He was my best friend and I believed him. Therefore, I told him about the matter last night. He was still young back then, so despite his innate abilities, he also didn’t know what was going on. He merely decided loyally to go investigate with me that night. He was supposed to be sleeping over anyway. I felt much more reassured.
When it was almost midnight, a rustling suddenly sounded from the window of my small room. Then, a child’s shrill voice called me: Wan Li….Wan Li….Wan Li…..
I was subconsciously about to respond when Ruan Zhan covered my mouth: “You can’t respond. You’ll die if you do.”
I gritted my teeth and refused to respond but the voice by the window didn’t stop. Then, another sharp little girl’s voice was added to the mix and they started banging on my window. Wan Li…come out….hide and seek…
I was very confused how my parents could sleep through such loud noises. I also don’t know how they knew my name. I merely hid in bed, extremely terrified. At that moment, perhaps they had grown tired of waiting. They started entering the room.
Two tiny figures appeared on the window, wriggling in as though passing through some restriction. They hopped over towards my bed. Under the pale yellow moonlight, I saw their appearances.
There was a boy and a girl similar to our age. They were incorporeal with dim green faces. Their features had become twisted. The girl didn’t have anything on her face except a large hole as her mouth. Her face was surrounded by large, bushy hair. The boy only had a single large eye the size of a fist that glittered at it looked at me. I suddenly realized what had been peeping at me through the door’s crack last night.
Their legs were indistinct as though they didn’t have any. They truly didn’t since they were floating in midair. They moved jerkily, and at a glance looked like zombies as they hopped over.1 Ah Zhan pulled me towards the inside of the bed, but they had vanished. Then, I felt the wall becoming soft and cold as their hands appeared from somewhere, pulling at me.
Wan Li…hide and seek…
Wan Li…hide and seek…
“Go with them.” Ah Zhan suddenly said.
I nodded in response. Despite almost pissing myself in fear, I was terrified my parents would be harmed if I didn’t agree. I didn’t know where I found the courage. I only remember wanting to take responsibility for my actions, and die a man of character if I had to die. Therefore, I followed the voices that seemed to be calling my soul, Wan Li…Wan Li…, all the way until we reached the abandoned residence.
The moment we entered, the large doors behind us creaked as though rusted, and slowly shut by themselves.
The small ghosts stopped calling out to me. Instead, within the decrepit house that seemed ready to fall apart, two faint ghostly flames lit up. They gradually approached and I was finally able to see that they were two paper lanterns. There were large epitaphs written upon them. No one was holding the lanterns as they floated in the air. Then, a voice said to me: come…with….me…..
Unexpectedly, the lanterns didn’t lead me inside. They went around the large sinister house and arrived at the courtyard behind it. The place was even more overrun with weeds. As I kid, I was essentially completely covered after going in. I started becoming frightened and my heroic spirit was swept away. It felt like I was being buried in layers of tombs, and the further inside I went the harder it became to breathe. I pulled at Ah Zhan and realized he was very scared as well, but still had a stubborn frown and refused to give in. I felt I couldn’t lose to him and puffed out my chest.
Suddenly the lanterns vanished. Our surroundings in the bushes immediately became pitch black. Then, I felt a pair of cold hands giving me a hard shove, making me sprawl onto the floor. When I got up, even Ah Zhan could no longer be seen.
“Ah Zhan!” I shouted loudly, but felt as if my voice was smothered and didn’t carry far. I yelled once again but the response was a sinister, childish voice…
Wan Li…hide and seek….
I panicked and charged mindlessly though the bushes. But no matter where I ran, the little girl ghost would run before me and block my way. Something like a tongue waggled excitedly from the mouth-like hole in its face, as though this was really hide and seek. Even when I lay prone in the weeds, it could still find me. The stiff and lifeless hand pulled wildly at my clothes as it let out screeching laughs.
I was scared witless, yelling for Ah Zhan as I ran. I didn’t understand how I was still in the same spot after running for so long in this tiny courtyard. Black fog roiled continuously in the surroundings. After a long time, the fog in front of me parted and a bloodstained hand reached out.
I turned and ran but the hand held my clothes fast.
“Wan Li, don’t run.”
It was Ah Zhan! I immediately relaxed and allowed him to pull me back. Only then did I realize we had only been separated by a foot. It was the black fog that prevented me from seeing him. His face and body were covered in injuries and fresh blood dripped from his right hand. It was like he had just fought a huge battle. He gripped a bloodied stone as he glared angrily in front of him. However, I couldn’t see anything in that direction.
At this time, the little girl ghost caught up. The little boy ghost also slowly appeared in the direction Ah Zhan was glaring. However, its limbs were twisted, as though they had been broken by someone and then reattached.
Its head had also been completely twisted around. Its face was purple and furious, its tongue sticking out with the malevolent appearance of someone who had suffocated to death.
It shrieked and pointed at Ah Zhan so hard its entire arm bone fell to the floor.
This person can see me…he can also hit me….mom…mom…
A woman’s broken voice sounded out, creaking and groaning as though chewing on something, or as though something was crawling on the stone floor. A gust of black fog spurted out from the left. Ah Zhan and I were swept up and thrown several meters next to a well that was almost invisible as it was buried in the weeds.
A smothered sneer sounded from the bottom of the well and a pair of withered hands stretched out from within. Then, a well-dressed female ghost climbed out and grabbed Ah Zhan’s collar.
Her laugh sounded like nails on a chalkboard as she tried to drag Ah Zhan into the well. I held onto him with all my strength and he also struggled and twisted desperately. Whenever his hands struck the female ghost, a piece of her flesh and clothing would fall off. My hands only passed through thin air. He struck the female ghost until all that remained was a skeleton with fine strands of hair. Even the skeleton seemed on the verge of shattering as it made hollow clattering sounds.
It was clearly furious at our struggling and tried harder to drag Ah Zhan down. The two little ghosts also pounced over and dragged me back. I was both cold and in pain from their grip, as though something was constricting my bones. However, I knew I couldn’t let go or Ah Zhan would be done for.
Gradually, our bodies were no longer able to match our spirit. I watched as Ah Zhan’s head, shoulders and then his waist was pulled into the well, leaving only his legs tightly in my grasp. His palms were barely braced against the mouth of the well, keeping him from falling. The female ghost was prying at his fingers and the two little ghosts pulled at my arms, making our grip loosen…loosen…loosen…
Right as Ah Zhan was going to fall in, I suddenly heard his dad’s legendary pitter pattering footsteps. The sound made the female ghost freeze and the two little ghosts shrieked and hid into the well. Ah Zhan and I took the opportunity to get free.
The female ghost wasn’t resigned and flew out after a pause. It was like a broken ragdoll that was pulled out by someone. It blew a mouthful of air at Ah Zhan and he immediately lost consciousness.
That indescribable chill along with the rotting stench that felt both moist and withered was something I still remember to this day.
It stretched its ghostly hands out and squeezed my neck. You’re seeking death! Its dense teeth chattered.
I thought I was going to die. Only seven years old and I was going to die like this by a dried up well. But I suddenly saw its fear. The skeleton without expression was afraid. Then, I heard Ah Zhan’s old man speak by my ear: “Evil creature. I was going to purify you, but you’re still trying to harm others.”
I personally witnessed Ah Zhan’s usually old and muddled dad exude the air of an immortal. He merely stretched out his finger and pointed at the female ghost. Its previously fierce appearance immediately vanished as it became a pile of rags.
Ah Zhan’s dad looked at the unconscious Ah Zhan and then at me. He stretched out his hand towards my head, but ultimately didn’t press down.
“Wan Li.” He said, returning to his normal old and benevolent appearance. “Can you promise uncle not to spread this matter?”
I nodded hard, swearing to myself never to speak of it.
His omniscient eyes seemed to see through me. He smiled and stroked my head, saying: “Good child. Then I’ll let you remember it.” He then turned and looked at Ah Zhan, sighing and muttering to himself: “I don’t know when I’ll die. This child needs a friend. Being alone is too pitiful.”
He held Ah Zhan in one hand and dragged me in the other, leaving the abandoned house. No one else knew what happened that night. However, Ah Zhan and I fell seriously ill. Afterwards, we never discussed it. However, the events of that day meant I was destined to be his only friend, the only one who knew his secret.
Only when we had almost graduated from college did I ask him about the matter back then. He told me that female ghost and her children had been killed by the wealthy man’s principal wife and were thrown into the well. She even had a spellcaster seal their souls, forcing them to roam the town, never to reincarnate.
They actually didn’t go around and harm others. Only intruders would be driven out. The two little ghosts probably really wanted to play hide and seek with me, which was why it tried to bring me into that world. Ah Zhan’s dad had ultimately still broken the seal and allowed them to return to their rightful place.
This is our first story. I had promised his dad never to tell anyone, but I think you can help Ah Zhan. That’s why I’m telling you. I believe the elder’s soul in heaven would also approve of my actions.
Let’s leave it at that for today. I will do my best to help you investigate Bloody Mary’s matter. See you when I get back.
After reading Wan Li’s story and saying their goodbyes, Xiao Xia suddenly felt pity for that lonely little Ruan Zhan. She decided to treat him a little bit nicer. As she thought this, she stretched her hand out for the warm cup of water, wanting to warm her hands that had gone cold from this story. However, she realized the cup had vanished.
She had clearly placed it by her left hand.
At that moment, the lights suddenly went out, leaving only the flickering light of the computer screen.