Chapter 9:

21.07.2021 (Epilogue)

The Sequence of Kai

I can’t die. I’m not allowed to die. I’m dying so slowly it’s maddening.

I can’t live for myself, I don’t know who I am anymore after all. I can only live for someone else.

The fragments of the person that used to be Kai know that they love Trish. They don’t know why, they don’t know how it became that way and they don’t know what kind of love it is.

But they do know, it’s the one thing that’s certain, the one constant in my ever-shifting mind.

When it happened is certain. It was when she discovered what I am, a monster. She saw me die and then saw someone else die instead. And in that moment, she didn’t run, she didn’t scream or look away. She came closer to me and held me near her. It must’ve been like hugging a blade.

She asked me if anyone else knew about my condition. I told her the truth, that no one alive did. She started crying.

“Why would you try and live with a secret like that? It’s too much for anyone to bear.”

I couldn’t tell her then that I wasn’t trying to live, that I was trying to die. I have a weakness for earnest people, especially when they can cry.

“Don’t leave my side, I won’t let you bear this burden alone. If your pain has to be shared, share it with me, if your death can’t be yours then let it be mine. Just don’t be alone, don’t let this be the thing that makes you lonely.”

Maybe she didn’t know what she was saying. Maybe it was just words, something to stop me from what I was doing. But it broke through the death that fogged my mind and reached those fragments of Kai. For the last time, I cried. I cried with her as we held each other in that tiny room.

She is the chain that holds my mind together, in a real sense our fates are linked and sealed. When she dies, Kai will die with her, of that I’m sure.

I should never have agreed to her proposition, I’ve condemned her to a life of unhappiness.

These are the things I think of as I lie crushed under the debris of the church. I have to go back and tell her that I killed Elm, that’s why she’s on my mind. I don’t think I can lie to her again about this, I have to tell her the truth.

Eventually, I muster the will to pry myself free of the rubble and emerge into the darkness of the early morning. I can hear rescue teams digging through the rubble further back from me, probably here because of the women Elm was controlling. I hope no one else died because of the collapse but I can’t be sure. I don’t wait around to ask either. I stumble out of the destruction and into the surrounding woods to make my escape.


I reach Paul’s about an hour later, the darkness still very much strong. The house isn’t as silent as I left it though. From inside I hear a faint sobbing. I open the door to let myself in and go to the source. In the front room, curled up in a ball on the couch is Trish, crying softly, the type that you only hear following hours of much more painful tears. When she notices me, she jumps up and collapses into my chest.

“He’s gone, Kai! H-h-he tried to take me with him, I tried to stop him, but he’s gone!”

She must be talking about Aaron. I didn’t think his threat was serious. I didn’t think he’d have the nerve to go through with it.

“What could I have done Kai? How could I have stopped him from going? He was so angry… I was scared…”

She grips the hem of my jacket so hard that she nearly tears the fabric.

“I- I’m- sorry. Trish, I’m sorry.”

“Why couldn’t you just get along?! Why does everyone always leave? Why do they never mean it when they say they won’t!”

Her crying grows soft again as I hold her close to me.

“I mean it, Trish, I won’t leave.”


She thumps my chest lightly.

“It’s the truth. I’ll be with you until the day you die.”

What am I saying? I don’t mean that. I want to be sincere but I shouldn’t be naïve enough to make promises like that. But I did. I don’t know what I’m saying anymore, what I’m doing anymore.

How could any of us ever know anything in the end?