Men Nan refused to sleep and stood stubbornly in the middle of the room. He maintained that weird posture of someone trying to push his head off from his neck.
“I keep feeling there’s something pressing on top of his head.” Afraid of rattling Men Nan, Chen Ge kept his voice lowered. “Not a psychological threat but something that exists in reality.”
Doctor Gao waved his hand surreptitiously as he stayed beside Men Nan. He pulled out his phone and messaged someone with it. Since Doctor Gao did not reply him, Chen Ge wandered off to inspect the other rooms in the small apartment.
The place was just over thirty square meters, but it had everything: a bedroom, living room, and a standalone bathroom.
It does look like a normal rental apartment.
Chen Ge looked around and found no hidden corner; there was no place to hide a body. He exited the living room and pushed the wooden door that led to the toilet. To his surprise, there was a half-body mirror hanging on the wall directly opposite from the door.
The door is right opposite the mirror?
Due to the first Nightmare Mission, Chen Ge was very sensitive to the presence of mirrors. He walked slowly to the mirror and looked at his reflection. It’s rare for a room layout to have the mirror directly across from the door. Doesn’t it feel weird?
The mirror was clean, like it was cleaned often. There was barely a stain. He moved his gaze away. There was a sink underneath the mirror. This was the scene for Men Nan’s nightmare.
Chen Ge mirrored the pose mentioned by Men Nan. He bent his body 95 degrees forward, and his head could barely reach the faucet. From this angle, I can look at the situation inside the living room, so the scenario in his dream is entirely possible.
If when his head was under the faucet and he could not see into the living room or his gaze was blocked by something, Chen Ge would not have been so afraid; it would have proved that it was all just a dream.
However, he tested it out personally and realized that the things described in his dream could very well have happened in real life. With his head under the faucet, the world appeared upside down.
Men Nan said that in his dream, the man would get closer to him every time. This is weird, why wouldn’t the person just harm him directly? He purposely chose this slow torment, is there some kind of history between them?
Chen Ge was thinking about this when he felt something chilly touch the back of his neck. He stood up immediately to touch the spot.
A water drop? Where did it come up? Chen Ge raised his head to look at the ceiling. It was not leaking; the water came from nowhere.
Could it be the mirror? An image of himself inside the mirror coming out to strangle him while he was washing his hair appeared in his mind.
The black phone says that this Trial Mission is called A Room of Three; the mission name itself is a big hint. Chen Ge looked at himself inside the mirror, and something cropped up in his mind. There are three ‘people’ inside this room; one is Men Nan, the man in his dream is another, but who is the third ‘person’? Could this person be hiding inside the mirror?
Placing both his hands on the sink, Chen Ge looked around and discovered two empty bottles of hair shampoo inside the bathroom waste bin.
Men Nan hasn’t been living here for long, and he already finished two bottles of shampoo? If he is only washing his hair in his sleep, why would the shampoo in real life be exhausted? The child has a habit of sleep-walking? Does he wash his head in the middle of the night? Chen Ge thought about it and discounted the idea. Doctor Gao had said that he once invited Men Nan to his own home and the young man’s nightmares did not stop.
Temporarily ignoring the possibility of sleep-walking, if Men Nan consciously washed his hair until he depleted two bottles of shampoo, that is even weirder. Why did he waste so much shampoo washing his hair?
The cleanest normal person might wash their hair twice a day, but Men Nan had finished two bottles of shampoo in a short amount of time. Chen Ge then realized that a third bottle that sat on the sink was half-finished already.
Under what condition would someone wash their hair with such diligence? Dandruff? Skin disease? Or there is something they need to wash away? Chen Ge leaned against the wall to think. There are two times Men Nan got into an argument at school. Once was because of the animal prints on the curtain, and another was due to the number of sesame seeds on the biscuit, so it sounds like he suffers from serious OCD.
For someone with OCD, if they noticed something not right, they would try their best to fix it. If the mistake could not be fixed, they would be very uncomfortable. Chen Ge suspected the reason behind the obsessive hair washing was related to this.
Only Men Nan can answer this question. He probably has hidden something important from Doctor Gao.
Suddenly Chen Ge’s phone vibrated. He took it out and was surprised to find a message from Doctor Gao.
“Men Nan’s family situation is more complicated than I thought. When I told Men Nan’s family about his situation, they accepted it a bit too easily. They said they will send enough money to Men Nan for his medical fees, but none of them plan on coming to Jiujiang to visit him. I did not tell you this in case Men Nan heard me, so I sent it to you on the phone.”
“Their son is sick, and the parents didn’t even want to come to see him?”
“I also didn’t expect that. When I interviewed Men Nan’s friends, they all told me they thought Men Nan came from a happy family. I’ve gone through his social media, and he has shared many posts about loving his family.” Men Nan put up a front that felt like he lived in a warm, charming family and was an educated, happy, professional, and studious young man, but it was ultimately just a front.
After reading the message, Chen Ge revealed his discovery to Doctor Gao. Soon after that, he got a reply from Doctor Gao.
“There are four main types of OCD: Checking, Ruminations, Contamination, and Symmetry and Ordering. Based on my observation, Men Nan’s symptoms don’t fit any of these; his obsessive hair washing merely satisfies this need he has.
“Based on my observation, Men Nan appears to suffer from a different psychological illness called PTSD. For example, victims of an earthquake remain in a highly alert state even after the quake is long over. They have a hard time walking out from the trauma because the mind keeps sending them the wrong information, telling them quake will return at any moment.
“Men Nan’s symptoms are similar to PTSD. He is in a constant state of alert, and his eyes keep darting about, a sign for lack of security. It is like he is watching out for potential danger. In that case, the hair washing is probably a kind self-protective mechanism.”