Close Your Eyes and You Shall See

August 26, 2013 in moonrise31, oneshots by moonrise31

She turns her head, and then lets out the breath that she’s been holding. There are soldiers approaching from behind, so she’ll probably end up getting the wind knocked out of her in any case.

She tightens her fist and feels the piece of cold metal enclosed by her fingers. Briefly considers putting it in her pocket. But she decides the safest place is the one she can hold onto, so it stays hidden in her hand. The coolness is pressed against her palm.

“Hey, boy.”

Yoona doesn’t bother to correct them, feeling thankful for the cap she’s tucked her hair into. She’s heard the things soldiers do to young girls they find outside and alone.

She continues walking, backwards. Her shoes scuff the asphalt below.

She used to know these streets, but now they’re cracked and broken from the fighting. She stumbles when her heel runs into a chunk of concrete that hadn’t been there before. She regains her footing and keeps going, steadily. Her eyes never leave the five men in front of her.

“You should answer when an officer speaks to you,” one of them sneers. She counts the number of stripes on his uniform. Wonders how a lieutenant can look so raggedy.

If she doesn’t say much, she trusts her voice to be low enough. It even cracks since she hasn’t spoken all day.

“What?”

The soldier on the right is pushing up his sleeve. “That’s, ‘what, sir,’ to you, kid. No one taught you any manners?”

Yoona shrugs. She sees the flash of teeth grinning, the scarred fist flying moments before his punch knocks her in the shoulder. She should’ve been able to dodge it completely, but she hadn’t expected the violence so soon. Now she’s been pushed back ten steps in the space of a second. They’re still advancing.

Her shoulder is throbbing.

She reaches up with her free hand and grips her shirt over what she’s sure will bruise later. Her feet backpedal as steadily as the boots march forward. They’re forming a rough semicircle, just short of trapping her completely.

“The least you could do is hit back,” another soldier comments. She looks into his dead dark eyes. Thinks about which is colder: his gaze or the tiny bit of steel clenched in her fist.

The idea of turning around and running crosses her mind.

“What a wimp.” The lieutenant is scoffing as he rolls his head back. His neck cracks loudly in the thick silence. “You’ll thank us later for toughening you up, alright?”

Yoona opens her mouth to decline. But then a rifle butt comes out of nowhere and slams her in the temple. She sees black, white, and then stars flashing brighter than the ones in the sky.

The world is reeling and she can’t stop it.

The five soldiers have multiplied. She can only make out dusty combat boots and the thought that ammunition is scarce. They won’t waste bullets on her.

Yoona turns and runs.

Her head is pounding. Sometimes the crumbling sidewalk starts to fade away, but her constant panting snaps her back to the present. It pounds a rhythm against the inside of her skull.

Inhale. Exhale.

One foot in front of the other.

Every breath starts to burn inside her chest and she decides to run even faster. There’s a single elated moment of extra speed—she’s soaring. Then her muscles become aware of what’s happening and scream even harder.

A patch of coolness is on the side of her face. It’s trickling down her cheek. But the sky is clear and the sun is shining.

Her temple is still hurting.

She wipes away the blood with her free hand.

The corner appears and she makes a right. Pushes for the last burst of speed that lets her get away from the soldiers who had actually given up the chase a few blocks ago.

But Yoona doesn’t know that and she doesn’t care. As long as they stay behind, then that means there’s nothing in front to get between her and—

“Unnie.”

Yoona gasps the word as she leans heavily against the doorframe, but she can’t keep the floor from rushing up to meet her. Then Sunny appears and catches her with steady arms. “Oh my—Yoong, what happened to you?”

“I…soldiers…ran. From…other side. Of town.”

Sunny hides her frown by forcing Yoona into a chair and grabbing a clean towel from by the sink. “Soldiers? Or rebels?”

“…Gun…” Yoona mumbles, and then whines when Sunny begins to dab the blood away from her face. The sting cuts through the fog of her headache and she sees stripes. “Lieutenant.”

“Both sides have those,” Sunny reminds her patiently. Yoona hears the swish of the alcohol in the bottle her sister sets down. “Were their caps blue or red?”

Yoona struggles to recall what should be an obvious detail, but the antiseptic is blazing across her temple and she can’t think. She sees only fists and smiling teeth and heavy, clunking boots.

“I don’t know. Maybe they weren’t wearing any.”

Sunny snorts. “I find that hard to believe. If they aren’t on a side, what makes them good and the others bad?”

Yoona doesn’t know.

She lets out a long exhale, the pain receding as the older girl finishes applying the bandage. “Thanks, unnie.”

Sunny nods, and Yoona notices the patch of sunlight resting softly on the floor. Suddenly, she remembers why she left the house that morning.

She finally opens her fist, the hairclip lying in her palm. “I think it’d look pretty.”

Yoona’s mouth is curving in a way it hasn’t the entire day.

Sunny picks up the clip and pins her bangs to one side with it, returning the smile.

“Thanks, Yoona.”