// Day 13. Denial.//
Words echo in his mind like it is some gaping cavern with only bats and shit and those words bouncing around in it. Dark and musty, no real thinking can happen there, but he struggles to make sense of it all anyway. His refusal to admit that something may be wrong with it all is so deep, so saturated into his being, that he doesn’t even know there is refusal in the air to begin with. The no admittance of refusal has displaced it, now twice as strong, into the minds of everyone around him.
“I’ll meet you on the other side,” Kibum had said.
Jonghyun had no way of knowing of Kibum had planned the events which followed, or if he had been just as caught off guard. Kibum was always on guard, so that was kind of doubtful, but hey. You never know.
The news story is on the front page of the county paper, of course. This kind of shit doesn’t happen too often, at least not publicly. Even this story is attempting to keep its facts and figures hidden. The victimized family has moved way away. The suspects are the police’s secret. So is the death count. The case isn’t closed.
Jonghyun knows the death count could be anywhere from one to two. It makes his world of difference which one it is.
Jonghyun has invited Minho and Taemin over again to—and he hates feeling like an officer, but it’s necessary—interrogate them.
Taemin has stopped talking about it. Not a word. He told his story once. Jonghyun regrets not listening more closely, but sometimes internal shock and grief and bewilderment block out the external senses.
Taemin is still more willing to come over and be than Minho is, even though Minho keeps talking. His talking doesn’t answer any of Jonghyun’s questions; he’s beginning to think he hasn’t missed any part of the story, and maybe he can’t come to any conclusion based upon facts.
Right now Minho is lounging, glassy dead-eyed, strung out, on the recliner in Jonghyun’s and Kibum’s place. His blunt is on the arm of it. Jonghyun thinks the vinyl will either catch fire or the blunt will just go out.
Minho’s lips are wet and open. He is capable of talking but incapable of forming words. Taemin is sitting on the arm next to him. He is playing with Minho’s hair, winding it up on his finger so he can watch it spring back straight. Sometimes he tugs on it. Minho doesn’t seem to notice. Taemin tugs harder. Minho’s tongue gets stick in his cheek.
Jonghyun wonders if Minho’s incapability to talk cancels out his willingness.
Eventually he falls asleep and wakes up sweaty. Minho is still in front of him. His eyes are clearer. He is watching Taemin, who is sitting on the ground, controller in hand, playing video games. Minho is watching Taemin, not the screen. It seems they were discussing something.
Jonghyun grunts and Minho’s head swivels toward him. It is more like a screw on liquor cap if liquor can sour and less like a Barbie head. Barbie heads pop off.
“Onew is gonna kill you for all of that,” Jonghyun slurs to Minho, still half-asleep.
“He’s already told him he can’t sell anymore,” said Taemin.
“It’s just cause Onew is a dick and I don’t wanna deal with it,” says Minho.
“Last time he let you sell you got your ass kicked and everything stolen and you were too high to even tell, dickhead.” Taemin was one of those who sold but kept clean himself. Except for cigarettes. He said he had to give in sometime to something. Having willpower is exhausting.