Dark Eyes (sample)

Dark Eyes (sample)

A Story by Haeshin

He has been cursed, the shadowed one.


It was so hot they couldn't see the shimmering waves of heat. Their eyes were too dazed and half-blinded by sweat to see the shining, wafting streams that made it appear as if the land was burning. Maybe their minds were going too, because they could hear insects chirping regardless of whether it was day or night.


“ It's so hoooot,” Young-mi complained. Hyun-su took no offense when his nine-year-old sister took her hand from his to wipe it against her skirt. They were both sweating like human waterfalls, and in any case Young-mi always took her brother's hand again.


“ Don't sweat it,” Hyun-su joked weakly. It made Young-mi smile, because Hyun-su was a very serious person who only attempted humor to cheer her up. “ It's...just a little more to the school.” He didn't believe his own words. Beyond golden ears of wheat all he could see were tree-lined mountains and forests surrounding the town of Mil-Pyung-ji. The mountains stood heavy and firm, as if they refused to let anyone see what lay behind them. The trees themselves seemed to swallow up the town. Hyun-su and Young-mi wouldn't see its faded blue-gray roofs until they were a minute's walk from it.


Lately Hyun-su and Young-mi's family came to Mil-Pyung-ji every summer. The relatives that lived there were growing old and had begun to need help living in the merciless heat. It was merely filial duty and kindness on one part of the family to another, and Hyun-su was charitable enough to keep his mouth shut. Young-mi saw the temporary moves to the countryside as a sort of adventure, free to run about anywhere she wanted without bumping into someone or having the danger of falling into the street or the train tracks.


But Hyun-su hated the countryside. He felt as if the world literally shrank down to size and he walked on the borderline to claustrophobia. It really irritated him. People were always watching you and talking about what you did in the open air, always disapproving in typical adult-like manner. Yet they never confronted anyone. Hyun-su couldn't stand the stares and sometimes the silence as they waited for him to do whatever it was they expected him to do. Mil-Pyung-ji wasn't a town, he thought, especially being isolated by these mountains. They could attempt to modernize it to their liking, but it was still a nasty little village where the worst things weren't solid, so you couldn't deal with them in a simple way.


Few people were as simple as desired, and even then they could still be infuriating.


A high voice called out, “ Oh Hyuuuuuun-suuuu!”


Oh, please no! But it was too late. Before the last notes of his name could start to fade, two slender arms and hands were suddenly there, holding onto Hyun-su's arm. The other was already occupied by his sister. Irritably Hyun-su snapped, “ Sohn Na-on!” His tone very clearly said 'let go of me, I don't want you on me!'.


“ Awwww...” With that teasing sound Sohn Na-on giggled. She was a girl famous throughout Mil-Pyung-ji for being 'flashy' and 'frivolous', and by countryside standards Hyun-su supposed she was. Fifteen years old like Hyun-su, Na-on dyed her slightly wavy hair orange-brown, put on make-up, and wore modern skirts, dresses, and heels when other girls sensibly wore pants and T-shirts for the terrain. “ Don't be so mean, Hyun-su.” At 'mean' she pressed herself closer to Hyun-su's arm, nearly smushing it against his side. “ Don't you want to be friends?”


Hyun-su knew that she actually meant 'Don't you want to be my boyfriend?'. As if.


“ Let go of me!” he almost shouted, and half pulled, half wriggled his arm out of Na-on's grip. Hyun-su felt a tinge of worry about setting a good example for his sister, but Young-mi always looked at Na-on with large round eyes and seemed a little relieved when they got away from her.


Indignant and deprived, Na-on called out, “ Heyyyy, Hyun-su! Where are you going?” She puffed out her cheeks to show how cute and annoyed she was. “ Awww, don't go away. Us city-loving folk have got to stick together, don't you think?”


He hated to admit it, but the one thing Hyun-su and Na-on had in common was that they hated country life, and he sympathized with Na-on's reasons why. The adults in town laughed at her for the way she dressed, saying it was too much or she needn't wear such fancy costumes for a regular old place like theirs. They treated her like a silly child. At the age where teenagers definitely no longer saw themselves as children, that was a mortal sin.


But once Na-on opened her mouth after the usual prelude, Hyun-su's sense of human sympathy vanished altogether.


“ I really hate this place, it's so old and dusty, why doesn't everyone just die already? It's like every person here has been around for a hundred years. Or maybe they just won't die. They're so full of dust and stupid old traditions that don't really matter. I want to go to the city, don't you? The air's got to be so much more clearer there, and there's got to be much more young people. Everyone here's so old! I'm always so surprised when I get to school and I see even more than five young people at once...”


Didn't she ever shut up? Or say something other than complaints? Hyun-su glanced at his sister and their gazes met. They instantly understood each other, a gift their parents called 'sibling talk'. Young-mi pressed her lips tightly together, indicating that she didn't like having to listen to Na-on either. If only they hadn't been raised to have good manners! With this heat and a few people that were already more than passively annoying, Hyun-su was finding himself breaking the family creed as if it were normal. He could admire his sister's own resolve, which had yet to break, and she was younger than him. Weren't little kids supposed to be more wild and energetic?


“ Na-on!” More voices, two of them that were both young. Hyun-su was relieved for the distraction, far more so when he saw that it was the Choi siblings, Shion and Jin. Shion was fifteen and Jin was twelve, young enough to be the playmate of a nine-year-old girl and not resent the gender or age difference much. Hyun-su watched the boy run up to them, greet them all, then strike up a energetic conversation with Young-mi. They both liked to have imaginative adventures.


“ Na-on, Hyun-su, good morning,” Choi Shion said cheerfully. Na-on turned her head away, her lips curling and her teeth clenching with distaste. In a way similar to how Hyun-su felt about her, Na-on looked at her 'friend' with contempt and what was very close to disgust. Freckled, sensible, and seeing no ounce of evil in anyone, Shion was a typical country bumpkin to a girl who had also grown up without ever seeing the city.


With a smile Shion bent over slightly and said, “ Good morning, Young-mi.” The girl paused long enough in her talk with Jin to smile in response. Shion lightly tapped her knuckles on her brother's head and scolded, “ Hey, Jin, don't ignore people. Did you greet them properly?”


In a pained voice Jin cried out, “ I did. You don't have to remind me all the time, Nu-na!”


Hello,” Na-on said, with a grudging note to her own words. She had so much dislike for Shion and her simple ways that she forgot about her crush on Hyun-su, which made him very glad. Personally he'd take a girl like Shion over Na-on any day. Simple she may be, but besides keeping Na-on from his arm Shion had a good heart and a honest personality that was refreshing compared to the wordless stares of the town's older inhabitants. If given a choice he'd definitely choose to date her over Na-on. Shion gave Hyun-su hope for the female population of the world, while Na-on gave them all a bad name.


“ Heyyy, Hyun-su.” Na-on took his arm in her hand. It looked like Shion wasn't having her usual effect anymore. Na-on was doing her best to ignore the girl and cling to Hyun-su instead. His insides tightened with impatience. Privately he called her 'Monkey' for the way she seemed to hang off his arm or his shirt as if it were a vine or a tree branch. Na-on had less shame than the other girls at school and around town, who simply giggled and stared after him as he went by. Hyun-su sometimes wished he'd been born with a plain or ugly face.


“ Did you hear?!” Thank god for Jin, who suddenly perked up and beamed at them all. “ The next town over made it into the papers this morning!”


“ Yippee,” Hyun-su muttered under his breath.


“ Three whole people died in the past few weeks of heatstroke. They say it's the hottest summer yet. Isn't that cool?”


“ Jin...” Shion didn't like to hear of deaths.


“ But, I mean, it's a real danger, isn't it?” Jin pressed on. “ Just a couple of days ago old man Soon keeled over in his house while his son was visiting. They say he looked boiled, all white and red all over.”


“ Jin! Don't talk about Mr. Soon that way,” Shion scolded. “ How would you like to be talked like that after you were dead?” Jin shut his mouth, remorseful, but he really looked like he wanted to say more.


“ Why're you talking about that, it's so creepy,” Na-on said flippantly. Unable to hold himself in, Jin blurted out:


“ But there's this really cool legend about it! I heard it in the store, they were saying that someone from the next town saw one of the dead people at nighttime, and it's only grief talking, but some people in that place are thinking that it's this old legend about a demon corpse...”


“ Gross!” Na-on let go of Hyun-su to clap her hands over her ears. “ Shion, shut up that little brother of yours! I don't want to hear anymore!”


“ Jin...”


The clouds divide heaven and earth

So saw the shadowed one

He has been cursed, the shadowed one

He has been watched, the shadowed one.”

“ Oppa,” said Young-mi. “ What's that?”

They rise from the earth to curse and wail

So decreed the buried one

He has been cursed, the shadowed one

He has been marked, the shadowed one.”

“ Hey,” Jin said excitedly, “ it's a stranger! Wow, isn't he hot in that?”


Someone was walking along a path that went perpendicular to theirs. It was a young man from the looks of it, barely nineteen or twenty at the most. He had a lean body half-hidden by a pair of long khaki pants, a large T-shirt, and a crumpled red jacket tied around his waist, a limp leather bag slung across his chest. Orange and silver headphones were attached to his ears, partly hidden by dark brown hair tied into a tiny ponytail. It was likely a way to keep as much hair as possible from sticking to a sweaty neck.


Earth and trees stand guard around

The ones that should have stayed buried with the dead

He has been cursed, the shadowed one

He has been exiled, the shadowed one.”

“ What a weird song,” Shion remarked. Her brother frowned.


“ Sounds familiar,” he said. “ Weird. Sounds more like some kind of mantra, though.” The stranger had a relaxed way of walking, the stride of people who had no worries and were taking their time in reaching their destination.

Dark eyes take flight from those that have risen from the earth and should be dead

The eyes that should be closed and buried

He has been cursed, the shadowed one

He has been punished, the shadowed one.”

“ I swear I've heard some of that before,” Jin said to himself. “ ...AH!”


“ What is it, Jin?”


“ Shadowed one, risen from the earth, buried,” Jin babbled. “ It's part of that legend I was talking about! The one about the demon corpse!”


“ Huh?”


Light rejects the darkness and the darkness seeks the light

Who is truly in the right or wrong

He has been cursed, the shadowed one

Yet it is the buried who can't let go.”

“ Ooh, he's young. And good-looking!” Na-on trilled. Hyun-su tried not to roll his eyes. Of course she'd be concerned about that. “ I wonder if he's that guy from the next town.”


“ What?”


Na-on smirked. “ Please, don't you listen?” she said. “ I thought this town was all about talk.”


“ What do you mean, Na-on?” said Shion. She gave her friend the opportunity to show off. It wasn't often that one person knew something nobody else didn't.

The clouds divide heaven and earth

Never saw the buried one

He has been cursed, the shadowed one

He has been cursed, the shadowed one.”

“ They say some guy was looking around,” said Na-on, “ saying something like he was a writer doing research. But since he's so young, they say he's actually a high school or college student doing research for a project at school.”


“ Even if that's the case,” said Hyun-su, “ why would someone come out this far? There are plenty of places closer to the city than Mil-Pyung-ji.”


“ Hey...”


Noticing the kids' presence, the stranger slowed down and turned his head to look at them. He was good-looking, as Na-on had surmised, in a friendly sort of way.

He smiled. Then he moved on.

Light rejects the darkness and the darkness seeks the light

Who is truly in the right or wrong

He has been cursed, the shadowed one

Yet it is the buried who can't let go.”

© 2011 Haeshin

Author's Note

Nun-na: Older sister
Oppa: Older brother

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This is a good start, but avoid things like this:

“ Did you hear?!” (never use both an exclamation and a question mark. It is one or the other, never both.)

Posted 10 Years Ago

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Added on July 22, 2010
Last Updated on July 13, 2011
Tags: horror, sample, dark eyes, korea




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