Ana is living a life - an after life in Hyperia.
"Happy new year everyone—or at least to those who celebrated it!"
Felt awful for neglecting my diary. Didn't have any free time at all—you know how it goes... Come to think of it—had some—but was busy doing other things. It was the usual stuff: being in charge of the house—as grandma and grandpa don't do much—, running some errands for the family and myself, shopping for the three of us and for Biscuit—love him to bits. I know I've told this before—maybe more than a few times—but I've to write these things out. It kept me sane and felt quite therapeutic.
"I'm going to do a horrible rant—feel free to skip it!"—giggled a bit—"Not that anyone would read my personal diary— I'm such an idiot..."
This whole Hyperia thing felt like a big lie to me. Don't get me wrong—I love my family—but I think I've reached my limits. Is it normal and accepted for a young woman like me, to be forced to live like this? Hear me out:
"Hey Ma'— Why's the trash can outside?"
"I've left the window open—I'm sure of it!"
"No Ma'— You left the can outside—again!"
"What are you talking about— Why are you yelling at me?"
Grabbed the can and rushed into the living room. "I can't help it— You're deaf!"—showing her the bin doesn't do anything—"I was talking about this—"
"Goodness— Why did you bring that here? Take it out— It stinks!"
At that point my head was about to explode—she does this every goddamn time.
"Keep it cool—"
I understood it a long time ago—they're my grandparents and I should be more emphatic. However, there were times I'd wish they didn't cross that line—because I take care of them. I thought I'd deserve a little respect for it—but no. I wrote about this—it drives me nuts.
Wanted to continue my story, but grandma chose to clog the toilet. Guess who had to clean it up? Of course Me, who else? Supporting the house made me do double shifts. Never thought I'd end up being such a miserable person...
A stray dog tried to bit me on the way home—I hate this neighborhood. Had lots of troubling thoughts about this place lately.
Visited one of my old friends who just joined Hyperia—a couple of days ago. It shocked me how old he was—super old.
"You haven't aged a bit Ana— Just how I remembered!"
That felt bad, even though his intentions were clearly good.
"I'm sorry— Didn't want to sound like that. You know what I mean!"
Had to stop him from going on and on. "It's fine Myke— Don't sweat it please! One day I'll get my adult upgrade and get my proper age—I guess."—took a deep breath—"Eventually— Someday perhaps!"
His face said it all—pity was written all over it. "Is it really that bad?"
Heaved a sigh. "Yeah— I really don't want to talk about it right now—if that's OK."
He nodded in agreement. "Of course—"
An awkward silence came next—had to put my hands into my pocket, while we stood in the kitchen. "Would mind telling me what happened to you?"
He smiled at me. "Got in a car accident. Me and my coworkers were on our way to a party, when it happened."—he clapped his old hands—"Bam— Just like that—twenty-five years of career went down the drain."—he paused for a second—"I'm glad that my insurance covered Hyperia for a year—and that I made it to the hospital!"
"You were lucky—I guess."
"Most certainly— Although I have no idea what happened—didn't care to look up my files."—he scratched his head—"Which reminds me of things I'd like to do here—"
He laughed at me while he took out the pizza from the oven. "A guy like me? No— I'll be a bachelor till the end of my life."—he tried to find the right words—"You know what I meant!"
Thought he'd change over the years. "But— You're over forty now!"—saw some regret in his eyes—"I guess it's too late to talk about these things—"
He wanted to say something, but stopped his lips midway. He kept his silence and chose to eat a slice instead. The night went short after that—had to wake up early the next day.
"Prepare your butts, as I'm about to go on for a longer rant—as I'm willing to sacrifice my free time for this!"
It was a difficult day for me. They raised the quota again—from eighteen thousand to twenty! On top of that, the company gave out a notice, in which they declared the new methods of calculations—for those points. This meant that I had to stay an extra thirty minutes more at the factory. Wish I was smarter—would be easier to manage this situation.
"Come to think of it, my head hurts— It must be the long hours! I've to make some adjustments to my methods—"
Me with Myke the other day at the grocery—he looked troubled and upset. Was a bit afraid on approaching him—knowing how little I knew about him, and how much he changed.
His head was in constant turmoil. "Guess what happened to me the other day? My insurance company called and told me that I'm no longer eligible for my compensation package! Can you believe that?"
The news shocked me. "Wait, what— What happened?"—had to help him with the self-checkout—"Are you going to tell me?"
"They told that I'm not going to get paid, because I didn't inform the insurance company about my vacation—that's funny to me."—he slowly added as we packed his cart—"Apparently going into a country—that is on the ban list—is in violation of my contract!"—he almost burst out in tears—"No one warned me about this—"
Tried to pick him up as best as I could—he really appreciated it and was grateful. We chatted a little bit, before we departed—he wanted to deal with the situation alone.
Today was the day, when I shaved my head—completely. It looks so much better than I thought—can't believe it!
Went over to Myke's, and explained all the things he needed to know—for his first day at the factory. He seemed nervous and acted like a kid—who had short attention span.
"What are we going to do there?"
Gave him a frown. "What do you mean by that— You've no idea, do you?"
Saw the shame in his middle-aged eyes. "I've never thought I'd get into this kind of situation—"
Heaved a sigh. "You walk in, do your job and walk out—that simple."
He looked puzzled. "But how on earth will I do it? You know— Crunching those numbers. I'm not a math guy!"
His childish comment made me laugh so hard—almost fell over. "You won't do anything—not by your own will. You'll see numbers, quotations and occasionally some encrypted lines. It happens automatically—I wouldn't bother myself. Although you can tweak your own memories, to better fit the programs."
"Want to ask a stupid question— Is it going to hurt?"
"Just a mild headache and some disorientation—you're going to do this for ten-twelve hours a day."
He must've felt like an idiot as he didn't want to ask more questions.
"Come on, don't be shy— Ask what you want to know!"
Myke fidgeted with his hands. "Some guy told me—in the shop—that sometimes people can vanish from the system. Is that true?"
Didn't expect this question—at all. Started to splutter and had difficulty to come up with a descent answer. It was really something that I didn't want to talk about—it would've too grim.
Had to lie in his eyes. "Of course not— Don't be such a fool!"
He took my word for granted and didn't bring up this topic anymore.
Tried to call my parents, but they didn't pick up the phone. They know how hard is it for me to call them—no idea what happened. Maybe they avoided me on purpose? Hope not—although I'm sure they would've been better off, if I was buried underground.
Lost grandpa—again. It was nerve-racking—I searched for at least two hours before I found him. Was exhausted by the time we got home. Sometimes I think that this is a weird habit of his.
Biscuit chewed on my new boots—had to take them to the cobbler. I still love him very much, just not when he decides to do such things. And before I forget: I'm going to apply for a new job tomorrow—fingers crossed!
Cried my eyes out this afternoon—took a day off.
A woman—that looked more like a harpy—sat behind the plastic barrier. "We're deeply sorry Miss Linehart, but there's nothing we can do about your current satiation."
"How's this even possible?"—looked at my results—"I've got the capacity for it— I'm not that dumb!"—leaned closer to her—"I've proved myself many times— Help me, I need this job!"
She tossed her glasses further back. "Listen Miss Linehart— You can always re-apply with a new form, if there was something you've missed from your previous application."
Her cold tone frightened me—made me nervous and felt lost. "Nothing can be done?
Stood there while I wept. She said nothing—just pushed a button—and called the next person in line. An angry man came up to us, while he held his ticket in his hand.
"Excuse me— Can't you see I'm next! Get lost—"
Had many plans for that day—cancelled them all. Couldn't move out from the bed. Didn't want this to happen—really not.
They say that there's going to be a scheduled maintenance soon—they'll update the system or something. I'm always worried when they put us into stasis. There's always a chance that something could go wrong.
"Finally— I can write about something positive!"
A young guy flirted with me—which felt nice, for a change. He seemed to be an OK person, so I let him do his work.
"I know— You don't need to tell me!"
It's been years since I had some fun so let me have it! Really need a break but nobody cares to give a shit.
Myke is falling behind—his nagging me for everything. It started to become annoying—don't need another burden right now!
"Hey Ana, did you hear the big news?"
"What did I miss?"—Barbara looked at me as if she was about to tell a million dollar secret—"I'm about to quit this job!"
That didn't shock me at all—she told me this hundreds of times. "Are you for real?"—she had quite the pleased expression—"You mean— For real-real?"
She giggled on her tall stool. "Simple— Managed to find a good investment!"
Crossed my arms—didn't believe her. "Not this again—"
She tried to convince me of her right doing. "You must trust me on this one! I told you one day I'd succeed!"—she leaned to me—"Ana— I'm leaving next week!"
My eyes went wide open—almost knocked my interface out of the way. For once, I was happy for her—because I knew she'd leave this miserable place. However, right after that I've changed.
"Don't look so sad honey! We'll still see each other!"—she started to whisper—"Who knows, perhaps I can ask a favor from Bob—to help you out."
Wanted to chat with her—about that—but they blew the whistle and we had to start our daily work.
Someone fell off the chair in the hangar. People started to freak out—as our shift ended—but nobody noticed when it happened. It was a mess afterwards—hate it when this happens.
"Hate mining and getting sick of it."
Not sure, if I'm getting crazy but my head started to hurt more after each session. Wish I had more of that matter in my head.
Got drunk last night—next to an unknown. Didn't know her, but we chatted for a while.
"May I sit?"—looked to my left to discover a short woman in a fancy black dress—"Um— Sure, take a seat."
Was staring at my beer when she thought to continue. "Drinking won't help you, you know—"
Wasn't in the mood to elaborate her about my situation—was a bit rude to her. "What do you know?"
Saw as she ran her fingers across her glass—as if she played with fire. "Well— You tell me! Does it help?"
She looked smug—or maybe projected that— and wanted to say something smart. "Told me how I could stay away from my problems."
She shook her head. "That's not what I meant. Why do you keep coming here?"
That felt like an insult to my person. "Hey— Just who do you think you are?"—drank more of my beer—"I can do whatever I want! I'm an old hag—"
She looked puzzled—could almost imagine what she was thinking. Took another sip, while she was thinking. "I'm sorry— Didn't mean to hurt you— Her Royal Highness!"—she quickly added—"I'm just asking as I'm a curious person."
The bubbles got to me head—my body started to float. Continued as if nothing happened. "I don't think I can continue living like this anymore—it's driving me nuts."
She ordered another round for us, to make up for her mishap. We didn't speak for a while until something changed within me—not sure why. "I though this place would be something else."—she looked at my with confusion—"I thought I'd and up meeting nice people and live a happy life— Almost the exact opposite happened.
She burst out in laughter—so loud that many turned their attention to us. She stopped after a while as she saw my dead serious face. She didn't know what to do. Looked at her then back at my beer—couldn't keep it in much longer. Started to laugh at my own misery—it was contagious and hard to stop. Can't remember what happened after that—it's all a blur.
Myke hung himself—just like that. Didn't know what to say or how to react to that—it all happened so fast. Hope it wasn't my fault as I didn't give him the proper attention he needed—had to neglect him. Working all day, looking after the family and the house kept me busy. My grandparents and Biscuit makes it almost impossible to go out. He was one year older then me.
Dreamt about the accident—haven't in a while. Felt numb all day and was hard to concentrate. It must show on my daily statistics—sure of it. Wasted another day because of this!
Got mail—not the good kind. It was from the company. It stated that the 'Prevention-bonus service was about to expire'.
"Great— Just the thing I wanted to hear right now!"
Walked around the house and made a cup of tea—to calm down. Need to ask somebody smarter than me—about this situation.
"I know that, if you miss the DP services—think it stands for Deterioration Prevention—my program will fall apart bit-by-bit."
This got me scared as I've been here for twenty years. Wonder how fragmented my software became—let alone my grandparent's.
"Good lord— Finally some good news! Turns out my grandparents can move to the Second Unit a year earlier."
Which meant that they could move as soon as April. I was so happy for them—can't even describe.
We had two blackouts this week. Wasn't sure why this was happening. Tried to ask the company about this but they didn't give us a descent explanation.
"They must be hiding something— Wouldn't be the first time!"
Wanted to talk about this with Mom—and my grandparent's situation—but couldn't establish a line—which was weird.
Someone approached me on the way home—scared the hell out of me. Wasn't surprised at all—in all honesty—but it was still dangerous. This neighborhood is awful—can't stand it. The fact that this didn't happen sooner shocked me the most.
Was busy for a while and couldn't write a thing—and had the chance to vent. My grandparents left and had to say goodbye to them. They grew on me with their quirky presence, with their annoying quotes of life and hardship, their anecdotes and their odd habits. Now the house feels empty and I'm left with Biscuit.
Had chance to talk to my mother. "We've checked out the Second Unit—seemed fine to us! The temple looked nice and polished."
Was happy about the fact that it went well—not so much that she segued into her typical religious conversation.
"You look good Ana! In fact better than I hoped for— Did you lost some weight?"—she tried to look around me, through the screen—"That's a sign my dear—"
Rolled my eyes. "For what Mom?"
She giggled in her excitement. "It means that you're ready to convert!" It's written in the book— You'd know this, if you cared to read it!"
"Mom please— Not this again!" She continued regardless what I said.
"It means that you're about to give up your sins—which is a good thing! You hear me?"
Been a while since I was her this happy. However, I didn't like this at all and shouted at her, "Mom— Stop it! I don't care—"
She leaned back to the sofa and crossed her arms. "One day you will— One day you'll understand the importance of this!"
Felt shame and tried to cover up my face. "Let's talk about something else— How's grandma and grandpa?"
"Couldn't speak with them as I had other things to take care of. Their new place is far away from here and I don't want to pay the high fee for the phone line—you know.
Heard something in the background—someone almost fell over something. Turned out it was dad who came into the room. "Hey Ana— You look good!"—he looked at my head for a couple of seconds—"I see you've changed your hair— Looks nice!"
Mom nudged him on the side. "I'm sorry dear— His not used to this short-hair thing."
Heaved a sigh. "It's fine— Just don't worry about it so much!"
After this we talked about some really boring stuff—about my everyday life. Which took us here—to the think I wanted to talk about: friendship.
Never was good at making friends but things gone out of control as of late. I've talked about this with my neighbor—Misses Dwerryhouse. Talked to her and she was gentle enough to listen.
"Can't talk to people anymore. They seem to be distant—unreachable."
She fiddled with her cane—as she switched positions. She also licked her lips every time she talked to me. "What do you mean by that— My dear."
"Whenever I talk to someone, they seem to be friendly and whatnot. But after a couple of days their attitude seem to change—they vanish into thin air. I'm just so confused about this!"
She scratched her thin beard. "Do you say something bad to them or make them upset? Might be that, you know—"
Her question was harder than I thought. "I don't know— Maybe I say something to scare them off? I really don't know."—put my hands into my pocket—"But then again it's never intentional, if it happens." Started to chew on my nails. "Am I that bad of a person or am I that rude? Tell me Misses Dwerryhouse!"
It took a minute for her to process. "Well— Sometimes you can be hard to understand my dear."
Clapped my hands at that moment. "That must be it! It must've something to do with that. Maybe I should change the way how I communicate—"
She fell asleep while I wasn't looking. "Bummer— Here I thought I'd had a descent conversation with someone—other than me!"