Memento Mori

Note: I wrote this story because Life is Strange genuinely changed my outlook on life. I wanted to capture the small everyday things of life and make them look important here. I feel like the game didn’t show much of Rachel’s and Chloe’s relationship so we never really got to feel the loss of connection when we learned that she was missing. My plan was to write a little story full of small experiences shared by the two friends. Memento Mori refers to an object which reminds us of our inevitable death. In this case I used Rachel as said “object”. The memories she left behind for Chloe and others before dying, they remind us that life is fragile and we should appreciate every little thing. It was difficult to think of a setting to write for the comic book contest, but I decided to write about Chloe and Rachel, mostly because I found myself in Chloe, her free spirited personality and rebellious  side inspired me. I apologise for this little note before the story, but I just wanted to point some things out. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. (Also, please don’t count this note towards the 2500 words limit ^_^)

Memento Mori

She hopped onto the hood of her rusty old truck and leaned against the wind shield stretching her arms wide and taking a deep breath of fresh air. Her eyes a bit teary from the wind relentlessly hitting her face and nose a little red from the cold. It was fall. Loud rock music could be heard coming out from the speakers inside of the car, she looked ahead with a careless grin at the lake stretching out in front of her and took a sip of the booze she was holding tightly in her hand. A tiny drop rolled down from her lips onto her chin and just before falling, she felt somebody’s touch, a finger, wiping the drop away. The wind whistled pushing the autumn leaves along the floor as they danced within its vortex. Chloe turned to the side, her eyes met with Rachel’s. They smiled at each other and sat together watching the glistening sunset bathe them in its warmth. Chloe took another sip from the bottle and pointed at the leaves spinning within the wind.

Sometimes my head feels just like those leaves. Stuck in an endless vortex of thoughts with no way out.”

Sensing Chloe’s change of mood, Rachel pointed at the sunset in front of them and threw her arm around her, hugging her tightly. She grabbed the bottle and gulped the rest of the booze.

Look over there, the sun is smiling at you, you should smile back.”

The pair looked ahead once more, appreciating the golden rays and for a brief moment, all of their worries disappeared. They felt like the world belonged to them.

With the night settling in, they took to the back of the truck. Laying down opposite each other, looking up at the stars. It was quiet. No sounds of cars, or people. Just tree branches dancing to the tune of the wind. Chloe pulled out a spliff and placed it between her lips. She checked all of her pockets for a lighter, but couldn’t find it. Intending to ask Rachel, she sat up and looked in her direction. Rachel was already one step ahead, high off the weed. Chloe smiled and took the lighter. The duo ended up drifting off into their own worlds gazing at the sparkling stars.

Dude, do you ever feel like the entire world is spinning and you’re in the middle of it?” 

Chloe broke the silence watching the smoke morph into shapes as it fluttered out of her mouth. She called out to Rachel who was especially quiet. She groaned and paused before finally speaking

…You’re high…”

Chloe couldn’t help, but laugh at Rachel’s shallow attempt at a joke in her current state.

Faint sounds of barking could be heard in the distance. The birds were singing and the sun began to rise. It was early morning. From inside the truck, slow acoustic music was playing. Chloe sat on the edge of the driver’s seat, her leg hanging off the side by the open door. She was scrolling through her phone with a frown, she wasn’t sad. She felt irritated seeing the endless list of missed calls from her step-father. Less than a moment later, the door on the other side of the truck clicked open and Rachel stepped inside. Sleep in her eyes and hair a mess, she glanced over at Chloe frowning.

What’s up?”

Chloe extended her arm and handed over the phone to Rachel.

Step-douche again”

 Rachel scanned the call logs with her eyes then looked up at Chloe with concern.

He’s just worried about you, maybe you should let him know you’re safe.”

Chloe yanked the phone out of Rachel’s hand and threw it against the tree outside. Her expression changed from the earlier frown to a more pained look. She got out of the truck and stormed off towards the lake in front of them.

He’s not my father! I’m sick of him trying to follow my every damn move and control me. How many times do I have to say it?”

Familiar with Chloe’s nature of flying off the handle easily, Rachel decided to remain in the truck, sit back and watch from the distance, giving Chloe some space. She knew that her step-father only meant well, but Chloe was never able to come to terms with having a new dad. The lake glimmered, reflecting the sun rays. There was a small pack of ducks in the distance, huddled up together, quacking. The outskirts of the lake were filled with beautiful water lilies and in the distance, people could be seen walking their dogs. As it got brighter, the town started to come alive and with that, Chloe’s mood seemed to have improved. She turned towards the truck and speed walked in Rachel’s direction with a menacing grin.

Let’s hit the road!” she exclaimed with a vibrant look in her eyes.

You really want to skip classes at Blackwell? And your step-dad? What about him?”

Rachel, although happy with Chloe’s change of mood, tried to reason with her. Chloe hopped inside of the truck and slammed the door shut, she turned up the radio and nodded to the beat of the song.

Fuck him!”

Rachel paused for a moment, although the perfect student at Blackwell, Chloe’s charisma and free spirit convinced her to skip classes, even if it was just a one off. She smiled, loving Chloe’s rebellious side, rolled down the window and lit up a cigarette.

You’re starting to have bad influence on me” she joked “So, where to?”

Chloe pulled off her beanie and threw it in the back seat. The wind ran through her blue strands of hair as they sped down the road. She glanced over at Rachel with a grin.

Who knows? Wherever the road takes us”.

Black smoke poured out of the exhaust as the truck’s engine roared, the duo drove on ahead without a particular destination in mind. Rachel sat back, her feet on the dashboard and hand sticking out of the window.

We should go eat, I’m starving.”.

Chloe, quite hungry herself nodded in agreement

Aye Captain”.

They drove to the nearest diner, Chloe parked the truck in an awkward spot, blocking off a nearby car from leaving. The pair walked inside and were greeted with a pleasant smell of delicious food and some classic music.

Wow, This is almost better than Joyce’s place.”

Chloe looked around, excited to chow down. They sat together at one of the empty tables, facing each other and reading the menu. The diner was filled with voices, people talking, enjoying their food, outside, there were cars driving past on the main road surrounded by trees, with no clouds above, the sapphire skies were as vibrant as ever, lifting everyone’s spirits. The sun was shinning through the windows inside making the atmosphere relaxed and putting the girls at ease. Everyone seemed happy, it felt like heaven.

So, ladies. What will it be?” The waitress approached their table. Chloe averted her eyes from the menu and glanced at the woman.

Eggs and bacon for me.”

The waitress then turned to Rachel.

I’ll have some baked beans.”

With their orders placed, they sat back and relaxed until their food arrived. Chloe glanced over at Rachel with a smug look on her face and scoffed

Really? Baked beans? Man you’re boring.“

Rachel laughed at Chloe’s poor attempt at the taunt.

You know I can’t stuff my face with bacon everyday.”

Chloe rolled her eyes, stuffing her face with bacon strips.

Oh right, your dream of becoming a model.”

The pair ate their food and shared laughs together then left the diner.

Approaching the poorly parked truck, Chloe noticed a parking ticket on the wind shield. This was not the first time she received a fine for parking her truck in ridiculous spots.

Damn it, not again…”

She sighed stuffing the piece of paper deep down her pocket. Rachel reached over and flicked Chloe’s blue hair upward as if to scold her

You never learn do you?”

Chloe frowned.

A cold breeze of wind swept through the parking lot as they jumped inside the truck and rode off into the distance.

As the day went on, the duo’s road trip around town continued. Sight seeing, sharing stories and jokes, they laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. Music playing on the radio with the windows rolled all the way down, the cold wind reminding them that they’re alive in the here and now. A sudden rush of happiness took over, they were struck with euphoria. Life was great. They came towards an intersection. Chloe turned left towards the forest, she hit the gas and accelerated down the empty road. Nothing around them, but trees, no buildings, no people, no cars. It was peaceful. Suddenly the truck lost power and Chloe pulled over on the side of the road. She looked past the steering wheel and punched it in frustration. The fuel tank was empty.

Son of a bitch!”

She burst out in frustration, leaning against the head-rest of the seat, facing the ceiling. She turned to the side, looking out the window at the desolate road. Complete silence outside. She heard a snicker coming from the opposite side. It was Rachel, trying to hold in her laughter.

“What’s funny?”

Chloe glared in complete disbelief. Rachel reached over into the truck’s dashboard compartment, pulled out a CD and pushed it into the player. Her eyes locked onto Chloe’s, she turned up the music, grabbed a bottle of beer from the back seat and jumped out of the truck.

Come on sister! Let’s raze this place to the ground”

Running down to the field ahead she called out to Chloe, laughing and dancing to the music bursting out of the speakers, completely oblivious to the situation at hand. Chloe tried to look serious, but seeing Rachel so happy and carefree wiped the frown right off her face and washed away all worries. She smiled grabbing a bottle from the back then chased after her best friend. Tall, thick tress all around burning with autumn colours, the birds sang along to the whistling of the wind. The grass danced and despite there being no humans, it felt more alive than any city. Chloe took a deep breath and instantly felt relief. She ran on ahead, past the swaying trees and rustling bushes. Reaching the end of the woods, she stopped, stunned by the sight ahead. There was nothing there, just tall grass stretching out as far as the eye could see and yet, it looked so illusive. The way it swayed from side to side like marionettes letting the wind pull the strings and their shadows danced,  its puppet master – the burning sun.

Rachel was sitting at the bottom of the hill, watching the shadows dance closely, she was starstruck. Chloe came down and sat right by her. The pair watched the show together until sunset without uttering a single word. Just two souls experiencing the beauty of life at its core – nature doing its work.

With the approaching sunset, Rachel turned to Chloe and grabbed her hand.

I have an idea, let me sketch you.”

Although unsure how to respond at first, Chloe agreed to go along with the idea after Rachel explained she had her pencils and a sketchbook inside of her bag, back in the truck. Coming back with her tools, She instructed Chloe to pose in the long grass with her preferred position.

Try not to move too much.”

Chloe laid down stretching her legs wide, relaxing. One hand behind her head as a cushion and a spliff in the other, taking a drag every now and then. The tall overgrown grass almost wrapping around her thin silhouette as its shadows danced around like little people for their queen, with the sun so low, its rays punched through the gaps in the grass illuminating the entire scene. Even in reality it looked like a painting.

Having completed the sketch, the pair sat and admired it together. It was getting dark and concern struck them both as they recalled that they had no way of getting home. Rachel squeezed Chloe’s hand and looked her in the eyes.

Chloe, I think you’ll have to call your step-dad and tell him we’re in trouble.”

Chloe grimaced at the thought. They argued for a while. Hands holding the entire time. Chloe insisted on calling a taxi, but Rachel explained that she was broke, reminding Chloe that she also paid for her breakfast at the diner earlier that day. In the end Rachel won. Chloe went to reach for her phone, she couldn’t find it. Then she remembered that it was still at the lake, where she threw it against the tree and left it. She explained the situation to Rachel who in turn borrowed Chloe her own phone.

I’m calling Joyce. I don’t remember step-prick’s number anyway”

She dialled the number and called. Rachel stood back, she could hear Chloe arguing from the distance, trying to convince Joyce to order a taxi, but she insisted on David coming.

It was dark, the girls now tired wanted nothing more than to go home. They made their way back into the truck and waited for David to arrive. Despite Chloe’s hard tried attempts at avoiding contact with her step-father, she swallowed her pride and gave in. Not long after, a car pulled over by the truck, it was David. He stepped outside of his car and walked over to the truck. He knocked on the door to the driver’s seat. Chloe half asleep, jumped up, startled and looked to the side, she glared at David through the window then opened the door.

Took you long enough.”

She pushed him out of the way and stormed off into his car. Rachel followed along, too tired to speak. David knew they were smoking and drinking from the smell, but didn’t look angry. He was disappointed that Chloe didn’t think to call him for help. Though unable to express himself clearly, he always seemed angry from Chloe’s point of view, but Rachel knew better.

Lost in reverie, the world timeless, painted black by the sun’s passing, Chloe glanced over at Rachel with a graceful smile. The bond created on that day, so strong that even the passing of time would dare not break it. David peeked into the rear view mirror and saw the pair doze off to sleep. Perhaps he was never accepting of his step-daughter’s friends, but that day, he felt nothing, but relief that Chloe was safe.

This might have been just a single day but, to Chloe, it felt like eternity.

A memento to last a life time…

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Beautiful concept. I love what you were trying to capture with the small things and moments in life and how invigorating and wonderful they can be. Keep writing! 🙂

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