\"Every time the man wakes up, it's 11:56 pm. When I was glancing at the time, it was exactly this time that was showing on the wall.\" Chen Ge turned his head to the wall again. The clock had moved the time to 11:57 pm. \"A recurring nightmare does fit the overall theme of the Haunted House quite well, so the perfect way to clear this scenario should be to break through this circle of nightmares.\"
Chen Ge moved the fruit plate on the coffee table to the side and placed the pieces of the mannequin that they had found so far on the table, \"The first change to this scenario will probably happen in three minutes. You guys had better find the remaining parts of the mannequin before the time runs out.\"
\"We all belong to the same team. Can you please use a more polite tone when addressing your teammates?\" One of the girls wanted to say something else but was stopped by the man with the glasses. The group split into two, and they started to explore the scenario. The scenario was not that big; it only had four rooms in total. With the living room that they first entered as the center, the room on the left-hand side was the bedroom, and the right-hand side led to the kitchen and bathroom. The visitors ransacked the places and overturned all the drawers and cupboards to look for pieces of the dead body while Chen Ge sat on the sofa in the living room studying the mannequin head.
\"On medium difficulty, the visitors only need to find the mannequin of the dead body to move on from this scenario, but will the condition of clearing this part of the scenario change now that the difficulty has been upgraded to hellish difficulty?\" He held the paper note that he had pulled out from the mannequin's mouth. \"Every day at midnight, he is killed with various methods. Is he in a nightmare that he cannot wake up from, or are the deaths that befall him every night real?\"
\"Ah!\" A scream that came from the bedroom interrupted Chen Ge's thought. Moments later, a female visitor ran out from the bedroom, and the youngest man followed closely behind him. He was holding a bloody axe in his left hand and the leg of a mannequin that had been chopped into three parts in his right.
\"I found this under the dresser, and other than that, I also discovered this.\" The man tossed a windbreaker onto the sofa. \"There are parts of the mannequin stuffed inside the pockets. I suggest you all come and take a look. I do not think I can manage this alone.\"
Chen Ge placed the mannequin on the coffee table and then followed the young man into the bedroom. The dresser's doors were open. All the clothes inside had traces of blood on it. There was a base of a lamp that was bloodied lying at the corner of the dresser.
\"The axe was also found inside the dresser. It is just a prop; the blade is not sharp.\" The young man's expression was calm. It did not appear like he was scared by this discovery.
\"The dead body was placed together with the murder weapon.\" Chen Ge seemed to understand something as he turned to look at the living room. On the coffee table sat a fruit plate, and on the fruit plate sat five fingers and the blade of fruit knife. The fridge had a human head, and the tray underneath the human head had a dining knife.
He took out all the clothes from the dresser, emptied all the pockets, and placed all the mannequin pieces that he could find on the table. The other visitors all looked at him. Even though they knew that the pieces were fake, it did not stop them from feeling disgusted and affected. The more they studied it, the more they felt fear toward Chen Ge. The man not only did not show any fear, he even placed the pieces of the mannequin back together. Looking at how focused he was, it was as if he was completing a jigsaw puzzle.
\"Doesn't he own a Haunted House? Why would he be so familiar with human anatomy?\"
\"Perhaps he used to attend Jiujiang Medical University. That would explain why the students often go to visit him. They are there to support their senior.\"
An increasingly complete mannequin started to appear on the table. With his two talents of Living Doll and Mortician's Makeup, Chen Ge had a deep understanding of the human body. After turning out all the pockets, Chen Ge finally found the thing that he had been looking for. He found a second paper note inside one of the coat pocket-'This is an inescapable nightmare! I have to find a way to end it! I can't sit here idly for it to crush me!'
\"What did you discover?\" Just as the man with the glasses asked that, the clock on the wall suddenly chimed. It was finally midnight. With a cuckoo sound, the small door under the clock opened, and a cuckoo bird sprang out. Strapped to it was a black-reddish heart.
\"Be careful!\" the youngest man suddenly screamed. He looked at his wrist band and retreated into the crowd. No one knew what the occupation of this young man was, but from his reaction, his occupation appeared to be one that could sense danger.
A creaking sound echoed in the room, the sound of water came out from the bathroom, and the curtains in the living room moved on their own. Other than a woman's crying and a girl's laughter, there was a third voice. It sounded like someone mumbling in his sleep. It was very incoherent, but it was certainly the sound of a man.
The dresser in the bedroom creaked noisily. The visitors turned to look at it. The dresser that Chen Ge had emptied earlier somehow had a piece of clothing hanging in it. It was a blood red jacket. Blood trailed down the clothes, and it swayed lightly inside the dark dresser. The police officer and the other visitors were squeezed in the middle of the living room. This event appeared to be something that was outside their expectation again.
\"A Red Specter?\" Chen Ge narrowed his eyes and focused his pupils. This was his natural instinct when he saw bloody clothes.
The hanger of the dresser dropped to the floor, but strangely enough, the blood jacket was still floating in the air. When everyone's attention was attracted by the Red Specter, the television in the living room flickered, and it switched on by itself. The sudden light caught everyone's attention, and they turned their heads. The television screen kept flickering, and between the different images, one could make out a blob of something dark. The dim lights above their heads fluttered several times before they went off completely. Now they could only borrow the glow from the television screen to look at their surroundings.
\"Who is speaking!\"
A strange man's voice came out from one of the rooms. All the visitors turned to look at it.
\"Bedroom! Look at the bedroom!\" The swaying red jacket had already floated out from the dresser. While everyone's attention was pulled by the television, the jacket had moved from inside the dresser to hang on the door of the bedroom.
\"Don't be afraid. We'll go and take a look at it together!\" The police officer sounded so nervous that Chen Ge started to suspect that they were not workers at the futuristic theme park but actual innocent visitors. The police officer and the man in the glasses approached the bedroom. Just as they were about to reach the door, the half-open bedroom door was pulled back, and a wounded arm suddenly reached out to drag the red jacket behind the door. Before the police officer and the man with the glasses could react, a decapitated head poked out from behind the door. He held a bloodied axe and swung it right at the police officer's head. The police officer was so scared that he crumbled to the ground. He screamed as he ran away from the attack. The strange man charged out from the bedroom and waved the axe at everyone in the living room. The harrowing screams of a man could be heard echoing around the living room.
\"Go to hell! Go to hell! Go to hell!\"
The visitors were busy as they tried to save their lives. Only Chen Ge stood where he was. The waving axe cut through his body. The strange man ran past him and crawled into the bathroom.
\"There are Red Specters among their projections.\" When Chen Ge saw the man, he knew that it was only a projection. As realistic as the blood on the man was, the blood did not drip to the ground, and the door that the man touched was not stained by blood either.
\"Only when the lights dim will the projection be able to appear; that should be the limitation of this technology.\"
\"That was too scary!\" The police officer stood up while holding his chest. \"We need to find the rest of the body. We can't stay here any longer!\"
\"There is no need to be in such a hurry, I have basically understood what happened inside this room.\" Chen Ge picked up the head that was sitting on the table. \"The clue was hidden in that projection earlier. If you look closer, you'll realize that the projection had the same face as this human head.\"
\"What does that explain?\" The police officer looked at Chen Ge holding the head, and for some reason, he felt like the man had done this exact motion many times before.
\"The first paper note says that the owner of this place was killed by someone with various methods at midnight; pay attention to the words that he used here-killed by someone. How could he be sure that his killer is a person and not a ghost?\" Chen Ge then showed the rest the second piece of paper note. \"The new paper note says that when he prepared to resist, a murder weapon was placed beside each piece of dead body. That can only mean one thing...\"
\"We do not have the time to listen to your story. You only need to tell us what we should do now!\" The door was chopped by the cleaver again. The chef could be coming in at any moment.
\"The owner of the room was killed every night, and the killer is himself. That is the recurring nightmare that has trapped him.\" Chen Ge was quite impressed by the scenario constructed by the futuristic theme park, but probably due to the time constraint, it lacked some polish, so the details were not as perfect as he would have hoped.
\"Then how are we supposed to escape? Kill the house owner again?\" the man with the glasses asked Chen Ge when a scream came from outside the door. It seemed to be the scream of the chef.
\"What is this‽ Open the door! Open the door! Please let me in!\" The chef suddenly banged incessantly and heavily on the door. The frame shook violently before it was followed by a heavy thump, which founded like the chef collapsing to the ground. Then there was silence.
\"What is the meaning of this?\"
The visitors inside the room looked at each other. The woman with the long black hair made a silent and quick signal at the police officer. The police shook his head lightly, and his face was getting pale.
\"How come the noises stopped?\" Chen Ge walked to the door and grabbed the doorknob. He looked through the gash that had been made by the chef's cleaver on the door. The chef was no longer there, and in the eerie corridor stood a little girl who was holding a doll. The girl had appeared in theater earlier. Half of her doll's face was burnt off, and it looked scary. Chen Ge used his Yin Yang Vision, but he got nothing. There was nothing out of place that he could see from this little girl.
\"What did you see?\" the police officer asked Chen Ge in a whisper. Chen Ge was leaning against the door. His eyes were looking through the hole made by the cleaver. He was worried that the chef might suddenly appear, and the cleaver might land on the same spot again.
\"The chef is gone. I believe this is purposely arranged by the Haunted House.\" When Chen Ge said that, he made sure to pay attention to the reaction of the people around him. The 'visitors' in the room did not seem to anticipate something like this happening.
His grip tightened, and Chen Ge was about to open the door when the police officer next to him stopped him. \"Just now, the chef desperately wanted to enter. That means that he ran into something scary outside the door. If you open the door now, the thing that the chef met earlier might just get into the room.\"
\"But if you do not open the door, you will never know what he ran into.\" Chen Ge was on another extreme from the other visitors.
\"We are a team. You might not care about your personal safety, but you can't drag us down with you.\" The police officer was so desperate that he grabbed Chen Ge by his arm. He used extreme force to stop Chen Ge from opening the door; he was not acting. Through all these details and other observations, Chen Ge was certain. There really was something hiding in the futuristic theme park's Haunted House. The police officer knew about it, but he did not share it with his colleagues.
\"Fine, then we will continue with the puzzle solving.\" Chen Ge lifted his head to look at the wall. When the projection of the Red Specter ran into the bathroom, the time had returned to 11:56 pm. Time had essentially reversed, but the crying and the girl's laughing did not stop, and the lights did not come back on.