Vengeance…is the dark side of love.
If love is a bond that never ceases,
Vengeance is the anger that never fades.
The more the love, the more the hate,
Intertwined like a spider web
That never let its prey go
Lilith… my dearest friend.
Before we graduate and go our separate ways for college, I have something I must confess.
Actually, I should have said this from the first day we met, but no matter how much I wanted to spill everything I hid, I was a coward and didn’t know where to start.
That’s because… my sins were too grave to forgive.
Three years after that happened and I am still haunted by it every single day. I cannot bear to repeatedly wake up after a nightmare any longer.
I hope confessing everything in this friendship notebook to you would calm my troubled heart, even if a little.
Even if you do not forgive me…
At least, I hope…
That you would read this until the end.
A girl in high school uniform read a friendship notebook in an empty classroom at dusk.
Even if it was called a friendship notebook, it was just a sketchbook with black cover that could be bought in every bookstore. On each page were notes written with messy handwriting.
This notebook was a ‘treasure’ between Lilith and her mysterious friend.
Her name was ‘Namfon.’
They met for the first time during 12th Grade’s last semester.
Because it was nearly time for their exit orientation, as a member of the student committee, Lilith needed to stay after every day. However, one evening before she went home, a girl crashed into her so hard the contents of their bags spilled all over the floor.
Well… it’s more accurate to say that she was pushed and crashed into Lilith.
Lilith looked up and saw four or five girls standing as a large group. When they saw her looking, they ran away, leaving the pushed girl on the floor.
Lilith had not met Namfon because they were studying different classes, but Lilith knew her nickname.
Everyone called Namfon ‘Miss Gloomy’.
Lilith could not say she had a lot of friends. Her sixty years old grandmother, who was her guardian instead of her parents, always taught her that ‘do not be afraid to do the right thing’. Lilith acted accordingly, but it was her actions based on this teaching that drove her away from people of the same age without her notice.
‘Stop acting like a saint.’
Again and again, people would say that to Lilith, because she always stepped up to protect those who were bullied. Lilith hated violence. That bullied boy liked to talk strangely about struggling to survive, but she could not bear the thought of there being vigilantes in the school.
When somebody was bullied in front of her eyes, she could not let it slide.
“Are you alright…?”
Lilith placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder. She looked up with widened eyes, filled with surprise, fear, and… gratitude, before picking up her belongings and dashing off.
At the beginning of their relationship, every time Lilith smiled or greeted when they pass each other, Namfon would get startled before looking down and walking off like she didn’t want any conversation. Lilith never thought that she did it out of disgust. That girl looked more like a stray dog or cat who trembled at the sight of humans.
At last, her friendliness was returned…
In the form of a book.
I want to be your friend.
But, can we please not talk face to face?
I’m sorry… If my writing would cause misunderstandings. I swear I do not hate you, nor am I shy to be with you, but there is a reason that I cannot be friends with anyone. If I do…that person will be in danger.’
Lilith understood that ‘danger’ would mean the friend would get bullied too, but even after saying that she did not care about getting bullied, Namfon still glanced around with paranoia every time they met, as if the thing she was hiding from was very scary and ruthless.
‘Friendship notebook’ was their only means of communication.
Lilith did not have a phone or a computer. She would get those when she reached third level education.
That was why, every day, her desk drawer would act as a mailbox for their exchanged stories. Most of them were little things like novels, soap operas, or entrance examinations.
When Lilith had a medical school quota, Namfon was so happy and wanted to follow her there. She emphasized in her writing that she wanted to be friends with Lilith forever.
Sometimes, Lilith was confused as to why Namfon avoided being with others so much. What changed an ordinary highschool girl into someone afraid of society?
When Lilith read the latest message in their friendship notebook that Namfon left, she thought it might be about that ‘reason’.
Lilith flipped the pages.
First, I need to tell you that I had a sister.
We were not just any siblings, but twins that were born only a minute apart.
My sister’s name was ‘Namfah’.
Nobody in this school knew I had a twin, because my previous home was in a faraway province. Our family owned rice paddies there. During the rainy season, the rice paddies would be lush with green stems, but I preferred when they were bright gold. Our village had a large canal flowing through the middle. At the far end of an orchard was a small pavilion next to that canal. Usually, children are forbidden from playing there because it was dangerous, but we always snuck there when our parents were not watching.
Me and my sister looked exactly the same, and our parents could not tell us apart. Strangely, aside from our looks, I and Namfah had nothing in common. Not even our dominant hand was the same.
Namfah was right-handed, while I was left-handed.
Namfah was a cheerful and talkative person. She was the center of every conversation. When she smiled, she had a dimple.
I, however, was shy and quiet. I was a plain Jane with nothing remarkable, be it sports or test scores. You could say all the bad traits were mine, and everyone would marvel at how different we were.
Still, I and Namfah were together for as long as we could remember.
Namfah believed twins had a bond that could not be severed, and always told me we were twins that separated from the same egg. Our lives had to be shared, half and half.
If one of us was missing, we would become an incomplete thing.
Our bonds were strong, but it strangled and trapped me, more so than a spider web binding its prey.
Namfah hated everything that took my attention away from her. Coloring books, clothes, story books, dolls, everything I love… They were all gotten rid of. Burnt, cut, torn into pieces in front of me…
But what Namfah got rid of was not limited to objects…
During grade school, there was a female teacher. She was kind and worried for her students. When she saw me sad and lonely, she talked to me and recommended novels to me.
That was the start of my interest in writing novels.
“Namfon, you seem rather close to that trainee teacher lately.”
Namfah spoke during our trip home. I nodded and complimented that she was a good teacher, without realizing that I had made a grave mistake.
The next day, that teacher was hospitalized because she was in a coma. The soda she drank had pesticide mixed in it, but no one knew how it got there or who put it in her drnk.
But I knew who was to blame…
I knew that Namfah’s possessiveness was far from ‘normal’, I could not do a thing. I could not even tell my parents.
For an eleven years old whose sister threatened her by a putting a scissor to her tongue, she could only be scared and cry.
“It’s your fault. If you hadn’t got close to that teacher, she wouldn’t end up like that.”
Namfah spoke in a cold voice, her fingers deliberately pressed the scissor to my tongue. A little harder and it would have split in two like those of a snake.
“Do you understand, Namfon? You only need me. We are twins after all.”
Namfah smiled, her little dimple adding to her cuteness.
But her words were twisted, like a vow from hell that once broken, could only result in my death.
I lived like someone trapped in a dark cell, away from those around me. Every day, I lived, feeling strangled by my sister’s twisted love.
When we got to 9th grade, our parents were worried because I did not have a single friend, and thought that the reason was because I was too attached to my sister. They sent me to help in my aunt’s convenience store every weekend, in hopes of polishing me into a sociable person.
My pay was not money, but snacks and items without any monetary value.
Until one day, my pay was different from usual.
It was an old cardboard box with a pure white kitten inside. It was the size of a palm.
Aunt said the cats at home had too many babies and she couldn’t take care of them all. When the kittens quit drinking milk from their mother, she gave them to other cousins. This little guy was the only one left, so she brought it to me as thanks.
I never had a pet. As I hesitated, I saw the little kitten staring at me with its big, round eyes.
I threw all thoughts of abandoning him out the window.
With my decision, I took care of the kitten in secret, at the waterside pavilion. I did not tell Namfah.
I asked mother to increase my working days so I could get more time to take care of the kitten. I used all my savings to buy a cage and cat food.
I named the kitten, fed it, and pet its soft fur. Every time I came by to the pavilion, the kitten purred and rubbed against my legs happily, so happy that I had to be careful it would not fall into the water.
Only in those times did I feel free from all shackles. Just by hearing its sweet meows, the burden in my soul subsided.
I sank into the warm happiness and forgot that I was just a prey, tangled on a sticky spider web.
…And could never break free from it.
One evening, I visited the kitten as usual, but was greeted by an empty open cage. I panicked, thinking that it broke loose and got lost.
Until I saw the person who was cradling it. I lost all strength and sank to the ground.
“I heard mother on the phone. Aunt gave you a kitten, right?”
Namfah smiled gently, her charming dimple visible.
But I was trembling and panting.
“Why didn’t you tell me, Namfon? We could play together. I like cats too.”
Namfah tilted her head, acting as if she didn’t understand what I was apologizing for.
“I will take all the blame. Please…don’t hurt the kitten.”
As if I said a forbidden word, Namfah’s expression changed abruptly. Her smiling face distorted into that of a demon from the depths of hell.
In one swoop, Namfah seized the kitten’s neck, her claws crushed its neck and twisted, so that a sick crunch could be heard.
The kitten yelped its last meow. The broken neck hung and swayed, its white body went limp and still. Small droplets of blood trickled from its nose.
“There can be nothing between us! Do you not understand!?!”
Namfah snapped and threw the kitten’s body on the ground, then stomped on it. The more I watched, the more I cried and pleaded for her to stop, the more she laughed with satisfaction.
“There can only be two! Because we are twins!”
That second I felt a surge of rage and madness, and before I realized what I was doing, I charged into Namfah, sending her flying and rolling on the ground. I did not remember where I got the courage, or whether it was just me letting off some steam after leaving it to boil for a long time…
Still, the direction Namfah flew was a canal.
There was a splash. Namfah was in the water deeper than her height. I remembered that she could not swim. Namfah’s eyes filled with fear. Her hands clawed at thin air. She reached them out towards shore…
…Where I was standing.
“What are you waiting for, Namfon!?! Help me! Quickly!!!”
Namfah wailed, while I stood still.
I was not panicking. I felt the opposite. My heart filled itself with apathy, as if the part of my consciousness that controlled conscience was burned to crisp by pure rage. The reason I was able to do something so heartless, so cold blooded, I knew all too well.
Because we are twins. Two in a single soul. That was why I despised her from the bottom of my core. I was jealous, envious, wrathful at my other half that stole all the good things and was shameless enough to get in the way of my happiness. The happiness I deserve.
Namfah stared at me. She knew what I was thinking.
“You…are a bitch!!!”
Namfah roared, her two hands making pathetic splashes in the water.
“You can’t leave me!!! We are twins, aren’t we!?! We promised! Live or die, we will be together forever!!!”
“I…don’t need you anymore…”
When she heard my answer, she went pale. The face that was my exact replica was distorted, eyes widened in resentment. Water gushed into her gaping mouth and no words came out.
Although I still heard her scream in my head.
As I watch Namfah’s body slowly disappear under the current,
My tears welled. I felt a bitter pain in my heart. I knew my other half had perished.
I cried for a while before wiping my tears, buried the little kitten, and went home pretending that nothing happened.
One day later, Namfah’s corpse floated up.
At this point you could guess that nobody doubted Namfah’s cause of death, because her killer was still loose, and moreover, close to graduation.
But even though I killed her,
I am still trapped in the spider web.
Because Namfah was still alive…
Even though she died, she was still with me…
All the time…
‘A dead person who was still alive’
How could that be…?
The young girl furrowed her brows at the confusing message.
This might be made up. Namfon loved to read novels and was imaginative. This could be a novel plot she had wrote. Right?
The girl flipped through the pages.
Not noticing the abyss that had crept closer.
From the day I killed Namfah, I was too scared to look into a mirror.
The reflection was me.
But it wasn’t me…
The girl in the mirror was paler and wet with water. Her eyes were resentful. Her mouth stretched into a smile, a dimple at one corner.
‘I told you. We will be together forever.’
That reflection was Namfah, no mistaking it.
She was a ghost, a spirit, or a demon waiting to drag me to hell.
I became someone who was afraid of her own reflection to the point of being mad. I fainted in front of the mirror at the barber’s. My parents thought I was sick from my sister’s death, and to heal me, they moved here.
But i know it would not work.
I took down all mirrors, covered anything that could reflect light, but Namfah did not disappear. Often times I hear a cold laugh screaming from mirrors.
When I enrolled at a new school, I was ‘Miss Gloomy.’
Is Namfah’s curse.
Before, I built friendship through Namfah, but when I lost her I could not befriend anybody. Classmates avoided me with disgust, and many pretend I did not exist.
Many times I felt so lonely, I could not help but think I was the one trapped in the mirrors.
Until I met you…Lilith.
I finally saw a light at the end of a dark tunnel. You are the first human to treat me differently from others. The second you touched my shoulder, I felt warmth and tranquility, like that time when the kitten played with me.
You made me realize how I yearned for ‘friends’.
Did you know that every time we pass each other, I wanted to talk to you so much? But I had to run away because of my own cowardice.
Honestly, I’m afraid…
Afraid that Namfah’s envy would hurt you like the kitten.
As long as Namfah was there, I cannot have friends.
But…as I thought of giving up, a boy came up to me.
“Quitting? Why not struggle a bit more?”
I didn’t know who he was and why he knew my story. He seemed like a wizard who appeared from the Land of Magic with his magical words.
“If your sister didn’t see or hear it, you’re safe, right?”
With those words, I thought of a way to communicate with you through writing. It might me a short time but I want to keep our relationship close to my heart and make it last forever.
But spiders sense its prey through movements. My slightest struggle could be felt by her.
Sorry, Lilith… I dragged you into the spider’s trap.
Reading until here, you might think I am crazy.
But please, believe me. Nobody cares about you more than I do.
Trust me, Lilith. Namfah is not in the mirrors anymore.
Run away! Destroy all mirrors you see!
Don’t let her find you!
Because she will not stop until all my friends are dead!!!
Howdy, it’s been a while since I last updated Zombie Kiss. Honestly, judging from the views and ratings this has been getting, I doubt anybody’s waiting on me anymore. Haha… But I have an obligation. I started this, and I will finish it. If you are reading this, I just want to say thank you for sticking around.