Currently I’m writing a novel titled, “The Path We Choose”. Here is a small sneak peek at the story:
He’s standing there, looking at the memory filled barren piece of land, surrounded by a house on each side. In his mind, he can still see the dinner table at which he was sitting two days ago. His lips form a thin line and there are bags under his eyes. Crying, praying, mentally cursing, he’s done it all, but nothing will change what happened. It’s kind of amazing, in a twisted way, how quickly everything can be taken from you. His eyes wander over to the backpack he dropped a few feet away. Inside are 2 books and some money, the only things the fire didn’t swallow. A sigh escapes him and he takes one last look before going to grab his bag.
You can hear the loud voices drifting out of the alley between a restaurant and a clothing store. It’s getting dark but the group of teenagers sitting on various pieces of junk seem to have no intention of going home. There’s one teen who immediately catches anyone’s attention. His tousled cobalt blue hair, bad boy smirk, and mysterious brown eyes somehow reel you in. The half empty cans of spray paint around him tell you that he’s responsible for the vandalism behind him.
“Hey, shouldn’t we get going?” Asks the youngest of the group nervously. The leader turns to look at him, leaning forward a bit.
“What’s wrong, are you scared to get caught?” He get’s up and the kid flinches, but before a step is taken, an arm stretches in front of him. Brown eyes meet gray ones.
“Why don’t you leave him be?” The leader looks momentarily shocked, but he regains his composure fast enough.
“Why don’t you stay out of it? Unless you want to get that pretty face of yours messed up.” Leader attempts to shove past but he wont budge. For a split second glares are exchanged. Then a fist flies, finding it’s target, sending leader to the ground. A swift kick to the gut assures leader won’t get up quickly. In the background you can hear the youngest whispering.
“Shouldn’t we stop them?”
“Kid, you haven’t been here long enough. Taeyong and Leader? They don’t mess around.” Spitting blood, leader sits up.
“You think you’re so tough Taeyong? Think you’re so great? Well guess what, you’re no better than the rest of us.” Taeyong smiles wickedly and kneels down so he can look into leaders eyes. He cocks his head slightly to the right.
“Don’t underestimate me, Leader.” He spits the last word. Leader’s eyes narrow and he lunges, catching Taeyong off guard. They’re so focused on beating the other up that they don’t realize sirens are approaching.
“Run!” That one word freezes both of them, Taeyong is on the floor, Leader leaning over him.
“Good luck getting out of this.” He whispers, turning around to run, but Taeyong grabs his ankle, tripping him.
“If I go down, you go with me.” A police car blocks the alley exit.
“You! Get up, hands on your head! One wrong move and I’ll shoot!” A police officer yells. Taeyong gets up slowly, face contorting in pain. His shoulder looks dislocated and when he walks over to the police car he’s limping.
“Don’t.” he grabs the girls wrist, making her drop the lip gloss she was about to take. She glares at him, yanking her wrist free, then goes over to a different makeup aisle.
“Yuna, let’s go.” He pleads. There’s no way he can leave her. She put’s an expensive eye shadow in her pocket, glancing around. There’s someone watching them, even if they don’t notice.
“Hello? Yes? I’d like to report two suspicious teenagers. A boy and a girl, around 19…I’m pretty sure the girl just snuck one of our products into her jacket. The boy has light brown hair and bright green eyes. And the girl…I can’t see her well but she’s wearing a white jacket and purple jeans.” He hears this and panics.
“Yuna! We need to go, now!” She heard it too. Hand in hand they dash out of the shop, the owner’s angry yells following them. They turn a corner, running right into a police car. His eyes widen in fear.
“Wait! Stop!” Yells the police officer, getting out and running after them.
“Give me what you took!” He’s out of breath, feeling faint, but pushes on. She gives him eye shadow, lipstick, and a perfume bottle, which get stuffed into his pockets. They turn into an alley, finding themselves facing a fence. Yuna’s about to run back, but he stops her. He’s breathing hard, choking, not used to running. Although he should be, it’s not the first time this has happened.
“There’s no time. I’ll help you over the fence, then you run. Don’t look back. Got it?” She nods and gives him a quick kiss on his lips. Yuna is out of sight when the police officer runs into the alley.
“Don’t move kid, I don’t want to hurt you.” She walks forward and cuffs him.
“Where’s your girlfriend?” He stares ahead mutely.
“Being like that won’t help you.” Silence.
It’s started raining. He feels numb. Another failed attempt. His hope fading with each passing day. The dull panic in his chest threatening to take his breath away. It’s been 15 years. 15 years since he lost his sight. 15 years since she hurt him the way she did. But even if it was so long ago he remembers her vividly. Her long brown hair, sparkling brown eyes. Park Hyejin. That was her name. But what use is there to simply remember her. At this point there’s nothing left for him in this world.
He’s going fast, wheeling himself past people, narrowly avoiding running over their feet. This is the only thing that brings him some kind of thrill anymore.
“Mr. Yang! Mr. Yang! Stop! Minho, you’re going to hurt yourself!” He stops and waits for the nurse to catch up. She’s panting, obviously out of breath.
“Mr. Yang, you need to stop doing that. Someday you’re going to get hurt.”
“You know I don’t care when you say that. Try something else.” She lets out a frustrated sigh.
“Mr. Yang,” She says through gritted teeth, “you’re going to end up hurting someone else.”
“That’s better. By the way, you know it would be much easier if you just discharged me, right?” The nurse looks about to strangle him but then thinks twice. She grabs the handles of his wheelchair and takes him to his room.
“You know we can’t do that. We’re not sure you can take care of yourself.”
“My mom’s home.” She sighs.
“Minho, we’ve been over this. Your mom is barely ever home and when she is, she’s in no state to take care of you.” The nurse waves for a fellow nurse to help lift Minho onto the bed. She starts to walk away when he mutters.
“I was at the Taekwondo championship. I was so hyped up, so ready for it. Then a freak accident gets me a collapsed lung, two cracked ribs, a broken arm, and two broken legs…Why do you think it happened to me?” The nurse looks back at him, startled by the sudden question.
“I-I…I don’t know…But, Minho, maybe you could try starting physical therapy. I’ve seen how much Taekwondo means to you. So maybe…” The nurse trails off when he closes his eyes.
“You were there. You heard the doctor say I would never be able to properly use my legs again.”
His footsteps are light, something you’d expect from a dancer. He knows he needs to hurry, but the nostalgia mixed with guilt make him feel like he’s suffocating. His old dance school, a place filled with memories, both wonderful and awful. Maybe one day the dance academies would forgive him. Maybe one day he’d forgive himself. He shakes his head, messing up his black hair and trying to focus. There’s one thing he came for, to see his old dance studio. Concentrating on finding the studio, he doesn’t realize there’s movement coming from underneath a closed door a few feet in front of him. The door suddenly opens and a woman steps out. He freezes, recognizing his old contemporary teacher. She freezes, recognizing her former student, someone she didn’t want to see again.
“Don’t move Changmin. If you run, you’ll only make it worse.” He slowly raises his arms, showing no harm is meant.
“I’m sorry.” The apology is meant for more than just trespassing. Her mouth keeps its grimace while she reaches for her phone.
“Hello? Yes, I’ve just caught someone trespassing. We’re at the Jonchaek Dance Academy.”
He should be working at the hospital. But his grandfather wanted to talk to him at the station. Technically, he should be glad that someone cares about him. After his rich parents disowned him for dropping out of school, his grandparents where the only ones who really helped him. He still got texts from his parents harassing him to take back his education. Somehow they didn’t understand, that what he really wanted was time to write his book. In the meantime he earned money by working at the Jonchaek Hospital, basically reading stories to kids and trying to cheer people up. The door to the Station was right in front of him. He groaned inwardly and grabbed the handle, pushing the door open.