The La-Iin Series
“Potentially Imaginary Mysteries”
“I don’t know if anyone else can see me, La-Iin. I went out a few times since our last meeting and nobody noticed me even when I did really annoying things.”
Imagination sighed. She stared down at Choungetsu. “At least you can see me.”
“But it doesn’t really matter to you at all I guess. You never even really believed I was a ghost, not since the day we met…”
Both girls fell silent. Choungetsu gave a whimper.
“Thinking about something, La-Iin?”
La-Iin laid on her bed, lost in thought. Her meeting with Imagination was on her mind, along with the last meeting the two had had with Fer-Shi. She recalled all the things she and Fer-Shi had asked her about that she didn’t know.
Was she isolated from the world or a ghost? La-Iin wasn’t sure which one to believe anymore.
‘Maybe I shouldn’t try and find out through Imagination. Maybe I can find out some other way.’
Skeptic as she was about Imagination’s claims, she half hoped it was the truth. She couldn’t help but wonder if that would make living out a thousand years easier on her.
‘And maybe I could still commit atrocities from the grave…’
La-Iin hopped off her bed and snapped her fingers. She walked downstairs and into the kitchen, but Mit-Sun wasn’t there. She decided to try her room instead.
Mit-Sun was sitting at the computer. La-Iin sighed.
“Hello, La-Iin. Are you ready for school?”
“Are you ready for work?” La-Iin said sarcastically.
“Don’t be that way with me. You got up early today but just because you’ve had more time to yourself before school doesn’t mean you don’t have to go today. What did you want, anyway?”
“Not to say that I wasn’t ready for school, even though I really don’t want to go,” she huffed. “I wanted to use your computer.”
Mit-Sun narrowed her eyes. “What for?”
Mit-Sun blinked. “Research on what?”
“…someone mentioned in history class. Not anyone evil. Although I would like to look at that…I could–what I said before!”
“You don’t need to snap at me,” Mit-Sun said, standing up from the computer chair. “I’m happy to hear that you want to do research. I don’t even care if you research evil people, because you can learn a lot from them. And I don’t mean get ideas,” she added dryly.
“I’m not going to get ideas from old evil people. I’m just going to figure out what made them fail so I can do better.” When she noticed Mit-Sun’s agitated expression, she added, “But the main person I want to look up is a goody-goody.”
“I’m not sure I completely trust you with my computer,” she said. “If you don’t act out I might let you on after school. We’ll see. I don’t want you intentionally installing a virus on there, after all…”
She pushed La-Iin forward. “Come on, we have to get going.”
The students from Class D began to migrate to their next classroom, all except for La-Iin, who stayed in the hallway scouring the crowd. She ran into it when she noticed familiar chestnut hair and pulled on his shirt.
“Hm?” Dosa-Mina turned around. He walked out the crowd, La-Iin following him. San-Kyung’s rapid glancing around the crowd went unnoticed by both of them.
“What’s the shirt pulling for?” Dosa-Mina said, his tone playful. La-Iin wanted to sigh. ‘He’s just going to mess with me. Maybe this was a bad idea.’
“I wanted to talk to you.”
“What about? San-Kyung? He’s been fine lately, don’t worry. You’ve seen it yourself. He’s still pretty weak in December, but he’s a lot better than he is in November! You could have asked him that yourself.”
“Hearing you go on about San-Kyung is annoying,” she spat. “I wanted to talk about something else.”
Dosa-Mina’s expression became more serious. “If this has to do with anything private, then no.”
“You know, you’re not making it any easier to ask you this, but I thought you might know best, so listen up.”
Dosa-Mina smiled. “Does it have to do with species study?”
His smile dropped. “Then what’s it about?”
“I know you do lots of research on species study because you don’t shut up about it sometimes.”
“San-Kyung’s told me the same. I’ve tried to cut down on my tangents a bit.”
“I wanted to know how you do research and find out things that are actually true. Do you watch people like you watch me?”
“No, not really. The only reason why I watch you is because what you can do is something that’s not really documented. You probably don’t remember if you’re asking me this, but I told you a few things about that in the past. For starters, as tempting as it might be, the internet isn’t exactly the best place for research. It’s fast, mostly, but it also has a lot of misinformation you’d have to sift through…it depends on what you’re looking up how much there is, but I definitely recommend books. Especially the older your subject is. Books can be wrong too, but at least they’re more trustworthy.”
“I don’t know how old it is,” she said. “Do you know how I could find somebody by name?”
“Well, I’m sure there are records on those sorts of things somewhere.”
“How about information on locations?”
“How big of a location are we talking about? La-Iin, I do do a lot of research, but whatever you’re looking in to sounds a bit out of my main field of expertise. Also…” He glanced up at the clock. “Biology class starts soon, so make it quick.”
“A small location.”
“You probably won’t find a very good source.”
“How about names of fatalities!?”
Dosa-Mina blinked. “…are you looking into a murder case or something?”
“I had to ask,” he chuckled. “It all seems pretty weird put together. Well then, that depends. If it’s local you might be able to find it in the news records at the library. Otherwise that might be a bit more problematic, and could require using the internet to find possibly fake stuff…” Dosa-Mina glanced up at the clock again.
“I have to go. Hope I can still get my seat. Good luck on your murder case, La-Iin!” He said before dashing off.
La-Iin started to think on his words as she walked outside. ‘Rival-boy wasn’t very helpful. But I guess thinking about the internet was a bad idea. Well, Imagination says she’s buried in Bledger, right? Maybe it was a local story. If she had a funeral, then maybe it actually happened….’
When La-Iin got home, Mit-Sun was scoffing at Choungetsu.
“I know we weren’t home, but you didn’t have to go upstairs to do that!” She snapped. Choungetsu’s ears were folded to his head and he was looking up at her with wide eyes. When the door creaked, both turned to see La-Iin.
“Hello, La-Iin,” Mit-Sun said.
“Mama, I changed my mind about using your computer. Can we go to the library to see something?”
Mit-Sun’s eyes widened. “Okay,” she said. “You must feel pretty strongly about finding out about this person…” Mit-Sun turned back to Choungetsu. “We’re going out again. I took you out, so if I find anything fresh, you’re going to be in serious trouble.”
Choungetsu gave a whimper.
Mit-Sun and La-Iin left the house and head for the library. “I’m surprised to see you so into this research. If it was about someone evil like one of the Rynghs, I might be able to understand. And you seemed pretty into species study too. I’ve seen you read my books before. And I’ve seen you struggle.”
“That’s not important,” La-Iin said. “I know how to read at least.”
“Well, if you need me to read anything, you just tell me,” she said. “But anyway, you said this research was on someone good. Were they connected to someone evil, by any chance?”
“Did they discover something that interests you?”
“Were they some sort of rare species combination?”
“She’s a Dualbreed, but no,” La-Iin said, then covered her mouth.
“Is that why? I know one of the reasons you said you liked Usl-Thaehey was because she’s a Dualbreed like you…I know you get conceited about that sometimes.”
The two walked into the library. “I have my reasons for being interested in this girl. Where’s the news records?”
“They’re near the back,” a bespectacled Minomix said. “And don’t talk so loud in here.”
Mit-Sun and La-Iin head to the back of the library. La-Iin couldn’t help but look up at the high shelves that avians browsed. The shelves low to the ground were already quite tall and she wondered how many books were in them.
‘How many of these books are garbage?’
“There’s the news records,” Mit-Sun whispered. La-Iin walked over to them. The news records were split into sections by years and the type of news being reported. La-Iin started to look through the crime reports and tried to think back on all she had learned from Imagination.
‘She said she was strangled. And the newspaper would probably say her species. She lives in Bledger. She seemed to be alive when Makeshire was alive. She was surprised by all the hyphenated names.’
La-Iin glanced through several news records, all the while being tempted to stop at particularly interesting sounding ones. She didn’t stop until one headline caught her eye.
At this point in time where crimes against the people are high all around the world, one particular case has people wondering just how low some people can sink. The decaying corpse of a young girl, a Normal-Catori Half-Breed, aged around ten to twelve, was discovered on the sidewalk of a neighborhood earlier this week. From the marks on her neck it appeared that she was strangled.
The family of the girl, who wish to remain anonymous, state that they had begun to panic about the whereabouts of their daughter especially in times like these. They state that they had been fearing the worst, but prayed they were wrong. Today they’re not sure whether to be grateful they at least found her or to give into their despairs.
Suspicion initially arose around the girl’s father, who had reportedly been out of the house around the time the girl was killed. However, his location was confirmed by his workplace, who was able to provide witness reports on his presence there on recent days. It is not known exactly when the girl died, but it is assumed it was the same day she went missing, a day for which both parents have alibis.
“Did you find it?” Mit-Sun asked.
“…yes. Mama, you can go and look at something else for now,” she said. She stared back at the newspaper.
‘I have to show this to Imagination.’
“I want to show you this,” La-Iin said. “Read it before it gets too dark.”
Imagination stared at the paper, squinting her eyes slightly. “That sounds like me,” she said. “But I don’t really know because they didn’t say much….but I remember my dad was at work when I died.”
Imagination looked La-Iin in the eyes. “Is this why you came back the same day? Do you believe me now, with this?”
“I don’t know,” La-Iin admitted.
“Well, even if you still don’t believe me, thank you for bringing this to me,” Imagination said, a smile starting on her lips. “I feel like maybe now I can somehow get a little closure…La-Iin, if you find anything else that sounds like it’s maybe about me please let me see it. I’d like to know about all the things I didn’t know about between the time I died and the time I became a ghost.”
She reached for the paper. “Can I keep it?”
“I don’t care.”
Imagination took the paper from La-Iin. “Thank you, La-Iin. See you again soon maybe?”
“Maybe with Fer-Shi next time,” she said. “See you, Imagination.”
The last thing she saw was Imagination’s smile. After she left the graveyard, when she peeked back in, Imagination wasn’t there.
‘I wonder if she’s going to put it someplace safe. She probably knew I took it from somewhere.’ La-Iin thought. ‘Well, the library had more than one of that newspaper anyway, so they won’t miss that one.’
La-Iin lay in her bed that night, thinking on her discovery.
“She probably IS a ghost, La-Iin!” When she had told Fer-Shi about her discovery, she had sounded a mixture of excited and terrified. She wondered if it was still on Fer-Shi’s mind as it was on her’s.
La-Iin wondered if it was because of her lifespan that she felt skeptic about ghosts. But she still hoped Imagination really was a ghost. She would never admit that to her.
But at least it would mean that all the people she loved would still stay with her.
‘Maybe I could even meet Makeshire someday…’