Ah Tou went next door and desperately knocked on the door for a long time while holding Liang Yanyan up, but no one came to open the door.
Ah Tou rushed back to look at the second-floor window and saw Black Glasses drinking by the window. But he didn’t seem to hear or see anything at all.
“What’s wrong with him? Is this guy really blind?” Ah Tou cursed as Liang Yanyan replied, “I guess the world he sees is different from the one we’re in.”
Ah Tou turned to look at her own house. She couldn’t see clearly through her second-floor window, so she was afraid of taking Liang Yanyan back there. She looked around while continuing to hold Liang Yanyan up, “Let’s get away from here.”
Liang Yanyan put her hand on Ah Tou’s arm to stop her. She was in so much pain that she couldn’t stop frowning, “We can’t avoid it. Let’s just go back to your house.”
“You’re already like this and that thing is still in my room. I can’t handle it alone.”
“We can’t get away by walking.”
Ah Tou thought for a while, but eventually shook her head. There was absolutely no way she would go back to her house. She gritted her teeth and put Liang Yanyan on her back. As she began to walk away from the buildings, she could feel Liang Yanyan’s body temperature warming her back. This sister really has a high body temperature.
“Trust me, it won’t work.”
“Then let’s get far away from here first.”
“We still have that defensive arrangement in your room, but there’s nothing outside. If we stay out here, we’ll be more passive when something goes wrong,” Liang Yanyan said.
Ah Tou shook her head, “You have to let me calm down first. Otherwise, if we go in for a decisive battle, I definitely can’t help you and will be more of a hindrance.”
Ah Tou kept walking forward for about a hundred meters. The sky was so dark that she couldn’t see anything besides the lights in her house and Black Glasses’ house. Everything else around them was in complete darkness.
“Are you always like this?” Liang Yanyan asked her.
“I know myself very well,” Ah Tou said. “Your principles won’t work on me. I know my own character and have my own ways of survival.”
“By running away when things go wrong?”
“By calming down at a distance and then going back and putting up a good fight,” Ah Tou explained. It’s not a bad thing to calm down first. It was so dark all around that she couldn’t see anything and almost felt like she was blind. She raised her hand in front of her face and found that she couldn’t even see her fingers.
The moon wasn’t in the sky and there weren’t any street lamps in the distance.
“Honestly, where are we? Otherworld (1)?” Ah Tou remembered the term she had heard when playing games in college. Otherworld referred to having two different spaces within the same area. One was where we lived, while the other was controlled by some force.
The two spaces overlapped. The terrain and houses were all the same, but the states of these two spaces were totally different. Sometimes, one was peaceful while the other one was tyrannical. Other times, it would be daytime in one and nighttime in the other.
But people could only exist in one space at a time, and they could only enter or leave the space at a particular time or at a special moment.
“We’re actually in your room right now. It’s just making us feel like we’re outside and that I’ve broke my ribs, but we’re actually sitting on the sofa right now.”
“Are you sure?
“We need to go back to the room. We can’t trust the things that it wants us to see; otherwise, it won’t be long before you’re unable to distinguish between reality and illusion. Remember my words: I can’t always protect you because you’re disobedient and assertive. You might think this whole thing will end after you wake up on the sofa, and that you’re returning to reality and are ready to restart your life. But let me tell you something. At that time, it’s very likely that the real hallucinations will just be starting. You have to stay alert.”
“Why?” Ah Tou was a little pissed off that Liang Yanyan said she was assertive. In fact, many people had told her that she had this trait, but she didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Besides, she was willing to bear all consequences.
“Because a real mental breakdown happens at the moment when you realize that the thing you think is over isn’t actually over,” Liang Yanyan said. “I once had a narrow escape myself. I thought everything was over when I woke up, but I didn’t realize that the torture was just beginning.”
Xie Yuchen took a look at his phone after hearing a notification sound. The investigator he had entrusted Ah Tou’s sketches to had come back with a result.
The other party sent him a black-and-white newspaper photo, which was from a local newspaper in Guangdong. There was an article in the newspaper that was circled in red, along with a group photo. One of the men in the photo was very tall, and you could tell with a single glance that he was different from the others.
The article headline read: “After waking up from a high fever, man continuously grows taller and is capable of diagnosing diseases with the naked eye. The medical team sent to the countryside to examine him suspected a pituitary gland disorder.”
The tall man’s face was exactly the same as the face Ah Tou had drawn.
This newspaper was from sixteen years ago and stated that the man’s name was Chen Buxiang. He was a fisherman.
Xie Yuchen sent a message to Black Glasses but found that something was strange since it wouldn’t go through.
He carefully looked at the article again and saw that there was a long sack hanging on a tree in the background of the photo.
<Chapter 14><Table of Contents><Chapter 16>
(1) An abstract concept in the game “Silent Hill”. It may be viewed as a parallel or nonparallel plane of existence. Info here. Something kind of similar would be the Upside Down in “Stranger Things” if that helps.
One thought on “Chapter 15”
saw that there was a long sack hanging on a tree in the background of the photo. Could that be the real Chen Buxiang in there like Tintin that was burnt and the one still upstairs? Yikes!