Before I reacted, suddenly I heard barking and footsteps. Then some woman shouted something in strange language and out of nowhere I was poured with a bucket of smelly water. Luckily, at least I saved the camera from getting wet. I turned around and saw a disappearing ghost, that left behind a whitish smoke. Members, Fairy, and manager ran to me.
“Are you okay?” Inseong asked worried.
I nodded, still dumbfounded. Was Hyeon Ju behind me? If that was her, she probably wanted to possess me. I shivered at the very thought. I suddenly felt nauseous, when the smell from my clothes hit my nostrils. Fairy smelled them too and snorted with disgust.
Then we heard a grunt and looked at the door, where was standing a woman. She was almost half shorter than us and lot thicker. She was dressed in rather... extravagant clothes with lots of cheap jewelry and almost reflective, long head scarf. I looked lower and saw an empty bucket. I got angry, but before I said something, manager grabbed my arm.
“She’s here to help,” he explained.
“You call THIS help?” I outraged, substituting my sleeve under his nose. He jerked and moved back, as if I hit him.
Manager cleared his throat, saying, “Anyway, she’s called Madam Bae and she’s respected shaman. The only flaw she has is –”
“Did I hit it?” Madam Bae asked in loud and kinda irritating voice. She was looking around. “Are there any other spirits?”
I raised my eyebrows. “You mean –”
“How can she NOT see it?” Heejun whispered. “We all see it! And we don’t have any special gift, or something.” He paused unsure. “I hope...”
“I heard ghosts are seen, if they want to,” I came to Heejun’s rescue. “That’s why at the beginning only I could see Hyeon Ju and the staff didn’t even notice her handprints in the company. I’m sure something was here, so how the shaman chased away the ghost if she didn’t see it?”
“She feels it in some way,” manager said. “I’m sorry, that’s the only thing I could do for you. Police will be useless in this case.”
I smiled and grabbed manager’s hands. “Thank you, hyung. You did enough. If she’s a shaman, she’ll definitely help us somehow.” I wrinkled my nose. “But what is that smell?”
“Juice from spoiled fruits that stayed under the full moon for three months,” Madam Bae explained, coming closer to us. She, on the other hand, had so sweet perfume, that I and Heejun moved back.
“Ju –!” I groaned and touched my shirt. It was sticky indeed. “Gross!”
“But useful. What is your name again?”
“I didn’t say it yet,” I grumbled.
“Anyone would disappear after being soaked in this thing,” I heard Heejun’s whisper and glared at him.
“I’m Jihun,” I said, seeing Madam Bae’s sharp look.
“Jihun. So you’re the main dish?”
“I’m not sure what did you mean by that, but I guess so... ?”
Before I realized what was going on, Madam Bae grabbed me by collar and jerked me, so I fell on my knees. Now we were at least on the same height level. She checked my face with her fingers (because of the juice on my face her fingers got also sticky and I was more disgusted), at the end stretching my cheek. Then she checked my eyes, nearly putting her finger in my eye.
“As I feared,” she sighed, finally leaving me alone. I stepped back, staggering. Heejun and Seungjun checked if she didn’t make me any harm, besides embarrassment.
“What is it?” manager asked worried.
“He’s sick. Very sick.”
“More precisely, please?” I said. “And why did you check my face, if I have the curse on my chest?”
“Everything is seen from the face and eyes, boy,” Madam Bae said. She suddenly took out from under one of layers of her clothes some piece of paper. “I have to use serious security measures.”
Then she stuck the paper on my cheek. Because of the juice, it didn’t fell. I felt nothing special, besides feeling ridiculous. I glared at members and manager, who were strongly holding back their laughter.
“How it’s going to help me?” I asked grimly.
“These talismans will protect you,” Madam Bae answered.
“Don’t ask about things you won’t understand, boy. Now, next one.”
After a minute half of my body was in paper, as if we were playing Post-It.
“Now what?” I growled. Members and manager were already red from holding back the laughter.
“Now we wait until the spirit is gone.”
“It depends. Usually a week.”
I winced and three papers fell from my face. Heejun couldn’t endure anymore and snorted with high-pitched laughter.
“Aaah, I’m done with this!” I got angry and freed myself from these ridiculous papers.
“If you feel uncomfortable, we’ll do something else,” Madam Bae said, unshaken by my rebellion. I didn’t think I would meet someone whom I’ll hate more than Creep. He was at least more convincing con than she was.
“Can we trust her!?” I hissed to manager, when the shaman began to search through her pockets.
“Give her a chance, Jihun. We have nothing to lose.”
“Besides my pride and health,” I snorted and left to take a shower.
I was so angry and distracted, that I slipped in the bathroom and hit painfully my tailbone. Cursing, I soaked myself with water for a few minutes. I closed my eyes and tried to calm down a bit, but Madam Bae’s irritating, childish voice was still ringing in my ears.
All of a sudden the water became cold. I hissed and opened my eyes. I frowned and changed it back to warm.
“Weird,” I muttered and closed my eyes again.
Suddenly I felt chills on my back. I opened my eyes quickly and turned around, but there was no one there. I had a delayed reaction from before? I observed the bathroom for a minute, then returned to taking the shower. The chills didn’t stop, so I changed water to cold, but suddenly it became the opposite and I burned my hands.
I jerked, hissed, and opened my eyes.
WHY DID YOU DO IT!?
I screamed and moved back, but I slipped and fell on my back, while Hyeon Ju reached out to my face and in a second everything around me went black.