One hour later, the middle-aged man came back to Hai Ming Apartments with the young man from Room 302. The young man had a bandage on his head, and his pupils were still quite unfocused.
“You’re finally home.” Chen Ge walked out from Room 304, his hand still holding the mallet. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you, I just want to ask you some questions.”
The young man’s eyes darted about evasively before opening the door to his room. “Come in then.”
There was a thick stench in Room 302. Even the middle-aged man whose room was far from tidy had his hand over his nose. “How long has it been since you cleaned this place? Has some food gone sour or something?”
Chen Ge was confused. The room looked tidy, and the young man kept up his appearances; he did not look like a sleazy type of person.
“The things that have happened to me for the past two months felt like a dream.” The young man walked to his bed holding his head. He pulled out a black plastic bag from underneath it. It was filled with the carcasses of small animals. “It’s true, like a nightmare that I could not wake up from.”
Chen Ge glanced into the bag before his gaze fell back on the young man. “Now that your nightmare is over, you can tell us the things that you’ve been hiding.”
The young man dropped the bag aside and began with apology. “When I moved into this room three months ago, the landlady said that if I didn’t feel comfortable or ran into something weird, I could move out freely. That first night itself I had a nightmare; I dreamed about a leaking window. In the dream, I went to close it and saw a man standing inside the room next door.
“Initially, I didn’t pay it much attention, but after this dream repeated itself for a few times, one day, I suddenly realized that the man who was supposed to be in the room next door had entered my room. I tried to resist, but I couldn’t do anything. However, the man didn’t hurt me. He told me that he merely wanted some help from me.
“After that dream, my focus was lost for the whole morning. In the end, I decided to spend a night over at a friend’s place, but the man seemed to have attached himself to me. This time, in my dream, he appeared directly beside my bed.
“The man told me that there was no way I could escape. He said that as long as I helped him, he would stop bothering me. I believed what he said, so I started following his demands to capture some living small animals and threw them into Room 303. They were alive when I dropped them in, but when I went to take a look the next morning, the animals were all dead.
“There were no visible wounds on their bodies, so I had no idea what had killed them.” The more he continued, the more afraid the young man became. “I wanted to escape from the man in my dream, but his appetite grew. Initially, he just wanted a sparrow or a rat, but one week later, he asked me to leave him stray dogs, and the last time, he asked me to lure a living person into Room 303 after midnight.
“When I refused, he started to force me, threatening to kill me in my dream. I was at my wit’s end.”
The young man’s eyes were red and he lowered his head. “I told my friends about the dream, and the few of us entered Room 303 late at night, but nothing happened that night. Then, they stopped believing me, thinking I had lost my mind.
“I had no one to turn to, and the man’s presence became more solid. Even in the morning, I could feel him standing beside him, watching me.”
The young man’s hands moved to grip the bandage on his head. “At the time, I only wanted to get rid of him, so I did try to lure someone into Room 303, but it was too difficult.”
When he felt better, he continued. “After a few days, I accidentally saw an ad at school asking for a place to rent, and I guess you know what happens next. Due to personal reasons, Men Nan did not want to stay at the school dormitory, and due to his limited budget, I recommended Hai Ming Apartments to him.”
“So, you are the reason Men Nan moved into Room 304?” Chen Ge did not expect that would be the case.
“I did remind him of the danger, but like me, he paid it no heed.” After saying everything on his mind, the young man felt better.
“All of that is in the past, so we will not pursue any charges, but we will need to wait for Men Nan to wake up first.” Chen Ge took out the rusted key from his pocket. “Now I have a few questions for you. I need you to answer them honestly. If you don’t know, then just tell me, don’t make stuff up.”
“Have you ever seen the man’s face in your dream?”
“Seen it once,” the young man admitted after a long hesitation. “He has two faces, like two personalities sewn together, and they communicate and argue with each other.”
“Other than giving you their demands, did they talk about anything else?” This was the best opportunity to know about the other world.
“The thing they did the most was argue with each other. There was this one time where one of the faces angrily said that if not for the fear of the Red Specter, he would rather have died than share an existence with trash.”
“Red Specter?” Chen Ge frowned at the familiar term. He took out the black phone and clicked onto the affection page. Under Xiaoxiao’s name, it read Baleful Specter, but under Zhang Ya, it specifically read Red Specter.
It might not have seemed important, but because of these two words, Zhang Ya had her own personal page on the black phone. Chen Ge fell into deep thought. The creature that had followed Wang Haiming out of the Third Sick Hall knew of the Red Specter, so there was a high chance that a Red Specter resided in the Third Sick Hall!
A specter on the same level as Zhang Ya. The thought brought a headache to Chen Ge. The first mirror monster that he had encountered was a toy for Zhang Ya. Therefore, a normal ghost was powerless before the Red Specter. He sighed before signaling for the young man to continue.
“Other than the Red Specter, I realized that there were a few weaknesses to them. I planned to use those when things got too serious.” The young man sat on the bed, not at all minding the stench from inside the bag. “The monster rarely appeared during periods other than midnight, it was afraid of light, noisy environments, and most importantly, it seemed weirdly afraid of cats.”
“Afraid of cats?” Chen Ge was curious.
“Yes, the man in my dream asked me to prepare many living animals, but cats were the only exception, so I believe it is afraid of cats.” The young man had a point, but it was ultimately just speculation. If possible, Chen Ge did not want to be the first one to try it out. Perhaps I can test it out somehow back at the Haunted House.
The young man did not dare to speak since Chen Ge did not comment. However, the eyes of the middle-aged man, listening to their conversation, were as round as the moon.