting [[double-vision]].
Your legs [[give way]]. What's-her-face from the office doesn't catch you in time.
Probably not... It's not the worst job in the world. I mean, sure, you can stand it here. Plus, you've been saving for such a long time now so you can do things like:-\n<<choice "Take a vacation">>
[[Are you ill]]?
Only for the [[smallest fraction of a second]] do you feel the pavement hit you.
"Look, just please- listen for a second! <<choice "Have you heard from Sis">> today?"...
Come to think of it, you feel a [[little perplexed]] as to why you call them "teddy bears" instead of "teddy cats".
Sighing, she places herself under your arm, muttering something about the younger generation. You ignore it. All you can focus on is the [[safety of your sister]].
Well... Actually... Come to think of it, you're really <<choice "not all that great">> at most things... What a downer. It's hard to stop thinking about it, though. You try to distract yourself in more office work.
Pulling the phone away from your ear, you <<choice "glance at the clock">> on the LCD display.
Scruffles, the cat and [[Captain Kat]]...
...[[She's]] also a cat.
You retch again, quite violently; half of it ends up down the [[side of your face]].
You were never very good at things. Which is not to say that you've always been bad at things, but just sort of <<choice "average at everything">>. Unlike your sister, who's pretty <<choice "amazing. At everything.">>
"Argh, sorry <<choice "I didn't mean to...">>"
You dial her number swiftly and start to walk towards the café. <<choice "With great haste">>. You even <<choice "cast haste">> on yourself to speed up a little.
<<choice "Game creator">>?
You try to tell Karen about the e-mail, but you can't form the words properly. The world spins around you, violently. You try to shut it out by closing your eyes, but even inside your head everything is whirling around, <<choice "engulfing you">>.
\nThere are ten different endings to My Name is Tara Sue; have you found them all? Feel free to <html><a href="index.html">try again</a></html>.\n\n\n<html><center><img src="logo128.gif">\n<br><b>~ CREDITS ~</b>\n<br>\n<br>\n<u>Art & Story</u>\n<br><a href="">Maki Yamazaki</a>\n<br>\n<br><u>Made using</u>\n<br>Twine (<a href="mnits-source.tws">source</a>)\n<br>\n<br>\n<u>Copy-Editing</u>\n<br>Nome Farmer\n<br>\n<br><u>Additional CSS & HTML</u>\n<br>Maki Yamazaki\n<br>\n<br>\n<u>Many Thanks To</u>\n<br><a href="">SwampSelkie</a>\n<br><a href="">PruneScholar</a>\n<br>MNiTS beta testing team\n<br>\n<br><img src="sl-logo.gif">\n<br>~ A Silvana Laboratory Creation ~\n<br>\n<br><font size="6">'My Name is Tara Sue' is a free-to-play game. \n<br>If you would like to help with future projects, please <a href="">consider making a donation</a>.</font>\n\n<br><br>- <font size="5">遊んでありがとう!</font> -<br></font>\n</center>\n</html>
You lie on the floor and begin sobbing, [[wishing]] that life could be easier.
You shout cursewords after the driver. They probably can't hear you. Thinking about it, you realise <<choice "how lucky you are">> that you were hit by vomit and not a fast-moving vehicle.
You are totally about to be [[fired]]. So...
"No, I'm <<choice "not on any medication">> at the moment..."
It's really hard living with a chronic [[health condition]], but somehow you scrape by. Actually, to tell the truth, you're extra glad that you quit that job. It would have been the death of you.
you notice that the time is <<choice "1:48PM">>.
Suddenly, you cease talking. Your boss is looking <<choice "very, VERY angry with you">>.
Smiles always make things better, even if just a little. You've been [[feeling a bit rough]] since this morning.
Around you, you can vaguely hear the sound of peoples' feet shuffling about, going about their daily lifes. Karen is still here, trying to tell you something but you [[can't make out the words]].
You [[can't do it]], you just can't.
You suddenly remember the e-mail about your sister (you get distracted so easily, even with important things) and [[start to panic]].
And then, you are gone.\n\n~[[THE END]]~
There's [[no time to waste]]!
You can't concentrate on work though. You don't feel so well. Perhaps you should go home and curl up in bed... <<choice "Are you ill">>?
You think of your sister, hoping she's ok, whilst the sounds and lights around you melt away. You lose consciousness.\n\n~[[THE END]]~
As you fall into darkness you wonder to yourself,\n\n"But [[who will save my sister]]?"
The line goes straight to answerphone. FUCK. You race across the road to Café Nouveau, [[narrowly avoiding getting hit by a car]].
it's as though your body has become weightless. You don't feel sick anymore, only a surreal calm and the [[cool air]] rushing across you.
Until [[it is too late]].
... <<choice "More so than usual">>.
For a moment you pause, like an animal caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck. You could <<choice "suck it up">> and try to let him know you're sick, but he's not a very sympathetic man. Probably won't work... Perhaps it'd be better if you kept your head down and <<choice "start working harder">>.
Hurriedly, you attempt to tell her about the e-mail, but she doesn't seem interested in anything but [[getting you to a hospital]].
You reach a set of <<choice "traffic lights">>. This road is unusually quiet. Perhaps you're <<choice "going deaf">>?
Your sister could be in perilous danger. You resolve to call her and whip your phone out of your pocket. [[Like a boss]].
"Karen, please, [[I have to]] get to...
A somewhat <<choice "strange e-mail">> is waiting for you on your <<choice "office">> computer.
<<if $phoneSister eq 2>>Reluctantly, <<choice "he lets you go home">>. Perhaps he's actually human under all that scowling after all.\n<<else>>Reluctantly, <<choice "he agrees to let you go">>. Perhaps he's actually human under all that scowling after all. Still, you're glad that he caught at least -some- of the splashback.\n<<endif>>
... <<choice "REURGH">> ...
Hmmm, you really [[don't feel so well at all]]. You decide to bite the bullet and tell him about it. Maybe you'll get lucky and get to go home and lie down? You walk over to him, his eyes fixed on you as you go.
You wonder how it is that you've become sick so quickly. [[Have you been poisoned?]]
Maybe that would have been fun? <<choice "Maybe there's still time">>?
"<<choice "What?">>"
You lose consciousness.\n\n~ [[THE END]] ~
"For a moment there we... Well, we [[almost did]]."
Actually, <<choice "you don't feel so well at all">> today in general. It was <<choice "probably something you ate">>.
In an attempt to push worrying thoughts out of your head, you take a deep breath - hold it - and exhale, slowly. You conclude that fretting about such things isn't really worth the added stress. Time to [[head home]] and hit the sack, for sure.
Perhaps it isn't, though. Picking up your phone, you decide to [[try calling your sister]].
Thinking about food makes you feel [[pretty sick]] right now, though.
Hmmm, you really [[don't feel so well at all]]. You decide to bite the bullet and tell your boss about it. Who knows? Maybe you'll get lucky and get to go home and lie down. You walk over to him, nervously.
Your name is Tara Sue. You are 25 and no longer work in an office. You have the best sister in the world and, sometimes, just sometimes, your life is really, really interesting.\n\n~[[THE END]]~
Pulling your phone from your pocket, you <<choice "attempt to dial her number">>, but you can't <<choice "focus your eyes">> enough to read your contacts list.
You attempt to bolt up the stairs to the toilet room, but can't keep yourself steady and [[trip]] on the very first step.
Before you even have the chance to get your coat off, you feel your mouth [[filling with hot saliva]].
Why does life have to be focussed so much on the accumulation of wealth? Is a little more security and stability worth more than the freedom that comes with having the extra <<choice "spare hours">>?
<<if $emailRead eq 2>>However, you [[can't get that e-mail out of your mind]].\n<<else>>Opening your trusty workload-spreadsheet, you realise that there's a [[lot of work to do]].<<endif>>
"[[Oh fuck]]," you mutter
Like a boss who is <<choice "now calling her sister">>.
The more you think about those kind of things, the [[less important they seem to become]].
This must must be one of the [[worst days]] of your entire existance.
But you certainly [[wish it were a game]].
Oh wait, that's right: you were on the phone. [[You're sick]].
Every day, you just sit there, tapping away at keys, never really creating anything. It's certainly [[not a fun job]].
But <<choice "would anyone listen to you">>?
You try to explain your situation to her and she [[transfers you]] to the ambulance line.
When you were <<choice "a teenager">> you just wanted to <<choice "get the hell outta town">> - to leave and find somewhere you could make a life of your own.
No, <<choice "they would not">>.
Café Nouveau is not far from here, it [[brings back memories]].
You peer at Karen's desk from across the room, but it's [[too far away]] to be able to see the picture.
Thinking back to then makes you shudder. You didn't exactly have the best of years, growing up. But then again your life hasn't exactly been [[roses and peaches]] since.
You make it a few meters and, as you go round the corner of the street, your [[heart skips a beat]].
<<choice "No">>.
You bolt from the crossing, towards the café. You feel wobbly and faint, but [[refuse]] to let it stop you.
Karen asks you to stop and rest whilst she calls an ambulance, but [[you refuse]].
That's right: Your sister! You decide to <<choice "try calling her again">>.
You always hated working there (especially under your boss, who was SUCH a tyrant), but now that you just walked out you realise how much it was stifling you. <<choice "But isn't there something that you're forgetting">>?
Nah. You're sick, but you [[couldn't be that sick]].
Some say that before you die, your life flashes before your eyes. But if you're really dying then you know it can't be true. As the world around you spins in circles, you close your eyes and think of your sister, <<choice "praying that she's okay">>; that the email was a hoax.
You [[can't do it]], you just can't.
Speaking of, you really don't feel too well at the moment. It's probably nothing to worry about, but your poor health always makes things worse. You should really [[take it easier]].
You swear it contains blood. You can't focus your eyes properly, but it's [[bright red]].
You [[stumble, weak and nauseous]], in the direction of the café.
You wonder just how many hours you sit there in a week. What percentage of your life is spent cooped up with your brain running on autopilot? You wish that life had given you [[more options]].
Good grief, you hope [[you haven't been poisoned.]]
Peering up at the traffic lights, they are red. You [[suddenly feel quite dizzy]].
Crap. Scratch that, he's <<choice "looking directly at you">>.
<<choice "SHIT">>.
But this is no time to be thinking about yourself, [[in spite of how sick]] you might be.
Make that [[quadruple-vision]]...
You collide, painfully, with the staircase and promptly [[eject the contents of your stomach]] across it. Your vision is getting worse.
"Hi M... <<choice "Mama?">>"
Quite frankly, this is not your best day. You've been [[feeling a bit rough]] since this morning.
... The [[café...]]"
<<silently>><<set $emailRead = 2>><<endsilently>>It reads:\n\n"Ms. Sue, I have your sister. If you want her back, <<choice "look for the note">> hidden under table no. 21 at Café Nouveau before 2pm. Signed, M."\n\nSurely <<choice "this is a joke">> of some sort?
The time is now [[1:45PM]].
Come to think of it, you could really use a <<choice "few more hours of naptime">>. You've really not been sleeping too well as of late.
Take Karen, for example: She's been working in the company for some 30-odd years. You barely know anything about her other than the colour of her hair, where she went on holiday last year, and what <<choice "her husband and kids look like">>. Surely there must be <<choice "more to life">>.
As you turn to face the woman (who apparently is standing about a metre away from you), a [[wave of dizziness]] sweeps over you.
The line goes straight to answerphone. FUCK. You race across the road to Café Nouveau, [[narrowly avoiding getting hit by a car]].
There sure is a <<choice "lot of work to do">>. You curse the treacherous document under your breath. You look at it again.
As you turn to see who it is, you [[tumble to the ground]],
You decide to [[knuckle down and do some work]].
It feels as though you're drifting further and [[further away]].
Your boss screams at you for what must be a solid [[5 minutes]].
You let out a sharp cry of agony. It's like someone just [[punched you in the tit]], but in your knee.
As you reach a crossing, you notice that your vision has [[gone all weird]].