In the morning, after Xiao Xia’s temperature stabilized, she insisted on going home immediately. The nightmare had been too real and she would only feel safe after leaving the hospital far behind. However, right as they were packing their things, a female family member of the patient in the bed next to hers ran inside and reported some shocking news.
“There was a murder in the east wing’s ICU.” She announced loudly, frightened yet excited.
Xiao Xia’s purse fell to the floor with a bang. Her face immediately turned pale. Wan Li looked at her in surprise. He picked up the purse and its scattered contents. He then put the doctor’s prescribed medicine inside, along with the bottle of medicine on the bedside table.
“Don’t be afraid. It’s a ten minute walk from here to the east wing!” That female family member comforted Xiao Xia with some mockery as she patted her disbelieving face, “Look how timid you are, in such a state just from hearing the news. If you had gone to take a look like I did, wouldn’t you have been terrified? But look how well your boyfriend treats you. He would definitely protect you if anything happened.”
“Just what on earth happened?” Xiao Xia was anxious to hear the facts and hurriedly interrupted her. Otherwise, who knows how far she was going to veer off-topic.
That female family member crowded over and sat next to Xiao Xia on the bed. She said smugly in a quiet voice: “This is first-hand information. One of my classmate’s younger sister is a nurse in the ICU. She happened to be on duty last night so I took the opportunity to go visit her this morning before she got off work. Instead, I happened to see a large group of police officers at the scene. It’s a little far from here so you can’t hear the sirens, but it’s quite the commotion!”
Wan Li thought she was weird for using the word “commotion” to describe something cruel like murder, but he wasn’t able to interrupt. He only saw Xiao Xia’s face turn paler and paler, seemingly drained of blood.
“My friend’s sister said that family members aren’t allowed in the ICU. There were only the nurses on duty. Last night, there were five nurses and a doctor for the nightshift. Before midnight, everything was still normal. However, she and the four others somehow ended up fast asleep afterwards and they have no idea what happened. The final nurse was missing the entire night, and in the end they found her in the breakroom.”
“The breakroom!” Xiao Xia cried out.
“That’s right, the breakroom. You know they wouldn’t be like that normally. They were definitely under some sort of influence. Are you wondering why the foul presence singled that unfortunate nurse out? It’s probably because she had the scent of blood on her. It’s said that she had accidentally cut herself above her nose last night. She had even been depressed at almost having been disfigured!”
A cut above the nose? The nurse in her dreams had one as well.
“The scary part is yet to come!” The girl kept them in suspense, very pleased at Xiao Xia’s shocked appearance. “I heard that when they found her, her entire head had been cut off. She was prone on the floor but her face was turned upwards and she was smiling. There was blood all over the floor. It’s incredibly weird. The nurse who found her fainted on the spot.” She leaned in closer to Xiao Xia and said in a low voice: “You can’t tell anyone else about this next part. My friend’s sister was asked to keep quiet about this. She said that after the police was called, they noticed that the culprit was possibly one of the ICU’s patients. That patient was covered in blood as he lay in the sickbed, and he was holding a surgical knife in his hand. However, that person is supposedly comatose, and isn’t able to move at all. When they found him, all the tubes were still in place. That’s not something he can do by himself. Furthermore, the doctor didn’t see any signs of him waking up afterwards. It’s impossible for him to be faking it. Don’t you think this is weird? He must have been possessed by a ghost. Otherwise, how can this be explained? Else, the police wouldn’t order for this to be kept quiet. Keep this to yourself, don’t spread it around. Ai, what a sin. That nurse was only twenty-three. She was so young, and was also exceptionally beautiful. She was also an excellent nurse! Ah, she was the first name on the third row of the honor roll in the lobby. Also, also, the possessed patient is the son of the murderer who killed his family! Isn’t it weird!? Hey, where are you going?”
Xiao Xia ignored her. She ran off without saying anything.
“Sorry, she’s probably terrified.” Wan Li threw out a random explanation, grabbed her things and ran after her. When he found her in the hospital’s lobby, she was staring at the honor roll and looked about to pass out.
“What’s wrong?” He anxiously asked.
“Do you believe it?” Xiao Xia laughed bitterly. “It wasn’t a nightmare. Last night, I was a witness.”
Xiao Xia essentially fled back to her house. Wan Li also accompanied her loyally the entire time. On the way there, she had told him everything that happened last night. There were also bruises around her ankle that corroborated her story.
“Looks like we’ll have to live together for a few days. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time.” Wan Li joked, trying his best to make Xiao Xia calm down. “However, I have to grab a few things from the clinic and my house. I’ll ask off for you while I’m at it. Great, our love story is going to spread throughout the building again.”
“They can spread it however they want.”
“Aren’t you afraid it will hinder you from finding a boyfriend? I don’t wanna brag, but with someone as great as myself in the way, the other guys will feel inferior. It will definitely be an obstacle in your path to romance.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve already scoped out the guys there countless times. I’m not interested in any of them.” How could Xiao Xia not know Wan Li was comforting her? Therefore, she purposefully joked around.
“What about the guy in marketing on the twenty-first floor?”
“He’s a sissy.”
“That’s reassuring. Then I’ll head out first. I’ll get back latest around noon. It’s the middle of the day. No need to be scared even if you’re by yourself.”
“Got it. So fussy. Right, help me grab my file. I need to look it over.” Actually, she still felt unsettled, but she forced herself not to rely on others too much. As for the file, she really wanted to look into it. She had to figure out if her being tangled up with ghosts really had to do with this case.
After Wan Li left, she immediately felt a cold and gloomy air permeate the room. However, she still climbed into bed to sleep. She figured it was just a figment of her imagination. The clear sky boosted her courage and being roughed up by illness had exhausted her willpower, making her unable to care about anything else. The weird thing was, she slept very peacefully this time without any nightmares.
When Wan Li hurried back, he saw that she was fast asleep. Even though she got up to take her medicine every four hours, she would go right back to sleep afterwards. After confirming that she wasn’t having nightmares and that her temperature was normal, he hid in the living room and started looking through some files. He decided not to wake her. The matter with Ruan Zhan could also be discussed tomorrow.
While no one was paying attention, a bottle of medicine climbed out from Xiao Xia’s purse. It hopped a couple of times before coming to rest on the room’s windowsill.
Xiao Xia slept like this until midnight, when she was suddenly startled awake. The room was extremely quiet, and only the bedside lamp cast a weak yellow glow. She felt her stomach cramp up, reminding her that she hadn’t eaten much in the last couple of days.
“Wan Li.” She called quietly, but no one responded. She called out a few more times but there was still no response. She figured Wan Li might have fallen asleep in the living room, and decided to see if there was anything to eat. However, she realized at that moment she wasn’t able to move at all.
The bed was covered in hands, ice-cold hands that firmly held her in place.
“Wan Li!” She yelled loudly while struggling subconsciously, but without any effect.
“It’s a dream, it’s definitely a dream. Just another nightmare. Quick, wake up. Must wake up.” She told herself repeatedly. She was covered in cold sweat and felt the chill slowly seeping into her chest through her limbs. Her body gradually turned rigid and unresponsive. The grim reaper’s arrival seemed imminent. However, a burst of warmth arose from her chest at this time, driving off the chill instantly. She used this opportunity to escape.
“Wan Li, Wan Li, are you there? Answer me.” Xiao Xia leapt off the bed and pounded against the door which couldn’t be opened. She shouted herself hoarse but was only greeted by silence, and then jeering laughter from behind.
She turned around in shock and saw the red liquid trickling down like rain on the curtainless window. She knew it was blood but she didn’t know where it was coming from. On the bed she had just slept in, five people were sitting next to each other. No, they were five ghosts.
The first ghost held its head; the second had its head hanging crookedly by a sliver of skin; the third was headless, and its head had already rolled to the middle of the room; the fourth’s head turned back and forth on its neck; the fifth’s head was twisted 180 degrees. These were the miserable conditions of Li Jing Ming’s family and the breakroom’s nurse when they died.
They were unmoving but were continuously saying something. However, those were definitely not human voices. They were noisy and clamorous, irritating Xiao Xia’s senses. The sounds grew louder and louder, until Xiao Xia could hear it clearly.
“One, two, three, four, five…..” They were actually counting off, one by one, without pause.
Then, something slowly crawled out from behind the bed. By the time it stood up, Xiao Xia was horrified to see it was another her. She was covered in blood, her gaze sluggish. Her head kept swaying on her neck and needed to be supported.
She moved, and moved, until she walked in front of Xiao Xia. She stretched out a finger, “You are the sixth.” The voice from hell announced.
Despite her tenacious mind, Xiao Xia still fainted on the spot.
Who said blacking out was a bad thing? For Xiao Xia, ignorance was currently bliss. She didn’t see those ghosts morphing into various shapes as they tried to enter her body. However, that bundle of gentle light kept them at bay. Only when the faint light of dawn shone upon her body did the sound of the door being broken down reach her ears.
“Xiao Xia, Xiao Xia, are you ok? Answer me, quickly!” Wan Li supported the person lying by the door.
Ugh, why didn’t he respond last night when she was calling for him with all her might? He was never by her side when she needed him. He specialized in showing up for the aftermath, just like the police.
“Say something, don’t scare me.”
“Am I still alive?”
“Why didn’t you come in last night?”
“I wasn’t able to.”
“Then hurry and take me away. I don’t want to stay here a minute longer.”