Note: This is part two of a series. The first one is “I Discover That Someone’s Going to Die”, so make sure to check that one out before you read this one.
For Kayla Lane, my first Reedsy friend. I’ll miss you.
And also for Amethyst, a friend of mine on Reedsy. Thanks for dealing with my bad writing and weird personality.
BRANDON KANG, THE ANGRY DUDE WITH A MAP THAT WON’T SHUT UP
“Brandon Kang,” I said aloud as I drove through the highways of Seoul. “The unheroic hero will go off to save his lovely Kamara, who’s actually his ex-girlfriend who’s broken his heart. As he goes after the villains, the Asian blondies that can crush things with their fingers, Brandon has his loyal sidekick at his side. A map app that won’t shut up about food.”
“Hey!” Jeedo complained. “I think about other things besides f—ooh, is that a burger place! Can we get some burgers and fries? Pretty please with maps on top?”
“No!” I said firmly. “I just had lunch. And for the umpteenth time, apps can’t eat.”
My engine whirred to a stop. There wasn’t any gas.
I cursed. I could’ve sworn that I had filled in the gas a week ago…
My eyes landed on the dashboard. Then I remembered: Today was—
“April Fool’s!” Jeedo yelled in glee. “That’s what you get for not buying any burgers!”
I stared at my phone. “How did you—never mind. I’m not going to bother asking.”
If apps could smile, Jeedo would have a grin plastered on his map face. “Technology can do a lot of things, Brandon. Be glad I’m on your side.”
Maliciousness seeped into his voice.
“But whatever!” Jeedo exclaimed, the perkiness back. “That was a good prank, wasn’t it? Should I ruin your tires this time?”
I gritted my teeth. Jeedo was seriously getting on my nerves. After I heard Marcella and Osmond’s plan, Osmond had hopped in a car and drove off while Marcella ran off in the other direction. I went with my gut and drove after Osmond because I wanted to help my ex-girlfriend. I had lost Osmond a few times, but had always found him again by sheer luck.
And also because of the fact that his car was bright green, with black stripes and white polka dots. Osmond’s car didn’t exactly blend in with the other ones in Seoul.
Now, thanks to Jeedo, his car was now speeding down the highway while I was stuck in the middle of the street with no gas.
“Thanks a lot, Jeedo,” I grumbled. “I can’t save my ex-girlfriend if I don’t have any gas in my car!”
“Eh,” Jeedo said, unconcerned. “Your ex-girlfriend can save herself. Strong women are like that. They don’t need no man to come and rescue them.”
“This isn’t some fantasy story, Jeedo! It’s real life. And if I know anything about Kamara, it’s that she would gladly let those blondies kill her!” I put my head in my hands. “I can’t let that happen.”
Jeedo snorted. “You still have feelings for her?”
“Yeah, you do. Don’t deny it. Besides, your gas isn’t really out.”
“What?” I asked incredulously. “My gas was perfectly fine the entire time I was complaining?”
“That about sums it up.”
I felt like strangling my phone, but I decided against it. That would just break my phone.
“I hate pranks,” I grumbled. “I’ll get you back.”
Jeedo snickered. “No way. You could never make me mad with your pranks.”
“Oh, is that a bet?”
“You bet it is.”
I laughed. “Challenge accepted. If I prank you and it’s successful, I’m going to turn off my phone. And you’re going to shut the hell up for an entire day.”
“And if your pranks fail, you’re getting me burgers.”
I sighed. “APPS CAN’T—never mind. You have a deal. Can you help me find Kamara? Osmond is long gone and I’m not sure I can track him down. Or is that too hard for your technology powers?”
“I don’t have any powers, you lemon sucking didgeridoo!”
“Lemon sucking didgeridoo?!” I asked incredulously. “What type of insult is that?”
“Well—” Jeedo started.
"Yeah, yeah. So can you do it or not? Every second wasted is a second for them to get away!” I said.
I glanced at my phone. The familiar out of battery sign popped up on my otherwise pitch black screen.
I groaned. I had just charged my phone back at the cafe! I started to reach for my charger, but then I remembered the date.
“This isn’t funny, Jeedo,” I growled.
My phone sparked back to life as Jeedo’s laugh sounded through it.
“I had you for a second! You bought it!”
“Jeedo, I am this close to—”
Fine, fine,” he said, still giggling. “Go left! Get to the highway, you lolly licking sponge face!”
“Okay, okay, you um . . . kimchi eating seaweed brain?” It came out as more of a question, making me wince.
“Your insults are worse than mine, you know,” Jeedo told me.
“Says the app who called me an instrument.”
KAMARA NOWAK, THE GAL WHO’LL PROBABLY DIE AT SOME POINT
“Ugh! Gross!” Haider yelled. “What the friggery frick, Yzma! Chocolate sauce in my jjajangmyeon? Seriously?”
Next to me, Yzma laughed. “April Fool’s!”
“Ugh,” Haider said.
“And that prank’s kind of on you, Haider,” Yzma said, shrugging. “You’re the one who left your jjajangmyeon on the table you went to use the bathroom. You’re the one who gave me chocolate sauce last week.”
“Why are you blaming this on me?” Haider spluttered, spitting out the jjajangmyeon.
Not this again. I hated pranks. It made everyone smug and unhappy. Not to mention that it was immature and a waste of time. So on April Fool’s, I did my best to resolve the pranks and do some good deeds instead.
My mind drifted to the time when Brandon and I were dating. He had put googly eyes on all of my food in the fridge once, and had told me that he wanted me to feel special, because all eyes were on me. And those were his harmless pranks.
Of course, the reason why I dumped Brandon wasn’t because of some prank on April Fool’s. It was something else. Something worse.
I still remembered the sweat gathering in my palms as I prepared myself to tell him. He had brought out the ring, a smile lighting his face. And when he popped the question, I had to say no.
That was the first time I had seen him cry.
I hadn’t seen him since. He had just walked away from me without looking back. A few months later, he was gone. His house was sold and abandoned. He just left our neighborhood. I didn’t know where he went. No one would tell me. He wouldn’t call me and tell me. Even the most tiny pieces of him were gone.
It was like he vanished from the face of the earth. I almost regretted my decision to let him go.
So I moved here. To Seoul, Korea, because I was sure that Brandon would never move to the city where his parents lived. I had found peace and friends here. A job and a great life.
But no love. Romantic wise or family wise. Even after years of no boyfriend and over a decade of no parents, the universe had not given me the things I most wanted in life.
The couple-like arguing of Haider and Yzma snapped me out of my thoughts.
“Hey, hey, hey,” I intervened. “Calm down.”
Haider frowned. “But—”
“Calm down,” I said again. “You can order your jjajangmyeon again, Haider. I’ll pay. And Yzma, you know Haider hates chocolate. Apologize.”
I called over a waiter and glanced pointedly at Yzma.
“I’m not going to apologize,” Yzma protested. “It’s April Fool’s Day! It’s okay to do those kinds of pranks!”
I sighed, listlessly swirling my tangsuyuk in the sauce. It was pointless to argue with Yzma. Despite the fact that she was twenty five, she was as stubborn as hell.
After the three of us had eaten, I paid (the only downside of being nice: You had to pay for the meal) and I made sure to give the waiter a big tip. As I handed him the cash, the waiter stared at the money in his hand, like he was waiting for it to explode.
“It’s not a prank,” I mouthed.
The waiter, apparently paranoid of non-Asian young adults giving him a cash tip on April Fool’s Day, handed the money back to me and walked away. I shook my head. Why couldn’t people accept a nice deed?
As we walked down the streets, looking for a dessert, I nodded through Yzma and Haider’s conversation about whether the chicken or egg came first and searched for a way to do something nice, even if it was small.
I handed a guy a flower I had picked a few minutes ago, and watched as he tossed it on the ground and squashed it under his shoe, worried that it would squirt him with water like one of those clown items.
I tossed a few coins inside a homeless woman’s cup, and even she declined them at first before I begged her to accept them. She eventually realized that money was money, and took the coins.
Every time I smiled at a stranger, they took a quick look at themselves as if I could’ve made their clothes magically disappear or drawn a tattoo on them when they weren’t looking. What was it with these people?
“Kamara?” Yzma nudged me. “Can you decide?”
“What?” I asked.
“Which came first?” Haider said, dropping a fake bug in a lady’s bag. “The chicken or the egg? Yzma, being the scientist she is, is insisting on the egg, because according to her research, the first chicken egg was laid by a bird and not an actual chicken.
“But I’m firm to the chicken, because God created the hen from nothing, not from an egg.”
“Hmm,” I said. “As an atheist and an inner nerd, I would say the egg.”
“Come on! Seriously? You should’ve chosen the chicken!” Haider yelled in mock anger. Then he laughed. “I should’ve known. And since you both think it’s the egg, both of you will be paying for the egg custard we’re going to buy for dessert.”
As Yzma protested, I smiled. This was the ultimate friendship goal. Arguing about chickens and eggs and getting into other friendly arguments because of it. And for the first time in who knows how long, I was happy I moved to Seoul. I was happy to be alive and be with my friends.
I grunted as I walked toward the basement of the building, clutching several bags of trash. I had offered to carry a neighbor’s trash out for them, and after assuring them I wasn’t going to prank them with it, they had let me take out their trash. But now, I almost regretted asking them. Garbage was heavy.
As I tossed bottles and paper in the correct bins, the hairs on my neck shot up. I got the feeling that I was being watched.
I turned around just to make sure I was alone.
A big mistake.
A metal disk lashed out from behind one of the trash cans. Silver ropes extended from the disk and wrapped me up from head to toe. I fell to the floor like a bowling pin. I wanted to get out of here, but I could barely breathe, much less move or call for help.
At least I could see perfectly fine. Somehow, the ropes hadn’t touched my eyes.
A figure stood from behind the trash can and walked toward me. She appeared to be an Asian woman, with dyed blonde hair and dark brown eyes that were almost black. She wore a black leather jacket and a worn pair of jeans.
Her walk, the look in her eyes, the way she stared at me . . . it reminded me of Brandon. In fact, minus the blonde hair, they looked so similar that it was unsettling.
“Kamara Nowak,” she said casually. “Hello. I’m Marcella Kang. I’m also the one who’s going to put you to sleep. Pleased to meet you.”
I had a feeling that she wasn’t talking about singing me a lullaby and tucking me to bed.
She smiled wickedly. “I’m going to enjoy this. I haven’t killed a human like you for a long, long time.”
It wasn’t the thought of dying that scared me. But the thought of just lying there hopelessly while a girl that I didn’t even know destroys me sent waves of fear and rage through my body.
I didn’t want to go out quietly. I would not die without a fight.
“I’ll make sure your death is slow,” Marcella continued. “I’ll also make sure that Brandon is here to watch you die. It will break him. I know it will.”
Marcella’s boots’ heels turned into pure metal. She brought down her shoe over my head, and I tried to dodge.
But I couldn’t. The ropes strained and tightened around me in such a way that I couldn’t even shift my head.
The metal heel slammed into my skull, and the world turned black.