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it was scorching hot.

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- - - 🌬️ ☁️  - - -

It was scorching hot.

 

 

That was the moment when Sungwoon realised that he was standing too close to the fire pit. He could see, no, feel the sparks flying, almost marring his skin. That was one crazy way to dance, he observed, as the fire flickered and flared, carrying along destruction in the clouds of black, grey smoke.

 

The fire devoured the kerosene in a flash of rampaging flame. It burned the box eagerly, eating the piece of paperboard in leaping and hissing crackles. The fire was too vicious to tame, feral, for anyone to try and salvage the remnants of memories Sungwoon had dumped into the pit. By morning, no, by seeping hours later, everything would turn to ash and he would be free.

 

The snaps sounded blissful to his ears and he closed his eyes.

 

 

It was scorching hot.

 

 

He felt a hand pulling him backwards, the hard tug jostled him several steps into cooler air. Gone was the yellow, orange, red behind his eyes. Sungwoon would miss the flame, the blistering and intense vigour that had burned his life and his heart. True, the love had lightened up the fire from within, and it helped blaze the ugly thoughts that had long lived with him.

 

Love is fire, indeed. But as much as it warmed his heart, it was close to burning down his house, his temple. And so, he buried it, humbling the fire into the earth, making sure that none of those would come back and haunt him. The same fire that had brought him to love, was the same fire he’d used to smother it out.

 

What was left—destruction. The sight, the mere thought of it, was eerily beautiful in the predawn light. This was not just fire. It was death. And Sungwoon was glad to be the one killing it.

 

 

It was scorching hot.

 

 

The touch on his arm trailed lower, fingers waltzing on his skin, like a current of air. The clasp of a hand felt firm, secure, and it anchored him back to breathing. They started walking away from the fire, leaving the charcoaled, blackened memory behind.

 

Sungwoon took a deep breath, feeling how oxygen flowed freely into his lungs. And the presence beside him started humming.

 

It was almost creepy. They were in the middle of the forest. The only sound entertaining their path was their feet treading along the damp soil, accompanied by the soft cracking of twigs and leaves. The humming grew louder, becoming whisper of a song, and from the tone of it, Jaehwan sounded happy.

 

 

Jaehwan, beside him, was akin to the wind. His giddy whiff flowed through the earthen ground, his song soothing those who can hear, that counting Sungwoon himself. The voice in his head might or mightn’t have sang along to the breezy tune. He was singing to the latest song they could hear in the radio, in the bustling stores, the busy streets, from a famous girl-group. How fitting.

 

He basked in it, enlightened that his voice was able to make Sungwoon flourished into life, putting traces of a smile on his cold face.

 

He was like wind, a surge of something new and fresh, crazy to tame when he began something. Albeit shuddering in his hold, no longer protected by the fire, Sungwoon took whatever he could. Jaehwan was always there, permanent in his steps, fearless in his wake. He never stopped moving, developing—and then silence, he stopped singing.

 

Jaehwan laughed. He laughed, and Sungwoon couldn’t help but to be wrapped up in his virus laughter. The cackling sound beat the tranquillity of the forest, but who could ever keep their stomach lax when it comes to Jaehwan and his carefree spirit. He almost wheezed, and Sungwoon did too, for whatever reasons, he wasn’t sure.

 

The man next to him, still holding his hand, was confident and flexible, and free, free for him to take, to breathe in. The wind, in subtleness, has its own trail, even if there are limitless possible stops. As much as it is unexpected in his path, Jaehwan manages to hold onto things that matter, people who matters. That drives Sungwoon to keep moving and as a start, to start moving on.

 

Jaehwan was bold like the wind. Sungwoon wouldn’t deny that he was clinging onto that support. Not because he couldn’t make it on his own, but because with Jaehwan next to him, it would be more fulfilling.

 

Light-headed, he made him felt, and Sungwoon ignored the peachy excitement that bottled in him.

 

 

It was no longer hot.

 

 

But still, the wind was a blast to his fears. As much as it is soft and lifting, it was loud and deafening. A roar of another…flicker inside his heart. Sungwoon just hopes that Jaehwan’s wind would not spiral and destroy him too.

 

 

The next morning, nothing came up in the news. 

The next week, people started talking, started searching. 

A fortnight later, the news finally reported that the police had found a burnt body in the local forest park.

 

 

In the kitchen, Jaehwan’s humming grew louder, flooding the four walls with his soft voice.

 

Sungwoon smiled.

 

“Here,” Jaehwan offered, a plate of sliced fruit served in front of him. There were two forks, one for him, and one more for himself. Sungwoon couldn’t help but to raise his brows. Peaches, huh? Jaehwan grinned and kissed the smirk bordering on Sungwoon’s full lips. “Don’t be cheeky and eat your fruit, hyung.”

 

 

It was no longer hot.

- - - 🌬️ ☁️  - - -