The Other Max – Chapter 1 – Awakening

The idea of dropping into that snob party doesn’t attract me at all. In my short teenager life, I’ve never been interested in those events where the alleged top students get high with every possible type of pill and the high-priced outfit wearing girls take the opportunity to flirt with every boy alive. But I had no choice: my friend Kate just sent me a certainly disturbing text message:

“Max, I’m at the Vortex Club Party. This is no good, I’ve a bad feeling about this and I’m starting to feel dizzy. I’m having trouble typing. xoxo”

Poor Kate. I look like the coolest party girl in comparison with her. I wondered what the heck was my new meek, good Christian and flawless student friend doing in a place like that… it was like putting a sheep inside a lion’s cage. No idea of who convinced Kate for being there, but I bet she begun to faint after the first cup of wine due to the lack of habit, lost her nerves and sent me that alarmist text message. To be honest, I think nothing really worrying is going on… but I must make sure. What are friends for if not for rescuing you from situations where a crowd of perverted boys undress you with their eyes. I haven’t got any better plans for this Saturday night anyways. Let’s rock, Supermax.

I left my room, got out of the dormitories and started moving to the party. There was barely a brief walk between me and my destination since the event was taking place in the academy itself, specifically in the swimming pool where the water sports crew train. Welcome to Blackwell Academy: a place that proclaims itself to be the most prestigious educational center in Arcadia Bay, Oregon, and, at the same time, its principal allows that kind of degrading parties to happen. The academic year just started a few weeks ago, and I’m still getting used to the senior student’s life, but one of the first things you learn when you arrive here is that there is some very influential people who have full control over all the city’s institutions. That includes, of course, our beloved academy. And if you add to the formula the fact that the son of one of those influential people is an honorary student and he takes the lead in all that Vortex Club stuff, you tie up all the loose ends. I could talk all night about Blackwell Academy and its wildlife, but I’d rather leave it for another moment. Moreover, I’ve just arrived in the central courtyard, near to the swimming pool entrance, and all I want now is to meet Kate, take a deep breath and return to my room as soon as possible.

I looked disgusted as I stood in front of the entrance: I could hear the thunderous electronic music resonating from the other side of the door. Man, I can’t stand that kind of music, but I suppose that’s the norm in events like this. It would be incredible to party somewhere in this town while listening to Coldplay or Artic Monkeys, but you can keep on dreaming, Max. I took a deep breath before crossing the entrance threshold.

“Wowser…” I said to myself feeling out of place and looking at every corner “So this is a Vortex Club party.”

I felt like an alien during my first footsteps: all the hall was dark, except for those flashing lights that leave you blind; a deafening volume that doesn’t let you have a conversation if not shouting loudly, and people dancing to the music both inside and outside of the pool. I was surprised at the big number of students who were partying tonight: even several photography classmates I didn’t expect to see here at all, like introverted Daniel, library rat Alyssa, or even science nerd Brooke… I never thought I could see her having fun any other way apart from doing experiments with test tubes or flying her drone over the campus. While I kept moving along the area, some guys stopped dancing and looked at my direction with a weird face. I suppose it isn’t the most common thing in the world for the usual Vortex Club audience to spot here a girl with sneakers, grey common hoody and no makeup. Fuck you all, as if I give a shit about what you think about my clothing. I kept moving on, looking at every place searching for Kate, but I was out of luck. I crossed the entire place, beginning from the wardrobe, passing through the swimming pool border, to reach what appeared to be some kind of VIP zone, delimited by a sleazy curtain. No one seemed to be monitoring the entry and there weren’t any other places left to look into, so I drew back the curtain without any cover and I sneaked in.

So, the Vortex Club even have a VIP zone… I wondered if their list of activities includes any other thing apart from organizing parties where their members drink and get high like tomorrow is the end of the world. I heard they were founded in the Reagan era as a new wave rebellion against the yuppie forces or something like that, but they degraded becoming what they are now. In any case, it seems that the only way to become a popular student in Blackwell is being part of the club. Sure, they can sit and wait for me to join.

The atmosphere inside the VIP zone has a slightly different touch: Chill Out music was playing and people’s behavior were stranger. There they were the club’s hardcore members: snooty queen Victoria and her friends (that rather seem to be her minions) and various members of the Bigfoots: the academy football team. Some couples were making out, some others stayed in a nirvana state of mind where they didn’t even notice me, and the rest just danced at a slower pace. For a moment, I thought about pulling my inseparable instant camera out of my bag and take a couple of pictures, but I discarded the idea right away. Despite my obsession for photographing almost everything around me, I think I’m making an exception now: I’ll rather not capture what I’m seeing tonight and not obscure the perception I have about my classmates.

I looked in every direction, but Kate wasn’t there either. Suddenly, a familiar voice interrupted my search.

“Hey, Max! What are you doing here?”

I gritted my teeth. Damn.

“Hi, Logan. Uh… haven’t you seen Kate around here, right?”

“I’ll talk after you shake that booty for me, sweetie!”

I’m gonna puke. Logan is the typical chunky bully boy every American educational center has. After leaving her ex-girlfriend pregnant and abandon her, now he goes through life trying to hook up with every girl alive. The crème de la crème, you can tell. Maybe he can fool someone who is impressed by the fact that he plays on the football team, but I’m not that kind of girl. Furthermore, he didn’t look especially handsome to me, and I don’t like his preppy clothes he’s wearing tonight.

“Stop it, Logan. I need to find Kate right now. It’s important.”

“Why don’t you ever want to see me, Max? You are hot! C’mon, let’s party together.” His hands were heading dangerously to my hips. I stopped him cold turkey.

Hot. Hah. I consider myself to be an ordinary girl and I don’t like to be the focus of people’s attention. I’m not tall, I always dress in a casual way, and I don’t dye my medium-length brown hair with any weird color. I’ve never been a person particularly concerned about the physical aspect, but I’m not wasting any time trying to explain this to Logan. He isn’t gonna change.

“Logan, you’re drunk. And I don’t talk to you because you’re such a dick. You bailed on Dana right when she needed you the most, and now you are trying to mack on me. Are you proud of yourself?”

“Oh, wow, so the hipster girl gets all cocky! Girls like you turn me on. We’ll have a great time tonight, Max…”

As he spoke, he was pushing me against the wall. He had bloodshot eyes and a blank stare. I’m starting to panic.

“I have to go.” I looked away searching for an exit. “Goodbye, Logan.”

“You are not going anywhere” He put his hands on the wall blocking my way out. “Tonight, I’ll enjoy some Max, and nothing can change my mind!”

I had no room to make any moves. Before I could do anything to prevent it, Logan’s robust arms got me and he began to touch my crotch without any warning.

“No!” I shouted, but no one could hear me. As he rubbed his filthy fingers energetically against my intimate parts, Logan covered my mouth with his free hand and stuck his perverted gaze on me. There was nothing I could do, I was completely at his mercy. Please, someone help me.

I was about to cry hopeless when the strangest phenomenon I’ve seen in my entire life occurred: suddenly, time stood still, without any reasonable explanation: as if all the clocks at once had decided to step on the brakes, and then reverse, going counter-clockwise. I witnessed how all the actions just happened were unraveled one by one at high speed. Logan’s hand got off my crotch, he ceased to hold me, and he went backwards to reach the position where he was before he harassed me. Once I was safe again, time flow returned to normal. Logan was going his own way, as if I’ve never been here.

“What the fuck did just happen? Did I just… rewind time?”

Leaning against the wall where Logan abused me, I tried to catch my breath as I tried to figure out a reasonable explanation of what had just happened. It makes completely no sense: I’m not dreaming and I’m not stoned like everyone around me seems to be. What’s wrong with you, Max? Did you just become totally insane?

“Hey, Max! What are you doing here?”

Same phrase. Same character. Interrupting my thoughts, Logan spotted me again, causing it to repeat exactly the same scene that happened a moment ago. Shit, man, give me a break…

“You damn bastard, you are gonna pay for this!” my physical presence is not impressive and my voice is rather soft, but I tried to sound as threatening as I could. “I’ll cut your dick in slices, you motherfucking bully!”

During a split-second Logan looked confused by my sudden words, but instantly his face changed, turning violent.

“Who are you calling bastard, bitch?” He grabbed me by the neck and imprisoned me against the same wall again. “Come over here, you and I are going to have some fun…”

No. Not again. No fucking way. Wishing to escape from there, I closed my eyes and focus all that I could. To my surprise and relief, exactly the same thing happened again: time began to run backwards, and all the actions that just took place undid one by one as if I was rewinding an old video tape: Logan released his hand from my neck and turned back to his original position.

“Am I… a magician?” I looked at my hands, skeptical. “What the hell is going on?”

Everything happened at the speed of light and I didn’t have time to process it, but one thing is clear: I must break this loop right now. You can reflect about all the recent developments later, Max, but now, the priority is running away from here right now. Unfortunately, as soon as I began my plans to break out, I realized it was impossible to escape from my position without that damn jock spotting an eye on me: Logan, for the third time, approached me. Dude, for reals… you gotta be kidding me.

“Hey, Max! What are you do…?”

“Hey, Logan” I didn’t let him finish the sentence. Now I’m really mad and pissed off. My eyes shined with rage, and I had to do something right now. “What are you doing tonight, handsome?”

“Wow! I can’t believe Max, the self-absorbed hot chick from photography class, is talking to me! Wanna party, sweetie?

“I’m thinking in something more… intimate. Don’t you know of a place when you and I could… you know, be more comfortable?

“I love your style, Max! Just behind that door there’s a room where we can chill for a while… you’ll see.

“Take me there, big boy…” I winked. Probably, that asshole thought the fire in my eyes came from desire. I amazed myself playing that slutty role, but I doubt that was the most surprising fact tonight. After all I went through, two moons could show up over the sky, and I won’t give a shit.

Hand by hand, Logan led me to the room he just pointed out. What’s the plan now, Max? Think about it: you don’t have the physical strength to beat Logan up. Make a scheme and get rid of him now, or you will be sentenced to repeat the same infinite loop for all eternity. Luckily, when we crossed the door’s threshold, the light bulb over my head lit up. I think I got it! I just hope that my newly acquired power to rewind time remains intact… or I’ll be so screwed up.

The room looked like some sort of office, with its typical carpet, couch, desk and display case. I had never been here inside, but my first impression is that it’s got the same wealthy and snooty style as the rest of the party.

“Okay, so we are here… You, me, and no one else around… Do you want me to turn the lights off or…?

“There’s no need.” I answered. “I want you to see clearly everything what happens in this room.”

Logan made a foolish face that made me want to kick it.

“You’re amazing, Max. Come to me, I’ve been wanting you since the school year begun…

Without letting me react, that lame bully struck me, giving me a disgusting kiss while blatantly brushing my breasts with both hands. Hold on a while, Max. The show has just begun.

Barely a minute passed when the asshole lifted my t-shirt and awkwardly removed my bra, leaving me naked from the waist up, and he continued with his fondling. You better enjoy it, bastard, because I’ll be the last thing you do.

“You turn me on so much, Max…”

To my surprise, in the middle of the action, I moaned. What’s the matter, Max? Are you even enjoying that lewd tinkering? I must admit that despite his awkwardness, it was pleasant in some way: Logan has sturdy football player’s arms and big, manly hands. After a while, he shifted from using his hands to use his mouth, and I felt his tongue around my tits from top to bottom, as his hands begun to fiddle around my crotch area. That dickhead almost made me distract from the plan. My nipples hardened and I had to admit I wasn’t exactly dry down there. Maybe I leaped too much into this flighty slut role? For a few minutes, I let myself go, but fortunately, when I noticed I was beginning to move my hips and moan, I regained my sanity and planted my hand on his chest in order to stop.

“I want you to lie down on that couch now.”

“At your service, Miss…”

Wake up, Max. You are eighteen, beyond making out with some boys, you didn’t have any sexual relations yet, and it’s clear this is the most twisted imaginable situation to start having it. I don’t know why the fuck I’m even considering it, but, for a moment, that son of a bitch clouded my mind. I better focus on my goal: even if I can rewind my actions, I very much doubt I can do it with my memories.

With his usual stoned boy awkwardness, Logan took off his pants without asking me whether I’d like to see him in his underwear and he laid down on the couch.

“What are you waiting for, bae? C’mon, show me that little pussy… I bet you use it better than your friend did.”

All the alarms inside my body raised at once.

“What do you mean ‘my friend’? Are you talking about Kate?”

“Yeah, that one. She seemed so vanilla, but she really is a crazy little bitch when you help her out with a little dose…”

“You laid Kate!? Where is she now?” I think I’ll break my teeth if I keep squeezing them the way I was doing.

“And I wasn’t the only one. That slut really likes cock, you know.”

I squeezed my trembling fist until I got hurt with my own nails.

“Tell me where she is. Now.”

“Whatever. Last time I saw her, she was with Nathan. Well, are we gonna fuck, or what?”

Nathan Prescott. Could not be other than the disturbed daddy’s boy who thinks he owns the entire academy, the one who orchestrates all this Vortex Club shit and, unfortunately, also my classmate. Logan’s testimony was totally devastating, but after knowing that Kate may be with that psycho, I do not expect anything good. I must end this as soon as possible.

“Sure we’re gonna fuck, hottie”. Wait for me to take the condom out of my bag…

The preliminaries are over: now let’s talk serious business. Both angry and nervous, in topless with the lights on showing that douche an image of me that very few men have seen, I dug into my bag. I’m not carrying any condom and I knew it perfectly: that wasn’t what I’m looking for. At the speed of light and begging for that to work, I started the masterplan I made up on my way from the VIP area to this room: I grabbed a bottle of perfume made of glass I carried on my bag and I threw it against Logan’s face with all my strength. Bull’s eye! Preceding with a loud ‘crash’, the bottle burst into his face, breaking into pieces.

“What have you done to me, damn bitch!” shouted Logan desperately in a broken voice. Glass scraps stabbed in her cheeks and forehead causing him several cuts and making him bleed. The perfume inside the bottle soaked all over his head, irritating his eyes. That jerk now looked pathetic, writhing on the couch, screaming like a baby, and hands stained with blood covering his face.

I was stunned as I watched my sadistic performance, but you can’t stay there paralyzed in fear now, Max: you got him. You better achieve it within the first try: who knows if you’ll be able to rewind again. It’s now or never!

Without losing a single second and drawing strength out of the heat of the moment, I grabbed the fire extinguisher that was hanging near the room’s door, and began beating Logan’s head with it ad nauseam, completely out of me while I screamed in anger and heard the metallic sound of the extinguisher denting more and more with each blow. I looked like a damn psychopath while doing it, and the most disturbing fact was that a part of me enjoyed it. The half-naked asshole couldn’t defend himself at any moment and had no room for maneuver. I didn’t count how many times I hit him, but after a few strokes I noticed that he stopped moving. I can tell I killed him, for sure. Between gasps, I let the fire extinguisher with bloodstains hit the floor.

“I hope you liked the way I fuck you, motherfucker.”

Welcome to dark side, Max Caulfield. What can I say…? only ten minutes ago, I suffered an attempted rape and I discovered that I can go back in time. That said, being a killer doesn’t seem that bad. Frightened, I tried to assimilate the situation while putting on again my bra and t-shirt, but my analytical capacity was not at its best. After looking at Logan’s disfigured face and being about to vomit, I begged my newly acquired power to remain intact. Here I go: just focusing on my wish, and helping me with a gesture extending the palm of the hand towards the front, I rewound. Logan’s face recomposed, he put on his shirt and pants again (thank God) and he went backwards out of the room, leaving me alone.

I dropped in the couch and snorted relieved. Thank godness… I don’t know what I’d do if it wouldn’t work, but clearly I don’t want to become a murderer persecuted by the law the rest of my life. My poorly developed plan surprisingly came out perfectly: I had had my inner revenge, Logan would never know, and from this room I can escape smoothly without him approaching me. It’ll be my dirty little secret.

My whole body shuddered. So, I do have a supernatural power. So many questions came up to my head… Why me, and why now? Isn’t it an oversized burden for just a young teenager student? I looked at the palm of my trembling hand, frightened but at the same time euphoric, thinking of the world of possibilities that had opened up to me from now on. C’mon, Max… be positive. Think about it: you’re the boss now. You can control time, the entire world is at your service. I was dying to experiment and discover how far I could reach with my new superpowers, but I still have one task to do. Night is young, so do I, and I have an important mission to complete: rescuing my friend Kate.

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