God, I love this couple way more than I should…
No one seemed to mind that he’d all but kidnapped the girl. He wasn’t even questioned as he carried her kicking and screaming from the Prosecutors building. His colleagues were so sure of his methods that they didn’t blink twice as she’d all but begged to be released, they’d just returned to their cubicles as if a petite American wasn’t slung over his shoulder. He couldn’t begin to tell you how he’d gotten her into his car; she was three times as strong as the average man and her hunger made her even more powerful, but he’d managed it. They made it halfway across town without incident and surprisingly she’d fallen silent as soon as he turned the radio on, like a child lulled to sleep by the motion of the vehicle and the soft classical music that filtered from his favorite station, she’d drifted off beside him. But the moment he’d pulled into the parking garage and climbed out of the car she’d bolted, throwing open her door and running for the exit, a scream tearing itself from her throat. He’d been forced to chase her down, throwing her over his shoulder as she struggled with all her might to get away from him. By the time they made it to his apartment they were both physically and mentally exhausted.
Tae Yeon dropped her onto the carpet, slamming the door behind himself and locking it tight. Instantly she was on her feet, flying towards him with tiny, furious fists. He held her at arms length, a martyred sigh escaping him as he finally pulled her flush against his chest, his arms locking around her tiny frame and pinning her arms at her sides.
“Calm down. No one’s going to hurt you.” He told her as she struggled in his arms, her exerted pants falling against his ear as she growled.
“I don’t believe you!” She kicked at his shins petulantly and his grip tightened. Tae Yeon held her until her energy was spent, finally letting her slide to the floor in front of him, curls falling into her eyes red with hunger. He left her there to sulk as he made his way into his expansive bedroom and over to the walk in closet. Choosing a light blue t-shirt and a pair of sweats he hoped wouldn’t be extremely large on her, he slipped back into the living room to hand them to the seething woman. She hadn’t moved an inch, not looking up until he was looming over her.
“Go and bathe, I’ll have Jung In bring you something more suitable to wear tomorrow.” He told her and she huffed, blowing an errant curl out of her face before reaching up to take the clothing he offered her. She climbed shakily to her feet, her movements somewhat reminiscent of newborn Colt standing up for the very first time. Tae Yeon pointed her to an open door at the end of the hall and she hesitated, trepidation and indignation flashing across her face. “I’ll wait here.” He reassured her and after another second of hesitation she finally made her way into the bathroom, torn between a need to be clean and self preservation. He wondered briefly if he was finally getting through to her, but the sound of the door rattling on its hinges as she slammed it with all her strength had him believing otherwise.
Tae Yeon heaved another sigh as he made his way over to to the bar that lined the far end of the living room, carefully skirting the long marble coffee table before reaching for a bottle of brandy. The moment his fingertips brushed the glass his cellphone rang from his front pocket, the stacccato beeps signaling that it was someone from work. Sighing yet again he snagged it and flipped it open. “This is Min.”
“You really expect me to believe that cock and bull story you fed me, Min?” He sighed.
“Yes, Detective Hwang, your friend, remember? You’re not supposed to lie to your friends Min! Or did you forget that?” The detective grumbled, “Look, I know there are certain…circumstances that can’t be helped, but I know something strange is going on with Kyun Seung and I deserve the truth. If not as your friend then as your partner.”
“It’s not a matter of friendship. Things are just…complicated.” He told him, listening to the shower turn on behind him, the water hitting the bottom of the tub hard before a petite body stepped underneath the stream. He wanted to tell him everything, to be open and honest with the only one who knew about his…oddities, at least to a certain extent. But how could he tell his friend that he’d murdered a young woman, turning her into South Korea’s first female serial killer?
“Things are always complicated where you’re concerned. Just tell me, is she really a survivor of that new serial killer?”
“…You could say that.”
“That’s not good enough Min!” He hissed, “If she really went through an ordeal like that she should be in counseling or something. Why did you just whisk her out of here? Why did you stop the questioning? What are you hiding?”
“I could fill an encyclopedia with the things I’m hiding Hwang.” He said and the man sighed. “You’ll just have to trust me on this. If I could tell you I would.”
“I know, I trust you. I just wish you would let me help you Min. On top of this case with Jae Ki we’ve got killers running around eating people…drinking blood and who knows what else. Everyone needs help from time to time, even you.”
“The bodies were bloodless?” He played dumb, “Has Jo taken a look at any of them?”
“Just one. It was an older guy, Dong Han Shik, mid fifties. He had his head bashed in after he was bled almost dry. There are bite marks on his face and neck, Min, like some animal attacked him. But there’s the strange part, the bite patterns were reminiscent of human teeth.” Tae Yeon remained silent, he just didn’t know what to say to that. “If you know something, tell me before its too late alright?”
“I’ll do my best.”
“I don’t believe you…But as I said, I trust you so I’ll drop it for now.”
“I appreciate it.”
“Look, I’ll call you if I get any more information, alright?” He asked and Tae Yeon nodded even though the man couldn’t see him. The call ended without another word and he dropped his phone onto the bar, once again reaching for the bottle of brandy.
“I didn’t know undead monsters could drink alcohol.” He turned to stare down at Kyun Seung who stood just inches away from him, her dark ringlets dripping onto her shirt, completely soaking the shoulders. Her eyes were back to their normal color, except for the flecks of burgundy that marked her barely leashed hunger.
“They can’t, I’m just very fond of the taste.” He said, slipping onto a barstool as she moved closer to him, reaching over to fondle his cellphone.
“Why didn’t you tell your friend the truth? If he were really your friend he wouldn’t mind the fact that you’re a monster.” She said, turning to glare up at him, “Tell me Min, do you murder nurses for fun or for sport?”
“Neither. What happened with you was a mistake. One I won’t be making again.”
“A mistake huh? So my life meant absolutely nothing to you?” She asked and he frowned. The woman was shaking with unspent rage, and justifiably so. He’d robbed her of her life, of her innocence and mortality and he deserved nothing more than her ire.
“I don’t have the answer you’re looking for, Kyun Seung. I was dying, I could feel my life fading and I couldn’t allow that. You’re a nurse, you saw my wounds. Even as a vampire I wouldn’t have lasted very long without–” He paused as her gaze dropped to the bar.
“Without my blood. So, you murdered me to save yourself? I was nothing more than convenient cattle.” She said and he felt as if he’d been slapped. He wanted nothing more than to reach out and touch her, to offer her some comfort where none else could be found.
“You saved my life.”
“But at the cost of my own.” She growled, her control snapping as red encroached on her irises. “I had a family, Min. I had friends and a job that I loved. And all of that’s gone now.” She trembled next to him, tears threatening to fall. “I was finally happy and it was ripped away in the blink of an eye. And the worst part is, I don’t even know how I should feel right now! I should hate you, I should be absolutely livid! But I am– was– a nurse. It was my job to save lives and I can’t bring myself to begrudge you yours.” She lifted her head to stare up at him, looking every bit like a lost child. “In all honesty, I’m terrified. I’ve never been this afraid in my life.”
“You don’t have to be afraid. I’m going to take care of you Kyun Seung, I will offer you the support I never found in my own sire. It’s the least I can give after what I’ve done.” He told her, somehow hoping to chase away her fear, to reassure her that she wasn’t alone and never would be. He owed her more than just his life, he owed her everything he’d stolen from her and so much more. She didn’t say anything else but scrubbed angrily at her face to rid herself of her tears. He reached out to her then, lightly caressing her damp shoulder as she turned to stare back up at him. “You should get some sleep, it’s late.” He stood, “I’ll sleep on the couch, the bed is yours.”
“But–” She caught the tail of his shirt as he moved past her. Tae Yeon paused, staring down at her in question, watching her gaze grow dark. She didn’t need to say a word, he could feel her hunger, it hummed deep inside of him as if it were his own.
“You’re hungry.” He said, sighing lightly as he reclaimed his seat on the stool and pulled her in front of him. Rolling up his sleeve he offered the inside of a pale wrist.
“I…I don’t want to hurt you like I hurt those people.” She shook her head, taking a step back until he caught her hand and pulled her back to stand before him. “I didn’t want them to die…I was just so…”
“I understand. It comes along with the territory of being a newly awakened vampire. You’ll learn to control your thirst in time.” He reassured her, even though he, himself couldn’t be completely sure. He’d never known another vampire, and it wasn’t exactly if his own sire had stuck around to teach him anything. He wasn’t even entirely sure if giving her his blood was safe, but it would have to do until he could wean her off the live blood she’d taken and onto the blood packets he used.
“I don’t know how…to do it.” She said, frowning deeply. “The men I killed–”
“Don’t think about them.” He cut her off and her eyes snapped to his. He was protecting her, sheltering her, something she hadn’t expected. In her time on her own she’d completely villainized him for what he’d done to her. And now, here she was, standing in his apartment, dressed in his clothes with his wrist just inches from her lips. “Don’t bite directly into the vein, it will only tear it and force your donor to bleed out quickly. You won’t have time to drink and before you know it, they’re dead. Puncture the flesh around the vein instead.” He instructed her, surprised at his own knowledge. It just felt…natural. Was this how all sires felt towards their sirelings? Protective? Dare he even say nurturing?
“You’re…actually trusting me with this?” She asked, “What if I…Killed you by accident?”
“We both know it wouldn’t be an accident if you did, we weren’t exactly on the best of terms an hour ago. I would very much appreciate it if you abstained from draining me dry.” He told her and to his surprise she smiled up at him. That smile did things to his stomach. “Drink.” He ordered and she gave him a slight nod before lifting his wrist to her lips. He watched them part, her canines elongating as they sank into his flesh. And he was instantly on fire. He could feel every pull, every vital cell flowing from his body and deep inside her own. He’d never felt anything more arousing, more erotic. “Kyun Seung.” He growled out her name but she didn’t appear to hear him, tightening her grip on his arm as she pulled harder and harder, her mouth shifting until she’d nicked his vein. Tae Yeon’s mouth fell open in a silent gasp, every muscle in his body tightening in pleasure and pain, the euphoric feeling blurring the very thin line between both. He pulled her even tighter against him then, crushing her against his chest until he was certain that, had she still be human, she’d be laying in pieces at his feet. Before he could stop himself his mouth sought her throat, sinking his fangs deep into the tender flesh. She was stunned into releasing him, a startled moan escaping her lips as he reclaimed what he’d offered. Kyun Seung placed her hands against his shoulders, pushing slightly as she whimpered. Reluctantly he released her, pulling away as the high they’d shared faded. Tae Yeon stared down at her, watching her lift her tiny hand, her thumb wiping away a trickle of blood that escaped his lips before bringing it to her own. His hand shot out to grab her wrist, stopping her. “You…” He started, his voice an octave lower than it should have been. He cleared his throat, pulling himself away from her and moving towards the couch. “You should get some sleep.”
Tae Yeon lifted his head, watching as the police hauled Jae Ki into the back of the police cruiser, the balding gang leader sputtering and muttering curses as crumbs fell from his neatly trimmed mustache. It seemed as if his last meal as a free man had been interrupted. Shame. After three years of mistrials and overturned sentences the Prosecutors Office had finally uncovered the evidence they’d needed to make an arrest and obtain a solid conviction. The murdering, child-molesting bastard would be spending the rest of his life behind bars and it was all thanks to Prosecutor Tae Yeon and his team. He found himself smirking when detective Hwang Soon Beom gave him a clap on the back, his boisterous laughter pleasantly filling the night air, a stark contrast to the otherwise solemn neighborhood.
“We did it my friend. Three years of hard work finally paid off.” His grin was infectious, prompting prosecutor Yoo Jung In and evidence analyst Choi Dong Man to join them. As their leader Tae Yeon was expected to provide the congratulatory pep talk, the speech that would renew their vigor and ease their minds. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He would have liked to tell them that it was all over now that Jae Ki was going to prison but he knew better. He refused to lie to them, not when they still had a battle on their hands. They’d caught only the leader of a very dangerous gang, hundreds, if not thousands of henchmen would be waiting to retaliate for the capture of their beloved leader. It was only a matter of time before they were pulling another mangled body out of a dumpster somewhere. Their battle against Jae Ki was just getting started and he needed them alert and on their toes, not off celebrating while their enemies plotted their demise.
“Well boss? Any words of encouragement?” Jung In asked and he gave her a half smirk before slapping Dong Man across the back.
“Go home. Get some rest. I’ll see you all at the office in the morning.” He told them, holding back his laughter at the expressions that washed over their faces. Jung In huffed in indignation as he turned his back on them all and headed towards his car. The police were already leaving with Jae Ki in tow. His job was completed for the night and so was theirs.
“That’s it?” She asked, obviously offended that he didn’t drop to his knees and praise her hard work.
“D-Do we get overtime pay for this?” Dong Man asked, only to be shoved towards his van by Soon Beom.
“Yah, you heard the man, get moving. And hey Min!” He called and Tae Yeon paused to look back at the hefty grinning detective, “Do us all a favor and get yourself a woman tonight. You’re way too stiff.” He laughed, ushering the others in the opposite direction towards their respective vehicles. Tae Yeon just shook his head, unlocking his black sedan and slipping into the heated leather driver’s seat. If only he knew just how stiff he really was. Six years had passed since his sire had turned him into a member of the walking undead. And he was just as close to finding out who said sire was now than he was all those years ago. Just when his resolve was shaken and he thought about giving up his search another clue to his existence appeared out of thin air to entice him into another wild goose chase. His sire, it seemed, didn’t want to be found. But then again, he’d never had a sireling like Tae Yeon on his trail either. He would find him. It was only a matter of time.
Before he could get his car started and make his way home his phone began buzzing loudly in the breast pocket of his jacket. Fishing the device from between the folds of fabric he accepted the call and pressed the thing to his ear.
“We have another I’m afraid. I’m on my way to the crime scene now, should I expect to meet you there?” It was Doctor Jo Jung Hyun, the forensics specialist who headed his team of five. Tae Yeon couldn’t stop the sinking feeling that filled his stomach at the mans words.
“Another murder? Could it have been one of Choi’s men?” He asked and was answered with a heavy sigh from the elderly doctor. He watched his team pull away from the scene of Jae Ki’s arrest through the rearview mirror, adrenaline and rage flooding his veins at the thought of something happening to any one of them. Could the war he’d predicted be starting already? Jae Ki should have been in handcuffs at the local station, his fingers covered in thick black ink as they booked him. Had he had the opportunity to provoke his men into action, or had they been watching the entire time?
“I’m not sure but from what dispatch told me it very well could be. It matches previous cases. Young victim, she can’t be more than sixteen years old, and the poor thing was tortured before they finally murdered her. The first officers on the scene say it’s a blood bath.” Tae Yeon cursed under his breath.
“Right. I’ll be there soon.”
“I’ll have dispatch send you the location.” Dr. Jo cut the line and ten seconds later the GPS device on his dashboard booted itself up, highlighting the location of the crime scene on the digital map. Tae Yeon tapped the ignition button and the car roared to life, his very soul heavy at the thought of what he and his colleagues would be facing in the next coming months, if not years. It had taken three years of their lives to get Jae Ki off the streets, how many more would they loose trying to bring in every petty thief and gangster that worked for the fallen crime lord?
“…My friends are going to be there too… I’m on a highway to hell.” Tae frowned and switched the radio off. Even as a mortal he’d never been overly appreciative of American music, especially not the loud, animated, rock genre. And now that his hearing was heightened it was the bane of his existence, as well as anything else that was louder than a whisper. The world was so full of aggravating noises that it had become a sort of drone, dampening his senses as he attempted to block it out. Maybe that was why he didn’t hear the truck speeding through the red light, sailing across the intersection like a flaming bat out of hell. The headlights were blinding and even if he had been fast enough to spin the wheel and attempt to avoid the truck it would have been too late. They collided, glass raining upon him as the truck crushed the drivers side of his sedan, ramming the much smaller car into a light pole that teetered before falling across the roof of the car. The world slowed around him as twisted metal bit into his flesh, heavy shards of glass piercing his skin until he poured blood from several parts of his body. He cursed, gritting his teeth as he went to pull himself from the wreckage, only to find that he couldn’t move. His body, now deprived of blood, was shutting itself down in an attempt to conserve energy. Even vampires had their limits. The last thing he remembered before darkness claimed him was a tall man emerging from the wrecked truck, an assault rifle in his hands as he riddled Tae Yeon and his totaled car with bullet holes, that as well as the fading sound of the GPS system pointing him to a destination he’d never reach.
“Right turn in two point five miles…”
A heartbeat. Somewhere nearby he could hear someone’s heart beating. The muscle thudding quickly as its owner was filled with feelings of fear and worry. Every inch of him ached in response, his thirst overwhelming as his body begged him for sustenance. He needed blood to heal and in his drunken, half dead, state he didn’t care about his promise to never drink from the innocent. He needed to feed or he himself would die, there was no arguing with survival instincts, no matter how badly he wanted to walk the path of the hero and not the villain. His body screamed that he was the villain, the evildoer who took what he needed, when he needed it without any regards for the feelings or lives of those around him. Nonetheless his conscious rebelled against the thought of killing an innocent person just to save himself. But what choice did he have? Tae Yeon tensed as he attempted to sit up, his entire being protesting at his stupidity as pain erupted from every molecule. Instantly they were at his side trying to help him back into a laying position, soft words of comfort flitting from their lips. It was a woman, he could tell by the smell of her and by the cool, un-calloused, touch that elicited a growl he couldn’t contain. Her hands were as soft as he imagined the rest of her to be and the smell of her alone had his incisors elongating and his pupils dilating behind his heavy eyelids. And when she spoke, he thought he would come undone.
“P-Please sir, just lie still. There wasn’t time for them to transport you to a hospital so they brought you to my fathers pediatric clinic,” Her voice was as soft as her hands, lilting, accented to the point that it was obvious she wasn’t a local, “He left to get more sutures, we’re a little underprepared for this type of work, but if you just bare with us we’ll have you as good as new.” She said, brushing blood-soaked curls away from his face comfortingly. “Y-You lost a lot of blood. You’re lucky to be alive.” You have no idea. He thought as muscles coiled, his hunger at war with the logical, ethical side of his brain. It would be easy. Killing her would be even simpler than crushing an empty coke can in his fist. But she was innocent! His conscious retorted. He was quickly loosing himself to the insanity that accompanied thirst and she wasn’t making it any better. Did she have to smell so…edible?
“Who are you?” He asked, stiffening at her sudden intake of breath.
“I’m a nurse, an assistant to my father.” She answered truthfully, gasping again as his eyes snapped open, revealing their blue depths. He was no doubt a sight to see. A full-grown Korean man with eyes the color of sapphires.
“And your name?” He asked though he didn’t exactly know why. He couldn’t care less about her name, but her beauty was breathtaking. He’d been right in his assumption that she wasn’t a native Korean. Her heritage was a mystery and she obviously came from a mixed background but where she came from he couldn’t tell. Her skin was a pleasant shade of bronze, her dark hair falling in thick ringlets around her heart shaped face. Her eyes, an off mixture of brown and green were fearful, rife with anxiety over his battered state. When she spoke again her accent was even more prevalent. American?
“I’m C-Choi Kyun Seung.” Her eyes widened even further and he cursed under his breath, realizing what had her so fearful. His wounds were attempting to knit themselves back together, the muscles and tissue rearranging themselves slowly in an attempt to further staunch his bleeding. Something that was no doubt a horrifying sight, even for a nurse. It wouldn’t be long before he passed out again, unable to protect himself from the prying eyes of those who could tell he wasn’t exactly human.
“Kyun…Seung.” The name felt foreign on his tongue. “How old are you Kyun Seung?” He asked and she fidgeted nervously.
“Twenty-Three.” So young. That confession had been all his body needed to send him spiraling over the edge. Tae Yeon jumped off the gurney, grabbing a panicking Kyun Seung by her hair as he sank his canines into the side of her throat. She struggled, thrashing against him as her neatly manicured nails bit into his bulging forearms. He could feel himself growing stronger as he drained her dry, his hands trailing down her back before wrapping around her waist, holding her so tightly he knew that she would bruise. He didn’t want to hurt her, but he couldn’t help himself. Slowly her cries died into whimpers, her body growing weak against him. He slowly pulled himself away from her throat, his eyes, back to their normal dark hue, meeting hers. Her lips were pale, her skin colorless and sallow as she took her final breaths.
“I’m sorry.” He whispered, maneuvering her so that her body lay on the stretcher. Suddenly she went still, never to move again, and Tae Yeon sighed, running his hand over her face to close her unseeing eyes. He’d survived, his body returned to its former glory. But for what? At what cost had he regained his strength? Now, after six years of abstaining from murder he was no better than the bastard who’d sired him. He was a killer. A monster. Something he’d have to deal with for the rest of his wretched existence. Taking a final look at the young woman who’s life he’d just prematurely ended, he took his leave. He had a crime scene to get to and his job couldn’t wait.
Six months later…
Tae Yeon watched silently as Dr. Jo tacked the crime scene photos to the backlit white board, marking each of them with a little red ex before moving back to the gurney in the center of the room. The air was rife with tension, the smell of death and fresh blood; the sorrow of a grieving mother permeating the atmosphere around them as she cried her eyes out just beyond the double doors that separated the autopsy room from the morgue. The elderly doctor heaved a sigh before pulling back the crisp white sheet and revealing the corpse of a young woman who couldn’t have been more than fifteen years old. The sight of her mangled body would have turned the strongest of stomachs and, had he still been human, he would have found himself vomiting all over the doctor’s sterile floor.
“It’s him again isn’t it?” He asked and the coroner nodded, picking up a long, thin, instrument with a small mirror on the end and pressing it between her lips. The girls front teeth had all been broken. Not only was it becoming more and more tiresome for the prosecutor’s who had to keep filing botched reports, attributing the murders to a single serial killer and not a band of merciless thugs, it was becoming even more dangerous for his coworkers. They were human, with families to look after, and Jae Ki was just the type of bastard to target them just because he couldn’t get to Tae Yeon himself. Though he had tried countless times, Tae Yeon just refused to die. He couldn’t let what happened to him befall his colleagues. Even if a showdown with Jae Ki’s men was what finally sent him to eternal rest, he would do his best to protect his team.
“This is a mafia style killing Min. They used boards and a hammer to break her teeth, only one of the tortures they implemented on the poor child. Just like the girl six months ago.” He gave another sigh, placing the tool back on the little tray next to the gurney before re-covering her with the sheet. He’d figured as much. Jae Ki’s henchmen were still attempting to retaliate for their leader finally being brought to justice.
“And the crime scene?”
“But for one variation it’s the same as usual.” Jung Hyun moved back over to the white board and motioned to several of the photos. “Strange blood patterns, signs of struggle and a bloody mess of tools. This one was a fighter; it took more energy to subdue her. She tired out her assaulter to the point that it made his work sloppy. Or, there’s always the possibility that, this isn’t our usual executioner.” He added the last part under his breath, his dark eyes searching the photos as if they held some hidden meaning he’d yet to see.
“What do you mean?” Tae Yeon asked, watching the doctor pull the photos off the board again and slip them into a manila envelope before handing them off to the prosecutor.
“I think you should have a closer look at where the body was found. Perhaps your…unique skills may provide better insight as to who our killer is.” He gave him a half smirk, patting him on the shoulder as he moved towards the morgue where a woman would be waiting to identify who she hoped wasn’t her child. Tae Yeon pushed the envelope into the inner pocket of his jacket and made his way out of the room, brushing past the solemn woman the doctor and a police officer shuffled inside. He could feel her pain as if it were his own and though he’d never known the loss of a child he knew the agony of pulling back that sheet with shaking hands, praying constantly that you wouldn’t recognize the lifeless face underneath. He was no stranger to hopelessness, to the feelings of guilt and anguish that accompanied the loss of a loved one. The double doors slammed shut behind him, dampening the sound of a breaking heart as the woman screamed for mercy, begging for her god to take her instead. Tae Yeon felt his stomach clench in guilt and sympathy. Yet anther family had been destroyed by a mindless war that he was too incompetent to put an end to. Who would be the next to go, he wondered. He found himself praying that it wouldn’t be another child, even while he knew his prayers had ceased being heard years ago.
“Where are you going in such a hurry?” Tae Yeon paused, looking back at Chief Prosecutor Joo Hyun Ah, the man-eater of Seoul herself. She was dressed as professionally as always, her dark hair cut into its usual boyish style, framing an impish face that was full of mischief…and malice. He couldn’t help but grimace inwardly at the toothy, shark-like grin that spread across her face. He’d only returned to the office to brief his team on the recent murder, had he known he’d run into her he would have just called them. Or emailed them, anything to keep the raving witch away from him.
“I’m headed to a crime scene.” He said simply, trying his best to keep the agitation out of his voice. The two hadn’t exactly been the best of friends in the past. She was overbearing and controlling, while has was insubordinate on his best day. They had an odd love hate relationship, a superior and a subordinate who just barely managed to hide their distaste for each other.
“The Choi case right?” She asked and he didn’t answer, instead he watched her fold her arms over her chest, rocking on the balls of her feet until she stood dangerously close to him, an intimidation tactic that worked on his colleagues but didn’t faze him in the slightest. “I have something else I want you to look at. Follow me.” She turned on her heels and marched towards the front of the building, leaving Tae Yeon debating on whether or not he should follow orders or risk expulsion by ignoring her request. Deciding his efforts would be put to better use chasing down criminals than sitting at home in his apartment alone he followed hesitantly. In all honesty he didn’t have time for her bullshit, he had a gang of serial killers to stop before they took the life of another child. But he knew she wouldn’t care. That woman had her own agenda, one that didn’t include protecting the innocent, rather her own hide. She was selfish but part of him understood why. They lived and worked in a dangerous world of criminals, corrupt politicians and even vampires, opening your heart to those in need would only make you vulnerable, a lesson he’d still yet to learn.
“My I ask what this is all about?” He inquired, quickly falling into step beside her as she took the front stairs two at a time.
“I’ll brief you on the way. Take your car and don’t fall behind.” She told him as they reached the sidewalk in front of their expansive, bustling office building. Giving her a curt nod they parted ways and moved to enter their respective vehicles. Tae Yeon pulled open the door, slipping his Bluetooth headset into place as he eased into the drivers seat. The car roared to life with the push of a button, the little touch screen monitor on his dash flashing on as Joo’s face came into view. He watched out of the corner of his eye as her car sped past his and pulled his own into traffic. “There’s another murder case my superiors are trying to keep under wraps. With your success in solving the unsolvable in the past I thought it would be best to bring to you.” She started speaking and he alternated watching her face on the monitor and keeping his eyes on the road. The image on the screen shifted, splitting as her face moved to the top left corner and the GPS system blinked on, a little red marker indicating wherever it was she was taking him. Her secrecy made him wary, but he understood the need to keep things in control at all times. If this case was enough for the government to try and keep quiet it had to be something big. “Something…strange has happened and while we can’t easily explain it, we want it to go away, quietly. Understand?” She asked and again he didn’t answer. He didn’t have to. She knew she had his undivided attention the moment she’d mentioned murder. Again the screen shifted, several crime scene photos arranging themselves in little rows. He tapped the first one, enlarging it and clenching his teeth at the image of an older man with several puncture wounds in his neck. It looked like a vampire attack, but of course he couldn’t tell her that. All he could hope for was a group of teenagers mimicking what they saw in movies. Or another serial killer. Anything but an actual vampire. “There have been three victims since last Thursday but we’re expecting to uncover more bodies. Whoever this is they’re sloppy, disposing of the corpses is never their priority, only inflicting as much pain as possible before they take a life. I want them stopped Min.” She told him, her tone authoritative. It was a command, not a request. Again he remained unresponsive, his face stoic as his thoughts tumbled over themselves in his head. What if it was a vampire? What if his sire had returned after all these years to start an undead turf war he had no inclination to fight in? There were so many possibilities that it made him sick to his stomach.
“We’re here.” She said suddenly and her picture blinked out, leaving the screen filled with nothing but haunting images of bloodless corpses. Tae Yeon lifted his head as she pulled to a stop just a head of him, her tires kicking up rocks as she parked on a small gravel road. He was quick to follow suit, parking so close behind her their bumpers were inches apart. Hopping out of his car his eyes carefully scanned the heavily wooded area. It was just after dusk, the sun turning the sky into an oil painting of beautiful red and purple hues. Soon it would sink behind the mountains, leaving them in total darkness. Part of him worried for the vulnerable Chief Joo but when she slipped off her heels and charged barefoot into the forest he somehow knew she could fend for herself. Following suit he brushed through the heavy branches with ease, his senses on high alert for any signs of activity. He knew they weren’t alone, but the people he sensed where just that; people. The forensics team soon loomed into view, their cameras flashing as they took pictures of a pile of rotting carcasses. Humans and animals alike. It looked as if their killer had piled their bodies together in an attempt to burn the evidence but had lost their nerve at the last minute. The smell was horrid, intensified ten fold by the scorching Seoul heat. The bodies had to be more than three weeks old by the looks of them, bits and pieces of their flesh having been torn off and devoured by scavenging animals. Even for a vampire the sight was sickening.
“Prosecutor Joo!” A young forensics analyst ran over at the sight of her, his thick glasses fogging up as he dripped sweat profusely. “We haven’t found any other bodies and we’ve been searching for an hour.”
“Well keep searching. This is the bastard’s dumping grounds so there’s bound to be others. Everyone spread out and find them, we have to get these people back to their families.” She barked, turning to toss Tae Yeon a look over her shoulder, “You too Prosecutor. Get busy.” She said and he just gave her a look before moving east, his movements slow and controlled, cautious. If this was a vampires stomping grounds the undead would be extremely territorial. Any false moves and he’d end up fighting for his life and a vampire throw down was something he definitely didn’t want his coworkers caught in the middle of.
He didn’t have much of a trail to work with. There weren’t any scents, other than that of rotting flesh and stagnant blood, that he could identify and pick up on. The sun had just set behind the mountains and he watched one by one as emergency lights lining the road clicked on. This must have been a national park, someplace people frequented regularly. Which is why it didn’t make sense for anyone to dump bodies there. Unless they wanted them to be seen, or they didn’t know how to hide them. Just when he was about to turn back and take another route the sound of something wet hitting the ground caught his attention. His eyes narrowed as he followed the slow dripping noise, the smell of fresh blood causing his stomach to churn at the idea of sustenance. And then he saw it, a trail of the crimson liquid leading through the brush towards what sounded like a creek. He knelt, inspecting the droplets closely, his hands reaching out to touch a stained leaf before he brought the sample to his lips to taste. Instantly foreign images flooded his brain, his heart jump-starting in his chest as the blood vision encompassed him. He could see tiny hands wrapped around a broad neck, teeth ripping and tearing as they searched for the best point of entry before growing frustrated and crushing the victim’s larynx. It was a vampire. But it couldn’t have been his sire; the man was ancient and knew how to feed. This vampire was—
Rising to his feet he pushed through the bushes and froze at what he found there. Another pile of bodies, and next to it, a beautiful young woman dressed in a pale pink burial Hanbok. In her arms was a plump man in his late sixties, his eyes glazed over in death as she continued to puncture his throat, face and torso with tiny bite marks. She was sobbing, ringlets sticking to her tear, dirt and blood stained cheeks. Tae Yeon couldn’t believe his eyes. Six months had passed since he’d last laid eyes upon that face. And here she was, alive. Or as close too it as she can get after I…killed her. No…he hadn’t killed her. He’d sired her. He’d turned that innocent little nurse into a murderer, a creature of the night. He watched in horror as she cried, lifting a heavy stone over the mans head and bringing it down hard, not knowing that her mercy killing was for naught. She was…pitiful. The poor thing didn’t even know how to feed herself. His entire being was suddenly overcome by guilt and grief. He’d done that to her. He’d ruined her life and now her soul was in jeopardy because of his selfishness.
“Kyun…Seung?” He spoke suddenly and her head snapped up, her eyes, once a beautiful hazel, now blood red with madness and thirst.
“Y-You.” She balked, her entire body tensing up as she braced herself for attack. Tae Yeon had never been more sorry in his life. He took a step towards her, only to have her jump and scurry towards the creek. She was trapped, and even if she knew nothing about vampirism every sense she possessed screamed that if she ran he would kill her.
“I’m not going to hurt you.” He said, taking slow, meticulous steps towards her until he could crouch next to her. She sat on her heels, her face buried in her knees as she inched away from him. She was terrified and he couldn’t blame her. “How long have you been out here?” He asked and she risked a peek through her curls. He could have kicked himself at that moment.
“Since…since you turned me into this thing!” She shouted, swinging a fist at his face, which he casually brushed aside. Kyun Seung growled in frustration, sinking her hands into her hair and pulling as hard as she could. She hated what she was; she hated him for turning her into a monster. She’d woken up days after he’d attacked her and left her for dead, already six feet under the earth as her grieving father screamed and begged for her to come back. She’d beat the insides of her coffin until her fists were raw and bloody but no one could hear her. No one came to her rescue as she lie, suffocating in the dirt, and no matter how many times her lungs caved in from a lack of oxygen she just couldn’t die! She’d suffered for eight days before she’d finally been able to break a hole in the cherry wood and dig her way out. And the moment fresh air hit her skin she’d been hungry. Ravenous. But nothing had ever been enough. No matter how many people she killed, no matter how much blood she drank or flesh she sank her teeth into she just couldn’t fill the void in her bottomless pit of a stomach.
“You…You…” She cried, tears staining her tattered and torn Hanbok. She could barely even speak past the thirst that burned her throat. Tae Yeon stared down at her sympathetically. He knew that feeling all too well. His sire disappeared moments after he’d been turned, walking out of his life forever. Much like he’d done her. There had been no one there to teach him either, he’d survived on his own strength and morals alone. Kyun Seung was alone. Unable to return to her family who’d already buried her and said their goodbyes. She had no one, no prosecuting career to fall back on, and no group of friends to support her even if they didn’t know the extent of her problems. “I hate you.” As you should. He thought, tensing as she turned, hitting him in the chest again and again, raining blows that he couldn’t feel but knew he deserved. He had to do something about this. Not only for her sake but his as well. If Chief Joo found her covered in blood with a pile of bodies behind her she’d get the death penalty, or worse, spend the rest of her life underneath a microscope. He couldn’t let that happen. Not after what he’d put her through.
“Kyun Seung.” He caught her wrists and her head shot up, her eyes meeting his again, watching them shift from black to a beautiful shade of blue. “You’re going to have to trust me. I’ll keep you safe.”
“How can I trust you after you did this to me? What sort of demon are you?” She asked through her sobs but he ignored her. He didn’t have time to convince her. At any moment Chief Joo, the Seoul Police department and a team of crime scene investigators would find them and it would be over. Taking her hands he pulled her closer to the creek, washing the blood away quickly. Before she could protest he pulled her flush against his chest, crushing her in his strong arms, just as he’d done all those months ago. Kyun Seung opened her mouth to scream but was silenced as he sank his fangs into her throat. She’d expected it to be painful, as it had been the first time, but there was something euphoric about his bite. Something that could have been considered…arousing. She was loosing her mind even more than she already had but soon she found herself melting into his embrace, his lips dancing across his throat as he left several nicks in her flesh; mimicking the bites marks she’d left in her victims. Before she knew it she was unconscious, her body limp as he hooked an arm around her shoulders and under her knees.
“Min!” He could hear Chief Joo shouting from nearby and he carried Kyun Seung into the clearing, drawing gasps from the police and forensics team as well as the chief herself.
“I’ve found a survivor. We need a paramedic immediately.”
Kyun Seung sat in a steel folding chair, wrapped in a wool blanket and the remains of her Hanbok, her eyes glued to the steaming Styrofoam plate of Jjajangmyeon on the table before her. What used to be her favorite food held absolutely no appeal, in fact the smell of the spices and herbs only served to turn her delicate stomach until she wanted to vomit all over the interrogation room. And despite Tae Yeon’s quick wit and even quicker lies to law enforcement and medical personnel she doubted he could explain away bloody bile. Especially when the blood in her stomach belonged to some forty odd people, all of whom where on the missing persons list. Though, some part of her really wanted to see him try
“Are you not hungry?” The young man who’d served her asked and she timidly lifted her gaze to meet his. Her nose immediately wrinkled in disgust as the plate was pushed towards her again. The food she couldn’t stand but the smell of his skin made her salivate. He was young and clean-shaven, with neatly trimmed hair that fell just above ears that were flushing pink with excitement. Was this the effect she had on men? She’d never noticed it while she was alive, but now there was no mistaking the sound of his accelerating heart or his sharp intake of breath. The other’s she’d killed had only wreaked of fear, but this one, this one smelled sickeningly sweet, as if he’d been bathed in pure cane sugar. The man froze beside her, his fingers slipping from beneath the take out container as his eyes fixated on hers. “Y-Your…eyes…” He stuttered suddenly and she blinked twice, long lashes fanning her cheeks as she turned her crimson gaze to Tae Yeon who stood stoically behind a two way mirror, his arms crossed over his broad chest as he stared her down, almost daring her to act on her instincts and misbehave.
“Contacts.” She remarked simply, having already been debriefed on what she could and couldn’t reveal to the lucky mortals who managed his presence for more than five minutes without being assaulted.
“Cool.” The young man chuckled at her confession and her stomach tightened in response. She was hungry, and not for black bean noodles.
“Dong Man.” Tae Yeon snapped as if he sensed how close she was to breaking and the man jumped, bowing deeply before turning and hightailing it out of the room. Kyun Seung suppressed a growl as she slumped against the back of her chair, folding her arms over her chest in a huff. She’d been waiting over an hour, but for what she didn’t know. They’d held her there in that interrogation room while Tae Yeon fed them countless lies about her that they willingly believed. Instead of being Choi Kyun Seung, nurse and assistant of Choi Byung Hee, she was now Jang Kyun Seung, orphaned college student who’d been abducted by a masked serial killer and left for dead. Per his lies, Tae Yeon was a friend of her deceased father’s and, seeing as he was an orphan himself, he’d promised to take care of her should anything happen to him. What a load of bullshit. Why didn’t he just tell them the truth? He was a murdering sonofabitch who stole her life from her!
“Hello Kyun Seung, I’m detective Hwang.” She looked up in time to see an older man enter the room. His smile was bright as he took a seat across the table from her, his shaggy hair falling into his warm eyes as he quickly scanned something inside of a manila folder. Her lips twitched into a half smile at his introduction and he seemed to like that. “I’m going to ask you a few questions alright?” He asked and once again her eyes went to Tae Yeon behind the mirror. The bastard. First he murders her, turns her into a walking abomination and now he was forcing her to lie to people. He was a horrible role model and had she still been breathing she would have reported him to the proper authorities.
“Kyun, answer the man.” He said as he appeared in the doorway, a ghost of a smile tugging at the corners of his lips as if he’d heard her thoughts and found them amusing.
“I’m sorry, what was the question Detective Hwang?” She asked and the man in question blushed like a schoolboy before laughing hesitantly.
“It’s quite alright Kyun Seung. I asked what you were doing at the time of your abduction and if you can tell us anything about the person who abducted you.” He reiterated and she resisted the urge to roll her eyes.
“Well, he’s tall, with dark hair and eyes. He wears a stoic expression and seems to have an affinity for expensive suits, shoes and watches. He’s—”
“Kyun Seung.” Tae Yeon sighed and she huffed, causing the detective to send them both a cursory glance.
“The truth is I don’t know anything about the person who abducted me. I couldn’t see him, my eyes were covered by a blindfold, and my ears were plugged. He took me from my…college campus around one in the morning. I was practicing in the theatre department for an upcoming musical in which I play a walking creature who preys on the innocent and drinks their blood.” She bit out Tae Yeon’s lies, each word leaving a bitter taste in her mouth.
“You mean a vampire.” The detective corrected her and her eyes snapped up to meet his, realization flooding her.
“A…vampire? Is that what I am?” She asked in awe. The detective just looked at her like she was insane.
“I think that’s enough questioning for the day. Kyun Seung has been through enough, I should take her home so she can rest.” Tae Yeon stepped forward, placing a hand on his friends shoulder, using compulsion to force him into agreeing. The man nodded, climbing to his feet and bowing to the confused Vampiress who shook with rage. The moment they were alone her eyes met his.
“You turned me…into a vampire.” She hissed and he gave her a stiff-jawed look that was less than apologetic.
“We’ll talk about this later.”
“No, we’ll talk about it now!” She rose from her seat and made her way around the table so she could growl up at him, fully aware of the crowd that had gathered on the other side of the door to listen to what they believed was a lovers spat. “You turned me into a monster! And now you expect me to cooperate as if nothing happened?!” She shouted and his fingers danced at his sides as he calmly tried to find a solution to the situation. Before she could open her mouth again he bent and tossed her over his shoulder, ignoring her screams of indignation as he turned and carried her from the interrogation room…
To be Continued…
“Miss Park!” I heard my Sunbae shout as I lifted my hands to shield my ears from that horrible, ear splitting scream. I meekly reached for him as terror struck my heart, only to feel someone seize me in the darkness, pulling me against a firm chest as my body continued to tremble in fear. It had all happened so suddenly. The piano playing on it’s on, the power going out and then that horrifying scream that sent chills cascading down my spine. I was completely disoriented in the darkness and wholly thankful for whoever steadied me against them. I could hear the police scattering as they attempted to regain control, the entire apartment erupting into chaos around us.
“Someone get a light on in here!” Officer Kwon yelled and suddenly a pin light was clicked on and aimed directly in my face. I squinted up at Jung Keun as he held me tightly, his arms wrapped protectively around my shaking frame. Junho stood inches away from us, the frown on his face erupting into a reassuring smile that made the pit of my stomach jerk in shock. Why was he being so nice to me all of a sudden? Wasn’t he the same bastard who’d blackmailed me not two weeks ago?
“You alright?” He asked and I nodded numbly, my eyes tracking Officer Kwon and an unnamed officer as they moved to find the circuit breaker box.
“She’s fine.” Jung Keun grunted and Junho frowned before rolling his eyes. My Sunbae kept a tight grip on me until the breaker had been flipped and light flooded the apartment. But I wasn’t out of his arms for long when a collective gasp rang out around us. My eyes searched the apartment for the cause of their sudden fear and I froze against him. Dear God what had happened?! It was like a scene from a horror movie unfolding before our very eyes.
“W-What happened here?!” Kwon shouted as the crowd parted to reveal Mr. Kim Myung Saeng slumped against the wall, gasping for breath around what looked to be a tuning fork lodged in his abdomen. Blood covered everything, his clothes, face and hands, the carpet, even the wall behind him was splattered with the sticky read substance. He looked as if he’d been stabbed several times, his skin turning a sick shade of green and his entire body convulsing as his brown eyes started to dim. My stomach turned and I buried my face in my hands. That poor man. Who could have done this to him?!
“He’s going to die if we don’t do something.” I heard Junho say and without a word my Sunbae left me, pulling off his coat as he dropped to his knees next to Myung Saeng. I watched through my fingers as he shifted the man into a laying position and began applying pressure to the wound. Junho wasted no time in helping him while officer Kwon began speaking rapidly into his radio as he phoned for paramedics.
“That won’t do any good sir,” Another officer opened the front door to reveal a pitch black foyer, “The power’s still out in the rest of the building. The elevator won’t budge.”
“You mean to tell me there isn’t an emergency exit out of this apartment?” Jung Keun growled. They’d successfully removed the fork and were bandaging the mans stomach with strips of his coat to keep him from loosing any more blood.
“It’s the way Mrs. Kim liked it. When she bought the place we told her it was a fire hazard because there isn’t an exit stairwell from this floor. But she didn’t care, she had to have this apartment.” One of the unnamed bunch stepped forward to say. He was a security guard by the looks of his dark blue uniform and the fake badge that had been printed on his shirt. His hair was cropped short around his ears and he was sporting a mustache. Next to him stood a woman in a red skirt suit and another man who instantly drew my attention. He was dressed from head to toe in black. Black long sleeved shirt, black slacks and black boots. At his waist was a utility belt of some kind that held several little tools I couldn’t identify. He was unmistakably handsome with his slightly curling black hair and full lips. What intrigued me the most about him though, was his silence. Since we’d been in the apartment I couldn’t recall him saying a single word. Even now as everyone else erupted into nervous chatter he still hadn’t opened his mouth to say anything. Then, almost as if he could feel my eyes on him he lifted his head to stare over at me. His sudden movement shocked me to the point that I couldn’t help but gasp, and for the briefest of seconds, I could have sworn I was staring right into the eyes of the deceased Mrs. Kim.
“Yeun Seuk.” I heard my Sunbae call and I snapped to attention, quickly moving to his side.
“Sunbae?” I asked as I knelt next to him, watching him pull a small memo pad and an ink pen from the inner folds of the jacket he’d worn beneath his coat.
“I want you to obtain a testimony from everyone not wearing a badge. I don’t care if you have to beat it out of them; get it.” He growled and I nodded quickly, accepting the note pad and climbing to my feet. “Let’s move him to the bedroom.” He told Junho who nodded and climbed to his feet. His brow was drenched in sweat, his lips pressed into a grim line as he and Jung Keun carefully lifted Myung Saeng and carried him down a short hallway towards what had to be the master bedroom. Part of me felt exhilarated that they were entrusting such a big job to me, but I couldn’t help but worry that I’d mess something up. I turned on my heels, fully intent on making a beeline for Mr. Mysterious in the corner when the woman in the red skirt stepped into view. I watched him once again fade into the crowd as if he’d never been there at all. Miss Red Skirt didn’t look too happy as she cleared her throat to gain my attention.
“Who the hell are you supposed to be?” She asked with a cock of her head, brown curls spilling over her shoulders. She was pretty in that rehearsed way in which you could tell she’d spent several hours in front of a mirror to make herself look the way she did. She looked like one of those girls I knew back in high school, you know, the pretty ones with the attitude and low grade point average.
“My name is Park Yeun Seuk, I’m with the Ministry of Justice.” I said politely and she cocked a manicured brow.
“What does that make you some sort of cop?” Low grade point average indeed.
“No, I’m a paralegal. I work for a prosecutors office.” I tried once again to be polite but she just gave me an aggravated sigh that really ticked me off. “If you don’t mind, can I do my damn job now?” I asked and she gave me a slightly offended look.
“Fine. Do what you have to do.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder and I mentally sighed.
“Thank you.” I smiled at her, reveling in the ‘damn American’ look she threw me. “Let’s start with your name?”
“Kim Aei Soon.” She told me and I hesitated before writing that down. I knew the last name Kim was a very common one in Korea so it was probably just a coincidence, but I couldn’t help but find it a little out of the ordinary that there were two in the apartment of a dead woman with the same name.
“Right. And if you don’t mind me asking, why exactly are you here?” I asked and she rolled her eyes again. I watched the muscles around her eyes tighten as her face went stiff, a tale tell sign that she was about to start lying.
“I came up with the police to offer my assistance. I’ve known Mrs. Kim for several years; she was like a mother to me. When I heard the awful news I came to pay my respects.” She told me and I quickly scribbled down her testimony.
“So you came to offer your assistance?”
“That’s what I just said isn’t it?”
“But you also came to pay your respects?”
“Y-Yes.” She hesitated.
“Well, which is it Miss Kim?” I asked and she gnashed her teeth.
“Why can’t it be both?!”
“Aei Soon!” The security guard called out her name the moment she began falling apart. Why liars had to be so damn volatile I’d never know. He stormed over to stand next to her, his face dark as he glared down at me. “Are you trying to accuse her of something? Aei is a good woman!” He declared and my opinion of her went even further south.
“Right, and you are?” I asked, honey dripping from my voice as I attempted to remain calm and sweet. I was beyond fed up with people’s poor attempt at lying. I mean, if you’re going to lie, why not give it your best and make it believable?!
“My name is Kim Jae Chun.” He was kidding, right?
“So, your family name is Kim as well?”
“Is there something wrong with that?”
“No, not at all. I was just wondering why you both, as well as Mr. Myung Saeng, have the same last name. Could you somehow be related to Mrs. Kim?” I asked and they hesitated. What was wrong with these people? You’d think they were all guilty of murder.
“N-No we’re not related. It’s just a common last name, but I guess as an American you wouldn’t know that.” He sneered and I frowned, “Do you have anymore questions for us or can we leave?”
“I have more questions. And you can’t leave because the elevator is down remember?” The security guard flinched as if I’d struck him, a fine sheen of sweat forming on his forehead as he shoved his hands in his pockets.
“Right. Just ask your damn questions woman.” He grumbled and I smirked.
“Alright, tell me, who are you and why are you here? Is that question simple enough for you?” I asked cattily, bearing my teeth at him in what I hoped was a polite smile. He just rolled his eyes before answering.
“I’m the security guard, it’s my job to show guests to and from her front door. Well, it’s not really my job but it was something Mrs. Kim would pay me to do. It wasn’t much but every little bit counts you know? I showed the Piano Tuner to the apartment and when we got here Mrs. Kim was already dead and Myung had called the police.” He told me and something dawned on me as I was picking apart his testimony in my head.
“The piano tuner?” I asked and he motioned to the dark-haired guy who stood with his back to us. His back tenses slightly as if he could tell we were talking about him.
“Are you done?” He asked crossly and I shook my head.
“No. So Miss Kim, you arrived with the police after Mr. Kim, the piano tuner, and Myung Saeng already discovered the body correct?” I asked and she frowned, folding her arms over her chest and worrying her bottom lip as if she had to try and remember what she’d told me.
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“Well then why didn’t you mention the piano tuner in your testimony?”
“It’s because she didn’t see the guy okay? Stop being so mean to her it’s not like you’re the police or something.” Jae Chun interrupted her and her mouth snapped shut with an audible click. Yeah like I needed to be reminded of that by a Rent-A-Cop. I just sighed outwardly. I wouldn’t get anywhere with this guy around.
“Fine. If you’re going to be difficult.” I snapped the notepad shut and once again moved towards whom I could now identify as the piano tuner. I was two steps away from him when Junho appeared out of nowhere to block my path, an evil smirk darkening his face as he stared me down.
“Come with me.” He reached out and grabbed my wrist, not giving me a chance to deny him as he tugged me towards the front door of the suite.
“What is with you?!” I struggled but he refused to release me. Before I could make a big enough protest I was standing in the foyer with my back against the wall and a disgruntled Junho pressed firmly against me.
“What the hell did you tell Jung Keun?” He growled against the side of my face and I trembled.
“N-Nothing!” I planted my palms flat against his chest and pushed only to have him grab them and force them above my head, successfully squelching any escape attempt. Damn him I was trapped.
“Well isn’t that funny, because he’s been interrogating me all night. What did you do to Miss Park? What have you said to offend her? It’s getting pretty obvious that someone’s forgotten just how much they have to loose if they don’t hold their tongue.” His chest rumbled against mine as he spoke and as if to prove his point he gently ran his tongue over my earlobe. I couldn’t help but shudder against him, cursing the way my body reacted to his. The worst part was that he knew what he did to me; he knew that as much as I hated him I couldn’t stop my body from craving his. “Allow me to remind you.” Junho’s lips sought mine and for a full second I resisted before I allowed him to kiss me. My body melted against his, my curves caressing the hard length of him as he swallowed a moan that would have alerted the entire apartment to what we were doing. One of his hands dropped to my waist and pushed my sweatshirt up to reveal the quivering flesh underneath; his hand felt so large against me and his fingertips spread flames across my skin. His lips soon left mine to trail a blaze of kisses down my throat, his teeth nipping my skin just hard enough to leave a mark.
“We can’t do this.” I groaned in an attempt to break myself out of my stupor but I couldn’t keep my hips from pressing against his, successfully drawing a moan from his lips. But instead of releasing me like the responsible adult I wish he was he lifted my leg to wrap around his slender hips and I came apart in his arms. Just when he reached to tug my shorts down my legs someone cleared their throat. My head lifted to see the piano tuner standing just outside the door and I snapped back to my senses, shoving at Junho to get him off of me. He ambled backwards, his face dark as he glared the man down. I had to hang onto the wall until the feeling returned to my knees just so I wouldn’t end up on my butt.
“Can I help you?” Junho asked and the man gave him a slight smirk.
“Not at all. I was actually looking for the young woman you’re molesting.” He said and my eyes widened. Was he rescuing me from Junho?
“Excuse me?” Junho took a menacing step towards him and I ran to catch his arm before he did anything stupid.
“He’s right, I’m supposed to interview him.” I said quickly and he turned those deadly eyes of his on me, staring me down for a full ten seconds before smirking. I didn’t miss the glance he tossed the piano tuner before he wrapped an arm around my waist and placed a kiss against my forehead. I blinked, watching him move past me and back into the apartment, leaving the piano tuner and I alone. An awkward silence fell between us and I looked around for my pad and pen, which had ended up on the floor in my attempt to get away from Junho.
“I’m sorry if I was intruding. You just didn’t look as if you were having very much fun.” He spoke softly, his deep voice lilting slightly in a way that indicated he was from the southern provinces of Korea. His eyes flickered from mine to the floor and back again, as if he were almost ashamed to look at me. And I couldn’t blame him. After what he’d witnessed I don’t think I’d be looking at myself in the mirror for another week or so.
“I…Mr. Lee’s just like that. He’s very…”
“Domineering?” He asked and I frowned before nodding.
“Is he your boyfriend?”
“N-No!” I flushed and he smirked.
“I’m sorry for being so intrusive I just couldn’t help but ask.” He said and I moved closer to him, flipping my notepad open as I went.
“It’s alright I guess. Would you mind if I asked you a couple questions?”
“Be my guest.” He said quietly and I nodded.
“Right. Let’s start with your name.”
“Ki—Lee Hyun Bae.” He said and I repressed the frown that attempted to surface. If I wasn’t mistaken he’d almost given his last name as Kim. Why had he changed it?
“O-Okay. And from the security guard’s testimony it seems you came up and ended up discovering Myung Saeng with the body of Mrs. Kim. May I ask your relation to the deceased and why you’re here?” I asked and he lowered his head once again to stare at the floor, his hands in the pockets of his slacks.
“I’ve known Mrs. Kim pretty much all my life. From the time that I was ten years old. I’ve always been rather proficient with a piano. Tuning it, cleaning it, even playing it. But I was pretty poor growing up so the only access I had to one was the beautiful Steinway Concert Grand her husband had given her before he died. I guess she saw something special in me because she paid me to take care of it even though I’ve never had any professional training and I was just some poor orphan she’d met on the streets of Jeju Island.” He stared past me, his eyes distant. “Usually she contacts me directly when it’s time for a tuning but this time was different. Her representative called me, some guy I’d never met, and scheduled the tuning appointment for tonight. When I showed up the security guard showed me up. And there she was, laying dead on the floor with Myung Saeng standing over her.” He said and I finished scribbling down his testimony. His was the first I’d gotten that I hadn’t immediately questioned. Excluding the fact that he lied to me about his last name I absolutely believed every word he’d said. I just didn’t understand, or even comprehend why or how everyone involved in this murder shared the same last name as the deceased. It was just too much of a coincidence to be believable, even in Korea. Then it dawned on me. Perhaps somehow they were related? I looked up at Hyun Bae then and he smiled softly at me. His eyes…they were so familiar.
“You said you were an orphan correct?”
“Yes. I grew up in an orphanage on Jeju. I never knew my real parents.” He admitted and I frowned.
“And your last name is Kim right?”
“N-No, it’s Lee.” He said defensively and I shook my head.
“Please don’t lie to me. Your last name is Kim.” I told him and he gave me a shocked look. “Could it be that you’re…related to…”
“Miss Park.” The door to the apartment suddenly slammed open, startling us both half to death. My Sunbae and two police officers stormed into the foyer and seized Hyun Bae, slamming him against the wall and slapping a pair of handcuffs on his wrists. Jung Keun came immediately to my side.
“What’s going on?”
“The weapon lodged in Myung Saeng’s stomach was a tuning fork. And after speaking to the security guard it was revealed that this man is the piano tuner. I’m arresting him for attempted murder.” Officer Kwon said and Hyun Bae shook his head.
“But I’m innocent. I didn’t hurt anyone.”
“I don’t want to hear it.” Kwon pulled him away from the wall and shoved him towards the apartment.
“But—!” I tried but he turned back to glare at me.
“No buts! I’m sick of you prosecutors flouncing around here like you’re doing our job. I spent four years in a technical college so I could enter this career at the level I wanted. I busted my ass for this job and you two waltz in here and attempt to screw up my investigation!” He glared down at me and I shrunk against my Sunbae. “As soon as that elevator’s working again I want you both out of here.” He said, turning and all but throwing Hyun Bae into the apartment. The poor man tossed a sorrowful glance back at us and I felt my heart clench.
“But…he’s innocent.” I said and Jung Keun stared down at me.
“How do you figure that?”
“He’s the only one who told the truth!” I turned and grabbed the front of his jacket, “Sunbae you have to do something!” He gave me a saddened look before taking my hands and gently pushing them away.
“There’s nothing I can do Miss Park. Except file the charges against him.” He said and my eyes widened in horror. I took a step away from him and he reached for me. “Miss Park…” He started before giving me a sigh and shoving his hands into his pockets. “Listen to me. Very carefully,” His tone deepened, his voice lowering as if he didn’t want anyone inside the apartment to overhear him, “We can both see the truth of the matter. This is an obvious attempt at a cover up but as of right now we don’t have the evidence to make a conviction of the parties responsible for the death of Mrs. Kim.” He said and I frowned before giving him a slight nod. I understood what he was trying to tell me, I could see it in his eyes.
“Right. How long do I have?” He lifted his arm to stare at the Rolex on his wrist.
“About an hour before the rescue team arrives and gets the elevator running again. Can you do it?” He asked and I clutched at the notepad in my hand.
“You can count on me.”
Episode Three: The Debussy Murders Part One
“After months of negotiations between Mrs. Kim, her esteemed attorney Mr. Lee Junho, The Ministry of Justice and the District Attorney’s office, all charges filed against Mrs. Kim have been dropped. The trial today left many confused and more than a little disappointed in the skills of lead prosecutor Choi Jung Keun. Mr. Choi had no comment to make as he left the central Federal Courthouse this afternoon. Mr. Lee on the other hand seemed ecstatic and promised the entire courthouse a round of drinks at his expense.” I rested my hands on my hips as I stared at the television mounted on the wall. My chest seemed to stretch as I bottled volatile emotions I didn’t dare release for fear of breaking something. At that moment, I could have killed Junho even though I knew it wouldn’t do me any good. Besides, he was the only defense attorney I knew, who else would get me off the hook for murder if he were dead?
“This is just sickening.” I groaned, watching the news broadcast shift to a video taken earlier that afternoon of Sunbaenim Choi and myself leaving the courthouse. My head stayed tucked low in shame, hidden beneath a manila folder I used to shield myself from the sun as well as the disappointed stares of all the poor people Mrs. Kim had defrauded. I couldn’t bear to look at them knowing I’d failed them. I was the reason they weren’t shouting in elation after seeing the woman who’d sent them spiraling into debt locked up. All because I couldn’t say no to Lee Junho. Jung Keun on the other hand didn’t appear fazed at all, his head stayed high as he descended the stairs and opened the back of his sleek black sedan so that we could both slide inside. But I knew better than to trust that stoic face of his. Inside he had to be dying. It had been a little over two weeks since Junho had blackmailed me into giving him the updated court record that held receipt of all the evidence my Sunbae had needed to put Mrs. Kim behind bars. In that short time the rat bastard had reworked everything in his favor. During the trial he’d made us both look like fools, declaring the evidence was ‘circumstantial’ and even going so far as to boast that it had been tampered with. The more he went on the more everyone just seemed to believe him, without questioning his authority. I watched as the faces of the juries changed as he wooed them with his silken voice, dazzling smile and his overwhelming use of logic. Damn his logic. They were easily swayed to his side of the argument and within just one short hour the charges had been dropped and Mrs. Kim was free. I still remembered the haughty look on her face as she rose gracefully from her seat and wrapped Junho in an awkward embrace that was way too close to be strictly professional. I wanted to weep. I’d been solely responsible for the loss of the trial, and even though Sunbaenim didn’t know the full extent of what I’d done I knew he still blamed me for it. Even if he denied the fact that he did. How could he not? It was our first trial as a team and I’d let him down. I was a walking bad luck charm and he’d be much better off just getting rid of me. But instead of kicking me to the curb like any sane person he’d just sighed once we were comfortably seated in the back of his car, an unlit cigarette hanging from his bottom lip as he searched for his zippo. His words of wisdom still rang in my ears, causing my heart to flutter rapidly in my chest.
“Some trials are won, and some are lost. It’s not about winning or loosing, it’s about seeking justice above all else. That is something Mr. Lee doesn’t understand. And no matter how much people praise him as a genius attorney, so long as he puts his own selfish endeavors over what is right, he will always fail.” I’d watched him finally light his cigarette and take a long drag. He seemed so calm and composed, but his dark eyes were frustrated. And that frustration pained me. I wondered how he seemed to know Junho so well, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask about him. Whether it was for fear of stirring up old memories and bringing my Sunbae even more pain, or revealing what I’d done, I couldn’t say, but his name refused to pass my lips so long as I was in his presence. I’d put that question away to be asked at a time that wasn’t so rife with tension. Still, I couldn’t help pondering why someone as blue blooded as my Sunbae would waist any time getting to know Junho who looked and even acted like a thug. But then again, who was I to talk?
It hadn’t been three hours since I’d been dropped off in front of my apartment building. I’d started on dinner but soon found I didn’t have much of an appetite. I was entirely too depressed to do anything more than crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep.
“You’ve got to stop beating yourself up Yeun Seuk. You didn’t travel all this way to wuss out, you came to make something of yourself!” I shouted to myself, my voice echoing back at me off the bare walls of my apartment. My words sounded good, but I couldn’t force myself to feel better. Just when I was about to go curl up on the couch with my fingers in a canister of cake icing my cellphone rang. Frowning I snagged it off the coffee table and blanched as my Sunbae’s name flashed across the screen. “I’m sorry please don’t fire me!” I wailed after answering the call. Jung Keun just sighed.
“Miss Park, do you want me to fire you?”
“No! How could I ever want that?” I felt my heart sink into the pit of my stomach. To my surprise my ears were met with an indignant snort.
“Then stop bringing it up. If I were to fire you there wouldn’t be enough tears on the planet to save you. Now, what are you wearing?”
“…I’m sorry I must have misheard you.” My tears stopped instantly. Was I hearing things?
“It’s not a come on Miss Park, I’m inquiring if you’re dressed.”
“Well…” I glanced down at my black hoodie and shorts. “Yes.”
“Good. Come downstairs.” He said curtly before hanging up. I suddenly had the strangest feeling of déjà vu. Stuffing my phone in my back pocket I tiptoed over to the window and peered ten stories below at the familiar black sedan that idled at the curb. What in the name of god is going on now?
“I have a bad feeling about this.” I whined as I grabbed my keys and the first pair of shoes I saw before leaving my apartment and making my way downstairs. Rain had just begun to fall, covering the world around me in a light hazy mist. The passenger door opened and I slipped inside, being sure to pull my seatbelt on tight after closing the door. Sunbaenim was behind the wheel of the car and I was beyond surprised to see him dressed casually in a pair of black slacks, black button down and a black wool coat. He’d obviously dressed for the weather meaning he was either psychic or he took time to watch the weather report. There were just so many things I didn’t know about this man.
“What are you staring at?” He asked and my eyes immediately snapped to the road in front of us as he pulled into traffic.
“Nothing…I’ve just never seen you without a suit on.” I risked taking a peek at him from beneath my lashes. His hair was causal too; instead of combed back away from his face in its usual style it gently framed one side of his face. His lips twitched as if he were holding back a smile.
“I don’t sleep in them Miss Park.”
“I know I just…so wait this is what you sleep in? Where are we going? And since when do you drive your own car? Where’s Mr. Chauffer from this afternoon?” The questions tumbled forth but he didn’t deem it fit to provide any answers. Instead he reached over my knees and opened the glove compartment, damn near giving me a heart attack as his fingertips brushed my skin. Out of the glove box came a yellow envelope that he shoved into my lap. “What’s this?” I asked and again he didn’t speak. Pulling the envelope open I slid what looked to be a police report out of it, my eyes widening at the officer’s sloppy handwriting. “Homicide report. Mrs. Kim Soon Yul pronounced dead on the scene. Cause of death…bludgeoning?” I gasped, staring up at the grim lines that had begun to form around his mouth.
“I got the report as a fax just minutes before I called you. It seems someone wasn’t happy with the loss of the trial today. They followed her to her penthouse apartment and murdered her.” He said and I slid the report back into the envelope, my eyes wide as his words sunk in. We both knew that Mrs. Kim had plenty of angry enemies, but who would be so cruel as to follow the older woman home and beat her to death?
“Murder weapon?” I asked and he threw me a sideways glance as he turned onto a side street.
“We’ll find out once we’re on the scene.”
“We’re going to the scene? As in the scene of the crime? As in where someone just died?” I asked and again his lips twitched as if he wanted to laugh but refused to allow himself that freedom.
“Yes, the crime scene. Have you forgotten that investigation is part of my job description Miss Park? And since you’re my assistant it’s part of yours as well.” He said and my stomach fluttered.
“R-Right.” I could do this. I had to, in order to make up for all the mistakes I’d made since he’d taken me on as his partner. You can count on me Sunbaenim!
The drive to Mrs. Kim’s exclusive apartment building in downtown Seoul wasn’t long and before either of us knew it we were parking and climbing out of the car. Police officers were stationed outside, blocking off the building from curious passersby. Yellow tape sectioned off a neat perimeter, separating normal citizens from the rest of us who actually had to go in and look at dead bodies. Luckily, the coroners unit had already come and gone, leaving only more police officer, the Crime Scene Investigations unit, and us.
“I’m sorry sir I can’t let you pass.” I nearly ran into Jung Keun’s back as a dark haired police officer stopped us at the police tape. My Sunbae didn’t miss a beat, pulling his wallet out of his jacket pocket and flashing his Prosecutors badge. The officer curled his lip before lifting the tape and allowing us passage.
“What was that look all about?” I asked, hustling to keep up with my long-legged Sunbae.
“The police of this country hate prosecutors as well as the Ministry of Justice. It’s an ongoing battle between both forces for the right to investigate crimes. It’s best if you ignore them Miss Park.” He said as he led me onto the elevator past a Crime Scene photographer who didn’t hesitate to snap a quick picture of us before the doors closed. I rolled my eyes, stiffening as Jung Keun laid a heavy hand atop my head. I couldn’t stop myself from shivering; his hand was warm despite his cold outward appearance. “Yeun Seuk, I want you to keep close to me, don’t leave my side. And be sure to pay very close attention to everything that goes on inside this apartment.” He told me and I nodded, my eyes widening as the elevator doors slid open to reveal a foyer made entirely of marble. Large marble pedestals flanked an ornate wooden door that was adorned with gold leaf and what looked to be pearls. Mrs. Kim sure knew how to live. I would have been impressed had everything she owned not been paid for with the blood, sweat and tears of the poor. I followed Jung Keun into the apartment, watching him push open the door and step inside. I immediately wanted to gag, not because of the crime scene, but because of who stood in the center of the room, staring down at the dark red bloodstains on the plush white carpet.
“Ew.” I sneered and he turned to smirk at me.
“Good to see you too Miss Park.” Junho chuckled, smiling at my Sunbae and I as we moved further into the room. He was dressed casually as well in a pair of white slacks, a plaid button down and a brown belt slung low around his hips. His hair was once again combed into a spikey style that made him look like a hoodlum, as apposed to the carefully gelled back style he’d worn earlier in the courtroom.
“I’d return the sentiment but then I’d be lying.” I replied haughtily, much expecting to be reprimanded by my boss, but he seemed to overlook the fact that I was being a spiteful bitch. Maybe he just liked it when I insulted Junho?
“That’s too bad. I was really looking forward to seeing you again, though, not on a crime scene.” He said, taking a quick look around the crowded penthouse. Us aside, the place was packed with Seoul’s homicide unit, crime scene investigators and a few people I didn’t recognize. They were a solemn looking bunch, their heads low as a police officer herded them against the far wall of the living room. Junho had once again begun to speak but I couldn’t bring myself to pay attention. The apartment around us was extravagant, decorated in rich reds and dark gold. The fluffy carpet beneath our feet, though partially bloodstained, was a pristine white that would probably take a miracle to clean. Directly across from us stood a wall of windows that overlooked the sparkling city of Seoul and, on a raised platform in front of it stood a proud grand piano that appeared to have never been played. It was beautiful beneath the slightly dimmed ceiling lights to the point that the black lacquered wood almost seemed to glow. Atop the piano rested a sterling silver tray that held two glasses of champagne, one empty and the other half full…
“Miss Park?” My Sunbae called suddenly and my eyes snapped up to meet his, “Have you heard a word I’ve said?” He asked and I instantly looked contrite.
“No sir. I’m sorry I spaced out a bit.” I answered truthfully and Junho had the nerve to laugh. The bastard.
“That’s quite the assistant you have there. She can’t even bring herself to pay attention while you’re talking to her. Though I can’t blame her, you’re a bore if I’ve ever met one.” He smirked and Jung Keun ignored him completely in favor of frowning down at me. I was still staring at that piano. I didn’t know what, but something just felt off about it.
“Would you mind sharing your thoughts Miss Park?” He asked and I worried my bottom lip. I was a rookie; I didn’t want to open my mouth and risk sounding like a fool. But as if he’d heard my thoughts he gave me an uncharacteristic nudge that secretly meant he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Who knew my Sunbae was so persistent?
“Well. In the report earlier it stated that Mrs. Kim was home alone. But why would you pour yourself two glasses of champagne if you were here by yourself? I mean it’s obvious she likes to live extravagantly but two glasses of champagne? That’s a bit too much.” I asked, cocking my head slightly as I stared at the still bubbling champagne in the flute. Both Jung Keun and Junho frowned down at me then over at the glasses in question. “Uh m-maybe I’m wrong?” I instantly back peddled, wishing I could take back my words. This just wasn’t my week. What else could I manage to do wrong today?
“No. You’re exactly right.” Jung Keun said, flagging down one of the homicide investigators who begrudgingly made his way over to us. “Who was the officer who made the homicide report earlier?” He asked, an angry note in his baritone voice.
“That would be me…Sir.” He threw in the last part as an afterthought, deep, grim lines appearing around his mouth as he forced the words out. It was pretty much killing him to be polite. And my Sunbae looked like he was loving it.
“Then tell me, officer…Kwon,” He paused to read the mans name tag, much to his dismay, “What gave you the impression that Mrs. Kim was here alone?” Officer Kwon seemed to hesitate.
“Well…She…wasn’t alone.” He admitted sheepishly and my eyes widened.
“Care to elaborate?” Jung Keun asked and Officer Kwon motioned to the group of people they’d lined up against the far wall. A particular man in the center of the group began to fidget, casting us quick glances from beneath his shaggy black hair.
“That guy, who we identified as the building grounds keeper, was the one who initially called us to the scene. He was in the apartment when we arrived.”
“And you failed to file that in your report? How long have you had this job?” Junho interjected angrily, storming over to the man in question with his hands in the pockets of his slacks. “Yah. Where were you when my client was being murdered? If you were here within minutes of her death you had to have witnessed something.” Junho all but growled and Jung Keun was quick to make his way over as well. I hastened to follow him, watching the man stiffen up and all but shrink against the wall.
“What is your name?” He asked and the man began to stutter.
“K-Kim Myung Saeng.” He managed to say, avoiding the harsh stares of both my Sunbae and Junho. They looked about ready to kill the man.
“Are you going to answer my question?” Junho pressed and I reached out to grab the collar of his shirt, pulling him slightly off balance.
“Leave the guy alone! You don’t have to be so rude to him.” I said and he gave me a shocked stare. Clearing my throat and stepped forward. The guy looked like he’d just witnessed a murder, his face was pale and his skin appeared clammy. The poor man was probably scared to death. “I’m sorry but could you please tell me what you saw?” I asked, hyperaware of Jung Keun and Junho’s eyes boring into the back of my skull. Myung Saeng lifted his head to stare at me, his deep brown filled with tears.
“M-Mrs. Kim invited me up to clean her apartment. She’s come on to me in the past so I wasn’t surprised to see she’d prepared champagne. She invited me inside and started to drink heavily. I was about to leave by the time she started on the second glass, and then suddenly the lights went out. T-There was a scream and I heard her fall. W-When the lights came back on she was dead.” He said, breaking down and sobbing into his hands. I stared at the poor man, piecing his story together in my head. There were so many holes in his testimony it was painful.
“Mr. Kim. Please, I know this is hard, but tell the truth.” I said and he gave me a stunned stare, a gasp falling from his lips. Junho placed a hand on my shoulder as he tossed Jung Keun a grin.
“She’s sharper than I imagined.” My Sunbaenim smirked.
“W-What do you mean?” Myung Saeng asked and I pointed at his feet.
“Your shoes. You’re the grounds keeper right? So that means you take care of the landscaping as well as the garbage for the entire building. Your shoes are naturally very dirty right?” I asked, motioning to the pristine carpet. “Yet the carpet is clean.”
“Meaning you removed your shoes when you entered the apartment. One doesn’t take off their shoes if they don’t intend to stay.” Jung Keun added and Junho grinned.
“They’re right. What was your real relationship with my client?” Myung Saeng began to stutter.
“Not to mention that Mrs. Kim was wearing heavy makeup during the trial today, I doubt she had time to scrub it all off before she was murdered.” I pointed to the champagne glasses, “There’s only a lipstick mark on one of the glasses. If she drank them both–”
“Alright enough! Don’t say anymore!” He suddenly exclaimed, his breathing suddenly becoming frantic. The man looked as if he was about to snap. Instantly Junho grabbed me and pulled me behind him, stepping forward to give Myung Saeng a menacing look.
“Lower your voice.” He growled and I gawked up at him while my Sunbae frowned deeply. “I’m giving you one last chance to tell the truth. The next lie that comes out of your mouth will be your downfall.” He threatened and Myung fell back against the wall.
“I-I…I…Can’t–” He began but was suddenly cut off by the sound of a single piano key being struck. Everyone in the room turned their attention to the black grand in the room.
“D-Did the piano just play itself?” I asked and Junho pulled me closer as the sound of some classical piece I couldn’t identify began to play. The gentle hum of the notes was calming amongst the chaotic atmosphere of the apartment. “What is it?”
“Debussy.” Jung Keun commented, his head low as he stroked his bottom lip in thought.
“Valse Romantique.” Junho added, his brow furrowed as he made his way over to the piano. The keys weren’t moving but a steady stream of music fell from its depths. I stared up at Junho’s sudden show of intelligence.
“Amazing.” I commented haughtily and he grinned back at me.
“Isn’t it? I’m not as stupid as I appear right?” He turned back to stare at the piano, “I studied classical music in college. The Valse Romantique in the key of F Minor. It’s actually one of his amateur works that he composed while studying at the Paris Conservatory.” He said and it was my turn to frown. He really was smarter than I thought.
“The song doesn’t particularly matter, it’s the meaning behind it that I’m more interested in.” Sunbae moved to my side and I turned to stare past him at Myung Saeng who had sunk to the floor and clutched at his head. He was shaking as if he’d just seen a ghost. The music continued to play, a crescendo of sound that only got louder and louder until finally, it stopped. Seconds before the power went out and someone let out an ear-piercing scream.