Pursuit of greatness – Chapter Five
A white sky, not a speck of blue anywhere, the clouds as white and pure like Her. Everyone has their flaws, but those flaws are what makes Her so perfect.
Oh how I miss her, if I only could see her one more time. I’d say all those things I never said, she thought tiredly.
Ah, there’s the sun, struggling to squeeze through the clouds. The result ended up being a beautiful faint glow in the sky. She tilted her head a tiny bit to the left. Another gap in the clouds where the sun shone through. Her head kept on falling towards the left. Unfocused eyes slowly tried to make sense of what they were seeing. The more she stared at the scenery which played out in front of her, the less sense it made. The horizon, for as far as she could see it stretch, was white. The cloud just merged perfectly with the horizon. However, where there was supposed to be land, is more white clouds.
She tried to sit up but to no avail. Her mind started to regain its consciousness again. The flashback of her best friend dying started to play again. She tried to lift her hands up to wipe the tears away, but they didn’t move an inch. She tried to remember more details of that night, the look of Her face, Her expression, but she couldn’t focus enough to summon what she was after. Any detail that might hint Her survival. Instead of achieving her goal, a headache started to grow inside of her. The pain slowly woke her up, sharpening her vision. Her whole body was hurting, the headache, her hands, her stomach. Her everything screamed of pain. She let out a scream in agony. A familiar voice could be heard in the back of her mind, screaming a name, but not the name which mattered right now. Mixed with the familiar voice was something unfamiliar, something she didn’t recognize, what was that sound? In midst of her confusion she felt something sharp penetrate her arm. Panic slowly rose as she vaguely remembered a syringe from that night, was it hers or who was it? Then, it all dispersed.
“Wake up Max!” Jefferson slapped her check, “you’ve slept long enough, Max. We have a lot to accomplish today! It’s a special day today!”
Max slowly woke up, all her pains numbed her, the shock of her best friend being dead still hung over her. The loss of everything she wanted to tell Chloe now stuck within her forever. Her throat still burned; her head still housed a blooming pain. She felt her swollen eyes sting when she tried to open them; How could she still have tears to fall after all her crying? How could the world treat her like this; why did it reward Mr Jefferson’s behaviour? She felt another slap across her face, it was hard enough to sting but not enough to bruise her.
She looked through her swollen eyes at a glowing Jefferson. He wore a smile which reached both his ears. When he noticed Max was awake he slowly backed away and showed her a picture of her, one she didn’t remember being taken. But in that very picture she looked lifeless and limp yet somehow, absent eyes looked out through the picture, unable to focus at anything. She was still awake in it.
“Look at this! Beautiful!” Jefferson exclaimed excitedly, “I guess your work here is done now Max, thank you very much for your patronage! Oh it was fun working with you Maxine Caulfield. I hope we get the chance to do this more often!” He looked at the picture of Max.
Happy with his work he started to take down the camera set up. When he was finished with the cameras he leaned toward Max, as if he were going in for a kiss, just when their foreheads were supposed to meet he stroked past her on the left side and reached for something behind her. He could hear Max loudly exhale. He leaned back and stood up. Towering over Max he looked down at her, who had a weird look on her tormented face. He turned his back to her and walked toward the cabinet. In his hand hung a rope neatly arranged. He opened the cabinet and put the rope away. He then proceeded to walk through the draperies and out of view from Max.
“Max, I presume you already know what’s going to happen, and I see no point in dragging this out any longer than necessary.” He called out from the draperies before emerging through them holding a syringe in his hands.
“I’ll see you in class, won’t I, Miss Caulfield?” while he whispered this he pulled up the right arm of her jumper. When he finished pronouncing Caulfield he looked down and injected the content of the syringe into her blood system.
He stood up and walked to the computer. He scrolled through the pictures which he had taken during the time with Max. He came to that picture and a smile slowly grew on his face. He looked pleased over to Max.
Max stared intently at Jefferson, refusing to give up. Making sure to remember everything there is to remember about him. A slow darkness crept over her, coolness seeped through her veins as the drug started to affect her. Her gaze started to falter. Her mind started to float away, to some distant place far away from her. It was so comfortable, all her pains, all her sorrow just floated away with it. Her faltering eyes started to see clearer than they ever had. It was so serene. So beautiful.
All her pain and sorrow came crashing down all at once. The sudden overwhelming wave of emotions caused Max to gasp out loud, her sore throat reminded her to be wary of using it for a while. She fought to keep her head held straight. As her muscles slowly stopped responding to her commands, caused her neck to slowly lose its posture and by each passing second her head dropped one centimetre closer to her breast.
Jefferson unstrapped the lifeless body of Max, first the legs, then the arms. He did it as a ceremony, honouring her hard, dedicated work for his purpose. When her arms could no longer hold Max in position she started to fall forwards. He carefully caught her lifeless body and lifted her up, put her on his shoulder and walked out to the car. He put her in the trunk and drove off.
During his drive towards his destination he kept calm, he listened to music, stopped at the gas station and bought a doughnut, he leaned back onto the car and began eating his doughnut. The shopkeeper then came out for a smoke during his break, saw Jefferson and approached him, offering a smoke as he did so.
“Sorry, not tonight, I’m heading somewhere where I can’t smell like cigarette so please smoke it elsewhere if you don’t mind,” Jefferson politely said to the shopkeeper who excused himself before he went back to the building and stopped in one of the corners to smoke his cigarette. Jefferson finished his doughnut and got back into the car and drove off towards his destination.
He killed the engine and stepped out of his vehicle. He took a deep breath and leaned back towards his car. He surveyed around the area, he spied the security guard’s car standing on its designated parking slot. What was his name again? Mad… Madsen, Madson? Anyway, it’s not important. No one else was up this early except for him and the guard, excellent Jefferson thought.
He got back in his car and backed it up towards the stairs leading to the main entrance, he opened the trunk but left the engine running this time around. He exited his car, walked around it. He opened the trunk fully and stared down at the unconscious girl lying there, so sweet and pure. He couldn’t help to smile remembering the pictures he got working together with her. He moved Max’s bangs away from her face one last time, bent down and picked her up. He took one last look at her before he simply dropped her onto the staircase leading up to the main building. He closed the trunk and opened the door to his car. He looked at her lying on the stairs, silently whispered to himself, “Max, remember to enter your photo for the contest, I’ve seen what you can accomplish now.” Before he got back in the car and drove home to prepare today’s class.
David Madsen came out from the swimming hall, cheerfully whistling his favourite tune while locking the doors. No unexpected visitors tonight, a calm and nice morning, I’ll finish today’s shift get home and see how the girl is doing today. He turned his back to the doors and looked out over the deserted parking lot. Pleased with a good days work he called it quits for the night. He followed the pavement back to his office and left his equipment in their designated place. He sat down on his chair, he rested his head towards the wall, slowly enjoying his last cup of coffee before he headed back home to see his family. He walked out of his office door, locked it up and walked past the signboard, read the new missing girl poster of Chloe’s friend Max Caulfield. Upset another girl from his school has disappeared, another friend of Chloe. Deep in thought he walked back towards his car. When he came to the stairs of the parking lot his blood froze, every single hair on his body rose. He quickly picked up his phone and called 911. He rushed towards Max, his military background kicking in as he started to check her pulse. It was there, but faint. He checked for a breath, it was also there. He removed his jacket and put it over Max. All he could do now was to wait for the emergency crew to come and help her.
The ambulance and police arrived to the scene. The police officers questioned Madsen about the discovery while the ambulance crew quickly stabilized Max and carried her away. The ambulance drove off with Max and Madsen’s absent eyes followed it over the horizon before he apologized to the officer trying to talk to him.
The ambulance arrived at the hospital; Max quickly got into an emergency room and was placed under observation and under-went various tests. During her examination they saw all her needle marks in her arms and neck, which caused the medical team to wait with examining Max any further until the blood test comes through. They had to wait and see what she had been injected with, and if they hopefully have an antidote for whatever was in her blood system. While they wait for the test results to come back they inform the police officers and with her family about the current situation. How she was unable to wake up.
A white sky, not a speck of blue anywhere, the clouds as white and pure like Chloe. Everyone has their flaws, but those flaws are what made Chloe so perfect.
Oh how I miss her, if I only could see her one more time. I’d say all those things I never said, she thought tiredly.
But she’s dead.
Ah, there’s the sun. Struggling to squeeze through the clouds. The result ended up being a beautiful faint glow in the sky.
Miss Caulfield, that’s no sun…
She tilted her head a tiny bit to the left. Another gap in the clouds where the sun could shine through.
Oh so there is two suns now?!
Her head kept on falling towards the left. Unfocused eyes slowly tried to make sense of what they were seeing.
I’ve been telling you Miss Caulfield…
The more she stared at the scenery playing out in front of her, the less sense it made. The horizon, for as far as she could see it stretch, was white.
But that is no Horizon.
The cloud just merged perfectly with the horizon. However, where there’s supposed to be land, is more white clouds.
She tried to sit up but to no avail. Her mind started to regain its consciousness again.
Max, you’ve been awake but you just refuse to see…
The flashback of her best friend dying started playing again.
Chloe, no… Whatever she’s already dead isn’t she?
She tried to lift her hands up to wipe the tears away, but they didn’t move an inch.
You’ve mourned her enough, move on…
She tried to remember more details of that night, the look of Chloe’s face, Chloe’s expression but she couldn’t focus enough to summon what she’s after, any detail that might hint Chloe’s survival.
Max, remember that newspaper clip you got from Mr Jefferson? She. Is. Dead.
Instead of achieving her goal, a headache is started to grow inside of her, what does Mr Jefferson have to do with anything?
Don’t fight me Max, we both know I’ll win in your current state.
The pain slowly woke her up, sharpened her vision. Her whole body was hurting, the headache, her hands, her throat. Her everything screamed of pain.
See, I told you so.
She let out a scream in agony. Only to start coughing. A familiar voice could be heard in the back of her mind, screaming a name, but not the name which matters right now.
You think Vanessa doesn’t matter? I’m sure what you wanted to hear was…
Mixed with the familiar voice is someone unfamiliar, someone she doesn’t recognize, what is that sound?
In midst of her confusion she feels something sharp penetrate her arm. Panic slowly rises as she vaguely remembers a syringe from that night, was it hers or who was it?
Max, drop it it’s… Then, it all dispersed.
When Max woke up, she slowly moved her hand, feeling something losing its weak grip around it. There was a weird sensation on her bed, like something was there pushing down on it, where there shouldn’t be any weight. She moved her hand up towards her face, she rubbed her sore eyes and looked down at what she knew was an hallucination.
It is a dream Max… It’s just wishful thinking, I know you loved her…. She’s FAKE.
“Chloe…? Is that you?” Max carefully asks as she brushes the blue hair from the resting punk. Remember, she’s D. E. A. D! The punk slowly raised her head from the bed and looked at Max.
“Max… Holy shit, Max you’re awake!” Chloe cheerfully burst out, and then looked nervously at the door “I’m not supposed to be here, if someone finds me…!”
“You’re not real Chloe, you’re not real!” Max first whispered which quickly evolved into a scream of panic, defying her damaged throat threatened to break. “CHLOE YOU’RE DEAD, WHY DO YOU HAUNT ME STILL!? I MOURNED YOU, I WEPT FOR YOU, LEAVE ME ALONE!” Tears threatened to fall.
Miss Caulfield, you DO know she’s dead. Get her away from us! Tears started dripping from her eyes and she grabbed her head with both her hands, her body shook uncontrollably. It’s to make us feel better Max, get her away from us!
“GET OUT! NOW!” Max screams repeatedly until her voice broke and she could no longer speak, which didn’t stop her from trying.
Previous Chapter: https://lifeisstrangefans.com/pursuit-of-greatness-chapter-four/
Big thanks to SteveoCPP for help with research about Jefferson’s photography. Mai for help with Chloe Price’s line at the end. Harpuia for the general detail nitpicking. Katie Kiley for helping me with the picture of Jefferson! TomorrowHeart for his help with grammatical and editorial stuff. I have to say I’m sorry this release took so long as it did.