This is a nightmare. This is a stupid nightmare, and all I have to do is just pinch myself awake. Ow. Oookay, then.

How about running myself into wall? No, seriously. Take as many step as I can from the pleasantly wallpapered wall, aim for the blank section, then run headlong into it for maximum force of impact. Run repeatedly. Oh, greaaat. Now I’m seeing stars and in the mirror I catch a glimpse of my Dream-self – looking good there- with the beginnings of an almighty bruise on her forehead. God damn it, why am I not waking up! Thunder and lightning. Rain, lots of rain. The sounds mean nothing to me. My window’s open. Because I can hear it. The car. I can hear them. I can hear them. Because my window’s open. I needed to know the minute they’d arrive, although I haven’t the least idea why I needed to know that…as if it would help me out of this mess. Cue hysterics. Oh God. …. Oh God. I inch closer to the window, bit by bit, all the while just praying that this is just a nightmare but my head aches; that doesn’t happen in any semi-conscious reality. Not this physical pain. It increases tenfold when I spot the unfamiliar car and the men....hell, the men. I shudder in revulsion, and the shudders evolve into an uncontrollable shaking that makes my breath come in and go out in great big gasps. Then I stumble to the door and attempt to bolt the door that’s already been bolted. I’m safe. For now but, hell, those thugs are inside our house now; I can hear them demanding Appa to hand me over. Omma’s crying. Wailing. She’s going to wreck her health just after

. and as I finally let go. They’ve got men stationed outside. but I’m going to do this to protect them. The sunglasses convention converges around me. trembling with tears streaming down his cheeks. Real-me looks determined and calm. No. two of them each take an arm and lead me to the door. but Omma’s still crying and suddenly. but Real-me’s hands are clenched in fists and shaking. They could get hurt.. A ridicolous sunglasses convention and should I fetch my one designer pair from Prada to complete the party? The absurdity. My parents –although one is responsible for this. Real-me and Clone-me. call the police.” Appa says brokenheartedly. Real-me looks calm.. I may not be the bravest person. Strangely enough. the sheer hilarity –why do people wear sunglasses on indoors anyway? I want to laugh.. Clone-me realizes what’s happening and throws options at Real-me like fastballs. It’s like there’s two of me. really I want to laugh.powers out in this thunderstorm anyway. “Ga Eul-ah. just put an end to it. a nervous gibbering wreck. Clone-me seems to have drifted to the ceiling. curveballs and no-balls: Shimmy down the drainpipe and run for the hills. Here. We’re passing a man at the door. Real-me is having none of it. I can tell his voice is going to be hoarse. Reality comes back with a bang at that. Real-me unbolts the door and strides out with Clone-me cursing after her. I’m being led to the slaughterhouse. walks down the stairsIt’s a convention. I don’t have a phone. Clone-me and Real-me merge back into Ga Eul who is failing abysmally at holding back her tears as she hugs her mother goodbye. He is pale.are downstairs trying to stop the men from taking me.recovering. I feel sick to my stomach. The men . Right.

I pull back. Immediately.. and look him straight in the eye. I stumble and slump forward as the world decides to go ballerina on me and spin sorry Ga Eul! It’s my fault!” he cries. It seems Clone-me is still hovering around.” “I-I know. All thoughts of being vindictive and hurtful go flying out the window.. They’re not holding me tightly. “but I -I can’t forgive you for this. oh God. “Look after Omma.dead bodies. I’m fast. Nodding. looking older than I’ve ever seen him. StupidStupidStupid! Think girl. I’m sick. rescue Omma and AppaNo. Pain under my arms as the car-blurry-suddenly comes . I’ve been taking self -defence classes. I can hear muffled cursing. rea ching out to Omma. really sick. kick of my shoes and run like hell to the police station –I could do it.. think! What would be the first thing they’d do if I manage to escape and get help? Get rid of the evidence.I’m so. hit some groins. allright? “ He lets go. I cling to him.” I say. I can’t breathe. I see visions of a wrecked hose and dead bodies.. At the station I could lodge a report. I’m really.. I can’t stand this. We’re barely out the door but an escape plan is already forming in my mind... I’m assaulted by a newspaper headline: Another Home Destroyed. miraculously dry eyed. “I know you didn’t mean it.. he stumbles away.. I’m really fast. Leaving.release me as Appa steps in to hug me remorsefully. I could twist out of their grip.If I had a choice. struggling to keep the hitch out of my voice.. Now comes the hard part.

I have been taken by the Mafia. muttering under his breath. Honest. ______________________________________________________________________________ . Like he was trained to do this. He came in through the rosebush. Comfortable looking clothes. The back door is opened. None. Mid-40s. last. I can tell even in my state because I’m helped onto plush leather-seat. my brain tries to tell me. earth-shattering thought. gives him a once over (Caucasian. Just the gun. Smelly) and frisks him. then ran them through several cycles of washing. the roaring of the engine seems too far away. . “Are you kidding me? Trying to take me on with this?” Just for good measure. he crouches down and a leg snakes out to knock the shadow of his feet. Pfft. After that. He keeps up the casual facade. The shadow is still groaning on his back when Woo Bin pockets his gun. and when the shadow behind him tries to pull the trigger. wait.. Darkened alleyways aren’t for billionaires. Like a knee jerk reaction.. I have one. he really isn’t. He hauls the guy up. But then. He’s just an heir.and some shapes onn either side keep me from falling.. The person who wants to see him isn’t here yet. “What.. Oh. He doesn’t look out of place. My vision is fading. He made sure of that when he bought them. The designer labels have been torn off. he checks for bullets. It’s actually really fast.ten feet closer. he took a walk in a garden... you bought this at Toys-R-Us?” .

aaaand that’s him t oppling to the ground again. let me guess. “So. “you’d think a country like the U. He stares at the rich kid. Meh. “See. he doesn’t seem to realise the guy is getting to his feet. its always like this.The guy suddenly breaks free and lunges at Woo Bin.” . He nimbly steps out of the way and slugs him in the jaw. I’ve got a room service dinner at a five-star hotel.” rambling on.S would have this problem covered. if you wanted money you should have just asked the Welf are Department.” He checks his watch and curses. allright. lets steal his wallet or strip him down to his undies and pawn of the shit! Maybe if we’re imaginative we’ll kidnap him and get rich with the ransom!” The guy moans when he sees Woo Bin’s hand going out of his line of sight and closes his eyes to await the impact.” Woo Bin frowns. you saw me walking into Gucci and decided to tail me. Use it wisely. “God. I just emptied it for you. “a shower. He topples. what’s the deal? Hired assassin? Struck by recession with a wife and kids to feed? No. and now you want to mug me. Now don’t spend it all on candy. I gotta go. like.” He says in falsetto: “Hey it’s a rich guy. Woo Bin dusts off his coat. “Look. for instance. He doesn’t expect the rustling sound of dollar notes being pressed into his hand. muttering to himself. Woo Bin sighs and opens his wallet wide. “Just because I rich. whimpering. Then you left the note on my doorstep-I’m not going to even bother thinking about how you got into the hotel-crapping on about a matter of life and death.” he sniffs delicately. being all developed and stuff –HEY!” That’s the guy trying a second punch.

Then he tried to punch me. sajangnim. Said it was important.” Then. He stuffs it into his pockets. how?” “Dirt. Woo Bin is still walking and muttering to himself.” “Money-lending. “Go.” “I thought we don’t do money-lending.” “Ah.” “Oh. his jacket and hightails it outta there.” “Important. “Why are you calling?” “Other than the fact that you ran away and I sick with worry? The Big Man’s man called.” says Woo Bin and switches to Korean.” he mutters just as his phone rings. said his aide. I just had a run in with a local. right. He starts to count the money.Woo Bin walks of and the would-be mugger stares after the rich guy-nice guy.” “Did he try to rob you or kill me” “He tried to rob me.” “Ouch”. “And I thought it was going to be fun. He picks up after the third ring. “Sorry about that.” . “Hello?” “Annyeonghaseyo. His eyes widen.” “Male or Female?” “Male.

” “A girl named Ga Eul. what problem! The Big Man’s man didn’t call about that. Mother ill. He took the money to keep them afloat but the payment is too much for him to handle. Family of three.” “Where are you sir? “Me? Uh.” “Sajangnim“I’ll take care of it.” “Jeez. Father recently out of work.” “.. The collateral is..” .” “And?” “It’s someone you know.. tell the guys to prepare a jet.” “Human? You sound like a B-rate horror flick!” “The daughter..human.but you already knew that. somewhere in Harlem.” “Sir?” “Put my food in a doggy bag.. The father put his daughter down as collateral.” “Who?” “I don’t-“ “Who. sir. didn’t you? Did you retape the note or track my GPS?” “I am my money’s worth sir..” “There...there’s a problem.” “I’ll take care of it. and get someone to pick me up..“Apparently we do.

“Right.” . Pack the bags. We’re going home.

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