The door represented different things to Chen Ge and Wu Jinpeng. When night fell, Wu Jinpeng had drunk a lot, and in his drunken state, his 'armor' slowly fell away. Tiredness appeared in his eyes. He hid it well behind a cheerful front normally and never showed it before even his family.
"Wu Sheng, it's time for bed. Tomorrow morning, I'll take you to school." Wu Jinpeng carried Wu Sheng to his bed. "Good night, buddy."
After taking care of the young one, he needed to deal with the older one. He pulled back the curtain and sat next to his younger brother. "Kun Er, stop playing with the electric fan. If you feel hot, I'll bring you the fan."
"Fan!" Wu Kun raised the electric fan with both hands. He jogged around the room, refusing to surrender it Wu Jinpeng.
"Slow down, or you'll going to wake the neighbors." Wu Jinpeng appeared quite helpless. He sat back by the table. "I'm sorry for the trouble my brother is causing."
"Brother Peng, I've fixed a broken fan at my workplace before. How about I help you fix this?" When Chen Ge first took over the haunted house, he had been forced to learn many things, including installing the cameras and familiarizing himself with the wiring.
"I don't actually want to fix the fan." Wu Jinpeng took another sip of the alcohol. "Look at my brother's left finger. He once stuck his hand into the fan..."
"My biggest wish now is for Wu Sheng to grow up like a normal child, and my second wish is to buy an air-conditioner. My younger brother hasn't experienced that before. If he knew how good an air-conditioner is, he would definitely abandon that broken electric fan." The rental place was small. Wu Jinpeng leaned against the wall, held the bottle with one hand, and scratched the dog behind his ears with his other hand.
"Brother Peng, you sound like a person with a story. There's still some time before midnight. Mind telling me about your past?" Chen Ge wanted to offer Wu Jinpeng a job, so he needed to know everything that he could about Wu Jinpeng.
"What story can I have? My whole life is a trail of interesting incidents." Wu Jinpeng was slightly drunk. "Brother, can you have a guess at the most expensive item in this place?"
"How am I supposed to guess that?" The place did not even have a television set. Chen Ge looked around and the most expensive thing appeared to be the broken electric fan Wu Jinpeng's brother was hugging.
"I'll show it to you." Wu Jinpeng opened the wooden box in the corner. A guitar sat inside. "This is not the practice kind. It's very expensive."
"You know how to play the guitar?" Chen Ge had a new appreciation for Wu Jinpeng, and his admiration for this man grew another level.
"I used to study music and was a street musician for many years. It was then that I met Wu Sheng's mother." Wu Jinpeng picked up the guitar, but probably afraid of waking the neighbors, he did not play. He merely moved his fingers over the strings, plucking it several times in the air. "Wu Sheng's mother was my fan. She was eight years younger than me. She was a very nice person, so even when she abandoned us, I did not blame her one bit. I mean, take a look around, who can blame her?"
With the alcohol on the table, a stray lying next to them, and an old guitar in his embrace, the two men sat inside the small room, discussing the past and life.
"Do you still play on the street?"
"I gave that up a long time ago. I used to dream about writing my own song. Even if I couldn't become a singer, I wanted to be in the music industry. But as you know, life has a way of throwing you curve balls. Between the choice of my dream and bread, I chose the latter." Wu Jinpeng closed his eyes, and his fingers caressed the strings gently. "I was such a rebellious child. I only saw the world from my perspective. There was a period when I thought the name my parents gave me was too old-fashioned, so I had my name changed quietly. Oh man, that angered the old man."
Opening his eyes, Wu Jinpeng took another swig. "Thinking back to the way the old man glared at me for those few days, I still get the giggles. Unfortunately, I can't even see him anymore."
"What happened to him?"
"During the year Wu Sheng was born, my parents went to Xin Hai to have their medical check up, but they got caught in a car accident." Wu Jinpeng emptied the bottle. "Actually, I wonder if it was a car accident. They probably got some bad news from the report and felt like they should not add to my burden."
The room became so quiet. Wu Kun was getting tired from all the running. He hugged the electric fan and leaned against the wall.
"So, are you the one looking after the whole family now?" Chen Ge could sense the lethargy radiating from Wu Jinpeng. He needed to take care of his mentally stunted younger brother and had to earn enough for Wu Sheng's tuition. He was the center of this family.
"Yes, but you get used to it after a while." Wu Jinpeng put down the guitar. "Someone once told me, life is nothing but a struggle to continue living. I think that was a rather pessimistic look on life. We cannot guarantee what kind of life we will be born into, but the type of attitude we use to view our life, that is completely on us. I often tell Wu Sheng how beautiful and wonderful this world is because I hope he will grow up with those dreams in his mind. One day, I promise I will take him to witness those beauties and wonders of the world in person."
"Brother Peng, you are a good father." Chen Ge raised the glass to Wu Jinpeng.
"I think so too, but the teachers at the school keep telling me not to input such impossible dreams in the boy's mind, and I have to focus on teaching him practical living skills." Wu Jinpeng's unusual grouse about the teachers caused Chen Ge to laugh. He had a good chat with Wu Jinpeng. Actually, when Chen Ge first met Wu Jinpeng, he had felt that the man was unique. The despair and difficulty in life did not knock him down but polished and highlighted in the beauty in his soul. Chen Ge did not expect this; even the ghost fetus could not have foreseen this.
Chen Ge did not know what standard the ghost fetus used to choose the children, but most of the candidates had a shared quality. They were lacking something in life, and they were extremely depressed or isolated. Based on Jiang Ming's situation, one could see that the greater the despair and pain the child was feeling, the scarier the world behind the door, and the better they could relate to the ghost fetus.
If considered from this perspective, the chance of Wu Sheng being possessed by the ghost fetus was low because he had such a wonderful father. The two chatted for a while. When it was 11 pm, they cleared away the dining utensils, closed the lights, and waited beside the curtain. At midnight, a shadow appeared behind the curtain. Chen Ge signaled at Wu Jinpeng. There were many Red Specters in his backpack. Once he got close, the door would rattle noisily to wake Wu Sheng, and the door would disappear.
Chen Ge grabbed his backpack, and as he moved forward with Wu Jinpeng, he suddenly lunged forward and slammed the door open. The door lock rattled. When Wu Jinpeng recovered, Chen Ge and the door had both disappeared.
"What the... Brother, where are you‽"
Opening his eyes, Chen Ge was standing inside a dark alley. A light blood mist hung in the air, and the sound of teeth grinding could be heard in his ears.
"This is the world behind Wu Sheng's door? This place looks like the old city."