burn it down
WARNING FOR SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, PARENTAL ABUSE, RECREATIONAL DRUG USE, AND OTHERS BEING DRUGGED.
Arcadia Bay. A quiet little town on the Oregon coast, it’s only a short drive to the ocean. To you, it’s home, the only one you’ve ever known. You were born there, and for a long time, you were sure that you were going to die there too.
Your earliest memories are happy ones. Those were the good old days, when your hair was still blonde and your dad was still around. The smell of pancakes and bacon cooked by your mother would awaken you in the morning, and you would come rushing down the stairs to greet your doting parents. You had it all. A stable home, a view of the beach, and the best parents anyone could ask for. Life was perfect, and it was only going to get better.
During your childhood, you met one Maxine Caulfield. Except, she didn’t like to be called Maxine. It was just Max. Or Mad Max, or Super Max, or Bat Max. Never Maxine. It didn’t take long for you two to become best friends. You’re certain that you two will be together forever, never without the other.
In school, you were an excellent student. Straight A’s danced across all of your report cards. Of course, being so smart made you a mischievous one. When your father accidentally muttered “shit,” you were the first to pipe up and remind him to put another dollar in the swear jar. The moment he was out of an earshot, you would ask your best friend “what the fuck are we going to do today?” You would sneak out to the nearby lighthouse with Max right at your side. Nothing too extreme.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Your picture perfect life crumbled into pieces by the time you turn fourteen years old.
It all started with your father, William Price.
You idolized him, your dad. He was your role model, your best friend. Your memories of him are all good ones. He was a happy man, always smiling and joking around. If you needed someone to talk to, he was there. If you needed a shoulder to cry on, he was there. He was a prominent figure in your life, and you never thought that he would leave you.
But he did. Of course he left you.
It was a gray day. You, William, and Max were all together, cooking pancakes and having a good time. Then the phone rang. Your father answered and it’s your mother, Joyce, asking for a ride home. All of a sudden, he was out the door, and Max pulled you aside, suddenly crying and blubbering about how she would always be there for you. You were absolutely confused. Of course she’d always be there for you. You were best friends. Why was she so freaked out?
You were still dwelling on Max’s behavior when you heard the news. Your father died. He was killed in a car accident on his way to pick up your mother. At first, you didn’t believe it. William? Gone? Definitely not. He was supposed to always be there for you. That’s what dads are for. Dads are supposed to stick around and watch you grow up. They’re not supposed to go away. You refused to believe that he was dead. You still waited by the door for him to come home, only to be sorely disappointed every time. Even at his funeral, you couldn’t believe that he was dead.
William's passing was only the start of your downward spiral. Not long after his death, Max moved away to Seattle, Washington. Not only did you lose your father, but now your best friend left you too. Not once did she try to contact you.
You started blaming your mother for your father’s death. Joyce seemed to blame herself too, because you would hear her cry herself to sleep at night and she started taking antidepressants to get through the days. You started to raise your voice more often, yelling and screaming at your mother in frustration. Some days, you didn’t know what you were angry about. You were just angry.
It got worse.
Your mother came home with a strange man, introduced him as David Madsen, and right off the bat, you didn’t like him. He kissed your mother, sat down at the dinner table with the two of you, and you hated it. He wasn’t William. He had no right to act as if he was your fucking father. Your hatred towards him only grew once he married your mother. Joyce Price was no more, and in her place was Joyce Madsen. It was as if she was a completely different person, and you could hardly stand her some days.
You fought with David more than you did with your mother. He was a military veteran, and it showed. He treated you more like a soldier than a teenager. He yelled at you. You yelled back. Sometimes, when you were particularly mouthy, he would hit you. He'd slap the back of his hand against your cheek, then ask you why you made him do it.
You refused to call him your step-father. No, he was step-fucker to you.
Your grades started faltering. No longer the straight A student you once were, you were satisfied with C’s and D’s sitting on your report card. You skipped class often. You didn’t care anymore. Your room was littered in notes about how much you wished you were dead. At least if you were dead, maybe you would get to see your real father again. He was the only one who gave a shit about you. Your mother was too busy glomming onto step-douche to care about you, your best friend abandoned you, and you could only rely on yourself.
You chopped your hair down one day. Then you started playing around with hair dye and treated your body as if it was a canvas. You started with only a few streaks of blue hair dye, but one day, you said “fuck it” and dyed every blonde strand on your head bright cyan. Your parental guardians weren’t impressed with it, but you certainly didn’t care what they thought. They were even more upset with you when your eighteenth birthday rolled around and the first thing you did was get a tattoo. A full sleeve of ink, trickling down from your right shoulder to your right wrist.
You started turning to drugs. Your drug of choice was marijuana. Your dealer Frank was an ass, but you didn’t have anyone else to turn to for a quick fix, so you put up with him. Sometimes you owed him more money than you should have, but you did your best to pay him back.
For some reason, the local private school accepted you when you applied to get in. Blackwell Academy was a place for aspiring artists and scientists. It was strictly for high school seniors only, and it was there you met someone who changed your life forever.
Rachel Dawn Amber.
Rachel was different. How you two became friends, you had no idea. To you, she was ethereal. Your own guardian angel, minus the wings. You two made the local junkyard your personal hideout, your “home away from hell.” There, you two would smoke a joint, laugh, and talk about the future. She wanted to be a model and go to California, and you wanted to be by her side. Rachel was your best friend. You loved Rachel. Being around her made you feel like butterflies were in your stomach. You wanted to tell her you were in love with her, but you never did. You always wished you would have said something.
Rumors floated around about Rachel. Supposedly, she was in a relationship with teacher Mark Jefferson, and potentially other older men, but you didn’t believe it. Rachel even assured you that it wasn’t true, and you believed her.
Eventually, you got kicked out of Blackwell for your piss-poor grades and rebellious nature. You couldn’t see Rachel quite so often then, since she was actually making an attempt to keep decent grades. But then, something seemed weird. Sometimes, it felt like Rachel was distant. She suddenly stopped seeing you as often. You were scared she was going to leave you. And then she went missing.
You were a mess without her. You put up missing person posters of her everywhere. You turned to Frank for more drugs, to the point where you were in serious debt to him. Your whole world was fucked over yet again.
One day, you slipped into a seedy bar that didn’t bother to check how old you were. You found rich kid Nathan Prescott there, thought you could hit him up for some cash while he was drunk. Instead, he drugged you and dragged you to his dorm at Blackwell, where you woke up to him taking pictures of you, trying to pose you for some perfect shot. Once you were conscious, you ran out of there. You’d make sure that action would bite him in the ass. You started blackmailing him, threatening to expose him for what he did in exchange for money.
You came to Blackwell to collect some money from Nathan. You met in the girls’ bathroom and suddenly he pulled a gun on you. Had it not been for the fire alarm, you would be dead. You scurried to your truck, and minutes later, you saw... Max Caulfield? She was in a scuffle with Nathan, and you weren’t going to let that asshole hurt anyone else.
You told Max to hop into your truck, and the two of you drove back to your house. You wouldn’t deny that you were upset with her. How could you not be? She was perfectly happy avoiding you for five years. Still, you supposed you could make an attempt at trying to be her friend again. Once you got home, you played catch up. Apparently, she’d been attending Blackwell for a month by the time you two met up again. You told her about Rachel, about how your life wasn’t as great as it used to be, and Max even offered to help you find Rachel. Everything was great until step-dick came home and ruined everything. Then the two of you went off to the lighthouse, just like old times.
It was there that Max admitted she had some control over the flow of time. She used it to save you, in fact. The reason the fire alarm went off was because Max witnessed you die, then turned back time to pull the fire alarm. She also mentioned she was having visions of a tornado coming to destroy Arcadia Bay. You were skeptical about what she told you, so the next day, you tested Max to see if she was lying. When she passed, you were stunned, and immediately decided to play around with it as if it was a toy.
It was weird, being with Max again. It felt like the two of you were a couple of kids again. She made you feel... happy. You were all laughter and smiles around her. It was almost like she never even left in the first place.
After a day of playing around with Max’s powers, you dropped her off at Blackwell. The next day, you two decided that you’d look into Rachel’s disappearance. You stopped by Frank’s trailer to see if he might have any information. You two sneaked inside, and what you found there pissed you off.
There’s pictures of Rachel posing for Frank, Rachel with Frank, and love letters from Rachel to Frank. It all disgusts you. Rachel lied to you. She never told you that she was with Frank. You started questioning everything she had ever told you. Fuck Rachel. She was just another person in your life who screwed you over. Your dad, your mom, Max, and now Rachel had all fucked you over somehow. The people you trusted the most had all managed to make your life hell. Max told you to calm down and stop blaming everyone for how miserable you were, but you refused to listen to her. You dropped her off back at Blackwell again.
After a few hours to cool off, you came back and apologized to her for acting so insensitively. You brought her back to your house and decided to continue with your investigations on Rachel’s disappearance late into the night. You don’t recall if you even slept that night. Max certainly did, and when she woke up, she acted like you had died and came back from the dead. Weird. You brushed it off and figured she must have had a bad dream.
Your investigations eventually led you to a seemingly abandoned shack, owned by Nathan’s family. The moment you and Max get there, you had bad vibes about the place. There was a basement under the shack, and that’s where things started getting especially creepy. There’s unsettling art surrounding the walls, drugs scattered here and there, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. You and Max find a cabinet full of binders, all with names labeled on them. Max picks one labeled “Kate” and there’s pictures of a drugged girl, dazed and confused. There’s several names you don’t recognize on those binders, and a couple seem familiar, but one sends your heart racing.
You opened it up and there’s pictures of Rachel. She’s clearly been drugged. There’s one picture where she looks dead, and Nathan’s there too. You recognize where they are immediately: the junkyard. You knew that exact spot, because that’s the same spot you and Rachel would sit at to look up at the stars late at night. You rushed off to the junkyard with Max and made a beeline for that spot and you start digging. You dig and dig and pray that you won’t find anything.
But you do.
The smell of death hit you first, and then you saw it. Her dead body. Rachel’s dead body. She was dead for months. You break down and cry. You loved her. Even after finding out she had lied to you, you still loved her more than anything on the planet. She was everything to you, and she was gone all that time. Fuck. Who the fuck would do this to her? What kind of a world would do this? Rachel didn’t deserve that. If anybody deserved to be dead and buried in some half-assed grave, it was you.
You only had one thing on your mind: you were going to kill Nathan Prescott yourself. There was some party he was sure to show up at. You were going to show up too, and you were going to kill that fucker with your bare hands. He killed Rachel. He drugged her and tossed her body into a makeshift grave. He wasn't going to get away with it.
You and Max arrived at the party, and all of a sudden, Max stopped you. She explained to you that Nathan was already dead. She told you about how she had rewound time just to save you over and over again. She even rewound to the day your father died and saved him just to make you happy, but you ended up dying in his place and she had to reset life back to the way it was because she couldn’t handle letting you die. She explained that Mark Jefferson, the same teacher that Rachel was accused of being with, had a hand in drugging all those girls in the binder, killed Nathan, and was going to kill you if you didn’t stop. She told you that she had been through hell and back trying to keep you alive and that she didn’t want to see you die again.
You believed her. Every word.
You stopped trying to find Nathan. You contacted the police and told them about Jefferson. And then the tornado happened.
That’s when you realized why it was coming. You were the reason it existed. Max had torn through the very fabric of time trying to save you, and the universe wasn’t happy about it. You begged her to go back to the day Nathan should have killed you. You pleaded for her to let you die, to let everything go back to normal. You were ready to accept death. You weren’t worth the trouble she went through to save you, and there were plenty of citizens in Arcadia Bay who deserved to live so much more than you did.
Max refused to do so. For some reason, she saw you as someone worth saving. She had been through too much to let you die now, even if it meant others had to be sacrificed.
You watched your home crumble to pieces. You remember driving with Max sitting in the passenger seat. Then... all you can remember is that suddenly, you’re somewhere completely different, without Max, without anyone you know, and you have to readjust.
You’re all alone all over again.