The boss has replied! Xiao Gu's heart felt a lot better reading the short message on his phone. He took out the earbud from his pocket, connected it to his phone, and called Chen Ge. It was picked up after one ring, and Chen Ge's voice came through.
"Don't talk and starting from this moment on, just follow my instructions."
"Okay." Xiao Gu leaned against the window and used his arm to block the view of the earbud line. His body swayed along with the bus.
"I've seen the message you sent me. Whether you believe me or not, I have to tell you something." Chen Ge kept his voice calm and steady. "Before I tell you that, I want you to be ready-do not visibly react. If you're ready, then send me a message."
"Okay, boss. Tell me." Xiao Gu sent the message and took in a deep breath. He was still feeling afraid.
"I just investigated the bus that you're on. The bus ran into three accidents within one month, and the latest accident happened last night. When the bus passed Eastern Jiujiang Fresh Water Plant, it ran into an accident. It skidded and almost went into Bai Long Lake. Because of that, the people on top gave an emergency order to temporarily change the Route 104, and the bus is not going to Eastern Jiujiang anymore."
"Not going to Eastern Jiujiang?" Xiao Gu could not help himself and ask, "Then what about this bus that I'm currently on?"
"Route 104 has not long changed its route. The last bus at 9 pm has also been ordered to stop. So, the bus that you're currently on is probably not the real bus but a hearse specifically for dead people." Chen Ge used a flat tone to describe something really scary. Resisting his urge to shiver, sweat poured out of Xiao Gu's forehead. He did not dare turn his neck to look at the other passengers. His hands gripped the phone tightly like it was his only hope.
"What... what should I do now?" Xiao Gu wanted to write a message, but his fingers kept shuddering. Chen Ge had once saved his life, so he trusted Chen Ge unconditionally. However, it was also because of that he knew that Chen Ge had no reason to lie to him.
"Calm down, you have to calm down at a time like this." There was no additional emotion in Chen Ge's voice. "Do not speak in case the other passengers hear you. Use written messages to communicate with me. How far are you from the next stop?"
"The next stop will be Eastern Jiujiang Fresh Water Plant. The distance between stops is rather far since we're at the countryside. I suppose it'll take another seven to eight minutes before it arrives." Xiao Gu used his frozen fingers to type this reply.
"That water plant is the place where the bus came into the accident. That stop will be your last chance. You have six minutes to prepare. Tell me how far you are from the backdoor, and how many passengers are in your way?"
"My seat is close to the backdoor, but there is a drenched passenger sitting next to me." Xiao Gu glanced next to him silently. The man with his head lowered had his body leaning toward Xiao Gu. His whole body was dripping, and there seemed to be a dirty spot around his shirt pocket that was not cleaned.
"Since you're close to the backdoor, you shouldn't worry that much. Once the bus stops, you have to try your best to escape from the backdoor."
"Don't need to worry? But I still think I'm in a dangerous situation." Xiao Gu hugged the phone and sent another message to Chen Ge after some thought. "Boss, there's a woman wearing a red raincoat, and she's been waiting at every stop! It's real! I'm not lying! I suspect the woman is not a human."
Xiao Gu took in a deep breath and found the courage to admit that possibility. At Fang Hwa Apartments, he had seen a ghost once, but that memory was buried deep inside his heart. He kept lying to himself, but what had happened that night revived that memory again.
"Boss, at least my safety is somewhat guaranteed on the bus. Once I leave, I'll need to face her alone, face the ghost in red raincoat alone." Xiao Gu's palms were filled with sweat. He did not have much time left.
"I understand your thoughts-there is only one ghost outside the bus, but there are probably still humans on the bus. So, in terms of bigger picture, it might be safer on the bus."
"Yes, that's my current situation. I'm trapped." Xiao Gu felt like crying. He just wanted to go home, but who would have thought this might happen to him?
"You're not trapped-you just haven't looked at it objectively enough." Chen Ge used the fastest speed to help Xiao Gu analyze the situation. "From your earlier message, it is observable that the female ghost on the platform wasn't after you. She just kept asking if you have seen her child. This proves that at least for now she is not going to harm you; she just wants to find her child."
"Have you wondered where her child could be, and why she kept standing at the bus stops?"
Xiao Gu seriously had not considered that. Who would really put themself in a ghost's shoes? Furthermore, he was scared out of his mind seeing that ghost-where would he have time to think about these things?
"The woman in the red raincoat has been following this bus on Route 104. This means that her child is probably on the bus." Chen Ge tried to rationalize it the best he could. "The red raincoat cannot get on the bus for some reason, but you are on the bus-that could be the key to solving this issue!"
"The woman's child is on the bus..." Xiao Gu looked at the middle-aged woman. She did not seem to care about the livelihood of the boy in her embrace. He could be suffering from a high fever or coughing fit, but she just kept on patting his back with impatience on her face.
"Boss, I think I know where the raincoat's child is."
"Don't broadcast that knowledge. When the bus reaches the station, grab the child, and leave the bus with him! If you can fulfil the woman's wish, I'm sure she will not harm you."
"But she is a ghost-will she let me go even if I help her? She is a ghost, not a living human!" The more Xiao Gu thought about it, the more scared he became.
"It was humans who killed them, so why do you have such deep prejudice against ghosts?" Chen Ge kept his tone light. "Just follow my instructions-this is the only way you can save yourself. Remember, do not stay on the bus for too long!"
"Understood." Xiao Gu's heart raced uncontrollably. He was getting more nervous.
"There is more than one ghost on the bus. Perhaps other than yourself, all the other passengers are ghosts. When you leave the bus, you have to be resolute-do not let them hold you back, other than that..." Chen Ge paused. "After you get off the bus, do not give the child over to the red raincoat immediately. Watch her reaction first before you come to a decision."