I entered the creepiest room I’ve ever seen. I liked waiting room much more. This room was literally a dark chamber, again with torches and murky pictures. I stopped in front of a stone table, behind which were sitting three people: a woman in white suit, young man in black coat and really, really old (at least two hundred years old, I think) man in gray jumper. He was bowing his head, as if he was reading something tiny, but I thought that it wasn’t that.
“Do you like our place?” fell first question from the woman.
“Did we already begin the interview?” I said.
“Not really. It’s creepy.”
“Creepy, you said?” she repeated.
“Yes. Is it your hobby to freak people out by torches and sudden changes of temperature?”
Woman frowned more, but then she smiled. Man in black coat wrote something on a paper, saying:
“Good. You’ve passed the first round.”
“Really?” I blurted dumbfounded. “How’s that possible? I didn’t do anything.”
“You’ve SEEN. That’s important.”
Now I was more dumbfounded.
“Now, let’s get to the second round,” woman said. The elderly man still didn’t move. I wanted to ask if he was even alive, but she continued, “Your full name is Moon Hajun, you live in Seoul since birth, you have two ordinary parents-teachers. You’re the only son, most of the time ignored by them.” She thought for a second. “Anything you’d want to add?”
“Yes. HOW the hell do you know all of this?”
It’s not only that I didn’t show anyone my ID and didn’t tell anyone about myself. They knew that my parents didn’t care about me. To be honest, it freaked me out more than this place’s bad decoration.
“We’re large corporation, Mr. Moon. Nothing can be hidden from us. And please don’t use the word ‘hell’ in that context here. It’s slightly dangerous.”
“Slightly dangerous, my ass,” I growled, standing up. “You’re crazy clowns in my opinion.”
“Your opinion is important indeed, but please sit down,” woman said. “We didn’t finish.”
“I did. I came here for money, so if you aren’t giving me any, I’ll leave.”
As I was leaving, I heard a click. The door was locked. I tried to open it, but no use. I glanced over my shoulder.
“Stop joking and open the door,” I ordered. “Or I call the police.”
“That won’t happen, Mr. Moon,” man in black said. “You’ve passed the first round. You can’t leave anymore.”
“Are you mad? What kind of company imprisons their guests?”
“You aren’t guest. You’ve come here to the casting, so you want the job.”
“I did this for the MONEY!” I shouted distinctly. “What part of it don’t you get it!?”
Suddenly the old man in gray jumper stood up, hitting the table with his hands. The stone cracked because of it. I flinched, shocked.
“Master Hong,” woman gasped. She seemed scared. Did she think too that he was dead?
“Really?” man in black coat whispered. He re-scanned quickly some papers once again.
Then the woman and man in black looked at me, as if old man’s resurrection was my doom.
“Congratulations,” woman said, but with a grim voice. “You’ve passed the second round...”
“This time I’m afraid to ask ‘how’,” I muttered. “But I want to ask you this: what’re you REALLY doing here? In this company?”
“We’ll tell you, if you sign this.” Woman showed me a contract, filled strangely fast.
“You can’t refuse now, if your position has been recognized.”
“Recognized? Position? What the hell –”
All of a sudden the old man raised his head and looked straight into my eyes. But something was wrong with his irises. They were... gray.
When we made an eye contact, suddenly my body felt heavy, as if invisible power was pushing me to the ground. I was on my knees, when the old man came to me and took my thumb. He dipped it in an ink and put on the ground the contract.
“You’ve been told not to use this word in that context here,” old man said calmly and put my thumb to the contract, without my permission.
Then all room seemed to tremble. Or it was my imagination, because I was trembling myself with anger and fear. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!? What the heck did I just sign?
“Welcome to the Hell, Mr. Moon,” woman said with smile, standing up. Seemed like the ‘interview’ was over. “You’ve been recognized as the Scourer. Master Hong will tell you the details later.”
“Sco-what?” I blurted. “What did you just do?”
“We hired you. We’ll give you one day for the adaptation to new environment. Good luck and thank you for your cooperation.”
“Cooperation, my a...AH!” Old man squeezed my ear, lifting me up.
“You can come out now, Mr. Kim,” old man said.
From the shadows came out a young, hooded man. He would look creepy, as the man in black coat, if it wasn’t for his blue sneakers.
“Take this newcomer to the waiting room. I’ll come to you after a few minutes.”
Hooded guy nodded and smirked, which was strangely familiar. After that he showed his face. I gasped. My childhood, only friend, whom I didn’t see for so long, was standing here and now before me, wearing murky clothes and irritating sneakers.
“Long time no see, sloppy head,” Kim Jihun said.