SOSHI: Aesop’s Twisted Fable – Chapter 13

December 2, 2013 in Aesop's Twisted Fable, moonrise31, SOSHI by moonrise31

Chapter 13: Twist

Twist: n. An unexpected development of events. (New Oxford American Dictionary)

–Yesterday–

[Taeyeon] 9:25 PM: Maknae fixed herself. Go home so I can too.

–Today–

[Taeyeon] 8:56 AM: Don’t make me call another meeting, okay? I’m not a morning person.

Sooyoung blinked as Taeyeon’s latest group text message flashed across her phone screen. Wow…it’s already been twelve hours?

“Please don’t tell me you’ve been here all night.”

She turned to see Taeyeon standing in the doorway of the file room. The older girl raised her eyebrows, and Sooyoung gave a dry grin in response. “Don’t ask questions you know the answers to.”

Taeyeon walked over to her desk and briefly examined the papers she’d had been sifting through the entire night. “That’s your favorite phrase now, I see. Maybe I should just stop asking you questions altogether and start telling you everything instead.”

Sooyoung groaned and leaned back in her chair, rubbing her eyes with an exhausted hand. “If everyone had that sort of philosophy, it’d make my life a whole lot easier.”

Taeyeon hummed. “You’re telling me.” Her gaze switched from the papers to Sooyoung. “So I hope your all-nighter was fruitful.”

“They weren’t back in college, and they certainly aren’t now,” Sooyoung retorted. “I need some coffee.”

She started to stand, but Taeyeon touched her shoulder softly. “Is everything okay, Soo? With your dad, too?”

Sooyoung froze.

“You’ve been writing,” Taeyeon explained, pointing at the tired scrawls on the sheets scattered across the surface of the desk.

Father.

Father.

Father.

Sooyoung slumped back into her chair. “There isn’t really a treatment for Retinis Pigmentosa. And it’s genetic, so…” she held her hands in front of her face and stared. “Sometimes my eyes will just hurt ‘cause I’ve been looking at the computer for too long or something. And I freak out and stuff, but it’s never anything. At least, not for the moment.”

Taeyeon winced at the dry laugh that followed. She rubbed the younger girl’s back. “I know it’s hard, but short of asking Seohyun to direct her next project towards a cure, there really isn’t anything you can do.”

Sooyoung sighed. “I know.” She put her hands down. “It just seems that everyone’s running around trying to do things when there actually isn’t anything that can be done.”

Taeyeon pulled up a chair, the legs sliding softly across the linoleum floor. She sat down facing the backrest and then settled her crossed arms on top. “What do you mean?”

Sooyoung stared at her papers, but the characters had started swimming and shifting a long time ago. Her right hand moved automatically, her pencil reproducing the same single word.

Taeyeon waited.

Finally, Sooyoung put her pencil down. “Taeng, can I tell you a story?”

“I love stories.” Taeyeon leaned forward, resting her chin on top of her arms.

“You’ve probably heard it before, though,” Sooyoung warned.

Taeyeon smiled.

“So there was this farmer, right?” Sooyoung said after another pause. “And he had three sons who were really lazy. Whatever he did, he couldn’t get them to go into the fields with him. So his entire life, he worked to raise his crops while his kids goofed off and hung out in the shade.

“And, you know, everyone gets older. Eventually, their time comes. So when the farmer was on his deathbed, he told his sons that he had buried their entire inheritance out in his fields somewhere. All they had to do was find it.

“The promise of gold was what finally got them moving. Everyday, the sons went out and dug and dug and dug. They didn’t find any money, though. But since they’d turned the fields over so well, it was all ready for planting. And when their first crop came in, they realized just how precious those gold-colored grains really were.”

“Sounds like one of those stories that has a moral at the end,” Taeyeon said.

Sooyoung shook her head. “Sure. But I can’t help thinking of something drastically different.”

Taeyeon raised her eyebrows. “And what’s that?”

“Well…” Sooyoung stopped. “It just seems unfair. That the dad had to die in order to teach his kids something worthwhile.”

“Ah.” Taeyeon nodded.

Sooyoung looked up and met the other’s gaze. “I…I don’t think he should have to.”

“No,” Taeyeon agreed softly.

“I’m going to get some coffee.” Sooyoung stood, rubbing her sleeve across her eyes. Taeyeon pretended not to notice. “Want some?”

“I’m good.” The other woman got up as well. “I’ve got to check on that crazy maknae. I told her to take a day off, but she’s still running around the lab with a hole in her shoulder and her arm in a sling. I swear, that kid…”

Sooyoung managed a weak laugh. “Good luck, Taeng. You’ll need it if you actually are gonna try to make her go home before the day is over.”

Taeyeon waved a hand. “Have faith in your leader, please. I’ve got to be good for something.”

One corner of Sooyoung’s lips quirked upwards. “So much for ‘no group meeting’, huh?”

“Two isn’t a group,” Taeyeon retorted. “It’s having eight of them that’ll be hard.”

“Good luck,” Sooyoung said again, her chuckle slightly stronger. “Later.”

“Later.” Taeyeon glanced back down at the desk, eyes skimming over the printed words bordered by Sooyoung’s scribbles. Most of the documents were copies of newspaper articles detailing whichever of BAM’s crimes had come into the public’s attention that day. Some were more subtle than others – really only Sooyoung’s educated speculation that the events reported might be connected to the gang.

Taeyeon read the date on the corner of a sheet peeking out from the bottom of the mess. Wow. That was a few years ago.

She pulled the article free and scanned it. On some day previously, Sooyoung had written notes in the margins with red pen. But none of them made any reference to BAM. In fact, most of it seemed to point to the activities of some other organization, one that Sooyoung chose to represent with a big, circled question mark.

Taeyeon looked at the year again. She frowned, her conversation with Sooyoung still weighing heavily on her mind. Almost exactly six months before she found out about her father’s illness.

Taeyeon’s thoughts raced faster. Out of sorts yesterday. Stayed up all night. Her eyes only saw one word.

Father, father, father.

“Jeongnam,” Tiffany had said the day before. The most useful piece of information Jessica had extracted from Yongguk.

An empty circle with a question mark.

 “It just seems that everyone’s running around trying to do things when there actually isn’t anything that can be done.”

Taeyeon closed her eyes, trying to concentrate. She had to be absolutely sure.

What was Sooyoung’s dad’s name?

“So how’s the case?”

Sunny turned and sighed as Youngsun sat down beside her. “You know, I’m totally giving you an opportunity to escape from all this investigative annoyance. Why aren’t you taking it?”

Youngsun sipped her coffee and looked at Sunny with raised eyebrows. “Are you sure you aren’t the one trying to escape, Agent Lee?”

“Oh, how the tables have turned,” Sunny commented with a wry smirk. She faced the window again, staring into the street. “We went to Seven Springs yesterday,” she added, answering Youngsun’s question.

The other woman nodded, and Sunny watched her reflection over the morning bustle on the other side of the glass. “Find anything?”

“Funny how Ryuhwa’s twin made an appearance,” Sunny replied bluntly.

“Oh?” Youngsun’s eyes widened slightly. “Interesting.”

“What’s interesting,” Sunny corrected, “is that we didn’t find any nameplate.” Now it was her turn to raise her eyebrows.

“Oh, that’s odd.” Youngsun feigned innocence, tapping her chin. “I could’ve sworn there was one.”

Sunny saw her chance. “And that’s something else that’s interesting; exactly why did you think there was one?”

Youngsun shrugged. “You caught me, Agent Lee.” She paused, and then puffed her cheeks out as she exhaled. “I didn’t see any nameplate. But I was over at Seven Springs the night my sister was attacked.”

“I see.” Sunny thought for a moment before switching the subject. “Ryuyoung can’t really give us what we want.”

Youngsun turned at the mention of the twin’s name. “What do you mean?”

Sunny shrugged. “She doesn’t know that much, I guess. Ryuhwa contacted her only a month or so back and afterwards, they met often. Since they never even knew that they’d had each other all this time, they did a lot of catch-up. Then Ryuhwa accidentally found out about Ryuyoung’s side job as a dealer, but she didn’t say much except that she hoped she could get her sister out of it one day.” Sunny turned her cup in her hands. “So in the end, Ryuyoung wasn’t really that much help.”

Youngsun nodded slowly. “Well,” she said with a dry chuckle, “you guys are finally ahead of us in terms of the investigation now.”

Sunny tilted her head. “You didn’t know about Ryuyoung?”

Youngsun shrugged. “Jungeun and I thought something had been off with Ryuhwa lately. But she wouldn’t tell us what it was. She had told us about her twin, but she didn’t want anyone else to know about the whole thing yet. And then she just started being secretive in general, so we followed her one day to Seven Springs and knew that something was going on there, but didn’t go any further.

“Then that night came. We had decided to investigate for ourselves. When we got there, we actually thought it was Ryuhwa working with those gang members. We couldn’t see very well and almost got caught, so we ran away really quickly. But I ended up falling and scraping up my knee.”

Well, that’s one mystery solved, Sunny thought.

“Of course, we got back and decided that it’d be best to tell our father about it. But then we found Ryuhwa in his office instead. So…things got complicated.” Youngsun’s expression became uncomfortable. “I thought sending you to Seven Springs would be enough to get you going in what I thought was the right direction without saying too much, but seeing as it was actually Ryuyoung working there…well, I don’t know what to think now.” She snorted. “And here I was so conflicted about protecting what I thought were my sister’s illegal drug dealings. The time she went there, she was probably just looking for Ryuyoung.”

Sunny grinned and patted the other woman’s shoulder. “No, you did the right thing in the end, and that’s what counts. You’ve told me a lot. Leave it to us to figure out the rest.”

Youngsun smiled back, but then jumped when her ringtone sounded. “Oh, excuse me for a second.”

Sunny politely faced forward once more, drinking her coffee and thinking about what Youngsun had just told her. Now the timeline fit a bit better — the original story of the two girls hearing a sound from the parlor and going to investigate no longer needed to hold water. Instead, 2 AM was now the time the sisters found Ryuhwa, which meant that Seohyun’s earlier prediction for when the crime occurred was probably correct.

She exhaled, watching her breath scatter the small cloud of steam from her cup. Now, if Ryuhwa could just wake up sometime soon, that’d be really convenient.

“Wait, what?” Youngsun demanded. Her sudden exclamation caused Sunny to whip around.

The other girl had already ended the call and was hurriedly closing her purse. She looked up and met Sunny’s confused gaze with frantic eyes.

“My father. He’s been attacked.”

An alternate definition–

Twist: n. The act of turning in circles again and again, eventually losing track of where the beginning ends and the end begins.