Chapter 26:



“So, do you trust me or not?”, she asked, half dejectedly and half despairingly.

There was no longer any pain obstructing me, and so I replied unhesitatingly.

“Yes, I do trust you. I trust you to do the right thing.”

I had anticipated her to respond, but since reality was on the contrary, I continued.

“I know you’ve been suffering, and you want to leave it all behind. But the thing is you’re only escaping from the troubling thoughts of your reality, you’re not fixing it. And if you don’t stop, you are just going to keep running and keep running, but eventually, you’ll arrive at the end of the road. And there will be nothing you can do aside from squirming in agony and cursing at your problems, and to no avail, you will realize that it’s too late. There is no going back.”

A sense of pain formed on my palms, and only by looking down did I discern that I had been impulsively gripping my hand. Still, it was irrelevant, and I carried on.

“And I know that you’re capable of understanding that. After all, that’s why you convinced me to help John and Abigail in the first place. Heck, you were the one that taught me that.”

And I smiled, and I offered her my hand, gesturing for Kiri to take it.

“I love you, Kiri. And I know that I had taken a liking toward someone whom I know will do the right thing. So please, stay with me.”

One spark, and another, but before I could begin to count, it was already impossible. One after the other, the white flickers around us danced, replacing the colorful scenery with a more holy presence. It was as if we were encompassed by hope, with the blankness being a symbol of peace and serenity.

With the sound of cheerful sparks, her face began its motion. With each passing second, I could feel her expression a little closer. My feet impulsively twitched, and I took a step toward her.

Yes, let’s go home-

“Do you know why I convinced you to help John in the first place?”

In an instant, it was all gone, and we were back at the cliff.

And yet, as bewildering as I was, I wasn’t just going to give up there. I could not allow myself to forget the words from that fateful night, as well as from that school rooftop.

“You did it so that you could lay your past to rest. And to do that you wanted a hero that doesn’t run away, that was the cause of your problem.”

“And the cause of that cause is?”, she asked.

But before a sound could form in my throat, I halted for a moment before continuing.

“At first I thought it was because I cowered away and rejected you, but it’s because of your dad, isn’t it?”

She glanced to the side, and she spoke.

“Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll say this one more time, I convinced you to help John for yourself, not me. So, do you know what I mean by that?”

Kiri did not wait for my response and answered it for me.

“It was to make peace with everything. I left my home, I left school, all to leave it all behind me. But then suddenly there’s John, and of course, there’s you who popped out of nowhere. But it didn’t matter. I solved John’s problem, and I solved yours, I made peace with everyone.”, abruptly, her visage was no longer in my sight. “You see, Stan. I’m not escaping from anything. I’m simply moving forward after finishing with everything here.”

My hand lowered on its own, and I could feel my soul sink just the same.

No, you cannot give up yet.

A mighty surge pulled my face up, and once more, I offered her my hand.

“Then why don’t you just move forward here at this place? Find something fun and exciting to do, just like you had always done.”, my lips curved into another smile. “With me.”

A second passed, and then some more. Despite the noise from the multitude of waves clashing, our surroundings fell silent, a painful silence. However, as much as I refuse to hear her following words, Kiri spoke with a sense of nonchalance.

“Then, what if we failed in entertaining me? What happens then, would my life just be miserable? Would I be stuck living the hellish life I had always despised? Would you be able to handle that guilt, Stan? Are you confident enough to be my hero?”

My mouth shut still, and my body did not move. I was paralyzed, and I didn’t try to even flinch.

Don’t be affected by her, you know what’s best.

But do I? What if living a hippy life with her father is what’s best for her?

You’re just coming up with excuses so that you don’t have to take the burden. You can’t give up now.

I don’t even know her father. He’s surely sane enough to know what Kiri wants, that’s why-

Listen to yourself! Giving up everything to live with an unemployed father is not a sane choice.

The incessant wind continued to rustle, and it only stressed me more to know that time was not waiting for me.

Hurry up and tell her. You don’t have forever.


Before it’s too late, do it NOW.

What if I really fail to entertain her? Her life would be-

Just fucking put away all those doubts and tell her what she wants to know now. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lie just DO IT.


I shut off my brain, and I opened my mouth wide. So much that I could feel the corner of my lips aching.

“I- ”

“Looks like I can’t trust you, Stan.”

But before I could even act out my thoughts, she turned her head. And our eyes met. And everything felt still, almost as if time has stopped.

Her neck was bent to the side, and her face was covered with tears. It was a painful sight. And even though it lasted only for a split second, it was not something I could ever forget.

I tried to deny her statement, but a lump was caught in my throat. Still not giving up, I lunged toward her, offering my hand as a last attempt.

And then she fell.

The waves continued to clash, the wind did not stop its incessant blows, and the sparks were still blinding.

I sat there for a moment, but it felt like an eternity. I wondered what I had done wrong. But no answer emerged.

Well apart from one.

That it was all my fault for being such a coward.