Chapter 35: Another Ghost Encounter
Why did something happen again?
Chi Yan recalled what happened the night before and instantly felt a chill. After looking left and right, he lifted his blanket, sat up and got out of bed to switch on the light. He didn’t know where Ye Yingzhi had gone to or when he had left.
As soon as he got down from the bed, he went to the table to drink some water. He hadn’t switched on the light when he heard the door creaked as it was pushed open.
He thought it was Ye Yingzhi who had came back. He swallowed the water and greeted, “Yingzhi, you are back?”
However, he did not hear any reply from the other party.
Chi Yan felt a little concerned so he turned his head over and met a pair of pale and protruding eyes.
There was something standing at the door, looking at him. Its complexion was pale and it didn’t have any arms. Shifting his vision downward… the legs couldn’t be seen either.
His heart immediately gave a “thump”. He had forgotten to breathe nor did he dare to close his eyes or turn his head back. He looked at that thing face to face.
He didn’t move and that thing was still looking at him.
Chi Yan saw that thing moving its mouth, making fuzzy “hissing” and “rustling” sounds— like old radio signals getting blocked.
He didn’t know how long they stayed like this, Chi Yan could feel layers and layers of cold sweat soaking his T-shirt. When he woke up, he realized that his shirt had been changed. He was tucked into the bed with only a big T-shirt on him. There was no need to guess that it was Ye Yingzhi who had helped him change that shirt with the smell of alcohol on it.
Suddenly, that thing disappeared.
Chi Yan saw Ye Yingzhi standing at the door, looking calmly at him. “Why are you just standing there with the door open while not wearing any clothes?”
Chi Yan glanced at him with trembling lips. He had already lost his ability to respond.
Ye Yingzhi turned back to close the door before walking toward him. There was a coat lying on his left arm, seemed like he had just returned from outside. He was carrying a brown paper bag with his right hand. He placed the paper bag onto the table and waved his left hand in front of Yan Chi’s face. “Ah Yan, what’s wrong?”
“There’s, there’s…” the word “ghost” was stuck in his mouth. He was so frightened that he couldn’t speak properly.
Chi Yan grabbed Ye Yingzhi’s arm: “… After I woke up, I saw a news that someone had died again. Then, I saw a… no arms, no visible feet…” He lifted his head and looked at Ye Yingzhi. His pair of eyes were filled with fear.
Ye Yingzhi pulled him to the front of the table and had him sit down. He patted him on the shoulder without saying anything to pacify him. After a while, when Chi Yan gradually calmed down, he took out the food containers from the paper bag. There were seafood porridge, steamed shrimp dumplings, steamed pork ribs, steamed chicken claws, golden custard buns, and walnut buns. They were the most popular foods for dimsum. However, at the moment, they were particularly enticing. He had specially bought them from a popular Cantonese restaurant nearby.
Ye Yingzhi opened the containers one and by, steam and a fragrant smell immediately flew out. Chi Yan also couldn’t help feeling hungry and had his line of sight turned to the food on the table.
Food was able to instinctively make one feel safe.
Ye Yingzhi took out the chopsticks and stuffed them into his hands. “Hurry and eat, we’ll talk after we’ve eaten. You haven’t had anything for lunch, I’m guessing you will be hungry after you’ve woken up.”
“…Thank you.” Chi Yan softly expressed his thanks and slowly began to eat. Following the shrimp dumpling into his belly was the warmth of the world gradually spreading to his four limbs, warming his body that had gone numb from the shock.
Ye Yingzhi went to the bathroom to take a bath and soon came out in a bathrobe. He walked to Chi Yan’s bed, took all his pillows and blanket down and placed them on his bed.
Chi Yan was eating the porridge at the moment, his eyes widened when he saw this. He swallowed the porridge in his mouth and shouted, “Ye Yingzhi…?”
Ye Yingzhi’s hair was still wet as he sat on Chi Yan’s side. “Don’t be anxious, slowly eat. It’s better if you sleep with me tonight.”
His tone was very flat, like he was talking about something unimportant. He didn’t mention anything about reasons or possible consequences. However, Chi Yan knew that it must be because he had seen how shocked he was that he took the initiative to make such a proposal.
He nodded his head and said, “Thanks”. This was already the fourth time he thanked Ye Yingzhi. Because other than this, he didn’t know what else to say. Although he did not know what sort of evil he must have bumped into for him to be seeing all those things recently, it was his luck to meet such a good roommate.
Ye Yingzhi’s eyes curved and he smiled. “There’s no need for thanks, this is what I should do.”
All good people were like this, even if it wasn’t their business, they would still say, “This is what I should do.” Chi Yan was thinking of this as he climbed onto Ye Yingzhi’s bed.
The following day, everything was fine. He went to report to his academic advisor. His advisor told him that he would be going abroad to attend several academic conferences this weekend. It would take him about a month before he would be back, so he asked him to work hard and contact him by email.
After coming out of the office, Chi Yan received a phone call from his father. The content of the call destroyed his good mood.
Chi Zhongyuan first asked him about his studies in school, and then he said from the other end of the phone, “Son, your Uncle Dulin called. He said you didn’t visit them for such a long time and asked you to go over for dinner this weekend. It’s not right for you to never show up. Go over this weekend if you have time.”
“…” Chi Yan was stunned, he hesitated for a moment before saying, “Dad, I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to go. My advisor is asking me to work with him on a project. Now I’m just starting to do it. The whole group is working overtime and couldn’t even rest on the weekend. It takes me more than an hour to go to uncle’s house. It will take half a day even if it’s just a meal. It’s not appropriate to ask for leave at this time. Let me just call uncle and visit them when I’m free…”
He was lying. His advisor was going abroad for his meeting this weekend so he was actually free for the entire month. There weren’t any projects that needed him to work overtime. However, he could only say so.
The older generation’s mindset was to put studies as the first priority. When Chi Yuanchong heard this, he didn’t ask him to go anymore. He just told him, “Okay, then you remember to give your uncle a call, he misses you. If you are done with your work, buy something for your cousins, aunts, grandmother, and visit them…”
Chi Yan responded with “En, en,” and ended the call after a long while.
The Uncle Dulin his father had mentioned was his grandaunt’s son.
His grandaunt was his grandmother’s younger sister. According to his father, he often played with his uncle when he was young and their relationship was good. But when he was in high school, they moved home to A City because of her husband’s work transfer. Even so, the two families did not stop contacting each other. They would often call each other during festivities and ask about each other. When Uncle Dulin went back to H City, he would also visit his house. Chi Yan met this uncle when he was young before.
Later on, Chi Yan was admitted to A University and both of his parents were very happy. During his 3rd year of high school, they brought him nearby to play and also casually went to his uncle’s place to visit. At that time, his grandaunt’s husband had just passed away, uncle was an only child, there were only grandaunt, uncle, aunt, and their son that just started his first year in high school. The family of four stayed at a three-storey villa.
Their villa was built quite early, it was after more than 20 years again when grandaunt and her husband relied on some connections and finally bought the land. The design of the villa were more outdated. You could tell that this house was older by more than a decade from other areas. The good thing was that the space between the room were very wide, unlike villas nowadays that were had the rooms built side by side. As such, it also felt very peaceful with a flavor of aloofness **.
Uncle and aunt were very glad to see them, and they warmly welcomed them. However, when they were having dinner, Chi Yuanchong received a call that alarmed him of some troubles at work. He had to rush back to settle them. Originally, Chi Yuanchong and his wife wanted to bring their son out to play nearby before sending him to school for reporting.Unexpectedly, this plan was completely disrupted.
Uncle Dulin immediately expressed that if cousin had something to handle, just bring along your wife and let Xiao Yan stay at his home. Anyway, they had a lot of room, Xiao Yan could help his cousin with his homework. He would send Chi Yan to school when the term starts. Xiao Chi was also a big boy now, he could take care of himself and also save you the trouble of going around.
At that time, Chi Yan was only thinking about seeing an aerospace exhibition in A City. Because this exhibition ended the next day, he just went along with it.
Even though the house had three floors, in fact the area of the third floor was very small. One of the smallest rooms was used as a storage room. Another room with windows was used as a guest room, and another room was decorated into a Buddhist hall1 by his Buddhist grandaunt. In the middle of the hall there was a niche, in which the Buddha and Bodhisattva statues were placed inside along with incense burners, fruits, and snacks. Painting of the ‘Western Paradise2‘
and ‘Han Shan asks Shi De3‘ hung around the four walls.
His uncle and aunt, grandaunt, and cousin all live in one room respectively on the second floor, while Chi Yan stayed on the third floor. He had the whole floor to himself. The size of his room wasn’t small; there was a big bed, a bathroom and a balcony. He was quite happy about it.
He had just finished the college entrance examination at that time, and was still a few days away from starting school. It was the most carefree time. His parents left the first night. He slept well alone at his uncle’s house. The next day, he went out with his cousin to see the exhibition and spent half a day shopping, not returning until it was dinner. He was very happy. At that time, his cousin had not started school because it was summer vacation. They got along very well. After dinner, Chi Yan and his cousin played games until twelve o’clock. He was tired after a crazy day of playing, and fell asleep after taking a bath and making contact with his pillow. He slept so heavily that he did not notice any abnormalities.
When he woke up in the morning, he received a phone call from his father telling him to be sensible at his cousin’s house. He stayed at home obediently for a day. He got up in the morning and went to the Buddhist hall to recite Buddhist sutras to his aunt and grandmother who had bad eyes. He helped his cousin make dumplings at noon, and made up lessons for his cousin in the afternoon. After dinner, he and his cousin went to a nearby court to play badminton. He did not return until 10 o’clock.
He slept alone at night and woke up in the middle of the night, feeling that the air conditioner seemed to have stopped working. The air in the room was hot and dry, as if there was no air circulation. In the sultry atmosphere, it was evident that something slightly cold was hugging himself tightly from behind.