“Door?” Men Nan’s voice had an audible change. He had been reminded of something. The picture that Chen Ge had sent, Men Nan also possessed, but his picture was placed at the bottom of a drawer under several books.
When Chen Ge saw the picture at Hai Ming Apartments, he had been confused. This was the only picture Men Nan had of his mother, so he could not understand why he did not display it inside a photo frame. Instead, Men Nan hid it in a secluded corner like a memory that he refused to face.
He did not want to throw it away but refused to face it. It was the conflict inside his heart.
“Where did you get this picture?” Men Nan’s voice croaked, and his tone slowed down. Chen Ge brought the thing that he was trying to hide up to the surface, so he could not run away anymore.
“I found the picture at the mental hospital. I’ve gone inside the room your mother stayed in…”
“Leave that place immediately!” Men Nan screamed before Chen Ge finished.
“Leave? Looks like you have remembered something.”
There was another period of silence on the phone. Several seconds later, Men Nan said, “I don’t why I said that, but my instincts told me that place is very dangerous.”
“The mental hospital is locked, and I cannot leave. If it was not urgent, I wouldn’t have called to disturb you.” Holding the cleaver, Chen Ge saw the blood vessels were still inching toward Zhang Ya. “This has gone beyond me and you. Those madmen who refused treatment have returned to this place with their twisted ideologies. They have detained living humans and experimented with axes and saws; can you imagine what else they might have done?”
“There are victims in the hospital?” Men Nan’s voice was filled with uncertainty. He seemed to be doubting himself, like he wanted to say something but did not have the courage to.
“I can confirm one thing—there is more than one victim. I’ve found plenty of evidence here that suggest there are multiple victims.” Chen Ge did not know what Men Nan was hesitating about. “I’m also in a dangerous situation. Monsters and patients are chasing me with axes. I cannot communicate with them.”
After a long time, Men Nan spoke. “How do you expect me to help you?”
“Awaken the other persona inside you! He’s the one I’m looking for!” The stench in the air intensified like a monster opening its maw.
“Can you tell me why?” Men Nan’s voice was soft, and it was filled with complicated emotions.
Chen Ge did not have the time to play games with Men Nan, so he answered truthfully, “I want to close the door of the third room at the Third Sick Hall. Your childhood persona knows the way to close it. Awaken him! I know what happened to you when you were young. I understand and relate to your pain, but you cannot run away from it forever!”
“Close the door…” Men Nan seemed to be talking to himself. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t help you.”
Chen Ge did not expect the brutal rejection from Men Nan. “Why?”
“Because he is not with me.” Men Nan took a deep breath. “He locked himself up behind the door.”
“Your childhood persona is on the other side of the door‽” Chen Ge’s brows were furrowed deeply.
“Yes. To be honest, he is the real main persona. My memory started only after four years old.” Men Nan revealed this shocking information. “The main persona was born at the mental hospital and saw the twisted as normal. His world is different from normal. Before four years old, he tried his best to fix his perspective, and his only pillar of support was his mother, but when he was four, his mother was murdered, and the persona, who saw everything, decided to give up on the normal world.
“Perhaps the normal world had never shown him any kindness, so he believed that the world that we reside in is the truly twisted one. He closed himself up in his psyche, and then I appeared. He did not communicate with me until the day the director from the mental hospital and a Doctor Chen came to find me. They pleaded for my help to close this ‘door’.
“At the time, I was so small, and without knowing anything, they brought me back to the mental hospital where the main persona once spent his childhood. They asked me many questions, questions that now I cannot answer.
“That night, they arranged for me to sleep inside Room 3, and I don’t know what happened next. There were probably sleeping pills in the water because I slumbered so deeply, and it was probably then that they summoned the main persona.
“When I woke up, it was already midnight. I opened my eyes blurrily and saw myself lying in bed, but everything around me was blood red. However, the strangest thing was that the main persona was standing beside me.
“He told me to keep this a secret from everyone and pointed at the clock on the outside corridor. He told me to keep myself awake no matter how tired I was. Then he sent me out of the room. He stayed behind the door and closed it.
“After that, he stopped appearing, but there are sometimes memories that don’t belong to me that appear in my consciousness. I planned to carry these secrets with me to my grave because, even now, I’m unsure if these are just hallucinations.
“My situation is very similar to schizophrenia, but everything seems so real. I grew up in a state of constant self-doubt, and it is the main reason I chose to study psychology.”
There was great pain in Men Nan’s voice, and Chen Ge, as an outsider, understood his pain. To pretend to be a normal person and live a normal life was something of a challenge to the young man.
“This explains why he was unable to resist the mirror ghost.” Chen Ge held the phone, and his heart was quivering with anxiety.
“Men Nan should be telling the truth. When I detected the third persona inside his psyche, it did appear like shattered memories because the occurrences were very episodic and randomized.” Doctor Gao took the phone from Men Nan. He did not understand the conversation between Men Nan and Chen Ge, so he could not be much help.
“Yes, he should be telling the truth.”
The only person who could close the door had spent the last decade or so inside the door, and the door had been closed for that long. It was not until the hospital closed five years ago that the door opened again. Could the real Men Nan inside the door have gotten into some accident?
Chen Ge wanted to retreat. This building was too wicked. Even with Zhang Ya, he did not feel that safe. “It’s safer to retreat.”
He turned to look at the corridor. The draft fluttered Zhang Ya’s red outfit. The black hair that melted into the night poked through the monsters’ bodies repeatedly. Of the three monsters, two were already torn apart.