I hate when Youjin is scared. Then I’m freaking out. Fortunately our staff and manager were the first to came back to the reality and they took us to the car, before shop owner swept us away, using a big broom.
“Today I’ll stay with you,” manager said.
Before the sleep, we were playing around in my room. When pillow fight ended just before the midnight, I decided to bring up the main topic.
“What do you think, what could he want?” I asked.
“Revenge?” Heejun suggested.
“Why? We didn’t do anything to him.”
“Clearing the witnesses?” Youjin said. “He might be a serial murderer, but he probably doesn’t want anyone to witness his murders.”
“That’s strange,” I stated. “Don’t psychopaths like when someone sees their ‘work’?”
“Maybe he’s different,” Seungjun said.
“Like... he’s silently delighted when we’re freaking out?” I murmured.
“To many ‘maybes’. Don’t we have another clue?”
“Let’s study these messages again,” I proposed.
We spread the pieces of paper on the bed in the order in which we received them. Inseong once again told us about ‘Merry’s Mail’, again stopping in the middle of it.
“You know the story’s ending,” Youjin said to Inseong. “Tell us.”
Inseong sighed, but finally decided to continue the story. When he finished, we were all as white as our ceiling.
“B-But...” Heejun nearly fell off the bed, when he moved back. I caught his arm and pulled him to me. “She really died?”
“The legend says so,” Inseong grumbled. “But it’s just a story and he’s only using its lines. The creepiest ones, but still he’s only using them. Let’s not think about that fictional ending.”
Then I’ve got a message. I looked at my phone, sure it was my sister, who was supposed to send me pictures from our parents wedding anniversary. I frowned, when I saw the unknown number. Again some sasaeng found my telephone number? While members were occupied by Inseong’s story, I opened the message.
Yeah, it was picture indeed, but surely not from my sister. It was a photo of a familiar piece of paper. I froze. Inseong’s last words, the continuation of the urban legend, rang in my ears like an echo.
“Jihunnie?” Members noticed my expression.
“HYUNG!” I called our manager, panicked. He burst into the room with a chicken in his hand. Not so much of a weapon, if needed.
“I-I think we’ve got a big p-problem,” I whispered, this time with a quavering voice.
I showed them the message.
I’M IN FRONT OF YOUR APARTMENT.
“Wait here!” Manager went out, and we stayed in my room in the same, frozen positions, waiting.
Suddenly something hit the window and we all screamed at the same time, jumping on one another. The light went out. Coincidence? I felt like we were in a horror movie and some ghost will appear any moment. Even though, ghost would be better than hooded man, to be honest.
Then we heard something like finger tapping, also on window.
“God, i-is he there?” Inseong squeezed my stomach so hard that I groaned.
Our window was covered by blinds, so we didn’t see a thing behind it. Only a shadow, which suddenly appeared with a door slam. We screamed again and hugged tighter. Manager must be back, I thought relieved. Our room and the rest of the dorm were still dark. Blackout? Or was it planned?
I got another message. I jumped surprised at the ring tone and accidentally pressed Seungjun’s ankle. We all gathered around my phone, which was the only light.
I’M IN FRONT OF YOUR DOOR.
“Damn!” I hissed and stood up, ready to run, but members pulled me down.
“Don’t move!” Youjin said. “If it’s true, we’ll meet him if we go out!”
“But...” I looked at them with widened eyes. “Manager-hyung! Where is he!?”
“Didn’t he come back just...” Heejun stopped in mid-sentence. “... now... ?” he finished lamely with broken voice.
We all looked slowly toward the door. It was opened, but the slamming was made by the front door, so we didn’t see anything from here. There was dead silence. I heard only our fast breathing.
Then there was a stepping sound. I grinned my teeth and covered Heejun’s mouth, so he won’t make noise either. My heart was racing, just like when I saw that corpse in Hwang-ya. Suddenly there were no more footsteps. I gathered that little courage, which I had left, and carefully went toward the kitchen. Members followed me hesitantly.
I illuminated the living room with my phone. I observed every corner and turned my ears, but I didn’t see and hear anything anymore. I relaxed a little.
“Our imagination?” Inseong whispered, holding hand on his chest.
“I don’t see manager,” I said. The front door was closed. I blamed everything on wind and our vivid, irritating imagination, when I received one more message.
“I’m afraid. Open it.” I ordered Seungjun.
He touched the envelope image and we read:
I’M BEHIND YOU.
We shrieked panicked and I dropped the phone. At the same time there was glass breaking sound and someone attacked us. We scattered around the living room, trying to see something in the dark. The light from my phone only illuminated the center of the room. We clung to the walls, searching for the culprit.
“Did you make your choice?” I heard suddenly and quickly moved away, but he grabbed my arm and twisted it behind my back.
Members threw themselves at us, freeing me. We moved back to the other side of the room, this time clinging to each other. Finally the culprit came closer to the light.
He was still hooded, so we didn’t see clearly his face, but this posture and wry smile left no doubt. That was the real stalker. The murderer, who had been hunting us since departure from Hwang-ya.
“Your choice,” he repeated impatiently.
“Screw you!” I replied angrily and thoughtlessly. “That’s our choice!”
The wry smile became unbelievably and unnaturally wide. Now he looked like a psycho version of Cheshire Cat. Then he said through teeth: