<Volume 14 – ’Stop’ is not in my vocabulary (1) >
Volume 14- ‘Stop’ is not in my vocabulary (1)
‘Ok …. Is this it?’
Arriving at a room, Jaegun negotiated the key card to unlock and open the door with one hand.
A light came on as the key was inserted into the slot.
It was a small, ordinary room.
The room was even smaller than Jaegun’s studio.
A bed and a lamp table took up half the space of the room, a TV, a filtered water dispenser, and a small fridge, were placed as built-ins against a wall.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Jaegun gently laid Dasul on to the bed from off of his back. After placing a pillow underneath her head, he pulled a blanket over her all the way up to the top of her chest.
‘I should have her drink something warm.’
Dasul frowned and repeatedly let out weak groans as if she was in pain. He wasn’t quite sure what to do as he looked down at her. He was too concerned for her to be leaving her there alone.
‘I should go get some food and something to help her with the hangover.’
When she sobers up, she is sure to have an upset stomach.
There were only bottled water and canned sodas in the fridge.
Dropping his brief case on the floor, Jaegun grabbed his wallet and stood up.
But, he wasn’t able to take even a first step.
Already sitting up on the bed, Dasul was hugging him from behind.
Even before Jaegun, who was both surprised and embarrassed, had a chance to turn back to face her, she whispered in to his ears.
“Please don’t leave.”
“I am not leaving. I just wanted to go get some food and …..”
“I don’t need anything, so please don’t go.”
Pressing deep into Jaegun’s chest, Dasul tightly locked her fingers.
As if to say that she will never let him go no matter what.
“Please just stay with me for a little while.”
Unable to speak, Jaegun froze nervously.
He felt Dasul’s warm and moist breath on his back. Immediately, he recognized that she was in tears and knew that something was obviously bothering her.
Jaegun has decided to stay by her side until she would fall asleep.
She was in no shape to be left alone, he concluded. He decided to put off asking what was bothering her, until after she sobered up with a good night’s sleep.
“I won’t go anywhere. So, please do lie down.”
Freeing himself from Dasul’s grasp, he turned around to face her.
As expected, her eyes were filled with tears.
“Make sure you do not leave. And this is embarrassing, so no looking at my face.”
Lying down as she fell fast, Dasul covered her face with both of her hands.
Then shaking all over, she began to sob.
Through her ten fingers that were covering her face, warm tears came up like spring water. All that Jaegun could do was to listen to her crying.
Wee Woo, Wee Woo~!
The sound of police patrol car travelled through the middle of the entertainment district.
Lying on his side, Jaegun slowly opened his eyes. The TV and fridge came into his view perpendicularly to him.
‘Gosh ….. I must have dozed off.’
Compounded with visits to his dad at the hospital and shaping his new novel, Jaegun did not get much sleep in the past few days.
With a big yawn, Jaegun sat up.
All he saw was the empty bed. There was no trace of Dasul, who was there next to him before he had fallen asleep.
Curiously, Jaegun headed to the bathroom.
But before he could proceed to knock, he froze upon looking down at the foyer. Dasul’s shoes were no-where to be found.
-The called party’s phone is turned off. Connecting to the voice mail …..
With a defeated look on his face, Jaegun put away his cell phone.
It has only been 3 hours since they checked into the room.
Where has she gone within that short time?
He was growing more concerned as her cell phone was also turned off.
Suddenly, Jaegun’s eyes opened up.
There were a necklace and a single-folded up note on the top of his briefcase. Made out of aged silver, the necklace had many colored spots.
Grabbing the note first, Jaegun opened it.
Overwhelmed by ominous feeling, his hands were shaking even before starting to read the note.
I thought a lot after reading ‘Raging Storm’. You probably have no idea how happy and moved I was after seeing the happy ending for Haeyoung. I’ve read it three times.
I sometimes fear that I may not end up like Haeyoung.
You told me that I am the model for Haeyoung.
Haeyoung is the main character of ‘Raging Storm’, but I have not even become the main character of my own life. I am lost as to what I have to do to become the main character.
I feel very happy every time I see you. You always think of me first. You listen to all my small, petty stories. I’m always happy and time seems to fly when I am with you.
. It is so good that it hurts. Being nobody that I am, I feel bad and unworthy to be near you.
So, I am running away.
Not forever though.
When I feel that I have become worthy to be audaciously standing in front of you, I will come back to collect the necklace. It is very precious to me. I have been wearing the necklace that O-ppa has bought me, so I don’t have much chance to wear it. Keep it safely and return it to me later.
Where-ever I am, whenever your new book comes out, I will be sure to read it right away.
Be strong, eat well, and don’t get sick!
After he finished reading the note, Jaegun picked up the necklace.
An old photo was found when he opened the worn pendant.
A woman in her 20’s that looked just like Dasul was smiling.
It must be her mother that Dasul had promised to find even after she becomes a star.
Hurriedly, Jaegun packed up the briefcase and ran out of the motel.
The intoxicating night streets pulled him in like a whirlpool. Dasul’s smiling face, like that of the sun, couldn’t be found anywhere.
“Hugh …..! hugh! Hugh!”
Running wildly and out of breath as he searched for Dasul, he finally came to a halt, grabbing on to a light post.
As he breathed roughly, he came to a realization.
This night’s luck was not with him.
Dasul, who helped Jaegun take a giant leap toward success as an author with the release of ‘Raging Storm’, has vanished from his world.
“Would you like another drink?”
“No, more alcohol will slow down my ability to talk.”
They were sitting at a dinner table in an elegant Korean restaurant.
Jaegun was having a dinner meeting with Sangwook Moon, a former forensic pathologist.
Jaegun’s father, Seokjae, had helped to arrange this meeting. Seokjae and Sangwook became good friends in college through club activities.
“Yes, you already know that a death without a clear cause is called a Jane Doe. Without the authorization of the district attorney (DA), a dead body is not allowed to be buried or cremated. The government must preserve the body until it is conveyed to the surviving family. ”
With Sangwook’s consent, Jaegun began to type notes on his laptop, all the while with his ears perked up to listen.
They were very essential information needed for a mystery novel.
“As your question has alluded, if it was certain that the co-ed’s death was due to suicide, the DA will instruct the police to convey the body to the surviving family, ‘barring from any evidence of a homicide from an autopsy’.”
Taking a short pause, Sangwook drank a sip of water to wet his drying mouth.
Although Jaegun grew impatient as he wanted to hear more of what happens next, he tried his best to keep his composure.
The real stories, being told by a former coroner were rich with enticing tales that were beyond the simple information that they contained.
“The cores of your question were whether it was possible to identify the person who has impregnated the dead co-ed through a series of DNA tests, and whether it was possible to expand the investigation to include that person?”
“Yes, that is correct.”
“Autopsy is based on the possibility of a homicide. The pregnancy does not weigh in, so a separate investigation is not carried out. However, the circumstance changes if the surviving family members show probable cause that unidentified man had made threats or pressured the girl to commit suicide.
Jaegun’s fingers never stopped from typing.
Fixing his eyes on the laptop, Sangwook continued by speaking at a slower pace in consideration.
“The DNA test can be performed by the surviving family upon receiving the body, then requesting a university hospital to perform an autopsy and tests. However, if no suspect’s DNA data exists? Ultimately, there is very little or nothing that anyone can do that such tests will most likely become useless. ”
Soon after Sangwook has finished making that statement, Jaegun’s typing has also stopped.
Jaegun saved what he had typed and with all the signs of respect and appreciation, he bowed to Sangwook.
“you so much. With your help, I feel that I am now able to write a novel that has real substance.”
“It’s good to hear that I was helpful. I will be expecting an awesome novel, seeing that you are looking into such subject matter.”
“Well. I will be telling a story about humanity.”
Sangwook opened his eyes wide as he stopped negotiating his chopsticks over rib pancakes.
“Telling about humanity?”
“Yes, it is not just going to be a trivial story telling. I am planning to write, as best as I can, about how the people live today through the events that led the co-ed to commit suicide and indifferences or ostracizing of the people around her.”
Sangwook nodded his head expecting great thing as Jaegun spoke with fortitude.
As Sangwook lifted up the bottle of whiskey and in response, Jaegun held his glass out in both hands to respectively receive a fill from him.
“Autopsies in our country are known to be killing the victim for the second time. Most of the surviving family members oppose autopsies.”
As if to reminisce his own past experiences, Sangwook’s eyes were shaking as he spoke.
“I have done may autopsies. As a consideration to the surviving family members, I always thought that it is also important to die in a wholesome way. I do hope that you will successfully incorporate humanity in your story.”
“Thank you very much.”
After budding glasses in a cheer, Jaegun turned to his side and slowly downed the whiskey from his glass.
Once again, he quietly internalized his deep appreciation to his father and Sangwook.
He certainly collected much invaluable information.
Now that all the critical information has been collected, all that was left to do was to write.
Jaegun’s writing has begun in full scale.
Wake up at 7AM followed by breakfast, write from 8AM to Noon, and make a trip to the library to take a break and read. Return home at 6PM, followed by dinner and write until 1AM before going to bed, were the repeated order of the day’s activities.
It has been 3 weeks already.
Somewhat different activities were in Jaeguns’ days compared to the past when he used to write until he simply tired himself out.
It was due to the advice of Seokjae to take care of his well being. Jaegun was trying his best to keep his father’s old advice, which he used to dismiss as nagging.
Bah-doop doop bah-doop! Bah-doop!
His ten fingers were turning red from hitting the keyboard.
Like other days, although he was using a notebook that can be used to produce up to 10,000 words per hour, not much writing was being done today.
‘Sucks! I can’t believe my writing was this bad! That’s improbable!’
He repeatedly retyped the scene that wasn’t up to his satisfaction.
No matter how fast he wrote, more than the amount of words that were created was being deleted.
On the count of non-stopping typing, Jaegun’s breathing has become as rough as possible.
‘Phew …. Break time!’
Whenever he took his break due to fatigue, the clock would always hit right at noon.
Quickly putting on his horn-rimmed glasses, he headed to the library.
Mystery section of the library is where he always stopped at.
Here, Jaegun would read about 50 books per day.
He would sit in a corner alone, where he cannot be easily seen by others, and read like a madman. It was the miracle of Gunwoo Seo’s horn-rimmed glasses that made it possible.
‘Right! There were such devices! That is the trick! I remembered!’
‘That’s it, simply changing the narrator could turn everything around! I will alter the introduction of chapter 2 in such a way!’
‘Wow, this is big …! Was this written by a human? How did the author apply these tricks?’
Reading with passion, Jaegun absorbed all the techniques of the writer.
As if to experience learning at the speed of light, he was improving enormously at this moment.
Of course, there was no one, who could recognize it anywhere.
“Ma-am, that person is here, doing strange things again.”
Full of fear, the student temp worker reported to the public librarian.
The librarian observed Jaegun with serious look in her eyes.
“Is he reading all those books by himself?”
“Yes, it takes about 5 minutes to read a book? Last week, he was turning the pages so fast that he ripped a page out of a book. He did apologize and bought a new copy of the exact same book though. What do you suppose he does for living?”
“I am not sure either. Did he do anything to cause harm?”
“Well. He only scans books like that and leave in the evening each time.”
“Let him be. The world has every kind of person. However, he does look familiar… I just can’t remember where.”
The librarian slowly shook her head side by side before turning around.
The student employee also turned back from Jaegun and returned to his duties.
Unaware that he was being observed, Jaegun was preoccupied in his reading.
He was always totally focused in reading just like when he is writing.
It is impossible to regroup once a distraction occurs.
Jaegun has employed more strict self discipline since Dasul had disappeared. When he becomes lax, his mind will be filled with thoughts about her. He would be filled with endless imaginations of where she would be and what she would be doing.
His cell phone went off from inside his pocket.
He was about to open the 48th book of the day, but with annoyed look on his face, Jaegun quickly answered the phone
‘Uh? Who is this?’
An unrecognized number appeared on the screen.
He had assured to the writers in the office that he would be focusing on his writing.
After placing the books orderly fashion, Jaegun came out of the general reference room, taking hurried steps. He answered the phone on the stairway leading down to the lounge area.
< Volume14 – ’Stop’ is not in my vocabulary (1) > The End