Yoongi was called a freak as a child because he can see and hear things. Them. His parents were scared of him, nobody wants to deal with him. Nobody wants to be friends with someone like him but he felt lucky that he met Namjoon and Hoseok. They never left him even if they witnessed his "oddity". Yoongi loves his friends but when he is left alone in the confines of his mind, he feels sad. He feels lonely.
He feels alone.
There are days where he feels this emptiness. Like something was missing. Like there's a gaping hole in his chest that needs to be filled by something? Someone? He doesn't know.
It was almost the beginning of Autumn when they first met. The person who would change Yoongi’s life forever.
“Are you here alone?’ A warm voice suddenly enveloped the silence around the cold and dark hallways. When Yoongi looked in the direction where the sound came from, he felt shudders run down his spine as he saw deep brown eyes staring directly at his soul. A beautiful person. A wonderfully sloped nose, sharp jaws, and a blinding smile. There was something with this person that took Yoongi’s breath away. Is it his beauty? Or was there something else?
“Excuse me?” the guy repeated, the smile disappearing and now he just looked confused with the way Yoongi is staring at him.
"My friends are downstairs" Yoongi suddenly remembered to answer, trying to avoid eye contact, calming the goosebumps he’s feeling.
“Are you here to play?” That smile was back again and Yoongi couldn’t stop himself from looking as he gave a nod for an answer remembering why he was here in the dark hallways of this quiet building at 10 in the morning. Yoongi blames Hoseok and Namjoon’s competitiveness for all of this. They planned that the three of them would go to 3 different escape rooms and see who would escape first and now Yoongi is here in front of a magnificent looking man waiting for his friends to come up.
“I’m a staff here,” the man started talking once again after a few moments of silence “Do you want to start now? Or are you still waiting for someone?”
“My friends are in the parking lot already, but do you have 3 rooms available?” Yoongi asks, facing him fully.
“Yes we have 3 rooms available for 10:30 am today,” the staff member answered as he reached in his pocket to get the key so he could open the establishment. “How many will you be per room?” he asked again once they entered inside.
“Just 1 each. We’ll be paying for each room” Yoongi answers, looking at the room designs framed on the wall. They’re all horror-themed rooms. Yoongi is doomed.
“Oh, you’re brave” the staff giggled before handing him a brochure of rooms. “Here, these are the rooms available. You can check them out before your other friends arrive.”
Yoongi took a deep breath, he needs to pick a room that isn’t super scary because he knows what he attracts. He knows that most horror themed rooms have some element inside because of the gloom and ambiance surrounding the place, so he scanned the brochure properly.
The first room has a picture of a hospital bed with cuffs dangling on the side. The background is a really dirty wall with blood splattered on the floor. “The Psychiatric Ward” imprinted on large bold red prints and no Yoongi would not go in there.
The second room has a picture of an old Japanese house surrounded by those creepy looking trees and on the side of the house is a lady wearing a kimono, looking down on the floor. The poster is painted in black and blue contrast giving off a cold and creepy vibe so Yoongi guesses he’s going to pass on this one too.
The last room seemed tolerable. The poster was a picture of a white wooden door with scratches on the bottom part and below the door is the title “The Missing Tenant” . Yoongi released a huff, this room looks like a mystery room, no horror themes involved, okay he’ll choose this one before Hoseok steals it from him.
“I’m taking this one,” Yoongi suddenly blurted, startling the person behind the counter, “Can I start the moment my friends arrive? So they can’t stop me?” Yoongi said in almost a whisper tone and the staff looked at what he had chosen and he smiled at Yoongi. Was that a smile of relief? Well...
“Sure I’ll set it up for you immediately. Here, please fill up this form” he said, giving Yoongi a clipboard with a form. Yoongi answered it immediately.
“What’s your name? I’m Taehyung by the way” Taehyung spoke up after receiving the clipboard back from Yoongi.
“ Yoongi” he answered after realizing that they had been talking for a while but they didn’t know each other's name.
‘ Taehyung. He has a beautiful name too’ Yoongi thinks to himself.
“Yoongi, it means to shine.” Taehyung blurted, “Perfect.” and Yoongi was confused with his statement but decided to ignore it.
Taehyung offered him another smile before entering one of the rooms. He instructed Yoongi to wait until he heard him call his name. Immediately after, Namjoon and Hoseok arrived.
“Hey, Hyung have you reserved us a room?” Namjoon asked him with his dimpled smile on display.
“Yes and I’ll be taking this room. Now you two choose from what’s left” Yoongi answered so quickly trying to stop himself from laughing at the face Hoseok makes when he realizes what are the other choices of room he has left. Before Hoseok could protest, Taehyung was already calling Yoongi inside.
"Hey guys, I’m going in" Yoongi waves at them before rushing his way inside
“Hi Yoongi-ssi,” Taehyung greeted him once again before handing a blindfold. “Wear this and I’ll assist you inside”
Yoongi lifts his blindfold to his eyes and ties it tightly when he hears Taehyung speak again.
“Here, you can place your hand on my shoulder so I can guide you properly.” a hand gently guided Yoongi’s own and placed it on a lean shoulder. Those hands were cold but there was something else and for some reason, it made Yoongi feel warm.
He was guided into a room and it felt weird. Yoongi knows what that feeling is. There’s something in this room. He felt a heavy presence inside. “Is it too late to back out now?” he thinks to himself when a voice suddenly speaks.
"Okay, before we start, if you need a clue just press this button and you will hear from me," Taehyung tells him after removing the blindfold from his eyes and pointing at the direction where the button is located.
"Okay" Yoongi whispered, trying to locate where the heavy energy was coming from and it seemed like Taehyung noticed that he was distracted as he gently tapped Yoongi’s shoulders to get his attention.
“If you feel a little overwhelmed you can also press the button, I’ll assist you in any way I can” Taehyung reassures him and it somehow calmed Yoongi down. He might have chosen the wrong room but at least he still feels safe that someone is watching.
Taehyung smiled at him before exiting the room and when the door shut, Yoongi looked around. The room was dark and the only light inside was from the digital clock situated at the wall on the left side of the wall just above the cabinet. He can only make out figures surrounding the room. It seemed like there is a bed in the middle, on top of the bed there's a bookshelf, then beside it, there are two nightstands with a lamp on both sides. That was all he could figure out from the darkness. The room was small and he started to think about how there were any clues there.
He looked once again to his left, the bright red 45:00 was staring right at him and suddenly a voice echoed against the walls.
"It was on a rainy August evening when he disappeared. Nobody knows where he went and the only trace left of him was his cellular phone. The room you are standing in now was his room. Your job is to find why he disappeared and to identify the reason for it. You got exactly 45 minutes to finish all of the tasks at hand. Find all the clues, answer all the riddles, escape the room. Good luck" The voice was deep and it caught Yoongi off guard. He looked at the digital clock once again and it began to move.
“Did I choose the right room?” Yoongi whispers to himself. He shook his head, pushing down the creeping sensation he is feeling and just started to navigate around the room moving closer to the wall to find any form of light. Usually, for horror-themed rooms, that's the first thing you need to find. A light. He found a drawer on the far right side of the room near the door and he opened it trying to find anything and inside he found a lot of things. There were a bunch of papers inside, there was also a key, but he isn't sure where he would use them yet, a yellow notebook but nothing was written inside, a tiny little bear figurine holding a microphone, and lastly he found a paintbrush. Okay, nothing useful for now. He saw a light switch and tried to press it but nothing. He continued moving forward at the side of the wall then a loud shriek echoed the walls of the room startling him.
Okay, he was mistaken. This was a horror-themed room. One reason why Yoongi hated horror-themed places was this, they disturb his auditory peace. The sounds they play are highly creepy. Then it hit him. The voice earlier he said something about him leaving one single trace of his existence or something. Yoongi tried to think hard.
"Ah, his phone" he whispered to himself when the sense of eureka started to creep in. "If you were a cellphone where would you be?" he whispered to himself then slowly dragged himself to the bed in the middle of the room. He slowly lifted the covers, feeling a little bit nervous that what if something would jump on him once the covers were away but then he reminded himself that this was an escape room and not a haunted house so he pulled the bed sheet until the bed was visible. There's a bloodstain on the sheets and torn pieces of paper on the side. He slowly lifted the pillow and there was it. A cellular phone.
He turned the phone on and he was greeted by a black and white photo of the Seoul Namsan Tower. When he swiped up, a password was required.
"Okay now where?" he started to think of anything where he could find any clues then he lifted the sheets of paper on the bed. They were torn pages of a book. Paulo Coehlo's 'The Alchemist'. Yoongi was sure, he loved that book. There wasn't anything written on the book, just a few droplets of blood, but other than that, nothing. He tried typing the pages of the book but he got nothing. He noticed some numbers on the wall and tried every possible combination but nothing. Then he tried glancing around the room until he noticed something on the nightstand on the opposite side of the bed. He approached it and lifted it. It was a calendar. Nothing unusual but the first page got X marks then it stopped on August 18. He tried to enter that code.
It didn't work.
It also didn’t work.
He stared at the calendar and noticed that it got only 5 pages left and he slowly flipped it, looking carefully at the pages, using the low light of the screen of the phone to see even a little better. Four other dates have a circle mark on them and he tried entering them one at a time.
He entered each date then suddenly it unlocked.
"Okay, this is kinda easy" Yoongi mumbles to himself.
When the phone opened, a note flashed on the screen.
"Tick Tock, time is running out. Solve the riddles or you'll end up stuck with me.
Clues are hidden in places noticeable but at the same time unnoticeable. Look for them.
If you can’t see it and you can’t hear it, what else can you do?"
The screen died and Yoongi turned it on again proceeding to open the flashlight.
The scene around the room scared him. When the light touched the walls of the room, Yoongi noticed that blood was splattered everywhere. There were witch symbols around the room and it scared the hell out of him. Another loud shriek echoed on the speakers and he needed to take a deep breath before proceeding.
The room was still empty when the lights were on. He tried to open all the desk drawers to find anything but nothing. He looked under the bed, nothing. He tried to open the huge wall cabinet but there's a huge padlock in there with number codes. Then he remembered the clue.
"If you can’t see it and you can’t hear it, what else can you do?"
He sat down at the edge of the bed thinking what could that possibly mean.
"Not a sense of sight nor hearing. Maybe the sense of touch?" he whispered.
He stood up, closed his eyes, and started tapping and feeling the wall to his right. His hand moved up and down slowly then something brushed his hands.
Yoongi closed his eyes and tried to focus on what was on the wall. There’s a piece of paper that is taped on the lower portion of the wall just beside the nightstand where he got the calendar. He opened the flashlight once again, trying to ignore the heavy energy he is feeling because of the witch symbols on the wall. When the light flashed on the material he had touched earlier, he was a little shocked by what he saw.
“A QR code?” he whispered, one eyebrow-raising then suddenly he opened the phone once again, typing the password and immediately going straight to the camera to scan the QR code. An image of a hiking trail flashed on the screen which confused him even more. He slowly stood up and went straight to the door and flashed the light on both sides of the wall beside it and there he saw it. There were a bunch of QR codes plastered around the wall maybe around 5 to 7 of them. Now he just needs to try and figure out the sequence of them all.
He went to the first QR code to his right and tried to scan it when a note appeared on his screen.
“Scream and no one hears you, cry and no one searches for you.
Not everything is what it seems.
Tick tock is this the right way? Or is it the end?”
The clue confused him even more. “Is this the end? Maybe not.” Yoongi talks to himself and he went straight to the first QR code to his left and below it was an arrow pointing where he could go next.
“Okay let’s start here.”
He scanned the QR code and a note flashed.
“Do I look happy? I just want to be happy.”
What is the price of happiness?
Is it a key? Is it a box? Or is it both?”
“A key? I got the key” Yoongi mumbles again trying to fish the key out of his pocket. “Now for the box…” He stood up from his crouching position and tried to search for a box. He searched under the bed, inside the nightstands, then he stood up on the bed and tried to reach for the bookshelf. He saw at least 8 books there and when he pulled the thickest book he saw a box behind it,
“A box.” He pulled it and sat down at the bed. Upon sitting down, he took the key once again and tried to open it but the lock doesn’t need a key. It needs a code. 4 numeral codes. He tried to type the numbers he found on the calendar once again
He stood up and tried to search for clues but there’s nothing on the walls that could indicate any form of a clue so Yoongi just continued scanning the QR codes.
When he scanned the second QR code a loud screeching sound began to boom on the speakers giving him a set of goosebumps when the words “ Try again ” flashed on the screen. He tried to scan the next then another clue appeared on the screen.
Yoongi rushed immediately to the side of the bed where he left the box he found on the bookshelf and he tried to enter the code but it only needed 4 numeral codes. The one that flashed on the screen were 5 numbers. Yoongi released another sigh and moved back to the side of the wall where he found the code. He moved to the next two QR code sets but they only flashed another “Try again”. Yoongi proceeded to the 6th QR code located directly above the bed and just below the bookshelf then another clue flashed.
Another set of numbers. Yoongi scratched his head trying to figure out what this meant when it hit him. He vaguely remembers when Namjoon taught him binary codes and that was it. This could be a binary code. He moved away again from the wall, stepping on the bed and trying to check the books on the bookshelf. Trying to find a guide book or any clue to locate anything that could help him crack the meaning for the binary codes. So far, the only binary code he could remember is ‘A’ which is ‘00001’, and ‘B’ which is ‘00010’ now he needs to find what could be the letter behind those two codes.
Once he got the three books on the top shelf, he settled down on the side of the bed, placing the books on the nightstand beside it. He took one then scanned it, then the next, then the last one but he got nothing. Another loud crash echoed on the speakers startling him, causing the phone to slip from his grip. The phone fell facing downwards behind the nightstand and that’s where Yoongi found it. Written on the walls with red ink.
‘ X 11000’
Yoongi moved the nightstand to check if there was anything else and he found two more codes.
He’s sure this was it. Yoongi returned to the first QR code where he found the first binary code and when it flashed, he opened the note of the phone and jotted down the numbers then moving to the next and doing the same. After putting the two codes on the note on the phone, Yoongi moved the other nightstand and he found 6 more codes. A smile slowly crept on his face as he felt successful in figuring out how to do the puzzle.
He compared them slowly, checking carefully if anything would match then the excitement flowed through his veins when he got one.
He opened the note and type ‘e’ beside the code then flashed the flashlight against the wall, looking carefully. When he looked up he saw another 4 codes surrounding the bookshelf and he had to step on the bed again to get a clearer view.
He got down from the bed after realizing none of it matched then proceeded to check the walls then he saw another one. Just above the last QR code.
After checking if it matched and realizing that it doesn’t , he proceeded to the door and there he found a bunch of codes.
Yoongi thinks he finally got all the letters and when it matched with one of the letters, he felt another sense of relief.
Okay. Now he needs to think where he could use these two codes. Standing beside the door, he realized that there are still 3 QR codes he needs to open. He approached the first one he saw and checked it again, yes it’s still a hiking trail. The QR code next to it is another ‘Try again ’ and then he proceeded with the second to the last one. Then it flashed.
“It’s A” Yoongi suddenly shouted, immediately covering his mouth from the shock. He typed 'A' on the note and made his way towards the bed to sit down. He began to think what could mean behind the codes then a loud scream echoed again on the speakers sending another wave of shivers down Yoongi's spine. He needs to finish this quickly, the heavy feeling is back once again.
He started to calm down when the sounds from the speakers were turned down into something more subtle like a sound of gentle humming. Yoongi stood there in the corner trying to think what could these codes mean ‘00101 10100 00001’
“E, T, A”
Yoongi read it out loud then something caught his eyes. The cabinet below the timer has locks. 3 to be exact. He approached it to see if the code needed are letters or some sort of combination from the binary code he found. When he scooted down he realized that all the locks are identical and that they are looking for 3 numerical codes. Not letters. This isn’t it.
Yoongi pushed himself away from the cabinet and something caught his eyes when he looked at the mirror making him stumble back, dropping the phone he was holding. He immediately grabbed it, flashing the light towards the direction of the mirror seeing only his scared face on the reflection. Yoongi took a deep breath and sat down at the edge of the bed, grabbing the box again trying to figure out what could be the answer to these 4 numerical codes.
Yoongi stood up and checked again all the QR codes from start to finish to check if he missed something. The last clue flashed on the screen and Yoongi sunk down at the bed trying to read it, checking if there’s any hidden meaning behind the statement.
“Scream and no one hears you, cry and no one searches for you.
Not everything is what it seems.
Tick tock is this the right way? Or is it the end?”
“Not everything is what it seems.” Yoongi read out loud, trying to analyze the words one at a time. “Not everything is what it seems.” He opened the notes once again looking at the letters listed below then his eyes were blown wide by the sudden realization he got.
He started counting.
“5, 1, 20” he blurted out, immediately grabbing the box next to him, typing it. When he pulled the lock, disappointment etched on his face, he tried again pressing all the combinations he could find.
‘1, 20, 5’
‘20, 5, 1’
‘20, 1, 5’
It clicked. The lock opened.
Yoongi opened the box and he saw a little journal inside. When he lifted it, he noticed that it’s once again locked, he almost felt anxiety crept in when he thought that he had to open another lock with codes but when he checked closer, this one is a normal lock then he realized that he got the key. Once he opened it, he saw a bunch of journal entries and he began to read.
March 30, 2015
I'm alone. I feel so alone. Hyung always comforts me but I still feel alone. I miss mom and dad. Why did they have to leave us?
April 6, 2015
The boss at the convenient store scolded me again. He said I was stupid in doing my job. It wasn't my fault the customer spilled all those milk. It wasn't my fault why it started raining outside. It wasn't my fault why the lights beside the store broke. Why is he blaming me? Is it really my fault? Am I really a bringer of bad luck?
Maybe this is the reason why no one wants to be my friend.
April 13, 2015
I really hate this university. Somebody approached me in the library and spilled coffee on all of my things. Why do they hate me so much? What did I do to them?
May 2, 2015
My brother introduced me to one of his friends today. I think they're dating but what if this guy also silently hates me? What if he takes my brother away from me?
May 6, 2015
Somebody tried to spill their paint on my canvas today but my brother's friend came and stopped them. I don't know what I would have done if he didn't arrive on time, that piece was due tomorrow. He's so nice. He said he did it because we are friends. Is he sure that he wants to be friends with me? Or is he only saying it because of my brother?
May 23, 2015
It's been weeks and he's still joining me for lunch but I think because of him those people who kept on bullying me finally stopped. Maybe he really is my friend. I like his company. He makes me feel at peace.
July 8, 2015
My brother told me that he is finally dating my soulmate. I'm so happy for them. They look so happy together. I'm glad our little family is growing.
August 3, 2015
We went to Busan 6 days ago and spent almost an entire week there and there I met him. My new friend. He's my soulmate's younger cousin and I think we spent too much time together on the beach and in the parks and I think we've gotten close because when I was about to leave he started crying. He said he's glad that he met a new friend and he hoped that we would meet again soon. I like him. He's an angel. I'm glad I got a new friend. I hope he doesn't leave me too.
Yoongi should stop reading now and find more clues quickly but there's something about these entries that attracts him. It feels like it's trying to tell him something? He isn't sure but he can't stop and without thinking, he flipped the next page.
August 27, 2015
Jimin isn't at school today and those assholes took the opportunity to ruin my day. I hate relying too much on him but they soaked my sketchpad on the toilet and I can't do anything about it. Half of my works were in there. Fuck everyone. Why do they hate me so much?
November 10, 2015
Jimin brought Jungkook to Seoul today and he'd stay with me for a week! I feel so happy but I'm terrified. What if the people at the university sees him and starts to harass him because of me?
December 4, 2015
We celebrated hyung's birthday today. We went to the movies first after class since all of our schedules today ends after lunch. Jungkook arrived last night and we picked him from our apartment before heading to the movies. After the movies we went to this cool samgyeopsal place then we went for noraebang. It was so fun I didn't know Jungkook has this angelic voice. His voice is really pretty.
Right now I can't sleep. This was probably the happiest day of my life.
February 1, 2016
I haven't written in so long. I've been so happy these past few days. I hope this happiness stays forever, but I'm scared. I think my happiness will end soon.
March 7, 2016
I knew it. Happiness was never for me. The loneliness is back. The void is eating me up once again.
May 11, 2016
The noise is too loud. I feel so alone. It's dark every day. My life is a mess. What if I give up now?
June 20, 2016
My family cuddled up with me today. We watched movies while eating ice cream. They told me they love me. Maybe I'm not so alone after all. I love them.
July 27, 2016
My brother is now living with my soulmate. I'm so happy for them but now that the entire apartment is all mine, I feel so sad. It's like when I'm alone in the confines of my own mind I feel empty.
August 7, 2016
Everything is dark. I feel so empty but I'm thankful for my little family. They're the only reason why I keep going. I don't want to see them sad.
August 17, 2016
My brother said that he's going on a college outing with my soulmate. They asked me if I can manage a couple of days without them because they might come back on monday next week. I said it's fine, I don't really want to burden them and besides some students from class asked me if I want to join them hiking on the weekend. I don't know if I should go. They scare me. They said they want to be my friends. But do they really want to be friends with me? Part of me doesn't want to go but part of me is lonely. Should I go? Or should I just stay in my apartment?
August 22, 2016
I've been gone for 4 days now. Nobody noticed. Nobody looked for me. It felt so sad here. It felt so cold. I don't want to be alone anymore. I'm so tired. I don't want this anymore. Can somebody accompany me? Can somebody share this pain with me?
That final statement broke Yoongi. Without noticing, he was already sobbing. There was something in that sentence that squeezed his heart. No, there was something in that entire journal that made his heart bleed. It was something between empathy and pity. He doesn't want to continue anymore.
He slowly crouched down at the small space beside the nightstand, making himself appear like a small ball, curling to himself. A loud boom echoed on the speaker followed by static sound on Yoongi’s ear to the point that he had to cover them. With all the chaos going on, he didn’t notice that somebody was approaching him and suddenly he was being held by someone cold and warm at the same time.
“Are you okay?” It was Taehyung’s warm voice. Yoongi shook his head and unconsciously gripped Taehyung’s sleeve.
“Do you want me to accompany you?” Taehyung asked gently while patting Yoongi’s back and Yoongi nodded.
"Okay, but on one condition,” Taehyung whispered, making Yoongi lift his head. “No matter what you do, don't look at that mirror Yoongi" he says, pointing at the direction of the large cabinet under the timer.
Yoongi nodded once again, looking at Taehyung with tear streak eyes.
Taehyung guided him back to bed so he could sit and calm down as he gave soothing rubs on Yoongi's back, humming something and it somehow calmed Yoongi down.
"Why are you crying Yoongi-ssi?" Taehyung suddenly asked when the background sound effects started to decrease in volume.
"I don't want to continue anymore" Yoongi shudders, trying to stop the tears from falling from his face when suddenly a loud bang was heard from the speakers once again, but this time it didn't end there. A scream followed then sounds of little kids laughing began to echo around the room. It was too much for Yoongi. He suddenly sat down at the edge of the bed near the headboard, making himself appear smaller before he covered his ears. The sensation was overwhelming to the point that he also had to close his eyes, when suddenly a pair of arms was pulling him into a hug, rubbing soothing gestures on his back once again.
"It's okay, I'm here with you. You're not alone." He whispered directly in Yoongi's ear. Yoongi felt shivers run down his spine. He doesn't understand why but those words helped him calm down.
Taehyung held him for a whole minute, Yoongi watched as the time was ticking down before he fully detattaches himself mumbling a soft "thank you" when the sounds were finally tolerable. Taehyung smiled at him and suddenly he offered his hand and Yoongi stared at him, cocking his head to the side with confusion with his gesture.
"You can hold my hand if it's too much for you." Taehyung smiled at him when Yoongi didn't answer. He didn't know what happened because after a few seconds, he was reaching for Taehyung's hand, holding it tightly, and it somehow felt familiar.
He stared at Taehyung's eyes for a while and he felt that energy again but he wasn't scared this time. Taehyung told him that he’s no longer alone. Yoongi is holding onto that - Taehyung is here.
Yoongi looks at the clock and the countdown continues, making him panic with the amount of time that flew away because of his breakdown. Is he okay now? No, he's still not. He still feels sad about what he'd read but somehow Taehyung's company comforted him. He picked up the journal again looking at the last page and looking at the clue behind it.
There were two clues. One is a set of binary codes again and next is a set of sentences.
" Same and differen t
S a me and different
Same and diff e rent"
Those 3 sentences were written in red ink and Yoongi's brain can no longer process what they could even mean.
He looked at the table at the next page stating a set of binary codes again and the letters they correspond to.
The numbers and codes started to make his head and eyes hurt. He can't think straight. He can't understand the purpose of the codes and he doesn't know if the sentences are part of the clue or if he needs to find more to get the answer he needs. He hates this. He wants to give up now. Maybe wait for the time to end but maybe continue to hold Taehyung's hand because right now that's the only thing keeping him grounded.
Another minute passed by and it seemed like Taehyung noticed that Yoongi isn't trying anymore. He leaned forward towards Yoongi's space, inspecting the journal Yoongi was holding when a smirk suddenly formed on his face.
"Look here," Taehyung points at the first sentence where Yoongi notices that he's pointing to a specific letter and Yoongi had to squint his eyes to see clearly but he notices it. The letter Taehyung is pointing is typed in italic form.
Yoongi's eyes were blown wide with the realization, his gaze suddenly shifting to Taehyung who was smiling widely at him and Yoongi realizes that he has the prettiest smile.
"Why are you helping me find the clues?" Yoongi suddenly blurted out feeling confused because was Taehyung allowed to help him? Won't he get in trouble? And Taehyung just smiled at him, shrugging his shoulders before looking away.
Yoongi looked back at the next two sentences trying to find anything suspicious and there it is. Another two italic letters.
Yoongi gasped. Maybe this is it. His eyes immediately jumped to the table of codes on the next page. He stood up pulling Taehyung with him, approaching the cabinet with three locks. He tried to type the code for 'a' at the first lock but it didn't open causing Yoongi to scratch his head. He doesn't know why but part of him just wants to give up. He knows it's only the first attempt but he's really tired. He doesn't want to continue.
But Taehyung never fails to amaze him. It seemed like he was already able to read Yoongi's mind and he was tugging the hand he was holding towards the first lock, gesturing for Yoongi to continue.
"It's okay, I can just let the time finish," Yoongi whispers, stopping Taehyung's movement.
"But Yoongi if you don't find clues, even if the time stops ticking, you can't go out, you're gonna be stuck here for good" Taehyung said it like it's the most normal thing in the world, Yoongi felt those goosebumps again.
"Then I guess it's okay to be stuck here" Yoongi answers looking at the door. Did he give up? Maybe. But what was he giving up from?
"Why is it okay with you?" Taehyung looked at him with shock in his eyes.
"Because it's lonely out there" Yoongi murmured and he's not sure what made him say that but there's something about Taehyung's presence that made him feel at ease. Comfortable.
They sat down on the floor sharing the comfort they give each other as the clock on the wall kept on ticking down.
The silence stretched for some time until Taehyung broke it.
"202. Try that one first." Taehyung whispers letting go of Yoongi's hand and moving towards the bed. "I'll stay here, don't worry." he added when he noticed the panic in Yoongi's eyes.
Yoongi looked at Taehyung with questioning eyes then shifted his gaze towards the lock then back at Taehyung.
"202?" Yoongi asked looking back at Taehyung who was nodding at him.
"202," Taehyung repeated, "the code for the letter t" he continued, pointing at the journal beside Yoongi. When Yoongi checked, Taehyung was correct 'T 202'. He lifted the first lock, looked back at Taehyung, then back once again at the lock, rotating the numbers from '001' to '202'. Once he flipped the final number, the lock opened.
The excitement was back once again, making Yoongi check the journal again for the code of 'a' and 'e'. He entered the code for a and it opened, making Yoongi celebrate internally and it seemed like Taehyung shared the joy with him as he heard him clapping on the side.
Yoongi entered the final code for the final lock '012' and when it opened, he felt a little bit nervous about what was hiding behind the cabinet. Are there more puzzles? Or is this the exit? He took a deep breath and felt a sense of calm when he heard Taehyung's tiny "Go Yoongi-ssi!" in the background.
He opened the cabinet and another wave of confusion washed upon him as he came face to face with nothing. It was just a cabinet. Yoongi looked again at Taehyung and he just smiled at him so Yoongi explored the cabinet.
The cabinet had 4 separate compartments and another two more situated by the door. The 2nd compartment has these 4 empty slots in a shape of pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, and octagon. Yoongi guessed that it was for something but he's not sure what. He reached for the highest compartment checking if there was anything when his hand brushed on something solid. When he was able to reach for it fully, he flashed the light on it. It was another teddy bear glass figurine and this one is holding a camera. Yoongi placed it on the floor thinking it was some props and proceeded to inspect the cabinet looking for more clues. On the 3rd compartment, Yoongi found old piles of clothes, he lifted them one at a time but he found nothing. He checked the final compartment and it was empty. Yoongi scratched his head feeling confused once again but when he looked to his left, he noticed that there were still two compartments on the door frame of the cabinet. To see what was inside you need to open two small sliding doors and Yoongi pulled the first one. Inside was another bear figurine and this time the bear was holding a saxophone. Yoongi stared at the small figurine and suddenly his gaze landed at Taehyung who was smiling at him softly. Yoongi smiled back at him and proceeded with the task at hand. Yoongi slid the last door and a newspaper fell.
Yoongi was about to set the newspaper down thinking it was another prop when a set of words caught his attention.
"University student missing for days" Yoongi began to read the newspaper dating August 25, 2016, the heavy feeling on his chest was back once again and he suddenly got the urge to hold Taehyung's hand once again but he continued to read. His eyes go back and forth to all the words he's seeing "Robbery gone wrong" , " family searching for days", and "horrific scene". Yoongi felt goosebumps spread throughout his body. The photograph in the newspaper was the room he's currently standing in. But an even bigger wave of sensation spread throughout his body when he saw the name of the missing person. Everything made sense. Yoongi was right. All of his doubts ever since he entered this place was correct. This place, this room, it's haunted.
"Taehyung let's go! We need to finish this final puzzle." Yoongi shouted, approaching him and suddenly reaching for his hand. Taehyung grabbed his hand, smiling fully at Yoongi.
"Why are you suddenly so eager to finish this game?" Taehyung chuckles, it seems like he is fascinated with the sudden change in Yoongi's behavior.
"Because I need to help you," Yoongi mumbles, looking straight at Taehyung's eyes with sorrow.
The statement made Taehyung's hold on Yoongi's hand lax. The smile from his face disappeared. He looked stunned.
"You knew all along I wasn't human" he whispered, fear evident in his eyes as he took a step back, Yoongi's grip on his hand tightened, pulling Taehyung closer to him.
"How? Why aren't you afraid? You should be running away from me now." Taehyung shouts, resisting Yoongi's hold on his hand but Yoongi refuses to let go.
"Because you seemed lost. Like me" Yoongi sighs as he gently pulls Taehyung towards the bed so they can sit on the edge.
"Are you really not afraid of me?" Taehyung stares at him, his eyes turning into two large orbits and Yoongi feels endeared as he shakes his head.
"Humans are scarier. You’re a kind spirit Taehyung-ah, I can't find myself being afraid of you." Yoongi rubs Taehyung's knuckles to calm him down.
“What made you say that?” Taehyung's voice was shaking as he avoids Yoongi's eyes.
“Because I never felt the heavy energy from you. The only energy I felt from you was something warm.”
Taehyung started to cry, causing Yoongi to panic.
"Hey, why are you crying, I'm sorry. Did I say something wrong?" Yoongi's initial reaction was to hug and comfort Taehyung. He doesn't know why but this boy found a soft spot in Yoongi's heart.
"No, no," Taehyung shakes his head as he hugged Yoongi back, "it's just I miss my friends and nobody really liked me aside from them" he whispers shyly.
"Let's be friends? I'm willing to accompany you in this darkness." Yoongi whispered, making Taehyung let go of the hug, looking straight into Yoongi.
"Why? Why would you want to do that?" His voice waivers but there's a hint of joy from them.
"Because it's lonely out there and being with you here feels less lonely." Yoongi answers, smiling at Taehyung.
They stayed quiet for a while, hands clasped together, until Taehyung spoke again.
"They trashed my room like this to make it look like a robbery gone wrong. To make the suspicion against them less." he began "They told me they want to be friends with me, I shouldn't have trusted them." his grip on Yoongi's hand tightened as he tried to stop the tears from falling. "I guess it was supposed to be a prank, but it turned into an accident and nobody tried to save me. They took my apartment keys and everything I own and did this to my room. They got away with it. Up to this day, nobody still knows where my body is. I just want to be free Yoongi. I feel bad for my brother. I left him alone." Taehyung began sobbing again and Yoongi pulled him for a hug again as he felt speechless from all this. Humans are just naturally evil. He can't believe they had gotten away with it after what they have done to this kind soul.
"I'm here Taehyung-ah. I'll help you." Yoongi's voice was gentle as he comforted Taehyung.
"How?" Taehyung sniffles, wiping the tears from his face.
"Do you remember where it happened?" Yoongi starts hesitantly and he felt relieved when Taehyung seemed like he could answer perfectly as he mumbled a small "no"
"I only remember the date and what I was doing before, but I can't remember any of the incident." Taehyung answered, releasing a sad exhale.
"I'm sorry about that" Yoongi whispers, looking at Taehyung with sadness in his eyes.
"No, please don't apologize. You are the first person that was able to see me and was able to enter here. You were able to answer some of the riddles that made me remember some of my memories. I don't know how it happened but I guess you're right. I think I need your help." Taehyung gives this small smile and Yoongi returns it. He guided Taehyung to stand up so they ended up standing in front of the cabinet.
"Let's start here okay? Once we get out of here, I'll bring you justice. I promise" Taehyung looked hesitant but he nodded making Yoongi squeeze his hands as a form of affirmation that it would be okay.
Yoongi checked the 4 empty slots once again, thinking of what could fit in them when he noticed the tiny bear figurines he found inside the cabinet. He inspected the bear who was holding a camera and he realized that the stand is in the shape of an octagon, he tried to see if it would match the empty slot and when it fit he let out a shriek of joy causing Taehyung to giggle. Next, he grabbed the bear holding a saxophone and this one has a pentagon stand and when it fits well on that empty slot, Yoongi felt another wave of excitement. He's glad that yes he would indeed be able to help Taehyung.
"We need two more Tae!" Yoongi announces trying to search the room. He held the flashlight around the room and there he saw it. Besides the calendar was another bear. This bear was holding a paintbrush, the stand was shaped like a hexagon. Yoongi placed it immediately to its rightful place then remembered another place where he can find the final bear. He dragged Taehyung with him towards the first cabinet where he found the key and there was it. The bear holding a microphone. It's stand in the shape of a heptagon.
The moment he placed it on the slot, the cabinet moved to the side, an entryway to an even smaller room greeted the two of them. Inside the smaller room was a door with a lock. 'This must be the way out' Yoongi thinks to himself as he pulled Taehyung so that two of them could enter but the moment he crossed the border of the small room and the big room, Taehyung let go of his hand with a hissing sound.
"Tae?" Yoongi asked, trying to reach for his hand once again.
"I can't cross Yoongi. I'm sorry, you have to leave me." Yoongi's eyes were blown wide from that statement. How can Yoongi leave him?
A voice from the speaker suddenly interrupted his thoughts.
"The beginning is where it will end"
It was the final clue.
"Yoongi the code is 0818. That's the day I disappeared. Go now!" Taehyung suddenly shouted.
"But Tae I don't want to go without you…" Yoongi tried to go back to the bigger room but Taehyung stopped him.
"Go! If you don't go now, your soul will be lost here. You promise me you will bring me justice right? Yoongi please go now!" Taehyung pleaded.
"How about you?" Yoongi is close to tears and he isn't even sure why he was about to cry.
"Don't mind me. You can always visit me. Please Yoongi? Please visit me again.. But if you can't don't worry, I'll visit you, once everything is done." Taehyung shouted while pushing Yoongi towards the lock.
"Okay, Taehyung. I'll visit you again and I'll bring you justice and I'll come back to you. I promise." Yoongi gritted his teeth at this decision but he needs to bring Taehyung the peace he deserves.
The door unlocked and the last thing Yoongi saw was Taehyung's boxy smile.
The moment Yoongi stepped out of the room, the sun beaming on his face, Namjoon and Hoseok rushed towards him asking where he had disappeared to and that there were only two rooms on this branch. Yoongi never answered. As the chaos of his friends and staff surrounded him, his mind was floating towards one person. Taehyung.
5 months have passed and everybody seems to have forgotten about that incident. Everybody except Yoongi. As he read today's newspaper he felt at ease. It was a news coverage of bones found in the outskirts of Seoul. The report stated that the body has been missing for 4 years and after years of searching, they found it with the help of a university student who was lost in the woods. Yoongi smiled feeling fulfilled but the next statement made his heart leap for joy, the culprits were arrested. All four of them.
After reading the news, Yoongi went on his way. To that place where everything started. He often comes back there at least twice or thrice a week. Memories of Taehyung lingering on his mind.
When his mind dozes off, he always sees himself walking towards the direction where they first met. That old building in the middle of Seoul. He would see himself standing outside. Looking. Waiting. Hoping.
After a few minutes, Yoongi would go. Emptiness carried on his heart once again. His soul craving for something. For someone. Craving for that boxy smile, but he'll always choose to walk away.
But today is different. He stood there across the street. Cars passed by and he'd still stand there, waiting, but this time he feels like someone is staring back at him. He walks away again, but this time with a smile on his face.
The moment he stepped foot inside his apartment, the empty feeling in his chest was suddenly filled with relief, joy, and contentment.
"Hey Yoongi, you didn't come back so I came here for you."
The voice echoed in the darkness of the hallway.
He feels happy now.
He never felt alone again ever since that day.