“Stealing my line...” I muttered, as we left the chamber. I pushed Jihun on the chair. “Explain. Now.”
Jihun smiled and patted the spot next to him. I growled in my mind, but sat. He was year older than me, so I always treated him as hyung, but after his twelfth birthday he disappeared without a trace. I thought that something bad happened to him, so now I couldn’t be happy seeing him healthy, in one piece. Although in creepy clothes.
“You dyed your hair black,” I grumbled.
“No, I had to get rid of the brown. It’s my natural color.”
“You look even funnier in this color.”
“And you haven’t change.”
He was still smiling, which gave me hateful feeling.
“What it’s about, huh?” I said. “Where are we and what did they make me to do?”
Jihun sighed and now looked a little worried.
“I knew you weren’t ordinary, Hajun-ah. But to see you here... It’s not right. And your new position isn’t so good either.”
“What the hell –!” He quickly covered my mouth with his hand.
“DON’T,” he hissed. “You used this word far too much today. The building feels it.”
“The building feels it?” I repeated sarcastically.
Jihun combed his hair with a hand. He always did it, when he was troubled.
“Master Hong will explain to you, but I guess I’ll tell you a little, so you won’t be in shock later. Here” He showed me the room, but I guess he meant all building. “is Hell. Literally and metaphorically. You’ve just become the Scourer, like Master Hong. I’m the Reaper, just like the man in black coat, who interviewed you. And that woman was the Guardian. Those three ‘kinds’ of people protects ordinary lives and souls from Ghouls – evil ghosts, that cannot enter any of three corporations: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell. Guardians and Reapers have the easiest job, in my opinion. They just have to escort the souls to Heaven or Hell, but Scourers have to fight Ghouls. Those souls, that didn’t pass the judgment in Heaven or Hell are sent to Purgatory to decide if there is more light or darkness in them, and then continue the judgment. If they’re cleaned, they go to the Heaven. But if it was too much for them, and they rejected the cleaning process, they go to the Hell. You got it?”
Not at all, I thought.
“Nice one,” I said, sending him wry smile. “You’ve got me here. Is it hidden camera? You want to greet me after all these years by doing this kind of thing?”
“I knew you wouldn’t believe me right away. But –”
“Yeah, I don’t believe you. And you know what? I really hate you right now, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just go. I had enough weirdness for today.”
“You’ve SEEN,” Jihun said suddenly, when I stood up.
“It’s the first rule of being one of the three. You have to SEEN the other world. I’ve met a lot of people, who came to the casting and said that this corporation has excellent technology, holograms, etc. But it wasn’t its REAL shape. You’ve seen the real one: the old and creepy building with torches and chambers, like in old, medieval castles. If you’ve been accepted by the corporations and Elders personally, it’s dangerous to leave.”
“And why’s that, dear Mr. Reaper?”
“By signing the contract, you allowed your powers to awaken. The building trembled as a proof, it felt it. Scourers have much more power than Guardians and Reapers, but in the same time they’re rare, although really needed. If you leave the building without proper equipment and registration in Purgatory, Ghouls will haunt you. And without registration we cannot track you, when your life is in danger.”
“Wow, you’ve prepared well.” I glanced at him grimly. “But you know what? I’ll take a chance and leave, without so called registration. Earlier was Park, now you. Who else I’ll meet today? I hope none of my brilliant family.”
“No, wait!” Jihun tried to grabbed my arm, but I speeded up. “Hajun-ah!”
I left the building without any surprises, so I was sure that Jihun was lying. I headed home, really mad at everything and everyone, especially everyone in the corporation. But how would I know that they were just stupid crooks? I hoped that I didn’t sign some freaky debt.
But, anyway... I must have been really sleepy, because on my way I was seeing things. I could have sworn that the grandma, who just past me, had some weird thing attached to her back. Then that thingy smirked at me. I quickly looked away. Damn those games... Now I was hallucinating? Or did I really believe in Jihun’s words?
“NEW MEAT,” I heard suddenly a squeak in my ear and turned around instantly.
I screamed shocked and people looked at me surprised. Damn, how was it possible that they didn’t see THESE THINGS!?
In a second the whole street was filled with strange, dark thingies. Most of them were wearing crumbled, dirty or just ugly masks. Their bodies were humanoid figures, but not humans. Just looking at them made me sick. Then not so cool thought popped up in my mind. Were these things... Ghouls?
I didn’t know if the so called Ghouls were reading minds, but just when I thought about them, they attacked. I run away to a dark alley. With a dead end, of course. I took a deep breath and grabbed the lid of the dumpster, ready to defend myself.
“Jeez, such a pain in the ass,” I heard.
In front of me jumped down two people, one in black hoodie, the other one in a white suit. I recognized Jihun in the hoodie, but the other one’s voice was familiar too...
Then he turned around and smirked.
“Why did you –” I growled.
“Stay still, while I’m saving your butt, nitwit,” Chanyeol said.