"This place seems to have been abandoned for a long time already."
It was a good thing that it was abandoned. That meant that no children would be harmed again.
Walking down the muddy path, Chen Ge pushed open the door of the gray house. A horrible stench rushed out from inside the house. Chen Ge's nostrils twitched. He stood at the door and did not go in. "I once smelled this in Li Wan City. It's a very unique smell and hard to describe. It is not as thick as the smell of decay, but it contains a chill to it as if after you suck it into your lungs, your whole body will shiver."
Using his Yin Yang Vision, Chen Ge looked into the room. Most of the furniture had been destroyed, and the floor was littered with broken plates and torn children clothes.
"This house didn't look like this at the beginning."
Chen Ge looked at the dilapidated room, but another image appeared in his mind. It was this same room, but it was surrounded by the laughter of children. Light blue and light pink wallpaper was pasted on the walls. The table was not high, and it was filled with toys and delicious food.
"Has the ghost who once stayed here left?"
Chen Ge was about to walk into the room when his phone suddenly vibrated. The caller ID showed an unknown caller.
"I have both Inspector Lee and Captain Yan's numbers, so this should not be the police. Who would call me at this moment?"
He accepted the call, and a boy's voice came through the line. "Chen Ge, when will you bring me home?"
"Fan Yu?" Chen Ge was confounded.
"Mr. Chen, it's me. We just met not long ago." Another familiar voice appeared. It was the teacher from the Children's Home. "Fan Yu, let me talk to Mr. Chen for a moment."
"Did you discover something?" Chen Ge had left his number with the Children's Home, so he was not surprised that they would contact him. But Fan Yu, who did not like to speak, voluntarily called him by his name. Other than surprise, he was quite happy.
"We found something huge. All the files and medical treatment files before the Children's Home was taken over by the government were locked inside the warehouse. We searched for information related to Fang Yu, and we realized that the information about a child in their class was missing."
"The information for one of the children is lost?"
"Yes, it's like his presence has been wiped out. You might not believe this, but according to the research we've done, there is always one person missing in the total count. In the class picture, there is a boy's face that is blurred out, just like the picture that you showed us!" The teacher had given Chen Ge a valuable hint. "I just called a few seniors who worked at the orphanage back then, and everyone remember this chatty boy. They all know about him, but no one can remember what he looks like."
"Everyone has forgotten what he looks like?"
"Not only his looks, even his name and age."
"Other than that, did you find any other clues?"
"I heard from one of the seniors that the boy used to be very chatty when he was young, and he slowly became normal after he grew up. Everyone thought that he had gotten better, but that was not the case." The teacher had revealed another secret. "His illness had actually gotten more serious. But after he grew old, he was wise enough to understand that people did not like when he ran his mouth off, so he tried so hard to suppress his nature.
"The senior once saw that the boy would often run to an unoccupied corner and talk to himself like he was unloading the words that he couldn't say before others. Other than that, he formed the habit of keeping a diary. She once stole a look at it, and the diary was filled to the brim with words, but none of them made any sense. It was impossible to tell what the boy was trying to express."
"Is it possible to find that diary?"
"That will be hard. I'll try to make some more calls. If I find anything, I'll call you back."
The teacher hung up. Chen Ge stood at the door and looked at the house that was different from how he remembered. "No one can remember his name and looks. Why is that?"
Almost everyone had forgotten him except Fang Yu, who had the poorest memory. She had been looking for him. After entering the room, the smell thickened. The first floor was for the children to play, so Chen Ge did not find anything there. With Xu Yin by his side, he climbed to the second floor. When he came to the wooden steps, Chen Ge covered his nose. The unique smell came from the second floor.
"Let's go up together." The wooden steps had been built many years ago. They creaked noisily when he walked up them, and it felt like the stairs would crumble at any moment. As they moved up the steps, Chen Ge realized that the steps started to have words carved into them. They appeared to be dug out with bloody fingernails.
The handwriting on the steps became more intense. When Chen Ge reached the second floor, his eyes widened, and he was stumped. The floor, ceiling, walls-every crook and corner was filled with the name 'Fang Yu'.
At that moment, not far from Chen Ge was a man who was lying on the ground, using his bloody finger to grate at the ground.
He was so fully focused that he did not notice Chen Ge. He was kneeling on the ground, carrying an altar on his back.
The altar looked similar to the one that he had seen at the futuristic theme park, but the mud statuette inside this altar was not decapitated. Furthermore, it did not have Chen Ge's name, but instead, it was covered in Fang Yu's name.