In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • To the End of the Hall
  • Kim T’ae-yong (bio)

No one in the hallway. No windows, just walls. Windowless but full of light. Dust floated on air. Hazy to the front, hazy to the rear. I moved toward the left wall, moved toward the right. Stopped in the middle, reached out, touched both walls. “Could you tell me the time?” I felt for my watch and checked it. Five minutes fast—as always. In five minutes I would be at the end of the hall, at the stairs. Right on time. Five minutes to wait. There’s always someone who’s five minutes late. What to do for five minutes? Penetrate the hallway? What if the stairs never ended? What if I pushed those stairs to the beginning, pushed them to the end? Fast backward: a radio clicked on, the doors opened, I was pushed out of the elevator by the person behind me. The two of them in the elevator kept a fixed distance, an arm’s length apart, their breathing steady. I thought about the force of being pushed and the force of pushing. Squeezed between those forces, my head would be flattened as I penetrated the hallway. I would no longer have a profile. Would that make me lucky? Not if I took the elevator. Physical pain supersedes freedom of thought. My knees creaked. I could no longer walk. A catastrophe, the very first. I had become a frail walkaton. “Where am I?” The empty hallway echoed. To forget my physical pain I used conscious thought to launch myself. Forward march! From the end of the hallway, footsteps—feet [End Page 265] wearing shoes. Someone detached someone else’s head from his shoulder and both looked down the hall. And someone took someone else’s head and re-attached it to his shoulder. The two of them were too close to each other to think about the force of detachment and the force of re-attachment. Something was approaching, but the only sound was of feet wearing shoes. The closer the sound, the louder and more broken up it was. The frequency of the steps was off. The hallway was no longer empty. I twisted and curled like an earthworm before it gets stepped on. I split along the grain, opened up, sprouted thorns. I could go no farther. I was at the end of the hall, the end opposite the stairs. The back of my head was hot. My head was flattened until my ears stuck together. Sound consumed, and was consumed by, sound. All the sounds got bleached out. I had become a weak auditon. No breeze from anywhere. No shoes. But no halt to the sound of the shoes. There were rips in the timbre of that sound. Cracks appeared in the wall at the bottom of the steps at the end of the hall. Like shoes opening up at the tips. That’s where the shoe sounds were coming from. Wrong—they were coming from the gap between the elevator doors. The mouth of a weak machine, the doors a mere wall. The machine announced, “Going up.” It came up. But no farther. The five minutes began. I separated my two ears. My mouth was full of gray dust. My hand grabbed onto the flattened back of my head. Held it. Pressed my face against the wall. “Perhaps you’re getting worn out,” said my face. The face held by my hand started to move. Faster and faster. Splitting the five minutes. Tearing open the toes of the shoes. Rewinding the pale sounds. To the back. Backtracking. I penetrated the hallway. My face pushed forward. The wall split. Hazy dust flew. “Escapism?” My face split open. The flesh ripped apart. I panted. My arms and my legs couldn’t stop detaching. I was driven out but couldn’t run away. Ragged ears—the only part of my face that was alive, my auditon face. Exhaustion flowed toward the stairs. Only then did I realize the hallway tilted toward the stairs. I couldn’t hear the shoe sounds. There was no [End Page 266] longer a wall to lean against. Only my...


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pp. 265-267
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