When a cultural misunderstanding leads to a horrific curse…
Joe goes to South Korea to teach English and accidentally unleashes a deadly curse upon himself and his co-worker. Together, they must fight off the beasts of hell and find a way to lift the curse.
Tags: horror story, dark magic, mountain, buddhism, monster story, ghost story, cursed, scary story, south korea, short story
|Publication Date||Aug. 02, 2017|
|BCRS ratings?Learn more|
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Final Resting Place
By Dongbaek Sasang
Public Domain License Notes
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“Dong Chim!” A student ran up behind Joe.
“Ahhh, what the…” Joe cringed as if, he had just been sexually assaulted. Just then, his co-teacher ran into the room.
“Joseph, is everything ok?” She said in fluent English with a Korean accent.
“That student just stuck his fingers up my rear end!” Joe announced in a shocked manner.
“Minsu ya elo wa!” The student got out of his seat, and walked to the teacher avoiding eye contact. He stuck out his hand, and the teacher hit it with a wooden stick. The boy whimpered and returned to his seat. It appeared he learned his lesson, not to ‘Dong Chim’ the teacher.
“I’m very sorry Joseph, students in Korea like every country can be active sometimes. I will call his mother. I know it’s your first day, so keep working hard, and you will become a great teacher soon.” She confidently walked around the classroom and the students straightened up, and were silent. “Thanks.” Joe replied as he was gathering himself together. The rest of the day was better, but Joe was in over his head to say the least. Finally, the end of the day came, and with it the last bell rang. Joe got up out of his desk and walked through the dark hallways of the large community center. The large windows on each floor, showed a cluster of apartment buildings densely packed together, and lit up sporadically. He dragged his feet through the large empty hallways of the 3rd floor and noticed a large crack running through the side of the staircase. His commute could have been the shortest in the world. In fact, it only took fifteen seconds. All he had to do was walk through the parking lot to the dorm behind the school. Joe put his small plastic trinket onto the small scanner, located next to the locked door, and it said something in Korean, and unlocked the door. Joe continued to walk through the parking lot noticing how dark the mountain was behind the school. This is because his school was at the top of a mountain, right where the mountain area begins. The point where hiking paths begin to appear. Joe entered the kitchen and living room area of the dorm. The sound of frying mandu and noodles emanated into the air, as a dreary Joe walked into the room. He was wondering what he had gotten himself into coming to this strange country, to try a profession he had no experience or education in. Furthermore, Joe was lacking confidence and self-esteem. He pulled out a chair and sat down on the dinner table and laid his head into his arms.
“Cheer up Joe, it was your first freaking day.” A co-worker said as he massaged Joe’s shoulders.
“I can’t do this, I’m not a good teacher. I’m not cut out for this.” Joe conceded.
“You should have seen Mike’s first day, a kid crapped his pants, and tried to clean it up with his bare hands. There was poo everywhere.” All the co-workers burst into laughter.
“Yeah, you’ll be fine Joe. In a few weeks, you’ll get the hang of things, and it will be a breeze. Did you get the dreaded ‘Dong Chim’? That is a bizarrely Korean thing for sure. The kid locks his fingers together and points out his index fingers. Then goes straight at you from behind. It’s ok man, really, you’re not the first, and you won’t be the last. It’s almost like a rite of passage.” A female co-worker added as she was cooking nearby.
“I need to go to bed. I’m still jet lagged from the seventeen-hour flight here.” Joe was very sleepy indeed.
The next day Joe woke up feeling better and more importantly less exhausted. He stumbled into work around 11 a.m. His classroom was very bright, the wall was completely glass which looked down into the town. It was a very nice view of an urban setting juxtaposed with nature. Large mountain ranges surrounded the town, and it had a river running through it. There was an stunning view from the school, which was perched on the mountain. The classrooms had big whiteboards and velcro patches around the walls, where you could put laminated pictures and words. Joe was sitting at his desk lesson planning and preparing for that day’s classes. The manager knocked at the door.
“Hello Joe, can I come?”
“Sure.” Joe stood up out of his seat and acknowledged her.
“Tomorrow, we have new teacher arriving, from South Africa. Please kind to him and helping.” She was struggling to speak English to her best ability, as she was part of the office and not one of the teachers.
“Yes, I will do that Mindy.”
“Sure sure sure.” She replied often like that.
The bell rang and did its little jingle. The kids ran into the class room like flood water breaking a levee. Joe began to doubt himself again that he could be a teacher, or that he could succeed at anything. The classes soon finished and most them were disasters, but its expected when your new a teaching in a strange country, where the kids can’t understand you. At the end of the day Joe picked himself up again and headed to his dorm room. His dorm room was nice. It had a balcony which the whole town could be seen from, as well as a nice bathroom, spacious bedroom, T.V. and desk. He hooked up his internet and skyped his parents.
“Mom, I’m coming home.” Joe was defeated.
“Stop it Joe, it’s your first week. Just give it a chance. How are you supposed to handle a job back in Michigan, if you can’t even handle this job? You never worked a real job before, so get used to it, life’s tough.” She was never easy on Joe.
“Ok Mom, I will try my best to handle a real job for once, instead of quitting all my minimum wage jobs like before. The job market is pretty bad back home, and I did just graduate not that long ago.” Joe sighed and tried to muster up some strength to put on a good show for his mother.
“Good, I’m glad to see your attitude changing. Also, I’m not paying for your flight home, you’re on your own now buddy. You’re an adult now, but I’m here for you, and your father is too. We love you, so keep your chin up.” She said.
“Ok Mom, I love you too, see you later.” Joe felt better after talking to his mother. He kind of missed her already.
Regardless, if Joe succeeded or not, Joe was stuck in Korea for at least six weeks. This is because in Korea you get paid monthly, and the first pay was irregular, so he was going to have to wait for at least six weeks. He wasn’t going anywhere even if he was desperately afraid.
The next day, Joe was starting to get into the rhythm of the class schedules, meetings, lesson plans, but more importantly his sleeping pattern was starting to adjust. The day went like the last few days, a disaster, but this day was a little less disastrous then previous ones. Clearly, Joe still didn’t have the confidence yet to command the classroom. Soon enough, the end of the day came after an active day of teaching all those rambunctious elementary students. Once again, Joe walked through the empty, dark corridor and stopped at the huge, bulging window located in front of the staircase. He glanced at the large apartment complexes located through the town and saw all the little lights reflecting off the swelling river. When joe walked into the dorms, there was a guy sitting on the couch watching T.V.
“Hey, are you the new guy?” Joe had a confused look upon his face.
“Ah yes, that’s me. My name’s Peter nice to meet you.” He gave a friendly greeting to Joe.
“Nice to meet you too, I’m Joe. Wow! You’re a petty buff guy.” Joe seemed very comfortable around Peter. Joe didn’t usually warm up to people quickly. He was curious to know how a person with such light features could be considered “African”. Joe secretly wished he could be as blond and strong as him.
“Yeah well in the town I’m from we grow them big. You farm, and avoid getting eaten by wildlife. It’s the Boer way!” He had a confident way of speaking, as well as a slight charm about him.
“So, you’re an Afrikaans native speaker?” Joe curiously sat down on the other couch across from Peter.
“That’s right, also I’m a registered teacher in South Africa and majored in English Education.”
“Great, maybe you can show me a thing or two about how to be a good teacher?” Joe kind of fidgeted as he asked for help.
“Sure, no problem man, but I’m going to bed right now because I’m deadly exhausted. Where is my room?” He inquired with an exhausted look about him.
“It’s at the end of the hallway, on the second floor right next to my room.” Peter got up and slowly shuffled down the hallway towards his room and called it a night.
Joe woke up the next morning nice and early to natural sunlight creeping into his room. He sauntered over to the balcony and opened the door. A blast of hot air burst into room. Summers in Korea were rather hot and tropical like, much hotter than Michigan, that’s for sure. The view from his balcony was gorgeous, mountain peaks and vast flowing rivers could be seen far off into the distance. Maybe Korea wasn’t so bad after all. It was safe and the people here were nice, but a little shy, especially to foreigners, maybe because they had little experience with them. There was a knocking at the door. Joe ran to the door and quickly opened it up. “Hey, tonight let me treat you to a real South African ‘braai’. I woke up super early today because I’m still on South African time, and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. There was a supermarket around our school that has a bunch of different meat. I found a few different grills in the storage room. We can do it on the main floor patio.” He excitedly said, as he dropped large bags of meat on the floor. Joe was more than happy to accept the offer.
In the evening Joe and Peter both got off work at the same time. They completed the worlds shortest commute to the dorms behind the school and began to set up the barbeque. They set up three big barbeques and loaded them with coal and briquettes. Peter had prepared well for their “braii”. They had Korean style duck, pork, and beef. Soon the meat started to sizzle and crack as drops of grease hit the red embers.
“The view’s not bad.” Peter added, as he flipped some meat and poured them a beer and soju.
“Yeah, the apartment complex along the river and the lurking mountains way out in the distance. I have never seen anything like this.” Joe said.
“Agreed, I have seen a lot of amazing landscapes and animals in South Africa, but never anything like this either. Have you ever climbed the mountain behind the school? It looks like we can just enter a mountain trail from the other side of the school grounds.” He took a big bite of a tender piece of duck.
“We can, and we can have a “braai” on the mountain too! We’ll just bring one of these little grill grates and put coals under it.” Joe stood up and stared at the mountain.
“Agreed, let’s do it this weekend. Joe have you noticed anything strange about the students here?” Peter suddenly changed the topic, and things got serious.
“No, why?” Joe had a surprised look on his face.
“Oh nothing, the students just seem super superstitious here. If you try talking about ghosts and stuff like that, they immediately go silent and look super freaked out. They all completely believe in ghosts, and I can’t figure out why”. Peters face looked very tense, and Joe didn’t say anything. They finished eating and put away everything.
On Saturday Morning Joe got up and knocked on Peter’s door. Joe and Peter gathered all the hiking materials they needed and grabbed some coal, meat, and a small grilling grate. They exited out of the back door of the dorms. Behind the dorms was a small almost vertical hill that led up to a forested area which was undeveloped, and from there it was mountain, and mountain only. The boys climbed up the small shrubby hill almost slipping down a few times, but eventually found a way up. When they got to the top of the hill, they were almost on par with the third floor of the dorms. However, they could see onto the top of the school’s roof because the school was situated lower on the school property. The school was about three quarters up the mountain, and even the school grounds themselves were on a steep incline. The boys found a patch of flat ground at the top of the hill, surrounded by local Korean people’s gardens. They were growing various types of vegetables. They noticed a beaten pathway running along the top that led to a little ledge with a rope hanging off a tree. They climbed up the roots of the tree to the top of the elevated pathway and walked for few minutes. They decided to look for a spot to make a grill, just off the pathway, right behind the school. They went off the pathway and down into the brush and found an open area that wasn’t covered in trees. There was a small hump adjacent to a small stone ledge. “Let’s make it here.” Peter proclaimed we shall build the barbeque. Joe agreed because it was literally five minutes from the dorms, yet secluded enough. They began to dig a small hole inside the lump of dirt and set up some rocks around the fire spot. They stuck a large rock into the top of the dirt pile. As soon as they started making a fire, they noticed somebody walking around them above the pathway. They immediately stomped out the fire, and put it out. The man came down into the brush. As he got close they noticed, he was an old Korean man. They started to freak out because old Korean people were notorious for scolding people. The man approached the lump of dirt, and just started losing it. He was screaming and pointing at them, of course they had no idea what he was saying. He just kept saying “jeoju” “jeoju” “jeoju.” The boys stood there looking at the ground. Joe happened to notice something a little strange. Below the area they were standing on was held up by carefully crafted rocks to form a ledge. All the pieces were carefully put together to form a wall holding up the area in the clearing. The man finally started to calm down and a tear rolled down his face. Unexpectedly, his face turned white as a ghost, and he just bolted out of there, like he had seen the wrath of God himself. Joe and Peter looked at each other and ran down the mountain, jumping off the roped ledge and sliding down the small hill. They ran into Peter’s room, slammed the door, locked the door knob and deadbolt.
“What the hell just happened!” Peter was pacing around the room.
“That guy went crazy! Maybe were not supposed to make fires on the mountain, but why would he get so emotional about it?” Joe sat there with his hand on his head.
“Oh no!” Peter sat there with shocked look on his face.
“That wasn’t a lump of dirt!” Peter said.
“It was a grave!” Joe completed the thought.
“How do you know for sure?” Peter inquired.
“When the guy was going crazy, I looked down and saw that somebody had built a perfect stone ridge around the area.” Joe explained.
“Exactly, and why else would the elderly man get so heated over that?” Peter agreed.
“I hope we don’t get arrested and deported for this.” Joe said in a worried way.
“let’s go back tonight and fix the grave, clean it up, and pay our respects.” Peter seemed to have figured out how to fix this insane situation.
“Will go back tonight, nobody will see us.” Joe decided. Around two ante meridiem, Joe and Peter snuck out the back entrance of the dorms from the second floor and stealthy went up the hill. They brought flash lights with them, but did not want to alert anyone to the fact of what they did. Luckily there was enough moon light, so that they could find the pathway and shimmy up the rope. “The spot we went off the path way should be around here.” Peter said. They went down the small rim onto the flat and brushy area. They began to search for the grave. Abruptly, Joe let out a gasp. Peter came running over to Joe to find him pointing a flashlight at an empty grave. Peter had to hold Joe up because he was nearly passing out from fear. “It’s impossible!” Peter let out, but they both damn knew, it was the exact same spot they were earlier that day. The hair on the back of their necks rose and little goose bumps formed on their arms. Something here was seriously deranged. “Let’s get out of here right now!” Joe was shaking uncontrollably. They both looked at each other, but didn’t even need say anything. It was clear they were both thinking the same thing. When they got back to the dorms, they decided to not to talk about this ever again. To Just pretend like it never happened, and to deny they were ever there. It wasn’t them, and they have no idea what you’re talking about.
Sunday morning, Joe woke up very early because he was having some night terrors. He went down to the first floor to make some coffee. Peter was already there. Nobody else had woken up yet.
“How did you sleep.” Joe asked as he pushed the button on the coffee machine.
“Terrible, I kept having this dream where something was stalking and chasing me.” Peter said very softly. Joe dropped his mug on the ground, and it shattered into a million pieces.
“I had the same dream too.” His face looked catatonic.
“What was that old man saying, something like ‘Jeoju’?” Peter was fidgeting with his hands.
“It means curse in Korean. I looked it up last night in an online dictionary.” Joe slowly walked upstairs to his room and did not leave it the whole day.
The next morning Joe woke up nice and early and went to his classroom to start lesson planning. Peter abruptly came into his classroom, shut the door, and closed the blinds. “last night I saw something on your balcony. It was a wearing a long dark robe with a large hood covering its face. It was trying to look into your room!” He was talking very quietly, shaking as he spoke. He genuinely looked terrified.
“Peter! What the hell man! It’s not funny. This whole situation has freaked me out unbelievably. The last thing I need right now is this crap!” He was beyond irate that Peter would pull something like this on him. Peter left the room without saying anything. At the end of the day Joe, like always turned off the computer and tidied up his classroom. As he left the classroom he noticed something at the end of the long dark hallway. Two glowing red blotches appeared to be floating there. He froze. As his night vision started to function, he could make out the shape of a large figure wearing a dark robe with its face covered by a large hood. The figure slowly took a step forward. Then, it took another step forward. Rapidly, the figure stormed down the hallway at incredible speed. Joe stumbled backwards, almost tripping over his own heel. He ran into his classroom, slammed the door, and closed the blinds of his door. He threw his desk in front of the door and sat with his back against the desk. He passed out with fear, and woke up on the floor the next morning. The bright morning sun was blasting through the huge glass wall of his classroom. The clock on the wall said six ante meridiem. He opened the door and peaked out in both directions to nothing but sunshine coming from the large window in front of the stairs. He ran to Peter’s room and frantically banged on the door. Peter opened the door, grabbed him, and pulled him in.
“I’m so sorry Peter!” Joe was nearly crying.
“So, you saw it too?” Peter’s face was sullen.
“Yes, it appeared at the end of the hallway when I finished work. I holed up in my classroom the entire night.” Joe explained.
“Last night, I was smoking on the balcony and a black mist appeared behind me. Something grabbed my neck from behind and started choking me. I was able to toss it over my shoulder and run inside.” Peter lowered his shirt and pulled off a bandage to show a flesh wound. “Thankfully, my friends and I used to practice Krav Maga on the farm. I have also wrestled larger beasts before.” Peter was trying to put on a tough face, but Joe knew nobody could handle this situation.
“Peter, we got other problems too. Mindy came into my classroom yesterday to inform me that the next two weeks the schools going on vacation.”
“Also, the rest of our co-workers are going to Japan together for the summer holiday.” Peter chimed in.
“I don’t have enough money to buy a plane ticket home.” Joe said.
“Same.” Peter replied.
“Meet me in my classroom before work finishes to plan our next move”. Joe suggested and Peter agreed.
The entire day at work, Joe couldn’t concentrate, the lingering fear and shock would not subside. Joe’s last class finished and the end of the school day bell rang. The sun was starting to go down. Peter came into the classroom and shut the door and locked it behind him. They put a large teacher’s desk in front of the door.
“Everyone’s gone, it’s just me and you. Everyone left for Japan, and the office started their vacation early.” Joe trembled as he spoke, while Peter looked calmer and composed.
“What the hell is this thing!” Peter was looking out the window in anticipation.
“I don’t know.”
“We need to hunt this creature, just like I hunted wild animals in South Africa. What’s scarier a lion or this thing? Peter tried to put on a brace face.
“That thing.” Joe was clearly petrified.
“I made a plan. First, we make a small fire in the barbeque with a wooden stick placed into it, like a torch. Then, I throw gas onto it, and you take the stick out and light the creature on fire. You will sit under the first-floor balcony, and I will be waiting on top with the gas. When it approaches, I will pour the gas onto it from the second-floor communal balcony.” Peter seemed to have planned this out before. The two of them proceeded to remove the barricade from the door and peaked out from the door frame. “The coast is clear. Let’s go.” The two of them ran down the stairs and dashed towards the dorms. At the last security door, Peter grabbed Joe and pushed him to the side of the door, hidden from sight. Peter silently signaled for Joe to peak his head to the side of the glass door. In view, were two red glowing eyes on top of the hill looking into the parking lot. “It’s here, let’s go out the front entrance.” Peter said. They ran out the front door and booked it around the side of the school to the dorms basement exit. The school was a floor lower than the dorms, but the dorms had three entrances on different floors. Peter set up on the second-floor balcony behind the school overlooking the parking lot. While Joe got the barbeque into position and lit the fire with a large stick hanging out of the circular, black metal-bowl. It was only a matter of time before, ‘it’ made an appearance. They were both into position and ready on standby to execute the plan. After about one hour, the boys began to get sleepy when in the parking lot a tall robed figure appeared. Two red glowing eyes, could only be seen. As it approached, the silhouette of a tall and scrawny person wearing a long black robe with a baggy hood covering its face appeared. In both of its skeletal hands, it was carrying a lengthy pole with an axe blade at the top. The blade was bulky and fanned out, but gradually got leaner as it extended towards the handle. There was a triangular spike mounted on the top, and the back side of the blade protruded like a razor-sharp, metal claw. Joe began to freak out, he was fighting his natural instinct to flee. As it got within twenty meters of him, it stopped. Gradually, it got darker and darker until it could not be seen anymore. A few monuments passed by. Abruptly, Peter started screaming from above. “It’s up here!” Joe immediately grabbed the homemade torch from the barbeque bowl and sprinted inside the dorm to the second floor. He burst open the door and saw, the creature swinging the massive halberd over its head. Peter was lying on the ground, and rolled out of the way as the creature thrust down the halberd. The possessed halberd cleaved the ground, just missing Peter. Little pieces of tile and concrete flew everywhere. The monster was dripping like it was wet’ it appeared Peter had drenched him in gasoline before getting thrown on the ground. Peter screamed. “Do it Joe! Now!” Joe froze. He couldn’t move at all, even though he had the perfect opportunity to strike it. The beast turned its hood over in Joe’s direction and took a few paces forward, until it was in front of Joe. It raised the halberd over its head again, to take another mighty swing. Joe dropped the torch on the ground in fear, he was a deer caught in the highlights. It appeared Joe was done for. Rapidly, Peter got up and leaped into the air, heroically tackling Joe out of the way. The halberd smashed the floor again scattering little pieces of concrete in all directions. Peter leapt to his feet, and dove for the torch, sliding across the floor. He slid far enough to grasp it in his hand. The monster then held the halberd in a defensive thrusting position. Not allowing anything to get even close to it, without getting fatally speared. Joe got up and took cover like a poltroon. As soon as peter got up, he would be fatally struck. Peter saw the jerry can of gas knocked over by the railing of the balcony. He whipped the torch in that direction, it spun like somebody throwing an axe. The monster attempted to smash the torch out of the air, just missing it with one long swing. The torch landed on the far side of the large balcony, next to the Jerry can and instantaneously exploded. A small orange burst of fire lite up the night sky for a few seconds and subsided back to where the jerry can was. Only a small flame was still burning where the torch landed. The ghost was flailing around on fire, and Its halberd was dropped on the floor. When the weapon hit the ground, it promptly turned into dust. The ghost was thrashing about and started running towards the balcony railing making a strange gasping sound. It fell straight down to the parking lot below. Joe and Peter ran down the stairs to the parking lot. But, when they got there, all there was on the ground was a pile of black dust and a large burnt area around it on the pavement. Joe felt disgusted with himself at his apparent cowardice, and Peter looked like he did not want to say anything to Joe. Joe was just happy to put this behind him. They went to their rooms locked the doors and got some much needed rest.
The next morning, Joe and Peter woke up early and met in the common area. Joe was feeling much better, he believed this nightmare was finally over.
“Man, I’m so sorry Peter…” Joe was looking at the floor.
“It’s ok. Nobody’s perfect, and people just crack sometimes. Peter seemed to understand the situation.
“As soon as I get my first pay cheque, I’m pulling a midnight run.”
“Me too, but for now, let’s make the best of it.”
“Do you wanna get some lunch in town?” Joe suggested.
“Sure.” Peter happily obliged. The two of them walked to the front door of the dorms. Joe put his trinket next to the door, and it unlocked. They walked down the road, leading up to the mountain, and took a bus to the town center. The town center was small but very dense. It had a main strip of low rise buildings filled with restaurants, singing rooms and bars. There was also a small bus station that had buses streaming in and out to all parts of the country. Town buses zipped through the main strip on both sides, and people were going about their daily lives on the crowded sidewalk. Joe suggested that they eat at ‘Kimbab Chungook’. They entered the small hole in the wall restaurant on the main strip, took off their shoes, and sat on the floor. Joe reached for a box on the knee-high table, carefully taking off the lid. He pulled out a set of chopsticks and spoons. The menu had about fifty different items that were all uniquely Korean food. Various types of Kimbap, fried rice, soups, and noodle dishes could all be purchased for cheap price. Joe decided to get the ‘Jaeyook Deopbab’, and Peter ordered the ‘Jeongshik’. When they were ready to order, they pushed a little red button attached to the table which set off a small doorbell like sound from the back of the restaurant. A woman came running up to them, and they awkwardly pointed at the menu and tried spit out the few Korea words they knew. The ajjuma in the back quickly whipped up their meals, and brought them out, still sizzling on the plate. They ate their meals with pride, as if they had defeated the devil himself. After they finished their meal, they pooled their money together and paid for the meal. Peter suggested that they walk around the main strip and see what was around the area. They began to walk behind the bus station, and Joe couldn’t help but wonder why there was so many motels for such a small town. In one of the many alleyways, Joe noticed a sign saying “철학원.” Joe barely was able to read the Korean letters, but just made out the words. In fact, Korean was so easy to read, Joe was able to learn the basics in a few weeks before coming to Korea. He read a great Korean king once said. “A wise man can acquaint himself with Korean before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days.” He recalled his co-teacher telling him that Korean people would actually go to the “철학원” to name their children, seek marital advice, or career guidance, but the practice was rapidly fading. However, in Joe’s town the practice was alive and well. “let’s go in and see what the person says about us.” Joe was enthusiastic for a new experience, and something to take his mind off the previous horrors. They walked into the dark alleyway. They saw a small staircase leading into a basement. They walked down the creaky wooden staircase into a dimly lit room with strange artwork, and exotic items hung around the room. An old Korean man sat in a wide oak desk in an extravagant leather chair. He spoke surprisingly well in English. They sat down at the table, and Joe explained their situation and the events that had occurred
“This is very troubling indeed.” The man was very calm and calculated.
“So, wait! It’s not over? Can you help us?” Joe was sitting very forward in his chair. His voice cracked in desperate fashion.
“You have been cursed indeed.” His facial expression did not change at all from its emotionless state.
“Are you going to help us or what!” Peter jumped in.
“Can you help, yourself?” He quipped. Joe and Peter did not respond.
“To lift the ‘jeoju,’ you will need to take the following steps. Firstly, you will need to visit a temple of the ‘Three Crown Jewels’. Then, you will need to make an offering, and retrieve the supplies for the ‘Purging Ceremony’. Lastly, you will need to perform the ritual at the point of the curse. It is simple, if you complete these tasks, then the curse will be lifted. Until then, they will keep coming.” The old man slightly grinned in a cynical way manor.
“What do you mean?” Joe said frantically.
“That is all I can say.” The old man then went back to reading a book and writing into a small notebook. Joe and Peter got up and left, as their consultation was over. They went to a nearby computer cafe “P.C. Bang.” Joe did a quick search on the internet. He found out that the ‘Three Crown Jewel’ temples are the three master temples of Korean Buddhism. Chosen for their ancient history and geographical beauty. Each representing the Triple Gem, also known as the ‘Three Refuges of Buddhism’. After scouring Naver Maps, he caught a huge break. One of the ‘Three Crown Jewels’ temples was located just north of their town. Actually, the temple Haeinsa was located twenty-five kilometers north of Hapcheon, but they would need to hike through the mountains to reach the temple. Joe and Peter both agreed to set out for Haeinsa and through the Gayasan mountain range tomorrow. On the way home, they stopped by an outdoor camping store and picked up a tent and some camping supplies. It would be a few nights hike through the mountains to reach the temple. When they returned home, they barricaded themselves in Peter’s room and agreed to take turns sleeping, so somebody, constantly could be on guard. Nobody was around to help them; the place was completely vacant. They couldn’t even dial 911 if they wanted, neither of them knew what their address was in Korean, and the operators probably don’t speak English.
“So, I mapped out the route we will take first thing tomorrow. It will take us, maybe two nights to reach the temple. I used to do this kind of stuff all the time back in S.A.” Peter seemed to know what to do.
“Great, because I was never the outdoorsy type of guy.” Joe exhaled a sigh of relieve.
“Here, take this hunting knife.” Peter demanded. Joe reached his hand out and accepted the knife.
“I’m going to bed now.” Joe laid out a small mat on the ground, and he nodded off. The last thing Joe saw was Peter standing guard.
Joe opened his eye. He was heavily asleep, until that moment. He thought he heard something in the hallway. The wind was fierce that night, and the balcony door was slamming shut repeatedly. He looked around for Peter. He saw Peter lying in his bed. He must have dosed off on guard duty, and thus never woke Joe up for his turn. He heard something in the hallway approaching the door. There were lumbering footsteps. Joe was laying on the floor. Joe felt vibrations on the floor each time the creature took a slow step forward. He decided to play dead and not make any noise. It was too risky to wake up Peter. He might startle him and make a lot of noise which would alert, lord knows what, is walking around the hallway. Joe heard it, approach the door. He heard fast, high pitched, squeaking sounds outside the door. Almost like a squeaky engine belt. Then, claws scrapping down the thick metal door could be heard. Peter got up, and Joe signaled him to be quiet by putting his finger straight up over his mouth. High-pitched squeaking and chattering could be heard. They both sat there, paralyzed in fear. They both heard hefty footstep thumping away from the door. They felt the room slightly vibrate for every step it took. It appeared to exit out of the second-floor balcony. Joe sat there watching Peter. They both waited until the sun came up before saying anything.
“What the **** was that Peter!”
“I don’t know, I don’t want to know, let’s just get on the road.” Peter said sternly. Joe opened the door and to his horror saw three large claw marks leading down the door. There was some fur at the base of the door, and the hallway reeked of a pungent, feces like smell. Joe and Peter promptly left the dorms. The sun was just rising and they walked to the city center to catch a town bus to the outskirts of town. They entered onto the small bumpy old bus, and it took the long and winding journey to the last stop in the country side. While riding the bus, there was barely any signs of civilization. Just some rice patties clustered around the side of the road with the occasion traditional Korean farm house. There were ample small, mountainous hills scattered throughout the landscape. Eventually, a towering mountain range came into view. The bus stopped at the base of the mountain, and they got off the bus. The bus drove to the end of the street and turned around to make its way back into town. They walked up a small dirty road that went towards the mountain. The road started to incline. They could see more rice patties on either side of the road and little hanok house that looked like they had no electricity or plumping. The road got steeper and steeper until they had reached the base of the mountain were civilization ended.
The mountain range seemed boundless and intimidating. They entered a rocky dirt path flanked by trees which engulfed the view of outside the mountain. Joe’s bag was heavy and bulky. He started feeling tired immediately, but they had enough supplies to camp for a few days comfortably. Peter was leading Joe with a map and compass because neither of them had bought a cell phone yet. Peter was charting the direction. “We’ll have to follow this ridge for a few days, if we can make good time. The temple is in a rather secluded area in the range.” Peter said as he marched forward. Joe did not respond his mind was racing. Joe was having trouble comprehending what he had gotten himself into. He just wanted to go home and never come back. The trail was very beautiful. It had many exotic types of trees and plants that Joe had never seen in North America. Moreover, there was large streams spewing out from various location in the mountain, meandering towards the bottom. They also encountered occasional reservoirs of water. They stopped at a mineral spring to take a rest and drink some water.
“How do you do it? Like you know, stay strong all this time.”
“Life will never be easy for the ninety-nine percent. Life will be full of trials and tribulations. It’s how a person handles them which makes them a man.” Peter looked into the sky.
“I guess you’re right. It’s just I thought my life would be different you know? My parents told me to go to university, and you’ll get a good job. I did that, and now I’m unemployed and in debt up to my eye balls. How can the richest country in the world be so poor?” Joe pondered.
“Well it’s inherent in the capitalist system to be honest. If you look at the beginning of capitalism in England, it was just rich and poor. The rich exploited the poor because they controlled the businesses. Then, things gradually got better, and people became middle class, so they were content. But now, things are reverting back into the beginnings of capitalism. The rich are allowed to exploit us, and we are powerless. The politicians who can fix these problems are the rich class, and don’t care about us. We allow companies and politician to exploit us. We work for free as interns at companies, and then keep voting in the politician bought by those companies. We choose not to vote, and not to care, and not to protest. We did this to ourselves.”
“Wow, that deep. How do you know this?” Joe had a curious look on his face.
“I studied sociology in university, so we talked about this stuff often. We learned about the history of capitalism dating back to nineteenth century Britain. Well, at the end of the day you were born in America. You at least have an opportunity. Millions of people are born into poverty in developing countries, and it’s literally impossible for them to ever find any opportunity.” Peter said.
“Yeah, it’s all in perspective.” Joe realized.
“Let’s keep moving, we don’t know what’s out there hunting us.” Peter commanded.
“Peter, what was that thing last night.” Joe looked scared.
“I don’t know, and I don’t want to think about it. Let’s keep moving.”
The rest of the day they kept moving at a good pace and the sun soon started to go down. At that time of the year the sun would set very late in the evening and the weather was very warm and comfortable. It was the point of dusk, where it was literally in-between day and night. Dark trees appeared surrounded by a shadowy blue hue. “Peter did you hear that?” Peter was silent because he heard something as well. The sound of enormous flapping wings could be heard. It made a pronounced “woosh” sound, over and over. Peter grabbed Joe and threw him behind a boulder. Joe got a glimpse of the beast as it flew over them, but he could not make out, exactly what It looked like. The same screeching from before echoed through the air. Joe grabbed Peter and pointed towards a nearby cave. They ran into the small entrance of the cave and hid in the rock wall of a ledge. They set up their sleeping bags and tried to get some shut eye. Joe didn’t really sleep at all that night; He was too focused on the strange noises of the night.
At the crack of dawn, Joe opened his eyes to the first light of day. According to Peter they had made exceptional time yesterday and would be able to make it to the temple by nightfall. They got back onto the pathway and starting hiking as fast as they could. Joe was constantly looking above the canopy to see if the creature was following them. They only stopped for a brief lunch at a mineral spring. After a long day of hiking, they were nearly at Haeinsa. The sun started setting again. It was the same time as yesterday at dawn when the beast came. The time, when night and day are stuck in limbo. They heard it again; the ‘whoosing’ sound of two large wings, resonating in the distance. They were baffled, and terrified to get a glimpse of what it possibly was. Joe’s imagination went wild. “Run Joe! We’re almost there!” Joe started sprinting as fast as he could, while Peter trailed him. In-between the peaks of the mountains a complex surrounded by a stone wall could be seen with candle-lit lanterns around the perimeter. “That’s it! Joe screamed. Joe could see Haeinsa getting closer and closer. Joe and Peter swiftly stopped, and they teetered on the edge of a crashing slope. The temple was just below them. At that moment, Joe heard the creature land in a clearing about fifty feet behind them. It made a booming sound as it touched down, and the ground slightly vibrated beneath them. The trees were Ruffling, and branches were snapping. It was sprinting full speed through the forest, in their direction. They both looked at each other and ran down the hill in the dead of night. Joe was bolting full speed down the hill when he tripped over his feet. He went tumbling down the hill and lost consciousness.
Joe opened his eyes slowly. Joe was unsure of his surroundings. Maybe he was dead and in heaven. He must have been eaten by the creature when he was passed out. He soon realized he was in fact alive. Just with a little bump on his head and some scratches around his body. He was lying on the floor on a thin mat. His pillow was a small block of wood with an indent for his head to rest on. The room was completely wooden. The floor was ancient looking with long pieces of wood running up and down the floor. The room itself was very narrow and stretched out. The ceiling sloped up towards the wall and down towards the adjacent wall. It had wooden rafters painted in dark colors in rectangles. The one wall was solid wood, with paper windows that were opaque, but he could tell it was early morning. The other wall was very interesting indeed. It was a large wooden shelf with multiple levels. They seemed to contain a plethora of wooden blocks. Joe reached into the bookshelf and pulled one out carefully. It was some sort of Buddhist scripture written in Chinese. He cautiously put it back into the spot. He heard a door slide open and looked over his shoulder. A procession of monks entered the room at the end of the hall. They sauntered towards him in formation. A man stood in the center of two other monks. He was wearing a blossoming white gown with a reddish-brown fabric draped around his shoulder covering the left side of him. He approached Joe and put his hands flat together in front of his chest and slightly bowed down towards him. Joe awkwardly put his hand out and the monk lightly shook his hand.
“Welcome Joseph, I am the Master Reverend of Haeinsa.” He said in a warm and friendly manner.
“Joseph, I see you are awake and recovered. We knew that you had not suffered too severely.”
“What is this room?” Joe said.
“I see you have been acquainted with the most scared room in all of the Korean peninsula. You truly are in the ‘Janggyeong Panjeon Complex.’” Joe, still was not thinking straight from his small concussive like blow to the head. He was taken aback and overwhelmed by the situation.
“This room holds the ‘Tripitaka Koreana’ Woodblocks. The entire Buddhist scripture is carved on to wooden blocks contained in these shelves. Eighty-one thousand, three hundred and fifty to be exact. They have been housed since thirteen ninety eight and declared a UNESCO World Heritage site as well. I’m surprised you would disturb them seeing how this kind of action has already caused you so much trouble.”
“My apologizes.” Joe sincerely said. He was starting to think straight again.
“It is no problem, but you have greater problems to deal with.”
“Can you help me please.” Joe wreaked of desperation.
“You can kill one, but another will take its place. You can’t end this until you complete the ‘Purging Ceremony’. We will provide you with the materials you need, but we will not accompany you to the site of the provocation. For that is far too dangerous, for one of our own.” He explained his conditions.
“How did I get here?”
“We have heard from our intelligence gathering mechanism about your situation. We were expecting you to come here eventually. But we were not sure if you could make it here alive. You have truly beaten the odds making it here; however, you have unconditionally released the beasts of hell. If one is able to defeat, the ‘Revenant of Revenge’, then the ‘Monstrosity’ will be unleashed. And if that is defeated, more will come. It’s a never-ending cycle.”
“How did I get here?” Joe inquired.
“The monster’s presence alerted our watchmen that you were probably in the area. We had our monks on high alert. We saw you and Peter coming down the mountain. We grabbed you two at the bottom of the hill and rushed you into the safe quarters. Haeinsa is within itself a safe zone. No demon or evil spirit shall ever enter these premises. Crown Jewel temples are inherently protected from evil.” He explained with much authority.
“Where is Peter?” Joe suddenly realized.
“In Daegu, we had to bring him to a larger hospital in a city. He suffered a broken leg but will make a full recovery. At the present time he is safe, but for how long we cannot tell. The task at hand is up to you, to achieve. The fate of both of you, is in your hands. You may stay here another night and participate in our culture. Tomorrow morning at first light you will set off.
“Thank you reverend.”
Joe spent the rest of the day wandering around the sprawling complex. He read about the history of the Hasina and saw firsthand the artifacts, ancient structures, and history. He took solace in the fact he was safe and sound. Around dinner, he was escorted to the dining hall. He entered the dining hall and noticed the walls were large murals of traditional Buddhist artwork. The one wall had a picture of a dragon boat at sea with a lavish oriental roof. Inside there were many white robed men wearing black cylindrical hats with a thin black brim around it. The front and back of the boat had two abnormally tall, statuesque people standing upright. They had yellow and red draping gowns decorated with lotus flowers. They both held intricately decorated staffs. The end of the room was a show case of three golden Buddha statues. Cushions on the floor were lined up and down the hall in two rows. Joe found a seat in between two people. The food was vegetarian and consisted of multiple Korean side dishes known as ‘banchan’. Everyone ate in silence. Everyone was dressed in baggy grey shirts and pants. Joe finished his food and was escorted in silence to his sleeping quarters where he was given a mat, wooden pillow, and thin blanket. Once again, he did not sleep very well.
In the morning, he was woken up by a man carrying a candle stick and escorted to the “Yebul Ceremonial Service.” He found a spot in-between multiple lined rows of people. Suddenly, they began to bow to the floor and rose up repeatedly, while chanting. Joe tried to fit in as much as possible and follow what everyone else was doing. They must have bowed over a hundred times. When Joe finished, he was escorted into the main gates of the complex. The Master Reverend was there with a grave look upon his face. He handed Joe a small wooden box. It had a piece of paper with a hand drawn boarder of lotus flowers. The paper was completely filled in Chinese hanja characters, and signed by the Master Reverend. Furthermore, it had a few sticks of incense and some ancient coins. “As you make your formal apology burn the paper, while the incense is lit and make the formal offering.” The reverent instructed. He also pulled out a bulky, oddly shaped axe-dagger. The handle was short and wrapped in black leather. Above the handle, one side stuck out like a little dagger. The main part of the steel weapon jutted out in a sickle formation pointing up and curving back towards the handle. The opposite side of the sickle was a fat triangular spike sticking out. “This will aid you on your journey. We acquired this ancient weapon from our Buddhist counterparts in South Africa. It is an ancient tribal weapon that was used in African warfare. It is rumored that this particular weapon defeated a powerful Zulu warlord. Wield the ‘Hunga Munga’ wisely, and you will defeat the unholiest of beast.” The master reverent put his hand on Joe’s shoulder and watched him exit the compound.
Joe exited from the main gate of the compound and instantly had flash backs of the previous night. His head was feeling much better. Thankfully, he did not have a severe concussion. He started to recognize his whereabouts. He noted the large mountains flanking the temples position. He could see the flattened grass and plants running down the hill, and knew that is where he had entered from. He climbed up the hill with his heavy backpack, and axe-dagger tightly gripped in his hand. When he got to the top of the hill, the path way the creature had chased them through was apparent. There was a huge hole blown through the bushes. Trees knocked over, bushes trampled, and rocks strewn about. There was also the stench of feces still lingering in the area. Joe knew that he would soon come face to face with the “monstrosity”. Joe continued on the pathway remembering the way they originally came from. He was constantly thinking about if Peter was ok. He recognized the various rock formations, and cliffs that they had passed through on the way there. The trail was full of lush trees and bushes. Occasionally, Joe could see through the tree canopy, and he saw picturesque rocky mountainous views. Joe had been walking all day and soon realized it was impossible to make the trip in one day. He stopped for a quick meal on a boulder. He devoured the rice and Kimchi instantly. He knew he would be in the fight of his life that night. Joe continued along the trail going up to the top of peaks and back down. The trail followed multiple mountain peaks all connected together. He would climb all the way to the top of the mountain peak and then climb down to connect to the next mountain. He was sweaty, to say the least. The sun began to set and revealed the first signs of darkness. Joe knew, it was only a matter of time. Joe found a small clearing in the forest and prepare the battleground. He collected some brush and lit a fire with some matches. He needed to be able to see. He cleared out sticks and rocks, basically any he could trip over during the battle. He set up his tent and waited. A few hours passed by, and still no sign of the beast. Joe nodded off slightly, in a false sense of security, maybe the beast would not show that night. Suddenly, Joe heard the high frequency pitched echoing again. The sound of enormous flapping wings rocked the surrounding trees like a helicopter landing. The same horrendous smell shot into his nostrils. The beast circled the area a few times before pinpointing its target. The beast came into sight and slowly made its landing. It landed with a large thump and dust rose around it, seemingly causing a mini earthquake. The mighty beast had an extensive wing span with broad arms and shoulders. Long jointed bones sagged below the arms, connected by a dark leathery skin to form a wing. At the end of the wings it had two elongated fingers with big, crooked, cone shaped nails. It had a third digit similar to a thumb that stuck out, without a joint. The skin on its hands were pale pink. Its feet were three wrinkly, hairless, long digits with spiky nails. The legs were furry like a bear, and the knees pointed behind the creature. The opposite way of a human. The abdomen was oblong and Woolley. The head of the beast was the most frightening of all. It clearly distinguished what kind of beast it was. It had a dark fleshy snout that stuck out with a flat nose. The nostrils flared up into two triangular points with thin pink skin. It had a stretched open mouth with little teeth scattered through its mouth and no tongue. Red saliva was pouring out of its mouth. It had two beady, little black eyes, and two wide extended ears like a bat. It lurched forward, and looked around. It was bipedal like a human, but walked in an extremely hunched over fashion. It took a few steps forward scanning the area. It looked toward the tent, and sensed Joe was in there. It dashed toward the tent, and jumped using its wings to gain extra height. It landed on the tent with its wide feet, and started slashing the tent to shreds. Clawing and ripping it to pieces with its mouth. But Joe was nowhere to be found. He was hiding in a tree nearby the clearing watching everything in horror. The beast was angry and let out a huge screech. It flew up into the air and came crashing down to the ground, vibrating the surrounding area. It was rampaging around the clearing, scattering everything around. Peter started to tremble. He knew it was only a matter of time before he was detected. The beast stopped and pointed it huge ears towards him. It took a step towards Joe. It was walking in Joe’s direction until it was nearly right under Joe. He was silent and did not move an inch. The beast looked up at Joe, and they clearly made eye contact. Joe knew it was time to face his fears or perish into history. He leapt off the branch he was sitting on and slammed down the axe-dagger with both hands towards the beast. The weapon cleaved into the beast, and due to the impact, the axe-dagger went flying. He rolled as he hit the ground and quickly jumped to his feet. The beast let out a roar, and Joe could see the axe-dagger lying next to the beast. The beast was injured badly it’s left arm was hanging by a thread, and green liquid was oozing from the hole. The dangling arm fell off. The beast was only staggered for a moment before it became even more enraged. The ‘monstrosity’ looked Joe straight in the eyes, while slamming it jagged teeth together. The beast immediately charged. It was sprinting full speed towards Joe. Its feet made a large thumping sound every time its foot slammed the ground. For once in his life, Joe found courage to take on the beast, even weaponless. He prepared himself to take on the one-armed beast with his bare hands. Instantly, he remembered the small hunting knife Peter had given him. He reached into his cargo pants thigh pocket. He grabbed the small knife out of his pocket and opened it up. He ran towards the beast. Joe ran straight into the beast holding the small knife over his head. In a matter of seconds, they collided like two asteroids smashing into each other. Joe was knocked back and couldn’t see what happened in the darkness of the night. Joe was slightly winded but snapped out of it quickly, due to the adrenaline. He staggered to his feet, to once again saw the beast shrieking. Joe could see the knife lodged into the beasts left side. Abruptly, the ‘Hunga Munga’ started to glow a pale blue aura, as if some African spirit was guiding Joe to victory. Joe ran past the beast as it reached out with its remaining arm to try to capture Joe. Joe knelt down to pick up the blade in his hand. As soon as he picked up the blade he felt huge claws dig into his back and smash him down. A roar came out behind him, a roar of victory. Joe was lying down on the ground with the weapon in hand. The beast was closing in on a final blow, to finish Joe off. Its mouth was dripping red liquid. It raised its fist into the air and struck towards Joe. He just rolled out of the way. He was right next to the side of the beast. He grasped the ‘Hunga Munga’ as tightly as he could, and struck the ankle of the beast. It sliced its foot straight off and green blood sprayed from the severed limb. The beast dropped to the ground and was no longer mobile. It could no longer walk or fly. The beast was still thrashing and clawing at Joe with its arm, even while immobilized. Joe darted towards his backpack, picked it up and ran away. He left the steadfast beast there to die. He just kept running and running until the sun came up. He decided to take a break on a tall boulder to gather himself. He could see outside the mountain range. Little square fields, like a quilt painted the vast fields below. Then, it hit Joe he was almost at the village they started at. Joe in fact had made incredible time. He was so amped up after defeating the beast that he had jogged the trail all night long. After a few more hours of hiking he started his slow and painful decent down the mountain. He nearly slipped off the rocky and narrow pathway at time, but made it out alive and well. He walked through the small farming village with traditional Korean houses and eventually reached the bus stop. After a short wait, the old village bus rolled up. He got into the back seat, and as the bus driver went into first gear, the bus jerked forward and backwards a few times.
“Joe!” Peter screamed as he saw Joe walk into the front door of the dorms.
“Peter, are you ok!” Peter was sitting there on the couch and appeared to be in good spirits. He was wearing a small cast around his foot.
“What happened?” Joe gasped.
“All I remember was running down the hill, slipping and breaking my leg. At the bottom, I was immediately picked up by few Monks and carried into the main gates. They then arranged to have me picked up and taken to the hospital in Daegu. I just arrived back this morning.”
“I got the materials we need for the ‘Purging Ceremony’.”
“That’s great news to hear. Did you encounter that thing again, I doubt it right?
“I did in fact see it again, and we got into a little scuffle.” Joe explained everything to Peter in detail. The room he woke up in, the ceremonies he participated in at the temple, the axe-dagger, and of course the great battle he partook in with the monster. Peter was so proud, and astounded that Joe had accomplished that all on his own. Joe pondering to himself if Peter could have even accomplished such bravery.
“Wow man, I don’t even know what to say. I’m almost in disbelief that you pulled that off. You have come such a long way, in such a short time.” Peter had a look of pride on his face.
“Thank you Peter, but there is still work to do.” Peter grabbed his crutches and hobbled onto his feet. The two of them headed for the exit of the dorm. Joe had all the materials in his hand to perform the ceremony. The sun was just starting to set as Joe helped Peter up the small hill. “Not as easy as it used to be right?” Joe joked with Peter as he pulled him up to the top. They walked past the small local garden and headed towards the ledge with the rope. Once again Joe had to help him up the robe. “Right about here.” Peter said as they went down the ledge. They searched around for a few minutes, until they found the grave. There was still a large hole in the ground with a heaping pile of dirt surrounding the grave. Joe examined the coins as he pulled them out of the box. The gold coins were shaped like a lotus flower with a small square cut out in the center. Each side of the square had a Chinese character next to it. There were three of them, and each had different Chinese characters. Joe carefully and respectfully placed the coins in the center of the open grave. He took out the incense sticks from a small, discreetly marked wooden box. He placed them sticking up in front of the grace. He lit them. A mild soothing smell rose above them. He took the piece of paper, and placed it neatly in front of the incense. Joe struck another match and put the flame to the corner of the paper. Joe and Peter both did a formal down to the ground and quietly said their prayers of forgiveness. When they rose, the sun had fully set, and it was pitch black on the mountain. The paper had burned unusually slow, almost like a candle. When the last flame of the candle diminished, a plethora of orbs surrounded the grave. Each orb then turned into a revenant like the one they had encountered before. They all surrounded the outside of the grave with Joe and Peter on the inside. They were all wearing long black robes with baggy hoods. Their faces could not be seen; If they had any to begin with. Skeletal hand hung from their loose sleeves. Each was holding a large medieval weapon a Bill, a Harlbard, a Flail, a Mace, a Scimitar, a Falchion, and a Battle Axe. Joe looked at Peter; they both were sweating profusely. Neither of them moved an inch. Then, the ghost of a man gradually appeared in front of the grave. The man was wearing a dark blue hanbok with an intricate golden design in the center and stepped forward. They both bowed down to the floor and apologized. When they got up, the man stood directly in front of them. He then did a small bow, just slightly moving his head forward. He then turned his back to them and walked into the grave. Everyone hastily vanished, and in a blink of an eye, the grave had magically been reconstructed back to its original form. They were completely vindicated. Joe and Peter went back to the dorms and never talked about it every again. Joe ended up staying until his first pay check and swiftly pulled a notorious midnight run. This is where an employee, just packs their bags, and gets on a plane home without telling their company. The next day, they do not show up for work, and the employer has no idea where they are, and has no way of contacting them. Joe never heard from Peter after that, he assumed he did the exact same thing. But of course, this was just supposition and conjecture. Joe did some soul searching in South East Asia on a backpacking trip after he received his first pay check. Everything is very cheap there, so he could go on a small vacation before settling down into a teaching position in Japan.
“Joe, we will be truly sorry to see you leave after working here for two years.” The manager said.
“I’m so sorry Mr. Aki, but it is time for me to move on in life. I was accepted to a master’s degree at a state school in the United States.” Joe said confidently.
“Your mother must be so proud.”
“Yes, she is thank you.”
“You have come a long way Joseph. When you first came here we did not know how long you could last at this company. We are amazed at what you have become.”
“Thank you for the opportunity here. I have really found my passion and direction in life through this company. I will be sad to say good bye to everyone, but like I said its time to move to the next stage of my life.”
“I believe you will be a great teacher in America one day.” The manager gave him one last handshake and saw him off.
“Thank you.” Joe said as he got into the cab. His co-workers lined up in front of the school to say goodbye. They all bowed down and said work hard in Japanese. Joe was soon on his way to the airport to start his new life back home.
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