At 4.30 pm, Chen Ge stood alone in the Haunted House's props room. He studied the roomful of items as if deep in thought.
What do you need to prepare to spend a night with a murderer?
Identity card, phone, charger, lighter, penknife, multi-uses hammer... Right, mustn't forget this doll as well.
Chen Ge shoved the doll that appeared before the mirror the previous night into his bag, and after confirming he had everything he needed, he pulled the zipper of the bag close and left the room.
"Xiao Wan, you can get off work early today. Remember to lock the door when you leave; I have something to attend to do, so I'll go first."
"Boss, it's only 5 pm. Are you going on a trip or something?"
"I've left the key on the table in the props room, see you tomorrow morning."
Noticing Chen Ge's attempt at changing the subject, Xu Wan helplessly replied, "Okay."
However, as Chen Ge turned around, the girl dropped the Haunted House flyers and shot toward the props room in a trail of smoke.
"This girl..." The evening wind ruffled the flyers that were left on the table. Chen Ge shook his head and picked up a pebble to place over them as he sighed.
Hopefully she won't be seeing me on the morning news.
Underneath his calm surface, Chen Ge's heart was a chaotic mess. The Nightmare Mission from the night before had opened a whole new world to him and made him realize there was a certain level of danger to the missions dispensed by the black phone.
Trial Mission has to be more difficult than Daily Mission; I have to be more careful tonight.
Before the night fell, Chen Ge rode his bicycle to head toward Ping An Apartments. The Mission Information only gave the name of the location. To locate the place, Chen Ge used Google Maps and the information from the online complaint released nine months ago. Even so, he still exhausted two hours before he reached his destination.
Are there even people who want to live a place that is so barren and isolated?
The road leading to the apartment building was winding and overgrown with wild brushes. There was a noticeable lack of street lighting, and through the tree branches, Chen Ge could catch glimpses of a gray-colored building.
On the way there, Chen Ge asked as many people as he could, but most of them hadn't heard of Ping An Apartments. In the end, it was a senior who was about sixty years old that pointed him down the correct road and added a little friendly advice. He told Chen Ge that the place was haunted and cursed, so most would give it a wide berth even in daylight.
Chen Ge did not know how to answer. If not for the sake of the black phone's mission, who would voluntarily go spend a night at a place like that‽
It's now 6.50 pm, and the mission states that I have to be there by 11 pm. This means that I still have time to have a quick look around.
Following the winding road, Chen Ge entered deep into the forest. After travelling for quite some time, he finally saw the legendary cursed house.
The yard was surrounded by a tall grey wall, and there was only one exit. Even though the gate that opened on both sides was rusty with age, there was a brand-new lock on it.
Weird, the lock is so new, but the gate looks old, but wait, what's this?
There was a piece of white paper stuck to the iron bars of the gate. Chen Ge assumed it was a flyer, but when he pointed his flashlight at it, he realized it was a missing person's notice.
"Zhang Qing, Female, 27 years old, 157 cm tall, on the thin side. There is a beauty mark beneath her right eye. She likes to wear red clothes. If you have any information, please contact Mr. Wang. Monetary rewards will be provided!"
The notice came with this Mr. Wang's contact number and address. The thing that caught Chen Ge's attention was that the address listed on the notice was the address of this cursed apartment.
"This sure is weird." Chen Ge's ghost sense was tingling. He pulled out his phone to snap a picture of the notice before entering the compound. The place was bigger than he had expected. The main building had three floors, and there were two buildings that looked like a storeroom and a water pump room next to it.
Based on the peeling of its paint, I believe this place is at least twenty to thirty years old already.
However, the place was not as unkempt as one might have assumed it to be. The place was clean, there was no litter, and even the lawn was carefully mown.
After he placed his bicycle in the lawn, Chen Ge walked into the main building with his backpack. "Hello, is anyone there?"
The long corridor was shadowy. About ten seconds later, the door closest to the stairs opened up a sliver.
"Good afternoon." Chen Ge walked toward the door, but the person behind it did not seem particularly hospitable since the door stopped after opening just a sliver. The lights in the room were not on, and Chen Ge could just about make out the shape of a woman behind the door. Her eyes were bloodshot, like she was fond of sleeping late. It made her look extremely tired.
"I wish to ask how much it will cost me to spend a night here," Chen Ge said in a tone that was as kind and soft as he could. However, to his bafflement, the only answer he got was a giggle, and the door slammed in his face.
"Huh?" Before he understood what just happened, he heard footsteps coming from the second floor. The only voice-activated light that was installed at the corner of the corridor lit up, and a limping middle-aged man was coming down.
He seemed to have overheard Chen Ge because the first thing he said was, "You want to stay at my place? How long do you plan to stay?"
"You're the landlord?" Chen Ge walked over. "I just wish to stay for one night?"
"Just one night?" The limping man gave Chen Ge a once-over like he was trying to read his mind. "Fine, give me your ID, and the payment is made at the second floor."
Chen Ge was about to follow the man upstairs when there a loud sound came from outside. It sounded like someone had swung the iron gate open. Hearing this, the limping man frowned, and his features twisted with displeasure. He stopped moving, and Chen Ge had no choice but to wait as well. Not long after that, in walked another middle-aged man who looked awfully tired. He was wearing old, tattered clothes and was holding a stack of papers in his hand.
"Wang Qi, how many times I've told you, your girlfriend is not here‽ If you insist on being this stubborn, I'll have to call the police!" The limping man stood in the middle of the stairs to block the path.
The other man ignored him and continued upstairs with his head lowered.
"Hey, I'm talking to you!" The limping man kicked, causing the unprepared middle-aged man to knock into the wall. The stack of papers slipped from his hands and fluttered all over the staircase. One of them happened to land beside Chen Ge's feet.
It's the same as the missing person's notice that I saw outside,
Chen Ge thought to himself as he narrowed his eyes. He silently picked it up before continuing to follow the drama that was happening before him.
The middle-aged man did not retaliate against the limping man's attack. He crawled up slowly from the ground and carried on to wordlessly pick up the notices that littered the ground. He reminded Chen Ge of a lumbering, lifeless zombie.
"Don't mind him, the man's crazy." The limping man waved at Chen Ge, ushering him to come upstairs. It seemed like he had given up on the middle-aged man.
When Chen Ge passed the middle-aged man, he surreptitiously glanced at him.
The mission information did mention a psycho, so could this be him?