Max Arena

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3am, 2nd August (3 days later). Prophecy

Elsa woke to find Max standing over her. It was dark and she was outside, lying on the ground. Something was not right, but just having Max there made her feel safe. Looking around, she found Millie and Jason curled up together next to her. Max held his hand out and she grasped it to let him pull her to her feet.

Lightning suddenly ripped across the brooding sky, the luminescent flash revealing they stood on the western lawn of the estate, alone as a family, the time of day impossible to tell, but it was not night. It was just dark. Very, very dark.

A light, cool breeze sprung up, rippling Elsa’s clothes. It was an odd wind, damp and clammy. Max as usual was impervious to the elements, standing there in his black training gear, his orange shoes glowing slightly in the gloom. Her husband. Her rock.

The breeze picked up. A prick of fear stabbed inside Elsa. Max noted the flinch and he pulled her in tight. The kids woke up and Elsa looked down to see them stir. Impulsively, she bent down and helped them up, pulling them and Max in to her, the family huddling together.

More lightning rent the broiling ceiling overhead. The breeze increased to a wind and now Elsa could definitely feel wetness in the air. Elsa looked up at Max, his face calm, but firm. His control settled Elsa down a little, but now the children clung more tightly to Elsa and Max’s legs, also sensing something was amiss. Max leaned his head in close, resting his forehead against her’s. Elsa’s nerves settled a little more, but she knew something awful was coming. Something she could not outrun. Something that was going to hurt her and her family.

Then she felt the rumble. Looking down, Elsa saw her feet shaking on the trembling grass. She looked back up. Max raised his forefinger to his lips and Elsa saw in his eyes that no matter what happened next, they would be alright. He would protect them.

The rumbling grew. The wind whistled, ripping at their clothes. Lightning sizzled and scorched across the now pitch black palette overhead. Elsa locked Max’s eyes into her gaze, his calm the only safe haven in the storm around them.

Then suddenly, Max started to grow in size. Panic rose inside Elsa, but Max shook his head and smiled lightly. Elsa’s panic subsided. She fell to her knees and clutched onto the kids. They were all she had now.

Max continued to grow in stature, towering over Elsa and the children like a giant. Far over his head, the lightning blistered as the storm intensified. Then Elsa sensed someone else with her. She looked over her shoulder and there was Kris, standing still and looking past her into the distance. Beside Kris stood Joseph, Abdullah and Peter, also with their gazes fixed on the horizon. They were all there, Team Max and then Elsa noticed a crowd of people behind them. Instantly she knew there were thousands, probably even millions or more, everyone looking into the distance.

The rumbling grew and Elsa turned back to Max who was still looking down at her, his blue eyes gleaming in the dim light, like beacons in the night. Then, rising up behind Max, even larger than he, Elsa saw the focus of everyone’s gaze.

On the horizon, a vast, enormous wave surged across the land. White caps frothed on its mountainous crest as it devoured the earth and now Elsa knew what was coming. Death to all. The end of the world. The doom that Macktidas had promised was here. She looked back to Max and now he smiled, really smiled and the warmth of that smile filled Elsa with pride in the knowledge that Max was there to protect them all.

Then Max turned, his gaze lingering on Elsa for as long as he could. The wave rumbled onwards. Max squared up to face it, the tempest before it raging against him, but he stood firm, immovable and implacable. Max planted his feet and spread his immense arms out wide, his formidable stature now truly god like.

Humanity cowered down behind him. Doom beat down upon them. Only Elsa stood behind her husband, her children standing with her. Together they would face the end. Together, if fate demanded, they would die as one.

Max leaned forward and braced himself. The wave slammed into him, the force of the water pummelling him back, but only a few steps did he retreat. Digging his orange-clad feet into the earth, Max challenged the power of the wave and tamed it. The wave surged up against him, but failed to pass his colossal form.

Elsa could see the strain on her husband’s face. The enormity of his struggle was palpable and it ripped at her heart, but pride overwhelmed the pain knowing her husband was the only thing standing between doom and the rest of the world and Max was winning.

Still the wave surged, but still Max held it back. The titanic struggle seemed to endure forever as the world watched on. Then, the wave slackened. The water started to slide off Max’s frame and recede. He had done it. He had beaten back the tide of death and saved them all.

The people of the world rose together as one, behind Elsa and the children. Elsa smiled down at Millie and Jason and they smiled back, joy binding them together now. Their father, her husband had saved them. Elsa looked back up at Max and instantly her smile faded.

Max was caught in the water and it was dragging him away. The boiling tide clung to him like glue, pulling him into the mass. He struggled, but failed. Max’s footing faltered. He stumbled and then he fell.

Elsa stepped forward, her arms reaching out to try and grab Max, a silent scream issuing from her mouth. Max fell into the tide, his head disappearing beneath the turmoil. Elsa screamed again, her cry still soundless. Then Max surfaced and he turned to look at her, his blue eyes brighter than ever. He did not cry out. He did not smile. He merely looked at Elsa as he washed away, as the tide stole him away.

Gradually, Max’s gleaming blue eyes grew more and more distant. Elsa let her hands fall to her sides. The children rushed forward and held on to their mother and together they watched Max slip further and further away. Finally, the light of Max’s eyes winked out and he was gone. They stood there alone, Elsa, the children and all of humanity, their saviour taken away, but their lives saved.

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