“When you’re inside, no photos or filming. There are four different scenarios for you to experience; they are the Sealed Classroom, the Fifth Cubicle in the Toilet, the Pen Spirit, and the Deep Well. The clues to the exit are hidden within these four scenarios. You’ll need to experience all of them before you can find the exit.” Chen Ge looked through their disclaimer agreement repeatedly. He was so careful because the agreements might serve their purpose soon enough.
“This is not our first Haunted House; we know all that.” Fei Youliang pushed on his spectacles and peered inside the Haunted House. “At least the suspenseful environment is not bad.”
“In that case, I will not waste my breath anymore.” Chen Ge had intended to make some small introduction to each of the small scenarios, but he decided that would not be necessary. “Follow me.”
Chen Ge led the two young men to the entrance to Night of the Living Dead on the first floor. The two saw the dilapidated setting and less than desirable mannequins that populated the scenario.
“The style is from ten years back.”
“Honestly, with set pieces like these, I feel like I can sue you for overcharging me for the entrance ticket.”
Zhu Jianing and Fei Youliang wandered into the Night of the Living Dead scenario and touched the dust that had gathered on the mannequins. “Just how long has this place been deserted?”
“Looks like the business is dying. I should have known that you would have hired the same 50-cent army to fill the comments with good reviews.”
“Are you two done?” Chen Ge raised the wooden boards from the floor. “The entrance is here.”
“It’s underground?” The two young men did not feel weirded out. They walked out of the Night of the Living Dead scenario with their backpacks and stopped before the staircase that led down the stairs.
The dark corridor led into an abyss. The doors to the classrooms on both sides creaked creepily, and even before they got down the stairs, a chilling wind surged from within to caress their skin.
“Now… this is… better.”
As the two young men entered the Mu Yang High School scenario, Chen Ge yelled from the entrance, “If you’re really afraid, yell for help at the cameras—the workers will come help you.”
After closing the boards, Chen Ge suddenly realized that there was no surveillance installed in the Mu Yang High School scenario, and there was not really an exit. He had just been saying that earlier out of habit. Looks like I better go in to join them. Hopefully, their minds are still intact when I reach them.
He had Xu Wan stay at the door to maintain the order. He put on the Doctor Skull-cracker outfit and entered the main control room to switch the background music to Black Friday before entering the Mu Yang High School scenario with the box of nametags given to him by Fan Yu.
After Zhu Jianing and Fei Youliang descended the staircase, they stayed near the entrance. Both of them waited until Chen Ge closed the wooden boards before they made a signal and retrieved Bluetooth cameras from their backpacks and pinned them on their chests.
“Each of us will record our side. We’ll film everything inside his Haunted House, and after we solve it, we’ll post the guide online.”
“Will that achieve anything?”
“For local Haunted Houses like this one, the design and traps of the scenarios are considered business secrets because they depend on them to attract visitors. If the guide is already posted online, then it would have lost all its allure. This is why Haunted Houses ban the usage of cameras and video recorders. They have to keep the mystery and anticipation up for future visitors.” Fei Youliang fixed his camera and walked in front. “After shooting the video, we’ll edit it to make it as boring as possible, and then after posting it online, we’ll hire some 50-cent army to swamp his comments with bad reviews.”
“Okay.” After he looked around, Zhu Jianing added, “But I have to say, the man has put a lot of effort into his setting; it does feel like we’re at an abandoned high school.”
“At the end of the day, it is still fake. In comparison to the 3D scary movies I’ve seen, this is nothing.” Fei Youliang was not afraid; if anything, he was bored. “Let’s get this over with.”
The two walked down the dim corridor. On each side of them were empty classrooms. The doors creaked on their hinges, and weird noises occasionally drifted out from the classrooms.
“Do you think the exit will be inside these two classrooms beside the entrance? After all, the comments did say that the boss is a master manipulator.”
“That’s your first mistake. If you focus too hard on searching for the exit, you will have fallen for the man’s scheme.” When Fei Youliang was talking, he did not forget to maintain the balance of his upper body. Both he and Zhu Jianing were expert cameramen.
“You’re right. Thankfully, you came with me.”
“In reality, Haunted Houses are very boring. It’s just people scaring people, and if you take it too seriously, you lose.”
The end of the dark corridor was still nowhere to be seen. Even though they said that they were not afraid, their progress was glacially slow. The signs of a fire could be seen everywhere, and the unique scent of burning was mixed in the stall air.
As living humans entered the scenario, the atmosphere inside Mu Yang High School slowly changed. In an unseen corner, many pairs of eyes slowly opened.
Fei Youliang, who walked forward, was a scary movie aficionado. As authentic as the setting was, it was not scary enough to make him feel afraid yet. In comparison, the muscular man, Zhu Jianing, started to wilt under pressure. He hid himself behind Fei Youliang, and his eyes kept wandering about to the dark corners.
The background music was not that scary, but it made his heartrate race and his breathing uneven. Fei Youliang suddenly stopped, causing Zhu Jianing to walk into the man’s back.
“What’s wrong?” Zhu Jianing said in a volume that he did not realize had become a whisper.
“This classroom, it’s different from the rest.” Fei Youliang stood at the door of the sealed classroom. Looking at the dark-colored uniforms that filled the chairs, he had a weird feeling that the classroom was filled with students.
“There are all these uniforms.” Zhu Jianing was even more scared than Fei Youliang; just a glance through the window was enough to make him shiver. “Should we go to someplace else first?”
“Don’t be scared. A worker at the Haunted House should be hiding inside this room, and that’s why its decor is different from the others.” Fei Youliang could still maintain his calmness. “The man said that we must experience the four scenarios, and this should be one of them. This is the selling point of the Haunted House; we have to record it and then solve it so that we can post it online.”
While he was talking, the door slowly opened on its own like being moved by an invisible hand.
“There must be some kind of control mechanism. It’s common equipment used in the shooting of scary movies.” Fei Youliang slapped Zhu Jianing on his arm. “Come on, let’s go catch some ghosts.”
“You’re right, but…” Zhu Jianing said with a head full of cold sweat, “I’ve taken a look around, and there’re only school uniforms inside the room; there’s no space for anyone to hide.”
“There’s probably some hidden compartment. Be careful. This means that the actor might come out to scare you from unexpected corners.” Fei Youliang and Zhu Jianing dawdled outside the classroom for a long time before finally entering it.