252 Not Human
When the passenger got back into the car, it was exactly midnight. He hugged the black package and kept his head hidden under the hood of his jacket. The color of his shirt seemed to have become deeper. Ol' Zhang forced himself to not look at the mirror, but his gaze kept wandering toward it.
"How come it feels like a different person has returned," Ol' Zhang muttered softly to himself as he clicked the warning page on his phone open.
"Going back to Huai Hua Street?"
"Do you live there? There are normally elders who live at Jiujiang's old streets, so it's rare for someone your age to reside there."
"No, I'm not staying there." The passenger's tone was weird. He answered with short phrases, and they sounded dark.
"Listening to your accent, are you a Jiujiang local? Lately, it has been rather unpeaceful at night, so I'd suggest you go home instead of running about." Ol' Zhang did not want to return to that damn street; he was afraid of running into yet another weird customer. "Where is your home? How about I just drive you home?"
"My home?" The passenger lowered his head even more to focus on the black package on his lap and did not add anything else. Since the man did not elaborate, Ol' Zhang was too embarrassed to press. He turned the taxi around, back toward the city.
The atmosphere got even more depressed after the car started moving. Sitting inside the same space with the passenger, Ol' Zhang felt weirdly congested. He opened the car windows. As the night breeze entered the taxi, Ol' Zhang felt more refreshed. He turned to look at the passenger.
No matter how the car bounced about, the passenger kept his upper body in the same fixed position. The man had probably been in a hurry earlier because the t-shirt looked wrinkled, like he did not have time to change it. The uppermost buttons were undone, and there was an inconspicuous strangulation mark.
Was he assaulted inside the crematorium? Wait, those looks like marks left behind from a hanging!
Ol' Zhang was even more nervous. Half of his attention was focused on the passenger; he was afraid that something might happen once he pulled his gaze away.
His pupils shook, and Ol' Zhang's heart was racing. He was worried that his action would be discovered, but he was even more worried that the passenger might do something insane. He stepped on the gas because that was the best solution. As long as he got back to the city with crowds around, he should be safe.
The car windows were open. The wind blew into the car, and Ol' Zhang kept his gaze on the backseat. The passenger seemed to be frozen, but the black cloth around the item on his lap lifted up at a corner. The cloth slid away to reveal the package's real identity.
His blood rushed to the brain, and Ol' Zhang's heart raced. It was a ceremonial urn! The thing that the man had taken from the crematorium was an urn!
His arms started to shake, and his fingers curled inward like he was suffering from an involuntary spasm. A chill climbed his spine.
The passenger did not seem to notice that the urn had been revealed. The taxi continued to fly down the road. With the wind doing its work, the other half of the cloth had been lifted off as well.
Now, Ol' Zhang had a closer look. The black cloth was holding a black urn, and there was a picture on top of the urn. The driver slowed down as he turned his focus on the picture. He could not get a good look, but the chin and lips of the man in the picture had similarities to those of the passenger inside the car.
He went to the crematorium to retrieve his own urn in the middle of the night?
Ol' Zhang did not dare to finish his thought. His body was shaking. He kept one hand on the steering wheel while his other sought out his phone to call the police. However, when his hand touched the phone, he glanced behind out of habit, and a pair of bloodshot eyes were looking back at him!
The passenger, who had kept his head lowered, had raised his face—a face that was similar to the picture on the urn, just a little bit whiter. Ol' Zhang's skin crawled. Thanks to his years of driving experience, he managed to keep hold of the car or else they would have been in an accident already.
The taxi continued to move. They would enter the city in the next few minutes, but Ol' Zhang's situation was getting worse. The passenger kept his eyes on the rear-view mirror, so whenever Ol' Zhang tried to look in the mirror, a pair of eyes would be staring at him.
The breeze had blown the black cloth away, so the passenger sat in the back, completely unmoving, holding his own urn in his lap.
"What is he thinking‽"
There were no other cars on the road, and Ol' Zhang's heart was burning. He had an illusion that he was driving the wrong way. This was not the road heading to the city but deeper into the countryside.
"What should I do‽" He had called the police and sent out a SOS message in the chatgroup, but there was no one around to help him. Whenever he raised his eyes to the mirror, Ol' Zhang felt as if the eyes had gotten closer to him.
He gripped the steering wheel tightly as the temperature in the car dropped. He was leaning against the chair, but it did not feel soft at all.
His phone that he had dropped to the side started to vibrate. Someone was calling him, but Ol' Zhang did not dare answer.
"Hey." The passenger suddenly spoke, and it caused Ol' Zhang to shiver.
Two seconds later, he said, "Y… Yes?"
"Someone is calling you."
Ol' Zhang looked at his phone. The app to call the police with one touch had disappeared, and in its place was an unknown number calling in. The call was hung up soon enough, like the person on the other end of the phone also realized that something was wrong.
"Just ignore it. We can't talk on the phone while driving anyway." Ol' Zhang laughed drily.
Then he glanced at the phone again—a message had come in.
"Quickly stop your car! Run down the road as fast as you can! It's not a human being sitting at the back of your car!"
The message showed on the screen for several seconds. Ol' Zhang saw it, and the passenger at the back also saw it. "My friend, always a joker."
Ol' Zhang picked up the phone to place it beside the steering wheel. He was about to say something, but when he raised his head to the rear-view mirror, he was shocked to realize the passenger had his face stuck to the partition between them!
There was an inexplicable smile on the passenger's face.
"There's no need to deny it. I'm sure you've noticed it already." The hood of the jacket fell off. The passenger's neck slowly moved, and there was another face growing on the back of his head.
"Technically, he is still human, but I'm not." This sentence was said by the face on the back.
Ol' Zhang had forgotten what he should do. His mind was blank. He remembered stepping on the brake. The taxi stopped several meters later. He ran out of the taxi, screaming.
The passenger also got out. He turned away from Ol' Zhang, and an ugly smile appeared on the face behind his head.
"There's nowhere to run. This body has been targeted by a madman, so I need a new partner."
The passenger faced away from Ol' Zhang, and like a puppet pulled along by a string, he chased after Ol' Zhang, running backwards.