Picture by Jenneliya and himitsych

The universe around her was empty and silent as its weight crushed onto her shoulders. She was exhausted and drained empty. Her eyes were red and burning, no more tears left to cry. The old Polaroid camera felt heavy in her hands as she held it in her lap. For the past few months she had been in survival mode, her mind slowly shutting down all feelings until there was nothing left. She went numb until emotions no longer existed.

She barely saw the shadows moving around the edges of her field of vision. Her heart beating slowly but heavily in her chest as her breath was fast and shallow. Her knuckles turned white as her grip intensified. As the air was passing through her throat it left a burning sensation. She closed her eyes and instantly the images started flooding into her head again. Random scenes from that surreal week in October started playing out again. Fragments of everything that had happened. Memories tumbled over one another, fighting for her attention. The numerous times that she used her rewind powers, the many times she watched Chloe die, the pressure that built inside her head every time she passed through a picture until there was nothing left but that metallic taste of blood. The migraine that would set in, each time she tried to comprehend the complexity of time and threads she weaved between different realities. Suddenly, a deep and dark sadness clutched her chest making it harder to breath as she saw the faces of all those people that they had lost.

And out of nowhere she noticed the tears building up again. Surprised there were even tears left to cry, she noticed a single one falling onto the worn casing of the camera. She wondered if she could ever find words to explain how broken she felt. Exactly how shattered her mind was. The storm didn’t just wipe Arcadia Bay from the face of the earth. With all its ferocity and devastating power, it struck hardest inside of her.

Her body jerked and panic clawed at everything as a warm hand touched her cheek. It took all her willpower to open her eyes and lift her head. She stared into that beautiful and captivating face, spiralling into the abyss of those deep blue eyes that seemed to take in every fiber of her being. There was so much pain in them and at the same time so much love. A second hand was placed on her face and ever so gently pulled her forward a bit. Soft lips pressed against hers and the most comforting warmth she had ever felt made its way into her soul. Her body eased and the anxiety lost its grip. The embers still glowing somewhere deep inside of her ignited. She answered timidly. As the kiss lasted longer she could feel the clarity getting stronger. The fog started to lift ever so slowly. The images that haunted her began to lose intensity, giving just enough space for her sanity to get a foothold again. She backed out of the kiss, barely, but just enough to form the words. Her lips moved against her lovers as she whispered.

‘I can’t seem to get my feet up off the edge and it’s driving me crazy. So close to falling into the madness, so close to death. But I can hold on. I know I can. As long as you are my anchor. Please Chloe, don’t ever let me go.’

‘Never!’ the blue haired punk whispered back.