The well -lit hallway melted away, revealing the once again dark and looming corridors, displaying the dead bodies on the ground, untouched and still rotting.
The students, as well as Seolri who were around me suddenly turned black with no definite shape and size–almost resembling the demonic shadows who were just chasing me in the corridor from back then– and was blown away as if they were nothing more but just a puff of smoke.
“N-no. . .” I uttered, feeling all the despair and agony return from realizing I was back in this pit of hell once again.
“Teacher. . .” I heard Yebin’s voice, I looked down on her to see her hand getting blown away as tepid air whooshed in, her eyes beaming red and all of her figure turned black and shadowy before completely disappearing from my sight.
I felt all the blood in my face drain as realization dawned on me that I was yet trapped in this place, with Yebin still missing.
“Oh how I enjoyed watching your hope turn to despair real quick from realizing that you’re still stuck here with no chance of survival.” I heard Yooma’s threatening voice from somewhere'' afar.
I turned around immediately, but there was nothing to see except darkened halls and nothing else to smell but rotting bodies and rusty blood.
“What do you want from me?! Why are you playing tricks and games?! Just end this already!” I screamed, shifting from side to side and maniacally gripping on my hair out of spite.
“Oh my? You didn’t know?” Yooma’s face, as well as the upper part of her body appeared in front of me. The other half of her was nothing but just indefinite black smoke.
I stepped back, positioning my arms to block her away but before I could even do that, she disappeared with the air again. “What are you talking about?” I hissed, still trying to look for her presence in this darkened corridor.
“You. . . Didn’t try to help Youngji, right?” Her voice suddenly turned demonic, as if two or more people were speaking inside her voice.
“I what?! I talked to her!” I retorted with a loud voice, earning a malicious laugh from her. Her voice seemed moving from this side to there, as if she was hovering around me. Then her laugh stopped as her full figure appeared just a meter away from me.
“You watched her suffer.” She replied, putting her palm in front of my face before it glowed with a filtered red color.
My eyes was bathed with the glaring color and turned void, I wasn’t in the corridor once again. But was in my office, sitting in front of me was Youngji, as well as my past self.
It was when her scandalous pictures were spread out across the campus and I took her in my office to talk. But what scared the hell out of me aside from the fact that I was back in this time scale, is that both my past self and Youngji was twitching in an odd, creepy way. Like when a game is glitching and the characters in the game were bugged, their head would twitch until it reached it their shoulders before returning back to it’s normal position with immense speed, as if their head wasn’t connected to their body anymore and kept going on and on.
“Don’t worry Youngji, I won’t let them bully you again.” My voice sounded out, but with a hoarse voice, far from my normal one.
“I won’t let the principal expel you.” She continued speaking, making me realize that it was the same thing I said to Youngji when she was still alive. These are the words I said to her. . . but failed to do.
The next thing I know is that I’m inside the infirmary, where'' my past self went a few hours after that talk with Youngji. My past self was there lying on a bed, claiming a headache when all she really wanted was to sleep. It instantly made me know that when Yooma made me hallucinate about a normal day not a moment ago, it was the day when Youngji was still alive, since I went in the infirmary that day too. . . only witnessing how Irene poured acid on her wounded head.
“And I didn’t do anything.” I jumped from shock when my past self–still twitching oddly– speak in yet another hoarse voice directly at me, interrupting my thoughts. The foolish woman I was a year ago, peeked through the white curtains as she watched Irene pouring the disinfectant at Youngji, not even stopping her despite knowing that it’s acid. In fact, she even continued sleeping, with not a single care.
I realized how horrible I was, ignoring Youngji suffer by herself when I clearly said that I would help her. I even walked pass her when she was getting beaten up by Fei and the others that very same day. I remember that time, I even saw Yooma in one of the classroom. We made eye contact that moment, but I eventually turned away.
All I did was watch and pretend that I didn’t see anything, I pretended that I didn’t see her crying out for help, crying out to us. How she screamed in agony as she watch all the people she trusted walk pass her when she needed them.
Nobody even glanced at her with concern nor sympathy. I always thought that people who ignored her was fools, but I didn’t think I was a fool either.
That’s right. . . I’m also an idiot for always going on with the flow and ignoring my student.
“You remembered now, alright.” Yooma’s ear piercing voice resounded, bringing me back to my horrible reality — trapped in a pitch black school — “ And then you continued with your normal life, as if you erased her existence in your head and pretended that you are not at fault.”
Her voice was echoing, and I couldn’t pinpoint her exact location since the sound is coming from everywhere''.
“It wasn’t me. . . It was Fei and everyone else.” I quipped, spinning my head around back and forth. I heard her make a scoffing sound, followed by a faint chuckle.
“You talk as if you’re innocent. Sure, Fei had fun while doing the bullying with her insignificant acts, but you yourself is involved. Even though there’s clearly someone who’s suffered so much from the bullying, you just let them be even though you had the power to stop them.”
“How about you?! You could also stop them! But you just watched them put Youngji in agony!” I retorted, stating out her mistakes which is also a contributing factor why Youngji took her life.
“I did watch, but I received my punishments already, no?” Even though I couldn’t figure out where'' the voice is coming from, I know based from the tone of her voice that she was smiling.
“I died. . . I was murdered, that is an equivalent punishment for the sins I made.” She chuckled, I can feel something wrapping itself on to my feet and then making it’s way up to my leg but I was too scared to dwell on it or even move. “And I’m only here to give everyone’s punishments, to avenge her simpleminded death.”
“I’m sorry.” I uttered right after realizing that arguing with a demon is considered futile, regret and remorse evident in my weak voice.
“Don’t be. . . I’m the one who should be apologizing.” She chuckled as I heard a sharp object piercing through flesh skin, I realized that it was a shard from a broken window that was stabbed into something fresh. . . and I realized that it was my stomach that has been stabbed.
“Sorry.” I heard her say, pushing the shard deeper until I can almost feel it passing through my back. “People like you, who gets consumed by the stupid society we have now. . . should rot in hell.”
Although it was dark, I could almost see her satisfied face by watching me plop down on the ground like I’m nothing more but a house of cards.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure Yebin sees your dead body before I take her.” She mumbled before her footsteps began echoing and slowly fading away.
I lay there on the cold ground, my blood gushing out of my stomach together with a tear rolling from my tired eyes that begged to be closed. “Y. . . Young. . .ji.” I called out with a soft voice.
Surprisingly enough, she heard and appeared in front of me. Releasing an unearthly glow as she stood before me, staring at my pitiful state. “I’m. . .I’m sorry. I let this. . . happen to you.” Flowing out of my mouth was not just words filled with misery, but blood, gushing out like a faucet.
“Teacher. . .” She uttered, kneeling down as she caressed my tear stained cheeks.
“I never blamed any of you.”
What she said with her soothing voice made me erupt in more tears, it was enough to make my hands move with a bit of strenght and grabbed the object that pierced through my body. I wheezed and panted as I pull it out of me, ignoring the unbearable pain it gives me. My hands started bleeding from gripping on it with all my might as I handed it to Youngji……
To Be Continued.