The Great Storyteller Chapter 11
Chapter 11: Chapter 11 <Inside of a Pouch (2)>
"OK, time. That was good for a first try. You observed well."
Sun Hwa sighed loudly and collapsed onto her seat. It felt much more exhausting than climbing up and down the stairs. She borrowed Bom's list of words to see what she could've missed, 'What did I miss?'
"You're good at seeing things from a bird's eye-view," Juho said.
Sun Hwa looked at him.
"What do you mean?"
"You see the forest itself rather than the trees."
'Forest?' Sun Hwa checked at the list again. She reflected on the moment she had struggled: that weird liquid, just liquid. She had desperately tried to remember the name of it because she couldn't find any more words. Her mind focused on the details because there was no more information that could be identified from simply looking at the external. She looked around the room again. Just with the lab coat alone there were words like pockets, sleeves and white. Then, she started to see the things that weren't visible moments ago.
"Was I ever bad with details?"
By the time Sun Hwa realized it, the rest of the club members did as well.
"Details are important. Is that the secret? Wouldn't that give a bigger advantage to the person that went after?"
"Oh, yeah! I forgot to tell you, no repeating words."
"What? Isn't there an advantage for the person who goes first?"
Just as Seo Kwang was contemplating when he should have his turn, Mr. Moon's words made him think even more. While he was busy thinking, Sun Hwa told Bom, "Get this over with, Bom."
"Should I? Mr. Moon, I'll go next."
As if giving up, Seo Kwang quietly raised his fist in front of Juho's eyes. It was an unspoken offer to settle it with a game of rock-paper-scissors. Juho nodded.
"Winner goes last."
"Rock, paper, scissor!" Seo Kwang played rock, and Juho played paper. Juho won. He was going last. Seo Kwang smiled and made Juho a boastful promise to Juho, "I'll make sure that there's nothing left for you."
'Yeah, yeah. Do your worst,' thought Juho.
The timer started, and Bom seemed slightly nervous. She opened her mouth in a hurry.
"Um, paper, rope, tree, pencil case, cloth, pen, mechanical pencil, lid, handle, rubber, pen tip, spring, ink and uh, hair tie, scribble, letters, and and"
She focused on things that she could find on the desk first: paper and rope from her notebook and tree was from the desk. Bom hastily looked around. She was definitely more detailed than Sun Hwa, but she was tensing up. It made sense considering that there was a time limit. Moreover, the words Sun Hwa had said kept interrupting her thoughts. The same, repeating words danced around in Bom's mouth.
"That um uniform, name tag, slipper, stocking, pants, shirts, vast, activewear, buttons, sleeves, pockets, collar, lining, thread, knot, wrinkle, um, um, and"
She stumbled through to find more words. There were quite a few words coming out of her mouth. There were long gaps in between, but the result wasn't bad at all. Mr. Moon shouted stop, and Bom returned to her seat while calming her breath. There were still remnants of excitement on her face.
"That was good, Bom."
"Oh, it's nothing. I'm kind of embarrassed that I stuttered so much. I didn't even get to look around the room like Sun Hwa did. I must be narrow-visioned."
She waved her hand in denial at Sun Hwa's compliments. 'Bom's approach was definitely more effective than Sun Hwa's,' Seo Kwang thought. 'Seeing how she was pulling out multiple words out of uniform, perhaps we really are overly depend on what we see.'
Without saying a word, Mr. Moon started the timer. Seo Kwang spoke calmly and was not in a hurry. He realized that two minutes was not a short time after watching Sun Hwa and Bom. 'There's plenty of time. No rush'
"Let's see, so, men and women, and...things, object, glass, plastic, letters, sentences, self-introduction, books, bookshelves, title, author, publisher, translator, publish, publish date, edition, issue, cover, paper band, numbers, um, and"
Seo Kwang thought for a brief moment and continued. Those were words that hadn't been mentioned yet.
"Light, sunlight, dust, microscopic dust, air, breath, respiration, heat, voice, sound, high pitch, low pitch, student, teacher, time, teenager, friend, friendship, courage, hopes and dreams, peace, youth, and"
Seo Kwang walked over and opened the window. A cool breeze flowed into the room.
"Wow, such youth," Juho said absent-mindedly. Seo Kwang was blurting out words like friendship, courage and hopes and dreams. It was the fearlessness of youth. Being a fervent reader, he did have a developed sense of language.
"Wow! That made my heart almost move. That acting."
"I know! That was good."
Sun Hwa exaggerated first, although Bom seemed genuinely impressed. Enjoying the responses of the crowd, Seo Kwang made a proud face. At that, Sun Hwa commented, "Yes, you need attention at that age."
"Don't be jealous of my senses."
"I've never been so wronged in my life."
By the time their quarreling died down, Bom spoke quietly, "That was amazing, Seo Kwang."
"You're too kind."
Here was another friend who lacked humility. His arrogance was through the roof. Bom was deeply impressed. Words exist even in unseen places, and Seo Kwang pulled out a fact that Juho had been forgetting. It felt like his vision had widened, so Bom complimented Seo Kwang.
"I didn't even think about that. That was incredible."
"Oh, it was nothing. I am pretty amazing."
"Yeah, you're amazingly shameless," Juho agreed that Seo Kwang was amazing, though in a different way from Bom.
Her anxiety could have been contagious, but he even walked over to the window to open it. 'Did one grow more shameless the more he read?' No, that was just his personality. He was born with it.
"OK. Lastly, Juho's turn," Mr. Moon said.
Seo Kwang went back to his seat.
"It must be hard having to be your turn right after me. Don't feel too burdened, my friend."
"It's exhausting to go after a friend who lacks humility," Juho replied with a smile at Seo Kwang's arrogance.
On the other hand, Sun Hwa, who was not fond of Seo Kwang's arrogance, added while glaring at him fiercely, "Juho, make sure you start off with the word 'ass.'"
"Hm, I was thinking about what other words were left. I'll keep that in mind."
"Where did you find that word?"
"Right here, on your stupid face."
"I see that your words are getting edgier."
"There-there, settle down."
Leaving Bom behind, trying timidly to break up their quarrel, Juho got up from his seat slowly. 'Keep them in your mouths and clasp them in your hand.' The limit was the room, wherever the eye could see. That was probably a trap planted by Mr. Moon. Words were everywhere. Inside, outside, and in between. Seo Kwang did a great job digging in. In search for words, he bravely jumped into the unseen. Mr. Moon's satisfied smile was the evidence of that.
Sun Hwa had revealed her bold personality, and Bom caught even the most minute of details. It almost revealed how they viewed the world. 'What about myself? It's hard to get a feel for something I've never done before. I hope I don't embarrass myself by not being able to say much. No, I'm sure I'll do just as well since I've been observing everyone else,' thought Juho.
Seeing him standing still, Mr. Moon asked, "Are you ready?"
Like everyone else, Juho looked around the room. One by one, familiar sights found their way into Juho's view: Sun Hwa and Bom sitting across from him, Seo Kwang sitting next to him, Mr. Moon sitting while facing the students, and Baron facing Mr. Moon, dying of boredom. Seeing everyone sitting around the rectangular desk, Juho fixed his sight on one spot. His eyes met with Baron's. Without trying to avoid Juho's gaze, Baron stood up from his seat.
Remaining composed even after making an eye contact with an upperclassman, Juho answered with his droopy tone, "I'm ready."
Baron wondered if Juho was going to ask him if he was black. He did make eye contact with the others as they were busy finding words. From the first years' avoidance of eye contact with him, Baron realized that he wasn't the one who was being avoided, but the words that were surrounding him. 'Is he going to say them? Those sensitive words?' thought Baron.
"People, human, humanity, mankind, character, dignity, human being, personality, appearance, life, lifespan, human nature, existence, living being, heart, me, self, ego, id, identity, superego, experience, recognition, past, present, future, talent, prosperity, fall, good news, sad news, exciting news, struggle, joy, tears, smile, resentment, annoyance, attachment, love, favor, endearing, affection, happiness, pain, terror, difficulty, anger, fury, hope, fear, sympathy, heart-struck, chaos, unfamiliarity, inner-person, disgrace, hate, passion, respect, despise, demand, desire, longing, pleasure, displeasure, reminiscence, senses, emotions, sentiment, sensitivity, appreciate, warmth, emotional health, mood, feeling, thoughts, questions, doubt, concern, stage in life, age, opposite-gender, memories, brain, response, expressions, expectation, reliance, determination, striving, economy, main agent, supervision, true nature, subject, center, core, ethics, sexuality, genes, worth, value, mind, body, regulations, beauty, knowledge, intelligence, wisdom, philosophy, act, personality, timidity, bold, indifferent, friendly, mysterious, conservative, progressive, rigidity, coquetry, conflict, hypocrisy, rules, wariness, boundary, distance, language, living, society, relations, location, place, characteristics, individual, choice, decision, interest, thinking, conscience, emotional state, intention, tendencies, wants, wishes, volition, sole."
There was silence in the room after Mr.Moon's exclamation. A wind blew into the room though the open window, and hairs blew with it.
The air began to flow again at Sun hwa's subconscious marveling. "That was amazing!" "Incredible!" In midst of it all, Baron wasn't able to say a word. He swallowed, breaking out in a cold sweat. Only Baron felt the the look in Juho's eyes as he was tirelessly spewing out words.
There was barrenness. It was a dryness without a single drop of moisture. It was desolate and arid. Juho's eyes were digging away at Baron's heart. They stirred at him relentlessly. There was no mercy. Baron felt a burning sensation on his skin from Juho's gaze. Where the air met the skin, his veins and nerves were exposed, vulnerable to incoming danger. He was on edge. Baron gently rubbed his tense, rigid cheek. There were so many things that could be found in that body.
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