Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 2 Book of Xun – Chapter 5 The Missing Liang Kaifeng
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 5 The Missing Liang Kaifeng
“Alright, alright. Stop arguing.” I stood between the two of them, a headache brewing. “We’re all here to have some fun, okay?”
With my words, the two of them finally managed to stop their argument. However, the both of them, including Shi Yitong were still full of heavy enmity towards each other.
The situation didn’t turn for the better even when it reached dusk.
It all started when we were bbq-ing. Liang Kaifeng thought that we brought him too much vegetables and not enough meat. Originally, it wasn’t a big deal at all, but that guy had to yell and scream loudly, letting the world know.
“You guys said that you have no objections to me. Look at this yourself, you’re dumping all the spinach, cabbage, and tofu on me. If that’s not an objection to me, then what is it? Why are you all so immature, using this sort of method to take revenge on me because you hate me?”
“We only just split the food. You can see as well that each person has an equal share. How could we give you less?” Su Xiaoyun was so angry that her face turned red.
“Of course you would say that. Did you want to bet that I’ll find someone to come here and judge to see if there’s more meat or more vegetables?” Liang Kaifeng raised his head, looking down his nose at us, his expression like a dictator. “Say, don’t you think you guys are too childish? This was the sort of thing I left back in junior high!”
Shi Yitong finally couldn’t take it anymore, he stood up and pushed Liang Kaifeng. “We’re not the childish ones, you are! Are you brainless?”
However, with that push, Liang Kaifeng stumbled slightly and knocked over the bbq plate on the table. With a loud crash, both the metal plate and the bbq meat on it spilt onto the floor, some bbq meat sauce splashed onto Liang Kaifeng’s clothes. The commotion was so loud that many people looked over, however, the majority of people were just watching for amusement, smirking.
“You deserved that.” Shi Yitong said gloatingly.
“You —! You!” Liang Kaifeng’s face was twisted with anger, pointing at the obviously stained patch on his shirt. “This is a Versace shirt! This can only be dry-cleaned! Can you afford to replace it?”
“I don’t care if it’s Versace or whatever, but you started this. Why is it my fault?” Shi Yitong said angrily.
“Alright, just wait until we get back. I’m going to tell my dad, then the three of you will be in for it!” Liang Kaifeng yelled loudly, knocking all the food on the table onto the floor. “Who the fuck wants to be in a team with you idiots anyway! I’m going off by myself!”
With that, he left alone, fuming. The people around, who had been watching for entertainment, all immediately shut their mouths and fell silent.
“He really deserved that! As if we want to be in a team with him!” Su Xiaoyun rolled her eyes hard. “Come on, let’s go and get another few servings. Let him cool off by himself.”
However, something we never expected happened. After Liang Kaifeng left, he never returned. At half past seven that evening, once each team had finished eating and were ready to go down the mountain to the reserved hotel, the teachers noticed that we were short one person when they were tallying a headcount.
“Forty-five, forty-six, forty-seven… Weren’t there forty-eight of us on this bus?” Our homeroom teacher frowned.
“There were forty-eight.” The class representative nodded.
“Let me count again.” Saying this, our homeroom teacher patiently counted everyone in the bus again. We were still short one person.
“Who are we missing?” Our homeroom teacher said loudly, “Did someone go to the bathroom?”
Everyone looked at each other, exchanging glances and everyone shook their head.
“Liang Kaifeng.” Our homeroom teacher seemed to suddenly notice who wasn’t in the group. “Where’s that loud-mouthed Liang Kaifeng?”
I startled, looking left and right. Liang Kaifeng wasn’t actually in the group. Could it be… that after his temper tantrum, he just never came back?
“Who’s in a team with Liang Kaifeng?” Our homeroom teacher asked sternly. The three of us exchanged a glance and after a moment, we raised our hands weakly.
“Where is Liang Kaifeng?”
“About that, teacher….” Su Xiaoyun said in a small voice. “Before, when we were eating, we had some disagreements with him and then he left by himself.”
“We had originally thought he had gone to find someone else to play with. But we didn’t expect him to not come back…” Shi Yitong added sheepishly.
When our homeroom teacher heard this, she immediately got angry. “You guys! Why did we arrange teams in the first place! It’s so that you can keep an eye on each other and not get into a mess? What were you guys doing?! Which direction did he go in when he left?”
That’s right, when Liang Kaifeng left… which direction did he leave in?
“I think it was that way.” Su Xiaoyun’s memory was the best out of us. After a moment of thought, she reached out and pointed in a direction.
I looked in the direction of Su Xiaoyun’s finger. If you kept walking in that direction, you would enter the forest not long after. That was definitely a place that the teachers had emphasised as a ‘forbidden area’ from the start.
A strong sense of unease swept through me from my chest. I didn’t even think before I started running in that direction.
“Teacher, I’ll go find him!”
“Hey, Gu Yu! Wait for us!” Shi Yitong didn’t think at all before chasing after me.
“Teacher, we’re going too!” Saying this, Su Xiaoyun also caught up, leaving a group of angry teachers who couldn’t catch up to us. They could only yell at us loudly from behind.
“What are you all doing! Hurry up and come back! It’s very dangerous!”
Of course, the three of us all pretended that we didn’t hear a word.
In my heart, I had an inexplicable feeling of unease. This time, I doubted that it was something the teachers could solve, it would be best to involve less people.
We went by our instincts, heading towards the place where Liang Kaifeng had vanished to search. This forest was clearly wasn’t that big, we could see the edges of it before we rushed into it. However, we didn’t know why, but as soon as we walked in we lost our sense of direction.
“Wait up, you guys. Wait!” Shi Yitong was yelling, panting and out of breath from the run. “Man, wait for me you guys!”
“We’ve only been walking for so long and you’re already so tired.” Su Xiaoyun rolled her eyes. “Really, hurry up!”
“No, but, look at our surroundings, guys.” Shi Yitong said, panting. He pointed at a tree in front of us. “That tree, why does it look so familiar to me? Have we been here before?”
With Shi Yitong’s words, both Su Xiaoyun and I froze. I raised my head to look at the tree that Shi Yitong was talking about. That tree had three branches and was unlike the other trees. With his words, all of us started feeling like it was familiar.
“No way… ” Su Xiaoyun muttered. “Are we being misled by ghosts? Is our luck really that good that we’ve run into ghosts?”