Chapter 66 Because they were a family 3
The book was very strange, the text in it was also very strange. I thought that I wouldn't be finding any relevant information since the three of this family died in a fire. Then again, I was by no means a professional. I was just hoping I would be able to find some information about the family that could help me find Wu Jian and Huang Xiaolong.
All I had was this book, but what could it mean? I hadn't read the contents inside the book, I focused only at the two lines written in pen. I had a feeling that the family might have had some problems.
Perhaps some kind of love triangle? No, it didn't seem right. The big question mark at the end of the book seemed to indicate that there was a problem with the family. What could it be? As I was trying to make sense of it all, I heard Xiao Lingdang come up from behind me.
"What are you thinking about?"
"Oh, nothing." I answered casually before picking up the book and moving on to look for something else.
The only thing that I refused to touch was the bed, so I moved past it and went straight for the desk. There were several wooden boards that had been burned and collapsed by the side of the desk. It must have been a bookshelf, but there were no books, or at least, no sign of them. I rummaged through the ashes under my feet.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something glimmer for a moment under the desk. I bent down and carefully looked at it. It was a very small mirror. It was as small as my palm and stuck under the desk with some kind of adhesive and placed carefully so that it would remain hidden. If the desk hadn't burned down, I likely wouldn't have found it.
I reached out my hand to tear off the adhesive and took the mirror. The mirror was not smooth and it felt like it had been a result of poor workmanship. The reflection on it had a bit of distortion, like a concave mirror at a fun house, and it was covered with tiny words written in red pen. I looked at it under the flashlight for quite some time, but I still couldn't make out what it said. First off, because the mirror reflected too much light, blinding me. Second, because the words were too small. It was as if one of the family was interested in microcarving.
I was about to put the mirror in my pants pocket, when I suddenly saw Xiao Lingdang in the mirror. Xiao Lingdang stared back with that same vague smile. Her reflection on the mirror looked like it was someone else. I quickly turned around to make sure it was Xiao Lingdang standing behind me. As soon as I saw her standing there, I realized it must have been the distortion in the video. The manufacturer of this mirror was really irresponsible.
I went back to looking at the desk. It looked like there was nothing left. I searched the room for a while and found nothing else. I took out my cell phone to look at the time and found that my phone had lost signal at some point, which caused the clock to get stuck at a certain time. Wait a second, I was in an old city, so I shouldn't have bad signal here. Regardless, even if there was no signal, the clock on the phone wouldn't stop!
I knew I something was wrong, even if Xiao Lingdang had said there was nothing unusual. I raised my hand and wondered if I had the courage to call upon Lulu. That was when I noticed that the silver bracelet Su Qing had given me to deal with the baby ghost had turned black. It looked ominous, like it was detecting something poisonous. I though of how silver could be used to test out the presence of toxins.
As I examined it more carefully, I found that the silver bracelet was not turning black. Instead, it had changed to look like it had been used for thousands of years. It was slowly decaying and there were now small holes in it. What was going on?
I didn't know why the silver bracelet would change so much, but my heart grew uneasy, and I knew that none of this was normal. Xiao Lingdang kept saying that she had not seen any ghosts, but what if it wasn't a ghost? What if it was something else, something much stronger than Xiao Lingdang?
I decided it would be best to leave as soon as possible. Although I couldn't find any immediate clues, I had a sense that the book and the text on the mirror would be very useful.
I gradually came to my senses, and I tried to calm down. Then I opened my mouth and said: "Xiao Lingdang, let's go."
"Uncle, must you leave so soon? Didn't you want to stay here for the night?"
I was definitely freaked the hell out. Just as I was about to tell Xiao Lingdang to leave, I thought of something that didn't seem right. Xiao Lingdang had always called me brother, but just now she called me uncle.
I thought it over for a moment. It wasn't just a moment ago, as soon as she entered the room, Xiao Lingdang had been calling me uncle. Had she...?
I did my best not to show that there was anything different, though my sweat may very likely give me away. I was so worried that Xiao Lingdang was actually a ghost. Uh, well, she really was a ghost. I mean, what if Xiao Lingdang was not the Xiao Lingdang I know, but another ghost instead?
I stopped for moment, I suddenly had a little admiration for my courage. I tried to use a calm tone to take control of the situation: "Then we'll look for a little while longer." I turned around and pretended to search under the high cabinet. Xiao Lingdang has been behind me ever since she came in, and I figured she wouldn't now all of a sudden.
If this Xiao Lingdang really was fake, then the real Xiao Lingdang must not be with me. She would get worried and then likely go and get help. Of course, I wouldn't put my hope entirely on that. What if there was a fake me next to Xiao Lingdang?
I was holding a flashlight in one hand and rubbing the blood red bracelet on the other hand. I didn't dare make a sound. I just wanted to wake up Lulu from the bracelet with some kind of action, but the bracelet did not respond.
"Uncle, what are you doing?"
I swallowed, and my voice was so loud that it frightened me, but I still remained calm: "I want to see if there are any more clues."
"Uncle, why do you keep touching that bracelet?"
I turned stiff, now I was 100 percent sure that theXiao Lingdang behind me was not the real one.
"Uncle, why don't you turn around and look at me? "
I had goose bumps all over my body, and felt the coldness hit me in waves. I should have been able to wake up Lulu, but she did not appear, now I could only buy myself as much time as possible. I could buy enough time until it was morning, or until the police outside found something wrong inside, or until Xiao Lingdang found me.
I slowly turned around, even though my every movement now was stiff, I still showed a smile that I thought said everything was OK. As I was about to make up some excuse, the being that looked like Xiao Lingdang spoke again.
"Uncle, are we a family?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Because we are a family."
I was a little dizzy by the circular logic of the fake Xiao Lingdang. If we were a family, why would she still ask if we were a family? Regardless, I did not dare to answer it at will, and began to think of consequences of my answers.
"Uncle, are we a family?" Asks Xiao Lingdang for the second time.
I was still thinking hard.
According to the logic in ghost movies, if I said yes, then I must not leave. Because we would be a family, and being a family requires that we should stay together. This was a very logical routine.
But according to the other way of thinking in ghost movie logic was that if I said no, then the fake ghost who was disguised as Xiao Lingdang was likely to get angry and perhaps be cruel enough to kill me.
God, this logic was so complex that I couldn't make sense of any of it.
Xiao Lingdang did not say a word. With a vague smile, she tilted her head and looked at me, as if waiting for my answer. I had no idea what was the right thing to say.
Sweat dripped down my forehead one bead at a time. I opened my mouth several times, but I never made a sound.