Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 4 Book of Kan – Chapter 15 The Time Loop
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 15 The Time Loop
I was shocked, but after thinking it over carefully, what he said was reasonable. No matter how disgusting the smell was, at most I felt dizzy, but it never felt as though I were poisoned.
“However, there are monsters who can use the effluvium to kill people,” Zhu Xuan went on. “Though there aren’t a lot of them, I know a few. These kinds of monsters possess very strong Yin energy and deep-seated grudges. Once someone is haunted by them, it is difficult to escape. However, if these kinds of monsters killed the old woman, we should have felt its presence.”
I nodded and agreed.
“This is very strange. As far as I’m concerned, this old woman’s death looks like…” Zhu Xuan knitted his eyebrows and hesitated.
“Like what?” I asked.
Zhu Xuan looked at me and said hesitantly, “It looks like murder.”
“Murder?” I didn’t understand him.
“I mean, her death looks like it was done by a human being rather than by an evil spirit.”
I looked at Zhu Xuan in surprise. “You’re saying… that the old woman was killed by a human, not by evil spirits? But you also said that she was poisoned by effluvium…”
Zhu Xuan nodded. “Yes, that’s why I said it was very strange. If a human wants to murder another person, it is much easier to use human poisons, like cyanide, arsenic or snake venom, they’re more convenient. No, to kill such a weak old woman, you can just use any tool, I don’t think you’d even need to trouble yourself that much.”
The more I listened, the more perplexed I felt.
“I’m not sure.” Zhu Xuan shook his head and sighed. “This was done either by a monster clever enough to poison someone and make it look like it was done by a human being or someone who had his reasons to use such a ploy. It is impossible to know. For now, I can only say that things have become tricky. If we don’t do anything, perhaps Mr. Yang will be killed by the murderer hiding in the dark before the nine-tailed fox arrives. First his son, then his wife, I’m afraid the next one is…”
I immediately stood up. “I’ll call Wen Jiubo.”
“Okay.” Zhu Xuan nodded. He stopped me before I left.
“Gu Yu, get some rest after making that call.”
I was a little surprised and asked him, “What about you?”
“I don’t need sleep. I’d better stay with Mr. Yang.” Zhu Xuan also stood up. He reassured me. “Whatever it is, we should leave it for tomorrow, okay?”
Though a little hesitant, I nodded and agreed.
As soon as I went back to my room, I called Wen Jiubo. Unexpectedly, the call couldn’t get through.
“Sorry, the number you dialed doesn’t exist…”
Very strange. Was that the voice reminder Wen Jiubo set when his phone was turned off or when he missed a call? Or was there something wrong with the mobile service company?
I called him twice afterward, but the voice reminder told me once again that I dialed the wrong number.
What was going on?
I held my phone in my hand, unsure if I should tell Zhu Xuan about it or not. It was already late at night.
Forget it, I yawned. Just like Zhu Xuan said, whatever it was, I should leave it for tomorrow. Anyway, Zhu Xuan did not need sleep. If something happened, he would wake me up.
I gradually fell asleep on the small bed with my clothes still on.
I did not know when I fell asleep since my consciousness became vague. However, when I opened my eyes, I found that I was awakened by a cold wind.
What happened… where was my quilt?
I frowned and turned over. However, I felt a hard object with sharp edges pressing against my body.
By then, I was wide awake.
I wasn’t sleeping on the bed, nor was there a comfortable quilt. On the contrary, I was lying on the cold ground, and the object pressing against me was a small stone.
I was stunned. I instantly stood up and began to look around. Yes, I was not inside a room but was lying on the ground while the cold December wind was blowing. More precisely, I was standing in front of a house.
——I looked closely. Wasn’t this Mr. Yang’s house, the one we visited yesterday? On a sign hanging above the door, you could read ‘Veterinary clinic’.
What the hell? Why did I wake up outside in this cold weather when I’m supposed to be sleeping in a warm bed inside the house?
“What the hell…”
Before I could recover from the shock, I heard a voice. Only then did I find out that I was not the only one lying on the cold ground. Zhu Xuan was lying next to me. He sneezed and looked around confusedly.
“What happened? Hey, Gu Yu, is this a prank?”
The first thing he did after waking up was suspect me? I answered him impatiently, “I only woke up a few minutes before you. What the heck? Didn’t you say you didn’t need sleep last night? Why are you lying down outside the house? What about Mr. Yang?”
“I don’t know either!” Zhu Xuan got angry. He looked around, the expression on his face showed that he was also extremely confused. “I planned to watch over Mr. Yang last night, but I don’t know why I suddenly began to feel very sleepy and then I fell asleep. I don’t know how I got here.”
“So you’re saying, Mr. Yang moved us outside in the middle of the night? But why would he just kick us out?” I asked him doubtfully.
Zhu Xuan frowned, but just when he wanted to say something, the door in front of us opened. Mr. Yang popped his head out through the door.
Mr. Yang looked at me as if I was a total stranger, then he saw Zhu Xuan. Soon he smiled in surprise.
“Ah, aren’t you the young man who came by a few days ago? Come in, come in.” Then the old man saw me and said warmly, “Is this your friend? Come on in!”
Weren’t these… the exact words the old man said when we met yesterday?
Zhu Xuan confusedly glanced at me and then at the old man.
“Mr. Yang, what happened yesterday?” Zhu Xuan asked straightway. “I must have fallen asleep last night while I kept watch, but how did I end up here?”
After seeing Mr. Yang’s astounded expression, I seemed to understand something.
“Yesterday… you were not here yesterday, young man.” Mr. Yang was perplexed. “And this friend of yours, this is the first time I’m meeting him.”
Zhu Xuan was stunned, but he immediately became silent. We looked at each other, both of us had a bad feeling about it.
“We should go inside,” Zhu Xuan whispered.
After entering the house, Zhu Xuan didn’t say a word, instead, he ran towards the guest room. The old man was startled. He tried to stop him but it was in vain.
“Young man! Hey, what are you doing there?”
“Uh… he’s a prophet,” I stopped the old man and quickly said, “so he can predict what is going to happen in your family. It’s okay, let him have a look.”
I followed Zhu Xuan to the guest room. Zhu Xuan quickly rushed to the bed and uncovered the quilt on the old woman.
Although the old woman still looked very sick, I could clearly see her chest moving up and down. She was breathing.
The old woman was still alive.
This was… what’s going on?
“There is only one explanation for now,” Zhu Xuan seemed to read my thoughts and said in a low voice. “Someone rewound time.”
I looked at Zhu Xuan in surprise. “You mean… what we experienced yesterday started over again?”
“If you don’t believe me, you can check your cell phone.”
I hurriedly took out my phone. After I saw the date on the phone, my heart sank to the bottom of my stomach.
December 23rd, the same date as yesterday.
“How did this happen…” I murmured. “Did the killer who murdered the old woman do this? I don’t understand, what is going on?”
“Would the killer trouble himself to bring back to life someone he already killed?” Zhu Xuan asked as he shook his head. “What’s more, is he capable of manipulating the timeline? I don’t think this was done by anyone involved in this matter.”