I staggered onto the rickety wharf after floating for two days on the open sea. My ship and comrades were in the watery depths and I had given up hope until I spotted land.
Coming into a secluded bay, I had been overjoyed to see a village ahead of me. Now I saw that the buildings were like none I had ever seen before. Everything was eerily quiet as I made my way forward.
I walked among the building in bewilderment. The entire place was deserted, yet nothing was damaged. There were no signs of war or fire or disaster of any kind. Everything was open, as if the people had simply evaporated.
I began to wonder even what country I was in. The roofs all held a singular symbol: a stylized yin-yang swirl above a fish. The carving was amazingly intricate and I wondered if I had stumbled onto an artist colony.
I entered one of the larger buildings and found the first signs of serious industry. It looked like a forge or a refinery and when I advanced a little further, I saw that there was still molten metal in the bottom of the crucible.
I looked closer and got the first real shock since arriving in this ghost town. All the nagging apprehension came back to me in a rush. The molten metal was not real. It looked red, but the surface was cold. I touched it, tentatively. It was glass.
I ran outside and down another street and found myself in a market. As I looked around, I saw the one sight I longed to see more than any other: food. There were stalls filled with fruits and vegetables, with no one in sight. I rushed over, but to my dismay, I found all the food to be mere imitations made of a spongy white substance and totally inedible.
As I continued on, I found a weapons shop, loaded with enough swords, spearheads and bows to equip an army. I picked one up and found it as light as a feather. Even the weapons were not real.
I passed through street after street of shops selling cloth, medicine, animal skins, dishes, and a multitude of other things. Everything sat out as if for sale, but no one attended them. I began to wonder if ghosts inhabited the silent town, like some weird necropolis where the dead roamed after nightfall.
I was becoming thoroughly uneasy and kept looking over my shoulder. The sun was close to setting and now I was terrified of being trapped in this place overnight.
On my way back to the shore, I found myself in a large room with items displayed on each side. I caught sight of a large portrait and stop to stare at it in wonder. It showed a beautiful girl, dressed as a soldier and wielding a sword, but what was so amazing was the skill of the painter. It was completely true to life and even when I looked closely, I could not detect a single brushstroke. I fled, lest the magic that hung over the place trap me there forever. Surely that silent, unreal town could not have been made for human habitation.
* * *
Hi, David here. I guess you could consider this post a sort of Visual Fiction extravaganza. It’s based around a place I went last Friday, in Changwon, Korea. It’s a set village for filming historical dramas and is unique because the buildings are a much different style than most you see in Korea. During the off season it is left open with all the props still there and on display. When we went, there was no one there at all, which made it a very cool place to poke around and explore. And just to prove I was actually there and didn’t just find pictures on the Internet…
February 11th, 2013 at 12:54 am
Great story, love the pictures
February 11th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Thanks. It was a cool place. I’d kind of like to live there.
February 11th, 2013 at 2:12 am
David, This is awesome writing. Reminded me of Hemingway’s raw but poetic story-telling. Autograph please?!
February 11th, 2013 at 8:56 pm
Wow, that’s quite a compliment. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it.
February 11th, 2013 at 4:55 am
What a nice place. Love your creativity.
February 11th, 2013 at 9:04 am
Wonderful pictures to share. A whole (fiction) story could evolve from your trip here. 🙂 I remember your blog said somewhere that everything you write here is fiction. Is this a part of another story in the works? Or just a side trip? Are you in the military, and stationed in Korea? I saw I think where you are Canadian (in the post about the Korean woman who wanted to meet Bush)? Did I get that right? Trying to remember what I read on your previous posts.
February 11th, 2013 at 9:06 pm
glad you liked it. About 95% of what I write here is fiction, although I sometimes mix reality and fiction like this post, where it’s a real place, but an imagined scenario. Whenever I write something completely true, like the woman I met who wanted to meet Bush, I say explicitly. This story is just a one-time thing, although sometimes they grow into continuing stories. The only two continuing stories I’m doing right now are the Fantastic Travelogue and the Aftermath series.
I am Canadian, although I’ve been teaching English in Korea for about 8 years. It’s a great country to live in.
February 12th, 2013 at 12:54 am
Thank you for clarifying that David. It is wonderful to have the experience you have there with the Korean people and such opportunity. I imagine that is south Korea you are in though? I will try to get caught up on your fiction posted. I sometimes get a little behind in my reading when I am working on writing projects of my own. That is why I am dropping out of Friday Fictioneers right now to focus on unfinished projects.
February 12th, 2013 at 1:24 am
I understand that. I like reading and commenting on other people’s posts, but it does take a lot of time. And yes, I’m in South Korea, not North. 🙂
February 12th, 2013 at 4:44 am
That’s good. Stay safe there, and enjoy the experience and I’ll follow along with you in your journeys.
February 11th, 2013 at 9:05 am
How unique I have never seen a weapon shop in Japan It’s worth to visit
February 11th, 2013 at 9:10 pm
Well, these were just props they use for dramas, although some of them were metal.
It’s ironic you say that, since I saw a weapon shop when I was visiting Japan and was tempted to buy a sword there, but I didn’t know if I could get it back to Korea.
February 11th, 2013 at 12:54 pm
What a cool place. It has that kind of surreal quality. I like what you said about the food. Wouldn’t that be sad if you were really hungry? Lovely photos and your story, intriguing.
February 11th, 2013 at 9:12 pm
It would have loved to just wander around there, or better yet, play hide and seek or paintball there. Or best, live there. 🙂 I was rather surprised that it was all lying there unattended. There were security cameras, but still, we could have just grabbed some stuff and ran.
February 12th, 2013 at 7:02 am
What an interesting way of writing. Adding photos around the story is brilliant! Look forward to more like it.
February 12th, 2013 at 10:52 pm
I love the pictures! The story went well with the images 🙂
February 16th, 2013 at 4:00 pm
the photographs and the story both are amazing. ghost towns make me uneasy too, i dont know why but they do!