Chapter 3 - Attacked by a Ghost

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The terrifying scene in front of them, coupled with the eerie chewing sounds, struck fear deep into their hearts. Su Jin quietly told the other three to make their way out of the house and into the front yard. If there really was something else in here that they couldn’t see, it was too dangerous to remain in this small house.

But just as they turned to walk out of the house, the door suddenly slammed shut. A picture frame that was hanging on the back of the door shook violently from how hard the door had slammed shut. The frame creaked noisily as it swung from side to side, but along with this, the chewing noises at the table had abruptly come to a halt.

Yang Zichen and Zhang Jing were clearly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. They were both trembling all over, and their pupils had constricted in terror. They were convinced that If they remained in this place for one more second, they might lose their marbles. Su Jin gave Chu Yi a knowing glance. Chu Yi saw it, and they both started ramming at the door together.

But to their shock and horror, the door that had supposedly gone through several decades of weathering refused to give way even though two grown men were ramming their bodies into it so hard!

Woong!

A fork came flying from the dining table and landed itself in Chu Yi’s shoulder. Chu Yi winced, and his eyes were suddenly filled with a look of horror.

Everyone was too frightened to move, and only Chu Yi kept flailing about. He kept making strangled noises, as if someone was actually strangling him. Su Jin quickly snapped out of his initial shock and ran over to pull Chu Yi up from the floor, but Chu Yi was struggling so hard that Su Jin simply couldn’t get him to his feet.

He then noticed the fork in Chu Yi’s shoulder and felt that Chu Yi’s odd behavior probably had something to do with this fork, so he grabbed hold of the fork in the hope of getting it out of Chu Yi’s shoulder.

But the moment he touched the fork, his eyes widened. He could now see a man whose body was half rotting, using his hands to strangle Chu Yi’s neck.

Su Jin’s first instinct was to let go of the fork. And as he did that, the rotting man immediately disappeared from his vision. But at the same time, Chu Yi’s eyes were beginning to roll upwards, and his limbs weren’t moving as vigorously as before.

So even though it was terrifying, Su Jin knew that he had to save Chu Yi. He grabbed hold of the fork, and the rotting man appeared again, but this time, Su Jin ignored him and used all his strength to pull the fork out.

The fork finally came out, and the rotting man let go of Chu Yi, but suddenly pounced towards Su Jin instead. The man opened his mouth to roar soundlessly, as if he was going to tear Su Jin to pieces.

Su Jin quickly threw the fork in his hands away. The moment the fork left his hand, the rotting man also disappeared.

Cold sweat dripped down Su Jin’s forehead while Chu Yi was panting heavily. Su Jin said to the rest, “We’ve got to find a way to open this door! We can’t stay here any longer!”

Everyone else agreed with Su Jin’s opinion, but the old, rugged door of the house simply refused to budge. Suddenly, Su Jin heard the sound of metal clinking against each other coming from behind them. He turned and saw that all the cutlery on the dining table were starting to move slowly.

“Move aside!” yelled Su Jin loudly. He pulled his knife out and used it to hack at the door, which successfully chipped off some of the wood. When Zhang Jing and Chu Yi saw that, they immediately pulled their knives out and began hacking away at the door too.

The cutlery on the dining table behind them started moving more and more vigorously, as if they would fly at the four of them again like the fork earlier. When Chu Yi saw that they had made several cuts in the door, he raised his foot and kicked a hole right through the door.

He leaped out of the door while holding onto Zhang Jing and Yang Zichen. Su Jin was about to leap out as well when he felt a chilling presence right behind him.

Su Jin grabbed a piece of the broken door and flung it behind him without even looking back, and then leaped out of the house. He could hear the sound of the broken wood smashing and the sound of several metallic objects crashing.

After he made it out of the house, he noticed that all the cutleries had fallen to the floor just in front of the door, as if there were an invisible screen that prevented the cutlery from making it out of the house.

“Brother Su! Are you alright?” asked Chu Yi concernedly.

Su Jin nodded, then motioned to the rest to move away from the house before he narrowed his eyes to look back inside the house. He could see that the dining table was still moving, but the kerosene lamp in the house was quite dim, so he couldn’t see very clearly.

“What … what was that?” Zhang Jing looked terrified. Everything happened very quickly, but the entire situation that just happened was just way too horrifying for words to explain.

Su Jin and Chu Yi looked at each other. The two of them were the only ones who saw exactly what had happened earlier, and even they couldn’t believe if that was seriously a ghost or if they had just been seeing things.

“Brother Su, you saw that too, right?” asked Chu Yi quietly.

Su Jin nodded and said, “A man with rotting flesh, right? It’s got something to do with that fork. It seems like only those who touch the fork can see him.”

Chu Yi nodded, then thanked Su Jin, “Thanks for saving my life. If you hadn’t done that, I’d be dead by now.”

Su Jin patted Chu Yi on the shoulder. Even though that had happened in mere seconds, it had nearly cost Chu Yi his life. Su Jin now believed what Liu Yingying said earlier. It was true that there was something in this town that could potentially kill them at any minute.

After what happened just now, nobody dared to stick around anymore. But there wasn’t anywhere around them where they felt safe to stay in. It was probably really dangerous to simply wander about too.

“Wait a minute. Yang Zichen, what’s that you’re holding?” Su Jin noticed something in Yang Zichen’s hands.

He quickly replied, “Oh, I happened to grab it earlier while looking for a weapon. I had totally forgotten that I was still holding onto it.”

Su Jin took it from Yang Zichen and found that it was actually a painting. It depicted a family of three embracing an angel, so the owner of the house was probably a Christian.

The picture was simple, but it was badly painted. The brushstrokes were crude, and it was clear that it was definitely not painted by some famous artist. It looked more like it had been painted by a beginner.

“The picture seems simple. It’s just a family of three embracing an angel,” murmured Su Jin to himself before handing it back to Yang Zichen.

But Yang Zichen stared at Su Jin in shock. “Su Jin, the three in the painting… they aren’t embracing the angel, they’re… they’re attacking the angel,” said Yang Zichen as he pointed in horror at the painting.

Su Jin looked at Yang Zichen confusedly, and looked at the painting again, but didn’t see what Yang Zichen was seeing. Yang Zichen said, “Turn it 180 degrees! Rotate the painting!”

Su Jin quickly turned the painting around and realized what Yang Zichen had been talking about. The painting was completely different once it had been rotated. The crude-looking lines had made the painting such that it looked like the three people were embracing the angel when seen from one direction, but once rotated, the same three people were actually on top of the angel and were tearing the angel apart.

Now that the picture was different, the meaning it carried also changed. The first interpretation of the picture embodied goodness, but now it embodied pure evil. Why would an ordinary family have such a painting? What did it really represent?

“Could the people of Fengxi Town believe in the occult?1” asked Chu Yi.

Everyone exchanged unsure glances, but Chu Yi’s guess was highly possible. There was no other reason why an ordinary family would own such a creepy painting.

Su Jin started to panic a little inside. If there was an unseen power controlling all of this, then it was probably impossible for them to get through the night without any mishaps. There was simply nowhere in Fengxi Town that was safe.

“What should we do next?” asked Zhang Jing helplessly as she hugged her arms with a despairing look on her face.

All of them fell silent, and even Su Jin felt lost now. He thought that he shouldn’t have let the aloof guy and Liu Yingying walk away like that then. If they had a veteran with them, they would be able to get some direction, at least.

“Everyone, watch your surroundings carefully. We met danger because Chu Yi and I came into contact with that fork, so… I think the dangers in Fengxi Town are all the triggered type,” said Su Jin.

“The triggered type? What does that mean?” Zhang Jing couldn’t understand.

“Have you played RPGs (role-playing games) before? For most players, quests within the game do not appear automatically. The player needs to come into contact with an NPC or an item of sorts to trigger something else. Fengxi Town seems to work this way too.” Most people around this age would have played such video games before, so they understood Su Jin’s explanation very quickly.

“Does that mean that we won’t run into any danger if we don’t touch anything?” asked Yang Zichen.

Su Jin shook his head helplessly. “I can’t answer you definitively because I don’t have enough information. I can’t even try to predict what might happen next. The situation might change as time goes by. Nobody knows.”

“The situation might change as time goes by? What makes you think so?” asked Zhang Jing puzzledly as she looked at Su Jin with a confused expression.

“It’s because we’ve got to spend the entire night here. Think about it. If you were to design a game with stages and levels that need to be cleared, would you put everything you’ve got right at the start of the game? You’ve got an entire night to play with, so you would spread everything out, wouldn’t you?” Su Jin used his index finger to tap his nose out of habit.

The other three fell into deep thought as they agreed with what Su Jin had just said. In the past, they merely controlled a game character and never thought about these things. But when they were like characters in a game themselves, all they felt were terror and despair.

“Hey, it looks like there’s someone over there!” said Yang Zichen as he suddenly straightened up and tugged at Su Jin’s shirt.

Su Jin turned to see what Yang Zichen was looking at and saw that a woman was standing some distance away from them and was staring rather nervously at them. Chu Yi and Zhang Jing turned to look at her too.

Both sides were stunned, but while the woman in the distance looked a little nervous, Su Jin and the rest felt pure terror slowly spread through their bodies. A woman had suddenly appeared out of absolutely nowhere in this terrifying town which didn’t seem to have a single living human being in it. It was only natural for them to be fearful.

“Are you … are all of you alive?” the woman suddenly asked them.

They were even more taken aback by her question. Chu Yi quickly nodded and replied, “Yes, we are! Wh-who are you?”

“I’m a resident of this town. Why did you come here tonight? Come with me! It’s not safe to stay here!” said the woman anxiously once she had confirmed that all of them were still alive.

The four of them exchanged glances before turning to Su Jin. Su Jin was still hesitating when something in the houses around them began shaking, as if some unknown force was about to rush out of the houses.

“Hurry up! Would you rather die here?!” yelled the woman anxiously.

“Let’s go!” said Su Jin as he gritted his teeth and nodded. Whether this woman was a friend or foe didn’t matter now. They had to get away from this present danger first.

  1. The occult usually refers to mystical, supernatural, or magical powers, practices, or phenomena. The meaning here is basically something like an evil cult. ↩️

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