Max could barely stand straigh, strong wind was stealing her sence of balance. Dark sky has hidden every happy moment in her short life, like they never existed before. She felt empty yet dead inside. Max looked at photo of small blue butterfly, rotated it a bit.It seemed like milions year ago, when she took it. Weird feeling touched her shoulder, she had to look behind her. With surprised sigh, she realised everything around her have froze. It wasnt like that time with Kate and her awful plan to end her life. Max felt more scared than ever before. Something was terribly wrong. Wind tube, with all its fragments of destroyed buildings, cars and whatever it was, just stopped. It was so close to Arcadia Bay. She could hear voices screaming from fear and about what’s going on. She hide polaroid back into bag, covered ears with hands. It didn’t work, screams were in her head. She fall on knees. She wanted to took a deep breath, then she finally noticed whats not okay. No breath needed. No heartbeat found. No life had.
She tried to scream in panic, but deep dark voice interrupted her.
„Well, Max,” said voice, she was trying to find it, cause it seem very fimiliar, so she laborioulsy stood up, „just look around you. What have you done? You tried to save everybody and now you are the one who needs to be saved.”
Max eyes caught razor pieces of glasses just a few inches near her and frozen poor Chloe. With a moment of confusion, she looked around with pain and shame. Finally, she discovered who has voice belong to. At broken bench, almost totally destroyed, placed near lighthouse, was sitting her worst nightmare.
Max came closer to her. Chloe had empty white eyes without any signs of life, they seemed blind. Bloody hell, jumped Max after seeing hole from bullet at bestfriend’s forehead. There was still blood coming out of it, but Chloe didnt seemed to care. Also, her chest wasn‘t moving. It equals no breathing, so it was same as Max‘s problem.
„Chloe,” started Max carefully, „what is this?”
„Oh you are asking? This,my dear, is the end of eras. I saw you, looking at that damn photo. Regreting it all. You dont know what to do, huh?”
„I thought I do. But I realised…pretty much, no,” accepted Max, shruged.
„Of course no. You should saw that coming, Max. I mean, your vision literally spoiled the end for you, didn’t it? But dont worry,” Chloe stood up and started walking around Max like satelitte around Earth. She stopped right before Max’s face. Her cold hand lifted Max’s chin and looked stright throught blue eyes into her destroyed soul. Chloe touched Max’s skin with fingers.
„You know,” voice changed with blink, as Max opened her eyes again, Warren replaced Chloe, „you know tha I loved you since we met. That’s why you’re super Max, like I told you that time when you kissed me. You were such a great girl, smart, kind and with good sense of humour. Yeah, you have never told me about this cool powers. Like, did you think I’m so stupid that I would tell somebody? But whatever, I don’t care I think. Now you’re just mad Max” Warren waved, suddenly, stock of polaroids showed up. Lot of them flew into air in never ending river. Max noticed their common memories captured at them, for example when they first met, their movie marathons, walks, talks, their jokes drawn in frozen positions with opened mouths in laughter, or that time in science class.
„We had a such good time, why would you thrown it away just for one punk freak? You still have,” voice cracked, fog appeared and polaroids were lost forever, „me!”
Nathan laughed, held gun next to head. Well, he wasn’t wrong, he truly was freak. He pulled a trigger, Max closed her eyes tightly. Horrible sound came. But Nathan lived, for this time. Max‘s head started to hurt like hell in one exact place, so she opened stiffed caps, looked at Nathan again. He held the gun, aiming between Max‘s eyes with confident smile. Max touched her forehead. As she covered her outlook with palm, Chloe replaced Nathan again.
„Now we are matching! Trumph that, copules with shitty shirts.”
„Why is this happening?”
„Try to ask yourself.”
Chloe pulled out a small mirror from her back and held it. Her blue nails pointed at glass few times, she nervously pointed at one place. Max couldn‘t see anything but blood on glass.
„I did it for you” Max whispered.
„Wait. Yeah. I did it. I really did it! I did it once this is a dream! It has to be!”
„Wake up, oh my god, oh my god Max wake up, something bad happened!” Screamed Warren.
„What, where are we? What is going on?”
She found hersef covered in dark brown uncomfortable blanket in tent. Packages hid two corners, she saw suitcases and others, also her blue bag.
„After you have sacrifice Arcadia Bay, L.A. and Seattle, you haven‘t sleep for solid three months, remember?”
„What?” asked Max again, standing up from cold dusty land, running out from tent. Before her eyes were running memories, she felt like in film. Or like seven minutes before dying. She saw everyhing in small pieces od pictures. Another natural disasters. Trip with Chloe, Warren, Kate and Joyce. Taking photos of good times. Crying over bad ones. Then catastrophe again. Telling everyone about rewind. Became outsider. Decisions. Another town, just for her.
Nosebleed threw her back into reality. Warren was holding her hand, offering tissue. He leads her somewhere. They were totally running in circles around refugee camp. It was abandoned, silent, without any forms of life even when she met some victims. All tents were same. All faces were same. They were lost in labyrinth of unfrogivness, told Max for herself. „Hang in there Chloe, Max is here. Tell her about how bad do you feel for Arcadia Bay and all victims. She’s dying to hear the news.”
Max looked up.
Chloe hung from roof of old unnaturally big building witch was probably centre of camp. She had rope around neck with traces of blood, bruises and dents. She winked at Max and terribly creepy smiled: „Worth it. Go ahead and ask Joyce. It is sale in Two whales, you know. Three towns in Price for just one.”
Jesus Christ, cried Max, woke up in her empty dorm room. It looked a bit different now. Less colours, less personal objects like bear, flower and so on. Photo wall was the only thing that hasn’t changed at all. Some photos were added at it, reminding her the journey of her life. She sometimes just stared at it, without anything on her mind.
She hugged her legs, held them closer to chest. It was all just a dream. Chloe never lived that week at all. It was still not okay. After last goodbye, she decided to save the town. Was it a good choice? Right choice?
She send text message to Warren, science guy, alpha/beta nerd and her personal guardian angel in this time. Phone lighed up whole room, she blinked few times cause of strong light.
I need you
Like i never did before
(Warren is typing)
On my way Max
Later that night
Three silent knocks.
„Max, Christ, you look terrible,” whispered Warren, „what is it? I almost got a heartattack when you texted me.”
„ Sorry. Warren, thanks for coming. You are true ninja, dude.”
Warren sat next to her. They stared ar each other for a while when Max broke the moment and hugged younger boy thigtly.
„Warren,” she said with tears in cornes of eyes, „please tell me I did right thing.” He knew about what happened… or never happend.
„Yeah Max, totally” he held her head on shoulder, patted her on hair, „both of you did.”
Warren it is year and I am still not over it…”
“Max… remember that time when we met?”
„Sure but- What are you talking about?”
„Do you remember that beautiful sunrise, gentle wind playing with our hair, birds singing their lovesongs and Nathan beating the shit out of me?”
She had that moment on mind and she could clearly see it.
„Remember what you said to me, after you introduced? I asked you, why you have helped me, cause I don’t deserve it.
You said: ‚I know I can‘t save everyone. They have a special role in our world. Sacrificing for others. They are part of somehing bigger. They show us what’s important in our silly lives. And they teach us to appreciate their presence while they are here. You know, remembering birthday, favourite game or genre of music. When they are gone… It’s stuck in your head forever and sometimes you are just „oh, that reminds me of she or he. I may sound stupid here but I don’t want you to feel bad for yourself. I saw you few times, crying out. Nathan maybe keeps beating you, but your mind and heart will be strong. Look I saw how you helped Kate with homework or cheered up Alyssa and so on.
I think you are one of them. One of worth saving. One day you will maybe have major breakthrought and discover something amazing.”
„You have saved her, to save others. She should teach you. All of us. Thats not bad decision”
Max looked at him. Speechles for a moment. She realised he’s absolutely right about this one. Chloe would never came back to her, no, nothing will replace her place in Max’s life. Nothing should. She thought about consequences after saving her instead of town. It was warning. She get this power to realise and tell others. And she will.
She kissed him at cheek, sighed „What would I do without you,huh?”