Sitting inside the taxi, Chen Ge spoke twice on the phone with Xiao Gu. After confirming that the woman in the raincoat had not returned, he sighed in relief. "The main mission tonight is to bring Xiao Gu home safely. I'll deal with Eastern Jiujiang later."
Chen Ge had his own hesitation. Both the taxi driver and Xiao Gu were normal people, and Chen Ge did not want to drag them into this mess. The rain fell on the car window, and it blurred the view. The rainclouds hung low in the sky, and it felt like the sky was falling.
"The weather forecast has never been accurate; they said it was going to be a light drizzle, but this rain has been falling for how long already?" The driver was a young man. He looked about the same age as Chen Ge. He focused on driving. Due to the weather, he did not dare lose his focus.
"I'm going to fetch a person, and then we'll take your taxi back. Don't worry, we won't waste your fare." Chen Ge pulled his gaze back.
"I'm not worried about that." The driver did not turn around. "Don't you think the rain tonight is very weird? The further you go into Eastern Jiujiang, the heavier it becomes. The road is almost flooded."
"How is that weird? It's just a heavier rain. You're being too sensitive," Chen Ge joked.
"Sometimes, it's better to believe something than not." The driver pointed at the religious bracelet hanging by the rearview mirror. "I once fetched passenger from Eastern Jiujiang before. The people there are very superstitious and have many rules. Like if there's a newborn in the house, the man has to stomp his feet at the door before entering; if there is a nightmare, they have to turn the pillow around after waking up; if you receive a phone after midnight, do not speak first; if you see some strange vehicle at the site of a traffic accident, do not get too close. Initially, I did not believe these things, but over time, you get convinced."
The streetlights dimmed. The driver looked through the sweeping wipers and felt nervous. "There is a scary urban legend here. It is easy to get lost if you take the road during heavy rain. You look like you're heading home, but eventually, you'll end up at an unfamiliar location."
"There's a legend like that?" Chen Ge was interested. Many urban legends had traceable origins, and they could be based on reality instead of being fully fictional.
"Even though there hasn't been any big news in Eastern Jiujiang, of all the disappearances throughout Jiujiang, twenty percent happened in Eastern Jiujiang. It's like the place can consume people," the driver said darkly, and Chen Ge memorized everything that he said.
"Keep your eyes on the road. If we run into anything weird, we'll call the police directly."
"Call the police?" The driver was not used to the jump in Chen Ge's thought. "I guess that could work. I'm just reminding you out of kindness. Don't come wandering in Eastern Jiujiang alone at night. This place is rather isolated..."
Half way through his sentence, the driver suddenly shut up. He narrowed his eyes to look ahead and then suddenly turned the steering wheel! The taxi turned, and Chen Ge slammed into the door. He did not say anything as he reached into his backpack to activate the recorder. The car slowed down. The driver gasped greedily for air, and his forehead was covered in sweat.
"There was someone standing in the middle of the road earlier."
"You probably saw wrongly. It's raining so heavily, and it's so dark-who would stand there in the middle of the road?" Chen Ge's hands searched inside his backpack before curling around something.
"That's true..." The driver wiped his sweat. He looked to the side, and all he saw was darkness.
"Can you describe the person's appearance? Was she wearing a red raincoat?"
"It was nothing like that. It was just a shadow... perhaps I really saw wrongly." The driver scratched his head. He removed the bracelet from the mirror, put it on his wrist, and continued driving.
"Don't drive so fast. There are many rivers in Eastern Jiujiang. Safety first." Chen Ge was not afraid of ghosts, but he was afraid that the ghosts might come after the driver. If the taxi skidded on the road, then he would die inside the vehicle. The sound of static echoed in the small space. The rain outside the car seemed to purposely avoid the taxi.
The two reached Eastern Jiujiang Fresh Water Plant safely. Chen Ge told the driver to wait at the entrance. He put on his raincoat, opened the door, and got out. Once he was outside, Chen Ge felt weirdly pressured like something was watching him.
The place felt weirdly familiar, like he had been there before perhaps in the past or in his dream. Standing in the rain, the sound of falling rain started to disappear into the background. Chen Ge frowned slightly as he took out his phone to call Xiao Gu.
The dial tone entered his ear, but there was no answer. The rain poured, but Chen Ge could not hear the sound of rain. All he heard was the dial tone of the phone. He felt isolated from the world. Darkness came from all sides, and all that remained in his sight was the old door leading inside the plant. Moved by the wind, the steel door creaked. From the inside drifted out the laughing and crying of children.
Little footprints appeared on the water puddles. Something came out from the plant. They ran and skipped before surrounding Chen Ge. His body froze, and the memory inside his heart slowly surfaced.
When he was young, Chen Ge's parents had reminded him multiple times not to come to Eastern Jiujiang, but one of the school trips had brought them to Eastern Jiujiang.
When he was playing next to one of the dams, he had heard someone call his name. With his teacher's accompaniment, they had walked past the small forest and spotted a blood red house at the end of the road. Many children had been playing around the house. They were crying and laughing. It felt weirdly similar to now.
Looks like many things that happen at Eastern Jiujiang are related to that red house. Could the door in Li Wan City be related to it as well?
The footsteps slowly inched forward. Chen Ge narrowed his eyes. Even with his Yin Yang vision, he could not see them clearly.
The kids seem to have perfectly melded into the environment.
The children's crying and laughing came closer. They hugged his legs and slowly crawled up his body. Chen Ge gripped the hammer. Just as he prepared to summon Xu Yin, the chilling sensation disappeared. The voices of the children escaped. At the same time, a familiar voice came from afar.
Raising his head, Chen Ge saw a human shape standing inside the plant. He looked as tall as he was.
"Who are you?"
"Me?" The shadow raised his hands to slowly reach into his chest, and then he pulled out yet another child from inside him. The child's face was blurry, and he looked quite similar to a young Chen Ge. His neck was titled like someone had snapped it with pure force.
"I'm the child that you've killed..."
"The child that I've killed?" Chen Ge dragged the hammer and thought for a long time. "But how come I have no recollection at all? Why don't you come closer so that I can take a better look of your face?"