Chapter 71.1 Savage Expansion (4)
Lin Zhaohe took a deep breath to calm himself. He focused on his plan to climb to the second floor and escape through the backyard, pushing away thoughts of why he ended up here. Dwelling on it only intensified the chill that gripped him and rendered him immobile with fear.
“It’s alright, it’s alright, everything will be fine,” Lin Zhaohe muttered to himself, stepping carefully on the wooden stairs and ascending slowly. But even before he could reach the top, he heard banging noises from upstairs. It sounded like someone was slashing something with a sharp object. Images from the horror movie flashed in his mind, causing his legs to weaken. He tried to convince himself that it was nothing serious, but his face turned even paler.
Holding a gun in his hand, Lin Zhaohe made up his mind to open fire regardless of what he encountered upstairs. He mentally prepared himself and continued his slow ascent to the second floor.
However, as Lin Zhaohe caught sight of the scene on the second floor, all his mental preparation collapsed. He witnessed a person ᴅʀᴇɴᴄʜᴇᴅ ɪɴ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ, ᴡɪᴇʟᴅɪɴɢ ᴀ ꜱʜᴀʀᴘ ᴋɴɪꜰᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴠɪᴄɪᴏᴜꜱʟʏ ʜᴀᴄᴋɪɴɢ at a corpse. The face of the lifeless body was staring directly at him—an exact replica of his own face.
Lin Zhaohe let out a shriek and fired the gun at the person. The bullet pierced his body, but it proved useless. As blood splattered, the twisted corpse on the floor crawled towards him, limbs contorted.
The events that followed became blurry in Lin Zhaohe’s memory. Extreme fear seemed to deliberately fade the recollection. When he regained his composure, he found himself sitting on the ground, gasping heavily. The scent of blood lingered in the air. As he turned his head in confusion, he was startled by his own blood-stained face reflected in the mirror.
“What… what is this?” Lin Zhaohe struggled to rise from the ground, encountering a pile of unidentifiable debris. He wiped his face with his hand, unsteady on his feet, and attempted to descend the stairs.
Finally arriving in the backyard, the path to escape awaited him. Lin Zhaohe thought so, quickening his steps. However, as he opened the door to the backyard, he was met with an unexpected sight—a towering two-story wooden house stood alone, exactly like the one behind him.
So, this is what they call a “ghost wall.” Lin Zhaohe tried to smile but failed, his expression more unsettling than crying.
Lin Zhaohe found himself returning once again, compelled by circumstances. Rain began to drizzle from the gloomy mist, forcing him to seek shelter under the eaves.
The entrance to the two-story building behind him stood wide open, resembling a gaping mouth ready to devour anyone who entered. Lin Zhaohe tried every possible method to establish contact with the outside world, but all his efforts proved futile. Crouching in the corner, gripping the gun tightly, he resembled a frightened animal on the verge of a breakdown—any slight sound could trigger an explosive reaction.
Time froze in that moment, and the watch on Lin Zhaohe’s wrist ceased its movement. He felt as if he would be forever trapped in this fixed scene.
Thud, thud, thud. The sound of footsteps echoed from the staircase. Through the narrow stairs, Lin Zhaohe caught sight of a pair of bare feet in the corner, ankles stained with red liquid. He slowly backed away, but his gaze landed on a twisted face behind the feet. It was a posture no human body should contort into. Lin Zhaohe nearly went insane and rushed up the stairs, blindly shooting with his gun, refusing to even look closely at what was appearing before him.
“Damn it.” The room was in chaos. Lin Zhaohe felt the overwhelming weakness of despair for the first time. He even noticed that the portraits on the walls morphed into his own likeness. “I’ll… fight you to the end…” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bomb.
Several minutes later, the small building in front of him was reduced to rubble. Lin Zhaohe stood in the backyard not far away, observing the billowing dust. He lit a cigarette, the fear on his face diminishing, leaving only numbness.
Amidst the ruins, a red figure slowly rose. Lin Zhaohe squinted, finger on the trigger…
That day, the sound of explosions persisted. The fragile two-story building in front of him collapsed and reappeared, collapsed and reappeared. Piles of women’s bodies surrounded Lin Zhaohe. He spat out the burning cigarette from his mouth and extinguished it with his boot.
“Is that all you’ve got?” Lin Zhaohe muttered, unsure if he was addressing the female ghost or himself. The gun and bombs in his hands were conjured by Zhuang Lao from a two-dimensional world, an endless supply that made him fearless of running out.
“Are you capable or not?” When the red-clad female ghost reappeared, Lin Zhaohe didn’t open fire. He walked up to her, looking up into her eyes. “Is this all?”
The female ghost’s pitch-black pupils stared fixedly at Lin Zhaohe. Miraculously, he could sense a hint of different emotions behind them—confusion, irritation, anger.
This humanized expression made her seem less terrifying. Lin Zhaohe took a deep breath and said, “Miss, this won’t do.” He pulled the trigger once again, and another corpse appeared beside him.
The small building had been blown up multiple times, weakening the sense of terror. This time, Lin Zhaohe didn’t rush to detonate anything. Instead, he slowly ascended the stairs to the second floor. The previous arrangements remained the same, but everything was back to normal. His face no longer appeared in the photographs.
Lin Zhaohe had a protein bar in his mouth to replenish his energy. He rummaged through the house, discovering various odd items. Diaries were no longer surprising, and there were also some women’s personal belongings. He felt a bit apologetic and said, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to dig these up.”
As he lifted his head, the female ghost hung upside down from the ceiling. Her long hair draped over Lin Zhaohe’s cheek, and their noses were barely a centimeter apart. Lin Zhaohe’s breath grew rapid for three seconds, thinking he might faint again. However, his pounding heart unexpectedly regained calmness.
After being intensely frightened for a few hours, Lin Zhaohe surprisingly felt a bit tired. The once terrifying female ghost didn’t seem as frightening anymore. He even noticed a smudge of dust on the tip of her nose, most likely from the explosion in the room a moment ago.
Acting on impulse, Lin Zhaohe extended a finger and wiped off the dust from the tip of her nose. Worried about any misunderstanding, he kindly explained, “There’s dust.”
The female ghost’s entirely black irises flickered briefly, and from within them, Lin Zhaohe discerned a sense of anger.
Suddenly, a pang of guilt struck Lin Zhaohe. He thought to himself that he wasn’t intentionally trying to be fearless. However, as fear consumed him, he feared getting tired. In a typical horror movie, it only lasted one or two hours, with constant scene changes. Unlike the two of them, confined to this two-story building, they had lost the sense of novelty.
Ghosts, indeed, needed novelty just like love did. If a ghost scared you every day in the same way and at the same place, you would probably get used to it within two weeks.
Lin Zhaohe had slightly stronger resilience than an average person, so he quickly grew accustomed to the situation. They stared at each other for a long time, with the female ghost remaining still and Lin Zhaohe unmoving as well. However, some things were destined for one side to fail. Ultimately, the female ghost couldn’t find the fear and unease she desired in Lin Zhaohe’s gaze. Perhaps there was a hint of it earlier, but as time passed, only an awkward and impatient tension remained between their locked gazes.
Lin Zhaohe dreaded awkwardness, so he forced himself to find a topic of conversation. “Isn’t it tiring to hang like that? It can’t be good for your neck.”
In the next moment, the female ghost disappeared.
Lin Zhaohe wondered if he had somehow hurt her with his attitude, and he even took a few seconds to reflect on his casual demeanor. Although the female ghost was no longer frightening, they were still trapped in the house. Lin Zhaohe began endless attempts to escape. He blew up the small building and then the backyard, followed by blowing up the front yard. Rubble rose and fell, turning into ruins. He resembled a demolition engineer, with the air filled with debris and dust.
The female ghost clearly refused to admit her failure and continued to try to scare Lin Zhaohe with great determination. However, the unfortunate reality was that Lin Zhaohe didn’t feel a thing. It was like watching a horror movie for the twentieth time. You could predict exactly when the ghost would appear, and the terror turned into numbness. He even patted the hem of the female ghost’s skirt. “Don’t go to the ruins, it’s dusty over there.”
After all the commotion, Lin Zhaohe started to feel tired. He found a bed on the second floor and lay down. There was someone next to him incessantly hacking at the bodies with a thud. He took out the bread he had prepared earlier from his bag, munching on it while observing. He couldn’t help but remind the person to be more gentle with the hacking and not let the blood splatter.
This nonchalant attitude infuriated the female ghost. She forcefully flipped the bed, almost causing Lin Zhaohe to fall to the ground. He complained in a helpless tone, “Wow, you’re so fierce.”
The female ghost trembled all over, realizing that she was being provoked.
“Fine, if you don’t want me to lie down, I’ll go lie outside,” Lin Zhaohe muttered. “You’re really stingy, huh?”
The female ghost’s eye sockets bled as she stared intently at Lin Zhaohe. It would have been quite frightening, but due to seeing it so many times, Lin Zhaohe had no reaction whatsoever. He muttered a couple of remarks, “Staring at me won’t do any good. I’m not afraid of you anymore. Want me to find you someone else to scare?”
The female ghost remained silent but kicked the guy next to her who was hacking at the bodies out of frustration.
Lin Zhaohe realized it was pointless to talk to someone busy with such household chores and silently went downstairs to continue figuring out how to escape. Before he could make any progress, the female ghost, who had crept up behind him, grabbed his neck—this wasn’t the first time. Lin Zhaohe was completely familiar with the situation and swiftly twisted her fingers, causing her hands to twist and contort.
“Maybe you should find someone else,” Lin Zhaohe kindly suggested again. “I genuinely don’t feel anything for you anymore.”
What a heartless remark! Initially, his heart would race, but was it because they spent too much time together? That feeling of a racing heart had vanished, leaving behind mundane daily interactions. Even their conversations were filled with impatience.
Dealing with ghosts was like being in a relationship. The more you encountered them, the more accustomed you became.
However, the female ghost refused to let go, as if instilling fear in Lin Zhaohe had become her sole obsession, an obsession that prevented her from finding peace. She refused to relinquish any opportunity to scare Lin Zhaohe, whether it was during meals or while he slept. Even when Lin Zhaohe crouched there, pondering his escape, she wanted to give him a fright.
Lin Zhaohe had completely lost all feeling and felt nothing but annoyance. He waved his hand dismissively. “Go play by yourself over there, don’t disturb me.”
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