Both of us didn’t move. We were just staring at each other. I was sweating more and more, and Hyeon Ju seemed scarier and scarier. Suddenly I heard a door but I didn’t even flinch. Footsteps stopped. I was sure it was Heejun, who just came in after the bath. He probably froze too. I clenched my teeth. What should I do... She was definitely real, because I felt pain when I clenched fists so hard, that nails started hurting my palm.
Then Heejun moved again. Suddenly I heard a sound, as if he hit the desk, and something fell on a floor and broke, probably a glass. Heejun gasped, I moved back uncontrollably, and Hyeon Ju turned violently to Heejunnie. I thought with horror that she’ll attack him, but then she opened her mouth and squeaked mournfully. After that she vanished and I felt so light all of a sudden, that I nearly fell from the bunk bed.
The noise brought here others. Heejun frantically started explaining what happened and that I was right about everything. Their conversation was barely reaching me. I was too shocked to think clearly. She was so close, yet didn’t do much. Or maybe leading us to death out of fear was her goal? If that so, she was doing great job so far...
I flinched and looked down. Members were staring at me. “Let’s go to the living room to talk,” Seungjun said and reached out his hand to me. I came down without his help, but on the floor I staggered and he had to grab my arm.
When I sat on the sofa, Heejun clung to me worried.
“You’re still pale, hyung,” he whispered.
I nodded, still a little disorientated. Only when Youjin touched my leg and shook it, I looked at them.
“Could you tell us what happened in the room?” Inseong asked.
I took a deep breath and started to talk. When I finished, everyone was terrified. Everyone except Youjin. He looked worried, as if he was wondering what should he do with my craziness. I didn’t have strength to deal with his stubbornness now.
“What should we do then?” Seungjun whispered with trembling voice. He was squeezing my hand. I realized it only when I looked at it, because it went numb because of him. Heejun didn’t let go my waist and Inseong sat beside us too, just to feel safer. Only Youjin was sitting in the chair in front of us with uncertain face. I had a feeling that he slowly started to believe.
“If you’re saying the truth –” Youjin said.
“I AM,” I said emphatically.
“ –then we have to tell manager,” Youjin finished, ignoring me.
“What’s the point?” I said. “He won’t believe us anyway. Just like you.”
Youjin looked at me angered and wanted to strike back, when I got chills and saw something behind him.
It was her!
All four of us were staring as she was emerging from the floor, looking straight at Youjin. Heejun and Seungjun squeezed me from both sides. I didn’t know what to do either. Youjin must have realized that something was wrong, because he stiffened and limited his moves.
Suddenly Hyeon Ju floated to the ceiling with a hiss and opened her hand with the intent to attack. I looked at her and then at Youjin. Damn –!
“NO!” I shrieked and threw myself at Youjin, before my body forgot how to move.
I landed in front of him at the same time as the ghost appeared before me. It hit my chest with its hand and I fell on Youjin, who fell on the table. I gasped, unable to breathe. My chest was burning!
“Jihun!” Youjin patted my cheek, trying to bring me back to senses. “Hey!”
“Look out!” Heejun shouted with panic.
Hyeon Ju was ready to attack again. She howled and nosedived toward Inseong. I clenched my teeth and kicked her, when she was passing me. She probably didn’t expect that, because I could touch her without problem. Hyeon Ju flew to the wall and soaked into it.
We weren’t moving until a minute passed. She didn’t return. I breathed out and sat.
“Jihun-ah... ?” Everyone gathered around me, watching me carefully.
I touched my chest. The pain vanished along with the ghost. “I’m okay,” I assured them.
All of a sudden Youjin hit my head.
“What was that for!?” I outraged.
Then he hugged me tightly. “You moron!” he whispered. “Don’t do that again, you could’ve died!”
I smiled. “But I didn’t.” I looked again at the wall. “I guess NOW we can tell manager.”
Next day we told manager about the ghost and recent events, but – as I predicted – he didn’t believe us.
“Even if it’s true, you’re lucky!” he even said. “The old saying goes: seeing a ghost in the recording room will bring you luck with your recording.”
Yeah, right, I thought grimly. What part of that was lucky? Besides, she was in the recording room to which we theoretically didn’t have access, so it wasn’t really OUR recording room. And definitely not our luck.
As we all knew that the ghost was a wandering curse, the atmosphere around us became normal again. Youjin apologized, but that wasn’t important. I was glad I didn’t have to endure more of this awkwardness. For a moment we forgot about the ghost and enjoyed our break time. We went to eat dinner to the restaurant near our company. Out of curiosity I checked the table, however I didn’t see the handprint. How did that work anyway? Once the marking was left for some time, sometimes it disappeared immediately. I cleared my mind and focused on the delicious food.
We sat at the same table as last time. I glanced at the table, where I saw Hyeon Ju, who probably acted as that drunk girl then. It was empty, so I sighed with relief. After a few minutes we had our noodles delivered. I wanted to eat first but stopped in the midway, seeing Heejun’s face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
Heejunnie rubbed his eyes and blinked confused. “I don’t know...” he muttered. “Maybe I’m too tired...”
“Did you see something?” Inseong moved close to him violently. Seungjun, who was sitting beside him, almost knocked over his bowl with surprise.
“I’m not sure.”
“Say it,” Youjin ordered.
“I... I thought that there was something in Jihunnie-hyung’s bowl...”
We all looked into my bowl. There was nothing besides the noodles.
“Maybe you’re tired indeed?” I suggested.
“Yeah... maybe. Sorry, hyung. Eat well.”
I smiled and raised my chopsticks again, but this time I saw something and was sure it wasn’t a hallucination. In each bowl there was something long and black.
“Stop!” I gasped. Members froze. “Heejun is right. Something’s wrong.”
We watched carefully all bowls but again didn’t see anything unusual. I tried my noodles once more and then stood up violently, dropping the chopsticks. Something tickled my chin, as I was going to eat. I wiped my face right away with disgust and fear. Others got up too, staring at my bowl. There was something black in it –!
I covered my mouth. It was hair.
Suddenly I felt sick and ran to the bathroom. After I cleared my poor stomach, I washed my face five times and looked in the mirror. I grimaced. My chest was itching. Damn mosquitoes...
But the itching didn’t stop. I cursed and rolled up my shirt. I froze with horror.
On my chest, where Hyeon Ju hit me, was a mark similar to the burn. And it was the shape of a handprint.