Chapter 3: Can’t I Live Here?
Editor: Lady Blue
Quality Check: Mztlplx
First published on Ainushi.
Ji-On couldn’t shake off the leery feeling even after she arrived at work. How could the accident scene be so clean? The accident’s repairs were probably just done quickly, right? Right? Ji-On decided to drop by the police station to confirm it after work.
“Unni, did you get home safely? Did anything happen?”
Yoo-Jung sat by her side and handed her a cup of coffee. She was at Future Plans. Ji-On and Yoo-Jung worked as designers for Future Group’s advertising company.
“Something… did happen.”
She didn’t know how to explain though.
“Yoo-Jung. Did you perhaps hear about any accidents in my neighborhood?”
Wouldn’t there be some kind of article if a driver disappeared without a trace, after a car accident?
“Yeah, there was.”
“What was it?”
“You know that rape-murder case that happened in your neighborhood?”
Right away, goosebumps ran all over both her arms. It had happened last month. It was a terrifying case where a woman returning home late, was raped and killed.
“The sketch of the murderer came out. Didn’t you see the article?”
Yoo-Jung spoke as she looked up the article through her phone.
Ji-On started becoming nervous as she waited for the photo to load. Could it be that the pervert from this morning was really a pervert? It couldn’t be…no way.
The sketched man’s face looked exactly as dangerous as a criminal; he didn’t look anything like the god-like, human Dae-Shik. Yes, that bastard probably wasn’t really a pervert. It would be more strange if he wore clothes when constantly switching back and forth between a man and a dog. Actually, he didn’t really look like a person who would commit those kinds of crimes.
“Whew, that’s a relief.”
Without realizing, Ji-On exhaled a sigh of relief.
“What’s a relief? Think about if you ran into this type of bastard late at night. Oooh, chills. A woman living alone needs to have either a dog or a man.”
Ung, I unexpectedly have both at home. No, more like one and a half.
“Unni, should we go buy self-defense products together? I have to protect myself.”
One by one, Yoo-Jung showed Ji-On all the products she had added to her internet cart. Right then, a crowd of board members in suits with extremely troubled faces rushed across the lobby to a meeting room.
“What happened? The atmosphere is strange. Is there a problem with the company?”
“Like it matters if something happened. They wouldn’t tell small employees like us.”
Normally, if a risky issue occurred at Future Group, the promotion team of Future Plans took care of it. Wasn’t it a big issue if so many board members were meeting together? Did something come up in the rumor mills again?
“This is a taser and this is a gas gun. Wow, wouldn’t you be a goner if you got hit with this?”
Ji-On couldn’t shake off the leeriness and kept staring at the backs of the board members crossing the lobby.
“Huh? Oh. Just order for me too.”
It was a very strange morning. Of course, the most worrisome problem was at home. Hah, what was the male at home doing right now? Is he a human or a puppy right now?…
“What do you mean by disappeared!”
With a fierce expression, a middle-aged woman banged on the table in the meeting room. She was Vice-President Song Hee-Yeon, Future Group’s third-in-power.
“What were you all doing until things became like this!”
The sitting board members all hung their heads at her wrath-filled words. The reason everyone had gathered was because of Executive Director Song Yoon-Hyuk, the only son of Future Group’s leader, CEO Song Byung-Seok. Executive Song Yoon-Hyuk, who was in charge of global marketing in New York, had returned to Korea because the bedridden Song Byung-Seok’s condition was worsening. However, not even a few days later after arriving, a problem occurred. He had disappeared. Song Yoon-Hyuk completely disappeared with a Mercedes. The police still hadn’t found any clues to his whereabouts.
“We hired a security company to search every corner of the whole country.”
Blue fire sparked up in Hee-Yeon’s eyes at the words spoken by Future Plan’s promotion director.
“What did you say? Searching the whole country? You’re crazy!”
“Are you going to cover the losses if it leaks to the press, and our group’s stocks fall? Are you!?”
“I’m sorry. I will immediately have it cancelled.”
“Song Yoon-Hyuk, is the heir to Future Group, but before that he is my one and only nephew. There is no human being who is more nervous and frightened than me right now!
“My oldest brother is on his deathbed right now! If his only son dies an unnatural death…!”
“He has only been missing for a day. It’s a bit unreasonable to say he died…”
Hee-Yeon banged the table once again.
“I’m saying that the promotion team should be prepared for the worst situation. You need to think of all possible scenarios!”
“Yes, I understand.”
“First, make sure the press don’t catch wind of it. Don’t you dare let the darn gossip mills spread the information either!”
With a harsh flick, she flung all the emergency procedure documents the promotion team gathered across the table.
‘Top secret, classified only!’
The face of Song Yoon-Hyuk that must never been seen by the public… looked strangely similar to a puppy…
That evening, Ji-On found that her heart was thumping as she hesitated in front of her house. Why am I so nervous about opening the door, when this is my house?
‘I wonder if he left or is still here.”
Ji-On left behind all her non urgent work and hurried home because she was worried about the male who was alone at her house all day. What is his appearance like right now? He probably left if he became human and is still at home if he’s a dog, right? Hopefully the landlady didn’t secretly throw away the puppy. Coming to that thought, Ji-On suddenly feared for the puppy and hurriedly unlocked the door. However…Oh My God! A surprising scene was placed out in front of her. The house had become a mess. The tissue paper and newspaper were shredded, the plants had fallen to the ground and soil had spilled out of the pots. The water bottle was rolling around and chewed bones and dog food were scattered here and there. Just one puppy had torn apart the house. Ji-On’s jaw dropped. However, the subject, Dae-Shik, was not home. Where did the puppy who created this mess run off to?I
She was worried more than angry. …Did he already leave? Just as Ji-On threw her shoes off and searched under the bed,
“Dae-Shik? Why did you give me such an old-fashioned name?”
A low voice sounded from the kitchen. It’s the voice from this morning! Even if it was brief, the voice had such good timbre. The shape of a tall man appeared from the dark shadows as Ji-On turned her head.
It was the human Dae-Shik. The crouching Ji-On froze. It’s the same. That crazily handsome face could melt hearts. Ji-On’s peach fuzz all stood up from the sexy atmosphere. From the cold gaze, to the cute doggy-like facial features, and even the elegance that couldn’t be hidden by the sweats that Ji-On’s younger brother left behind. Hmm, I can’t get used to his beauty. What man looks this sexy? Wait, is he holding wine in his hand? Is that the precious, expensive wine that Dad gave me to save until the day I got married? Dae-Shik leisurely spoke as he leaned against the wall and sipped the wine.
“Hey, butler. Why’d you come so late? I’ve been waiting.”
“Wh- why am I a butler?”
It’s not like you’re a cat.
“Isn’t that the trend these days?”
The trend in which country? If we want to be specific, wouldn’t I be a temporary master rather than a butler? Ji-On’s mind had started becoming as messy as the house. She still couldn’t believe it. This fickle male and I are living in this house together…
“First, sit down.”
Ji-On dragged the carefree, wine-sipping Dae-Shik to sit at the table.
“Is my suspicion right? Are you turning into the puppy and the puppy turning into you?”
She prayed that it was false as she asked. It was too unrealistic.
“Um, you see.”
What is it? Is it true? Dae-Shik crossed his legs and slowly nodded his head.
O-oh, it’s true. I’m right. This man is a weredog.
“How did that happen?”
“That’s what I’m curious about. I don’t remember anything.”
“It doesn’t make sense that you lost your memory when you didn’t even get hit. Wait, perhaps… you did get hit?”
Suddenly, the car accident replayed in her head.
“Did you perhaps drive a Mercedes Benz when you were in human form?”
“A Benz? Isn’t that a very nice car? I don’t remember, but I feel like I would drive a Benz.”
Is this guy the disappeared driver?
“What do you remember?”
“I think I received a huge trauma.”
Dae-Shik remembered crashing against something and feeling like his body had ripped apart.
“And I remember seeing your face for a second.”
At the animal hospital, you gave me an affectionate gaze.
“The next memory is from this morning.”
I was falling out of bed before I even woke up. Because you, Sung Ji-On, kicked me.
“But, do you know when I felt most absurd? The moment I became a puppy!”
It was the moment the two people smacked lips as they slid on the blanket this morning. While Ji-On had squeezed her eyes shut, Dae-Shik felt it properly. What’s this? Why did my body become so small? What’s all this white fur on me? Why is my hand a cute fur ball? Then, the door swung open and the landlady came in.
“I told you that you can’t have dogs in the house.”
‘What’d you say? Hey you, are you calling me a dog?’
He suddenly saw himself in the full length mirror. Then, Dae-Shik understood. I am currently not a person…! That reflection in the mirror is clearly a very, very cute Pomeranian!
‘What the heck, why do I look like this! Why did I become a dog!’
The startled Dae-Shik started yelling, but to humans it must have just sounded like barks.
“Shh, Dae-Shik! Be quiet!”
‘Who are you treating like a dog! Does this sound like a bark to you!”
Yes, it must sound like a dog barking. It sounds like that in my ears, too. Ji-On started getting ready for work after the landlady left.
“Hey, you can’t just leave me like this! Explain this to me! Why am I a dog!’
“Pee here when you’re a dog, and use the bathroom when you’re a human.”
“Don’t speak dog’s talk. Hey! Hey!”
As the heavy door slammed shut and the room became quiet, his senses came back. It feels like my future was turning dark1. How did this happen. Dae-Shik slowly walked back in front of the full length mirror. And he… had to accept the situation. I… really am a dog. And a very very cute Pomeranian at that. It really was an unbelievable fact. Although I don’t remember who I was, I’m sure I was a man who had extreme swag but… now I’m a dog. I became a dog! The most annoying thing is my current appearance in the mirror. This was too cute. It was cuter than cute. A masculine man. So adorable. He despaired. How did I become this cute. Suddenly, anger gushed out and he threw everything around him. Of course, if someone else saw him they would think it was a cute puppy throwing a vicious fit, but he was serious.
‘Leaving me alone, I won’t forgive you!’
He flung the water bowl and kicked the already fallen plant.
‘Go die, World! How did this happen!’
The world remained silent throughout his angry fit. Nothing is going to change the fact that I’m a dog.
Unbearable hunger chased out the cold wind in the empty room. I don’t know when, but I think I’ve been starving myself. He suddenly got angry as he looked at the dog food in the dog bowl.
‘I’m supposed to eat this? This smelly stuff?’
But… why does this smell so delicious now?
‘Still. I’m not a dog. How can I eat this dog food…’
…He ate it. He ate it very vigorously at that. A little later, he felt shame for clearing the dog bowl.
‘Even if I’m hungry, how could I eat dog food…!’
Grumble, grumble. To make it worse, he had to poo.
‘Humph! Telling me to poop on newspaper!’
That was also an unforgivable fact. Dae-Shik proudly walked into the bathroom and looked up at the toilet.
‘Kng, kng¹! Look! I am a cultured Korean citizen!’
I may be a dog right now, but I am definitely a human. People use toilets! However, the toilet was too high and too slippery for the puppy. He tried hard use the toilet but…
He became completely soaked.
‘Aaaack! What’s this!’
It was only normal for him to scream. I was living like a normal person, even though I lost my memory, so what is this dog-like state!²
‘I’m going to shower. I’m going to wash myself!’
He shook the water off him and headed towards the shower. Poljak³, he jumped to turn on the water…but it was impossible to turn it off.
‘Yeah, I did well accomplishing this much in a dog’s body.’
He calmly walked out of the bathroom, with the water still running.
Ji-On’s head whipped to the bathroom as she heard Dae-Shik’s story at the table.
“I turned off the water later, okay?”
However, there was still remnants of the water that overflowed. The water must’ve overflown because the shower drain hasn’t been working well lately. I need to change the water damaged wallpaper, before the landlady sees.
“How did you become a human?”
He must have become a human to turn off the shower. And he’s a human now, too.
So, as Dae-Shik was ripping at a dog bone, rejecting his identity with ‘I’m not a dog, I’m a human!’… he ‘just’ became a person. Suddenly, he was a human crunching away at a dog bone. What happened? He spit out the dog bone and looked at his appearance in the mirror. A tall, naked man was standing in front of the mirror with a dazed expression. Just like this morning.
“I only realized one thing. I can’t predict when I’ll change into a dog or a person.”
“So you just randomly change between forms?”
“Do you think that makes sense?”
“It’s dog’s talk. Can you stop getting startled? No matter how absurd you feel, could you feel as absurd as me who suddenly became a dog?”
T-that’s true, but I can feel absurd too. A dog becomes a human and a human becomes a dog.
“Excuse me, it’s seems that you forgot what I said. I asked you to leave if you became human.”
Ji-On carefully told the man as she checked his mood.
“Oh, you didn’t hear this morning. I couldn’t bear to throw you out when you were a puppy. However, now that you’re a human, please leave. This house can never have a man or a dog.”
Dae-Shik drained the remaining wine.
A drop of wine escaped from between his lips and seductively slid down his chin and neck. What’s this extreme sexiness?
“Ji-On, come here.”
He roughly wiped the wine drop and grabbed her wrist across the table. Suddenly his lips were within touching range.
‘What’s with this power?’
There was no trace of the cuteness from when he was a puppy. He was overflowing with masculinity. He was a beastly man⁴.
“I have something to say.”
The sudden male scent made Ji-On’s head dizzy. He was the type of man that strangely stimulated instinct. The kind that leaves only one urge, after cleanly clearing away all other thoughts.
“You see. I’m not sure when I’ll change forms.”
The sexiest part was his voice. A pure, masculine, low voice. Her ears felt like they were going to melt away.
“I don’t remember anything. I don’t even know my name yet.”
He disarmed women with cuteness when a puppy and he overwhelmed women with sexiness when a human.
Ji-On gulped her saliva as his pitch sent shivers down her spine.
“Can’t I live here?”
W-wait! What did you say? You want to live here? Here, with me?
1) Kng, kng: the sfx of dogs breathing hard through their noses
2) dog-like state: an expression used to describe poor appearance
3) poljak: the sfx of jumping lightly/softly
4) beastly man: it’s a modern positive colloquialism used to describe wild and sexy men