Author’s POV (Inside ECA Block 1)
The security guard was performing his regular patrolling duty. When he reached the third floor of ECA Block 1, the light ray from his torch landed on the door of the abandoned art-and-craft room. As the door was left ajar, he went forward to take a look. Shining his torch around, the security guard did not catch any sign of a human being, so he left. Of course, if he had been a little more thorough in his check, he would have discovered a fainted student behind the shelf. Before he proceeded to the second floor, he chained up the door of the art-and-craft room.
After he finished his rounds on the second floor, he went down to the first floor. On his way to the front door, some chipped plasters from the ceiling fell on his shoulder. Looking up, he observed that the cracks had gotten worse. Luckily this building will be closed tomorrow for some major reparation works, he thought. Closing the glass door behind him, he saw a student heading towards this building.
“Do you intend to enter this building?” he asked sternly.
“Yes. I am looking for a friend. She may be inside here.”
“I have just finished my round in this building. There’s no one in here.”
“Oh… Can I go in to take a look anyway?”
“Under normal circumstances, I would have allowed you to. However, this building is in a hazardous state. When I was on the first floor, some plasters from the ceiling fell on me,” he showed his shoulder to the student, “The ceiling may give way any time, so I advise you to stay away for your own safety.”
“Thanks for your concern, but I’m worried about my friend.”
“Does your friend have any reason to be here in the first place? Have you tried other places?”
“Erm… no. I just happened to pass by here while searching.”
“Then the more you shouldn’t enter this building.”
On hearing that, the student turned to leave.
Perhaps I should lock up the front door of this building as well to prevent anyone from entering, the security guard thought to himself.
The security guard had a point. Soo Jung only went to ECA Block 1 when she had her choir practice or meeting. Today was not one of those days, hence she certainly had no reason to be there. Besides I had yet to check many other areas. This was one of those rare occasions when you wished your school was not that huge. Nevertheless, I still felt uneasy about skipping ECA Block 1.
“Did you see Soo Jung?” “No.” “Did you see Soo Jung?” “No.” “Did you see Soo Jung?” “No.”
I repeated the question to anyone I met on the way. Either they really did not see Soo Jung today or they simply hated me, so they did not bother to help. Just when I hit my most despairing point, my mobile phone rang.
“Soo Jung ah! Is that you?”
“Erm… no. It’s me, Eun Gyeol.”
“Oh… I thought… never mind. I’m sorry for not checking the caller-id before answering. Anyway, what’s up?”
“It’s alright. Tomorrow is my debut match, and I’m feeling nervous, so I thought of calling you. Somehow hearing your voice has a calming effect on me.”
“Am I that great?” under a more relaxing circumstance, I would have been flattered by his comment. However, this was not one of those moments. “I’m not sure if I sounded calm myself right now.”
Eun Gyeol’s POV (Outside the corridors of Genie High dorm)
“Is there anything wrong? You seem to be expecting Krystal’s call,” I tried my best not to sound disappointed.
“In a way yes. We are supposed to meet up in the library to work on our lab report, but she wasn’t there. When I called her, the operator answered instead.”
Sulli’s explanation pricked my guilty conscience. She was merely a caring person who was worried about a missing friend. All I did was to feel jealous, over a girl some more. “Have you asked around?”
“That’s what I’m doing now. However, everyone claims that they have not seen her, which makes it even more worrying. You know she has anaemia. She could have fainted… in some unknown corners… but the school is so big…,” Sulli was beginning to choke on her tears.
“Hey don’t cry. Do you need help? I can come over to help you search for Krystal.”
“Kumawo, but the school does not allow outsiders.”
“Isn’t there a Dance Concert in your school today? I can pretend to be someone attending that concert.”
“Oh yeah! I was so worried that I had forgotten about it. I shall wait for you at the school gate.”
“Okay. Sulli don’t worry too much. Krystal is a kind-hearted person. Heaven will protect her.”
“Araseo,” with that Sulli hanged up.
“Did something happen to Krystal?” hyung nim’s sudden appearance made me jump. He must have overheard my conversation with Sulli.
“Ah… yes. Sulli said she’s missing. I am going over to Serin High to help her look for Krystal. See ya.”
“Let me go with you. A bigger search party is more efficient.”
“Oh yeah. Compared to me, someone is even more anxious about Krystal’s sudden disappearance.”
Hyung nim punched my shoulder. “Stop teasing me.”
As we turned the corner, Tae Joon walked past us, twirling an LED bangle in his index finger. Upon seeing that hyung nim shoved him to the wall and grabbed his collar. “Isn’t that Krystal’s bangle? Why is it with you? What have you done to her?!”
“Wha… what are you talking about? I didn’t do anything to Krystal. In fact, I’m looking for her myself. But the telephone operator keeps saying she’s not available…”
“Calm down, hyung!” I pulled the two apart, “Sulli said the same thing about Krystal not picking up the calls. Tae Joon may be annoying, but I believe he’s not despicable to the point of doing that sort of thing to Krystal.”
“What sort of thing are you referring to?!” Tae Joon pushed me roughly.
“Arghhh! Never mind. Sulli is waiting for me to help her find Krystal,” hyung and I left quickly, leaving Tae Joon behind.
“Find Krystal? What happens to her?” Tae Joon shouted from behind, “If someone’s gonna save her, it’s gotta be me!”
Author’s POV (Outside the school gate of Serin High)
“Oh I thought you are coming alone,” Sulli was mildly surprised but glad at the same time to see extra helps.
“Well, these two pabos would go through fire and water just to save Krystal,” Eun Gyeol pointed to Jae Hee and Tae Joon, both flanking his sides.
“Yeah, I’m aware of that. Cupid must have spent a little more time on Soo Jung.”
“You don’t have to envy Krystal. If you are the one in trouble, not only would I go through fire and water, I would even ascend to heaven or descend to hell… Ouch!”
Jae Hee whacked Eun Gyeol’s head from behind to cut him off. “Are we here to find Krystal or to listen to your pabo love speeches?”
Sulli giggled while Tae Joon folded his arm impatiently.
“Since there are four of us, let’s split up in four directions. If anyone of you has found Soo Jung, text the rest,” Sulli waved her mobile phone.
“No problem. Sulli I don’t have your number,” Tae Joon and Sulli then exchanged their mobiles to input their numbers.
“Okay let’s go. Hwaiting.”
Krystal’s POV (In the art-and-craft room of ECA Block 1)
I woke up with a throbbing pain on the side of my head. Surrounded by darkness, I slowly recalled what had happened to me. Seol Han Na and I got into a scuffle over the LED bangle I was wearing. She insisted that it was a gift from Tae Joon. If it was I would have gladly allowed her to take it instead of putting up resistance and getting hurt in the process. I wondered why I had bothered to do that just now.
There weren’t any clocks in this room, so I had no idea how long I had lost consciousness. The meeting I was supposed to attend was probably over by now. Then there was a collaboration with Sulli to complete a lab report. Oh yeah, Ssul must be waiting for me in the library! I had better hurry.
When I tried to get up, fatigue dragged me down again and my hands landed on a pool of liquid. On closer examination with my eyes that had gradually adjusted to the darkness, I gasped at the realisation that it was blood. My precious blood! No wonder I felt drained. Not wanting to sit and wait for my life to waste away, I crawled to the door, hoping to get help from outside.
After much struggle, I finally made it to the door, only to find out that it was locked. What’s up with today?!
“Help! Is there anyone out there? Help!!!” I screamed and banged at the door. Then I remembered that this building was going to be closed for renovation. Till the construction workers arrived, there won’t be anyone.
I came into this room with the intention to help someone in trouble, but after a string of events, I ended up being the one who needed help. Slumping my body down to the floor, I laughed bitterly at the irony.