"Why would you be asking that?" The man held the cane and wished to maintain some distance from Chen Ge, but he was too weak and unable to struggle away.
"My friend disappeared at the theater, so I wish to retrace his steps and see if there are any clues." Chen Ge employed a casual tone as he stood in the darkness and scanned the whole theater. The rows of seat had uneven heights, looking more like shadows that were standing or squatting.
"Have you lost your mind? You come here at 2 am and want me to play a movie for you?" Even without those scary rumors, the man did not believe that any normal person would act like Chen Ge, which was to come to an abandoned theater at night to watch a movie.
"I have not lost my mind and know full well what I'm doing." Chen Ge shone the flashlight on his phone on the various equipment. "If it's that inconvenient to you, why don't you teach me how to do it, and I'll do it myself?"
Chen Ge was a hard learner; he would not waste the opportunity to learn new knowledge, and that was why he possessed so many 'skills'.
"You seriously need to consider what you're doing. The things that I told you earlier aren't just a tale—they're real." His eyelids trembled—the man was conscious of his situation. He placed the cane to the side and started to search blindly on the table. The man moved very slowly, and no one knew what he was doing. Chen Ge stood to the side to watch him, and the more he studied the man, the more he felt like there was something off about him.
His hands were too agile. His eyes were closed, but he knew where all the equipment and buttons were. There were only two explanations to this situation.
One was that before he went blind, or even after he went blind, he went to the theater often to repeat those operations, and over time, the actions became muscle memory, and he was able to operate the machines smoothly even with his eyes closed.
The second possibility was that he was never blind to begin with.
After the man connected all the circuits, he sought out the power source for the power box. He tried it several times, but it failed to activate. "The lever for the main power switch is on the second floor. Do you mind activating it for me?"
"The second floor?" Chen Ge lifted his hammer and walked out from theater. He walked up the stairs to the second floor. However, he did not enter it but stood at the top of the stairs and looked at theater entrance.
About five seconds later, a man's face poked out from inside theater. He listened for the sound, and after realizing there was no strange activity, he immediately ran into the darkness. Two footsteps echoed in the dark, and before the man managed to get away, someone pressed on his shoulders.
"How can you leave me here alone?" Chen Ge's voice entered the man's ears, and the latter jumped from fright like he had been struck by lightning. "I was unable to find the location for the main power switch. Let's go together."
Chen Ge helped the man get up to the second floor and flipped the switch on.
Following a boom, all the lights in theater flickered for a moment.
"I just want to see a movie here and find my missing friend. That's all. If you insist on standing in my way, I will have no choice but to believe that you are somehow related to my friend's disappearance."
After the power was switched on, the projector started to move on its own. The man opened the reel slot. After everything was loaded in place, he lifted his head to say, "You can choose which movie to watch yourself, but I have to give you one last warning—do not pick a horror movie, or there will be serious issue."
Watching a movie at the theater was the first part of the Left Oculus mission. It was already 2 am. If he did not finish this part of the mission soon, he might not be able to complete the succeeding missions that night. With that in mind, Chen Ge scanned the list of titles, and he aimed to pick the one with the shortest screen time.
The black phone only requires me to sit through a movie here, and it did not specify what type of movie.
Chen Ge was not going to purposely increase the difficulty of the mission. He looked for a warm, artistic film or animation, but as he clicked on the movie list, he realized that none of them could be played, saying that the movies lacked the source and needed to be downloaded again. After a long time of browsing, Chen Ge realized that only horror movies could be played.
Connecting that to what the man said earlier, Chen Ge became suspicious.
Is someone behind this, or has something else ruined the source for the other films?
Looking through the list, he discovered yet another strange point. Chen Ge ran a Haunted House, and to seek inspiration, he often watched scary movies, but he did not recognize any of the movies on the list.
These horror movies are different from the ones on the market. Both the producers and the directors of these flicks have the same name.
Chen Ge clicked on one of the titles and memorized the director's name.
Chang Gu? Is that a fake name or a real name?
"Have you picked your movie?" The man's hands kept shaking. The surroundings had not changed, but he looked more unsettled, like the more he stayed here, the more likely something would follow him home.
"Alright, I shall pick this one with the shortest screen time." Most horror films were around one and a half hours long, but Chen Ge spotted one that was only twenty-five minutes long. The name of the movie was 'Deskmate'.
There was five minutes until the end of the mission. The movie started to play, and the lights in theater dimmed as a blurry picture appeared on-screen.
"I can't see anything anyway, so I think I'll leave. This is my phone number. After you're done, give me a call, and I'll come back to clean up the place." The man rattled off a number. After Chen Ge keyed in the number, he gave it a call. The sound of vibration came from the man's pocket, so he was not lying.
With his experience of dealing with scared visitors, Chen Ge could discern that the man's fear was not faked. After knowing that, he was even more unwilling for the man to leave. He must have known some insider details, but he was unwilling to share them with Chen Ge.
"There's no need to hurry to leave. The two of us should stick together, so if there's an accident, we can watch out for each other." Chen Ge held the man and pulled him to the seat firmly. Considering the issue of security, Chen Ge chose the seat closest to the exit.
"Thank you, but…"
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"Shush, the movie is starting."
Watching a horror movie at the theater was a different experience from watching it at home. That feeling of being enveloped by darkness and being there in person could not be replicated at home.
A heart beat next to the ears, and then came a heavy breathing. A large eye slowly opened on screen, and from the black pupil, the silhouette of a woman could be seen. The camera slowly panned up to focus on a study table. The alarm clock said that it was 4:30 pm. Outside the window, the clouds were dark and oppressive.
A storm was coming.
The movie was shot from the first-person view, and the audience was seeing what the main character saw.
Someone kept calling this name from downstairs. The camera moved again. The main character crawled out of bed and walked to the window. She opened the window and seemed to lean her head out. The camera showed what was below.
A girl in a red jacket was waving at the main character.