General Fiction posted January 3, 2018 Chapters:  ...5 6 -7- 8... 

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Taeyeon begins to deteriorate without Miyoung

A chapter in the book Weak Enough to Move Mountains


by AshelinaB

Last chapter: Juhyun attended the execution of her sister with her other sisters and brother, plus Sooyoung. She and Taeyeon then tried to say goodbye to Miyoung.

Sometimes, like I did when I was a little girl, I crawl into bed with Taeyeon and cuddle up to her. In a reversal of the past, though, I have become the one with a small, lifeless doll in her arms.

The new anti-ghost neither sleeps nor awakens, just lies on its old bed in a sort of trance. Weeks go by with it only responding to Soo. It jolts to life as soon as the girl comes near it and hisses and spits like a wildcat until our sister retreats in tears. The second that Soo is out of earshot, Taeyeon placidly slides back to emptiness.

I do not think that my older sister goes to the faraway land and finally get a reaction upon asking about it.

Taeyeon perceptibly blinks at last, doing so many times in a row. Then she sits up quickly and grabs me by the front of my shirt with both hands. “Hyun! You’re a genius!” she cries as she often did so long ago. “Tell me; how do I get there? Tell me!” 

I choke, not because anything that Taeyeon is physically doing to me, but because of the emotions that well up and lodge in my throat. My chin drops to my chest, tears following after it, as I tell her, “I can’t. I’m sorry, Yeonie. I can’t…”

“Yes, you can!” Mania lights in my sister’s face. “You have to!” she insists as outrage starts creeping up on her. “Tell me!” Her hands twitch, itching for my throat, I imagine.

My eyes squeeze shut tighter. “I’m sorry, Yeonie,” I say in a whimper. “I really can’t go there anymore. I lost the way. I-I…” For the first time ever when I begin to cry, my hero is unmoved.

Taeyeon just lets go of me and flops backward onto her pillows. Very much like it did in Tiffany during my first visits to the prison, scorn fills my sister’s being. “Of course you can’t,” she spits. “You couldn’t even save her like I asked you to. …Never asked you for anything before, but you couldn’t even do that one thing for me.”

“Y-Yeonie,” I whimper yet again. My hand covers my mouth as I drop our eye contact again and tears stream down my face. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

No sympathy reflects in my big sister’s eyes. Shadows of evil overpower her instead. “Don’t call me that! I don’t love you! I never have, and I never will! No one will, little girl. You’re worthless!” Humanity returns to her in a rush but is quickly distracted by shock. Taeyeon is soon the one covering her mouth but her eyes do not close. They remain wide—worried, frightened, apologetic, many things. “H-Juhyun,” she says what seems like days later. “Baby, I’m sorry.” Too, one of her hands reaches for me to console me.

I allow it. Though the words were poignant, almost physically so, I know that they are not actually Taeyeon’s. That hurts me worse than anything else does. I lean into my hero’s touch. “Mommy said that to you, didn’t she?”

The worst excuse for a smile that I’ve ever seen spreads across my sister’s face. “Baby, don’t worry about that.”

“She did; didn’t she?” Please don’t lie to me again, I beg her inaudibly.

Taeyeon’s hand falls to the mattress under her own watch. “H- Even if she did, Hyun, that was a long time ago. Like twenty years, right? I don’t remember.” That she tries to laugh gives her away more than anything else could.

“Oh, Yeonie.” I scoop up my sister’s hand to press its palm to my ever paling cheek, hoping to ground myself. Truth presses against the back of my teeth in an effort to escape. I open my mouth. “You would never forget a thing like that. And… I didn’t hear it originally, but I see that,” my voice cracks, “death sentence playing behind your eyes almost every time I look into them.”

My eldest sister hisses, once more very similarly to Tiffany, but not in anger or disgust. “I’m sorry,” she tells the wall rather than her hand or blankets.

“Yeonie, don’t be sorry! …You know how you used to say that I never did anything wrong?” Not sure that my sister is ready to hear this next admission, I tell it to her, anyway, “It’s funny because I’ve always thought that of you…”

“WHAT?” Taeyeon asks much too loudly. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Shock rather than fury is written all over her face, then apology as she registers the way I flinch at her vehemence. “Sorry,” she says lowly. “But, what? Hyun… I’m sorry, baby, but you must either be crazier than the rest of us put together or …you’re not a genius after all.” Her tone of voice holds no trace of teasing, just astonishment. Will I ever see her smile again?

Practicing the skills that I’m learning as a psychology student on another one of my sisters, I force my voice into evenness, addressing deeper meanings from the perspective of wishing to explore them. “What makes you say that, Yeonie?”

“What- What m- Are you kidding me?”

“No, Yeonie. What did you do wrong besides being firstborn and so, as Auntie Sooyoung said in the warehouse, ‘the one our parents saved all the Hell in them for’? …What have you done wrong beyond bearing the brunt of most of the a—” No, she hates the word ‘abuse’—“hardship in our family? Please help me understand, Yeonie. I want to understand. …You promised not to leave me out anymore, remember?”

“Ha! Yeah! I did. Then I led you straight into danger at juvie and again at home after we got back from there! And if that weren’t enough, I brought danger right to you too! I selfishly got Miyoung released and placed back with us—not even she wanted that or thought it was safe, told me that in the warehouse, but I didn’t care; I only wanted her—only to let Dad run her out again. Then I abandoned you and went after her. Then I gave up on finding her and hid out on my own, abandoning you again! Great ways to not leave you out, huh? Oh! No, wait! I let us lose our second mother and then killed our father before I ran out on you. I’m so good at keeping my word! 

“…Just leave me alone, Hyun. Don’t you know that I always stayed away from you as much as possible because I’m so tainted? I’ve known it probably from the minute I was born. …You. You are so beautiful and pure. Have such a light coming from within and around you. …Like.” She hiccups. “Like Miyoung did. But I stuck to her like glue. Know what happened to her? She lost all of her light. That— my— angel baby became a demon worse than our mother and father combined! And it didn’t have to happen! It didn’t have to happen! If only I…” but all my sister’s force whooshes out of her, leaving her panting and limp on her bed.

I don’t speak for several moments. When I am finally able to do so, I say, “It. …Must be great to feel so powerful, Yeonie. …I never-”

“Oh, way to twist my words around and throw them in my face!” Anger once more turns outward from the tormented soul of my grief-ravaged hero.

“I’ve never felt very powerful,” I continue calmly as if I hadn’t been interrupted, “But now I see that it must be a terrible burden as well. …Yeonie, if you think you’re tainted for b- all that, then I must be too. We come from the same mother and father and-”

“You are not! Y-” Ah, my sisters. So alike. Will I never mesh with them?

“Yeonie, please don’t tell me who I am. …You feel worst about yourself specifically because of how our mother treated you and how our father let it happen, right?”

Taeyeon shrugs jerkily.

“…She tried to kill me, Yeonie. Not just once like you said about you and Miyoungie, but every day, for years.”

As Tiffany before her, Taeyeon believes me instantly. “WHAT?” she howls again. “She tried to dro-” 

“No.” I shake my head. “I-” No… Tell her! “With mercury or something. She put it in my breakfast every morning for as long as I can remember. And the times when she felt really depressed, she gave it to me with every meal.” Like after the first time you ran away, I know not to say. “That’s why I had to go to the hospital so much back then…”

“Baby, why didn’t you tell me?” Taeyeon whispers in a sort of awe moments later. It isn’t long until more guilt washes over her, as I had somewhat been expecting and fervently hoping against in the preceding silence. “I just let her do that to you? No, I helped her! I stayed away from you and pulled Miyoung from you too, just left you completely vulnerable! I-I… I had no idea. You are stupid, Hyun! I’m not even sorry for saying that! You still call me your hero, ever called me your hero! What the Hell did I ever do for you except give you the ‘prize’ of a murdered mother and unlimited opportunity to be abused in the harshest way possible? No! I know! The mark-less kind is worse because no one notices it, or at least can pretend- And it is much more painful to be hurt by someone you love—even if they never touch you—and you and I both know that you loved M-a dearly.”

Her rumination turns inward despite how Taeyeon calls me by name, so I let her think aloud unimpeded.

“Well, no wonder you never told me! I didn’t do anything when I should have and probably would have made it worse if I had done anything!” Her large eyes lift to mine again, creating sucking vortexes of horror and disbelief out of themselves. “Next you’ll tell me that Dad was molesting and/or raping you the whole time too, right? Did M- Yoona ever do anything to you? Auntie Sooyoung did too, right? God, what is wrong with me? I just left you alone with her!” She gasps for air before she can say more, allowing me the chance to get a word in edgewise.

“No! Yeonie, no! None of them ever hurt me! It was only Mommy, but she didn’t even really mean to. She was sick, Yeonie!”

“I know that she was sick! I know better than anyone! But don’t you see? That makes nothing her fault! I’m not sick! Say what I or anyone else will about me, I’ve never been crazy. I’ve been in full control of my actions since- since middle school. I have no excuse.”

“Oh, Yeonie.” I hold a hand to my heart as I hiccup cries too. Telling my sister another of my secrets, I say, “You are sick. We all are. The …ones already gone died of their illnesses. …Though she was taken unnaturally from us, Yoona-Mommy was already dying too, little-by-little, I think. Without Miyoungie’s help! …And; those of us left—you, me, and Soo—are well on our way. And I think that Auntie Sooyoung and Minho must be sick now too. They’ve witnessed death like the rest of us… They just aren’t showing as many signs yet…”

Taeyeon goes away to her own faraway land then. Her eyes glaze, no spark returning to them for days on end.

I watch her very carefully in that time and make sure that she is truly with me again before picking up where I left off. “But, Yeonie, the five of us, we have a chance. There’s medicine for us. We just have to take it! It saved Miyoungie!”

Fury reappears and restarts more powerful than ever, once more distorting beauty. “Nothing saved Miyoung!”

I smile. “It did. He did. Would you like to see?”

My peace is so great and true that it stops disconcerting my sister and rather draws Taeyeon to it like a moth to a flame, a starving person to a feast. “S-see what, Hyun?”

“Auntie Hyo found this in T- under Miyoungie’s pillow.” I bathe in an otherworldly glow as I open a folded piece of paper, smiling unto laughter. God is so good. “Look, Yeonie! Read it! Miyoungie’s okay! You don’t have to go to the faraway land to find her! She’s in Heaven!”

My sister’s eyes seize the page before her hand does. Somehow both snatching the note and handling it as if it’s the most precious, delicate silk on Earth, she reads it. Then she begins to smile as well. The tears falling from her eyes are no longer from grief.

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