The La-Iin Series
“Perspective of Hledshess”
Two boys in hoodies crashed through Hledshess Street, knocking over several things in their way. Both kept running and crashing around until they hit a small stream, after which they jumped over it and stopped in place.
“San-Kyung, are you alright?” Dosa-Mina asked. He brushed back his hoodie slightly to see his face, but San-Kyung quickly pulled it back over. “You seem really upset right now. Did something happen?”
“Why’s it bothering you?” San-Kyung snapped.
“First off, because I’m your friend,” he said with an edge to his tone. “And second off, because I don’t know why you’d be so upset. Is that why we’re here at Hledshess? Do you have some sort of pent-up rage you need to let out?” He blinked. “Does it have to do with Yukkini?”
“No! Why would I be upset about her?”
“I was just asking….so what’s wrong, San-Kyung?”
“I’ll give you the same thing you gave me,” he muttered under his breath. “First off, it’s nothing important. And second off, if you won’t talk to me about what’s wrong with you, why should I talk to you about what’s wrong with me?”
Hurt reflected in Dosa-Mina’s eyes, and though it stirred a little sympathy in San-Kyung, it quickly died away in his rage.
“…I guess you have a point,” he said. “But you know, I’m more of a listener and not a teller. I’m concerned about you a lot, San-Kyung…so maybe, once we’re out of here, you might consider telling me what’s on your mind?”
“Are you going to tell me any of what’s on yours?”
Dosa-Mina fell silent.
“Until you say ‘yes’, the answer is no.”
He hopped across the stream. Feeling strongly conflicted, Dosa-Mina followed him.
“We cannot stand for this, Mr. Jwungeok!” A Ferreniao man said. “Those two adolescents are terrorizing all of Hledshess! Our children don’t feel safe in this area anymore!”
“Would they feel any more safe if we dealt with the adolescents?” Jwungeok asked.
“Of course they would!”
“That wasn’t something you were meant to reply to, Mr. Uun,” Jwungeok said, glaring. “It was simply a rhethorical.”
“Could yew use more casual language?” A Minomix man asked. Jwungeok rolled his eyes. “It was a….agh, maybe you’ll understand when I say it this way. What I mean is, Hledshess has never particularly been the most safe place to live in Bledger. Crimes happen here all the time. We are off the radar and this is considered a poor place by many standards and still we cannot keep several of the people who live here simply because they cannot pay rent. What’s so safe about it sans the adolescents?”
“We don’t have to worry about vandalism, for one,” he said. “Haven’t you seen!? One of them appears to be an Animated Pumpkin. Do you not remember the Yefustels? They could use seed bomb powers. What will we do if a child is outside and they let loose one of those seed bombs!?”
“I understand your concerns, Mr. Uun, but I don’t know what to do,” he sighed. “Dealing with the adolescents won’t deal with Hledshess’ many other underlying problems. And what means of identifying them do we have? One of them is an adolescent male who is an Animated Pumpkin; his partner we know virtually nothing about.”
“Yeah, and it’s not like we can tell by looking. All we know is he’s got brown skin–that could go for a lotta different species,” a Catori man said.
“But how many people with brown skin are there in Bledger?” Uun asked.
“Enough that scoping him out would still be difficult. And he could always lie about his involvement. Our best means of attacking them is to have our own law enforcement deal with them, because evidently Bledger’s as a whole isn’t all that interested in helping us….but I do worry that they are treating this as a ‘dead or alive’ situation.”
“Well we have to do something! You can’t just let this pass, Mr. Jwungeok! Can you sleep at night knowing that Hledshess is doomed?”
“I can barely sleep at night from many things. Hledshess being doomed is just one of them. I’ve learned to take it easier than my younger self handled such things.”
Uun grit his teeth. “I can’t take this anymore, Mr. Jwungeok. You’ve given up on us all. You don’t care anymore. If you won’t handle things, I don’t mind taking things into my own paws! I need to protect my family!”
“Then move from Hledshess, you imbecile,” Jwungeok sighed.
“You think it’s that easy, huh?” He muttered. “Well, guess what, it’s not. And maybe we like being cut off from most of Bledger. Keeps you away from more bad seeds like those boys. They’re probably bored by the lack of stuff they have to do and that’s why they’re coming here.”
“Are you trying to propose we make Bledger as a whole more interesting?” Jwungeok sighed. “How would we do that, Mr. Uun?”
“That’s not what I’m saying at all! Something needs to be done about these boys! Not even a riot worked!”
“Riots never work.”
“Says you!” Uun yelled. “I need ideas. I can’t go this alone. And you’re not helping any of us, Mr. Jwungeok. You’re just a–”
“Will you calm down if I suggest some ideas?” Jwungeok asked, irritation evident. “I don’t like what’s been happening to Hledshess as much as all you do. I love how it is separate from Bledger and so close to nature, closer than any place else here could ever be as far as I am concerned. I have lived here for many years, even when thinking this whole place doomed I have stayed. But I believed that even despite what was going on, even if this place was doomed, we’d persist anyway out of our own stubbornness. That thought makes me think I have more faith in Hledshess’ continued existence than you do, Mr. Uun.”
“I’m worried about my family!”
“You don’t need to spout the same repeated garbage,” Jwungeok said. After seeing the look of fury on Uun’s face, he continued, “Not that your family is garbage, simply your repetition of the same statement which I have heard millions of times from you since you have come to me with this complaint.”
“You can’t blame me. It’s not like I’m worried for myself.”
“I understand….in that case, how about we lay a trap for these adolescents? Perhaps there is something we can use to trap at least the Animated Pumpkin before he can do further harm.”
“If the Yefustels still lived here, we could take advantage of their vine powers,” Uun said bitterly.
“There’s no point in grumbling over things we could have been able to do in the past. The Yefustels were a very physically weak family. There is no guarantee any of them could have mustered the strength for such a task, nor that they would have agreed to go along with it in the first place. No, the trap set now must be something we can create, for there is no guarantee when these boys will arrive next.”
“They seem to arrive in the affernoon most times,” the Minomix man said.
“But that still won’t help us. Like I said, we need to lay a trap that will capture them most certainly. It might take a while to create, but all of us know what sort of payoff we would get from its existence. I’d at least be pushed to make it something amazing. And perhaps we would finally receive justice for all they’ve done to us…”
Jwungeok began to feel determined as he looked at the people of Hledshess, staring up at him with wondering eyes. He stood up and balled a fist.
“I pledge to you, my people of Hledshess, that we will revive our status! We shall lay a trap for these adolescent boys and make them pay for the terror they’ve caused us for so long! And once they have been dealt with, we shall deal with the problems Hledshess has had all along! Hledshess Street shall become one with nature, separate from Bledger while inside it and free!”
He smiled at the crowd, who began to cheer. “My apologies for thinking this place was doomed. I was not giving it the thought it deserved. Any place can be decimated with relative ease. The hard task is repairing a place so far gone. I love Hledshess. And I want all of you to love it too. Let us revive Hledshess Street into something better than it used to be!”
The crowd cheered.
“Hey, hey. How about we make a trap we can bury?” Uun suggested. “Then they won’t see it! And while they’re crashing around and causing a ruckus, they’ll likely run into it! Even if not the first time, the second time for sure!”
“That sounds like a plan, Mr. Uun,” Jwungeok said. “Let’s get to work, people!”
With one last cheer, the people of Hledshess set to work on their trap for San-Kyung and Dosa-Mina.
“What do you want from me, Dosa-Mina?” He snapped. “You’re acting even more clingy than usual.”
“I’m not clinging on to you, though…”
San-Kyung rolled his eyes. “I didn’t mean that way.”
“I’m just worried about you, that’s all,” Dosa-Mina said. “I know I’m not always honest about what’s on my mind. But I can tell you, it really worries me when you get upset like this…”
San-Kyung didn’t respond.
“I didn’t expect you to be sad today, so I was surprised. And you’re allowed to be sad, but…if you ever feel like you’re getting so sad that no matter what you do, you always feel that way, you have to tell me. I’m begging you.”
San-Kyung blinked hard. Dosa-Mina’s words had dug up an old feeling of his–a sadness he couldn’t explain.
‘Somebody has to notice.’
“…thanks, Dosa-Mina,” he said. “I’ll try. You’ve got to try too though, all right?”
‘Is he feeling better?’ Dosa-Mina wondered. Regardless, he followed San-Kyung on the path that led out of Hledshess.