Xiao Xia let out a soft cry and leapt to the side. She whirled around but saw it was actually Lazy Three.
“Boss Lan, are you trying to scare me to death!?” Xiao Xia patted her chest. She saw he was so drunk he was swaying. He must have fallen over at some point. Although he wasn’t injured, his clothes were indescribably filthy. There was also leftover vomit on his shirt, which was the source of the vile odor.
Xiao Xia held her nose and backed away. She didn’t notice that to avoid Lazy Three, she had almost retreated into the basement’s hallway. “Boss Lan, a word of advice. Drinking so much is harmful.”
“Come out, quickly!” Lazy Three suddenly shouted loudly, making Xiao Xia shrink back in fright. She didn’t know who he was telling to come out. She saw he now seemed completely sober, as though startled out of his drunkenness. He pointed at her, his face pale.
“Don’t go in there!” He suddenly rushed over as he spoke and pulled Xiao Xia out.
“What’s going on?” Xiao Xia was frightened by his appearance. She no longer minded his filthiness and asked in alarm.
Lazy Three glared at the hallway and didn’t speak, his face still pale. Xiao Xia followed his gaze but saw nothing. It was just the dark hallway, which made one’s heart tremble a little.
“I’m just looking around the place. Is that place off limits?”
“Off limits!” Lazy Three said on edge. “Let me tell you: girls shouldn’t wander about randomly. That place…is haunted!” The last two words were spoken extremely quietly. He was almost by Xiao Xia’s ear, his eyes flickering about wildly.
“Haunted?” Xiao Xia was a little frightened. Rather than his words, it was his secretive and fearful manner that scared her more. “I just heard someone talking in there and wanted to go check it out.”
“Someone talking?” Lazy Three almost fell to the floor in fright.
“I’m also not too sure. It seemed to be a male and a female.”
Lazy Three first trembled before suddenly yelling, “A male and a female! A male and a female! It’s the spirits of those who died violently! They’re here to harm me! Go get revenge if you’re so capable. Why are you bullying this daddy?!” The alcohol and resentment stimulated his courage, making him reckless at that moment. He pointed towards the hallway and cursed loudly, though he still didn’t dare take a step closer.
His life was already miserable enough, but now they’re coming to torment him for no reason! He was furious. He didn’t understand why so many mysterious things would occur in this clean place. The police called it a murder case and the people outside said it was haunted. This had shattered his hopeless yet still peaceful life. What atrocities had he committed to deserve such misfortune?
“You’re not allowed in, you hear me!?” He yelled with reddened face at Xiao Xia who was scared stiff. He proudly thought he had the demeanor of an alpha male. After all, he had pulled this senseless little girl out from the basement hallway just now.
Xiao Xia nodded wildly before quickly running up the stairs. She could be said to have witnessed the terror of a drunken man.
She was going to have the company find her a different place to stay. This place was too weird. It’s best to go far away as soon as possible. She had no intention of encountering another spooky case. Otherwise, she would have to bother Ruan Zhan again. She now understood that Ruan Zhan wanted a peaceful life, even if he had to seal himself and hate his life. Perhaps she should find a different way to help him instead of forcing him to get involved in supernatural cases.
Thinking of Ruan Zhan, her heart felt warm. She suddenly recalled he had mentioned to her that prior to a person’s death, someone with spiritual vision would see signs of death on their face. Thinking of this, she subconsciously looked downstairs and happened to see Lazy Three looking up.
Since his head was raised, from Xiao Xia’s angle on the stairs, the most prominent thing she saw was his face. It was pale, swollen and covered in a layer of grey mist. There were heavy shadows under his eyes. He smiled at Xiao Xia. His lips were spread but Xiao Xia actually felt it sinister and weird. She ran all the way back to her room in fear.
Hopefully she had been mistaken. Hopefully he was going to be fine. She was going to move out tomorrow no matter what!
She locked her door tightly and fished out Ruan Zhan’s presents from her bag that she had carefully kept: those talismans. She decide to make some preparations and stuck the entire room with those dozen or so talismans.
She didn’t know whether she should use glue. After trying to stick one on the door, she realized these talismans would automatically attach themselves to objects. Therefore, the door, window, walls, bed, floor and even the ceiling got a few. Only after the entire room was surrounded did she feel a little better.
She stuck the last one on the television in case Sadako tried to crawl out of it!
She shut herself in the room without going out. She listened to the footsteps on the third floor the entire night.
First were those of the Japanese called Kenji Ganmura. His steps were light and steady. They paused when going by Xiao Xia’s door, as though he was hesitating over whether he should knock. However, he left in the end. This made Xiao Xia sigh in relief. She didn’t really like this person. She felt he was a little hard to understand. However, since she was the polite citizen of a major nation, she had to maintain appearances. This made things very awkward for her. She would have a much easier time if he didn’t take the initiative to come talk to her.
Kenji Ganmura didn’t come out again after returning to his room, staying shut in the entire night like Xiao Xia. He also didn’t make any noise. He even closed the door quietly.
Then came Sis Wang’s steps. She was the exact opposite. Her steps thudded, seeming to shake the ground in the silent night. She was a rural woman who stuck to her role. Because there were too few customers recently, Lazy Three also didn’t pay her much. She urgently needed income to support her family. Therefore, Lazy Three allowed her to sell vegetables in the market during the day as long as she could clean the rooms while the guests were away and dinner was ready on time at night. She was probably very grateful to Lazy Three so she cleaned the other rooms every night despite there being no occupants.
Xiao Xia listened to the lout footsteps of the busy Sis Wang the entire night.
Finally came Lazy Three’s steps.
By that time, Xiao Xia had already gotten in bed. She heard Lazy Three’s irregular and heavy steps coming up the stairs. Then came the sound of shattering glass. She figured Lazy Three had broken a beer bottle but didn’t dare go check. Luckily, Lazy Three went up to the attic afterwards and no longer made any noise. Xiao Xia thus fell asleep.
Lazy Three wasn’t quite so lucky. He wasn’t able to fall asleep no matter how he tried.
He had taken advantage of his drunken state to vent his feelings earlier. Despite feeling refreshed, he was still a timid man. Therefore, after sobering up he started getting scared. He sat there dumbly for a while before running off to drink some more. He had only gotten back just now.
Alcohol gave courage as expected. He had stumbled back in the dark and passed through the lobby of the first floor. He actually hadn’t gotten the chills, as though there had never been a perverted killer or murderous ghost. However, an alcoholic like him sobered up quick. So quickly that he had yet to fall asleep when he started feeling fear again.
The wind seemed to be blowing.
He felt the air moving in the attic. Perhaps it’s time he switched rooms. There weren’t any customers anyway. Why make things difficult for himself? As the saying goes, the smallest pinhole could let in the biggest breeze. It wasn’t obvious during the other seasons, but the winter wind made it apparent right away.
In his haze, he felt that the chill had already permeated the room. He couldn’t tell where it was coming from. It felt like the cold seeped through the walls, carrying a bit of moisture. He wrapped the blankets tight around him but the cold still made him shiver.
“Fuck. This daddy is moving to that Jap’s room tomorrow. I’ll have him switch rooms…” He cursed quietly but suddenly stopped speaking. He stared at the opposite wall with widened eyes.
The wall was undergoing weird changes under the moonlight. Waves of dark shadows emerged like mushrooms emerging from the ground after the rain. However, these mushrooms came in various sizes and were weirdly shaped. They became darker and darker, gradually seeping in like steam. Then, they started gathering slowly in one place before finally becoming a human shape!
It was the figure of a child but stooped and crooked. The features were obscured and it was completely black. It walked out of the wall as though struggling free.
Lazy Three was too scared to make a sound. He only threw whatever he could get his hands on at the shadow. However, everything went through it, smashing directly against the opposite wall.
The pillow, the cup of water, the alarm clock, the ashtray…
Crash. The smashed objects made a piercing sound in the night, but Lazy Three realized no one in the building seemed to have heard. There was only this tiny ghost shadow who continued to approach after halting.
What to do? He had to escape!
He turned thought into action and hurriedly rolled off the bed. He hurried to escape before that ghost shadow seized him.
He slept in the attic so his door was actually a trapdoor in the floor. As long as he lifted it up, he could jump down and look for help. He pounced to the floor and grabbed at the ring on the trapdoor, pulling it up desperately.
Beneath the wood, a round object was suspended, looking upwards. It was almost touching Lazy Three’s face as he lay sprawled on the floor. It was a human head, but without any features. It was just a ball with several large, black holes.
“It’s your turn!” The human head let out a harsh noise.
Before Lazy Three could react in fright, he felt a chill on his back that seeped into his heart. Then, a large force dragged him back and threw him on the bed.
He swiftly scrambled backwards, arms futilely scrambling for something but there were no further “weapons” to hurl. He was just reflexively moving his arms. His panicked and helpless actions made the little ghost shadow titter.
While the little ghost was distracted, Lazy Three no longer minded that this was above the third floor and tried to leap out the window. However, he forgot how small the attic window was and how large he was. He ended up getting stuck halfway. No matter how hard he struggled, the metal window frame firmly obstructed his stomach, leaving him unable to go out or come back in.
In midair, he looked at the gloomy street, at the weak glow of the streetlamps and the tiny flowerbed of this building. He waited in despair for death.
He had never felt death so close at hand. The scene before him might be the last he would see in his life.
He felt something round knocking about his lower half which was still in the room. It was like that human head was biting him. On the wall outside, that small ghost shadow had appeared at some point. It clung to the wall like a gecko, facing him.
“It’s your turn!” It said the same thing.
“Why?” He finally asked. He wanted to know the reason behind everything.
“Because I like killing!”
Lazy Three felt a chill around his waist and subconsciously knew what had happened.
Alarm, fear and anger burst forth from his heart.
“Childless scum! This granddaddy will be waiting for you all in hell!”
In the face of death, this man who had been timid and useless his whole life finally spoke the most heroic, manly words he had ever spoken.