5 ABILITY

"Who are you?" Soojin mutters while glaring wide-eyed over the man in front of him. Unknowingly, she grips Mr. Lee's hand tighter from shock and horror.

The news from the television would appear to be true if she's not holding the hand of the man named Mr. Lee Yejoon. She doesn't believe him to be a ghost yet the evidence that the man is dead is as clear as the high-definition television at the store.

"Let me go!!!" Yejoon shouts with his baritone voice at the therapist, stunned by the news from the television. He needs to get out of this place immediately before somebody else could recognize his face.

Lee Yejoon tuggers his arm hard to make the woman drop his hand, but the firm clutch grips him extensively, he can sense his hand begin to feel cold and look pale. 

"A-Are y-you a… a… g-ghost???" The therapist stutters, questioning the man whose face continues to flash on the screen. Her face lost all colors and her light makeup remains which will render her face ghostly if removed from her face.

Passers-by begin to stare at them while they hold each other's hand, some women even blush their cheeks thinking they are displaying their affection in public. The woman continues to glare without blinking her wide dark brown eyes and Yejoon can only think of one way to wake the woman from shock.

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He steps ahead until they are a foot apart. Wanting to easily reach the woman's face with his free hand. He lifts his arm and lets his hand touch the smooth cheek of the woman's face. Caressing with his thumb, he gently pinches the therapist's skin and squeezes it tightly between his fingers.

"Yahhhhhhhhh!!!" Soojin exclaims when she feels the pain of her skin being squeezed and pulled away from her cheek.

Her scream did not make the man falter from his action, she dropped the man's palm and let both of her hands try to pull the fingers that are harshly ripping off her right cheek. 

The woman let go of Yejoon's hand, yet the man proceeded to squeeze the soft flesh between his fingers. Something is charming about how the woman squeals in pain and it made him arch his lips into a grin of pleasure.

"Stop it!!! It hurts!!!" Soojin exclaims, tugging the man's hand to let go of her face.

Yejoon realizes he's pinching the therapist's cheek too long, he quickly let it go and whirled his body around to run away from the woman.

"Mr. Lee!!!" Soojin took a few steps forward to follow her client but he was already too far ahead. She touches her cheek where Lee Yejoon squeezes her face tightly and purses her lips feeling the pain of his pinch.

He couldn't be a ghost, Soojin whispers to herself.

As a psychologist, they learn to be skeptical when the subject is about paranormal. There is no convincing evidence to support that entities exist beyond the extent of death. Ghost, poltergeist, spirits, and apparition are all hallucinations of our mind that we use to cope with the loss of someone or memories that haunt us.

Yet, her "ability" makes her a believer. Seeing memories of people around her is like watching a ghost that not only troubles them but hers as well. She knows how frightening it can be to see the truth behind all the lies. The pain hiding underneath the smiles.

One of the reasons why she became a psychologist is to better help her clients to understand themselves. Help them cope and release the ghost that troubles them. Soojin can see memories, no matter how hidden they can be and she can learn the truth about their condition as long as she can touch their skin. She can even see strong memories embedded in objects but it takes a lot of energy for her to do such feats.

Soojin never thinks about her "gift" as a curse. She learns early in life to be careful in involving herself in the visions she sees at people.

An experience that brought her to be alone.

π - π - π

Lee Yejoon dashes as far off as he can, away from the therapist. When he looks over his shoulder to see if the woman is still following her, he bumps hard against a broad-shouldered man holding a few boxes of kimchi and rice in his arms against his chest. The force tosses the boxes off, staining the man's shirt while Yejoon dropped his box of kimchi on the floor.

"I'm sorry," Yejoon pleads. He tries to clean the stained shirt with his hands and walks away but the guy stops him quickly by moving his body to block Yejoon.

"Aren't you going to pay for my food that you bump off my hands, buddy?" The guy asks, sporting a smile on his face but his eyes are fierce and threatening.nt

Yejoon reaches for his wallet in his pocket and opens it to get cash to pay the guy. He estimates how much the food is and counts a few thousand won. The guy grins when he sees the money Yejoon is willing to pay him.

"You look like you are in such a hurry to get away from someone. Who's chasing you?" The guys ask, brushing his chin while peeping at Yejoon's money inside his wallet.

"A woman." Lee Yejoon answers, counting the cash before handing it over to the guy. He's reluctant to give him money but he doesn't want to involve himself in trouble while his face is all over the news.

"Lucky you." The guy replies, accepting the tad of cash and nodding his head while inserting the money into the pocket of his pants.

"And payment for my shirt???" The guy inquires, stretching the part of his tee-shirt that has a circular stain of sauce from the food boxes. "You know this is expensive. I bought this in Thailand. It values more in sentimentality."

Yejoon opens up his wallet again and takes all the cash he has. He didn't count how much won it is, what matters is he gets rid of the guy who starts to annoy him. "Here. That's all I have." He says.

"Thank you, buddy." The guy lifts the money he gave and walks past him, leaving Yejoon shaking his head off and staring at the man that scammed him.

Yejoon went back to the parking lot without his food he bought and without money when he saw the same man he bumped into a few minutes ago with a woman on the street not far away from the parking lot. He has a different shirt but with the same kimchi stain, he had on his shirt. Studying the scene, he discovers the boxes on the ground are empty, and when the woman takes her wallet out, Yejoon understands who the man is.

A con artist.

After the woman gave the money, Yejoon followed the guy who walked into a narrow street corner where the trash of food boxes are on the floor. He takes off his shirt and throws them in the trash can and grabs a new one from the bag he carries on his back. Then, he picks up a box on the floor and drips his shirt with leftover sauce. 

After smearing the sauce around his chest, he picks a few boxes and neatly arranges them to carry on his chest, covering the smudged stain that he put in there himself. Before he leaves the narrow street, the lamp of the streetlights flickers and a man suddenly appears bumping his body against him.

"Oh, sorry," Yejoon says, banging into the man's chest that made the guy drop the boxes on the floor and reveal the shirt with stains.

"We bump into each other again." The man cackles scratching his head.

Yejoon nods and fixes the black cap on his head. He took off the glasses on his face and simply hid them at the back of his pants. Then he helps the guy pick up the boxes on the floor. They are light and empty like the ones he saw when the scammer bumps the woman.

"Thanks, buddy! If we see each other again, I'll think we are soulmates." The guy says taking the boxes from Lee Yejoon's hand. When the guy stares at the face of the helpful man, he drops the boxes again on the floor.

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The scammers' eyes become wide protruding out of the socket as the white that encircles the irises become visible from the horror that he's witnessing. He blinked a few times to make the image go away from his sight but what he was seeing didn't change even if he rubs his fingers on his eyes.

The scammer steps back, his mouth is open and quivering. He wanted to say something yet he found himself scrambling for words to say. When the mirage took a pace forward, the scammer almost shrieks and falls on his butt. His pale face and lips begin to move and plead when he notices that the apparition is floating from its feet.

"I-I… I-I'm sorry..." The scammer continues to waddle back, he scurries to get the money out of pocket and throws it on the phantom before running away.

"You think I'm going to let you go." The specter says. His rough voice sounds deep echoing through the concrete walls of the narrow street.

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