Well here it is, the rough version. I'm gonna get an unnie to edit it but for now, I'll just post it for you guys. Maybe I'll delete it after it's edited and I'm done posting it up everywhere else.
"Welcome to our crib," Daehyun smiled at the younger, his ash blonde hair dirty from the soot of the caravan. Inside, there sat two others - each on different sides of the portable house. It was funny looking - at least to Junhong. Outside, the caravan was spray painted black with colourful squiggles and doodles; supposingly to make it look less dull. The colours were rather pale and worn out - they'd been together for awhile, this Junhong could tell. The door was right by the dining table - a worn out cream colour, plastic and similar to its long chairs, one on each side, the window on its perpendicular. A man in his mid-twenties with black hair falling over his forehead sat on the dining chair, browsing through a magazine uninterestedly. He looked up when he heard the loud boy, and looked at Junhong with a mix of curiosity and annoyance.
"Who did you bring this time, Daehyun? Hopefully not another sl-"
"He came to me!” Daehyun defended himself. "He doesn't have a place to go - with the wind, I suppose. Just let him come with us, okay?" Daehyun looked at the taller. Junhong had milky white skin, a bleached hair with blue highlights. He doesn’t seem like the usual nice guy, but he sure has a lot of innocence plastered across his face.
"This old guy is Himchan," Daehyun introduced. "Don't touch his stuff, is all I can say. And, he cooks for us. Now, moving on with the tour!" Daehyun walked by the dining table and Junhong followed, nodding shyly at Himchan. Himchan just watched the two.
Past the dining table was a shelf with all sorts of scrap books and boxes which Junhong assumed was Himchan's stuff. But there was a specially narrow and long shelf where bottles of peculiar looking liquids with labels on them sat, the content softly shivering as Daehyun and Junhong step across the room. Opposite of it was a bed foldover, kept shut tight. Above it was a wide shelf, high enough for Junhong to peek in and see suitcases; closed but unzipped, small pieces of cloth peeping out its sides. Then was a door leading to the lavatory, a divider separating it from a small kitchen opposite of it, only consisting of a surface - used mighty well with the boiler, rice cooker and every other random things being placed there - a cupboard above their heads and a stove. By the stove was a boy in a muscle tee and an apron, awkwardly pocking at the bacon in the frying pan in front of him with a long wood in the shape of a spoon. His hair was a light brown, falling slightly above his eyes and his skin was tan.
"Hey Jongup, you need help? Daehyun asked. The boy looked up with his small eyes, hesitating. Daehyun came over and took the wooden spoon from Jongup's hand. "If you keep picking at it like that it'll burn and stick to the pan! You should really just ask Himchan to cook for you."
"Naah, I wanna learn myself," Jongup said softly, looking over at the bacon as it sizzles when Daehyun flipped it over and placed it into a plastic plate. "Thanks, Dae."
"No prob," Daehyun smirked and patted the younger's back. He looked back at Junhong who had just been watching silently. Himchan had lost interest and decided to look through his scrapbooks for the umpteenth time. "This is Jongup, the youngest among us."
"Is he older than me?" Jongup asked the blonde.
"Naah, probably around the same age. Junhong here is quite the young one."
"Should be in school, if you ask me," Himchan piped.
"Well no one asked," Daehyun retorted back.
"Nice to meet you," Jongup smiled, holding over his hand for a shake. Junhong gave a weak one, shy at the boy who had a bright smile.
Daehyun asked if Junhong was hungry and he said no, although the last meal he had was a piece of bread that morning, and it was already late for dinner. Daehyun still made Junhong a drink, while he followed Jongup to the dining table. Himchan moved inside to give Jongup some space, and the younger sat gratefully. Junhong took a seat on the chair opposite of them, awkwardly in the middle, his bottom almost falling off the edge. Soon Daehyun came back with two tall glasses of orange juice and sat next to Junhong.
"Just treat this place like home," Daehyun told him, kneeing Junhong's long thighs when he saw how uncomfortable the younger was. Junhong leaned back a bit, but he still felt a bit awkward.
"So, what got you here with us today?" Daehyun asked, playfully smirking. Himchan didn't bother, but he was listening. Jongup was chewing hungrily, looking at Junhong for an answer. It made Junhong felt a bit nervous, but he manages to squeak out his story.
"I... I ran away from home with some of my parents' money, but I'm slowly going bankrupt and I saw you guys with the caravan at the diner this morning, so I thought..."
"You'd hop along like a parasite and hope you'll live long enough without your parents?" Himchan continued for him, not even looking up. Junhong turned slightly pink. There's truth in Himchan's words, and he didn't even realize it. What was he thinking?
"I - I'm sorry..." Junhong started. Suddenly his stomach growled, and the three looked at him, looking surprised. Junhong felt his face burning. The three boys laughed heartily, and Junhong slapped his hand on his face, trying flush out his embarrassment. They weren't laughing meanly; it was the type of laughter you’d find yourself smiling to. That made Junhong felt slightly happier. He hadn't laughed with people for awhile now - it’s been just himself for about four months.
When the laughter receded, Jongup slide his plate of half bacon to Junhong. Junhong looked up at the boy, but he didn't say anything - just a small smile, the smile that Junhong felt weak to - and then he attempted stealing a sip of Daehyun's orange juice. He got caught, but Daehyun just gave it to him.
"You can stay with us," Himchan told Junhong seriously. The younger smiled widely at this. "But not forever."
Junhong nodded. He knew. He didn't belong - it was just the three of them, and he's just the guest. So they made an agreement that Junhong has to do a part-time job once in awhile to contribute to their expenses, and when they reach the town Junhong was from, it was time for him to say goodbye. Junhong silently wished it was somewhere else, but where else can he go to? In the end, he needed his parents after all.
That night, Himchan drove them through a forest and found a clearing where they would stay. They only went to the towns when they're out of food stock or fuel. What they do most of the time was stay in secluded areas where Himchan would make researches on random things like bugs and trees. Jongup would help Himchan with the labour work, while Daehyun spent most of these days sleeping in. But when they go to towns, the blonde would be most excited. Beer, chatting along with the locals, pool. And in big cities, clubs and woman. But he never gambled - they didn't exactly have money to gamble. Himchan would follow him sometimes, when he's in the mood, while Jongup just stayed at home, playing a game on his iPad. But tonight, they were thinking of a campfire.
Junhong and Jongup went to look for wood while Daehyun and Himchan made the fire. They sat on the dirty ground; the cold, slow wind blowing softly against the orange and yellow flame, making it flicker slightly, dancing in the dark. None of them said a word. They just looked into the fire and enjoyed its warm beauty. Soon, Himchan stood up, dusting the dirt off his pants and walked silently and warily towards the vehicle.
"Going to sleep?" Daehyun asked. Himchan mumbled a confirmation and the three boys watched as he opened the foldover bed and lie on it in the dark. After awhile, Daehyun felt a slight emptiness in his stomach.
"Junhong, can you get the marshmallows in the cupboard at the kitchen? I'm starving." Junhong obediently went to take it, although a rebellious part of him silently thought, "Why me?"
When he got inside, the bed blocked the way to the kitchen. Junhong made no attempt to wake Himchan, so he stepped onto the bed and made his way by as silently as possible. Excluding when he bumped his head on the shelf. The thump didn't move the elder, but Junhong fidgeted silently, enduring the pain without making a noise. When he got the marshmallow he tried to pass by again, Himchan said "You don't have to be so careful. I'm not asleep."
Junhong looked down at the body. It was dark, but as Himchan turned to face upwards Junhong knew his eyes were wide open.
"Do you hate your parents?"
"No..." Junhong stood still in his position.
"Then why did you leave them?"
"I hate how they made my future for me."
"What did they make?"
"An architect." The younger's leg was tiring, trying to balance on the unsolid surface.
"You don't know how to draw?"
"That's not the point. I just don't like it, how they push me into doing something without even asking my opinion. 'Oh, you draw so well Junhongie; you have to be an architect!' 'Make sure you study well so that you can be an architect!' I was sick of it."
"The real you comes out in the dark."
Himchan smirked - Junhong could only hear the sniffle of it - and told Junhong to sit next to him. And he did. "Just endure it," Himchan told him. "There's no point trying to run from family. You won't go anywhere. You don't let go of your family - they will eventually let you go."
Junhong nodded slowly, unsure if Himchan could see that he did. He didn’t want to wait though. Junhong wanted to stop time – he wanted to stop moving and growing, and letting his youth slip away. He wanted to run away from adulthood.
Himchan pulled out a bottle from his shelves, one with an orange-yellow tint to it. He put it up to Junhong's face to make sure he saw the colour right. Then he retracted back his hand and had a good look at it himself, thumbing the label that wrote 'Sun'.
"She was beautiful," Himchan started. "Bright, charming, funny. I loved her. She loved someone else. But even the last time I saw her, the sun tinted her hair so light, reflecting on her eyes that it looked like she was sparkling. Her bright smile was all I could remember - she never cried or frowned or got angry. At least, not to me. Her colour was the colour of the sun."
Himchan looked down at the bottle and smiled softly, as if reminiscing their times together. "Sacrificed a lot of flowers to find the right colour for this. Dandelions and chrysanthemum turns brown in liquid, apparently! Had to take a yellow and red tulip in the end, bleached them a bit. A miracle the red turned out more orange than pink," Himchan smirked at Junhong as if he'd get it, but not really. Himchan ignored that fact and placed the bottle back into the shelf.
"What about that green one?" Junhong asked curiously. The liquid was a light green – somewhat lime coloured, but less natural. It was thicker than most others. Himchan reached out for it. He showed Junhong the label. 'Joy'.
“She was a real firecracker,” Himchan laughed. “Fun times, with her.”
Himchan smirked and looked coyly at the younger. “You wouldn’t understand – adult stuff.”
Junhong turned a bright pink.
“She liked me too much though. I didn’t even think it was anything serious, but she started to not like it when I joke around. She didn’t do anything wrong but like me… and I let her go. To me, it was more guilt than love, really.”
Junhong’s eyes ran through the cupboard to look for another bottle before the elder started talking about how he got the colour. The stories behind them were more interesting than the colour itself. So he took a bottle of blood red liquid, visible particles floating about. Junhong read the label, ‘Heart’.
“What about this one?”
"This guy..." Himchan mumbled, taking the bottle from Junhong’s hand. His smile was somewhat sad - a different smile from before. "We were so different. Our personalities. Our music taste. I think we even had a phase in the beginning where we didn't like each other - I was too quirky and he was rather dark minded. But I guess that's what made us the best of friends too." Himchan paused for awhile, making sure that Junhong was still breathing. He kept quiet the whole time Himchan talked, it probably bore him.
"Go on," Junhong told.
"He... I... I loved him," Himchan told. "Not friend love, like lover love."
Himchan didn't want to confuse the kid on what type of relationship they had. He glanced at Junhong and Junhong nodded, showing he understood. He was young, but that doesn't mean he was innocent. So Himchan continued.
"People said we complimented each other. When he gets temperamental, I cool him down. When I'm being insensitive, he humanizes me, or so I call it. Thing is, he wasn't very healthy..."
At this point, Himchan's eyes were moist. He hadn't talked about Yongguk for awhile now, since Daehyun and Jongup knew everything. But he didn't want to forget. He never did, but he was afraid if he kept things silent for any longer, he will. So he told Junhong. He knew the tears would come, but it’s better that way. He doesn't ever wanna forget.
Junhong didn't know what to do. He knew that this person must've died, and he didn't know how to handle death. So he patted Himchan's back, trying to sooth him. Instead Himchan's tears ran down quicker and soon he was sobbing. Junhong tried to quiet him down, but the elder only cried. Hearing the noises, Daehyun came in the caravan and ran to Himchan to give him a hug. As the elder's sobbing quieted down and was only left with silent tears, Daehyun told Junhong to leave with the marshmallows. When Junhong was about to step out of the vehicle, Himchan spoke through Daehyun's shirt.
"He died of AIDS," he said. "And this bottle is filled with my own blood - also HIV contaminated. The easiest way to find the colour of a heart, really."
Daehyun didn't stop him, but just told Junhong to leave as he nagged at Himchan about how ridiculously emotional he is. Junhong stepped out - bewildered. He didn't know what to think, but he now knows that these people all have a story on why they were here - and compared to his, it might seem a bit lame.
He sat next to Jongup and passed the bag of marshmallows. Jongup talked about he misses s’mores and sometimes wished he lived a normal life, chuckling about it himself. Soon, Daehyun came back with a bag of grey powder in his hands. He held it up with a playful smile on his face. "Don't tell me I'm gonna get high alone tonight, or I'll kick both your asses."
"Sorry Dae, not today," Jongup said. "Hey that rhymes!"
"You, my bro," Daehyun pointed to Jongup. "Don't need weed to get high. Honestly they should make these motherfuckers legal already. I'm not the one cutting myself and collecting the blood."
"Y-you guys knew who that person was?" Junhong asked bravely. "Himchan's... 'Heart'?"
"He doesn't call the people those names, he calls the colour those names," Daehyun explained, placing the bag by his side as he sits cross legged in front of the fire. He then pulled out his wallet and retrieved a stack of small white paper. "When he gets his heart broken from a relationship, he'll find the colour that reminds him of that person and keeps it. So far, 'Heart' is the latest one."
Junhong watched Daehyun flip the white paper over, revealing a Polaroid of some unclear faces, and dirtying them with a small amount of the grey powder. He then rolled the paper and ignited the end with the fire in front of him. Daehyun breathed in through the other end, and let the smoke corrupt his lungs before blowing a sigh of it out. He lets the stack of paper on his lap fall, and Junhong watched them as the flip over several times before settling down to shivering in the cold wind. One was close enough for him to pick up, and he got a good look of the faces. One was Daehyun; younger and his blonde hair not as dirty. A boy with dark brown hair slicked back with hair gel had his arm slung over Daehyun's shoulders, a peace sign thrown at the camera. There was another boy with blonde hair and dimples in the picture but it looked like he posed in the last minute.
"Who's this?" Junhong asked, showing the picture to Daehyun. By then he had already took his second dose, his eyelids half opened. He tried opening them to see what Junhong was talking about, and snorted.
“That asshole was a friend of mine,” he told, fidgeting with his roll. “All fun and games, he was. Until Yongguk died and he didn’t even come by for the funeral. What a jackass.”
“Yongguk was Daehyun’s brother,” Jongup slipped in. “He’s also… what you call, “Himchan’s ‘Heart’.”
“Yongguk had big dreams,” Daehyun said loudly, ignoring Jongup’s remark. “Freedom and going against society and all that bullshit. Get AIDS and it’s all useless.” He lowered his volume. “Still, he was a good brother.”
Daehyun bit his lips, looking down as he flicked off the burnt ashes on the other side of the roll. He remembered going out with all of them – Yongguk, Youngjae, occasionally Himchan and Jaebum – Youngjae’s blonde friend. He knew he was just a third wheeler between the two, but he depended on Youngjae. Other than Yongguk and him, he had no one else. Youngjae knew that. But when it came to the point when Daehyun needed him most…
Daehyun smirked to himself.
“You wanna know what that shit face was doing the night my brother died?” he asked Junhong, his left eye slightly tinted red at the sclera. Junhong didn’t respond. Jongup tightened his lips. “He was fucking that gay blonde, that’s what! Son of a bitch.”
Daehyun took another breath of the drug before he started coughing. Jongup got up and said he’ll make something warm and Daehyun just waved him off, covering his mouth with a knuckle as if it would stop the coughing. Junhong watched as Jongup walked into the darkness. It wasn’t a minute after Daehyun’s coughing died out when he started talking again.
“Jongup had two elder brothers,” Daehyun told without Junhong even asking. The younger looked up, wondering if he’s too obvious. “Well, has, if any of them are still alive. The eldest was in debt, and the second had a drug addiction. Not like me, I’m not addicted, it’s just a habit,” Daehyun defended himself. Junhong just nodded, trying to keep his smile away.
“Anyway, after he graduated school it was sort of obvious that he had to work to help out his brothers,” Daehyun continued, wondering if he should take another dose of the weed since he’s already feeling a bit light-headed. “He didn’t really have to but I guess it was his self-conscience.”
Daehyun giggled, fiddling with his roll. Junhong started to worry. “So he told me, ‘Hey, let’s get out of this shit hole. I don’t wanna stay around to feed those useless dogs they call my brothers.’ And I was like, what about your parents bro? And he told me he didn’t care; if they would risk his life for the sake of theirs, it wasn’t love. Jongup thought they were just using him as extra hands. So I was like, hell yea! Let’s get outta here, my family’s dead anyway. I called up Himchan ‘cause well, we needed some money. Himchan was a wreck since Yongguk died anyway.”
“I hope you didn’t feed him any of that stuff you’re puffing, Daehyun,” Himchan called as he walked out of the caravan, two mugs in his hands. A thin, smooth line appeared above the warm drinks, floating about just like Daehyun’s mind. Jongup followed behind Himchan, and they both gave a mug each to the other two. Daehyun smiled to his ears, throwing his roll into the bag of grey dust as he took Himchan’s offer. Junhong shyly took the mug of black coffee from Jongup’s hands.
“What were you guys talking about?” Jongup asked, a smile forming on his face. He brought his mug closer to his lips and started blowing softly on the surface before carefully taking a sip of his hot drink. Junhong kept his mug warm in his hands, while Himchan confidently drank from his. Daehyun didn’t even notice when he burnt his tongue.
“We were bitching bout you,” Daehyun giggled uncontrollably. Himchan shook his head. Junhong felt embarrassed towards Jongup, but he didn’t seem to have mind – his smile never left his face. He smiled so often that Junhong wondered if that was really what Jongup was feeling – happy. It can’t be, when there wasn’t anything to be happy about throughout the whole night.
“I really hope you’d cut down on your dosage,” Himchan told Daehyun as he gulped down half of his coffee. “It’s nice but too much is bad for you.”
“You’ve tried it before?” Junhong asked, slightly surprised.
Himchan smirked. “Haven’t you?”
Junhong turned to Jongup. He pretended Junhong wasn’t looking at him, sipping his coffee with his eyebrows high up.
“Lucky,” Daehyun stated, suddenly sounding sane again. “That’s what you are. Most of us have corrupted lungs; weed or just another ciggy… It takes away the pain.”
Junhong stared back into the pit of fire in front all of them and the other three followed. Junhong imagined the fire going through his lungs, burning every cell until he can’t breathe in between the grey smoke forming. Then he remembered why he never smoked in the first place.
“Junhongie can’t ever smoke, okay?” the girl’s voice called.
Junhong shook his head. He turned his head to Jongup and dug for courage to say “Don’t you ever miss your family?”
Jongup looked up, surprised but then figured out that Daehyun had probably told him everything. He mustered up his feelings and faked another smile – as he usually does. “I can’t afford to miss anything. It’s the price for being selfish in the first place.”
“You… you’re still human… You’re bound to miss your family at one point, right?” Junhong turned to Himchan for support, but his pupils weren’t moving. He was lost in his own thoughts.
“Most of us can’t feel anything anymore,” Jongup told, keeping his smile. “It’s the only way we survive out here with just the three of us. We look after each other. But other than that… numb.”
“Lucky motherfucker, aren’t you?” Daehyun asked Junhong. Junhong didn’t know what to say. Was he really lucky? His whole life he never thought so. His parents were pushy about grades, his friends are all moving on while he wants to stay a kid forever. He ran away because he didn’t wanna grow up. He wanted to be free.
“Are you in love, Junhong?” Himchan asked, after keeping quiet for so long. He didn’t look up – his pupils continued staring at the orange flame flickering about in front of him in a blur. “Do you like someone?”
Junhong tried to not be obvious. He looked around a bit before glancing at Jongup, who’s now looking at the bottom of his mug. Junhong glanced back down to the ground before answering. “Yea, I guess.”
“Then you’re very lucky indeed.”
Himchan stood up and went back into the caravan, taking Daehyun’s bag with him. Daehyun rolled his head before sighing, following the elder with his mug in his hands. Jongup looked at Junhong. Junhong didn’t look back. The older lowered his gaze, not sure what to tell Junhong. He decided he should let the younger think for himself.
“I have a sister,” Junhong said suddenly. Jongup looked up. Junhong slowly brought his gaze from the fire to the elder’s eyes. “Do you think that’s enough reason to go back?”
Jongup smiled. This time, Junhong could feel the sincerity in it. It had warmth that made Junhong felt more comfortable than the fire had throughout the conversations. Junhong wanted to be free. Just like these three people. But he came to realize that he was lucky. Their freedom came with a price, and Junhong wasn’t sure if he was ready to pay it.
“Decided you didn’t want to join us?” Jongup asked. “Perhaps the wild youth is too wild for you?”
“Maybe,” Junhong replied. “Or maybe it wasn’t what I thought it was.”
Junhong didn’t move an inch when Jongup stood up and walked towards the caravan, mug in his hand. He only looked up when Jongup stopped and turned slightly over his shoulder.
“You’re like us,” Jongup told, almost in a whisper. “Reckless. But you’re lucky.”