(b4r:"double")+(b4r-colour:white)[(text-colour:#339af0)+(background:black)[A Standard, Regular Day of Normalcy.]]
A Hypertext Fiction by Charles Walsh
cw// language and reference to drugs.Two flags immediately occupy your vision, [[Wales->Cymru]], which is right above your head, and the [[Federal Republic of Germany->Bundesrepublik Deutschland]], hanging to your right.
The room you're in is small, just enough to have two beds and two desks. Yet even then, it is still so cramped that you vaguely remember the struggle of openning your closet without hitting one of the desks.
Besides the flags, the walls are mostly bare, only a few random pieces of paper cover up the sterile white plaster walls.
Both desks are occupied, covered in random debris and office supplies. One is generally more tidy than the other...damn him.
[["What the hell was I doing?"->Beginning]]Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.
[[Yeah, yeah.->A Room]]Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country at the intersection of Central and Western Europe. It is situated between the Baltic and North seas to the north, and the Alps to the south; covering an area of 357,022 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi), with a population of over 83 million within its 16 constituent states. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, and France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the west. Germany is the second-most populous country in Europe after Russia, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city is Berlin, and its financial centre is Frankfurt; the largest urban area is the Ruhr.
[[//Macht Schnell//->A Room]](text-colour:red)["Glam glurga stadt!"]
(text-colour:red)["Glam glurga murga stadt!"]
The train hurtled down the track, the old metal car ricketing as it moved. You feel like you woke up.
you didn't, you were just spacing out.
Looking up, a large figure dressed in a blue-collared suit and a flat-brimmed cap, both with golden buttons. On his neck was a small box tied with string. His face was non-existent, not like it was black, or a disfigured mess, but like the very existence of the material which could make up a face on this Being didn't compute with reality.
It looked like he was kinda like a ghost...
He continued his beautiful, irritated noises, gesturing with his black-golved hands.
He wants your ticket you think, scrambling as you were through your 62.4 pockets to find it.
After a moment of confusion you produce the brown-green card...geez that color is so off-putting.... and hand it to the conductor.
(text-colour:red)["Muba luba glarf gesnatch."] He replies, and drops it into the box around his neck.
You open your mouth to [[respond...->Conversations]]
But he has already moved on ok?
[[You turn your attention to the train car around you.->An Empty Car]]"Wait!"
The figure stopped, looked back, and perhaps would have given you a confused stare if it physically had the ability to.
"Where is the next stop?" you ask, confused.
You don't even know where this train is headed, or where its coming from?
The figure shakes his head and continues walking.
Well done dude, he didn't even answer you.
Another figure, with a similarly will-o'-whispy existence, leaned uncomfortably close to your shoulder... and in a bone-chillingly quite voice whispered.
(text-colour:#9c36b5)["Ze Naechtes stoppe iss Verwedigenhallonzumaedert"]
You hesitate for a moment before giving this...helpful stranger a slow nod.
He has bad vibes.
(text-colour:#9c36b5)["Zu du known who du aren goingen?"]
If he had eyes, he surely would be staring intently at you.
//"Try not to look,"// you think.
You think you can just avoid his gaze?
(text-colour:#9c36b5)["Zu musst excuze ze kondoctor ze iss nzot zo abelle zu... howz zu du sag... speek?"]
You're about to respond, something about how that's a shame, and thank you-but...
Suddenly, the light from the train car windows disappears.... you're in a tunnel.
[[Why the hell are you so scared?->The Tunnel]]The car's obviously metal exterior was covered by a wooden interior, the seats were of a velvet red, there were no doors between the cars, just the inward sides of the cars, which came together to look like an archway in some fancy, high-end restaruant. Or some old, Spanish building. The car WAS occupied, by about a handful of similarly will-o-whispy characters, all dressed like some form of buisnessman escaping the rain. Thick jackets and brimmed hats-
hold on, did you say Spanish? This isn't Spanish, at least, not the Spanish you've seen. Jesus dude, I get this is familiar, but not from fucking Spain!
You think again, it is indeed familiar, in a way which stimulates the mind with thoughts. However, no matter how hard you try, you cannot possibly remember from what.
Probably a movie, an animated one.
Yeah, yeah! Now you remember, its the train car from-
The light outside the train car goes completely dark.
As does the [[train.->The Tunnel]]Pure. Darkness.
That is what this is. Nothing more, nothing less.
It took three, anxious seconds before light returned. Hard red orbs doused the train car in red and black. You look around, you're alone.. Your companions are gone, vanished. Slowly, the rocking and swaying of the car gets harder and faster, almost indistinguishable at first, yet soon enough, you almost needed to hold onto the poles for support.
Are you falling? Have you somehow fallen off the tracks? Has this car somehow started a mad decent into the horrible abyss?
Snap out of it, you idiot. Get ahold of yourself.
The shaking has become all-encompasing at this point, you can hardly even hold on to the pole, its impossible to steady yourself. Beyond that, something is ringing horribly in your ears.
At this point dude, just give up. This is getting kinda annoying.
This makes you even more determined to hold on, but the Fates are against you.
Your grip loosens, and it takes only one shake for you to lose the pole completely, [[tumbling down onto the floor of the car.->Screw You Wilson]]"Dude, your alarm."
Once again, your eyes snap open. The room is now bathed in the light from the window, all except in front of you, where the long shadow of your rommate blocks all light and happiness from the world.
"H-Huh? oh, sorry."
Reaching over to your desk, you fumble around until you finally turn off the alarm clock. Tts... what? 10:20?
"Uh, yeah its cool..."
Your roommate moves away, thank god, and leaves you to sulk in the late-morning glow.
Class is when? In an hour? Shit.
You don't want to move, you don't want to think, you dont want to do anything, is there anyting you actually are motivated to do?
//"No, not right now"// you think. Your sheets are warm, your eyes are heavy, what is another thirty minutes really?
Despite this, you drag yourself out of bed and get dressed. The sun is out, maybe a T-shirt.
The sun is out, but its always cold, do you really want those boney arms to be goose-bumpin up?
So, you go with the plad, green shirt then.
Your roommate is out of the bathroom, [[just get ready already.->Bathroom!]]Snap, crackle, pop. Just like that, the routine is done.
You look in the mirror, you vaguely remind yourself of a [[skeleton->Spooky]], it would be funny if it wasn't for the fact that it seems like the only coloration on your entire face is the bags under your eyes.
You cast your gaze vaguely towards the shower, and reluctantly agree to save it for after class.
There usually isn't any hot water around this time anyways, we both hate that fucking mild-luke-warmy water.
You're right, shower later.
Turning back to the mirror, you reach down, open the cabinet door and grab your (text-colour:#e03131)[lucky cough medicine] and chug it down with some water. Looking down at the sink, you notice something horriby, horribly wrong.
[["damnit, I'm out of toothpaste."->Post-class]]//''Spooky Scary Skeletons
Send shivers down your spine.
Shrieking skulls will shock your soul
Seal your doom tonight
Spooky, scary skeletons
Speak with such a screech
You'll shake and shudder in surprise
When you hear these zombies shriek
We're sorry skeletons, you're so misunderstood
You only want to socialize, but I don't think we should
'Cause spooky, scary skeletons
Shout startling, shrilly screams
They'll sneak from their sarcophagus
And just won't leave you be
Spirits supernatural are shy what's all the fuss?
But bags of bones seem so unsafe, it's semi-serious
Spooky, scary skeletons
Are silly all the same
They'll smile and scrabble slowly by
And drive you so insane
Sticks and stones will break your bones
They seldom let you snooze
Spooky, scary skeletons
Will wake you with a [[boo!->Bathroom!]]''//
Stop it, its too early to be thinking about her, or anyone right now, you'll undoubtedly see her today anyways.
You wish she didn't stay up all night, all the time, maybe that would finally get you to stick with the program, stick with your empty promise to actually go to bed before 2am.
But lets be honest, we both know you're not going to do that anyways...It's early, just go back to sleep.
[[Yeah.. sleep...->Dream]]The hours past by like...well like a speedy metaphor.
It really says something about socieity, that you can so easily waste away whole blocks of pre-determined, socially-constructed time while doing nothing, nothing other than sitting in front of a window, staring at a screen.
You know it's ironic, you saying that? I mean, you're on your phone all the time, don't try to make it deep just because you have to attend a goddamn Zoom class.
Speaking of windows, you look outside, your view isn't that good, it has never been. Last year it was the [[dumpster->The Dumpster]], now you look out onto nothing but the side of a building.
The sun looks nice, maybe you should go out? You need to eventually. That's been your promise to yourself, to try to go outside at least once every single day.
You haven't been successful.
But the weather is supposed to be warm, and you can't miss the opportunity to bask in the sun. Last time there was sun this good, you ended up sitting outside for hours, getting needlessly sunburnt.
[[//"Alright, I'll go out."//->Sun's Shine]]There was a dumpster outside your window.
Initially, living on the first floor was not something you were exactly estatic over. Actually, you really didn't have any opinion of it until you walked in the room for the first time and looked out of your only window.
You almost HAD to laugh, it must be some kind of weird irony. Sure, it wasn't the only thing you could see, there was the forest beyond, but as far as up-front-and-center, you were pretty screwed.
As the months drew on, it became less and less annoying. There would be the mornings when it was trash day, and you were suddenly and cruelly awoken by the large crashes and clangs of the garbage truck. There would also be those days where you would be sitting alone, not doing anything, and look out to see some of your fellow man, huddling behind the dumpster, a small trail of smoke arising from between them. Sometimes they would spot you, gazing from only a few feet away. They would wave and you would return it. They knew who you were, they knew that out of everyone who could stumble upon their ritual, you were the farthest from the worst.
You hold those interactions, those experiences, [[that very dumpster->Post-class]], in surprising high esteem.Leaving hadn't nearly been as bad as you had expected. You grabbed your bag and a book you've been meaning to read, just as an excuse if anyone asks you.
It's stupid, you know that? If you want to go outside, you don't need an excuse to do so, just do it.
You've reached the bottom of the stairs to your building when a sharp pain suddenly strains your leg. You'd completely forgotten about that accident, what was it again?
You fell out of a chair? Really?
You don't know, you don't really remember.
Regardless, your leg is kinda sore now, be careful.
You cross the road in front of the steps, taking a moment to admire the [[scenery->The Outside]] around you. An unhelpful smile grows on your face, it's beautiful out!
A voice grabs your attention, you wheel around, just in time to see her coming down the steps after you, waving with a gleeful smile.
You reply with a short wave, a raised hand, and a stop to your wandering.
"Are you going to the Park?"
She asks with a tone thats just bleeding enthusiasm.
It hasn't even been 12 hours....
"Yeah, I was thinking about it."
You already know what comes next, you knew the moment you heard her voice.
Get yourself together, you're always annoyed at the beginning, but it gets better, you know that.
"Can I join you?"
"Of course, [[lets go."-> A Walk]]Your eyes snap open, in a room, [[covered in flags and fairy lights.->A Room]]
Look to your left, the soft and harsh ticking of an alarm clock fills the air.
"I could sleep more.." you think, after all, your class isn't until 11
Or was it 11:30?
You decide to continue to sleep, however, as you feel yourself drifting off you are disturbed by a noise. It's your roommmate, maybe he's talking in his sleep again... I don't really have a problem with it, most of the time it's actually kinda funny, but its really fucking early, and you should really try to get some more sleep.
[[She->She]] was over really late again, maybe until 2? You try to recall, but honestly youre still only half awake, so give up on the task fairly easily[[........->Dream]](enchant:?page,(text-colour:#212529)+(background:white))
"A Standard, Regular, Day of Normalcy" is a short work. I did not have any grand plan or strategy for this work, I kind of wrote and saw where it took me.
To begin, I wish to acknowledge a few things. Chief among them the paragraphs I took, quite delibrately, from Wikipedia, namely the articles for Germany and Wales. Also in the category of works I used, I also want to acknowledge the use of the lyrics of the song "Spooky Scary Skeletons" by Andrew Gold, originally released in 1996.
A lot of my inspiration for this work comes from the create-your-own adventure books I read as a kid. While this work comes nowhere close to any of those books, in either scope or complexity, it was my inspriation for the "multiple routes" approach I took for the main narrative.
The story that ultimately arose from this project is a fairly straight-forward one, based very loosely on my own experiences. I was intrigued by the idea of having the narrator themselves be a character, seperate from the "player character." I would not go as far to say that this is a work about depression, or mental illness in general, but instead it is about the various choices one makes, the tangents one's mind goes on, and how even the smallest words or phrases can add context and meaning.
I think that Twine offers me the ability to allow the reader to add or subtract from their own experience of the work. You do not need to click on every link, in fact you're not meant to, but if you do hopefully it adds to the greater story, if for no other reason than you can learn some useless information.
I hope you enjoy reading this work as much as I enjoyed making it!
[[Play->Beginning]] Your building lies upon the top of a hill, one of severeal which make up the ridgeline which dominates the landscape. It's nearly summer, and the trees are just about done regrowing their leaves. You've never been one for nature, but sometimes even you like to feel the wind as it blows through the trees.
Your building itself is nothing impressive. It looks like something out of a 1960s Soviet building project, minimal decor both inside and out. It is painted in light grey, or perhaps it has just been worn down. The shape is like a giant cinderblock, only instead of holes there are balconies.
Behind your building, you can just barely see the three or so buildings behind yours, no doubt holding just as many suffering souls as your's does.
[[It's beautiful out..->Sun's Shine]]The two of you walk, you and her, down the road away from the building. The rustling of the wind between the leaves put you into a very calming mood. She walks closely beside you, chattering about something.
You really should be paying more attention to what she's saying.
You know you should, but its hard, your brain still isn't really turn on.
"Anyways, I have //a lot// of work to do for tomorrow, tests, papers, then I need to stop by the elementary school-"
It's a little too much.
"I know you'll do great though."
"Yeah but, what if I don't?"
You shoot her a look, hopefully one that gets across your certainty.
She visibly wavers, then nods her head.
"Yeah.. I know, you're typically right about this stuff, I just get so worried and anxious."
"About the tests? The papers?"
"No, no, the elementary school mostly."
You nod your head, [[the walk continues.->Fork in the road]]Passing the time with idle chatter, you and her walk down the road, through a forest path, and eventually are let out into a large, open space. Completely covered in grass, there are only a few empty picnic tables, benches, and abandoned soccer-goal posts that dot the landscape.
"Jesus, when did we end up in Kansas."
You follow up your hilarious joke with a small cackle, if you can shit on Kansas, you'll do it.
"Why do you hate Kansas so much?" she asks, half-heartedly, she already knows the answer, you've been over it a million times at this point.
You need to learn some new jokes, you're not so much funny, as you are sad.
"Because Kansas is flat, boring, and [[steals our water.->Empty Resivoir]]"
She shrugs, and begins walking out from under the protection of the trees and into the warm sun.
"Lets go find somewhere to sit!"
You follow her towards one of the benches, the sun is now fully on you, it feels nice, warm, almost makes you want to sleep again.
[["Do you still have to read?"->End]]You remember a story your father told you, about a resivior way out east of your home. He told you of a time, must've been the '80s, when he would drive out and fish there. Apparently it was a kind of resort, with a dock, beaches, all the works.
But that was years ago, in 2011 the reservior was drained by order of the Supreme Court. Kansas had said the dam which formed the reservior was impeding the rights of downstream Kansas farmers to access the water.
Its one of several cases, their numbers and names swirl through your head, none are important to you now, you're not even home anymore...
[[I wish I could have gone there.->Fork in the road]]The day went great from there.
Even if you only got through ten pages in three hours...
She had already left a couple hours ago, off to the elementary school, leaving you alone to contimplate in the sun. The wind has kept you cool, but no doubt your arms and legs are going to be burned red, maybe they'll even peel.
You should've worn sunscreen, oh well.
The sun is setting now, well, that's an exaggeration, It's more of an excuse to go inside. You were stupid to not bring out any more work to do, now you've just taken a nap and read a bit.
Maybe you won't leave, maybe you'll just sit here and watch the sun slowly get gobbled up by the Earth. "//Why not?//" you think "//Everything can wait.//"
You know that isn't true, you have work to do, papers to write, food to eat. But getting up now would feel like a betrayal.
To the mood, the atmosphere, dare I say, the vibes.
You make your choice, hard as it is.
Grabbing your belongings, you begin the slow process of trudging up the way you came, back to your building, back to your room, back to the same decor and the same roommate. Even though you know this, this endless cycle of repeating moments, you're at peace.
"Today might have been normal, but at least it was fun. I wonder what tomorrow will be like."
[[Thank you for reading->Welcome]]