Chapter 1: Introduction
I am still the same person I was before
I am here, the same person I was from before, but
An overgrown lie is trying to swallow me whole
Find the me that was innocent
Chapter 2: Prologue
There is a village not too far from Busan.
It holds inhabitants who amicably greet each other before heading for work, the crime rate is the lowest in the region and all can afford a decent automobile. Everyone gets an invite for Christmas, no child is left out of a birthday party and every gentleman holds doors for ladies without lifting their gaze.
Intertwining valleys, meadows of endless green crops, rocky roads and smooth pavements with the elderly exercising in the local park whilst dogs were being walked; this village is a postcard.
It is reasonable for you to assume therefore, that a twenty-two year old girl called Kira Mai lives a more than pleasant life.
Her jolly parents inherited a vibrant bakery from their parents and her twelve year old sister Lia attends the school two blocks away from their four bedroom home that overlooks the seaside.
The current predicament is a Saturday evening.
The Mai household were as usual, busy. Lia has violin practice, Mr and Mrs Mai are getting ready for a good friend’s wedding reception and our protagonist, Kira, is waiting for her pepperoni pizza whilst checking her emails.
Lying flat on her belly, “You’d think a law degree was free,” scrolling down her inbox, “with the amount of begging I gotta do for one damn job.”
Her unemployed status does not match her dreams of becoming a Crown Prosecutor.
Whilst she’s done some questionable things in life, her one goal is to ensure justice is served. Kira has one motto she is proud to call her own, ‘justice is what love looks like in public.’ At the tender age of fifteen, she won a debate with this ending and since then has always been attracted by doing the right thing.
But what confuses her is the law. The more laws there are, the less justice there is. She cannot fathom why a poverty stricken human is classified a criminal for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his mother. Or why someone feels the need to sell drugs to get money. Why is there such a shortage of basic human rights? Who decided to monopolise food and shelter and why aren’t they facing the brute of the ‘law’?
It’s something she can’t understand.
Shutting her screen, she rolled over to the other side of the bed and gazed at the setting sun from her window as it was bidding farewell for the night.
Breaking out of her tangled thoughts ending in one name, “Come in.”
Mrs Mai beamed at her daughter, “Honey we’re off now. Dinner’s in the oven-”
“Ordered a pizza already,” replied Kira bluntly, turning back as she just missed the sun. It was gone.
“Reflect before you snack dear. Why don’t you join work with us from Monday?” She suggested, aware of her daughter’s internal struggles. They all were. But they love her because she always does the right thing.
The girl met her mother’s eyes and fanned her bangs, “I want to earn my own bread, no pun intended.”
Missing the joke, “Alright dear, if that’s what you want. Just don’t stress too much - it’s bad for your skin.”
Raising a brow, Kira stared at her mother. Draped in a dazzling black dress, she was the epitome of elegance. “You look stunning mum.”
“Why thank you dear,” but she knew something darker was troubling her daughter. And it wasn’t the lack of jobs. “Honey I know these past few-”
Just then, Mr Mai barged in, “Enough nattering! I’m supposed to be best man! Nina, we’ll miss pre-drinks,” he whispered the last part to his wife.
“Kira and I were having a conversation, in case you hadn’t realised Minjun,” Mrs Mai snapped at her playful husband whose eyes only traced her lovingly.
“Damn girl, after 22 years I still can’t believe you are mine. All mine,” he grinned childishly.
Kira cut her eyes and wolf whistled, “Well someone does look twenty years younger.”
Turning to his daughter, Mr Mai winked and whispered, “And don’t you forget it doll. I’m the reason why you came out as Miss Korea.”
An innocent remark on his behalf, the two females exchanged awkward glances.
Swallowing her influx of emotions, “Want me to take a pic of you guys?” Kira suggested.
Her father shook his head, “Should’ve offered before dumbo, we’re already two hours late and you’re only supposed to be one!”
He never fails to make his girls laugh.
He was the main reason why Kira is smiling after everything.
“...Anyway see ya tomorrow doll. Let’s go Nina,” curling an arm around his wife’s waist, Kira smiled at them longingly before they were gone.
She wishes relationships like that still existed.
Last year, she won Miss Korea. Of course her looks played a prime factor, but her academic intelligence, above average IQ, optimistic personality and ability to empathise with others got her the beauty pageant crown. Her village rejoiced, she was welcomed as a celebrity and their family home was filled with guests bearing all kinds of gifts in exchange for a picture. Her family bakery was littered with presents, her photos were hung everywhere and even special cakes created in her honour.
Things were perfect for Kira, she had even fallen in love. From being celibate for twenty years, it was her first relationship. The first hand she held, the first kiss she received and the first man she almost gave her virginity to. They would run in fields together, eat at the cutest cafes and watch the starry sky whilst caressing sweet waves on the beach.
It was the best two years of Kira’s life and they matched clothes every day.
After keeping their relationship private during the pageant, word soon got out and whilst hopeful suitors were disappointed, mothers and young girls worshipped the trophy couple.
But some toxic secrets leaked out and destroyed their temporary utopia.
Park Jimin was living a double life.
By day he was Romeo, but by night the activities he engaged in were plastered all over the news.
People in mainland Busan were getting robbed, killed and drugs were pouring in like water. Prostitution was soaring amongst youngsters who had no jobs and gunshots were routinely heard after midnight. No one knew who was behind it; no one knew if it was organised or anomalous crime; there were no patterns and no traces.
But Jimin was somehow embroiled. Dragged in by his older cousin when things were rough at home, he just wanted money to pay off his student debt. But drugs were seductive and luxury was addictive. The cash rolled in and his inner demons controlled his movements.
He was arrested following a set-up by an undercover officer and Kira’s family asked her to cut him off as the media was getting more information on his case daily.
As he is in custody, she broke up over the prison phone, no questions asked and none answered.
But her heart still bears his name.
Kira turned to her phone, the text message was from the UberEats driver delivering her pizza. Tying her long hair back, she breezed out of her room and down the stairs when the doorbell began to ring.
“Keep your socks on, I’m coming,” she tutted.
The doorbell was relentless, the noise deafening and her brows furrowed; he was definitely getting two stars.
Reaching to her door, she swung it open and her mouth instantly became dry at the sight.
Her heart began to thump rapidly, “H-how can I help you officer?”
It was the one responsible for Jimin’s dilemma.
The officer smirked knowingly. Although he was dressed in casual black slacks, Kira would never forget his face. In his forties at six foot three, the tall man had a low ponytail and pale face. His eyes were small and nose sharp. Cheeks gaunt, eye sockets hollow and lips purple from smoking; his teeth were always white.
They were bared in a wide grin, “May I come in Kira? The pizza is awfully large for you to eat alone and I haven’t had dinner yet,” he replied smoothly.
Nodding her head as words were trapped, she stepped aside.
Stumbling over the wooden floorboards, she gulped and bit the inside of her lip, vaguely hearing the door close behind. Leading him into the front room, her eyes were glued to the floor.
“Please, don’t be nervous or get the wrong idea. You aren’t in any trouble,” he consoled her thoughts.
Looking up, she chuckled before clearing her throat and sitting down on an armchair. The officer mirrored her and sat opposite on the couch. His tall legs resembling that of a spider.
A grandfather clock was ticking away, counting the moments of vacant silence.
Placing the pizza box down on the coffee table, the officer continued to smile, “You should eat.”
“Lost my appetite,” Kira retorted, blood returning to her as she finally lifted her eyes to stare at the man who trapped her Jimin.
His eyes softened, “My name is Officer Lee. I-”
“I know who you are, thank you.”
Another silence ensued. It lingered and Kira knew she wouldn’t get anywhere with that sour attitude.
“I’m sorry officer, just been really down lately,” she added. Whatever the case may be, Jimin was a criminal and Lee was only doing his job. “What brings you here? Oh and please help yourself.”
“Let’s both have a slice and then talk eh?” He gently replied.
She nodded and opened the box, offering him one first before she did the same.
Watching her carefully, he needs her to be comfortable.
So they diffused the tension and began to eat. The awkwardness lingered but Lee would always break it by initiating small talk. Once they were both full, Lee turned to Kira who was currently slurping on cola and waited for her to look up.
Her hazel eyes met his black ones. It was a talent to maintain eye contact with Lee. He was the most experienced undercover agent. Not to mention, the most scary looking.
“You’re right Officer, eating does make things better. Even if it’s with a stranger.”
Lee nodded in agreement before sniffing and wiping the sides of his mouth. “Kira,” he leant forward, “I know Jimin was using your room as storage for drugs, guns and black money.”
Her eyes widened. The food wasn’t settling, she felt sick and her vision was spinning.
It wasn’t like that. It was never like that. He needed me, I loved him.
But instead, “I don’t know what you’re talking about Officer,” she replied blankly.
Sighing, “Look. I don’t care about that, it won’t make a difference.”
“Then why would you say it. Am I being recorded?”
“No. Listen to me Kira. I was a private investigator for eight years and I only arrested three thugs. Three. Jimin and two of his peers. The other two would rather die in prison than open their mouths. They know Jimin has been arrested, it's high fucking security, how the fuck do they know that?!” he was rubbing his temples and Kira could sense his frustration. But this was alarming news - if they know of Jimin's arrest, he is an immediate liability. He could snitch on them.
This was bad.
“His peers? What do you mean? How do they know?” She questioned with confusion.
Lee turns to look up at her and thinks how such a beautiful, innocent face can hold such ugly and dark secrets. He wonders why she plays dumb like it wasn’t her who naively gave him an ounce of information with which he arrested her lover and his two crook friends by.
Curling his upper lip, “News is out you’re applying for jobs within the justice system? Legal jobs?”
“News is out? Gee, never thought I was that famous,” she retorted fittingly.
He hates how clever she is, “Don’t use diversionary tactics with me, it’s not cute,” he replied impatiently.
Kira knows why he’s here. She won’t make the same mistake again. Love meant trusting each other with everything and she cannot break that promise, no matter what.
Shrugging her shoulders, “Fine, I am applying. Can’t seem to get any though.”
“It’s not a coincidence.”
There was a knowing stillness as the two locked eyes. This time there was fire flames fused in her hazel irises. Lee was pleased he finally enticed a reaction.
“You’ve been blocking my prospects, haven’t you?” Gritting her teeth, she tried her best to remain poised as she was taught throughout the beauty pageant.
“You shouldn’t have run away Kira.”
“I didn’t run. I realised you had lied to me about your identity. Fool me once, won’t fool me again.”
“My job is a lie. I fool people for a living. It’s called being undercover, darling. Thought your IQ was high and all, eh?”
Kira itched her crown and closed her eyes before reopening them again. She knows what will happen if she says no. Her reputation, her family’s pride, her sister’s life. All would be ruined because of her.
“You would never be able to live with yourself,” he decided dab salt in her wounds.
Shooting venom at Lee, she wanted to kick him out of her house. Literally. But she swallowed the rock of anger, “State your proposition Officer.”
His posture changed and Kira caught on to how happy he was feeling. An emotion closer to relief.
“Any conditions?” He hummed patronisingly.
“He should not get life.”
Guffawing, “Could be the death sentence with crimes he’s participated in.” Noticing her white knuckles he sniggered coldly, “Fine. Max 10 years.”
“10 years? So basically 5, right? The other half on licence,” she clarified her terms as Lee nodded trivially.
His leg began to shake as he was itching for a cigarette. “You’ll need to go undercover.”
“Wait - what? Hold on, Lee. Undercover? Who?”
Looking around, “Didn’t realise you kept a parrot.”
Shaking her head, all composure lost. “Explain yourself Lee, you can’t possibly be serious?” She was now standing. Lee took a fleeting glance at her figure and realised she’d lost a heck load of weight since they last met.
Perfect. It was almost boyish. The bosom can be wrapped in cloth.
Kira was muttering all kinds of protests, but Lee was imagining her with a bowl haircut. If he could cover her eyebrows and ears, keeping the sideburns long; no one would dare question her gender. She’d be a flower boy, but protection can be upped.
“...and that’s final.”
Lee turned his eyes back on the girl’s face, not hearing a word of anything she’d uttered.
“Okay. We’ll train you for a month. You’ve pretty much got the hang of secrecy and keeping your face devoid of emotion. You know how to manipulate and you know how to turn people against each other-”
“Hey! I’m none of that! Plus, that’s beside the point! Lee, arrest me, I don’t care. I just-”
But true to his persistent nature, the older man towered over the young lady, “You can bite your tongue, you know how to control your facial temperature. You can talk well and you can keep your mouth shut,” meeting her shocked eyes, “But most importantly, you know all the secrets. You know everything.”
“No. You should interrogate Jimin. We know the same amount of information.”
Lee jolted his head sideways in amusement, “Kira, why you are insulting me. Do you think I am stupid? For two years, you did dealings a male could never have done,” he circled the girl like prey, “you entered their homes and shook their hands, you know the gang name, the names of all members,” bending his back and aligning his mouth to her ear, “you dined with their families in the name of a pageant, you know where the files are located and,” he pulled back, “you will get a confession from all of them because only you can crack them.”
“W-what? I just did my pageant duties! I mingled with the judges and I did what I was told! I didn’t even want to enter Miss Korea. Officer, I can’t.”
“Kira. No one will know. The corrupt government officials funding these crimes are not in prison. Not a soul in the entire prison will know your face. Once we are done disguising you, no one will bat an eyelash in your direction. You just need to get two of them to open their mouths. Mind you, they aren't easy work but I know you can do it - you know you can. Jimin will not be in the prison as he is awaiting trial," he assured the girl, "Most importantly though, if you do this, justice can be served."
The ultimatum caused her to slump down on the sofa as the clock chimed eleven.
Waiting for each clang to finish, she swallowed a lump.
Her mind is a safety deposit box. She knows too much for her own good. Heck, she met Jimin at the nomination dinner in the Chief Minister’s house. She can still feel the sparks, Jimin's soft touch, his priceless smile, his soothing voice.
But the Chief Minister owned offshore bank accounts whilst appeasing his tainted reputation through charity events and beauty pageants. The most recent pageant which Kira won. She was his greatest success nationwide, which is why he burdened her with all his dirty secrets. She hasn't done his laundry yet and it was becoming heavier by the day.
It doesn’t make sense. Nothing makes sense anymore.
Regretting the words instantly, “What do I have to do?”
And that’s all Lee needed to hear, his cigarette tick had long died and he was ready to taste the sweet release of justice after nearly a decade on the job.
“You need to be a prison mole.”
* * * * *
Chapter 3: Chapter 1: The Beginning.
“Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than to be loved.” - Niccolo Machiavelli.
The handcuffs are intentionally a size too small for his veiny wrists. The flesh of his right cheek is flaring from a recent attack and his jaw flexes wildly. His eyes are dark and his nostrils flared. He is not angry at the brutality; he simply desires to brush his black hair back. The fuckers made him wash the bleach out and right now, a part feels out of place.
If fury was a human, Officer Kang was its embodiment.
Locking eyes with the relentless boy seated one metre opposite, he took a sharp intake, “I’ve been cursed at, spat at, even had faeces thrown at me. Yet I admire those criminals because of their honesty. They hate me and I fucking hate them,” slamming his sweaty palm on the small, square table, “You know what criminal I fucking despise? The one too pussy to show or tell me how they feel. The motherfucking liars.”
Jimin smirked and cocked his head to the side, “I’m surprised no one’s masturbated on you,” he winked.
Kang lost it.
Flinging his chair back, he instantly leant forward to haul the youngster up by the collar. Dragging him forward so their noses were inches apart, “I will eat you alive. You will forget your fucking name.”
Jimin’s smirk transformed into a cheeky grin, “Get me my solicitor first. Then we can talk about changing names, eh?”
Keeping his fist tight around Jimin’s collar, Kang kicked the table so it toppled over and rammed the smaller built boy into the stone wall, repetitively causing the back of his head to let off sickening cracks.
It wasn’t long before the door was flung open and Kang had to be restrained by three police officers.
“Sir! Sir you can’t do this! Calm down sir, let go of him!” They pleaded.
“Let me at him, let me at him! He doesn’t deserve to stand, let me break his goddamn legs!” Kang roared.
He had been interrogating Park Jimin in isolation for twelve straight hours. Heavy lids, a pounding anger and urge to kill had invaded the Officer, but Jimin remained stronger than iron.
He was not about to snitch on anyone.
Ignoring the pool of warmth trickling down his locks, Jimin lifted his bound hands and mustered a goodbye wave to the violent officer.
The door latched itself and the one way glass surrounded him once more. They had hired psychologists to assess and observe the boys’ every move.
There was a temporary silence with which the boy slid down to the ground and finally closed his eyes, swollen from sleep deprivation. No longer was there a grin as his features fell gaunt. His complexion was sunken and lips the only colour on his face.
It was so silent that he could hear the tiniest drop of blood splatter on the floor.
“Fuck you,” he murmured to no one in particular but probably Kang.
Sighing, Jimin ignored his physical pain for the one inside was ravishing his heart, soul and mind. A blur of events keep on replaying in front of his eyes regardless if they’re open or shut.
Faces, voices, gunshots, sirens, shouting; it was too loud.
Using a shoulder blade to rub his ears, Jimin opened his eyes again.
Starting off as a rookie dealer and working his way up to supplying firearms and soliciting young girls for prostitution, Jimin was the most respected gangster and soon grabbed control over the South West area.
He was known as the most streetwise gangster in South West Busan. It didn’t take long for him to dance with the devil and was on friendship terms with the most corrupt politician in South Korea - The Chief Minister, Kim Youngmin. The bastard was a businessman turned politician who bribed his billionaire clients with drugs, black money and prostitution to ensure they rigged each region’s votes.
Inspired by western counterparts, some whistle-blowers endeavoured to expose the Chief Minister and his cabinet to no avail. In response, Minister Youngmin invested in charity events and endorsed beauty pageants for which the most recent was Miss Korea.
Invited to the opening ceremony, there were dozens of gorgeous girls, some watching Jimin eagerly whilst others dazzling in their own light.
Smiling and bowing to the ladies, the world stopped spinning for the suited lad when his eyes befell Kira. Giggling with The Chief Minister’s wife and curling a strand of hair over her small ear, she shone brighter than a diamond and her movements soon controlled him like a rag doll.
Her soothing voice emersed the blazing sounds in his head and her eyes melted his inner fire. He fell in love too quickly and promised to leave everything for her if she helped wrap it up.
But once the bad guys know your name, there’s never a way out. Two weeks ago, there was a hushed conspiracy to publicly kill the President and the attempt failed miserably. Jimin was only on watch duty that afternoon, anxiously waiting in his Lexus when three gunshots and crowd of piercing wails later, sirens engulfed his vehicle and his hands were up.
He awoke in a cell and today was his first encounter with an illegal interrogation.
“Argh, my head,” he groans. The more they interrogate him, the more he gets trapped in his mind. But he knows regardless of what he tells them, he’ll be thrown in maximum security.
This was an unforgivable crime if proven against him.
Uncurling his fingers, he placed each one down slowly, “Couldn’t have been Minjae, Hoseok or Yoongi - they were all in the crowd. Definitely wasn’t Sota , he can’t speak Korean to save his life. That leaves Taeyong, Daniel and Lee.” Clenching his jaw so copper flooded his buds, he’s losing all slithers of patience. He wants to rip the insides out of whoever the hell set him up.
The door opened and his thoughts were a maze once more.
Not bothering to look up, Jimin cut his eyes and licked his lips.
There was a small chuckle, “Hey what are you doing down there? We don’t have much time, buttocks on the chair please.”
Wincing at the sudden sting, Jimin jolted up and couldn’t believe who had just entered the room. His eyes crinkled with a sense of relief and happiness before his button nose and lips followed suit.
Reassurance laced in his tone, “Hyung. You finally came.”
“Of course, didn’t you trust me? Or you thought I was like my father, a corrupt coward?”
They were referring to the one phone call Jimin was allowed to make where he told the older to ‘get him the fuck out of this shit hole.’
“You have loyalty, he doesn’t,” getting up to sit on the chair, the older stopped him as a clang of keys later and the handcuffs were undone. A deep air of satisfaction left his parted mouth, “Fuck’s sake, these cuts will leave marks.”
“Sorry I couldn’t come earlier, was abroad. The Chinese are really hard to crack; it took me two years to convince them to join cultural exchange with us,” the older boy analysed his counterpart and gasped, “you’re bleeding!”
The younger could sit here and comfortably listen to these stories. It’s been a while since he felt so warm, “Don’t worry. You’re here now and that’s all that matters. Even if I get life, I know you’re here.”
Huffing, “It won’t come to that. Just give me time to arrange things formally. I don’t-”
“You don’t want to misuse your power. I get it, I know.” Jimin pouted playfully, “Are you really the Chief Minister’s son?”
The twenty nine year old sulked, “Well there are two of us and you will see a heck load of Chief Minister in the younger one,” the last part said with solemnity.
An air of friendship surrounded the boys who stared at each other with longing.
“It’s so good to see you again Jin hyung. Seriously, so much happened when you were away.”
Reaching a hand out to fan the younger’s hair back, Seokjin tried to wipe the blood away. It was already drying. “I’ll sort everything out. Just promise to trust hyung.”
His eyes sparkled as he nods, “with my life.”
* * *
Snipping sounds resonated through the private salon.
Sometimes fine pieces, sometimes bunches and most of the time curled locks were all floating down and landing with a silent thud. The brown floorboards had since turned black and Kira had her eyes shut tight, afraid of what the mirror would show.
“There. All done,” the hairdresser sounded triumphant, “you can open your eyes now.”
Kira took a deep breath in and embraced herself.
Her eyes slowly widened as gone were the days of her blatant femininity. Her hair was a typical bowl cut but there was underlying softness in the layers gently forming lines and overlapping themselves over each other like the most delicate of waves. A fringe concealed her eyebrows and her chin looked more defined and pointed than ever.
She resembled an elf from Lord of the Rings.
“Oh wow. Um thank you,” she muttered, smiling at the stylist before shaking herself off and throwing her hood over the new cut.
Making her way out, a new feeling engulfed her. It was exhilarating and she felt liberated. She can’t wait to wash her hair every day without feeling a sense of betrayal at skipping conditioner or a hair mask. It was strange how giddy the girl was feeling, almost excited.
Who can blame her, when all she’s done is display as many feminine traits as humanely possible. From hair to posture, etiquette to containing laughter, diet to endless skin routines; being a girl was a burden. No - looking like a girl was a burden.
It is currently Wednesday morning and Kira received an email with a location and instructions which included wearing dark clothes. She figured they would ask her to get a haircut sooner or later and she wanted to choose what style and when autonomously.
She was yearning for a change and mentally smirks imagining her mother’s reaction.
Turning into what looked like a small, shabby brick building, the gates were black and there was a length of circled barbed wire decorating the top.
Buzzing an old silver button, the gate unlocked. She entered and began walking to the entrance, the sun shining brightly but the cold wind attacking her throat.
Kira thought the reception mirrored that of a dentist’s office as she sat down and began shaking her leg impatiently.
Lee had left faster than he came and she was left with dozens of unanswered questions. She needs answers and she hasn’t been able to sleep these past four nights.
His pale face and abnormally tall height soon outshone the sun as he beckoned her to follow him into a room at the far end of the first floor. It was an awkward walk, no small talk, not even a ‘hello, how are you’.
Letting her in first, she looked around his reasonable sized office with an unusually high ceiling. The room itself was nothing special; just a huge filing cabinet, a round desk, a jam-packed bookshelf, cactus plants decorating the windowsill, and framed photos of more cactuses.
“You sure love your cacti,” she laughed as the door closed.
Ignoring her remark, Lee ushered her to sit behind his desk whilst he stood to the wall behind the door and reached up to pull a string down. Immediately, a huge paper plan flared down with various mug shot photographs, blue ink scribbled notes, mind-maps and scattered diagrams.
“Indeed,” Lee replied this time as he placed a small A4 folder in front of her. “Take that home. Read and digest it. Read and digest it, do you hear me? Read and digest every single word down to the last full stop.”
Kira nodded and took her hoodie off. Keeping her eyes fixed on Lee, he displayed no reaction other than a small smile. “You read my mind.”
“Listen Lee, I need answers before I agree to this. I need-”
“Yes, I can answer questions and no, you have already agreed. Shoot.” He whipped a small stool out and was still taller than her seated.
Taking pleasure from ruffling the undercut of her new hairstyle, “I know why you want me, but what do I get out of this?”
Kira waited as did Lee.
She urged a response with a pout.
Shrugging his shoulders, “Oh I thought you said questions? Is that all?”
Rolling her eyes, “Firstly, what do I get? Not what will Jimin get, but me. Secondly, what exactly am I supposed to be doing and how long for? Thirdly, what will I tell my family? Fourth-”
“I haven’t finished!”
“Let me answer that first.”
“Then why did you-! Fine. Fine, answer me. Go on,” she threw daggers at Lee; this man knew how to test her patience. But she knows him; he wants to know how far he can push her.
Picking up a small cactus from his desk, “I remember someone clearly saying to me, ‘don’t shake hands with a cactus,’ and I thought ‘Well why not? What could possibly go wrong?’ Shaking hands is a friendly gesture.”
Kira furrowed her brows, “Sherlock Holmes? Really?”
“Details create the bigger picture,” placing the plant back, “The past few days since we met have been rather eye-opening, to say the least. It has since transpired that the legal team arguing Jimin’s case wish to throw you under the bus. Soon you will get a court summons for the urgent allegation of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to kill the President.”
Shooting up from her chair, her mouth dropped open, “What?! You mean to say, I? Me? Killing the president? What the actual fuck Lee? This is too much!”
Disregarding her outburst, “If you don’t go undercover, you’ll end up doing time anyway. If you do this, your record stays clean. Call it your public service duty - a community order, if you like. If you don’t comply, say goodbye to everything. Your reputation, your career in law and your future. Before you even complain of blackmail, it isn’t. We are putting our arses - I am putting my arse on the line for you,” pointing to the folder, and consistently ignoring Kira’s changing facial expressions, “Answering your other questions, read and digest.”
Kira nodded and processed the information very slowly. She was well and truly trapped.
With trembling fingers, she turned over the folder and began perusing the pages.
Name: Lim Kangmin.
DOB: April 21st 1997.
Blood Type: O+
Charge: Possessing Cannabis [contrary to Narcotics Control Act, Article 61, p1, sp4]
Sentence: 18 months [mitigating factor: passive participation]
Background: Mother and Father both dead, lived with Grandma in countryside. Approached ‘Jet’ an ex-senior from my high school who gave me my first job. But I got caught two months later off Central Plaza high street. Trial in Busan Criminal District Court fifth division. Sent to Busan Prison for immediate correction.
There were ten other pages containing instructions about unspoken codes of conduct. Scoffing, Kira looked up. “Codes of conduct? Wouldn’t the worst contravention be snitching?” She questioned with sarcasm.
“Read and digest. Read and digest.”
Before she could think of a fitting reply, the door knocked once.
Never removing his deep set eyes off the girl, Lee reached a long arm out to open the door. Kira’s hazel pupils travelled to the man who entered. Carrying a small paper bag, he had white hair and wrinkles with frameless glasses and a stony expression. Dressed in a three piece suit, he looked important.
Kira motioned to stand but he shook a stumpy hand, “I didn’t come here to sit,” his voice was raspy and high pitched as though a child had smoked three cigars in a row.
He continued, eyes analysing Kira. “You don’t need to know who I am but who you are and what you are about to do must not leave this room, do you understand?”
Her eyes travelled to Lee, but he was serious faced.
She didn’t notice the man had slithered towards her as his hand banged on the desk, sending a small cactus falling. Kira looked up in shock as he threw the paper bag to her. It contained a light object, packaged and long.
“Wear that in prison and only take it off when you need the toilet. It is a prototype imported from Japan, so don’t you dare lose or break it. Or do anything else with it,” he added with a dirty smirk.
Kira was confused but soon caught onto what it was.
A deep tinge of red invaded her cheeks and her throat became dry, “I understand.”
He stared at her pathetically, almost with sympathy.
Dropping the harshness, “You will not be allowed to use the phone, so you tell us anything and everything through visitation. An old woman called Hyemin will be your grandmother. You must tell her everything. If necessary, you may post us letters to this address. Any questions?”
Kira gulped and could feel Lee smirking as she shook her head, “No sir. I understand. Well, actually, what shall I tell my parents?”
The man turned brusquely to Lee, “You didn’t tell her?” Lee remained silent.
Kira’s eyes were glued on their interaction, “Tell me what?”
“It’s been arranged already, they were informed you have a legal apprenticeship in Japan for eighteen months, all expenses paid. You have a month of training that begins today. Excuse me, I have an important meeting to attend but I will be regularly checking up on progress.”
He nodded slightly and turned on his heel, back straighter than a ruler, hair cut zero on all sides.
Kira waited for his footsteps to recede before she let out the breath she was holding.
“You’re going to meet worse characters who will not show you mercy,” Lee shook his head disapprovingly. “Let’s start with the basics. What do you know about prison?”
Kira opened her mouth to say something before she closed it.
Lee was now standing, hovering over the paper plan, “Go on, don’t hold back. There’s no wrong answer.”
Kira grinned, “I love Prison Break and I just finished the last season of Orange is the new Black!”
An expression between disgust and pity befell Lee as he shook his head sadly, “We have a long way to go.”
* * *
As a young man strolled through the cells, whispers were heard from every corner. Some men bowed down out of respect whilst others kept their gazes safely lowered and the braver ones hooted and cheered his name.
But the man paid no attention, his whirling mind planning for the days ahead. Planning every moment meticulously. It’s only a matter of time before he’s bailed out or surety is paid to the court in exchange for his release. He knows it. As the best friend of the Chief Minister’s youngest son, it is a privilege waiting to be unravelled.
It’s only a matter of time, but he will deal with the snitch. The mole. The one who sold him. He will find him. He will slaughter him.
“That’s him, ain’t it?”
“Heard he’s in for triple homicide and ten counts of murder.”
“No way! He should really be in max.”
“Yeah, don’t know why they’re bringing in even more dangerous inmates. Some of us have families to get back to. Can’t be dealing with street wars here.”
“Yo fuck him anyway, pansy looking ass.”
The burly officers didn’t hesitate to throw the heavy boy in his cell like a sack of potatoes. He was solitarily confined, but still able to hear the others and would still be allowed to join them for meals.
Basking in his own company, he shook his head and burst out into laughter. His laughs transformed into roars as he becomes majorly pissed. He shouldn’t be in here. Someone had ratted him out, someone fucking snitched. On him. Someone had the balls to snitch on the most bloodthirsty criminal the town has ever witnessed.
Snarling, he reached into his boxers and took out something wrapped in a plastic cover.
Resting his back on the wall of his bed, he slowly began to untangle the item. It caught a ray of light and glistened brightly.
“I know the snitch is coming, I can feel him. But I’ll be prepared. Kim Namjoon is always prepared,” he chanted to himself, eying the four inch blade with admiration and love.
It was sharpened this morning and funnily enough, some guards did not want to search the man once the metal detector did its job.
Chapter 4: Chapter 2: The Stranger.
"Man is the only animal that refuses to be what he is." - Albert Camus.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The rancid smell of overflowing sewage gunk with bile containing week old imitation beef stew got the girl gagging louder than a gangbang Japanese adult video.
“Let - me - out - please!” She begs, hand desperately clasped around her throat.
A loud bang on the wall, “Two minutes to go, don’t pussy out inmate!”
Pacing in circular motions, this was not what she understood ‘training’ to be. Surely prison couldn’t be like this. The past month has been a taste of the seventh hell.
But what choice does she have?
Either suck up this training or be thrown in prison without a key. Although the latter is a lay man’s working reality, call this opportunity her key if you like.
“Please...I’m going to pass out...” Kira whimpered.
She had been thrown into physical fighting situations, cold shower punishments, cooking classes and now solitary confinement. Only, whatever this place is, there was shit smeared everywhere. The walls are an unidentifiable shade of brown, the floor slippery and the lights off.
It is humid and her beads of sweat feel foreign.
Just as her vision began to fuzz, the door swung open.
She floundered out.
Lee grinned, “You passed. Let’s get you a shower and then you can go home. Enjoy your last night, inmate.” He was enjoying this a little too much.
“Remind me why I’m doing this again?” Kira itched her crown, she was reeking.
They had reached the private training institute bathroom. It wasn’t segregated.
“So this doesn’t become your reality for a decade.”
Kira glowered at Lee as both began to shower. They faced opposite directions and although burning with shame, she knows this is part of the training. But still, she prefers to shower with her clothes on.
“You never did tell me how you managed to leave so easily after eight years undercover.”
Lee chuckled, “I’m not out out.”
“The heck that mean?”
Lathering his body with soap he gulped, “To get out you need a solid excuse. I haven’t told them my intentions and if I don’t tell them why I gotta go, they’ll find me and kill me.”
“Seriously? You’re going back in? Do you have any brain cells? They’ll put two and two together, they’ll realise what you did.”
Lee turned the nozzle off and stood with his eyes closed, “I’ll tell them I need to leave the country.”
“And you think that’ll work?” Kira shook her bowl cut and rubbed her eyes. She wonders why the old generation are fooled into thinking they are street wise.
“Of course. A guy got out last year, he’s living the good life in Singapore.”
As they walked out the back door back into civilisation, Kira inhaled cool air of the dark night, “I hope so Lee. I need you more than you need me if I’m going to get through this shit.”
Lee smiled and put a long arm around the girl, “Don’t worry, I got your back. There’s still the guy who bestowed you with your first silicon penis,” he sniggered as Kira pushed him off with disgust.
“It’s so uncomfortable, no wonder all men walk with a stick up their arses to match the one in front. Symmetry and all.”
He scoffed, “We men aren’t all that bad, am I right Kangmin?”
They sat in his Toyota Yaris as both buckled seatbelts.
“What was his name anyway? Silicone dick guy?” She questioned as Lee turned into an adjacent side road and began protocol of waiting for thirty minutes before driving off in case someone tries to follow them.
Pulling up a black face mask as Kira mirrored him, “Hong. He is called Minister Hong. Now you know that information, lock it away in your safety deposit box and never try to find him.”
Kira closed her eyes and can’t wait to get some sleep. “Fuck’s sake, I knew he was important. Why is everything so goddamn deep?”
Guffawing, “You shouldn’t have chosen to date a criminal then, should you.”
“How the hell was I meant to know Jimin was a Busan Kkangpae?”
“Jopok. Your lover was a Busan Jopok.”
“What’s the damn difference?” She raised her voice with exasperation.
Smiling before signalling into another road and turning the engine off as per second tier protocol, “Kkangpae is slang for unorganised gangsters who do everything remotely illegal. A Kkangpae is usually born from poverty and desires wealth at any and all cost. Owns no firearms, no licensed weaponry, much like guerrillas; they just want people to fear them.”
Waiting for the girl to digest this information, Lee continued.
“However, Jopok’s are organised gangsters. They are a network of small gangs, constantly at each other’s throats. Busan Jopok detest Daegu Jopok; a Gwangju Jopok loathes an Incheon Jopok. But, they are part of a pyramid structure that will join forces against the common enemy, Japanese Yakuza.”
Gulping, the girl reiterated, “So there are Yakuza here? In Korea?”
“Of course. Yamashita-gumi. They are a strong clan, well settled all over the South Coast garnering more manpower by the second. They are constantly waging indirect war against the Jopok for ultimate control over mainland Seoul, over The Republic of Korea.”
“Holy shit. So the Yakuza want to dominate Korea? Why isn’t our President stopping them?”
Shaking his head at her lack of knowledge, “Jopok is stopping them. Whilst Yakuza are funded under the carpet by the Japanese government, Jopok are led by the Chief Minister. Or so I have strong reason to believe. This is why you are being sent to infiltrate-”
“Wait, so why are we stopping the Jopok? They are doing good! They are helping our people! They-”
Slamming his fist on the steering wheel, “No! Kira, absolutely no! Haven’t you been listening? Our President is talking with the Japanese President as we speak to stop all of this! Why do you think Jimin was embroiled in an assassination attempt? We let Jopok continue and the lives of millions of people will be thrown into peril! Loan sharks, prostitution, drugs, violence, rape, purging; is this a means to an end? Huh?!”
The girl instantly felt ashamed.
She nodded slowly and changed tune, “If Yakuza are known for their tattoos; Jimin has some, and his friends are inked! What does that make them?”
Whipping out a cigarette, “Tattoo’s aren’t the trigger to identify. It’s complicated. Sometimes Yakuza and Jopok work together against the greatest enemy, the Chinese Shui Fong, the communists funded by China and Russia. It’s a war of ideologies mixed with desires for revenge, blood, power and money,” taking a huge draw, “To differentiate, you got to understand the person’s persona. The way they carry themselves, the way they think, their ideologies.”
Kira was desperately trying to understand, but it was all so intricate.
“So Jimin and his friends are Busan Jopok?”
Blowing out a puff, “The happiest moment of my career was when I got Jimin. He was the only Jopok that learnt to fly; he was in charge of the district. No gangster in Busan has ever become Jopok. But Jimin, damn, Jimin was mingling with Seoulpa Choson Ring in mainland Seoul, he was dancing with Thailand and Burma Jopok. He was the golden egg. Crème de la crème. Cream of the crop. When I got him-”
“...Checkmate,” Kira emulated with a sombre tone.
There was an intense silence as both hearts were pounding with the revelation of how big this operation is. A sense of morality flooded her veins as vivid memories with her ex-boyfriend replayed.
Lee watched her, “You good?”
He’s developed a slight care for her.
Nodding and blinking rapidly, “Y-yeah. It’s just a lot y’know? Didn’t really put anything into perspective.”
Lee placed a gentle hand on the girl’s trembling knee, “Miss Korea isn’t just about looks and intelligence. You are a brave heart and you must save your nation for whom thousands of people gave their lives to build. You must free the people from this syndicate, from the prison of their minds.”
Her beautiful eyes glistened with sparkling tears as she nodded, “I won’t let you down Lee, I won’t let my country down.”
“I know you won’t,” he softly whispered before pulling her in for a hug she gladly reciprocated.
* * * * *
There are ten free-view satellite channels available on the old television placed on the highest wall just beneath the clock which had been ticking extra slowly these days. Most of the entertainment in the play room consisted of this television and two packs of cards scattered around twelve round tables.
It is a Thursday evening and the communal room is packed as dinner is over. Eleven tables are occupied with six males on each. No one dares to sit on the centre one.
“Put something else on, I’m tired of watching these clowns,” a youngster calls from the back as he swings on his chair.
Turning to face the loudest table, “Watching funny shows helps me stay young,” one of the older men retorted.
Clucking his teeth, “You don’t change it now I’ll break your dentures and spectacles. Then you wouldn’t want to stay younger, would you?”
The rest of his table hoots as another one his age fist pumps him.
The older table at the front begin to natter in contempt and anger before the old man chuckles, “You want it, come take it,” and throws the remote controller as hard as possible.
It smashes and the back cover previously held with tape snaps in two.
Chairs skid back, “Fucking idiot! Now you’re getting it old man. Fuck this!”
Lunging towards the eldest inmates, a table stood forward as a barricade.
Another youngster steps forward to stop the troubled youth. He is tall and muscular with a stern expression and plump lips. “Learn some fucking respect. Pick the remote up and get it fixed.” His smooth voice ordered.
The other boy smirked sarcastically, “Fuck you Junior.”
The room fell silent.
Scowling, “Why I gotta fix it for? Those disabled retards broke it!”
Smirking, Junior cuts his eyes, “I won’t repeat myself Mingyu.”
Said boy turns to everyone angrily, “Fuck you all looking at?”
As the inmates quickly get back to respective activities, Mingyu kicks the remote and barges past Junior to leave the room. Instantly, Junior grabs his collar and smashes his back against the door outside away from prying eyes.
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Let go of me hyung.”
Leaning into a taller Mingyu, he sniffs and releases his grip. Widening his eyes at the strong smell of cocaine, “Who gave it to you?”
Although younger by two years, his temper clouds respect, “Why do you care Jinyoung?”
A buzz later and all inmates were going off to their respective cells.
Junior sighs and throws the younger away, “Because unfortunately you are my brother. Sleep it off or I’ll kick it out.”
They lock eyes as the older turns first and stomps off, ignoring the loud chatter and conversation.
A slap on the back as he turns to face his bunk bed mate, Yugyeom. His brother’s best friend and someone who Junior’s grown to love over the last year.
“Did ya hear?” He chirps.
Shrugging his shoulders, “Spit it out.”
They were pacing towards Block D, cell room 1010 as guards were shouting lights out and laughter resonated through the halls. Laughter is the only thing these people have left to control.
“Got a newbie!” Yugyeom jeered as he practically jumps up the stairs.
Junior frowns, “What?”
Their cell was at the end of this hallway, but a crowd of inmates were blocking their path. News gets out faster than a house on fire.
A burly guard pushes forward, “Alright, alright, back to your cells. Lights out!” The older inmates were moving extra slowly as some began to bang on the door. The guard took his baton out to push the crowd, “You’d think it was a girl inside! Get back to your cells inmates; do not make me repeat myself!”
Murmuring curses, the older ones dispersed, leaving Junior and Yugyeom confused.
“It’s not the first time a newbie is here,” the older chuckles. Yugyeom agrees as they barge past the dispersing crowd.
“Maybe it’s another member,” Yugyeom suggested.
Both shrug their shoulders nonchalantly as an inmate lurked back. Looking both ways, he tugs at Junior’s hair.
“Hey dude what the fuck?!”
“Sorry, everyone’s saying it’s an idol, please let me in?” He begs excitedly. His hands are twitching and Junior recognises him as the drug addict from Block C who killed his children and sold their organs for money to buy more drugs.
“Fuck right off you sicko,” Junior snaps angrily, “You come to this block again and I’ll make you eat your organs.”
The man jumps up and jitters off, slapping his head whilst picking pace like a heron.
Shaking his head, Junior enters the cell as the door clambers behind. Fifteen minutes remain for all inmates to get back to their cells or risk punishment.
* * *
She sits on the top bunk awkwardly, accustomed to stares but never this many animalistic ones. The door is shaking, whistles are being blown and there is too much noise. So she resorts to lying down, covering her face with an arm whilst blocking the door with a raised leg.
Thanking the heavens when the crowd finally disperses, two pairs of eyes are pinned on her.
“Ignore them, this is the most entertainment anyone gets around here,” a boy consoles her whilst grinning. Maybe her age, she assesses him with a side glare and nods once. He looks too happy to be here.
Deciding to sit up, she spreads her legs out and rests elbows on knees.
Another boy enters and damn. He is handsome. Kira shakes her head and clears her throat, waiting to reply to questions.
But none came.
Instead, the handsome boy groans before kicking his slippers off and lying in the bunk opposite. The happy one mirrors him and climbs up to the top bunk opposite her.
“What’s your name,” he says rather than ask.
“Kangmin. Lim Kangmin,” she pauses waiting for him to ask her to strip. Waiting for him to call out her lie.
Face palming herself at how high and shrill her voice sounded, she won’t survive a moment, she’ll be found out, she’ll be killed and-
Breaking her conflicting thoughts, he smirks, “I’m Kim Yugyeom. This one is Park Jinyoung. We’ll talk more in the morning, but uh - welcome to prison.”
Kira tries to smile but just grimaces as the room falls silent. Their cells lights are long off, only the hallway lights blare.
Furrowing her brows, “Hey uh...Yugyeom?” She put on a deeper voice. It wasn’t half bad.
Turning his back to her, “What?”
“Who sleeps underneath me?”
He mumbles something inaudible as the lights turn off one by one outside. The only sounds are single buzzes, securing each cell for the dark night.
Kira bites her lip, “Huh? What did you say?”
But she was left without an answer as snores soon echoed in this tiny room. Everyone was sleeping, but Kira’s mind was whirling.
She couldn’t even lie down without flipping over, on her back and then her stomach.
Only this morning had she bid farewell to her unknowing parents and sister - who love her new look as they don’t want her to be recognised and mobbed by Japanese media outlets - but a two hour car ride later and a fake strip search before she entered this prison with a set of khaki rags, toothbrush and a few of her shower supplies; she was flung by the wrist in this room.
Given a number tag, 236, she was now the new kid.
It was way too surreal.
Sighing, she decides to sit up and lean against the stone cold wall before slowly drooping back to her pillow. It feels like a stack of hardback books roughly aligned as her head begins to ache.
Along with heavy snoring, light sniffles soon reverberate as her tears dampen the pillow making it a little more softer to sleep on.
Kira woke up instantly, she had a bad dream.
She dreamt she was already in prison, and it was damaging her soul. It was slowly sucking all life out of her and she feared everyone.
Looking around the dark cell, her heart missed a beat when she realised it wasn’t a dream and a red sunrise was seeping in from the hallway windows.
Two figures were still snoring as she kicked her bed with anger. Rubbing her dry eyes, she kicked the bed once more. But this time a kick was returned as it dug into her back.
Grounded with anxiety, she curled into a small ball and impatiently waited for everyone to awaken.
Tossing and turning whilst replaying mental conversations in her mind; she was determined not to be a pushover.
“Rule 1: Never show any weakness.
That means do not speak unless spoken to. The more you speak, the more they understand. The way your lips will move, your hands and fingers explaining what your words can’t, your eyes the light to your heart, your soft hair bouncing; they will read you like a book. Do not be read.
Because if you are read, they will know the next chapter. They will suss out your next move.
It’s only getting more dangerous in there. The old are being kicked out, the new is coming forth. Respect - it’s long gone. Westernisation reform is clouding the system. Don’t be a fool, don’t fall for any tricks or kindness. You do your time quietly and leave, got it? Pick up their secrets and tell grandma at visitation. Only tell grandma. Trust grandma.
Keep your Ace close to your chest, got it?”
Nodding to herself, “You got this Kangmin. Lim Kangmin. Lim Kangmin. Act like Kangmin,” she chanted as soon enough, a loud buzzer ricocheted off the walls as cells were being opened and banged against.
Snores dissipated as morning yawns were let off.
Yugyeom was the first to sit up as he met Kira’s red eyes covered by her fringe. “Woah, startled me there vampire.”
His morning voice was very deep as he chuckles before walking over to her bunk and kicking the figure underneath.
“Fucks sake Yugyeom, I’m up,” the figure’s thick voice rasped. He had a strong Busan dialect as his syllables flowed up and down like serene waves.
“Newbie, come here,” the one known as Jinyoung arose, opening his mouth as wide as a lion before roaring out a yawn.
Scuttling down, Kira just about caught her balance. Her legs were dead, eyes heavy, face swollen and lips chapped.
She stopped to stare at the third cell mate, “I’m uh - Kangmin.”
He had silky raven locks and milky skin. The full sleeved khaki uniform fit snug on his muscular frame as he pursed his pout to reveal a dimple in one cheek. Eyes shooting open, they were brown, round and doe like.
Gulping, Kira looked away before remembering she was a boy.
He sat up and sniffed, “You got rhinitis Kangmin?”
Realising she was being addressed, “Huh? No.”
“Hearing problems?” Jinyoung chuckled.
Turning to him, “N-no.”
Yugyeom snorted, “Want to be a parrot?”
All three males burst out laughing as Kira blushed with embarrassment. She tried to smirk, but her eyes clouded. Managing a chuckle, “Didn’t get much sleep to be honest.”
Yugyeom grinned, “Yep. Gonna be like that for the first few weeks. You get used to it.”
“You’ll adjust,” Jinyoung nodded before sliding back in his lower bunk, “Sit here.”
Complying, she awkwardly remained at the edge before he dragged her back by the collar, “We aren’t gonna eat you. Relax.”
“Stop apologising,” the raven haired boy grunted as he analysed the new inmate. “What you in for?”
Gulping, “Possessing cannabis.” Feeling all eyes on her to continue, “I - uh...got a job from a senior in my high school. He-”
“What’s his name?” He questioned.
“Oh, uh, Jet.”
“Got nicked off Central Plaza high street two months later. I think someone set me up,” she added, “Never can trust anyone,”
“If I had a dime every time I heard that, I’d bail myself out. See you at breakfast 236,” Yugyeom stretched his hamstrings before throwing on socks and slippers.
Jinyoung nodded grimly, “I despise drugs. They ruin everything and everyone good.”
Kira bit back a snarky reply but instead looked down as the weight beside her followed Yugyeom out. Sighing, she almost forgot about the third inmate until a heavier weight replaced the momentary empty space.
Blocking her vision was a large, veiny hand, “I’m Jungkook.”
Her hand was much smaller in comparison, but took it and looked up.
Fuck, his eyes were prettier than diamonds.
“You already said,” he smiled.
On anyone else, his teeth would’ve looked too big but for him it was perfect. When he smiled, he became an Easter bunny as all his features lit up simultaneously as his eyes continued to crinkle cutely.
She laughed and felt at ease around him, “Cut me some slack, I think I got like an hours’ sleep.”
“Well get some now,” he suggested.
“I’m not on a hunger strike, I’ll miss breakfast.”
Cocking his head to the side, “Sleep. Don’t worry about breakfast.”
Kira brushed her fringe forward, “Would love to but not really used to these pillows either. I think I need some air-”
But before she could finish, Jungkook’s arms engulfed her smaller frame and threw her over to his bottom bunk. Her throat became parched as she was feeling dizzy.
“Sleep. I’ll be back soon with your breakfast.”
“But...” she trailed off as her eyes slowly closed.
Jungkook’s bed was soft, his pillow made of individually plumped feathers and his sheets smelt soapy.
She was too tired to notice how he loomed over her, smirking to himself whilst shaking his head before tucking her in.
* * * * *
The board meeting had concluded smoothly as all rose from respective seats and flashed their whitened teeth for the journalists. Gathering in The Blue House lobby, ministers and executives were mingling with Prosecutors and Supreme Court Judges. Cheering merrily, waiters rushed in with trays of ivory champagne flutes.
“Congratulations on the exchange with The Chinese Premier, Minister Kim! How is it that you do it?”
Winking at the waitress, he swirled expensive wine before sipping a little, “The trick’s in the trade Minister Hong. Speak their language, win their hearts. Walk their steps and conquer their minds!”
Laughter boomed out as this grand flock of important individuals made their way towards the dining hall for brunch.
“Sir, there’s a call for you,” Minister Kim’s personal assistant whispered in his ear as the former excused himself, absorbing bows and backing away.
“Who is it?” He questioned brusquely.
Looking at Minister Kim, anyone would be misled to thinking he was of a pleasant, kind and soft nature. He had huge eyes covered with frameless gold rimmed glasses and a high bridged nose paired with a proportionate mouth and high cheek bones. At fifty five years of age, his teeth were white, back straight, always draped in the most expensive of suits, garnished with lavish cologne.
“Master Seokjin, sir.”
Minister Kim’s facial expression brightened as he detoured towards the botanical garden exit; personal assistant following suite.
“My boy! Where are you?” He chirped before pinching his trousers at the knees and sitting on a bench facing bright red flowers.
Currently smoking a cigarette by his car parked outside a prison, “Just around. Listen dad, I need to talk to you about something.”
Checking his watch, “Can’t it wait until I get home? We’ll go out for dinner-”
Stubbing it out and brushing back his hair, “Sorry but it can’t. Where are you?”
Grinding his teeth, “The Blue House. I’ll be home at eight.”
“It’s about Taehyung. He-”
“I’ll be home at eight,” Minister Kim hung up and threw the phone to his assistant. Taking a deep breath in, he turns around.
“What happened to Taehyung’s cell phone?”
“Sir, the guards threw it away.”
“Well then, get him another one. Fire the guards and hire some proper men.”
Standing up, Minister Kim brushed dirt off his trousers, “Taehyung will be released in six months,” he stares into the distance with a sick grin, “Start a war by then to distract the media attention off him.”
“Shall we hire Kkangpae or Jopok?”
“South Busan Kkangpae. Negotiate an illegal arms trade between them and Tokyo Yakuza in South East Gwangju. Get my Jopok to infiltrate the deal by emptying the vans before they have a chance to trade. They will go after each other’s families and naturally, the people will ask me to fuel anti-Japanese rhetoric.”
Yang laughed out loud, “Sir you are a genius! Gwangju and Busan are the perfect locations. Farmers and angry youngsters are always the most loyal and over populated. Next election will be yours.”
Placing a heavy hand on Yang’s shoulder, “Don’t forget to compensate our Japanese conglomerates. Wouldn’t want to sacrifice business for poverty now, would we?”
“Of course Sir.”
Shaking their heads with humour, the men strolled back into The Blue House as brunch was being served. The President was already seated as Minister Kim bowed deeply and took a seat on his right side.
His loyal thugs lined up behind, posing as guards with no skin on show save their faces. It would be scandalous to say the least, if anyone were to see inked arms, backs and necks.
* * * * *
It’s been three days.
Uneventful to say the least, Kira hasn’t witnessed any violence, crime or disorderly conduct for that matter. If anything, everyone was minding their own business; talking to each other about random things or watching television.
This morning she was assigned a job in the kitchen. Laughing to herself, she was grateful for the cooking training last month as she was designated the role of carrot chopper.
Last time she checked the clock, it was 3pm.
Strolling around the prison, eyes followed her mysteriously but she soon blocked it out as she wondered across the library. Its inhabitants were mainly older with the odd glasses wielding youngster hiding in the shelves like a beatle.
Browsing the shelves and caressing rusty edges of old and moulded books, she finally settled for one.
The Stranger - Albert Camus.
Finding an empty chair scattered in a dry brown substance which Kira was very tempted to smell to decipher its origins, she ignored the urge and plonked her derriere down.
Just then, a loud voice called out, “There you are!”
Kira looked up from the prologue and bent the top right hand corner.
Clutching onto his rib, “Come on.”
Grabbing her arm, she allowed herself to be swooped away and prayed no one would take the book.
“Jinyoung hyung, where-”
He stopped, “How many times. You call me Junior. Do not call me hyung,” he glared at her. They were in a hallway and the sun was shining outside, “Do not call anyone hyung. And for your own good, do not dare to call anyone Hyungnim.”
He nodded. “Look, I’ve noticed you don’t understand shit. It’s a surprise you lasted two months out there.”
“Well actually I-”
Stepping back with amusement, “There you go again! You don’t have to answer every fucking thing,” licking his lips and looking past her before repeating, “Do not call anyone hyung. Call them out or tap their shoulder with an ‘excuse me.’ Understand?”
Nodding rapidly, Kira watches Jinyoung. He seems apprehensive which is rather out of character. “What’s going on?”
“Follow me and don’t ask any more questions.”
She needn’t be told twice. They were soon out in the fields, no one in sight apart from the odd prisoner on cleaning duty. Past the basketball courts, there were more prisoners here. Mentally taking count, Kira has realised something rather alarming.
There aren’t enough guards.
She’s only been able to count six in the past three days.
Following the taller boy, she could finally hear voices.
Loads of them.
They were shouting, yelling and barking like a pack of wild dogs waiting to bite off their leash. Kira’s gut feeling was strong, she could feel her fight or flight instinct kicking in.
And she wasn’t wrong.
Jinyoung had now led her into an old gymnasium which was far into the hazy green fields.
Not a guard in miles, dozens of inmates had congregated to form a huge semi-circle around a spectacle. There must be well over a hundred inmates of all ages bellowing all sorts of slurs.
Using her small frame she pushed forward until she reached the front row.
But what befell her eyes caused her jaw to involuntarily hang open. She forgot how to blink and she was having trouble patterning her breaths.
For tied up against an old basketball pole with the basket missing, was a man. He was very tall, well over six feet.
Kira couldn’t tell his age or make out his features as they were bloodied and mangled together. What was left of his eyes were purple-blue tennis balls, cheekbones shattered in and nose in fragmented pieces. His bottom lip was a piece of flesh dangling off his face, bleeding the most as it steadily gushed down his front, pooling at his feet, and dying his khaki uniform a sickly gray.
She couldn’t fathom whether he was dead or alive.
Supressing buckets of bitter vomit, she calmed her jittery legs and chattering molars.
Dragging her foggy vision away from the mess, a group of dangerous inmates were surrounding him.
But three in particular caught her attention.
“...Lo and behold fellow comrades.”
A man was circling the poor figure. He was tall but nowhere near as tall as the mangled body. He had dirty blonde hair styled over his forehead in sleek locks. His body was very proportionate, eyes sharper than jagged ice thawed over twice, and when he smiled, two deep-set dimples appeared on each cheek.
Kira turned to the inmates and saw obvious fear in their eyes but all were doing well to conceal it. This isn’t right, she thinks to herself. Watching the man again, she sees him twitching but doesn’t know whether it’s his nervous system or soul.
Ignoring what the dimpled inmate was saying, her eyes raked the other two. They were in white vests, khaki shirt tied around their waists.
Breaking out into a hot sweat, she immediately recognises one as Jungkook. Only this time, he was standing upright with crossed arms and a stern expression. Her heart sunk. How could Jungkook be so welcoming and nice to her, but engage in fucked up shit like this?
And when her eyes befell the last one, she felt butterflies soaring everywhere. She felt dizzy and knew who he was. He doesn’t know her, but she’s seen him in family photographs. She saw the news reports of his arrest and she knows the awful crimes he committed to be in here.
The third inmate who caught her attention was none other than The Chief Minister’s youngest son, Kim fucking Taehyung.
The most handsome face she’s ever seen, his chestnut brown hair was resting over stunning tanned features. He was currently leaning against a back wall with his arms crossed, lips curled upwards and eyes transfixed on each and every inmate as long fingers fondled an expensive cigarette.
No one dares to turn in his direction. The inmates beside him are shaking, but passing weight on each foot to blend it out.
Kira snatches her pupils away and slowly stumbles back.
But what she notices on all three boys - Taehyung, Jungkook and Dimples, are their tattoos. Detailed sleeves painted down their arms and crawling up their necks; Kira knows this is where the pool of confessions resides.
They are the ringleaders and she knows they’ll be bailed out soon. Which means she needs to formulate a plan to get them to confess crimes. Quickly.
A pyramid structure means the ones at the top are the hardest to attain or even contact, let alone destroy. She needs to start from the bottom; she needs to befriend the foundations for the pyramid to crumble.
Her brain stopped working as her mind heaved back to this insane reality. She was prepared for a fight, even a killing. But how can someone prepare for a cold-blooded butchering? Something saved for animals, how can humans revert back to ways of The Romans?
“This is so wrong, this is so wrong,” she mumbles only for her ears.
The deep voice continues with his speech to brainwash the masses.
“...This is what we do to anyone who dares cross our path. For eight years this rat had tried to infiltrate us. He was a spy for Yakuza, he worked for the Commies! He brought three of our men down!”
She turned back around and eyed the figure.
He was very tall.
Taller than six foot.
Trailing teary eyes down to his lifeless hands, they were pale.
She began to cough and splutter. Her mewls were hidden by the crowd’s jeers of approval.
“...This man tried to run away after selling our secrets! Now, I want all of you to come forward and watch him. Curse him, strike him! If he is already dead; defile his body!”
The crowd of inmates have been inspired by passion; this man was a manipulative speaker and weaved words to perfection as they leapt forward, doing goodness knows what to the poor man.
And what he rumbled next, hit the nail on the head for Kira Mai.
It was the tip of the iceberg.
The icing on the cake. The poisonous cherry on top.
“...He posed as a chameleon when he was an undercover spy, a copper, a detective, an agent! His filthy name was Lee...”
Everything became a blur as Kira’s knees wobbled and gave way, she buckled and bent over.
Lurching her insides out, she began staggering and faltering past the pack of bloodthirsty hounds and managed to reach the fields outside.
Luckily no one was around to witness her shriek.
A single, heart wrenching wail of despair.
Closing her eyes and combing fingers through short hair, she paces the fields wildly in search of something or someplace to distract herself with.
There was a rustle as she ran towards the sound.
Behind a small nettle bush crouched a tall man, with tanned skin and sharp, handsome features. He was jittery and began pushing a long needle in the inside of his elbow.
Kira threw him a feral grin as she reflected his position.
“What you got,” she croaked quietly as he jerked backwards and forwards, jugular vein threatening to pop out of his neck.
“Only - couple lines left,” he grunted, pointing to his pocket.
Immediately, she ruffled through and uncovered a small plastic bag. Rolling her khaki trouser up, she created a messy line of white powder and wasted no time in covering her left nostril to devour the dust of delight.
Two minutes passed.
“Better?” The tanned inmate wheezed as Kira shook her leg impatiently and lined another before deeply inhaling.
Her features relax into euphoria as her eyes gently blink.
They stare at each other before dropping on their backs and watching the fluffy clouds move amidst an azure sky.
“They butchered Lee,” she confessed distantly.
“Poor Lee,” the handsome inmate responded.
“He didn’t deserve it.” She began to cry.
“Are you the newbie?”
“I am Mingyu.”
“Nice to meet you Mingyu.”
They both smiled, falling deep in the hole Alice fell into, and drifting far away like the road Hogwarts led to.
* * * * *
Well shit, lol. I really hope you're enjoying this so far, but it might get an ounce more intense than I initially expected.
Please do leave any and all feedback ^_^
Chapter 5: Chapter 3: Persona.
"There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery." - Dante Alighieri.
Stubbing the worn out bud and examining the open gravel beyond the old storage warehouses, a distant sound of gulls and swishing waves calms the man’s jittery senses. His Audi is currently concealed amidst high reeds in a stray corn field as he decides to watch safely from afar, imploring the space beforehand to be even safer.
Rubbing his hands together, it is too early and cold to be anywhere except the cosy comfort of bed. The periwinkle blue dawn slowly fades away as the yellow sun arrives for the day.
Had he not arrived an hour early, the treachery wouldn’t have transpired.
For no later than lighting a new cigar did three industrial trucks displaying forged delivery emblems emerge from the dusty distance. Trailing behind was a blacked out Mercedes, the diplomatic number plate bearing signs of importance.
Pulling down retro orange shades, he watches the delivery men one by one. From his open windows and silence of the anonymous area, he hears everything.
“Alright boys, you know what to do,” a suited figure steps out of the Mercedes passenger seat and flashes his badge to the first and largest truck. Three men pace out and pull up the shutter at the back, beginning the process of unloading heavy-duty machinery.
The man grazed in his Audi and smirked, “Old school Kalashnikov AK-47,” he names each box being loaded onto the two empty trucks, “German Heckler and Koch HK417, F-2000 assault rifles, international AS50 snipers,” he whistles, “DSR Precision 50. Aw shit, they’re taking away all the good stuff.”
Shaking his head and waiting for the backstabbing to end, he captures all footage on his dashboard camera and makes sure to zoom into the diplomat ordering everyone around. Coming to think of it, no truck driver bore Japanese resemblance. All were wearing long-sleeved turtle necks which means they were hiding the tats or had none at all.
Scratching his chin, “Good enough excuse to fuck them all over,” he smiled sadistically. Today was meant to bring goodwill and peace between Kkangpae and Yakuza, but as usual, Jopok infiltrated it.
Whipping out his cell, he rings someone.
“Yeah?” Came the raspy voice.
“Suga, it’s just as I suspected. Yakuza two timed us,” he lied.
There was a silence.
“Where are you Hoseok?”
Said boy smirked, “Gwangju port docks, watching them off-load our machinery. It’s your call brother.”
“Hmm, let’s see. Because they give us empty trucks, we give them empty cases. When they enquire, we gift them bullets.”
Hoseok barked out a laugh, “Love it. You coming down?”
“Nope, gotta find a way to get our Jiminie out. But I’ll pass the message onto the boys; you go home and get some rest. It’s fucking 5 am on a Monday.”
Hoseok smiled, “I’m alright brother.”
“It’s not a debate.”
Nodding, Hoseok licked his lips, “Okay.”
Ending the call, he knows a quicker way to get to Jimin. For if the latter is thrown in general population prison, enemy wolves are waiting to rip him apart. Spoilt, bratty, aristocratic enemies. High class Jopok’s who cannot fathom the thought - let alone sight - of a gutter mule crawling his way into the Chief Minister’s good books.
Hoseok will get a bloodbath for breakfast and be in prison by dinner if that’s the only way to protect his younger friend.
* * * * *
“You’ll need to take it easy inmate, lay off the dairy,” the in-house doctor monotonously advised.
Nodding sluggishly, “Yes Sir.”
Kira hadn’t the energy to say anything else but laughed in her mind. Her sickness wasn’t because of fucking dairy; she lied about being lactose intolerant. Rather, the sick nightmares of Lee’s mutilated body replaying like a broken tape in her mind plus overdoses of whatever the fuck Mingyu has shared with her for the past week have totally fucked up her body, inside and out.
Only last night did she cough up blood after drinking apple juice on an empty stomach.
Her colour was a ghastly gray and she looked like a prepubescent suffering from cholera, soon approaching death.
Lethargically strolling back to her bunk so she can get an hour of shut-eye before lunchtime duty of chopping carrots call, a hand slapped her back. Turning, it was Jinyoung.
“You don’t look so good,” he examined her features as she dropped eye contact.
Kira chuckled whilst continuing to walk, dodging past childish inmates running through halls being stealthily pursued by guards brazing batons.
Two weeks in this hellhole and Kira has given up. She forgot how life is like outside, she hates going to the toilet and loathes showering. She smells like feet and her short hair is always itchy. Without Lee, she doesn’t know what to do. Without Lee, she fears staying here forever without hope. Without Lee, she feels like Little Red Riding Hood hiding from the big bad wolf, or in this case, wolves.
She feels totally helpless and orphaned. The truth isn’t worth up giving her freedom, and now more than ever, she just wants out. She’s even contemplated revealing her identity so she can escape. But then her fucking goody-two-shoes conscience leaps forward and reels in her self-desires.
Staring at the face of her cell mate, “Yeah, I uh - I need to lie down.”
She doesn’t even find anyone handsome anymore. She had no brothers and never knew what it was like living in the same space as men. Her father was controlled by her mother and her room was of course, separate.
It’s safe to say that now she knows what rolling in a pigsty feels like.
Jinyoung eyed her carefully, “Hope you get better soon.”
“No, I mean you need to get better soon,” he muttered with a hint of unease.
Kira stopped and turned to the older inmate, “Yeah, I fucking hope so.”
Looking over his shoulder, “You’re the newbie, all eyes are on you,” he sighed. “Mingyu is my younger brother and both of you are always fucking high.”
Hitching a breath, “Small world, eh?” She says, fake smirking.
“Word is out that you ran away as soon as you saw the traitor’s state. You didn’t even participate in cheering on the killing. People are questioning your motives Kangmin,” the older warned with worry.
Gulping, Kira was starkly returned to her senses by anxiety. “I- I’m squeamish, the blood made me sick.”
Huffing, “Yeah, well. You’re also a newbie. No one knows anything about you and it’s only a matter of time before-”
But Jinyoung was interjected by a deep voice booming from behind. Both turned and Kira felt lightheaded behind her eyes.
“Hey new kid. Follow me.”
Her heart raced, it was Namjoon. She can never forget the voice, the chill his aura brought and his sharp gaze. Arms folded, said man watched 236 closely as she turns to Jinyoung for support before supporting wobbly legs.
“Hurry the fuck up,” Namjoon spat.
Kira needn’t be told twice as she tried to calm her nerves. Prodded by Jinyoung who walked away, she didn’t dare look up as she walked towards Namjoon.
But he didn’t like her one bit. “Look at me.”
Prepping herself with a deep breath, she complied.
The man had cavernous eyes and tan skin, he was extremely tall and sported an authoritative face. Analysing her eyes, nose, lips, and body structure; he smirked patronisingly before he strutted forward.
Kira trailed along like a lost puppy as inmates parted ways like the sea for Moses. No one dared look at him, but they were watching her with pity.
“Lesson 2: Do whatever they want you to do.
That’s the only way to earn their trust; you must do whatever it is they ask of you. They ask you to follow them, you run after them. They ask you to deal someone, you fucking stab them till their guts spill. Once you earn their trust, once you do ‘em a solid, the truth will unravel itself. They will tell you everything and anything when you least expect, and that’s when you reel your rod in.
You will do fucked up things, no doubt about that, but just remember - you’ll fuck them all over in the end so it balances out. You hear? Kira, do you understand? I can’t hear a nod.”
She nodded vehemently and whispered to no one in particular before realising her feet had been carrying her forward. Looking up, Namjoon was long gone and she was now in an unknown corner of the Block. Heck, she cannot recall whether the doors led to a different block or an entirely different prison altogether.
Looking left and right, if there were six guards before, now there are none to be seen.
Gulping through a congested windpipe, she looked forward and met the eyes of two inmates she’d never seen before. One was tall, the other short; both piercing her with their bloodshot pupils. Scanning their figures, they wore long sleeves but blue ink crept up their necks as they seemed to be guarding a cell door which had a single, small square window.
Just then her thoughts were broken, by one moving forward and grabbing her by the arm, whilst the other held the door open and she was flung inside like a dead bunch of flowers.
Looking into the normal sized cell, her mouth anchored down as the contents screamed heaven.
Eyes wider than tennis balls, there was a double bed with linen sheets. Hanging down the wall adjacent was a small television. A small desk and matching chair carried various snacks and beside it on the floor, was a mini fridge.
“Like what you see?” A deep voice cooed from the side.
Containing her reflex to jump was the hardest thing she’d done this week. Her hairs stood on edge as she dared to turn and face the voice she knew the face of already.
Meeting hypnotising brown eyes and the most delicately shaped face, she found it hard to breathe when butterflies she hadn’t felt in ages whizzed through her abdomen. Kim Taehyung was so fucking beautiful it was ethereal.
Draping a cloak over her pupils, she remained silent.
The man licks his evenly shaped, plump lips and thinks deeply. Circling her like prey, his eyes trace the length of the inmate’s petite frame, “236? Suits you,” he taunts.
Darting her pupils around, she knew what he wanted. “My name is Lim Kangmin and I’m 22 years old,” she spoke, feigning a male voice.
Stopping short in front of her, “What you in for, 236?” He disregarded the said name.
“Possession of drugs, sentenced to-”
“Do you think I’m stupid?”
Ice thawed her down, “S-sorry?”
“Possession? What you really in for?” He edges in closer like a tiger ready to pounce.
Kira desperately wants to stride back; but she is a boy who mustn’t display weakness, she mustn’t act flustered.
Craning her neck, “Life’s a bitch right? Wish I was in for assault or battery, fucking drugs is what I got done for. Met an old schooler called Jet - gave me my first job. Two months later, I got n-nicked and...” she hitched a breath when Taehyung’s long fingers curled around a loose lock of her bowl hair.
“...Go on, I liked hearing you speak,” the male provoked as he flashed a canny box smile.
“...And I - I never trusted anyone since.”
Taehyung sniffed and threw himself on the bed, raising a hand out for Kira to sit. Instead of the bed, she pulled a chair out and sat beside his desk.
Smirking, the boy likes 236 already.
There was a brief silence.
She stole a glance to realise Taehyung already watching her. Pulling up his sleeve nonchalantly, Kira had a clear view his ink. The blue oddly complemented his sun-kissed skin and she couldn’t suppress affection seeping from her eyes.
“What did you sell?”
“How much did you make daily?”
“Uh, nearly 2 million won. A thousand dollars, I think.”
Cocking his head sideways, “That’s a rather precise figure for what you think, isn’t it, 236?”
Feeling worthless by the identification of a number, “Well I had to count my finances, needed to give half to my grandma,” Kira retorted, growing more confident by the minute.
But her answer made something in Taehyung melt, “Grandma?”
“Yeah, the only family I got left,” she locks eyes with the Chief Minister’s youngest son and realises this is where she needs to be. She needs to be closer to him; she needs to remain right here. All of a sudden, Lee’s death doesn’t seem to be in vain as she absorbs what - no - who she’s currently speaking to.
Always sheltered and spoilt rotten by his cruddy father, half the brainwashed population doesn’t even know how Taehyung looks like. Some have heard stories, others rumours, but none taken a glance.
The thing in Taehyung solidified again as he smirked, “Why do you feel the need to answer my questions?”
“Because if I don’t,” she motioned outside, “those two will break my jaw, aren’t I right?”
A smirk transformed into laughter as Taehyung nodded, “Right you are, 236,” something dark invaded his stunning features, “Which is why you will tell me how you knew Lee.”
Her heart buckled.
Clenching his fists, playtime was over.
Slowly rising to his height, Taehyung’s mood switched like tropical weather. A storm was brewing, and Kira will be the victim of lightning.
“Who do you work for?”
But she couldn’t answer as suddenly, he twisted her collar and hauled her up, letting her feet pedal and leaving her choking for air. Fire blazed in his pupils as he searched hers for a giveaway, the tiniest glimpse of guilt. She felt vomit rise in her oesophagus and she was seeing tunnel vision.
“I - I - I don’t know w-what ... who ...” she was threatening to pass out as everything became blurry. He was constructing her windpipe and the pain wasn’t numbing.
Heaving her against the wall, the angry male let her fall on her face as she picked herself up, ignoring the dazzling agony. Daring to look up again was foolish as Taehyung locked a heavy punch straight into her solar plexus as she doubled over and clutched her belly, nausea rippling through her body like fire.
Twisting short hair so roots were yanked out, “Don’t fucking lie to me. Who do you work for?” His voice was eerily calm, but deathly deep.
She winced and remained stagnant as the boy gritted his teeth impatiently before letting go.
Leaning back on the wall and shaking her head, “Jet, I work for Jet! I don’t know who Lee is, I swear!”
Nodding slowly, the older crouches down to her height and aligns his mouth to her ear, “I’m sure you know what my good friend Namjoon is capable of. He will not hesitate to dismember you and slice you down the middle.”
Lips quivering, “P-please don’t talk about blood, I’m gonna puke,” she murmured, a safety net of a lie.
Chuckling, Taehyung resumed staring at her. They were inches away and she felt his hot breath over her left cheek, “Well puke it all out because you roll with my Block now.” He flicked her forehead and settled for a quick grin before offering out his veiny hand which she hesitantly took with sweaty palms.
As they both stood, two people entered the cell.
“You needed me Tae?” It was Namjoon.
Turning to the inmate behind him, Kira felt a pang of distress at the sight of Jungkook.
“Not anymore Joonie,” a heavy hand hit her shoulder as she tensed it, “Seems like Kangmin here is just a tad squeamish.”
“Is that so?” Namjoon turned to her as she unknowingly met eyes with Jungkook who carried a stern expression, rather like the one when Lee was slaughtered. She hadn’t met nor spoken to him since, for he leaves before sunset and returns well after lights out.
“Yeah, when you see your parents’ blood, nothing’s ever the same,” she added with a sniff.
All three nodded.
“Understandable,” Jungkook replied with a small smile which Kira gladly reciprocated.
Not missing their interaction, Taehyung coughed as Namjoon picked up on the latter’s reaction, “How’d you score on tests in school, kid?”
Kid? We look the same damn age, Kira thought. “Honestly, I was a straight A student,” she replied with the truth this time.
Namjoon and Taehyung both hoot as the latter snorts, “Well then, you should pass this one with flying colours!”
Whilst both roared with laughter at whatever they found funny; strangely, Jungkook didn’t join in. Kira knows dynamics need to be studied as Jungkook seems the weakest link. The easiest to break.
“Uh - which test?” Kira asked.
“Oh Jungkookie,” Taehyung chortled as laughter quickly dissipated, “I thought you explained already?”
Cheeks blushing pink, “I haven’t had the chance yet.”
“Well, you’d both better be off to prepare. It’s to be done tomorrow,” Taehyung emphasised, a hint of warning laced in his tone as he glared at Jungkook before licking his lips.
Kira watched Taehyung and Namjoon as they began cracking open beer cans from the mini-fridge, slurping vulgarly and apparently resuming the roars of laughter as though she and Jungkook were invisible.
She begins to have conflicting emotions, but feels like a slave. Like something to be used because of her fear and identified by a number. She hates everything, and feels her real identity being snatched by Taehyung, but doesn’t know what to do. Above all, she doesn’t know what tomorrow holds.
A cold hand enveloping hers broke racing thoughts as she diverts attention to Jungkook who leads them both out, past the two gangster guards, down a flight of stairs, out of three doors and back into the hallway where Jinyoung first found her after the health check.
This was the main hallway and that hidden block only housed the Chief Minister’s son and his corrupt friend, both equally as delinquent.
Furrowing her brows, she turns to Jungkook for answers.
“I - what’s happening tomorrow?”
The boy gawks at her expression, “Why the fuck did you get sent to this prison?”
He seemed hurt.
“I don’t know, maybe because I’m from Busan?” She replied sarcastically.
Clenching his jaw, the boy threw daggers in her direction, “Well Taehyung has evidently seen something in you.”
“Yeah, after he wanted to kill me.”
Looking both ways, he dragged her into a hidden janitor’s closet that was behind the doctor’s room and closed the door. Popping a string to turn the bulb on, he ruffled through cleaning supplies and shook a small bag of pills.
The girl watched him tilt his head back and swallow two, “You want one?”
Kira read the label, “How the hell did you get Oxy? How is getting drugs easier in here than it is out there?”
“Shut the fuck up and take it,” the boy stuffed one in her mouth, “I wouldn’t give it to you but I could smell the coke when I entered Taehyung’s cell - and he only does weed. This will help.”
“Shit. Was it that bad?” But she was secretly glad, at least the big guy knows she can handle drugs.
Nodding, “You might get addicted, be careful.”
“Don’t care,” she wasn’t lying.
After they both experienced euphoria together, Kira smiled, “Why are you being so nice to me?”
Jungkook grinned a toothy smile, his eyes crescents, “We playing on the same team now.”
“You Jopok too?”
“Jopok? Fuck off, I’m only in for forgery. I ain’t no gangster or wannabe,” he closed his eyes as Kira’s remained open, watching him carefully. “I was helping a friend out for quick cash. Little did I know the briefcase packed with fake cash I gave, was to Kim fucking Taehyung who spared my life in exchange for me being his fucking prison slave.”
“Didn’t you feel it? The feeling of belittlement, these assholes jacking off to our misery? Fucking Namjoon and Taehyung were private school buddies since kids. Both into fucked up shit and mind games.”
“I’m sorry Jungkook. So you don’t want to do any of the stuff they make you do?” She asked because she doesn’t want to take him down.
“I’m cool with everything except killing,” he mumbled, popping another Oxy.
Kira snatched the bag and sealed it, ignoring protests otherwise, “You need to stop.”
“Please give it back, they soothe the pain,” his voice quivered as Kira’s eyes watered.
She knew Jungkook had a soft heart, she knew he was an angel stuck in hell. Leaning forward, she hugged him as he began to cry on her shoulder.
“Nothing can soothe the pain if you continue. You need to stop killing for them. Let them kill you, but don’t die whilst you live,” she advised gently.
But Jungkook shook his head, “If I don’t, they do fucked up shit.”
Pulling away, “Like what?”
Jungkook closes his eyes and brushes his dark hair back. Maybe it’s the high, or maybe but it’s the persona of 236 which makes him seem trustworthy.
He sighed, “You end up wishing you didn’t have a face, that too, a pretty one. You end up wishing for acid to discard your features instead of their cum drenching you every single day.” He was too ashamed to look up.
Kira was expecting tons of gruesom confessions, but nothing could prepare her for this one. She was not ready to hear his story, even if he is under the influence; and she hates the world for corrupting someone who she can feel goodness erupting from.
“Oh Jungkook, I’m so sorry buddy, I really am, I-”
But he grabbed onto her shoulders tightly, “Kangmin, they’re coming for you next. They’ve seen it in your eyes that you can’t kill a fly; Taehyung has felt your innocence. He wants you to kill someone and knows you’ll fail. He knows you won’t do it, but it gives him an excuse to do what he wants with you. You gotta kill him, you gotta do what they tell you, fuck, they’re uncontrollable, they’re barbaric, and they will turn you into a monster-”
“Hey, hey, shh,” as she pulls the lost boy in for a hug, a huge lump forms in the back of her throat. Something else tells her this is only the beginning, something tells her it gets worse.
After minutes of silence and rocking Jungkook who must’ve been longing for a sanctuary in this hellhole, Jungkook who was always suffering in silence and did what he was told, Jungkook who was so brave, strong and handsome; Kira finally pulled away. Effects of the Oxycodone were soon dispelled as both sat on the floor of the tiny closet, closer than they were yesterday.
It’s strange how strangers can develop a bond through pain and consider the other a best friend, a friend like no other and one they never want to let go of.
It’s safe to say that Kira and Jungkook have fallen into that strange bond.
“So, what’s the plan then?” She burbled, conscious of their current predicament.
Closing his eyes before opening them as the tough persona returned, “Another Jopok is being thrown in this place. It’s our job to warn him to stay away whilst he’s in here - he needs to know this isn’t his turf and he has no protection in here.”
“Wait - our? Jungkook, don’t get involved in this, I’ll do it alone,” Kira replied confidently, fanning her hair.
Shaking his head, “You won’t know where to start. He doesn’t need to die, he just needs to be seriously injured. We’ll say he survived our attempt to kill.”
“Do you always ask so many fucking questions?” He growled. Looking at his expression, the vulnerability was long gone. It wasn’t an awkward atmosphere between them; rather, they were conversing how Kira assumes boys do. Especially when in jail.
“Yes, I do. Why the fuck are we attacking a Jopok? I don’t have a death wish.”
“If you refuse-”
“I ain’t refusing, I just don’t want him to see me do it.”
Raising his brows, “Oh. Well wear a fucking face mask then.”
“Fairs,” she shrugs, “Who is he?”
“His name is Park Jimin.”
She was a fool to think her heart is hers to control as it somersaults at the sound of his name being uttered from another’s lips. Kira’s eyes sink in so deep, that her mind is whizzing in her peripheral vision. She doesn’t know where to look or what to do as Jungkook’s silhouette fuzzes in and out of motion.
“...Kangmin, I said do you know him?” The raven haired boy echoes with worry.
She nods before her voice gets the chance to lie.
“Fuck me. Well now you don’t know him. Tomorrow, after dinner in the bathroom. We’ll get it vacated, he’ll be doing his business, and that’s when you shank him and run, got it? I’ll cover for you,” Jungkook eyes 236 wearily, “Kangmin! Understand?”
Nodding slowly, Kira knows she must do this. She must face her greatest fear, and it is imperative that her heart be knotted by an iron leash.
“Sorry, he used to live in my neighbourhood. Never spoke to him, but naturally, everyone looked up to him,” she quickly redeemed herself. Even if Jungkook opened up, she must remain closed. “And that plan sounds solid. Let’s get it.”
They grinned as Jungkook lifted out a palm. She slapped it before they locked fingers and ended with a spud. It was so simultaneously coordinated that anyone would think they’d known each other for years.
“Our handshake yeah?” Jungkook smiled, his doe eyes sparkling for the first time in sixteen months as Kira thought dimples couldn’t look better on anyone else.
“No one else’s,” Kira replied jovially, desperately burying any past attachments and emotions.
“Let’s get you some rest now,” the boy sweetly suggested as the girl’s eyes clouded. He was her golden cherub amidst inescapable torment, and never has she had a friend like this before.
As the afternoon sunshine greeted their swollen eyes, she turns, “Thank you for everything.”
Thinning his lips, “Actually I wanted to thank you. You’re a breath of fresh air.”
Lost for words, she knows this kindness isn’t fake. She knows he needs her like she needed Lee.
As she strolled down the hallway and rejoined the herd of inmates with Jungkook by her side as protection, she noticed prisoners dropped their gaze when she met theirs.
Not being able to see the stars at night would be okay for now, as she has an irreplaceable treasure by her side.
And real situations always expose fake personas.
* * * * *
Hoseok scanned the canteen with sharp eyes and a grim expression. Cracking his neck before rolling his shoulders, he slumped down at a table and picked at the grub. He’s not hungry, but this is a perfect excuse to suss out who’s who.
Scanning everyone who walked past from head to toe, he noticed every single inmate opted to wearing their long sleeved khaki rags.
Nodding to himself, he knows this too was a tactic. He knows the next corner must be turned with caution and a weapon of self-defence. Turning around, there was no sign of any of the spoilt Jopok’s.
Known as ‘Guns’, this young man has intelligence, a sunshine smile and ulterior motives. He’s handsome and can read a person by their actions because a person and a gun have no real difference. Both are deadly, both can be triggered easily and both will leave a mark you can mend but never forget.
“Hey, can I sit here?”
Looking up, he noticed someone his age smiling. The boy had unkempt black hair and a good facial structure.
“What’s your name?” Hoseok asked.
“Park Jinyoung,” he replied.
Cutting his eyes at the boy, Hoseok bared his teeth and nodded.
“What’s your name?” Jinyoung asked, still standing with his dinner tray.
Motioning for the other to take a seat, “Jung Hoseok. Is the food always this bad?”
He asks to see just how long Jinyoung will sustain small talk for. If he grows impatient, he is a liability for there is something he wants to know. If he enjoys the introduction, he is safe.
Chuckling, Jinyoung sat down opposite. “This is a good day. We have actual imitation crab. Usually it’s slime mixed with fish bones.”
Crinkling his nose with disgust, Hoseok pushed the tray away and turned his attention to the other, “What you in for?”
“Assaulting a minor,” chewing briefly paused. “Sexually,” he looked up, waiting for food to be thrown in his face.
Truth is, Jinyoung approached the new inmate because he wanted a fresh start with someone. Yugyeom, Mingyu and Jungkook already welcomed 236, and they were all the same age with same interests. Plus, Jinyoung detests drugs and that’s precisely what 236 is in for.
Hoseok urged him, “What’s the story then?”
Eyebrows raised in surprise, “Used to tutor this rich kid. She was fourteen and fancied me, but I didn’t catch on. Long story short, I came over and she was definitely on something fucked up. I let her hug me - biggest fucking mistake of my life - and she dropped down on her knees,” Clutching onto his spoon with unnatural force, “Her parents walked in to see my hands on her trying to push her off, but she was still on her goddamn knees. Court saw me in crutches, came in here limping and my leg still fucking hurts when I run. I fucking hate drugs. It changes people. You feel me?”
Absorbing his history, Hoseok slightly empathised with Jinyoung. His persona was genuine and he seemed lonely.
But then the evil kicked in.
“That’s fucked up dude.”
Shaking his head, “Tell me about it. So why you in?”
“Got some scores to settle,” Hoseok eyed the other who as expected, was perplexed.
“Can you help me?”
“Depends on what I get.”
The canteen was growing louder, perfect cover to unravel his plans.
Looking both ways, “How long you got left Jinyoung?”
“Two fucking years,” he snarls viciously.
“What if I could get you eleven months?”
“Go to hell, that ain’t funny. Thought you were cool and all-”
Furrowing his brows, “I’m not joking. I can fucking leave tomorrow, my lawyer’s brother is President of the Prosecution Service.”
“So why the fuck are you in prison when the door is wide open?”
Hoseok smiled eerily, “I told you, got some scores to settle. You in or you want to spend twenty four months eating shit, hearing shit and surrounded by drugs?”
When put that way and catered to Jinyoung’s personality, how could he refuse?
Nodding, “Fine. I’m in.”
Beaming like the Cheshire cat, Hoseok began to resemble a gorgeous one, “This time tomorrow, another friend of mine is entering. His name is Park Jimin and some people want to hurt him. All you gotta do is sit on the same table with us. That’s all.”
He isn’t stupid, he knows what this means. “So you want me to join your gang?” He laughs, eyes tracing Hoseok’s forearm and neck from which unmistakable patterns of ink were exposed.
Stretching the corners of his lips downwards, “Yes and no. Yes because that’s what it’ll look like and no because you won’t do anything. You get protection and you get eleven months. If you don’t want it, I’ll retract my offer Jinyoung.”
Ah fuck it.
Shaking his head, “No, I’m in. And, call me Junior, everyone around here does.”
“Well that’s lovely isn’t it? Go on and call me Hobi, all my friends do.”
And that’s all a lonely soul needed to embroil itself in illegal affiliations. When lonely and searching for a friend, exploitation and crime are not labelled as such. Rather, they are perceived as gateways and means to a happy end filled with similar personas and people who treat you nicely.
For the most tragic fact about loneliness is that unlike sickness and diseases, there’s no cure for the experience of feeling rejection, of being an outcast.
And when an outcast meets another outcast, everything they do is fun because they have each other.
And aren’t criminals kept in prison to be outcaste from society?
The system does not look back once it throws away the key, the system doesn’t take time to assess innocence enough when their pockets are being filled. The system is responsible for corrupting innocent people like Jungkook and Jinyoung.
And as Jinyoung turned back to his dinner with a burden off his chest, Hoseok lopsidedly twinkles at his new chess pawn.
Flip a coin.
If it’s heads; experience how Namjoon’s thirst for blood can never be quenched, but he has the powerful and ruthless head of Jopok, Taehyung, by his side and Seokjin as a moral compass who would do anything for family. Not to mention all are sheltered by Chief Minister Youngmin.
Yet, do not underestimate the power of tails. Park Jimin as the epitome of excellence who grew from a caterpillar to a butterfly, all the while retaining the most loyal of friends; Hoseok and Yoongi.
And whilst Namjoon can cleverly kill, Hoseok can meticulously plan.
Whilst Taehyung is blood, Jimin works harder.
And whilst Seokjin is courageous, Yoongi is a lone wolf.
So pick your side, but pick it very carefully, for the war which follows begins with melancholy and ends dreadfully.
Chapter 6: Chapter 4: Ghosts.
"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?" - Edgar Allen Poe.
There is no explanation for why things happen the way they do, but everything has a reason. Some opt to name it destiny whilst others choose karma and the wiser ones select actions. You could categorise the naive in the first category, the spiteful ones in the second and the bravest in the third.
Kira falls in the third category.
Tossing and turning, she has become accustomed to the small cell bed but could never get used to this feeling of isolation. Bare and lonely, she is petrified of being found out. She simultaneously feels safe but apprehensive. She is aware her actions led her in here and whatever she chooses to do from this point onward will either make her life hell or an eternal perdition.
Turning to gaze at Yugyeom and down to Jinyoung under the dark cover of night, both are snoring away as usual.
Dinner was four long hours ago and Kira finds the period between lights out and sunrise the most tenebrous. Someone once said the dawn before the sun rises is the darkest, but never have they once seen the gloom of prison. If they had, then maybe they would change the saying to every moment is dark until you are free.
Prying down her bunk, Jungkook is missing as usual. After his high confession, Kira’s gut churns sickeningly when she glues puzzle pieces together - Jungkook does his time in the day but solicits himself at night.
Shuddering, she closes her eyes but cannot seem to discard one vivid memory as it replays like a far away, distant dream.
“Shh baby girl, we don’t have much time before your parents come home.”
His beautifully tender lips trace my collar bone as I shiver with sensation. Poking his wet tongue out, warm saliva creates heated trails over my flushed skin as he leaves hickeys in every square space of skin, rightfully marking me as his whilst his right palm kneads my inner thigh unyieldingly. Hovering his lean body on top of me, his left hand traces my cheek soothingly whilst his other hand moves up towards my knickers.
He gently strokes the dripping cloth with a cute smirk before pushing it aside as his cold fingertip plays with my clitoris. Tensing, I can feel my velvety walls seeping and tightening around his middle finger as he slides in deeper, reaching my entrance.
Remembering that we’re supposed to be studying in my room, I quietly moan as Jimin begins to steadily finger me whilst grinding his hard-on across my leg.
“Does it feel good baby?” He continues sucking the space between my ear and neck.
I nod rapidly, clenching a fist in his soft, bleached hair. My cheeks begin to blush profusely when I realise he’s now on his knees, intently watching me wither under him.
Covering my face with a free arm, I glimpse past and get a clear view of his tattoos. Various imagery was inked over his pectorals ranging from religious symbols to old English quotes about loyalty; various Roman numerals, dragons and Buddha's littered over his arm to form a muscly right sleeve and dotted tattoos of the like on his left arm. But what caught my eye and turned my vision cloudy was a specific tattoo on his right rib. It was a small tattoo in comparison, but juxtaposed perfectly. A smiling girl with long hair and beautiful eyes. Her hair created swirling patterns curling down to his waist and that’s when I realised it was me.
Removing my arm, I observed my boyfriend with pure love.
Catching me staring, he raises eyebrows playfully before bending down and sticking his tongue in my wet flaps as my back slightly arches, all thoughts muddled as pleasure immerses them.
Yanking onto his hair, he hisses and works both his tongue and middle finger roughly as I whine loudly.
“I know you’re a virgin,” he growls, deep vibrations travelling up my spine, “And I promise to take you to heaven another day,” he chuckled, reading my mind as I covered my face with both hands in embarrassment.
Noticing the withdrawal from his hair, Jimin slides back up the bed, hands dragging the duvet up with him to shield my modesty.
Grinning, he stares at me with dilated pupils.
Both of us are shirtless as I watch how his narrowed eyes trace my bra hungrily, teeth biting his thick bottom lip as I embrace anchors of waves slurring deep in my abdomen. His flushed cheeks, dark gaze, swollen pink lips and smooth skin are so beautiful that my heart suddenly feels too big for my chest.
“I’m sorry,” I mutter as I know he’s been waiting for one year. I’m not his first girlfriend and I know how hard it must be for him.
Frowning, “Don’t you dare apologise.” He kisses me sweetly before knocking our foreheads together, “I love you and you know that. I’ll wait forever as long as you’re in my arms.”
Smiling, tears roll down my cheeks. “I don’t deserve you Jimin,” I feebly whisper.
Shaking his head and edging in closer so his breath fans my lips, “I wish I could do more for you. I promise to be a better boyfriend.”
Flicking his button nose, “You’re perfect,” I kiss his warm lips whilst nuzzling into his hold, “What’s the tattoo on your ribs? It’s new isn’t it?”
Shaking his head with laughter, he covers his mouth. “Shit, isn’t it obvious? It’s you Kira.”
“But why your rib of all places? Why not your heart,” I pout and stroke his chest lovingly.
Pulling me in so we were bear hugging tightly, “Because you are the only reason why I breathe every day baby. You protect the vulnerable me and without you I’d be a mess.”
Waking up to a drenched pillow, Kira’s eyes are swollen and her head is pounding.
"But they'll miss breakfast."
“Fuck it Yugyeom. Let them both sleep.”
“Yeah, you're right. I heard Park Jimin is already here,” said boy whispers with unease.
Quickly closing her eyes, Jinyoung watches 236 and knows he’s awake.
Jungkook murmurs something inaudible as both turn to leave.
The door remains open as Kira's eyes shoot open and adrenaline begins its course.
Heart thrashing, she knows what tonight must entail.
* * * * *
It was just before the sun decided to set when a Beemer door was slammed shut and a pale skinned male strutted over to an abandoned alleyway behind the old town centre. Coloured graffiti smears stone walls as the tapering path is littered with old condoms, cigarette buds and plastic bags.
Leaning against a wall, he lights a rolled up blunt whilst waiting patiently. Whipping out his cell, he receives a voicemail notification that ten thousand dollars has been transferred into his bank account. Cutting his eyes, he tries to remember whether that was for the assassinations of ten Yakuza last week or for this morning’s high profile drug deal.
Interrupting his thoughts, a sleek Benz pulls up as a suited figure emerges from the driver's seat and strolls towards the pale boy. Removing expensive Ray Ban’s, he brushes loose strands of dark hair back and smirks.
Both eyes begin to lock precariously.
“Well, well, well,” the pale one chuckles patronisingly, “What business does a mansion have with slums?”
The other figure is dashingly handsome; some may say the most striking face Seoul is blessed with.
“Let’s throw the past behind us. A truce would be best and you know it Min Yoongi,” his eloquent voice matches his chic persona.
Blowing opaque wisps of smoke towards the other, “Good old Kim Seokjin. Comedian you are, really.”
“What’s your offer then?” Said boy responds grimly, nose scrunched at the stench of cannabis.
Throwing away the blunt, “A life for a life.”
Stepping forward menacingly, “You’d better be referring to yours. You know how many coppers are after you.”
Shaking his head, “I don’t give a shit. What happened to your truce when your damn brother killed my sister?!” He shouted, knuckles white and eyes wide.
“She wasn’t just your fucking sister,” Seokjin furiously retorted as both stepped forward menacingly. Both have teary eyes, yet both have more in common than meets the eye.
Clenching his jaw, Yoongi discarded momentary emotion and returned a blank expression. “What the fuck can you offer? I don’t need money, I need my family.”
“What if I tell you Taehyung didn’t kill Eunjung?”
Fiddling with the strap around his belt, “He’s responsible for her death. She...” he took a heavy breath, “She was last seen with him.”
Seokjin licked his lips and stared into the cloudy distance, “These past two years I’ve had time to think. I’ve had time to investigate what happened to my girlfriend.”
Fire was threatening to explode from Yoongi’s dark eyes as he wishes to beat the crap out of this punk. “My sister. Not your fucking girlfriend.”
Stepping back, Seokjin’s eyes soften, “Choose whether to believe this or not but the pageant killed her. She was-”
“I should never have let her enter that god forsaken competition,” checking his watch, the sky was getting darker by the minute, “If you’ve got nothing of substance to say pretty boy, I’ll be off.”
“No, stop! Wait, just hear me out,” Seokjin grabbed onto the other’s arm as he turned away.
Viciously pushing him back, “Don’t fucking touch me!”
Hands raised, “Okay, okay, I won’t. But just listen.”
Cluching onto light coloured hair, Yoongi was losing it. Although she died two years ago, the circumstances surrounding his adopted sister’s death remains a mystery. She had won every local beauty pageant and was training to become Miss Korea. She was gorgeous, kind-hearted, gentle and intelligent, but ever since she began dating the Chief Minister’s eldest son, bad things started happening to her like an ancient malediction.
And now that same curse has returned after running away like an emotional coward and wanted to make a truce.
Yoongi despises the entire family and although is Jimin’s cousin, he began to despise him when he too began mingling with the enemy. Not just mingling, Jimin had begun to date the girl who stole his cousin’s crown.
But blood is thicker than water. Yoongi still loves Jimin and has always sent his most loyal men to help his younger cousin in times of trouble. He forgives the latter albeit Jimin disregarded him to become a Seoulite Jopok.
Instead, Yoongi has been taking everyone down, one by one. He may be Kkangpae but Yoongi slowly grows stronger. He is attracting more men by treating them well and is breaking the norm to create strong alliances with Japanese Yakuza.
There’s a reason why all the big guns are behind bars and he walks a free man. Everything has a reason. Some call it destiny, others name it actions, but Yoongi labels it karma.
“...What the fuck is there left to say,” he slowly whispers, each syllable laced with hatred.
Seokjin gulps and fears this male because he has nothing to lose. But he continues anyway, “You need to see something.”
The mint haired boy analyses the older by one year’s every move as the latter reaches into an inside blazer pocket and pulls out a folded paper.
“Open it,” he spits with suspicion.
Seokjin complies as Yoongi’s face relaxes, it’s a note or letter of some sort.
“It was found in Eunjung's diary when officers were investigating her death during the pageant. I didn’t know whether to show you or how to show you but this explains e-everything,” his usually composed voice breaks near the end.
With trembling fingers, Yoongi cradles the note in large hands as he already has inkling as to what it may be. Her writing was usually so neat, so gentle and so reflective; but this was scribbled and wobbly with some ink smudged by droplets of water.
Sighing deeply, he feels ashamed to ask but throwing his ego away for the truth seems the only rational thing to do.
“I can’t read,” he grumbles.
Seokjin nods before clearing his throat, “I’ll do it.”
The older has read this countless of times when he was in China. Heck, he knows the contents by heart.
The sky was an orange hue with purple streaks and wispy clouds.
Taking a deep breath, Seokjin sniffs and begins to read the page without taking any breaks.
“I don’t know what else to say, what else to do. Nothing is ever enough and no one is ever proud of me. I can say I’m proud of what I’ve grown up to be, but who will listen? I don’t even listen to me so why would anyone else take me seriously?
I wish I could stop the pain of hating myself. I tried to hold onto the old me but those memories are worse. Every time I close my eyes, the nightmares return. Their grimy hands all over my five year old body. I was never pure; the child in me was always dirty and filled with sterile sperm. I love you Yoongi but your love couldn’t save me from me. It’s not your fault at all. You were my brother and your parents took me away from hell. It isn't their fault either. But now my mind has swallowed me whole after eating at my insides for twenty years. The only way to escape is to run away. I can’t run from me so I must destroy me.
Maybe if I was her life would be easy. She is externally beautiful and Jimin loves her. I know Jimin would never see me as anything but family and that hurts. It hurts even more that she took him away from me. But she isn’t that innocent. She did fucked up things to me. But I forgive her. I know the pageant changes people; I know the leaders changed her. But who am I to judge?
I hate myself. I hate everything about me. I hate my body, my face, my hair, my personality. I’m dumb and I don’t deserve to live. I never deserved to live and life keeps on reminding me how worthless I am. Even now, I am writing to you because of what the leader did to me last night.
Maybe the angel of death can embrace me nicely. Maybe it will know how to hug the pain away. Maybe it can pull me back into the darkness which I was conceived from. It’s time for me to go now and this is my last. Goodbye world. You shouldn’t be so cruel to orphans.”
Running out of breath, it was more difficult to read it aloud; and that too, to the only person who loved her unconditionally.
Tears running down his cheeks, Seokjin’s fingers judder as he glances over to Yoongi who is crouching down with his head in his arms. His figure shakes as the older recognises the symptoms of silent crying.
Only the setting sun witnessed how long both males remained in their stationary positions for, but it was the thug who stood up first.
“She committed suicide,” he barked, “because of her.”
Shrugging his shoulders, Seokjin hardens his expression, “So lay off Taehyung. My brother was only trying to talk her out of it but her body was found in The Han River anyway.”
Yoongi wipes his face clean. A new shade cloaks his soul as he watches his pocket filled with the note. Seokjin doesn’t turn back once as he returns to his Benz. His job here is done, and as long as he protects his Taehyung; he couldn’t care less about anyone else.
But the pale gangster was left grazing in his thoughts.
His mind is painted one colour and he can only see one thing.
Dialling two numbers, he waits as the second picks up after two rings.
It was his loyal worker who goes by the name Daniel.
“Why isn’t Lee picking my calls?” His voice returned its usual coldness.
There was a silence. “He was an undercover cop boss, he was killed.”
Nodding with brewing anger at the betrayal, “Oh, I see. Who killed him?”
“Don’t know Suga," his tag name only few are allowed to call him by, "No one knows how he died but his body was found outside Busan fish market two weeks ago.”
Gritting his teeth, he wanders who else was in on the operation, “What about Minjae, Sota and Taeyong?”
“Minjae is with Sota in Tokyo, sorting out the gun deal mess and Taeyong is with me. All the other young ones are clean.”
Nodding slowly whilst absorbing the new information, he knows things are out of place.
It is imperative that cards are played correctly, especially considering two of his most talented and agile men are locked up. Hoseok turned himself in to protect Jimin last night.
All the abovementioned men are his oldest who joined him when he first started out fourteen years ago at the ripe age of eleven. His older brother drew him in as their parents were suffering from poverty. When a child was naturally supposed to hold bags filled with books to school, Yoongi carried pouches of drugs and blood money. Following his fifteen year old brother to brothels, strip clubs, old dens, street corners and warehouses; a prepubescent child witnessed events no human should ever stomach. Missing out on real frieds, he always considered blood family sufficient. Although younger than he by three years, Jimin remained Yoongi's favourite cousin and best friend when he was Kkangpae and before he grew Jopok wings. Lee joined them two years ago and luckily for him, extracted information when the pale boy was mourning the loss of his younger sister.
“Let that traitor rot in hell. Find out everything about the winner of the last pageant.”
“The Miss Korea pageant?”
“Sure boss, anything else?”
Without replying, Yoongi cut the call as he returned to his car and began smoking another blunt. Recalling memories of his sister, all the twenty five year old has left is regrets.
Sniffing and rubbing his eyes ferociously, it's high time the male invokes the aid of his older brother after years of roaming underground as a lone wolf.
* * * * *
All eyes are on him as he strides through hallways with his head raised high. Inmates are whispering and avoiding eye contact with the notorious Park Jimin, known for his sharp senses and quick reflexes.
“So much for getting me outta here Jin,” the boy scoffs to himself as he joins the bathroom queue with his small toiletry bag consisting of one toothbrush, toothpaste, a flannel and soap bar.
Leaning against a wall, he observes all inmates closely. His sixth sense is perturbed and he finds his leg shaking agitatedly.
A hand hits his shoulder as he turns vexedly before his expression transforms into one of glee.
“Hoseok-ah?!” He grins, “Since when the fuck were you in buddy?”
Baring teeth, said boy hugs Jimin tightly, “Since I found out you were here. Can’t let my best friend go in without protection, can I?”
Jimin feels a little more relaxed, but shares his worries as he quickly turns his head to inmates who look away instantly.
“Look,” he whispers, “Something’s about to go down tonight. I can feel it.”
Nodding, “They’ve put Taehyung in a separate fucking block, can you believe it?”
Blinking rapidly, Jimin furrows his brows with confusion, “Wait - what? Taehyung in here? Busan prison?”
“You didn’t know?”
Shaking his head, “Seokjin hyung didn’t mention it.”
Snorting with satire, “You think he’d tell you anything about his fucking brother? You know he’s only looking out for you ‘cuz you saved his life a few times. He’d choose the fucking loony before you any day. Do not trust him.”
Jimin glares at Hoseok before dropping the anger, “So where is he then?”
“I told you, in a separate block. With Namjoon.”
Relaxing his expression, it doesn’t take long for the witty boy to disentangle the jigsaw.
“Who else you got down?”
Smirking, “Thought you’d ask me that. Just one called Junior so far - real name Jinyoung. He’s willing to do anything for freedom.”
Nodding with satisfaction, “Who they got.”
The line was moving a bit too quickly, but the males were too busy to suspect why.
“His name is Jungkook. I’ve asked around about him; no one really knows nothing. Seems fucked up too, but I saw him this morning. He’s just a flower boy.”
Chuckling, “Trust Kim Taehyung to change his mind every fucking month. Always catching pretty fish, ain't he? Androgynous little shit.”
Both roared with laughter as Jimin realised he was at the front of the queue. Peering his head around the bathroom; it was filthy and dull white, had four shower cubicles and five sinks.
His expression soon fell dreary as there were no sounds save a single running tap, and not a single prisoner in sight.
Hoseok immediately caught on to the pending situation as both exchanged perceptive glances.
Pointing two fingers from himself to the far end direction, Jimin began to move slowly and quieter than a mouse. Hoseok nodded and mimed staying at the entrance as he began searching for something to use as a weapon.
Opening each cubicle door, Park Jimin narrows his eyes as all are empty.
Hoseok slid over, “Let’s get out of here,” he murmurs angrily.
“No. I need to brush my teeth, can’t smell like a dog’s arse in this shithole,” he jokes as the other finds nothing remotely funny.
“Jimin, they’re after us," he whispers.
“No, they’re after me. Taehyung wants my head and its best you don’t get involved in this battle.”
“Fuck you. We’re in this till the end. We’ll win the war buddy.”
Beaming, “Well then you’d better grab our new enforcement.”
* * *
“You ready?” Jungkook whispers, hot breaths tickling Kira’s neck as she can feel him pressed into her. She barely reaches his neck.
So they continue to anticipate the right moment as the inmates all begin to leave as arranged. Taehyung's influence echoes throughout South Korea and Busan prison was no exception. One command from Jungkook and now Kira, and the entire regiment of inmates nodded along to their roles in the plan.
The bathroom has two entrances. One is the main entrance beside the first basin, whilst the second is behind the last basin. Although both lead to the hallways, the second exit is located behind the last shower cubicle and a secret entrance only riot guards, and evidently Jungkook, are aware of. Getting to the secret entrance is itself disguised as a janitor’s closet, but only holds space for one person which is precisely why Jungkook and Kira are currently too close for comfort and waiting in the small space for one person.
They can hear the conversation clearly and realise Jimin isn’t alone, but can't quite catch the other's name.
“What do we do now?” Kira quietly asks.
“What if the other one doesn’t go?”
Jungkook didn’t reply.
Wrapping a large hand around her mouth, Jungkook leans closer. One arm is draped around her small waist whilst the other is tightened around her face. His strong legs keep hers in place and it would be a lie if Kira said her lower belly wasn’t reacting to this feeling by sinking.
“Be quiet, he’s scoping the area.”
Jungkook was correct as the cubicle door creaked open as Jimin examined it and soon stepped away.
Loosening his grip, Kira takes a breath of relief. “H-how do you know these secret places a-anyway?” She asks, doing anything to distract her mind off preparing to hurt Jimin.
“It’s part of my job. It’s time you do yours,” his breathy voice rasped as he turns her around by small shoulders.
Their faces are close as a three-inch flick knife is stuffed in her hand and the boy wraps an old black face mask around her, so her lower face is covered.
Gulping, this is it.
“Kangmin, I’ll be waiting here. The more noise you make whilst coming out of the cubicle, the better because it’ll bring him closer. The other man won’t make it to save him in time. Stab him and run back through here. I’ll be waiting for you and we’ll run together. Got it?” Jungkook rapidly whispers the strategy for the hundredth time.
Nodding, Kira feels bile building at the back of her throat.
Her palms are sticky and feet dense. Her head is spinning and her lips are quivering, she doesn’t know how she can stab the one person who’s loved her unconditionally.
Jungkook analyses Kangmin worryingly and knows there’s more to his story, but will interrogate the latter after the job is done.
* * *
Brushing his teeth in silence, Jimin watches his reflection and scopes the area behind him without blinking. He chooses to brush in the last sink as this way, he can react in time to whoever runs in from the entrance.
Staring at himself, his black hair is dull and his face is swollen. Spitting into the sink and gargling his mouth, his lips are naturally pink and cheeks rosy. Fanning a veiny hand through his hair, he takes deep breaths until both sides of his throat are numb.
Taehyung is in this prison.
Knuckles clenching against themselves, he never knew why the other hated him so much. But he’ll find out if it’s the last thing he does.
A sudden loud noise shatters him out of his self-reflective meditation.
Whipping his neck around, he scans the cubicle cautiously.
Looking to the entrance, Hoseok had since brushed his teeth and went to look for Jinyoung so he could be introduced to Jimin.
He doesn’t need Hoseok, but he could do with a weapon.
Constructiung a quick scheme, he swiftly memorises the artchitecture and realises the cubicle door is currently closed. But the door itself isn’t too big; it doesn’t cover the entire cubicle. Staring down, there is a huge gap between the floor and cubicle door.
Turning around, Jimin promptly turns the tap back on and pretends to walk around the bathroom before returning back to the last cubicle and removing his shoes, leaving them in a position so anyone would think he’s facing the sink.
Deploying the trap the clever male creeps like a cat with white socks underneath the neighbouring cubicle so as not to make a sound, and jumps to climb the shower head, transferring his body weight on his right leg which he manages to balance against the third cubicle. The running tap water disguises his movements.
But he gave himself enough time to squint over the top of the cubicle wall.
Rage flooding his senses, he stares at the sight of a petite inmate much smaller than he, wielding a flick knife. The inmate has a face mask on and a bowl cut. Trailing his eyes to a secret ajar door located behind the shower head, Jimin suppresses a choked smirk as he nods with a sense of discovery.
He’s seen all he needs to.
This was a flawless method, but they chose the wrong executioner.
Climbing back down, he lies flat on the floor, watching the inmate's feet take slow and steady steps. Smiling sadistically, Jimin knows this convict is shitting himself having to do this for he can already smell the fear.
As the prisoner moves forward to open the last cubicle door, the quick male slinks underneath to share the same space and leisurely rises to his feet.
Standing mere inches behind the foolish detainee, Jimin grows giddy at the prospect of administering the knife to slice this assassin’s balls off.
But just before Jimin could pounce on his prey, he hears Hoseok’s dialect.
“Fuck's sake Hobi,” he whispers as an abrupt silence ensues before a clamorous commotion erupts.
All of a sudden, the inmate begins to panic as Jimin runs up and kicks him in the back of his legs so he buckles on his knees, the knife bouncing off the marble floor with a clang. It doesn’t take long for Hoseok to gauge the scene as he leaps forward to unleash a frenzy of bone cracking punches to the convict's face.
Who Jimin assumes to be Jinyoung steps forward and pins the inmate down violently whilst Hoseok continues to deliver punches to the inmate's masked face.
“Fucking prick!” Jimin roars deeply, “Fucking wanted to cut me?” He raises a hand for Hoseok to stop punching. “Jinyoung-ah, hold this little bitch.”
Said boy complies as Jimin reaches out to pick up the flick knife with a dangerous manner, hovering it over the inmate's face.
“And take this fucking face mask off,” Hoseok hisses as he rips it off. Whistling, “Really fucked up his face, didn’t I?”
Wheezing, the inmate’s eyes are blackened, lip gory and nose copiously bleeding.
Jinyoung squirms uncomfortably as Hoseok sharply catches on. “You know him Jinyoung? Who is he?”
Gulping, “Sleeps in my cell, 236,” he confesses, “Don’t know why the fuck he’d do this. He’s a crack head, always high on drugs. He's probably high now,” he weakly attempts to save his room mate.
"You fucking defending this rat, huh?" Hoseok fiercely yells.
"N-no, I don't care 'bout him. Fuck him," Jinyoung replies. fittingly
Nodding, Hoseok turns his attention to Jimin who stopped brandishing the knife and is instead scrutinising the face of this inmate. Hoseok know his friend and something big is troubling him.
“Jimin, what you waiting for?”
“Huh? Oh,” he struggles for words, “Fuck him. Don’t want to extend my sentence.” He gulps, not wanting to touch or do any more damage to this petite detainee.
“But he just tried to kill you!”
Launching venemous daggers towards his best friend, “Are you deaf? I said I don’t want to extend my fucking sentence,” he growls as the inmate withers underneath, coughing and spluttering blood.
Turning back to look down at the small figure, something unexplainable is happening to the Park ruffian and he doesn’t know what. It’s as though an invisible hand has gripped his heart and making it hard for him to breathe. A tremendous wave of guilt submerges his subconsious, but he doesn't know why.
“This’ll come in handy though,” Jimin pockets the flick-knife and hastily stands, memorising the bruised face of the inmate who failed to stab him. Sliding his feet back in his shoes, he takes one fleeting glance at the prisoner and swaggers out of the bathroom coolly.
Delivering an extra kick to the bloody figure, Hoseok turns to Jinyoung, “Come on.”
Nodding, Jinyoung knew something bad would happen ever since 236 began hanging out with Jungkook. Leaving 236 on the floor to choke on his own blood, Jinyoung followed his new gang and didn’t turn back once.
* * *
“W-w-what’s gonna h-happen n-now?” Kira stammers through a bloody lip.
After they had beaten her up and left, Jungkook instantly stormed in and lifted her away to the same janitor’s closet they’d first gotten high in together. He sat her down and gently began to clean all her injuries with trembling hands. He doesn't know how to answer this question.
Never had she been hit in her life, and this had shaken her entire nervous system.
She was already so fucking hysterical at having to face Jimin but entirely forgot what he was capable of doing to his enemies. She doesn’t know how to feel about him anymore and knows she might never move past this. But she must, because its her fault for getting involved. And yet, Jimin stopped entirely when her face was exposed.
Could it be that he knows?
Rattling her mind, everything hurts and she knows her face is fucked. It will heal, but the scars will faintly remain.
Wincing as Jungkook applies disinfectant on her cut cheek, said male takes a small stash of plasters from the same place his Oxycontin pills were hidden and continues to bandage cuts on her cheeks, forehead and nose bridge.
“W-what’s gonna h-happen?” She repeated, deathly scared of the consequences.
Not only did she fail, but Jimin had taken Namjoon’s knife. He would skin her alive with bare hands.
Both gawk sadly at each other, but Jungkook remains silent.
Hastily opening the janitor closet, Kira pops her head out before her knees wobble and she vomits her insides out as everything splatters across the floor, dribbles of blood loosely hanging off her chin. Wiping her mouth with a sleeve, she begins to shiver with fright.
Scatttered pieces of his heart burst at the sight of what he too once was, but Jungkook knows the other is in deep trouble. Not just any trouble, but mortal peril. Kangmin's life may be on the line, but more so, his dignity and pride.
This hallway is void of guards because it leads straight to the block in which the Chief Minister’s aberrant son is locked up. When The Chief Minister's closest men consist of the Busan Prison warden and another the President of The Prison Council, his youngest son's location and atmosphere becomes a second luxurious house.
“We need to tell Taehyung tonight,” Jungkook finally replied with a profound sigh, "It's the only time Namjoon isn't there."
It was night time and past lights out.
Kira began to cry and the sounds were so feminine as she was letting everything out since the moment she was dropped in here. Now that Jimin destroyed the same features he once used to caress, she doesn’t care what happens to her body anymore.
But everything up till now would be for nothing.
She failed her first mission to get closer to the person who would never trust her with anything.
Because as Jungkook helps guide her to Taehyung’s hell block, she knows her identity will be revealed before she unearths any confessions. Lee’s murder would be in vain, and she would join him soon.
She can see it already.
They had approached his lone cell as one inmate was guarding the door. Kira couldn’t physically stand as she buckled under the strain of weak muscles. Jungkook was becoming increasingly disturbed as he’s never seen anyone react like this before. It was as though she was walking to docks to be hanged.
The door slowly opened as a stunning Taehyung was sprawled out on his desk, doing something on his cell phone. Kira mustered the courage to look up, but her blemished face disclosed everything.
Silence dragged on as she could feel huge saucers burning holes into her existence.
She felt fury emulate his movements and he was omitting wrath. The clacks of his polished shoes informed her that he was approaching where she stood and his lavish cologne signalled that he wanted her attention.
Waiting until she looked up and when she did, a stinging pain and slap echoed through the cell as heat instantaneously flared in her left cheek. It was blistering and soon became numb as a single, lonely tear fell to the floor.
Eyes transfixed on her, he scanned her entire body like the vilest of all devils and scariest of all vices.
His menacing voice boomed, “Jungkook return to your cell, I won’t be needing you.”
Said boy wanted to turn but his feet rooted him to the spot. His conscience ground him down and this is the point where he realises he is too attached to Kangmin for his own good.
Ripping his gaze off the prey, “Are you deaf Jungkook?”
“Kangmin was outnumbered, if I can explain what actually happened-”
Cutting him off, “Leave. Now.”
Turning from Kangmin to Taehyung, Jungkook felt braver, “Taehyung seriously. He couldn't do anything-”
But said boy brutally twisted Kira’s locks in his hand and catapulted her down in one movement, “His dismembered body will be your fucking breakfast if you don’t leave now!” He bellowed as the hoodlum outside clambered in.
“Hyungnim, everything good?”
Smirking savagely, “Escort Jungkookie out and don’t let anyone in until I come out, not even Namjoon,” tilting his head to Kira who was vehemently quaking on the floor, “I have some unfinished business to deal with.”
“Yes boss. You heard him Jungkook.”
And the doe eyed boy couldn't have been told clearer when he felt a tiny, cold blade softly threatening to slice his side.
His heavy steps take him out as he turns back once, the cell door beginning to close as he prays his actions doesn’t make the torture worse.
Chapter 7: Chapter 5: Time.
“The present time has one advantage over every other: it is our own.” - Charles Caleb Cotton.
“Get the fuck up,” Taehyung’s deep voice growled to the shivering shambles collapsed on the floor.
When the latter was struggling, the handsome male struts forward and began to kick him.
“Stand - up - now!” He roars in between each kick.
And when Kira was still struggling to rise to her feet, Taehyung yanks her by the hair so she is forced to stand. A snivelling mess, all she wants to do is redeem herself.
“L-let me e-explain, p-please...” she trails off weakly.
But the rage filled male could only see red, “You had one fucking job,” elevating her by the hair so their faces were oriented, “And you couldn’t even do that!”
Ignoring yelps, Taehyung smashes her face against the wall, drools of red sprinkling white paint.
As she was howling in pain, the tall boy began pacing up and down, wanting to slit Kangmin’s throat with his other hidden knives.
But something severed his senses.
“Seriously, Kangmin was outnumbered, if I can explain what happened...”
The sound of Jungkook’s raspy voice echoes in the powerful man’s mind as this may be close to his only weakness. The raven haired boy remains unaware and naive as to the effect his presence has on Taehyung.
Clutching at his chestnut brown hair, “Fucking explain yourself then.”
It was a low grunt but all Kira needed to hear to regain an ounce of strength in her worn out and bruised muscles.
A fresh cut saw blood dripping on the floor, “I - I -I...”
Sighing, Taehyung turns to his mini-fridge and throws bottled water towards the traumatised inmate. Cutting his eyes and watching 236 struggle with opening the cap, a flash of anger is replaced by pity.
Opening a small bag on top of the fridge, he takes out a bottle of pills, pops the lid, walks over to the shrivelling heap and stuffs two between Kira’s lips.
Astonished at the unexpectedly abrupt change of mood, she willingly accepts what she assumes to be painkillers.
Eventually able to take a sip of cold water, Kira’s eyes are overflowing with tears but are hidden behind the purple bruising around her socket. Swallowing the pills, she knows it’s Oxy and her mind is temporarily subdued as she pleasantly anticipates the airy euphoric feeling.
Watching her face in disgust, more than anything else, Taehyung is pissed that the pretty face he saw only yesterday was now uglier than most average looking male hookers.
Taking deep breaths, she finally spoke as a giddy feeling began to invade her senses.
“Everything was going well. But when I was about to stab him, t-two others came in and one held me down whilst the other b-beat the shit outta me,” Kira struggles to maintain a manly voice as her features relax.
Furrowing his brows, the tall male licks his lips and remembers the stench of coke last time. Aware that 236 is becoming addicted to recreational drugs, he reaches for a different bottle. Assessing her mild reaction to Oxy, he pauses before removing the top and dropping two pills in Kangmin’s hand, “Take these, it’ll make you feel better.”
Eying 236 tilting his head back and instantly complying with no questions asked, Taehyung smirks.
“Hyung,” large eyes staring at 236’s glazed over ones, “Sit.”
Both were now sitting side by side on Taehyung’s double bed.
Anger was still mingling in his veins, but he closes his eyes and chooses to take deep breaths instead.
“What did Jimin do to you?”
Gulping, “Nothing. Just took the knife,” Kira replied as her head lolled forwards and she began to hallucinate.
It was a new feeling, one which made her feel as though she was floating. Her mouth was hers, but the words which usually one has control over were pouring out without a second thought.
What Taehyung had given her is known as MDMA or in layman’s terms, ecstasy.
Struggling to remain seated, she comprehends everything and knows what’s happening, but her mind is becoming harder to control. Her raw emotions, animalistic desires and inclinations are becoming looser with every passing moment.
“Kangmin, look at me.”
Trying to focus proved tricky, but once she began staring, she couldn’t take her eyes off the artwork.
“I must punish you, you know that, don’t you?” His eyes become dark as he leans forward, handsomely glaring at her.
Nodding, she sniffs, “I’ve never even punched anyone, I was unfit for the job, but I should’ve worked harder. Forgive me...hyung.”
Truth be told, his anger had long dissipated, but he mustn’t be seen as a pushover.
It was easy to dupe Jungkook into thinking he’s a ruthless killer, because that’s what the raven haired boy always chose to believe; but it’s consistently been Namjoon’s presence which bestows upon the chestnut haired boy unreal confidence with which to take human life.
Since they were children, the latter was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia and took his anger out by hurting and butchering economically disadvantaged kids. Taehyung accepted his friend’s flaws and loved Namjoon like a brother.
He was the only one who helped the other do whatever made him happy, even if it meant losing his own identity. In return, Namjoon catered to Taehyung’s bisexual tendencies.
Namjoon’s parents are wealthy CEO’s and Taehyung’s father Chief Minister, so over the years, their bond has become impressively unbreakable.
Using the tip of his tongue to trace corners of his mouth, Taehyung flashed a tilted smirk, “You want me to forgive you?”
Nodding furiously, “Yes hyung.”
The ecstasy was only hitting harder by the second.
Kira was fucking flying.
Fanning a large hand over silky waves, Taehyung began to push Kira’s head down to the ground as she maintained eye contact with the striking male.
“Genuflect and show me how much you want my forgiveness,” he rumbles with lust laced over his features.
Kira’s heart was racing and mind whirling. Her inhibitions were clouded as she grinned with identical desire.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Taehyung spreads out his long, muscular legs as Kira nestles in between them. Feeling wet warmth leaking onto her underwear, she gets jolted back to reality when the base of her strapped on silicone friend feels slippery from her own juices.
She suddenly remembers doing this to Jimin as her eyes dangerously begin to cloud. But right now, she isn’t in control of her senses and her carnal want is getting the better of her.
Disregarding the high probability of being found out if Taehyung wanted something more, Kira messily pulls down the handsome male’s khaki trousers as he deeply inhales from above.
Keeping her glazed eyes bolted on Taehyung’s now narrowed ones; the sight of his tan skin and white boxers makes her heart flutter. A huge tent slowly rises as Kira licks her lips whilst Taehyung keeps his eyes transfixed on her reaction.
Her actions become sloppier as the alpha male begins to lose patience. Swiftly pulling down his own boxers, he pushes her mouth into his rock hard dick. She licks the nob as precum forms a glossy layer over her lips.
“Oh fuck,” Taehyung groans, fluttering his lids as he bends down to lift her up in one motion on the bed. Pushing himself back on the headboard, her knees meet soft linen whilst her mouth is still aligned with his cock.
Resting both hands on fluffy hair, Taehyung closes his eyes as Kira licks a thick stripe down his shaft before peppering small kisses up and down his member. Hollowing cheeks, she suddenly begins sucking his stiff manlihood whilst he emits deep groans above her.
Switching from caressing roots to stroking her bloody cheeks softly, he hisses when she slurps his dick whilst simultaneously sticking the tip of her tongue into the opening of his nob.
Vulgar swallowing sounds coupled with heavy breathing resound as Taehyung’s legs begin to jerk, his eyes shut and jugular vein prominently protruding.
“F-fuck Kangmin, you’re so fucking amazing,” he chokes.
Luckily Taehyung’s eyes are shut or else he would’ve witnessed Kira’s left hand pleasuring herself, and he would’ve almost definitely insisted doing it for her. She too begins to mewl as the vibrations send Taehyung over the edge, seeing stars.
Large hands cupping her cheeks tightly, she hisses from the pain of earlier cuts as he begins to roughly fuck her mouth, causing her to gag and splutter over his girth size.
A loud moan later and soon enough, a warm, thick and foreign liquid shoots straight down her throat as she swallows the tangy taste without protest.
His dick soon softens in her wet mouth as she struggles to breathe.
Regaining composure, the powerful Kim pulls up his boxers and gazes down at Kangmin intently. The effects of high will last all night all the way through till breakfast as the latter looks up with beautifully swollen red lips and flushed cheeks, the variant of colours complementing each other as Taehyung begins to find beauty in her blemishes.
“You’re so pretty,” Taehyung rasps before pulling 236 to lay down beside him.
Both are now flat on their backs, panting heavily.
Turning her around, Taehyung chuckles and begins to back hug Kira. Hot breaths down her neck, Kira acts upon her inclinations and turns back around defiantly so her face is mere centimetres from Taehyung’s.
Gulping, a flicker of helplessness clouds his pupils as no one has ever willingly wanted to be this close to him. Shaking his head, Taehyung knows it’s probably the ecstasy.
But even then, this can’t all be fake, does Kangmin like me? A little? I’m not that bad, am I?
“Was it good?” Kira giggles, much out of character.
Swallowing and tracing swollen, cut lips with a long finger, “It was amazing.”
His voice was so gentle that an induced Kira had to double take to make sure this was Kim Taehyung, youngest and vilest son of The Chief Minister.
Undressing her soul with his brown orbs, Kira allowed him entry as he begins to feel very confused.
Who is this inmate? Where did he come from to make me feel like this?
But she answered all thoughts by leaning in and placing a supple kiss on his stunningly proportionate lips.
Blackened heart thumping, Taehyung viciously pushes away and frowns. “Don’t you dare do that again, do you understand?”
His voice echoed hazardously as the threat expanded to twice its size in her mind.
“Sorry,” she murmured, eyes still fixed on the male, “S-shall I go?”
Dropping his anger, he shook his head. “Get some rest now; we’ll discuss things properly when you’re sober,” he declares bluntly.
Her mental questions were interrupted when he began to draw small circles on her scalp. Eyes slowly closing, it didn’t take long for the damaged face to unwind on freshly washed linen as soon enough, Kira was taken to dreamland by a hand.
Turning to the hand, it was tanned and inked at the wrist.
* * * * *
Hyemin is an elderly lady who has devoted her entire life to the secret services. Niece of twice Prime Minister and founder of Intelligence Services in the early 1960s Kim Jongpil; she started her job at seven years old. Stationed in Pyongyang, North Korea as a defector; she successfully infiltrated an influential family whilst pretending to be a hungry beggar.
Transferring her services to domestic battles, she began to acquire information on all the gangs in South Korea. The government innovated a major crime crackdown on all major gangsters in the 1990s for which she played a pivotal role.
She had since travelled the world, married once with one child settled in New York City. Her late husband too, was a defector who sadly died on the job, and so she retired.
However, fate calls her once more as the underground syndicate situation has reached its worst.
Currently sitting in a diplomatic car, make unknown; she clutches on to her small, olive-green satchel whilst fixing her short perm in the head mirror.
Taking a long pull from a thin cigarette, Hyemin closes her eyes with delight and sniffs.
“Ma’am, she is a girl; we fear she won’t be able to do anything without your assistance.”
Turning to glance at the man, “Minister Hong, I started off at seven years old. Times that number by ten and someone as important as you,” she smirks, “is begging for my help.”
Ignoring his red ears, “I believe Lee saw something in her which I will do my best to utilise.”
Fixing frameless glasses, Minister Hong is about to reply when his cell phone begins to ring. Pressing a button on the steering wheel, he glimpses at Hyemin before clearing his throat.
“Hello, Minister Hong speaking.”
The call resounded through the car as Hyemin opened a window to throw the used bud outside. Reaching for strong mints, she popped three in her mouth.
“Minister, it’s Yang. Minister Kim requests you join him at his residence for dinner tonight, before the flight to Las Vegas.”
Checking his diamond watch, “Our flight isn’t for another nine hours.”
“Yes Sir, ample time for discussions of the new business,” he replies.
“Very well, I’ll be over in thirty minutes.”
“I will inform Minister Kim accordingly, see you soon. Shall I send a car?”
“No need,” he cuts the call before sighing heftily.
“New business?” Hyemin jeers with a cackle as she sprays floral perfume over her hair and neck.
“Pleasing foreign investors with our girls,” he croaks, voice high and raspy. Coughing, the mixture of scents is suffocating.
Applying a fresh layer of fuchsia lipstick, she smacked her lips before chuckling patronisingly. “Jesus save us all if he becomes President. Got anything of substance on him?”
“No evidence whatsoever, just word of mouth.”
“And you say his boy is in this prison? Why not get a confession from him against the father?”
Snorting, “With all due respect, I live in the real world. Besides, your job doesn’t extend to that. The Presidential Intelligence’s main focus is to topple Seoul Jopok, ruled by Kim Taehyung - the most powerful. Their other subsidiaries will fall suite once they do.”
But Hyemin wasn’t too sure about that, “Do not underestimate other syndicates. Back in the ‘90s, Kkangpae were the ones liaising with the Japanese Yakuza whilst Jopok were merely a small scale patriotic crew and-”
But Minister Hong grew irritable, “Listen lady, do as your told.”
Shaking her head, Hyemin knows they are making mistakes. But she is too tired. One thing she’s learnt throughout her life is that crime never ends until corruption does. Even if they manage to topple Jopok, foreign influence is rampant and triggers the public to cast votes for right wing Chief Minister Kim.
He has no need to rig elections if the people turn to him willingly. Thus, the foolish Intelligence will never uncover any incriminating evidence whatsoever and the President will remain in danger.
“Sure, I’ll do as I’m told,” laughing mockingly, “If you want something said, ask a man. But you want something done and look, you’re asking a woman.”
Minister Hong was left speechless, clenching his jaw as his watch beeped.
“Oh look, it’s visitation time. Off you pop grandma and don’t forget your passport ID and the Busan dialect.”
Moving at an unusually fast pace for a sixty-eight year old, “I won’t forget where I came from, but I hope you don’t forget your origins, old man.”
Slamming the door behind her, Minister Hong watches dumbfounded as she began to accurately imitate shaking her hands like a real sufferer of Parkinson’s would.
* * *
“236 Lim, you have a visitor,” the guard situated in the corner of the games room blurted out as eyes turned around but no one stared for too long.
It’s been two days since the failed attempt to stab Jimin. Two days since she and Taehyung slept together.
Most of her time is spent hidden in the library or playing cards with Jungkook. Said male as usual does his nightly duties, and neither has spoken about what Taehyung did. If anything, it’s only brought them closer as the raven haired boy believes Kangmin has also become Taehyung’s toy.
But most importantly, Kira hasn’t come across Jimin or his vile crony. Jungkook has since told her his name is Jung Hoseok.
And now, as she’s lost in her thoughts once more, her loyal friend elbows her, “Your grandma’s here!” He grins.
She nods and follows the middle aged guard who begins leading her to the visitation room in silence. Walking through spiralling hallways, they finally reach the main room annexed to the side of the entrance.
Turning sideways and staring at the face of freedom, Kira unknowingly reaches a hand out to the clear blue spring sky as a single cherry blossom tree litters the pathway out of prison with petals of change.
Blinking, she wonders why her actions have chosen to stay in prison when the door is wide open.
“Lim, get in now. One hour max.”
Led into a room by the forearm, it had seven small tables with two chairs on each. There was one other inmate crying to what Kira assumed to be his wife as she brought with her a pram cradling a new born.
Turning to the far corner, there was a frail old lady waiting with an olive-green satchel tightly held in her lap by trembling, wrinkly hands.
Clattering her mind and taking small steps forward, she tries to remember the name as two guards stand to the side, watching like hawks.
Steps gain pace as she slides in the chair opposite.
Eyes meeting, Hyemin instantly analyses the infamous Miss Korea and thinks Lee did a damn good job disguising her as a male.
“Ah! You’ve gotten so skinny, what do they feed you here!” She shouted as the guards turned before looking away, and walking back to their seats, further away from the pair.
An impressed Kira turns to Hyemin as the latter throws a sneaky wink.
“So tell me Kangmin, how have you been?” She leans in, Busan dialect extremely thick. Kira cuts her eyes as she tries to understand, but realises it is she rather than Grandma who needs to talk.
Kira’s expression falls flat as emotions overwhelm her.
“I - I...” a tear runs down her cheek.
Grandma sighs, “Don’t cry. It’s okay, you can tell me. Look at me,” she pauses, “You can tell me everything.” She emphasises curtly.
They begin communicating with their eyes as Kira realises this lady is very well-trained. This woman has been hand picked by Lee, and the thought of having someone sharper than Lee on the outside boosted her confidence.
Nodding, “Yes, forgive me...” she looks up, “Grandma.”
Smiling, “That’s better. Now, how is prison treating you?”
“I think I’m getting used to it, I have made important friends,” Kira says in a hushed tone.
“You what? How dare you ask for my forgiveness!” Hyemin screeches as the guards who were looking only moments ago turn away again.
Containing a smile, Kira knows this is the only opportunity to get her dirty laundry washed.
“All are in here,” she explodes, “Namjoon fucking butchered Lee!” Breathing heavily, “Kim Taehyung plans on taking down Park Jimin,” wheezing, “I was meant to stab Jimin in the bathroom, but how the hell could I stab him?” Pointing to her injuries, “They did this when I failed.”
Grappling with the dynamic, “If you want Jimin out, you’ve got to hurry up. If Kim plans on hurting him, you need to get solid evidence so we can get Park out.”
Shaking her head with disbelief, “Let’s say I get Taehyung’s trust,” looking around, there was still no one other than the crying couple, “Do you expect me to just ask where the evidence is? I know there are files and USB’s, but how the fuck do I get its location?”
Hyemin sighed deeply and knows Kira is completely lost. No one has given her any sense of direction, they just threw her in.
“Listen to me very carefully. Now that Lee is dead, you only have me. All the Ministers care about are their own arses, and The President’s Intelligence will watch over you, but never will they get involved ‘cuz they don’t want to be liable for your death. If you die in here, the alibi they gave your family will cover them.”
“Let Grandma finish!” She yelled, distracting the guards once more.
Pursing her thin lips together, her eyes sparkle brightly. “Kira, do anything to get him vulnerable so he confesses his past life to you.”
I’ve done the first part.
“Try to change him. Try to help him, tell him you love him, anything to get him to trust you with his heart, not his mind,” Hyemin lowers her voice, “Get him to tell you everything about his father. Find out his true feelings.”
There was a pause.
“And then?” Kira leant forward.
Analysing the girl’s every non-verbal action and sudden twitches, Grandma knows dark things are inflicting the girl, drugs being the prime ingredient.
“It is imperative to control Taehyung before he controls you,” she eerily warns.
“Control me?” She mimicked, “he doesn’t even know I’m a fucking girl.”
Ignoring her reply, “I get to see you twice every month. The next time I see you, I expect that to have been done,” she replies bluntly.
Shaking her head, “But what if I can’t?”
“You need to find a way dammit!” She bangs a fist down, this time because she’s genuinely pissed. “Kira, this isn’t a joke. Even if you show him fake love to get to his heart, that’ll be enough.”
“Enough for what? What’s the point of getting close? All the evidence is outside,” she struggles to maintain her tone.
“Once you melt the ice, water will automatically spread,” Grandma wisely adds.
Just before Kira could protest, the metal entrance door buzzes loudly and opens as another visitor accompanied by a guard strolls in.
Kira watches closely as the guard seems excited and capricious at this job. Both Hyemin and Kira turn to the visitor who looks scarily familiar. He is a dashing man with a glorious pout, creased dark eyebrows and clear skin.
She can’t take her eyes off him, she has definitely seen him before.
The door behind opens as Kira turns around.
Taehyung’s deep voice bellows through the visitation room as Kira feels sick.
Hyemin kicks the girl under the table as she realises the brother called Jin has his eyes fixed straight on her suspiciously.
Shielding the side of her face, “Shit. Are they looking?”
“They’re busy talking now,” Hyemin mumbles, “Foolish girl, he was the first round judge for the same pageant that you won.”
Butterflies whizz through her as she remembers everything.
“Do you think he recognised me?”
“No he didn’t, but he might suspect you if he gets the chance to see your face again. So I’ll be off now.”
A sudden feeling of despair envelopes her senses, “No, please, don’t go.”
Taking a youthful hand in her wrinkly ones mainly due to decades of chain smoking, “I’ll be back and I’m always here. Remember, you can write letters if you need to. But,” grinning, “I won’t die like Lee,” she answers Kira’s sinister fears.
Rapidly nodding as self-comfort, Hyemin mirrored her until the girl felt safe enough to let go of her hand.
Resuming the facade of Parkinson’s disease tremor, Hyemin stood up weakly as Kira rushed up to help her.
All part of the act, of course.
Winking once more, “Have faith in yourself, I know you’re capable of great things Kira.”
Smiling at the encouragement, “Thank you Grandma.”
The more she said it, the more it felt like a family member was actually here.
“Good luck sweetheart,” she mumbled genuinely whilst cupping Kira’s cut cheeks and stroking the plasters.
Planting a long kiss on her forehead, Grandma was escorted away as Kira felt happier.
Another guard stood to escort her back to the cells, “Get a move on Lim.”
“Alright, I’m going,” Kira turned her back to Hyemin but managed to catch a last glimpse of Taehyung and his older brother.
Ignoring her, they were seemingly too busy discussing something important as both had grim faces on.
* * * * *
It was a particularly drizzly Thursday evening as the night transported a downpour of stormy showers and thunderous skies.
Busan has now become a death-trap after sunset. Each household’s television is only blared to the news channel as a shooting breaks the headlines twice, sometimes thrice a day.
Every Mother prays her child’s school photograph doesn’t flash on screen; every Father hopes he doesn’t have to attend the police station to bail out his child, and every sibling begs the deities to protect their underperforming brother or sister lest they deflect to the easy life.
The Mai household are currently enjoying dinner quietly, savouring the warm beef broth and steaming, fluffy rice grains. Television off, they are constantly assured by the Japanese internship programme that their prized eldest is safe and well.
The doorbell suddenly rings as all turn to each other.
Their town is on the outskirts of mainland Busan, but all remain wary nonetheless.
“Stay here,” Minjun orders his wife and twelve year-old as he slides back the wooden chair, drops his handkerchief and paces out of the dining room to the main door.
Placing a baseball bat in reach, he fumbles with keys to unlock the main door.
Opening it slowly, his eyes fall upon a tall, slender male holding a black umbrella with dark hair and mysterious eyes.
“Sorry to ring so late on such a rainy day, but I’m a friend of Kira’s, Lee Taeyong.”
His voice was whiny yet youthful, face like a Manga character and persona ostensibly trustworthy as Mr Mai smiled, “If you were her friend, you’d know where she is,” he replied wittingly, suspicious at the intrusion.
“Actually, the last time I spoke to her was when she’s won Miss Korea,” he chortles, “I actually wanted to return her textbook,” answering respectfully, he motioned to his messenger bag as Minjun’s suspicions were steadily alleviating.
“Well in that case, why don’t you join us for dinner, Taeyong?”
Shaking his head, “No it’s alright, thank you Mr Mai. I just came back from the library and thought I should return her book,” he smiled kindly.
Mr Mai opened the door wider, “Don’t be silly, you need to gain weight son!” he jokes as Taeyong bows respectfully before shuffling on his feet awkwardly.
“Sir, I really don’t want to impose, I-”
Cutting him off, “Don’t refuse your elders. Come on in.”
Bowing again, Taeyong left his umbrella outside and took his shoes off before entering, closing the door behind him and following Mr Mai deeper into their home.
Looking around, Taeyong’s sharp gaze caught onto family photographs hanging off the wall as he quickly whipped out one of his two phones. This one was specifically imported from The States to take pictures, so that the shutter sound may be avoided.
Entering the dining room, he met Mrs Mai’s eyes as he bowed deeply, “Good evening. My name is Lee Taeyong, and I am a friend of Kira’s. I came to drop off her textbook,” he dropped his bag down gently and placed a Law textbook on the side table.
It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s hers; for no one ever checks the contents if the manner of delivery is executed well.
Mrs Mai’s suspicions dispersed as she motioned for Taeyong to sit in Kira’s empty chair beside Lia, “As my husband tells me.” She smiled, “We have beef stew and rice, I hope you enjoy it.”
“Sounds delicious,” he turns to Lia, “And you must be Lia! Heard you love your violin,” he playfully adds to the cute kid.
Eyes lighting up, she instantly begins to tell him everything about her violin classes as laughter soon erupts from the dinner table, and for the first time in weeks, the Mai household seems full of life again.
Wiping the corners of his mouth after he finished, “May I use the bathroom please?”
“Of course, just walk through the kitchen, first door on your right,” Mrs Mai quirks as Taeyong bows again and excuses himself.
Once in the kitchen, he pauses to catch them resuming conversation before racing to the bathroom, locking the door and turning the tap on full blast.
Dialling a number, he impatiently waits.
It finally goes through, “Daniel. Did you check the pics I sent?”
“Yeah, it’s her family alright. Where is she?”
“Some internship in Tokyo, it’s a fucking lie,” he scoffs like a Mr Hyde.
“Why would they lie?”
Pacing around the large bathroom, “Don’t you remember Lee’s bullshit explanation of why he wanted to join us? He said that some random bastard in Tokyo introduced him to Sota.”
Daniel was confused; his IQ is nowhere near as high as Taeyong’s. Although Yoongi specifically ordered them to find out about the winner of Miss Korea for his own purposes, Taeyong has latched onto something much more ominous.
“For fuck’s sake Taeyong. Even if Lee said that, he spat a load of shit. What you getting at?”
Sighing with annoyance and rolling his eyes, “Lee said he knew someone from an internship in Tokyo which we foolishly believed. Her parents don’t know anything about her internship! I asked them who her supervisor was and they both said different names.”
Daniel shook his head, disregarding this important information. “I don’t get it, speak to Suga yourself. Just concentrate on finding more information and getting the hell out of there instead of concocting weird theories.”
He cut the call as an exasperate Taeyong flushed the toilet for decoration before wetting his hands and leaving the bathroom.
As he finished saying his goodbyes to the kind-hearted family, Taeyong knows more information isn’t necessary. Putting trainers back on, he has everything he needs.
Waving goodbye, he opens his wet umbrella as the door closes.
The caliginous night conceals his stony expression.
Whilst walking to his car, he dials another number and waits for the grim voice to answer.
“What is it Taeyong,” Yoongi grumbles, a thumping sound of bass banging in the background.
“Hyung, I need to see you. It’s something important about Kira Mai.”
“I’m not in Busan, tell me over the phone.”
Biting his lip, “When are you back?”
“Another week,” he lies, not wanting to be disturbed by the younger ones’ problems which are usually minuscule.
“What if I proposed to you that she was close to Lee.”
Pausing, Yoongi’s brows crease, “What? The fuck you mean?”
“Think about it,” he persuades, “Lee was a copper, Jimin is in prison. Now Lee is dead and Kira is hiding in Tokyo? Seems fucking suspect,” he replies, getting in his Lexus and throwing the wet umbrella in the back seat.
“What? She isn’t in Busan?”
Rolling his eyes and grinding his teeth with frustration for this is the second time he’s repeating himself, “No. Fuck’s sake hyung, this is why I need to see you.”
“Very well. Meet me at Seoulpa Choson Club.”
Eyes widening, Taeyong has terrible memories of this particular syndicate but obliges anyway, “Alright, see you soon.”
Time is ticking and the countdown to destruction has begun.