"You're going to leave him like that and make him stay here alone?" Chen Ge did not think letting Wu Sheng stay inside the small house alone was a good idea.
"This is my doing. I will lead them away. The child is innocent. I can't put him through this pain." Wu Jinpeng closed the lid of the wooden box and ran out. Chen Ge watched Wu Jinpeng run out and turned back to look at Wu Sheng. The boy stayed inside the box with his hands over his mouth. He did not say a word, only staring quietly at his father's receding figure.
"Has the boy not said a word because his father told him so?" Chen Ge felt like he had missed something. "Never mind, as long as I follow Wu Jinpeng, the problems will be solved."
In Wu Sheng's eyes, he was a child under his father's protection. He noticed the problems faced by the family, but he was just a child; he was powerless to change anything. He could only see his father shoulder the whole ginormous pressure. Chen Ge worried that if he stayed there for too long, he might expose Wu Sheng's location, so he closed the door and hurried after Wu Jinpeng.
The night sky had no moon. The buildings on both sides of the street gave off a light stench, and the atmosphere was suffocating. Wu Jinpeng rushed ahead; he had no idea what awaited him, but he had no other choice. To prevent his dog from being treated as a stray, to protect his son from the monsters, he could only keep moving forward.
"Other than the neighbors, the monsters who had their lips sewn should represent the various difficulties that this family has faced." There were more monsters chasing behind Wu Jinpeng. They were dressed differently; there were well-dressed office workers and the homeless in tattered shirts. There were thieves with knives and others who were dressed normally like passersby that you would meet on the road.
Under the influence of ghost fetus, the condescension, bullying, and derision was maliciously amplified. Chen Ge did not dare to imagine what would have happened to Wu Sheng if Wu Jinpeng did not exist in this world. If such a small child had been forced to face so many scary monsters alone, Chen Ge suspected that Wu Sheng would have submerged fully into this despairing world and become the ghost fetus' top candidate. "Thankfully, he has such a great father. Wu Jinpeng is the only light in this dark world."
Racing down the dark, endless street, being chased with monsters with sewn lips, with no exit in sight, Wu Jinpeng still tried his best to come up with a solution.
"I suppose this is the resilience of human nature." The children selected by the ghost fetus had been lured into despair for them to open the fake doors, but the worlds behind those doors were different from real life. As despairing as the children were, there would be some source of light.
In Jiang Ming's world, the light was his mother and the old lady, and in Wu Sheng's world, there was Wu Jinpeng. In their memories, there was always a temporary sanctuary. Running behind Wu Jinpeng, Chen Ge gained a new understanding of certain things. When he first got the black phone, he discovered the door in his haunted house. At the time, he had only feared the door; it was normal for humans to be afraid of the unknown. But as his understanding grew, Chen Ge's perspective of the door changed.
The doors were pushed open by people in despair. The other side of the door was not salvation but an abyss of deeper despair. The doors were sinful. Chen Ge initially refused to get close to the door, but after being forced by the Ghost Stories Society, when his life was threatened, he had been left with no other choice. After multiple interactions, he had realized that the doors themselves did not represent fear, and they could not be equated to despair.
He would not follow the Ghost Stories Society's footsteps of controlling the doors and gaining benefit from them. But subconsciously, his negative impression of the doors had slowly dissipated.
During the School of the Afterlife, Chen Ge had met the painter behind the door. That madman wanted to create a heaven behind the door, constructing a place of heaven in a land of hell. Ultimately, the painter failed, but what he did once again shook Chen Ge's impression of the doors and the worlds behind it. However, the thing that really changed Chen Ge's mind was the incident at Jiang Yuan Apartments. When he saw his young self being pushed off the roof by the man in the doctor's outfit, when he heard the words that he had once said, his perspective of the door really started to change.
"Perhaps the worlds behind the doors for the children were not so different from real life. There might be light in the worlds behind the doors..." Chen Ge watched Wu Jinpeng and the various monsters who chased after him. "The light in the child's world is being chased by many monsters. If there's light behind a real door, they get chased by something darker and scarier. What would the light look like inside an actual door?"
His parents' image crossed his mind. Chen Ge was suddenly reminded of something that happened a long time ago. He took out the wooden toy that had been stolen by the ghost fetus from his backpack.
"My father gave me this when I was in bed. He wished me happy birthday. But that morning, he had already presented me with the present and wished me happy birthday. There was no reason for him to repeat it, and he did not exactly give me the present; he merely placed it next to the bed." More details came to Chen Ge. "Was the present originally meant for the shadow?"
Looking at the bloodied toy in his hand, Chen Ge slowed down. "Was this the shadow's birthday present? The second happy birthday was meant for the shadow? Could it be that he'd already noticed something by then but neither me nor the shadow had noticed it?"
"Don't just stand there! Run!" Wu Jinpeng was running out of air, but seeing that Chen Ge had slowed down, he still returned to pull on his sleeves. "Do not stop! I know where we can shake them off!"
Wu Jinpeng led Chen Ge to an alley on western street; there was a private hospital there. It was not that big, and the decor was old fashioned. But as small as it was, it had everything it needed to serve the public.
"The hospital has a backdoor. I ran through this place to shake them off last time. Those things do not dare come in here."
"Doesn't that mean that there is something scarier than them inside this hospital?"
"We'll go in first."
Without saying anything else, Wu Jinpeng led Chen Ge into the hospital. After the monsters saw that, they really stopped in the alley. After entering the hospital, the many different voices in Chen Ge's ears disappeared, and what was left was the sound of children crying.