Quality Checker: Isalee
First Published on Chaleuria.
It felt quite strange. Mr. Wen’s fingers were long and delicate, and also extremely cold. Even though he only touched me once, it still sent a chill down my spine.
“You said in your dream that night, the coffin was making sounds because some extremely dreadful things were trying to come out of it. However, your friend has checked that coffin several nights in a row and yet he didn’t see anything. Dreams are the passages that are connected to the other world, and I’m afraid that you have entered ‘the other shore’ through that dream. Since you were in that world, of course, you could see some strange things, but your friend might not be able to.”
“Well, even if what you said is true,” I forced myself to continue, “Why is that before I came to Yan City, everything was just fine? I’ve never come across any ghosts or monsters for the past eighteen years.”
“Even ghosts and monsters are regionally divided.” Mr. Wen replied calmly.
“I-is that so?” By now I had absolutely no idea how to respond to him.
“Let me put it this way. The happening of any supernatural event requires an opportunity which can make ‘this shore’ and ‘the other shore’ collide with each other. This opportunity is ‘belief’.” Mr. Wen leisurely explained, “‘To believe is to exist.’ I’ve just said that demons and gods are all created by people. If people don’t believe in their existence, then naturally it would be difficult for them to step across the boundaries between the two worlds to create mischief.”
“But Yan City is different.” Speaking to this point, Mr. Wen revealed a mysterious smile. “Yan City is a wonderful place. Almost everyone here has left a small crack in their heart for those creatures living in the crevice, giving them an opportunity to sneak in.”
Mr. Wen’s words gave me goosebumps all over. This man seemed to have a pair of eyes that could see through everything, and yet he refused to explain anything, leaving me utterly confused.
“That… means the thing I saw in my dream last night was real?”
“It’s real.” Mr. Wen gave me an affirmative answer. “Seeing is believing. You need to trust your eyes.’”
“Then… doesn’t it mean Shi Yitong and his grandfather are in danger?” I jumped to my feet and fired questions at him anxiously, “After all, why would that coffin knock at midnight? What’s the thing that’s in the coffin? Could it be that Shi Yitong’s grandfather has been possessed by it?”
“Calm down. Young people sure get anxious easily!” Mr. Wen narrowed his eyes and waved his hands a few times. “Since you’ve entered my store, I definitely won’t let you return empty-handed.
As he spoke, Mr. Wen stood up. He walked into the back room and soon came back out.
“Remember to do the following things when you return. First, ask your friend to drag the coffin that’s making the weird sounds out from the storage to the most central part of the yard. Open the lid of the coffin and put it in a place that has sunshine. Next, you and your friend need to find eight people in the same village. All of them need to be males and also strong enough to carry heavy objects. And the last thing, YOU, need to hold on to this.”
I lifted my head and looked. There were two bells in Mr. Wen’s hand. They were very old-fashioned bronze bells, strung together with a red cotton thread.
“After the first two things are done, you and your friend will each take one bell, stand on the highest beam in the house, and shake the bells hard. At that time, your bodies must face the house and your backs towards the outside. That’s all.”
“That’s all?” I asked, somewhat unable to believe it.
“Yes, that’s all.” Mr. Wen simply confirmed.
“Then… We would be able to get rid of the demon in that coffin?”
“Why don’t you give it a try and see?” Mr. Wen raised his eyebrows.
“B-but…” I stood up, still wanting to ask more, but he interrupted me.
“Anyway, you’ve wasted quite some time here.” Mr. Wen calmly looked at me, gesturing with his chin towards the cat which we had ignored since a while ago. “The owner of this little guy is still waiting somewhere, right?”
Ah! It finally came to me that I asked Su Xiaoyun to wait at where she was before I came out looking for the cat… I had completely forgotten about it! I immediately carried that little bastard named Coo in my arms before I hastily thanked Mr. Wen.
“Sorry. I’ll leave for now!”
I didn’t have the time to ask any other questions and immediately ran towards the door. I would be finished if Su Xiaoyun was still waiting there after so long, so I ran out from the old residence with my hundred-meter sprint speed. However, the little bastard obviously very much disliked me as a ‘means of transportation’ as it kept meowing hostilely in my arms and even tried to scratch me with its paws. I managed to run out the residence before it could succeed and found myself standing again in the middle of weeds up to my waist.
Looking back, for a second I thought that building would disappear the moment I walked out of it, like in all other ghost stories. However, that did not occur. As I turned back to look, that old residence was still there at the same place, seemingly incompatible with its surroundings.
By the time I returned to the back gate of the school, Sun Xiaoyun had already left. I couldn’t tell whether I felt relieved or dread, but at least I didn’t have to face an angry girl.
What would she think of me… She must be super mad right now. Coo gave a discontented meow in my arms, and I rolled my eyes at it. “Yes, yes… I know. I’ve made your owner angry and she has run away. But is it my fault? Obviously, it was you running all over the place!”
Coo jumped right up with a “meow”, its claws headed straight for my face. I shouted and picked it up by pulling the skin behind its neck, giving it a taste of its own medicine. But the cat actually nimbly dodged my attack and pounced to attack me again.
“Gu Yu? What are you doing?”
All of a sudden, a familiar voice piped up from behind me. I turned around, and to my surprise, it was Shi Yitong with Su Xiaoyun right next to him.
Wait a second. I was gone for just one moment, how did these two end up walking together?
“Ah, Coo!” Su Xiaotong happily exclaimed in surprise. Coo immediately ran towards her, purring in satisfaction. “You’ve really scared me to death! Really! Can you stop running around all over the place? It’s so dangerous.”
Compared to that, wasn’t it more dangerous for me who was with it?
“Gu Yu, why are you here?” Shi Yitong had a milk tea in his hand. He was sucking noisily with the straw.
“Shouldn’t I be the one asking the question?” I straightened out my hair which had been scratched into a mess by that little bastard. “Also, why are you with Sun Xiaoyun?”
Right after I finished talking, Shi Yitong’s eyes immediately brightened up.