world is messed up.
At least for those who struggle to live in peace despite the fact that they have never done anything wrong. In this dark age, lies are what you see through other people's eyes, and truth is what you hear close to your ears through people's tongues.
This is a fading introduction to the life of an innocent youth who is like a dead tree hanging on the brink as the axe of the wicked society slaughters its body.
~ ~ ~
A weak-looking youth was lying on his stomach on the cold floor inside a dark room. He was facing his left and looked faint and beaten. This young man’s arms were blue as they were bruised, and he was bleeding from his lips. His wounds appeared fresh as if he had just been assaulted and was left in there to die in pain. His wrist was covered in black bruises as if his hands were tangled with iron chains for hours, and there was a deep cut mark on his neck, which was probably done with a sharp knife by his abusers.
This young man is Jun-Seok. The 17-year-old high schooler, who is soon to be hanged due to being charged for some gruesome case that shook the nation,
He was wearing a prisoner outfit, as he is a prisoner on death row. But his clothes were filthy, as expected. The only source of light, which was the light bulb on the ceiling just above Jun-Seok, was also off. And there was a wooden chair with rusted iron chains in the corner of the room. Maybe it was the same iron chains through which he was tied up to get beaten, by which he got his wrist bruised.
By sighing a tired breath, Jun-Seok finally regained his consciousness. By opening his eyes slowly, he raised his wounded arms against the floor, trying to lift himself, while his blood began to flow from his shoulders to his hands, then to his fingers, and finally to the floor.
As he was pushing himself up with his wounded arms, he felt an intense amount of pain all over his body, but it didn’t let him stop. He continued, and finally, after struggling for nine straight seconds, he pushed himself up.
"Finally… It’s all over."
Jun-Seok sighed. He slowly raised his right hand near his lips and wiped out his warm blood with a cold, sad snort. Then he slowly stood up with his tired legs and opened the closed door.
Tin… The old door’s opening sound echoed scarily. And by that, the sun’s rays touched Jun-Seok's eyes, making him instantly put his hands together to adjust his vision. The orange rays were gentle, but they pierced Jun-Seok’s eyes in just a moment, like sharp needles on bare skin. After all, he was inside in the dark for hours, even before he passed out.
So naturally, his dizzy eye couldn’t handle even the gentle orange rays. A second later, he adjusted his sight and vision to support himself and headed to the nursing room to get treated. The nursing room wasn’t that far from his place, but Jun-Seok was so weak in his body that with every footstep he took, he felt gruesome pain like he had been cut through several knives.
While Jun-Seok was on his way, he was thinking about how he suffered. One could easily tell that the young guy is sad and depressed, which he can’t hide from his dead-looking eyes.
After 2 minutes of walking, he finally reached the clinic and entered the room. Like always, the male doctor, Dr. Jay, bandaged him well without raising a single question, as it was like a daily routine.
While Dr. Jay was putting a bandage on Jun-Seok’s nose bridge, a prison keeper came into the clinic and asked Jun-Seok to meet his lawyer, who was waiting for him in the private room.
Knowing his lawyer’s sudden visit, Jun-Seok instantly started walking towards the meeting room, and after getting in, he looked at his lawyer, who was waiting for him with a very serious-looking face.
Jun-Seok’s lawyer was one of the tops in his field. He is Jun-Seok's mother's childhood friend, and that is why Jun-Seok always calls and treats him like his own uncle. But today the lawyer whom he calls uncle was not there as his lawyer but as his mother's friend as his uncle, and he has come to inform Jun-Seok of something depressing.
"What's wrong with that gloomy face? Is something serious?"
Jun-Seok asked. He then sat on the chair, facing his lawyer. The lawyer anyhow didn’t speak his words; instead, he just looked at the pitiful, mistreated boy in front of him, covered in bandages, with silence. He saw those repetitive bandages, scars, and injuries on Jun-Seok’s body but didn’t ask him about him, as he already knew about his situation.
Several minutes passed by in seconds, but it felt like hours for Jun-Seok and his lawyer, who were not saying anything besides sitting like rocks. Jun-Seok kept his silence like his lawyer; however, how long could he wait? As each second passed, his patience decreased, and at last, he finally asked,
"What is the matter? I don’t like that pitiful expression dedicated to me."
Jun-Seok raised his question with a doubtful face. But he already guessed something terrible must have happened, but what exactly could make his lawyer see him in such a pitiful way? He thought. However, before he could ask or say anything further, his lawyer softly spoke,
"Jun-Seok, your mom has passed away."
The lawyer said his words very softly and with sadness in his eyes, but with no hesitation.
Jun-Seok heard his lawyer’s words, and his heart fell into the wilderness of emptiness as soon as he got those words in his mind. His heart trembled, and his eyes got filled with sweat. His lawyer then continued further,
"I have arranged the funeral and your temporary leave application. I will come to pick you up tomorrow morning; be ready."
At the same moment, Jun-Seok asked, "When did she and how?" but he couldn’t speak properly. It seemed like his words faded from his lips, but to be exact, he was not courageous enough to ask anything. His lawyer understood his half-question and replied, "I found out about it yesterday from your neighbors. She poisoned herself, Jun-Seok."
Saying that the lawyer stood up and gloomily spoke, "It's not hard to accept that she killed herself. I’m sorry, but I don’t know what to feel. Should I feel happy that she is free from her suffering or sad that she left you behind to suffer all alone?" The lawyer expressed his confusion with a neutral expression when he said that, as if he were battling against two forces resulting only in grief, winning is to grief, and losing is to grief.
From the very beginning, the lawyer was aware of Jun-Seok’s mother’s suffering and wanted to help her son with his skills. Unfortunately, even a top lawyer like him failed because of the false evidence against Jun-Seok provided in court, and he wasn’t able to do anything but watch and see how Jun-Seok would die in the future.
Till then, Jun-Seok’s head was still low when he heard his lawyer. But the sound of his tiny pearly tears falling from his eyes was loud. However, his tears were not of sadness in any case; in fact, they were out of relief that his mother had passed away before his demise. He was at least happy to know his mother wouldn’t see his unworthy death or feel the pain of losing her son. That’s why he was happy, and his tears were tears of happiness.
"You can feel happy about it; after all, she won’t be able to see my dead body," Jun-Seok said while raising his head high. But his face was filled with tears flowing from his eyes to his cheeks and chin.
Jun-Seok continued his smile with his pearly tears, and his lawyer kept looking at him with an absolute heart. He knew Jun-Seok from birth and also knew about Jun-Seok’s innocence. But he couldn’t save him, and Jun-Seok got the death sentence after 5 months, and already 4 months have passed away. All he can do now to help Jun-Seok is just nothing.
After a while, the lawyer took his leave, and Jun-Seok returned to his cell. He suppressed his emotions with a smile for the time being. But when night began, his fake smile faded on its own. His face got swollen by the sadness and agony of losing his mother, which every son suffers once in their lifetime. But unlike other sons, his agony, sorrow, sadness, and anger were greater. He suffered not only from being falsely accused of horrendous crimes but also from betrayals again and again from the unexpected people whom he ever loved.
The night passed way too slowly without any trouble for him, unlike other days, but because of the unwavering pain of sorrow he was feeling, he wasn’t able to sleep even for a second. Throughout the entire long night, he was awake, feeling fatigued and hurt, deep inside his heart.
Time passed way too instantly, like always, and Jun-Seok was taken away by his lawyer to the funeral hall. In the funeral home, Jun-Seok wore black funeral clothes and was the chief mourner. However, no one except for his lawyer’s family came to visit him. By then, it was very clear that Jun-Seok’s false accusation case was the reason, and no one wanted to be involved with him in any way.
Jun-Seok knew how much his case had affected his life. Right after his arrest, his high school life ended, and his school cut all ties with him. Even his classmates did the same. This all happened due to the media, which overly exaggerated his case in public with inaccurate evidence. In just one week, his whole life had turned into turmoil right after his arrest. And that’s why no one, not even his so-called relatives, joined him at the funeral.
The whole mourning room was empty, and only the Lawyer’s family and two other people were there out of respect for Jun-Seok’s mother. But that didn’t shake Jun-Seok’s heart in any way. After all, all those who called him his friend and family except for his lawyer and those other two people were like snakes and vermin who only knew how to betray. For Jun-Seok, his relatives and friends were like parasitic demons, so he couldn’t care less about them.
After the ceremony, the funeral came to an end. Jun-Seok then paid extra money out of his personal bank account to the memorial home to keep his mother’s ashes and memories intact. But instead of giving them his contact number, he gave his twin brother Seok-Jun’s phone number as the guardian and later returned to his old house.
Jun-Seok came to his old house. His house looked normal; the door was closed, and everything was fine. It wasn’t the most expensive or luxurious house, but for him, it was like a paradise. After all, it was the same house where his mother and brother lived with smiles. But now, when he looks at it, he can only see gloominess. But the flowers he planted with Seok-Jun, like roses, jasmine, gardenia, dahlias, and peonies, were all healthy and bloomy. Seeing his self-made garden in a glow, he smiled for the very first time.
Seeing his garden alive with blooms, Jun-Seok headed to his house door and opened it. "I’m home, Mom." He subconsciously uttered his words out of habit. But hearing what he just babbled, he silenced. "It looks like I..." He teared up anxiously. The sadness and tears that he hid for the whole four months were craving their way out of his eyes like a flood. "Why! Why! Mom, how bad could you be? Why did you leave me? At least you could have met me," He screamed at himself like never before. And by doing that, he just collapsed near the door with pure sadness, even before taking a step ahead.
He somehow stood, came into the drawing-room, and sat on the white sofa. However, his blood started coming out of his wounded legs and staining the white sofa quite a bit.
Busy in mourning, Jun-Seok cried his eyes out all afternoon until the start of the evening. He forgot the time and his surroundings and slept in tears for hours. The afternoon passed away slowly, and the evening touched the environment quickly.
After several hours,
"Hmnn…" Jun-Seok opened his eyes on the sofa, where he fell asleep crying. He looked at his dark surroundings and realized he was at home, and it was evening. The time was 8 p.m., and the sun was already gone and the full moon was behind the dark clouds.
"The night has already come." Jun-Seok saw the faint light coming from the clouded moon through his windows. He then went and turned the light on. His movements were weak but strong enough to walk. During his time in prison, he was beaten, abused, starved, and even overworked and molested by other prisoners and by prison cops. In those moments of hopelessness, the only person who helped him was his older brother, his cellmate, and his friend Ha-Joon.
But now, when he is at home, no one can help him cope with the hidden sorrow that he has been hiding for a very long time. He cried all afternoon, slept, and woke up at 8 p.m. His legs were covered with his blood, and he smelled all bloody. It was because of the wounds on his body that he started to bleed once again, and not even his clothes could stop his blood from coming out.
A while later, he came into his room. As soon as he saw his room’s condition, he came to know that no one had messed with his stuff in his room during his time in prison. However, the only thing that was broken was his family picture that was on his study desk, which broke when he was arrested.
Seeing that broken picture of his family, he picked it up, hung it on the wall, and slowly got inside the shower room. Later, he turned the shower on and stood below the spraying water droplets with his clothes on.
"Ah, after a very long time, I am in my shower, and no one will hit me here." He grumbled his satisfaction out of his heart.
In prison, everyone has to take a shower in the open without privacy or warm water. For a 17-year-old teenager, showering naked in front of other men is hard, but on top of that, it's not easy to get used to cold water showers, and that is why Jun-Seok felt comfortable in his shower room, where no men could peek at his body like predators, nor did he feel cold water rushing down his wounded body.
Jun-Seok slowly unbuttoned his mourning shirt. However, he wasn’t just wearing a shirt on his body; behind his shirt, there were white bandages all over his chest, shoulders, and even stomach. Those bandages were covering his body because of his wounds. But still, those wet bandages had a dark yet gloomy color of blood all over them.
Jun-Seok’s wounds were so
severe that even those thick bandages were unable to hold his blood inside. As
soon as he started removing his bandages, his blood started flowing out like a
morning dew drop. He then threw his upper-body bandages on the wet floor in the
corner. Then he removed his pants and undid the
bandages on his thighs. He has identical cut scars on both thighs near his
After being fully naked by removing his clothes and all the thick bandages, he sped up the shower with warm water and continued to stand there like a statue. After all, after so many days, he was able to stand in a warm shower.
To be continued...