exo ; kaisoo ; pg-13 ; [ when you kidnapped me, you expected me to love a monster. And I did. ] | part ii
Four blocks of lines in fives, plus two. Twenty-two days I have been your prisoner. Twenty-two days that I have been missing, and twenty-two days that I have not been found. Twenty two days and no one has tried to look for me. Five hundred twenty eight hours. Thirty one thousand six hundred eighty minutes. Not a single one used to find me. No one came.
I think that perhaps this was your goal in the end. To wait and watch as I broke down everyday, looked out the window and saw no one running down that cracked road. There was nothing here, I was starting to believe. Because of you. You sat on the edge of my room as I fought to keep panic at the corner of my mind.
I did everything. I ate. I slept. I didn't yell at you. I didn't flinch when you touched me. Well, perhaps I did the first few times, but could you blame me? The thought of you made me flinch. But now, when your fingers touched the tip of my chin to lift my head up so you could show me something, when you tugged at my shoulder to edge me along this dilapidated place of yours, I felt nothing. A warm touch bleeding through the thin fabric of my shirt. I was the perfect prisoner. I was supposed to be - and yet, as the days went by, I noticed something.
It wasn't me playing you, it was you playing me.
And you knew that. And you continued to pluck the strings off my very being like the music belonged to your ears only.
Twenty-two days you sat by every day in my room, waited for me to eat, to change, to shower, to sit on my bed and watch me fall in my black hole with a straight face. Twenty two days since the scratches made by a stolen knife and desperate, struggling fingers began to take on a whole new meaning.
I remember when it all started.
"You were always so perfect," you said all of a sudden out of nowhere one day. Literally no where. "You had your hair combed nicely, you smiled at everyone, you put your homework in on time.
The teachers loved you. The students loved you. Everyone loved you. I loved you."
I didn't like where this was going.
"I loved you."
Loved. As in, you don't anymore, so why am I here?
You smiled, a sad, bitter smile. "I loved you a lot, the hyung that was everyone's hyung." A jolt of surprise, the first damning feeling for nearly a month now. "Everyone adored you, you know. Even when you didn't notice, behind your back they would talk good about you. People filled their mouths with silver when they spoke about you."
Quiet. Utter, deadly silence. I had a knife under my pillow, but I didn't want to kill you. What was that? I was completely enthralled by your tale, my life from another's eyes. How beautiful it seemed. How ugly was the ending.
"One day, I went to see you. I really wanted to give you the extra candy that I got that day from the teacher - I was a good boy that day - but by that time that I tried, I was intercepted by other kids. And they kicked me. Stole my candy. Took away every ounce of courage I had. Ruined me in five minutes."
My hands felt clammy and I wanted to throw up. "I don't know you."
But you kept smiling, kept looking at me with that foggy glaze, like you weren't completely all there. Like you were right there in that awful moment right now. "And then you, you came along and smiled at me, at the child on the ground and gave me your candy. 'My name is Kyungsoo,' you said. 'Let's be friends, okay?' And then you helped me up and we played together the whole day."
I don't remember you. That's what I told you. But I did. The moment you began to speak, everything came back to me like a flooded ocean. I remember. I remember you and exactly who you were, remembered the moment that changed my life as well as yours. Remembered every second. I remembered the feeling of sickly foreshadowing, the coming of something awful, and right now I can't tell if it was for what happened the next day or what was happening now.
Such children. We were such children, so why do you remember? Why do you remember me?
Why do I remember you?
You're insane. You're a bad man, a horrible person. I don't like you.
But you weren't deterred. You just smiled and said, "I know. That's okay." And you reached out to pat my hand. I was frozen in place, or else I would've pulled away. "You don't have to remember me." All you needed was that I was here. To fulfill your childhood crush? To help the void cut in your heart? What brainless, angsty thing was it? I wanted it to be over. I wanted to go home.
Recently, you've made me eat with you in the small dinner table pushed to the side in the kitchen. I followed, mostly because I didn't have the energy to resist you anymore.
And this was when things turned sour.
"Kyungsoo," you said, "Are you feeling better?"
You meant to be asking me if I was liking it nicely here. Your Korean was so messed up and rushed, but I understood anyway. I wasn't, though. Both. I didn't like it here. I couldn't sleep, and it showed, no doubt. When I closed my eyes, images flashed through them and I didn't want to recall them. My head hurt so bad that I felt like I was going to cry.
And, with all of my pent-up emotions, I found a crack in the armour.
The bowl in my hands dropped. Shattered to the floor, sprawled across the grainy tiles in every direction. You stared at the floor, dumbfounded, and I wanted to smack that look off your face.
"Feeling better? Feeling better?" I've never felt this type of anger at someone before. It was consuming, so full and vibrant that I couldn't control it. "I'm stuck in a fucking building in the middle of nowhere with the guy who freaking kidnapped me and you're asking me if I'm feeling better? Newsflash, I never felt good in the first place!"
It felt good to scream in your face. Fulfilling. I needed to do it more often.
You were staring at me, eyes wide, like you couldn't believe what had came out of my mouth. To be honest, neither could I. You see, I was never the type to yell at someone, or even get mad. I thought it was a waste of energy and a waste of time. The worst things in life stemmed from anger, from hate, and I didn't want to fall into the same category.
Look. Look what you've done to me. Are you happy? Are you happy that you've reduced me into the one thing I strove so hard not to turn into?
My breath couldn't come fast enough. It got stuck in my throat and jammed up my windpipes, but I didn't care. I didn't care. I was angry. I was mad. I was furious. And, I think, most of all - I was sad. I was sad about how this all turned out. I was sad that I let myself become this way. I could've found a way out. I could have fought you back. Why didn't I? Why was I such a coward?
And then you, you reached out and took away my hand. I wanted to use to punch you, but your touch was soft, gentle. It reminded me of how I used to be, and it made me crack. You pried off the last shards of ceramic in my hands and let it fall to the floor, blood dripping down the curve of my palm. And you stood up and wound your arms around me, like a shield.
Just the thought of you, the one who ruined my life, hugging me - trying to fix me - made me cry. I sobbed into your shirt, and with every passing moment I felt my hate cracking like the pieces on the floor. It took too much out of me, to spend all my time hating. But I didn't know what else to do, what else to feel. All my life, I had schooled myself to fall into preset emotions. Happiness was at a party or for good news. Sadness was when tragedy fell. Without my laws, though, without anything telling me what to do...I was lost, hopeless. I hated it. I hated you for putting me in this position.
I still cried on you though, and I couldn't find it in me to find the flame of anger to redirect toward you. I think that at that point, some part of me recognized that I would never go back. It was obvious that there was going to be no savior coming down that road, and that you were all that I had.
All that I would have.
When I finally did stop crying, I didn't try to make an effort to push you away from me. Trust me, I wanted to do it - I didn't like it when you touched me. Something about it was too personal and it scared me. But I was tired, this type of bone-deep exhaustion that sapped at every energy reserve I had. There was no way I could move. I had been running on autopilot for the past month and I couldn't force myself to pretend anymore. Hell, I didn't even want to try.
"Kyungsoo," you started, hand patting me on my back. "Do you want to go back to your room?"
That was when I pulled away from you. I refused to look you in the eye and without much fanfare, wobbled straight to the dingy little space you called 'my room'. Except I was beginning to call it that too.
Four days and you hadn't said a word. The first month passed by just like that, a mess of depressing colors and stretched minutes. It felt like years that I was in that room, that I had seen a face that wasn't yours. And even then, I tried my very hardest not to look at you.
The sun was setting just beyond the dusty horizon, flooding through the gritty cracks of my window. Suddenly, I was reminded of Chanyeol. He always liked sunsets - he would wake me up in the ungodly hours of the morning and push a cup of watery hot chocolate in my hands before doing the same to Baekhyun, who would have bags under his eyes but would be smiling. I would yell at Chanyeol for a second, but he'd just pout and point at the window just as the sun streaked pink and gold across the sky, turning into the blues of the morning.
The thought of Chanyeol didn't do anything. If anything, all I felt was that emptiness that surfaced a few days earlier. Chanyeol was a memory of a life that was far out of reach now. Him and any other person I could call family. If I tried to bring them up, they played like a washed film behind my how much longer are you going to keep me here? How much longer was I going to have to suffer through this? Every moment was somehow killing me, numbing me from the inside. I couldn't think, couldn't breathe without feeling like you were watching my every move.
A silent knock on the door. "Kyungsoo?"
I stiffened. Please, please just go away.
You didn't listen, of course. Despite my worst fears and paranoia, you couldn't hear my thoughts. "I thought you would like something to eat."
It was like the first few days all over again. You brought in a tray with a bowl of rice and something unknown in the bowl beside it. I wasn't hungry, but looking at that made my stomach lurch - I definitely wasn't going to eat anything for the next few hours. You put the tray on the bed; I stared at it for a moment before speaking.
"I'm not hungry."
It was quiet, almost too quiet, and it rang in my ears incessantly. I wanted to clap my palms over them just to see if it would all stop for a while, but sense told me that it never would. You sighed, and moved the tray away. Neither one of us was willing to deal with the other right now. At least, that's what I supposed.
"If you want, I can tell you something. A story."
"Why would I want to hear a story?" Fairytales seemed pointless and fake from where I was. There was no happy endings in real life. I wasn't going to pretend that there was. Perhaps I sounded a bit too bitter, even to my tastes, because when you looked up at me with your dark brown eyes - pleading, desperate - I felt something ease inside me. "Fine. Go ahead for all I care."
A smile flickered across your face, and shadows began to play on the walls as the sun set. We were going to be encased in darkness soon if you didn't light a candle or something soon. But you fought hard to keep eye contact with me, and you spoke slowly. Weariness settled itself on my shoulders like an old friend.
"One time, there was this boy, right. He was young, and he had big dreams." Your voice was soft and caressing, like you were holding a memory in your very hands. I found myself listening against all odds. "He wanted people to notice him, you see. He wanted people to recognize him for his dreams, and his talent. But people only recognized him by the scars on his body and the insults he received."
"What kind of story is this?" I interrupted. It didn't sound like something you would say. It sounded personal, and it made me feel more tangled in this web than I wanted to be.
"It's the story of someone I used to know," you replied, voice distant. "He didn't get to reach his dreams. He didn't even come close. When he was a kid...his father, he used to - used to drink a lot. And he didn't think a lot. His mother was never there. She was - somewhere, off in the distance, and she never looked back. Never looked for him." You took a deep breath, as if preparing yourself, and I felt a nagging pull at the corner of my mind.
"He was bullied a lot, you see. He didn't know why. No one wanted to be his friend until he finally believed that he was destined to be friendless forever." You smiled, played with your hands. "Until another person came by and became his friend."
The silence that followed was too sharp, too filling. "What next?"
"Nothing," you replied, still that cheerful tone. "Life went on as normal, except the boy had a friend now, which made everything better." Your smile doesn't falter at all, and finally, you look up at me.
There's something odd that overcomes me, like a gut feeling. "What was the boy's name?"
Your smile faltered, but it came back just as bright. "Kai."
Kai. I somehow feel disappointed. For a moment, I thought it was you in that story, the boy that had a dream that he couldn't reach. But it seems as though you've only read of others from afar. Never up close.
I turned away, and you said, "Do you want to go outside?"
Both yours and mine. Your question was brought on in a quick onslaught and my mouth had stammered out the first thing I could think of - yes. Oh, god. Yes. Yes yes yes.
Here's the thing, you see. I never hate people - never did, never will. I mean, it's so pointless, I guess, and I've never felt the like killing someone or stuffing their locker with mean notes or throw their bag in the garbage (before I met you, of course) and I never would have if you weren't in the way. But for a second, you know - I didn't hate you.
Maybe it was the way you looked at me after I had made a fool of myself. Like you were a shy boy, just asking someone out on a date. Or maybe it was because I had been around you for so long. I stopped thinking, I suppose, I stopped thinking and then a lot of things became clear.
Like if you had never kidnapped me, I could've maybe even liked you.
That was the part, though, that I figured out first. It didn't leave me speechless or frozen in fear - in fact, the most I did was shuffle back on my bed and stare down at my knees, unmoving. But I heard you get up and leave the room. I didn't know what you were planning, but for that one moment we weren't captor and captured. We were just...I don't know. Something.
I never hated someone as much as I hated you. With every fiber of my being, I hated the way you moved, the way you breathed, the way you looked at me with your pitiful eyes. I hated the way you begged and pleaded me to cooperate with you for my own good, hated how you were able to manipulate me by not manipulating me at all. And I don't hate people. I hate what they do. I hate their actions and their judgements and their stupid, stupid consequences. But I hated you - you, the person. I hated you. You were the exception, I decided, the only exception to my little moral rule. You would break that too, I guess, but it was worth it.
Being angry at you, it gave me something to do. Spending every ounce of my energy thinking how to escape tired me, clawed at my nerves, made me antsy. But the thought of getting out of your clutches, of never being able to see your face...it excited me. My hate for you, it drove me.
That was the first day, though, that I realized that. And it was the day where I started to think differently.
I thought...thought that maybe you weren't the exception after all. That I just - I hated what you did. I hated that you kidnapped me against my will, forced me to stay in this prison. I hated that. But maybe, maybe I didn't hate you.
After I thought of that, though, I promptly threw one of my books against the wall and the sound woke me out of my reverie.
You asked me if I wanted to go outside, and I said yes - I did. Would you? Would you keep that small, insignificant comment in your mind like you did for all the others? Somehow, I doubted it. Anything that wasn't beneficial to you wasn't of importance, right?
Truthfully, I had no idea what you wanted to do with me. You didn't make any advances, or asked anything out of the ordinary, or even acted out of the usual. Usual, being, your stupid self. I didn't know what to do, how to retaliate from you anymore. I had to eat, bathe, sleep - and that was all you wanted from me. I tried to resist you once - and it didn't work out well for me.
But I felt helpless if I didn't do something.If I just followed your every move, what was I? What did I let myself become?
I didn't want to know the answer as much as I knew the question.
All the boiling, rising feelings inside me dimmed with that one encounter. Suddenly, like I had shattered another bowl, I felt tired and weak. It must've been the malnutrition. Or maybe it was just me, grimacing my way through this, unable to see the horizon at my fingertips.
I always wanted to go outside, of course. Outside was my goal, my dream - whenever I got them. I wanted to feel the grass underneath my feet again. I wanted to walk around free. Being caged in wasn't me. It made me a person that I wasn't. It changed me.
The possibility of you taking me out was slim to none, I knew. You probably asked to suffice me for another day, or to shut me up, or to use it against me in the long run - maybe wave freedom in my face, let me have a taste and then shove it back down my throat. It sounded like something you would do. Or was I just exaggerating your monstrosity? Nah, it was pretty on par.
But look at you, going beyond my expectations. The one day hope seeped out of me like water from a thinning river, you come into my room and touch my shoulder softly, eyes bright.
"Come on," you said. "It'll be sundown soon. You'll have to move quicker than that if you want to get there before night falls."
You pointed outside. My eyes flickered to the window, but I wasn't sure. I looked back at you, and you gave me an awkward smile. It stretched at the corners of your mouth, made your eyes shadowed, but I couldn't focus on that behind the pounding of blood on my ears.
"Really?" I got up so fast my head ached and the world spun. "Really - y-you're really going to take me outside?"
You cocked your head, and it seemed painful for you to say, but you replied: "As soon as the sun goes down, we're back inside."
There were many things wrong.
First of all, you aren't supposed to take me outside. Isn't that like, the first rule of kidnapping? I'm sure it is, but you were starting to make me wonder. Second - you were tense, your muscles tight underneath your skin. You're the only thing here I can observe, the only breath in the dullness of life passing. And that was sad. But it was my lifeline.
Second, the ground is dry and hard, sun-dried rock with sprigs of shallow green life in between cracks of the pavement. Like it's never rained. Like the heavens forgot to cry on this sallow land, forgot that it even existed. It makes one wonder - if I stayed here long enough, would I cease to exist as well? Would I suddenly just...stop being there? Forgotten, left behind the dust of my past, waiting for the tears to fall but never being able to remember what, exactly, I was crying for.
It's hot, a desert-like hot with sand underneath where there's no concrete. Everything is orange and burnt gold, pale yellow or flourishing red, like the remnants of the day before it disappeared - or maybe like the dawn when it comes, signaling the age of another time. The warm air is greedily accepted by my lungs and I wince at the feeling of it hitting the back of my throat, no matter how welcomed.
You're standing somewhere behind me, I can tell. Not that I know whether you're beside me or anything, but i can feel the intensity of your gaze on the back of my head, as if you're willing me to tell you all that I'm feeling when I obviously can't put it in words. Like you're trying to understand my mind, trying to pick apart the pieces and figure out a way to put them back together, but in your way only. I do my damndest not to look at you, because I feel so happy I could cry. And I don't want you to see me when I'm happy. I figure you don't deserve it.
(It's sort of really stupid, to be so happy about something so simple but after all you've done, after all the things that I've had to go through - )
For a long time I don't do anything but just stand there, just drinking in the sky and the far horizon, finally close enough for me to touch - but still far, far enough to remind me of my prison behind glass.
There's no one for miles. No one but you and I.
"Why?" I manage to choke out, finally turning to face you. Your face is blank and unfeeling, a closed book now. But I realize something now, here, when there is more than five feet between us: I'm not scared. Not of you. Not of anything. "Why did you kidnap me?"
It was a question that I asked you many times before. In the heat of despair, in the turns of anger, in the folds of my depression - each met with silence and those eyes, those eyes pleading me to understand, to accept, but I never could. Now, the curiosity dragged the dryness out of my voice, prodded you to look away as you answered.
"There was once a kid, you see, who had...no, no that won't work."
I watched as you dreamy expression became flat, like the stretches of space in front of us. "I was bullied as a kid. My father was a bastard who liked the bottle too much - and liked hitting it on my head." I winced, for your tone was somehow painful, like you were compressing all the hurt you didn't want to face. "I got pretty messed up. Started seeing things, hearing things, and no one would believe me. And I still - kept - getting - fucking - "
Each word turns into another sharp jab, muscles tensing, lips thinning. There's always been something unhinged about you, and now I know what it is.
You exhale. "You were my first friend." The look on your face says you lie. "And I couldn't let you go." And now you're telling the truth.
But with the reveal of your past doesn't make me pity you. It doesn't do anything to change how I feel about you. Maybe because I'm somewhere other than that dingy building that I feel more accepting, the freedom intoxicating me. But nothing changed. I dread returning inside as the sun falls, shadows splayed across caked sand and rocks. Yours and mine. Mine and yours.
It's all that I have, I think. It's all that I have now.
Still, nothing. No change. Just a sort of...grudging knowing.
"What, no story?"
You give a small, mocking smile, the first expression I've seen from you that isn't akin to a begging puppy. "Stories make sense. Stories have a beginning, a middle, an end. The bad guy gets defeated, the princess falls in love with the prince, and then there's a happily ever after." Silence. You swallow. "Life doesn't have happy endings, and if I pretended it did, I would be lying. I don't lie."
And, thinking back on it, that's probably the first thing you said that I wholeheartedly agreed with.
so um. it's been a long time. and i think i am questioning my psychological makeup after writing this. ahem.