Chapter 3, titled "River", is the third chapter in The Cat Lady.
Relaxing in the Apartment
Susan stands on a bridge over a river and recites the first two lines of a poem.
"Standing by the river I wonder...do I need a stone...no...my heart is heavy enough...it will drag me down for sure."
She returns to her apartment and decides to try and relax. Two gauges appear at the bottom of the screen. A red gauge representing Susan's mental state fills up incrementally when she gets upset, while a green gauge fills up incrementally when she does something that makes her happy and satisfied. If the red gauge is filled, she will suffer a complete breakdown. If the green gauge is filled, she can relax and get some sleep.
Susan must complete a series of little tasks: put money in the electric meter outside, take a shower, have something to eat, drink some coffee, and smoke a cigarette.
First, she must put money in the electric meter. By searching her bag in her bedroom, she will find some change which she can then place in the meter just outside her front door (green gauge increase). However, the large number of unpaid bills next to her bag will also upset her (red gauge increase). If Susan tries to have a shower before putting money in the electric meter, the electricity will suddenly be cut leaving her apartment in utter darkness and Susan will be upset (red gauge increase). During this time and if at any point Susan enters a room in total darkness without turning on the lights in that room, Susan may abruptly encounter a shadow. Although the shadow's appearance is brief and Susan disregards it as her imagination, it will upset her (red gauge increase). Once there is electricity, she can go to the bathroom, switch on the light and take a shower, calming her (green gauge increase). During her shower, the scene changes to the river again, where she recites another two lines of the poem.
"Standing by the river I smile...will I miss it all?...no...I'll be glad to leave it behind...and never come back."
After her shower, Susan must venture to the kitchen to find food and coffee. After finding a mug on her balcony, filling up the kettle, switching it on and making coffee, she has to find a way to make it milky. The milk in her fridge is off - leaving her no choice but to use the coffee whitener in the cupboard (the player may use the fridge's milk, at the cost of the red meter going up and having to restart the task).
Next, food is on the agenda. In the fridge there is a cheap microwavable burger. Upon examination, it needs 60 seconds in the 800W microwave she has in the kitchen. Failure to put it in for the wrong time causes the microwave to explode and the red meter to go up. After eating the burger (green gauge increase), Susan should take the matches and cat food from the cupboard, as well as the hat outside in her hallway, the volleyball from her closet and the shirt from her spare room (where she has an upsetting memory of a teddy bear waiting for her causing an unavoidable red gauge increase). With these new items, Susan can venture to the balcony to find solace in a cigarette and her coffee.
However, a crow lands on her balcony (red gauge increase). To scare the bird away, she fashions a scarecrow out of the hat, volleyball and shirt from her apartment. With the bird gone, she can peacefully enjoy her coffee and cigarette (green gauge increase). She then decides that she wants to see her cats before the end of the night. The scene changes again to the river, where looks over the edge of the bridge and says;
"Standing by the river I close my eyes...one jump and I’m there... no... Someone jumped after me...he will never be my friend."
Back in the apartment, Susan plays the piano to summon her cats. She is warm and affectionate towards them, and prepares a can of cat food for them (which the player can find in the kitchen cupboard). She talks to Teacup and calls him a "good friend" for coming to see her and asking for nothing in return, not even the cat food she leaves out. She expresses uncertainty whether she can deal with the new events in her life, and envies Teacup's serenity and happiness.
Confrontation with Bryan
At that moment, someone knocks on the door. She opens it and sees her neighbor, Bryan. He is upset about Susan's late night piano-playing and the noisy cats. He threatens to call the police and pest control if the noise continues late at night. The player can decide Susan's response; whether it is "I'm done talking to you, go fuck yourself" (dismissive) or "I didn't realise it was so late; I promise it won't happen again" (apologetic). If Susan is dismissive to him, it will award the achievement Go Fuck Yourself, at the cost of her red gauge going up. If Susan is apologetic to him, no achievement will be awarded, but it can fill up her green gauge or even the red one. After shutting the door on him, Bryan remarks that he thinks Susan is a "total nut job" and should be locked up somewhere.
If the red bar is full, Susan suffers a terrible breakdown, destroying the mirror in her room and collapsing on the floor, distraught. She finally crawls to her bed to cry hopelessly, watched silently by Teacup at her window. This will disqualify the player from the secret golden ending and the A Flower That Bent Towards The Sun achievement. The river scene appears once more;
"Standing by the river I'm thinking, will I jump again? No...behind the closed doors I have fallen in love with the razor."
If the green bar is full, Susan goes to her bedroom and sleeps. The achievement Unbreakable will be awarded and this is one of the requirements needed to unlock the secret golden ending and the A Flower that bent towards the Sun achievement. The river appears again, and Susan recites the last few lines of the poem:
"Standing by the river I’m thinking... will I jump again?... no... I'll float like a feather... far away from here."