Only three will remain...
Chen Ge's heart chilled. Considering the situation, being abandoned probably meant death.
"Go over there. You still haven't earned the right to sit with us," the fifth person on the right said. He was closest to Chen Ge, and he eyed him with interest. "I like your mask."
Chen Ge ignored him and walked to stand beside the three new members.
"No. 1, continue your story. This time, no one will interrupt you." The first man on the left seemed to be the backbone of the society; his word was the law.
The new member dubbed No. 1 looked old. He was wearing a black mask that covered his whole face, but it exposed his white hair. His limbs were slender, and he looked weak. His skin was sagging, and old people's spots could be seen on his exposed arms.
"Then I shall continue the story." No. 1 coughed. He had a habit of waving his arm around when he spoke, so he gave people a humorous feeling.
"This incident happened at the People's Hospital. I saw it with my own eyes, so it is definitely real. I am the victim of lung cancer and have been receiving treatment at the hospital. I stayed inside ICU.
"There was an old man who shared the room with me. I have no idea what kind of illness he was suffering from, but I know that he was in deep pain, moving along the boundary of life and death.
"This story starts one week ago at night. He was a light sleeper and would wake up from the slightest sound. That night, I suddenly realized that the old man wasn't asleep. He had his eyes open, looking in a certain direction in the room.
"I also turned to look, but there was nothing there. I turned on the light to ask him what he was looking at. He said, there was someone standing there.
"When I asked him for the person's description-what he looked like, what he was wearing-the old man stammered for his answer. Around midnight the next day, I felt that the room was rather cold. When I woke up, I realized that the old man in the bed next to me was looking at me with his eyes bulging.
"I was given the shock of my life. After I turned on the light, the man turned his head to the side. No matter what I asked, he refused to say anything.
"I didn't dare turn the bedside lamp off when I settled down on the third night. The small light gave the comfort I needed to sleep until morning. However, when I woke up, I realized that there were dusty footprints on the bed and mattress, like someone had been standing on my bed the previous night.
"It unhinged me, and I didn't dare fall asleep. I felt like the moment I did, something bad would happen. I only dared sleep in the day and kept myself awake at night.
"Nothing happened on the fourth day, but on the night of the fifth day, I saw something scary.
"The old man stood up from his bed after midnight. He stood on his tiptoes just like this..."
No. 1's arms dangled at his side, mimicking the old man. He stood on his tiptoes and jumped around the room. It looked quite frightening.
"The old man walked around my bed several times. I didn't know what he was doing. His face collapsed within, but his eyes poked out. The wrinkles on his face were folded together. I yelled to wake him up. He returned to his bed, but his eyes kept staring at the door.
"He said that someone was calling his name from the outside, but he didn't know whether he should answer the door or not.
"On the sixth day, after night fell, the old man's conditions worsened. He had troubles and could not speak due to the endless coughs. It felt like something was stuck in his trachea. The doctor performed an emergency operation, and his conditions finally stabilized after 11 pm. However, his face turned paler, like there was a gray mist hanging over his face.
"After midnight, the old man opened his eyes again. He stared at the door, and his mouth kept mumbling something. When it was 1 am, the old man got out of bed and used that weird stance to move out of the room. He has not been seen since then."
When he was done, No. 1 started to cough again. He looked very fragile.
"Fascinating story." The first man on the left nodded.
"Thank you for the compliment." No. 1's laugh sounded like the cawing of a crow; it was grating to the ears.
The people on both sides of the table leaned in to critique No. 1's story. Chen Ge stood at the back silently, making his own judgment. He had realized that something was off when the old man spoke his first sentence.
According to the old man, he had been staying inside the ICU room, but according to Chen Ge's knowledge, most of the ICU rooms in Jiujiang were single rooms, so there should not have been a shared room.
In the beginning, he had thought the old man was lying, but the more he listened, the more he was able to confirm that the old man was telling his own story. He was the ill patient who had run out of the hospital on his tiptoes!
In terms of timeline, it was entirely plausible. No. 1's story started one week ago, and it was on the midnight of the sixth day that he escaped the hospital. That day would be the seventh day.
The ghost stories society requested that every single story shared be real, and none of the people at the table had any objections, so that meant the old man's story was probably real. Chen Ge lowered his head to glance at No. 1's feet out from the corner of his eyes; the man did not seem to have a shadow.
"No. 1's story is very interesting, a good beginning. Now we shall listen to No. 2's story," the first man on the left said, and the other people immediately became quiet.
"It's your turn, No. 2." No. 1 was weirdly excited, and he kept coughing.
No. 2 was wearing a smelly jacket and was wearing a plastic pig's mask that one could buy from roadside stalls. He was almost Chen Ge's height, but he was very thin.
"It was my ex-wife who told me this story, but I can guarantee it is real. She was the dance teacher for a school, and there was an extremely talented girl in her class. Be it from looks, ability, or physicality, she was leaps and bounds ahead of others." No. 2 coughed slightly. "The child was like the real white swan, and in comparison, the other students were nothing more than ugly ducklings.
"The story started several years ago when my ex-wife selected six girls from her class to form a dance troupe to enter the city's dance competition. Out of envy, the five girls grouped up to isolate the most talented student.
"During the competition, the most talented girl practically carried them to victory, but no one invited her for the celebratory party.
"To prepare for the provincial competition, the six of them started to train during summer break, and the real conflict exploded then."