I’m back. Hope you all had a happy Halloween! What better way to end the night than with a scary new chapter. Enjoy.
There’s a phenomenon in China caused by rapid development of cities with insufficient safeguards, lack of long term planning and poor coordination. The result makes those cities disordered, even to the extent of being ruined. City A’s Ronghua Road was a typical example of such a failure.
Prior to the emancipation, Ronghua Road was a place where foreign and local wealthy people congregated. Separate westernized buildings lined the streets along with lush, verdant trees. It used to be an extremely peaceful and beautiful area. However, because the local real estate companies each built their own way, the harmonious and uniform style was already destroyed. One side of the street was filled with tall buildings such as office buildings, large supermarkets and department stores, restaurants and entertainment. On the other side was an unorganized area filled with a few lonely small western buildings and City A University’s rear gates.
These small foreign buildings now housed several ordinary families in one building. Due to the tight living space, each family did as they pleased with the balconies to increase the amount of space they had. Along with the dilapidated buildings, the scene looked exceptionally run down. However, these buildings were constructed to be sturdy back then so it was still pretty nice on the inside.
Only one Spanish-styled little white building maintained its original appearance. The outer walls had clearly been repainted and the structure was still sound. It was especially eye-catching within the mess. It could almost be called a flower sticking out from a pile of rocks, tall and graceful.
The owner was called Lan Shan and he had inherited the place from his ancestor. It was said his ancestor had a wealthy household, but this building was all that was left by the time it got to his generation.
He was lazy and unmotivated, and was nicknamed Lazy Three.1 Luckily he had this building, which saved him from being a beggar. He knew this was his only means of living and thus opened up a little hotel.
It was called a hotel, but it was actually just a little inn rented out by the day. There would occasionally be guests who would stay for a longer period of time. It mainly fulfilled the needs of young couples from the university.
These couples all lived in dorm rooms and didn’t have the means to live together off campus. Therefore, they often booked a room for a tryst. Since this was the only inn in the area, Lan San’s place was quite busy.
He hired a woman from the countryside, Sis Wang, to clean so he didn’t have to do any work. He was just responsible for collecting money and idling his days away on the floor above. As for Sis Wang, she lived in the basement.
When he first opened for business, he had given the inn a rather elegant name. However, everyone called this place a love motel and no one remembered what that name was anymore.
The winter holiday was almost here. With the couples facing imminent separation, his business boomed even more. Facing another pair of customers looking for a room, he made use of the fact that Sis Wang was visiting her man on the construction site. He charged the same amount of money but arranged for this couple to stay in the basement, ripping off this young student couple.
There was no heating in the basement and it was extremely cold in the winter night. After the couple finished up, they hugged each other and huddled under the blanket for warmth. They chatted a while about the upcoming events at school before falling asleep.
However, the girl suddenly startled awake in the middle of the night. She didn’t know why, but she had suddenly awoken from her deep sleep. Furthermore, she was so alert as though she had never been asleep.
Perhaps she wasn’t alert, but rather afraid? It was fear from the depths of her subconscious mind!
The basement was very dark. The only window was on the uppermost part of the wall, almost level with the ground outside. The square foot of patterned glass let in some light that blurred nearby objects. However, it was that bit of light that allowed the girl to sense someone peeking at her!
She actually wasn’t able to see anything, but merely sensed something hidden in the darkness, spying on her with ill intent.
It wasn’t just the two of them in the room. There was a third person here!
The feeling was so strong, so terrifying and came on so suddenly that this girl who was normally already timid became frozen in fear. She also didn’t dare cry out and could only stare with widened eyes at the impenetrable darkness. She was like a small animal in the grasp of a savage beast, waiting in fear to be swallowed. She had already lost all ability to run or call for help.
After a long while, nothing strange appeared but she still felt her blood running cold. The unknown terror kept her in a passive deadlock with the thing in the darkness, covered in cold sweat in this cold winter night!
At this moment, the boy stirred. He mumbled in his sleep before rolling over and hugging her, continuing to sleep.
The girl took the opportunity to pinch his arm which was around her waist.
The boy subconsciously jerked his hand in his sleep and grumbled a bit, but didn’t wake. The girl pinched harder.
The boy woke up groggily in pain. “What are you doing?”
“Turn on the lights.” The girl replied, shivering. Her throat was dry and her voice was very quiet. Her eyes remained fixed on the darkness, deeply afraid of some sudden abnormal movement.
The basement only had a single dim light that seemed like it would fail at any moment. The switch was on the wall next to the boy.
“What’s the matter?” The boy was still sleepy and didn’t want to stretch his hand out of the warm blanket.
“Turn on the light, I beg you!”
The boy heard that she seemed about to cry and was thoroughly bewildered. However, he still turned over and turned the light on.
The faint light only illuminated a semi-circle, the blurry boundary extending until the light could reach no further. Only then did they realize this basement was actually very big. It was long and narrow. The further in, the narrower it became. They were deep inside, and couldn’t see the area around the door.
“Just what is going on?” The boy saw the girl’s terrified and unsettled appearance as she burrowed into his arms. He gently held her and asked lightly. “Had a nightmare?”
The girl shook her head, continuing to stare at the place they couldn’t see. She felt that the thing in the dark had retreated a bit, and was already beyond the door. However, the feeling of being watched was still there.
The boy grew more and more bewildered. He looked towards where she was looking, but didn’t see anything.
“It must have been a dream.” He kissed her sweat-soaked forehead. “I shouldn’t have mentioned tomorrow’s activity before we went to bed. It’s too brutal. But don’t be scared, I’m here!”
“That’s not it.” The girl clung tighter to her boyfriend. She leaned close to his ear and said nervously. “There seemed to be someone in the room earlier! They’re outside the door now.”
“I told you it was a nightmare!” The boy laughed. “It’s completely impossible. I was afraid the positions we were in earlier were too stimulating and wouldn’t be good if others saw. Therefore, I especially locked the door from the inside.” The boy touched his girlfriend meaningfully. “Also, did you forget how hard that door was to open? It also made a huge noise when it opened. How could anyone come in?!”
“But I really felt someone there!” The girl’s fear faded somewhat but the feeling earlier still made her heart tremble.
“Your nightmare must have felt too real.”
“No, that’s not it. It was real, I’m certain.”
“Alright, if you’re really uneasy, I’ll go take a look.” The boy compromised.
“Don’t go, I’m scared!” The girl clung onto him with inexplicable panic. “Don’t leave me here by myself!”
“There, there. Don’t be scared anymore. I’m here!” The boy comforted her. The basement was truly too cold. He wanted to return to the warmth of the blanket. “Then how about we lie here and chat for a bit. I’ll keep you company and you won’t be scared anymore.”
The girl nodded. She chatted with her boyfriend for a while and calmed down a little. Once the terror faded, she even started wondering if she had really been having a nightmare. There truly wasn’t anything in the room.
The lay down and hugged each other. The lights were turned off and they continued chatting quietly. As expected, nothing happened. Gradually, they started feeling sleepy.
“Ughhhh…” A strange exhale sounded out.
It was very soft, but in the dark and lonely night, it was especially clear.
In a haze, the girl was startled awake once again. She looked towards the darkness at a loss. Before she could react, she suddenly felt something wasn’t right under the covers. A hand was caressing her body. It was dry, rough, cold and stiff….
She was lying on her boyfriend’s left hand and he was lying face up. The angle of that hand…
“Ah!” She screamed, instinctively sitting up and throwing that hand off. However, she didn’t make contact with anything, but the sensation of being touched was still in her mind.
The boy was startled awake by her scream and hurriedly sat up, turning on the light.
In the light, there was nothing to be seen. It was also still impossible to see that dark area.
“What’s wrong, what’s wrong?” He hurriedly asked.
“He came again. Furthermore, he even…even touched me!” The girl desperately hugged her boyfriend. “I’m scared. Let’s get out of here quickly!”
“Where can we go at this time? We won’t be able to get into the school! It’s also very cold tonight. We’d freeze to death on the streets.” The boy interrupted the girl. “The feeling from earlier must have persisted and you went right back into your nightmare.”
“No, no. Someone really came in. Really!”
“I’m telling the truth, he really…why won’t you believe me?” The girl was both anxious and afraid, her tears welling up. She looked at the darkness from time to time. The eerie feeling had faded again but she felt that she wasn’t imagining it!
“It’ll be fine if I go check it out, right?” The boy was at wits end.
“You’re so certain, but you also refuse to let me check it out. Are we supposed to remain like this the entire night?!” His tiredness while being unable to sleep made the boy start getting a little impatient.
The girl choked up in grievance.
She didn’t want to frustrate him, but the fear was truly severe. What was she to do? How was she supposed to make her boyfriend believe her? What did she have to do to leave this sinister basement? She looked around. Truly, nothing appeared. There was no movement even in the darkness. Whenever her boyfriend woke up and turned on the lights, the terrifying feeling slowly faded. Was she really going crazy?
She hesitated for a while before finally saying. “Ok, let’s go check it out together.”
“Forget it, it’s cold outside.” The boy saw her frightened appearance and his heart softened once more. “You behave and lie down. I won’t go far.” He got up as he spoke, putting on his clothes randomly. From his bag, he took out a lighter and a switchblade he usually used to cut fruit.
“Be careful!” The girl said quietly, truly unwilling to separate from him.
“Relax! It’ll be fine. I’m on the boxing team you know.” The boy waved the lighter and blade in his hand and walked towards the outside.
He walked to the edge of the light, and stepped outside of it unguardedly. It was like he was swallowed by the darkness. The girl suddenly felt as if they were parted forever, feeling both scared and sad.
She lightly called out his name.
The boy slowly turned around and flicked on the lighter. “See, there’s nothing at all.”
He used the weak light to check the surroundings. “I’ll go take a look outside now.”
“Don’t. Just come back. I believe you now. I won’t see ghosts in every shadow anymore.” The girl brushed over the word “ghosts”, but still couldn’t help but tremble.
Was this place haunted? They had come here several times, but had never encountered a ghost before! But what had happened earlier?
“I’ll just take a peek.” The boy was very insistent.
He hoped his actions would put his girlfriend at ease and alleviate her inexplicable fear. That way, they can both sleep properly. The activity at school tomorrow would require him to be busy for a while! He didn’t believe in the supernatural. If someone was really messing around, he also believed he wouldn’t lose to this peeping tom in a fight.
The young and vigorous youth feared nothing.
The lighter went out and the boy’s figure disappeared in the darkness once more.
The girl couldn’t see anything, and merely heard the door creak open. A gust of cold wind forced its way into the room.
Then, the light suddenly went out!