“This bedroom feels different from the rest,” Zhu Jianing commented at the door. The man seemed like he was about to run at any moment. “It has that Escape the Room feel. The clues to the exit are probably hidden here as well, right?”
“No idea, this is the first time I’ve visited a Haunted House that gave its visitors such a great degree of freedom. The boss sure is confident that no accidents will happen to his customers.” Fei Youliang walked to the chairs and picked up a random piece of white paper. On it, it was written “When will I die? How will I die? Who will be the next to die?”
“This looks like the Pen Spirit game, but…” Fei Youliang turned to look at the ballpoint pen on the chair. “Isn’t this pen a bit too unconventional?”
“Does it contain some kind of hidden mechanism?” Zhu Jianing also walked over to hold the pen in his palm. He pressed on it for several times and almost broke the pen. “It seems like a normal pen to me.”
“Do you still remember what the Haunted House boss said before we came in?”
“There are four scenarios in the Haunted House, and we have to experience them all before we can get the clues to the exit.”
“That’s right. The clues are hidden in the four small scenarios. Let’s take a closer look around. In my experience, there’s probably a key or paper note hidden inside this bedroom.”
The bedroom was small, and the pair searched every corner but came up with nothing.
“This Haunted House is not that easy to unlock, and the design are incredibly detailed.” Fei Youliang placed the paper on the table. Three of them had writing on, but one was left blank. “Does this mean that we have to play the Pen Spirit game at least once before we can get the answer?”
“Playing the Pen Spirit game inside a Haunted House doesn’t sound like a good idea.” Zhu Jianing was flustered after reading the writing on the sheets of paper.
“Of the four scenarios, this one seems the simplest. If you don’t want to do this, we’ll need to go back to that classroom. Would you prefer that?” Fei Youliang waved his hand impatiently. “Plus, do you really think there is a Pen Spirit in this world? Get over here. We’ll try it once, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll leave.”
Fei Youliang felt something was off, and he felt weirdly uncomfortable, like something was grasping his heart. Zhu Youliang unwillingly walked toward Fei Youliang. They stood on opposite sides of the chairs.
“But I don’t know how the game works.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve seen many movies about the Pen Spirit. I’ve even tried it out a few times at home. It’s just a trick and can be scientifically explained.” Fei Youliang straightened the pen and hovered it over the single paper that was empty. “Cross your fingers over mine and grab the pen tightly.”
“Okay.” Zhu Jianing squatted down beside the chair and did what he was told. “Now what?”
“Just be quiet.” Fei Youliang wrote down “YES” and “NO” on the white paper. When the bedroom became completely quiet, he started to chant, “Pen Spirit, Pen Spirit, you are my spirit from my previous life, and I am your spirit in this life. If you are with us, please draw a circle on the paper.”
As he finished, a cold blast of wind suddenly shook the half-opened door of the bedroom. The dilapidated door slowly opened to reveal the empty and dim corridor. Zhu Jianing shivered and shrunk involuntarily into the room.
“Stop moving.” Fei Youliang stared at the sharp end of the pen, his body frozen like a statue. The chilling wind streamed through the bedroom. The paper on the floor fluttered like an invisible hand was flipping through them. The temperature dropped, and coldness seeped up from their ankles.
When someone is asked to hold the same position under a highly stressful situation, one’s senses would be heightened. This was not unlike a form of torture for the pair who was in the middle of the Pen Spirit game.
The decrepit bedroom seemed to turn darker, and the dirtied bedsheet moved in the wind like something was crawling out from underneath the bed. Ten minutes later, the pair’s hands, which hung in midair, started to tremble, and a series of dots started to appear on the paper.
Zhu Jianing could not help but ask, “Has the Pen Spirit arrived?”
He could not withstand this kind of tense atmosphere.
“Many movies set the time for Pen Spirit to appear after ten minutes. If there’s no reaction within ten minutes, it means that the game has failed, but this is a made-up rule. Often, people think that the Pen Spirit has arrived, but in reality, it is merely a psychological effect,” Fei Youliang said to calm his teammate. “This place is one of the four scenarios mentioned by the boss. We’ll try to follow his rules for now and see what kind of tricks he can play on us.”
As he finished, the ballpoint pen in their hands moved. It was a slight movement, but both of them felt it.
“Was that you?” both asked at the same time, and they managed to see the shock registered on the other person’s face.
“It wasn’t me,” Zhu Jianing denied in a hurry. He had completely recovered from the fear brought on by the pair of eyes, and now this happened. He was in a highly tense state. “Youliang, do you think the real Pen Spirit has arrived?”
“Don’t be silly. The Pen Spirit game utilizes the game’s format and the environment to create psychological pressure. The elongated time of maintaining a constant posture will cause the pen to appear like it has moved on its own even though it is actually the result of our bodies reacting to the environmental and physiological stimulus,” Fei Youliang stated in a tone that sounded like he was persuading himself. “Our subconscious imagines that the pen has moved, and it has influenced our conscious mind.”
However, as he finished, the pen moved again, and it was very obvious this time. The pair looked at each other before both turned toward the paper in unison. The little dots on the paper were connected by a line to form an irregular circle.
“F*ck! It’s really here!” Zhu Jianing’s first reaction was to pull his hand back, but he was stopped by Fei Youliang.
“Whether or not it is the real Pen Spirit, we have to continue this game.”
“If it is the real Pen Spirit, if we end the game without sending it off, we’ll be cursed by the Spirit until we die; if it is fake, then there is no reason for us to be afraid, and everything is just a trick arranged by the boss to scare us.”
“Then what shall we do next?”
“Try to ask it some questions, and then send the Pen Spirit away,” Fei Youliang said calmly.
“What kind of questions we should ask? Questions like the ones written on the other paper?” Zhu Jianing pointed at the pieces of paper that littered the floor.
“That is a trap. We must not ask the Pen Spirit questions that are related to death. Try to ask some random questions.”
“Yes, let me try.” Fei Youliang gripped Zhu Jianing’s hand tightly. After a pause, he shushed Zhu Jianing, and he muttered softly, “Pen Spirit, Pen Spirit, can you tell me the name of my future wife?”
To Fei Youliang’s surprise, when he finished the question, the wind inside the bedroom suddenly stopped blowing, and an insurmountable pressure started to expand from behind him.
The pen in their hands quivered violently, and soon, three words appeared on the white paper.
“YOU WILL DIE!”