“Ahh!” The sound of the young nurse’s cries rang in Allen’s ears and he stumbled backward, almost falling to the floor on his butt. He hurriedly grabbed Dong Zheng’s arm to stabilize his equilibrium.
Finally seeing the scene in front of him, Allen froze.
The bright hospital lobby was full of people. The nurses and doctors were all busy with their own affairs and were talking with people in hospital gowns. Their clothes carried varying degrees of blood stains, and their bodies also had a certain degree of decay, but everyone didn’t seem to be paying attention. They were frowning, or talking and laughing, and doing their own things.
There was even a translucent ghost who floated out of the damaged stairwell. It found a passing zombie doctor and started talking to it.
Everything was as if it was a normal hospital.
However, the glass door of the hall was closed tightly, with spider web-like cracks on it. A large area was stained with blood, covered with layers of countless handprints. Outside, there was only a thick darkness.
Dong Zheng couldn’t help but think that maybe everyone in this hospital was forced to stay and couldn’t leave. Probably, strange things happened again and again, and desperate people had slapped at the door frantically, crying and covered in their own blood and in the blood of other people.
In the end, all of them were transformed into ghosts and the living dead, trapped in this hospital forever, repeating their previous actions, as if all the death and nightmares had never happened.
“Please don’t run in the hospital or make loud noises.” The nurse whose face had rotted into a half a skull reminded Allen. She seemed to have a bone injury on one arm and her whole arm nearly fell off when Allen ran into her.
Allen was still in shock. The part of his body that had come into contact with the nurse’s body was stained with corpse water. Dong Zheng hurriedly pulled him behind him, nodded, and said for him, “Sorry, we’ll pay more attention in the future.”
The nurse adjusted her hat, lowered her head and muttered something under her breath. The exact words were unclear, but she was apparently vomiting Allen. She walked away quickly.
“My mother,” Alan murmured incredulously. “Where are we?”
“They’re repeating their behaviors before they died.” Dong Zheng whispered, “Let’s go and look for clues. The nurse didn’t appear hostile. Maybe we can ask other people…”
Allen suddenly wondered, “Hey, what if we tell them that they’re actually dead?”
Dong Zheng shot him a glance. “You can try it.”
Of course, Allen didn’t dare. Based on the rules of all supernatural horror novels, as long as this word was heard by any one in this hall, it would definitely result in his own death.
They stood in the corner of the hall and observed for a while. Compared to the basement and the stairwell, there was no plant in the entire hall. The door that was supposed to have two lucky bamboo plants only had bare flowers pots left. Looking at the situation, it looked like the soil was turned over, as if someone had removed the plant.
Or, did it run away by itself?
Dong Zheng opened the door where they’d came in from and glanced out. The orchid that had wanted to kill him was gone. There was nothing in the corridor. But, the broken window and the shattered glasses on the floor clearly proved that something had happened.
“Let’s go and find out the situation.”
Two big living people who were different from the rest of the residents inside walked around the hall raised no suspicions. Dong Zheng passed by a doctor who looked like a giant and suddenly heard him ask the nurse, “Is the patient on the seventh floor sick again?”
The doctor’s vocal cord was probably almost rotten, and the sound it produced was very strange, sounding like glass scratching on a steel plate.
“Yes, he insisted on basking in the morning sun, saying he would die otherwise. But, where is the sun today? Where is the sun coming to bask him?” The nurse was a young ghost girl. She muttered in dissatisfaction, “He should have gone to a psychiatric hospital. He keeps saying all day that he’s sprouting and flowering. It’s obviously his illusion.”
The doctor sighed. “His stroke that resulted in hemiplegia may have damaged his brain. I also suggested that he go for a psychological counseling test, but the result was quite normal. I don’t know what’s going on.”
Sprouting and blossoming?
Dong Zheng thought about it, and looked at Allen, who nodded. The hands at his side forcibly loosened then clenched tight as he made mental preparation. He stepped forward and asked, “I’m sorry to disturb you, but can I ask if there’s a patient on the seventh floor who suffered a stroke? We’re his friends. We heard that he was sick so we came to visit.”
“His friends?” The doctor and nurse turned their heads and looked Dong Zheng up and down. Dong Zheng looked handsome and upright. His elite education over the years had caused him to be serious and conscientious, making him seem particularly trustworthy. Even if he looked a little worse for wear because of his need to continuously escape for his life, his temperament hadn’t been affected.
Dong Zheng glanced at the blood-stained ward report in the doctor’s hands. On September 30, Department of Internal Medicine….The back view was not clear and couldn’t be read.
“Is it Wen Baoshan?” the doctor asked.
Dong Zheng answered, “Yes, it’s him.”
“He’s in the ward on the seventh floor, Room No. 11. But today, the elevator is broken and still under repair. You may have to take the stairs.” Before the doctor could respond, the nurse had already told Dong Zheng all the information in one go.
She looked up at Dong Zheng with her hands behind her back, just like when a young girl saw a handsome guy. She had a small, shy smile on her lips. It was just that she was missing one leg and her ghost-like appearance ruined the image.
Allen’s eyes were shocked.
Before they could ask more questions, the doctor reminded them, “Hey, you be careful. Wen Baoshan’s mental state is not very good. Once the patient begins to feel tired, don’t disturb him.”
“Okay.” Dong Zheng thanked the doctor and was worried that he’d unexpectedly had to face the horrors again. He pulled Allen away, and when the two reached the corner, Allen said admiringly, “Oh, brother, you can’t even let go of ghosts?”
Dong Zheng helplessly rubbed his forehead. “Shut up.”
“The doctor said that the man is on the seventh floor and that the elevator broke down so we have to take the stairs.” Allen looked at the direction of the stairs, and was worried. “But the stairs are full of monsters. If we’re not careful, we’re done for.”
Dong Zheng didn’t act rashly. “Explore and search the first floor first. Since we have to go up, there will definitely be a solution.”
The two men searched the entire first floor. The zombies and ghosts were very friendly and completely didn’t notice that two foreigners had broken in.
In the end, Allen and Dong Zheng could only clutch an IV stand that they’d taken out from the injection room as weapons and looked at each by the stairwell.
“Who goes first?” Allen asked.
Dong Zheng still had a psychological shadow from what had happened in the stairwell earlier. He didn’t want to go in at all. “Doesn’t matter.”
Allen said, “Then you go first this time. I’ll take the rear.”
In fact, it didn’t matter whether it was front or back. Both were not safe. Dong Zheng carried an IV stand with one hand and pushed the door to the stairwell open with the other.
A loud noise came from the far side of the hall, followed by screaming and shouting. A huge, dark green vine slammed through the door into the corridor where Dong Zheng and Allen had just passed and flooded into the crowded hall. It’s spiked branches dragged against the wall, instantly smashing through it.
The ghosts and zombies in the hall all screamed and tried to scramble away from this sudden intrusion. A zombie with two amputated legs and was in a wheelchair failed to escape in time. He became entangled in the branches and leaves. Thin tendrils stretched out and drilled into its half-rotten mouth and eyes, blocking the screams that wanted to emerge from its throat.
A few seconds later, all of his ten fingertips split, and tendrils grew out from them. New leaves quickly unfurled, entwining the zombie’s body and turning him into a grotesque potted plant.
“Shit!” Allen cursed. The zombies still preserved their human behavior. They struggled and cried, pounding against the door in a desperate bid to escape. The glass full of bloodied handprints and cracks was indifferent.
“Hurry up.” Dong Zheng entered the stairwell, and his line of sight suddenly darkened. The stairs here were not much different from the previous one. Many entangled plants shrunk against the corners, growing on the bodies of the dead.
The screams in the hall continued for a long time and then abruptly disappeared. Allen’s heart tughtened and he turned back subconsciously to look at it. As soon as he turned around, Dong Zheng grabbed his collar and yanked him to the side–
A white petal sliced against Allen’s shoulder. The edge of the flower petal was sharp as a kind, directly leaving a deep cut on Allen’s shoulder. Blood immediately poured out and was absorbed into his jacket.
Allen grunted in pain and covered his wound. Dong Zheng waved the IV stand fiercely, beating the white flower until the flat petals and leaves were smashed to the ground and a thick juice oozed out, emitting an nasty smell.
The little mushrooms growing out from the shadowed corner were touched by the juice and they immediately swelled in fullness, spraying out clusters of light yellow spores. These spores fell into the injured white flower, attached to it, and quickly absorbed the plant’s nutrients. They soon grew into black mushrooms and, like a virus, began to rapidly spread toward the blood that Allen was dripping onto the stairs.
Although they couldn’t see the specific situation, both of them could hear the rapidly growing and gurgling noises in the dead silence. Dong Zheng slammed the IV stand down. He felt as if he was stabbing at a pile of extremely dense and viscous material, such that it made him almost unable to pull the IV stand back out.
The two climbed up to the fourth floor with the fastest speed. The road above was completely blocked by spider-web-like vines. Allen tentatively pushed them aside with the IV stand to see if they could continue to go up.
The vines were very tough. Even if the IV stand could make a small opening, it would rapidly close. There were small thorns growing on the vines, and if they weren’t afraid of being poked into a hedgehog, they would have endured the pain and tried to squeeze past.
“Temporarily unavailable. Go in and see?” The wound on Allen’s arm was still bleeding slowly. Blood dripped along his arm and from his fingertips onto the ground, gathering into a small pool.
The bloody smell spread quietly.
Dong Zheng hummed in agreement, and the green fluorescent F4 sign brightened his slightly frowning face.
As they were preparing to explore the fourth floor, they only heard a few soft sounds before the plant wall in front of them automatically separated. Several sticky vines bypassed Dong Zheng and landed on the blood that Allen had dripped onto the floor, emitting a delighted, shrill sound.