If not for the fact he could barely control his limbs anymore, Monkey would probably have smacked himself on his lips. He swore to never curse himself inside a Haunted House anymore.
Separated from his group, stranded with no help, standing in the middle of a darkened corridor, chased by a crazed murderer that could appear at any moment, and haunted by dolls that would be there wherever he turned to look… this kind of hellish Haunted House experience made Monkey’s breathing unsteady. “Why did it appear here? When did it follow me? How can it move?”
His brain was swamped with endless questions, his composure was brutally shattered, and his hands that held the phone were shaking violently.
“Monkey, where are you‽ Please come save me! I feel like the dolls in the room are looking at me! I swear to God, they are!” A maddened voice screamed through the phone; Shi Ling’s situation was not looking so good either.
“Sister, I’ll save you, but who is going to save me?” Monkey instinctively took a step back from the source of danger. He felt like something was tugging at his ankle, he turned to look at the doll that was originally a distance away from him was lying beside his shoe.
The black hair felt weirdly authentic, and the burned face was turned upwards. The facial features were completely ruined, but it gave a peculiar feeling. It’s smiling!
Monkey could not explain why this thought would appear in his mind, and honestly, he did not to understand why; the things that he had experienced in the past ten minutes were about to break his sanity.
He bit on his lips and nudged his feet, trying to leave. Perhaps it was fear or perhaps he had been standing for far too long, but the muscles on his calves shrank, and a shot of pain tore through his heart. F*ck! Cramps!
Monkey toppled to the ground. He had given up on his dignity. Clutching his legs, he screamed, “Is someone there‽ I quit! I quit! Help me, please!”
Chen Ge and Xu Wan were stuck on the first floor at the time, hauling Lao Song, who was scared dumb, out of the scenario through the workers’ passageway when they heard the blood-curdling scream from the third floor. Safety was their first priority, so neither of them dared dawdle and ran up to the third floor.
After they entered the corridor, Chen Ge saw Monkey rolling on the floor. He had Xiao Wan retreat, and he walked over to the young man with his flashlight on. “Are you alright?”
“I quit! I quit forever, please let me go.”
One could say that Monkey was a changed man. Chen Ge did not promise anything but squatted down to press on Monkey’s knees. “Exert force and try to straighten your knees.”
As he helped Monkey ease his pain, Chen Ge glanced around the area; he was confused. Neither Xiao Wan nor myself were even close to this place, so why did this fella get so scared?
Other than the two ragdolls on the floor, there was nothing out of place. Thus, Chen Ge asked, “Brother, what spooked you so?”
“Do you even need to ask?” Monkey’s eyes were red, and like a scorned woman, he grumbled, “These two ragdolls were chasing after me; you were controlling them, weren’t you? You sick bastard!”
“These two ragdolls were chasing after you?” Chen Ge paused. He did not tell Monkey the truth lest he scarred the young man’s mind forever. “In any case, let me get you out first.”
“Wait, there’s another person trapped on this floor. She’s gone almost mad, please save her as well.” Monkey took out his phone to contact Shi Ling. When Monkey was not paying attention, Chen Ge picked up both of the dolls and held them in his palm. The dolls were small and could not be called exquisite; they were more like hand-made dolls produced in children’s arts and crafts classes.
These two managed to scare an adult until his leg cramped up? Chen Ge used his finger to poke one of the dolls’ faces. For some reason, he managed to feel a sense of reluctance from the doll at having her cheek poked but being powerless to stop it. Interesting…
Following Shi Ling’s scream for help, Chen Ge and Monkey managed to locate the room she was trapped in and opened the door from the outside.
“Don’t be scared, we’ll get you out now.”
The girl paid Chen Ge no heed. She was quivering at the corner of the room, her lips quivering as she stammered senselessly, “The dolls are looking at me! No matter where I hide, their eyes keep following me!”
“More dolls?” Chen Ge looked toward the center of the room where two slightly larger dolls lay side by side.
“They were sitting up earlier, I swear!” Shi Ling’s teary eyes were filled with fear.
“I know, they’re all… parts of the Haunted House’s tricks.” Chen Ge tried consoling the girl before walking to the dolls. One of them had a sewn beard while the other was wearing an apron over her normal clothes.
Based on these details, these two should be the father and mother. He placed the dolls he had picked up earlier on the floor, and the four did look like a family.
This matches the number of victims at Ping An Apartments arson perfectly, and this Murder by Midnight scenario is inspired by Ping An Apartments, so could these four dolls actually represent the actual victims?
As that thought entered Chen Ge’s mind, he felt the black phone in his pocket vibrate. He pulled it out to take a look; there was new message.
“Specters’ Favored. Congratulations for triggering the sole Hidden Mission inside the Murder by Midnight scenario! The spirits still have some unfinished business in the mortal world. Help them fulfil their wish, and they would become helpful allies.”
Sole Hidden Mission? The scenario unlocked by the black phone comes with Hidden Missions? This was a huge discovery for Chen Ge The unfinished business of the spirits from Ping An Apartments had to do with Wang Qi. Detaining him so that he would be punished by the law should resolve that business already, no?
Chen Ge held Shi Ling and Monkey as he led them downstairs, but his mind was contemplating the Hidden Mission. After they exited the workers’ passageway, Chen Ge did not return to the scenario immediately but rushed to the Props Room alone. He picked out Wang Qi’s missing person notice from the bottom of the box.
This thing could be useful to the victims. With an idea in his mind, Chen Ge returned to the room on the third floor where Shi Ling had been trapped in earlier.
As he crossed the threshold, Chen Ge spotted something weird.
The three dolls that represented the parents and elder sister were lying flatly on the floor, but the smallest doll was lying with her face down near the door like she was in the middle of escaping. Chen Ge picked the doll up, and upon closer inspection, he had this curious sensation that the doll was playing dead, afraid of being discovered. For some reason, instead of feeling scared, he found it quite cute and charming. The victims’ spirits are probably inside these dolls.
Closing the door behind him, Chen Ge sat down at the middle of the room.
“In that case, perhaps we can have a little talk.”