219 Like the Real Thing
"Teacher Han, are you sure the right scenario is less scary than the left one?" Xiao Du held onto to the door handle. He found himself missing Tian Teng Medical School and the steel box that he could hide himself in.
"Why are you acting all panicked like this? The Chen person has said that the Third Sick Hall isn't fully complete yet, so what is so scary about an unfinished scenario?" Han Qiuming was the first to recover from the initial shock. He grabbed Guo Miao's arm. "Ol' Guo, both of us will go first."
"What has it got to do with me?" Guo Miao shook him off. "Didn't you say you're going to go alone?"
"I'm afraid you might run in the middle of the experience." Han Qiuming's face was as dark as the abyss, but due to the lack of light, no one could see it. "Fine, I'll take the front line. The rest of you follow closely, don't get left behind."
Han Qiuming pushed the door completely open, and pieces of rust fell to the ground. The group of them walked into the Third Sick Hall. There was an indescribable stench in the air, and abandoned pills as well as patients' records littered the ground. Han Qiuming walked forward alone, and the sights gradually unraveled his confidence.
Words of madness filled the wall, and combined with words of desperation, it made the skin of those who read them crawl. These were not things that a person with a sane mind could come up with. To make matters worse, as he walked deeper into the hospital, the bloody letters on the walls did not decrease but only became more frequent. They overlapped with each other, and none of them were repeated!
"How did the man come up with these sentences? Is he really a madman?" He squatted down and yanked off a corner of the mattress. It revealed a doll that was made from pillows and bed covers. It was a roughly-made doll, but Han Qiuming found it hard to pull his gaze away.
"You can even use this method to create the props inside the Haunted House? I've indeed learned something new today." Looking at the painted face on the doll, Han Qiuming knew that it was probably scrawled on by Chen Ge, but he was still greatly unsettled by it.
"Look here!" Su Luoluo stood at the door that led into the first sickroom. The group followed the direction of her finger. The doorknob was covered in blood streaks and scratch marks made from fingers.
She compared them to her own fingers. "They look real, unlike those that were gauged from tools."
"You're telling me the designer used his hands to leave those marks on the door?" Han Qiuming closed the mattress to cover the doll. "Be careful not to touch anything in here. You might trigger the trap. Especially these mattresses, I believe the actors are probably hiding in one of them."
He continued to move forward. The rest of them did not follow except the short-haired woman who entered the first sickroom alone. The windows were sealed, and a thick cement wall could be seen through the wooden slits. It created a sense of despair, like they were being trapped inside a prison cell.
Ye Xiaoxin dragged her finger carefully over the bed frame and discovered digging marks on the sides of the frame. "Come help me pull the bed up."
"We only have twenty minutes to clear this scenario, can you guys pick up your speed? Just ignore those insignificant details." Han Qiuming stood outside the room alone. Xiao Du and Song An entered the room to help Ye Xiaoxin. What they saw when they lifted the bed was out of their expectation.
There was a long, dark-red scratch mark down the side of the bed. There were even broken fingernails mixed into the grooves. It went to show the amount of pain the patient was in.
"Fake blood should have a faded red color when it dries up. This kind of dark red stain…" Song An pulled his neck back and whispered to Ye Xiaoxin beside him, "Looks like human blood."
"You sure this is human blood and not fake blood?" Ye Xiaoxin looked at the wooden frame and bent close to sniff at the groove. "There's no smell."
Song An was shocked by the girl's courageous move. He laughed awkwardly. "It could be pig's or cow's blood. To achieve authenticity, sometimes Haunted Houses use animal blood in place of fake blood."
"It's normal for Haunted Houses to have props with blood marks, especially a local Haunted House like Boss Chen's. Most of his props should be directly purchased from abandoned hospitals." Gou Miao had probably done something like that before. "Either way, we shouldn't let our guard down. There is blood on the bed frame, so that means that something very bad happened at this mental hospital before."
Ye Xiaoxin nodded before asking, "How do you explain the bloody scratch marks on the door knob? You're telling me the door knob was also taken from the mental hospital?"
Guo Miao was stumped.
"You also can't answer that, right?" Ye Xiaoxin took out her notebook. "I've visited many Haunted Houses before, and most of them only paid attention to the details around the scare points, but this Haunted House has an authenticity to every single detail. It is as if the boss has some kind of OCD."
"I also discovered something very scary." Su Luoluo turned to look at the ceiling. The sentences written with blood seemed to move before her eyes. "The handwriting for each sentence is completely different. They don't look like they're written by the same person."
"Different handwriting?" Guo Miao looked around closely, and his face turned paler. "You're right. How did Boss Chen manage to do this?"
Han Qiuming had moved forward, but he had turned back when he realized that the rest of his group was not following. He leaned against the door knob and boasted, "Didn't he say his Haunted House has been in operation for several years already? Give me five years, and I'll definitely be able to come up with something better than this."
"Will you spend a whole five years on a single scenario?" Guo Miao felt rather annoyed. He had already arranged everything, but it was ruined by Han Qiuming. "Boss Chen probably wasn't lying. This scenario is the scariest one he has at his Haunted House. We had better locate that tape recorder as soon as possible; I don't think we should stay here any longer."
Ever since entering the Third Sick Hall, he had felt uncomfortable. When he saw the interior decoration, that feeling had only intensified. The red marks on the door knob, the grooves on the side of the bed frame, the bloody sentences on the walls and ceiling—everything unsettled him. The memories buried within him were awakened, and it brought him back to the hospital where Xu Zhenzhen committed suicide.
"Ol' Guo, I didn't know you're such a scaredy cat. Yes, I admit that his Haunted House is amazing with his attention to detail, but this only proves that he is good at mimicking." Han Qiuming's eyes surreptitiously swept Ye Xiaoxin before he pushed on his glasses. "When I visited a large Haunted House overseas, the worker there told me that their props were all taken from an actual prison. Compared to that, this Haunted House is barely passable."
"You'll regret that overconfidence soon enough."
"I'm just telling the truth." Han Qiuming waved at them. "We only have sixteen minutes left, so let's get moving."
The few of them moved down the corridor, and only Xiao Du was left at the entrance to the Third Sick Hall. Looking at the letters on the wall, his heartrate started to rise. As he stared at them, the random letters seemed to move together to form a word.
"This place is too cursed; I'll just stay by the door."
He walked out of the Third Sick Hall and turned to look down the corridor that led to Mu Yang High School. He realized with a shock that the mannequins that were supposed to be at the end of the corridor had moved to a spot that was very close to them.
"What's going on?"
Xiao Du staggered back. He did not dare stay there alone, so he hurried to catch up to the others.
After he left, a mannequin with a nametag pinned to its lapel silently adjusted its head.