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Route 6, Oregon
Friday, August 30, 2013

Driving with her parents back to Arcadia Bay, Max stared at the passing tree line. She was grinning because soon she will see her best friend Chloe in person again. However, that wasn't the only reason she came to Arcadia Bay. After countless attempts, Max got finally accepted at Blackwell Academy, where the famous photographer Mark Jefferson teaches photography.

Max was deep in her thoughts when her dad suddenly yelled, "Look!" He pointed at the opposite lane, where an accident happened. It was a doe, hit by a car. Splattered on the road where the intestines of the doe. The front of the vehicle was deformed, the windshield was shattered, and covered in blood.

Sitting at the back of the car, behind the driver's seat, Max took a photo of the gored deer, using her Polaroid camera. Her nose wrinkled up in disgust,  this is not going on my new photo wall,  she thought.

At high speed, a flatbed truck approached the traffic jam, which has formed behind the accident scene. Ryan, who was the driver, flashed his headlights to warn the drivers. Unfortunately, it was too late. Max could feel the adrenaline running through her veins when she heard the screeching tires.

At first, there was the sound of metal impacting metal. It was the flatbed truck, squashing the first car like a can. But then there was silence, and Max was shocked, everything was frozen, and their car was not going forward anymore.  What is going on,  she thought, as she tried to move her body, but she was unable to do so.

Max was still able to move her eyeballs, and so she looked around. Her color vision was gone. Everything except inside their car looked blurry. The speedometer showed 45 MPH, and there was a piece of metal floating in the air, around 100 feet in front of them.  We are still moving! Did I freeze time?  Max thought.

Trying to move her body as hard as possible caused a sharp pain in her head, and Max noticed that that piece of metal started to fly toward their car's windshield. God damned, this thing could hit my parents, I have to do something, Max thought, she now was able to move her body slowly.

That piece of metal was a shock absorber from that flatbed truck. For Max, it looked like it will smash through the windshield and hit her mom on the passenger seat. When Max moved her hand toward her mom's head, she could feel the nerve signal traveling through her body.

It felt like moving through thick slime, and when Max managed to grab her mom's hair, the shock absorber was already piercing through the windshield. Max pulled as hard as she could, and it was a success. She pulled her mom's head to the left, and the shock absorber flew past her and landed on the back seat beside Max.

When Max let go of her hair, time started to flow normally again. Unfortunately, blood began to pour out of her nose. Also, a sharp pain formed on the left side of her head. I did it! I saved my mom!  Max thought as her peripheral vision started to fade out. Her headache got worse, and she felt like passing out any second. Ryan parking their car on the side of the road was the last thing she remembered before she lost her consciousness.

At the back of the car, in her mom's arms, Max regained her consciousness. When she opened her eyes, she found a concerned look on her mom's face. Her hoodie was drenched in blood.

"Max, what the hell?" Vanessa yelled, rubbing Max's shoulder, "Ryan, she's awake!

"Oh my god, you're alive!" Max whispered, rubbing her forehead.

"Because of you, Max! You saved me! Thank you!" Vanessa said, hugging Max tightly and kissing her on her freckled cheeks.

The sound of ambulance and police horns wailed in the distance. In her mom's arm, Max told the police officer everything, except that time, was frozen and slowed down for her.

Standing with her parents at the side of the road, Max asked, "So what are we going to do now?" 

"Arcadia Bay is only 20 miles away, we will call a tow truck, and they will bring us there," Ryan answered, getting his phone out of his pockets.

Still in shock, Max exhaled in relief, she managed to save her mom, and she could not wait to see Chloe and her dorm at Blackwell Academy.

"And the car?" Max asked, pointing at the smashed windshield. "It's just the windshield we will fix it there," Ryan answered, before hugging Max, "And thank you for saving mom, pumpkin." 

Around one hour later, they arrived at a workshop. Max's parents will stay at a nearby hotel until their car's windshield is finished beeing replaced. Max only took her essential things, her Polaroid camera, her bag, and a few spare clothes out of the car.

The hotel room was clean and had two big beds in it. However, Max would rather be in with Chloe or her new dorm at Blackwell. After she went to the bathroom to change her bloody hoodie, she texted Chloe and asked her if she wanted to hang out.

Max:    I arrived!
Chloe:  Yay! u can crash at my place
Chloe:  I can pick you up
Max:    Sounds good, but I'm at a hotel rn
Max:    A.B inn.
Max:    We had a little accident but no worries.
Chloe:  Sure.
Chloe: 20min?
Max:    Perfect!😋
Chloe: NO EMOJI!

Perfect, now I have to tell my parents, Max thought. She then told her mom that she is going to say at Chloe's house while their car getting fixed.

Vanessa raised her eyebrows. "Okay, honey, but be careful. You know how Chloe can be," she warned.

Max put her hands on her hips. "Mom, please. Chloe is my best friend," she protested.

Vanessa was worried because Chloe was always a little punk, drinking alcohol, tattoos, dyed hair, and hanging out with shady people. Max kept in touch with her, and she changed even more during the time Max was away. The most notable change was that Chloe began to smoke weed and that she has a girlfriend now.

Max was waiting for Chloe outside the hotel. She was nervously shifting her body from side to side at the thought of Chloe's girlfriend, Rachel Amber. Hanging around with Chloe means that she will meet Rachel soon. For Max, Rachel was a mystery. The only thing she knew is that she was beautiful and that everyone knew and loved her.

When Max heard a low-pitched rumbling noise in the distance, she knew it was Chloe's truck. So she did manage to fix this thing, awesome, Max thought, as she waved to Chloe.

Chloe got out of her truck and yelled, "You're finally back, Max!"

"I missed you so much," Max said, on the verge of tears. Hugging Chloe, Max noticed the smell of alcohol and weed on her. I feel like I'm getting high by just hugging her, Max thought.

They hopped into the truck, and Chloe asked her first question. "So how was Portland?"

"Uh, it was a little bit boring and lonely, but otherwise okay," Max said while staring at the graffiti and stickers inside the truck.

"Really? I always thought you preferred to be alone, and you hated too much attention," Chloe exclaimed.

"Well, I preferred to be with you, and not completely alone," Max said, giving Chloe a cheeky grin.

Chloe responded with a giggle, and quickly glanced at the camera hanging around Max's neck. "You still use that old camera?"

Max nodded. "Yep, I'm still into photography."

To Max's delight, Chloe truck did not break down, and they arrived safely at Chloe's home. They got out of their truck, and Chloe said, "Home shit home."

Chloe rushed to her room while Max looked into the living room and the garage. Not much has changed since Max left, except for the garage, which is now a mechanic shop. There was also a locked gun safe inside. These must be David's guns, Chloe's new stepdad, Max thought, she knew that Chloe's mom, Joyce remarried a former soldier, David Madsen.

To Max's surprise, Chloe's room was even dirtier than before she left. There was trash laying everywhere, empty pizza and beer bottles, graffiti and posters, and her room smelled like weed.

Chloe was lying on her bed, with her hands behind her head. Max sat down beside her, and she was eager to know about what happened in Arcadia Bay during the time she was away.

Chloe stared at the ceiling. "Well, you left, and a few weeks later, my mom remarried to Nazi."

Max asked, "These are his guns in the garage?" Chloe quickly answered, "Yep."

Joyce remarrying wasn't the only interesting thing that happened in Arcadia Bay.

"You know Nathan Prescott, right?" Chloe asked.

Max scratched her head, "Uh, that's the rich prick from middle school."

Chloe growled, "Yep, his dad bought the Two Whale Diner, the harbor, he probably even owns Blackhell now. I'm telling you, these bastards are trying to take over this shithole."

Max remembered Nathan from middle school, and thinking about him made Max's stomach turn around. Nathan was always a rich bully who thinks he owns everyone and everything, Max thought.

"Ra... uh, people told me that he once threw a chair at a teacher and that he screams at night," Chloe said, stuttering.

"Rachel?" Max questioned inquisitively.

"Still nosy, huh?" Chloe exclaimed. "But yeah, Rachel was my girlfriend, but not anymore, because someone has sent me a video of her kissing with our drug dealer."

Max chuckled. "Uh, Chloe, drug dealer?" she questioned.

Chloe shook her head. "Dude, this town is hella crazy," she said and then raised her arm defensively, "I mean, how else can I survive in this shithole?"

Chloe stood up and took a joint from under the bed, lighting it. "Much better," she moaned, as she took a deep inhale of her joint.

The room filled with smoke, from Chloe's burning joint, and Max heard a door and footsteps downstairs. "Chloe, did hear that? Max asked, worrying that Chloe's stepdad just arrived home.

A stoned smile formed on Chloe's face. "I am hearing a lot of things right now," she said, lying on her bed. Her arms and legs were spread out, clearly not caring about anything right now.

Suddenly, a loud, manly voice reverberated through the house. "Chloe, I'm back."

Max winced, and Chloe yelled back, "Yeah, whatever."

Chloe stood up and put her joint into the ashtray on her desk. "So, Max, did... do have any boyfriends right now?" she asked, sitting down on her bed.

Max sat down beside her and stared into Chloe's blue eyes, wowser, her eyes look so pretty, she thought before answering, "Chloe, you know the answer, no."

To Chloe's enjoyment, Max's face turned red. "What about girlfriends, huh?"  

Max stuttered, "Ugh, Chloe, that's I'm you know, uh I'm focused on my photos... photography so yeah no—,"

Suddenly Chloe interrupted Max, playfully elbowing her. "Dude, relax I'm just messing with you."

Chloe eyeballed Max's outfit. "You haven't changed at all, you're still Max Caulfield," she said while grinning.

In response, Max looked around Chloe's room, and then said, "Alcohol, drugs, blue hair, and tattoos, you're still Chloe Price."

They both laughed, and after grabbing her joint, Chloe decided to pot some music on. A punk indie song, Piano Fire by Sparklehorse, was playing. To David's displeasure, Chloe turned the volume to maximum.

"Can't dance, hippy?" Chloe yelled as she jumped on her bed, dancing around and laughing. Oh man, this day could not get any better, Max thought, while gently trying to move her body and her arms to the rhythm of the song.

Despite the loud music, Max heard someone stomping up the stairs. She rushed to the stereo system, turned it off, and warned Chloe, who rushed to her desk and put her joint out in her ashtray.

A few moments later, David burst into the room, grinding his teeth and clenching his fists. "Chloe, what is going, and who the hell is this?" he asked, pointing at Max.

Max walked away from David toward Chloe. She crossed her arms and stared on the ground.

Chloe did not say anything, she just stood there frozen in shock, which made David even angrier. "I asked you a question, soldier. Who is this?" he growled.

Chloe took a deep breath. "Dude, relax. She is my best friend and not a threat to you."

"Oh, I know all of you so-called friends, bringing drugs into my house!" he said, staring at Max.

Chloe suddenly yelled, "Aw, fuck off man! I knew her since I was a little kid," before sneering at him, "She probably spent more nights in this house than you."

David did not respond to Chloe. He glared at Max for a moment and stroked his chin as if he was trying to figure something out. When he saw the joint the ashtray, he started to yell, "Chloe, weed in my house, how often do I have to tell that—"

Suddenly, Chloe interrupted him. "Dude, shut your fucking mouth and get the fuck out of my room," she yelled.

Chloe yelled so loud that Max covered her ears with her hands and shut her eyes tightly. When there was silence, Max tried to uncover her ears and open her eyes. However, she was unable to do so because her body was frozen. Her vision was pitch black, and there was absolute silence. She didn't even hear her faint tinnitus anymore.

Max eyelids were shut so tightly and frozen in time, that she wasn't even able to move her eyeballs. She then screamed in her thoughts, am I in hell or something? Why can't I move?  and it seemed to work.

The sudden light blinded Max as she opened her eyes. Time was still flowing at a slowed down rate. David was standing in front of Chloe, and his right palm was flying toward Chloe's face. He is going to slap her! No way am I going to let him hurt Chloe.

Max needed a plan, and she had one. It was simple, still, in slow motion, she punched David's wrist mid-air, and so, caused him to miss. The impact of Max's hand on David's wrist caused the time to flow normally again, and he held his wrist in pain.

David moved his face so close to Max that she could feel his breath on her face. "You," he whispered, "Trust me, from now I'm going to watch every step you make."

Before David left the room, he glanced at Chloe for a moment and said, "One day, you'll grow up."

Chloe started to giggle like a little girl. "Holy shit Max that was hella crazy!" she shrieked before hugging Max.

However, Max seemed to be in distress. She freed herself from Chloe hug and then sat down on the bed. Chloe became worried when blood started to drip out of Max's nose. She rushed to her desk and grabbed a few tissue papers.

Chloe held the tissue paper against Max's nose with one hand, and asked, "Max, what the fuck is going on?" while rubbing Max's neck with her other.

Max slowly turned her head to Chloe, and said, "I saved your ass." Her eyes were half-open, and her voice sounded nasal.