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Picked Up In Winter - Chapter 11

Published at 18th of March 2018 08:52:30 PM

Chapter 11

Translator: Ranka Editor/TLC: Miri


Picked Up In Winter <11>

After eating, the guys headed to the arcade . In the place I did not have a lot of opportunities to visit when I was small, perhaps due to the development of computers, there were not a lot of customers . Only a few kids sat in front of a game console here and there, seemingly killing time . Therefore, this place that originally was supposed to be filled with noise from all kinds of games, almost felt quiet . Jun Hyung put thousand won into the coin-exchange machine . Soon, 100 won coins dropped with loud noises . I was standing next to him and watching it . Jun Hyung put in another thousand won bill and this time changed it to 500 won value, then turned to me .

"Here, Happy . You take it . "

Then, I had a 500 won coin and five 100 won coins in my hands .

"…… . "

But there was not really any game I knew how to play . Feeling at a loss, I turned to look at him but was only met with a questioning gaze . I first put the coins in my pocket because I had no other choice . Soon, the guy's friends waiting in the back came forward to exchange their bills . Jun Hyung left his friends behind and started moving towards the game machines . I followed him with hesitation . What was going on? Did they usually play on their own in the arcade? After exchanging their coins, the other guys also chose any game for themselves and started playing . The first one Jun Hyung headed to was a game console with a replica gun . Pink and blue guns were uniformly hung up next to each other and at the bottom, a treadplate could be seen . The game cost as much as 300 won . He put three coins into the game console and looked at me .

"You won't put the money in?" "Oh?"

…… I don't know how to do it . When I stared at him with a helpless expression, the guy beckoned me to his side . And then briefly explained how to play the game .

"You know how to shoot a gun, right? When a person appears, just try to hit them . And when all the bullets run out, you can just lift the end of the gun like this . Since the basic posture of the character is hiding, you have to step on the treadplate when you want to fight the enemy . " "…… . " Hearing the explanation, I unknowingly must have made quite serious face . Looking at me, who nodded with a grim expression, he let out a little laugh . Although I always was aware of it, this guy’s smiling face was really innocent . It was no different from Min Hyung's smiling face .

"Then, let's start . "

He said as he faced the monitor and pulled the trigger . After that, the scene on the screen changed and the game started . At first, not knowing what to do, I stood there motionlessly, the only thing I saw on the monitor was a wall in front of me and bullets passing by at the sides . Finding it weird, I looked at Jun Hyung's side of the monitor . People came out, violently fired away and were then struck by Jun Hyung’s bullets until they collapsed . Indeed, whenever he stepped on the treadplate, the game's main character came out of hiding and exposed his body .

"…… . "

I also tried stepping on the treadplate . Then the picture shifted sideways and it revealed people firing their guns towards this direction . I pulled the trigger and a bullet was shot on the monitor . With amazement, I once again pressed it, but suddenly a red circle appeared on the screen and it severely shook . Furthermore, one hospital sign at the bottom disappeared . I was so surprised and startled that my body trembled, but then a loud laughter from behind made me turn around .


"Bwahaha! Happy, you're really bad . " "…… . "

It was Han Sang Ryul . I felt some embarrassment and there was also the fact that I got made fun of . When I showed a discontent expression, the guy came next to me . Then he started giving a long speech .

"Idiot, when you see a red circle, you should quickly take your feet off . If you blindly step on the treadplate, you're obviously gonna die . And why are you only pulling the trigger once? Are you gonna shoot like that if you go out into the battlefield?" "…… . "

What does he mean, idiot . How dare he speak to me like that . I tried to do as he said but it did not work out . I could not tell just how fast one had to be . When I noticed and tried to let go of the treadplate, the screen was already shaking violently . The hospital signs below disappeared in a flash and I finished the game shortly after . When I looked at Jun Hyung's side, his health was still as full as when he first started . Damn it… . While I was gazing at the screen in dismay, Han Sang Ryul nudged me aside .

"Get out of the way . I'll try it . " "…… . "

The guy inserted coins inside while humming . He then grabbed the gun with experienced movements, and thinking that he really bragged about anything, I lightly moved to Jun Hyung's side . And while standing behind him, I watched Jun Hyung play the game . Even though I was not well versed in this field, even I could tell at a glance that Jun Hyung was good at games . Even if he only pulled the trigger once, without any unnecessary movements, the characters inside were hit precisely and fell down . Because he had quite good posture while holding the gun, he gave off a certain aura . I had no idea where he learnt how to hold a gun .

"Is it no fun?"

When the first round ended, the screen stopped, and a score started to appear . Jun Hyung turned to me and asked . I was startled because I had been standing behind him and staring blankly until then .

"……… No . "

…… I was surprised to notice that I had not been staring blankly at the monitor, but at the guy playing the game .

"… I think watching is more fun than playing . " "Is that so?"

He answered lightly, but I was very flustered inside . Sure enough, it was right that he was someone who attracted people's eyes .

After that, we played a few more games and then went to karaoke . Jun Hyung unexpectedly knew how all these things teenagers did and was even good at them . Seeing it like that, hanging out with people did not seem hard for him . But he still saw the world in a rather peculiar way, did not seem to care about the people around him, and still did things that were incomprehensible . Walking on the streets that were getting dark, a carol suddenly flowed out from somewhere . Walking at night in the streets surrounded by colourful glittering lights, while listening to carols made me feel rather warm . Come to think of it, I had never walked on such a busy street at this time of the day . I felt pretty good .


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"Let's go now . "

Somebody said, so we stopped .

"I want to eat ice cream . "

Jun Hyung mumbled all of sudden . Next to us, the Baskin Robbins shop was brightly lit by fluorescent lights . Sang Ryul frowned heavily at that remark .

"I'm freezing to death, what's with ice cream?" "So what . I want to eat it . Happy, what about you?" "Not really…" "Is that so? Then wait a little . " "Ah, I also want one~"

When Jun Hyung entered the store, the other guys hurriedly followed . So only I and Han Sang Ryul remained in front of the store .

"…… . " "…… . "

At first, neither of us opened our mouths due to awkwardness . Han Sang Ryul watched the white puff of breath as it went up into the dark night sky . I was looking at the front because the heavy silence made me uncomfortable, when suddenly the guy turned to me as if he had thought of something . I was conscious of his gaze and my face stiffened, but I did not turn to look at him .

"But you know…" "…?" "Thinking about it, it's the first time . " "?"

…… What? I finally turned my face to the guy and stared at him with wonder . The guy had a frown on his forehead and stared at me with curious expression .

"At first, I simply thought that guy was doing another crazy thing . " "…?" "But thinking about it, it's the first time that guy has been interested in someone like this, whether it's for amusement or not . " "…… . " "It's really interesting to watch from the side . I've known that guy since first grade of middle school, but it's really the first time I've seen him take care of a different person like that . " "…… Isn't it because he doesn't think of me as human?"

I replied, thinking of how I was called a pet (animal) today .

"Is that so? But even so, it's really amazing . " "…… . "


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Han Sang Ryul took some time before he again opened his mouth .

"How did you meet with that guy?" "I already told you . Just on the street . " "By any chance, are you in the middle of running away from home?" "Yep . "

I answered, as if it was nothing . Even though it was a question that brought me back to reality . Perhaps my original purpose of escaping from reality slightly changed after I met Jun Hyung .

"Then, are you staying at that guy's house now?" "Right . " "Heee . To think that you’d be running away from home, even though you look like a nerd…… . So, how long do you plan to be at that guy's house?" "…… . "

At these words, I could not help but fall into silence for a moment . Until when…? It was only clear that it could not be for a lifetime .

"For the time being . " "But Jun Hyung's house has a big family, isn't it inconvenient to live there? If you have nowhere to go in the future, contact me . I live alone so I don't mind letting one more person stay there . It's an inn exclusively for runaways . " "…… . " "Do you have cell phone now?" "…… No . "

At that remark, he rummaged through his bag, pulled out a sheet of paper, scribbled down his phone number and gave it to me . I hesitated about what to do, and stuffed it into my pocket for the time being .

"What's your real name?" "…… . " "Is it a secret?" "…… Kang Hagil . "

Before I knew it, my mouth opened . Because it was not a secret . I did not know if I did the right thing, but since he was not from our school, we probably would not run into each other again…… .

"But you know what? Your eyes really look like a dog’s . " "…… . " "Who knows, maybe Jun Hyung also noticed that about you and liked it . " "…… . "

Jun Hyung <also> . He spoke about it like it was no big deal, but I found that probing highly intrusive .

"Ah, looks like they're finally coming . Then, see you again if there's a chance, Happy…… no, Hagil . "

Han Sang Ryul said so and grinned . Being called by my real name in a long while was a little awkward . It might have been because of the guy's needlessly familiar voice, despite only having met not long ago .


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Like he said, Jun Hyung and the guy’s friends could be seen coming through the glass door of Baskin Robbins while carrying colourful ice cream . I did not look in the guy's direction and opened my mouth as I stared at this image .

"If you are the same age as Jun Hyung… I'm older . " "?" "So, if we happen to meet next time, call me Hagil hyung . " "!!"

When I glanced at him and saw him making an expression saying, “Hey, you got to be kidding me, with that face?” I could not help but giggle .

"Then, bye . "

Leaving behind the guy who was staring at me blankly, I approached Jun Hyung . Then, maybe because he found my smiling face odd, Jun Hyung looked behind me and discovered Sang Ryul who was staring vacantly . He frowned as if he was unhappy with something .

"…… . "

But other than that, he said nothing special . I followed Jun Hyung who did not even say goodbye to the guys before leaving, feeling awkard and inwardly heaving a sigh of relief .

Surely, something had changed from the time I first left home . If I had heard such a question before, I would have never answered . I had no reason to tell my name to a guy who had nothing to do with me . And that guy's offer, it would have been more like me to naturally follow it . But now I somehow had no thoughts of going there at all . Rather than the house that guy was living in by himself, Jun Hyung’s house and the big family was more appealing . Yes…… Maybe now, I did not want to be in a place where I could escape from reality, but I wanted to be in Jun Hyung's house .

"…… . "

The house with the guy's kind parents and friendly older sister . The house with the stubborn Dae Hyung who was unable to be honest but in fact was more childlike than anyone, with the innocent and bright Min Hyung and the cute Patrasche with an unusual name…… . The house with Jun Hyung whose thoughts I could not guess, but who sometimes smiled innocently like a child and at other times changed into a scary abuser . The house with him who had no interest in his surroundings but was especially kind to me only…… I might have just wanted to stay in that house . I will leave someday, but if I had to stay somewhere for the time being, I would like it to be that house .

That night . As I walked with my eyes on the back of Jun Hyung’s head, I had this thought .

 ⬅   

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