Chapter 6: Footsteps
Although Lin Xiao Yan and Lin Yiri had the same surnames, they were not relatives.
Su Min gestured for them to be silent and whispered, “Go up and see.”
This time, he came prepared, bringing along a very dangerous weapon, i.e., an ordinary fruit knife. He even brought two, just in case anything unexpected happens.
After all, not all enemies were the supernatural.
In the past, the government had prohibited the appearances of ghosts in movies, resulting in countless of bad and rotten horror films. Due to the angry protests of netizens throughout the years, the law finally relented and revoked the ban.
That still didn’t stop all the rotten films that were released afterwards, though.
When Su Min went up the stairs, he saw that the situation of the second floor was identical to the first.
The office building had a total of two flights of stairs, each located on their respective ends of the corridor with the elevator not being too far away.
On the second floor, all the offices were locked up. There was only the ice-cold moonlight, casting down in a way that made it seemed like a ghost could pop out at any second.
The washrooms were right next to the staircase and could be reached in less than three steps.
Su Min leaned against the wall to listen for any kind of noise, but the rustling from before was gone. Somehow, the silence was more frightening than any sound he could’ve heard.
“Is there anybody there?” Lin Xiao Yan asked.
Su Min shook his head. “I don’t know.”
Since Zhang Yuan was a female, she would naturally be in the ladies washroom, so they went to check there. Still, it was Su Min’s first time entering such a place.
Passed the sink and further back were five open stalls. Opposite of them was a tightly sealed window.
Su Min pursed his lips, preparing his heart as he examined the stalls one by one.
The doors were wide open, but there was no trace of Zhang Yuan anywhere inside.
Was she not on this floor?
Afraid that he had missed something, Su Min went to the boy’s restroom. Seeing that no one was there, he circled back to the ladies washroom.
Lin Yiri stood upright in the middle, sighing ruefully. “Wow, so the girl’s bathroom looks like this, huh.”
In this whole entire building, they seemed to be the only three there.
Su Min stood rooted in place, face deep in thought. “Let’s go to the sixth floor.”
An incident had happened on the seventh floor, and since the sixth floor was the closest to it, Zhang Yuan might in one of the toilet cubicles there.
However, just to be safe, Su Min still checked every washroom each floor up. Like he had expected, Zhang Yuan wasn’t in any one of them.
Once they were on the fifth floor, a sound rattled from upstairs.
All three people heard it this time.
“Is that Zhang Yuan?” asked Lin Xiao Yan.
Su Min, “It should be.”
He silenced his footsteps, leading the way up. As they got closer, the sound grew more distinct, resembling running water.
Su Min subconsciously thought back to the thin blood that flowed out of the running faucet this morning.
It was unlikely that “Thriller University” will have this kind of soft and rotten plot, right...?
–was his thought when Su Min reached the sixth floor.
Next to the stairs, the sound of running water gradually became more clear. As they approached the washroom, the sound picked up in speed.
Lin Yiri and Lin Xiao Yan were nervous enough to faint.
The two had experienced a paranormal event in this very building just hours before. Coming across this situation now, how could they not be afraid?
Su Min hadn’t anticipated the scene before him.
Zhang Yuan’s entire head was submerged in the sink. The faucet was twisted to the max and water ran out nonstop, flowing across the marble surface and dripping onto the floor.
Her hands hung lifelessly beneath her, no longer able to move.
It was as if an invisible hand had exerted all its strength to force her head underwater.
Reckoning that Zhang Yuan was already dead, Su Min reminded, “Don’t touch her. First, turn on the lights.”
“Why can’t we touch?” Lin Yiri asked.
Lin Xiao Yan knew the answer. She had learned from her prior experience with Lin Yiri, not taking a step toward Zhang Yuan for the fear that she would be grabbed and dragged into the sink.
The lights were not yet turned on when they heard the faint sound of footsteps outside. It was coming closer and closer. Whoever it was was heading towards them.
“Hide,” Su Min sharply commanded.
He didn’t know if it was a person or a ghost, but avoidance was better than confrontation.
Because they were close to each other, when Lin Yiri and Lin Xiao Yan heard this, they immediately went straight into one of the stalls together, shutting the door behind them.
Su Min, who was left standing outside, could only go into the stall next door. He turned the lock; these doors could only be opened from the inside.
In the narrow space, his breathing gradually quickened.
It was easy for people to feel fear in this kind of environment. All senses were concentrated in one place.
Su Min was afraid that, like in the movies, when he looked up, he would see a ghoul on its stomach, and when he looked down, he would see a face hiding in-between a crack on the floor.
Just the thought scared him senseless.
Unwittingly, there was a change outside the stalls. The ground was drenched with water, and the walls, sink, tiles–everywhere, was scorched black, like it was hit by an inferno.
Hiding in the stalls, without any rhyme or reason, Su Min felt his heart beat irregularly.
He withdrew his hand from the door, closed the toilet cover and sat on it, preparing himself for the events of next.
The sound of footsteps grew louder and louder, stopping when it reached the women’s restroom.
Inside, the three people didn’t dare breathe too loudly, scared to make any sounds.
One minute later, the footsteps rang again. It entered the washroom, passed the sinks, and came to a halt at the stalls.
Su Min could almost picture the other party staring at the stalls.
Something flashed in his mind.
If the doors to the stalls were closed, isn’t that clearly telling people that someone was inside?
As long as they were not a fool, they would be able to make that connection.
Who is it in the end?
Su Min couldn’t control his chaotic thoughts. He wanted to look up, to see what was under the doors, but he ultimately chose to suppress his impulses.
A queer silence settled in washroom, creating an illusion that nobody was there.
But, the three living people inside were keenly aware of the presence (human or ghost, they didn’t know) outside their stalls.
Apprehensive and uneased, Lin Yiri and Lin Xiao Yan relied on one another to keep sane.
They both took a moment to look at the toilet seat. No one wanted to expose their feet, but alas, the toilet cover was only big enough for one person to crouch on.
Finally, Lin Yiri relented and bitterly watched as Lin Xiao Yan shivered whilst squatting on the toilet cover. Being the only one standing, he was filled with envy, hate, and regret.
He was petrified that a ghost would grab hold of his feet.
The footsteps picked up again, moving closer to the cubicles.
Then, there was four, rhythmic knocks on the door, each dull as they echoed within the quiet, dim light of the night.
Su Min pursed his lips.
It was said that the living knock on doors three times, while the dead knock four times.
The door that was knock on wasn’t his, but the one next to him.
Lin Yiri and Lin Xiao Yan were completely at a loss. They held onto each other’s hands, grip so tight it was a wonder how it didn’t snap.
For a long time, the two didn’t make a sound.
However, this only made the knocking intensify. Knock, knock, knock, knock–the knocks accelerated in speed, and the strength behind each pounding grew and grew until it seemed like the door could break any moment.
Moonlight illuminated through the window, casting down a shadow of a crouched figure onto the toilet seat.
Nerves jittery from the fright and running on pure adrenaline alone, Lin Yiri exploded, “Knock you to death, damn it! I don’t fucking have toilet paper, don’t ask me!”
Lin Xiao Yan, “...”
Su Min, “...”
Perhaps Lin Yiri’s angry shouts shocked the ghost, but to Su Min’s surprise, the knocking actually stopped.
Before he could relax, however, he heard a rap on his door.
The tempo of the knocks were the same as the previous. When no answer was heard, the knocks became more impetuous.
Su Min thought of the feasibility behind Lin Yiri’s scolding and wanted to try cursing at it.
Isn’t it an old custom to yell at ghosts? The louder you curse it, the more likely it was to run away. Of course, that was what he heard.
He was just about to open his mouth when he suddenly felt an ice-cold hand touching his own.
Su Min jumped with fright. He sensed the same frosty tingle settling on his neck and a breath blowing into his ear.
Su Min scratched away the itchy feeling. Stiffly, he lowered his voice, “Is it you? Jing Xian?”
He knew that Jing Xian wasn’t yet sent away, and that he liked to grope him. In all likelihood, the ghost was probably a big pervert when he had been alive.
A whimsical sound fluttered by his ear, “It’s me.”
Su Min could almost imagine this scene in a mirror–the ghost plastered to him, sticky from head to toe and leaning unnecessarily close to his ears as it spoke.
It was a ghost, but for reason, it didn’t make him feel any fear or terror.
After the knocking stopped, footsteps could once again be heard. It grew fainter and fainter, and finally disappeared.
Su Min truly relaxed this time.
He pushed away Jing Xian’s advances. “Stop groping me. I haven’t even seen your face.”
The vague outline of a face he saw in the mirror didn’t count as his other half, even more so now that Su Min had replaced the original owner of this body.
“Do you want to see?” a husky voice asked.
Su Min stared blankly into the empty space beside him, then immediately shook his head, “No, no, no.”
If he looked and took responsibility for it, wouldn’t he have to compensate a lifetime?
Furthermore, this voice clearly belonged to a man. Even if it was pleasant to hear, it still didn’t obstruct the fact that he was a ghost.
“I want to go out,” Su Min said.
After his voice fell, the familiar coldness on his back faded away. But, before it disappeared, his ear was pinched.
Su Min opened the door and found that there was nothing outside of the cubicle. Only a pool of water could be seen on the ground.
He tapped on Lin Yiri’s door.
This time, it was Lin Xiao Yan who answered, “Knock your sister! I said there’s no toilet paper!”
Su Min was speechless. “...It’s me, Su Min. You can come out now.”
He watched as Lin Xiao Yan and Lin Yiri nervously peaked out the door. Upon seeing that it was him, they jumped out.
“I thought it came back.”
That one knock on the door just then nearly scared them to death.
Su Min sighed. “Let’s come out first, then call the police. We might get interrogated, though.”
Several students went into the office building late at night and came across a crime scene. No matter how you look at it, it was suspicious.
Su Min turned around but didn’t even walk that many steps before he stopped.
“Why aren’t you going?” Lin Yiri asked in the back.
Su Min didn’t respond, his whole body was stiff.
A lone figure stood by the door quietly. Its back faced them, head bowed so they could only faintly see its appearance.
The ghost had never gone away.
It was there from the very beginning. Instead of getting discouraged from its failed knocking like he had thought, it waited for them outside the washroom.
When Lin Yiri and Lin Xiao Yan caught up and saw the figure, they froze in place. Three people stood at the door, chills creeping up their spines.
It was unknown how long the deadlock lasted before the figure abruptly disappeared.
Lin Yiri tugged at Su Min’s sleeves and whispered, “Do my eyes deceive me? That...did it really leave?”
Su Min nodded. “Let’s go.”
It was gone. But...why did the ghost knock on the door for half a day, then wait there for them just to do nothing in the end?
To the side, Lin Xiao Yan shifted her sight to the sink. Her eyes widened with disbelief and panic from what she saw, or lack thereof.
“Where’s Zhang Yuan’s body?”