Weak, frightened, cowardly, and the pitiable, the man who hid inside the wind chime was like a small animal who had been tortured by his owner. Wang Dan could not explain the emotions that surged through him. When he saw the face in the wind chime, his first reaction was not fear but pity for the man.
"Things shouldn't be that simple." Wang Dan held the wind chime in his hands, and after a moment's contemplation, his eyes slowly widened. "Is it trying to take advantage of our sense of pity? Damn, I almost fell for it!"
He reached his finger into the wind chime and poked the man's face. His fingertip phased through the face. "I knew it, this is just a projection."
"Save me! Do not abandon me! Please bring me with you! I beg you! I beg you!" The man's pleas entered Wang Dan's ears. Wang Dan shook the wind chime and studied it closely. "I cannot tell at all where the voice came from. This wind chime is surprisingly high tech."
"Stop shaking! Stop shaking! You're going to alert the big dog!"
"Big dog?" The sound of footsteps came from the stairs that led to the basement. A different stench permeated the air. Even the profuse number of air fresheners was unable to cover up this smell.
"Run! Bring me with you! The dog is coming!" The man's face paled drastically, and he was so scared that his face was unrecognizable. Wang Dan had not been that scared in the beginning, but influenced by the man in the wind chime, his heart started to shake.
"Of all the buildings here, this is the only building with a doghouse, so this place should be related to a dog. Could there really be an angry dog kept here?" Animals were different from human actors. They could not be easily controlled when they went on a rampage. Wang Dan believed that even Chen Ge would not have reared a large dog inside the Haunted House. "The dog probably means something else."
Before Wang Dan understood the meaning, the stench hit his nose. The shadow of a man appeared at the end of the corridor. He was medium-sized, and his face was shrouded in shadows. The smell seemed to originate from him.
"Run! Run for your life!" the man screamed.
"That's the dog?" Lights streamed into the room from the open window. Wang Dan got a close look of the man's face. He looked similar to the man in the wind chime. "Even the appearance is similar; this has to be a trap. One to build up the atmosphere and the other waiting for the opportunity to strike. They cooperate from both ends, pushing the visitors into a desperate situation!"
Wang Dan tried to analyze the scenario. He felt like he had understood the common ploy used by Chen Ge's Haunted House.
"What are you talking about? I just want to leave! I need to leave this place!"
"This man before us is probably not alive; it's more like to be some kind of mannequin. In other words, the real horror is not that 'dog'; its presence is merely to create some kind of pressure. If I really follow the order of the man inside the wind chime, I'm afraid we will only slowly walk into the boss' trap!"
Wang Dan's explanation baffled the man inside the wind chime. He had placed his hope in the visitor, but the man seemed to have completely altered the meaning of his words.
"I am not the person that I once was. I shan't be so easily tricked. This time, I shall walk out on my own two feet!" Without wasting time to hesitate, Wang Dan yanked the wind chime down from the wall and turned to run.
When he moved, the mannequin in the corridor fell to the ground with his limbs. Like a hungry dog, it charged at Wang Dan!
If he did not leave the room earlier but chose to explore deeper into it, it would have been over already. Wang Dan and his girlfriend rushed ahead while the half-dog half-man mannequin chased after them. It weaved through the darkness and lurched out from the house. The monster did not seem to be limited by the scenario; it could move through the entire small town freely!
"It's coming after us!" The fearful male voice entered Wang Dan's ear.
"It can move out from its sub-scenario‽" Wang Dan was surprised. He and his girlfriend were exhausted; they could barely run any longer. Seeing as the distance behind them had closed, Wang Dan and his girlfriend found a random building and crawled into it.
The door was slammed into heavily. The half-dog half-man monster seemed hellbent on capturing them.
"Wang Dan, what should we do now‽" Wang Dan looked at the monster going berserk outside the door, and he was afraid, but he did not let it show on his face. He forced himself to appear calm as he said, "It is as I thought-the wind chime and the mannequin are working together! The only reason it is chasing after us is because of the wind chime's command!"
"I'm commanding it?"
Wang Dan did not give the wind chime the chance to explain itself. He raised the wind chime and tossed it in the direction opposite from the way he was running!
"Wait! Wait a minute!" In the air, the wind chime screamed for mercy, but no one cared about him anymore. The monster's eyes were trailing the wind chime, and it did not show any interest in Wang Dan at all.
It ran in the direction opposite from Wang Dan. It bit the wind chime in its jaw. To prevent the wind chime from escaping again, the monster did not replace the wind chime but hung it around his neck.
Seeing that the monster had stopped chasing them, Wang Dan was quite excited. For the first time, he had managed to use his intelligence and bravery to obtain a victory in Chen Ge's Haunted House.
"Boss Chen's Haunted House is beatable. With courage and attention to detail, there is a chance to clear it." Wang Dan suddenly gained a lot of self-confidence. He glanced at the time, thinking that perhaps this visit might be his personal breakthrough.
"The monster finally left." Wang Dan's girlfriend had her hand on her chest. "How about we surrender now? If we stay any longer, who knows what else will happen?"
"No way, there's only ten or so minutes left. We need to survive until the end!" Wang Dan and his girlfriend conversed in the living room, but the door to the bedroom creaked open on its own. The sound of a music box drifted out, and a girl's mumbling could be heard lacing through the music.
"Mother and Father have entered the basement. After Father came out, he locked the door. He carried a black bag with him. He touched my head and said, 'Disobedient children will be taken away by the ghosts.'
"I lay in bed, thinking back to what mother said.
"Before going to bed, I need to pull up the cover; before going to bed, I have to close the window; before going to bed, I need to check the armoire; before going to bed, remember to check the space under the bed... if I'm sleeping alone.
"Father left home carrying the bag, leaving me behind.
"I looked under the cover, out the window, inside the armoire, under the bed, but I cannot find mother."
The strange melody coupled with the girl's innocent voice created an eerie feeling. This new sound appeared so suddenly that both Wang Dan and his girlfriend closed their mouths instantly as they turned to look at the bedroom in unison.
The music box was still playing, and a new female voice appeared.
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"Red eyes are watching you. You can't see me, but I can see you.
"I move with your gaze. I hide under the bed, inside the armoire, behind the window, before crawling under your covers.
"I lay down behind you and above you, but you still cannot see my red eyes."