However, the mission was described in first person, stating that someone hid themselves in the fifth cubicle to capture the red shadow that appeared at midnight. However, what happened next was an unknown, leaving Chen Ge plenty of room to imagine.
He switched off the flashlight and thought to himself, The mission states that a red shadow will appear in the toilet at midnight, but the footsteps clearly show that there were two people walking side by side. Could it be that the red shadow has found a new friend in the years that it was trapped in this abandoned school?
The footsteps were slowly approaching the second-floor toilet. Following the mission requirement, Chen Ge should hide inside the fifth cubicle, but Chen Ge felt that was too dangerous. He would have effectively trapped himself.
Perhaps I should act more proactively. Chen Ge hid behind the toilet door, and no matter who it was, he would start by whacking them on their head. Chen Ge took a deep breath before holding it in and raising the mallet above his head.
The footsteps became clearer and clearer. It sounded like two individuals running side by side. They were dangerously close to the second-floor bathroom. The wait was real torture for Chen Ge. He had no idea what was outside and had even less of a clue what they were planning to do. All he could do was make himself as silent as possible.
Several seconds later, the footsteps finally stopped before the toilet entrance.
Here they come!
Chen Ge’s hand that gripped the mallet had started to sweat, and his heart was racing at an impossible rate. The storm continued to brew outside, and the rain seeped into the room, wetting the toilet floor.
Where are they? Chen Ge turned to look over his shoulder. There were no human faces staring down at him like he had expected. His patience was wearing thin. With one hand on the door knob, he prepared to lean out to take a look. However, before he could do that, a flash of lightning tore apart the sky, and utilizing the temporary brightness, Chen Ge saw two shadows reflected on the toilet floor.
They’re standing at the entrance!
His body froze, and since his flashlight had already been switched off, he could see nothing in the darkness of the toilet.
The shadows were short, like two children.
He did not dare to let his guard down. After waiting for several seconds, the footsteps resumed. However, unlike what he had expected, the owners of the footstep did not enter the toilet but went down the staircase next to it and down to the first floor.
Leaving just like that? Chen Ge slowly moved out from behind the door. He turned to look at the entrance, and there was nothing there.
The thing that stood at the door earlier felt like two children. This is different from the red shadow described by the black phone. Is this because too much time has passed since then, or did my early arrival at the school mess up the schedule?
Chen Ge could not figure out the answer. Switching the flashlight back on, Chen Ge wandered over to the fifth cubicle. Regardless, he had to inspect the cubicle to see whether it was the actual mission venue. The door opened to reveal an old yet completely normal space.
Based on the situation thus far, the mission venue should be in the third-floor toilet. The two children from earlier have run down to the first floor, so this is the perfect chance. Chen Ge turned to walk out the toilet. Before he reached the threshold, his phone rang. It was an unknown caller.
Whose number is this? Chen Ge did not have many friends, and the few he had would not normally contact him. After a brief hesitation, Chen Ge retreated to the corner and exited the livestream to answer the phone. “Hello?”
“Are you Ru Xue’s classmate? I hear you came across a strange boy whom you suspect is suffering from a psychological problem?” The voice on the other end of the phone had a gravity to it. It exuded an air of confidence.
“I did, and you are?”
“I am Ru Xue’s father.” He San did mention giving Chen Ge’s phone number to Gao Ru Xue earlier. Looks like this senior of his did things with efficiency.
“Do you mind telling me about the boy in greater detail? Psychological illness is not unlike a venom inside one’s body. If one does not remove it as soon as possible, it might ruin that boy’s future.” Gao Ru Xue’s father was familiar with the potential danger of psychological problems. From his perspective, a psychological illness could be more dangerous than many physical illnesses.
“There is this boy about seven or eight. He’s physically fine, but he appears to have withdrawn from the world; he refuses to interact with others and is afraid of sunlight.”
“Are there any other symptoms? If possible, can you give me them in detail?”
“I met this boy at the entrance of a Haunted House park attraction. His aunt told me that the boy likes to spend time inside Haunted Houses. Normal emotions that one should experience inside a Haunted House like fear and anxiety were missing from the boy. In fact, he appeared to be more comfortable in the darkness than under the sunlight. It gave me the impression that darkened corners give him a sense of security.” Chen Ge voiced the speculation that he had. If he had not met the child in person, he would not have believed that such a curious boy existed.
“A boy of seven or eight who likes to visit Haunted Houses? And doesn’t feel afraid?”
“Yes, the boy even showed interest in the actor who was in a dead person’s make-up.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone for a few seconds. “If it is just a lack of fear, it could be autism, which could be responsible for the damage to the amygdala of his brain.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think I understand.”
“To put it simply, the amygdala is the central nervous system where memory is processed and stored. It is also responsible for the production of emotions like rage and fear. If one’s amygdala is damaged, even if facing a lion or viper, one wouldn’t be afraid, much less being scared inside a Haunted House.”
Gao Ru Xue’s father had a point, but Chen Ge still felt the description did not quite fit Fan Yu’s conditions. “Doctor Gao, it is by no means that the boy is not afraid of anything. For one, he is afraid of sunlight and hates walking under the sun. Also, he was not only unafraid of the Haunted House, he liked the environment inside it. It felt like he was a completely different boy inside and outside of the Haunted House.”
Chen Ge thought about it before adding, “He was completely silent when he was outside the Haunted House and refused to have interaction with others, but he was energized when inside the Haunted House. When it was time to leave, his refusal to leave was vehement, and I saw him injure his aunt with my own eyes.”
“Listening to your description, it might also be a sign of bipolar disorder, highly destructive and irrational when angered but highly individualistic and retreats into his own world when depressed.” Teacher Gao shared his analysis with Chen Ge. “But one point still eludes me. Patients with bipolar disorder might be triggered at any given moment, and there shouldn’t be a clear trigger like being inside or outside a Haunted House. My personal opinion is that since the boy’s attitude change is related to Haunted Houses, then the source of his problem should be related to a Haunted House as well. Did he suffer from any trauma inside a Haunted House when he was young? Or did his parents work at a Haunted House?”
After hearing the analysis from Gao Ru Xue’s father, a speculation appeared in Chen Ge’s mind.
The boy’s changes in personality happened inside his Haunted House, and the biggest difference his Haunted House had compared to others was that his Haunted House was really haunted.