Tales of the Reaper


Podcast Episode 1: The Tale of the Truth

The door creaks open and the light switch flicks on. The light buzzes faintly in the background. “Sociopath” by Lucas King starts to play. The clack-tap sound of footsteps on the cement floor. 

Death: I am Death. I am inevitable.

The footsteps stop. The fluttering of pages and a heavy thud is when the book is placed on the table. 

Death: In my line of work, I meet many different people. But some souls interest me more than others. Everyone has their tale to tell but some just have more… spice. 

A chair scrapes against the floor.

Death: What would you do to escape the clutches of human cruelty? This is the story of a young idol who rose to fame but is now an unknown name.

Flipping of pages. The eerie music blends and fades to people cheering “Hae-In!” and the instrumental of an upbeat, energetic K-pop song. The instrumental fades into the background.

Hae-In: Thank you all for coming to my concert today! Since this is my last performance, I want to hear you guys scream! Can you do that!

The crowd cheers loudly.

Hae-In: Let’s go!

The volume of the K-pop song increases. A mixture of oriental percussion rhythms and whistling on top of the bassline. 

Hae-In: Are you guys having fun there! 

The crowd cheers in response and the volume of the music increases.

Hae-In: (panting) You guys were awesome. Thank you to all of my fans who decided to support me today. Let’s keep this memory forever. Smile for the picture everyone. 

Multiple camera shutter clicks.

Hae-In: I love you guys! Muah! Bye-bye! Thank you! Take care! Goodbye and have a great night! 

The screaming of the crowd fades into the background. Heels clack softly against hard flooring.  Another pair of heavier footsteps join.

Kim: You were amazing out there Hae-In. That stage was legendary. Your fans are wild.

Hae-In: I know. The performance was awesome. It’s all thanks to you Manager Kim. 

Kim: You did well today. I have packed up your items for you today. You must be exhausted.

Hae-In: (surprised) Oh, thank you. 

Kim: No problem.

Their footsteps become more echoey. The rustling of pockets and jingle of keys. The sound of a car being unlocked and its door opening. “Arabesque No.1” by Debussy softly plays in the background with the low hum of the car engine and the whoosh of other cars that pass by. 

Kim: So, how do you feel? It’s your first concert.

Hae-In: It was amazing. I can’t even describe it in words.

Kim: What would you be if you weren’t an idol?

Hae-In: I don’t know. I poured my heart and soul into this. All my hard work has paid off. I feel like I’m at the top of the world.

Kim: It must be nice. Are there any other trainees you know that have made it this far?

Hae-In: I don’t think so. I don’t see any of them trending on any of my social media accounts. Why?

Kim: Just curious. Do you remember any of them?

Hae-In: You see, if I don’t remember, then it’s not important. Oh, there was this one girl. Umm, what was her name?

HAE-IN snaps her fingers.

Hae-In: Uhh. I think it was Mi-Ha? Min-Soo? I don’t remember. Anyways, it doesn’t matter what her name was. She was about to make her debut as a soloist but she got into a dating scandal. So she got kicked out of ESS Entertainment. But it was good news for me because the company chose me to replace her position.

Kim: Don’t you feel sorry for her? She got so close to achieving her dreams.

Hae-In: Why should I? She should have followed the rules. Besides, she wouldn’t have survived the industry. She wasn’t pretty and talented enough. She would’ve become a flop. 

Kim: Ah.

A sharp inhale and exhale.

Kim: (slight anger) We have arrived.

Hae-In: Oh, already? Thank you for the ride home.

Kim: You should rest. You have a Music Bank concert tomorrow.

Hae-In: (sighs) Yes, yes I know. I must do my best. Goodnight.

The car door opens and the music fades. The leaves rustle and the cicadas chirp. The soft tap of footsteps and jingle of keys. HAE-IN twists the knob and shuts the door with a click. 

Hae-In: Ugh. I am exhausted.

A soft thump as HAE-IN groans while the sheets rustle. A page flips.

Multiple notification dings and the buzzing of a phone.

Hae-In: What’s going on so early?

Phone notifications ding continuously. The soft tapping of nails on the phone screen and the click of the phone keyboard. The rhythmic ticking of a clock.

Hae-In: WHAT!

The sound of cloth being thrown and the patter of footsteps. The chair scrapes against the floor. The keyboard clicks noisily. 

Hae-In: This can’t be happening.

A page flips.

Death: (laughing) I wonder if Hae-In knew that this would be the start of the end.

A page flips.

The K-Buzz theme song plays, it has a light and upbeat tune that fills the space.

Vlogger: Hello my fans. This is K-Buzz where you get all the drama regarding K-pop. 

Whooshing noise as if someone is pushing aside a screen.

Vlogger: I’m sure most of you have heard about the Cha Hae-In bullying scandal. If you haven’t let me catch you up.  Cha Hae-In a rising soloist in the K-pop industry was a bully? 

Deep, loud inhale.

Vlogger: Hae-In has been hit with accusations of being verbally abusive during her trainee days. She shouted slurs and hateful comments at the other trainees at ESS Entertainment.

A page flips. 

The blasting of energetic catchy K-pop music through the speakers. The music grows softer and the sound of HAE-IN thanking her fans in the background.

Commentator 1: Omg I hate her. She’s so shameless. She’s up there acting as if nothing happened. 

Commentator 2: What did you just say? 

Commentator 1: Everyone knows that she’s a bully.

Commentator 2: If you’re here to cheer on another artist just shut up and cheer for them. Don’t talk badly about another artist.

Commentator 1: I’m calling it as it is. What’s so wrong with telling the truth?

Commentator 2: Do you have proof that she’s a bully?

Commentator 1: Please everyone knows it.

The sound of the notification dings and they grow louder. People start screaming and shouting. The notification dings fade into silence. A page flips.

Quick tapping of heels on the wooden floor while footsteps pace around. HAE-IN takes in deep breaths. The flipping of a magazine and the whirl of the aircon.

Kim: Look at what the news is saying about you.

The sound of the magazine being thrown and a hand slamming the table. 

Hae-In: I swear, I have never bullied anyone.

Kim: We have to resolve this somehow.

A knock on the door, it creaks open.

Staff member: Sir, Louis Vuitton has cancelled Hae-In’s commercial deal.

Kim: How can they do that?

Staff member: The internet is freaking out right now. No one will use Hae-In as a model now.

Kim: That’s a pity.

The voices fade into the background.

Hae-In: (mumbling) What do I do now?

A page flips.

The high-pitched whistle of the wind. The leaves rustle and the hum of packed traffic from below. The occasional rumble of a train as it passes by in the background.

Hae-In: Huh? (sharp breath). Omg, you’re Jin-ho from XXO. I can’t believe it. You’re an A-list celebrity.

Jin-Ho: Haha yeah. Mind if I sit here. 

Hae-In: Ah, go ahead.

A camera shutter clicks.

Jin-Ho: Here, I got myself a drink but you look like you need it more.

Hae-In: Thank you.

She sips the drink. A camera shutter clicks.

Jin-Ho: I heard about the scandal.

Hae-In: Oh…

Jin-Ho: Don’t worry. I’ve been in quite a few scandals myself. They were all proven false in the end. Thankfully my career didn’t end.

A camera shutter clicks.

Hae-In: Ah. I didn’t know that things like this happened to you too.

The wind increases in intensity. The door swings open violently. The sound of the reporter’s quick footsteps rushing in. The multiple clicks of the cameras. A mixture of questions from the reporters to the point they blend.

Reporter 1: Since when are the two of you so close?

Reporter 2: How long have you been dating?

Hae-In: No comment.

A page flips.

Death: Humans are very interesting creatures. They are driven by desire, greed, and revenge. 

A page flips.

The K-Buzz theme song plays.

Vlogger: Hello everyone and welcome back to K-Buzz where I deliver to you the latest and juiciest tea about K-pop. 

Loud whooshing.

Vlogger: I’m sure most of you have seen the pictures of Cha Hae-In and XXO’s Jin-Ho hanging out on the rooftop after the Music Bank concert. Coincidence? I think not. If you zoom in to this picture, Jin-Ho is seen giving Hae-In a drink. Could they have planned this meeting? 

Loud whooshing.

Vlogger: In this picture taken by reporters, they’re standing close together to be more than friends. So what do you think? Is it purely friendship or is there something more underneath?

A page flips.

The howling wind. Rapid tapping of footsteps trying to get away while a stampede of footsteps follows. Cameras click continuously. Reporters clamour.

Reporter 1: Is it true that you and Jin-Ho from XXO are dating? What about the bullying rumours? Are you going to address them?

Hae-In: No comment.

A car door opens and closes. The screeching of tires and rumble of the engine. The reporters’ voices fade.

Kim: XXO fans have been flooding the news and the company mail. 

Hae-In: (sigh) How did reporters get onto the rooftop? That place is a restricted area.

Kim: (sighing) I don’t know. 

Hae-In: Why is this happening to me?

Kim: You should try to remember.

Hae-In : (scoffing) Remember? Remember what. The people I didn’t bully? Or this stupid dating scandal? I just don’t understand. What did I do to deserve this?

Kim: Maybe someone has a grudge against you. You could have done something to cross them. 


Kim: Maybe it was another idol trainee.

Hae-In: What could I have done to provoke this type of anger from them? 

Kim: (breathing deeply) The company has arranged a press conference for you in two days to address the rumours. You’re advised to not leave the dorm room until then. 

A page flips.

The television switches on with soft static and the chair creaks against wooden flooring. 

Jin-Ho: I would like to apologise to all of my fans. All of the relationship rumours are false.

Reporter 1: So the rumours are false? But it seemed like the both of you are very close in the picture.

Jin-Ho: Well, I’m embarrassed to say this but she approached me first. She looked exhausted so I gave my drink to her because it seemed like she needed it more. Of course, I just thought of her as a friend but she may have been getting the wrong signals. 

Reporter 1: Oh wow. Then, Jin-Ho, why don’t you take this moment to send a message to her to clear things up?

Jin-Ho: Hae-In, you’re a nice person, but let’s just stay as friends. I hope you didn’t misunderstand my intentions. 

Hae-In:(gasps) Lies! All of those are just twisted lies.

The sound of the television abruptly cuts off. The crack of albums being broken and the shattering of glass after being thrown.

A page flips.

The screech of microphones. The frequent camera clicks layered by a mixture of reporter’s questions.

Reporter 1: What is your response to the bullying rumours?

Hae-In:  I have always dismissed bad rumours without much thought, but after seeing many fans have a hard time, I have decided to address them. If I have hurt you, I am deeply sorry for all the troubles that I have caused. I apologise to everyone that was hurt by my actions. 

Reporter 1: What do you say with regards to the dating rumours with XXO’s Jin-Ho.

Hae-In: I believe that he has already addressed these rumours but we are just friends.

Reporter 1: So all of these are false rumours?

Hae-In: Yes. And I hope that people will stop talking about this. Are there any other questions?

The reporters shout over each other asking questions.

A page flips.

“River Flows In You” by Yiruma plays in the elevator. A robotic voice announces the twentieth floor. The doors slide open. Footsteps drag along the floor and stop. HAE-IN knocks on the door.

Hae-In: Manager? Is he not in his office?

The doorknob twists open with a slow creak. “Dark Synthwave Music” by Devour starts playing. 

Hae-In: Hello? Ah, he’s not here. He’s probably somewhere else.

Soft footsteps and the sound of books being picked up. The flipping of pages and the fluttering of papers.

Hae-In: Oh? What’s this?

The music intensifies. A gasp and the shuffling of papers being picked up. 

Hae-In: What the hell! Manager Kim! 

The patter of footsteps comes running.

Kim: Yes?

Hae-In :(accusingly) What is this?

Kim: Huh? What are those?

Hae-In: You tell me? What are these pictures doing in your office?

Kim: I don’t know? Someone must have planted it there to frame me.

Silence. There are soft flipping noises. 

Hae-In: No… You took these pictures.

The tense music comes back louder.

Hae-In: This one right here. No reporter could have taken this. It’s me and Jin-Ho on the rooftop before the reporters came. You planned on releasing these pictures. But the reporters did it for you. They were able to stir up another scandal. But.. why? 

Kim:(scoffing) You still don’t remember.

Hae-In: Remember? Tell me what I have to remember!

Kim: The poor girl whose chances of being an idol were sabotaged because of you!

Hae-In: Kim Mi-Ha?

Kim: That’s not her name! It’s Kim Mi-Soo! Tell me, do you still not remember? You sabotaged her chances of being an idol. You’re the one who spread the dating scandal about her. 

Silence. The tense music starts again.

Hae-In: How do you know about that? No, why does it even matter to you? What, are you two somehow related?

Kim: Yes! She was my sister.

Hae-In:  Why does it matter anyway? Your sister probably has a 9 to 5 job and a mediocre life. 

Kim: She’s not with us anymore because you took her away!

Hae-In: What? She was slowly crumbling under the pressure. I just saw my chance to become an idol and took it. It’s just that my methods were a little… different.

Kim: My sister put in so much effort to debut only for you to steal her place. Do you know how distraught she was when those false rumours came out? You killed her. After she had to leave the company, she got depressed and took her own life.

Slap and a sickening crack follow.

Hae-In: So what. Your sister should have had other ambitions.

Angry footsteps storm off.

A page flips.

Death: Emotions always get the better of humans.

A page flips.

K-Buzz theme song plays.

Vlogger: Oh my gosh. Have you seen the viral tweet of Cha Hae-In? CCTV footage of the company building has been leaked to show a short video of Hae-In slapping her manager. After this was released, she was fired from the company. I’ve obtained a video of the chaos that followed after she left the company.

The click of the remote.

A mixed sound of running feet followed by soft cries as soft fruit smashes against HAE-IN. High heels running on the pavement. The crunch of an egg. The sound of panting as she runs away. Masses screaming vulgarities discordantly. 

Commenter 1: You’re so cruel!

Commenter 2: How could you hurt someone who helped you?

Commenter 3: Go die!

Commenter 1: Rot in hell!

Commenter 2: You deserve this!

The sound of an egg cracking against HAE-IN’s skin. A scream.

The click of the remote.

Vlogger: So after you’ve watched this what do you think? Is this the last we’ll see of the infamous Cha Hae-In?

A page flips.

Sobbing. The sound of swiping tabs. The sound of posts being deleted. The voices of the commenters are in the background.

Commenter 1: Lol. What a shameless freak.

Commenter 2: You would think she would know to stay out of trouble.

Commenter 3: She’s nothing but a piece of trash. 

Hae-In: I’m so done with everything.

A page flips.

The heavy downpour of rain and thunder. Slow footsteps. An automatic door opens. The footsteps echo and the slow drip of water drips onto the floor. The footsteps quicken and there are choked sobs. The elevator dings. “River Flows In You” by Yiruma plays in the elevator. A robotic voice announces the thirtieth floor.

The wind and thunder are louder now. The faint honking of cars on the street below. Slow footsteps sloshing through the rain. The metallic gate rattles.  A grunt as she climbs over the grill. The soft sound of her dress tearing. 

Hae-In: Hilarious. My career started at this very building and this is where it will end. 

The loud whooshing of the wind. The fluttering of her dress as she leaps off. Silence for a while. Suddenly, a metallic crunch and simultaneously a car siren. People scream and there are running footsteps to the car siren.

The slam of a book.

Death: This is where the tale of this idol ends. What? You thought it was going to be a happy ending? Although, I suppose this can be considered a happy ending for some. The manager got his revenge. 

The scraping of the chair against the floor.

Death: But in Ms. Cha Hae-In’s defence, while her methods were unorthodox, they worked. What she did was obviously wrong but it worked. 

The clack-tap sound of footsteps on the cement floor echoes throughout the room. 

Death: I guess karma does exist.

The flick of a light switch and the door creaks close.

Huda Munirah (Class of 2024) is a writer who struggles with language and spelling. Grammarly is her saviour. When she is not cramming her work the night before, she is happily procrastinating by watching Korean dramas and reading manhuas.