From the hospital, Gi Hoon dashed directly to the studio where his next project, based on his own screenplay, was just beginning. Today’s agenda was to determine the optimal cast and technical crew, a task that promised a mountain of work. His assistant was already on site, busily preparing for the meeting and the inevitable brainstorming session that was sure to unfold. Gi Hoon had surrounded himself with individuals known for their fresh ideas and unconventional thinking. He could only truly communicate with such minds; all others merely irritated him, and he would explode, like a grenade primed but delayed.

Upon arrival, he could hear animated voices from afar, but the tone of the discussion struck him as oddly different than usual. He opened the door to the conference room and stood, rooted to the spot. The faces that turned towards him bore a mix of sadness and uncertainty.

„Mo? Mo?” he demanded, sensing that he had missed something crucial.

His assistant was the first to speak. „Director, haven’t you heard about Lim Seung Kyu?”

„How could I not have heard when he’s top of our list for the lead role?” he retorted irritably. „Are you joking?”

„Director…” The assistant and others looked visibly uneasy. „How to put this…”

„Out with it, clearly!” Gi Hoon’s impatience grew. „Has something happened?” His usual method was to burst forth first and think later, and from the reactions around him, he began to sense that something was indeed amiss. „Just spit it out!” he snapped.

„Lim Seung Kyu is dead…” she said in a soft, sorrowful voice.

Gi Hoon was floored. He looked around at everyone in turn, but he understood that this was no crass joke of the kind they sometimes played on each other. A deathly silence had literally fallen over the room. Gi Hoon moved to the large table and sat down, signaling to the others to do the same.

„Now, explain to me slowly what Ji Woo just articulated,” he said, his gaze stern.

„Lim Seung Kyu,” the cinematographer took over, „was found dead two hours ago in a parking lot on the road to Mount Namsan.” He paused, taking a breath, intending to continue, but Gi Hoon rose sharply at the news.

„If this is some kind of joke, stop it right now!” His choleric disposition surged, the shocking news throwing him completely off balance.

„Unfortunately, Director,” the cinematographer continued, „you could turn on any news channel and see for yourself.”

Gi Hoon reached for the remote and turned on the television. He didn’t need to change the channel; the current one was already reporting on the tragic death of Korea’s beloved actor. They showed his pictures, clips from his roles, and fan meetings while relaying what had been determined about the incident. Gi Hoon turned the television off and sat, petrified, for a long while. His mind was racing, yet he struggled to comprehend the news. Just that morning, before he had to take his mother to the hospital, he had been gathering arguments to persuade Lim Seung Kyu to accept the role. They had met several times at film producers’ gatherings and seemed to be on the same wavelength. Their conversations flowed easily, quickly grasping each other’s thoughts and ideas. Gi Hoon had also held a high regard for the roles the nearly fifty-year-old actor had accumulated. Heading to the meeting today, he was intent on strongly advocating for his participation in their series. But now, this news. His brain continuously reset itself, reprocessing the information with thoughts like 'I expected,’ 'I hoped,’ 'I was sure.’ None of those anticipations matched the reality anymore. He was left to reboot the hard drive and software of his mind to unresistingly accept what had occurred. Rising from the table with a pale face, he apologized to his team and said he needed to leave; the meeting would be rescheduled for the next day. He walked out on stiff legs, and those gathered only looked at each other and returned to the discussions they had been having before their boss arrived, now absorbing this sensational information and processing it in various ways.



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