Welcome to another Kpopalypse fanfiction! Please enjoy the following story about everyone’s favourite k-pop boy group, BTS!
ANY ARMYS HERE? – A fanfiction by Kpopalypse
You wake up.
The first thing you’re conscious of is your breathing. When you exhale, the stale, warm air wraps around your face and head, closely.
The next thing that you notice is that it’s dark. You try to open your eyes, but you can’t. You flex the muscles of your eyelids – they seem to be working. Why isn’t light coming in? Your head feels heavy. You realise that your eyes are in fact functioning just fine, but there’s something bulky covering your head and preventing your vision. You lift a hand to try and take off the heavy object around your head, but a sharp pain shoots up from your wrist to the side of your chest. Your hands can’t move, they are restrained to a wooden object – the chair you are sitting on.
You try to flex each of your limbs in turn. Both your hands and legs are immobile, tied to the chair with something heavy. However you can move your head somewhat. Each time you tilt your head in any particular direction, a stabbing pain is produced which radiates from your forehead down to your torso.
You start to think about your predicament. Why are you tied to a chair, with something over your head? Why does your head hurt? You don’t know, you are unable to remember what brought you here. Then a far greater, more troubling realisation hits you – you don’t remember anything else, either. Who you are, where you are from, what you do with yourself from day to day, what events lead up to your current situation – all of this is a mystery to you. The knowledge that you have lost your memory is frightening. Does this mean that you are nothing, that you do not exist? You start panicking and trying to shuffle from side to side, but the restraints stop you.
“Hello? HELLO?” You shout.
No response. Then, after about ten seconds, faint footsteps approaching. You think to yourself for a moment and a sense of panic rises in your chest, as it occurs to you that perhaps vocalising your alertness wasn’t the best idea. Someone who would tie you to a chair probably doesn’t have your best interests at heart, and you’re completely vulnerable in your current position. You try not to think about what might happen next.
The footsteps become louder. You hear a heavy-sounding door open, and the footsteps become louder still. Eventually they stop. You can feel the presence of somebody, right in front of you. You’re unsure whether you should say anything more. Then you hear the footsteps again – the person in front of you is walking away. You consider shouting to tell them not to leave, but then do you really want them to stay? You wonder about asking them why you’re here, but would they tell you? The footsteps grow quieter, then the sound of a door closing, then more footsteps, quieter, off into the distance, until nothing.
As you can’t use your eyes right now, you focus on your other senses. The air smells musty and stale. You become aware of a faint ringing in your ears, but apart from the high-pitched wail it’s dead silent. You wonder if your ears always ring and you only notice when there’s no other sounds to distract you.
You remember something.
You listen to loud music often, in the gym. You’re a female trainee for k-pop agency SM Entertainment. You’ve been living away from your parents in the SM dormitory at their headquarters in Seoul for three years, since you were thirteen. You spend your days practicing gym, school and singing (but mainly gym), dreaming of one day debuting as a k-pop star, like your icons in your favourite SM Entertainment groups Girls’ Generation, f(x) and Red Velvet. Many of your closest friends told you that you couldn’t do it, that you will never be a star and would amount to nothing. They’re not your friends anymore. Your belief in yourself and your dream is unwavering, thoughts of k-pop stardom carry you through the ostracision, loneliness and grueling physical regime. The competition is tough and who knows whether you really chose the right path, but you didn’t come this far to just give up.
Time passes. With an increasing sense of uncertainty but no sensory information at all to process apart from a gradually growing hunger and increasing urge to urinate, the waiting is equal parts terrifying and boring. The pain in your head whenever you twitch a muscle makes it difficult to form coherent thoughts for extended periods. After a while the mental energy to keep yourself alert overwhelms you and you gradually fall asleep.
You wake up.
You feel confusion but only for a moment. You’re in the same predicament as before. A heavy object is over your head, your limbs are tied and you can’t see. However something has also changed. You can feel some more air circulation than usual. There’s also some rustling noises, coming from in front of you.
“I’m going to take the hood off. Close your eyes.” says a voice. A young female voice, she sounds like she’s about your age. She’s sitting right in front of you, only a few inches away.
You remain silent as she slowly removes the hood. You attempt to keep your eyes open, but you can’t, after so much darkness the sudden change in lighting conditions is too much. The searing pain of overexposure causes you to squint harshly as you wait for your eyes to adjust.
You remember something.
“Come on, keep your eyes open!” the photographer shouts.
“I can’t!” you scream. The pulses from the photographer’s light kit feel like they’re burning white light straight through your eyes and onto the inside of your skull. Aside from the flash attached to his camera, several other reflective surfaces positioned near your face to redirect light all add to the effect, bathing you in painful brightness. It’s almost impossible to do the poses under these conditions. At least this is only a training session.
“You’ll never be an idol if you can’t deal with a photo flash!” the cameraman reprimands.
You try to cover your eyes, but there’s nowhere you can put your hand that blocks out everything. “Can’t I just wear sunglasses?”
“The eyes are the windows to the soul. Your soul is for sale. Your audience needs to be able to window-shop.”
A tear forms. Could this really get in the way of your success? You had never even considered that your above-average photosensitivity might be a barrier to idol life. How could such a trivial thing be so important?
After about a minute, your eyes can focus. You’re in a small room. The walls are lined with posters and magazine clippings, but you can’t really focus on any of them right now, your eyes are too strained. There’s a girl in front of you, sitting in the exact same type of wooden chair that you’re sitting in. She’s about your age, but you don’t recognise her. She has long, straight black hair, and is wearing a school uniform. There’s a small radio positioned on a belt around her waist, it looks like the radio units that k-pop stars wear onstage, but slightly bigger. She’s staring at your face, seemingly fascinated.
“Wow. You’re really fucked up.” She says this flatly, with seemingly zero empathy. She reaches out a hand and touches your forehead. A shooting pain arcs across your body as you contort in agony as much as your arm and leg restraints allow. The girl flinches back in reflex, wincing, conscious of the fact that she’s caused you discomfort.
“Who are you?” you ask.
“Need-to-know basis only.” the girl replies, coolly.
“Who am I?” you ask.
The girl raises an eyebrow at you. “You mean… you don’t know?”
You shake your head.
“Then how the fuck do you expect me to know, if you don’t even know?”
You stare at her for a while. She stares back. It occurs to you that she might be telling the truth. But if she doesn’t know, then why are you here? Why you?
“Why am I here? Why me?” you ask.
“Just because.” The girl smirks at you slightly.
“Hey…” you ask.
“What?” The girl looks like she’s losing her patience with your questions. You don’t want to annoy your captor any more than necessary – there’s no telling what she might do. You figure you’d better make this your last question, and something important.
“I really need to pee. Can I pee?”
“Oh fucking GROSS.” The girl grabs the hood and places it quickly back on your head. “Don’t go anywhere!” she says without a trace of irony or humour, storming out of the room. You gradually adjust to the darkness again.
After what seems like an eternity, you hear the footsteps of the girl approaching.
“Hood coming off” she says briskly, before ripping the hood off your head straight away. The girl sits in front of you and waits for you to stop squinting. As you gradually adjust to the light, you notice that the girl has a knife pointed directly at your throat, the blade only centimetres away.
“We are going for a trip. I’m going to cut your restraints, so you can walk. I guarantee you that if you do anything weird, I will chase you, and I will cut you. Maybe you’re important to somebody, but you’re not important to me. Are we clear?”
You nod your head gently so as to not increase the proximity of the knife to your throat. The girl removes the knife and uses it to cut the ropes around your wrists and ankles.
“Stand.” says the girl.
You slowly stand up. Your body aches under the sudden movement after so much time sitting down.
“Hands above your head, and walk slowly to the door.”
You walk to the door, and reach for the handle.
“I didn’t fucking say to open it!” yells the girl. “Keep your hands above your head!”
The girl places the hood back on your head. Your heart sinks as your vision returns back to darkness.
“Now you can open the door.”
You fumble for the handle and open the door slowly. Just as you’re finished opening the door, the girl grabs you by the waist and spins your body around a few times, then pushes your forward in what may or may not be a different direction.
“Move forward. There’s another door a few feet away. Go.”
You move forward as instructed. You keep nudging the walls as you walk – it’s hard to judge distances in darkness and with your hands held high. Normally you would put your hands in front of you in the dark to sense objects before your torso reaches them, but not an option in this scenario.
“Open the door in front of you. Then turn around to face me, and walk backwards slowly.”
You do as instructed, however when you walk backwards, you fall – onto a toilet cistern.
“Congratulations, you’ve found the toilet. Take a pee or whatever, I don’t want to know, then knock and I’ll let you back out. I’ll be waiting.”
The girl closes the toilet door, trapping you inside. You immediately take the hood off. Staring right at you, on the inside of the toilet door, is a huge poster that covers the entire door surface:
You remember something.
Every Sunday you had some time off. Most of the other trainees would use this time to practice in the gym, or leave the dorms and visit friends or family. You would lock yourself in the dorm toilet cubicles (the only place you could be guaranteed privacy) and browse pictures of k-pop boys. The boy-group site you’d visit most often is kpopmanmeat4u.com, which frequently posted images of popular boy groups. As a result you can recognise most of the guys in most of the popular boy groups, even though you don’t really listen to their music and wouldn’t be able to identify a particular boy group by sound alone.
The toilet cubicles weren’t always private though. One time you were browsing kpopmanmeat4u.com in a cubicle and you dropped your phone. The phone bounced under the partition and onto the floor of the cubicle next to yours, where one of the other trainees was sitting.
“Oh my god! Any Army’s here?” she exclaimed, looking at the picture of Jimin from BTS’s ripped abs which you happened to be observing at the time, that had landed face-up on the floor.
“Give me back my phone!” you screamed.
“No way! I want to see more!” The girl started looking through the gallery on your phone, where you had saved some of the best images from the site for later use. After a mortifying five minutes of this girl drooling over your photo gallery, she slid the phone back under the partition to you.
“You can have a wank now, you fucking slut! I’ll enjoy telling everyone about this!” the girl laughs at you as she walks out of the toilets.
You can’t look at your phone now, you don’t know where it is. You don’t know where you are either, other than you’re in a toilet looking at a BTS poster. With the girl waiting outside you feel self-conscious and can’t really enjoy looking at the picture, so you do your business quickly and then knock on the door.
“Took your time” says the girl waiting outside, unlatching the toilet door and opening it. As soon as you appear she immediately grabs the hood and puts it back on your head. She then marches you back to the other room using a similar process, and forces you to sit down in the chair you were in before. She then uses rope to refasten your wrists and ankles to the chair, and leaves you, the hood still on your head.
You are in the same room. A few hours have passed. The hood is still on your head. Your captor is here, having entered and exited the room a few times.
“Excuse me, can I ask something?” you ask.
“Go ahead.” says the girl, audibly groaning. You can hear some beeping noises, you’re pretty sure you’re interrupting her playing games on her phone.
“Do I get to eat or drink sometime?”
“No, because then I have to take you to the toilet more. Do you think I enjoy taking you to the fucking toilet?”
“Why am I here?”
“Need-to-know basis only.”
“Did I do something wrong? Am I being punished?”
“Am I being held to ransom?”
The girl sighs loudly. “No. For fuck’s sake.”
“Can you like fucking shut up? I’m not supposed to tell you anything!”
“I’m sorry, I’m hungry!”
At this point the radio on the girl’s belt activates.
“Any Armys here?” says a crackly female voice on the other end of the radio.
“Armys here”, says the girl.
“Where is she?” says the crackly voice.
“Right here. She’s okay. Give me a moment. When are you coming?” The girl starts walking out of the room while talking.
The girl is too far away for you to hear the radio voice, so you can now only hear the girl’s end of the conversation.
“Why does it always have to be me?”
“No, seriously. Why can’t one of the others?” asks the girl as she exits.
Your stomach rumbles. You never did get that question answered about food.
You remember something.
You’re standing in a line, in the gym, with all the other trainees. You are at the head of the line.
Your manager, a 40-something man, points at you. “You – get on the scales.”
You walk onto the scales and look down. According to the scales you weigh 53.1kg. The manager comes over and looks at the measurement.
“53.1 kilograms! Holy hell, you are one fat bitch. Get off the scales porky, they are expensive! You’ll break those!” The manager is sure to speak loud enough so the entire room can hear clearly. “What do you have to say for yourself, you fat fuck? Why are you such a pig?” The manager’s face is swollen and red as he rages at you.
You say nothing. You can hear some of the other trainees in the group snickering. You can feel that you’re about to cry.
The manager continues, furiously addressing the entire room. “You are so heavy, we could not put you in the tour van, it would wear out the delicate suspension! Do you really think you can become an idol? Do you really think this is the acceptable standard for SM Entertainment? Why are you crying? Why are you still standing on the scales, you disgusting tub of lard? Do we need a special crane to lift you off, are you that fucking fat? Roll yourself off our precious gym equipment and into the bad corner!” The manager points to the far corner of the gym. “Stand over there with your nose against the corner, so you don’t take up too much space! I’ll deal with you later!”
Some of the trainee group openly start laughing. You walk off the scales and into the far corner, sobbing.
You sit alone in the darkness. The girl is having an argument with the person on the other end of the radio, but she’s too far away for you to catch more than the odd word. You can tell, however, that it’s about you.
A few hours pass. You can hear approaching footsteps and the heavy door opening. It’s the girl. She sits in front of you, and lifts your hood up so your mouth is exposed, but your nose and eyes are still covered.
“Open up.” she says.
You open your mouth and the girl slides something into it. You recognise the taste and smell immediately – a chocolate bar. You eat the bar hungrily, almost as quickly as she can shove it down your throat. It’s been a long time since you’ve had this much sugar in one hit, as you digest the bar you can feel the warmth of the sugar entering your bloodstream.
“Don’t tell anyone I gave you this, or you’re fucking dead!”, the girl whispers at you.
You finish chewing the bar quickly. “You’re not from SM” you say.
“Fuck SM, they can go and die”, says the girl, emphatic but deadpan, like she says it a thousand times per day. “Let’s take a look at your head.”
The girl quickly removes the hood from your head and places it in her lap. You close your eyes as your pupils once again adjust to the room’s brightness.
“You still looked fucked.” The girl examines your forehead. Her head is close to yours, when you feel her breath close to your forehead it’s enough to cause a stabbing pain to radiate through your head. You feel like your head has become more sensitive to pain over time, not less.
“What happened to me?” you ask, still blinded.
“Oh, I did this.” The girl sounds nonchalant.
“I might have hit you a bit too hard. Sorry, it’s nothing personal.”
You remember something.
The entire group of trainees is on the floor of the gym, at SM Entertainment, doing sit-ups. Your gym coach is here, walking around the room and yelling at the trainees.
“1, 2, 3… let’s go! Let’s get those lardbodies in shape! 4, 5, 6, 7… I expect 100 sit-ups in 100 seconds!”
You start off well but by about the 70th sit-up your abdomen aches. The pain is unbearable, and you begin to fall behind. The gym coach races over to you and kneels down.
“Hey you fucking lazy bitch, what’s your problem? Can you fucking keep up?”
You continue to do sit-ups, and try to improve your pace, but it’s impossible to keep up with the group. The coach strikes you in the stomach with the side of his fist. You stop and collapse around your stomach in pain.
The coach yells in your ear. “I didn’t say stop, you fucking slob! Why are you holding up the group like this? What’s your problem? Do you think you’re special? Let’s go, get those sit-ups done!”
You do another sit-up, and at the top of the movement the coach punches you in the stomach a second time, harder. You collapse to the floor once again.
“What’s the fucking problem? Do you need to take a break to do your nails? Are you a fucking cripple? Is your name Hwayoung? This isn’t MBK where we let any old slob in! Last I checked you had two working arms and two working legs! Get moving, fatso, or I’ll make you do another hundred!”
With tears in your eyes, you resume doing sit-ups, but your stomach is now in such pain, you can only go at half speed.
The coach continues to berate you. “Awwww… what’s the matter, did you get hurt? Are you upset? Did somebody upset you? Please feel free to tell me all about it, I think we could squeeze in a counseling session in between each and every one of those slow sit-ups of yours. Would you like that, fatty? Now get moving!”
You can hear some of the other trainees in the group laughing to themselves. This hurts worse than your abdomen. You continue to do sit-ups, as the coach finally stands up and continues to walk around the room. At least no more punches for now.
The girl puts the hood back on your head, before you can properly focus your eyes to the light. “Sorry but I really don’t want to look at that disgusting mess any more.”
“Am I okay?”
“No, not really.”
“Can I see a doctor?”
“Of course not.”
The girl doesn’t answer. You hear her get up and walks out of the room, and the heavy door shut behind her.
A few hours pass.
You hear multiple footsteps approach, and the door swing open.
“That’s her?” says a female voice. You don’t recognise the voice, it’s new.
“Yeah, that’s her.” The other voice is the girl from before.
“She’s kind of… fat? Are you sure she’s a trainee?”
“Can we take the hood off?”
The girl removes your hood. You close your eyes as the searing light penetrates your eyelids. The light seems brighter than before.
You hear a gasp. “Holy fucking shit! What did you DO to her?”
“I’m sorry. I hit her a bit too hard, I think.”
“You think? You fucking think? Fuck! How many times did I tell you – NOT the face! Fucking hell…”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“This one is useless. They’re not going to want her. Not when they see her like this. Plus she’s fat. They’re probably happy to be rid of her.”
You gradually open your eyes as your pupils try to adjust.
“Should I put the hood back on? She’ll be able to see soon”.
“It doesn’t matter at this point. You fucked up. Get out.”
“You’re not going to!”
“You’re NOT supposed to make friends with them, you dumb cunt! I knew you were too soft for this. Get the fuck out! Don’t come back in until I say!”
“Some army you are.”
You hear loud footsteps and a loud bang as the girl storms out of the room and slams the door. Then, nothing.
The other girl sits down in the chair opposite yours, and waits for your eyes to calibrate to the light levels. After a couple minutes, you can see the room clearly for the first time. Two chairs, a metal door. All the walls are covered in posters, clippings from magazines, printouts of blog pages, all are all related to BTS somehow. The room is small enough that the walls are close, you can read the headlines of the articles clearly.
“BTS new single released at midnight tonight!”
“Check out BTS’s Jimin in this hot pictorial!”
“BTS robbed of #1 once again”
“ARMYs fight with EXO-L at EXO fanmeet”
“BTS performance stats on Melon”
“SM, YG, JYP express concern at escalating ARMY behaviour”
“Fanmeet for BTS shuts down due to online threats”
“Three wounded outside BTS concert in fandom-related incident”
“BTS fans demand to SM – ‘confess chart-manipulation or else'”
“Charting the massive rise of BTS, k-pop’s new #1 boy group?”
“17 trainees go missing from SM Entertainment, ARMYs suspected”
“ARMYs make demands – exchange sajaegi documents for trainees”
“BTS fan suicides after meeting her idols: ‘I’ll never be with them'”
You remember something.
You’re in your dorms. You’ve just woken up in bed to find one of the other trainees is straddling your chest. She’s holding a pillow with both hands, above your head. Around her, several of the other trainees watch, and some of them hold your arms and legs outstretched. You try to struggle but their combined strength is much more than yours.
“Your dancing in our group stage was utter shit. Sliding around everywhere like a fat bitch. Our group failed the performance test because of you.”
The trainee pushes the pillow into your face, smothering you completely. Ten seconds later she lifts the pillow up again. You take a quick breath before she brings the pillow down again for another twenty seconds. She lifts up the pillow again and you gasp, hyperventilating from both the lack of oxygen and the stress.
The trainee straddling you stares at you menacingly. “We can kill you easily. We’ll just say it was suicide. Everyone would believe that, because you’re such an emo kid, crying all the time. You’re fucking pathetic.”
You gasp as the pillow is thrust into your face for another twenty seconds, then released.
“Get better, you worthless fatty. We’re watching.”
The new girl sitting in front of you also looks about your age, with long, straight hair, that’s tied in a ponytail. She’s also dressed in a school uniform, although it’s from a different school to the other girl, and she also has a radio slung around her waist. She’s carrying a heavy-looking object in one hand, something you’ve never seen before, it looks like a cross between a gun and some kind of hardware tool. As you see the tool, the girl smiles at you.
“Do you have anything to say?” asks the girl.
“What’s that thing?” you ask, looking at the tool.
“This is a nailgun. Looks weird, hey?”
“I… need to poop.”
The girl thinks for a moment. “She fed you, didn’t she?”
You say nothing.
“Let me ask you something, have you ever…”
Her question is interrupted by her radio, which abruptly squaks into life. “Any Armys here?” says a crackly female voice.
The girl grabs the radio and replies. “Army’s here.”
“Good! The army’s here!” says the voice.
“Yes, that’s what I just said.”
“No, the army!”
“What?” The girl looks confused.
“The army, stupid!”
“Yes, Army’s here! Don’t call me stupid! What do you want?”
“Fuck! The army, you idiot!”
Some scratchy noises on the radio, and then silence. The girl looks at you. Then, a crackle emanates from the ceiling, and darkness.
“Fucking lights, not again.” the girl sighs. “Don’t go anywhere.”
You hear the girl stand up and walks over to the door. Before she can reach it, you hear a loud metal clanging sound from the door, followed by a series of rapid clapping noises. Each pop is accompanied by a blast of white light that fills every corner of the room. Both yourself and the other girl scream as you are both blinded. You hear the sound of more footsteps, and more radio chatter, male this time. Then nothing.
You remember something.
You’re in school, you’re thirteen years old. The teacher is addressing the class.
“Everybody write down what you want to do when you leave school. Put it in the box that’s going around the room. Don’t put your name on it. Then, I’ll draw each piece of paper, and we’ll discuss the career!”
The class all co-operate and fill the box, then the teacher draws out a random piece of paper.
“This one says ‘a pop star’. Hmm, we’ll talk about that later. Let’s try another one, I want to talk about something else first.” The teacher grabs another piece of paper, and doesn’t read out loud what it says, she just puts it straight down. Then the teacher tips up the box, spreads out all the pieces of paper on her desk, and begins searching through them. “Oh come on guys, not everyone can be an idol, you need to be a bit more realistic. Ah, here’s one – a hairdresser! Why do you think people would want to be hairdressers?”
“So they can do hair for pop stars”, quips one of the students. The whole class laughs.
You wake up. You’re in a hospital bed. Your mother is here. She smiles at you.
“I’m so glad to see you! I was so worried about you! I know you don’t want to talk right now, the doctor says you shouldn’t talk or move your head for a while. I bought you a new phone, it’s okay to use it, the doctor says just don’t spend too much time on it, okay? You need to rest, so I’ll see you later.”
You smile back and nod, weakly. Your mother waves and leaves the room. You pick up the phone, and go through the activation process. You’re not in the mood for kpopmanmeat4u.com right now, so instead you search to see if you can find any articles about your predicament. You don’t have to search for long.