SOSHI: Aesop’s Twisted Fable – Chapter 2

September 17, 2013 in Aesop's Twisted Fable, moonrise31, SOSHI by moonrise31

Chapter 2: Cavernous

Cavernous: adj. Giving the impression of vast, dark depths. (New Oxford American Dictionary)

 

“So this is what a billionaire’s house looks like, huh?” Tiffany commented once they’d gotten out of the car.

Sunny craned her neck to look up, barely able to make out the top edge of the mansion’s roof towering above them. “I guess it’s alright,” she managed. Understatement of the century.

“Seems like someone’s had a posh upbringing,” Hyoyeon began to tease, but stopped when Tiffany grabbed her hand. The two set off towards the huge set of double doors guarded by gargantuan pillars. The whole setup gave the mansion an ancient Greek sort of feeling, only interrupted by the yellow caution tape now crisscrossing the front.

Sunny’s cheeks warmed, although it wasn’t as much from the embarrassment brought about by Hyoyeon’s good-natured jibe as it was pleasant surprise at how familiar the three of them had already become after one short car ride. The feeling made her stomach tingle and her lips curve.

One enormous door of the mansion was now slightly ajar, a butler peeking through to wordlessly beckon the three of them inside.

Their footsteps on the marble floors echoed and bounced off the walls of the spacious hallway as they walked further into the building. Sunny thought it was all rather flashy, but if a billionaire couldn’t use his money for giant chandeliers and ornate tapestries, what else could he spend it on? The splendor numbed her senses, so she subconsciously began to count each of her steps instead.

“Forty-five. Forty-six. Forty-seven.”

Then Sunny realized that it was in fact Tiffany who was counting, out loud but under her breath. She reached out and tapped the taller girl on the shoulder. “You know that we can just measure the distance between here and the door later if it ends up being important.”

Tiffany turned with a start and then gave her a sheepish grin before falling back a little. “Sorry. Counting helps me focus.”

Now Sunny was in the lead as they continued to follow the silent butler. Tiffany was no longer making a sound, so the seconds ticked by quietly until they finally stopped in front of the office. The butler bowed to the older man with neatly combed and graying hair waiting for them just outside the taped-off doorway. “Kwangsoo-sshi, the authorities have arrived.”

Kim Kwangsoo dipped his head at the three women. “I thank you for your timeliness.” He looked up again, offering them a half smile, eyes weighed with sadness behind his rimless glasses. “I apologize for the trouble, but my daughter’s case needs the best care possible. I want to get to the bottom of this immediately.”

“We’ll get this wrapped up as soon as we can, Kwangsoo-sshi,” Sunny informed him. “We’re here right now to do follow-ups on the initial reports and interviews.”

“Of course.” Kwangsoo nodded once, even this simplest of movements thoughtful and deliberate. “The rest of my daughters are home for the day. We promise you our utmost cooperation.”

“Excellent. I’m Lee Sunny, and this is Hwang Tiffany and Kim Hyoyeon. We’re the primary agents handling this investigation.” Sunny turned to her companions. “Hyoyeon, Tiffany, why don’t you two get started? Kwangsoo-sshi, I have a few questions left to ask you, if you wouldn’t mind.”

Kwangsoo agreed once more. Tiffany gave Sunny a pat on the shoulder before turning to follow the butler further down the hallway, accidentally running into Hyoyeon in the process. “Whoops, Hyo, my bad,” she apologized, reaching out to steady the other woman.

“You’re gonna be the death of me one day, Fany,” Hyoyeon complained. “Come on, you slowpoke—the nice butler is waiting.”

You’re the one who wasn’t moving in the first place,” Tiffany protested, one arm draped over Hyoyeon’s shoulder as they trailed after their guide.

The seconds passed by one after another, and their banter finally faded. Sunny marveled again at how large the mansion was; it seemed too big for a middle-aged man, even with his seven adopted children. Then she remembered what she was supposed to be doing and cleared her throat, pulling out a voice recorder. “So it was Ryuhwa who was attacked, correct?”

“That’s right. I’d stayed late at CCM to finish up some work, so I was just on my way home when Youngsun called. She said that she and Jungeun had found Ryuhwa in here, unconscious and bleeding, and the window was broken. They’d called the hospital and the police, so the authorities were already here by the time I came home.”

Sunny nodded. “Prompt action is always good.” She leaned forward a little to peek beyond the yellow tape and into the office. “Now, the report said most of the glass from the window fell on the outside. You do realize what this implies, don’t you?”

“The attacker broke the window to get out,” Kwangsoo answered, his brow furrowing. “But then how did he get in?”

“That’s one thing we’d certainly have to look into.” Sunny raised a finger. “But there’s also another possibility: that the perpetrator never had to get in at all in the first place.”

Kwangsoo’s frown deepened. “You don’t mean…”

“It never hurts to have all your bases covered, Kwangsoo-sshi. You’ve got the entire staff and whoever else has access to your home to account for. And that also includes your six other daughters,” she added without thinking.

“My daughters?” Kwangsoo repeated, voice low, eyes narrowed. The man’s large frame suddenly became much more imposing. His quiet demeanor was now laced with something much more ominous.

But Sunny stood her ground.

“What exactly are you implying, Agent Lee?” He spoke slowly, enunciating each syllable.

Sunny clicked the “stop” button on her recorder and pocketed the device. “Covering bases, Kwangsoo-sshi. Just procedure.” She paused. “You have a security system in place, yes? Is it possible to access the camera records from last night?”

He stared at her for a few more moments. Then he nodded stiffly, expression still clouded. “Right this way.”

Sunny exhaled through her nose, trampling down the twist of guilt in her stomach. She was just going by the book, after all: one person was as much a suspect as another at this point, at least until evidence suggested otherwise. He does realize that Tiffany and Hyoyeon are interviewing his daughters right now, right? And I’ll need check to make sure that he actually was working late like he said he was. With any luck, they could establish alibis for all of the family and everyone could breathe a little easier, even if that meant casting the net wider for suspects.

And yet, the echoes her footsteps made as she followed Kwangsoo down yet another tapestry-decorated hallway made her gut feel more and more uneasy.

A big place like this can hide a lot of secrets.

Sooyoung strode into the office and slumped into an open chair. “Taeyeon, I’m stuck.”

Taeyeon spun around in her own seat to face the other woman. “What do you mean?”

“We’re not getting enough info,” Sooyoung replied firmly. “We’ve been staking out the gang for weeks now and there’s still nothing concrete for the drugs, much less the homicide evidence we’re actually looking for.”

Taeyeon gave her an apologetic look. “Sorry for cutting your team in half. Throw me into the field if you have to. Though I’ll just make Yoona do everything anyway.”

“I heard that!” Came the faint yell from the outer office.

“You’re supposed to be working,” Taeyeon hollered back. She returned her gaze to Sooyoung. “As I was saying—the problem might not be the number of people. May I suggest a change of tactics?”

“I dunno, Taeng,” Sooyoung sighed, resting her elbow on the desk and propping up her chin with her hand. “I was gonna go with a change of personnel.”

“Oh? Is Yuri putting more things on her to-do lists than checking them off?” Taeyeon picked up a pen and spun it a few times. “You’d think she’d have become less absentminded with all those post-its she sits in the middle of.”

“It’s not Yuri.”

Taeyeon nodded as she flipped the pen around her knuckles. “Good, because as far as techs go, she’s probably better than Jessica anyway.”

Sooyoung was sure that she heard Yuri and Yoona high-five each other in the outer office, and then there was a slap and Yuri’s grumbled apology. “Sica-unnie says that she’s gonna hurt you for that,” Yoona’s voice supplied helpfully a few moments later.

“She’ll have to catch up to me first,” Taeyeon shot back, although the pen almost slipped from her grasp. But only a second or two passed before her nimble fingers had it spinning in its regular cadence once more.

“There’s no denying it, Taeng.” Sooyoung let out an exasperated exhale. All of these meaningless jabs and jests were only distractions. They weren’t getting any closer to solving the problem. “It’s me.”

The pen continued to rotate, as smooth as Taeyeon’s reply. “I hardly think that’s the case.”

“Taeyeon,” Sooyoung began, her voice straining as she continued with her plea, “We’ve basically been following them around in their everyday lives. We’re getting to know them. You know what the next step is.”

Taeyeon blinked so that she wouldn’t have to keep staring at the desperation in the other’s eyes. Then she set the pen on her desk and stood up. “You need to believe in yourself, Soo. That’s all. The rest of us do, so we’re only waiting on you.” She walked to the doorway and leaned out. “Yoona! Get in here.”

“Taeng…” Sooyoung started. She didn’t want to have to bring this up again later.

Yoona popped her head into the room. “What’s up?”

“Things are going a bit too slowly for my liking,” Taeyeon answered as she tapped her chin. “Sooyoung here was thinking that we need to shake things up, and I couldn’t agree more.” She raised her eyebrows at the younger girl. “Catch my drift?”

Sooyoung huffed in the background, but the two paid her no mind. And she knew they only did it with the best of intentions. But the pit in her stomach was steadily growing in size. She didn’t think they could just keep ignoring it. She definitely couldn’t.

Nevertheless, for the moment, the grin on Yoona’s face was wide enough to swallow her worries.

“I hear you loud and clear. About time you asked, Sooyoung-unnie.”

Sooyoung ignored the gaping darkness boiling in her gut as she smiled. One that was genuine, she knew. But it made her so tired.

“Alright, Yoong. Do your thing.”

An alternate definition—

Cavernous: adj. Capable of swallowing you whole—have you bitten off more than you can chew?