I hesitated in the midway. I closed my eyes and bit my lip. What if there really was something? Like Hyeon Ju or... Bloody Mary? Now that I knew of ghosts’ existence, I was afraid that we’ve gotten Bloody Mary’s curse as well.
You’re such a weakling, Jihun! – I scolded myself. Get a grip!
I opened my eyes and regretted it right away.
A pale woman with mouth opened to scream and bloody eyes was staring at me. I screamed and moved back, but suddenly I realized that it was a reflection, so the ghost was behind me. I bounced from Heejun and fell off the bed. Then a weak light in the center of the room was switched on. I looked around.
Bloody Mary wasn’t here. I looked in the mirror. She wasn’t there either, then what –
Suddenly someone burst out laughing. My heart was still racing like crazy. Members were sitting on the bed as confused as me. Only Creep was happy, as if he just won in the lottery. He was jumping and clapping, not to mention stepping on the Voodoo Barbie, which was supposed to be his treasure.
“I got you! I got you!” he was repeating. He pointed at me. “You’re really funny kid! You were so surprised like none of my previous clients! I like you.”
Sudden anger attacked me. So it was all prank!? Behind the Creep I saw another doll, similar to the figure I saw in the mirror. I jumped on my feet, but members were faster than me and they clung to me, stopping from hurting this madman.
“Now,” Creep said. “If you don’t want to buy this doll, leave. We have nothing to talk about.”
“Right,” I said through teeth. “We have not. I’m just regretting our precious time by coming here. Can I at least leave you a homecoming present?”
“You brought something?” Creep brightened up in a second.
“Sure. Watch closely.”
And I jumped at him with fists. Thankfully (or rather not) members guessed my intentions, so they caught me by shirt, stretching it and trying to move me back. Creep glanced at me with disapproval, but suddenly stiffened.
“Come here!” he gasped and grabbed me by a shirt, almost ripping it off.
“Hey, what –!” I began, but he pushed me on the chair and rolled up my shirt.
“I’ll be damned...” Creep whispered, pointing to the handprint on my chest. He looked at me with widened eyes, that were even bigger with his thick glasses. “Where did you get that?”
“Where... ?” Anger disappeared in a moment. “You know what this is!?”
“Of course I know! That’s my specialty!” His eyes were scary now. “So?”
I snorted, saying, “You didn’t want to hear our story, not to mention helping us, so why should I tell you?”
“So... this is your story?” Creep finally moved back and I could breathe normally. Man, his breath... No wonder there weren’t any ghosts around… “Alright. I’ll listen to it.”
He agreed to it too quickly. I frowned, looking at members. They shrugged and encouraged me to do it. I sighed and told him everything. Well, I had nothing to lose anyway.
Creep surprisingly carefully listened to me. When I finished, his funny face turned serious, which somehow worried me.
“It seems that it all comes down to a wandering ghost in the end,” Creep said. “And you’re right. If she left a mark, she’ll hunt you until the very end. You’re connected to her, for example by feeling her presence, but at the same time you’re vulnerable to the possession.”
“You’re serious?” I blurted. “I thought you don’t believe in ghosts!”
“And why do you think I built my place like THIS?” Creep looked at me disapprovingly. “It’s kind of a shield they’re afraid of.”
“So if we decorate our place like this, we’ll chase her out?” Heejun asked.
Creep shook his head, saying, “It wouldn’t be enough. I’m different. I’m in this from childhood, so they now see me as an enemy. But I’m not haunted, so it protects me.”
“You’re like this from childhood? My condolences,” I couldn’t stop myself.
Creep ignored it but members gave me glares.
“What is Hyeon Ju anyway?” Youjin asked.
“Wandering ghost is the worst. Well, after the vengeful spirit. If you’re unlucky enough, you’ve met wandering vengeful spirit, but I don’t know this one. I can tell you about the wandering ghost. I may have joked, but the story about Bloody Mary and Sally was partly true. I don’t know about the doll, but Bloody Mary could make wishes come true and according to one of the legend, she lost her way back to the mirror and wandered for decades. No one knows if she returned at the end. Usually ghosts are connected or even tied to one place – their home, place of death, or somewhere they wanted to be at before their death. There are ghosts that haunt certain person, but it’s always someone connected to their death or life, so this doesn’t apply to your case. But there are ghosts that haunt random people by cursing them.” Creep pointed to my chest. “This is you. Because Hyeon Ju is a wandering ghost, which means she isn’t tied to any particular place, she could curse you and make you hers.”
“This doesn’t sound right,” I muttered.
“How do we eliminate the curse?” Inseong said.
“Eliminate?” To my gradually raising fury, Creep laughed. “There’s no such thing, boy.”
“Then how to fight it?” I asked irritated.
“That’s up to you.”
Suddenly I felt strange. It wasn’t due to Creep’s discouraging words though. I looked around, squeezing Inseong’s arm. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Something doesn’t feel right here,” I said.
“Is it Hyeon Ju!?” Heejun gasped and Creep startled us by falling from the chair.
“Get out, GET OUT!” he shouted and pushed us to the exit.
“So you’re not going to help us!?” I outraged. “I thought you’re interested in scary events! We can pay you later!”
“I’m not in this one and I don’t need your money!” Creep hissed.
“I’m not going back through THERE,” Inseong said, grabbing the wall before the door.
“Fine. There’s another one. I’m using it only in emergency situations, but I have no choice now. Let’s say it’s an emergency.”
“Stop pushing me!”
“Hey! Could you –”
“Ah, my foot!!”
Creep pushed us to a wooden box, in which we squeezed like sardines in a can. When he pushed some button, I became suspicious of it.
“What’re you doing?” I asked.
“Saying ‘goodbye’ to you in a spectacular way!” he said happily and his mood again changed in a flash, which made it much more suspicious.
We looked around. We were in a stone cabin and there was no space outside of the box. Then we looked up and saw an endless tunnel. I squinted my eyes. I thought I saw some light high above us...
I widened my eyes immediately, when I realized what Creep intended to do.
“Wait, stop –!!” I began, but Creep already pushed another button and we were fired up.