The Sequence of Kai
When my eyes open on the ground, I’m met with the face of what is now merely a dead girl. No movement, eyes open and lifeless. For a second, I think I’ve fallen beside a mirror.
But she doesn’t move when I push myself off the ground. From my leveraged position, I can see the bones that have pierced through her skin. She only looked peaceful when I could see nothing but her face.
Aaron finds me standing over Jasmine’s body.
“There you go, that’s your reaper.”
“What the hell did you do in there.”
“I took care of the issue, like you asked.”
Aaron points an accusatory finger right in my face.
“No, you are the issue. You promised me you’d save as many people as you could.”
“And I did.”
“Then why is everyone dead?!”
“I know I’ve said this to you before-“
“No, don’t give me your death complex bullshit, not everyone is sick like you!”
I don’t know what it is about this line that sets me off. I’m not one to react in a big way to provocation of this kind, but right now I can’t help myself.
“They were. I heard them, Aaron. They begged for me to kill them. In any case, there was no way to get them out.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I know what I heard.”
“No, you don’t. Emotion Reapers alter the perceptions, you heard what it wanted you to hear.”
“Then what would you have done?!”
“I wouldn’t have set the whole fucking building on fire! These lives are on you, Kai. Not just those inside the building but all of the people that will die putting out the blaze. You killed someone by jumping from the top floor too. You’re a monster.”
I grab Aaron by the neck and a few of the police officers nearby glance our way. They’ve been told to leave us alone by Miles presumably, as none of them draw their weapons.
“I asked you what you would’ve done, not what you wouldn’t. Stupid question, because you wouldn’t have done anything. You talk so big about saving as many people as possible, but you won’t lift a goddamn finger to do it yourself.”
I push him to the ground and stand over him.
“You who can do anything, make anything. You could’ve saved all of those people yourself but you decided not to! If we want to talk responsibility for lives lost, why aren’t we looking at you first?”
“There’s nothing I could’ve done!”
“Stop lying to yourself. This isn’t even about what you could’ve done with your powers, if you wanted to save a life, all you had to do was stand close to the tower. But you knew what would happen if I went in there, that’s why you stayed away. You were happy letting someone else die in my place. You’re weak. A prisoner holding back his prison from reaching its potential.”
To my surprise, Aaron gets up and shoves me hard. I thought that would be enough to get him to shut his mouth.
“Don’t try and blame me for things you did. I’m not responsible for the people that die in your place.”
“And I am?!”
I can’t concentrate on defending myself and not crying at the same time. I really do hate this guy.
“What am I supposed to do Aaron? I don’t die. Simply by existing I cause pain for other people. But I have no other choice. I have to keep living, I can’t do anything else, I can’t not exist! Should I just sit in one spot and do nothing? If I starve, someone else dies for me, I can’t even do nothing!”
I feel my legs give out beneath me.
“People are going to die because of me no matter what I do. I’m trying to help, I’m trying my best to do something. I’m a burden, I know that. I can’t be rid of. What else am I able to do but kill?”
Aaron stands there in a stunned silence. He’s too empathetic. He resonates with my tears, my helplessness but remains furious at my actions. It’s written all over his face.
This is why we could never be friends. We’re both trapped by what we can do, the limits of what we can do.
And there’s nothing more unbearable than looking into a mirror and seeing yourself.