Quality Checker: Isalee
First Published on Chaleuria.
It was a man’s voice, extremely clear and pleasing to the ears.
I subconsciously turned my head around to look. A man stood underneath the thick willow tree. He was tall and handsome, with square shoulders and long hair. I couldn’t tell his age but the long robe he wore on his body left a lasting impression on me.
Wasn’t this the man who I was dazzled by at the uni?
The man didn’t grant me time to speak and only gave me an indifferent glance before moving on to an irrelevant topic. “The moon in the sky now is a half-moon.”
He half-leaned on the tree trunk with his arms crossed, raising his chin to stare at the sky. “‘The 3rd night, Zhen appears in the Geng direction.’ If we see the bright part of the moon as Yang lines, then it consists of two Yang lines on top and one Yin line on the bottom, and the trigram it forms would be Zhen. This is a very interesting trigram.’”
What was he talking about? I couldn’t understand a word at all. It was a complete mystery to me.
“‘When two Zhen pile on top of each other, the tremendous echo can eliminate the suppressed qi, so everything will go well and smooth.’” There was a smile in the man’s eyes. “It’s close. That tremendous thunder to you.”
Frowning, I couldn’t understand what he meant. “Who are you? Why are you here? What do you mean by those words?”
I just finished asking when all of a sudden, a gale surged, forcing me to close my eyes for a moment. By the time the gale died down, the man had vanished into thin air.
I frantically ran over, circling once around the old willow tree. However, apart from the damp earth beneath my feet, there was nothing else in sight.
It was right at this moment that an odd sound abruptly came from the distance.
‘KNOCK KNOCK! KNOCK KNOCK!’
In just a second, goosebumps prickled all over my skin. Very quickly, I realized that this was the sound of the coffin knocking as mentioned by Shi Yitong.
I swallowed hard as sweat began to form on my hands. Deep down, I was hesitating whether I should head over to check things out or return and wake Shi Yitong. After a brief internal debate, I decided to not wake Shi Yitong considering the way he looked, he seemed to have been sleep-deprived for a few days. He wouldn’t be able to get a good night’s sleep should I wake him up now.
I rubbed my hands together and dug out my phone from my pocket. Switching on the flashlight, inwardly I motivated myself, reassuring myself that nothing would happen. Shi Yitong had also said so himself that he had gone over to look a good number of times and that there was nothing inside the coffin. I would just go over to take a quick glimpse and come back.
I slowly moved closer to the storehouse that Shi Yitong told me about, which was where the coffin was placed. As the distance shortened, the eerie knocking sound also got louder. My heart was thumping so hard to the extent that it felt like it was going to burst through my chest. Yet, the knocking still immensely piqued my curiosity, so I just had to get to the bottom of it.
The noise became increasingly louder and by this time, I was already standing in front of a row of empty coffins.
I managed to find the coffin Shi Yitong mentioned effortlessly because the sound was so loud it couldn’t be ignored. In addition, the entire coffin was shaking immensely. Something seemed to be bumping against the coffin lid with force, which resulted in the knocking sound.
I stood there, frozen in shock. Against my will, my limbs seemed to have lost all ability to move. No, that’s not right, the coffin was different than what Shi Yitong had described. It definitely wasn’t empty! There was something inside pushing against the coffin lid trying to escape!
In the darkness, the coffin lid was pushed until a small crack emerged. Rooted to the spot, I stared unblinkingly at the coffin. In a flash, a, a long black hand suddenly reached out! That obviously didn’t belong to a living man as it appeared to be a cremated deceased. There was only a layer of dry, blackened skin that stuck to the bones as it tightly clung to the coffin lid.
I screamed in horror, terrified to the extent that I flung my phone away. My body turned into jelly as I collapsed onto the ground, continuously crawling back away from it. Yet, the thing inside the coffin wouldn’t give up. A second hand came out and clawed the coffin lid. And from that dark chink, a crystalline green eye suddenly shot open, glaring tenaciously at me.
I was stunned momentarily. This monster could talk?
“Gu Yu! Gu Yu!”
No, that wasn’t right… The voice didn’t come from this place. It sounded like it was from a remote distance instead.
“Gu Yu, you lazy bum! Hurry and wake up!”
I bolted upright from the bed, loudly gasping for air. My whole body was drenched in sweat as I blinked my eyes, only to realize that I was currently in my bedroom sitting on my bed with Shi Yitong by my side, looking startled from my actions.
“What’s wrong with you…I couldn’t wake you up no matter how I called you. I thought for a second that something had happened to you.” Shi Yitong heaved a sigh of relief. “Did you have a nightmare?”
I nodded blankly in shock.
“Seriously. I thought by calling you here, you could at least help me out in one way or another.” Shi Yitong unhappily smacked my arm. “When that noise repeated again last night, you were sleeping like a dead pig. I couldn’t wake you up no matter what I did. In the end, I was the only one who got up to check out the storehouse. But it was still the same. There’s nothing inside the coffin.”
“You went alone?” Startled, I cried out in surprise. “But…I heard it too!”
“Heard what? The knocking on the coffin?” Shi Yitong waved his hands. “That’s not possible. It’s literally impossible. I kept calling you when it happened but you didn’t wake up at all.”
“It’s true!” I raised my voice another notch as I insisted, “I walked to the yard and saw the coffin. Not only that… Not only that, there was a man. Shi Yitong! I saw it clearly with my own eyes! The coffin wasn’t empty! There was something inside, struggling to climb out!”
I never expected that once I finished, Shi Yitong would stare at me as though he had seen a freak.
“Stop spouting nonsense. You’re muddled from sleeping and can’t tell the difference between dream and reality.” Shi Yitong even reached out his hand to touch my forehead. “Are you okay? Do you have a fever?”
It seemed like he wouldn’t believe anything I said, so I just sighed and shook my head. “Maybe…maybe I’m really muddled from sleeping too much.”
“Seriously! We’ll be starting school today. If you can’t lift your own spirits, then what am I going to do?” Shi Yitong grumbled as he got up from the bed and chucked my coat at me.
I caught it by reflex and while my head was lowered, I found my phone at my bedside.
“What’s wrong?” Shi Yitong turned to ask.
“No…It’s nothing.” I shoved my phone into my coat pocket.
The edge of my phone screen had been broken from the fall.
As Shi Yitong had mentioned, today was the day we had to officially report to the university. We parted ways at the fork in the road, heading off on our own to search for our dorms. Everything that came after went by smoothly. I greeted my three roommates and arranged my stuff. After I listened to the new teacher-in-charge hold a class meeting, the day ended just like that.
Shi Yitong wasn’t in the same class as me, so I didn’t manage to see him the entire day. However, the coffin still constantly plagued my mind.
Was last night all a dream?