"Quickly close the door." The woman quickly rushed into the room as if she knew how scary she looked.
"Okay." Chen Ge did not close the door completely but left a small sliver open. Before he got deeper into the house, he was already considering his exit options. Chen Ge stood in the middle of the living room and looked around. The woman sat on the bedside and pulled over a thin blanket to cover her body. "Don't mind the mess, just sit anywhere you want."
The place could not be considered messy, but it was littered with many pill bottles. Chen Ge picked up a random one, and it was labelled with terms that he could barely understand.
"Don't touch my stuff," the woman urged. She looked at Chen Ge with eyes filled with uncertainty. "What is inside your backpack? It doesn't seem like you're here to buy any real estate."
"The bag might be old, but all my life savings are inside it." Chen Ge gave a random excuse. "Your apartment's location is nice, but can you nudge the price further?"
"The apartment is huge. If not for the fact that I'm in need of money, I wouldn't be selling the place." The woman's skin was unnaturally white, and it was weirding Chen Ge out.
"If you don't mind me asking, what kind of illness are you suffering from that you need to sell your home to make money?" Chen Ge was not there to buy the apartment; he was there to find out more information.
"Cancer." The woman pointed at his face. "Long term chemotherapy makes me lose all my hair and brows."
"I'm sorry." Because that was the logical thing to say.
"Now, I just want to live as many days as I can. There's nothing else that I can ask for." The woman was selling her home to extend her life. It sounded logical on the surface, but upon closer inspection, the story was flawed.
"Let's talk about the price." The woman had taken a huge step back. The price she had given was thirty percent lower than the market price for a similar apartment. "If you agree, we can sign the documents tomorrow."
"It's not that I want to take advantage to of you, but the price is still quite high." Chen Ge pretended to be a shrewd homebuyer.
"A price like this is still high?"
"I pity your condition, but before I came here, I asked around. The place that you're selling was haunted several years ago, and that is why it hasn't been sold until now." Chen Ge patted his backpack. "I admit that I have a bigger heart than most, but honestly, I don't have that much capital, and that's why I'm reaching out to you."
The woman knew her tail was caught, so she asked, "Then how much you're preparing to pay?"
"One-tenth the market price, I only have that much."
"One-tenth‽" The woman scoffed. "And you said you're not trying to take advantage of me?"
"After all, the place is haunted. If not for the lack of money, I wouldn't buy a haunted apartment." Chen Ge had completely morphed into his character. Hesitation appeared in his eyes like he found pity for the woman's condition. "How about we both take a step back? I know you're selling this house to pay your medical bill, so I can borrow some loan from family and friends, but your asking price is still too high."
Perhaps the woman was feeling the pressure since the place had been vacated for a long time. She was silent before saying, "One-tenth is too low. My bottom line is half the market price. If you want, I can have the lawyer draft up the document tomorrow. If you don't want it, then leave."
"Half..." Chen Ge lowered his head like he was contemplating.
"Don't listen to those rumors. None of the tenants have been injured before, so how could there be a haunting?" The woman lay down on the bed. She noticed that Chen Ge's stance was loosening, so she started to persuade Chen Ge.
"Don't try to lie to me. Your security guard told me that he personally saw a white shadow enter your home several years ago, and his story was corroborated by the police. You weren't home that night, so you might not know these things." Chen Ge followed the woman's thread of conversation, picking for information that he wanted to know.
"How can I not know about things at my own home?" The woman sighed. There was a conflict in her eyes. "Actually, I did not want to tell you in case it scared you, but that white shadow wasn't a ghost."
"Not a ghost?" Chen Ge's heart rose. Things might advance further than he thought.
"Yes, the white shadow is my sister. She was a mental patient who was just taken out from the mental hospital." The woman's face scrunched up in pain, and she coughed violently for several minutes. "My sister did something wrong when she was small, and her illness was discovered then. After that, she was sent to the mental hospital and only came out four or five years ago."
"Something wrong? Was it anything serious?" The woman's sister matched the description of Patient No. 2, so Chen Ge paid closer attention.
"It was very serious, and it ruined her life." The woman sighed for her sister. "My sister's condition is very unique. She was a patient that needed to be quarantined because she could pose a danger to the public. If she was discovered by the police, they might have pulled her away from me and locked her up in another mental hospital."
"So, you have harboring her inside your home?"
"After ten years of treatment, her condition has gotten a lot better." There was a shift in the woman's tone like she had faith in what she said. "How many decades are there in a person's life? She has suffered too much in her early life, and it's only fair that she has the chance to enjoy a normal life now."
Chen Ge felt like there was something wrong with the woman's words. "So, you hid your sister inside your own home, but you didn't expect that she would go out to haunt other tenants? That was the truth behind the haunting?"
"Yes, the haunting was merely their imagination."
"Then, what happened to your sister? You're so sick now; shouldn't she come take care of you?"
"I also have no idea where she has disappeared to. Since that night, I have not seen her again." The woman appeared rather helpless. "She's my only family, and occasionally, I return to Fang Hwa Apartments, hoping to run into her."
"I understand your pain. If no one comes to buy the place, can you please help me reserve the place first? I'll go ask for a loan tomorrow," Chen Ge said sincerely, but what he did was to try to stabilize the woman first. He had something else that he needed to check desperately.
"Okay, then I'll see you tomorrow." The woman ended the conversation. She seemed very tired already, leaning against the headboard.
"See you tomorrow." He picked up his backpack and left.
When the door closed, the expression of the people inside and outside the door changed. Chen Ge stood where he was and inserted the few English terms that he remembered from the bottle label into his phone.
"It's as I expected-this woman is very suspicious. The pills in her room have nothing to do with cancer treatment. They're mostly for wound recovery and anti-infection."
Chen Ge called a taxi to rush to Fang Hwa Apartments. Chen Ge called Inspector Lee on the way there and told him everything about Xin Kang Apartments.