Hi, everyone! Welcome to my new fic! I hope you all enjoy it and, as always, don't forget to review!
Ker walks barefooted on the warm, red-dirt ground. The sky above is clear and bright. The sun hangs high, and the air is hot and humid. There is a soft, warm breeze that plays with the palm trees' leaves and tall elephant grass.
The thirty-five year old stops momentarily, watching his temporary hut from a few feet away. He sees his roommate, an old man called Yang Lee, who is fifty-two years old and very angry and abusive. Currently, the older man is sitting on the first step of the hut, with a cigar hanging from his mouth. In one hand, he holds a half-empty bottle of alcohol.
Lee has been at the refugee camp for fifteen years. Ker has only been there for five. The man is much, much more experienced than Ker is. Plus, he has more money and more possessions, like his fancy American blue-jeans, and tennis shoes.
Ker, on the other hand, is dressed in a baggy blue long sleeve shirt, torn in some places with dirty spots decorating the fabric. His pants are a pair of loose-fitting sweatpants, torn and dirtied, too. His feet are blistered and covered in bruises and cuts.
Ker watches Lee tentatively. The older man is much too occupied by a conversation with one of his friends, an old man named Hsu Hoo Ko. Hoo Ko is, too, an alcoholic and very abusive. He seems to hate Ker as much as Lee does.
Ker is terrified of them both.
He tries to stay far away from his roommate and Lee's friends. But, sometimes, Ker finds it impossible to stay away. Though the camp is rather large, it is crowded. The huts are only seperated by a few feet. The huts have no windows, only small cracks in the bamboo walls to let the air come in.
Ker's body shivers when he hears Lee bark out a loud, harsh laugh. Hoo Ko laughs shortly after, too. Ker's trembling increases, and so does the ice-cold feeling which has been present for nineteen years. He wraps his arms tightly around himself, and a few hot tears slide down his cold, pale cheeks.
He turns away, trying to drown out Lee and Hoo Ko's voices. He begins to walk down the path heading towards the marketplace. All around him, people talk and laugh loudly. Children push their way through the crowds, squealing in delight and calling out to their friends.
Ker wonders how anyone could continue living when something as terrible and horrible as war and genocide has destroyed their lives. Ker's life was destroyed when he was sixteen, still technically a child. He knows very well that he will never be able to be that person again or live that live again.
So many things have changed. Before the war, Ker was one of the strongest in his village. Now, he is one of the weakest, most submisive in the camp. He's tiny - barely reaching 5'3. He's thin, too - skeletal, even. He can clearly see his hip and collar bones, and he can count each rib, too.
Ker is also terrified of nearly everything. Even the tiniest of sounds make him jump in fright. He's terrified of thunder, and, each year at the camp's new year festival, Ker has a panic attack and flashbacks when the fireworks start.
Ker wishes desperately that he had someone - anyone - to be at his side. To hold his hand, to dry his tears, to hold him, to comfort him. But, Ker is alone - and he will always be alone.
Suddenly, Ker hits a hard, solid surface. He falls backwards with a startled cry. He rubs at his eyes and blinks them open, only to see a man - a young-looking man - sitting sprawled out on the red-dirt ground in front of him.
The man shakes his head. "God," he breathes out. He pushes himself upwards, and hurries to where Ker sits. "I'm so sorry. Are you alright? Did I hurt you?"
Ker bites down at his bottom lip. He shakes his head, and pushes himself to his feet, ignoring the large, smooth-skinned hand being offered to him. The man gives him an odd look. "Are you sure?" he continues to question, his adorably-handsome, and much-too-familiar face scrunched up in concern.
Ker nods again. His heart has picked up, and is now beating at a too-fast pace. He feels warm - too warm. Warmer than he has ever felt since the war began for him. He looks away, but he can still feel the man's warm light brown eyes on him.
"Can you talk?" the stranger asks. "I mean, you haven't said a word since we ran into each other."
Ker can feel his cheeks heat up. He bites down harder on his lower lip. He shakes his head, still looking away. He can hear the man sigh. "Alright, then," he says dejeckidly. "I guess I will leave now. Sorry to bother you."
Ker can hear the man's retreating footsteps. For some strange reason, Ker wants to call out, to reach out, to this man, but he's too frozen in his spot, too scared to do anything. A single tear slides down his cheek. Feeling a surge of anger wash through him, he tugs at his shoulder-length hair hard.
Stupid! he scolds himself. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why didn't you ask him his first name? At least his last name! He could have been one of your old friends, or even...
Ker tugs at his hair once more.
He's dead. He died long, long ago, and the dead do not come back. Ever. So, Ker is not even going to let himself even think like that.
Ker sighs, and turns around, begining his long walk back to his hut. Back to hell.
It's been dark for a few hours, yet Ker cannot sleep. He lays on the cold, hard bamboo floor, tossing and turning. Lee is gone, out getting drunk with his friends, most likely. Ker is glad that the man is gone. That way, he will have time to think. Time to be by himself.
He can't get that man out of his head. What if he is who Ker thinks he is. The man whose name he hasn't spoken - silently or verbally - in nineteen years? How could that be possible, though? He is dead.
Ker breathes out a sigh. He reaches into his pockets and pulls out his knife. This knife has been his constant companion for nineteen years. It's both his best friend and worst enemy. It's everything both good and bad out together into one small folding knife.
Ker rolls up his sleeve and begins to slice at his wrist. Not too deep, only tiny cuts, shallow ones, only enough to bleed tiny dark-red droplets. Ker stops counting at a dozen markings before he finally decides that it is time to stop. He rolls back down his sleeve, not bothering to dry the blood away. It will dry on its own, and, since Ker is wearing a dark colored shirt, the blood is easily hidded.
It's not like anyone would care if they did end up seeing his cuts, though.
He yawns. He doesn't want to go to sleep, because sleep brings only nightmares. But, Ker knows that he needs his sleep.
So, without a second thought, Ker closes his eyes, curls himself into a semi-comfortable position, and falls asleep, dreaming of a better tomorrow.