The La-Iin Series
“Contemplation and Consideration”
“I gave you those nightmares.”
“I wanted to prevent what happens in your nightmares from happening again.”
Those two sentences had been repeating on a constant loop within Dosa-Mina’s mind ever since Sunday, and still he felt he couldn’t make sense of the situation at all. Each time he tried to think of some sort of reasonable conclusion, he fell short.
On one hand, it was incredibly likely that Kkumneok was a creation of his mind. On another, what he had said about visiting San-Kyung’s dream, and that San-Kyung had dreamed someone similar to him at all, rose many questions.
On one hand, it seemed improbable that someone from wherever Kkumneok was, be it another time or the future, could exist at all–even with the absurdities of a Witch’s powers existing in the world, it simply made no sense. On the other hand, the events were so clear in his dream that he almost felt like he himself were living through them. Some nights he could barely tell he was in the midst of a nightmare.
No matter what kind of sense he tried to make of it, it didn’t seem to make any, and slowly he was feeling as though he was being driven mad. He felt terrible for focusing so much time on the subject–he could tell his parents were more than a little curious about the way he had been acting recently–especially when San-Kyung had an immediate issue that he knew he should attend to. His time was better spent, and more enjoyably spent, searching for another way or at least a certainty that transforming permanently was absolutely and undeniably impossible.
Though with the state San-Kyung’s mind was in, he strongly hoped against the latter.
The state of his friend’s mind and Kkumneok’s words had stirred within him another concern. If perhaps all of what he said was true, and there was some reasonable explanation–perhaps if he came from the future, there Witches and Warlocks had discovered time travel, he certainly wouldn’t put it past them–wasn’t it also possible that preventing the future was impossible? All that made him consider otherwise was the nightmares he had of La-Iin’s death.
Who exactly was Kkumneok that he discovered such a way to talk to people in dreams, that he knew where to find him? Even if he met with Kkumneok in a dream again, he doubted that question of his would ever be answered.
Whatever the answer to all of these questions was, Dosa-Mina wasn’t sure he was ready for them or would particularly care to hear them. Already skeptic as he was, he had near wanted to strangle Kkumneok when he had said that he was the one who gave him his nightmares.
What was the truth in all of this? And how exactly could he find out what it was?
“Rival-boy, you look constipated,” La-Iin said.
“Are you alright, Dosa-Mina?” Fer-Shi asked.
“Like, this is weird. I don’t think he’s smiled for like, days now,” Airy-Aekok said.
“He’s barely smiled all this week, and he hasn’t latched on to San-Kyung once. Although that’s happened before in the past.” Lirako told her.
“I hope he’s alright.” Deki-Tyunri said.
Hearing all those students commenting on him made him want to leave the classroom right then, but he pushed down the feeling. It would only make them comment further, he knew. He glanced at San-Kyung. San-Kyung’s head was bowed and his eyes looked empty. If Dosa-Mina hadn’t been used to him making similar expressions recently, he would have been concerned.
‘The two of us sure do have a lot in common,’ he thought. ‘We both have issues with our true forms, and we’re both like this now…’
He was even more concerned about San-Kyung. This kind of behavior only reminded him of the way he acted in his nightmares–and that, in turn, reminded him of what Kkumneok had told him. It brought another thought to mind–perhaps, by meddling in the affairs of a place he didn’t belong in, Kkumneok would only cause the tragedy that happened wherever he came from to happen earlier than it was supposed to, if the tragedy had really happened at all.
The mere thought of it was enough to prompt him to unconsciously squeeze San-Kyung’s hand, and though San-Kyung shot a glance in his direction, he barely noticed it. Even if it was some sort of imagination, he still had to try his best to help San-Kyung. That much he was certain of.
“Geez, I guess some things don’t change no matter how sad they are,” Lirako sighed.
“What do you mean by that?” Asked Deki-Tyunri. Lirako pointed at the two’s hands. Deki-Tyunri lowered his head.
“Come on, Deks, you know not to get upset by that. Dosa-Mina does it all the time even if San-Kyung protests. And I think he’s too sad to protest him doing that right now.”
“Do you think I should try approaching him? I was considering it, but I…”
Lirako shook her head. “I’d love to say yes, Deki-Tyunri, but my guess is he’ll either get mad at you or it won’t matter that you went up to him because he’ll pretend you don’t exist.”
Deki-Tyunri sighed. “And I’d love to argue against that, but you’re probably right…”
When Dosa-Mina went to bed that night, it seemed as if a nightmare had started immediately–or rather, several of them. All around him there were square screens reflecting various events–San-Kyung’s depression, several times over. The hopelessness that Dosa-Mina felt. One happy event that was compounded by San-Kyung breaking out in tears, and their respective suicides, along with La-Iin’s.
The setup of it was enough to prompt him to call for Kkumneok, but the strange boy never arrived, and the scenery around him didn’t change. Dosa-Mina reached out to touch one of the strange screens, wondering if there was some way to turn them off and destroy the cacophony of so many tragedies occurring around him, but when he touched the one that depicted La-Iin’s suicide, it merely surrounded him and made him relive that same nightmare. On the sight of La-Iin’s suicide, as her blood started to drain, the dream began to disappear and all around him seemed to be sights comprised of the other nightmares once again and actual events from his life, both happy and sad.
As soon as Dosa-Mina woke up, he didn’t take the time to try and fight off the urge to harm himself. He simply reached for the small knife and cut several times at his scars. Once he was done he felt briefly concerned, wondering if he had cut enough to make him bleed as badly as he did in the nightmare, but when he checked the flow of blood it didn’t seem to be nearly as much as he had expected.
He felt terrible and confused. San-Kyung was falling into a depression, he didn’t know whether or not to believe Kkumneok–and either way, an explanation for why exactly that incident had happened–he had Lirako and Airy-Aekok pursuing his true species, and he was bleeding from cut wounds he had inflicted himself, cut wounds that San-Kyung already knew existed.
His own life felt as though it was on a downward spiral as well. And recovering it seemed near-impossible at the point he was at. He felt as though he should try, but he was exhausted. He rubbed a particularly sharp wound with the underside of his blanket to slow the bleeding, then lay back down, unconcerned of whether he was going to have a nightmare again or not. Whichever happened it certainly wasn’t going to affect him all that much, or at least not any more than he was already affected.
As he drifted off, he found one slightly disturbing thought crossing his mind–one that wished his and San-Kyung’s parents would die so that they could have an excuse to end themselves already.
“Elai-Riya, I don’t think Dosa-Mina will be all that happy if you’re ransacking his room,” Orlin-Aesth said.
“He won’t be able to tell. See? I’m putting everything back as it was before. Dosa-Mina has an annoying habit of not telling me when he’s taken something for general usage.”
“You could just ask him when he gets back, you know.”
“I need it now! Oh, maybe he’s hiding it on his bed.”
As she lifted up his blanket, she was startled to see what looked like traces of blood.
“Orlin-Aesth, has Dosa-Mina hurt himself recently? You know, come home with a bloody knee or something like that?”
“No, he’s been fine as far as I’ve seen. Why?”
“Does that look like blood to you?”
Orlin-Aesth walked over to the blanket and sniffed at the spot. “It smells like his blood to me.”
Elai-Riya stared at it, concerned.
“He probably just hurt himself a little bit and got it on the blanket. We can ask him when he gets back.”
“I suppose so.”
Something in Elai-Riya told her that getting a clear answer from Dosa-Mina would be nigh impossible, but when he came home she broached the subject anyway.
“I did get a small injury the other day, but it wasn’t bleeding much. I guess it must have still been bleeding when I went to bed.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“I’m not little anymore, Mom. I was able to take care of it. Though I guess not as well as I thought. Can I go now?”
Elai-Riya noticed, when she looked quickly, that Dosa-Mina’s hands seemed to be shaking. She was tempted to question him further, but the look in Dosa-Mina’s eyes told her that if he was hiding something, she wouldn’t get an answer anytime soon.
‘Still, what could he have been doing to get that injury if he’s worried about telling me?’
“You can go,” she sighed. Dosa-Mina smiled and head off.
‘If I can’t get through to him directly, there’s always the sneaky way,’ she reminded herself. Just the mere thought of tricking her son into talking made her feel terrible, but she felt it was her only way.