After finishing the diary, the three medical students each had a different take on the story.
"Helping outsiders to bully his own child, he doesn't deserve to be a father." Lee Xue looked angry. Even though she knew this was probably just a made-up story by the Haunted House, she still immersed herself in it, feeling sorry for the boy.
"The boy is too weak. If it was me, I would have bullied them back twice for what they had done to me!" Wang Dan punched the air.
"I don't think the boy is weak. If anything, I think he's scary." Yang Chen inspected the diary closely. "Did you realize the boy spent the last few months in the diary apologizing to his father?"
"Isn't that the perfect proof of his weakness? Bowing his head to the real culprit."
"The boy used to apologize to everyone daily, but starting from a particular point in time, the diary only recorded his apology toward his father." Lee Xue also saw the anomaly. "Why would he need to do that?"
"Look at the time." Yang Chen flipped to the front of the diary. The latter half of the diary was mostly about his apology and penance to his father. "The boy started apologizing to his father after the school called his father on him and after the night his father beat him until midnight."
Yang Chen held the diary and stood in the middle of the dorm to think.
"The diary wrote it very clearly. The father locked the bedroom from inside and barred anyone from coming close. He even used the bedsheet to tie over the boy's mouth. So cruel." Lee Xue pitied this boy from her heart.
"You have to be clear about one thing. The diary is written by the boy, so he'll only let us see what he wants us to see." Yang Chen closed the diary. "Almost the entire book is about apology, but think about this-a madman whose worldview has completely twisted, seeing beauty as ugly and vice versa. How could someone like that be filled with penance?"
He sat on the smelly bed and immersed himself into the character of the boy. "The other students hated him, stomping his show of kindness; they thought he was disgusting. His only family saw him as his nemesis. The boy's life was filled with violence and negativity. Therefore, he could only hide his real self in his heart and use the layer of apology as a shield to protect himself."
"Ol' Yang, what are you trying to say?" Wang Dan and Lee Xue thought Yang Chen's emotions were slightly off.
"I was a victim of abuse myself, but luckily, I had a strong and clever big brother to look after me." Yang Chen sat on the bed. "I understand the pain he went through, so I can guess his actual thoughts."
There was an indescribable emotion in his eyes. Yang Chen picked up the rubbish model from the floor. "The design of this Haunted House is amazing. It's as if everything is real."
"Well, tell us! Why are you sighing to yourself?" Wang Dan mimicked Yang Chen to pick up a model of his own, but he could not see what was so different about it.
"The boss has given us the hint since we stepped through the door." Yang Chen sniffed at the rubbish model. "The rubbish in the room doesn't give out any smell, but the stench is still in the air."
"Didn't we establish that earlier?"
"Then, have you considered why the boy kept hoarding rubbish in his bedroom?" Yang Chen had guessed the truth, but he did not feel a rush from guessing it correctly. If anything, he felt slightly uncomfortable.
"Because the boy is mentally twisted, isn't the diary the best proof? He has been suffering from this illness since he was young, and his worldview has collapsed, seeing ugly things as beautiful."
"Wrong. Actually, the answer is really simple." Yang Chen toyed with the rubbish. "The rubbish in real life will be smelly."
"The boy wanted to use the smell of rubbish to cover the actual thing that is creating the stench! That's why he kept bringing the rubbish home!" Standing up, Yang Chen looked around the room. "What kind of thing will create a stench? A stench that mustn't be discovered by others."
Wang Dan and Lee Xue looked at each other. They were forensic science students, and a phrase appeared in their minds. "The stench of decaying body!"
"Starting from that night onward, the diary turned to a devoted apology to his father. I wondered what he has done to his father that he needed to apologize for endlessly." Yang Chen already had the answer in his heart. He stood before the only locked dresser in the room and reached out to grab the lock.
The lock was heavily rusted, but it was only a prop inside the Haunted House. He pulled slightly, and it fell away.
The door fell open, and the stench hit them like a wave!
There was a dead body standing in the middle of the dresser wrapped in plastic warp!
His face was twisted, and his eyes were bulging. The man had a horrible death. The three students stopped before the dresser, looking at the body inside the plastic wrap. None of them spoke. The fear and horror knitted around their hearts, making it difficult for them to even breathe.
"This should be the answer. The day the boy started collecting the rubbish in his room, the plan was already forming." Ever since that night, the boy kept apologizing in his diary. It lasted for ten full pages before it stopped. It was hard to imagine how he managed to spend so long in a room with a dead body.
"The saddest thing is he wasn't discovered for so long. Even after shoving the real culprit inside the dresser, the boy's life didn't change. No one cared about him; no one realized he was even there."
Yang Chen closed the door and put the lock back on. "To be able to design such a scenario, I'm truly impressed by Boss Chen. His Haunted House is more than just a simple scare."
"Indeed." Lee Xue's hands slowly loosened. Her emotions were still raging.
"Stop lamenting a prop. Twenty minutes should have passed already. Let's get moving." Wang Dan thought about the dead body inside the dresser and was unsettled. "The dead body mannequins in his Haunted House look scarier than the real deal."
"Let's go." Yang Chen was the first one to turn. When he reached the door, he suddenly stopped. "Did you notice the stench in the air seemed to get thicker?"
"Is it because we've opened the dresser?" Lee Xue followed behind Yang Chen. "Stop reading so much into it. We've failed this time, but we can always try again."
The three of them exited the dorm. When they retraced their steps, they suddenly discovered someone standing in the corridor. The man had his head lowered while facing them. A rope swayed before his neck.
"Isn't that the hanging mannequin from the first room? Why is it here‽"
Wang Dan turned back to look at his partners and realized that both Lee Xue and Yang Chen's eyes were filled with fear.
The stench in the air thickened. Just as the three students were hesitating, the lock on the dresser slowly loosened and fell to the ground.
The old dresser door was slowly pushed open from within.