Uncle Xu was sincerely looking out for Chen Ge, so he did not hide anything; he laid out everything on the table. “Now, do you still want to invest in the Haunted House?”
“I’m still willing to give it a try. After all, that new park isn’t completed yet, so we still have a chance.” Chen Ge’s secret weapon was the black phone, but of course, he could not tell anyone that.
“You’re such a bright kid normally, so why are you so stubborn when it comes to crucial matters? Do you not see the eroding flow of time? I’ve worked here for ten years already, so I also wish for this place to stay, but we have to surrender to reality.”
Uncle Xu pointed at the few attractions that were already foreclosed around them. “Do you know why they are all closed? Not because they did not pass the safety inspection as the rumors say, but because once they’re turned on, they start to burn money. Having one or two visitors is not enough to break even. Imagine, when New Century Park was open, the place was crowded, our parking lot was not enough to support the crowd, so we had to rent the parking space from the nearby shops. The situation only got better after the new underground parking lot was built. But in the last three years, even during the height of holiday fever, the underground parking lot has never been needed. In fact, the number of visitors has been constantly dropping, and we’ve reached a new low this year.”
“Uncle Xu, wait a minute, you said the underground parking lot hasn’t been needed since three years ago, meaning the parking lot hasn’t been used since then? Does this mean it’s currently abandoned?” Chen Ge had a glow in his eyes that made Uncle Xu uncomfortable.
“Yes, when New Century Park was first open, there were cars and people everywhere. You would need to line up for at least two hours for any attraction. That was the time of our prime; alas, we’re now slowly being forgotten by the city.” Thinking about the past, Uncle Xu could not help but sigh. “However, that’s nothing to be sad about; after all, we were lucky enough to once enjoy a time of glory, right?”
“Uncle Xu, if one wished to rent the park’s underground parking lot, how much would it cost?”
“Huh?” Uncle Xu was confused by Chen Ge’s sudden question. “Why would you ask that?”
A plan was forming in Chen Ge’s mind. Now, he had found the ideal space to expand his Haunted House. “I want to reuse the parking lot. According to what you said, it’s currently in a half-abandoned state, so why not let me use it?”
“Have you lost your mind? Why do you want to rent that place? To rear bats?” Uncle Xu really feared that this young man had lost his mind.
Since the park management would eventually catch on to what he was doing, Chen Ge did not consider lying about it. “I want to expand the Haunted House. With my current financial situation, the underground parking lot is perfect. The rent won’t be that high, and the underground environment is a perfect match for a Haunted House.”
“Kid, what’s wrong with you today? A three-story Haunted House is not enough for you to worry about? Do you know how large the underground parking lot is? Even if the management is willing to rent it to you, when you finish setting up the place, the park will already be closed.” Uncle Xu shrugged. “Don’t be stupid, you had better focus on your work.”
“Uncle Xu, I’m serious.”
“Do you think I’m joking with you‽” After switching the walkie-talkie back on, Uncle Xu wandered back to the crowd. When he was several steps away, he turned back to tell Chen Ge, “I’ll give you the 5,000 tomorrow morning, but make sure you keep your feet firmly on solid ground, stop imagining the impossible.”
“I know.” Chen Ge followed behind Uncle Xu. Looking at the crowd that had gathered in front of his Haunted House, he pouted. “In any case, I don’t feel like the number of visitors has decreased. After all, my Haunted House has always enjoyed a zero visitor rate before this.”
After squeezing through the crowd, Chen Ge stood beside the group of students and said, “Rested enough already? If you don’t get up soon, these people are going to think I did some immoral things to all of you.”
“Give me a few more minutes, your Haunted House needs some time to digest.”
“What are you looking at, I’m not afraid. I merely sprained my ankle when I was in there, so that’s why I can’t get up now.”
“Everyone looks like a killer to me now, what am I to do?”
“Stop being so stubborn, we lost to his Haunted House this time,” Monkey said as he climbed down the steps. He waved the five stars review he just submitted on the Haunted House on his phone before Chen Ge and stood before the man saying, “But don’t think that’s the end of this. We’re not going to surrender so easily.”
“Meaning you all plan to come back tomorrow?”
“If not for the fact we have exams tomorrow, do you think would really be afraid of the challenge?” Monkey sounded rather brave… if only his pale lips could stop quivering and his legs could stop shaking.
“Either way, my doors are always open for business should any of you want to come again.” Chen Ge was close to treating the students from Jiujiang Medical University as his lucky charm.
“I will not be coming back again. You’ll have to drag my dead body here if you want me to come back here.” He San looked gloomily at Chen Ge. It looked like the young man was truly scarred by the bloodshot eye in the crack of the door.
“Junior, be careful what you wish for.” Xiao Hui stood up with help from He San. She glared at Chen Ge. “You’re the first man who has made me cry to the point that my make-up is all ruined; I’ll definitely remember you.”
Noticing the bump on the back of Xiao Hui’s head, he did not have the heart to fight back, so he merely smiled. The group of medical students headed toward the entrance of the park, holding each other for support. When Chen Ge thought they had left, Brother Feng came running back to him alone. With a complicated expression, he told Chen Ge, “I’ve been thinking about your question. I am still unable to believe that they’re real, if anything, it’s probably explainable using theories related to psychological trauma and stimulus.”
Chen Ge knew what he was referring to. “Perhaps, by the way, I haven’t gotten your full name.”
“It’s He Feng, I’m older than most of them and will be starting my residency in a few days.”
“Pleased to make your acquaintance, hopefully we’ll meet again soon.”
After they exchanged phone numbers, Chen Ge returned to the Haunted House. He closed the gates and placed a sign saying ‘Temporarily Closed for Maintenance’ on it.
“Boss, there’re still many visitors waiting outside. Why are we closing?”
“There’s a little problem, so we’ll call it a day. Do you mind explaining it to the customers?” Chen Ge took off the Doctor Skull-cracker outfit and went back to the Props room to cut up some black clothes before he headed back up the Murder by Midnight scenario.
He started covering all the mirrors, but there were too many rooms, and he soon ran out of cloth. This scenario is too big. Before the cameras are ready, I cannot risk the visitors’ lives by having them up here; it’s too dangerous.
After locking up the door to the Murder by Midnight scenario, Chen Ge returned downstairs. The visitors outside the Haunted House had mostly left. Only one or two visitors still remained.
“Xiao Wan, you can remove your make-up. It’s time to go home.”
After saying goodbye to Xiao Wan, Chen Ge returned to the staff breakroom. He hadn’t had a real rest since the day before, so he fell asleep the moment his head hit the pillow.