rly discharge because my f*cking old man was still around.
Father, is it? Am I supposed to call a bastard who drinks himself to a stupor, beats his children up, and ransacks the house whenever he gets bored…
my father? Really?

If only that bastard were dead, I would have gotten out of here already.
But he's still sticking around, preventing me from going home.
Then, who's looking after Min-Gi?

That kid is still in middle school, so who's taking care of him? And what about Grandma?]


Kang Jin-Ho closed the exercise book, then silently mouthed a fresh cigarette.
couldn't bear to read any further.

If he kept reading this diary, he feared he would charge straight into the 1st Squad's living area.
He had never considered himself to be an emotional or a sentimental person, but that assessment seemed to have been wrong after all.

'I have to finish reading this.'

Reading it was painful, but Kang Jin-Ho had to know what happened.
He had to know what they had done to Ju Yeong-Gi and learn what Ju Yeong-Gi felt.
This was the only act of repentance Kang Jin-Ho could perform for failing to extend a helping hand to Ju Yeong-Gi much sooner.


[All I can do now is to keep enduring and get discharged as soon as possible.
I can't think of any other way.

What if I beat up a senior and get thrown in jail? Min-Gi, my only sibling…
He's gonna be alone.

I gotta hold myself back.

No matter what happens to me, I gotta endure it.
That's the only thing I can do as Min-Gi's big brother.
Right now, Min-Gi must be doing his best to nurse Grandma while dealing with our sh*tty father's violent streak all on his own.

I'm scared.
My remaining service duration feels so bloody long.
It feels like I'm going more insane every day.
I think I can hear weird noises whenever I close my eyes.
And nightmares are the only things I dream of lately.

Going on leave should help me perk up.


[I don't have any energy.
Feels like I can't get myself to do anything.
I don't know why the beatings feel more painful now.
Is it because the beatings have gotten worse, or has my body gotten too frail?

I'm scared.
My seniors look like devils to me.

Why don't they care that I'm hurting? It's so hard for me, so can't they see it? Those bastards were laughing while stepping on my legs.
They really looked like devils back then.

Did I… did I look like that to others in the past?]


[I dropped the shampoo bottle during the shower, and they started hitting me right there and then.
I'm used to getting hit, but when they stepped on my junk, I felt something totally indescribable.
I seriously thought about killing myself just then.
That had to be the first time in my life.
Why am I dealing with this bullsh*t? Everything will be over if I'm dead, right?

No, that's not right.

I need to think about Min-Gi.

I cannot be weak.
If I keep enduring, they will eventually get discharged.
And I'll get out of here not too long after that.
Yeah, that's right.]


[They told me to smile.

I don’t see anything funny here, so I don't know why they are telling me to smile.
When I didn't smile, they said they'd help me with that, and they began to shove toothbrushes into my mouth.

They forced me to sleep while mouthing broken toothbrushes.
I think I finally know what that old saying means.
The one about getting beaten up is more preferable…]


[I heard somewhere that a person will get used to pain, but that has to be a lie.
I never got used to all the repeated beatings.
Instead, I'm more scared of them now.
I finally know what it feels like to get beaten up, so that makes sense, right? I get so scared even before they start hitting me.

And I'm scared of waking up in the morning.

I sometimes think it'll be nicer to just…
Go to bed at night and never wake up again.]


[Would I be any help to Min-Gi after leaving this place? I'm just a piece of trash, after all.

Maybe, the reason why I am going through all this sh*t is that I'm a pathetic loser.
It's not just Kim Hak-Cheol or Noh Su-Bong, but everyone else has begun to treat me like a loser now.

Since everyone says I'm a loser…
Maybe I am one?

Do I even deserve to live?]


[I couldn't sleep for the last five days.

I can no longer tell what I've been thinking about until now.
I even freaked out at a night watch's flashlight in the middle of the night.
I think I screamed back then, and the bastards dragged me to the boiler room.

But they didn't hit me.
And I still didn't get hit.
They just…
left me standing in the boiler room until daybreak.

I want…
to go to bed.]


Trash, trash, trash, trash, trash, trash…

Trash, trash, trash…
Trash, trash, trash, trash…

Trash, trash, trash, trash, trash, trash, trash, trash, trash, trash, trash…]


[I finally learned that Noh Su-Bong's father is someone powerful.
He asked me about my sick grandma.
He asked if she was okay.

I'm scared.
How did he find out about my family's situation? I'm terrified that, even after getting out of here, I won’t be able to escape their grasp.]


[I threw up in the middle of the meal.
Noh Su-Bong acted all nice and caring, asking me if I was alright.

But, I…
Instead of getting angry at that disgusting fake act, I'm angrier at myself for feeling grateful and breaking down in tears right there.
At this rate, I'm just a dog that wags his tail whenever his master hands out treats and obediently accepts getting beaten up.]


[I'm too tired.]


[I can't talk about this to anyone.
No one.]


[I tried to test the waters with the quartermaster, but he simply glared at me coldly.
Now, I know for sure.
It was my fault all along.
Not them…]


[Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…]


I'm scared.]


The diary ended there.

Kang Jin-Ho closed the cover, his expression flat and cold.
He slowly got up and headed back to the emplacement before shoving the diary back inside the bundle of camouflage netting.
He then leisurely walked back to the barracks…
as if nothing had happened.

His steps were definitely not slow, yet they weren't fast either.
As he walked back to where the others were, a tall, grim shadow began to stretch behind him.


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