“”If you don’t mind, using my mouth to touch you is also doable,” Kou Chen says.”
“Why’s something not quite right with Hu Yi today,” when they were getting out of school Jiang Lei watched Hu Yi who was walking a few steps ahead of them by himself.
“What’s wrong?” Huo Ran’s gaze swept towards the back of Hu Yi’s head, “Whenever I don’t feel like bothering with you guys I’d also walk ahead.”
“Not this,” Jiang Lei says, “He spoke way too little today, abnormal.”
“Mn,” Xu ZhiFan nods his head, “I think so too, he also came late today.”
“Should we ask?” Huo Ran asks.
“Let’s not ask yet, if he doesn’t tell us by tomorrow, then we’ll ask,” Xu ZhiFan says.
“Okay then,” Huo Ran stretched, “Are you guys free tonight?”
“What time?” Xu ZhiFan asks.
“12am,” Huo Ran says.
“The fuck, not free, 12am I’d have slept 3 rounds,” Jiang Lei says, “What do you want to do then? Night training?”
“I won’t join you for night training,” Xu ZhiFan says immediately.
“Going to the ghost building,” Huo Ran says.
“Going to night self-study?” Jiang Lei asks, “Why are you acting like a good student.”
“Only good students from your family come to school for night self-study at 12 midnight!” Huo Ran furrows his eyebrows, “Going to the real ghost building.”
“What?” Jiang Lei was speechless.
“What for?” Xu ZhiFan asks at the same time.
Hu Yi who was walking ahead also turned back: “Are you crazy?”
“Just tell me if any of you are free to accompany me,” Huo Ran says, “I’ve arranged to go to the ghost building with Kou Chen.”
“Then isn’t it fine with Kou Chen accompanying you,” Jiang Lei says.
“You get lost!” Huo Ran points his finger at him.
“Kou Chen,” Xu ZhiFan looks at Jiang Lei, “is Kou Chen.”
“Fuck? Kou Chen? You arranged to go to the ghost building with him? What for? You should say it earlier then, just corner him in the classroom and not let him leave to settle it1 means they could’ve just settled any issues they had with a fight and it’s done,” a let-down expression saying ‘why are you a fool’ on Jiang Lei’s face, “Why are you still going off to the ghost building with him! Ghost! Building! Ghost!”
“You’re only going back to stay at the dorms next week, what excuse do you have for coming out tonight?” Xu ZhiFan asks.
“Night training duh,” Huo Ran says, “Then again my parents are dead asleep by 11, even if I jump rope in the living room they wouldn’t be able to hear.”
“You two arranging this definitely isn’t for fun is it, is it a bet or a fight, do the rules allow for people to accompany?” Xu ZhiFan asks again.
“Rules my ass, it’s not accompanying me into the ghost building,” Huo Ran grits his teeth, “Just scare Kou Chen out before 1am, to be exact, it’s just getting him out before me.”
The few of them look at him, and only after half a day Jiang Lei says: “Does this count as cheating?”
“It counts,” Huo Ran pats his shoulder, “And it’s of a greater level of difficulty than when you were pulling cheat slips out of the table leg during exams, do you accept this challenge?”
“It’s chair leg,” Xu ZhiFan corrects him.
“Do you accept?” Huo Ran asks.
“I don’t want to accept,” Jiang Lei says, “Even if I do go, there’d only be one reason, and it’s that I’m afraid something will happen to you.”
Huo Ran steps forward to give Jiang Lei a hug.
September nights were still pretty comfortable, Kou Chen was leaning against the stone plate in front of the ghost building, looking at the road ahead, earphones stuffed in his ears.
The surroundings were pretty dark, before 10pm the lights in the distant field were still lit, but after 10pm had past, there was only moonlight, and everything seemed to fade in color.
At 5 minutes to 12, at the road in the distance a figure appeared, slowly walking over to this side.
It was probably Huo Ran, so Kou Chen sat up straight, tugging his earphones down and putting them into his pocket, then got ready to get up.
But that person only walked a distance over before stopping, then stood at the same spot for a moment looking like they were searching their pockets, and following that Kou Chen saw the light from a cell phone screen, the phone torchlight was then also switched on, shining over to this side.
The distance was still a little far though, that bit of light obviously couldn’t reach over to Kou Chen’s side.
He made a ‘tch’ sound, really not understanding why with Huo Ran’s kind of nerve he had dared to agree to coming to the ghost building in the middle of the night, then fished out a lighter, positioning it under his chin, thought a bit before also baring his teeth.
After that he lit the lighter.
Following the moment in which the light from below lit his face up with his bared teeth, the light from the phone at that side went out, but before he could laugh out loud, a beam of bright light immediately shone directly into his eyes.
“Huo Ran fuck your uncle!” Kou Chen swore, hurriedly using his arm to block his eyes.
Bastard actually brought a flashlight! Just directing it at the face like that, his whole person felt like he was going to ascend to the heavens, white fluffiness all around.
At that side Huo Ran remained silent, but didn’t move the light away, no matter which direction his face turned, that beam of light would follow along with him.
In the end Kou Chen gave up resisting, his arm shielding his eyes, hearing Huo Ran’s footsteps walk right up to him.
“Kou Chen fuck your uncle,” Huo Ran says as he switched off the torch.
Kou Chen felt that it took a full minute, only then did the surrounding scenery appear before his eyes.
“What kind of nerve do you fucking have?” he stood up, seeing Huo Ran’s face clearly, “You might as well change the timing, arrange for some time in the afternoon…”
He had yet to finish speaking, when the ghost building behind suddenly emitted a sound.
Kou Chen abruptly turned and looked towards the upper floors, it was completely black, nothing could be seen, and at some places it looked like there was some white within the black, his eyesight probably hadn’t fully recovered.
Huo Ran’s flashlight lit up again, this time shining onto the ghost building.
The ghost building was indeed old, an ancient model, three floors, below was a corridor that followed along the staircase that went up every floor, on the side of the corridor a series of rooms were lined up, the windows in poor state, only left with the frames, with cobwebs hanging… looking at the structure there was probably even a cloister, with a courtyard in the middle, but you couldn’t see them unless you went inside.
These were Kou Chen’s impressions of the ghost building when he’d come over to take a look before.
Not exactly what he was looking at now, the only thing he could see right now was the circle lit by the torch in Huo Ran’s hand, in the circle was a jumble of black and white color, and it took him a few looks before he could locate the window.
But compared to not seeing clearly, seeing clearly was more frightening, about 20 ways a ghost could now appear at the glassless window flashed in his brain.
“Maybe switch your plaything off,” Kou Chen says, “More terrifying than being in the dark.”
Huo Ran switched the torch off: “Scared already? There’s still time to admit defeat, don’t worry even if you lose I won’t let you run around naked…”
“Let’s go,” Kou Chen cuts his sentence off, turning and heading into the building.
Huo Ran looks at his back, between “should I follow him inside” and “my accomplices probably haven’t gotten in their positions yet what sound was that just now would staying here be more dangerous” hesitated for 1 second, then as Kou Chen’s figure was about to disappear he followed after him with quick steps.
Walking up to the ghost building, Huo Ran was about to ask if they should go upstairs or into the first floor first, when Kou Chen turned around abruptly, landing a slap onto his shoulder.
Huo Ran admitted that for a moment he was so frightened he’d almost just turned around and ran, but he was proud of himself, he’d held on, and even hollered for the sake of boosting his own courage: “What are you doing—”
“Fuck!” Kou Chen jumped backwards, “What are you shouting for, gave me fright!”
“What did you fucking slap me for! Don’t you have a mouth!” Huo Ran says.
“If you don’t mind, using my mouth to touch you is also doable,” Kou Chen says.
“Dumbass,” Huo Ran scolded, “I don’t feel like fighting a lip battle with you right now, just tell me, what did you slap me for!”
“I just…” Kou Chen says as he glances towards the window of the first floor, lowering his voice, “I just…”
Huo Ran also looked over with him nervously, feeling all the hairs on his body raising and waving in the wind.
“Saw somebody inside,” Kou Chen finishes his sentence, not stopping for a second before running up the stairs.
By the time Huo Ran had come back to himself, Kou Chen’s figure had disappeared after a series of creak creak sounds from the stairs.
He was instantly a little insecure, looking around at his surroundings, he didn’t know where Xu ZhiFan and the others were hidden, and they were too dedicated to their job, looking at this horror movie-like quiet setting, Huo Ran felt like maybe they hadn’t even come!
Up till then, Huo Ran couldn’t stand where he was anymore, picking up and running upstairs: “Kou Chen! You didn’t say we had to scare each other before!”
Kou Chen did not reply.
Huo Ran stood in the midst of pitch darkness at the second floor stairway, then stepped backwards, his back leaning against the post at the turn, this way in theory he could see if approaching from either direction was a person or… a thing.
But in reality nothing could be seen2 the literal phrase was ‘couldn’t even see a fart’ which is hilarious but if you think about it even in the light you can’t see a fart… anyways .
When he was fishing his phone out, Kou Chen’s voice sounded from a few metres away: “Come over.”
“No,” he answered very simply.
“Then I’m going ‘kay,” Kou Chen says.
“Where ‘re you?” Huo Ran asks immediately, lighting his phone screen up and shining it over towards him.
“Here,” Kou Chen stuck his head out from the corridor and waved at him.
Huo Ran walked over, his phone immediately getting stuffed back into his pocket by Kou Chen: “Don’t light up the phone.”
“Mn?” Huo Ran hears that something wasn’t quite right with his tone.
“Smell,” Kou Chen says quietly.
“Did you fart?” Huo Ran immediately holds his breath, “Why are you so childish?”
“I can smell burning wood you dumbass,” Kou Chen lowers his voice, speaking by his ear.
Huo Ran hesitated a little, then inhaled lightly, and indeed smelled the smell of firewood, but…
“Even if someone’s burned wood that’s not really strange,” Huo Ran spoke in a low voice, “This smell’s got to be after someone had used the fire a few hours before, if we push back it’d have been around dinner time.”
Kou Chen looks at him.
“Trust me,” Huo Ran says, “When I was in the wilderness using wood to start fires you hadn’t even started junior high.”
“I eat roast everyday,” Kou Chen says.
“That’s charcoal, this is firewood, dumbass,” Huo Ran says.
Kou Chen doesn’t say anything, looking at him, and after a moment suddenly raises his eyes, looking behind him.
Behind was the very long corridor, and Huo Ran instantly felt like his back was in front of a refrigerator whose door was open, feeling a sudden chill, he sharply straightened his back, unconsciously inching forward.
Kou Chen was looking at him, his face couldn’t be seen clearly, but he still saw the trace of mockery that’d flickered across.
“Rest assured,” Huo Ran says, “I am a little scared, but I won’t go out.”
“If you’re scared call for me,” Kou Chen says, “You don’t even dare to turn your head back anymore, need me to walk behind you?”
“No,” Huo Ran says immediately.
“I won’t poke you suddenly,” Kou Chen says.
“I don’t trust you,” Huo Ran inclined his head, “You go first.”
Kou Chen laughs as he starts walking towards the end of the second floor corridor, Huo Ran following behind, once they’d headed over they should be able to see the where the cloister turns, he planned to walk one round around first to understand the situation.
According to Huo Ran’s “everyone is scared of ghosts those unafraid are all acting” theory, he was sure Kou Chen was also scared, but Kou Chen was used to acting tough, at this moment being able to walk in such a relaxed manner was just him being caught up in his act.
His disposition was comparably more true, he was scared, but he could take it.
Also he had accomplices.
Accomplices… Huo Ran turned back to look behind him, there was only one route, from the field to the ghost building, from the ghost building first floor to the third floor, all only had one route, so Xu ZhiFan and the others could only be behind them.
But what made Huo Ran insecure was, there still was no movement from behind, the littlest of movements were all fucking coming from the front, no matter how he thought he felt that it was this building that had some issues.
While internally brooding over where exactly his accomplices were and thinking about sending a message to ask, a creak suddenly sounded from above.
Kou Chen who had been walking in a light-hearted manner in front abruptly came to a stop, Huo Ran followed and also stopped, turning his body around, facing his back towards Kou Chen.
The back had to be facing a person, the back cannot be exposed.
This building was the same as their classroom building, with wooden flooring, so making a creak while walking wasn’t strange, but one had to be of a certain weight to be able to do this, that said, this sound…
“Did you bring people here?” Kou Chen asked from behind him.
Huo Ran was extremely humiliated, but his mouth couldn’t betray his efforts: “You’re the one that fucking brought people…”
“Xu ZhiFan!” Kou Chen raised his head and called out.
“Fuck,” Huo Ran turned around.
“Jiang Lei!” Kou Chen continued, “Hu Yi! Come on down, mahjong, 4 with one extra, the loser stands at the side to massage the others’ shoulders.”
Huo Ran had confidence in Xu ZhiFan’s intellect, but Jiang Lei and Hu Yi weren’t too reliable, with Kou Chen saying this, thinking about how these two might really just expose themselves… he instantly didn’t feel like saying anything anymore.
But after Kou Chen had finished speaking, the surroundings were still silent, there was no noise whatsoever.
“There’s someone upstairs,” Kou Chen says.
“Mn,” Huo Ran suddenly had a kind of feeling, those three really had not come.
The security guard post at night didn’t seem to be very different from how it was in the day, the air full of the smell of cigarette smoke and instant noodles.
But the mood wasn’t quite the same.
“Jogging for real? You’d come to the school field for a jog in the middle of the night?” the security guard uncle sighs, slowly drinking the tea in his cup.
“It’s really a night jog,” Xu ZhiFan says.
“And we’re all wearing running shoes,” Hu Yi raised his leg, displaying the new pair of shoes he’d bought over the vacation, “Just for jogging.”
“Students like you, usually already wear running shoes…” the security guard uncle says as he glances at all their shoes.
Xu ZhiFan followed and looked down, and Jiang Lei who had been standing behind took another step back, Xu ZhiFan felt very helpless then, Jiang Lei was wearing a pair of Vans3 i’ve no clue what 双板鞋 is in english specifically but it’s probably a kind of sneakers that obviously isn’t for running .
“You all don’t need to tell me your class and names,” the security guard uncle grabbed a book over to record, “I know your name is Xu ZhiFan, you and that basketball captain, you few are all part of a set, always together, tomorrow I’ll report this to your form teacher, the specifics I’ll leave it to you to tell him.”
“Sir, You being like this…” Jiang Lei resisted a little.
“All good,” Xu ZhiFan answers immediately, “We will explain to Teacher Yuan tomorrow.”
“Mn,” the security guard uncle stood up, “I’ll send you all outside, call a car and go home.”
“…No need,” the three of them answered at the same time.
There’s no need Uncle, our companion is still inside the ghost building, he can survive in the wilderness by himself for a month but in a ghost building duplicate might not even last 20 minutes, Uncle, please let us leave by ourselves, we could still climb inside from over at the back door to save him from disaster.
“Go!” the security guard uncle waved his hand.
Xu ZhiFan exchanges looks with both Jiang Lei and Hu Yi, then walks out of the security guard post.
After walking out of the school gate with their heads down, Xu ZhiFan abruptly breaks into a run, Jiang Lei and Hu Yi following after almost immediately, after 10 metres the 3 of them head towards the right unanimously, this was the direction of the shortest way around to the back door.
“Should we go upstairs and look?” Kou Chen asks.
“Look at what?” Huo Ran wanted to say are you fucking crazy, knowing there’s someone upstairs when there shouldn’t be, are we going up to catch a thief.
“You really didn’t bring anyone?” Kou Chen asks again.
Huo Ran hesitated a bit, he did bring people, just that he couldn’t say, although he felt that it really wasn’t Xu ZhiFan and the others upstairs, but if they went up and it really was those guys… this loss of face would be huge, a face like a full moon.
Just then, a sound emitted from above again, this time the sound was of a 1-2 metre-movement in the direction of the stairway.
“Really didn’t bring anyone,” Huo Ran suddenly raised his head, quietly saying.
They were talking, those upstairs could definitely hear, if at this sort of timing they could still make any movement, it definitely would not be Xu ZhiFan and the others.
There really was someone else upstairs, and this person was currently walking over towards the stairway.
The hairs on Huo Ran’s body all raised up slowly and uniformly.
“Fuck,” Kou Chen’s voice had a hint of excitement, “Let’s go up and look.”
Huo Ran stood and did not move.
Kou Chen walked a couple of steps then stopped: “You could wait here, or…”
He pointed a finger at the staircase, quietly speaking: “Run outside from the staircase before that person comes down.”
Finishing this sentence, Kou Chen rushed over towards that side, looking like he was planning to trap the person coming downstairs at the third floor.
Huo Ran stood astonished in the darkness even forgetting to be afraid, only at this moment was he starting to take it in, that it seemed Kou Chen really wasn’t afraid of ghosts.
But after rushing a few steps out Kou Chen suddenly gave a shout: “Ah—”
And then fell backwards onto the floor.
A creak sounded from the floorboard.
Huo Ran leapt forward not knowing whether he wanted to save him or was afraid and wanted to stick together with someone, thinking to pull Kou Chen up, and in the chaos saw a white figure float outside from the small platform between the second and third floor stairs, disappearing without a sound.
“Ah—” he unconsciously gave a shout 2 seconds after Kou Chen had finished yelling.
“Fuck,” Kou Chen jumped up and ran over, “Was that a person?”
Huo Ran didn’t know how he had the courage to run over immediately, but to save face, he had to also slowly walk over: “I didn’t see clearly.”
“Let’s go,” Kou Chen tugged his shirt collar, “I really got a fright just now.”
“Okay,” Huo Ran immediately nodded his head, he didn’t want to stay here another second.
The two of the walked down along the stairs, looking around, but didn’t see anything else that could move.
What in the world was that thing?
Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Huo Ran heaved a sigh, this was fine too, walking out together, no win or loss, a tie…
Kou Chen then suddenly stopped, but Huo Ran didn’t catch himself, his foot stepping out as he watched him retreat one step back up the stairs.
“You’ve lost,” Kou Chen says.
“What?” Huo Ran was astonished.
– End of Ch4 –
Kou Chen is too devious!
Continue the day after ⊙▽⊙。么么哒 4read mmō mō da: chinese slang meant to sound like ‘mua!’ or a kiss sound, but can also mean a head pat。
And then also promoting historical danmei 《他们都说朕是暴君》[tāmen dōu shuō zhèn shì bàojūn] by 贺端阳 [hè duānyáng]. Daily updates, thicker now.
Tl Notes: The En title for that novel WuZhe is promoting is something like “they all say (imperial) I am a tyrant” and I’ve no idea what it’s about! But check it out if you’re curious I guess that’s why I’ve included the pinyin for the title and author owo Also this chapter had a few weird sentences that hopefully I didn’t misunderstand… do ask if it’s confusing! Thanks for reading as always~[edited 31/10]: the usual grammar fixes~