Obscura – Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Surprise! You’re dead!

“Get that gun away from me, psycho!” Chloe Price yelled, shoving the young man who was pointing a gun at her.

A loud bang echoed around the girls’ restroom as the gun in Nathan Prescott’s hand went off and the deadly projectile pierced its way through the blue haired punk girl’s abdomen.

Chloe fell on the floor together with the gun that had just wounded her. Surprisingly, she didn’t feel any pain, even though she could feel the warm blood soaking her shirt and her hand. In fact, she felt a bit lightheaded as her life was slowly coming to an end.

Way to go, Price. You really fucked things up this time, she thought. I guess step-prick gets the last word after all.

As everything was becoming darker, Chloe didn’t pay attention to her killer who was erratically pacing around holding his head in panic. Instead, she caught the face of a young brunette, who was glancing behind the last stall, her face covered in tears. Chloe had not seen her for five years but she immediately recognized the freckled face.

Max…? That was her last thought as she slowly sighed out her last breath and the darkness became light.

The first thing Chloe became aware of was the smell of flowers and outside air. She opened her eyes and had to close them immediately as the brightness dazzled her. She slowly squint them open again to adapt to the light. She saw a clear blue sky. She turned her head and realized that she was lying on a flower meadow.

The fuck? She asked herself. What am I doing in a fucking Windows XP desktop picture?

Chloe stood up slowly and tried to get her bearings. Everywhere she looked she could only see rolling flower fields. There were no landmarks or anything. Just flowery meadows as far as the eye could see. The sun was shining on the cloudless sky and Chloe could feel a warm breeze on her cheeks.

Well, this ain’t no Arcadia Bay, that’s hella sure, Chloe thought as she started walking to some direction. As she stepped idly she tried to gather her thoughts of what had happened before.

Ok, I was having a parlay with that creep Prescott, when he decided to pull a gun on me and then… Chloe touched her abdomen and turned to look down. There was a hole in her shirt, slightly scorched from the muzzle fire and the fabric had slightly stained from the blood, but there was no wound.

Oh fuck… she thought when she saw something a short distance away. It was a small pavilion. Hmm, could’ve sworn that wasn’t there a while ago. Chloe started walking towards it. Wait a minute! There’s someone there! Her pacing became faster and the last few yards she ran until she reached the steps into the pavilion.

A young woman in white dress was standing inside the pavilion. She turned to face the newcomer. Chloe gasped when she saw her face.

“Rachel! Is it really you?” the blue-haired punk asked.

“Yes, Chloe. It’s me,” Rachel Amber replied and opened her arms for an embrace.

Chloe leaped to the blonde girl and squeezed her tightly. “Oh I’m so glad to see you!”

“I’m glad to see you too, Chloe,” Rachel said, keeping the skinny girl in her embrace.

Chloe eased on her squeeze and took one step back. “What is this place? The last thing I remember is that I got shot and then I woke up here. Am I… dead?”

“Yes Chloe, you are dead,” the blonde girl confirmed Chloe’s question. “That gunshot wound was fatal. You were dead before the paramedics arrived.”

“Oh crap!” Chloe responded before she realized. “But, if I’m dead…”

“…then I’m dead too, Chloe,” Rachel concluded.

The punk girl fell on her knees and started sobbing. “Jesus, Rachel! After you disappeared, I spent all my time searching for you! I- I never gave up on you. I just couldn’t.”

“I know and I am grateful for that.” Rachel placed her arm on Chloe’s shoulder. “I died soon after my disappearance.”

“How? Who?”

“I was killed by the same person, who killed you, Chloe. Nathan Prescott,” Rachel answered. “He and Mark Jefferson shared a dark passion and he accidentally overdosed me while pursuing this passion.”

“Nathan Prescott…” Chloe’s eyes streaked and she clenched her arms into fists. “Had I known, I would’ve killed that bastard on first sight.”

“I’m glad you didn’t, even if that means that you’re here with me now,” Rachel placed her hand again on Chloe’s shoulder. “Justice will be served to Nathan Prescott, as well as to Mark Jefferson.”

“So, am I in Heaven now?” Chloe asked. “I mean this doesn’t look like the other place.”

“No. This place has many names. Some call it Purgatory, others call it the in between, others don’t know what to call it. This is an arrival place for restless souls, souls that have unfinished matters in the world of the living. Unfinished bidness, as you would say.” Rachel’s remark made Chloe smirk. “What lies beyond this place, I’m not in liberty to tell you. Not until you’re ready to cross over.”

“Mmm-kay, sounds very Twilight Zone-y,” Chloe said, lifting her eyebrows. “So what’s with the flowery meadows?”

“The arrival place is associated to some personal memory or event of the newcomer. Are you using Windows XP by any chance?”

“What? You know that I don’t!” Chloe huffed. “Linux all the way for me!”

“Then it must be some earlier event in your life, but that’s not important,” Rachel said to the punk girl who had crossed her arms in resentment.

“So, what unfinished ‘bidness’ I have that I need to sort out, in addition that I need to make Nathan Prescott’s miserable life a living hell?” Chloe asked from the girl in white.

“It concerns your friend, Maxine Caulfield,” Rachel answered.

“Max?” Chloe retorted, crossing her arms even tighter. “Some best friend she is! After my dad died, she moved to Seattle and then went completely under the radar!” The punk girl turned her back on Rachel. “She didn’t even bother to contact me, when she came to Blackwell. She was too chicken to move one muscle to prevent Prescott putting me cold. You know, I’m glad that the first time she saw me was, when I was bleeding to death! She probably didn’t even recognize me!”

Chloe turned again to face her late friend, her arms still crossed. “Anything to do with Max doesn’t concern me. Now, if you don’t have anything else, can you kindly point me to the stairway to hell, or whatever the fuck you want to call it?”

“I thought you might decline and I can understand why you feel this way,” Rachel said to the angered punk girl. “I could explain you but it’s easier if I just simply broaden your mind,” she continued and took a firm grip from Chloe’s hands.

“What the fuck…” Chloe protested but quieted as her mouth and eyes opened wide from a sudden influx of memories that entered her mind.

Chloe saw herself being shot again in the girls’ restroom but this time Max stood up from behind the stall and reaching out for the punk girl lying on the floor. She saw how time froze and how the whole series of events repeated but just before the gunshot Max stood up and turned on the fire alarm, enabling Chloe to escape from the situation.

She saw herself picking the freckled brunette from the parking lot and reconnecting again with her childhood friend.

She saw Max taking the blame of Chloe’s pot smoking in front of her stepfather and then afterwards going to the lighthouse, where Max revealed her ability to reverse time.

She saw how Max demonstrated her ability to her first at the diner and then again at the junkyard.

She saw how Max used her powers to save her, when she injured herself with David’s revolver and then again to prevent her being overrun by a train.

She also saw, how Max prevented Kate Marsh from committing a suicide.

She saw how Max and she began to investigate Rachel Amber’s disappearance, their break in to the school and their nightly swim in the gym pool.

She saw how Max managed to use her powers to prevent her father, William from dying and the shocking consequences of that.

She saw how Max made the heavy decision to restore everything back to normal and then them finding out the horrifying truth about what happened to Rachel.

She saw, how Mark Jefferson killed her and captured Max to fulfill his dark fantasies.

She saw how Max used her powers to once again bring her back to life and how the anomalies in nature in the past days resulted into the enormous tornado that was going to wipe Arcadia Bay out of existence.

Then she finally saw her request to Max, their final words, and the kiss, before Max reversed everything back to beginning and wept silently as the one person that meant the most to her gave her life to save all the other people of her home town, completely oblivious of all that had lead to this conclusion. Completely oblivious of the feelings that she had developed for her childhood friend during the days that they were on borrowed time.

“Oh, Max!” Chloe fell on her knees. The anxiety made it hard for her to breath. She crossed her arms as a desperate effort to keep herself together. Chloe bit her lip, when emotions ranging from grief to fury, from happiness to sorrow went through her. A single tear flowed down her cheek, which she angrily brushed away. Finally Chloe turned her face up and glared furiously at her late friend.

“What the fuck did you just do to me?” Chloe shouted.

“For reasons unknown, you being shot triggered Maxine’s ability to rewind time.”

“Max, never Maxine,” Chloe interrupted her.

“As Max found out that she could rewind time,” Rachel continued slightly irritated. “She decided to change the course of events so that you weren’t killed in that incident. What you saw was all that you and Max experienced on the following days.” Rachel paused to help Chloe back on her feet.

“This, however, had serious effects to the space time continuum. The anomalies and the tornado that you witnessed were the results of all the time jumps Max did,” Rachel continued.

“So I was supposed to die on that day, when Nathan shot me.”

“Yes. Max realized that her actions were the causing all that was happening. You then offered to sacrifice yourself to save Arcadia Bay from destruction.”

“Yes- yes I did,” Chloe said like she had just had a sudden recollection of the event. “This is freaky. I remember stuff that I never did.”

“It can be overwhelming and it’ll take some time to process,” Rachel comforted her friend.

Chloe turned to face Rachel, frowning. “You and Frank Bowers, seriously?”

“There is more to Frank than meets the eye,” Rachel told. “Nevertheless, I had ended it with Frank before I died,” she paused and sighed. “I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you. I know your feelings towards me were deeper than mine towards you. You have every right to be mad at me.”

“You know what pisses me the most?” Chloe snapped. “That I no longer feel angry and betrayed because I’ve already processed the whole thing!” She crossed her arms again and looked away disgruntled.

“I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me some day,” Rachel said.

“I don’t see how’s that gonna be possible,” Chloe turned again to Rachel. “We’re both, y’know, dead.” She let out an impish grin. “C’mere, you!” She opened her arms and closed the other girl in a gentle embrace.

“Yes, I felt betrayed and disappointed, when I found out,” Chloe said. “Dude, it feels weird saying that as it didn’t actually happen.”

“Well, it did and it didn’t,” Rachel told her.

“What I’m trying to say is that I’ve felt let down by so many people that finding about you and Frank almost pushed me over the edge. Luckily Max was there to help me put things in perspective – in a way that I could’ve never imagined.” Chloe’s voice fainted towards the end and a single tear ran down her cheek.

Chloe held on to Rachel for a while, before she eased her grip. She swiftly wiped her eyes and looked at her friend.

“So, what’s the issue with Max then?” Chloe asked.

“Walk with me,” Rachel said and began walking.

“When Maxine-, Max used the picture to undo all the events that had taken place after she discovered her powers, she never destroyed the picture. Instead, she kept it,” Rachel said as they slowly paced forward.

“While there’s no reason to believe that Max still has her abilities, the picture poses a possible threat to the space time continuum. – And that’s where you come in.” Rachel turned to face Chloe.

“As a restless soul, you can still walk among the living, which makes you the perfect candidate to observe Max, to be her guardian angel, so to speak.”

Chloe’s expression brightened of the prospect to spend time with Max but Rachel grabbed her by the arms to get her attention.

“You are not in any circumstance to try to make contact with Max – unless her powers manifest themselves again and she tries to use the picture to change the past. Do you understand?” Rachel asked firmly.

Chloe understood all too well, what that meant. She hung her head and let out a deep sigh. “Yes, I understand,” she finally said.

“Within those limits you can keep Chloe out of harm’s way,” Rachel continued. “In the event that Max’s powers do manifest, use your best judgment to prevent that from happening.”

“How am I supposed to do that, wave curtains, or something?” Chloe blurted, still annoyed about that she wouldn’t be able to contact Max to reassure her.

“Well, you can do that too,” Rachel said, smiling at the thought, “but there are better ways in store for you, which I will tell you in a moment.”

They were suddenly on the cliff by the lighthouse of Arcadia Bay. The sun was setting and it colored the sea in the shade of gold.

“Chloe, will you accept this role as Max’s guardian angel?” Rachel asked from the punk, looking into her eyes.

“You already know the answer,” Chloe said. “Besides, I don’t think I have a choice, do I?”

“No, not really,” Rachel admitted.

“Let’s get down to bidness, then!”

Next chapter: https://lifeisstrangefans.com/obscura-chapter-2/

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