The driver did not agree instantly. He secretly turned around to glance at Chen Ge with suspicion in his eyes. From his perspective, Chen Ge's insistence to leave with an injured girl belied an ulterior motive. Yet, Chen Ge looked like quite a trustworthy person-he was sunny, kind, and polite. However, the large backpack that he carried unsettled the driver, and now, he noticed the faded scent of blood drifting out from it.
Have I ferried a criminal? The driver hesitated before starting the engine. "Okay."
The taxi continued to move, and the driver still talked to the air while both of the passengers in the car ignored him. Chen Ge kept his eyes on the woman in the passenger seat. He used Yin Yang Vision to scan the girl, but he could not see anything particularly strange about her. The woman seemed to know that Chen Ge was watching her, and in the rear-view mirror, the edge of her lips started to curl upward. The smile combined with her stark white skin made the hair on Chen Ge's arms crawl.
Just keep on smiling, we'll see if you can still retain the smile when we reach the destination, Chen Ge grumbled internally. He had no idea where the girl was going, but since he had the 'good luck' of encountering her, he was going to come along for her final journey.
The streetlights dimmed, and the trees by the road shook, swayed by the wind. The gnarled branches cast their shadows on the ground, creating the perfect atmosphere for a horror-filled night.
The driver continued talking to himself. From Chen Ge's perspective, it seemed like he was in a scintillating conversation with the girl, but in reality, the girl had not spoken a word since she got into the car. In this strange atmosphere, the taxi continued to drive several hundred meters before the driver suddenly stepped on the brake. The car halted, and due to inertia, Chen Ge's head almost flew into the back of the girl's seat.
With one hand inside the backpack and the other holding the door, Chen Ge asked, "What's happening?"
If there was any danger, he would directly smash the lock and jump out.
"There's a child in the road." The driver was shivering with cold sweat as he pointed at the road. On the left bend of the road, there was a boy holding a black plastic bag. He looked just shy of nine years old, and he was wearing a faded white T-shirt. His face was one of anxiety and fear like he had been given a big fright by the incoming taxi.
"Why is there a child out here in the middle of nowhere?" The driver opened the car window and was about to poke his head out when Chen Ge at the back suddenly said, "I advise you to not stop your car here."
"Are you afraid this might be a scam?" The driver nodded. "I read about things like this on the news before. An adult purposely had a child play by the road, and when a car passed, the child would be frightened. The adult would then jump out to demand for compensation because the child was frightened for real, so even if there were surveillance cameras, it was hard to argue for one's innocence. This has happened many times on the news already."
"Those kinds of scams want your money, but I'm afraid, the people that you met will want your life," Chen Ge said under his breath. He was wondering if the driver had the attribute of attracting ghost because he had already gotten into so many accidents before they even reached White Dragon Cave Tunnel. Just in case, Chen Ge used Yin Yang Vision to study the driver, and the result was that he was just a normal man.
"If the problem is not with the driver, then it should be me." Chen Ge remembered that Jia Ming had been controlled by the shadow fainted outside the tunnel, and no one knew what the shadow did that night inside the tunnel. "Could this be a part of the shadow's trap?"
When Chen Ge was thinking, he heard a tap on the window next to him. He turned to look, and a child's face materialized next to him. Through the car window, a smile appeared on the child's pale face. He leaned his body forward like he was looking into the car.
"Are you looking for something?" Chen Ge also smiled in response. With his hand on the hammer's handle, he slowly nudged it to the opening. This was a curious scene. The ghost outside the car had a vicious intention while the person inside the car was harboring his own motive as well.
The boy used his small hand to tap repeatedly on the window, leaving small handprints on it. The child's palm was covered with red dirt, and he quickly smudged the clean car window. The boy's pale face flitted in and out of the mess of handprints, and it looked quite scary, but the thing that worried the driver the most was the passenger in his backseat. He seemed to be holding something in his bag while smiling at the boy outside the window-the two appeared to be engaged in some kind of game.
"Er..." The driver wanted to lighten the mood, but after he opened his lips, he did not know what to say.
"Just keep driving and ignore this weird child."
"That's not so good, right?" The driver hesitated. It was not that he was that kind-hearted, but he worried that by starting the car, it would topple the boy, and if he was run over by the wheels, then it would only make things worse. Probably hearing Chen Ge's words, the boy started to hit harder, and more handprints appeared on the window.
"Sure, keep knocking. If you dare, break this glass." Chen Ge seemed to get into a competition with the boy. He smiled at the boy with a face filled with provocation.
"Just what the hell is happening?" The driver was speechless. He complained internally, This is not even your car. If he really breaks the glass, are you going to pay me for the repairs?
He coughed and asked the woman at the passenger seat, "Do you know this child? Could he have come from the nearby village as well?"
When he ran into a ghost, he asked the opinion of another ghost. Chen Ge seemed to see his own shadow on this driver, but he did not say anything, and the expression on his face did not change. The woman did not say a word, but the driver kept nodding like he was slowly being persuaded.
He waved at the boy outside the car, and after some hesitation, he opened the door. "Come in. Since you're both going to the same place, I'll give you a lift."
The backdoor opened, and the boy jumped into the car with the black plastic bag. He sat next to Chen Ge and continued the staring match.
"What's your name? Can you remember your parent's phone number?" The driver started the engine and asked the boy some basic questions. He waited for a long while, but there was no response. The driver turned back to look and saw that the boy was caught in an intense stare with Chen Ge. He had no idea what they were doing.
"F*ck it, I'm not going to care anymore." The driver gave up. He placed his phone on the dashboard, someplace that he could reach easily. He tapped into the system of walkie-talkie shared by cab drivers. "Is anyone in Eastern Jiujiang? There's plenty of work to do here tonight."
He was actually quite panicky inside and wanted to find a normal person to chat with.
Soon, an uncle replied on the walkie-talkie, "You still dare to go to Eastern Jiujiang? Most of the drivers that have gone there over the past month came back with an injury, and I heard some of them were found fainted in their driver's seat."
The uncle appeared to be the driver's close friend, and they often joked with each other. "Stop trying to trick me, you know how easily scared I am."
"Who's tricking you? I'm being serious. It's not safe in Eastern Jiujiang. Just take a look at the news yourself."
"What news? You know I'm driving."
"I'm just giving you a warning. In fact, the police found..." The communication was abruptly cut off before the uncle could finish his sentence.
"Found what?" The driver tapped the walkie-talkie. "Why has it broken at a time like this?"
He had not felt so scared initially, but after hearing what the uncle had to say, the driver was feeling much less grounded. He slowed down the car and took out his phone to do a quick search.
There had indeed been quite a few cases in Eastern Jiujiang lately. He glanced through them, and his eyes were soon attracted to one of the articles. A child ran away from his adopted father's home, and his body was found on Eastern Jiujiang's Lin Jiang Road.
"Wait, I'm currently driving on Lin Jiang Road, aren't I?" The driver clicked open the article, and the picture of the victim made him feel so familiar. "This boy..."
His body froze. The driver slowly inched his head upward and sneaked a glance at the boy sitting at the back through the rear-view mirror.
Chen Ge was squeezed next to the boy, and he leaned closer toward the black plastic bag that the boy was holding onto so tightly. "What is in the bag of yours? I noticed you were searching for something before you got in the car."
The boy smiled at Chen Ge and said after a while, "I've almost found everything. I'm just missing a hand."