Chapter 193: Chapter 193
Among the people I knew, he was the second most or even much more self-possessed person than Yoo Chun Young; however, the Jooin I knew was behaving so disconcertingly that I smiled somewhat sheepishly to him for now. He then put an awkward grin on his face.
‘Ok, so he isn’t that nonplussed than expected…’ I thought. As I got up, Jooin also gently raised himself up. Shaking the dust off his pants, he dropped a remark.
“I thought about something.”
“What do you mean?”
His face was too pale and stiff to conduct something rational, putting on his thinking cap, that what he just said surprised me. Regardless of my response, he glanced around the classroom as well as the hallway with a cold gaze.
He then continued, “So, to think of it commonsensical, the light can’t be turned on in this classroom. Earlier, you pressed the switch after stepping backward in the surprise of the spider. We also found out that the lights went off since the school has been out of electricity from years ago.
“I know that it doesn’t make sense, but if we assume that we’re now in a different universe, I’ve thought the electricity can be a totem to distinguish the two parallel dimensions.”
Jooin made a conclusion so casually that he struck me dumb once more. ‘So, um…’ I murmured to myself in perplexity.
As I was used to shifting dimensions, I tried to understand how confused he might be right now and comfort him to get through the current situation. While I rambled those useless thoughts in mind, Jooin was already analyzing the phenomenon inside his head.
As I faced the front after perceiving a gaze, Jooin was there staring at me in wonder. I shook my head.
“Nothing… keep on.”
“Um, yeah… so, why don’t we go inside each classroom and turn on the lights?”
His unexpected suggestion made my eyes open round. Still, Jooin continued his words in a calm voice.
“Of course, it should be attempted when all the methods we try, such as escaping through the entrance or getting in touch with the kids, fail.”
“Staying with you can make things like this happen. Wow, a different universe!”
With that said, Jooin, showed something like a naughty smile on his face for the first time. It was then that I realized we were walking the hallway grabbing each other’s arms tightly in awkward silence just a few minutes ago. We were that much uncomfortable just until now… how could this happen?
I held out my hand again to Jooin hesitantly. With a smile, he grabbed my arm and put it next to his arm as if it was a very usual thing. He then firmly grasped my hand and put it down.
‘Weird,’ I murmured, looking down at my hand tightly linked to his palm.
Unlike the one in my room, the pouring white fluorescent light felt like a sharp tip of an arrow. Outside the entrance door, the swings were still swinging back and forth against each other as if people were riding them, and the black branch hitting the window…
However, when thinking about how long it has been to talk with Jooin so naturally like this, everything seemed to be somewhat thankful.
* * *
Instead of wandering this dark hallway, we thought it would be better to just look around from the start to the end. We, therefore, walked across from Class 1-8 to Class 1-7, 1-6, and 1-5 and turned on the lights in each classroom one after another. Holding my hand, Jooin stretched out the other side of his hand to the dark classroom. I stared at his white ear in silence.
The light pouring through the window of the class next door drew an illuminated square over the hallway. I could see the dust piled up between the wooden boards from here.
Looking out of those sceneries, I gave careful attention to the call over the phone. It looked as though no one was about to answer this time as well.
While checking four classrooms, I called four people in order from Ban Yeo Ryung to Eun Hyung, Yoon Jung In, and Kim Hye Hill; however, no one took the call.
Only the flat beeping sound continued over the phone. I hung up eventually, and at the same time, the space above our heads turned bright with a clicking sound.
I turned to look back. Jooin, who had his hand on the switch, was stumped while facing up at the ceiling.
“The lights come on so far.”
“Was there some error in the theory? If the time and space of this school were unstable, we could’ve fallen into that crack, and there would be other places where it happened too. A place where it doesn’t light up could exist, which might be the passage connecting this universe with the original world.”
What came out through Jooin’s mouth so smoothly were closer to a murmur instead of a talk directing at me; therefore, it was less explicative. From that aspect, I realized how cordially he always clarified things to me. What came across my mind after listening to his explanation was something utterly different from the cracks in space-time thing.
I spoke in a low mumble involuntarily.
“How’s the courage test going…”
Jooin, who bent his steps while holding my hand, switched his gaze to me. His pure gold eyes directing at me somewhat looked unfamiliar against the messily scattered desks behind him. I suddenly smiled.
“Although I brought it up, it’s really hilarious. A courage test… we did that during the retreats in elementary school, but now we’re high school students…”
With that thought in mind, I giggled. My thoughts then suddenly reached the fact that we still had four more classes left to check the lights coming on. We also weren’t sure whether the entrance door was open or locked too.
I tried to stretch out my hand and pull Jooin’s arm, but his eyes looked a little strange. He seemed to be lost in thought while fastening his gaze at the floor.
I called him, “Jooin?”
“What are you thinking about?”
‘Did you come up with another new theory?’ I was about to ask like that, but when I lifted my eyes to look at his face, I figured out that what he had in mind wasn’t about the law of this universe or something like that. ‘I don’t know…’ It was just that when I looked at him in the eyes, his thought seemed to be reaching somewhere more distant and frigid. Jooin’s lips then detached simultaneously at a slow pace.
“Mama, the thing that happened between you and Class 1-1,” he said.
“Aren’t you even angry?”
‘Oh, I thought it was something serious…’ with that thought, I shrugged my shoulders and replied while turning my head.
“Honestly, I didn’t really think about it further because it just went on while I was flummoxed. Come on, let bygones be bygones.”
With that said, I tried to walk forward, but at the same time, I noticed that there wasn’t any sign of movement from behind. As I turned back, Jooin was standing there still with the same look that he had when asking me if I weren’t angry about the happening.
It was then when I tilted my head in wonder. Jooin took a step forward me. His eyes slightly contorted.
“Mama, aren’t you really mad?”
I became perplexed for a second as to never hearing him talking that way.
Jooin always gave morally correct answers in a sweet tone or with a cheerful grin. If it was an inevitable situation to respond in that manner, he moved on to a completely different topic. He was, however, having an unanticipated look and a way of speech. I raised my eyes instinctively to look at his face.
Jooin wasn’t joking with me. He wasn’t playing games either. In his truly serious eyes, there reflected my face in surprise.
I stepped back in befuddlement, then suddenly paused my step while biting my lips tightly. I raised my eyes again to face him in the eyes. Now it could be the moment to find out his true nature in the first place; therefore, I shouldn’t stand back from him.
At least, I should confront him toe-to-toe. From that thought, I stared at his eyes, and at the same time, he continued his words.
“No wonder they were bad. They spread out groundless, fake rumors thoughtlessly, disrespected, and blamed you just to stand by their friend. Now that the rumor turned out to be false, they didn’t say a word of apology but acted as if nothing had happened. When you remained silent as you were unwilling to dispute, they made a fuss about it that things were actually true.”
“You didn’t receive any sincere apology yet, but how can you say that you want to turn a blind eye to them? Why? For what?”