416 Expansion of the Morgue
The reason Chen Ge came to find Zhang Li was because the security guard had been acting weirdly inside the Haunted House, and Chen Ge believed that the man had experienced something unique before. Zhang Li's somberness came from his soul; he should be hiding many secrets that he could not share with others in his heart. Being stared by Chen Ge, Zhang Li was nervous. His lips opened several times, but he made no sound.
"Please don't be hesitant, tell me everything you've seen and heard." The more Zhang Li acted like this, the more curious Chen Ge became.
"It's not that I don't want to, but I'm afraid you won't believe me even if I do." Zhang Li took out a cigarette from his pocket and asked, "Do you mind?"
"Of course not, this is your place. Don't mind me."
After he got Chen Ge's approval, Zhang Li lit the cigarette and took a deep puff. He enjoyed the feeling of the smoke filling up his lungs; it was as if only then would he be able to forget these annoying problems. The smoke escaped from his lips, and the first words Zhang Li said already grabbed Chen Ge's attention. "The cadavers down in the underground morgue know how to move on their own."
"That's not even the scariest thing." Zhang Li's arm trembled slightly. "When I first took up the guard post at Western Jiujiang Medical University, the school was in the middle of expanding the underground morgue. The pools that were originally used to store the cadavers had to stop their usage, and the admin planned to make a more advanced mortuary. The morgue is underground, so the work was hard.
"Initially, the school planned to transform the largest morgues at the deepest part of the place, they wanted to crack open the cadaver pools and redo everything. They hired a professional team to handle it, and the renovation was scheduled to finish in less than half a month. However, on the second day of the renovation, an accident happened.
"When one of the workers was cleaning the Formalin inside the pool, he accidentally fell into the pool. The pool was not deep, but the worker was simply unable to climb out. He said there were many hands holding him back, refusing to let him go." Zhang Li soon finished the cigarette. He shrugged and said, "The large cadaver pools were similar to the open bathing pools that were common in the past; however, the liquid in the pool was brownish in color and opaque. You could only see the cadaver's limbs, back and hair floating above water."
"What happened to the worker that fell into the pool?" Chen Ge was more curious about that.
"There was a metal hook used to fish the cadavers out from the water. The workers who were present dropped the hook into the pool and had the man who fell in grab the hook. With the cooperation of many people, they finally fished him out of the water." Zhang Li lit another cigarette. He was a heavy smoker, especially when he was thinking about those dark memories stored in the back of his mind. "When the man fell into the pool, he accidentally swallowed a mouthful of the formalin, and thus, he was quickly rushed to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. The man was fine, but I heard that after he recovered, something was wrong with his mind. He was simply not the same anymore."
"Do you still have contact with that man? Did he say anything before he went insane?"
"I'm not sure, this was already so long ago. But if you really need to know, I can help you ask around at the school. Don't keep your hopes up though."
"Okay, do continue." Chen Ge took out his phone to record any details that he deemed important.
"After the man was sent to the hospital, the renovation work continued as normal, but on the night after that, another strange event happened." Zhang Li's expression was one of distress like he still felt uncomfortable thinking about it. "The number of cadavers that had been moved out by the team in the morning changed."
"This is what you meant by moving corpses?"
"I suppose so, but the scariest thing happened later." Zhang Li was telling the stories of others, so he did not explain how he became like this. His voice dropped, and Zhang Li took another puff of the cigarette. "The team went deeper into the morgue on the third day. After they dealt with all the bodies inside the first morgue and moved away the pool that was built more than twenty years ago, all the workers were stunned by what they found.
"At the bottom of the pool, just like in a human body, the ground was covered with blood vessels. When light hit them, they quickly squirreled away." Zhang Li had a frown on his pale face. "At the time, I was present, and I also looked in. How shall I put this? It felt like the pool was alive."
"Blood vessels underneath the pool?" Chen Ge recorded Zhang Li's words.
"The person responsible for the team found the school admin to report this, but the school didn't have a good explanation. In the end, they said that it was some kind of extremely rare fungus." Zhang Li shook his head. "Even an uneducated man like myself knew they were lying. The renovation team said that they want to stop the work, but after the school offered to double the salary, the team continued.
"That afternoon, the team dug deeper into the pool because they wanted to expand the space, but the more they dug, the more worried they became. The soil underneath the pool reeked of formalin, and the soil was reddish in color. One could also spot lines that were dark brown, and they broke once you tried to touch them. No one knew what they were; they did not look like plant roots or insects.
"The team relayed the situation to the school. They even collected some soil samples and sent them to the school. The school could not give a clear explanation—they just rushed the team to move faster.
"To calm the people from the renovation team, the school arranged for someone to accompany them, telling them not to worry and everything that they had come across so far was something normal." Zhang Li seemed to have plenty of issues with how the school handled the situation. His tone shifted slightly. "At the time, I was a newbie, and no one wanted to enter the underground morgue, so the task naturally fell on my shoulders. I was just a lackey for the school, and I didn't know anyone from the renovation team, so I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
"The renovation speed was very slow because weird things kept happening. The team members kept getting injured, and eventually, they all gave up and refused to work. The school eventually relented, and after some discussion with the foreman, they changed the plan.
"They planned to expand the mortuary outwards and stopped using the original morgue, abandoning it completely.
"However, there was a condition to the school's compromise. They needed the team to finish the work within a month. If the renovation couldn't be completed within the time limit, then it would be viewed as a violation of contract."