Kpopalypse is back with an all-new fanfic for you to enjoy, this time about everyone’s favourite veteran SM Entertainment idol group, SHINee!
THE SHINEE GHOST TRAIN
Who understands k-pop fans? Not you, that’s for sure.
I mean, you don’t hate Korean pop or anything, but sometimes it all just gets a bit too fucking much. You’re a sixteen year old Korean girl and you have a casual interest in a few boy and girl idol groups, I mean why not, their songs are certainly catchy sometimes, and there’s no denying that some of the boys are attractive. But for you, that’s about where it ends. You wish you could say the same about your friends at school, the amount that they get into all aspects of k-pop is certainly excessive.
There’s one friend of yours in particular who is really annoying about it. Her name is Kim and she’s in your year, she was your best friend all through high school, that is, until she became obsessed with SHINee. She exhibits all the classic fangirl symptoms:
- She talks about them more than constantly, every facet of them you can think of both real and imagined
- You can’t go out and do anything with her when it’s “comeback time”, she is holed up in her room on the Internet doing those stupid voting click things
- Don’t even try to watch a TV talent show with her, they’re “not on SHINee’s level”, no matter who they are
- Every single clothing, decoration and stationery type, she has a SHINee version of it
- She’s actually trying to learn bits of the “Lucifer” dance which just makes you cringe so much because she’s really bad at it but she thinks she’s great
- She can’t even say fucking “hello” to you anymore without imitating SHINee in their “Hello” video
- Fucking etc
It’s enough to put you off them for life, really – and you have nothing against the group or anything. You’re sure that they’re just nice guys stuck with k-pop because it’s what they do, who are doing their best to scrape up a living (and seemingly doing quite well at it) but part of you is really starting to hate them because you’re losing your friend to them. You wonder what you would say to the SHINee members if you met them. Do they know that they have these crazy fans? Probably. Could they help you get your friend’s life back? Probably not, after all they’re in the business of collecting her money.
Feeling frustrated after hearing a lecture from Kim about the different styles of Minho’s hair through the years for the 783rd time, you start searching online. Surely, there are other people in your predicament, maybe if you could talk to them, you could find a way to help cope with this situation better, or even better yet, perhaps find a way to get Kim the help that she so obviously needs.
You don’t have to search for long.
Browsing the forums of deludedkpopbitchesfuckoff.com quickly revealed several threads from exasperated friends and family of k-pop fans, all searching for that special quick-fix way to get the afflicted k-pop fan to see reason. As you search more, you notice something – solutions vary depending on the group – EXO fans were referred to a specific taxi service, Ailee fans were linked to a particular holiday camp, etc. You waste no time searching up SHINee and the results are all the same.
If you know a k-pop fan who is a Shawol (SHINee fandom), try THE SHINEE GHOST TRAIN. It’ll scare them, but not in the way that they think! They won’t be deluded SHINee fans for long!
Looking through the comments, the reactions are mostly positive:
“I sent a friend on this and she just thought it was going to be Onew in a vampire costume or something, boy did she get a shock!”
“I actually went with my stupid Shawol brother. It was scary but worth it. He actually cried, I couldn’t believe it! Afterwards, he burned all his SHINee posters!”
“How they keep it running I don’t know, but it’s a great service”
“I couldn’t believe the train ride. How did they do that?”
“ANY ARMYS HERE XD”
“That poor fangirl… I’ll never forget her… RIP”
“I don’t know what they even do in there because I sure as hell wouldn’t go, but nobody who rides the SHINee ghost train is a SHINee fan afterward.”
The last comment was all you needed to hear.
You’re outside the SHINee ghost train, with your friend Kim. It’s a large structure in the middle of a park, among swing rides and benches, a solid brick building with a large mural of the five SHINee members on the front. The sun is shining, and a faint breeze blows. It’s a beautiful day. There is a small queue at the front of the building for the train. You stand in line with Kim – you’re going to ride the train as well, you want to see what it’s like. It was easy enough to talk her into coming here, after all anything with SHINee’s name on it she accepts uncritically.
Kim is ecstatic with joy. “Thank you so much for bringing me here! I can’t believe that you’re going in with me! Maybe you’ll become a fan this way!” she says, bouncing up and down with glee. How little does she know.
You play along. “I thought I’d try and give them a shot – you never know, right?”
Kim gives you a big, beaming grin. “You’re the best friend ever!”
“Tickets, please!” – you hand out the tickets your bought online to a lady behind the metal entrance gate, who doesn’t look much older than you. She smiles and directs you to a group of five rollercoaster train carts, each one decorated with the theme of a different SHINee member, and sitting on a rail track that vanishes behind a red curtained archway. There are three carts already occupied, you and Kim strap yourselves into the next available cart. You notice while you buckle in that the name of the cart is stitched into the backrests of the twin seats – “The Minho”. How cheesy and repellent. “This ride had better get results”, you think to yourself.
“Oh my god, I’m so excited! Will this be scary?” asks Kim, shuffling around in her seat.
“Yes.” The lady behind the gate smiles at her, and give you a sly wink. You wonder if she has sensed that you’re not really a fan.
Kim finally settles in her seat. “When do we start?” she asks.
“Please be patient, we have to wait for the train to fill up before we start moving.”
After about a minute, a couple enter the carriage behind you. The lady behind the gate pulls a lever, and an electric hum starts. The train starts moving, achingly slowly, towards the red curtain. Although you don’t really care about SHINee at all, you are mildly curious about the ride, plus you’re keen to see Kim recover from her fangirlism as the forum members promised she would, so the slow pace is frustrating and makes you eager for progress. After what seems like an eternity, “The Minho” parts the red curtain and crawls into the archway, into darkness.
After a few seconds, your eyes adjust to the darkness. You’re in a long, narrow tunnel with black-painted brick walls, punctuated by very dim strip-lighting that appears to have been made out of party glowsticks. Dimly-lit posters of the various SHINee members appear at regular intervals along the walls, Kim stares at each one lovingly, trying to make out the details.
The train continues its slow crawl as it proceeds down the tunnel. You become aware of a gradually increasing noise… it’s a song. A SHINee song, of course – “Lucifer” starts playing out of speakers built into the train carriages, which you didn’t realise were there until now. You sigh.
All of a sudden, the train lurches forward, increasing in speed from a slow crawl to about jogging pace. More posters go by on the walls, but there’s not any time to observe them – although Kim tries her hardest. A junction appears ahead, and the train track splits into five different tracks, each with its own tunnel. As each carriage hits the junction it splits off into a different tunnel. You grab the sides of “The Minho” for stability as it separates from the rest of the train carts and speeds down into the new, darker tunnel, with just you and Kim inside. Kim screams, a scream that you’re not sure how much is fear and how much is her spazzing about being a SHINee train ride. The song “Lucifer” gets louder and louder, and the train sounds like it’s speeding up, with the electric whir increasing in volume to the point where it’s almost louder than the piped music. It’s hard to tell exactly how fast it’s going as this new tunnel is pitch black, but you’re guessing that you’re travelling at around sprinting pace now. After a few seconds you hear a loud cracking noise and the sound of crunching metal. Suddenly everything is disorienting and you feel dizzy, for just a few seconds until you hear another loud thudding noise as a jolting impact reverberate through your body.
The cart spits out “loverholic— robotronic—” for the last time, and then both the song and the whirring sound stop. You feel sore – you’re pretty sure that the cart has just had an accident and that this wasn’t a planned part of the ride. You look over at Kim, who looks freaked out.
“Oh my god, what’s going on?” she asks.
“I think we crashed? I can’t see anything. Give me a moment.”
You reach around inside your bag and pull out your mobile phone. You look at the coverage bars – there’s no phone signal in the tunnel, but your phone is still useful here. You access your phone’s flashlight feature and turn it toward your immediate surroundings. The train has come to a halt up against a rubber stopper, that appears to have been built to stop the train, but probably designed to absorb a much slower velocity than whatever the speed was that you both were travelling. Twisting around, you can see that the metallic noise has come from behind you – the track that you were just on has become twisted and contorted, and part of the structure of the tunnel has fallen in. Some semi-dislodged brickwork hovers a few inches above your head. You illuminate Kim – she’s okay. Like you, she’s a little shaken but seemingly not injured apart from maybe a bruise or two.
“I think we should get out of this cart before anything really bad happens.” you suggest.
Kim nods and you both unbuckle yourselves and gingerly exit the cart, taking care not to hit your heads on the unstable-looking brickwork above. Once you’re both out, you shine the phone down onto the cart and tracks, the full extent of the damage now apparent. The cart has semi-derailed, with one of the wheels coming off the tracks but the other three somehow staying on. The dislodged wheel has chewed up the train sleepers and also caused some damage to some other metal structures on the side of the track.
“I guess The Minho was built on the cheap.” you say.
“Don’t be mean, Minho is my baby!” retorts Kim.
You don’t have the energy to argue. “Okay, okay… let’s just retrace our steps, and get a refund, okay?”
“Okay. We really should grab some of those SHINee posters on the way back though.”
“Fair enough – they probably owe you.”
FACTORY SECOND DISPOSAL
You and Kim hold hands for safety and attempt to walk back through the tunnel but you only get a few meters before you discover that the train’s derailment has pulled up some of the track’s electrical wiring. The loud humming noise coming from the vicinity of the track wires convinces you that it would be a dangerous idea to continue in this direction.
“Let’s go another way. Surely there has to be an emergency exit of some kind?”
Kim is petulant. “But I want SHINee posters!”
You roll your eyes. “Calm down. When we get back to the main gate, I’m sure they’ll give us some kind of SHINee-related compensation for going through this.”
“Are you sure?”
“Pretty sure. Imagine the legal weight of thousands of Shawols with rich parents.”
Kim smiles to herself, not registering the deliberate shade in your comment whatsoever. Meanwhile, you go back to where “The Minho” crashed and then continue forward. Although the train track stops at the rubber bumper, the tunnel itself and the gravel surface that the tracks lie on both continue along, as if more track was intended to be built but then somebody decided against it. You and Kim tread carefully as you peer into the darkness with the help of your phone.
After a short walk, you come to a green door with a light above it marked “EXIT”. The tunnel also continues forward, but you’re not interested in where that goes, you just want to get Kim and yourself back to the entrance. You open the door into a concrete corridor, which at least has some dim emergency egress lighting. Illumination isn’t needed now so you switch off your phone and put it back in your bag, and follow the new corridor which seems to be leading roughly in the direction of the start of the ride.
As you proceed, the corridor opens out into some kind of factory walkway. The walls of the corridor on one side here are glass, and you can see people on the other side of the wall, operating printing press machinery. The machines are noisy but the glass between you and them blocks most of the sound. The people working all are wearing high-visibility vests and industrial earmuffs, and have white surgical masks on their faces, presumably to prevent themselves from inhaling the chemicals used in printing. You wonder for a moment what they are doing, but Kim figures it out straight away.
‘They’re printing those big SHINEE POSTERS! HEY, YOU – can I have a poster? PLEEEEASE! NOTICE ME!” Kim waves and screams at the nearest masked high-vis-clad lady behind the glass in her best pterodactyl-fangirl voice.
Even in her high-noise industrial environment, the lady can still hear Kim’s awful screeching. She faces Kim, nods and points further along the corridor. You look up ahead – there’s a doorway. Kim races towards it, and you follow behind her, sighing to yourself. Not only does Kim still love SHINee, but she gets free SHINee merch? This definitely isn’t turning out like you had hoped.
The door is labelled “FACTORY SECOND DISPOSAL”. You open it and Kim is already in there. It’s a huge, featureless room – full of huge blockmount posters of SHINee. There’s also a few other SHINee related items being stored here – some cardboard cutouts of the guys, a full-size Onew body-pillow, plus some unpacked boxes which presumably contain more of the same. What surprises you most of all is one of the other girls who was on the ride is here. She looks at Kim, then at you, and smiles weakly. She is noticeably bruised on her legs.
Before you have a chance to ask her why she is in here, Kim starts screaming. “OH MY GOD THIS IS SO AWESOME, I’M GOING TO TAKE HEAPS OF THESE!” Kim is excited, but there seems to be an obvious practical problem.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea? How are you even going to carry all this? Those posters are bigger than you are!”
“I’ll find a way!” Kim exclaims. She picks up two huge SHINee blockmounts that are almost bigger than she is, and the Onew body pillow.
“Hey, that was my pillow!” says the other girl.
A siren begins buzzing, and the room starts flashing red. You hear a rumbling sound, and it takes you a while to work out what it is, but once boxes at the far end of the room start toppling over, you realise that the walls are gradually closing in. You’re in a disposal unit for unwanted goods, which is going to compact everything in the room into trash… including the three of you, if you don’t get out of here!
“Hey Kim, let’s go!”
Kim doesn’t care, she’s fighting the other girl. “Onew is MINE!”
The other girl draws a nail file out of her handbag. “Leave before I upgrade your image!”
“Eat my ass!”
Kim scratches the other girl in the face with her fingernails and she falls over, then Kim grabs the blockmounts and the Onew pillow and follows you. You try to get out the way you came in, but it’s locked. You rush to a much smaller door on the other side of the room, which has a big yellow flashing light above it, clearly an emergency exit for situations just like this one. It opens easily. You quickly rush outside and turn around for Kim, but she hasn’t followed you. Kim can’t fit herself plus the body pillow and blockmounts through the narrow entrance door all at once. She squeals at the exit trying to get everything through, then is pulled back into the room as the other girl grabs her by the hair and starts ripping at it with the nail file.
“Onew is my bias! I will fondly remember him while I beat you!” screams the girl, grabbing the body pillow from Kim.
“No, that’s mine! You should suicide!” Kim retorts angrily.
“You’re a trash! Go and reflect on your immature actions!” The other girl punches Kim in the jaw, sending her staggering back, and then grabs the blockmounts. Kim is dazed and starts crying. You quickly grab the opportunity to run quickly into the room, take her hand and then drag her out through the exit.
“Noooo! My posters!” cries Kim, abandoning the goods in the room.
“Onew is MINE MINE MINE! You can’t call yourself a fan!” screams the other girl, hugging the Onew body pillow, as she races for the same exit, however the other girl can’t work out how to fit the Onew body pillow and the blockmounts through the exit either. You wince as you watch the walls close in, she’s definitely going to get crushed.
“Drop the stupid pillow, it’s not yours anyway!” yells Kim through her tears.
“Tsk tsk! I’m not falling for your trick! You can’t have Onew!”
“You won’t fit with that stuff, just get out!” you shout at the girl.
“You sound so fake!” yelps the girl as she continues to attempt to strain her way through the exit door while carrying the pillow and the blockmounted posters. “ONEW IS MINE!”
A metallic slamming noise follows as the exit door automatically shuts, trapping the girl inside. You and Kim both then shudder as you hear a brief scream followed by the crunching sound of cardboard, wood and human flesh and bone being compacted.
“I guess… she was a bigger fan than me after all.” reflects Kim, as she sobs and feels her jaw where she was punched.
“Yeah, ‘was’ being the operative word. Let’s get out of here so we can report this to the police.” You both walk through the exit corridor.
You check your phone. Still no signal where you are. You think about what just transpired. Why was the girl in there? Why did she have bruises even before she fought with Kim? If she found her way there, where are the others? It’s all too much to process right now, you and Kim just had a near-death experience so you try to focus on moving forward and getting out of wherever you are, you can try to think about the big picture more later. You and Kim walk through two more doors that both have green “EXIT” lights, but just lead into further concrete corridors. You feel like you’ve been walking for a lot longer than the original ride was when you move up a couple flights of stairs and then meet a red door marked “SM DISPATCH OFFICE”. Warily, you and Kim open the door and walk through.
You’re in a room that looks like a cross between an office and a classroom. Chairs and tables are all in rows, and there are several young men and women here all writing things down busily on pieces of paper. They all have a piece of paper on their desk, and also what appears at first glance to be exercise books, but Kim points at one and you realise that they are actually SHINee photobooks. Kim reaches out to grab one of the books, but is stopped by the boy sitting at the desk, who grabs the book and takes it away from Kim.
“Sorry girl – I need that” he says.
“I can’t have a SHINee photobook?” Kim asks.
The boy shrugs. “If it was up to me, you could. Sorry, I have to get back to work.”
“What are you doing?” asks Kim?
“Ssssh, you’ll get me into trouble if I talk to you!” the boy whispers, trying to concentrate on his writing.
You look over his shoulder at what the boy is writing:
I love you very much, I’m always thankful!
Shawols – how are you? Today is May 25th … it’s the first time we meet you guys, right? Since you guys are part of my life, number 525 has become a special number. Rather than being my favourite number, it’s more of a special and important number.
The fact is that it’s SHINee’s anniversary – time is moving fast, right? These days, I think I say “time is moving fast” more and more. Thus, I want to remember small things and make them become precious. I’m really getting older!
Shawols! I’m more thankful for being able to live together like this and thank you for creating many good memories. I hope I can become the happiest person just like today. I always say this, but – I’m not going to disappoint you!
Our Shawols are really the best… you guys are definitely first, thank you. I love you very very much. I’m always thankful!
Let’s see each other for a long time like now! Let’s see each other more comfortably!
You watch as the boy writes. Once he finishes a page, he rips off a new sheet of paper, and starts writing again. It’s the exact same text, word for word. Kim also watches. You look over at Kim. She is angry.
“Why are you writing like that? That’s Minho’s handwriting!” she screams at the boy.
The boy says nothing but grabs his paper and exercise book and stashes it under his desk so Kim can’t touch them. Kim look over the shoulder at someone else, a girl, who glares viciously at Kim and tries unsuccessfully to hide her writing. “It’s the exact same thing!”, Kim yells. Everyone in the room stares at Kim, who is quite a sight, enraged, in tears and with her jaw starting to swell where it was punched. “You’re all a bunch of fakes!” she screams at the room.
“What are you talking about?” you ask Kim.
“I got a handwritten letter from Minho once! Did he really write it? It was on the exact same paper they use!” Kim sobs.
“HEY, YOU!” yells a female voice from the far corner of the room. “Why are you here?” And angry-looking woman glares at you both, you didn’t see her here before. She wears a suit jacket with the SM Entertainment logo emblazoned on the chest.
“We just want to get out of here. We were on the ghost train.” you say.
The lady says nothing and points to a door on her side of the room.
“Somebody died back in the factory.” you add.
“No they didn’t. Get out.” interjects the lady, sharply.
You and Kim quickly exit through the door. Kim stares at the SM logo on her jacket, transfixed and tearful.
EXIT (AND GIFTS)
You arrive into a large open-plan office area. There are several people here at desks, many are on phone headsets and others are working with computers. All of them seem very busy and don’t pay more than a quick glance to either of you. They all wear office shirts and jackets marked with the SM Entertainment logo. There are exit signs clearly marking the way out, so you follow them.
“How can I trust my bias… when I can’t trust his own handwriting?” asks Kim.
You don’t answer. You keep walking, following the signs.
“What sort of people would employ other people to be fakes? At least SHINee themselves still love me, right?” asks Kim, looking at you.
You notice a door at the other end of the office area, marked “EXIT (AND GIFTS)”. The door has a frosted window in it, behind which you can see daylight. Finally! You and Kim rush for the exit and open it.
The door leads out into a bitumen parking lot, behind the SM Entertainment HQ which overlooks the park where the ghost train ride started. You breathe the fresh air at last, happy to be outside. There are a few cars here, but mainly there are just piles and piles of garbage bags, most of which are unsealed with their contents spilling out onto the dirt and gravel. There are all sorts of objects here – toys, small furniture items, books and computer games all still in the shrinkwrap, various leisure items, electronic devices and sporting equipment, and lots of clothing. Most of them have letters and love notes attached, from fans.
Suddenly you hear a scream. Kim has found a plush dinosaur in one of the bags and is crying uncontrollably while holding it.
“HOW COULD THEY THROW IT OUT?!? HOW COULD THEY?!?”
Kim screams and cries over and over again.
You tried to report the crushed fangirl to the police, but they didn’t seem all that interested. “We’ll check into it”, they said, quickly ushering you out the door after only hearing an absolute bare minimum of information. The events seemed so surreal yet so legitimate, that you’re still not completely sure how much of what you experienced was somehow staged or part of the ride, but what you do know for sure is the effect that it all had on Kim – she’s sworn off the Shawol fandom and is no longer a SHINee fangirl. Your mission is accomplished and you’re getting along much better these days.
You’re hanging out with Kim one day after school, when she receives a message on her phone. She suddenly stops talking and looks disturbed. You ask what’s wrong, and she gives the phone to you.