Chapter 9 - Recording Studio
The accident left Yeonseon’s face completely pulverized without a trace. The tire of the truck that crashed into Yeonseon’s car crushed his face. The corpse was only recognizable as “Yeonseon Ham” thanks to the clothes he was wearing. I couldn’t recognize him either.
“Huh?” Just as my cigarette was burning near the filter, someone came into the smoking room. Maybe it wasn’t accurate to describe their entrance with “came into,” since the smoking “room” was an outdoor space. Anyway, as he entered through the ivory-painted metal door, the person’s eyes opened wide when he saw me. I nodded to him in greeting. “Hello.”
I recognized him because he was filming with me until just a moment ago. It was Woorim Eun, the K-pop idol singer who told the urban legend of the mansion with 101 doors. Just like how he looked, he spoke to me amicably. “So this is where you went.”
Even if his group was unpopular and even if he was an adult, should an active idol singer smoke in the corner of a building? Despite my questions, Woorim adeptly pulled out a cigarette and placed it in his mouth. He gestured, asking to borrow a light, so I handed him my lighter.
After lighting his cigarette, he looked at me and grinned. “It’s all right, my group’s fans… most of them are gone, and the only ones remaining are very loyal to us. They just pass things like this off without a fuss. Even if we go to a club, they turn a blind eye. Some even call cabs for us when we leave.”
“Well, that’s… They’re good people then.”
“They’ve gotten stronger after going through all sorts of hardships.” Woorim snickered and then turned his eyes to the view below the terrace. Seeing as he smiled and waved his hands, he must have seen someone nearby who was probably his fan. Even though I wasn’t thinking of making a comeback to the entertainment world, I wanted to avoid any commotion in the short time that I was going to be active, so I stepped back.
No matter how unpopular, an idol singer was an idol singer. I didn’t want to get involved by getting a picture taken together. Fans weren’t the only ones who could sneakily snap pictures of currently active idols. Even if it was simply for the purpose of noise marketing, I didn’t want to be used by the management agencies.
“The ghost of the recording studio. I wish I saw it with my own eyes too, at least once,” Woorim, who was watching me back away into the corner, mumbled with his cigarette still stuck between his lips. His pronunciation was slightly slurred because of it, but it wasn’t to the point that I couldn’t understand. He smiled at me. It didn’t look like a smile out of joy, but just a habitual business smile. “Why did you quit after only recording? If you had just continued to pursue your career, you would have made it big.”
“If you see a real ghost as I have, I’m sure you’ll want to quit too.” My career in the industry was as lousy as that of a trainee at any agency. After being discovered at a singing competition for average people, I featured in a song for a singer with the agency, and since the reaction was positive, I was preparing for an official debut—that was all. I’d only stood on a proper stage three times. Moreover, I was only the guest, not the main event.
I did appear on television a few times since I was one of the few celebrities who had seen a ghost in a recording studio.
That wasn’t to say that I was frequently called to talk shows like today. The clip depicting my situation at the time was simply replayed on TV several times. From entertainment news shows to variety shows with a horror theme for the episode, they would repeatedly play that clip every summer.
The video was extremely short at around two to three minutes.
As the story went, the video would start with my face recording a song in the studio. After I had sung for a few seconds, I would suddenly stop. I looked shocked by something before letting out a short scream and throwing off my headphones. My face was pale and I stared at a certain spot.
“Why? What’s wrong?”
The bewildered faces of the people around me would briefly appear on the screen before they would walk to the spot at which I was staring. However, before the camera panned to that spot, the screen would distort into gray noise, like what one would see only in the early hours of the morning before the first broadcast. By that point, only the audio functioned properly, letting one hear the murmurs of the people surrounding me.
Then, one would hear a voice. “Why? Is my face strange?”
The words were clear amidst the noise.
It was Yeonseon’s voice.
At the time, Yeonseon and I were preparing to debut as a duo. Yeonseon couldn’t readily become close to strangers, yet I could get so close because of this. I was with Yeonseon all day every day for almost half a year, as colleagues.
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