Give It Another Shot [Chapter 4]
Chapter 4: Hidden fears and theories” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:20|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%20Condensed%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”]
The clock on the wall marked two in the morning when Chloe entered Max’s room in stealth mode, closing the door behind her without making a sound. After Max’s parents found out she had been awake, they wanted to be with their daughter, so Chloe decided to go back home, catch some rest and come back later to tell Max about everything that happened while she was asleep.
She had to wait hours to find an opportunity to sneak in the room without being discovered.
“Chloe the ninja strikes again!” She thought, sighing with relief once she was inside. “Now, better not get caught. Play it safe…”
Max was sleeping. Chloe didn’t expect otherwise, but she couldn’t resist breaking in anyway. She knew it was childish, but she was really upset when Max parents interrupted that brief moment of reunion. Max’s words kept ringing in her head all day and she didn’t remember the last time she slept so relaxed and peacefully.
She grabbed a chair and sat down next to her and watched her sleep for a while.
Suddenly Max started to talk in her sleep and she began to shake her head.
“This didn’t happen. This didn’t happen. Chloe’s alive. This didn’t happen.”
“Max?” Chloe asked, but her friend didn’t answer. She kept rumbling nonsenses.
“I… know… I know she is… No… bastard… No. NO! Don’t… touch me!”
“What the fuck? ”
Chloe grabbed Max by her arms and shook her a little to wake her up. She was crying, tears rolling down her pale and freckled cheeks. Max was screaming.
“Damn it, you’ll wake the whole hospital, man!” Chloe whispered with trembling voice. For a moment she was terrified Max wouldn’t wake up, but then she snapped her eyes open and looked around in panic.
“Let me go, psycho!”
“Shut it, Max! It’s me!”
Max looked at Chloe for a moment, then buried her head in Chloe’s shoulder and started crying. She hugged her and held on very close.
“Chloe! Oh my god, you’re alive! I’m… “
“I’m here, Max. Nightmares, huh?” Chloe asked, returning the hug tightly.
“It was so… awful…”
“I bet, you were screaming hella loud.”
“Wait… what the fuck are you doing here?” Max asked, pulling away from their hug and looking at Chloe with confusion. “It’s two in the morning!”
Chloe showed her best and widest grin overflowing with self-confidence.
“I’m a sneaky ninja, didn’t you know?”
Max chuckled, shaking her head in disbelief. She dried her tears with the blankets and lay down again with a sigh. She seemed so tired, so fragile…
“Wanna talk about it?” Chloe asked.
Max took some time to think about it before replying.
“Jefferson. And the Dark Room. He was… ugh, I don’t know. Posing me for one of his creepy shots and… you were…” She shook her head, as she was trying to clear his mind of the awful remnants of the nightmare. “I need to know what happened while I was unconscious. I mean, I really need to know. My parents didn’t tell me anything.”
Max’s voice was shaky and her eyes were full of fear.
“You sure? It’s… I don’t know, a little late for a chit chat? You need to rest…”
“Chloe, listen to me. I really need to know what happened with him and… Everything.” Max insisted, looking at her fiercely. She seemed to be totally awake and… Scared.
“What are you so afraid of telling me, Max?” Chloe thought to herself. She needed to know but she didn’t want to push her. Especially not after a nightmare.
“So… Nathan and Jefferson are under arrest? You’re sure of it?” Max asked, with a worried look on her face.
Chloe nodded. She spent what felt like hours talking about the recent events. After Max was shot, Nathan was taken into custody, he confessed his crimes and told the police everything about the Dark Room, Mark Jefferson and his own father, who gave them the money to do it.
The police had found Rachel and closed her case. Chloe attended briefly to her funeral just a couple of days ago along with Frank Bowers, who was so shattered about what had happened that he freed Chloe from her debt, because she was the one who told him about everything. Frank told her there was nothing left for him in Arcadia Bay and after saying his goodbyes, he and Pompidou got in his RV and drove off into the sunset, leaving the town for good.
Chloe couldn’t help it and had to stop talking about that, with tears rolling down her face.
The case was the only thing the news talked about for the past two weeks and it seemed that there was enough proof against Jefferson to be in jail for the rest of his life.
Blackwell was closed until the police finished their investigation. Even principal Wells was called to testify, but so far, the only ones on trial were Nathan, his father and the art teacher.
“Well, that’s pretty much it.” Chloe said, shaking her head. “You don’t need to worry about him anymore. He’s finished.”
Max nodded, but she didn’t seem sure. Chloe knew that Max didn’t write everything down in her journal. That was only a summary. She needed to know exactly what happened, even if she didn’t want to hear the worst part of it.
“I know it’s hella late but… we need to have a serious conversation about this. If you’re up to it…”
Chloe grabbed the Journal and left it over the bed, open on the first page. The dark dry spots of Max’s blood still on half of the cover. She looked at it with a shadowy expression on her face.
“You wrote a lot of stuff here, but I’m having trouble to connect all this shit.” Chloe said.
“I bet. And that’s not all of it” Said Max with a sigh. “I’m surprised you believed me, though. If I were you, I’d have thought you were losing your shit.”
“I wish that was the case, Max…”
“Not after all that happened this crazy fucking week.” Chloe said, looking away. “It’s hard to not believe all of this when the proof is right there in front of you.”
Chloe grabbed the polaroid she had hidden in her jacket’s pocket and showed it to Max. It was like a talisman. She took that picture everywhere.
Max reached out and held her hand in a comforting gesture.
“I know it’s really hard for you…”
“Right now, I just need to know this is real.” Chloe said, pointing at the journal. “I need to hear what you have to say about all this. Every single detail.”
“I don’t know if I want this to be a real or not. What happened to Rachel, to Max… Damn it, I wish it didn’t happen but… that’d imply the other things, the things I want… didn’t happen too. And… shit, part of me wants this to be real.”
Max took a deep breath and nodded in agreement.
“To be honest, everything started at that Jefferson’s class… In this moment i didn’t understand why I had this vision or my powers, but I think I get it now. It was so odd, so weird… and yet, I kinda felt like I knew what I was doing. I was hella wrong… Now I know that the vision wasn’t a vision. It was like… traveling to the future to see what was about to happen. I was… predicting my own screw up.” Max shook her head, pursing her lips. “But back then, I didn’t understand any of it. I went to the bathroom; I saw you get shot… I didn’t even know it was you. I just… reached out and I could feel the world twisting around me and this pressure in my head…”
Max’s eyes narrowed, as she was trying to find the right words to describe it. She even raised her hands, like she was holding time itself in front of her.
“Out of nowhere, I had this ability to reverse time and… I wanted to use it to help. So I went back and managed to save you. I hit the fire alarm and you pushed Nathan and then… I saw you walk off and it was so surreal.”
When Max started to talk, she just couldn’t stop and Chloe didn’t intervene. She just stood there, trying to assimilate all the information she could get.
“After that, I went to principal Wells and told him about Nathan having a gun in the girls bathroom.”
“Yeah, I couldn’t believe you did that. You were so…”
“Yeah, I was an idiot.” Coincided Max with a little smile. “I just felt it was the right thing to do at the moment… that’s why Nathan freaked and threatened me in the parking lot. And there you were, with your old truck, and saved my naive ass from that psycho.”
Suddenly, she blushed a little and looked away.
“I was so ashamed… I didn’t talk to you in five years and then… I didn’t know what to say, I felt like I was the crappiest best friend ever. I almost expected you to hate me but… even though you sounded angry and hurt, it didn’t seem like it… It was so weird… We didn’t… We don’t know each other anymore, Chloe.”
“What’s on your mind? Why do you say that?” Chloe thought. Never in her entire life did she want so much to have the power to read minds.
“I never hated you for leaving, Max.” Chloe said, grabbing her hand. “I’ll not lie, I was pissed off, and I felt betrayed… I really wanted to hate you for what happened but… I just couldn’t. I really wondered why it was impossible for me to hate you. And yeah, this is crazy shit and all but… you do know me. This journal… You know me, I can tell from what’s written here.”
“Whoa, look at that smile… ” Thought Chloe when Max smiled at her, still blushing a little.
“Well, then you told me about Rachel and… Yeah, you know the story already.”
“I do.” Chloe said with a sad tone. “I still can’t entirely believe she’s gone.”
“Cut the shit already, Chloe. Don’t.Fucking.Cry.”
“I’m so, so sorry, Chloe.” Max tightly held Chloe’s hand with both of hers, looking at her eyes with remorse. “I really wanted to find her safe and sound, but…”
“Those two weirdos had other plans it seems” Said Chloe, shaking her head. “At least you tried. I just like to think she’s in a better place now. I’m glad they finally found her, you know? It sounds so fucking twisted but… I think I needed… closure. For better or worse.”
“I understand.” Said Max. “And I don’t think it’s twisted at all. I just wish I could have saved her too. Like I did with Kate.”
“Right. You wrote she tried to jump off the roof.” Chloe couldn’t help but feel relieved with the change of subject, even if it was that depressing one. “I knew Kate when I was a student at Blackwell… Not much, she was way younger than me but… that girl is like goodness personified…”
“She was just another victim, like Rachel. I still don’t know how she avoided sharing her fate. She just… woke up the next morning in her room, like nothing happened… and then Victoria and her minions made sure everybody saw that stupid video of her at that party.”
Max clenched her free hand into a fist, utterly furious.
“They pushed her up to that roof. I only saved her because I discovered i could stop time, not just rewind.”
Chloe raised an eyebrow. She had to admit it sounded crazy, even if she believed it.
“I reached the roof but… When I tried to rewind, my power didn’t work. And I had no fucking clue about what to say to her.”
“You obviously said the right thing; the journal said you managed to convince her to back down…”
“I know but… I never was so scared in my entire life. It wasn’t like when I saved you from the train… I had my power and I was confident that I could do it, even if I saw you get run over three times until I freed you.” Max shook her head, like she was trying to send away the mental image of her best friend dead on the train tracks. “But with Kate? I had only one shot. I learned the hard way that I couldn’t trust my powers… They turned out to be a ticking time bomb in the long run.”
“Yeah, I forgot about all the Final Destination thingy” Said Chloe, trying not to think about the train… and the fact that Max actually saw her die so many times. No wonder she was having nightmares. “Should I be worried about that in this reality? I mean… you saved me again, right?”
Max smiled at the mention of that movie, but thought about it for a moment. She seemed to be dealing with some internal demons while searching the right words. That pause only make Chloe feel more and more anxious, thinking about her multiple deaths written in the journal… shot twice, ran over by a train, victim of a tornado…
“I think that the universe was just trying to correct things… I used my rewind to save you the first time, because I already saw you die. So… you were dead at the time, then I came back to fix it creating two… timelines in the same reality?” Max said, trying to keep her thoughts in order. “When I came back to the bathroom the last time and got shot, I managed to get to a moment before I ever used my powers. I think that made the difference. You didn’t die in this reality so I wasn’t really changing things. Damn, I think this reality is the only one I didn’t screw up.”
Chloe looked at her for a moment, with her face in blank. She blinked twice.
“Shit, I’m confused.”
“Yeah, me too.” Max said, rubbing her forehead with her hand. “And now I have a hell of a headache.”
They spent a couple of minutes in silence, both of them swimming in their own thoughts. Max seemed so tired, so fragile, and for a second, she seemed troubled and fearful about whatever she was thinking.
“It’s hella late now… You should get some rest. ” Chloe said with a sigh. “As much as I want to clear things out, you look like crap. No offence.”
“None taken.” Max said.
Chloe got up, stretched and yawned.
“I better get going if I don’t want to get caught…”
Max grabbed her hand suddenly, making her heart skip a beat.
“Can you stay?” Max asked, looking at her with puppy eyes. “The… nightmares. I don’t want to be all alone in here.”
“I really should go but… I can’t say no to those eyes. Damn, this is getting worse by the minute. The doubt is… killing me. This is why I couldn’t hate her when she left? Why am I feeling this way now?”
“I… okay. I’ll watch over you, Mad Max. Don’t worry.”
Max nodded and closed her eyes, softly letting go of Chloe’s hand.
Previous Chapter: https://lifeisstrangefans.com/give-it-another-shot-chapter-3/
Here? I’m the punk queen of Arcadia Bay, of course.
In real life, I’m an artist, gamer, crappy musician, game dev and a wannabe writer. Oh, and I’m always running late. MaiQueti in a nutshell.