At that time, the story about his mother dumbstruck me, so I couldn’t pay attention to the details. Eun Hyung apparently said such things about him to me; however, he didn’t bring up any of those stories at all before and after that time.
Why? For what reason?
‘Why is this novel too complicated?’ with that thought in mind, I heaved a short sigh with downcast eyes.
There wouldn’t be any positive reasons for Eun Hyung to keep those stories just inside him. The characters inside this novel mostly hid their enigmatic pasts. Sometimes, they were revealed in an unexpected way like this, which disconcerted, saddened, and dumfounded me.
It makes me feel like a perfect idiot.
Looking down at my palm with a sigh, I bent my steps again. Jooin, who was staring at me with a smile, followed behind me. Both of our shadows slowly submerged into the pitch darkness.
We finally arrived at the entrance of the shut-down school. I carefully moved the switch right next to the entrance door in hopes of the light going on. When I looked up, I almost collapsed on the spot.
As I tap-danced in place to not lose my balance, Jooin barely stretched his hand and grabbed my back accordingly.
Leaning against Jooin’s arm, I drew in my breath for quite a while then said like a murmur.
“Look at the spider there. It’s HUGE!”
Only then did Jooin, beside me, look up and stiffen his face. Under the moonlight leaking through the small hole on the ceiling, a spider, almost as big as a human face, was staring down this way.
‘What the heck is that… a mutant creature?’ When I stretched out my hand to carefully grab Woo Jooin’s arm, he lent it to me without any words.
There was a big, full-length mirror in front of the entrance door, which was broken into pieces like other glass windows on this building. Jooin and I were reflected in the severely cracked mirror. Our pale faces gleaming in the moonlight under the dark were like ghosts feasting in the dark.
Then I suddenly looked up above the mirror. A thick, straight crack was splitting down exactly between my hand and Jooin’s arm. I grasped his arm a little more firmly involuntarily.
Jooin showed a look on his face that he had no idea what was going on.
“Mama, why? Is there something else?”
Something was ominous. I raised my hand and touched my arm. At that moment, the piece of glass almost crushed to dust, and at the same time, over the corridor, where pieces of glass were scattered, the voice of Eun Hyung calling us came through the darkness.
“Jooin! Donnie! Come ASAP! The kids are gonna be here soon.”
Yelling out a response, I quickened my pace with Jooin.
Moving my steps, I went pass by several wooden nameplates written ‘Class 1-1,’ ‘Class 1-2’ and suddenly took out my phone from the pocket.
There was no contact from Eun Jiho, which made me wonder if he was alive or dead, and… Oh! Suddenly, I opened my eyes wide and checked the inbox text messages. There was an unread message sent from a truly unexpected person.
“Yoo Chun Young?”
He usually called directly on the phone when he had something to say. He made many typos and was a little impatient sometimes.
Checking out his text in surprise, I soon grimaced. Jooin, beside me, asked what was going on, so I handed out my phone to him.
“What do you think this is?” I asked.
Sent by: Yoo Chun Young
“… An ancient cryptogram?”
Jooin, observing the text with a frown for quite a while, couldn’t break the cipher eventually. This time, I tapped Eun Hyung’s back in front of me.
He then turned back. His reddish hair sprinkled blood-like, dreary light in the dark. Suddenly, the story of his little sister crossed my mind. Kwon Eunmi… where is she now?
Eun Hyung bent his head down to our direction.
He then asked, “What… is this?”
“From Yoo Chun Young.”
“Oh… that makes sense.”
No, Eun Hyung. I’m not asking for you to judge whether it makes sense or not…
Ban Yeo Ryung, from aside, also checked out the message and nodded as if she understood the situation.
“Yeah, it makes sense for Yoo Chun Young to make this much typo…” said Ban Yeo Ryung.
“Who can win Chun Young when it comes to typo?”
Woo Jooin also threw in a helping word from the side. ‘Come on guys, it’s not the matter of making a typo or not…’ with that thought in mind, I dropped my gaze at the phone in a lonesome face.
Yoo Chun Young, what’s wrong with you? If you’re about to leave a message after a while, type it in Korean for us to, at least, read.
Ban Yeo Ryung, in front of me, flung a question again.
“Oh, I heard that Yoo Chun Young and Yi Ruda bumped into each other last time at the café! Aren’t they out of touch after then?”
“Um, I guess you’re right…”
Yoo Chun Young often lost contact with us, but Yi Ruda wasn’t as much as he did; therefore, I totally forgot about it. As I replied with a blink, Eun Hyung, who walked ahead of me, suddenly turn pale.
He mutteringly asked, “Did they break their fingers in a fight?”
It was such a radical interpretation for Eun Hyung. ‘Oh, come on, that’s going too far…’ However, I refused to answer back like that and stared at Jooin next to me. He just smiled subtly then fetched a sigh while avoiding my gaze.
‘So, you also think that’s possible. I should just make a call.’ I finally pressed the call button with that thought. While the dial tone rang over the phone, a few familiar faces welcomed Eun Hyung, who flung open the door under the nameplate of Class 1-8. As I also saw their faces, I waved my hand to say hi.
Those who were laughing naughtily under the portable lamp were none other than Yoon Jung In, the Kim twins, and Shin Suh Hyun, whose face was telling something to us.
“You guys are putting too much effort on everything…” mumbled Shin Suh Hyun.
Yoon Jung In smiled wickedly to his mutter, as usual, and snatched Kwon Eun Hyung’s shoulder abruptly. He and Kwon Eun Hyung then looked at Shin Suh Hyun.
“Dude, I’m just doing my best in hopes of this event becoming an opportunity for reconciliation of both classes! Something like a beautiful service spirit, get it?”
“You talk mighty fine,” said Eun Hyung.
It looked as if he was suppressing his laugh. Shin Suh Hyun stared at Eun Hyung with a look of surprise then soon heaved a deep sigh.
I could roughly assume what Shin Suh Hyun was thinking right now. He might have considered Eun Hyung, the class president of Class 1-1, as a normal, sound in mind and body-type of guy, but he got along well with Yoon Jung In like that. I was even surprised to see a different color of Eun Hyung, whom I saw for a long time.
Eun Hyung and Yoon Jung In embraced each other quite intimately. Kim Hye Hill then suddenly appeared from behind them. I glanced around the classroom inside.
Most of the desks were piled up in three layers attached to the wall messily. Some lay abandoned on the floor. Other than those desks, five were placed to draw a pentagon. There were also unidentified lines drawn randomly on the blackboard. Chalks were left in a lump with bags of dust. Outside the window, the tree shades were swaying furiously.
… Wow, this is really freaking me out.
Kim Hye Hill suddenly handed me something. As I took it in my hand, it was a fishing rod. I turned my head to look at her. Her face under the dark classroom was as pale as her usual appearance that I could believe her as a ghost.
Looking at what she just handed me out, I blinked my eyes. Detaching my mouth from the yet beeping phone, I cast a question.
“A fishing pole? What is this for?”
“So, in the classroom upstairs, you stick this out of the window and shake it. I adjusted the length enough, so never lean yourself out of the window.”
It was a good idea, effective and efficient. Last time, we cut out someone’s head from a magazine and thread a string on it to pull it down from upstairs, which made a lot of kids faint from fright.
When I took a closer look at the thing hanging at the tip of the fishing rod, it was a human mask, which looked quite delicately sculpted. ‘Wow! Who made this thing?’ As I asked in astonishment, Kim Hye Hill pointed her finger at her brother and answered back.
“This one, who wastes his talent uselessly.”
“Kim Hye Hill, would you please get familiar with using the term, oppa?”
“I don’t want to call you oppa anymore.”
Looking at the two quarreling like usual, I couldn’t help but smile. Kim Hye Hill then came toward and handed me another fishing pole.
“So, there should be one more person. Who wants to take the role?”