After turning over the notes to look for something, Woo Jooin took out a memo that was written, ‘Courage Test.’ Eun Jiho just watched the sight quietly.
“There’s a record about Ham Donnie and ‘I’ having been to a very strange and enigmatic place at this time which doesn’t belong to real life. Besides, Ham Donnie said that she witnessed a scene in which she wasn’t sure whether it’s in the past or in the future.”
“Then should we climb up the stairs and count the number of the steps?” asked Eun Jiho. It was obvious from Eun Jiho’s facial expression that he had flung that question with the bottom of his heart rather than to tease Woo Jooin.
Woo Jooin shook his head. After a moment of silence, he detached his lips again.
“When Ham Donnie returned to this world again on March 2nd, she said that it was in front of our house.”
“So?” replied Eun Jiho.
“When Ham Donnie and I came back to the abandoned school during the courage test, the actual place where we returned was in the bathroom.” With a pause, Woo Jooin blurted out, “Ham Donnie said that there’s a world ‘without us,’ a different universe where we don’t exist.”
Woo Jooin continued speaking, “I think there’s a space where the border between this and that world becomes blurred up. You know an area where we can go back and forth like a passage such as in front of our house or the bathroom in the abandoned school.” He then concluded, “What if we’re with Ham Donnie at that place?”
“Then…” replied Eun Jiho.
“Can’t we bring that girl back?”
Kwon Eun Hyung had been very busy. His father was the first problem. Although he woke up from a coma not so long ago, Eun Hyung’s father unusually insisted on being discharged from the hospital immediately, which made Eun Hyung smile with his hand on his forehead.
Eun Hyung’s father might have reacted that way while having expectations of resuming his long-suspended studies. However, if he kept arguing to leave the hospital without completing proper treatment, he would be hospitalized again within a week due to overwork and lack of sleep.
‘Being so driven could be dangerous too, so let’s make him stay in the hospital until he slightly loses his stamina,’ thought Kwon Eun Hyung. Though he sighed outwardly, Eun Hyung couldn’t hide the delightful smile rising on his face.
Eun Hyung also had been hectic because of his sister. It was less than a week that he made up with his sister, Kwon Eunmi, but lately, Eun Hyung was so busy making a plan with her to travel around the world. Thus, he felt like he had reconciled relationship with Eunmi a year ago and took a trip around the world about five times.
Ban Yeo Ryung also joined in mapping out their trip, so Kwon Eun Hyung and Ban Yeo Ryung looked up the travel brochures near Kwon Eunmi’s bed and talked about their plans until late at night. Since the end of winter break was right around the corner, Ban Yeo Ryung would be busy preparing for the new semester. However, she came to the hospital to see Eunmi every day, which was just so thankful to Kwon Eun Hyung.
It was early in the morning when Eun Hyung fell asleep and got awake from the cot beside his father’s bed. He could have gotten up a little late since it was winter break, but his ingrained habit wouldn’t allow him to become lazy at all.
Watching TV, Eun Hyung had some conversations with his father and Mr. Chairman, Yoo Chun Young’s father, as usual, then went downstairs to the cafeteria alone. After having a meal, he went to the snack bar to grab something while thinking that Ban Yeo Ryung would also stop by at the hospital today as well.
He felt a sense of compatibility after he came out of the snack bar with a bag in his hand. Looking inside the plastic bag, Kwon Eun Hyung tilted his head in wonder.
“Why did I buy two each?”
Eunmi had been under a strictly controlled diet since she was young, so Eun Hyung would have not bought some snacks in pairs in consideration of his sister. Who on earth then did he buy those for? Kwon Eun Hyung rubbed his chin.
“Are these for Chun Young?” he wondered.
Yoo Chun Young, however, wasn’t able to show up in the hospital while staying with his brothers. Thus, it was strange to buy things in pairs. Since Eun Hyung didn’t need to return them, he just headed straight to Eunmi’s patient room with the bag. Still, he felt very odd while thinking that he seemed to have lost something very significant.
It was over three in the afternoon when Ban Yeo Ryung stopped by. Once Kwon Eun Hyung slid open the patient room door and entered the space, both Kwon Eunmi and Ban Yeo Ryung greeted him with smiles.
“Oppa! Yeo Ryung unnie and I are going to Bali,” said Eunmi.
Ban Yeo Ryung made it sure while saying, “This trip is only for girls.”
Yeo Ryung’s coy response seemed slightly unexpected, but Kwon Eun Hyung soon got aware that the girls were gonna wear bathing suits at that place. They went to waterparks in summer as a group, but vacation spots overseas would probably be different from those places.
Eun Hyung shook his head out of the blue while thinking, ‘Ah, I was about to have such useless thoughts on my mind just now.’ He then received a hailstorm of questions.
“What are you doing, oppa?”
Ah, nothing… Shaking his head, Kwon Eun Hyung gently switched the topic.
“Nothing. Anyway, wouldn’t it be dangerous if only the two of you are going there? It would be safer when, at least, three or four girls are traveling together. What do you think?” he asked.
Ban Yeo Ryung opened her eyes wide at his question.
“Two? No, we’re three.”
“How can only the two of us go there without her…? Ah, hold on. Was there someone else traveling with us?” asked Ban Yeo Ryung while waving her hand in the air.
Watching Ban Yeo Ryung answer her own question, Kwon Eun Hyung’s eyes widened.
Kwon Eunmi, on the other hand, also seemed confused. She also murmured, ‘There seems to be someone else going with us…’ while sitting beside Ban Yeo Ryung.
Kwon Eun Hyung looked in the direction where the fridge was. There would be bottles of beverages inside which he bought in the daytime. They would exist in pairs as if Eun Hyung had predicted that someone other than Ban Yeo Ryung would also stop by at the hospital.
His brows met in the middle and created a furrow. Suddenly, the phone bell rang in the patient’s room surrounded by a weird silence. The three people stood up at the same time and began to grope the bedside.
In the end, the owner of the phone bell turned out to be Kwon Eun Hyung. Looking down at the phone screen, he opened his eyes wide. Ban Yeo Ryung mouthed, ‘Who is it?’
“Jiho,” said Kwon Eun Hyung.
“Eun Jiho? Why did he call you?” wondered Ban Yeo Ryung. Instead of a response, Kwon Eun Hyung took the phone next to his ear.
Eun Jiho answered, “Kwon Eun Hyung, are you busy right now?”
Kwon Eun Hyung tried to respond, ‘Not really,’ while glancing at the two girls; however, he blinked swiftly at Eun Jiho’s following remark.
“Nah, even if you’re busy, you should spare some time. I guess this isn’t just a problem that only the two of us must know.” Eun Jiho then added, “It’s something that we can’t deal with by ourselves.”
Listening to those words, Kwon Eun Hyung quietly grimaced. ‘What the heck is he talking about?’ Having that thought in mind, Kwon Eun Hyung opened his mouth.
“Only the two of us? You mean Jooin and you? Are you guys together right now? What are you guys doing?” sighed Kwon Eun Hyung. However, his mind was blown away after Eun Jiho’s response.
“Haven’t you felt kind of odd these days?” asked Eun Jiho.
While Kwon Eun Hyung was at a loss for words, Eun Jiho continued speaking, “Like you’ve seemed to have known someone, but you aren’t being able to remember anything about that person…”
Eun Jiho kept on, “… Things seem to flash through your head but soon disappear… Definite things are often being unable to recall or getting distorted.”
“How did you know that?” replied Kwon Eun Hyung. That was the only response he could return for now.
There was a sigh over the phone. The reaction sounded like Eun Jiho knew that Kwon Eun Hyung would reply that way.
Kwon Eun Hyung’s face darkened. He held his phone with a stronger grip.
Not only himself but Ban Yeo Ryung and even Kwon Eunmi showed a similar reaction earlier. And just in time, Eun Jiho called him and uttered some weird things. How on earth did he know about this indescribable mystery?
Kwon Eun Hyung detached his lips again, “… Do you know the reason?”
“Ham Donnie,” replied Eun Jiho.
An unexpected word returned. ‘It would probably be somebody’s name,’ thought Kwon Eun Hyung. He seemed to have never heard that name.
However, at that moment, Kwon Eun Hyung felt like the name was leaving a deep scratch somewhere in his head. Putting his hand on his forehead, he repeated the name, Ham Donnie.
Eun Jiho kept on speaking, “If you’re available, I’ll meet you outside shortly. Are Yoo Chun Young and Ban Yeo Ryung also there?”
“Not Chun Young, but Yeo Ryung is here,” replied Kwon Eun Hyung.
“Yoo Chun Young… anyway, can you come here with her? I’m at Woo Jooin’s house.”
“Cool,” said Kwon Eun Hyung without a second thought. He then quickly took his jacket. For some reason, he felt like he should do that right away. Looking at Ban Yeo Ryung, he uttered, “Yeo Ryung, if you’re okay, would you go to Jooin’s house with me right now?”
She asked, “What?”
“Let me explain it to you on our way there.”
Although it didn’t take much time to tell her the reason, Kwon Eun Hyung decided not to describe it in the patient’s room since he was being considerate of Kwon Eunmi who wasn’t well. Regardless of the suspicious excuse, Ban Yeo Ryung nodded and left the room with him.