In a spectacular bit of coincident timing, on Tuesday night a webcam observing the Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica captured this video of a shooting star - a meteor, a small piece of solar system debris entering our atmosphere - flying over the plume of the erupting volcano.
Mentions/attempt at sexual assault. Not as bad as it seems. Ends with fluff.
“You need money, right? Stop being so damn stingy.”
“Leave me alone.”
Guan Shan’s face burned, humiliation rising in his gut. He tried again to push off the wall and walk around the man, but a hand on his chest shoved him back. His head hit the brick wall with a snap and stars erupted before his eyes.
“This is exactly why your old man’s in jail. He didn’t have a backbone, either. Now just stay still.”
Hands reached for his belt, and panic leapt in his throat.
“Hush it! You’re nice to us, we’re nice to you, understand? Then maybe I won’t pay a visit to your mom tomorrow, if you know what I mean–”
Mo Guan Shan shoved at the man in horror.
A fist hit his face and pain erupted in his jaw. Tears grew in his eyes and he didn’t move as the man pushed him back against the wall, undoing his jeans, while helplessness seeped into him.
Not his mom.
Anything but that.
Guan Shan swallowed and closed his eyes, setting his throbbing jaw as he heard the man undo his own belt and zipper, trying to quell his disgust.
Before him, the man gave a yelp and Guan Shan tensed. But then the hands disappeared from him and the sound of scuffles and fists hitting skin erupted. Guan Shan’s eyes shot open, and he froze in shock and horror.
The man was thrown to the ground, staring up at his assailant.
That tall, lean frame and dark hair were unmistakable.
He Tian didn’t seem to hear him.
“Get out of here,” he growled at Guan Shan’s attacker.
The gangster stumbled to his feet, his face bright red with rage as he spluttered.
“Do you know who I am? Do you know what I can do?!”
“I don’t care,” He Tian bit out, “Get out of here.”
Guan Shan stepped forward, grabbing He Tian’s arm.
His attacker’s burning eyes and threat towards his mom still rang in his ears.
“He Tian, don’t,” he begged, “Just go. This isn’t your fight.”
He Tian finally tilted his head, those coal dark eyes finding Mo Guan Shan’s and freezing him in place. They grazed over the bruise on Guan Shan’s jaw that was no doubt turning purple, and then trailed lower. Guan Shan flushed when he realized his jeans were still unbuttoned.
“The kid’s coming with me,” the gangster spat.
He Tian’s eyes flashed as his head snapped back to the man, and the sight made Mo Guan Shan release his arm, stepping back as a tremor of fear ran down his spine. Even the man stiffened once that horrid, ice-cold gaze turned to him.
Mo Guan Shan had never seen He Tian like this.
“Like hell he is,” He Tian said, and took a step forward before Guan Shan could stop him, “You don’t know who I am. I could have you strung up in the harbor before anyone would call looking for you. Your body would be bruised and bloodied beyond description with just one call. And if that’s not fast enough for my liking, I’ll handle it myself. And believe me, you lecherous pig… you don’t want that. So I suggest you leave my sight while you still have legs to walk on.”
There was a heavy pause.
Then the man’s beady eyes turned to Mo Guan Shan and narrowed. Nonetheless, he turned and hurried off, disappearing quicker than a blink around the corner.
Guan Shan stared after him.
It was only then he realized that he was shaking.
Slowly He Tian turned, and the coal black eyes found his again.
Gone was the ice from before; now they were soft and warm, more so than Guan Shan had ever seen them.
“Are you hurt?” he murmured.
Guan Shan flushed and turned to zip up his pants. When he turned back, he was surprised to see that He Tian had looked away. The fact comforted him a little for some unknown reason.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” Guan Shan muttered.
He Tian shrugged.
“C’mon,” he said, nodding to the other side of the alley, “Come back to my place and make us some dinner.”
Still, Mo Guan Shan shook his head.
The thought of being with a man alone after…
“No. I don’t–I need to go home. To my mom.”
He Tian observed him for a moment. Guan Shan braced himself for anger.
What he received instead was a small nod, and He Tian started off. Guan Shan blinked before hesitantly following him.
After a brief, awkward silence, He Tian spoke.
“Who was that man?”
“Look, dude, I don’t wanna talk about–”
“I need to know.”
He Tian’s voice left no room for argument, and Guan Shan glanced at him. that hard look was back, but it wasn’t directed at him.
Guan Shan sighed.
“A guy my dad used to roll with. Dumped him before he went to jail though ‘cause all his other friends didn’t like him. Said he was into some real shady stuff…”
Guan Shan barely suppressed a shiver. He dug his hands in his pockets, hoping He Tian hadn’t noticed their trembling.
“You were going to go with him.”
There was a new edge to He Tian’s voice; an accusing one.
Mo Guan Shan stiffened and sent him a glare.
“Yeah,” he bit out, flushing, “Yeah, I probably was. And it’s none of your damn–”
He Tian spun around so fast that Guan Shan barely had time to stop before their chests slammed together. The taller man loomed over him, and another shiver–this time of fear or excitement or maybe a bit of both, Guan Shan wasn’t sure–ran down the smaller man’s spine.
He Tian’s eyes bore into him.
“Why?” He Tian hissed, “Surely you’re not that desperate. I’ve been giving you money–”
Guan Shan shoved He Tian’s chest.
The other man barely budged, but Guan Shan didn’t care.
“Shut the fuck up, dude! You don’t know me. You don’t know my life, okay? Just because you think you’re giving me charity or something doesn’t mean you own me or some shit. Besides, I’m not that kinda person, but–he threatened my mom.”
Guan Shan’s anger faltered a little at these words, and his heart ached at the thought of her. Of what she would think of him. Of what she would say if she knew what had just happened–about what could have happened.
Guan Shan’s stomach turned.
“So don’t judge me,” his whispered.
There was a pause. Fingers touched Guan Shan’s chin and his breath hitched, his hand immediately coming up to push it away.
He didn’t, though, as his and He Tian’s eyes met. His hand hung suspended beneath He Tian’s, as if unsure what to do.
“I’m not judging you,” He Tian said softly.
His breath hit Guan Shan’s lower breath and his eyes dropped to He Tian’s lips. Their kiss flashed in his mind and Guan Shan blushed, nudging He Tian’s hand from under his chin. To his surprise, He Tian immediately dropped his hand.
“Whatever,” Guan Shan murmured, unable to look He Tian in the eye. Now all he could think about was the last time they had met, and He Tian’s tongue in his mouth and his lips against his.
Then he thought about if that old gangster had tried to kiss him.
He shuddered and felt the sudden urge to bathe himself until he was raw and red.
“Thanks, I guess. For doing that. But you shouldn’t have fucked with him.”
“He shouldn’t have fucked with you.”
Guan Shan laughed mirthlessly.
“What am I gonna do?” he asked.
Guan Shan lifted his head to snap back, but He Tian’s intense gaze once again made the words catch on the tip of his tongue. They stared at each other for a long moment.
“Promise you’ll call me if you have trouble with anyone like that again,” He Tian stated.
“…Are you serious?”
“I’m not leaving until you promise me.”
“But why? What does this have to do with you?”
He Tian shrugged.
“Your business is my business,” he said.
Guan Shan glared even as his face warmed, something in those words making a ball of heat curl in his stomach.
“No it’s not.”
“Just promise me, Guan Shan.”
The use of his name made Mo Guan Shan stiffen, and he eyed He Tian.
“…Fine. I promise. Happy?”
He Tian’s thin lips turned into a smile, and Guan Shan really wished he would stop noticing things like that.
Guan Shan rolled his eyes and moved past him, ready to shake off today and try to think of an excuse to give his mom for this newest bruise.
It only took him a few steps to realize that there were more footsteps than his, and Guan Shan glanced over his shoulder.
“What the hell?” he asked He Tian, who was following at only a feet, “I thought you were gonna leave me alone if I promised you.”
He Tian smiled.
“What kind of person would I be if I didn’t walk you home before I left you?”
Guan Shan huffed and turned, picking up his pace, if only to hide the blush and try to ignore the way the ball of heat in his stomach grew to his chest, and burned with what he could almost mistake for happiness.
This active volcano is one of Guatemala’s most visited tourist sites, and has frequently been erupting for centuries, though only at a low level. Smoke exits the crater daily, though lava flow and ash are more rare.
You undress me with eyes that splinter the fabric from my dysphoric body
with such a wondrous lack of instilled manners.
Touching me telescopically as if I were interstellar
for you wish the night could be made tangible.
Made of star eruptions and galactic beckoning,
you whispered a want to explore what you couldn’t quite see.
To escape as a suited astronaut between planetary blinks
of grounding states of existence.
Pretending that long drives took us lightyears away
from pasts stuck on teeth like the color yellow.
You stare at stars like begging lighter flares,
wanting to live among the unpredictable light shows.
You’ve questioned religious theories along my legs
and prayed for seconds to be longer.
Instrumentally drawing planets around discolored scars
breaking apart voiced walls like atmospheric layers.
Rocketing my vascular system in orbit
around the idea of falling for your satellite pull.
Falling awake to the sound of meteor showers
greeting a naked chest next to my own unhidden sternum.
Introductions clashing like eclipses on Thursday nights
when no one can see how tired you must be.
How tired you are from keeping revolving appearances
and hiding behind cloud essences.
Wish once more on the stars visited at the planetarium,
and I’ll wish into the ones you bring home.
I want to hear all about the daylight you count down from
to the nightscapes you count up to.
And I’ll tell you how celestial you are in any light,
but your own is my favorite to look forward to.
“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” — John Muir
Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala erupts under the stars. (Image Credit: Diego Rizzo)
I live in a cage of
language and longing
flowers trying to bloom
in a dark dry corner
fire in a volcano that
will never erupt
and the stars laugh
never letting me feel them
they’re bright but not blinding
beautiful but distant
and I understand them
watching the world from afar
words failing me
my heart betraying me
i’m banging against these walls
but my fists hurt from fighting it
there’s no key that will unlock my misery
so I wait
for life to escape me
my spirit set free from feeling
but until then I will follow
the soft glow of morning
the pink purpose of being
that keeps this heart
As soon as I heard that Bromo was erupting, simply I couldn’t wait longer to book my flight there. I always love Bromo very much despite of its over-popularity among tourists & the fact about its eruption is something that I will never miss to witness.
After being several times visiting Bromo, I am able to spot a great place that could avoid the crowds. Just get to Penanjakan 2 & hike another 20 minutes up to the hill to find a place that you can barely see anyone else. It was a perfect night for me, in a perfect place with an awesome scenic view.
This image was made from several exposures for the stars, foreground & lava. Thanks before for your supports & hope you like it as I found your images have inspired me a lot.
*give me shout in instagram (@rifkysetya) for daily upload pertaining Indonesia Travel Photography.