The La-Iin Series
“Imaginary to Imagination”
La-Iin had been stewing over Imagination’s claims of being a ghost even more since the day she had found the unusual newspaper at the library. Since then she hadn’t stopped by the graveyard much–and her most recent trip there, Imagination was nowhere in sight.
All the while, on her spare time that she wasn’t thinking on her plans for world domination or some other subject that occupied her time, she was thinking on a way she could find solid proof that Imagination was a ghost.
‘That news story is suspicious. But stupid stuff happens all the time. Another Normal-Catori could have died and been strangled. With how transparent she looks, she might even be a Tribreed and not realize it.’
Imagination was certainly unusual, and La-Iin wanted to believe she was telling the truth. Yet she also didn’t want to get her hopes up. The loss of her loved ones was a subject that bothered her deeply. If she could have definitive proof that it wasn’t something she needed to worry much about, she would feel that much more confident in her goals.
“I’ve been thinking, Imagination.”
“Thinking about what?”
“You say that you’ve gone out of the graveyard and people haven’t been able to see you. But me, Fer-Shi and Choungetsu can see you, and we’ve never met someone who can’t.”
“I guess not?”
“So if you want me to believe you’re a ghost, prove to me that there really are some people who can’t see you.”
“That’s a good idea, La-Iin,” Fer-Shi said. “But I’m not sure if I really want to know if you’re a ghost or not. I believe you enough with what I’ve already seen!”
“Thank you, Fer-Shi,” Imagination said with a smile. “But I really want to prove to La-Iin that I’m telling the truth when I say I’m a ghost. So I’ll do whatever she wants in order to prove it.”
“Don’t say that!” Fer-Shi yelled. Imagination blinked. “Why not?”
“If only I had better grave-digging skills,” she sighed. “If Choungetsu wasn’t such a weenie, I wouldn’t need to worry about this.”
Choungetsu glanced at her, his expression blank.
“I’m willing to do it if you want proof. Take me to whoever you want and I’ll show you that not everybody can see me. But, um…the people you wanna show me to, they wouldn’t say anything about seeing me, right?”
“Even if they did, nobody would believe them,” La-Iin told her, though she found herself going over the reactions she expected from the people she’d consider.
‘Mama would probably be really surprised and asking a lot of questions. Bes-Isa might be a little intrigued by ghosts existing. San-Kyung probably wouldn’t care except for the whole afterlife aspect. Rival-boy would be interested and asking a bunch of questions. Sale-Dessu would definitely keep it a secret, but he’d probably be just as curious as rival-boy would be, if not even more curious.’
“So, when do you want to do it?”
“Today. I have two people I can show you to. And if they can both see you, then I’m really going to think you’re lying.”
“You know, La-Iin, even if they can see me that still doesn’t prove I’m not a ghost,” she said. “It might only prove I’m lying about other people not being able to see me.”
“If that was the case then why don’t we see ghosts everywhere? There’s lots of dead people after all.”
“Because it’s not how things work,” Imagination said. “Okay then, let’s go!”
La-Iin, Fer-Shi, Choungetsu and Imagination left the graveyard, each thinking on what was about to happen.
‘I should show her to Sale-Dessu first. Him being able to see her would mean nothing to me.’
Fer-Shi tagged along with La-Iin to her neighborhood. She seemed cheerful, but La-Iin could tell she was scared by the look in her eyes. Once she neared her house, a thought came to mind.
‘Fer-Shi doesn’t know that Sale-Dessu made an autonomous V-Puppet,’ she thought. ‘If I bring her into his house, she might keep asking questions about him and I’ll never get to the point.’
“Fer-Shi, Choungetsu looks like he has to use the bathroom,” she said. “Go inside my house and I’ll be there soon.”
La-Iin waited until Fer-Shi had gone inside, then beckoned to Imagination, who had been standing behind both girls on the walk.
“I’m kind of nervous now. What if these people can see me? And are they adults?”
“Yes, all of them. …well, one of them thinks she’s an adult, but she’s really not. But the guy in this house is an adult.”
Imagination began to look uncertain. La-Iin knocked on the door to Sale-Dessu’s house. It didn’t take long for him to respond.
“Hello, La-Iin,” he said.
“Sale-Dessu, I have something important for you. I want to ask, do you believe in ghosts?”
Sale-Dessu blinked. “I believe in spirits,” he said. “Why?”
“Do you believe we can see spirits?”
“No, I don’t, though I’ve always wished I could. Why?”
“I have something for you that might give you proof about ghosts. Or rather, someone. Imagination, show yourself.”
When nothing happened, La-Iin glanced around for Imagination, but she was nowhere in sight.
“What’s going on, La-Iin? Did you sip a potion or something?”
“No, I didn’t! She just ran away because she’s scared of adults.”
Sale-Dessu looked confused. “I’m not sure what’s going on,” he said. “But I really don’t think that we can see spirits. Don’t spirits go to–”
“FATHER!” La-Iin heard from inside. “I–I THINK I MESSED UP! SOMETHING’S GOING REALLY WRONG!”
Sale-Dessu’s eyes widened. “Hang on, Eul-Bok!” He called. “M-maybe you can introduce me to this Imagination girl some other time,” he stammered, before closing the door and yelling something La-Iin couldn’t understand.
“…Imagination, where the hell are you?” La-Iin asked. Imagination peeked her head out from the side of Sale-Dessu’s house.
“I just realized I have an ability I never knew I could use,” she said. “I think.”
“I think I can turn invisible at will. I didn’t even see my hand when I put it in front of my face. It was so weird.”
“I’m sorry, but I got scared when you said he was an adult. And I saw he was a Warlock too. My Dad always told me I shouldn’t trust strangers.”
“He isn’t a stranger to me, though.”
“How do you know this guy, anyway? Does he have a kid you play with?”
“No,” she said. Before she could respond, a sound reminiscent of an explosion sounded from the Astineth house, followed by yelling. “Let’s just go to my house,” she grumbled, stomping away from Sale-Dessu’s. Imagination followed close behind her.
“The adult in this house is my Mama. I swear, if you disappear on me again–”
“I’ll try not to,” she said. La-Iin gave her an uncertain glance before walking inside.
“You took a long time,” Fer-Shi said. “How much did Choungetsu have to go?”
“He just made me take a detour,” La-Iin said as she unhooked his leash. Choungetsu dashed away, seeming incredibly cheerful.
“So, are we gonna show her to Miss Cahongyun?”
“Yes, if she doesn’t go hiding before we can,” La-Iin muttered. Imagination’s ears folded to her head.
“It’s nothing.” La-Iin walked past the living room and hallway and into the kitchen, where sure enough Mit-Sun was working on papers.
Mit-Sun glanced up. “Hello, La-Iin. That was a pretty long walk. It’s been a while since you took one of those.”
“I went on the walk with Fer-Shi. Are you surprised?” She turned to Imagination, making sure the girl was still there. She looked uncertain, but she was still standing behind her.
“Mama, I want you to meet someone.”
“Yes. Imagination, show yourself!”
When she turned around, Imagination had disappeared again. La-Iin’s wings began to flap wildly in her anger. “FER-SHI! IS IMAGINATION OUT THERE!?”
“No, isn’t she with you?” Fer-Shi called back.
“NO, SHE ISN’T!”
“You don’t have to yell so loudly,” Mit-Sun snapped. “Is this some sort of prank?”
“It wasn’t supposed to be,” La-Iin said through grit teeth. “Never mind, Mama. I’m going to my room. FER-SHI, YOU WANNA COME UPSTAIRS?”
Fer-Shi dashed into the kitchen. “Sure!”
The two girls head upstairs; before she left the kitchen, La-Iin noticed Mit-Sun giving her a look as if she were both perplexed and frustrated with her. La-Iin decided to ignore it and opened her bedroom door.
“I have one more person for you to meet, Imagination. If you’re still here.”
“I am,” Imagination said, peeking her head into her bedroom. “Is this your room? It’s a nice room. My room wasn’t as nice as this. Are you rich?”
“No,” she said. “Imagination, if you leave again, I’m never going back to that graveyard to see you.”
She swallowed hard. “Okay, I won’t.”
La-Iin made the hand-motions to wake Bes-Isa.
“Good afternoon, finally. Hey, who’s the newcomer?”
“Oh, she’s just a V-Puppet!” Imagination sighed.
“Really, La-Iin, who is this?”
“This is Imagination, Bes-Isa,” La-Iin said coolly. “The girl who claims she’s a ghost but doesn’t give me any reason to believe she is.”
“Well, there’s a lot of weird stuff that Imagination can do that I don’t think normal people could,” Fer-Shi said. “She was able to take the hotteok out of her unscathed and she popped up through the ground…”
Fer-Shi paled and the look in her eyes became distant.
“So you claim you’re a ghost?”
“I am a ghost.”
“What brings you to that conclusion?”
La-Iin filled Bes-Isa in on the story before Imagination went off on a tangent.
“…huh. Well, I can see you just fine. Though you do look pretty weird for a Normal-Catori. Sure there isn’t something else in you? Are you a distanced Tribreed?”
“Do those even work the way people say they do?” Imagination asked. “If another species is that far back in your family line, will it even show?”
“Uh, yes. Just how out of the loop are you? Even people who aren’t good at species study know that.”
“I barely leave my graveyard,” she said.
“This must be pretty weird for you, huh?” Fer-Shi asked. Imagination nodded.
“Well, it’s just annoying for me,” she said. “Sooner or later, either Mama will see you or she won’t. And it won’t be because you decided to hide at the last moment.”
“You know, I’m curious now, La-Iin. Are you trying to prove I am a ghost, get me to back up my claims, or prove I’m not a ghost? I really can’t figure it out.”
“It’s none of your business.”
“That makes me wonder lots more,” she said. “But oh well. Thanks for giving me a little something else to do regardless, La-Iin.”
“You didn’t do what I wanted, though. You’ll pay for that in the future.”
Imagination’s ears folded to her head once again. “Well…hopefully someday I can prove to you that I really am a ghost, La-Iin.”
‘I hope you can too,’ La-Iin thought. She caught herself just before the words crossed her lips. “Since you’re here, I might as well show you some things. Wait here and I’ll show you Haven in Dystopia.”
“Didn’t you beat that game a long time ago?” Fer-Shi asked.
“That’s why I’m going to show her that one.”
‘There has to be some other way I can get proof. Maybe next time I should try bringing Mama to the graveyard. I bet I couldn’t get Sale-Dessu to come out with me, but maybe San-Kyung or rival-boy…’
She shuddered at the thought of taking Dosa-Mina out to the graveyard. ‘But Bes-Isa can see her. I guess that means she really did hide. I don’t know what to believe anymore…’
“Hey, what happened to Imagination?”
“I think she just left. I don’t see her anywhere anymore.”
“Hey, La-Iin, I’m curious now too. What are you trying to prove with Imagination? Are you really just trying to get her to back up her claims or is there something else going on?”
“It’s none of your business. Don’t you have to go home soon?”
“I guess I do,” she sighed. “Well, I’ll be seeing you, La-Iin!”
La-Iin waved to her, then went back to stewing on new ideas to prove that Imagination truly was a ghost. Her frustration left her on that thought for the rest of the day, from the moment Fer-Shi left until she fell asleep late at night.