9 Scared to Tears
"Senior, how come I feel like these paper mannequins are looking at us?" He San grabbed hold of the wooden door, refusing to step into the room. "I'm not kidding! Something must be wrong with them! Could it be that they're all living people playing dress-up‽ F*ck, I have a feeling they're all going to move soon enough!"
The paper mannequins that had been touched up by Chen Ge using Mortician's Make-up had something weird about them. They were obviously inanimate objects, but there was a certain liveliness to them.
Gao Ru Xue glared angrily at He San. She thought to herself,
Why did I bring him with me today‽ Fear is contagious; I was not so afraid to begin with, but because of him, even I feel slightly affected.
"Do you mind keeping your opinions to yourself? If you give anymore useless observations like that, I'm just going to leave you here."
She was the first to step into the room to take a cursory look around. The windows in the Main House were just decorative; they did not lead outside.
"Senior, let's go. This building is heavy with Yin energy, and the place is sealed. The exit is definitely not here."
"The owner of this Haunted House is a master manipulator who knows how human psychology works, so we have to act the complete opposite of how a normal people would. A place like this that does not seem to harbor the exit is exactly where we need to examine closer." Gao Ru Xue walked around the room, sending up wafts of air that caused some of the paper mannequins that had toppled to the floor to scrape unnaturally.
He San's heart was at his throat, still standing outside the door. "But there's no hiding place in this room; you can see every surface. Where can the exit possibly be hidden?"
"No hiding place? Who told you that?" Gao Ru Xue stopped at the middle of the room, raised her fair leg to step on the red coffin. "Come help me, we're opening this coffin!"
"Open that thing‽" He San's white lips were quivering. "Isn't that a bit too disrespectful?"
"You plan to spend the rest of your life in this Haunted House?" Under constant urging from Gao Ru Xue, He San moved inch by inch deeper into the room. He made sure to stay far away from the paper mannequins. He bent over to grab one side of the coffin's lid.
"On the count of three, pull!"
"Dong!" Gao Ru Xue was only half way through the countdown when there was a loud noise in the room.
"What was that?" He San's soul practically jumped out of his skin.
"Shush!" Gao Ru Xue put her finger to her lips to have him quiet down. She looked around before her gaze eventually fell on the red coffin before her. "The sound seems to have come from inside the coffin."
When she said so, color drained from He San's face. His Adam's apple trembled unevenly, and his hands, which were holding the coffin lid, were shaking like he was holding a hot iron brand. "Senior, I beg of you, there's nothing here, can we go now?"
"Calm down, the sound only occurred when we planned to open the lid, don't you think that's very strange?"
"Senior, the coffin just made a sound; that's a hell of a lot more than strange!" He San's fear was greatly amplified by Black Friday; at that moment, he just wanted to leave as soon as possible.
"Think about it, there are only two reason that a coffin could make a sound. One, there's a worker hiding in it waiting to scare us when we open the coffin. Two, there's a hidden machine set-up inside it and activating it will cause some changes to this Minghun scenario. So, no matter which possibility it is, this coffin is crucial to this scenario. If we wish to escape, we have to open this coffin." Gao Ru Xue slapped the lid twice, adding, "Don't hesitate, just pull it open."
"Even though I have no idea what you just said, it did sound quite logical."
He San and Gao Ru Xue applied their strength at the same time, and the heavy coffin lid started to slide. When the coffin was a quarter of the way open, the ancient-looking coffin suddenly exploded with a loud bang without warning.
Innumerable paper mannequins and paper money shot out from within the coffin, and a strange woman's laugh filled the room. At that moment, the Main House door started to close on its own!
"Let's go before it's too late!" He San did not hesitate. He was close to the entrance, and in his hurry to escape, he had forgotten completely about his senior. He dashed to the door in several steps, but before he could jump through the door, the face of a woman flew in front of him!
It was a death visage that was pale, exquisite, and breathtakingly beautiful!
"F*ck!" He San's first reaction was to raise his arm to punch at the face. However, the owner of said face seemed to have predicted his reaction because it easily swiveled away from his assault.
"Ghost! Help!" He San collapsed to the floor and half-crawled, half-ran in a random direction.
"He San! Don't sprint around aimlessly!" Gao Ru Xue yelled at the top of her lungs when she saw a red shadow follow He San into the building he chose to hide in.
"The side houses are for the sons and daughters. This is bad; the place He San has gone into was the living area for the specter before she died!" Gao Ru Xue rushed outward, but she realized the door had locked. She banged on the wooden door cursing, "Divide and conquer? Isn't this just a Haunted House attraction? Is it really necessary to do such a sick thing‽"
The coffin had broken in pieces, and the paper mannequins littered the floor. Gao Ru Xue, who was trapped, had completely lost her collected composure. She punched and kicked at the door and finally got it to open one minute later.
However, in that one minute, everything outside the Main House seemed to have changed.
"Xiao San? He San!" Gao Ru Xue shouted twice, but there was no answer. Other than the eerie background music, there was only the shuffling sound of paper money brushing against each other as her reply.
What's going on? The Haunted House is only so big, so it is impossible for He San not to have heard me, or did some accident befall him?
For a reason Gao Ru Xue couldn't explain, an image of a crime scene flashed across her mind. She trailed down the corridor and found her way to the West House by tracing her memory.
Xiao San ran in this direction earlier.
As the old wooden door creaked open, the celebratory calligraphy written on white paper fluttered to the ground. Gao Ru Xue stepped into the room. The room was decorated as a newlywed room, but instead of red, the color of celebration, all the decorations were white, the Chinese funereal color. It was creepy to say the least.
Where has he run off to?
The atmosphere in the room was off. The only light source was the white lantern hanging outside the door. Gao Ru Xue stepped slowly forward as cold drafts blew in from behind her. Her exposed skin was chilled like there were small invisible hands in the air caressing her skin.
The paper money crunched under her feet, and occasionally, she would kick something hard that she could not tell the identity of because it was too dark. She gritted her teeth and powered on.
Gao Ru Xue pulled the drapes in the room open to let some of the light in. The place was empty other than a bed that was covered underneath a mosquito net as well as a set of bronze mirrors that sat facing each other next to the wall.
I saw He San run into this room with my own two eyes. Only one or two minutes have passed since then, so he could not have disappeared so soon? Unless… the exit is in this room and He San accidentally stumbled across it?
Gao Ru Xue took a deep breath before deciding to perform a closer examination of the room. However, as she took the first step, she heard a second set of footsteps falling closely behind hers.
"Who's behind me?"
She whipped around, but she only saw a bronze mirror and her reflection in the mirror itself.