Life was sweet. Then, it arrived at a shattering halt. Bang!
A blurry scene, blood on a hand, a muffled name and screams.
What I thought was the end was just the beginning.
That was before the crash.
* * *
September 21, 2019
I fell asleep at midnight and woke up at 1:30 AM. That’s all I have to say about how I’m feeling.
A manager was going to be here with us, too, but we just found out his wife went into labour thirty minutes ago. We were told another manager will take the next flight and meet us in New Zealand. Since there’s already a small group of staff and half of our bodyguards took a flight before us, there will be people to meet us at the airport.
I’m sitting in a waiting room right now. Since we barely got two hours of sleep after getting home late from the concert, everyone’s taking a nap before our gate opens. Jimin’s sleeping on my shoulder, so I’m trying not to move too much while I write. Now that I think about it, apart from those two months at OK, he’s always been nearby.
Okay, to make myself clear, I only decided to write in this journal now because there’s nothing else to do, not because I enjoy writing or anything. Besides, I caught up on writer Jinnie7_UwU’s latest masterpiece and my EarPods are at the bottom of my backpack so I can’t listen to music either. I would try listening out loud but everybody besides Namjoon-hyung and Hobi-hyung, who are sitting across from me, is sleeping.
Hobi-hyung is looking at me now. “Don’t mind me, just watching you write so intensely is fun,” he said. I told him I was bored.
Why am I documenting my life here? This is for feelings; this is not a diary. But what am I supposed to say about my feelings? Oh hey there, I’m the one who almost got Jungkook killed?
I think I need to sleep.
* * *
10 hours before the crash
I shift uncomfortably in my chair. I can’t sleep. My nerves or whatever it is won’t let me. I’m not afraid of planes. Hell, I’m part of a world-touring boy group—flying on planes is my job. But there’s this constant anxiety and irritability that’s stuck with me from last night. I’m always walking on thin ice right after. Who knows when it’ll break under my feet.
I don’t remember when I fell asleep, but the next thing I know, Hobi is nudging me. I jolt, waking Jimin. His eyes run from me to Jungkook before he picks up his bag. He rubs his eyes then jumps to his feet like he wasn’t sleeping a minute ago. How does he do that?
Our entourage of fourteen bodyguards guides us to our gate, but only two of them are going on the actual flight. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as too many bodyguards, but I guess Bighit thinks otherwise.
An unexpected shiver rolls over me. I close my eyes but the discomfort is still there.
I bump into someone, tripping over myself and flying forward. I brace for impact with the airport tiles, but I never reach them. Instead, three pairs of hands reach out to steady me, one of which I recognize as one of the bodyguards’ who calls himself K2.
“Maybe try walking with your eyes open,” Jungkook mutters before moving his hands quickly like he touched something hot.
Jin-hyung’s on the other side of me. I guess it was his shoulder I bumped into. “Are you okay? You look a bit pale.”
I shake my head and then nod. “I’m fine. Just tired and hot. No big deal.”
My answer works, but I catch Jin-hyung glancing at me all through our walk to the gate. Other than that, everything is normal as usual. These days all of Bangtanㅡexcluding Jungkook who doesn’t even make eye contactㅡhas been looking at me more.
We get through the out gate and file into a line in a hallway to get onto the plane. We hand the flight attendant our boarding passes with our passports folded over them. It’s not the best discussion for us.
I can’t tell if she recognizes us or not. I’m pretty sure she saw my passport photo, but she didn’t react. Quite professional.
I study her face just to make sure. Her dark hair is pulled into a bun under a small, dark green hat that matches her goldish-bronze skin tone. Her eyes are moon-shaped and deep obsidian like mine. Her name tag reads in both Hangul and English, but I don’t read it. I’ve been staring longer than I should. I smile despite the black mask covering my mouth and take my passport back from her.
She bows. “Row 8 seat B, enjoy your flight.”
“Y-You too,” I say without thinking and then cringe. I fight the urge to run away and walk gracefully down the aisle to the others, grabbing Jimin as I go.
“Don’t look back, just keep walking.”
Jimin stumbles behind me. “Why?”
“Yeah, why are you walking so fast, Taehyung?” Hobi and Jin-hyung say in unison.
“I said, ‘you too’.”
“What?” Jungkook says, sliding into his seat.
“She said ‘enjoy your flight’, and I said ‘you too’.”
Everyone laughs at my expense, and all I want to do is hide in a corner. An arm slings around my shoulder. “Don’t worry Taehyung-ah, I’m sure she’ll enjoy the flight, too,” Namjoon says.
Why do I even speak? My cheeks heat into a blush. She probably didn’t notice I said anything. She’ll forget what happened.
Luckily, I’ll never see her again after this flight.
* * *
Two hours before the crash.
The exhaustion never leaves. Instead, it doubles into arguably the worst I’ve ever felt while flying. Somehow, I still manage to eat some lunch.
I don’t try to keep my eyes open as I alter my position in the recliner once again. A whiff of chewing gum lingers in the air, pushing my breakfast dangerously close to escaping the wrong way. Even with the continuous stream of cold air coming from the air conditioner, sweat coats my forehead.
A pair of headphones slide over my ears from the seats behind us, where Yoongi and Hobi are sitting. The unfamiliar melody, which I can only assume is a track Yoongi is working on plays through. It’s soft and calming, and I don’t notice when I drift off to another world.
* * *
How dare V reject our goddess Leila! He dares!
What did she do to you?
Leave BTS. Men like you are just holding the rest of the group back.
* * *
I awake with a start. The plane shakes and takes shallow bobs up and down like it’s riding waves of air.
My vision swims as something gurgles in my stomach. Instinct tells me to get to the washroom.
“Ah, Tae, you’re awake! We have to land in Fiji for a—”
I don’t wait for Jimin to finish. I stumble past his legs and stagger down the aisle, almost falling onto Namjoon and Jungkook. The flight attendant from before stands beside a food cart. Great. I attempt a smile, but I can visualize how unnatural it looks and stop.
The plane jerks and I lose my balance, almost colliding with the flight attendant. My legs fumble to centre themselves but fail miserably. I’m convinced I’m going to fall, but she grabs hold of my arm and keeps me upright. Melodrama style.
“Are you okay?” she asks, making eye contact, her words muted by the pool of mush that is my brain and the sensation travelling up from my stomach.
I yank myself away from her hold and into the washroom. The plane dips slightly once again as I lean over the toilet and let everything out.
A shiver runs up my spine. The ever-growing jerks of the plane don’t help much in easing my stomach. When I think it’s over, the plane rocks, my stomach cramps and I’m back over the toilet tossing my cookies.
There’s a soft knock on the door. “Tae, are you in there?” Jin-hyung asks from the other side.
I groan, wishing the cycle doesn’t start again when I reply. “Yeah, I guess so, Hyung.” My voice comes out cracked.
I rise and heave myself in front of the sink and mirror. Without make-up, I look pale. My eyes are puffy from sleeping and surrounded by dark circles. Did I always look like this?
I grip the handle beside the sink just in time for the plane to take a meter plunge before jerking to one side, flinging me onto my knees in front of the toilet as the lights go out.
Someone bangs on the washroom door. Jin-hyung’s panic-stricken voice rings over the loud engine. “Taehyung, don’t panic but you need to get out of there. Now!”
‘Don’t panic’ he says. Way to make everything seem like a walk in the park. He sounds more panicked than me.
I pull myself to my feet and try to balance myself in the small, tilted washroom. Abruptly, the plane slants to the other side. The force propels me into the door. It swings free of the lock, and I roll out, my head smashing into something hard.
Dazed, I tumble onto my back and blink rapidly up at the ceiling as two horrified hyungs peer down at me. The pain washes over me in a flash. As smudges in my vision grow, I don’t resist. Instead, I let the darkness consume me.
Jhanée, better known under her Wattpad pseudonym Ocean_C, has been writing slightly messed up stories since the age of five. One writing accomplishment she’s proud of is being published in a Canadian anthology for young writers twice at ten and thirteen. Since then she’s retreated to writing fanfiction as procrastination. She hopes to someday improve her writing through fanfiction enough to get a novel published. This is an excerpt taken from “00:00 Tomorrow” by Ocean_C with permission. Read the full story here.