“There’s a boy who came to visit my Haunted House today. He looked about eight or nine, doesn’t like to speak, and the darker the place, the more excited he gets, what kind of symptom are these?” Chen Ge voiced the problem directly. He only had two people he could ask; one was He San, and the other was He Feng.
“Forensic students focus on practical medicine, biology, and some chemistry. Psychology focuses on mental phenomena, neuroscience, and psychiatry. They are completely different fields. Even if you ask me, I won’t be able to provide you with an answer.” He San sighed helplessly. “Boss, are you really not planning to do anything about this? I notice you have not updated for a few days already, and your previous livestream was days ago. If you allow this to continue, your popularity will start to fall. Look at your profile page, there are already comments that say you’re running out of ideas, and they even started to mock your Haunted House.”
“Mock my Haunted House? There’s such a thing?” This did make Chen Ge worry. He clicked into his personal page and realized there were indeed plenty of negative comments.
“Boss, there are currently too many short videos, and homogenization is a serious problem. Once you stop updating, the viewers will quickly move onto other uploaders.”
“You’re right, but things aren’t as serious as you think,” Chen Ge replied. His focus was still on Fan Yu and his aunt. He had always treated the livestream and videos as additional support; the most important thing was still the missions on the black phone.
“If you say so. I just wanted to remind you.” There was a saddened trace to He San’s voice. “That Qin Guang is an established host, and on top of that, he has great support from his studio. The platform will definitely provide him with plenty of promotion, but I still believe your livestream will be better than his.”
“His content is an imitation of mine,” Chen Ge replied with a smile. The biggest difference between his content and other hosts’ was that his was completely authentic and could not be copied. “Yes, I am widely lagging behind in terms of resources, channels, and fans, but if we’re talking about the understanding and handling of the fear factor, he is still a rookie.”
“You’re right! After all, you’re a professional.” He San paused before adding, “Boss, I suddenly remembered something.”
“What is it?”
“Do you still remember the senior of mine that you scared until she cried?”
“Your description fits so many people—you might as well give me the name directly.”
“Gao Ru Xue. Her father is a psychologist and a tenured lecturer in criminal psychology. I’ll ask if she can help you tonight.”
“Okay, if you succeed, I’ll treat you to a meal and gift you a free tour of the Haunted House’s new scenario.” Chen Ge appreciated the aid of this honest young man and easily promised a reward.
“Thanks, but no thanks! Last time I visited your Haunted House, it caused me to have nightmares for a few consecutive nights,” He San complained. “This one time, I fell asleep in class, and I didn’t even know the lecturer had wandered to my side. In my dream, I was chased by a crazed doctor holding a hammer. When I ran to the top of the stairs, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I was so shocked that my body just reacted with an elbow jab, and when I opened my eyes, the lecturer’s glasses were broken already…”
Chen Ge tried to hold in his laughter, but he failed. “Alright then. I won’t force you to visit the Haunted House in the future.”
After chatting for a bit more, Chen Ge finally hung up. He looked out the window, and the sun was slowly covered up by rain clouds. When he returned to New Century Park, from afar, Chen Ge saw a group of people crowding the entrance of the Haunted House. Xu Wan was busy negotiating with them.
“Xiao Wan, what’s the matter?”
“You’re finally back. These visitors are all here to visit the Haunted House, but since I could not find you, I could only ask for their patience.” Xu Wan was already out of her make-up, and her forehead was filled with sweat from the anxiety.
“Well done. Stay outside to sell them the tickets, leave the rest to me.” Chen Ge pushed open the gate, put on the Doctor Skull-cracker outfit, and entered the Murder by Midnight scenario.
At around 4 pm, it started to drizzle, and the clouds in the sky thickened. Many of the park attractions had to stop for fear of accidents, and most visitors who still had not had their fill went to the indoor attractions. It was thus that Chen Ge’s Haunted House became an unlikely favorite. The crowd outside the place was huge until 5 pm, when it started to disperse.
Chen Ge, who had run around the building for the whole afternoon, was exhausted. He removed his outfit and walked out of the Haunted House.
The sky was dark, and the wind was howling.
It was also pouring several years ago when Fan Yu’s parents disappeared. Chen Ge looked at the sky with a complicated emotion. He told Xu Wan to go home before returning to the maintenance room to prepare his backpack.
He shoved a lighter, flashlight, multi-purpose mallet, and doll into it and left the Haunted House in a raincoat. Due to the unexpected crowd, when Chen Ge left the park, it was already 6 pm. He stopped a cab at the entrance, but when he told the driver his destination was Mu Yang High School, the driver refused to take him.
He had no choice but to wait for another. The other driver told Chen Ge that the roads leading to Mu Yang High School were already overgrown with shrubs and were unpassable by car, so he could only drop Chen Ge near Mu Yang High School.
There was a time limit on the mission. Arriving early meant more time to scout and consequently lower the risk. Chen Ge did not want to waste time. After negotiating the price with the driver, he departed.
On the way there, he asked the driver for more information on Mu Yang High School, but the driver merely looked ahead with a serious expression and focused fully on his driving. In that moment, Chen Ge found himself missing the talkative uncle who had driven him to Western Jiujiang’s Private Academy.
At around 7 pm, they finally reached the destination. The road was horrible, and the place was even more backwards than the countryside.
“The car cannot continue any further, so this is where I’ll have to stop.” The driver pointed outside the window. “There should be people living nearby, so go to them if you’re lost. Send me the fare through WeChat; I don’t accept cash.”
“No cash?” Chen Ge was confused, but he did not ask further; everyone had their quirks. After paying, he got out from the taxi.
The rain started to intensify, and the sky by then was completely dark. Chen Ge looked around him, and there were indeed several rows of houses a distance away, but they looked abandoned because they were completely dark.
“How am I supposed to find Mu Yang High School?”
Chen Ge turned to ask the driver, only to see the driver toss the seat mat he had sat on earlier out the window and turn around to leave without hesitation.
He refused to take my cash and tossed out the mat I sat on earlier… what is the meaning of this? Is it because he thinks I’m dirty?