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day 3: the crystal coves, 1321 hours.

yerim and jungkook stumble upon a small temple in the coves, amongst crystalline caves and trickling drops of sunlight. cyan rays refract through glimmering crystals, dousing the fragments in stardust. it's smaller than most temples, the size of the shrines jungkook and his brothers would waddle by when they were intoxicated by prayers and blessings and dreams.

"what are you doing?" jungkook would ask one of his brothers, the middle child, who giddily hung a folded piece of paper on the olden branches of a dying cherry blossom tree. pink petals, wilted and gone like their youths, would fall all around them, and jungkook vaguely thought to himself that his brother looked beautiful suffocating on fragrant flower rains.

his brother beamed at him, his eyes being the moon and his smile being the sun. it was an eclipse that threatened to blind him, but he stares into the danger anyways. "hanging up my wish on the wish tree, you see!" he told him excitedly. "they say that the wheel of fortune will grant your wishes if you hang them up here!"

"really?" he gasped, choking on bubbling hiccups because the soju burned at the back of his throat, imperishable fire that licked at his insides. he tries to not sound like a monster is clawing at his chords. the elders don't like it when he drinks. if he gets caught, the game is over. "what was your wish, hyung?"

his brother grinned again. "why, to be happy, of course!"

back then, they didn't know that hanging up wishes on dying wish trees were just the same as killing them, the murder of dreams (a crime punishable by bad luck).

his memories blur away soon enough (because god he can't hold on to any reminiscence without feeling his empty heart ache). the bell chimes at the entrance to the temple are like palpable echoes that ring around the cave, airy and tinkly. the sounds get lost in another universe, never to be heard again.

dim light comes from inside, flickering candlelights as fleeting as his dreams. they burn and put out, burn and put out.

his soul was like this once, lacking passion and love and lust and all the things that red represents. until a carmine string was formed and his heart was set on fire by the enigma known as yerim. the spark stings and burns as it tears at the seams of his barely put together ticker, but he craves it, this scorching inferno he assumes is love (it must be love, because only love could hurt this much but feel so good, yes?).

yerim puts her hood on and her lovely violet strands turn brown once again, eyes of constellations becoming hazel. she clears her throat, walking closer to the entrance of the shrine and knocking on the wood of the beam. the wind chimes continue to tinkle and lose themselves in another galaxy, as the caressing winds from outside carry them far, far away from here.

"hello? is anyone there?" yerim calls out, her voice being carried by the air like the water would a body. they flow into the dim temple, echoes that quieten and quieten and quieten.

(this place is a black hole. swallows all small things whole.)

a small head peeks out from the bare darkness, revealing a tuft of honeycomb hair and curious eyes, youth and naïveté all in one glowing entity.

a boy steps out of the darkness, collarbone exposed with a golden pendant hanging around his neck. the yukata he wears is bright red in color, decorated by pretty white flowers and dark branches and green leaves that all breathe color into the garments.

cracked marble • jungriRead this story for FREE!