600 Shadowless Man
The dirty hair swayed with the rhythm of the wind. The sound of bones grinding came from the woman's throat. She moved extremely fast, and while Chen Ge spoke, she was already pressing against him. From the way she reacted, it did not seem like she was in the mood to listen to what Chen Ge had to say.
"I haven't felt this for so long." Cold sweat kept pouring like he was dancing on the edge of a cliff. Chen Ge leaned against the back of the sofa while gripping the armrests as tight as he could. "I don't mean to offend you. I came here just to find the truth of something that happened here some time ago! There was a tenant in this room who was haunted by an evil spirit several years ago. Back then, you showed up to warn him of the danger that he was in, and if he did not find out the reason why, he would not be long for this world!"
If this was any other person, they would be blubbering by then or screaming mindlessly. But Chen Ge was different. He said everything that he wanted to in the shortest amount of time. The ghost did not press closer, and Chen Ge sighed in relief. He adjusted his posture to be more comfortable, and as he moved his neck, he noticed a boy standing next to him.
The boy's skin was startling ashy, and his spine was snapped, so his head hung around his chest. His eyes moved up and down as he gave Chen Ge a close inspection.
"Is this your son? He's such a little cutie…" Chen Ge peeled his lips back to reveal a smile. He knew that the souls here did not have much impression of Jia Ming, so after a brief hesitation, he quickly added, "That tenant was once my best friend. He told me the best time of his life was spent at this old building. The senior landlady treated him very well, and he treasured this part of his memory. But recently, it seems like he's changed into a completely different person. He keeps rambling on about destroying everything that was good in the world to regain control of himself. Initially, I thought he was just kidding, but reality proved that I was wrong. If I didn't call the police to stop him last night, he would have shown up here with a knife already!"
Stuck between the two ghosts, Chen Ge had no idea what he was talking about, but he knew to push all the blame onto Jia Ming. The ghosts there should have seen the shadow before, so Chen Ge believed that if he kept bringing up the incident from several years ago, it should be enough to jog their memory.
He did not need to spend all of his effort in trying to persuade the spirits—he only needed a chance from them to explain himself and to not come for his life when he was so vulnerable. Then, everything else would be a piece of cake.
"Even now, I can't believe that my dear friend has snapped like that. Therefore, I rushed here to warn the senior landlady about the danger she's in. There's a monster possessing my friend's body that's coming after her!" The more he talked, the more agitated he became, and gradually, that overcame the terror that Chen Ge felt. "The old lady is a kind person, and kindness should not be repaid with harm or vengeance!"
For the spirits in the old building, Jia Ming was nothing more than a passing tenant, but their connection to the old lady was different; she was their family. After saying all that, the boy next to him turned to look at the female ghost. Her expressions kept shifting, so Chen Ge could not tell what she was thinking.
His mind moved, and after combining her previous experience, he came up with three different solutions to resolve the conundrum that he was in. However, just as he was about to put one of them into action, the woman and the boy suddenly retreated to the sides and disappeared.
The door was pushed open, and a seventy or eighty year old granny appeared at the door, holding the key in her gnarled hand. She mumbled, "Qian Qian? Is that you?"
The old lady's face, which was filled with wrinkles, looked around the room with anticipation before falling on Chen Ge, who was sprawled on the sofa.
"Please let me explain!" Chen Ge quickly stood up to walk toward the old lady, but his pant leg was pulled back. He turned to look and saw the boy hiding behind the sofa. He was grapping Chen Ge's leg, and that curious head turned left and right like he was warning Chen Ge from revealing their presence to the old lady.
"Don't worry, but who were you talking to?"
Even though the lady was old, she was not a bit senile. She entered the room and peered behind Chen Ge. By then, the woman and the boy had already disappeared.
"Was I talking earlier?" Seeing the old lady enter the room, Chen Ge said softly, "Granny, please don't misunderstand. I'm not a burglar—I just came here to ask you some questions. I saw the door was unlocked, so I thought I'd come in here to find you, but the wind suddenly picked up and slammed the door shut from outside."
"You're telling me it was the wind that locked the door?" The old lady was not easily tricked. She looked at Chen Ge and reached into her pocket. Chen Ge thought that she was going to grab some weapon to defend herself, so he was on high alert, but as it turned out, she was merely going to hand him a clean handkerchief. "Use this to wipe away your sweat. It's fine even if you're a burglar—there's nothing here worth stealing anyway."
"Granny, you're such a nice person." Chen Ge relaxed completely and decided to come clean. "I have a friend who once rented this room from you, but he's in a bad place right now. He keeps saying that there's another person living inside him and kept rambling about destroying all the good memories in his life…"
"You're also here because of Jia Ming?" The old lady interrupted him.
He frowned, and Chen Ge quickly asked, "Someone has been here asking about him before me?"
"A few days ago, a police officer with the surname Yan came to confirm some things with me."
"Captain Yan? What questions did he ask?" Chen Ge was instantly reminded of Captain Yan.
"Mostly about my impression of Jia Ming. The child came from the countryside. He was honest and hardworking, and the only negative traits were his stubbornness and misfortune." A trace of melancholy entered the old lady's voice with the mention of Jia Ming.
"Then did he ask why Jia Ming moved away?" Chen Ge realized that he had underestimated the police. Before Jia Ming was detained, Captain Yan had already unearthed the man's background and history.
"He did, but honestly, even I don't know why the child was in such a hurry to move. He didn't even take his luggage or affects with him. I wanted to mail them to him, but he rejected me."
"Then can you still remember what happened the night before he moved? It should have been a day when he returned home very late at night." Chen Ge wanted to corroborate Jia Ming's story with the old lady's account.
"I was inside my room that night and didn't…" The old lady suddenly paused, and she stared at Chen Ge's face for a very long time. "Have we met somewhere before?"
"Have we met?" This time, Chen Ge was genuinely surprised.
"Yes, I think I remember now. That night, I heard Jia Ming walking in the house, and I thought that he was in an argument with Xiao Ling, so I planned to mediate the argument for them. But when I got to the second floor, I saw someone standing at his door." The old lady slowly raised her thin and desiccated arm to point at Chen Ge. "It was you; you were the one who was standing at his door that night!"
The old lady panicked, based on the usual development, Chen Ge would reveal a devilish smirk and then say something like, 'Since you've seen my face, I can't let you live to tell another soul.' But in reality, Chen Ge voluntarily moved away from the old lady, and he started to fall into a deep contemplation.
The old lady had also seen someone who looked exactly like Chen Ge. This was proof that the shadow was related to Chen Ge, or at least they looked physically the same.
"No wonder the boy and the woman kept staring at my face when they saw me—they should have received quite a shock as well," Chen Ge grumbled softly to himself and then turned to look at the old lady. "Granny, that night, you saw someone who looked just like me. Was he doing anything weird?"
The old lady shook her head. "All he did was just standing there. Oh right, I was carrying a flashlight with me that night, but after the light fell on him, I realized that he did not seem to possess a shadow."