Chapter 52.1 First and Second Floors
A’Yao went to the restroom while Qi Ming and Lin Zhaohe waited outside. Lin Zhaohe shouted into the dark hallway, “Boss? Are you there? We’re coming in.” The sound echoed through the empty corridor, but nobody answered. Lin Zhaohe thought for a moment and said, “Qi Ming, do you think the boss might be mad because you asked him about not having a love life?”
Qi Ming: “How…” He wanted to say, “How is that possible?” but couldn’t bring himself to say it.
Honestly, in the three years he had been at the company, Qi Ming had never seen the boss with any woman. The only person who seemed close to the boss was Lin Zhaohe, right by his side.
Qi Ming suddenly had a realization. He narrowed his eyes and looked at Lin Zhaohe, then said, “Brother Lin, have you ever thought about why the boss always gives you a raise?”
Lin Zhaohe: “Because I know how to survive in the workplace. I never foolishly ask the boss why he doesn’t have a girlfriend.”
Qi Ming: “…” He actually found it somewhat reasonable.
“Always asking about everything,” Lin Zhaohe patted his colleague’s shoulder, who didn’t understand the ways of the workplace. “It’s really hard to ask the boss for a raise.”
Qi Ming had no words, and he started wondering if there was something really wrong with him.
“Why isn’t A’Yao out yet?” Lin Zhaohe said, starting to get impatient. “What’s hanging on the wall?” Growing a bit annoyed, Lin Zhaohe looked around. The hallway inside the building was dark, completely pitch black, and they couldn’t see anything clearly. They had brought flashlights when they came in, to prevent any unexpected incidents like last time when someone forcibly took away their flashlights in the border area. Lin Zhaohe had even made a hole in the flashlight and hung it around his neck with a string.
Now with some free time, he looked around and noticed a red string hanging from the ceiling of the building, attached to the wall, with a loop at the bottom, filled with hanging objects, tightly packed together.
“Why does it look like a hanging rope?” Qi Ming’s face turned pale as he called out, “A’Yao, are you okay? A’Yao?”
“Just a moment, just a moment,” A’Yao’s voice echoed from the restroom.
In this completely dark restroom, he constantly felt like something was staring at him from above. His heart raced faster and faster, so he quickly finished wiping and stood up. “I’m coming…” He pushed the door and took a step forward when suddenly he felt like he bumped into something. Raising his hand, he touched a rope hanging in mid-air, and the loop at the other end of the rope coincidentally slipped around his neck.
Realizing something was off, A’Yao opened his mouth to shout, “Help—” but before the word “help” could escape, he was suddenly lifted off the ground. A’Yao’s face quickly turned red, and his legs weakly struggled in mid-air. His eyes looked up and met with something on the ceiling, slowly moving its body, upside down, almost about to touch A’Yao’s nose.
“It’s… a male ghost…” A’Yao thought with his last bit of strength, “How could it be… a male ghost…”
Fortunately, Lin Zhaohe and Qi Ming, who were waiting outside, heard the commotion. They rushed into the restroom and saw A’Yao being forcefully suspended. Qi Ming quickly positioned himself as a stool for A’Yao to step on, while Lin Zhaohe raised his camera and shouted, “There’s something on the ceiling, I’m going to take a photo! A’Yao, don’t struggle!” He didn’t want to capture A’Yao by accident.
With Qi Ming’s shoulder as a foothold, A’Yao finally had a moment to catch his breath. He hoarsely said, “I… won’t move…”
Lin Zhaohe adjusted the angle and snapped a photo directly at the object above A’Yao’s head. As the camera made a soft click, the rope that bound A’Yao’s neck also snapped. He felt his body lighten, and he and Qi Ming fell to the ground together.
“Ouch, ouch…” A’Yao groaned in pain. “My neck hurts so much.”
“Stay down on the ground and don’t move!” Lin Zhaohe whispered sternly. “Hurry!”
Just as A’Yao was about to ask what had happened, his head was pressed down by Lin Zhaohe. The three of them pressed themselves against the floor, with A’Yao turning his head to a different angle. Taking a gasp of cold air, he understood why Lin Zhaohe had asked him to lie down.
At the entrance of the restroom, countless red ropes were hanging, resembling snakes that had come to life, wriggling and searching for prey in their surroundings.
The three of them lay on the ground, not daring to move. The red ropes couldn’t find any targets and gradually slowed down their movements, quietly drifting away in another direction.
“What is all this…?” A’Yao said in a quivering voice. “Didn’t we agree that there would only be female ghosts?”
Lin Zhaohe: “If you encountered a ghost in the men’s restroom, it should be a male ghost, right?”
A’Yao: “……” You’re a master of logic.
Hearing the silence, Lin Zhaohe breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Where’s the boss? Let’s give him a call quickly.”
Qi Ming retorted sarcastically, “You’re the boss’s favorite, so why don’t you make the call?”
Lin Zhaohe didn’t agree with Qi Ming’s words about being the boss’s favorite. He saw himself as a diligent worker and didn’t believe he was anything special.
However, there was no time to dwell on that now. Lin Zhaohe quickly took out his phone and dialed Zhuang Lao’s number. He had been worried that the call might not go through, but fortunately, after a few rings, Zhuang Lao’s voice came through from the other end of the line, “Hello?”
“Boss!” Lin Zhaohe exclaimed, feeling like he had caught a lifeline. “Where are you, boss?”
Zhuang Lao: “I’m waiting for you guys at the entrance. Why haven’t you come over yet?”
Lin Zhaohe was taken aback and asked, “Waiting for us at the entrance? How come we didn’t see you when we entered?”
“Entered?” Zhuang Lao was also surprised. “You guys entered?”
Lin Zhaohe realized something was wrong.
The two quickly exchanged information and realized that they had entered different buildings. According to Zhuang Lao’s description, he was standing at the entrance of the building right in front of them, but he hadn’t encountered Lin Zhaohe and the others at all.
Lin Zhaohe grew anxious and said, “What do we do now?”
Zhuang Lao offered a solution, “Either you come out or I come in. Can you guys come out?”
Lin Zhaohe: “Let me try…” He hung up the phone and explained the situation to Qi Ming and A’Yao.
“Then let’s go out,” Qi Ming suggested. “We haven’t gone far anyway.” The location where they entered was close to the exit, and it would only take a few minutes to get out.
With a consensus reached, Lin Zhaohe sent a message to Zhuang Lao, informing him that they were coming out. As he sent the message, he pushed open the restroom door and was about to walk out when Qi Ming abruptly pulled him back, “Whoa, slow down.”
Lin Zhaohe: “Wha…” Before he could finish his question, he immediately understood why Qi Ming reacted that way.
In the pitch-black corridor, numerous blood-red ropes hung from the ceiling. However, that wasn’t the most terrifying part. The most horrifying sight was that each rope was carrying a corpse. Their faces were pale, their tongues extended, and although their bodies were stiff, they appeared to be alive, slowly moving in the corridor as if searching for something.
Lin Zhaohe’s legs went weak as he witnessed this scene. Choking back tears, he asked, “How can we get out of here?”
Qi Ming: “There’s one way. We crawl our way out…”
Lin Zhaohe: “Is that really going to work?”
Qi Ming: “If it doesn’t work, you can use your camera to capture them.”
Qi Ming was truly the king of horror movies. Apart from his icy-cold hands and feet, he had a logical mind.
“Then I’ll go first,” A’Yao said. “After all, I can’t die.” He was quite brave and immediately got down on the ground, crawling towards the exit.
It seemed that there was always something attractive about the kind of scoundrel that girls liked. Lin Zhaohe thought that if he were a girl, seeing someone so courageous would probably capture his heart as well.
A’Yao crawled on the ground, and those hanging ghosts didn’t seem to notice him. Lin Zhaohe and Qi Ming followed suit, all three of them moving slowly like caterpillars, inching their way towards the door, attempting to open it.
However, no matter how they tried, they couldn’t push open the unlocked wooden door. It was as if it had been welded shut to the doorframe.
Afraid of alerting whatever was above them, they didn’t dare to shoot and could only exert all their strength to push the door. After pushing for a while, Lin Zhaohe felt that something was off.
“Wait,” Lin Zhaohe whispered, “Why does it seem like there’s something blocking the door from the outside?”
Qi Ming asked, “What do you mean?”
“Take a look,” Lin Zhaohe adjusted the flashlight to a brighter setting.
Sure enough, through the crack in the door, Qi Ming saw what was outside. The more he looked, the more his face turned pale, and he muttered, “Damn, why is there a wall outside our door?”
Lin Zhaohe: “……”
Indeed, the open space outside their door had turned into a concrete wall. No wonder their pushing efforts had been in vain. It would be strange if they could move it at all.
Lin Zhaohe: “What about the windows? Can we climb out through the classroom windows?”
The classroom doors were open, and there were no hanging ghosts inside. In theory, if they could climb out through the windows, it should be possible. However, there was a concern…
Obviously, when you have a concern, it’s bound to become a reality. As the three of them climbed into the classrooms, they unsurprisingly found that they couldn’t escape through the windows either. Behind every window was a solid concrete wall, with traces of fire and a pungent smell of smoke.
Based on this situation, Lin Zhaohe sadly realized that the three of them were sealed inside the building.
Fortunately, their phones still had a signal. Lin Zhaohe informed Zhuang Lao about the situation, explaining that they couldn’t get out.
“Understood,” Zhuang Lao didn’t show much surprise. It seemed he had already anticipated that it wouldn’t be so easy for Lin Zhaohe and the others to escape. He said, “Then I’ll come in.”
“But can we meet in the same building?” Lin Zhaohe asked. “How can we reunite?”
Zhuang Lao: “There must be a way. Stay safe and call me if anything happens.”
Lin Zhaohe: “Okay…”
After hanging up the phone, the three of them stared at each other in bewilderment.
Qi Ming: “Let’s continue going upstairs. If the 2D person who made an appointment with Lu Pingping is here, we might catch him off guard.”
Lin Zhaohe thought to himself that since they were already here, there was no other choice.
The hanging ghosts outside continued to sway, but the three of them cautiously crawled on the floor and made their way to the stairs leading to the second floor, finally feeling a bit relieved.
A’Yao: “There shouldn’t be any of those things on the second floor. Scared me to death.”
“Still, let’s be careful,” Qi Ming advised. “Don’t get up yet. Crawl forward.”
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