THE BURNING BODIES 燃燒的身體
⨝ Somewhere in segregated Seoul; 버려진 사람들의 도시 [City of Abandoned People]
NOW NIGHT WAS falling, the once orange sky fading into a cloudy blue color, the appearance of stars easing Ahmya’s racing heart as her small group raced towards the factory.
Yuta was careful, his eyes warily scanning each and every corner as the two siblings used the shadows the tall, vacated buildings cast down. Soon, they would reach the factory’s open entrance.
Following the alleyways between the last row of houses, Atsuka pressed both herself and her sister to the wall, eyes shaking as she heard heavy footsteps against the depressed soil.
“Why are we patrolling this area again sir? I thought we already had a fleet wipe out this row.” They heard a younger man speak. Chests steadily rising up and down, they waited for the group of soldiers to pass. They were speaking Korean, a language they had to illegally learn.
“It was an order unless you wanna pack your bags and head back over the wall, don’t complain.” An older man scolded. Their words were faintly covered by the sound of hooves, meaning they were traveling via horseback.
Yuta snaked his way towards Ahmya. “We can easily take down this patrol and steal their horses. Did anyone bring arrows?” Atsuka widened her eyes, fear crawling in her gaze.
Ahmya looked towards her younger sister. “Atsuka did. We have a choice, we either kill these murderers or we let them pass and continue to the factory.”
Yuta clenched his teeth, jaw flexing visibly even in the dark. Moments passed, and the patrol had already passed by. Atsuka ignored her older sister’s glare.
“You’re too merciful with our murderers, Atsuka,” Ahmya mumbled out before double-checking the clearing. Once giving a short nod, the group of three burst into a run for the closest alleyway.
They neared the factory, already coming across a patrol campsite. Pitched tents and glowing lanterns lit the shadowy ground with ease. Ahmya looked elsewhere, towards the towering chimneys where the awful smell plumed in dark clouds.
“Another batch!” They heard someone yell. Yuta tightly grabbed Ahyma’s shoulder, directing her gaze to the multiple groups of soldiers hauling diseased people into the factory. Following the direction they were coming from, she heard Atsuka let out a gasp.
Sitting next to the dirt road was a pile of dead bodies, it was easy to assume they were from a camp not too far from here, one that was by the wall.
“They’re burning their bodies.” She said out loud, watching them, one-by-one, carry their bodies into the shabby factory. Yuta covered his nose with a sleeve, eyes narrowing in disgust.
The smell of burning flesh stung their lungs as the smell thickened. Atsuka’s eyes watered with distress and disgust, covering her mouth and nose with a palm.
Yet Ahmya stood there, watching them with blazing eyes of fury and resentment. “Alright, I have a plan.” She whispered, glancing briefly at the two watching with heartbreak.
“Atsuka and Yuta, set fire to the tents, don’t let them see you. While you’re doing that, I’ll find another entrance into the factory and clear the soldiers there. It’s night, so most of them should be asleep.”
They nodded slowly. After taking deep breaths, Atsuka and Yuta moved from the shadows, crouching close to the ground as they made their way to the tents. She watched with anticipation as they both retrieved lighters from their pockets.
At the sight of a flickering flame, Ahmya moved from her place, bolting into a run as she moved to the opposite side, fully trusting her partners to do a good job. A sadistic smile found its way to her face as she could hear the growing screams of the burning soldiers.
About time you pigs got a taste of your own medicine. She thought quickly before spotting a hole in the foundation of the building. Realizing she could easily squeeze through it, she inhaled deeply before ducking her head and pulling herself through it.
. . .
⨝ Seoul. [The other side of the wall.]
Neon signs highlighted the hangul printed on the signs, illuminating as the moon climbed farther up the sky, the stars twinkling as if they were eyes blinking at the people below.
One building amongst the others stood the tallest, its square glass windows capturing the moonlight that beamed onto Earth. It was a particularly cloudy night, a soft breeze rattled the nearby trees’ branches and leaves.
On the screen billboard planted on that building’s roof, was an advertisement starring South Korea’s top model; Park Seonghwa. Son a chaebol* [successful business-oriented family.] and deemed a model Korean, the best out of the best.
His sculptured features stared into the camera, bold characters edited behind him as he modeled several products. In the corner of the advertisement, South Korea’s infamous motto stays.
"In a world filled with impurity, Park Seonghwa will save us all.”