Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
A short story about a young girl living in North Korea.
The entire country was completely controlled by Kim Jong Il, people thought of him as their second father and that he made no mistakes but Mee-Yon thought he was evil for secluding the country from everyone else. She thought everything was completely unfair. She remembered the time her father was ecstatic over getting a promotion at his work, yet he didn’t make any more money than before. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, whether you’re a pop singer for propaganda or a janitor, everyone in the country is rationed the same amount of money. Everyone is given their houses, their clothes, and their food. No personal preferences at all because your job is chosen for you. And the entire country turns into an absolute graveyard at six o’clock, because all the power is shut off. Mee-Yon thought the country couldn’t be more lifeless but this was because no one was aloud outside once the power was out, so she had never seen it as the horror movie like zombie city that it was. No one could escape.
Mee-Yon’s walks have been frequently consistent nowadays to clear her mind since getting the news that her father was going to marry her off to a man named Bong-Chol, a 27 year old widowed traffic control officer whose wife was shot trying to escape the country. I wonder what she thought would be on the other side, Mee-Yon thought to herself as she continued to walk down the comatose streets. This was something no one was ever curious about, to everyone around her North Korea was the mother nation and there was nothing outside of the barbed wire fences and soldiers which surrounded the entire country. Though the young girl thought of it regularly, she thought of what other people were out there. Some wondered if there were even any other people outside the country at all. She reminisced a time at school when she was studying a globe on the teacher’s desk, North Korea was a bright red color and everything else was a shade of blue including all other land. After asking why the other countries matched the color of the water she recalled her teacher responding “It blends together because you’ll never need to go there.”
She continued to walk. Walk beyond the silent city streets, walk past the simple trees and quiet skies, far away from everything that seemed to be suffocating her. She walked until she hit the fence, the barbed wire fence that separated North Korea from China. Anyone see near this deserted area was escorted away by the guards or on certain occasions shot. But she knew a certain path crowded by trees where no one could ever find her; a place where the guards couldn’t see; a place where the world couldn’t see. Here she could always just be carried away by her thoughts, no one could tell her how to think or what to say. She could just think for herself and paint pictures with the homemade canvas and water color paints she kept hidden under a bush. She made her way past the tangled vines and uprooted trees, finally finding her spot under the biggest tree next to the fence and letting out a sigh of relief.
After cleaning off her canvas in a nearby stream she began to paint everything she saw around her, the trees, the sky, the little stream, the… a boy. She jumped, knocking over her paints as she noticed a young man on the other side of the fence in front of her. “What’re you doing out here by the fence?” he asked her in a very nonchalant tone. It took her a moment to find her voice, still startled “I could be asking you the same question.” He smirked. “I came out here to take pictures of the animals when I saw you, so I decided to come see who you were. What’s your name?” “Mee-Yon… It means beauty and lotus blossom.” “Well they got the beauty part right.” The girl blushed, quickly glancing away and back. “My name is Chenglei, and I have no idea what it means.” He laughed.
Mee-Yon studied the boy on the other side of the fence in front of her. He was similar to her, same eyes and skin. But his hair was spiked like a porcupine with purple tips, and his clothes extremely different from hers. He wore tight black pants with bright green shoes, and a t-shirt that had a picture of five people wearing extreme amounts of makeup; she couldn’t tell whether they were men or women. And at the top of the shirt it had something written in a language she couldn’t understand. “What does that say on your shirt?” she said, breaking the silence. “My Chemical Romance, it’s an American rock band.” The concept sounded foreign to her, the only word that she completely understood was ‘American’, everything else was just babble talk. But she decided not to ask, for she seemed already different enough compared to someone so vibrant in appearance.
Realization came to her that she was speaking with someone from the outside and took the opportunity to her advantage to fulfill her curiosity, “What’s it like out there?” He raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean? What is it like in there?” She gritted her teeth. “It’s a prison. It seems like I’m the only person with personal thought. Everyone walks around like everything is fine but it’s not! The buildings are the same, the people are the same, and I can’t even tell who I am anymore!” She bit her lip to stop tears from falling. Chenglei had a bewildered look on his face, “I knew your country was different, but that’s just insanity!” The word different stood out to her. “Different how?” He scooted closer to her and the fence. “Well I’m not sure, everyone just knows that you can’t get out and we can’t get in. And we know that the government is brainwashing everyone in there.” She looked down “They are, and I'm the only person I know that realizes it, there's the occasional person that does too and tries to leave but they're always killed. If only I could escape.”
Mee-Yon looked back up at Chenglei, staring deep into his eyes. In that moment it was as if she wasn’t alone anymore, like someone cared. And that moment they simultaneously lifted their hands up to the fence, fingertips touching. Soft skin on soft skin, feeling comforted; but his touch was cold. He spoke “You can.” They pulled their hands away “I can what?” “Escape… I get you out of her.” Her eyes went wide “Are you crazy? You obviously didn’t hear me when I said that the people that try to leave are shot! And if you’re seen with me you’ll get killed too!” “I won’t be killed... But they won’t catch us because the guards can’t see us where we are, it’ll be a free getaway.” Mee-Yon wasn’t sure why but she felt that she could trust Chenglei, like they had known each other for a long time even though they had just met. “Okay,” was all she had to say before they started digging a path beneath the fence for Mee-Yon to slip under.
She slowly crawled under the ten foot tall barbed wire fence only slightly scratching her clothes and skin. Once she had gotten up, she looked straight forward at her destination and took a deep breath. “Are you ready, Chenglei?” No one answered. “Chenglei?” She looked around but no one was there, the boy was gone. Had I imagined him? She thought to herself, and before turning around and going back under the fence to go home she heard Chenglei’s voice whisper to her “Keep running.” And although she couldn’t see him, she knew he was there. So she did run, and she didn’t look back.