Stranger - Chapter 3.4
Yeon Woojeong massaged his temple with his fingertips. Not everyone would choose a bad option just because they were young, and had bad environments. Not everyone would live by stealing others’ pockets like me.
Suddenly, my head turned muddy. If I had gotten caught while pickpocketing and met the prosecutor Yeon Woojeong, would he judge me coldly even though he sympathized with me? What will Yeon Woojeong think of me if he finds out I lived like that?
I felt the distance between where we sat. When I looked at other places but Yeon Woojeong, I sensed a gaze.
“How was the youth shelter?”
“I certainly left because it was bad.”
“Seems like you stayed there before you met me, huh?”
“You don’t need to know.”
Along with a smirking sound, a hand landed on my head. My shoulders inevitably flinched. The fingers lightly caressed from the top of my head to the back neck and then left me.
“You cut your hair prettily.”
Only then did I realize that this was the first time Yeon Woojeong saw me with the new cut. I mean, to be exact, this wasn’t the first time, but that day was only for a moment and he was drunk…
I felt like something rose from my heart, and then it blocked my throat.
I kept killing Yeon Woojeong in my dreams. I didn’t know the reason, but I didn’t want to kill him for real. Do other people also have this kind of imagination? Perhaps, they do not.
I saw Yeon Woojeong’s white feet under the sofa. As I looked at the blue veins, strangely, I felt hungry.
“Have you eaten yet?”
“You won’t eat?”
“Beats me. Haven’t you eaten?”
“Yeah. I haven’t.”
I felt Yeon Woojeong’s gaze. I stubbornly stared at his feet covered by the pants’ hem.
“Yeah? Then shall we have dinner?”
Yeon Woojeong got up. I followed him to the kitchen. A strange sense of joy scraped my fingertips.
I dreamed. It was dark and I was trapped inside a small box—none of my limbs could be moved.
A sound permeated into the darkness. It was a vibration sound. I opened my eyes but it was dark, and when I wondered if it was night, I remembered that I took a nap.
My head was blank. I didn’t feel good. I always like this whenever I woke up from a nap, so I didn’t like taking a nap.
I belatedly noticed the sound kept ringing. It was the phone, and there was only one person who would call this number.
—……. Were you sleeping?”
—Ehm, nice timing. Wanna go out now? Let’s have dinner.
I took the phone from my ear and checked the time. It was 3 p.m. It was too early to go out for dinner now.
—Yeah, it’d be good if you also bring along the document on the table.
There was another main intention. It was ridiculous, so I crumpled my face and glared at the air. If I thought about it, he brought me out of my dream, and his request was something simple, so I could just accept it, but I didn’t want to say anything.
And the silence went on for a few seconds just like that. Any kind of sound was barely heard over the phone.
—You don’t feel good because you just woke up?
—Are you a baby? You’re acting like one.
The laughing voice teased me.
“What nonsense are you talking about?”
Before I knew it, I woke up from my daze. I got up from my seat.
“Do I just need to bring that over?”
—Yeah, thank you.
The call ended with the end of his voice, which was still imbued with laughter. As I went down to the book room, there really was a document envelope on the table. Even though he looked like he had a loose screw, he didn’t look like someone who was clumsy enough to leave important documents behind.
After taking care of my hair in the bathroom, I changed my clothes and went outside with the documents. I thought about taking a taxi like the last time, but I headed to the bus stop to learn about the surrounding area. I saw a building under construction on my way. As in the other places, it was not difficult to find a building under construction, especially in Seoul. Once that building construction was completed, the price would likely go high.
Even an old building around this area would surely have a price that I wouldn’t dare to see. When I thought about things like that, my stomach twisted. Both humans and buildings would get old and shabby, but the value was overwhelming on one side.
The bus arrived. Stopping the squalid thoughts, I got in.
As I took a seat, I became curious about the documents in my hand. I opened the envelope because he didn’t tell me to not open it. Seeing that it was not sealed, it didn’t seem to be very important. But, the reason for asking me to bring it along if it wasn’t important then……
Three rows and three columns. There were nine squares with a total of nine compartments. It looked like a puzzle from how there were a few numbers already written down, but I didn’t know for sure. Next to the entered number, there was a number scrawled by Yeon Woojeong. Whether horizontal or vertical, there were no overlapping numbers.
Why did he ask me to bring this over? Seems like he’s trying to annoy me with something trivial.
While I roughly found out the puzzle’s principle, I arrived at the prosecutors’ office. I could find the building easily now, but I didn’t want to leave my identification card to go inside. As I took out the phone from my pocket and made a call, I heard Yeon Woojeong’s voice not long after.
“Mhm, I’m in the front.”
—Alright, wait a moment.
It seemed like he would go down even if I didn’t say anything. I put the phone in my pocket and looked at the people entering the building. That person came here for a crime. That person clearly looks unfair.
I spent the time judging the people through their faces, and Yeon Woojeong came out of the entrance. A formal attire without the suit jacket worn. Even though he only went out for a moment, he acted like someone who didn’t know how cold felt.
“Shall we go?”
I went inside following Yeon Woojeong. It wasn’t unfamiliar because I had come here before, but there was another person besides the old man I saw last time.
The old man greeted me through his eyes, and the new person burdened me with her gaze.
“Mr. Lee Jeonghan, Investigating Officer. Ms. Kim Jiyeon, Administrator.”
Yeon Woojeong pointed to the man and the woman, respectively, and made an introduction that was hardly an introduction. They somewhat looked at me with a curious gaze, but I had no duty to introduce myself. I gave the documents in my hand to Yeon Woojeong.
He accepted the envelope from me, and then took out the paper inside. Then, he gave it to the one named Kim Jiyeon. That woman looked at the paper and soon opened her eyes wide.
“You really completed this in a day. Woah, this is really hard, though.”
“I told you not to bet 500 won easily.”
“Ay, are you really going to take that 500 won?”
“I have to collect the money to drink coffee from the vending machine.”
“Boo. Oppose the evil prosecutor.”
The woman shook her hand with her thumb facing down. It was amazing that Yeon Woojeong joked with his colleagues. It seemed like he wasn’t really bad in his social life.