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Obstacles and Aftermath

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Destruction. Corpses. Death.

All caused by a single decision. A hard one, she knew, beyond hard, but to choose to keep Chloe instead of an entire town...it would forever follow her days and haunt her nights. Even as she sat on the ruined beach, cadavers of once-majestic beasts and human remains littering the sand, strumming out a tune on frayed strings, she knew that she had made the right choice. But, it still weighed heavy on her heart.

No matter that she hated Arcadia Bay, no matter that she wanted to leave it as much as Chloe, as much as Rachel, she never expected she would be the one that had to make the choice to condemn the town to the self-incurred chaos, brought on by her own stupidity and need for bravado, her hero's complex, her need to keep Chloe alive.

As she dug through wreckage, proctored burials, made a method to the madness that had been the Bay, she had so much time to think. Too much time. So she wrote, wrote everything, threw paint on canvas when there was no film left to scavenge, wrote on scraps of paper with stubs of pencils and charcoal, went mad creating and destroying when she could no longer stand to make.

The only constant, the only line, thread, string that held her together through all of it, the beginning and the end of her, was Chloe. Chloe Price, known and scorned and loved by few, now one, for everyone else was gone. As cliche as it was, they only had each other now, there were only Chloe and Max in the now-empty hellhole of a town, them and their ghosts and skeletons hidden in closets.

They didn't sleep. They worked until they could, and if they couldn't, they got back up and watched the dawn break, a water balloon filled with her hair dye popping over the sky and drowning the land in color too bright for them. Then it was back to burying, wishing the dead farewell, and creating and destroying. Recreating themselves out of the ashes, because they knew that their knowledge, their experience was needed, so this event, this disaster, wouldn't happen again. So no one else could experience this tragedy.

Even as that thought kept them sane, even as they held each other and cried over their loved ones, fell to the ground and wailed dementedly, they knew they would have to leave everything behind, just as they had forced those now dead at their feet to. A sacrifice forced onto them at her own selfishness, even as Chloe assured her that it was okay, that it was inevitable, that we're all slated for death the moment we're born anyway, and that this was the ending that had to happen. That everything was going to be okay, and that once the food went too low, they would pack up and leave, take the tour down the coast that she had promised. Even as they ran out of room to bury, and had to burn, oily smoke curling and half-rotted flesh melting, she knew that she couldn't stay any longer, or she would go stir-crazy or mad or both. Prince Hamlet going mad in his own domain from the murder of his father.

It was poetic to think of it like that, she said, as she had recited the play word for word, unexpected, but a welcome break from the monotony of two broken souls methodically cleaning their own fate.

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As they finished putting chaos into order, filled up Chloe's truck with the last of the gasoline not used to burn, and took what they knew they needed and left what they could live without, Max Caulfield picked up her guitar and played once more, a familiar tune being picked up by the breeze and carried over the sky and water. She knew she couldn't bring the instrument with her, and she wanted to say goodbye to the place she had called home. So, as calloused fingers plucked out her song, ignoring stings from the cuts on her hands, she sung out one last time, called her apology to Rachel, and her final goodbye.

Let's say sunshine for everyone,
But as far as I remember,
We've been migratory animals,
Living under changing weather...

Someday we will foresee obstacles,
Through the blizzard,
Through the blizzard...