Episode 20 – SEMI-FINAL
I was sprinting to full speed I could get without slipping on the red liquid strewned across the floor. All the while, I could feel someone or something following me from behind, but I dismissed it thinking that I do not have any time to deal with them since I am looking for Yebin. Yooma did mention that time is running out, so I don’t plan to waste any of it.
Even though I am determined to kill Yooma, I still can’t avoid the fact that I am never so scared in my whole life with something trailing behind me.
“Potatoes grow on trees. . .” I tried talking to myself, reprimanding myself in an effort to quell the fear that was welling up in the pit of my stomach.
Even though the rain had subsided about an hour ago, lightning flashed and thunder resounded with impeccable timing. I jumped in spite of myself, striding across the hallway after.
The hall feels longer than it has ever before, I have been teaching in this school for 3 years and this is the only moment it felt like it was endless. I continued my hurried walk down the impossibly long hallway, jumping every now and then when a pile of bodies blocked my path.
But when a thunderclap sounded out, and lightning illuminated the place, It was only then that I noticed the hall with no ends, I have been running straight, not even turning to a corner since no corners were seen.
I stopped, realizing that I have been mindlessly sprinting without having awareness that Yooma has been playing with me.
“My, so after minutes of running you finally decided to stop.” I heard her voice from somewhere, I aimed the light of my phone from side to side in search for her figure.
I strained my ears, focusing on the scant few sounds around me, but not hearing any more of Yooma’s voice, I took a deep breath, trying to calm my nerves.
I began pondering on what to do, the hallway has been altered into an endless one. Although the classroom doors were still open, I don’t see any reason why I should enter one of them. Cursing myself a litte, I fumbled slowly across the darkened hall.
Still at loss, I noticed two red beaming lights from the other part of the hallway. Almost as if it were two red eyes, and I know I wouldn’t want to see who owns those eyes so I stopped from walking.
Putting my thoughts in order as to why that creature appeared, I came to a sudden realization that it was moving towards me in an impending amount of speed. I was paralyzed with fear, not able to move my feet as the creature made a feral noise, that scared the hell out of me.
Tepid air whooshed across, that was enough to get me into my tracks and began running to the opposite direction. The sound of my rapid footsteps almost contrasting against the inhuman noise the malevolent creature chasing me is making.
I glanced at it from behind my shoulder, there wasn’t much more to it but a black shadowy figureand an indistinct flickering silhouette. I looked back in front of me, only to be welcomed by another pair of red glowing eyes.
“Tch! Where do I go now?!” I panicked, stopping from my tracks and waited for Youngji’s instructions. Glancing back and forth from the two creatures closing in on me at both directions.
“Inside. . .” I hear her voice in my mind, it was calm despite the fact that two demons were out chasing me. I immediately shifted my gaze to my side to see a classroom door after she said the word ‘inside’.
Without questioning her idea, I immediately head to the door and tugged it. . . But what made my will to live shatter into pieces is that it didn’t slide open as I tug the handle. I shook it and pulled in frenzy but it wasn’t opening any sooner, I can sense the two shadows from each of my direction closing in.
“A little help here?!” I screamed, still trying to open the sliding door with all my might.
The feral noise the shadows were making was loud, meaning that they’re already a meter away from me. I looked at them from the corner of my eyes and saw that they were gonna slam me on the wall as they lift their shadowy hands that appeared out of their smoky body.
But before they could put an end to my life, the door sllid open and my body moved on it’s own out of reflexes and leaped inside the room. I bolted up from the ground and immediately closed the door, locking it at the process.
When I was certain that I locked the door, I grabbed the desk besides me and hold it against the door, preparing myself for the impact that the two shadows might knock the door down.
But seconds eventually became minutes, no banging of the door happened. I cautiously lifted my head, and blinked a few times through the translucent small window on the door and saw no shadows or some sort.
My hands shook violently, and I can still feel my heart pounding hard from almost getting single-handedly killed by a demonic shadow, but what made my heart beat faster was because of the familiar voice from behind me.
“Miss Ahreum, what are you doing?”
I almost stopped from breathing, I must be dreaming right now. . . There’s no way. . .
“Seolri?” I turned around, and my heart almost leaped from my heart at the sight of what’s infront of me.
Seolri was standing in front of me, confusion plastered on her face from seeing me violently grab a desk and slamming it on the door. Behind her were students who were also staring at me with puzzled looks, wondering why I was being a crazed woman. I glanced over Seolri’s shoulder to catch a glimpse outside the window, seeing the sun shining brightly across the overcast sky, gleaming through the windows of the class almost made me question if I’m on drugs.
I am certain I was just being chased to death by two shadowy demons and barely escaped, how in the heaven’s name am I back inside a normal classroom with my students acting as if nothing brutally happened to them.
“Ah. . .” I stared at Seolri, and she stared back, furrowing her eyebrows at me as she crossed her arms. My mouth was left hanging for a moment, before I managed to create a decent sentence come out of it.
“What are you doing here.” I asked, She grabbed my wrist, grabbing the handle of the door to slid it open but I stopped her before she could completely succeed.
“Stop! They’re still outside!” I exclaimed, pulling her back. She stared at me before groaning.
“What is?” She asked mockingly, ignoring my warning and slid the door open, revealing a well lighted hallway. Teachers and students were passing by, chatting together with their friends.
“H-huh?” My eyes widened, but before I could even complicate my mind from thinking, Seolri pulled me out of the classroom and dragging me across the slightly crowded hallway while I gape at each and everyone, wondering why they’re acting like nothing happened, and more importantly why they’re still alive.
“You’re supposed to tutor Yebin, why did you end up in our classroom?” She asked again, but I was too busy darting my head from side to side, observing the undeniably weird atmosphere the whole place gives off.
Amidst my confusion, the principal stopped us in our tracks, calling my name in a somewhat annoyed tone. “Miss Ahreum, I thought I told you to hand in your report this morning, why haven’t you passed anything yet?”
We both looked at him, a cup of coffee on his hands and bunch of folders on his other hand, squinting his wrinkly eyes at me. He did tell me about the report that I’m supposed to pass this morning, but I didn’t even had the chance to do it since a mass massacre happened in the afternoon. And I’m 100% sure that I saw his dead body in his office an hour ago with lots of deep cuts on all four of his limbs and was left to bleed until death, so seeing him standing before me– well and alive– made my body move against it’s will, quietly poking his cheeks to make sure that the person infront of me is not a hallucination or a lost spirirt.
He glared at me, unsure and confused why I’m poking the school principal’s cheeks with a shocked expression plastered on my face.
I expected for my finger to pass through his cheeks, but I can fully touch it. The rough and wrinkly feel from his face is evident as I tap my finger on it. But I wasn’t falling for this hallucination so I poked harder, digging my fingers deeper into his loose cheeks.
After confusing himself on the reason why I’m acting like a cavewoman from the touch of his face, he finally grunted, slapping my hand away from him. “I expect to see you in my office, Miss Ahreum. Do tell me a reasonable explanation why you look like you just had a catfight and your uniform all torn and wrinkly.” He looked down at my current state so I followed his gaze, seeing my uniform almost ripped and showing a bit of my skin made my jaw drop. But not because it was wrinkled, but because I was just covered and stained with blood a while ago, but now the red color is gone.
“I. . . I’m. . .” I looked for words to say as I study my clothes with widened eyes and a dropped jaw, pulling it upwards so I can see it clearly. I almost look like a person who had never seen a uniform before because of how shocked I am while examining my own clothes.
There was indeed, no sign of any blood.
“I’m wondering why I even hired you.” The principal scoffed at me before going on his way, sipping from the cup he was holding. But before he could entirely leave my peripheral vision, he made sure to give me one last crackling glare.
Seolri made a funny face at him when he turned his back against us, sticking out her tongue and pulling her nose upward to look like a pig’s nose. “Fatass. . .” she hissed before turning her full attention back at me. “And the principal is right, you look like hell.”
“But I just went through hell. . .” I retorted, staring at my clean palms when I’m entirely sure that it was stained red.
“What’s wrong with you? You’re acting strange.” She furrowed her eyebrows at me. I jolt my head up and looked at her, I grabbed both her shoulders and began lightly shaking it.
“Seolri, you don’t remember? We were trapped in here, there was a storm and Yooma was trying to kill us.” I frantically said, almost tangling my tongue on how fast I talked.
“Uhh. . .” Seolri stared at me with a squinted eyes, confusing herself whether I’m still sane or not. “What are you going on about? We’re trapped? Storm? And Yooma?”
I nodded my head vigorously, still staring directly at her eyes and waited for a reply. But what I get as a respond is a chuckle from her, pulling my hands off of her shoulders before wrapping her arms around me. “Are you drunk or what? We’re not trapped, and there’s no storm, and Yooma. . .” She stopped as we were in front of a classroom, pointing inside. “She’s in there, reading a textbook and being a nerd as usual.”
I widened my eyes as I spotted her figure, quietly sitting on her seat while all her other classmates where chatting with each other. Fei was there, surrounded by her friends. Everyone was there, alive.
“Is this. . . true?” I gaped, wondering if it’s okay to believe that I was just dreaming a while ago and the blood stained school doesn’t exist at all.
“Miss Ahreum!”I heard Yebin’s cheerful voice from behind us, I immediately spun around, breaking from Seolri’s hands and running to her direction.
“Yebin!” I almost sobbed from seeing her, I hugged her tiny body and embraced it within my arms, causing for the stuffed teddy bear she was carrying fall on the ground.
“Miss Ahreum? You’re late. You’re supposed to tutor me.” She pouted, but I didn’t break the hug since I was more than happy to see her well and safe. Maybe what I witnessed a while ago wasn’t real, maybe it was just a horrible dream.
“Then. . . Let’s go back inside my office, you have alot to learn about alphabets, am I right?” I smiled, pulling away and standing up to grab her small hands. She crouched down to grab her teddy bear before looking back at me.
“I already memorized the alphabets while you’re away!” She beamed, trying her best to match my walking pace with her short legs.
“Oh did you?” I snickered. Seolri followed us and walked besides Yebin, grabbing the stuffed toy from her hands so she could hold it also, swinging it back and forth.
“While you were in the infirmary, Yebin went to me and I taught her the alphabets.” Seolri boasted proudly as she glanced at Yebin with a proud demeanor.
“I was in the infirmary?” I asked, still staring down at Yebin with a gentle smile. Watching her avoid the thin black lines on the tiled floor, stepping only at the white parts.
“You said you had a headache and needed some sleep. . . you’re gone for about an hour, and then you suddenly entered our classroom and barricade the door.” Seolri laughed, pinching Yebin’s soft cheeks earning a groan in response from Yebin.
“I fell asleep?” I asked again, almost making sense that I was only dreaming about the school and the horrible storm and as well as Yooma killing us one by one.
“Duh, then explain why you disappeared for an hour while I do all the work and teach Yebin.” Seolri rolled her eyes at me playfully.
“I was trying to save the two of you from dying.” I replied with a unreadable expression on my face, stopping from my tracks as I heard a distant sound of thunder and lightning from afar. I glanced outside the window, the clear and blue sky suddenly got covered by dark, almost black clouds. Rolling in with a speed of light and blocking all the sun’s light.
The two of them also stopped and turned their head back at me. “As if we’re gonna die.” Seolri joked, letting go of Yebin’s hand and crossed her arms. “Are you on drugs or something?”
“Seolri. . . what time is it?” I asked, my gaze still locked on the darkened sky. She gave me a puzzled look before looking at her wristwatch then answering my question.
“It’s 6pm. . . why?” She asked, I glanced back at them. Seolri still has a puzzled look on her face while Yebin gripped tightly on her stuffed toy from hearing thunders.
It was the time when. . . everything began.
“What day is it today?!” I asked again, but this time with a panicking voice as I crouched down in front of Yebin, brushing her fringe behind her ear.
“Uhh what’s with you? You’re scaring me.” She stepped away, staring at me with confused look.
Yebin was whimpering from my sudden loud voice, hiding her face from me with her stuffed toy.
“Just answer me!” I yelled at her, abruptly standing up as I gripped tightly on Yebin’s hand. Not planning to let go of her this time.
“It’s February 13.”
Instead of hearing Seolri’s voice answering my question, what I heard was a voice I never once dared to even listen to. It came from behind us, I slowly and cautiously whirled around.
What stood before us, was a girl with a menacing smile creeping on her sa distically playful expression. I opened my mouth, as if to speak something, but what came out was her name.
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