I had owned Animal Crossing: New Leaf, a quite popular Nintendo 3DS game, for half a year. My parents gave it to me for Christmas and once I started, I was hooked. I'd always have my nose buried in my violet 3DS, tapping the buttons and caring for my town of Hamsteak. Soon, my town was perfect.
I'd jog on over to the cliffsides to see some wandering white flowers climbing over the sides as if reaching for the waters of the ocean. Jacob's Ladders. These rare flora only grew in a perfect town. Jacob had decided that Hamsteak was perfect.
My villagers echoed the flower's declaration of perfection, saying they never wanted to leave, all stated in the Villager Satisfaction letter that I would ask Isabelle to read every day. It was worth a few chuckles when I would recognize a villager's speaking quirk, such as when Pavé said "Viva Hamsteak!" at the end of the letter he wrote.
In late April, I attempted suicide from outside sources. I've been suicidal since fifth grade when I told my closest friend Ricky that I "won't make it past 13 years old" and I started self-injuring in seventh grade. Due to the attempt, I was admitted into a psych ward, having to leave my 3DS at home, and thus leave Hamsteak in my younger brother's hands.
For six days I kicked around the twin-sized bed in the ward and did my homework and talked out my feelings and finally was let out. I came home late one snowy night and gave my brother a hug, and retreated to my room to sleep, or so my parents thought. In reality, I grabbed my 3DS and turned it on to check my town.
As I opened it up, Isabelle's greeting speech sounded lonely, as if she's been waiting for me for a long time.
"Mayor Chris, where have you been? We've all missed you. Why did you go? Are you okay?" The shih tzu asked, her eyebrows furrowed and her mouth in a concerned frown. I wanted to respond to her out loud but she is merely a video game character and will not respond.
The town loaded up and my character appeared exiting her house. A familiar tune started up, but not the correct one. It was 9:23 PM, so the 9 PM tune should be playing. Instead, the song was screechy and eerie and if it was a reversed soundtrack. The infamous Hypno K.K., used in towns such as Aika Village to make the player afraid and paranoid.
I was confused as to why a K.K. Slider song was playing in place of a town tune. Is my game glitched? I thought my brother might've touched it and tinkered with it or something of the sort, or simply messed it up. My 3DS was quite glitchy as well. It will not correctly play The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, which I had downloaded off the Nintendo 3DS store, and my Pokémon won't correctly evolve in Explorers of Sky. I concluded my console was messed up, and I began to explore my town.
I tapped the houses on the bottom screen to check if all ten of my villagers were there. Tammy, Tangy, Monique, Ken, Scoot, Lily, Winnie, Ricky, and Kevin. Nine. Who was missing? Isabelle didn't warn me of anyone moving out. I checked my mail pocket and the only letters I got were without gifts. No photo from a villager moving away. They were the same silly little quips from Ken about his dream, Monique's failed blog, and Scoot's challenging to a race. Typical letters.
A patch of torn up land was across the river from where I was standing, showing where a Public Works Project or a house was. The town path I set up had led there, proving it was once someone's house. I remembered who used to live here. Fauna. Oh, I loved that deer. She was so cute and sweet. I used to imagine her being in a romance with Ken. They would be perfect together.
Speak of the Devil! The navy chicken was walking up behind me, shovel in hand. I turned to shake some cherries out of a nearby tree. Ken strutted over to the upturned dirt and stabbed his shovel into the dirt, digging a hole. He turned around and spun, giving off some stars as he held a gyroid in the air and grinned. The harmonica jingle that played when one dug up, reeled in, or caught an item played and Ken turned around. He threw the gyroid into the same hole he dug and buried it. Lloid, the "helpful town gyroid", as Isabelle called him, popped up with a rope fence.
Ken walked away. I talked to Lloid, who gave his little speech about a new Public Works Project. "Help us to fund a new Tombstone! The project goal is 39,800 Bells and we've collected 0 Bells!" The calculator screen popped up on the bottom screen as well as my personal Bell count. I was carrying around 64,000 Bells in my pocket, so I typed in the goal number to pay off the whole project. Lloid thanked me for my generosity, saying they reached the goal, and I ran to the next tree to harvest more fruit, not giving a second thought to this odd occurance.
Finally, my parents caught me and told me to go to bed. I gave a sigh and saved my game, going to bed.
The next day was school, so I went back to my game at 3:20 PM, when I finally got home. The reactions, or lack of, of my return didn't matter. What did was my town.
After looting the Bell Rock for today, I jogged over to where the new Public Works Project was. Ken was standing in front of it and examining it, like how a villager would read the notification board next to the train station. It seemed as if it could be interacted with, like the already-mentioned notification board. Once the chicken left, I read it.
"We of Hamsteak dedicate this monument for the lost ones, the lonely ones, the hurt ones. Those who have been swept away by the sands of time, abandoned by those who said they loved them and had their hearts ripped in two." Villager's names followed: Shari, Willow, and Fauna. All three were those who moved away before.
Another message appeared. "You didn't have to leave this world. You had so much to live for."
It's as if they... No, I couldn't bring myself to think they killed themselves. This is supposed to be a cutesy family game, right? I'm looking too much into this...
I pressed the B button to exit, and I walked away, towards the Town Hall. I wanted to ask Isabelle to remove the project.
As I neared the Flower Clock I had installed in front of the building, a villager pinged me and ran over, nodding its head in delight. Ricky, the Cranky squirrel, was waiting patiently for me to interact, so I did.
"It's been so long, Butters! Where have you been, nutcase?" He asked. "I thought you went down that path, y'know. Remember what you told me?" I was given a yes or no option. Confused as to what he meant, I selected "No."
"You said you wouldn't make it past thirteen. I thought I had lost you, nutcase!" Ricky chuckled. "I thought you went to follow Fauna. Did you try to?" Another yes or no.
I said no, of course. He asked me who I tried to follow, and a keyboard popped up, as if I was supposed to input a name. The prompt was "Who did you do it for?"
"Myself," I muttered, understanding. "I want to die to be happy and to escape the pain of the world around me." I typed in my own name in the box and then hit "Confirm".
Ricky frowned in the game and said, "I'm not adding your name to the list. I never want to see your name on the list ever. Can you promise me that you won't be on there?" A final yes or no.
"I promise," and said yes.