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After Dark

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Tired. Sleep was the most important thing and Changkyun recently hasn't gotten any good sleep for the past few days. Leaning a little off his chair, the lack of support wakes him back up and zaps him back into reality, though he still can feel his eyelids lower once more. 

He's stuck, trapped and held hostage in the small, stuffy room. Each breath that Changkyun takes is hot with lungs burning like he just finished a run. Palms sweaty as if he was at the nearest arcade playing Galaga, gripping the sharp object tightly. The man in front of him is a demon, a beard on his face and skin painted a brick red; it didn’t look human. 

Clasped in the hands of the man is a large stick with a sharp blade at the end, shining from the light above. The ground is cracked, needing repair as mold begins to grow, and plants have withered to the point where they no longer have the energy to take in oxygen. 

In front of Changkyun is a chipped desk with a single piece of paper; his death is just right there in front of him. He's practically giving up his soul and for what exactly? Before anything else, the blade comes in contact with his desks and instead of slicing it like how it should, Changkyun blinks into actual reality. 

"Mr. Im, please focus."

In Changkyun's mind, he views their instructor as the devil, after the stupid project he had to do last week. He's still recovering from the horror and the stress of it all. 

The clock ticks away in the background as Changkyun's number two wooden pencil tap the desk every other five seconds to match the rhythm, almost mimicking a metronome. He shouldn’t let his eyes wander around the classroom because oops eye contact with a student, talk about awkward. Changkyun looks away as his classmate sends a dirty look, hunching over her test to cover it up. Not a really good moment to lock eyes with someone but, Changkyun swears he isn't cheating; except the other doesn't know that.

Besides, he had finished early and there was no way he would even want to look at anyone else’s test. If he had to be truthful, Changkyun was probably the only one of a small handful of kids in the class who actually cared about what grade he got, (for someone who studied and wanted a future they should) and nobody else really gave a rat's ass anyway.

Spending the last hellish minutes that felt like an eternity, trying to make the time go by fast sitting at his desk as he counted the holes in the tile ceiling and doodling small army stick figures shooting at a Godzilla on his scratch paper. He just wished the teacher would let him go after he finished, yet here he is knowing he could be doing something else right now. 

The sun was still up to say hello and welcoming itself through the windows when the forecast had said it would rain because they were never really right. Even if the sunlight had good intentions to bring more life into the room, it didn’t work to take out the lifeless look everyone had in their eyes. 

It was the last class of the day and everyone wanted to go home with there only being minutes left to spare, some students still needing to finish. And when the sweet sound of the bell rang, as if their prayers were answered, all the students shot up like moles from Whack-A-Mole; and Changkyun did the same. 

Swinging his bag over his shoulder and turning his test in with confidence, Changkyun walks out of the classroom like a free man. He just wants to get home quickly to catch some z's and maybe count some sheep, especially since his parents were out of town for a month due to a business trip. He'll probably throw a small party with his friends and host a mini horror movie night. But for today: Sleep is a priority.

“Hey, Changkyun, Ma man!” An arm wraps around his neck and almost chokes him to death. Now, Changkyun did want to sleep, but this was not the way he wanted it to be. Even though he was a tad bit shorter than his friend Jooheon, he could still smell the strong use of hair spray and the recently dyed hair chemicals that were now a blonde. His varsity jacket always worn as if he never took it off, and he wasn’t even in a sport nor a team which was something that Changkyun never understood. “Finally we can leave this hell hole and go to the arcade. We should go and grab Minhyuk along. He said he was going to be at the front of the school waiting for us.” 

“Games? After that test, I had in my class my brain is like scrambled eggs. I'm fried man.”  Fried eggs did sound pretty good right now too.

“Oh please. You're smart and I doubt you'll get a bad grade on the test. Everyone else in this school thinks that as long as you know your ABCs and can be able to count to a hundred, you're like freaking Einstein.” 

Changkyun rolls his eyes despite it being true to some extent. With only one paper due for each class, two if it was a hard day, people just didn't care really for homework, and sometimes the teachers don't even care too. Just a slap on the wrist and a wave of the finger and that was it. 

“But I don't think I'll successfully win against you in a game; at least not right now; it's an unfair fight. Like if you and I were in a boxing match and I showed up in a cast, I think we know how that will end." 

“Well, then that's on you for showing up in a cast.” 

“Fine. I'll give you that one, but today is Monday we can go tomorrow, or even the next day, don't worry. You make it seem like the world will end today, sheesh." 

Jooheon juts his bottom lip out as he gives Changkyun such sad eyes, pleading with a cherry on top. Changkyun had always done anything for his friend when he received the face when they were little. The furthest thing was giving Jooheon permission to play with his prized doll and the end result wasn't too pretty. He could never really argue against Jooheon's sad puppy look and his dimples; two things that had a big effect on Changkyun. It's a weak spot, but this time, he’s the stronger man. 

Changkyun turns his attention elsewhere and Jooheon lets out a sigh. “Fine. We'll go get Minhyuk and we’ll go do something more relaxed like eat. It would have been fun and way easier to beat you with your so-called scrambled egg brain.”

“Screw off. I’d probably end up beating you.” He gives Jooheon a small playful push with a laugh as they head over to grab their other friend.

Walking amongst the crowds of exiting students, they make it out the entrance doors, spotting Minhyuk a fair distance away from the top of the stairs. His now strawberry-blonde hair, a little long but still a short length and sporting his black sunglasses that almost never left his face. The tight pants that were the current trend followed by a black tee, red plaid button top, and denim jacket; practically twinning with Jooheon by using waaay too much hair products; that most being hair spray.

Leaning against the pole, Minhyuk waves to anyone that passes by him; a social butterfly. Always smiling and not one to judge somebody too quickly. 

Once in close proximity, Minhyuk looks up and taking off his sunglasses as he greets Jooheon and Changkyun with their own handshake.

“Ayeee, there are you guys are. Almost left without you and could have gone alone.” He teased, beginning to walk to their planned destination. 

“Like you would do that without us. Since mushy egg brain here was complaining," Jooheon points his thumb to Changkyun, earning a squint back. “We decided to hit up the local fast food joint. The popular one that’s always crowded and looks like the inside of a clowns car; color and quantity of people wise.” 

"So no arcade?” Minhyuk sulks, something he’d been looking forward to till after school has now just disappeared. “Damn, and here I was thinking that I could finally beat Jooheon’s high score. It’s higher than my grades and let me remind you, my grades are good.”

Changkyun laughs, reminded by all the moments he’s watched the two bicker and try to one-up the other in scores. When one of them does beat the other, it’s just a continuous cycle of going back and forth with another number higher than the previous one. They just need to tone it down a little more before they get kicked out like the last time. Jooheon ended up getting so worked up he accidentally knocked over his soda all over the buttons and controls on one of the machines. 

Jooheon begins to walk backward, hands in his faded blue jeans, catching the small chuckles that Changkyun lets out. “What’s so funny to you egg head? Are you up to something?”

Changkyun scoffs as he earns a questionable look from the pair. “No, I’m not up to something. Just reminded by how crazy you guys get when you play against one another. I would love to battle today, but after the fast-food joint I need to get home.” Even though his parents were gone on a trip. He didn’t want to lie, and he really wasn’t lying. Was he? 

“I still think we should go." Minhyuk pitches the idea again.

“Well, I’m sorry, but you can’t come between me and my Magnum P.I. It comes on tonight and I gotta watch it.” Changkyun leaves it at that as if that solves everything but, Jooheon and Minhyuk aren't going to let it go that easy. 

“You’re choosing Tom Selleck over us?” Minhyuk holds his chest with an exaggerated gasp, faking a wipe of a tear. “I am just hurt, Im Changkyun.” 

“Hey, you can't deny, he has a very nice looking mustache.” 

Changkyun points a finger in Minhyuk's face. 

Truth be told, he was also just really tired and worn out. Who wouldn't want to go to sleep when you just get out of school; almost everyone does at least. It doesn’t mean that he wanted to be away from his friends or that he didn’t like them, no, no, he just wasn’t in the mood to move around too much. 

Changkyun would enjoy eating at the local food joint despite how crowded they get after school, though when he thought about it. Even though both places were crowded, there would be less moving around. The arcade would be too much for him right now. Changkyun just really wanted to watch his show and pass out on his pillow to drool. 

“He does have a pretty nice ‘stache.” Jooheon nods his head in agreement with a satisfied look on his face. 

Hitting the first place on their list (and last for Changkyun), the food joint plays Take On Me by A-ha and they’re filled with the familiar faces of people from their school. Wonderful. The place looks like an overstuffed pack of sardines. The usual white with yellow bordered tables paired with the red chairs and way in the back where either blue and red booths. Very catching to the eye, (more like an eyesore) almost blinding with brightness. Each table topped with a napkin dispenser alongside some red and yellow color-coordinated ketchup and mustard bottles; as if the place needed more red and yellow. There were some spaces for seating which wasn't too bad, but the air had gotten too hot and the chatter increased louder than the music, not to mention the staff didn't keep a mindful eye of what the students were doing. 

With a small hand against his back from Minhyuk, they make their way to an uninhabited table. It was Minhyuk’s turn to go order their food, knowing what they all wanted since they've been there countless times. Jooheon folded his hands on the table, pulling out some napkins to wipe away whatever crumbs were left on the table from the previous animals, and Changkyun grimaces in disgust. 

“Ugh. This place is a mess after school. Once all the kids come inside the staff can't keep up and don’t care until they've all left. I can still see the greasy fingers from the previous numbskulls that were here.” Jooheon shivers. 

He reaches out to put the napkin close to Changkyun's faces who backs away and slaps the hand, frowning as he emits a quick and loud ‘blegh’. 

“Very funny you clown.” 

Jooheon laughs and looks around to go throw the piece of garbage away. When he comes back, so does Minhyuk with their tray of food who is busy ogling a girl's ass, sunglasses sliding down the bridge of his nose and he stops to smile at the pair. Jooheon also joins in with lips in line and down very slightly as his eyebrows move up and proceed to nod in agreement. Changkyun can't help but stare at the shiny orbs and chuckles, shaking his head.

“Thank God for tight pants,” Minhyuk says as he sits down and places the tray in front of them all with a big grin on his face. “If Neil Armstrong went back up to the moon, he’d probably find out Earth had two more.”  

“Not sure her ass was that big. Everything though has been way too big because all you really see is shiny popped out thighs and butts. Even everyone’s hair is filled with so much hairspray and perming that they can’t even fit the yearbook photos.” Changkyun unwraps his hamburger a little more for an easier bite. He does style his hair, having more bangs on one certain side and mostly parted, used even hairspray but not as much as the flammable blonde twins in front of him. 

Jooheon squeezes some ketchup on the thin paper that lines the tray, dipping a hot salted french fry into it. "We're only five years in the 80s and I already feel like the next few years will be great. And all because of them tight pants. I'm loving it." Bada ba ba bah.  

Minhyuk opens his mouth to respond but looks up when something behind the Changkyun catches his eyes, and the expression is…questionable. Changkyun turns around but by that time it's too late. Amongst many of the familiar faces in the colorful crowd, nothing seems to be out of the ordinary. 

“What?”

“No,” Minhyuk looks again as if his eyes were tricking him. “I just thought I saw something weird. Maybe it’s just me and my weird eyesight. Just forget about it, probably nothing.”

Changkyun still turns back once more as his friends carry on the conversation and resume eating. He would press forward with more questions but, if the others brushed it off then so will he. Though it did stay in the back of his mind as he slowly chewed his food. The thought seemed to be eating him the more as he would ponder. It was just the way Minhyuk had stared, examining and questioning. 

A greasy, soggy fry comes in contact with his face, sliding down his big nose like a snow sled down a hill.

The pair both choke a laugh at Changkyun’s face, with Minhyuk close to spitting out his carbonated drink. Not cool man, but revenge will be sweet. And Changkyun chooses this time to pick up a french fry covered in ketchup.










It’s late, a bit too late when Changkyun looks at the desk clock that makes his eyes hurt every time he looks at the numbers. He didn't sleep when he arrived home like he had wanted, knowing the homework would take many hours to complete, and he was right. 

Leaning back in his chair, Changkyun exhales and soon stands to stretch his legs as the pain in his knees started to grow. The words on the paper began to blend together from all the concentration and hours of constant reading and writing, it ached his head. Studying for hours has him not able to continue on his homework anymore, and downstairs with perfect timing, the landline rings. He makes his way down to the noise, answering it with hello as he leans against the wall. In a few seconds, the phone is away from his ears when Jooheon cheerfully responds. 

“Hey, ma man! What are you up to right now? Minhyuk goes to bed early, as usual, so you’re the only one I can chat with right now.” 

“It shocks me that he goes to sleep so early, but he gets good grades so it must be part of the reason.” 

Jooheon chuckles. “Yeah, but that’s not my style. You won’t have time to really do things after school which is a bummer. I know last year his grades were crap, I just didn’t think he would change his schedule in like a total one-eighty.” There’s a crunch on the other end and some crinkling of a bag, followed by munching. “Though, I am proud of him because his hard work is paying off.”

“Yeah, he was pretty distraught. Did you need to talk about anything else other than Minhyuk being a changed man? I’m not giving you the answers to the homework.”

“Nah, just bored. I finished what I needed to do or most of it rather. I just needed a break from all the homework because I was so close to dropping out.” The pair chuckle, relatable and Changkyun felt the same even if the school year was near the end. He himself had to take a breather before he was close to fainting. 

“Ditto. Just started to take a break now because my cranium couldn’t handle any more pi.” 

“Well, if your head can’t take anymore then you still have room in your stomach.” Jooheon jokes, and it brings a smile to Changkyun’s face. 

“I did watch Magnum PI, so I think I’ve had enough.”

Jooheon snorts. Puns and jokes; the best thing ever. “Shoot. I need to start going now or else mom is going to kill me for being on the phone for too long. Even just picking the thing up she’ll say something so I better leave. ”

“Sad. We were just exchanging fun sentences.” 

“I know, I know. Tomorrow, or whenever I can call back. Most likely at three-fourteen..” 

“Alright, call back when you piece it all together, see you, Joo.” 

“See you, ma man.” Changkyun laughs for the last time on the call before the other hangs up. He always likes it when Jooheon calls him that all because of the tone he uses, a loud and elongation of the word man. No matter how many times it has been said, it always made him laugh and brighten his day. It wasn’t anything special, but Changkyun found it to be so. 

Changkyun looks outside to the partly illuminated street with the wish to take a night walk. It was late, close to midnight and he wanted to go around the neighborhood to kill some time. Changkyun always loved the night and the cool breeze against him, the air conditioning never could compete. No need to worry about so much like he would in the day, and the cars driving along the street created a nice sound to his ears. 

The shows on the box television didn’t interest him when looking at the tv guide, and he already watched Magnum P.I.; even Golden Girls because not going to lie; he loves that show. Changkyun doesn’t even want to think about cleaning the house or anything else to pass the time; too much work. Something that wouldn’t make him more tired than before, or anything that doesn’t have him to do any more labor. 

Grabbing his jacket that hangs from the coat rack, Changkyun wraps himself in the rusty brown leather with fuzz inside and steps into chilling night. It’s always cold in town when the moon rises and the night makes its appearance. Nose turning slightly red and Changkyun reaches for the mittens in his pockets before he loses feeling in his fingers. 

He closes and locks the door behind him, rubbing his fuzzy hands together. It’s nice outside with no more cars driving down the side streets, and even though there really weren’t many streetlights, the front porch lights on some of the houses seem to work just fine with the moon guiding him through the night. He isn’t going too far into darkness, just maybe around the block to free up all his nerves. 

Changkyun walks down his planned path, watching his breath appear in a cloud in front of him and he does it a few more times on purpose. Another reason why he loves going in the cold, he feels like a dragon, more like one that has lost its flames. His deep giggles fill the silent night, staring down at his converse. There were about five houses that have their lights on inside, all being across the street and still he sees not a single other soul. 

Proceeding forward down the street, passing by a few houses of classmates as he nears the school a few more blocks away. It isn’t a short distance, but it is pretty lengthy when you’re in a hurry, though he won't travel that far. There’s no sound except his breathing and footsteps, giving him a small chill and Changkyun rubs his arms to produce more warmth. 

He stares up into the starless sky, pitch dark like a black hole in space and he looks miles and miles into it. The moon, a natural and calming night light, gives him comfort in a way that he's being looked after, and Changkyun smiles at the thought. 

Getting his thoughts together, he turns the corner when he reaches the end of the street and he places his hands back into his pockets. Not that they need to be since they’re warm in the mittens, but it feels comfortable. Changkyun sighs with another sight of his breath in front of him, and he turns his head to the lined up houses. And when he does, it feels like the air has become colder when he looks at a sign he wish he hadn’t read. If it was daytime, he’d feel a little safer, but now that it was late, it didn’t sit well with him. 

Warning. Neighborhood Watch. 

Even though it should reassure him that there is a group of civilians devoted to crime and vandalism prevention in his town, it doesn’t take away his thoughts. The more he thinks about it makes him uneasy to the core, and he can't hate himself for thinking it was a good idea to come outside, it was something he did many times. He's seen that sign many times, but something about it right now was concerning. 

If anything were to happen, he could just run to a house next to him and bang on it for help. Changkyun doesn’t want to think about that now, not this late. 

He takes his hands out of his pockets to wrap around himself again as if the fur within the jacket has stopped keeping him warm. The mittens seem to almost not work anymore and Changkyun feels cold, but still makes it to the end of the street. Just one more sidewalk after this, and he could finally get home, so he quickened his pace a little. 

He might not even continue studying when he gets home. Just wanting to get into bed and finish up in the morning instead of pushing forward with him being so on edge. Not that he needs to finish since it wasn’t due until two days later, but he wanted it finished and not have to think about it ever again. 

Changkyun looked ahead of him, only to be met with the empty sidewalk and his breath. He feels like he's overreacting a little after making contact with the sign. That’s until he hears footsteps other than his own. It came almost so silently where it could have crept up behind him as if it just floated and landed on the ground. It’s slow, but Changkyun doesn’t dare to look back and keeps going forward like nothing. 

He’s shaking from the cold and the fright that runs through his body, putting his mittens in his pocket again. Changkyun isn’t sure if the person behind him is just like him and taking a small nightly stroll, or if it’s a stranger about to attack for him for everything he has on him; which is nothing. 

No money to give, and no valuables on him, just Changkyun and the clothes that are holding his fear. He’s so close to his home, but doesn’t want to show where he lives as that wouldn’t be a very smart thing to do. 

A turn of the corner and it’s the last one before reaches home with the footsteps behind him still slow. It was as if no matter how much Changkyun quickened his pace, or tried to get away, the stranger would catch up. The relaxed pace that the unknown person set makes Changkyun uneasy, sick and the hairs on the back of his neck stand. He still doesn’t look back, his mind just set on going home to lock his doors to be flooded with light and warmth. 

For some reason, the air gets tighter and colder like the stranger behind him was something more malicious. Changkyun’s breath feels seemingly heavier, and he licks his lips, cold and dry.

Then it stops.  

His footsteps were now the only thing through the night, but Changkyun continues forward without hesitation, and then sprints. He doesn’t look back and doesn’t falter any further, and he’s just waiting for the stranger to start charging at him. But it doesn’t come and Changkyun doesn’t feel an ounce of relief, not yet.  

Even though nothing else is to be heard, Changkyun still feels the eyes bore into the back of his skull and he just keeps running. His lungs begin to burn, the puffs of his breath rapid as he exhales, and the cold air slicing against his face. Legs almost like jelly as he runs down the street, the more familiar houses coming into view; kneecaps close to popping off.

Reaching into his pocket Changkyun pulls out his keys, the mittens making it harder to grip, but luckily doesn’t drop them. It wouldn’t serve him any good if that were to happen, still feeling those eyes stare and almost maybe enjoy his panic, he doesn’t know. With Changkyun’s gaze down and then back up to the block, he repeats this a few times as he searches for the front door key, cursing to himself for having too many keychains and crap on them. Changkyun gets it ready in case of an attack, placing it tightly between his index and thumb for self-defense. 

He feels lightheaded, but his house is just a few steps away and it gives him the motivation to move his legs a little faster. Most of the front porch lights are now gone, but Changkyun doesn’t want to stick around any longer outside. 

The house now in front of him, his feet run to the front door with the key practically slamming in the keyhole to turn it. He shuts it hard behind himself, hearing the click as he locks it and backs away from the door. 

The keys fall to the carpet floor, making Changkyun bend over and breathe, lungs on fire like hell was having a party.

It’s quiet, except for the heavy breathing coming from him, and he feels safe as seconds, then minutes pass. Changkyun rids himself of his jacket, hanging it up on the coat rack and takes off his shoes, placing the mittens back in the pockets. 

He’s tired and didn’t get the relaxing walk that he wanted. It’s never happened before, done thousands of times to do many things like go down to Jooheon’s or Minhyuk’s place, go to late-night school events, or get something from the store and to just nightly strolls. This had been the first time he’d been followed by someone in the night, at least that’s what he thinks. 

The other part of Changkyun's brain hopes it was just some person taking a stroll as well, but it still never settled right. 

Changkyun sighs, rubbing his face and brushing his hair away to go upstairs and into his room. Sleep. He needs sleep. His eyelids feel more tired than before, and his whole body is cold. Wanting the warmth and comfort of his mattress, his safe place within his safe place.

Not bothering to change, he lets his body hit his bed and sighs in content as he nuzzles the pillow. Changkyun hopes and prays it'll be better the next day, eyes shutting quickly and with no effort. 

However, when he wakes up the next day for school, everyone at school is on edge when Changkyun arrives, the air being tight and eyes looking elsewhere or to the ground. 

Nobody wants to talk about it, but people do want to chatter amongst themselves at the same time. The town is safe, and it’s small yet, almost everybody knows each other, so they really can’t suspect anything. Doors are actually always unlocked, but after what happened, Changkyun knows more people will be locking them. 

He looks back to last night and his nightly stroll. Could the person that had followed him be the suspect? He never looked back, so he can’t describe the person or give any tips except maybe the creeper stalks people at night. But he also can’t be too sure.

When Changkyun was walking to school with Jooheon and Minhyuk, they tried their best to not talk about it, even if it was itching them. The victim had been a prostitute, most likely taken possibly from the dark cold nights of the street. The police still had no leads for the crime, and they didn’t know what the next move was, heard from a student whose dad was a cop. But Changkyun doesn't want to think about it, even though in the back of his mind the thought is lurking. 

"Hey, did you hear on the news about the murder? Do you think they're going to catch the person?" A light-brunette girl asks a friend when Changkyun walks by and recognizing it to be someone in his economics class. He stops for a while, curious about what she had to say next. “Police say that she could have been attacked by an animal, but other markings had also said otherwise. Her head wasn’t even attached to the body anymore.” 

The pair leave down the hall after getting the books from their lockers and continue to chatter about the incident until Changkyun can’t hear it anymore. 

It's the talk of the town, even if he doesn’t want to think about it, others will continue to converse amongst themselves. Now it was just something unavoidable, hearing it down every hall he went through. Whatever was following him, if the same person or not, then they're willing to go after anybody in town then.










It's cold on a dark night of the same day, the crickets chirping through the silence but, it couldn't be heard over the box television that played Magnum P.I. Changkyun sat on his bean bag, stuffing his face with some air-popped popcorn, entranced with tonight's set of episodes. His night had been relaxed after parting ways with his friends and taking a nice hot shower. Alone in the house and not having to worry about anyone bothering him, or have anything to do around the house was sweet bliss. 

Eyes transfixed on the television screen, it turns to black quickly before going into a commercial break and something catches his eyes. The reflection of a black outline appears for a second before the color comes back on the screen, covering whatever was there. A figure to be more exact. 

He turns around to get a better look and his eyes widen slightly. Across from him and into the house next over stands a woman in a silky gray-pink pajama dress with black designs, a red robe loosely around her. Her figure being illuminated by the minimal moonlight and soft glow of a few candles. 

The window was closed but the curtains were wide open for all to see, and Changkyun feels his throat turn dry and tight. He isn't sure why, but his gaze is so transfixed onto the woman, which was... odd. There was something about her that made you keep on staring. 

Next door had been abandoned for a few months, too big and too many problems with the structure and plumbing and whatnot. He wasn't aware that someone had moved in. 

Before he could try to look away, the red robe drops to the floor and at that moment, she makes eye contact with Changkyun. Shit. He's screwed. Or so he thinks. She doesn't curse him out, and she doesn't close the blinds but instead, she holds the gaze. It's long and luring as if she has him tied in a rope, pulling him closer to her and his breath halted, but she doesn't do anything to stop him. Her light forest green eyes were very noticeable and Changkyun is surprised that he could even see them clearly.

She sheds her silky dress, curves more prominent and leaves her undergarments still on and her hair falling delicately on her shoulders as she removed the clip. Changkyun blinks like it's the first time he's ever done so since he started watching, and then blinks again, a few more times for that matter. He gulps, still unable to tear away from the scene. He probably looks like some horny nineteen years old, who has never seen a woman half-naked before. 

Slowly from the shadows, a man appears from behind. His hand touching her shoulder ever so gently with the back of his hand. They're both equally good looking, and it makes Changkyun stare more. He's stuck, and the scene is attracting him closer, like how bees are to honey. The man hands make their way down her arms to caress, and the woman slowly goes to unhook her bra. 

Eyes traveling from her face to her collar bone, soft and delicate within the night, his gaze traveling down to her breasts. They're more natural than pushed up into the bra, and she resembles a Greek statue, molded and crafted perfectly, each detail of her breathtaking. Changkyun's eyes don't linger too long, and it's back to her eyes where her expression is emotionless. 

This isn't right. This totally isn't right. 

For one, he shouldn't be staring at the couple that are naked the waist up and in a sensual moment. Second, if he's caught (well, he is caught but not by the man who could come and punch him) most likely he wouldn't be able to show his face later for a proper neighborly introduction. And third, well, those were his new neighbors, not a good way to meet new people is through the window. 'Hey, I'm Changkyun, just watching Magnum P.I until you started your own porn show.' Maybe if the circumstances where a little different then it wouldn't be that bad, but this? This was bad.

Changkyun observes how the man runs his fingers through her hair, seeing just how soft it looks from afar, shining from the limited moonlight. The man kisses her neck, sharp nose brushing against the skin. With a hand on her shoulder, she arches her neck and closes her eyes, breaking the eye contact. 

The male lifts up his head and opens his mouth, and that's when Changkyun's blood runs cold when he sees something that doesn't look normal. He blinks once, then twice, then a few times more to focus his eyes to see it correctly, hoping it was either his eyesight or his brain was playing tricks on him. 

Sharp fangs distinctively different from the rest of his teeth, and Changkyun feels as if he's staring more than before if that was even possible. He thinks it's a well thought out prank at first and that they're fake like some kind of plan to scare and freak him out. The man lowers his mouth slowly to her neck when he notices another presence and looks up across the window, eyes glowing a red that pierces Changkyun’s chest like a dagger. But the look on his face doesn't seem pleased in the slightest, lifting up his head away from the woman.

Changkyun gulps once more, the hard lump stuck in his throat, blocking his airways as his breath tries to come up. He feels like he's shaking a little when the man stares through his chest and grabbing his heart to pull it out of his ribcage. Changkyun backs up in his seat, falling out of his bean bag, scattering further away from the window. Both now have their eyes on him, having Changkyun's stare stopping the man from biting the woman, girlfriend or whatever the hell is now going on. The man makes his way closer to the window, now visibly annoyed and blocks the woman from Changkyun's line of sight. 

Changkyun quickly stands up, not bothering to care about the bucket of popcorn being kicked to the floor and he slowly steps back, closer to his room door. His body felt hot and his breath quickened the longer they stare at one another. 

He was the prey. 

He felt small and helpless, trapped as the eyes bore into his body as it could almost see through him. 

A hand reaches for a dangled string to close the curtains, and there's one last look. The pair are hidden from the egg-white curtain and television (that Changkyun forgot was in the background) still plays now a different show, bringing some kind of sense of reality into his mind. His eyes still heavily focus on the now-closed window, body trembling as the cold shiver seems to remain and continue the more he also thinks about what just happened. 

It's silent even though the television sounds in the background, but that doesn't really register. With shaky hands, Changkyun picks up the small popcorn pieces that scatter the floor, vividly replaying the incident over and over and over again. The quiet air brings out every one of Changkyun's fears, a sense of eyes still watching him, reading him, and looking through him; he doesn't dare want to turn back around. 

In the dead of night, there is a deep scream that cuts the night air, one that makes his blood feel like it stopped circulating. Changkyun's breath is stuck in his throat as his head whips back to the closed window, and he once again just stares. It's not until another scream does he forgets about cleaning. Everything in Changkyun's hands falls and he quickly runs out with legs fast down each step and passing through the living room to only stop at the front door. 

With his hand on the doorknob, Changkyun thinks about where he's going to go, and how long it'll take to get to his planned destination. He backs up and it doesn't help that he's currently alone in the house while his parents are away for a long vacation. If he goes out now in the dead of night, then he puts himself in danger yet again. 

If he decides to stay inside the house, he still feels extremely unsafe. He can't call Jooheon and Minhyuk's landline, it's too late and he would be a bother, and an even bigger nuisance if he shows up in a panic without warning. He could use the house phone to call the police but, what would he say to them? What if nothing comes out of the situation and they leave? Was it really just a prank and Changkyun is just overthinking?

He feels trapped and slowly backs away from the door. Changkyun thanks his lucky stars that nothing has happened in the minutes passed, and eventually he has the sense to go to the kitchen to drink some water. Maybe it was just an imagination. Yeah. That's what that is. 

But the scream that Changkyun heard is stuck in his head and still shakes him to the core. He wonders if he should go back to his room, to check if it's safe and he hopes he isn't high on something like inhaling the fumes of the stove or something. 

Gulping down a glass of water, Changkyun feels his throat practically coming back to life, opening back up again and the desert palette of a tongue has found the oasis. He exhales a few times before his brain begins to think clearly and sort this out. No more screams heard and Changkyun chucks it to be his imagination in the end. But would he dare to go back into his room to sleep? No. Hell. Definitely. No.

But, what did he just witness? How could he really make sense of what he saw? Changkyun ponders in the kitchen, grabbing himself another glass of water while he thinks. Those fangs he remembers so vividly along with those eyes that feel as if they still bore into him. Glowing a color of bright ruby red that he's never seen before, and of course, not on a human but maybe an animal. From the horror television shows he'd watch late at night, could the neighbor be a… no, don't be silly. 

For now, Changkyun grabs the throw blanket to instead sleep on the mustard-yellow couch, and watch television until he decided it was time to pass out. If there happened to be any additional noises he would avoid (other than his house being broken into), he wishes the television would block it out. Grabbing the remote to turn on any good late-night shows that could help him fall asleep if he could. Luckily for him, he would be able to sleep all he wants in case the tiredness doesn't take over his body with it being the weekend. His mind needs to be distracted, occupied until the event of earlier no longer lingered. 

Shifting on the cardboard couch, Changkyun forcibly closes his eyes and lets the sounds of the television lull him to sleep— sort of. With nerves still flowing through his body, and two hours passing of blinking behind his closed eyelids, he soon finds the strength to succumb to sleep. 












Changkyun wakes up with a headache and birds outside chirping over the low volumes that the television makes. He can barely move with his neck cramping from the position on the couch. He wraps the blanket closer to him and huddles into a ball as he tugs on the want to sleep more before it pulls away from him, not wanting to wake just yet. A moan releases and he soon feels like he's slowly becoming awaken the more the birds bother him. As if adding salt into the wounds, the alarm of a car goes off and it makes Changkyun wanna go mad.

Instead of counting sheep, he's considering counting how many birds he could shoo away if he throws a rock into the tree but, what would be the point since he would be awake for that to happen. 

Losing the battle with his body, Changkyun opens up his eyes, the house dark and the only light source coming from the television screen; a dim and tolerate light for the eyes, minus the rays and stuff that emits from it. He turns to stare at the ceiling, and Changkyun's mind projects last night's event onto its surface like some kind of film. The whole scene felt too real to be a joke, but he feels as if he's making himself believe that. 

Vampire.

Changkyun's heard of them but never would believe that there was one out there. They were almost always depicted in horror television shows, probably more popular than Frankenstein or even ghosts. That was all make-believe until now, maybe , but he really wishes it was just some cruel sick joke. Hoping the couple, or newlyweds or whatever the hell their relationship was, that they were laughing their asses off once the curtains closed. 

Wanting to believe that because Changkyun had been staring at the woman who so happened to undress right in front of an open window, that they would teach him a lesson through that. It had to be some kind of prank for someone to be that easily exposed. 

There's a heavy knock on the front door that makes Changkyun almost throw up his lungs from how quickly he halted his breathing. He doesn't remember inviting anybody over, and with what happened yesterday, he really didn't want to touch the knob, not even take a look at it. Another few taps on the door makes Changkyun's skin crawl, and he doesn't feel brave enough to open it. 

He's not good with meeting new people really, especially since he keeps a bit to himself and rather prefers solitude. But that doesn't mean he doesn't want love and attention and some need from others, mostly those closest to him. 

"Maybe he's not inside and already left for school. “Changkyun hears Minhyuk says behind the door, muffled yet, still coherent.

A wave of relief washes over Changkyun, who throws his blanket somewhat off of him and still caught in his legs as he tries to stand. He makes contact with the carpeted floor, hands and elbows catching him a little. He clumsily gets back on his feet to run to the door and look through the peephole, seeing his friends stand as they wait for him to open the door. 

"Maybe we should have called the landline first to let him know we were coming? But if he left already then he would have called one of our house phones, so let's go back." Minhyuk suggests, stepping away from the door only to stop when Changkyun frantically opens the door and the pair turn back around. "Yeah, we should have called." 

They stare at Changkyun's hair that looks to be defying the laws of physics and gravity, going different directions, looking like the strands of hair were playing double dutch. He looks like a wild animal with bags under his eyes and one side of his shirt halfway on his shoulder clinging to life. Changkyun for sure didn't look like he was ready for any type of company.

After looking at Changkyun as if he was growing a twin on the side of his neck, Minhyuk opens his mouth. "Were you mixing chemicals for a science experiment? What happened to you?" 

"I love you bro but, you look like shit." 

"Thanks, Joo, Min," Changkyun opens the door wider for them to step inside and with a few extra looks outside to make sure nothing was behind or watching them, he closes the door. "I know I’m not dressed for school, but something happened last night and I couldn't sleep very well. Or maybe it was a dream. I don't know, but I don't want to talk about it. It's a new day and we should go to school." 

"I don't want to push you to talk about whatever happened last night, but you better not be owing someone money." Jooheon chuckles and it honestly puts ease on Changkyun's heart. Even though both are bad, he kind of wishes it was that and not what he had witnessed last night. Changkyun wants to believe the incident was a dream and if he told his friends, they’d look at him as if he was taking crack cocaine. So for now, or possibly forever, he’ll keep it to himself and imagination. 

"No, no, I don't owe anyone anything. And I hope I never do in my life. I’ll go up and take a quick shower, and then change. How many minutes do I have?” 

Minhyuk looks for the clock that hangs on the wall as Changkyun frantically fixes up the couch to look presentable, even though the pair will be sitting on it in just a few minutes. “ Hm, about a little over thirty minutes. Not really enough time so you better hurry.” 

“Crap. Okay, just make yourselves at home as usual and I’ll be right back down.” Changkyun runs up the steps and into his room, rummaging through his drawers for clothes and when turning around, he stops. He never shut the curtains to the window, leaving him to stand and stare to the other house that had no movement, nothing that Changkyun could see. It was just a normal building as if the whole thing he saw was a dream. Hesitantly, he steps closer to the window and peeks out, the neighbor’s curtains were still closed and shut, hoping it stays that way. 

With time coming back into his mind, Changkyun gathers his already packed bag that was organized the night before after he finished his work. Throwing the bag over his shoulder, he grabs his clothes and runs out of the room, hearing his friends below converse and laugh about a teacher at school. He stops, dropping his book bag near the bathroom door and looks through the piles of clothes he just grabbed, and sighs. 

Socks. Forgot about the socks. 

Quickly jogging back into his room, he opens the drawer to get what he needs and just before he can leave, his eyes trail to the window yet again. It was a habit, something he almost couldn’t control, and he wishes he hadn’t.

It’s opened. 

The neighbor’s curtains were opened, and someone or something had just been there and possibly even watching him. He can’t see inside because it’s daylight, but he doesn’t want to stare any further. A cold and hard shiver runs down Changkyun back and seeps into his bones, quickly turning away and closing the door before he makes eye contact with something he wouldn’t want to see. He needs to leave his own home. Let studies and lunch and maybe even a teacher yelling at him to make him forget, but he doesn’t think it’s going to be that easy. 

Once Changkyun takes his military-like shower, he steps and changes to make himself too look less like a mess and tries to cover his bagged eyes. He’s tired, a little on edge than he was before and isn’t in the mood to go to school, but life and education calls. 

Fixing a few more strands of hair, he makes his way out and down the stairs, eyes trained on the clock with about twenty minutes left; they could make it if they run. Jooheon can give that varsity jacket some use and look like he belongs more into a sport. Changkyun gives himself the okay and grabs his bag, heading downstairs where his friends are watching Sesame Street on the television it was still so early. Jooheon and Minhyuk stand and are practically pushed out of the house with Changkyun locking it quickly. 

They walk down the sidewalk, speeding like the elderly woman who lives down the street that exercises with her visor and sunglasses. It’s bright out, the sun shining and giving hope for a better today and the air fresh and clean, giving Changkyun the ease to inhale and exhale without that tight and squeezing feeling his chest. 

“You guys better hurry. Those grades are important.” 

A voice makes all their heads turn in sync, and Changkyun is the only one who ends up choking on the lungs that just gave him the room to finally breathe. Out in the front of his neighbors’ lawn, stand two men, and only one of them does Changkyun recognizes to be the man from last night. The woman is nowhere to be seen, and he hopes she is inside alive.

Behind the man that greets the trio, sits the brunette; the one from the window incident that still stares through him and into his soul, like Changkyun himself was a window. Emotions and expressions opened, easy to read and an easy prey. Instead of the bare chest, the other wears a black turtleneck topped with a rustic brown jacket over it and black fitted pants. The other man has a different attitude, a smile planted on his lips as he carries what looks to be moving boxes. A stocky and well-built person, his hair brown and pushed back to be out of his face, his eyes charming and friendly. The tee shirt hugged against him too tightly, could rip at any moment.

Then it clicks for Changkyun.

Vampires can’t be in the sun.

“Thanks! Studying for that piece of paper and handshake we get for everything we do!” Minhyuk shouts back, waving his arm as if he’d known them for months. The stocky man laughs, but the other one just continues to star Changkyun turns away, now jogging alongside his friends to try and get to school on time with his nerves even more on edge than before. 

Minhyuk speaks up again, voice low. “You know, I think I saw that dude yesterday.” 

"Which one?" Jooheon asks, taking out some strawberry pop rocks from his sports jacket. 

"The buff one. No idea who the other dude behind him was, maybe his brother, I don't know. I just thought it was weird 'cause he left the fast food joint with like five bags of food." 

“Maybe it was some kind of party?” Changkyun and Minhyuk both look at Jooheon suspiciously at the idea. Fast food for a party? Wouldn’t you want like real food? After the silence, Jooheon sends them an odd look back as if what he said wasn’t all that weird. It wasn’t, sort of , but it was an interesting suggestion. “What? Sometimes you want to have fast food not inside and just want to take it home. Why do you think they invented drive-thrus.”

Minhyuk nods his head, taking Jooheon’s pack of pop rocks. “Alright. You got a somewhat point there.”

“But, it looks like they’re just moving in. I can’t believe someone is now living next to me again.” Changkyun sighs. The last neighbors he had were noisy, always loud and blasting music from the windows. They would always party at night and get drunk, literally the whole block hated them. Only two months later, one of the individuals had gotten arrested for throwing toilet paper and egging a person's house. Not to mention they even were caught with molotov cocktails. “For sure I’m not going to invite them over because I hate meeting my neighbors.” 

"Yeah, because I had to do it, it seems." Minhyuk rolled his jokingly, earning a playful shove. 

Watching as the trio leave down the street, the well-built man comes back out after putting a box in one room to look at the other not moving an inch. “Still thinking about the night before Kihyun?”

Kihyun looks away from the now empty spot, eye trained on the other boxes that scatter the front porch. Thoughts fill his head on what to do about the situation, and he doesn’t want to lose control because there are only two options in mind. “Of course I am. First time this has ever happened, I’ve never been caught like this.”

“Did he see everything?”

“Yes Wonho, of course he did. He saw all the fangs and the eyes, what more could he have seen. I had thought I made sure that window was closed.” Kihyun looks up, eyes squinting. “I don’t know what’s going to come next, but maybe if I scare him a little he will keep quiet. If I turn him, I’m pretty sure that would make things worse, and well, I think you can guess the other option but that's already risky right now too. What would you do if you were in my position?”

“I think you’re thinking about this way too far and too much. Besides, if he does tell who would believe him? People would think he’s been watching too much of that square magic they call television.” Wonho shrugs his shoulders with a small airy chuckle. “It seems like you’ve scared him enough because I can almost smell the fear off of him. ‘Cause I mean, you did show him a lot and he’s probably thinking about the worst thing that could happen to him.”

There’s a look of frustration that Kihyun throws at Wonho, sighing as he picks up a box that his name on it. “You make it sound like I wanted someone to see something that I’ve been hiding for years. I can’t understand how you’re so calm about this all.” He doesn’t let Wonho answer and instead walks into the house knowing they can’t move out after everything they’ve set up.












The rest of the day seemed normal, still on edge but the thought seemed to have passed them by now. Classes over and hanging out at the usual local food joint because there really wasn’t anything else that was exciting in the town. 

Changkyun takes some of Jooheon's pop rocks, the small pack he almost always had in his pocket, pouring the small hard candy into the palm of his hand. He puts it into his mouth, waiting for Minhyuk to come with their food as Jooheon rants about one of the kids that pissed him off. Changkyun feels the candy crackle, the popping and fizzing noise in his ear.

"Gosh this kid was so annoying. They're lucky I didn't punch them in the mouth for what they said."

"If you did then you wouldn't be sitting right here." Changkyun comments and Jooheon shrugs his shoulders. 

"Yeah, but he would have deserved it, that's for sure. If Dan and Cathe hadn’t held me back, I would have gotten in trouble by the teacher."

“Dan and Cathe?”

Jooheon pops some more Pop Rocks into his mouth, talking through the sizzles and pops. “The ones who were helping me with my work before dickhead showed up; they’re pretty rad. They were pretty pissed too, but they told me not to waste my time on people who’ll never listen to the truth. I don’t know what his deal is, but he needs to chill out.”

"Is Jooheon talking about the kid that upset him?" Minhyuk sets the tray on the table and sits down. Changkyun nods, already grabbing his burger and the pop rocks have pretty much dissolved. He frowns wishing he had ordered some water to clean his palette. "Oh man, he saw the dude after school, and I almost had to pull him back before anything else happened."

Jooheon stuffs his face, taking a big bite with the same scowl on his face. He wanted to talk about it, but he also wanted to forget before it angered him more. Changkyun laughs, pinching his cheek.

"Oh, cheer up Joo. It's over now and if he makes fun of you again, just throw an insult back and call his dick small; that'll get him."

Minhyuk chokes, pulling away from his drink and hits his chest, coughing. He composes himself quickly, eyes brimming with tears that are soon wiped away. "Thanks, Changkyun, great advice to give to Jooheon." 

"What? It's a great insult to get back with." He jokes, eating his burger as Jooheon shakes his head with a smile breaking out. 

"But, what if someone in the class likes small dicks, or that for one and some rare reason he’s proud of it?" Minhyuk questions.

"Or how about we stop talking about this as we eat." Jooheon holds his hands up as if to stop the conversation topic. "The only thing right now that I want in my mouth is this hamburger."

Minhyuk hits the table with his free hand, using the one that's holding his burger to cover his mouth and laughs. Changkyun's smile now gaped, eyes wide as he himself begins to lose it. His sides begin to hurt from all the laughing as Jooheon just nonchalantly eats his hamburger, like what he said was part of their normal conversation; only sometimes. Changkyun hides his mouth with a hand, emitting a burst of high-pitched laughter, blissful and uncontrollable. Before he chokes on the air around him, he takes a swig of his soda to try and calm himself down, letting an audible breath, but still, the chuckles don’t seem to die down. 

Some patrons turn at the commotion they're making, even though the whole place was loud, and filled with chatter. 

Across from him is Minhyuk who is still dying, head against the table as he wheezes out choked laughs with cheeks hurting. They’ve practically laughed till their ribs started to hurt, lungs out of air and eyes wet with cheeks stained of wiped away tears. Jooheon just keeps munching down on his food and chin up, proud. 

“Jeez Joo, how the hell did we get there? I thought we were talking about insults.” A pleased sigh leaves Changkyun’s lips, eyes looking around the room to calm down his racing heart. 

The air is filled with a pleasant lack of sound between them with conversations still carrying on around them. He rubs his sides to ease away the pain and Changkyun’s gaze shifts past something behind Minhyuk’s head who has now somewhat calmed down. 

“It has been a miserable two days, as another body has been found near the location of the previous one this week.” 

The box television hanging from one corner of the fast-food joint projects the local news, announcing another story. Changkyun stands when a woman's face pops up, and his breathing stops. Squinting, he slowly gets up from his spot to walk closer and get a better look, moving through the chatting crowd. 

The photo shown had been the lady he had seen in the window. 

Her short brown hair and pretty emerald green eyes; her appearance was something unforgettable. Minhyuk and Jooheon call out to him, but he ignores. 

“The second victim, whose body has been found early this morning, had also been a prostitute. Her head found a few feet away from the body. As of lately, there have been no leads.”

Minhyuk and Jooheon stand up with him, exchanging looks of confusion. They move next to Changkyun, placing their eyes on the program. 

“Another murder happened, and it was another prostitute. They’re probably going for people that are easy prey. Hopefully, no other women get attacked or killed again.” Minhyuk remarks. 

“Yeah, it’s sad how they’re getting women who are sex workers. Like, what’s the motive?” Jooheon questions, sliding his hands in his pockets, leaning on one leg. “If this continues, I hope someone steps in to protect them so they aren’t easy victims. Everyone though is still on edge because the killer could easily change his mind and start going after some people in the town.”

“I just wanna say maybe after this, they’ll have more protection since that’s the suspects target.”

“I- I saw her last night…” Changkyun whispers, catching the attention of his friends who turn to the soft turn, but they don’t hear it clearly. 

“What?” Minhyuk blinks a couple of times.

“I saw her next door. In the place of where the new neighbors are staying, she was in there I remember seeing her!” Changkyun points to the television, soon turning around to grab his book bag and throw away his half-eaten food. The pair don’t know what has gotten into him, but they follow him anyways. Changkyun needs to call the police and at least give them a tip, or at least something to help. He pushes the door open, almost hitting those who are coming inside. 

Changkyun can’t mention about the vampire part; that’ll make him sound more like a lunatic than he probably already does. But he runs home to at least give the police a lead or something. Minhyuk and Jooheon call his name after they watch him skip the stop sign, not even bothering to look both ways when crossing. Changkyun knows what he saw in that window; he's not stupid, but he would like some clear answers and at least a little more insight to what in the hell is going on.

The yells of Minhyuk and Jooheon grow distant until he can't hear them anymore, and Changkyun just keeps on running, running . And when he reaches his house, he scrambles for the keys in his pockets and slides it into the keyhole, quickly turning it with feet stumbling inside. He leaves the door open in a frantic on his way to the landline as he pulls out the yellow pages, turning and turning to the section he's looking for.

His fingers skim through the fine black text, eyes moving to each word until he finds what he's looking for, like that of a word search. Changkyun turns back to the phone, pressing down on the buttons for the local police station since this was technically a different type of emergency. His fingers twirl the phone cord as it rings for a moment, and the patience is making Changkyun shake his leg, licking and biting his bottom lip nervously. 

"Hello, this is the local police station, how may we help you?" 

"Hi," Changkyun chokes out through his dry mouth. "I would like to give a tip about the recent victim. I saw her on the news and I swore I saw her in the house of someone living near me." 

"Hey, Changkyun, what in the worl—" Minhyuk starts, words dying on his lips as a hand comes up to shush him. Jooheon stares, both perplexed at what was going on still.

"Okay. Is this the recent one of the prostitute that was found early this morning?"

"Yes yes. Last night, I remember seeing her with a man. And that was the first and last I saw her." Upon the request of the address Changkyun saw the victim, he pauses and turns to his friends. “What’s the house number of the new neighbors?”

Jooheon blinks. “What? Changkyun why—”

“Just give me the house number!”

They jump at the raise in Changkyun’s voice, wondering what had gotten into him. Minhyuk walks to the window, searching all sides of the house his eyes land on the mailbox that stands in front.

“2940.”

Changkyun gives it to the person on the line and describes the neighbors house, along with the suspect he saw. When the man on the line asks for Changkyun’s name, his fingers play with the phone cord again, voice quiet. "I would prefer to stay anonymous in case this turns into something more serious."

With a few more words exchanged, Changkyun hangs up the phone and breathes out a sigh, rubbing his temple. 

"Can you tell us what the hell is going on?" Minhyuk asks irritable, walking towards him. "You started talking nonsense and then randomly just left the food joint in a hurry. Now, we’re here standing in your living room while you call the cops on your new neighbors?”

“Yeah, yeah, I have my reasons and freaked out. But remember the woman that was on the television? I saw her inside the neighbor’s house, I swear. She had the short brown hair, and the really pretty green eyes that I couldn’t forget and she even had that mole that was under right eyes. I’m positive she was in the house next door to me last night.”

“The one with the people just moving in?” Jooheon quirks and eyebrow and wants to make sure he’s hearing this all correctly, skeptical of the whole situation. Changkyun really can’t tell everything because it’ll make him sound crazier than he already is, so he keeps it to himself. Especially if he can’t really explain everything without even being able to understand it. “So, you’re saying, the last person to see her is your neighbor and you think he killed her?”

Changkyun nods and the pair don’t look really convinced. 

“I know it sounds weird because they’re moving in, but I’m positive she was in that house. I even heard her screaming.” He brings his hand up to his head again, traveling down to rub the back of his neck. The way Jooheon and Minhyuk are looking at him, makes him feel like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and maybe he doesn't, but Changkyun just knows; he can't really describe it. 

“Seems a bit stretched to me.” Minhyuk bites the inside of his mouth.  

“What else would it be? You really think my neighbor would call over a woman to watch a horror film?”  

There's the sound of a car door closing, and everyone is silent as the three of them exchange glances. It's a very tight silence as if they just went through a cemetery, moving to the nearest window. From youngest to oldest, they all tower over one another as they peek out, wanting to know what will happen. Though, it isn't a police officer, but instead, a man dressed in a suit and tie walking up to the driveway. Nobody had spoken, exchanging a few more looks to silently ask one another if they should to outside and "nonchalantly" walk by like nothing. 

The trio mentally decides to step outside the house as Changkyun grabs a box of jacks to act like they've got a good game going on. Stepping out into the sidewalk, they crouch and begin playing, stealing glances at the house where the man walks up onto the front porch. 

It's quiet and nobody has breathed a single word when walking out, the air feeling cold as if to match the tension. There's a few minutes and the trio gets settled into their game, throwing the ball against the floor and trying to grab as many jacks as they can before the ball comes down. 

The door to the house opens and immediately, Changkyun peeks to see the brunette man, not quite sure on what his name might be, other than the given name: window man. Changkyun doesn't make eye contact, but from a peripheral vision, his neighbor is too busy chatting with the guy in the suit. He invites the suited man in and the door closes behind him. Still, not a single word had left anyone's lips in the small tight circle, afraid that even a whisper could be heard. 

"What do you think will happen? I wonder if one of them will come out in handcuffs if that's true." Jooheon murmurs, bouncing the ball on the ground and quickly capturing two jacks. 

"I doubt it. I also doubt that nothing happened. I think Changkyun is just watching too many late-night horror shows on the TV." Minhyuk shakes his head, earning a push.

"I know what I saw, okay. I'm aware it may sound far fetched, but I'm positive." 

Minhyuk scoffs a little. “They why did they seem so friendly when we walked by earlier?”

“People can hide it. Just because they act friendly doesn’t mean anything. Geez, gag me with a spoon.” 

It’s Changkyun’s turn, and throws the ball to the ground as he picks up three jacks, throwing a small smug smile to Jooheon. For a few small minutes, the tension breaks and they’re all smiling and laughing. The man that had stepped into the house had been forgotten, now focused on the game in front of them. All the worries and fears that Changkyun had about the incident flies away, and he’s left with just having fun. It’s a precious moment he thinks, and it feels like a long time had passed with how slow time feels, and finds himself laughing at the expression Minhyuk makes to Jooheon. 

Changkyun isn’t too sure how much time has passed, but the door to the neighbors house then opens, and Jooheon stops his, letting the ball against the concrete a few times. Minhyuk grabs the ball before it has the chance to roll away and go into the street, and Changkyun's body just stills. They exchange glances, continuing to play with this time only nervous smiles, an uneasy feeling coming over them all. Both of Changkyun's friends still don't believe him, and he doesn't really care, but they're all on edge. 

What appears out the door is both men smiling, and laughing like nothing was wrong, and Changkyun mentally curses right off the bat. From what he can tell, his neighbor isn't seen as a suspect, which also means that the tip he gave to the police really didn't do anything. They're literally in the house where the victim was last, and Changkyun just wants to stand up and yell. The man in the suit fixes his tie and shakes the other hand, possibly bidding him to have a good day. He leaves the neighbors doorstep and Changkyun takes a small glance, and stays like that.

His neighbor is staring at him with that same look from the window, and Changkyun feels cold. The other fixes his posture and leans against the front porch pillar with his hands in his pocket, and he just continues to stare. He knows; he totally knows. Changkyun is the only one who saw what happened in his neighbors house, and the police wouldn't have come because there wasn't any evidence to go to the house. And it's almost like they can read one another, the energy between them is strong as if they're communicating. 

"Kyun!" 

Jooheon's voice makes Changkyun turn his head eyes wide and mouth slightly agape. He didn't realize he was holding his breath, and he lets it go. 

"It's your turn now." 

"Yeah, yeah, sorry, I just-" Changkyun looks back to the door and it's closed as Jooheon hands him the ball. His neighbor is gone and most likely bad inside. “I just got a bit lost at the moment, I don't really know."

A sigh comes from the lips of Minhyuk, who stands up and runs his fingers through his hair. "What a waste of time this was. Nothing came of this situation. Are you sure you didn't imagine it?"

"No! I couldn't have. I was so sure she was in that house." Changkyun stands to face the other. 

"Well, nothing happened here. Maybe you're stressed from all the studying, or maybe there's something else that's on your mind." Jooheon starts. Yeah, it's that girl who was in the neighbors house, that's what's been on my mind.

Picking up the jacks, Jooheon stands up and Minhyuk speaks up. "Lately I've seen bags under eyes and I hope you're getting enough sleep. Maybe it was just an imagination that you created or a dream that felt too real."

Changkyun doesn't feel like continuing the conversation as it has gotten him nowhere, so he drops it. The topic was not brought up again when they enter his house, but Changkyun is still visibly pissed. It does hurt him, feeling like his words just go through one ear and out the other. But there really was no evidence other than his eyes, and that wouldn't do anything. There was nothing physical that he knows of, and the man in the suit most likely didn't see anything that would have caused a concern. 

But, deep down, maybe the others were right. Changkyun doesn't really know, and it's now draining his energy. The more he thinks about the incident is the more his head hurts. Although in the back of his mind Changkyun is still wary of the situation, and maybe his neighbor being the vampire had to be something his brain created. Not only that, but he was even outside in the sun, and from what Changkyun's heard and watched, vampires can't be in the sun. It's whatever now, and he just wants the thought to be gone and maybe, just maybe , it was all in his head. 





 

 

With two days passing since then, and the town was back to normal with its peaceful nature and the liveliness coming in as if nothing happened. It sucks how people's minds just look over everything after a certain time, and although short, moving on was the best thing even if it hurts. Changkyun sits in one of the classrooms as he packs his bag while everyone gets ready for lunch. He takes it slow as his classmates bump into one another to hurry on out, and in the midst of all the chaos, Jooheon manages to squeeze his way through those going opposite of him. 

Changkyun looks up at the person standing in front of his desk. Jooheon pulls out a chair and turns it around, resting his arms on the back of it. 

"Hey, ma man." The tone is softer and not loud like they always are. He knows that Jooheon could tell what could be going through his mind. There's a pat on his shoulder and Changkyun looks away, exhaling through his nose. "I know this thing is bugging you, but maybe there's a way to ease your mind off it."

"You think?"

"Yeah. They’re your neighbors an Minhyuk suggested to invite them over for a neighborhood welcome. It’s completely a shot in the dark, I'm pretty sure they need someone who has lived here for a while to welcome them to the town."

Changkyun's lips turn into a line before he bites the bottom one. There's a hesitation, one that makes him want to agree and disagree. He can't fully process it. 

Looking at Jooheon's waiting and expecting eyes, Changkyun feels himself sighing and gives in; maybe it's for the better.

"Alright, we can invite them, but I want you guys to be present."

"Of course, ma man! The one with the black hair seemed really friendly anyways. Not too sure about the other since he didn't talk, but he's probably shy or something. Hell, it may even get you to change your view on them."

"I really do hope that's the case. Anything to put my mind at ease because these past few days had me so paranoid. Not only that, but me being torn between what I saw and what I possibly might have made up. This whole thing has me fucked up."

There's a quick silence before Changkyun smiles, his dimples showing after a long time they've been hiding the past two days. He has smiled of course within that time, but nothing as wide as what he was grinning like now. Jooheon hits the table lightly with his palms, getting up from his chair and stretches. 

"Now come on and let's hurry to lunch. We're practically the last people here, so let's head to the cafeteria."

"Yeah, we've probably been keeping Minhyuk waiting." Changkyun follows suit and zips up his bag, swinging it over his shoulder. There’s a faint smile, but it’s there. Deep down, Changkyun knows something isn’t right. That gut feeling still eats him, and he wants to follow it. 

With it being October in a few days, clearly, any monster or any supernatural being is fake, right?