Nula: Butterflies Rise is a decision-making game that explores the experience of living with anxiety.
Inspired by puzzle adventure games of the early 90s like Myst, the surreal comedy of Flann O'Brien, and the author's experience of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Nula creates an immersive textual experience, an insight into the daily struggle anxiety can be.
The words fade and on the page appear small barely discernible objects moving quickly around the page.
The intermingled sound of sobbing and sex returns.
The tolerance bar begins to deplete, butterflies rise. The small objects are moving around like flies. As they get bigger your butterflies rise and as does your tolerance.
They're drawings of Nula's niece Grace banging at the window, a body crushed by the weight of a car, Asif and Grace kissing, a pair of knickers, a bottle of bleach, Alex with his head in his hands crying.
The therapist's voice returns, 'Look at them all. All very real to you. And yet, they're all contradictory. Can they all be true? Write them down, and follow the steps.
You may find you start to take enjoyment in the things you used to when you're not expending so much energy on this'.
Nula flips back to the first page and starts filling it in.
Crossfade to Nula a few months later.
She's drawing at her desk. Her room is a lot neater and the curtains are open.
Alex calls from downstairs. 'Nula! Stop playing hard to get!' 'Coming!' She enters downstairs.
Alex slurping a jug of Margherita through a straw. Nula cracks a can of lager.
They're talking and laughing. The room fills up with people pre-drinking, rapid timelapse movement, they start to get rowdy, the room empties.
Nula is alone and shakes her final can, one more gulp left in it.
She looks at it intently for a second, at the sharp edges of its mouth, at what could be a nose, but knocks it back, and rushes out the door.