As I came back to the class and opened the door, what welcomed me was a darkness that differed far more from the bright hallway that surrounded us. ‘What’s going on?’ Kim Hye Hill, Yi Ruda, and I stood still blankly in wonder. We then heard someone yelling from within.
“Hey, close the door! We’re about to have fun right now!”
“What are you guys doing again?” asked Kim Hye Hill in a calm voice as she walked inside. Yi Ruda and I exchanged glances before shutting the door. What did they do to the windows to make this room appear so dark? As I took a closer look around the window, I noticed that, apparently, the kids had to improvise shades using newspapers and blocked every sunlight penetrating through the glass. Usually, Yoon Jung In would have responded to our questions; however, he looked rather busy while talking about his story to the point that his head was still fixed to our classmates. The corners of his lips glowed bleakly in the dark.
“So, I asked, ‘No? I met him in front of my house earlier; what are you talking about?’ And what he answered back was…”
One of the kids asked in response while swallowing his saliva. Yoon Jung In showed a faint smile on his face under the phone light.
“Wake up, we attended his funeral two days ago… He then grabbed my arm like…!”
As soon as he said that, Yoon Jung In moved like a streak of lightning and snatched a boy’s arm right beside him.
The boy’s shriek prevailed throughout the whole classroom. Some kid ran away, and some freaked out as if someone else was touching him. While a little fuss took place, Lee Mina seized Yoon Jung In’s hair and threw a temper tantrum, shouting, ‘You’re finally freaking me out to death today.’
Watching her exploding in rage, I thought, ‘Mina, I’m sure Yoon Jung In would die before you if you continue doing that, haa…’
Would it be okay to go into the classroom? The room looked quite dangerous enough for us to consider whether we should not step inside, but before I could stop thinking about it, Kim Hye Hill had already moved her steps toward the classroom with a smile. Aside from her, Yi Ruda tilted her head back and laughed refreshingly. ‘Hmm… I can’t help it then…’ with that thought in mind, I scratched the back of my head and followed them to step inside.
* * *
On the blackboard, someone wrote a few letters in uneven handwriting.
Ghost Story Competition
There was also a warning written underneath.
My friend’s friend’s story: NO. Your true stories ONLY!
Only speak about a true personal story. That was the requirement for this ghost story competition; however, there were, unexpectedly, more than ten people who had gone through such spooky situations. This competition started because of Yoon Jung In’s silly suggestion, which was still ongoing even after two hours later.
After quite a while, Kim Hye Hill eventually took action.
“Hye Hill really went through something like that?”
Everyone in the class opened their eyes wide and stared at her. Shin Suh Hyun was there among them; he rested his chin on his hand while having an apathetic look on his face the whole time. He had been pointing out the loopholes of every horror story that our classmates were talking about.
‘On a rainy day, I went inside a cabin, but someone kept shouting at me; they were saying, ‘Open the door!’ Come on, you’ll never know who it was and what they would do to me once I let him in,’
‘Maybe it’s the owner,’
‘Oh come on, Suh Hyun…’
However, when I looked at Kim Hye Hill’s nonchalant face, I realized that she didn’t seem to be talking about something dull, so everyone stared at her lips anxiously. Before she spoke, Kim Hye Hill made eye contact with Kim Hye Woo as if asking for his permission. She then finally detached her lips.
“Hmm, when I was seven, I got a puppy. His name was Hodoo, a little Yorkie. You know, dogs usually live for about nine years, right?”
Rolling her eyes, she continued in a mournful tone.
“But… he died just after two years because of a disease. I was so sad that I cried with my brother for the whole day. We then buried him in our front yard; it happened that night…”
“Oh god, something’s gonna appear now…”
While each kid spat out some words and grabbed their arms, Kim Hye Hill spoke with a shrug.
“Um, you know that plodding sound… the sound of a dog’s paw touching the floor… that sound went back and forth from the living room to my brother’s room, a.k.a Kim Hye Woo’s room. I heard them at a half-conscious state, so I, of course, thought it was just Hodoo walking around. I went back to sleep then.”
“Hey, hold on. You said that Hodoo died, right?”
As soon as Kim Hye Hill replied, kids started to scream.
“Ahhhhh!!! How can she talk so casually like that?” they shrieked.
Lee Mina, who was grabbing my arm tightly as if she was crushing my bones, flung a question.
“S… o…? What happened next?”
“About 3 days later, I also thought that something strange was happening. When I woke up the next day, I felt so leery. I did hear some noise while I was asleep and thought that it was from Hodoo, but the dog had already died? That night, I heard that sound again; that was when I suddenly roused from sleep. ‘Oh, Hodoo is dead…’ I jumped out of my sleep with this thought in mind…”
“I listened carefully while lying on my bed. As my heart pounded so loudly, I noticed that the noise from outside sounded a little different. It wasn’t a plodding noise, but it sounded more like someone was dragging something…”
At that very moment, someone suddenly snatched my arm to the point that my heart nearly fell off. ‘Holy Christ!’ I tried to shriek while turning my head to look beside me; however, even the thought of yelling abated.
Grabbing my arm, Lee Mina trembled in fear. The vigorous spirit she always had on her face suddenly disappeared. ‘Well, people are afraid of ghosts, so why can’t Lee Mina have the same fear?’ With that thought, I looked at the opposite side. Through the dark classroom with closed curtains, I caught a glimpse of Yi Ruda’s smiling face.
It looked like she was just enjoying these conversations. ‘She looks fragile but surprisingly so fearless…’ I thought. She then smiled at me as our eyes met. I responded with a grin.
Unlike our peaceful situation, Kim Hye Hill’s story was reaching its climax. A threadlike suspense hung in the space while the only sound permeating the atmosphere was the subtle breathing of everyone around us. That was when Kim Hye Hill quietly detached her lips.
“So, I sat up and looked outside the door… and there I saw something like a hair―.”
A thunderous shout resounded through the classroom. ‘Ahh!!!’ The kids, who didn’t care about their surroundings while paying attention to Kim Hye Hill, shrieked boisterously. Some kid slipped from the desk that he was sitting on, whereas another one fell backward, but his body never detached from his chair. The whole class fell into an uproar.
Those who first pulled themselves together in the middle of the chaos were Shin Suh Hyun, who was usually calm, and Yoon Jung In, who didn’t look that surprised since he was always out of his mind. They walked toward the backdoor while sweeping their disheveled hair back.
“Yeah, why? What’s up?” the two asked simultaneously.
“Um… did I do something wrong?”
Shin Suh Hyun and Yoon Jung In exchanged glances with each other.
Shin Suh Hyun then replied, “Nope, nothing.”
“It was just bad timing.”
Once Yoon Jung In responded, the boy heaved a sigh of relief before glancing around the classroom. He then shut his mouth as he realized that he was an eyesore.
“I wanted to say that the PE class teacher is calling for you guys to come outside. Girls play dodgeball and boys basketball,” the boy replied while scratching his head.
It was just before summer vacation, so those games were the only things we did these days. The kids were indeed fed up with such activities.
‘Dodgeball again?’ I was also sick and tired of it too. As I swept my tangled hair back roughly, I heard Yoon Jung In flinging a question.
“Which class are we playing it with?”
As soon as the boy answered back, everyone’s head turned toward my side at the same time. Even Shin Suh Hyun and Yoon Jung In looked at me in confusion as if they didn’t expect such an answer. When my face turned pale, they all turned their faces away from me; however, it was all too late.
‘Jesus,’ I heaved a short sigh. Perhaps, the incident between Choi Yuri and I had engraved itself too profoundly in Class 1-1’s memories. I scratched my head. Although it was quite an ambiguous ending, the situation was resolved regardless, and things seemed to be doing alright. With that thought in mind, I went back to my seat to take out my PE uniform.