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By: Ember Belnap

When The Sun Sets by Ember Belnap

Kai walked along the beach, digging his toes into the sand, trying to ground himself, he still felt like he was in a dream. He couldn’t wrap his mind around it.

Indra was gone, and it was his fault. 

Everyone said that it wasn’t, that he couldn’t have known. But the thing was, he had known. He had felt it deep inside, and knew that there was something wrong. But he hadn’t voiced his fear, because he was scared that it might be the truth, and he hadn’t wanted to scare Indra, so he ignored that feeling, and kept his opinion to himself, which ended up costing Indra her life. It was completely his fault.  

Kai felt like his world was falling apart, and there was nothing he could do to gather up the broken pieces, there was nothing for him to hold onto. He looked around trying to find something that could help fill the cracks that were starting inside him. But there wasn’t an easy cure for this, no one was going to be able to just sew up those cracks and declare him healed, because a needle can’t penetrate stone.

He sat down on a familiar rock, letting his feet get wet with the rising tide. He looked out across the water, the sun was just reaching the horizon. This had been her favorite place. She would come out here and watch the sunset, at least until she was too weak to make the trip. 

At that thought Kai couldn’t control the emotions anymore, and he felt tears start to run down his face. He dropped his head into his hands, and tried with all his might to get back in control, but this was too big for him to control on his own. He knew that if she had been there he would have found enough strength to keep it under control, but she was gone, and he now was broken. 

He waited for his mind to calm down, trying to find comfort in the familiarity of the waves, and breeze coming from the ocean. Eventually his mind slowed down, and he looked up. There was just a sliver of sun peeking up above the water. 

He watched the final bit of sun set, and felt like the light was his hope, slowly draining away. When the darkness came over him, he felt completely alone. He stayed there, feeling utterly defeated, as the salty water slowly crept up his legs. 

As he sat there, the stars started to glimmer into life, and he realized that this isn’t what Indra would have wanted him to do. She had been his best support, even if she wasn’t healer, she still understood the importance of what he did. She was able to help Kai get past his mental blocks, and helped him find the right path when he felt lost. She wouldn’t want him to give up, just because one hard thing happened. She had taught him that he could get through anything and not to dwell in his sorrow, which is exactly what he was doing. 

Kai made up his mind, drawing energy from the stars. Finding hope in the small flicker of light that came after the stunning display of the sunset, but that didn’t make the small sparkle any less beautiful. He wasn’t going to give up that easily, Indra would want him to keep fighting, and Kai knew that he could. He wasn't going to let losing her cause darkness to cover up the stars inside him, even if his sun had set. 

He stood up and started to walk back towards the town, he could see the lights glimmering on the horizon, like they were trying to imitate the setting sun, but they couldn’t do it justice. Kai realized why Indra had come out here, it was to find peace and solace from the pulsing and pushing weight of the world. He hadn’t noticed it before but he was constantly being affected by that weight, Indra had helped him support it, but now that she was gone, he was going to have to do it on his own. 

When he made it back to the edges of the town the hem of his pants were soaked from the ocean water, but he had come to a conclusion. He would come out to Indra’s favorite spot if he ever needed a break from the pressure of life, and he was going to keep saving lives, even if he hadn’t been able to save hers.