Book 2 Chapter 1: Spirit summoning

T. University was a mixed-gender university that was known throughout the nation. The quality of the teaching staff, administration, classes and research facilities were quite a bit higher than ordinary universities. However, one thing it had in common with other schools was that thrilling and dangerous games were popular amongst the students. Summoning spirits was a popular example, especially amongst girls.

The more timid they were, the more they wanted to try. The more frightened they were, the more curious they got. This was probably a common failing of humanity.

Supply followed demand. Due to the various spirit summoning games becoming popular, an online horror forum that discussed such games started spreading amongst the students. This website was called “Do you dare play?”

The website listed several ways of playing such scary games. Examples include summoning mirror spirits, pen spirits, Ouija boards, chopstick spirits, stage spirits, hand spirits, silver spirits that were popular in Japan and Bloody Mary which was popular amongst western young women. These were all fresh and interesting for college students looking for thrills so the website got a lot of traffic. The inquisitive students never tired of the many types of taboo games. Recently, the Bloody Mary game was being spread around T. University.

The game goes like this:

  1. Enter the bathroom alone. No matter what, don’t bring anyone else.
  2. The door is locked and the lights are turned off.
  3. Face the mirror and light a candle between yourself and the mirror. Or, light two candles on either side of the mirror.
  4. Close your eyes, gather your mind and slowly chant “Bloody Mary” three times.

After the instructions, there were some severe warnings. It stated that this was a deadly game, and no one knows what will happen to you if the above steps are followed. Therefore, it’s not recommended to play this game without sufficient mental preparation. Whatever happens would be your own responsibility.

Because the legend behind this game was too horrifying, and with such a disclaimer behind the instructions, none of the students dared to try it out despite wanting to do something very thrilling. Now, the standard greeting amongst students had become: “do you dare play?”

Eventually, there was bound to be someone.

A few days after summer vacation, someone finally wanted to try after no one dared do so last semester. She was a sophomore majoring in Chinese, Qian Li from the rural village of Xiangxi. She was very beautiful, and also very innocent and kind. A pretty daughter from a humble family whose grades were ordinary. She was normally very low-key. Apart from having a bit of a scandal last semester with the popular basketball team captain Liu Tie, she didn’t attract any attention. Therefore, the students were skeptical when she wanted to challenge this taboo. Especially those in the same dorm, who were both excited and doubtful.

“I feel it’s better not to go!” One girl persuaded. “It’s fine to mess around a little, but I’ve heard this is a thoroughly evil spirit. If you happen to meet it while it’s in a bad mood, you’d be screwed.”

Qian Li hesitated a little.

Another girl however said: “Wealth and honor is only found in risks. Although this evil spirit is vicious, if you grant one of its wishes it will help grant one of yours, no matter how difficult. Li Li, is there some difficult wish that you wish to see fulfilled no matter what?”

Qian Li didn’t get to speak before her bunkmate said from below: “Of course she does! Everyone has a few wishes like that. It’s just a question of whether they dare make it come true. Li Li, I support you. We’ve also prevented the information from spreading beyond our floor. The professors won’t hear anything about it.” The school had repeated forbidden such games.

“That’s right.” One of Qian Li’s closer classmates agreed. “Furthermore, it’s not certain it’ll work. Even our resident assistant Auntie Zhao doesn’t show up every time we try to summon her, let alone some foreign mirror spirit! Whether it works or not, no one can accuse our Li Li of never taking risks anymore.” She gave Qian Li a meaningful glance.

The seven girls in the dorm room started chattering in discussion. It was like Qian Li wasn’t about to do something dangerous, but rather something that involved everyone’s honor! In the end, the votes were split evenly with one person abstaining.

“It’s up to you, Li Li. The lights are about to be turned off. You have to decide quickly.” Her bunkmate said.

Qian Li didn’t know how to respond.

She was actually very scared, but she also couldn’t let her rival in love look down on her. They had agreed that this would be a showdown, and the winner would have the opportunity to remain by Liu Tie’s side. Perhaps that person would go back on her words, but Qian Li still had to give it her all for love. She was far too lacking compared to that person, apart from her feelings for Liu Tie.

She liked him so much, and was willing to do anything for love. Including taking this dangerous bet.

Furthermore, there were so many people playing these games every day. It probably won’t even work. Even if it did, she wouldn’t be so unlucky to have summoned it while it was in a bad mood. She could also do her best to fulfill its wish so that it would grant one of hers.

Lie Tie! Liu Tie! Liu Tie!

Her heart grew fervent at this name and she became reckless.

“I won’t go back on my words. What’s there to be afraid of?” She grabbed the candle she had prepared and walked hesitantly towards the bathroom.

“We’ll all be waiting outside. If anything happens, we’ll come save you. None of us shall run.” The people outside the door promised Qian Li before curling up in their beds in excitement and fear.

Perhaps it won’t even work!

Qian Li took a deep breath. She slowly turned around and locked the door, turning off the lights.

Because this bathroom had no windows, it immediately became pitch black. The normal sounds of the door closing and lights being switched off seemed ear-piercing and startling, making her heart involuntarily leap.

Qian Li stood rigidly in the dark for a long time before trying to light the candle while trembling. The inexplicable fear in her heart caused her hand to shiver and she dropped the lighter. The crisp sound permeated the small bathroom with an abnormal feeling. This made Qian Li feel like turning around and running, but she restrained herself. She felt around and ended up lighting the candle.

Qian Li immediately saw her own pale and nervous face in the mirror across from the door. The flickering flame cast moving shadows over her face. Her appearance seemed indescribably sinister and unfamiliar. Was that her? Why was there a hint of a mocking smile around her lips? She tried to control her facial expression but realized her smile had only grown wider. It was completely out of her control.

She hesitantly approached the mirror. She realized that apart from the candlelight and herself, everything else was also dark in the mirror. It was like the mirror was connected to somewhere distant and unknown.

If she was able to think at this moment, she might have abandoned this foolish, senseless and also dangerous game. However, she had rehearsed this process too many times and her fear had also caused her to focus her mind, perhaps a little too much. Therefore, she didn’t spare any thought to consider whether or not she should continue. Her mind pushed her to chant “Bloody Mary” three times, as though she talking in her sleep!

Her own hissing, unnatural voice gave her a fright. She didn’t dare move a muscle and waited in fear for the outcome. Suddenly, the weak candlelight was extinguished without warning. The bathroom became breathlessly dark once again!

She gripped the extinguished candle and stood rigidly in place. She breathed rapidly and cold sweat flowed. She could only hear her own breathing, but felt countless eyes in the darkness staring at her with ill intentions. However, she was still frozen in place and wasn’t able to regret her actions. This was because everyone knew the game couldn’t be stopped halfway. Otherwise, the consequences would be more severe.

She was docile like a lamb waiting to be slaughtered, helpless and unable to escape.

Her fate seemed to have been set in stone!

The silent seconds seemed to be an eternity. Right as she thought it had failed and rejoiced, wanting to move her frozen legs to leave, she heard a muffled crack from the mirror in the dark. Then, there was a flash of dark red light.

It was like the doors of hell had been opened.

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