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A New Time

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           A harsh autumn breeze rustles the trees just outside of Arcadia Bay. The streets are empty, desolate, and quiet. A car, filled with unknowing or uncaring townsfolk, passes by the Two Whales Diner, which is empty. An unusual circumstance for the typically busy restaurant. A blue butterfly flutters past the Diner peacefully as it is guided by the wind. Everyone has marched off to Pan Estates, residence of the sinister Sean Prescott and his wretched family.

           The premises of the prestigious Blackwell Academy, antiquated with a sense of modernity, is empty as well. With the on-campus murder of blue haired belle Chloe Price, it was shut down so as to investigate the controversial environment. Through the mercy of Principal Raymond Wells, the students of Blackwell were given diplomas and graduated so as to get them out of the media’s spotlight. Perhaps one day, it will open again. Perhaps in another timeline even.

           In spite of this shutdown, two friends - survivors of Blackwell, if you will - have gathered outside to reminisce upon the early ends of their high school education.

           “Max? Are you okay?”

           The quaint church girl, Kate Marsh, looks to her friend, cautious-yet-still-clumsy Max Caulfield, photographer at large. For a few brief seconds, Max has stood in front of the Academy’s closed doors. She remembers everything that happened on the fateful day of October 11th, 2013. When she travelled back in time from an alternate Arcadia Bay to the 7th, when she would have saved her beloved Chloe from the fiendish Nathan Prescott. When she instead opted to let her die so as to spare thousands. All at the cost of her one beloved Chloe.

           Max looks at the entrance to the school in silence before pulling out a camera to snap a selfie of herself in front of the empty school, with Kate in the background. Seeing Max keeping a memory of her time with Kate, the girl smiles and attempts to strike a pose, succeeding just as the flash captures the two of them in the moment. Still, Max is sad as she remembers her time on campus. With Kate, with Warren, with Victoria, with Chloe, and all the others. As Max quietly reflects on her past, someone walks over to her. Max’s nose starts to bleed out of Kate’s sight and Max wipes the blood away. She turns to Kate and smiles. “It’s all fine. Or at least, it will be in a few seconds. Once I’m gone.”

           “Oh, I know how much you hate this place, but everything is going to change today. I promise you.”

           Max nods optimistically. The two hug tightly, realizing that this goodbye may be final. Upon leaving this heartfelt hug, Max pats Kate on the shoulder. “Thank you, Kate. I’ll see you around.”

           “I’ll hold you to that. Take care of yourself, and whoever you meet on Earth-25 or whatever.”

           Max nods to Kate with one final smirk. Kate steps back and Max grabs a photograph of her at a Blackwell End of the World Party. One that was tacky and sweaty and drinky. One Max spared this Bay from. She stares into the Party photo intently as her eyes glow. Not a blinding light, but a light that a regular human’s eyes shouldn’t be glowing at. And just like that, she blips out of this timeline to the next. With no one to hold the photograph, it falls to the ground, swooping from left to right before settling on the pavement.

           Kate walks over to the photograph and picks it up to look at it. She giggles at the sight of her friends, Warren, Chloe and Max. Now, they were all gone. She flips the photograph around out of curiosity to see writing on the back.

 

Dear Kate, this past month has been amazing with you there to be the shining light we’ve all needed. I’m sorry about all the tragedies that have befallen you, but I know that you can move past them. Keep on being your best self! xomaxo

 

          Kate neatly tucks the photo into her jacket and she walks over to her turquoise scooter. She boards the scooter and pushes herself off the school premises with one foot. She heads to her next destination, the site of a great battle to come: the battle for Arcadia Bay.

          Kate passes by about four protestors holding signs condemning the Prescott family. She kicks the ground to speed past them as the amount of protestors quickly increases from a few into the dozens and into the hundreds.

          The crowd speaks almost as one, with their tongue being shared in venom against the Prescotts and their patriarch: “Sean Prescott, your time is OVER! SEAN PRESCOTT, YOUR TIME IS OVER!”

           Leading the crowd are David Madsen, one of only two notable Blackwell security guards, and Joyce Price, head waitress/chef/manager/spiritual advisor of the Two Whales Diner. Both are angry at Sean Prescott, and with VERY good reason; his kid shot their kid in the Blackwell Academy girls’ bathroom. The blue butterfly flutters in front of them before flying away.

           “Joyce, this is crazy! And kinda cool! All these people here, together. This has been a long time coming.”

           “You can say that again. Chloe would’ve.”

           “I know, Joyce. She would have. But now’s not the time for mourning. Not anymore. Now, we fight back.”

           Joyce nods and she moves forward with David and the army of like minded protestors behind them, backing them up in sheer numbers. She grabs a megaphone from a protestor holding it for the married couple. “Sean Prescott! Your son killed our daughter one month ago! Now, we want you to leave the Bay, or turn yourself in!”

           Joyce hands the megaphone to David, who yells into it: “Your shady business has ruined everyone! The fishermen, the police, the kids, MY kid!”

           Amongst the crowd, Victoria Chase, third meanest person in Blackwell, looks on at the couple as they make their stand against the Prescotts. She is intrigued by how the tides are turning against Sean as she hangs on every word that David and Joyce speak. Despite being on top of everyone else, she has now been made one of these people by her shared anger at the Prescotts for their cover-ups and crimes.

           Inside stately Prescott Manor, the sinister patriarch, Sean Prescott, looks out of a window at the protestors approaching the front of his house. His face is grim, he knows his time is up.

           “Get out here now, you bastard!” David jeers at the mansion, at Sean.

           Solemnly, Sean walks to a filing cabinet and grabs dozens of yellow folders. The text on these folders relates eerily to groups, people and events in Arcadia Bay from all across its history. He smiles, knowing that the rest of Arcadia Bay will share in his knowing of its shadier history. That they will turn on each other once they know how much they’ve screwed each other over.

           Kate walks through the crowd of protestors, pushing her way through others. She looks up and sees Sean calmly walking to a balcony with the yellow folders in his hands.

           “You all want THE TRUTH?! TAKE IT!”

           Kate’s jaw drops in shock upon seeing Sean throw the folders onto the crowd. Papers fly in the air and protestors grab those they can reach. Upon opening them, the hidden truths of the Bay make themselves known. Upon reading them, discussion flows around the crowd.

           “Now, you all know, You're all monsters too! You just can't see it! You refuse to! Now, I bet you'll all have problems dealing with that! NOW, GET OFF MY LAWN! LEAVE ME AND MY FAMILY ALONE!”

           As Kate looks at the descending files and folders, a paper flies into her face and she sees that it is a police report regarding Nathan Prescott’s assault of her from early October. Upon removing the report from her face, she reads that it was dismissed by order of the Prescott Foundation - Sean’s pet project to take over the Bay piece by piece - and her brow furrows in rage. Upon further reading, she also sees that Victoria Chase corroborated her statement against Nathan and added some other spicy details to expose Nathan, soothing her anger as she sees the face of an icy bully raised over the words of an assisting ally. With a smile, she walks away with the report to her scooter before she leaves the scene. More papers fall and the crowd grows louder.

           Hearing the anger of the crowd boiling, Sean runs back inside and heads downstairs to his living room. It is empty. He made it so when he realized that the reign of the Prescotts was over. Using all the love he had left in his heart, he gave his wife the car and she took off before anyone had arrived. He was stranded… or was he? He picks up a phone and hurriedly bumps into a mysterious person in black, causing him to stumble backwards. Sean recoils upon seeing the intruder before calming down, recognizing him as an asset from a shadowy project he was involved with.

           “You arrived just in time! Let's go.” The person in black grabs Sean's arm and the two vanish from the house in a blip, barely making any noise and certainly not causing a scene.

           Outside, the protestors grow heated; towards each other, towards the Prescotts, towards the world that has royally screwed them over.

           “If you want to spend so much time with my boyfriend inside of you, let me get a try!”, says a vengeful woman to her boyfriend’s secret lover.

           “I’m getting my money back! Hand it over or I’ll take your HAND too!” exclaims an angry janitor to a boss who owes him a paycheck or two.

           “You saw my cat run out the door and didn’t stop him? I hope no one stops me from CHOKING YOU OUT!” screams a furious petowner to an ignorant neighbor.

           Victoria pushes through the crowd, trying to get out before she gets caught up in someone else’s troubles. Unfortunately, she has been knocked over by a clueless combatant taking advantage of the chaos. She hurriedly gets back up and attempts to run out of the crowd.

           A gunshot rings out, dispersing the rage and breaking up the crowd. The source: David and his service pistol from serving overseas. He fired a warning shot to gather everyone’s attention.

           “STOP! Don’t do this to each other! I’m not exactly the softest tool, but I know mindless violence isn’t the answ-”

           A lung shot pigeon falls to the ground, landing at David’s feet. It was a victim of David’s warning shot.

           “Ugh. M-mindless violence isn’t the answer! It’s stupid! We need to stick together, otherwise, Sean Prescott wins! We need to show him that he wasn’t the one holding the town together! We are! WE ARE ARCADIA BAY!”

           The crowd’s violent fighters come to their senses and put aside their fists for helping hands, lifting each other up. Victoria sees this and ponders her past interactions with just about everyone in town before walking off.


 

           A few hours pass and the Two Whales Diner is open again with head chef Joyce offering meals on the house. A few dozen protestors have dinner, breakfast, lunch, anything to help ease the anger now raging in their stomachs. They are all laughing and dancing at the joys of living in a Prescott-free town, an evil-free town… for now, anyways.

           Sitting at one table in specific are Kate and David with waffles and eggs on their plates. David eats his food very quickly while Kate eats a bit more slowly.

           “You and Joyce were great leading these guys! You’re heroes!”

           “Thanks, kid. I’m not a big speech guy, but I like to think that I know how to get people pumped. I mean, we have to with how big the changes for this town’ll be.”

           “I’ll say! What are your plans now?”

           “Arcadia Bay may have screwed everybody up but I'll never leave it for too long. Especially with Joyce. She needs me. And I need her.”

           Kate smiles at David, telling him “You're a good man.”

           He shrugs, humbled as ever. “What are your plans?”

           “Same as you. Stay in town, lay low, help out when I can. The big thing I have to do is find myself again. Victoria may have hurt me with that stupid website of hers and a good chunk of my family was no help in the mean time, but I've been through worse.”

           “Yeah. I… I'm still very, very sorry about that thing at Blackwell.”

           “No need to apologize again… for the fifteenth time. You and Joyce have done plenty for me. Just look out for each other.”

          “I will. And I’m certain you will too.”

          “Totally.”

          Joyce walks over, having tended to the appetites of just about everyone in the diner. She’s even given herself a milkshake in the meantime. “Kate, it's so good to see you again.” She drinks the milkshake and Kate gets up to hug her.

          “It's a pleasure to see you too, Mrs. Price.”

          “You can call me Joyce.” Kate lets go of Joyce as she turns to David. “David, I’ve got something to tell you.”

          David raises an eyebrow, somewhat worried. “What happened, honey? Is this a private matter? Is this a bad thing?”

          Joyce smiles. “No, quite the opposite actually..” She pulls a pregnancy test out of her pocket and shows it to David, who beams in excitement. He’s almost glowing. “We are expecting!”

         David jumps out of his seat and hugs Joyce with all his loving might. A tear falls out of his eye and Joyce joins in the waterworks.

         Kate pats both of them on their backs. “Oh my goodness, I'm so happy for you two! Congratulations!”

         Both Joyce and David, in almost perfect sync, say “Thank you, Kate!” while embracing each other in a powerful hug. As the rest of the diner realizes the situation, they cheer the couple on in joy.

         Victoria looks on at these festivities and smiles. Suddenly, Kate enters her field of view. Knowing Kate, she grabs her purse and tries to sneak past the protestors around Kate. It is tough but she makes it to the front door without being detected. As she goes to leave, Kate helps her with the door, freezing Victoria in place almost. Awkwardly, she turns around to face Kate, feeling guilty for the many problems she inflicted upon her. Awkwardly, she says “Hiiiii…”

         Kate, not as awkwardly, smiles at Victoria to defuse the situation, adding her own awkward “Hiiiii…”

         “… How have you been?”

         “I’ve been fine. Ever since Blackwell shut down, I’ve been hanging out with Max, Joyce and David.”

         Victoria bobs her head in approval of Kate’s new bonds with others. “Hm. Nice.”

         Kate looks to Victoria and asks, “What have you been up to?”

         “Not much. Just heading out.” Victoria attempts to walk out the door and Kate opens it wider for her. “Thanks.”

         “I need to talk to you, Vic.”

         Victoria shakes her head, pondering a response. Eventually, she settles on a “Fine.” The two walk out and stand outside by the road, facing the great Pacific Ocean as the waves softly slam into the beach. Victoria pulls out a cigarette and lights it for herself. She offers Kate one, but she shakes her head. With a deep breath, she tells Kate, “After Blackwell, a lot of people left. You remember? We got our degrees and a lot of people skipped town. Went back home. The Vortex Club died because of it. Even with Nathan behind bars, we all tried to stick together, but we all eventually just split. Now, it’s only me in the Bay…”

         Kate puts a hand on Victoria’s shoulder. Victoria looks at it with equal parts confusion and comfort. “I’m sorry, Vic. You don’t really have to be alone. I mean, aside from the Price family, I’m alone too. Plus, you surely have your par-”

         Victoria’s eyes shift to Kate and she cuts her off, asking “What about Caulfield?”

         “That’s a good question, come to think. She told me she left the Bay, so she’s probably back in Seattle. Maybe with her parents?”

         Victoria shrugs. “Lucky. Anyways, you probably don’t want to talk to me, given that I’m, well, me, so I’ll get going.”

         “Not so fast.”

         Victoria takes a deep breath and musters up her strength to tell Kate, “Fine, I just want to say that I’m-”

         Kate pulls out the police report she filed against Nathan Prescott. She points specifically to the part where Victoria gave her statement against Nathan.

         “I know you’re sorry. And even though that doesn’t make everything alright immediately, it makes everything a lot easier between the two of us.”

         “Yeah. I did that because I knew just how powerful the Prescotts were. Even with everyone knowing that Nathan was a killer and a creep, things wouldn’t change unless we made the change. So, I went to the police and gave my statement. I spilled the beans on a lot of stuff that he did. I like to think it helped bust him.”

         Kate smiles at Victoria. “Thank you. Thank you a lot.” Kate hugs Victoria, confusing her. Within a second, she understands what a gesture like this from Kate provides: security. She returns the hug.

         “You’re welcome.”

         As the two talk, a shooting star burns in the Earth’s atmosphere. Kate and Victoria look up at the star searing across the night sky, and Victoria says, “Time to make a wish.” The two close their eyes and silently make their wishes.