Are You Okay, Buddy?


Max does not look like he is holding up too well. No one else seemed to be noticing. (Probably because they are worried about the storm outside and how long they have been trapped inside the building.) But I do.

I turned to see Max sitting in the corner. I walked over and knelt down in front of him.

“Are you okay, buddy?” I asked. Max looked up at me. Only… he didn’t look at all there. Those dead looking eyes made me shiver.

“Max?” I asked. “Max? Max?” I reached out and waved my hand in front of his face. Nothing. A fly could’ve flown into his mouth and he still wouldn’t respond. I don’t know how to help him. Jules says that I can’t.

“You have to let him be for a while,” she said. “Nothing you can do will make it any better.” That just doesn’t feel right to me. Max is drowning and I am stuck watching from the pier.

I froze.

“Hm?” I asked. “Did you say something?” I leaned in for a listen. Max seemed to be mumbling gibberish under his breath.

“Can you speak up?” I asked. “I can barely hear you.” I strained to listen.

“Leave him alone,” I heard behind me. I jumped and fell backwards on the living room carpet. Liz stood over me, looking down.

“Oh, it’s you,” I said.

“What are you doing?” Liz asked, frowning at me.

“Oh, uh…” I said. She shifted her focus over at Max inches away from me. I lifted my head and looked at him too.

“What did you mean?” I asked. Liz sighed and dropped her shoulders.

“Something is not right around here,” she said. I sat up and turned to her.

“What? You mean with Max?” I asked.

“Not just with him,” Liz said. “Look around us.” I took look around the living room.

“Okay, what about it?” I asked.

“Don’t you think this storm should’ve stopped by now?” she asked. I took a moment to think about it.

“I’m not sure,” I admitted. “How many days has it been?”

“Exactly!” she said. “We are starting to believe that we are in the middle of something that is potentially dangerous.” I tilted my head.

“You mean more dangerous than the typhoon?” I asked. “I don’t understand. What exactly is going on? Does it have to do with what’s going on with Baby Doll and Max?” Liz didn’t answer at first. It looked like she was fishing for something to say.

“Does it?” I asked again. Liz put her hand on my shoulder.

“You will have to come upstairs with the rest of us,” she told me. “We had all gathered in Natalia’s room to talk about what’s going on. You might find out what is wrong with your friend over there.” My stomach dropped as I turned back to Max sitting on a floor in a daze, mumbling to himself.

“But…” I said.

“Never mind him for now,” Liz was quick to say. “Do you want to help your friend or not?” I looked at her, then at Max, and then at her again. I lowered my eyes. Of course I wanted to help him. Right now, I didn’t have anything else to go on. Liz tugged on my shoulder.

“We don’t have much time,” she said. “Just come on already.” Liz made the decision for me as she pulled me towards the stairs. I took more look at Max as we started going up. Sorry, buddy. I have to do this to help you. I will be back though. I promise.