Lou Yan didn’t move, only cold sweat trickling down his forehead.
Concerned words from Li Sanxin came through the airwaves, somewhat distorted, “Yan Zi, Yan Zi? What’s wrong with you? Are you feeling uncomfortable from drinking? I’ll come find you right away. Don’t let your mind wander.”
Lou Yan opened his mouth, “…don’t come over.”
Sounds of Li Sanxin dressing on the other end came through, “What?”
“I’m fine; don’t come over,” Lou Yan closed his eyes and said, “I’ll come to you later. Don’t go anywhere, just wait for me at home.”
After saying this, Lou Yan hung up the phone.
Yes, his dad had died a long time ago, during his high school days. There was no such thing as his father supervising the entire process of decorating the house, let alone his dad getting to know the neighbors.
Why did he naturally assume, for that brief moment, that the “person” on the other end of the phone was his father?
He didn’t even question why his dad didn’t call his phone but called his neighbor’s phone to reach him.
Lou Yan felt a chill rising from his spine. Could that ghost actually manipulate his thoughts?
…..No, this wasn’t the ability of that ghost.
If those two ghosts had such an ability, there would be no need to peel the skin off Lu Haoxiu’s parents and pretend to be human.
Where was the problem?
A scene flashed through Lou Yan’s mind – “Lu Haoxiu’s father” holding the phone.
He had thought the phone looked familiar just now, and now, remembering, the pure black casing, a bright red diamond-shaped logo on the back… Yes, it was this phone.
Lou Yan cursed lowly, but the corners of his mouth lifted coldly. “Very well, so it was that.”
Lu Haoxiu also heard the conversation between Lou Yan and Li Sanxin. A lot of information overwhelmed his head, turning the familiar world into something strange in just a moment, filled with eerie danger. He didn’t know what to do, or even what he could do, feeling helpless and nervous as he looked at Lou Yan. “Brother Lou, what’s our next plan?”
He instinctively grasped Lou Yan’s clothes, fingers trembling, fear resurfacing.
Lou Yan, however, remained extremely calm. He even took out two bottles of strawberry milk from Lu Haoxiu’s snack pile, threw one to Lu Haoxiu, and calmly drank one himself. “The phone that anomaly just gave me, it’s not an ordinary phone; it’s a type of curse called ‘Seize Life Phone.'”
Lu Haoxiu swallowed hard. “Seize Life Phone?”
The sweet strawberry milk moisturized Lou Yan’s dry lips and somewhat calmed his pounding heart. Lou Yan briefly explained to Lu Haoxiu, “The ‘Seize Life Phone,’ B-class horror. The owner can use it to dial the phone of any target they want to kill. Once dialed, whether the target answers or not, regardless of whether the communication device is on or off, the ringtone will sound and persist like a shadow for three days and nights. After three days and nights, whether the target has escaped to the other side of the ocean or secluded in a network-less countryside, they will die a violent death.”
Lu Haoxiu took a deep breath. “Isn’t this the setup of cursed items in horror movies?”
“Similar,” Lou Yan smiled briefly. “Every time the owner uses the Seize Life Phone to kill someone, the black casing of the Seize Life Phone will turn one shade redder. When it turns red enough to bleed, the Seize Life Phone will recover, taking the owner’s life and then seeking the next owner at an opportune time.”
Lu Haoxiu took a sharp breath and said whimsically, “So, if the owner controls the line, using it to kill but preventing it from turning red to the bleeding level, will it never recover?”
Lou Yan actually nodded, but added, “In theory, yes. However, the Seize Life Phone has autonomous consciousness and the ability to manipulate human minds. Even a law-abiding and honest person who gets hold of it can be manipulated into wanting to kill continuously.”
Lu Haoxiu, distressed, buried his head in thought. He aggressively pulled his hair a couple of times, turning it into a vertical chicken feather duster. “So, if we don’t use communication devices, will it be okay?”
“Indeed,” Lou Yan sighed. Before Lu Haoxiu could feel relieved, he continued, “The Seize Life Phone can only kill through communication. Unless a person has never been in contact with any network since birth, living a life in a place without signal coverage, without their own phone number, and without leaving any information online, only then can they escape the Seize Life Phone’s calls. But we are in the era of big data, and rarely would someone choose to live in seclusion to avoid a potential call from the Seize Life Phone. At least, I can’t do it. Can you?”
Lu Haoxiu shook his head frantically without even thinking. “I can’t either!”
Lou Yan continued, “Apart from its killing ability, the Seize Life Phone is said to answer various questions posed by the owner, similar to a Ouija board. Similarly, answering a question increases the phone’s red level. It’s because of this characteristic that the Seize Life Phone is classified as a B-level horror.”
Killing someone with the Seize Life Phone takes three days. In theory, its speed and quantity of killings are far behind other B-level horrors. However, it’s challenging to avoid the Seize Life Phone’s calls. As Lou Yan mentioned, unless someone has been isolated from the network since birth, living in deep mountains or forests, free from a phone number and any online presence, only then can they escape the Seize Life Phone’s calls. But for humans living in normal society, as long as they are alive, they will inevitably receive a call from the Seize Life Phone.
Lu Haoxiu’s focus shifted a bit, tears flowing uncontrollably. “D*mn, you guys even categorized these things? There are so many of these things that you need to categorize them? My god… this world actually hides such truths…”
This cruel truth made Lu Haoxiu feel that his previously peaceful and beautiful memories now seemed false and floating. At this moment, he wanted to deceive himself that everything tonight was just a dream—because once a person touches the truth of the world, they can no longer live in the false and calm illusion, deceiving themselves.
Lou Yan calmly stated, “Even if there are no categories now, there will be in the future.”
Skipping over a sentence that confused Lu Haoxiu a bit, Lou Yan looked towards the door, his voice so soft that if Lu Haoxiu wasn’t fully focused, he might not hear it. “Lu Haoxiu, I need to get that phone.”
Lu Haoxiu, shocked, asked, “Get what?!”
“Don’t get stimulated,” Lou Yan turned back and smiled at him, darkening his eyes. “If the Seize Life Phone is left unattended, it will harm countless people in the future. We might even die one day under its suddenly ringing tone. This thing is right in front of my eyes, within my reach. Even if I die, I need to destroy it before I die.”
“….” Lu Haoxiu was speechless with tears streaming down his face.
Lou Yan understood the emotion in his eyes but immediately refused, “No, don’t look at me with hero-worshipping eyes. I’m not a selfless person willing to sacrifice my life to save others, but I’m also not so bad that I would let an anomaly capable of killing countless people go free.”
Lu Haoxiu sniffled, feeling that the tears shed tonight surpassed all his eighteen years before. “But I think you’re handsome, a good person.”
Lou Yan chuckled and reached out his clearly defined knuckles, gently tousling Lu Haoxiu’s messy hair. “No, I’m just acting from a human perspective, doing what most humans would do.”
This hand, cold to the touch, slender, yet it brought a sense of comfort to Lu Haoxiu. Previously, Lu Haoxiu’s admiration for Lou Yan was merely envy towards successful individuals. But at this moment, he had a deeper admiration for Lou Yan as a person.
Retracting his hand, Lou Yan changed the topic, “The problem is, the two anomalies pretending to be your ‘parents’ have probably realized that we’ve discovered something and are preparing to attack us.”
Lu Haoxiu was startled, then realized, “Because they used the Seize Life Phone on you, and this is their attempt to test you!”
“Yes,” Lou Yan nodded, squinting his eyes. “And the thing pretending to be my father may also be another anomaly on its way here. When this anomaly arrives, we won’t have a chance to escape. While they haven’t torn our faces apart yet, I need to find a way to get the Seize Life Phone. It shouldn’t be too difficult… When I get the Seize Life Phone, you go and get my backpack left in the corridor. There are tools inside that we can use. The main entrance is blocked; there are two anomalies inside and maybe another one outside waiting for us. I just calculated the height from the fourth floor to the first floor. Using a sheet tied into a rope, it should be enough for us to escape through the window.”
Lu Haoxiu said seriously, “Should I go get the phone? At least, I’m their ‘son,’ and they shouldn’t be too suspicious of me.”
Lou Yan was ruthless, “Your acting skills are not good.”
Lu Haoxiu: “……QAQ.”
He felt like crying again. “Then, you be careful.”
Lou Yan nonchalantly said, “I’ll be fine.”
His plain tone couldn’t hide the confidence in his words. He wasn’t comforting Lu Haoxiu; Lou Yan genuinely believed that he had a high chance of obtaining the Seize Life Phone.
Because, in the eyes of anomalies, his cognition had already been modified by their powers, still under their control. Lou Yan could use their tricks against them.
Time was of the essence. Lou Yan organized his words for a while, opened the door, and walked straight towards “Lu Haoxiu’s father.”
The middle-aged man had returned to the sofa in the living room. Upon sensing movement, he turned around, and his expressionless face formed a smile—this smile, compared to the seamless smile from before, was noticeably more perfunctory. It seemed that the anomalies’ patience was running thin.
The woman wearing a face mask also emerged from the kitchen, silently standing in the shadows, her eyes following Lou Yan’s movements.
When their attention focused on Lou Yan, Lu Haoxiu quietly brought the backpack from the corridor back into the bedroom.
Lou Yan walked with an unchanged expression, his steps elegant and steady. He seemed completely normal, as if he hadn’t noticed anything wrong. Approaching the sofa, he casually said, “Uncle Lu, can I borrow your phone? I need to make a call to my dad.”
The middle-aged man stared at him silently. Up close, Lou Yan could see that the skin it wore seemed like an inflated balloon, unnaturally smooth and full. Even in the shadows, Lou Yan noticed small black bugs, the size of a thumbnail, crawling out of its earholes and crawling down its neck into its black hair.
A wave of nausea surged, but Lou Yan forcefully suppressed it. Frowning, he asked again, “Uncle Lu?”
The middle-aged man chuckled twice, took out a phone from his pocket, and handed it to Lou Yan. “Go ahead, he should be here soon.”
Lou Yan thanked him and even nodded towards the woman standing at the kitchen entrance before returning to Lu Haoxiu’s room.
Upon seeing him, Lu Haoxiu’s expression of joy hadn’t appeared when Lou Yan’s face suddenly darkened.
“Come help quickly!” Lou Yan swiftly locked the door and started pushing the wardrobe against it. “They’re about to attack!”
Lu Haoxiu exclaimed, “F*ck, f*ck, f*ck!”
He rushed over in three steps, helping Lou Yan push the wardrobe against the door. Just as the wardrobe door barely touched the room door, a strong force hit the door from the outside.
The door frame instantly shook off some wall plaster.
Lu Haoxiu’s father’s voice came from outside the door, cold and eerie, “Son, quickly open the door. Your mom made supper, hehehe, open the door and have supper.”
The mother’s voice joined in, mingled with an unmistakable sound of swallowing saliva, greedily saying, “Haoxiu, Mom is hungry, come and have dinner with Mom.”
Lu Haoxiu used his back to press against the wardrobe, tears unknowingly flooding his face. He shouted loudly, finally releasing the anger and pain in his heart, “You are not my parents at all! Don’t use my parents’ voices to call me, you bunch of monsters!!!”
Little Lu’s expressions today have been consistently crying TAT.