It is the heart-rending screams that cause neighbors to call the police. When they arrive they have to muscle their way through the crowd at the open door and into the apartment. One look beyond the man sobbing on the ground in his own vomit causes both officers to reach for their radios and call an ambulance while trying to keep their own stomachs from rebelling.
One officer bends down and touches the man whom we know as Kim Kwan. His sides heave as he cries, the pool he lies in does not register. At the touch, he shivers and then flinches. In a gentle voice the officer says. “Mr. Kim, I am going to help move you now so we can try and help your son. An ambulance is on the way.” It requires all of the officer’s self control to keep his gorge from rising as he moves the limp and prostrate Mr. Kim out of the doorway. Meanwhile his partner is shooing the concerned neighbors from the door and starts to take down statements from them, both to help the investigation and to get these people’s minds off the image of a ruined man who is their neighbor. Or perhaps was a neighbor.
With the arrival of two attendants with articulated stretcher and equipment comes a homicide investigator. First he meets Officer Rhee at the door taking statements, Rhee sees the badge and goes back to his interviews after nodding. It is inside that the detective comes face to face with a scene that challenges all his beliefs in what reality is, something that makes Detective Park recite a prayer from his Buddhist childhood. The medics have already shifted from the body of the boy in the kitchen to placing Mr. Kim himself upon the stretcher. Before they can go, Park stops them and asks the restrained Kim what happened. So Kim Kwan recites his return home, his search of the apartment, his thinking that his wife was shopping, and then the shocking discovery in the kitchen. While Detective Park listens to Kim’s story, he is also observing the other officer, Lee who nods affirmatively as Kim repeats the story he has already heard.
Bowing politely, “Thank you Mr. Kim. I grieve with you over this tragedy and please let these men take you to the hospital for treatment.” Park’s speech seems to go unnoticed by Kim who has seemingly lapsed into a fugue. As the medics hustle Kim away for treatment, it still leaves a shocked and puzzled Detective Park. “Officer Lee, follow me and close the door to this apartment. I want to know what you and Officer Rhee have already found out. We will have to wait for the forensics unit anyway, so lets not mess things up further.”
Part I of the story.