It was impossible for us to solve it till the end of the month, so we started panicking, when November 30th came. What was even worse, we got invited to film our first haunted house adventure. I didn’t have mood to be in a place full of fake corpses, but we couldn’t refuse. A lot of people counted on us.
“Grumpy isn’t going with us today?” Heejun said.
“Hello there!” we heard suddenly, when I wanted to answer that. Detective Kang appeared behind us like a ghost. “You’re going there today?” He glanced at Heejun. “And who’s Grumpy?”
Heejun started hiccupping, nervous.
“M-My cat,” he blurted, covering his mouth. I felt like he wanted to hide somewhere.
“Why would you take your cat to the haunted house?”
“Never mind...” Heejun muttered, covering his face by cap and mask, and getting into the car first.
“Well then.” I bowed politely to Grumpy.
“Ah, right. We’ll meet later. I just want to look around your neighborhood and then I’m off to work.”
“No, but it never hurts to be more cautious.”
I frowned, but he already left.
Although we didn’t make any progress with the mystery, Grumpy was studying the last clue almost without sleep. His panda eyes were darker than usual. We tried hard too, but without effect. It was like the culprit wanted us to get stuck at this stage. And December 1st loomed. I didn’t know if I was more scared of the haunted house, or our doom tomorrow. Anyway, even if we solved it, how we were supposed to tell him that? Maybe he was observing us, but the direct contact with him would be a problem.
We reached the place of filming with dark expressions and million thoughts. I didn’t like Grumpy much, but I would be glad, if he were here with us. Just in case. I got out first and almost landed on my knees, when I saw where we’ll be filming.
“This is insane!” Inseong groaned. I was sure he meant the bad meaning of ‘insane’.
We were divided into pairs, but because there were five of us, Youjin (who would be the least scared) went twice – with me and Seungjun. I was the last to go. I was sitting stiffen on a bench before the house, hearing screams (mostly Seungjun’s) and laugh (mostly Heejun’s crazy mode). When Inseong and Heejun went out, I went in with Youjin.
“Is it scary?” I whispered. I was at advantage, because he was here before.
Right, it’s Youjin after all. Now I was at disadvantage, because everything related to ghosts was not scary for him. I clung to him ever since we entered. As for me, I freaked out just after we past the first corridor. Simple loud knock from behind the wall, but it already caused me a sore throat.
“Aren’t you exaggerating?” Youjin asked.
“Really? You’re asking this me? Just don’t leave me...”
It was difficult, because of a lot of scary corpses and people dressed as ghosts, that scared me at every corner. Although I didn’t let go of Youjin, no matter how much I was freaked out, in an old surgery room a psycho-actor jumped from the closet and I ran to the next room.
I was running without looking back, and I stopped only then, when I hit some door. Camera, which was on my head, fell on the floor, but I didn’t care and burst into that room. And guess where I was. In a creepy bedroom with spider webs, single weak light in the corner and a cradle. Completely alone. I froze, and my heart too. If there was a camera in this room too, everyone would think that screen was paused, but I just didn’t move at all. I wondered if I should call Youjin, but he was probably far away. I ran quite long distance.
Then I heard creaking sound. It was regular, like clock ticking.
I moved my head a little. The cradle was cradling. Like there was someone beside it doing it... but there was no one there.
Suddenly I heard child’s sobbing. I screamed, but quickly covered my mouth. The sobbing was coming from the cradle. They wouldn’t bring here real baby... right?
Then the cradle stopped moving. I froze again. What now?
I felt a warm breath on my neck. I almost fainted, but quickly pulled myself together. It’s only acting, Jihun, I comforted myself. It’s not real...
But when the person, who was standing behind me, began to laugh in high pitch, I panicked and left the room. Again I found myself in an empty corridor, still alone. Why wasn’t here a rule that when you want to leave, you call and someone takes you out? I knew there were cameras almost everywhere and if something really happened, everyone would know, but still...
I was wandering for at least thirty minutes. Maybe they already stopped the filming? That would be great, to be honest. Lately my image was not so good (not that it was perfect earlier). After a while I was so used to the creepy sounds, that it didn’t really scare me anymore. Well, sometimes I fell surprised, when someone jumped at me, but not all the time, as in the beginning. Worn out and with thoughts elsewhere, I entered the strange room, which reminded me of a corridor in the mine. In its center were single tracks, and on them was single trolley.
“Uh, they’re good,” I gasped, clogging my nose with fingers. “The smell here is so real.”
I prepared myself that anytime someone will jump at me, but nothing happened. I walked around, looking for the exit, when I heard ticking from the trolley. It was different than others ticking, which I heard on my way here. It was hardly heard. After a few seconds I realized why. This room was so quiet, that I was hearing wristwatch’s ticking.
“This is different,” I muttered and gathered courage, coming closer to the trolley.
The smell was getting worse. What did they put there, few years old spoiled food? I looked into the trolley and flinched, surprised. Man, they’re really good. It looked so real! I covered my mouth, when the rotting smell hit my nostrils.
But wait... something wasn’t right. The blood may have been fake, but the body itself looked TOO real. I touched it and quickly moved my hand back. Was that an actor? Because the skin was definitely genuine.
Then the truth hit me so hard, that I staggered and had to grab the trolley to keep balance. That was a real BODY. Just like the one in Hwang-ya. What was worse, I just recognized it.
“Choi Seo Yun’s fiancé –!?”