After exposure to open air over a certain period of time, cooked meat would harden. Chen Ge aimed the camera on his chest on the duck as he reached out to touch it. The surface was tender, and it had some warmth to it.
“This duck was cooked less than an hour ago.” He nudged his body as he pulled the duck out from the cage. “The innards weren’t properly cleaned, and the neck was snapped by brute force. The head is missing.”
Chen Ge examined the duck closely. There was a bite mark on the half-cooked meat, and the stomach had been torn open. There were no duck feathers on the floor, so it meant that the creature that tore the duck apart had eaten the feathers along with the meat.
“The iron cages are used to keep large dogs?” Placing the duck back, Chen Ge looked at the other end of the cage. Placed outside the cage were two plastic bowls, and they were both filled with a colorless liquid.
“Why are there two bowls placed inside the cage? This cage houses two dogs?” The bowls looked similar, and Chen Ge raised them to his nose to sniff. One of them had no smell; Chen Ge believed it was normal water. However, the liquid in the other bowl had a slightly pungent smell to it.
“Smells like rat poison.” To prevent rats from munching on the set pieces, Chen Ge had purchased rat poison before, so he was familiar with the smell.
“Two similar bowls, one filled with water, another mixed with rat poison. Isn’t the owner afraid that the pets might accidentally drink from the wrong bowl?” The scene before him was indeed weird. Chen Ge captured everything with the camera. He glanced at his phone, and the chatbox was updating fast. One of the comments flashed before his eyes—it mentioned in passing cage and page.
Chen Ge did not have the time to climb the wall of text. He checked the iron rods of the cage and realized that the exit of the cage was dyed with a large splattering of paint like someone had been gripping it tightly, unwilling to let go.
“Could it be that the cage is not for animals but humans?” Empty pill bottles littered the abandoned nurse station, and there were little bags with patients’ names written on them. Some of them still had weird looking pills inside. “Someone is living at this mental hospital that has been abandoned for five years, and there looks to be more than one person living here.”
Chen Ge became more careful. All the preparation he made was to deal with ghosts; he had not prepared to face dangerous occupants at the hospital. Chen Ge examined the walls on either side as he walked out from the nurse’s station.
The person in the iron cage was forcibly dragged away. Their hands were dirty with paint, so they had to have left some traces during the struggle. Chen Ge took a few steps and saw signs of the walls being clawed at, and the peeling paint was daubed with blood.
“Injured?” Chen Ge followed the trail up to the second floor. There, the corridor spilt into two: one led further into the first sick hall while the other connected to the second sick hall. As mentioned earlier, the three buildings were interconnected.
Chen Ge used twenty minutes to finish inspecting the first sick hall. There were not any hidden corners for people to hide in. He failed to find the person trapped in the cage and did not find any other evidence of people living there.
“Could the person have been dragged to the other sick hall?” Chen Ge was walking down the stairs when his phone vibrated. It was a call from Liu Dao.
“Yes?” Chen Ge was so tense that even the smallest interruption influenced him greatly.
“Chen Ge, you’re moving too fast! We plan to livestream throughout the night, and you have finished exploring the first sick hall in just twenty minutes. What are you going to do for the rest of the night?” Liu Dao had been following Chen Ge’s livestream. “Qin Guang’s livestream has broken 600,000 viewers, and you’re barely breaking 50000 viewers. Don’t just focus on the exploration—try to communicate with the viewers.”
Chen Ge listened to Liu Dao as he wandered back down to the first floor. When he looked down the first-floor corridor, his pupils narrowed. “Wait, who closed the entrance? I remember leaving it open when I came in.”
“What did you say?” Liu Dao paused. “In any case, don’t feel too much pressure. Be careful.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to you later.” Chen Ge pocketed his phone and ran toward the entrance with his mallet raised. When he passed the nurse’s station, he glanced into it out of habit. “Something has changed.”
However, since he was worried about the front door, Chen Ge did not jump into the nurse’s station. He ran to the door and shook it with all his might. “F*ck! It’s locked! When did that happen?”
Chen Ge looked through the gap and saw that there was a new lock on the door outside. He slammed into the door, but it remained unmoved.
“The speedy change of the lock means that this is not the first time the culprit has done this.”
There were people living in the abandoned hospital, and Chen Ge believed that it was the patients who had returned. They were not mentally retarded. If anything, from a certain perspective, they were cleverer and more dangerous than normal people. Chen Ge could not underestimate them.
He tried to pry the door open with the mallet, but it was to no avail. He walked into the rooms next to the front door, and the windows were sealed up with iron netting. At that moment, Chen Ge could understand the feeling of the patients who were sent into the mental hospital; this place felt like a giant jail.
Ask for help? Call the cops? Chen Ge looked at the phone, and the viewership was still climbing. If he left down, this livestream would be over. Furthermore, he had the Trial Mission to complete; he had to survive inside the Third Sick Hall until dawn. If he involved the police, that would also fail.
“I remember that there wasn’t any netting on the second floor windows. That’s an opening if I need to escape. Temporarily, there’s no need to call the police.” To complete this Trial Mission and find the clues to his missing parents, Chen Ge did not hold back.
Returning to the nurse’s station, Chen Ge finally realized what had changed. The plastic bowls outside of the iron cage had been toppled, and the liquid had splashed all over the floor.
“They’re worried that I might discover one of them is poisoned?” Chen Ge could not understand the meaning of this. When he was about to stand up, he noticed rows of small handwriting that was written under the wooden counter. To take a closer look, Chen Ge twisted around and leaned his head into the space under the counter. Before he got close enough, something touched the top of his head. It felt like little worms that were trying to burrow into his hair.
Chen Ge reached out to touch it, and he felt something touch the back of his hand. He turned his head around, and his heart skipped a beat.
Heavy strands of hair were taped to the bottom of the counter!
Some were long, and some were short, but it was unclear where they came from. “Why is there hair here? Did it belong to the person inside the cage?”
Suddenly, a cat’s shrill purr could be hear from outside the nurse’s station, and Chen Ge immediately crawled out from under the counter and looked out. The white cat was gnashing its teeth at the stairwell that led up to the second floor, its multi-colored eyes staring in a particular direction.