50 Murder Mystery (4)

The first time I saw someone fall from a building was the year 1999 in my previous life.

It was a rainy day.

I was in London and there was this large crowd gathered and the police standing by, as this young lady stood at the edge of a 5 storey apartment block rooftop.

She was there for three hours. Just staring down, contemplating whether she should jump or not. The spectators, who were initially excited; filming on camcorders, calling friends on their Nokia' or just shouting at her, quickly grew bored. Eventually, people left and even the police grew tired of trying to convince her to come down.

I, however, did not grow bored.

In fact, I got more excited with every second. The 'will she' or 'won't she' of it all. It kept me on the edge of my seat. It was more entertaining than any performance.

And then the finale. Just as she turned around, seeming to change her mind, a strong gust of wind blew. She lost her balance and tumbled to her death. It was over in less than 10 seconds, but my eyes remember it frame by frame. Her scream, the way her hands reached out trying to grab hold of anything, and the dull thud as her body missed the life net being held by the firefighters, by mere centimetres. Her head hit the ground first and split open on the concrete like an egg.

It was a sight that I would never forget.

When I looked at Joon-ki's corpse I had a similar feeling; I wouldn't forget this sight.

The frozen expression of horror on his bloody and torn face. The arrogant twinkle in his eyes, that had annoyed me mere moments ago, was now gone and replaced with a blank stare.

I instinctively stepped closer to his body to get a better look. Immediately, I smelt alcohol. He was practically drenched in it. In one of his hands was a broken bottle that was clenched in his fist.

That was odd, I had seen him leave the Diamond Hall only 30 minutes prior and he hadn't been drunk at all, in fact, he was practically sober the whole night. This was clearly staged.

At that point I was grabbed by a nearby servant, it was one of my Nannies, Han [1], she covered my eyes and yelled "Don't look! Don't look at that."

A crowd gathered, people yelled in horror at the corpse.

At that point, Ms Ha-Rin ran out, running, from the entrance of that guest building. She huffed and puffed as if she had run a marathon.

Her face was the picture of horror when she saw Joon-ki. Her whole body trembled as she muttered, "he.....he....he fell off the balcony while drinking…oh my god, oh my god!!!!"

I peeked through Han's fingers, and I watched as Ms Ha-Rin collapsed on the ground and threw up. She was definitely putting on quite the show.

Hearing all the chaos, soon all the guests emerged from the Diamond Hall to see what had happened. Shocked mutterings and gasps filled the air.

The police were on the scene within minutes and they quickly cordoned off the area.

I didn't get to see much of what happened after that. Min Ho appeared before me and took me from Han, "The Young Master shouldn't see any of this, I will take him to bed."

"Ah yes." She said weakly, giving me one final hug before she handed me to Min Ho.

As he whisked me away to my quarters. The last thing I saw as we left was Kang Seung staring at Joon-ki's corpse as they zipped it up in a black bag, and it was loaded into the back of an ambulance. Madame Kang was hugging the legs of the stretcher screaming "No!!!! My son!!! My baby! No!!!!"

There was no expression on Seung's face but I did see a single tear roll from his eye before his expression hardened.

That single tear was like cracks in his armour, it revealed the sad man underneath that tough demeanour. He really had loved Joon-ki a lot, his heart looked like it was breaking.

At that time it was a feeling I couldn't understand.

Min Ho didn't say much as we walked back, there was only one sentence he uttered as he tucked me into bed, "Sorry it was so messy but it had to be done."

I grabbed his arm wanting him to tell me more, but he shook his head, "tomorrow, right now some loose ends need to be tied up."

And with that he left, leaving me confused. Min Ho had enough self-discipline to not kill Joon-ki in such a public and brash way…unless it wasn't him… but his Mother. But why would he cover for her, and why would she want to harm Joon-ki? My brain was buzzing but I guess I was tired because I quickly fell asleep.

.....

I woke up to quietness as Min Ho gently shook me.

It was still a bit dark out and there wasn't even the chirping of birds yet.

Next to Min Ho, was Kang Seung who simply watched me and said nothing. I had never seen that man so silent before. Like earlier, he wore the same hardened expression on his face.

Soon I was dressed in a black mourning suit to match Seung. Two black bands were put on my arm [2] and Kang Seung quietly picked me up and took me to a car waiting outside.

The air was sombre, and all the decorations from the night before had been taken down. At a glance, all the servants were now dressed in black.

As we walked to the vehicle, nearby workers gave us solemn looks, and they lowered their heads. The picture of grief and respect.

I wanted to laugh.

I had never been good in serious situations, especially at funerals. I always found the whole thing rather laughable. People who probably hated you your whole life, and said the worst shit about you, suddenly became your best friend at a funeral. I knew most of the staff deeply despised Joon-ki, I had listened to their gossip, but now look at them. Even in death you can't escape appearances and ego.

I decided to resist the urge to laugh by burying my face in Kang Seung's blazer. To onlookers, who saw my trembling shoulders, they probably thought I was crying, but in fact I was desperately holding my breath to prevent any giggles.

To my surprise, Kang Seung stroked my head, it seemed he also thought I was crying, as he comforted me, "there there, it'll be okay, don't be sad, it'll be okay."

To be honest I felt like I should be the one comforting him, he truly looked like he was holding back tears, he hid it decently but not well enough.

When the car rolled out of the estate the press was on us like hounds. Cameras flashed so intensely that I was blinded and for a moment we couldn't drive forward at all, but eventually our security pushed them aside and off we went to the private KangMung group Funeral Hall.

This Hall was as large as it was bleak. Many people dressed in black were seated, talking in lowered voices as they either drank or ate food.

At the centre of the room was a memorial for Joon-ki, a handsome photo of him surrounded by a grand and lavish floral arrangement of white chrysanthemums. Incense burned under his photo. Standing to the side of this memorial stand was Madame Kang. She looked drained of all life and she seemed to have aged 3 decades in a single night.

When people noticed me, I heard them whisper, "Poor orphan, to lose his father like that and to be the first to see him.."

"As amazing as he is, he's so unlucky."

"Poor boy."

I ignored the pity and gossip.

Instead I walked up to the podium, lit incense and put it with the other sticks next to Joon-Ki's photo.

I bowed twice to the deceased. As I bowed I wondered how no one was suspicious, the funeral was happening so quickly without even an autopsy. I must have missed something while I was asleep, there was no way Kang Seung would not be suspicious, unless he was given overwhelming evidence that the whole thing was an accident.

I had a few theories, but I couldn't be sure until I got all the facts from Min Ho.

After bowing, I joined Kang Seung and Madame Kang as the chief mourner and the 3 day funeral ensued [3].

[1] Ms Han or Han Hye-Kyo was a maid that was mentioned in chapter 30.

[2] At a funeral in South Korea you will see family members wearing black or white. Usually, the chief mourner and his close male relatives wear a black suit with a black armband. The chief mourner will have two black bands on his arm.

[3] Funerals in South Korea can go on for 3 days, that's why in hospitals they have whole rooms in funeral halls and places for the mourners to sleep and eat.