You make up your mind to head downstairs - you're pretty sure you might have some pasta bake left in fridge.\n\nAs you put your hand on the doorhandle, you are stopped in your tracks by a noise downstairs, coming from your kitchen.\n\nIt sounds like your [[housemate|housemate5pm]].
Who could possibly be knocking at this time? If its the postman, he's pretty bloody late. It could be one of those charity kids, they seem to think your street is an untapped goldmine or something.\n\nYou could [[get up|getup3pm]] and go answer it, or you could take a [[peek out the window|peekwindow3pm]] and see if it isn't something you'd rather avoid.
The curtains are writhing, undulating, twisting in and out of themselves.\n\nThe glitter of scales and the glint of fangs cause your eyes to grow wide.\n\n[[Snakes?|snakes2]]
You consider your options.\n\nYou've just recieved what should have been some bad news, or possibly good news, yet you feel no different.\n\nThis, you think, could be problematic to explain to people. \n\nMaybe you should [[drink heavily|drinkheavily]] for a night, and pretend you're using it as a coping mechanism. People would believe that.\n\nOr maybe you should just [[lie down|liedown]] and let the news process a bit. Maybe you just haven't absorbed it properly.
Two of the four grab you, and push you behind the garage to your left.\n\nYou stumble as you are forced away, tripping over a fence.\n\nThe cold gets tighter, more constrictive.\n\n"What a tiny fence." is all you can think, as they press you against the [[wall of the garage.|mugging1pt3]] \n\n
The assailants give up, jamming their hands into your pocket, snatching your wallet and your phone.\n\nThe world streams back into focus. You want to shout, to fight, to get these people away from you.\n\nBut one of them has a weapon.\n\nIts a hefty tree branch, stripped of bark, with duct tape wrapped around one end, for grip.\n\nYou can't move.\n\n[[You're a fucking coward.|mugging1pt4]]
You heave yourself to a slightly more elevated position, and twitch aside the curtain.\n\nThere's definitely someone at the door, but they are mostly obscured. You guess they could be a [[deliveryman|deliveryman]], a [[charity worker|charityworker]] or even from some [[religion|religiousperson]] or another.\n\nYou figure that it might be easier to just go and [[answer the door|getup3pm]], but weighing the balance, it might be better for you to just [[go back to bed.|stayinbed]]
...\n\n...\n\n...\n\n...\n\n...\n\n...\n\n[[But now you're back.|back2]] You can feel a change, even if you can't articulate it.
Are you OK? You...don't really know.\n\nPerhaps 'are you upset', would have been a better question. That's one you can answer.\n\nYou aren't upset, at all. You aren't angry, or bitter, or even happy, relieved or anything at all. The only emotion you are really feeling is...\n\n...fear.\n\nYou're frightened of your complete lack of response to the news. People are supposed to react to things like this, so why aren't you? Whats wrong with you?\n\nYou realise that you still haven't answered the question.\n\n[[You lie, and say that you're not OK, that you're upset.|dumping3]] This seems to satisfy her.
There are three of them.\n\nNo, four. Hooded, masks.\n\nYou try to move but you can't. Your feet are rooted in place. The dark is above you and behind you and the cold is everywhere.\n\nThey demand something from you, but [[you cannot hear them.|mugging1pt2]]\n\n
The phonecall is short, and to the point.\n\nShe's breaking up with you.\n\nThere's a whole list of reasons, but the Grey making an appearance means you don't really hear them. You respond with your usual assortment of acknowledgements, wishing that the whole phonecall would just hurry up and finish.\n\nAnd then she asks you. [["Are you OK?"|dumping2]]
The sun is coming up.\n\nLight pours in from behind the curtains, and warms you in a way you can't describe.\n\n[[It is 10am.|10am]]
You're about to head downstairs and talk to your housemate when it hits you - if you simply do it on [[facebook|facebook5pm]], he'll get notified about it.\n\nEasy.
You've got two text messages, one from your [[girlfriend|girlfriendtext]] and one from your [[mum|mumtext]]
It is 3pm.\n\nThe [[alarm|alarm3pm]] is ringing, your [[phone|phone3pm]] is buzzing, and there is a [[knocking|knocking3pm]] at the door. \n\nThe cacophony was clearly enough to wake you, although you [[really wish it hadn't.|skipsection]] Even nightmares are preferable, these days.
Your stomach twists slightly. When did you last eat? Probably at work last night. Probably.\n\nThere's [[half a chocolate bar|chocolate5pm]] on your desk, if you're feeling lazy, or you could pop [[downstairs|downstairs5pm]] and see what you've got in the fridge.\n\nYour phone buzzes a reminder of your messages. Maybe eating [[can wait ten minutes?|phone5pm]]
You finally drag your carcass out of bed, and head across the cold floor towards the door.\n\nIts freezing, and you immediately think twice about going downstairs just yet. You're pretty hungry and [[want to check the fridge|fridge5pm]], but you've also got the option of [[that chocolate bar|chocolate5pm]].\n\nFailing everything, you could climb back into bed and [[check those messages|phone5pm]].
You shout your message through the door. You can hear your housemate hesitate, but he's used to you acting like this, and after a while he goes back downstairs.\n\nGood. You don't fancy explaining to him how little anything that happens to you matters any more. You don't fancy explaining that to everyone.\n\nEveryone is so fucking nosy.\n\n[[What now?|whatnow]]
It is 5pm.\n\nWith a start, the world seems to swim back into focus.\n\nYou weren't asleep, you were...somewhere else.\n\nIt happens sometimes. You call it the Grey. \n\n[[You've never told anyone about it.|5pm2]]
Thankyou for playing The Day I Went Away For A While.\n\nThis game was made for the Naked Twine jam, run by @m_kopas.\n\nIf you'd like to know a bit more about this game, then [[check this out|about]].\n\nIf you'd like to know more about me for some reason, then uh, [[I guess you can read it here?|aboutme]]
You suppose you'd better go answer the door.\n\nAs you attempt to sit up, you glance at your clock and remember that its 3pm - there is no WAY that could be anything important.\n\nYou're pretty sure its one of those charity guys, and is probably best ignored. Besides, you've got more immediate concerns, what with your [[phone ringing|blind3pm]] over and over again like that. Its so annoying.\n\nTo be honest, after the stress of work last night, its pretty unfair to expect you to deal with all this. Maybe you'd better try and [[sleep another hour or two.|stayinbed]]
My name is Niall Taylor, and I'm a Game Designer and student from Manchester, England.\n\nYou can find me on twitter at @nialljtaylor\n\nYou can find me on tumblr at enteagd.tumblr.com\n\nI am currently working:\n\n() On a computer video game with @nicefacegames\n() As a Video Game Ambassador with STEMNET and UKIE, encouraging next-gen skills in children, particulary girls.\n\nI support @specialeffect in their efforts to bring games to those who are unable to play them.\n\nI can be emailed at email@example.com.\n\n[[Back|end]]\n
The chocolate is disgusting. Its been here a while. At some point, you think, it might have had chunks of cookie in it, but now its all kind of congealed into a stale mess.\n\nStill, its not like its a meal, you're just eating it to get some glucose into you - you've always had issues with your blood sugar. You keep telling people its why you get a bit mopey sometimes.\n\nSomewhat sated, you [[grab your phone|phone5pm]], ready to deal with the messages.
Your assailants start to run. The ringing in your ears has become a piercing static.\n\nYou feel as if you are about to grow spikes.\n\nThe one that you struck with the club is unable to run. He shouts after his gang, as you move towards him.\n\nSnarls escape you, primal and frightening. You raise your fist and bring it down on your attacker with a fury unlike anything you've ever felt before.\n\n[[Over and over and over again.|3am]]
The phone keeps buzzing and it shows no signs of stopping. Lights flash on and off, blinding you as your eyes [[struggle to adjust.|blind3pm]]\n\nThe force of the vibration causes the phone to rattle across the bedside table, disturbing [[last night's beer bottles.|beerbottle3pm]]\n\nSilent mode is anything but.
This is the longest and most personal Twine game I've ever made. \n\nPreviously, I've only dabbled in a swordfighting simulator that relies on careful reading and understanding of the prose in order to make informed decisions as to your next move.\n\nThen I played Depression Quest, and realised just how little I understood of Twine - and text games- and what they were capable of becoming.\n\nThe Day I Went Away For A While is an intensely personal game for me. I am a depression sufferer, and a few years ago went through a particularly self destructive period.\n\nMy family and I refer to it as when I "went away". Its as good a name as any. I don't remember much from that time, but what little I do is unpleasant. A mugging, recurring nightmares, breakups, hallucination, birthdays, lack of sleep, lack of food, fear of human contact and a distinctly unpleasant habit of blaming others for what was happening to me.\n\nThis game attempts to play all the events I can remember in the space of a single, sleepless night - with events moving from tangible to esoteric. Its a dramatisation, but its also an accurate depiction of how I remember things. \n\nMost importantly, this game reminds me that my depressive tendancies aren't going to go away - I've made a significant number of changes in my life and the standards I hold myself to and right now I would consider myself on the right side of 'healthy' - but I HAVE to be aware that I could go away again at any time.\n\nIts possible that I might not even notice its happening.\n\nIf you've got this far into the wall of text, then once again - thank you for playing. I don't like to talk about what is wrong with me, but at the very least this has been a hugely cathartic experience.\n\n[[Thank you.|end]]
The masked figure stumbles back, and a fire is unleashed.\n\nThe one holding the club starts forward, but through the mist you see yourself wrench it from his grip.\n\nYou swing it with every bit of strength you can muster, pouring every ounce of the revulsion and hatred you feel into the blow.\n\n[[The weapon shatters, scattered into the dark.|mugging2pt4]]
You attempt to open the text she sent you, but a splitsecond before you tap the screen, a call comes through.\n\nIts your girlfriend, and before you know it, you've [[answered the phone.|dumping1]]
Ugh, you really don't think you could take it if it was yet another well meaning and earnest person doing their best to save your soul.\n\nYou're an atheist, but you have no particular animosity towards believers. \n\nYou don't like it when they try to save you.\n\nYou don't like accepting help at all.\n\nUgh, you'd better [[get up|getup3pm]] and tell them to try elsewhere.
An alarm! Who sets an alarm for 3pm in the bloody afternoon! What were you thinking!?\n\nYou probably wanted to try and avoid spending all day in bed, but that was yesterday you - and who cares about that person any more? It was naive of you, you think, to believe that after getting home from work at 4 in the morning you would be able to get up at this time.\n\nYou slap at the alarm with your exposed right arm, shutting it off but accidentally knocking over some [[beer bottles|beerbottle3pm]] on your bedside table.\n\nThe [[knocking downstairs|knocking3pm]] intensifies slightly. You wish they'd give it a rest.
[[Phone ringing.|phone3pm]]\n\n[[Alarm squawking.|alarm3pm]]\n\n[[Knocks at the door.|knocking3pm]] \n\nIts all a little bit much, to be honest. You'll deal with it [[later|stayinbed]].\n\nProbably.
You settle back down into bed.\n\nThe Grey descends.\n\nYou stare at the wall. Has time passed? You can't tell.\n\n...\n\n...\n\n...\n\n...\n\n[[...|5pm]]
Its kind of a funny story.\n\nYou keep repeating that to yourself.\n\nIt all started when your mum called you, one afternoon as you were walking to work. You answered, and explained what you were doing and where you were going.\n\n"Its just a quick one one" your mum told you. "I really really need to know what you want for your birthday, because we're out of time now."\n\nYou sighed. She's been asking what you wanted for months now, and you're no closer to an answer now than you were the first time. \n\nYou don't really want anything for your birthday.\n\nYou don't really want anything.\n\nYou...don't even seem to be able to remember what wanting something feels like.\n\nYou have trouble even thinking about putting this into words. So you got angry, and snapped a sharp retort. You didn't want anything, your birthday is a long way away, and you wish she'd drop it.\n\n"But your birthday is this Saturday" she continued.\n\n[[That phonecall took place on Wednesday.|birthdaycracks]]
You jolt back into focus.\n\nYou are sweating, and you are shaking.\n\nWas that a dream? A day dream? You weren't asleep but, you weren't awake either. \n\nThat wasn't how it happened! You abhor violence, and you feel sick at yourself.\n\nThe static has lessened, but [[it has not gone away|3am2]].
Who forgets their own birthday?\n\nYou reassure yourself that its a very funny story.\n\nYou roll over, [[all distractions forgotten.|stayinbed]]
Yeah, cleaning up your carpet and getting rid of these bottles is definitely the best place the start.\n\nYou just...\n\n...uh...\n\n...don't have any cleaning fluid! The next time you go to town, you'll pick up some carpet cleaner or something. Not your fault you've been so busy at work lately, is it?\n\nBetter to just ignore everything, and [[stay in bed.|stayinbed]]
You're back against the garage.\n\nThe four shadows move in. The cold is piercing.\n\nThe leader of the group moves in, but this time, things are different.\n\n[[You lash out.|mugging2pt3]]
You sit on your bed, with your head against the backboard.\n\nYou feel light headed, and there is a growing ringing in your ears.\n\n[[Your eyes glaze over as the Grey descends.|mugging2pt1]]
Did you order anything? What could you possibly have ordered? Its ages until christmas and you're sure nobody you know has a birthday coming up soon.\n\nAssuming you can remember anyone's birthday. You have severe difficulty even remembering your own. You actually [[forgot your own birthday|forgotownbirthday]] last year.\n\nThat was funny.\n\nAnd sort of awful.\n\nNevermind, it didn't really matter anyway. Back to this stranger encroaching on your property. Maybe you should just suck it up and [[answer the door|getup3pm]].
You quickly cycle through your notifications. Some messages you don't feel up to reading, a photo of you from 5 years ago was tagged by an old schoolfriend you don't remember liking, and - yep, there it is. The first wall post of commiseration. \n\nIt frustrates you. If you don't care, why should other people - people that are practically strangers?\n\nYou start to think that maybe you should pretend to care. After all, it worked during the break up phonecall.\n\nAnyway, no time to answer any of this banal nonsense. You click "like" a few times for the look of the thing and then head into your [[profile settings|changestatus]].
A few swift clicks, and the job is done. Now your break up is official, and everyone you've ever met has been sent a notification to let them know.\n\nYou're...kind of impressed at the efficiency of the thing, actually.\n\nAs you log out of the site, there comes a knock at your door. Your housemate has clearly just seen the news.\n\nYou open your mouth to [[tell him you're fine|tellfine]], and that you just want a bit of time by yourself, but something makes you hesitate. Maybe you should just [[pretend you're not here?|nothere]]
It is 3am.\n\nWhat happened? What have you been doing for the last ten hours?\n\nYour vision is swimming in and out, and you are having trouble focussing. Your laptop lights remain on, causing the shadows in the room to dance and twist.\n\nYou are still gripped with a fear and hatred that you can't understand. When will the nightmares stop? You were attacked months ago, and you lost less than a tenner.\n\nSuddenly, your eye is caught by [[strange movement to your right|snakes]].
Its starting to get pretty dark. When did you last see proper sunlight?\n\nYour head is fuzzy. When did you last get a proper sleep? \n\nYour phone lights up. [[Two messages and a missed call.|phone5pm]] You're also starting to get pretty hungry, maybe you should look at getting [[something to eat?|eat5pm]]
The Day I Went Away For A While
You feel bad for the charity workers. There are two types - the ones that really want to help people, and the ones who are just doing what they're paid to do.\n\nYou don't really resent them.\n\nNot really.\n\nYou're certainly no good to them though. You scrape by comfortably enough, but you certainly can't afford to give to charity. You ration haircuts as it is.\n\nPerhaps it would be better to just [[get up and get it over with.|getup3pm]]
You log onto facebook, and see that you've got a [[ton of notifications|notifications]]. Maybe it would be better to just ignore them and [[get on with the job in hand.|changestatus]]
Its a picture message. She's been out walking, with some kind of dog. Pretty cute, and heaven knows you're a dog person.\n\nThe text attached is just a couple of x's. You feel a strong pang of guilt, for being out of touch so long, but it is quickly replaced by the buzz and static of the Grey.\n\nNice dog.\n\nYou close the message, weighing up whether to read the [[next one in the list|girlfriendtext]] or to check what that [[missed call|missedcall5pm]] was all about.
It doesn't look like the phone is going to stop ringing.\n\nYou really need to answer it, it could be something important.\n\nBut...\n\n...\n...\n...\n...\n\n...could it really? It'll only be work, asking you to work an extra shift, and haven't you done enough this week? Or it'll be some telemarketer, you wish you knew how they were getting your number, you certainly don't remember filling in any forms.\n\nBastards.\n\nNo, only really shitty things happen in phonecalls, its for your own good if you [[ignore everything and stay in bed.|stayinbed]]\n
The phone lights up as you slide your thumb across the screen, illuminating the dark room and casting dancing shadows. Your background image is a picture of you and some friends you can barely remember the name of smiling in a club you don't remember going to.\n\nYou can see who the [[missed call|missedcall5pm]] was from, or check your [[messages|messages5pm]].
You like your housemate. He's funny, easy to get along with, and absolutely hilarious to watch playing video games. He must have finished work early!\n\nYou stand at the door.\n\nIts just that...\n\n...\n\n...you don't really feel like speaking to people today. Or any day. There's nothing wrong with you - or them - you just like a bit of 'me' time every now and again.\n\nMaybe you should wait until he heads into his room before you go downstairs. There's always that [[chocolate|chocolate5pm]] to keep you going, but to be honest you're probably not even that hungry anyway - your metabolism has always been pretty rugged, or something. You should climb into bed and check those [[messages|phone5pm]].
You put down the phone, still confused about how little what just happened affected you.\n\nYou suppose its time to start dealing with the usual fallout of these things. You're not gonna be "that guy", and send awkward messages around to all your friends - they might think you're grubbing for sympathy or worse.\n\nThat said, there are things that should be done. You need to log onto Facebook and [[change your relationship status|facebook5pm]], but you also need to [[let your housemate know|tellhousemate]] before he puts his foot in it at work.
Who is even calling you? What is the point? You can't remember if you had plans but even if you did you're clearly not there by now, so it doesn't matter anyway.\n\nYou snatch up the phone, despite feeling as though your eyes are aflame, knocking over a half empty [[beer bottle|beerbottle3pm]] as you do. \n\nIts a number you don't recognise.You should probably [[answer it|answerphone3pm]], but you also need to look at [[cleaning up the mess|cleanbeer3pm]] you just made. Whoever is [[at the door|knocking3pm]] doesn't seem to have pushed off either.\n\n
You sit silently. \n\nThe knock comes a few more times, and he calls your name through the door.\n\nYou sit resolutely, growing more and more frustrated at the unfairness of the whole thing. You can't find a single emotion at what has happened, yet the whole world keeps demanding that you express them.\n\nHow are you supposed to express what doesn't fucking exist? \n\nHopefully he just assumes you're upset, and that you're TOO upset to talk to anyone. That would be easier.\n\n[[What now?|whatnow]]
You're back.\n\nYou went away.\n\nYou're back.\n\nYou're back.\n\n[[Hold onto that.|back3]]
Because you can go away again at any time.\n\n[[End.|end]]
You feel different. \n\nOlder.\n\nMore aware of yourself than you have been for a long time.\n\nYou double check the time on your phone - 10am. That's when you see the date, and you comprehend.\n\n[[You've been away for a while.|back]]
[[You wake up, drenched in sweat.|Wakeup]]
You don't remember drinking last night. You don't remember much of last night at all. You don't have a hangover though, so you clearly didn't get drunk. Just how long has this stuff been here?\n\nThere's at least one bottle on the floor, and a definite smell of stale beer. You should probably get out of bed and [[clean it up|cleanbeer3pm]], but your phone is [[still ringing|answerphone3pm]] and whoever is at the door seems to be getting [[pretty annoyed now|knocking3pm]].
You check your call list. Its mostly missed calls from your parents and girlfriend - but the latest number sticks out. \n\nYou have absolutely no idea who it is, and they haven't left a message.\n\nYou should really call them back.\n\nYou need to call them.\n\nYou can't bring yourself to call them.\n\nYou open up the text from your girlfriend. She's probably mad that you haven't been in touch [[for a few days.|girlfriendtext]]
Niall "EnteaGD" Taylor
You assess the alcohol you have available. \n\nQuarter of a bottle of Jack, and a few beers. Not really an acceptable "grief-binge" quantity. \n\nYou'll need to go out and get some more, you suppose.\n\nLater.\n\nDefinitely.\n\nProbably.\n\nFor now, you think you'll have a quick [[lie down|liedown]] before getting in the shower.
You scramble out of bed, and skitter across the floor towards the door.\n\nMore empty beer bottles impede your progress, scattering aside as you pull yourself up.\n\nSuddenly, as quickly as it started, the static ceases.\n\n[[There are no snakes, just curtains.|sunup]]