The morning was never the best time of the day for Da-eun, the early morning sunlight was slowly filtering through the bedroom curtain as the fifteen-year-old girl lay in bed.
She was wearing pale-green pajamas and her messy, dark-hair was streaked with honey-blond. Her sharp sense of hearing could pick up the voices coming from downstairs, as feet hurriedly moved through the house.
"Ya! Da-eun, it is time for school!"
The loud voice of Ha-yoon the mother of the young girl could be heard, as her twin sister cut in, "Just let her be, whose fault do you think it is, that made her turn out to be the way she is?"
"Does being five minutes apart give you the right to talk to me that way? The choice I made about her education is not something you should criticize me for. Someone in this family has to succeed given the current economy."
Ha-eun could feel the heat rise from her cheeks from the harsh reprimand she received from her younger sister but chose to ignore her since she knew the struggles that the family was going through.
Upstairs in bed, Da-eun struggled to get up, the noise from her mother and aunt irritated her. Thundering steps could be heard climbing the stairs, as the girl braced herself for what was to come.
One minute the door was there and the next, splinters of wood could be seen everywhere. A petite, dark-haired woman wearing purple pajamas stormed into her room. She looked to be in her mid-twenties.
"Da-eun, if you don't get up from that bed this instance, I will smack you silly."
"Mom! It is too early for this!"
The young girl kept the flowery green comforter over her head, only to have it yanked off.
"Get out of bed, now!"
Ha-yoon's face was red with anger from seeing how defiant her daughter was. The moment Da-eun saw her mum's face she flew off the bed, the raven colored eyes she saw were literally glowing.
"Not fair, you said we weren't allowed to use our powers!" she yelled before storming out of the room to prepare for school.
Once Ha-yoon got her temper under control, she slowly bent to pick up the now damaged door and place it where it originally was, releasing a bit of her mabeob "spirit energy" effectively restoring the door.
Shower time went by in a breeze as Da-eun dressed in a white cotton top and black slacks. With her hair down and wearing light makeup, she walked toward the door to leave.
Upon reaching for the doorknob, a familiar voice said, "Da-eun, make sure you get back before 7 pm, you know how your mum is about this time of the year."
She slowly turned her head, giving a slight bow to greet her aunt who was wearing a black, long-sleeved shirt and had chin-length messy dark hair.
"Aunt Ha-eun, there is a Halloween festival at Bongwonsa, I'll be going with Ji-a and Seo-yun. I will be back before curfew," she replied briskly.
Her aunt looked towards her, seeing the girl she watched grow up from a little baby walk out through the door, firmly closing it behind her.
Ha-eun felt pity for her niece, but the life of a Jikininki was to control the fate of humans and not to be involved with them. This rule her sister broke and which was why her niece was born.
At K University everyone was chattering excitedly about the Halloween festival that they will be attending. As Da-eun finally walked into class, Seo-yun and Ji-a waved at her as they rose from where they sat to greet her.
"How do you always get to class on time?" asked Seo-yun who was dressed in a floral red, knee-length gown with her raven hair in a ponytail.
"Don't bother, you know she always closes up whenever you bring up that question," Ji-a remarked. She was a tall one for her age and was dressed in a light-pink shirt and turquoise shorts with her raven hair down.
Ji-a knew of Da-eun's true nature and was very protective whenever anyone was trying to be nosy or wanting to put her friend in a tight position. Ji-a was the oldest by a year, while Seo-yun was the same age as Da-eun; but they never addressed each other in a formal manner.
The door to the class opened as their male teacher, a man in his thirties walked in. He was dressed in a light-blue, striped shirt and black pants.
The class came to a dead silence as everyone waited for the class to begin. The day went by with other classes and breaks in-between, and finally, at 4 pm it was time to head home.
"Let's check out what Bongwonsa has this year for Halloween," said Seo-yun.
"Cool, let's check it out," replied Da-eun
The three young girls walked on the gravel road, happily chattering as they strolled. On reaching Bongwonsa, a line of people could be seen outside as they waited to be called into the hanok-styled building.
This was the tradition that many residents from seoul participated in, stalls with costumes of various creatures were displaced for all to buy. Other stalls had Halloween theme candies, fortune reading and snacks, music could be heard with voices coming from every corner.
"Do you think we will ever get in?"
"Seo-yun, can you be patient? It will be our turn soon." Ji-a was trying not to sound upset, but at times she felt her friend was wearing her nerves thin.
People kept on filing in until almost an hour had passed before it became their turn to enter and enjoy all the fun of the Halloween spirit.
Hours passed, and slowly people began to file out; some entering their car while others chose to walk. The sound of crickets could be heard through the night, as the three girls made it out of Bongwonsa to head out to their respective homes.
"That was sooo much fun!" Seo-yun could not control her excitement.
Her other two friends agreed with her as they all laughed together, each relieving the activities they participated in and enjoyed.
A creeping shadow was slowly advancing towards the girls who were unaware. At the same time, a car was racing through the road as a drunk driver slammed on the accelerator. The bright-red neon sports car hit one of the girls.
The car sped away, as the driver kept driving, never once looking back to the horror and destruction his act may have caused.
One moment, Seo-yun was listening to her friend, Da-eun ramble on about the festivities and the next there was blood and crushed bones everywhere.
Shock, dismay, and revulsion could be seen on Seo-yun's face, as she saw her friend lying in her own blood. Ji-a kept screaming, with her hand slowly trying to reach the battered body of her best friend.
"Somebody help us!"
Ji-a's gut-wrenching pleas kept echoing through the night, but no one appeared. Meanwhile, Seo-yun still in shock, took off running through the pitch-black night.
"What am I doing? Da-eun has been hit by a car, go back Seo-yun, go back!" This thought kept repeating itself in her head, but she couldn’t make herself go back to her friend.
"Hmm....was beginning to wonder when that stench of a human shell was going to break away from the Jikininki."
Seo-yun thought she felt something behind her but was too scared for her life to look back. A black shadow wrapped itself tightly around the human and slowly pulled out her liver.
Blood splattered on the gravel road as she screamed in pain, and fear. It watched in amusement at the pure horror displayed on the pale human's face, as it slowly devoured her organ.
The shadow unwrapped itself from the human as it slowly faded into the night, disappearing into its world.
Da-eun closed her eyes and concentrated, allowing the mabeob “spirit energy” to flow through her veins, releasing it to surround her broken body lying on the ground. Instantly, she became whole, traces of blood could be seen vanishing completely away.
"Ya! Da-eun, what if someone had seen you?"
"No one is out here, besides Seo-yun already ran away. Let's go."
Using the flashlight from their cell phone, they began walking towards home, a few minutes later, they heard a voice calling out for help.
"Da-eun? Is that you?" Seo-yun watched in disbelief as the one she thought was dead appeared to be completely whole.
"What happened? why is there blood everywhere?" Da-eun asked, concerned for her friend and wary at the same time. She started to slowly approach her longtime friend and saw her flinch as the distance between them shortened.
"Get away from me, you monster! I don't know you!" Seo-yun shouted, shaking her head in disbelief and disdain. Seo-yun turned her head to the side, not wanting to look at the one she once considered a friend.
"No, this can't be happening, it is not real,” Da-eun kept muttering those words in her head.
Faintly a voice could be heard, "Da-eun! Wake up! Wake up! It is time to go to school!"
Only then did she realize that it was only a dream or was it?