‘This is not a dream!’

‘It's definitely not a dream!’

Kim Hak-Cheol screamed and thrashed about like a madman.
However, his body could only quiver a little.

So far, nothing had happened to him.
Which meant…
It hadn't started yet.
However, Kim Hak-Cheol knew oh-so-well what was about to happen, and that knowledge drove him to the edge of pure madness.

Tears suddenly trickled down his cheeks, accompanied by streams of drool down his chin.


Kim Hak-Cheol's eyes slowly shifted to the side.
He had no desire to see 'it.’ He knew that squeezing his eyes shut would be several times better for himself.

However, he simply had to see it with his own eyes.
Humans were certainly capable of overcoming their fears, but curiosity rendered them helpless.
Just like how some people would cover their faces as a horror movie played on the screen, but they would still peek through the gaps of their fingers to see what was happening.

Kim Hak-Cheol's eyes slowly, oh-so-agonizingly slowly, turned to his side.
The direction he was looking at happened to be the same as the night before—the darkest corner of the boiler room.
The spot where the devil had revealed himself.

Kim Hak-Cheol didn't want to look at that corner ever again, but he had no choice.
His eyes betrayed his will and zeroed in on the dark corner of the boiler room—only to find nothing there.

'He's not there?!'

That shadowy creature was not there.
He wasn’t here tonight? In that case, maybe tonight could be different from…

“Is that what you think?”

That was when a cold, ominous voice echoed in Kim Hak-Cheol's ears.

Kim Hak-Cheol began shivering like crazy.
The voice of the devil…
It was coming from right behind him! And it was so close!

“Euuuuhph?!” Kim Hak-Cheol struggled like a madman, with enough force to shred his own muscles, but…
But his body didn't move even an inch.

This was a dream? Really?

If his lips could move, truly melancholic laughter would have escaped his mouth.

This couldn't be a dream.
How could it?

“Euuuuuhuph!” Kim Hak-Cheol's scream leaked out of his throat as a quiet little whimper.
The presence behind him was scary enough for his hair to lose color and become gray.

“Today is the second day.
Have you given any thought to how our wager might unfold?”

Kim Hak-Cheol obviously couldn't reply verbally.

“Looks like you haven't.
Very well.
Unfortunately for you, you'll have to think about it from this moment on.
Now, remember it well.
Six days to go,” the shadowy devil whispered in a playful voice.

He was…
being playful? Was he actually thinking that torturing another person to this state and messing around like this was fun?! Only a devil would do this.
Only a real devil!

That was when the devil's eyes suddenly appeared right before Kim Hak-Cheol's nose.

“Huuuph!” Kim Hak-Cheol felt a deathly chill run down his skin after staring into those crimson eyes, and he began to convulse in fear.

“Do you resent me?”

Something about the shadow was different today.
Yesterday, he was 'merely' terrifying.
But today, he—this monstrous, demonic shadow was emitting a thick veil of intense anger.

“Why are you angry?” the shadowy creature asked as if he was taken aback.
“Isn't what I'm doing a copy of what you did?”

“…!” Kim Hak-Cheol's irises gradually quaked harder.

What I did? This?

That was when a name suddenly popped up in Kim Hak-Cheol's mind: Ju Yeong-Gi.

‘…Are you saying I've been doing something like this to Ju Yeong-Gi?!’

The shadow's lips quivered.
The darkness made it hard to see properly, but the emotion conveyed by the movement of his lips was easy enough to catch.
It was a sneer—ridicule.

The shadow was sneering at Kim Hak-Cheol.
“Are you regretting your actions now?”

Kim Hak-Cheol urgently tried to nod, but his head still didn't follow his will and remained unmoving.

“I see.
However, what a pity.” The shadow's cackles registered in Kim Hak-Cheol's ears.
“Too bad, I don't care whether you're sorry or not.”


“Kkuuuuuuhuph?!” Kim Hak-Cheol's fingers were crushed by the shadow, their bones shattering into million pieces.
“Kkeuph?! Kkuuuuuph!”

This pain was totally different from yesterday's pain.
This time, bones making up a sensitive part of human anatomy were shattered.
The pain from this injury was truly indescribable.
The flood of tears intensified so much that Kim Hak-Cheol's eyes became swollen, distorting his vision.

“Calm down…” the shadowy devil whispered ever so softly.
At the same time, some things were steadily lengthening from the devil's fingertips.

Those couldn't be fingernails.
No way in hell would human fingernails grow to resemble an ice pick in how lengthy and pointy they were!

However, none of those things mattered right now.
What was important was…!

Those ice-pick-like growths were slowly closing in on Kim Hak-Cheol's broken fingers—that was what mattered right now.

Sometimes, knowing made things even more terrifying and unbearable.
Being ignorant could make you oblivious and fearless, but knowing that something excruciating was about to happen could instill heart-stopping fear in a person, which would endlessly torment them even before the actual pain arrived.

It seemed the shadowy devil also knew this.
That was because he stopped the 'ice picks' mere inches away from Kim Hak-Cheol's fingers, then whispered mockingly into his victim's ear, “Remember it.”

‘Remember what?!’

What did this shadowy devil want him to remember?

“Remember today.
Yes, today's fun; remember it.
And tomorrow…
I shall return.
Well, now.
Six days remain…”

The shadowy devil's ice picks began to slowly dig under Kim Hak-Cheol's fingernails.


“Uwaaaaaaaaaaahk!” Kim Hak-Cheol jumped up from his bedding and screamed at the top of his lungs.

“What the hell?! …F*ck?! You again!” Noh Su-Bong angrily threw his pillow at Kim Hak-Cheol.
“What is the matter with you?! Goddamn it! What is it this time?!”

However, Kim Hak-Cheol didn't even pay Noh Su-Bong any heed as he jumped off the raised wooden sleeping floor barefoot, then sprinted out of the living area in one breath.

“…What the hell? Did that bastard really go insane?” Noh Su-Bong muttered in a daze while getting up.
He quickly put on his shoes and followed Kim Hak-Cheol outside.

“Huff, huff! Huff!” Kim Hak-Cheol ran with all of his strength.
His destination was the boiler room.
While panting laboriously, he glared at the firmly-shut steel door.
His shaking hand reached out and slowly pushed it open.


Warm, humid air rushed outside, revealing the dim interior of the boiler room.

“Hey, Hak-Cheol! Have you gone insane, man?!” Noh Su-Bong belatedly arrived at the scene and shouted at his junior soldier, but Kim Hak-Cheol didn't even respond to him.

“What the hell? Hey, man!” Noh Su-Bong stood in front of Kim Hak-Cheol and tried to shake the latter around, only to realize that his junior soldier was staring at something.
He followed that stare and turned his head.
“What are you looking at, Hak-Cheol?”

Noh Su-Bong's gaze scanned a spot on the floor where Kim Hak-Cheol's bulging eyes were fixed on.
He discovered a drop of dried blood on the concrete floor that was vividly visible even under the dim light.

“Is that…

Just as those words left Noh Su-Bong's lips, Kim Hak-Cheol suddenly broke into a violent fit of convulsion.
“Heeeeeikk?! Heeeeeeiiiik!”

“W-what the heck? Hak-Cheol! Stop! What's the matter with you?!”


Kim Hak-Cheol's scream bursting out from deep within his torn soul echoed loudly within the boiler room.

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