Initially, I felt that reading horror wasn’t really scary compared to watching on screen. However, translating this chapter at night did give me the chills.
The midnight nightmares finally ended up making Xiao Xia fall ill. She got a fever.
She randomly ate a few pills and endured for half a day at the firm. However, her high fever didn’t break so she could only ask off and go to the hospital. She tossed and turned until evening but her fever still hadn’t gone down. In the end, the doctor kept her in the hospital to be monitored.
She didn’t have any relatives in this city and also wasn’t willing to bother her friends. However, Wan Li found out about her situation and showed up to take care of her without being asked. She was very touched, but due to her high fever, she could only say a few groggy sentences before falling asleep.
She slept extremely poorly. Whenever she was about to fall into deep sleep, she felt someone suddenly pushing her, making her feel as if she were about to fall off the sickbed. She drifted in and out of sleep like this until midnight, when she was suddenly startled awake again. She was so thirsty her throat seemed like it was on fire. At this time, Wan Li, and the other patients under observation and their families were all fast asleep. She wasn’t willing to disturb them and went to fetch some water from the end of the hallway.
The hallway was extremely quiet.
The rooms on either side were pitch black. There weren’t even any nurses on duty, let alone any patients. The entire clinic was as quiet as the grave. At first, Xiao Xia was still groggy and didn’t notice this. Afterwards, she felt something wasn’t right and realized that the hospital shouldn’t be in such a state.
Only her light footsteps and breathing sounded in the hallway. Every sound stimulated her ears and struck at her heart. She tried to soften her steps but instead felt that the sounds grew faster and louder. Gradually, she felt that the footsteps weren’t hers alone.
Something was following her!
It slowed when she slowed, it sped up when she sped up and it stopped when she stopped. It maintained pace with her but she sensed that the thing was getting closer and closer. It was now right up against her, blowing cold air against the back of her neck.
She didn’t dare look back. She had once heard someone say that there was a cluster of yang flames between the top of the head and the shoulders. Turning the head suddenly would extinguish the flames, which meant there would be nothing left to suppress the ghosts. She warned herself not to turn her head no matter what, even though she sensed something feeling around her neck at this moment, and heard a strange rustling behind her.
I haven’t harmed you, don’t harass me! She cried loudly in her heart while hurriedly entering the breakroom. After getting water and turning to leave, she almost ran into a woman dressed in white.
That woman was so close their faces were almost touching. She was startled into dropping the water. The plastic cup didn’t break but the sound was sharp and crisp, echoing in the distance.
“Shhh, be careful. You’ll wake the others.” The woman in white said quietly. She had an excessively calm face with a fresh wound above her nose, as though cut by something.
She was a nurse! Xiao Xia let out a breath in relief and felt her paranoia was very laughable. She figured the footsteps earlier had been from her. “Sorry, I’m easily startled, don’t take offense. I’ll head back first.”
“Your water was spilled. Aren’t you getting a new cup?”
“It’s fine, thank you.”
“Alright. However, don’t do it again in the future, and don’t meddle.”
Don’t meddle? What was that supposed to mean? Xiao Xia was very puzzled. However, she was currently flustered and wasn’t in the mood to care about it. She just wanted to hurry back to her sickroom. She left quickly, her steps echoing as before, making her uneasy. A minute later, this uneasiness became terror.
This wasn’t the way back!
The trip from the observation room at one end of the hallway to the breakroom at the other end should take less than a minute. However, she had already walked for so long without seeing the reception’s light.
In her horror, Xiao Xia had long since forgotten she shouldn’t turn her head, and suddenly looked back towards the breakroom. However, everything was dark and fuzzy. There wasn’t any breakroom, and even the nurse had vanished.
She leaned against the wall in fear and looked around. She was now in the middle of the dark hallway, with darkness that prevented her from seeing her own hand on either side. There was only a spot of faint yellow light in the distance, like a will-o-wisp that summoned the soul, enticing people to their doom.
She was rigid all over and her mind was frozen. She could only stand there stuck against the wall, unable to move. At this time, the sound of footsteps sounded from the darkness.
Thud, thud, thud.
Something was approaching slowly, slowly from her left side.
She widened her eyes and stared at the extremely far yet extremely close fog of darkness, but couldn’t see anything. Only the footsteps grew closer, closer, closer.
Thud, thud, thud.
The sound stopped in front of her and it seemed something was across from her. However, she couldn’t see anything at all. Then, an ice-cold hand grabbed her ankle.
Xiao Xia gasped in shock and ran towards the distant light without thinking. She didn’t consider what dangers may lie ahead, and merely wanted to escape. She wanted to escape whatever unknown thing was standing next to her.
After what felt like a long, long time, she arrived in front of a door. Three large words were written in the color of blood: Intensive Care Unit.
She burst through the doors and stopped inside a brightly lit ward. She saw that the bed inside was empty, the patient gone without a trace. Above the bed, the patient’s name was written: Li Shu Lun. He was Li Jing Ming’s son, the sole survivor of the bloody case.
Only now did Xiao Xia recall Li Shu Lun was also in this hospital for treatment. However, she didn’t understand why she was here and what this had to do with her. Also, where was Li Shu Lun who should have been in a deep coma?
The door creaked open behind her.
That sound was exceptionally piercing and abnormally disturbing, sinister and weird. However, there wasn’t anyone by the door. Then, the door closed and the sound of unhurried footsteps rang out. As before, they approached Xiao Xia, seemingly far yet close, until they stopped in front of her. The unseen ghostly hand once again grabbed her ankle.
An invisible presence was after her!
Knowing this made Xiao Xia absolutely terrified. Her survival instincts allowed her to keep running. The seemingly endless hallway was filled with her rough breathing and hurried steps. That presence seemed to be herding her, the slow yet clear footsteps following her like a shadow. Whenever she stopped, it caught up to her. She wasn’t able to shake it off. She had ended up running to the nurses’ station in the ICU.
There were two people there with their backs to Xiao Xia. They were twisted together in a weird posture, blocking her path. When the footsteps behind her gradually approached, the two people also turned around, leaving her with nowhere to hide.
Those eyes without pupils, that deathly pale face and that frail body. Xiao Xia had seen his picture before in her files. He was Li Shu Lun. He was currently expressionless as he mechanically cut the other person’s neck with a surgical knife. That person was kneeling across from Li Shu Lun, but due to the neck almost being severed, her face was weirdly twisted 180 degrees and turned towards Xiao Xia.
The nurse from the breakroom!
Xiao Xia recognized the owner of the severed head and immediately felt her blood run cold. That nurse stared at Xiao Xia. Her face didn’t show any pain. Instead, there was some pleasure in her expression as she stared fixedly at her. Suddenly, the presence chasing Xiao Xia violently shoved her, making her fall right in front of the nurse. Blood spurted from the freshly severed head and covered her face. Xiao Xia immediately turned away in fright but the invisible presence carried the head like a lantern and moved it in front of her. “Don’t meddle!” She suddenly spoke.
Xiao Xia was unable to speak from shock. She watched as Li Shu Lun moved over and lifted the nurse’s head, tenderly cradling it in his arms. His face revealed a smile that was rigid, sinister, weird, yet also evil, before it slowly transformed into Li Jing Ming’s face.
“Don’t meddle!” The severed head repeated, before letting out a shrill laugh that was like a screech.
“Xiao Xia, wake up. Xiao Xia, Xiao Xia, what’s wrong?” The familiar voice woke her up. Wan Li’s familiar face instantly dispelled the visions but the feeling of terror was still there.
“Did I scream?” she asked weakly. She vaguely remembered that she wasn’t one to scream but she had completely lost control. “Hopefully I didn’t wake the others.”
“You didn’t. Thank goodness you aren’t one of those insufferable women who shriek at the slightest thing. Look.” Wan Li pointed at the neighboring bed and said quietly, “Still fast asleep.”
“I had another nightmare.”
“I know. It’s all my fault for falling asleep. Otherwise, I would have woken you up at the first sign of unease. You wouldn’t have to be so frightened. Look, you’re covered in sweat.” He felt her forehead, “However, your fever has broken.”
Xiao Xia also rubbed her face and then looked at her hand. There were no traces of blood, only wetness. It had truly been a nightmare. Although she was awake, her throat was hurting like it was on fire.
“I want water.”
“Alright, I’ll get some right away.”
Wan Li left with the empty cup. Xiao Xia flipped over weakly and sighed at the wall.
There seemed to be no end to this torment. She was never able to free herself from her nightmares. Had she encountered something? Provoked something? Or was something intent on provoking her? Why did it tell her not to meddle? Did it have to do with Li Jing Ming’s case?
Right as Xiao Xia’s imagination was running wild, the breakroom nurse from her nightmare suddenly entered the observation room without a sound. She quietly stood behind Xiao Xia, a sinister smile on her face as her withered and bonelike hands stretched towards the back of her neck. However, the crisp footsteps from the hall forced her to stop her movements and she resentfully place a bottle of medicine on bedside table. Then, she quietly left. At this time, Xiao Xia felt the hair on her back standing on end and suddenly turned around. She only saw Wan Li coming back with the water, looking around by the door.
“Did someone come over?”
“Who would come over in the dead of night!?” Wan Li said lightheartedly. Actually, he had seen the back of a nurse who gave off an unsettling feeling. However, she might be someone doing her rounds. There was no need to tell Xiao Xia.