We were at the police station. E.T.’s words were echoing in my ears like a curse. I would be scared and sad, if we found it out from Grumpy, but when E.T. was crying and yelling at me that it was my fault, I became devastated.
After E.T. made a chaos in the practice room, our manager called security and they took him out. We called Grumpy and he confirmed E.T.’s information. We were at once transported to the police station. I cried silently in the back of the car all our way there. I was so... angry! Angry, scared, sad, and so on. I couldn’t even name my all feelings, which I felt at the same time. For the first time in my life I wanted to isolate myself somewhere and forget about everything. Especially this cursed hooded man, because of whom my life was close to completely destruction...
In the car no one said a word. Heejunnie, who was sitting beside me, tried to comfort me by squeezing my hand, but my mind was elsewhere. When we were passing the bus stops, on each of them I saw the culprit. I was already losing my mind and we weren’t even close to solve the mystery. We got the date, fine. Then we found out that the telephone number belonged to Choi Seoyun. But it was still strange, because he called her when she was already dead. That psycho surely continued to dig our graves.
At the police station our manager went to speak to Grumpy and his chief, as we sat down on the same bench we were sitting last time. And I thought that I would never come here again...
There was a rumble on the other side of a room. E.T. came here before us and now was making a ruckus. Then he noticed me. He aggressively walked toward me, with clenched fists and wild look, but members protected me by making a wall of their bodies. Fortunately, police stopped him and pushed on the chair, far away from us.
“How are you holding up, kiddo?” Grumpy stood in front of us, hiding his hands in pockets.
“Not so good,” I muttered, then glanced at E.T. “What happened? Why... WHY did this happen? And when –”
“From what I heard, shortly after we left. That brat heard about it directly from the unit, which stationed in the neighborhood. Apparently, he was the closest person that the victim had.”
That made me feel worse. Something clung to my stomach and I sighed, hiding my head in my arms.
“I think I discovered his tactic,” Grumpy said.
I sighed again and looked at my hands.
“Yeah, me too,” I said and Grumpy looked at me surprised.
“Really?” he said.
“He killed the fiancé and the high schooler, right?” I continued idly. “They gave us hints to solve everything and soon they died. It isn’t a coincidence. How could I be so stupid and not see this? He killed them because they gave us those hints.”
“But that doesn’t make any sense!” Inseong outraged. “Then why did he order us to solve it in the first place?”
I flinched and said, “What if he doesn’t want us to solve it?”
“It would be ridiculous,” Youjin stated.
“Not in psychopath’s way of thinking,” Grumpy supported me. He sat with us, ignoring his general work.
Second by second I was more and more sure about culprit’s intentions.
“Think about it,” I continued. “If he wanted us to solve it, even by pressing us psychologically, he wouldn’t disturb us. Especially by killing and making us unmotivated.”
“You mean –”
“YES!” I shrieked suddenly, startling everyone. Heejun and Seungjun pulled me down, when I stood up, as always when something brilliant pops up in my mind. “He said that he would consider not killing us when we solve it, right? That wasn’t the case from the beginning! He wants to kill us and he’ll eventually do it!”
The last sentence came out of my mouth unplanned and it frightened me and others. But I knew I was right. And, looking at Grumpy’s expression, he knew it too. We were silent for a moment.
“What now?” Heejun whispered.
“You’ll go back to your dorm,” Grumpy said grimly. “And then –”
“Wait.” This time I got up, looking around. “Where’s E.T.?”
“He left a moment ago,” Grumpy said. “Why?”
The thought, that just came across my mind, worried me. All of a sudden I felt anxiety.
“Alone?” I asked. “He went alone!?”
“Yeah. Now what?”
I jerked and ran to the exit, shrieking, “He’s next!”
I came out of the police station and looked around, biting my nail with worry. It had to be it. E.T. was hooded man’s next target. But how will I find him at night... ?
Then I saw him. I called, but he didn’t react. He didn’t hear me, or ignored me. I ran to him without thinking. When I was passing the vending machines, suddenly someone jumped at me from behind the garbage. I screamed shocked and stopped abruptly, in consequence tripping and falling on my back. E.T. finally heard me and turned around. He raised his eyebrows and probably wanted to ask what was I doing, but then I realized that the man, that attacked me, had different goal.
“RUN!” I shrieked panicked.
Hooded man rushed at E.T. with a knife. My arm itched, remembering its last meeting with a blade. E.T. only now realized the seriousness of situation and began to run. He didn’t run far. He tripped over another hill of garbage and fell down. Hooded man swung his hand, but I reached them and kicked the man in the hip. He staggered and moved back a little. I took the opportunity and slapped E.T. in the face, trying to bring him back to reality. E.T. touched his cheek and looked at me angrily.
“Did you just slap me!?” he outraged.
“Let’s say we’re even. Now, can you move, or do you want to be killed?”
E.T. flinched, when we heard groaning. Attacker’s hood had slid down. I didn’t see culprit’s face so far, but I was sure it wasn’t him. His another shadow? That man had a scar on his mouth and his left eye was turned to the other side than the right one. He must have had seeing problem with it.
“What do we do now... ?” E.T. whispered with trembling voice, hiding behind me.
How would I know? I was as scared as he was. Although I came close to death several times within just a few months, now my mind was as blank as during other attacks. I shook my head and came to my senses quickly, looking for a weapon. Luckily, I found a piece of metal pipe. Attacker smiled crazily at the sight of it and jumped at us again. I stretched out my hands with a pipe to protects us, but suddenly someone appeared before us and took the hit. Something warm splashed at my face. I opened my eyes and gasped with fear: