Chapter 2: Misunderstanding (2)
There was no sound. His senses were numb. He just felt as though his body was floating in mid-air. This was the current situation for Kang Woojin.
How could he put it? Right now, everything was vague. He was conscious, but it was blurred. It was unclear whether he was lying down or standing. The surrounding temperature was ambiguous too. Was he closing his eyes? Or were they open? What’s going on? What was he doing right now?
Only one thing was certain.
The uncertain Kang Woojin was extremely comfortable right now. He wanted to be like this for the rest of his life. And then.
Kang Woojin suddenly regained his senses. No, this wasn’t voluntary. It was due to an external factor. Something unknown woke up Kang Woojin. That was the feeling.
Kang Woojin let out a faint groan as he slowly opened his eyes. He must have had his eyes closed. A few seconds later. He who barely regained his senses was stunned for a moment.
The reason was simple.
“Where… where am I?”
He had no idea where he was. Well, was this even a space? He had opened his eyes, but it was no different than having them closed.
Because it was pitch black all around.
It felt as if he was trapped in a windowless room without a single light. The atmosphere was such that it wouldn’t be strange if he suddenly developed claustrophobia.
Thanks to this, Kang Woojin quickly stood up and shouted.
“Hey!! Kim Daeyoung!!”
But there was no response.
“Excuse me!! Hello!!!”
He shouted again, but it was still quiet. There wasn’t even an echo. What the hell is this place? It was endlessly black and he couldn’t even gauge its size. It felt like a space without limits.
Anyway, at this moment.
“Hey, hey! Kim Daeyoung! What the hell is this place!”
Immense anxiety and fear enveloped Kang Woojin. Then, Woojin recalled the memory of what happened before he got here.
“I definitely pressed something strange.”
A square in a form of a swirl of black and grey. That thing, floating in the air next to the script, was pressed by Woojin’s index finger.
“…What is it? A movie? Was I sucked into here?!”
Soon, Kang Woojin held his head. His mind had stopped. No matter how he looked at it, this was reality. Dreams couldn’t be this vivid.
What on earth was this space?
Regardless, the biggest task at hand was not the existence of this place but escape.
At this moment.
Woojin, who had turned his body, suddenly stopped. Amidst the blackness, he spotted a white square. It was about three steps away. Was it there just now? He wasn’t sure. But he needed to check quickly.
Soon, Kang Woojin quickly moved towards the white square.
He confirmed the white color up close. Just about the size of an A4 paper. It was located about chest level. It wouldn’t be strange to describe it as floating. The interesting thing here was.
There were white letters printed on the white square.
-[1/page script (Title: Unknown), F grade (Judgement not possible)]
-[*The completion is very low. It is a damaged script or scenario. 100% reading is not possible. (About 10% can be implemented)]
At the same time, Kang Woojin furrowed his brows.
“What is this. A damaged script? Scenario?”
The white letters were all gibberish. But only for a moment. At the word ‘script’, Woojin suddenly thought of something.
“······Ah, that script.”
It was a few pages of the script he had received from a female broadcasting staff. Thinking about it, he had been sucked into this mysterious space just after receiving that script. So,
“Could it be. This square – is it that script?”
It seemed to match up somewhat. Anyway, Kang Woojin slowly raised his hand and grabbed the white square. However, it wouldn’t move.
That’s when it happened.
Suddenly, letters that weren’t there before were listed below the white square.
-[1/script (title: unknown) selected.]
-[Listing characters available for reading (experience).]
-[A: Terrified man, B: Strange man]
What is this? By now, Kang Woojin was teetering between frustration and anxiety. He had to do something as quickly as possible.
“Ah shit, I don’t know.”
He randomly tapped one of the letters. It was ‘A: Terrified man’, and suddenly a female voice echoed throughout the entire mysterious space.
[“‘A: Terrified Man’ reading preparation in progress······”]
The tone was steady and emotionless. It was almost like a robot. What did it matter? It was the first human voice he’d heard in this place. Woojin desperately shouted out.
“Hey! Who are you?! There’s someone here!!”
But the female voice gave an irrelevant answer.
[“······Preparation complete. This is a damaged script or scenario. Implementation is approximately 10%. The reading will begin now.”]
Immediately after, a large gray mass swallowed up Kang Woojin.
It was cold. Strange. Surely, the temperature was vague just a moment ago. However, Kang Woojin was now feeling cold. Was he outside? Woojin then lowered his head. Huh?
It had changed. The padding jacket he had been wearing was completely gone, and he was wearing a brown windbreaker. As soon as he felt a sense of incongruity, he quickly raised his head.
His field of vision had also changed a bit.
It was still very dark all around. However, faint silhouettes could be seen. Trees? Are those all trees? And what he was stepping on around his feet was fallen leaves?
So, was he in the middle of a forest?
He wanted to make a sound, but it didn’t work well. It felt like his body was refusing. At the same time, he felt sounds and senses that were not there before.
The irritating wind and the noise from the wind hitting the branches. The atmosphere and the feeling alone were enough to make his whole body slightly tremble.
‘Run. I need to run away.’
As Kang Woojin’s eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, he felt an array of emotions and sensations hit him. Move, move your legs.
Keep running, escape.
Soon, Woojin began to run frantically. He didn’t care about direction. He just started running uphill. He ignored his fast-paced breathing. He also ignored the tree branches, which were just silhouettes, scratching his face.
He just ran.
Why? Why am I running now? I don’t know. Even though he didn’t know, Woojin didn’t stop his frantic steps. It seemed like he shouldn’t. His pounding heart was getting faster.
Yes, I’m being chased. I’m being chased right now.
Even while stepping on the fallen leaves like a madman, Woo-jin continued to look back. Fortunately, the scenery behind him was the same. The forest shrouded in darkness.
It was then.
Suddenly, a low male voice was heard from the side of Woojin, who was looking back.
“Stop running, it’s annoying.”
Before Woojin could even realize something, his leg tripped and he fell flat on the ground. It hurt. It was incredibly painful. Why did it hurt? This pain was real. The pain of his cheek scraping the ground and blood flowing was also a real.
“I’m hungry because of you.”
A man’s voice from behind him as he lay sprawled out. No, the role of the strange man was also real. The only thing Woojin could do here was to struggle. He had no choice. This whole experience was unprecedented.
Who has ever had the experience of being chased by a strange man out of the blue?
I’m going to die. It felt like I’m going to die for some reason. Woojin struggled desperately but to no avail. The strange man behind him was stepping on Woojin.
Despite that, Woojin’s struggles didn’t stop. He struggled again and again. He was still in the same place, but he kept on trying. The earth on the ground was persistently sucked into his nose. On the contrary, water flowed profusely from his eyes and nose.
I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I want to live.
The desperate emotions, the hands scratching the fallen leaves and dirt on the ground in panic, the sensation of his back being pressed down, the flowing nose and tears, the rough breathing.
Everything was real.
“Hmm, I decided. I should go down and eat pizza.”
The muttering strange man definitely existed. At this time, the fallen Woojin was turned over. The strange man did that. Thanks to this, the shivering Woojin saw the strange man.
There is no face. More accurately, there is a face, but it’s black. A round black face is hanging above the neck. But the silhouette of the strange man’s body was clearly visible. Although it was faint.
At this moment,
Something was stabbed into Woojin’s side, who was lying on the ground.
There was no time to understand what was stabbed. It was incredibly painful. The pain felt like all his organs were severed at once. It was an indescribable agony.
Woojin unknowingly shivered all over. His legs were shaking, and his arms and face were spasming. What kind of sensation is this? Damn, it hurts too much. It was a clear reality.
Beg, yes, beg. Beg for your life.
With his trembling hands clasped, Woojin begged desperately. He begged desperately, looking at the black face. He said he would do anything, just spare his life. Even if the strange man’s expression wasn’t visible, he was a human, right?
Such a strange man laughed.
Even though all you can see is a black face, he laughed. Maybe because of the hope in the delusion, Woojin saw it that way. So Woojin also forced a smile, and then something was stabbed into his body again.
It was then.
[“The reading of ‘A: Scared Man’ has ended.”]
A woman’s voice, like a robot, echoed.
How much time had passed?
The dazed Kang Woo-jin faintly heard someone’s voice in his ear.
“······Hey! Excuse me!!”
At the same time, Kang Woojin, who put his cell phone to his ear, slowly raised his head. He saw three people sitting at the straight desk. A man in his thirties, a man in his fifties with a goatee, and a beautiful woman. It seemed that the man in his thirties was the one who had just called Woojin.
‘Ah- This is the place from before. Ah, I’ve come back.’
Kang Woojin slowly lowered his phone from his ear. But Woojin’s expression seemed a bit odd. A slightly drunk feeling. Woojin, with that look, checked his phone screen. About a minute had passed. It was strange, it should have been about 30 minutes since he was in the forest.
Whatever it was.
Kang Woojin wore an expression as if he didn’t care much, in a state of complete oblivion. His brain seemed to be operating slowly. It was then.
“Excuse me, aren’t you going to do it? We can’t reach Mr. Kim Daeyoung.”
The man in his thirties at the straight desk in front of him, shaking the script, asked Kang Woojin. Woojin, who had been quietly watching him,
‘······Script. Ah, right, I have experienced that before. Do they want me to show it?’
Slowly rose from his chair.
The man in his thirties seemed slightly surprised.
“Oh? Are you going to do it? Wow, you must have a strong friendship with your friend.”
Then, Kang Woojin stood in front of the three sitting at the straight desk. The distance was about two steps. Why? The reason was unclear. At this moment, Woojin just felt like he had to show something.
Everything that happened to him in an unknown place just before.
In fact, for Kang Woo-jin who was slowly getting into position.
Everything was still vivid. Because he had experienced it directly.
About 10 minutes later.
Kang Woojin, who had shown everything contained in the script, was lying on the floor. His hands were facing the sky. Why? Because he had been begging so sincerely until just a moment ago.
His mind, which had been floating in something, became clear. In fact, his consciousness had always been clear. But now that the show was over, his brain seemed to work faster?
The first thing Kang Woojin, who slowly lowered his raised arms, felt was.
‘Ah, shit. What did I just do?’
A massive wave of embarrassment.
The next thing.
‘Huh- what on earth just happened? Do I have a problem with my mind?’
Understanding the situation. Something certainly happened, but it also seemed like it hadn’t. Everything was a mess. His mind was in a whirl. Whatever had happened, Woojin had just shown it to everyone.
Whether it was an experience or something else, it was certainly passionate.
Soon, Kang Woojin, who had been lying down, got up slowly, clearing his throat softly. Ahem. The conclusion that Woojin had reached here was one.
‘Pretend it didn’t happen. Act natural. Sort things out later.’
It was extremely embarrassing and shameful, but he tried his best to keep a straight face. Repeat the mantra.
‘I’m confident. I’m cool. Kang Woojin, you’re not embarrassed at all right now.’
Act as cool as possible.
At that moment.
A woman’s voice came in. She was an incredibly beautiful woman among the three sitting at the straight desk. Wait a second. Who is this woman?
‘Huh? Crazy. Is this Hong Hye Yeon?!’
With long hair and clean skin, in front of Woojin’s eyes was Hong Hye Yeon, a top actress recognized by everyone. Why hadn’t he recognized her before? Was it because she was too unfamiliar? She’s an angel. If angels really existed, they would surely be like her. Maybe because she didn’t look like a human, he hadn’t recognized her.
Thanks to her, Woo-jin was spellbound.
‘Wow, I can only admire. Wow-‘
He stopped dusting off his pants and was captivated by Hong Hye Yeon, sitting two steps in front of him. It was then that she asked her question with narrowed eyes.
“Which university’s acting department did you graduate from? Chung-Ang? Han-yang?”
What is she talking about? Anyway, Woojin wanted to shout out right away that he was a fan of her. However, due to the embarrassment of what just happened, he had to maintain his cool demeanor.
That way, this crazy embarrassment would be somewhat neutralized, wouldn’t it?
Next, Woojin moved his paused hand, dusted off his pants leisurely, and cleared his throat. As deep and heavy as possible. It’s alright to act a bit tough.
As he did so, Woojin’s tone was surprisingly low.
“No, I graduated from a university’s design department in the Gyeonggi-do area. I’m good at it, design.”
Crazy. Why did he add ‘I’m good at it, design’ at the end? He realized his mistake but Woojin kept his face firm. What’s funny is.
The faces of all three, including top actress Hong Hye Yeon sitting in front, wrinkled. It wasn’t clear why, but it was certain they were surprised.
“Then, where did you learn acting?”
Acting my ass. It was an area he had never been interested in, but Woojin somehow dodged the question. Because he wanted to run away quickly.
“I self-taught. Bit by bit over the weekends.”
This amplified Woojin’s bravado. He didn’t know it himself.
The man in his fifties with a goatee sitting in the middle of the straight desk, opened his eyes wide and added a question.
“How did you do that just now? It was your first time, wasn’t it? But how did you… how did you do it after just glancing at the script?”
Just now? Shush. Don’t highlight my embarrassment. Woojin, who was slowly preparing to escape, looked behind him once before answering. Of course, he had to keep acting cool and serious this time as well.
“It wasn’t particularly difficult.”
Woojin finished answering, greeted the three in front of him ambiguously, as if he was saying goodbye.
Though he was in a hurry inside, he walked calmly toward the door behind him. Repeating in his heart, don’t call me. Soon, Woo-jin, standing in front of the staff at the door, spat out a warning-like phrase.
“Sorry, but don’t ever use what I just did for broadcasting. If you do, I’ll sue.”
It was just an empty threat. Because he wanted to escape this hell as quickly as possible. Anyway, fortunately, Woojin was able to leave the room without any issues.
There were still waiting participants outside.
Woo-jin, who had been expressionless, started walking faster as soon as he brushed past them. It was similar to light jogging.
After moving quite far, he covered his face with both hands and sighed deeply.
“Damn. That was so embarrassing.”
Meanwhile, back in the room Woojin just left.
“······PD-nim. Did he just say that wasn’t particularly difficult? After showing that level of acting??”
Top actress Hong Hye Yeon was greatly shocked. Of course, her excitement was prevalent here, and the man in his fifties with a goatee sitting in the middle responded to Hong Hye Yeon’s question.
“A design department? He’s good at design? What a peculiar guy.”
“Self-taught? No way! He definitely learned somewhere, that was…”
“Even if he did learn all himself. Even if that’s true. He’s not from an acting department, and his main job is design, do you think he could learn acting on the side and easily pull that off? I’ve been directing for 20 years and I see it as impossible.”
“The confidence and composure when he answered. That’s real. He really found it easy. Moreover, he showed such acting after glancing at the script for one minute. This is the first time I’ve seen a guy whose past is so difficult to gauge.”
Soon, the middle-aged man with the goatee looked at the door through which Woojin had left and chuckled.
“A rare genius. Once in a while, such a monster appears.”
The snowball of misunderstanding had begun to roll.