The girl was called Xiao Ling. Her death occurred two weeks later.
She was deeply traumatized witnessing the body drifting over from the center of the lake. In addition, the constant questioning from the police and nosy classmates almost drove her to a nervous breakdown.
Before, Xiao Ling occasionally had the habit of talking in her sleep, which made her roommates very uncomfortable when they first started living together. Students often requested not to share a room with her. It’s important to note that talking in one’s sleep is different from normal conversation. The words are often garbled, unlike what we see in movies or on TV.
Yet sleep talking is a reaction to the dream after all. Therefore, even if the words are garbled, the tone will contain emotions. Imagine someone unaware of the situation waking up in the middle of the night and hearing strange utterances in various tones in the dark. Anyone would feel scared and might think something sinister was in the room.
By the time the incident occurred, Xiao Ling was already in her senior year. Her roommates, having lived with her for years, should no longer be surprised by her minor quirks. However, one week later, the seven other students finally couldn’t endure her sleep habits anymore. No one dared sleep in the same room as her, and they all crowded into other dorms.
On the other hand, they all assumed this was due to Xiao Ling’s trauma, and was merely temporary. Things would get better with time. Since they had lived together for almost four years, their relationship was extremely good. They were afraid it wouldn’t be good for Xiao Ling if things spread, and also couldn’t bear stimulating her further. Therefore, they would always sneak out after Xiao Ling had fallen asleep. The professors weren’t informed either. I only knew about it because two of the girls had squeezed into Nana’s dorm.
What terrified the seven girls was that the way Xiao Ling talked in her sleep had thoroughly changed.
The night after the incident, Xiao Ling had fallen asleep early, probably due to exhaustion and shock. Yet the other girls had trouble falling asleep, though none of them spoke. Therefore, apart from the occasional tossing and turning, the dorm was silent.
Around one or two in the morning, when everyone was finally drifting off, there suddenly was quiet laughter in the room. It was very quiet, but it woke everyone up. They all felt it was coming from right by their ears!
That sort of feeling was indescribable. It was like being woken by something terrifying, like something snapping in their minds. The sense of danger shook them wide awake. Their hairs stood on end!
Then, the student across from Xiao Ling saw her slowly sitting up in bed. She didn’t sit up quickly. It was slow, moving like those remote-controlled beds in hospitals. She slowly sat up until she was fully upright. Her blankets also slowly fell off, like a snake shedding its skin.
Then, she started speaking in her sleep.
Normally, she would merely grumble a few words while lying there. This time, she not only sat up, she also spoke for around five minutes. The scariest part was that she spoke in two voices. Although it wasn’t clear what she was saying, it felt like a conversation between a man and a woman!
“Don’t pull me!” That was the only part that could clearly be heard.
The girl across from Xiao Ling was usually a little mischievous. Once, while Xiao Ling was sleep talking, the girls were messing around, trying to figure out what she was saying. When they realized she was confessing her feelings to someone in her dream, the mischievous girl had asked, “Who’s the one you like?” Xiao Ling had answered and said it was Wan Li. The girls covered their mouths and giggled. They found out Xiao Ling’s crush, and also realized that the person sleep talking could react to external stimuli.
It wasn’t clear what made her do it, but when that girl saw Xiao Ling’s strange appearance, she couldn’t help but ask, “Who are you talking to?”
“None of your business!” This time, Xiao Ling shouted, her voice low and rough. Although the voice was hers, she seemed to be imitating a man.
Her yell shocked them all into getting up. The girl closest to the lights immediately turned them on. Xiao Ling suddenly collapsed and continued sleeping.
The girls looked at each other, no one speaking, yet unease filled the room. Finally, the mischievous girl said, “She probably got too much of a shock, and had a nightmare!”
Everyone nodded in agreement. It wasn’t clear if they really believed it, or if they were grasping at straws for a reasonable explanation for the indistinct terror in their hearts. Luckily, Xiao Ling no longer spoke in the second half of the night. The seven girls also gradually accepted the nightmare theory.
The next night, the same thing happened. Then the third, and every night for the whole week without pause. The sleep talking that happened infrequently in the past now repeated every day. Furthermore, the situation grew worse.
Initially she merely sat up. Afterwards, she started sleepwalking, pacing around the room while speaking indistinct words. Most chilling was that despite not being able to understand her, it was still clear she wasn’t merely talking to one person in her dreams. Instead, the number increased along with the duration. By the seventh day, her roommates felt as if a lively discussion was going on inside the room!
What a terrifying seen it was. In the dark room, once everyone was asleep, a single girl walking around sluggishly, occasionally stopping in front of someone’s bed, with all sorts of voices coming from the corner!
One of the girls even noticed that if anyone made the slightest sound, Xiao Ling would immediately turn and glare viciously at that person!
Yet when they tried asking Xiao Ling indirectly about it during the day, she didn’t remember any of it! She was extremely normal during the day, still meek and cute, making them unable to bear telling her about the scary sleepwalking, afraid to shock her once again.
Was she possessed by an evil spirit or was a roaming ghost causing mischief? Everyone was wondering this but no one dared say it. Therefore, they could only avoid it.
Thus, after a week, they would all slip out together after Xiao Ling fell asleep, and then sneak back in the morning. Xiao Ling had always slept in, and with the sleepwalking draining her stamina, she hadn’t noticed anything. Yet the girls had noticed Xiao Ling’s sleepwalking had gotten worse. In the neighboring rooms, they would hear various strange noises from their own room, as if many people were gathered there.
Finally, someone heard the door open one day. A set of regular steps could be heard until they reached the stairs and vanished. Xiao Ling vanished along with those steps. One day later, someone discovered her floating on the lake’s surface. After being fished out, her corpse was left by the lake while waiting for the police to arrive. It was covered by a small sheet. The students could only see her pale feet sticking out!
With two incidents happening one after the other, the school decided to add railings by the lake. Yet the third victim happened to be a worker who was there to fix the railing.
The path leading though the small forest and by the lake was the shortest path through campus to the cafeteria. Therefore, despite two people having drowned, there were still many using that path. First of all it was in the middle of the day. Secondly, they were all moving in groups. Third, many believed the two events were really accidents, and not something supernatural.
I had also thought the same. Therefore, I would still walk with Nana on this path to the cafeteria. Although Nana was actually a little scared due to what happened to Xiao Ling, she felt at ease with me present.
One day, as we made our way through the small grove of trees and reached the pathway along the lake, we suddenly heard a cry of alarm coming from up ahead. I rushed over to see what was happening and saw the construction workers on the shore shouting at the lake. The water splashed and churned, and I couldn’t count how many people were in the water at that moment. Later, it was revealed that a few construction workers were carrying out their tasks when they suddenly noticed several hundred yuan bills floating on the water’s surface. It remained unknown who had dropped them. They decided to send two good swimmers to retrieve the money. However, to their shock, as soon as the two individuals reached the center of the lake, they both experienced cramps and began shouting for help before drowning in front of their companions on the shore.
Witnessing the situation, the onlookers immediately called for help and several individuals went to rescue them. Strangely, despite the efforts of five or six people diving down, it seemed impossible to reach the drowning individuals, even when they were within reach. This reminded me of the similar incident during that trip to the mountains. Without considering the danger, I jumped into the lake to rescue the people in distress.
I knew that when rescuing drowning people, it was crucial to approach them from behind to avoid being dragged down by their desperate struggles for survival. With all my strength, I swam towards them from behind and, miraculously, managed to grab hold of one of the drowning individuals instantly, which others had been unable to reach despite their attempts.
While swimming back with him, I felt his body was especially heavy, making it hard to swim. Despite my usual proficiency in sports and swimming, I found my hands stiffening and my legs growing numb, making each stroke feel like an arduous struggle. When I got halfway, my arm suddenly weighed down, causing the drowning individual I had grasped to slip from my grip and sink once again.
Panicked, I dove underwater, but to my surprise, the drowning individual was thrashing about like an eel, elusive and slippery, impossible to grab hold of. As I resurfaced for a breath and went back under, I suddenly noticed that he had turned around, his eyes glaring at me with intense hatred. The previously closed eyes were now open. It startled me to the point that I nearly swallowed water. In the meantime, that individual reached out and clung onto me tightly, dragging both of us deeper into the water.
I knew neither the reason for his hatred towards me nor if his behavior stemmed from a survival instinct. Nonetheless, his weight felt akin to that of an immense boulder, rendering my struggles futile in attempting to escape his grasp. With no other recourse, I gradually sank alongside him, consumed by a profound sense of helplessness.
I had thought I might very well die there. Yet at that moment, I strangely heard Nana crying out by the shore. Did the others hear her too? I wasn’t sure if it was real or not. I was actually able to hear Nana’s voice from the bottom of the lake, through all the clamor on the shore. It was as if she was right next to my ears.
This gave me a spurt of limitless courage and strength, struggling hard right as I was about to give up. For some reason, the struggle heated my body and I was able to get free easily, swimming desperately for the surface. At that moment, I saw his face. I was confused by the resentment and unwillingness.
Do I know him from somewhere? He looked as if I had killed his father and stolen his wife and son. Yet I swear it was my first time seeing that construction worker.
Regardless, I was alive and he was not. While I was struggling, the others had managed to save the other drowning person they had previously been unable to reach. Therefore, the lake was unable to claim a fourth life.
I had seen supernatural cases before and felt there was something mysterious about the lake. I asked Ah Zhan to take a look, but his powers were still sealed back then and he didn’t notice anything. Therefore, despite the absence of any subsequent accidents after the construction of the fence, I was resolute in my decision to never let Nana venture through the wooded lakeside to the small auditorium alone. I continued escorting her and ensuring her safety.
At this time, an uninvited guest arrived. It was Bao Da Tong.
He had spent all his time with his father and had never gone to university before. Therefore, he felt everything was extremely novel. He excitedly wanted to “experience” school life, and thus ran over to our school without even giving a heads up. Because he and his father had both saved us not long ago, Ah Zhan and I couldn’t shoo him off no matter how unwilling we were. One of my roommates happened to be out on sick leave, so Bao Da Tong shamelessly moved in.
With his thick skin, outgoing nature, and innate charisma, he quickly formed connections with everyone around him. Whether it was the dormitory administrators, classmates, or teachers, there wasn’t a single person who didn’t like him. The girls, in particular, found him intriguing and adorable. Whenever he wandered around the school, he would always be surrounded by numerous female admirers. He was also acquainted with Nana, and so they naturally got along a little better. Therefore, he started tagging along to the nightly rehearsals.
To reach the auditorium, he naturally had to pass the lake. Every time he got there, he would linger for a long time. I asked what he was doing, and he said the fengshui there was inauspicious. It blocked the yang energy from entering the school, and also prevented the accumulated yin energy from flowing out. If this place wasn’t fixed, something would definitely happen one day.
I told him several things had already happened. However, the school would definitely not believe a little swindler like him. There was no way they would ruin the scenery here. Hearing this, he suggested we burn down the trees in the middle of the night.
His powers weren’t too great back then, and I was already skeptical. How could I have agreed to that? But he insisted there was resentful aura in that lake, and he wouldn’t leave until he solved the mystery. Furthermore, he also noticed that there was a black aura between me and Nana’s brows. Trouble would definitely come!