Who turned off the lights?
The moment this thought appeared in his mind, Dong Zheng ran without hesitation. Behind him came the sounds of marbles falling. With each interval of marbles falling and rolling on the ground, the sounds came closer and closer.
Dong Zheng dared not look back. Fortunately, there was a family living on the fourth floor and, with the exception of the floor he’d been on, the lights on the other floors were still on. He rushed out of the hallway and ran for more than 20 meters away from the unit before finally turning his head to look back.
The lights on the fourth and fifth floors were extinguished, but the lights on the platform between the first and second floor casted a blurry black shadow against the glass window, slowly moving down.
The night wind blew, chilling the find beads of sweat on Dong Zheng’s back.
“Cui Zuojing?” Dong Zheng took a deep breath, turned around, and continued to walk briskly toward the front, before finally calling in a low voice.
Cui Zuojing, who was staying in his prisoner’s space and was relying on the other person to observe the situation of the box, did not expect Dong Zheng to call him out at this moment. With some surprise, he said, “Huh?”
“Can you come out?”
The youth’s figure appeared beside him. “What’s the matter?”
“It’s nothing.” Dong Zheng paused, and finally said honestly, “I’m a little scared.”
Cui Zuojing sputtered out with a laugh and said with quite a bit of gloating, “I thought you were like this, Elite Overlord. Don’t be afraid of these things.”
As Dong Zheng walked, he said, “Fear comes from the unknown and the resistance to death. In the real world, I’m not afraid of these things because I know that they’re all fake. But here, it’s different. Ghosts can easily take human lives. I don’t want to die. Isn’t it normal to be afraid?”
“Mmn, then I’ll keep you company for a while.” Cui Zuojing’s mood suddenly changed, and he followed Dong Zheng. Looking back, he saw that the thing had reached the door of the building, displaying a black shadow that stood there for a long, long time. It wasn’t difficult to imagine what terrible things would have happened to Dong Zheng if he had stayed a little bit longer at home.
Cui Zuojing said, “What are you going to do now?”
Dong Zheng said, “At the beginning, the script gave me a hint. I’m playing a single father whose child hasn’t come home yet even though it is already this late. I have to go to his school to find him.”
The night was a bit foggy. Their surroundings was blurred by darkness, though a crescent moon hung high in the night sky. There was one direction of street lights still on, guiding the way to the school.
The two walked in the direction of the lights. It was more than 7 o’clock in the evening, and this should have been the busiest time for people. But, the street was empty. After walking for more than ten minutes, the tall pillars of the school gate appeared in their field of vision.
As Dong Zheng approached, an uncle in a security uniform was in the middle of locking the school gate. Dong Zheng hurriedly said, “I’m sorry, but my child hasn’t come back yet. Can I go in and find him?”
The uncle turned his head. After entering the box, this was the first living person Dong Zheng had seen. The man’s face was hidden under the shadow of the brim of his hat, and he said dully, “I’ve just checked. There’s no one here.”
Dong Zheng appropriately played the role of a father looking for his missing son. “I’ve looked everywhere else. When leaving school, my son is very good and will usually return home on time. There must be something going on today. Let me go in and find him.”
Uncle Guard thought for a moment and reached behind his lower back to pull out a key chain. He took out a small, rusty red key and said, “This is the key to the security room. Come out from the security room after you’re done looking. I’ll lock up first.”
“Okay, thank you.” Dong Zheng collected the key and entered the school with Cui Zuojing. The guard locked the gate behind them and slowly walked away.
[Task update: Live through the night/Find son]
Cui Zuojing suddenly said, “Have you heard this statement?”
“Many schools are built on top of cemeteries. The students will go there during the day and their yang energy will suppress the yin energy. But, once they leave, the school at night will become a paradise for ghosts, which is why there are so many campus talks.”
Dong Zheng said calmly, “Because most cemeteries are in the suburbs, the city will naturally take the land back after expanding. The school covers a large area of land and needs a quiet environment. The Land Resources Administration will naturally select the place to build schools. As for campus talks…I’ve been to schools for so many years, but I haven’t encountered any. Of course, this can’t be compared to the real world. There will definitely be ghosts here.”
“……” Cui Zuojing was speechless. “I originally wanted to scare you a bit. I thought you would be afraid.”
“Yes, I am indeed scared.” Dong Zheng expressionlessly opened up his palm and Cui Zuojing touched it, feeling a layer of cold sweat.
Cui Zuojing couldn’t help raising the corners of his lips. “You’re scared. Let’s go and find your cheap son.”
The two people took a cursory look at the school’s courtyard. The school covered a large area and was divided into primary and junior high schools. The teaching building was to the north, the auditorium and laboratory were in the east, the cafeteria and warehouse rested in the south, and the school gate faced the west.
At present, there were no other clues related to the plot, except for the dinosaur puppets on the son’s bed at home. To be honest, Dong Zheng thought that this [Doll’s House] would be set in places such as toy factories, doll houses, and so on. This school setting didn’t seem to be related to it at all.
Dong Zheng also didn’t think he would be able to find the so-called son and, even if he was able to find him, there was a high probability that he wasn’t a living person at all. Even so, he went to the teaching building first. The textbook on the son’s desk at home indicated that he was in fifth grade. Since he didn’t have a map, and he didn’t know which building was the elementary school, he went straight to the nearest building to have a look.
The doors to the classrooms were naturally locked. Dong Zheng turned on the flashlight and looked through the small window of each door. He found nothing unusual. All the classroom windows had security shutters and could not be entered.
The first floor yielded nothing. Dong Zheng called Cui Zuojing, who was looking at the merit plate on the wall, and they went to the second floor.
It was undeniable that as long as someone was by his side, even if he didn’t speak or do anything, Dong Zheng would feel less nervous and scared. Their footsteps echoed in the hallway, and the voice-activated lights flickered on, showing traces of rainwater in the corners.
Cui Zuojing said, “What is your cheap son’s name?”
The flashlight illuminated the seating chart attached to the door. Dong Zheng took a cursory glance at it and said, “I don’t know. The child didn’t even write a name on his book.”
Cui Zuojing nodded, and they explored the second floor. They soon found that the tightly closed door of the classroom at the end of the hallway was unlocked.
Dong Zheng carefully opened the door and saw that the classroom was empty.
He and Cui Zuojing went in and pressed the light switch by the door. Three rows of lights in the ceiling flickered briefly, but failed to remain lit.
Dong Zheng saw the picture drawn on the blackboard at a glance. White chalk outlined a cartoon villain with two banana-like braids on her head, a mouth full of fangs, a pair of devil wings and a devil’s tail growing from her back, and her feet splattered with red ink.
It was very abstract and was obviously drawn by a child.
Dong Zheng began to search the desks. Meanwhile, Cui Zuojing sat at a table by the window, adhering to the original agreement of not helping.
The flashlight swept across his cheek from time to time, and Cui Zuojing narrowed his eyes when he suddenly saw a black shadow flashing across the hallway in the opposite window.
In the next second, the classroom door slammed shut, and Dong Zheng, who was concentrating on looking for clues, snapped his head up sharply. He stepped back cautiously and picked up the stool, prepared to attack at any moment.
The click of the lock rang out loud and clear.
Cui Zuojing jumped down, pulled the door hard, and shrugged to Dong Zheng. “We’re locked inside.”
Pointing the flashlight out the window, Dong Zheng saw the corner of something flashed by. He immediately stuck to the wall, maintaining the best angle to see outside the hallway. There was a large, green figure standing outside with its back to him.
What was that thing?
Dong Zheng frowned. At this moment, another flashlight illuminated from the other end of the hallway and hit the monster’s back.
“Who’s there—Fuck!” the person asked softly, only to have the question turned into a curse the moment the monster turned around. The person holding the flashlight immediately pivoted around and ran away.
Dong Zheng finally saw the monster’s true face.
It was a toy dinosaur.
Tattered cotton wool was falling out from the side of its long neck, and two buttons were sewn in place of eyes. It stood on two hind legs, making it about two meters high. Blackened bloodstains covered half of its body, and its two front claws looked sharp as knives. Under the flashlight’s illumination, the sharp claws emitted a metallic luster. Dong Zheng had no doubt that they could tear a whole person apart.
He immediately turned off his flashlight. When the dinosaur passed by the window, it turned its head and looked through the window at him and Cui Zuojing. The moonlight illuminated it’s mouth sewn with black thread as it stretched into a wide grin and gave a terrifying laugh.
It didn’t care about the two people locked inside, and with heavy footsteps, it’s figure flashed after the other person.
“Was that Hangzhi?” Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing looked at each other and asked in a low voice.
“From the sound of it, it seemed that he heard movements or saw the light and came to check it out.” Cui Zuojing opened the window and heard the faint sound of someone running downstairs. He wandered back to sit on the desk. “How unlucky. He just turned a corner and will probably be overtaken after a while.”
“First, we need to find a way out.” Dong Zheng continued to search the desk. Of course, he knew that with Cui Zuojing’s ability, he could probably easily destroy the door or the security shutters.
Dong Zheng found a diary from the desk in the back row. It was more than half full. He turned it over and saw that the handwriting belonged to a primary school student. Obviously, it was because the Chinese teacher insisted that the student write in it everyday. There were many similar entries, such as “Today, the weather is very nice. It makes me happy.” or “Today was so boring. There is nothing to write about.”
Dong Zheng didn’t take a closer look and merely stored the diary away. He was afraid of delaying time in case the dinosaur decided to turn around to deal with them. At the moment, he was trapped in the classroom. Should something happen, there would be no place for him to escape.
Dong Zheng pulled out a dead sparrow from a table in the second row on the right. The sparrow had begun to rot and had black bugs crawling all over it. The stool next to the desk was split open in the middle with a small crack, making it so that whoever sat on it would be pinched in the butt.
The trash can at the corner of the back of the classroom had rancid rice and shredded paper. There were water stains on the ground, but there were no other clues to be found.
Dong Zheng leaned against the last row of desks and thought. Meanwhile the devil girl on the blackboard grinned at him mockingly.
He opened the diary again, and Cui Zuojing came over to read it from the first page with him.
[April 8 \ Monday \ Sunny]
[The teacher told us to write a diary every day to record the events and feelings of the day, but it will not be checked for inspection. So what is the purpose of writing a diary?]
Cui Zuojing said, “Oh, this kid is really honest.”
[April 10 \ Wednesday \ Sunny]
[They made Agatha cry again. I gave half of the lunch to Agatha. They still made fun of me. I got angry and told the teacher.]
Finally, something that appeared to be related to the plot. Dong Zheng skipped many pages of useless content and turned to the next page.