302 I“ll Fulfil Your Dream
Since the old woman was in the hospital for her treatment, she rented the whole room to the agent. The agent, who was around thirty, was not a local, and following the company's requirement, he wore a white formal shirt every day. He was polite and kind.
However, that was hiding a broken man. He was an unlucky man. No matter what he did, he would fail for some reason. Other than that, weird things kept happening to him like having nightmares that his wife had been chopped up and shoved into drawers. It would haunt him for the whole night, and then he woke up in the morning, realizing he did not even have a girlfriend.
When he left home, the sun was shining, but the moment he stepped out, it started to pour. His shirt was soaked, and he decided to stop at the nearby shop to have breakfast. After breakfast, he realized that he had left his wallet at home. This meant that he could not call for a taxi. He walked to the company and was scolded by his boss for being late. He lost the client because he was late to the appointment, and when he returned home, he realized that a burglar had broken into his home.
Such a day of tragedy was an everyday occurrence for the man. However, compared to these things, the real despairing event was the realization that his own house was haunted!
He stayed in the old house alone, and whenever he wanted to relax at night by watching the television, before the punchline, someone would laugh behind him. There were many similar things. In the middle of his shower, someone would pass him the shampoo, and when he was trapped on the toilet without paper, the toilet paper would roll in on its own.
He had once been a firm non-believer, but the many things he had experienced inside the house changed his worldview. To prove that he did not suffer from a mental illness, he bought a camera and started to record his own home. One week later, he realized that there was indeed a ghost inside the home, and it was hiding inside the drawers!
The agent used wooden planks to seal up all the drawers and dressers, and the ghost stopped appearing. However, his bad luck seemed to worsen. About one month later, he was fired from his job, and on his way home, he died in a car accident.
After he died, the agent realized that a malicious ghost had been following him, and it was the spirits inside the home who had been helping him. After he sealed up the drawers and dressers, the malicious ghost had stopped being affected by the spirits, and it eventually took the agent's life.
The main character of the fourth story was the old landlady. The tenants who rented her place had all died from accidents. Her heart was wrought by guilt, thinking this was all her fault. Slowly, the old lady's mind twisted. She had this feeling her own son and the two tenants had not left the room and had stayed to accompany her.
She asked the neighbors, but those who knew about the home's past gave her a wide berth. They thought that she was a tragic woman. Some even moved away like the old lady would curse them. The tenants in the building slowly decreased, and the old lady retreated into herself.
Slowly, there were rumors that the old residential area was haunted, and the old lady was equated to the source of these stories. Everyone stayed away from her, and no one wanted to interact with her.
This went on for a long time until the old lady met a poor artist under the bridge. The man's face was wounded like he had just been in a physical altercation. The old woman pitied him and asked the artist to draw a portrait of her dead son.
Initially, she just wanted to find a reason to give the artist some money so that he could eat, but the finished portrait was not just similar to her son—he managed to capture his presence, aura, and gaze. The old lady treasured the portrait and hung it in her house.
To her surprise, there was someone who came to ask her about the rental the next day, and the newest tenant was the artist. The artist was surprised that the landlord was the old lady. He went through the old residential area and found the cheapest room.
Life was constructed by many coincidences. The artist found his first fan in his life, and the old woman found someone who was not afraid of her and wished to talk to her. The artist became the home's latest tenant. The old lady took the rental from him in a symbolic manner. She treated the artist like her own son, and her favorite thing to do was talk about his dreams and wishes.
One month later, the old lady found something weird about the artist. He would converse with his drawings, and every night at midnight, there would be weird noises coming from his room.
During the third month, the old lady finally followed her curiosity and sneaked into his room when the artist was out. In the end, inside the artist's drawer, she found a homemade comic made from a sketchbook. It had four stories.
The creepy drawing style and scary stories brought the characters to life, and the most surprising detail was that the first three stories matched the old lady's son, the English teacher, and real estate agent perfectly.
The more she read, the more afraid she became. Then she turned to the fourth story. To her surprise, she was the main character of the story, and it was telling the events that happened after she met the artist. The fourth story ended there, and it was the last story.
The fifth story was very short—it felt more like an epilogue. The main character was a comic artist. He did not look extraordinary. He was just like a normal middle-aged man.
The comic introduced his daily life. He woke up at 5:20 am and gave himself a pep-talk in the mirror. Then he started working. He would work until 8:20 am. He arranged his draft and personally went to Jiujiang's local publisher to recommend his story to the editor.
Alas, a month's hard work was denied in less than fifteen minutes. He left the office like a walking dead. He held the draft and sat by the road. He looked at the cars that zoomed past him and only returned home when the sky was dark.
He walked through the busy city and into the darkened staircase. He pushed the door open to Room 304.
The warm light fell on his body. The landlady cooked him dinner and said that she had seen the painting that he drew that morning. She told him it was a masterpiece. The artist could not remember how many times he had been rejected already. He apologized to the old lady and promised he would not pick up the paint brush again.
He hid himself in his room and locked the door. Hugging his knees, he curled up in the corner of the room. He looked at the drawer full of rejection letters and buried his head in his chest.
He had failed once more. He crumbled the rejected script into a ball and tossed it inside the dustbin. He kept complaining, saying that he had no talent, and decided to give up everything. He would jump from the building before he continued drawing. He talked to himself until midnight, and the tired artist fell asleep on the mat.
The lights in the room flickered before going out completely.
The draft in the trashcan floated out on its own, and it flattened itself out. It was placed carefully into the box under the bookshelf, and the table was carefully arranged to a tidy state.
The last panel of the comic was black and white. In the small room, the artist was already asleep, but there were several 'people' floating around him.
The first was a thin man; he used his remaining right hand to cover the artist with a blanket, grumbling how worrisome the man was. Beside him was a woman whose body seemed like it was going to collapse anytime soon. The woman's beautiful face was locked in a deep frown. She carefully taped the torn drafts together.
On the other side of the table was a man in a black shirt. He was using a pen to correct and edit the comic artist's draft.
The night passed by just like that. At 5:20 am the next morning, the alarm rang punctually, and the comic artist woke up from his dream. He turned off the alarm and looked at himself in the mirror. He smiled and gave him the daily pep talk. "A new day has begun. Give it your best shot! At least you're alive. One day you'll make it!"