Apple II

Apple II

A Chapter by Ran

Honesty is a secret we share "...because love is many things but constantly takes...never truly giving..."


                “Okay?! Soundcheck!”


                It followed with choruses of all the others. Young-Jae finished adjusting his plugs and mic. He strum his electric guitar and the sound resonated through the empty gig café, in between Ryu’s incessant drum routine warm-ups. Will struggled to adjust his bass and with effort, after a few minutes, raised a thumb.

                He nodded to the technician at the far back behind the dance floor. The man was all but look at him. He held his guitar close.

                “One…two…and one, two, three…,”

                The powered rhythmic guitar riff amped with the drums filled the stage, making him almost smile in exhilaration. All the sound; the beating bass alike to his pulse and the simple riff made gave him the definition to fit into a break through. The high feeling the noise struck, seemed to gave him the permission to tear off the skin he was wearing. And when he opened his mouth, the voice that came out was not his. It was him.       

                Say goodbye and take care

                A beautiful kiss and a farewell

                Leave everything behind

                We have each other

                Two of a kind


                Feeling exposed and free for the next 6 minutesh, he wasn’t going to waste it for doubts and hesitation. When the song finally ended, he felt the usual ecstasy, like he just ran a 100m sprint. And felt like a gold medal. He smiled when he hear Ryu  dramatically fell back off his chair behind the drums, groaning how hard the drum rhythms were.

                “Okay guys! Roger and out! I’ve got techno frou-frou coming in later, so take all your bugs off my stage,” Jang Min, the technician, hollered using a mic.

                “Shut up, Jang Min,” they cried in unison, partially annoyed with his on-the-go urges that degrade him to the same standard as a mother-hen. Na-La, the bartender girl laughed her a*s off and slapping the bar counter, sending Jang Min marching down the tech’s corner with a sour look on his face.

                “Man…that was sick, hyung,” Will commented as he neared Young-Jae. The tall Young-Jaw towered over Will’s average height and scruffed his cropped black hair before pushing him back. Shin smiled, taking off his guitar strap. It wasn’t strange to have people complimenting Young-Jae’s critical riffs; he really was good. Unfortunately, Young-Jae was more eager to entertain girls' screech and nonsense squealing praises rather than aspiring boys who admired his fine skills.

                “Yeah, Hyung. You’ll knock them out tomorrow,” Shin said again. Young-Jae pulled off the beanie that hid his platinum bleached hair and scratched his scalp vigorously. All of them practically winced a little at the starking shiny white shade. He let out an irritated grunt.

                “This is why the riff’s been crazy. My head is killing me. They itch like crazy! I swore it became like this overnight, after I drank that weird drink Na-La made,” he complained. Ryu shot up from his dramatic ending to the rehersal show and skipped to them. He was about to say something before being cut off by an unfamiliar male voice.

“Bewitching,” the voice said, followed by a lazy applause.

 Shin turned around and saw someone emerging from the dimmer part of the table area. It was a man who looked like a car salesman who just stepped out of his bed into the café. He was expecting a pair of bunny slippers but he looked down and felt himself resisting a smirk. Prada. His cream overcoat sashayed as he came closer, exposing the laidback white shirt he had underneath, that looked like it suffered multiple wine splashes blooming at awkward locations.

            “Lee Shin?” the stranger asked with a non-commital smile, cocking his head to his Shin’s direction. He didn’t reply but eyed the strange man longer. He could see Young-Jae's creasing eyebrows from the corner of his eyes. But he just resumed pulling plugs from the amplifier. This man could be one of those typical talent scouts or managers, who's begging to get his head torn off his neck. He decided not to entertain the mocking opening foreword made by the messy haired guy.

                “‘Crash’ and ‘Suicidal’ are my favorites, but this has got to be your ultimate masterpiece for the time being,”

                CRASH? SUICIDAL? What the hell...? His head had a big question mark exploding. That got his ears perked and he turned to see the man holding up a CD case with big bold LEE SHIN marked across it. His fell almost fell. He knew that handwriting anywhere. He let out a frustrating sigh. When will Eun-Hee understand that enough was enough? She was putting him and herself in an awkward situation by rummaging through his private songs and throwing them to random people. It was getting out of his hands. He stepped down from the stage towards the man. His profile became clearer but making him decide that the sleepy salesperson may not be the talent scout he thought the man was. There's no over-excitedness or  pretentious coolness. Just plain word toss almost similar to strangers colliding in elevators. The evident cold confidence made Shin felt uneasy. But that was not a bother. He was constantly uneasy with almost everyone.

                “I think you need to show that talent to the whole nation and make the indie rockers proud,”

                 A big break? It would be too good to be true. He stopped believing in that indie ‘fairytale’ 3 years ago. And was definitely over lying to himself that not all music talent managers are bunch of b******s that suck delusional musician dry of their money. The man fished for something in his coat. A card was handed to him.  He took the card and read it. Holtz Haus Entertainment. The foreign name tugged familiarity in the lingua franca used. But the company itself, didn’t ring a bell. He read the bold name, printed in harsh dark blue. Kim Wo-Ram. Vice-President. Vice President? He made himself read it twice just to digest the fact. “What do you want?” he finally said.    

                “We want to sign you up,”

                As simple as that. Yes. That was good. He liked straightforward proposals. No innuendos or grand opening to a lengthy informercial. He would’ve jumped into the opportunity 5 years back but after the painful 5 years trying to catch these major labels’ attentions, he wasn’t eager to participate in the game of ‘round-the-mulberry-bush’ with these people.  The last time they tried to commit to one, their former manager Ji-Young especially asked him to cross-dress to ‘catch’ the talent scout’s attention. Young-Jae almost forgot that Ji-Young was a woman and almost want to shove the faux purple boa down her throat. The only good thing about that night was the crazy riot they made on stage after the anger amped their energy for their angsty ‘Crash’ EP. He didn’t want to remember how they almost embarassed themselves. He was the most sorry when he recalled being the one responsible for bringing that hypocrite of a manager to manage them. The band was not desperate enough to be dabbing purple eye-shadows and glitters or pink pants.

                “Thank you, but I decline,”


                “You’re taking a risk here which you seem to overlook. We're a rock band that explores the rock music and alternative fusions. We have our ups and downs and we wouldn’t care less about images. Most people like pop techno nowadays, Mr.Kim. You might not get back what you expect to gain from us and we don’t want to become the guinea pigs for your stylists. Let me save your time by declining,”

                Kim Wo-Ram scoffed.

                “Who said I was going to scout your band? I came here for you,”

                That made him want to smirk. His suspicious eyes looked over the man and felt sorry for Eun-Hee who never seemed to get the message. And of course…Mr. Kim as well.

                “The more reason for me to say no,”

                “I want to find a rock idol in its purest form. How you indie people call it, rock mentality. Not an amateur band. Your songs will make you a competent benchmark. The real deal,”

                “The songs aren’t mine. They’re Conflict’s. It belongs to Conflict, written, composed and produced by Conflict. We perform them at our shows. They’re my band’s songs. Not mine alone. If you want me to sign up, you’ll have to take the whole band. But even at that rate, it’s still doubtful if we want it or not. Who sent you? Shim Ji-Young? If it’s her, send her my regards,” he said in final resolution; refusing any retaliation. “Thank you, Mr. Kim. It’s been a good talking to you,” he bowed in respect. He went to the empty stage and took his bagged guitar. The others had flocked over at the bar with Na-La.

                “Think about it, Mr.Lee. And give me a call. I’ll make sure it’s worth your time,”

                He waved his hand without looking and went over to the bar.

                “How was it? Good?” Young-Jae asked before he even took his seat. He just shook his head and the others groaned.

                “I don’t get it. You guys are so good and I think I’v seen lots of those polished people coming in to discuss the stuffs with you guys. How come none work out?” Na-La asked as she blended some pinkish liquid, occasially slapping Ryu’s hands that taunted her. Young-Jae sighed.

                “They either want a pop-idol-manufacture-friendly band or they just want Shin alone,” Will groaned. “It’s not fair! I’m good-looking too! Right, hyung?” he asked, shaking Young-Jae and causing his drink to splashing over the brim. He slapped Ryu’s head.

                “Stupid! You make me spill my drink! What’s with that gay statement?! Get over it. That’s how people are nowadays. They want to fall in love at first sight. They don’t want to stick around for something raw and better. Aigoo…girls nowadays…when on earth did they start over-populating the country? Where are all the manly rockers?! Since when does men have so little say in the entertainment industry? Purple boas?! Original my a*s! Nevermind, Shin. It’s not your fault you look like a girl. Hahahah!” he laughed out aloud. Na-La, Will and Ryu nodded simultaneously. He tried not to let the statement bother him. He was never self-conscious, but since they pointed it out so frequently as of late, he found more reason to hate looking at his own reflection. His eyes caught the glint of his own reflection on the polished dark granite floor.

                My oh my…the apple never fall far from the tree.

                He felt himself glaring in irritation.

Why? Isn’t that true?

                He winced.

                Beautiful boy…aren’t you lucky that everybody wants you? I wonder if they really do mean what they say…will they be wanting you still if they know what you really are?

                He tried to tear his eyes away from the pale face he stared at. His blood felt rushed straight to his brain. He shook his head hard.

                “Shin? Are you alright?”

                He almost jumped out of his seat. He look at Na-La who frowned in concern. He stood up almost immediately, feeling the familiar knocking at his temples.

                “Guys, I need to catch the bus,”

                “Hey Shin…where are you going?” Young-Jae asked. As far as he was concern, Shin had no place to live anymore after some loansharks ransacked his apartment.


                “Are you drunk?”

                He raised an eyebrow.

                “Didn’t you just got kicked out of your apartment?”

                “I found a place to live,” he explained, walking towards the exit hastily. “Don’t worry. I’m not sleeping at the roadside,” he hollered before he rushed out.

                “It’s only 7 pm,” Na-La’s famous scrunched frown went deeper. Young-Jae looked after Shin’s back disappearing at the exit that led to the back alley. The fact that he said that he wasn’t sleeping near the roadside made him more worried. He can’t help to feel that he should’ve told Shin to bunk at his place sooner.

                Are you going to be alright Shin?



The soft breeze whispered through the slightly opened window. The smell of the earth forewarned a storm tomorrow. Even so, the night was bright despite the darkness. The familiar muffled sound of Gymnopedie No.9 reached his ears in between the crickets’ choruses. He wondered why it plays still at this hour. Walking slowly down the corridor, he felt the parquet floor cold under his feet. Why does it feel so strange? His heart was pounding so hard that it could’ve just burst out of his chest. Cold sweat broke out of his pores. He walked closer to the door at the far end there where light sliced through each of its sides. In his right hand, he could barely feel the little box that he held tight. From the pit of his stomach to the base of his throat, the hollowness scratched his insides raw. Reaching the brass knob, he turned it. And the door clicked opened.


                She nearly let out a gasped when she saw him staring at her wide-eyed at one of the couch that facing her. She wondered whether she was seeing things. His eyes that stared back at her weren’t the familiar pitless black. They were icy blue. She swallowed down a question and felt her feet rooted to the ground. She can’t tell if she was nervous since she got out of the shower. Her knees almost lose their strength.

                “Come here,”

                His voice sounded hoarse and she immediately went to him despite her drawback momentum that went against it. Standing in front of him, she clutched the towel she wore tightly and felt his left hand clowly pulling her towards his leaning head. The weight of his head on her stomach made her breathless. His hands came to encircle her tighter. She feel the remaining droplets of water confused over the temperature in her that rose and fell so rapidly. The fear she felt for him delved so much deeper. It was not only for the unknown capability of what he could do to her…but his unreadable mind. She can’t really tell what he was really thinking other than his constant temper that scared her. It made her sad and angry how her life revolved around misfortunes, one after another. After she thought she’d finally escape of the cage that surpress her mind and wild heart, she was taken yet again and this time crueler. It made her sad to think that she’d ever thought her father was heartless when she was faced with the devil itself now.

                “What’s your name?”

                She felt her heart stopped at his question. The malicious mischief he always had in his strangely accented voice was not there. Empty. She didn’t answer. She wasn’t going to commit no matter how scared he made her. Though it pained her to swallow her pride when she couldn’t fight him off, she wasn’t going to indulge his preferrences when she could. A chuckle vibrated from him all the way down to her spine. He lifted his head and stood up almost immediately, managing to touched her cheeks before striding past her.

                “I need my shirt back,” he announced, sending her into furious embarassment. He leaned down near the cupboard and pulled a brown paper bag throwing it to the bed. “Change,”

                She took the bag and was about to turn to the go to the bathroom but he stopped her.

                “Just change,”

                She opened the bag and took out the clothes in there. There were a loose white knitted long-sleeved T-shirt and a long white skirt. She turned away and put the shirt over her head; flailing before she felt cold fingers clamping her wrists and assisted her. She just followed his hands as she ease into the skirt, assisting her like a child. The clothes smelt new. There a was pregnant silent between them when she slowly sat at the bed and curled to find some sort of solace in the privacy of her mind while he was there at the next room with the water running.

                She thought of a way to escape for the hundredth times. She knew she had to stop being delusional but it was hard to kill off the stubborn mind that always seem to find a reason to believe that every cloud has a silver lining. Most of the time, the reasons didn’t seem apparent. Non-existent. She can’t even tell how long she had been there. She thought of running away so many times that one or two days could’ve past as a hundred. Even when she could see the sun rising and setting, she still can’t tell. How can you tell the time when all you did was closing yourself into a deep sleep or play with your own shadows just to keep a certain amount of sanity? She stared at the midnight sky through the slice of space in between 2 curtains, drowning in the edgy feeling she always do with him there. Should she start begging now?

 The fear of being left alone.

The fear of being hurt.

The fear of being taken against her will.

The fear of knowing that he had charmed her into addiction to his attention.

 They all seemed like a good reason to start begging. But her lips won’t obey.

 The air that moved made her realized that he was out of the bathroom. She closed her eyes. She could feel him near. He said something in a Hangul that she didn’t quite understand. He sounded…like he was talking to himself. A weird monologue that she felt like she needed to know. Against all odds, she wanted to know what he was talking about. She was always listening. Not quite understanding. He kissed the corner of her lips and she knew what he wanted before she even opened her yes.

                “Please…don’t do this to me,”

                His hand halted at her stomach and a sob hitched her lungs. A soft kiss touched her lips and she knew she was asking a thing he can’t grant.

                “I’m sorry,”

                Don’t apologize…

                “I’m sorry,”

                Don’t apologize.

                Her mind reeled at his devilish ways. How dare he apologizes? She didn’t want to hear the apologies he gave her when he will keep coming back to violate her in all the right ways. Her tears fell from the corners of her eyes and he kissed it away, leaning his forehead against hers.

                “Please…stop,” she begged, clutching her hands to her chest to stop her own heart from beating out of her body. She tight closed her eyes. He sighed and she inhaled his scented breath, praying for his mercy on her. A small piece of kindness that might be inside him.

                “They won’t stop,” he replied in perfect English. But she knew he wasn’t talking to her.

                What won’t stop?

                “…make him…stop..,”


                She heard another foreign language dictating his unintelligables. His constant strange notions that strikes at the strangest of moments. Like he had a secret so deep and so big that even his own mind can’t contain it. She felt…the dreaded emotion came to talk her into the peace she tried hard to shatter. It was as though she could feel the burden on his body that weight on her. The clashing emotions made her mind wonder, have she become entranced to obey? He pulled her closer, whispering all the beautiful words in the foreign language that she can’t put. She wished she’d understood. He held her tight as though he was seeking comfort. The odd familiar yearning  and curiosity she had were as overwhelming as they were scary. It beats in her chest hard, wanting to tear out of her.

Tell me.

I want to know.

What do you want to tell me?

Whatever it is, I want to know…

There was no answer to any of her questions.

He was pulling her to the edge of madness and pleasure before pushing her down to a guilty downfall. Shattering every single bit of her. She was destroyed entirely. In the end, her weary limbs pulsed dully against her bones. It made her realize how tightly she held him against her. She tried prying herself away from his arms, but he hugged her tighter. The tears came again, professing her guilty conscience. She was losing her mind slowly. And she said the very same thing she had been saying all the time she was there.

‘God…please save me,”


Shin walked out of the house and down the stairs. The cold morning made the hair on his skin raised to the very end. The autumn was coming closer. The dark sky was not even close to opening the day but he could tell that it would rain. The scent of the soil seemed different and the sky had not cleared up since yesterday. He glanced over at the big house and felt the reluctance of leaving. The painful mental overload was catching up on him face. He never noticed the strenous pain at his brows before he had the girl’s forehead touched his in the briefness of his tryst.

The girl.

The nameless girl.

It was alright if she didn’t want to tell him her name. She will eventually. He still won’t risk himself into knowing more about her than he already did. The danger of knowing too much was all too well imprinted on his mind. Knowing too much will only push you to a place no one will find you, emotionally. The advantage lies in what kind of life you’re living. A tramp like him embraces it willingly with the effort of keeping it at the minimal. For others…he didn’t know. He wondered how some enjoyed being in his shoes; tortured constantly by being himself every single day. Turning to the front of the house and caught his own reflection that he avoided looking on the dark tinted sliding door of the side patio. The darkness can’t stop him from making out the icy blue that stared back at him. No matter how long he lives, he can never learn to look into his own eyes without disgust. No matter how much people used to be amused by them, he will not learn to make peace with the very trait he inherited from a traitor that became the foreword of his ruined life. It disgusted him how he grew to inherit traits that would remind him of the past he wished he could erase completely. He wished he could just pull them out of their sockets.

He walked further to the front of the abandoned house. The awkward direction of which the house was facing made the contemporary box of a home a genuine sanctuary for him; directly to the jungle of temperate climate woods. Although he would very much want to just stay in there, he knew he can’t and it wasn’t because the girl was there. In fact, if it wasn’t for her, he wouldn’t dare to even step into trail leading to the secluded area where it was. The scent of the woods charmed his to reminescencing bits and pieces of memories running through the maze of trees and jumping into the water. He snapped into consciousness at the thought of a lake nearby. Is it still deserted as he thought it would be? He stared out to the trees of the woods that surrounded the area as the early sunrays hit the leaves. It took him a good few seconds before tearing himself away to what seemed the most comfortable moments he had ever had in a long time.

It was good to be home.


















© 2011 Ran

Author's Note

Tell me if the story is blurry still... hope you enjoy this and I can get the motivation to continue!

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Added on March 8, 2011
Last Updated on March 10, 2011
Tags: love, hate, disgrace, seoul, kuala lumpur, culture, different



I love reading, songwriting, making up stories, sleeping, running, skateboarding...anything new...just holler me in and I'll give it a try. A serial quitter, I've come to confront my worst enemy' my w.. more..

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