32 Dolls, Dolls, Dolls
Monkey was stranded alone on the second floor, his eyes and ears staying alert to his surroundings. He had himself cooped up in the corner where he could get a good view of the staircase, so no matter which direction the murderer came from, he would be able to escape as fast as possible.
The lights in the scenario seemed to have gotten dimmer, and the eerie music toyed with his heart. Monkey pinched himself to focus and took a deep breath. As a medical student, he knew pain and oxygen were the best elements to make one calm down rapidly.
Monkey went through what happened earlier in his mind.
The timing of the monster's appearance is just too weird. He rushed at us right after Lao Zhao pointed out there was an eighth character hidden among us; that is too much of a coincidence.
Everyone lost their cool when Lao Zhao made that stupid discovery. If Brother Feng was allowed to use his phone and looked through us carefully, the eighth person would have been readily exposed. That was our first mistake. After the monster rushed at us, if we stood our ground and didn't rush off like a bunch of headless chicken, we would have been fine. That was our second mistake.
Monkey sighed slightly.
Yes, the monster rushing at us was scary, but it should not have been enough to make us all run off like that. It all started when that first person ran. His action ruined our thoughts, so if I'm not mistaken, that first runner was the eighth person. Earlier, I heard Xiao Hui's scream; she was the second to run and was closest to the mystery man, so this supports my hypothesis.
Monkey laughed self-deprecatingly. Then again, guessing it right and not being scared were too different thing. After all, being stranded all alone in this creepy Haunted House did still cause chills to rise up his spine.
The monster and the eighth person were working together, using psychological pressure to instill fear in us. If I'm not mistaken, their plan has always been to split us apart and then take us down one by one. Does the proprietor need to rely on such wicked psychological techniques just to scare someone?
Monkey was a brilliant student, but he was as big a coward as He San. In school, he did not dare enter the morgue unless accompanied.
I need to relay this information to Brother Feng and the others as soon as possible.
He took out his phone to call Brother Feng, and when he saw the stuff that was reflected in the shining surface of his phone, he trembled all over.
Why is this ragdoll sitting on the stairs? Didn't I leave it on the third floor earlier?
Monkey did not dare utilize the flashlight function, lest he attracted the unwanted attention of the monster. He turned his phone display toward the wall, and he saw a tattered ragdoll was lying against it.
Did someone accidentally kick it downstairs in the earlier commotion?
This was the only valid explanation Monkey could come up with. The ragdoll was filled with paper pieces and not mechanical parts, so it could not have been remote-controlled.
It's quite scary lying there like that.
Other than its slightly worn state, there was not anything particularly scary about the doll, but as Monkey stared at it, he had this suspicious feeling that it was alive. Monkey could not understand it either, but for some reason, he saw a young girl looking pleadingly at him when he looked at the doll.
I must be hallucinating. Either way, I have to leave this Haunted House as soon as possible if I want to keep my sanity.
Monkey called Brother Feng, and a ringing sound came from the third floor.
He's still up on the third floor? Or did he lose his phone like Lao Zhao did?
The ringing sound of the phone weirdly enough made the Haunted House feel creepier. Monkey did not hang up but shoved his phone into his pocket and slowly climbed up the stairs to the third floor. Hiding on the staircase, he looked down the corridor, and as he expected, Brother Feng's phone was left ringing on the floor.
Both Brother Feng and Lao Zhao have left their phones; I'll have to try someone else.
Standing alone at the third-floor staircase, watching the doors on either side of the corridor swing open and shut due to the draft, Monkey was feeling weak in his knees.
He scrolled down his contact list rapidly to look for other people's contact number when his phone vibrated and rang.
F*ck! What now!
It was a call from one of the group members.
Shi Ling? Why did she call me? Or is she also stranded alone like I am?
Like most young men, Monkey puffed his chest up with courage when he was interacting with a member of the opposite six. "Shi Ling, did you get lost from everyone else? Where are you now? I'll come get you."
"I'm trapped inside a room on the third floor; I didn't catch the room number, but please come and get me. This Haunted House is all sorts of wrong!" Shi Ling was normally a quiet and reserved girl. To be able to make her talk in such a drastic and hurried tone, something traumatic must have happened to her. She sounded like she was on the brink of tears.
"Slow down, how did you get trapped? None of the rooms have locks," Monkey explained as he walked down the corridor, trying to locate the room Shi Ling was in through the sound of her voice.
"I also don't know. After I ran in to hide, I was unable to open it anymore! And this room is different from others; there are two dolls sitting right in the middle of the room, side by side!"
"Sitting‽" The mention of dolls made Monkey's hair rise. If he did not see another doll in his life ever again, he would be satisfied.
"Please come and get me!" Shi Ling's voice turned shrill. From the sound of it, her sanity was fraying.
"I'll be there in a moment! Just get as far away from the dolls as you can for now and listen to what He San said earlier, do not touch anything in the room, I suspect those dolls…" Monkey halted mid-sentence because he suddenly realized that there was a ragdoll blocking his path, lying on the floor about half a meter away from his feet.
Resisting the urge to scream and toss the phone at the doll, Monkey took cautious steps toward it.
Long hair with an expression of guilt and self-reparation, different from the doll on the staircase. This one looks much mature in age.
After he thought that, Monkey's eyes widened.
What on Earth… how did I manage to read so many emotions from a mere doll? Is this fear talking? Or are the dolls too authentic? For some reason, I feel like they're like human beings with real emotions.
In any case, now is not the time to think about that. As long as the doll before me is not the one I saw on the stairs, then everything is fine. At least this proves that the dolls don't know how to move on their own. Things aren't as bad as I imagine. Focus, the most crucial mission now is to rescue Shi Ling.
Monkey shook his head violently, trying to steady his mind. He cheered himself on.
I'm merely scaring myself. If the doll from the staircase was indeed following me, she would not have appeared in front of me, right? She should be behind me. This is merely a trick by the boss; there's no need to be afraid.
To convince himself, Monkey turned to look behind him.
See, there's nothing…
Monkey's eyes zeroed in on a spot about one meter behind him, and the rest of his sentence was forcefully cut off. There it was, a ragdoll lying quietly on the floor.