Title: Back To What I Was
Author: Desultory Speech
Genre: Horror, thriller, psychological, angst
Rating: Teen - 14A. Some parts may be rated for swearing, violence, gore, general uncomfortable subjects.
Synopsis: Recovering from a traumatic event, JaeJoong is forced to struggle to maintain who he is and used to be, all the while being re-instituted into public school. The struggles of adolescence, the woes of being socially awkward; JaeJoong fights them all whilst rediscovering his passion for art and expression.
Perhaps in the wrong ways.
Comments: I am in no way affiliated with DBSK, Super Junior or SM Entertainment, nor do I know or associate with any of the people in question. I'm not even Korean. This is a work of pure fiction; any similarities drawn between people, places and events are purely by coincidence. This is not meant to offend. The views and opinions in this story are not necessarily the views and opinions of the author. Directed at a mature youth audience. I apologize for grammar errors and spelling mistakes.
Poster credits go to bucket_of_tsuki, for being such a dear and putting up with me. ^^' Thank you, Jake-chan~
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Foggy ears and thick silence.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Where’d you go; yourself? Where’d you go off to? Did you figure it was pointless to live the same way again?
Thrash. Thrash. Thrash.
Replay the incident in your head like it will change things.
BANG. BANG. SLAM.
It hurt, didn’t it? With metal searing off your leg and the sound of the screeching; that sound hurt you, didn’t it?
BANG. BANG. SCREAM.
There was so much blood, clogging your throat and your pores; you couldn’t breath.
Close your eyes and remember.
The light greets you and it hurts.
“Appa! Hurry up~ we have to get back home in half an hour!” the small eleven-year-old quipped to his father, waving his pale arms above him. His plaid blouse and beige fisherman’s vest hung loosely over his tiny frame, drowning him in excess fabric that he’d one day fill. In his left hand was his tackle box, his other being occupied by his pieced fishing rod. A particularly strong gust of wind blew as he stared anxiously at his father, lifting his flared hat off his bed of hair. The boy cursed, dropping his supplies as he rushed after his prized fishing cap, stumbling on the mucky terrain and tripping in his three-sizes-too big gumboots. The wind continued to play with his hat, lifting it up and down at opportune times when he thought he could grasp it.
His father watched in amusement as the boy chased after his possession, chuckling heartily at the sight. He was a boy still, yet to be a man. He had a lot of growing up to do, and both of his parents were eager to watch over him as he did.
“It’s not funny!” yelled the boy in annoyance, now balancing on a particularly slippery log that jutted out into the lake, in order to obtain his hat that was slowly floating away from him.
“We have to go, JaeJoong,” his father mocked. “Hurry up~ we have to be home in half an hour!”
The mans son –JaeJoong – scowled at his fathers words, lifting his nose in an irritated manner. “Yah, well, we’re going to be late and mom’s gunna have a fit.”
“Your right,” mused his father, subconsciously hooking his thumbs over the rim of his belt as he gazed out into the now setting sun. It was going to be a beautiful evening; the sun was bright overhead, the wind warm, and the air fragrant.
The man grimaced, rubbing the back of his next in pain.
The mosquitoes in abundance.
His son trudged back towards him, steps heavy as he walked with a deep scowl engraved into his face. He was sopping wet; his hair plastered to his forehead, his clothes hanging even more so than usual.
He glared as his father chuckled, daring him to make a comment. But his father said nothing, instead shaking his head in humor. Finding the light of a situation was something he had become very good at over the past forty years of his life, and he just so happened to have found that light in this very one.
“At least you won’t have to take a bath tonight.” He voiced, earning another glare from his son, who was nowhere near as light-hearted as he.
“We’re going to be late,” snapped his son as he rung out the water from his favourite fisherman’s hat.
“We still have time,” drawled his father, smile gracing his face. His smiles always reached every inch of his visage, even his eyes illuminating the happiness as he felt it. They were always genuine, which was something everyone loved about him.
But his son would have none of it, sighing agitatedly at his father’s antics. “But the drive home takes an hour!”
Rolling his eyes, his father turned on his heels and began to trek up the small hill to their truck, leaving JaeJoong to sputter about, hastily picking up his things he had dropped before and dusting them off as he walked. The autumn leaves crinkled under their feet as they walked, and the flowers they passed each offered a different aroma from the next.
With a tired huff, JaeJoong placed his belongings in the back of his father’s truck and jumped into the front seat – struggling momentarily as his feet didn’t quite reach the truck floor, as he would have hoped them too. His father got in effortlessly, looking into the back seat as he did to be sure he had packed everything up. He had; their fishing rods, tackle boxes and mini-cooler, now filled with five dead fish of different variety, were all in place, along with a bag of sandwiches his wife had forced him to take. He smiled at that, before noticing something was amiss.
“Did you bring the first aid kit?” He asked his son, tossing him a look. JaeJoong nodded at this.
“It’s under the seat.”
With a pat on the head and small praise of ‘good boy’, JaeJoong’s father placed his seatbelt on and turned the ignition key to start. The large vehicle roared to life, offsetting the otherwise peaceful feel of the lake with its mechanical drawl. Foot on the break, he geared the vehicle into drive and began to put down the road.
“How do you feel about getting this truck when you’re sixteen?” asked he, glancing into his rearview and side mirrors with a routine fondness as he did. The truck he was currently pawning off onto his son had been his own fathers, lived a good fifty years, and still ran better than some trucks far younger than it. Not, of course, without a few extensive trips to the garage and numerous replacement parts, but that was besides the point. It was a good, long lasting Toyota that refused to quit, even after his father passed. The importance of this traditional vehicle seemed to pass over the heads of his two daughters, but he hoped he had instilled the desire for such a piece of authenticity into his son that he’d want it.
And true to his hopes, JaeJoong’s eyes lit up at the notion. “Can I really?” He asked, running his hand across the much-revered dashboard. He had secretly coveted the vehicle since little; to him, it was the sentimental importance that made it soo much better than a brand new truck. This truck had meaning, had life to it, and JaeJoong had yet to see such character in the new, top-of-the-line vehicles his friends fancied. Just looking around the cab of the truck brought him so many memories of his childhood that he relished in them every time he entered it. There was a dint on the dashboard compartment from when his mother had hit the break suddenly and caused his older sister to ram face first into it – it had been her fault, she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt. The CD player had a smear of black marring the plastic above it from when his mother had dropped a bottle of her favourite OPI nail polish during on of their family road trips. The rearview mirror on the passenger’s side had a crack in it from the time his father almost hit a dear – he had swirled but, in doing so, grazed a sapling spruce tree. The upholstery of the back seats had been torn and re-sewn up by his mother from when his sisters had tried to do his makeup in his sleep – he had woken up and scratched the hell out of them and the car, and felt considerably guilty for it afterwards.
Yes, this was a vehicle JaeJoong wanted badly, so much that he wished himself five years older so he could get it sooner.
At seeing the appreciation in his son’s eyes as he glanced around the old truck, JaeJoong’s father smiled warmly. He had done well, he told himself. His son was handsome, smart, and had a good sense of things. He was obedient and respectful; generally optimistic. He was glad he and his wife had kept the ‘surprise child’, even more so every time he looked at him.
“Yah, sure. I was thinking about getting me a nice new Ford or something.” He commented, tapping his fingers against the steering wheel – which was a nice redwood, beige leather ensemble – as he glanced once more at his mirrors. He wanted his son to drive this truck, wanted him to learn the ropes of the road in it, take his girlfriend out in it, drive his own child around in it and some day pass it on to his own son.
JaeJoong gaped at his father. “A Ford? You aren’t serious are you? Those trucks are not as built to last as they say.”
With a chuckle and shake of the head, is father laughed. “Nah, I wasn’t serious, but I figure an old man like me ought to start thinking about his health. Maybe I’ll get a bike… or a pair of good walking shoes. You wouldn’t mind picking your old man up to go fishing every now and again, would you?” There was humor in his voice; he wasn’t serious, he knew his son would have a life to do as he pleased and wouldn’t spare a second thought for his father, but he liked to tease.
But JaeJoong took it all seriously, beaming up at his father with large, feminine eyes. “Yes! Yes, appa, yes! I don’t mind at all! We can go whenever you want! A-and I’ll even pick you up to take you to the super market to get that canned tuna you like… and we can go to the games and stuff and road trips and…”- he was getting excited, his father noted, smiling at his son as he rambled on about the things he would do. It was a habit he had when he got too overwhelmed – ranting unstoppably – and was another one of his endearing qualities.
Turning his head back to the road, the smile on his face disappeared.
There were only a few things JaeJoong’s father would pale in the sight of; one of those being women crying. He could not stand nor handle woman crying, because the emotional wrecks they became frankly scared him, and the damage he could cause by attempting to be comforting could be equally as terrifying. Another thing was the idea of his children and wife being in danger.
And in this case, it was something he didn’t even register in his mind as it happened.
His foot slammed on the break, jolting his son out of his joyous mood instantly. JaeJoong’s head shot upwards, and in mere seconds he took in more things he usually could in an hour. The sun was still up, beaming overhead them. The skies were clear and uninhibited, save for a few birds that flocked together in the vast expanses of nothing. The air carried a fresh aroma of citer trees and wilderness, and the wildlife could be heard from the thin countryside road they were traveling on. The key chain hanging from the rearview mirror was being pulled back by the sudden stop; his fathers face was coated with an expression he had never seen before; his heart had stopped in his throat and the expressions and screams of the teenagers in front of him were that of panic.
And the crash of the vehicle they were in against his own was so momentous he could feel his back strain; his old seatbelt failed to support his weight and he plummeted forwards into the dashboard. His forehead felt hot as he followed his fathers yelling and put his head between his knees, too scared to look up.
Tires screeched on the pavement as both masses of contorted mental spun out of control. His father’s foot remained planted on the break in order to maintain control, but the other car had been less experienced in these sorts of things and had released there grip, and were now toppling over the cliff into the abyss of water below them. JaeJoong heard the splash as the lake greeted them but had no time to register what happened, and, without him knowing, the truck he and his father were in finally gave out and flipped.
Everything flew to the back of the cab, various items that had been kept in the cup holders flying up and hitting both JaeJoong and his father. JaeJoong felt lightheaded, his limbs flailing without his consent as the vehicle flipped, hit the ground, bounced, and hit it again. After several moments, it came to a stop, scraping across the asphalt as they spun, until it finally was over.
When the thrashing stopped, the nightmare was far from over. JaeJoong’s head was pressed against the roof of the truck, him hanging upside down, held up by his seatbelt. As he tried to move, a sharp pain shot up his side. Pacing his breathing, JaeJoong welded his eyes shut to block out the reality he was drowning in temporarily. His chest felt heavy, and he could no longer feel the lower half of his leg. He was terrified to look down, but knew he had to take in the amount of damage. Taking a deep, steadying breath, he glanced downwards, paling as he did. His leg caught in the contorted metal of the trucks front, it bending around his jean pant leg, tearing it. Biting back a cry of pain, the small boy turned to his father, grabbing onto his arm worriedly.
His father’s eyes opened slowly, looking hazily through heavy lids at his panicked son.
“I’m fine JaeJoong.”
“Appa! Appa you’re bleeding!” Cried his son, pressing his hand to his gushing forehead, and later his equally as stained chest. “Appa! Appa!”
“JaeJoong, get my cell phone out of the glove box. Phone”- he stopped, breathing heavily as he coped with the pain that shot through him. He didn’t want to worry his son, and so he spoke nothing of the object digging into the back of his head, and nothing of the burning in his chest. He was sure something had punctured his chest, but didn’t want to look down to affirm anything. He spoke through clenched teeth when he continued. –“Phone 911.”
JaeJoong nodded frantically, doing as he was told and opening the glove box with shaking hands. He dialed the phone number as quickly as he could, turning to his father as soon as they picked up.
“This is 911; what’s your emergency?” Asked a sweet voiced woman.
“We were just in a car accident and my appa’s bleeding and I don’t know what to do our truck’s flipped and I’m bleeding and I’m pretty sure the other car is in the lake and”- JaeJoong stopped suddenly.
He saw it.
The shiny silver Chevy as it pulled around the rounds bend.
The shock on the drivers face.
The screech of breaks in his ears.
And suddenly, he was in the air again.
Story © Cillisian Thatcher/Diese Stifte, July 4th, 2008.