house of cards // a drabble
He leaned against the wall, holding his hand over his eyes. The lights hurt, and in the distance, throbbing music pushed angrily against his tired ears. i'm so done, he thought, but he was too afraid say that out loud because someone might hear. The last time his thoughts worked their way out, nothing good had happened. So instead he bottled it up, waiting for nights like these.
Two red solo cups stood next to his stretched out legs; one was knocked on its side with the beer pooling out in an amber puddle. His cup, still full to the brim, mocked him.
even I can’t take away your problems.
He knew alcohol wouldn’t help. It only made things worse. He didn’t know why he got it out in the first place--let alone why he poured two glasses. The bitter taste in the back of his mouth took him back to happier days, when he drank for fun and because it was what the cool kids were doing. Every sip was like a punch to the throat.
He let his head loll back, his eyes soullessly surveying the room. This apartment, gritty and dark except for the faint string lights he’d hung carelessly the first night he slept here, had been his home when he had no place to go. Where his parents lived--he could barely call it a house, let alone a home--filled itself every night with empty stomachs and angry shouts and the resounding bark of his father’s disappointed voice. He’d been thankful to escape it. but that was before. Back when things were better. But now…
The longer he stayed, the less and less this dark place felt like a home.
It was no one’s fault. You couldn’t control the universe. You couldn’t see the bombshells hidden deep within years of friendship.
is this even worth it? he wondered, closing his eyes again. Would it be better just to leave and forget any of this ever happened?
What good had come out of the last year? Where was the happiness and contentment the adults claimed he would find? Dropping out of school, leaving his little sister to be the oldest in that house of anger and distrust, picking up the phone to hear the shaky voice of more bad news...none of that was what he thought he’d find.
Instead, all he had was lukewarm beer, the clothes on his back, and a few dollars in his back pocket.
And the lighter.
He wished he could wipe away everything that tiny object shoved into his thoughts. But there it was, pressing hard against his leg within his pocket. Maybe if he squeezed his eyes shut hard enough, this nightmare of a year would shatter and he would wake up, a happy boy again.
He couldn’t remember what happiness felt like.
He couldn’t even remember feeling anything. Just emptiness.
A door opened.
His friend was back. But for how long? Would they be able to smooth over all the unspoken rifts in this empty house?
He didn’t think so.
He opened his eyes to see him standing by his feet. He wore the same white shirt, stained around the collar, and ragged jeans, just like he always did. His hair clung to his forehead with greasiness, and his dark circles dragged so deep that he wondered if his friend was sleeping at all these days. He heard the door creak open on the nights he didn’t stay up, but that didn’t mean he slept. It just meant he was staring into the darkness, not walking the streets in a daze.
He wasn’t sure which was worse.
“Still up?” he asked, his voice more gravelly than usual. He nudged the cups, sloshing beer onto Jungkook’s jeans. “What, are you trying to get drunk again?”
maybe I am. maybe I want to forget the dead look in your eyes. at least you have ways of forgetting. I don’t have anything any more. not even you.
He said nothing.
he watched him through slitted eyes, then slung his jacket over one shoulder. “You should go to bed. Big day tomorrow.”
He laughed at that: a dry bark of a laugh that sent a chill through his being.
He sounded like his father.
He frowned. “Something wrong?”
He got on his feet, standing so he towered over his friend. He hated that looking down on him made power rush through him, but it was the only feeling that pushed through the darkness. He tried not to smirk. “Is there anything not wrong these days?”
The wrinkle between his eyebrows deepened. His blank brown eyes struggled to follow the younger boys bitter stare, but then they dropped to his chest, looking away like he always did. “Get some sleep, man,” he muttered. “Things will be better in the morning.” He pushed past him towards the bedroom, but the boy grabbed him by the arm.
“Why? Why do you keep saying that?” it was all he could do not to shake his friend--his brother; all the emotions he shoved away before built up inside him like a typhoon about to break. “Nothing ever changes here. We get up. We’re too tired to eat, to even turn the lights on. You go out, ‘to look for work,’ but I hear it in your voice. You’re not looking for a way out. You never have been.”
He blinked twice. His face pinched, like the words stung. “Neither have you, you punk.”
“Yeah?” he cocked his head to the side, biting his bottom lip until he tasted blood. “Well, at least I don’t pretend like everything's alright. Like you do.”
Then he did something he regretted for the rest of his life--he took both hands and shoved him across the room, slamming him against the wall.
The same thing his father had done to him so many times.
At this point, it didn’t even register. The festering anger had complete control over him. He leaned over his friend, who clung to the wall coughing. The older boy’s eyes were wild, not with fear but with hurt and confusion. He was so lost in his foggy world that he didn’t understand how this was happening.
That infuriated him.
“Why can’t we talk about what happened--why it hurts?” His voice caught. “I miss saying his name, man.”
His face finally hardened. “Stop.”
“You’re a fake,” he snapped. “I hate you.”
He launched himself off the wall, charging toward him, but the taller boy dodged him without even trying. He grabbed his sleeve, pulling him by his collar close to his chest. For a moment, everything stopped. The world froze in orbit, and all he could hear was the thump of his heart in his ears. His face was inches away from the older man, and he now had a front row seat to the brokenness. His eyes were dead and hopeless; his mouth a firm gash of anger across his face. This was nothing like the person he’d grown up. This wasn’t real.
it has to be a dream.
His arm rose and fell. His brother spun away, gasping. All he could do was blink slowly. A shot of electric pain spiked through his hand and up to his elbow. And then the dream shattered like crystal.
What had he done?
The older boy crouched on the floor, holding his face and staring at him with venomous eyes. “Get out,” he hissed. “Don’t come back here.”
He stared blankly at his brother--his only friend.
the only person I have left hates me now.
The sad thing was that he could no longer feel the twist in his stomach or the emptiness behind his chest. His throat no longer tightened.
He just felt broken.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, but there was no way he heard him. He was beyond that now.
He turned toward the door to leave, then paused. A great weight pressed against his leg. With a ragged sigh, he reached into his pocket and found the chilled lighter waiting. The cold sent shivers up his spine. He took a deep breath, then tossed it in his direction. He didn’t even look back as he left.
“I don’t want this any more,” he said as the door swung open. “I want nothing to do with it.”
I want to forget you ever happened.
this is a little bit that I wrote based on this teaser and music video. sorry if the he/him/older/younger thing was confusing; I was too lazy to make up new names and I didn't feel like using the singer's names. hope you enjoyed it!