No, it is not Darcy. Where is Darcy? Darcy is nowhere, lying alone, no gaze on her, invisible. They look, they see, they look away, they don't see. She's not been herself for long, and won't be herself for longer still. She thinks about the man she once knew, a nice, if unusual man, and though she has no mouth, she smiles at the memory of his face. It's a vague, fleeting memory and one that lasts all too briefly. Then it is gone, and so is she. \n\nYour influence over Darcy has increased! You have now unlocked the [[Romance|Romance]] perk!
Without hesitation, Simmons reaches out and takes the Darcy's hand. It's soft and smooth, but her grip is surprisingly firm. They shake. \n"That rain looks freezing," Darcy says. "Come in, come in."\n\nShe ushers Simmons on through, into a darkened hallway. The door closes [[behind them|HallHouse]].
Simmons heads shakily to the front door. His head's pounding. He begins to count, but the numbers come out jumbled. He's counting again. He hasn't counted in years. Or maybe he's always been doing it. \n\nHe reaches out one hand and tests the front door, perhaps already knowing what he'll find. \n\nThe door is locked. \n\nPerhaps it would be better to [[clean himself up|Bath]] after all.
Simmons takes Darcy's hand and shakes it enthusiastically, wondering for a moment why he considered snubbing her. The woman seems friendly, with a warm, winning smile. \n\n"Come on in," she says. "It's pouring out there."\nSimmons looks over his shoulder and notices she's right, the rain's even heavier now. He steps across the threshold and the door closes behind him. The pair are standing in a [[darkened hallway|HallHouse]].
Simmons stands outside his boss's door, looking down at the smudged post-it in his hand. Ben approaches him.\n"You get in the shit?" he asks.\nSimmons shakes his head. "Nah. You know me."\nBen stares at Simmons for a moment. "You okay dude? You seem different today."\nSimmons laughs. "I'm fine."\nWith Ben reassured, Simmons heads out of the office and into the underground car park. He unlocks his car, then counts to three before opening the door and slipping inside. Hands resting on the steering wheel, he counts to eleven, tapping the leather grip with each beat, then [[starts the vehicle|Drive1]].
Simmons takes a step onto the path, but before he can proceed any further the door is thrown open by a little old lady in hair curlers and a dressing gown.\n"Oh my dear goodness," she calls out. "You must be freezing out here. And look at you!"\nSimmons looks down at himself. His clothes are torn, and he's covered in brambles and mud. \n"Come in, come in," she says. "Let me fix you some hot cocoa."\n\nBefore Simmons can object, the old lady has dashed out into the garden, her slippers flapping against the cobblestone path. She ushers Simmons inside and closes the door [[behind him|OldHouse]].
Simmons is not a nice man. You are not a nice man. \n\nYou are Simmons. Simmons works in a [[library|Work]] or maybe a [[supermarket|Work]].
The pair stare into each others' eyes for a moment, their shared suffering reflected in their gaze. The ghost of a smile dances across his sister's lips, and then her face freezes. She stares, not at Simmons, but over his shoulder, past him, into the shadowy darkness of the tent.\n\n"[[Who's that?|WhosThat]]" she asks in a trembling voice.
"Hey buddy," Ben says. Simmons nods to him.\n"Alright?"\n"Marcus was after you," Ben tells him. "He's been looking for you for days. Where you been, man?"\nSimmons shrugs. "Took some holiday."\n"Oh really?" Ben asks, peering at Simmons over his thin glasses. "Marcus didn't seem to be aware."\n"Marcus needs to check the timesheet," Simmons says. \n"Anyway," Ben tells him. "He seems in a good mood this morning. You should probably go see him now, before some clusterfuck occurs."\n\nSimmons stands up, brushing past Ben. As you walk past the rec room you make a mental note to modify the timesheet just as soon as you're done with [[the boss|MarcusOffice]].
Simmons brews up some tea. He's confused and nervous, but mostly just tired. Tired, filthy, in need of a comfortable bed. There's a bathroom upstairs, he saw it during his search. Maybe he can [[clean up|Bath]] in there. Or maybe he should [[just leave|GetOutCate]].
Finally, feeling somewhat more relaxed, Simmons steps out of the shower and wraps a towel around his waist. He stands at the sink and turns on the tap, watching the water flow listlessly down the plug hole. \n\nYou look up and stare at yourself in the mirror. You can see yourself reflected there, hazy through the shower's remnant condensation, a ghost of a face floating on moisture and steam. \n\nSimmons looks up. His face freezes mid-yawn. [[Simmons is staring directly at you|FaceToFace]].
"I guess your friends aren't showing," Simmons says.\n"I guess not," Catherine says. \n"Changed your mind about that dance?" Simmons says.\n"Reckon I have," Catherine says. \nThe bartender gives Simmons a nod of encouragement, and Simmons smiles. He counts to seven, then takes Catherine's hand and leads her to the [[dance floor|Outside1]].
Simmons laughs at Catherine's joke. Catherine smokes another cigarette. Simmons ushers the bartender over and orders [[another round|Round3]].
No he doesn't, he only cares about himself. Which means he cares about you, too, because you are Simmons now. [[So that's nice|Party]].
"I've been looking forward to your visit," Darcy says, glancing over her shoulder at you as she leads the way. Doors line the corridor, but they are all closed. In his head, Simmons counts as they walk, stopping only to reply.\n"Sorry I took a while," he says. \n"It's no bother," Darcy tells him. "I admit, I was expecting you yesterday, but..."\n"All my fault," says Simmons. \n"Like I said," Darcy reassures. "It's [[no bother|HallHouse2]]."
Simmons and Catherine down their drinks and make small talk. Simmons ushers the bartender over and orders [[another round|Round2]].
Rooted to the spot, Simmons freezes. He wants to run, wants to hide, but he can't move. He holds his breath, closes his eyes, and counts to fifty seven. When he looks again, the figure is gone. \n\nSimmons laughs, an awkward, braying sound, chastising his own [[foolishness|ForestHouse]].
You dodge to the left, and Simmons' blow glances past your face, narrowly missing you. You counter with a short, controlled punch to his solar plexus. Simmons gasps and falls backwards, dropping the knife with a clatter. You're on it in seconds, sweeping it up in one fluid, trained motion. Simmons looks up at you pleadingly, his one good arm outstretched in a feeble attempt to hold you off. \n\nYou can [[stab Simmons|StabFail]] or [[charge your attack|Charge1]].
The bartender brings a double whiskey over to Simmons, and another Chartreuse Swizzle for Catherine. She pays by credit card. As she opens her wallet, Simmons notices she has no bills inside. He catches a glimpse of a driver's license, but Catherine closes her wallet before he can study it. \n\nSimmons and Catherine knock their glasses together, and down their drinks. The song changes as Catherine takes the last gulp, and she laughs, the liquid bubbling in her throat.\n\n"I love this one," she says, pointing to the ceiling as if that's where the [[music|Dance]] is coming from. \n\n
You are Simmons. You are not a nice man. Simmons is not a nice man. Simmons is a bad, bad man. Simmons only cares about himself. \n\nYou wake up cold. You're shirtless, and on the floor. Your shoulder presses against the hard floorboards. There is no bed in here. Harsh morning sunlight streams through one window, and you squint against the brightness. The room is bare, save for a cabinet in one corner, a small angle-poise lamp which is switched off, and a half-filled ashtray sitting on the floor. Light from the window glints off the ashtray.\n\nSimmons stands up, stretches, cracks his shoulders. It's a [[new day|StartPartTwo]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $visited_wronghouse = "yes">>\n<<endsilently>>\nSoundlessly, Simmons holds up the post-it note. The man snatches it from him, and scrutinises it for a moment. \n"Yer at the wrong house," he snarls. "Yer after twenty seven. This yere's twenty three."\nThe old man leans outside the door frame and points to the number, going out of his way to highlight your error. \n"Excuse me," Simmons says. "My mistake."\n"Yer," the man snaps. "Was watching me programs too. Get gone."\n\nThe door slams before Simmons has even finished turning. He leaves the old man's front garden and stands in the street. <<if $visited_park eq "yes">>Simmons heads straight to [[number twenty seven|TwentySeven]] or maybe he crosses the street and visits the [[park|Park2]].<<else>>Simmons heads straight to [[number twenty seven|TwentySeven]] or maybe he crosses the street and visits the [[park|Park]].<<endif>>
You dodge to the right, and stumble against the open door. It's just enough of a pause for Simmons to strike. With a feral, animalistic cry he plunges the blade into your chest. You feel your ribs splintering under the force of the blow, feel the serrated edge tearing your flesh, piercing your lung, your heart. You stagger backwards and look up at Simmons. \n"I hope that hurt, you bastard," Simmons says.\nYou straighten, reach up, grab the hilt of the knife. With slow, deliberate movements you pull it free from your chest and regard it with curiosity.\n"I don't know," you say, your voice cold. "Did it?"\n\nSimmons stumbles, the fight drained out from him. He holds up his one good arm in a pitiful attempt at defense. \n\nYou can [[stab him|StabFail]] or [[charge your attack|Charge1]].
Simmons stops suddenly. Behind him, a branch cracks. He whirls around, his heart pounding in his chest. There's movement. A figure, standing by a tree in the distance. Or is it just a trick of the light? \n\nWhat do you do?\n\n[[Hide in a nearby copse|SimmonsFreeze]] or [[crouch low to the ground|SimmonsFreeze]]?
The hallway seems to stretch on forever. Simmons counts the doors, the steps, the flowers printed on the wall. Darcy stops beside a small bureau. \n"Excuse me," she says, crouching down suddenly. "Just need to fish something out of here."\nSimmons almost trips over the woman, but steadies himself. While Darcy looks through the cabinet, Simmons studies [[a picture on the wall|PictureGone]] or maybe he simply [[looks down at Darcy|DarcyWatch]].
Simmons looks down at Darcy, rummaging through paperwork. He begins to count, and it's only when he reaches twenty five that he realises Darcy is looking back at him, a curious smile on her lips. \n"Perhaps this can wait," Darcy says, and she reaches up, taking Simmons' hand in her own. She pulls him down so he's kneeling beside her, and he moves in to kiss her, their lips brushing together gently, her taste sweet and welcome in the dusty, dark hallway. \n\nSimmons closes his eyes and counts, and counts some more, and the kiss never stops, he's counted to well over one hundred and one now, and he opens his eyes and [[Darcy is gone|HallAlone]].
He walks for an eternity. The trees begin to thin out, and eventually Simmons is walking alongside a narrow, well-kept road. Up ahead, he can see a light. As he moves closer, a house comes into view around the bend. A single, lone house out here on a road to nowhere. The light comes from the front of the house, possibly the living room. \n\nSimmons approaches, hoping the occupants are friendly. Maybe they'll be especially kind and offer him a warm bed, or at the very least he can call a late night cab and get a ride to the parking spot where he left his car, the other side of the forest. \n\nDo you [[approach the house directly|StealthFail]] or sneak around the side of the house [[out of sight|StealthWin]]?
For a split second, Simmons has his back to you, and you're able to launch an attack. You're on him, your fingers digging into the bare flesh of his shoulders, poking at old wounds, scratching at ageing scars. You slam him up against the wall, and the force is so strong that a vase topples over, smashing on the bed post. \n\nAs the vase breaks, so does Simmons. He goes limp in your grasp, and you slam his head against the wall, hear his teeth crack together loudly. \n\nSimmons is stunned. Now's your chance. [[Finish him|FinishBed]].
Simmons is alone. He walks, and walks, and walks until he can walk no more. It's dark out, and it's still raining. He's in the park. The swing's chain jangles as cold winds whip cruelly. \n\nIn the corner of the park stands a broken, forgotten slide. A figure leans against it, the glow of a cigarette sheltered from the elements is the only sign of life. Simmons approaches, covering his eyes from the stinging rain. \n\n"Hello?" he says tentatively. \n"Hello," comes the reply. \n\nSimmons recognises the voice. It is [[Darcy|NotDarcy]] or perhaps it is [[someone else|SomeonePark]].
You stand in the doorway, blocking Simmons' only escape route. \n"For God's sake, please," Simmons begs. He's clutching at the towel, trying to retain his dignity. You laugh cruelly. \n"Why bother? We've seen everything so many times," you sneer. "We're hardly strangers, you and I."\n\nSimmons takes advantage of your momentary gloating to grab a hairdryer from the nightstand. He hurls it and it catches you in the shoulder. A stab of pain shoots through your arm, but you shake it off. \n\nSimmons steps desperately back and forth, and you can hear him audibly counting. You laugh. He's checking out the window, seeing if he can make the jump. He's distracted.\n\n[[Perform a stealth attack|StealthTakedown]].
Simmons presses on, and eventually finds himself in a clearing. Overhead, the crescent moon shines down surrounded by a thousand stars. A cool, welcome breeze kisses Simmons' face. For a moment, he is calm. Almost happy. He thinks about stopping here, but decides against it, moving out of the clearing and further [[into the forest|ForwardWood]].
Simmons stands outside the door to number twenty seven. Of all the front gardens in the street, this one is the least untidy. Yet the house's windows are boarded up, and Simmons cannot see any light shining through the cracks in the wood. \n\nTentatively, he knocks. There's a dull, muffled scraping from within. You feel your heart beating erratically in your chest, then suddenly it steadies out as the door to the house is thrown open and a cheerful twenty-something woman stands on the threshold. She's short, with closely-cropped dark hair, and a beaming smile. \n\n"You must be Simmons," she says, extending her hand. "I'm Darcy. Nice to meet you." Simmons counts, but only once, only to one. He [[shakes her hand|Handshake]] or maybe he [[ignores her offer|IgnoreHer]].
<html>\n<img src=""></html>\n[[Claim Your Reward|EndPartTwo]]\n
Here's a funny story about Simmons. \n\nHe doesn't actually like Chartreuse. He likes the color, he likes looking at it, he likes staring at the bottle on the bar behind him. But he doesn't like the taste. Something about it has never sat right with him. So no, Simmons did not order what the girl was having. Given that it's the only thing he drinks, he ordered [[a double whiskey|Whiskey]].
Simmons is in the forest. He's sitting alone, on a fold-out chair. The last smoldering remains of a campfire crackle nearby. To his left is a tent, from which can be heard shallow breathing. Simmons takes a swig from the beer he's holding, and tosses the bottle behind him into the trees. The glass breaks, and Simmons shrugs. He looks down at his right hand, and examines the deep cut on his palm. \n\nStanding up, Simmons walks to the center of the camp. He walks to the tent and [[unzips it|InTent]] or perhaps he [[packs up and leaves|LeaveCamp]].
Simmons stares at the picture. It's either a blurry photograph, or a very realistic painting. It depicts a young woman, sitting on a picnic blanket with her back to the viewer. Next to her, a small child is playing with what looks like a tin toy car. The sky is cerulean blue, and a copse of trees sprout green in the distance.\n\nThe picture instills a feeling of unease in Simmons. At first he can't put his finger on it; it's an idyllic setting, a perfectly innocuous scene, but as he peers closer, he sees it, there, something in the copse of trees, something...\n\nSimmons snaps his head around. He's standing alone in the hallway. [[Darcy is gone|HallAlone]].
Simmons drives, the radio crackling, the tuning just off to produce white noise with the faintest sound of voices. The post-it note is stuck to his dashboard, and he glances at it every now and then, relying on his knowledge of the city to get him to his destination. No satnavs for Simmons. He reaches a junction. To the left lies a narrow, ramshackle street; it is down here that Simmons will find the address. To the right is the freeway, and freedom. Simmons can turn his back on all this, on everything. Overhead, the sky is dark and heavy raindrops begin to fall on the windshield. Simmons turns on the car's wipers. \n\n[[Turn left|LastHouse]] or [[turn right|Freedom]]?
Simmons checks his watch. Not long until last orders. He counts to seventeen. The crowd is thinning out now. Catherine ushers the bartender over and orders [[another round|Round4]].
Simmons is in the office. It's one, two, maybe three days later. Simmons is counting silently, his lips moving oh so so slightly, no sound coming out. He's on five hundred and sixty seven. \n\nA hand claps Simmons on the shoulder. He jumps, accidentally closing the web page he's been absentmindedly scrolling up and down for the last half hour. Simmons turns to look at his assailant. It's [[Ben, his co-worker|BenChat]] or perhaps it's [[Marcus, his boss|MarcusChat]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $visited_park = "yes">>\n<<endsilently>>\n<html><del>no mommy i dont want to go to the swings why not because paul will be there and paul is mean to me oh come on love dont you know mommys busy shes got things to do go out and play for a bit its a lovely day no mommy i dont want to please mommy oh for fucks sake you have to be selfish today of all days really no mommy im sorry i just no excuses just fuck off you little shit</del></html>\n\nSimmons sits on the bench. He's cold, and wishes he'd brought a flask of coffee. He wonders why he's sitting on the bench, why he doesn't just go straight to the house. He doesn't like the way the damp boards feel on the back of his legs, or how the rain seeps through his overcoat. \n\n<<if $visited_wronghouse eq "yes">>Simmons stands up. He's had enough of the park. He heads to number [[twenty three|WrongHouse2]] or perhaps number [[twenty seven|TwentySeven]].<<else>>Simmons stands up. He's had enough of the park. He heads to number [[twenty three|WrongHouse]] or perhaps number [[twenty seven|TwentySeven]].<<endif>>
"Hello Simmons," you whisper. "You are a bad, bad man. You are a terrible, worthless, selfish human being. You only care about yourself."\n\nSimmons lets out a muffled cry. Before you can react, he darts past you, out of the bathroom. He's holding the towel around his waist, restricting himself. \n\nYou can [[try and funnel him towards the front bedroom|BedroomChase]] or [[lunge at him as he passes the stairs|StairsChase1]].
Simmons heads deeper into the woods, realising now that he's totally lost. He sighs, and wonders if he should try and get some sleep. Somewhere overhead, an owl hoots and there's a scuffle in the undergrowth, nature at war with itself. Simmons rubs his arms against the cold. He [[presses on|ForwardWood]].
You are Simmons.\n\n[[I am Simmons|YesSimmons]].\n\n[[I am not Simmons|NoSimmons]].
You slam Simmons against the wall again and again, his head bouncing like a tennis ball. His eyes try to focus on yours, but it's no good. You're too strong for him. He doesn't stand a chance. [[Slam|Slam1]].
It is not Darcy. Darcy never was, never will be, never has been. She is alone, invisible, bypassed. Someone else looks at Simmons now, and he feels the rain hitting his face, the smile dancing across his lips. \n\nSimmons stands in the park face to face to face to face to face. [[Reach out|EndPartTwo]].
With a sigh, Simmons turns right. He drives until he reaches an intersection. Here, he stops at traffic lights, and counts to nineteen as he waits for the lights to turn green. They turn, he depresses the accelerator and the car moves forward. A truck shoots through a red light to Simmons' left, and collides with his vehicle. Simmons is thrown sideways, his head bouncing violently off the glass. Simmons feels a sharp crack at the top of his spine, and everything goes dark.\n\n<html><div align="center">- - - You have died - - -</div></html>\n<html><div align="center">You have scored 53/100</div></html>\nNo. This doesn't happen. Simmons doesn't turn right. Simmons may be an awful person who only cares about himself, but that doesn't mean he'd shirk his responsibilities. Simmons turns left. The accident claims [[a different life|LastHouse]].
No he doesn't. He works for a successful magazine in the city. Simmons is a consumer journalist. He writes about products he doesn't care for, sharing opinions he thinks people want to hear. Simmons only cares about one thing. He cares about [[love|Him]], or perhaps he cares about [[power|Him]].
Yes, you are. You have [[no choice|FalseStart]].
With an almost supernatural force, you draw back your arm and swing it sideways in a lightning-quick arc. Time slows as you watch the blade cut through the air, the light bouncing off it as it slices through nothing. Then the world catches up, and you connect with the side of Simmons' skull with a disappointingly mundane thunk. Simmons falls backwards, the blade buried in his temple up to the hilt. He coughs, a bubble of blood at the corner of his lips. \n\n[[Victory|EndPartThree]].
Simmons holds the cigarette between his lips. Catherine removes a Zippo from her handbag, flicks it, then offers the flame to Simmons. He leans in, watching the fire dance in Catherine's eyes. The end of his cigarette erupts in an orange glow and he inhales deeply, the smoke filling his lungs. \n\n<html><del>he's burning and it's burning deep down in somewhere on his arms maybe or his stomach there's a smell of burning flesh and an excruciating blissful pain and he counts to thirty one</del></html>\n\nSimmons doesn't smoke. He wouldn't have taken the cigarette. He doesn't judge those who do, but it's not for him. When Catherine offers, he [[shakes his head|NoSmoke]].
No. Simmons made a promise that he'd stay, and it's a promise he intends to keep. Instead he heads for [[the tent|InTent]].
.passage { width: 600px !important }\nbody { background-color: black } \nbody {background-image:url('simmonsback.jpg'); background-repeat: no-repeat; !important }\n#passages { color: #B8B8B8 !important }\n#passages { font-weight: normal }\na:link { color: #CC1100; }\na:visited { color:#4CBB17; }\n
Simmons nods, and counts to five. \n"Maybe we should dance," he says. He gestures to the crowd. "It looks like fun."\nCatherine smiles at him. "I'm not really one for dancing."\nAll the while, Simmons can see the bartender watching them. \n"No, me either really," he says. "Now just seems like a good time to start."\nCatherine checks her watch. Simmons counts to nine. \n"Getting late, isn't it?" he says.\n"It's not too bad," Catherine replies. "Just that I was meeting some friends here and they [[haven't shown yet|NoShow]]."\n
"Hello," says Simmons softly. But it isn't Catherine. It was never going to be Catherine. Catherine's at home, now, at home in her apartment. Her front door's locked, and she's lying in bed, thinking about the nice, if unusual man in the bar that night. And she's thinking about work a bit, because she works in marketing, and she's got a project deadline in three days and maybe now wasn't the best time to drink Chartreuse Swizzles with a nice, if unusual man in a bar. Gradually all thoughts of that man - of Simmons, of you - fade from her mind as other things take over. Data, graphs, billboards, approvals and demographics. The project's been a pain in the ass, but she's on the home stretch now. As Catherine drifts off to sleep, she no longer thinks of Simmons at all. As far as her drunken, sleep-addled mind is concerned, he [[doesn't exist|EndPartOne]].
Coolly, Simmons glances over at the girl as the barman delivers her drink. He sees the barman saying something, but can't make out the words over the din of the music. Both of them are looking at him, and the girl quickly looks away as their eyes meet. He can see her shooting a questioning glance at the barman, who laughs and shrugs. \n\nSimmons turns away and counts silently in his head. When he hits thirty nine, he turns back and looks at the girl again. She's holding her drink, untouched. Simmons cracks his winning smile. There's a pause, he sees her face waver, and then she nods thanks. The girl begins to sip her drink. \n\nSimmons turns back to the bar and orders himself a double whiskey. After downing it, he [[approaches the girl|NoDrink]] or perhaps he [[goes to the bathroom|Bathroom]].
Simmons' neck snaps around, his body tensing, ready to lunge. He stares straight ahead, directly forwards, then breathes a sigh of relief and laughs. \n"There's nobody there," he says, turning back. \n"Is this happening now?" his sister asks. "Or is it a long time ago?"\nSimmons chuckles. "I don't know," he says. "But I do know that I'm [[dying for a leak|GoPee]]."
No, Simmons does not approach the girl yet. This isn't how it works. He doesn't even look at her again, in fact. Not yet. He [[goes to the bathroom|Bathroom]].
Ashton Raze
You wake up so cold you can barely move. You're naked, and on the floor. Your shoulder aches from the fall last night. Your head pounds, a stabbing pain in your temple, a dull ache at the back of your head. Your mouth is filled with an acrid, spicy taste. You look down at yourself, at your nakedness, your bruised chest, your genitals, the scars. The room is bare, save for an empty drinks cabinet in one corner, a discarded zippo lighter, and an overflowing ashtray sitting on the floor. The sunset through the window makes the ashtray look like it's on fire. \n\nYou stand up, stretch, crack your shoulders. You can't find your clothes, or the anger from last night. It's left you, entirely, like a lover who's snuck out under the cover of darkness. It's [[evening|Epilogue2]].
"Just Simmons?" the girl asks, then laughs nervously. \n"Just Simmons," Simmons says. "For now."\n"Well I'm Catherine," the girl replies. "Just Catherine. For now."\n"Nice to meet you, Catherine," Simmons says. \n"Hey, what are you drinking?" Catherine asks. "Lemme buy you something in return."\n"Why thank you," Simmons says agreeably. "That would be lovely."\n"So what would you like?"\nSimmons will have "[[a double whiskey|Whiskey]]" or maybe he'll have "[[whatever you're having|Chartreuse]]".
You are Simmons.\n\n[[I am Simmons|YesSimmons]].\n\n[[I am not Simmons|NoSimmons]].
"Suit yourself," Catherine says, but there's no resentment in her words. She takes a long drag on her cigarette and exhales. \nSimmons ushers the bartender over, and orders [[another round|Round1]].
You are Simmons. You are the worst person ever to have lived. You are crippled by self-hatred. You only care about yourself. You have abandoned everyone who's ever loved you. \n\nYour sister lies huddled in a tent in the middle of the woods, cold and alone, crying at the night she's had. She gets away from it all, eventually. She moves on, she leaves your past behind. She gets a job, a career. She's like you, is your sister. Can't connect to anyone. Poor Catherine. Destined to live and die alone, all because of you.\n\nDarcy, too. You let her go. You lost her somewhere in the darkness. And what of Ben? You never let him in. He cared. Darcy cared. They all cared about you, Simmons, and all you did was hurt them. Why, Simmons? Why? You are the most terrible human being ever to have drawn breath. I wish you'd never been born. \n\nSimmons, Simmons, Simmons. You hurt everyone you touch. But mostly you just [[hurt yourself|Epilogue]].
"Are you here for work?" Simmons asks. Catherine nods. "Me too."\nCatherine leans against the bar and reaches into her handbag. She removes a pack of cigarettes, and withdraws one between long, slender fingers.\n"You want one?" she says, offering the packet to Simmons. \nSimmons [[takes one silently|Smoke]] or maybe he [[shakes his head|NoSmoke]].
Simmons closes his eyes and lets the club's music flow over him. It's not to his tastes, but it barely matters. Eyes still closed, he counts again, this time to twenty seven. Then he opens his eyes, depresses the flush on the toilet, and turns. He opens the stall door, walks to the sink, washes his hands, nods a greeting at the bleary-eyed kid standing next to him.\n\nSimmons glances at himself in the mirror, and is reassured at the face he sees, his own. \n\n[[Go back to the bar|BarReturn]] or [[make small talk with the kid|KidTalk]]?
"Got something for you," Marcus tells him, then leans in so he's centimetres away from Simmons' ear. Simmons can feel Marcus's hot breath on his cheek. \n"Come to my office, though. You're gonna love this one."\nMarcus straightens up, and glances around the room, as if to check nobody's been listening in. \n"Catch you in five," Simmons replies. Marcus scurries off. \n\nSomewhat relieved, Simmons passes the time by counting, reaching only two hundred and thirty one before standing up and heading to [[the boss's office|MarcusOffice]].
Simmons jerks around to see the empty hallway behind him. The door is closed tightly. He turns back to Cate, to reassure her, to calm her down.\n\nCate is gone. The kitchen door is still firmly shut. Simmons calls out, but receives no reply. He quickly searches the small, immaculately furnished house. \n\nThere's [[no sign of the old woman|CleanUp]].
The girl takes her first sip, Simmons counts one, two, three, then walks over, jostling past a middle-aged man in an ill-fitting suit. The bartender watches on, amused.\n"Thanks!" the girl says, gesturing to the green drink with her free hand. "This is good!"\nShe raises her voice to be heard over the music, although Simmons can hear her just fine. He catches the bartender's eye as he flashes the girl a smile.\n"I know right," he says, then offers his hand to the girl. "Hi. [[I'm Simmons|ImSimmons]]."\n
"Yeah, it was," Simmons says. "Always. Try not to think about it. We'll sort something tomorrow. I brought the car."\nShe smiles gratefully. "How's Darcy?"\nSimmons thinks for a moment. "I don't know," he says. \n"Aw no," she says. "Did you guys break up?"\n"Uh, I guess? I guess we must've done."\n"Are you okay bro?" she asks. "You seem different."\n"[[I'm fine, yeah|FineYeah]]."
You are Simmons. You are a terrible person. You only care about yourself. Simmons is a very bad boy. Simmons should be ashamed of himself. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are selfish, vile scum. Simmons doesn't deserve to live. \n\nYou wake up freezing. You're naked, and on the floor. Your shoulder presses against splintered wood. You look down at yourself, at your nakedness, your bare chest, your genitals, that scar from the appendectomy. The room is bare, save for an empty cabinet in one corner, a small angle-poise lamp without a bulb, and a full ashtray sitting on the floor. Moonlight from the window glints off the ashtray.\n\nSimmons stands up, stretches, cracks his shoulders. He pulls on his pants, tripping as he steps into them. It's [[midnight|StartPartThree]].
Simmons strides up to the front door and knocks.\n"Hello?" he calls out. "I could really use some help!"\nFor the longest time, it seems as if his cries for aid will go unanswered, but eventually the door is pulled open just a crack by a small old woman in hair curlers and a dressing gown.\n"It's the middle of the night," she says, although not unkindly. Her eyes dart nervously around. \n"I'm sorry," Simmons says, "I just need to use-"\nThe woman's eyes widen. \n"No, please leave," she says. "I don't feel comfortable about this at all."\nShe seems to be staring off into the night. Before Simmons can react, she slams the door. \n\n<html><div align="center">- - - YOU HAVE BEEN SEEN - - -</div></html>\nThis mission requires you to avoid all enemies. Be aware of their cones of vision, and hide if they get too close. [[Try again|ForestHouse]]?
Simmons turns to leave, but something stops him. You can't give up this easily, anyway. The corridor is silent, the entire house is silent. Simmons' breathing is ragged, and he's audibly counting. Try again.\n\nSimmons [[calls out her name|HeyDarcy2]], or maybe he tries to [[leave|GTFO2]].
When Simmons gets back to the bar, the girl's still there. She's taking the last sip of her Chartreuse Swizzle as he turns up, in fact. He calls the bartender over again. \n"She'll have another," he says. \n"Alright," the bartender replies, "but you pay up front this time."\nSimmons nods, it's not an unreasonable request. He hands the bartender a ten, and the man goes about preparing the cocktail. This time, as he delivers it to the girl, Simmons makes no secret of the fact he's [[watching|BarReturn2]].
With a cry, Simmons propels himself forward, using the walls for support. He manages a few more steps, and feels a surge of rejuvenation course through his body. His every nerve ending burns, panic rising up inside him. In his head, he counts fast, the numbers flowing and increasing as his pulse quickens. It's time for you to [[leave|LeaveHouse]].
Simmons opens his mouth to speak, but no words come out. His throat is dry and all he can manage is a croak. You're not trying hard enough. Perhaps if you click a bit faster. \n\nSimmons [[calls out her name|HeyDarcy2]], or maybe he tries to [[leave|GTFO]].
"So," Simmons says, "how does it feel?"\nThe kid doesn't react for a moment, and Simmons repeats his question.\n"Uh, sorry mate?" the kid says. He's drunk, and confused.\n"I said how does it feel?"\n"Uh, I dunno. How what?"\nThe kid takes a step away. Simmons smiles at him reassuringly. \n"It's okay. You can tell me. Don't be shy."\n"How should I know, man?" says the kid. "I'm drunk, fucked, and I haven't been me for long."\nSimmons nods, he understands. \n\nNone of this happens. Simmons does not speak to the kid. He has no reason to speak to the kid. The kid is scenery, not a character. He has nothing to offer. In reality, Simmons goes back to [[the bar|BarReturn]] after washing his hands.
"You know you're not a bad person, don't you?" she says, squeezing Simmons' hand. "You know you don't have a choice. You never had a choice."\n"It's my fault," Simmons says. "I should've been there. I shouldn't have let this happen."\nHe gestures to the girl's face, her bruised cheekbone catching the light from the weak hallogen lantern. \nShe smiles again. "It's been you plenty of times," she says. \n"I'm losing my grip," Simmons says. He looks down at the floor for a second, then turns to look at [[his sister|LookSister]].
You take the stairs three at a time. Simmons is contemplating the front door, but decides against it. He darts around the nule post, out of sight, his arm hanging at an impossible angle from his shoulder. That must hurt, you think, and the faint twinge in your own joint tells you it hurts like hell. \n\nSimmons is fumbling at the kitchen door. You stand at the foot of the stairs, leaning casually against the railings. \n\n"Going somewhere, boy?" you ask, at the same time reaching down and undoing your belt. You crack the leather and see Simmons wince at the sound. But your posturing is just for show. You toss the belt aside and stalk down the corridor, knocking over Cate's ornate umbrella stand, kicking aside the little telephone table with a clatter. You reach out for Simmons, but he disappears into the kitchen. You [[follow him|KitchenFight]].
Upstairs in the bathroom, Simmons leans in and turns the shower on, as hot as it'll go. Cate has mobility aids all over the room; the toilet, the bath tub, even the sink. It's odd, he thinks. She didn't seem infirm. And there's no stair lift. \n\nCringing at the thought of Cate returning and finding him in her shower, Simmons puts that notion to oneside and strips off, discarding the garments in a sodden pile on the floor. He steps into the bath tub and lets the scalding water run over his naked flesh, cleansing and rejuvenating. He scrubs and counts and counts and scrubs, taking particular care around the sensitive areas that still hurt even now, [[years later|Sink]].
Simmons knocks on the door of number twenty three again. He hears the sound of a television from within, and the old man's blustering. The door is thrown open. \n"I told yer," the man yells, "yer want twenty seven. Get outta my property 'fore I call the rozzers!"\n\nThe door slams in Simmons' face, and he turns and leaves, heading straight to number [[twenty seven|TwentySeven]].
Simmons' feet crunch over brittle Fall leaves as he makes his way outside the campsite. Every so often, perhaps spooked by his sister's earlier outburst, he glances over his shoulder. Soon, he's strayed so far from the camp he can't even make out the faint orange aura of the campfire. He's tired, lost, and needs to pee. He stops and relieves himself against a bush, shakes off and zips up his fly. Once more he glances over his shoulder, and visibly shudders. \n\nWhat do you do?\n\n[[Go left|LeftWoods]] or [[go right|RightWoods]]?
As you step inside the quaint little room, Simmons' presence isn't immediately obvious. Then you hear a gasping, ragged breath from behind you, behind the door. You turn around just in time to see Simmons lunging at you, brandishing a wicked-looking kitchen knife. \n\n[[Dodge left|NoCut]] or [[dodge right|YesCut]].
Simmons makes his way to the bathroom, pushing through the mindless herd, elbows in defensive positions, his face a blank slate. The bathroom is thankfully rather empty; a couple of young men pissing in urinals, one closed stall. Simmons wonders if all the people here tonight are on the company guest-list, or if the cheap fucks are holding their get-together in a public venue. He's thinking the latter. \n\nSimmons casually walks into a toilet stall and locks the door behind him. Here he stands, staring at the scummy toilet, at the paper strewn on the floor. He clenches and unclenches his fists thirteen times, as is customary. He breathes deeply with each contraction of his hands, then lets his breath out in a long, blissful [[exhale|Bathroom2]].
"Sit down, Simmons," Marcus says. His face is creased with frown marks. Simmons obliges, taking his place opposite the neatly-organised desk. Marcus shuffles a few printouts, then hands them to Simmons.\n"Take a look at this."\nSimmons reads, his eyes growing wide. Eventually he looks up at Marcus.\n"Is this..."\n"A joke? Probably. But look. The data's all there, the images are all there. If it is a hoax, it's a damn good one. They're offering us the exclusive, Simmons. The fucking exclusive. Do you know what that would mean for us?"\n"Yes," Simmons says. "I do. This could change everything."\nMarcus laughs, coldly and without emotion. "I knew that even you couldn't resist this, Simmons. I want you to run this one."\nSimmons nods. It makes sense. \n"Here," Marcus says, scribbling an address down on a post-it note. "[[Go|OfficeOut]]."
In your hand, the knife is more devastating than any gun, any rocket launcher, any weapon of mass destruction. Your whole self has been poured into the attack. You positively glow with power. Simmons lets out a tiny, frightened little cry as the blade glints wickedly in the moonlight. \n\n[[Finish the fight|FinishHim2]].
You concentrate, feeling yourself become one with the weapon. It's hot and heavy in your hands, more like an extra limb than a tool now. Simmons senses the change, and drops his outstretched arm. A sad look of resignation passes across his face. \n\nYou can [[stab him|StabFail]] or [[charge your attack to maximum capacity|Charge3]].
You charge your attack, focusing your entire being into the knife in your hand. Simmons appears to be utterly powerless. He tries to move, but his shoulder brushes against the door. He howls in agony.\n\nYou can [[stab him|StabFail]] or [[charge your attack some more|Charge2]].
Slam. Crack. [[Victory|EndPartThree]].
Slowly, gently, Simmons lowers the zip, taking care not to make too much noise. It doesn't matter though, she's already awake.\n\n"Hello you," she says, smiling, her eyes half-closed with sleep. \n"Hey," Simmons says softly. He reaches out and squeezes her hand, the sleeve of her pyjamas catching on his fingers. \n"Thanks for coming out here," she says, and Simmons sees himself in her face. \n"It's alright," he says. "I know how bad it can get."\nShe smiles. "Yeah. It's pretty bad. [[Was it always like this?|YesItWas]]"
The moment you become Simmons, he is at a party. It's a work function, or at least he's there for work. The party is being thrown by a company in the field which Simmons works, although the specific details are not relevant to you. Simmons can barely remember what he's here for. This is partly because he doesn't care, and partly because he's had a few drinks. Simmons likes to have a few drinks, although he worries what other people think about drunk Simmons. That's not important right now though, is it? No, it isn't. There's a girl at the other end of the bar, and Simmons has his eye on her. She's alone, looking around as if she's after company. Shoulder-length blonde hair, skin shiny with nightclub sweat, glasses, jeans. She isn't holding a glass.\n\nMaybe Simmons will [[buy her a drink|Drink]] or perhaps [[just leave it|LeaveGirl]] and call the night a write-off.
Fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty twenty one twenty two twenty three [[no escape|Epilogue6]].
Eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen are you still counting boy, don't you dare stop, don't you ever stop. [[There's no way out|Epilogue5]].
Twenty four twenty five twenty six twenty seven twenty eight twenty nine thirty thirty one thirty two thirty three thirty four thirty five thirty six thirty seven thirty eight thirty nine forty forty one forty two forty three forty four forty five forty six forty seven forty eight forty nine [[fifty|TheEnd]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $visited_park = "no">>\n<<set $visted_wronghouse = "no">>\n<<endsilently>>\nSimmons turns left, and drives down the road. One side of the street is lined by a row of ramshackle houses, their yards unkempt and overgrown. Simmons counts, one, three, five, seven, nine, eleven, thirteen, fifteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty one, [[twenty three|TwentyThree]], twenty five, [[twenty seven|TwentySeven]]. On the other side is a pathetic-looking playpark, rusty swings hanging from broken chains, swaying in the breeze. The rain dances off the asphalt. \n\nSimmons has driven too far, and pulls up at the end of the road. He gets out of the car and slowly walks [[into the park|Park]].
One two three four five six seven don't you dare stop counting. [[You'll never stop|Epilogue4]].
Stand in the corner and count, boy. Don't stop on an even number. Don't you dare stop on an even number. You can turn around when I fucking well say you can turn around. I am you. You are Simmons. We're in this together. \n\n[[You can't escape the past|Epilogue3]].
Simmons gestures to the bartender, and leans in forward for a conspiratorial whisper when the other man gets close. \n"What's she drinking?" Simmons asks. The bartender shrugs.\n"Can't remember mate," he says. "Uh, vodka and something?"\n"Pour her a Chartreuse Swizzle and tell her it's from me," Simmons says. \nThe bartender's eyes narrow into slits. He frowns, shakes his head, and for a moment Simmons thinks the man, with his pierced ears and neatly-trimmed soul patch, is going to disobey. But the bartender goes about his business, and soon he's delivering the cocktail to the [[girl at the end of the bar|Drink2]].
<html><div align="center">- - - Game Over - - -</div</html>\n\nGame written and designed by Ashton Raze\n\nThanks to Chris Klimas for creating the wonderful <html><a href="">Twine</a></html>\n\nAnd Anna Anthropy for her fantastic <html><a href="">Twine tutorial</a></html>\n\nFollow me on Twitter <html><a href="">@ashtonraze</a></html>\n\nAnd for more of my (somewhat less interactive) fiction, check out my book, <html><a href="">Bright Lights & Glass Houses</a></html>
No, Simmons isn't the type to give up before he's even started. Perhaps you'd like to [[rethink|Party]].
"Darcy!" Simmons screams. "Where are you?"\n"I'm right here, Simmons," nobody replies. The house is silent and still, silver dust dancing on dead air. In his head, Simmons counts fast, the numbers flowing and increasing as his pulse quickens. It's time for you to [[leave|LeaveHouse]].
Simmons looks around. The hallway extends into blackness; no way Darcy can have disappeared down there. He tries the nearby doors, but they are locked. Simmons [[calls out her name|HeyDarcy]], or maybe he tries to [[leave|GTFO]].
You dive forwards, grabbing for Simmons' arm. You miss, but instead catch the towel he's so desperately trying to keep hold of. The force spins his body sideways, and you take momentary pleasure in the surprised expression on his face as he topples, naked, towards the gaping staircase. You curse Cate for having such a thick carpet, although on the third crash you hear something snap, and Simmons lets out a howl of pain. \n\nYou stand at the top of the stairs, looking down at the bare, broken body below. As you begin your descent, Simmons is already [[getting up|HallKitchen]].
Simmons is outside. It's dark, and cold. His breath clouds into mist in the still night air. He buries his hands deep in his overcoat pockets and glances about. There's no-one around, no-one here, just you and Simmons. \n\nSimmons walks down the street, counting his footsteps. He reaches twenty one, stops and looks up. There's someone here, up ahead, near a narrow alley. Simmons clenches his fists five times inside his pockets, then approaches. \n\nSimmons is behind the person now. He reaches out and puts his hand on their shoulder, a gesture of familiarity. The person turns, and Simmons finds himself looking at [[Catherine|Catherine]], or is it [[someone else|Another]]?
Simmons is back in the park. A cold wind whips at the autumn leaves, and one of the swings begins to rotate slowly, swaying back and forth like a pendulum as it turns.\n\nSimmons looks around. He has no idea why he's here. Deciding not to dwell on it for too long, he turns and crosses back over the street, heading straight for number [[twenty seven|TwentySeven]].
"Simmons! Glad I caught up with you."\nMarcus' nasal voice worms its way into Simmons' brain. He counts to five, then turns.\n"Hi Marcus," he says, glancing back at the computer so as to give the impression he's busy. "What can I do for you? Is, uh, something wrong?"\n"Simmons, you always look so guilty," Marcus says, then laughs and punches his subordinate on the shoulder. "Try and relax a little more, son. We're a family here."\nSimmons nods. "Of course," he says. "[[So what's up|SupMarcus]]?"\n
The old lady introduces herself as Cate, and sets off towards the kitchen. \n"I don't get many visitors out in these parts, not any more," she says, and Simmons detects a loneliness in her voice. There's something comfortingly familiar about the old dear. \nShe stops, her hand on the kitchen door, and turns to Simmons.\n"Did you ge-" she begins, but she's stopped mid-sentence. Her mouth freezes into an O of surprise. \n"Are you okay, ma'am?" Simmons asks, a chill creeping up the back of his neck.\nCate raises one shaky finger. Her voice trembles.\n\n"I didn't see [[the other one|OtherOne]] come in."
You stab the knife towards Simmons, but it only grazes his arm. It's not very effective! Simmons is using Willpower. \n\nWhat will you do?\n\n[[Stab him again|StabFail]] or [[charge your attack|Charge1]]?
You push forward after Simmons, throwing your body just so that his route downstairs is blocked. He darts forward, stumbling, and you lazily follow, taking your time. A picture of Cate sits on a small table, and you callously knock it to the ground, cracking the glass under your heel as you pass. \n\nSimmons has reached the end of the hallway. He's turned to look at you, his neck snapping back and forth as he tries to decide on an escape route. After a moment's pause he throws open a door and dives into the [[main bedroom|BedroomConfrontation]].
Simmons walks up the cracked garden path. With each step, he flexes his fingers. A broken tricycle rests in the grass, half-covered by choking weeds. \n\nAt the door, Simmons pauses, fist raised to knock. He counts to thirty seven, then lets his hand fall. He raps three times, then waits. \n\nAn old, balding man throws the door open. His belly bulges over filthy cargo pants, and his string vest is stained with last night's dinner. \n\n"Yeah?" he says. "'[[Elp you|WrongHouse]]?"
"Hello," says Simmons softly, and the person is exactly who he expected it to be, exactly who it was supposed to be. It's not Catherine, who's at home in bed, drifting off to sleep, thinking about the nice night she had and the work she has to do in the morning. It's someone else. It's exactly who Simmons wanted it to be. As far as you're concerned, Catherine [[doesn't exist|EndPartOne]].
Simmons concentrates hard, and with some effort manages to put one foot in front of the other. He takes one step, two, three, then stumbles, gasping for breath, collapsing against the wall. Simmons' stamina is low. Perhaps you could try [[lowering the difficulty|GTFOEasy]].
Simmons calls out, and this time he's startled by the sound of his own voice. It's alien and echoing in the empty house. There is no reply. You can do better than this. Perhaps you could [[lower the difficulty|DarcyEasy]].