Chapter 8: File
Su Min’s night vision was strong enough for him to clearly see the faces of the heads above.
On the left was Liu Lili; to the right was Zhang Yuan. As they were once classmates, Su Min had their appearances stored in his memory.
Between them, with bloodstains dyeing the corner of her lips, was a girl who looked like a student.
The three ghosts stared at him with fixed eyes.
Su Min, who had long been prepared for this sight, turned away. “A ghost had hit a wall1, everyone close your eyes.”
One of the most common way to deal with a ghost’s illusion was to close your eyes and go straight.
As it was, they were on the stairs. If they were to walk in a straight line, they would definitely collide right into a wall. So, to not be confused, they could only use the railings as a guide.
“Okay,” Lin Xiao Yan obeyed.
“I’ll be in the back while Su Min leads,” Lin Yiri said on his own initiative.
Girls always had to be cared for. Besides, he was a big and grown man, albeit one who was scared and miserable.
Su Min turned around. “Hold onto each other’s clothes and don’t let go no matter what,” he exhorted. “I’ll walk very slowly.”
He waited for them to get ready. Then, he closed his eyes.
At the moment, Su Min didn’t know which floor they were on and only hoped that this method was correct. Otherwise, he was afraid that they were going to be stuck here for the night.
With the feeling of Lin Xiao Yan tugging at his clothes, Su Min placed his hands on the railings and began to walk down the stairs one step at a time.
In such an environment, closing your eyes could make you feel even more nervous.
All of Su Min’s senses concentrated at his ears. He was afraid that he would hear something he shouldn’t have.
They had only walked a few steps when a loud noise suddenly echoed from outside.
It sounded like something fell down from high above, but it was unclear from which direction.
“Su...Su Min, did you hear that?” Lin Xiao Yan stuttered.
Su Min moved his hand from side to side. “Don’t think about it. We have to get out first, don’t worry about anything else.”
He was the one who called them over, so he’d be the one to bring them back.
In this horror movie, Lin Xiao Yan and Lin Yiri trusted him enough to follow him.
Su Min silently mouthed the number of steps he’d descended. When he reached 12, he carefully stepped onto the flat platform.
With eyes closed, he felt around and discovered that there was another flight of stairs. They had not reached the first floor.
Su Min slowly turned the corner, preparing to continue down.
Suddenly, his fingertips came into contact with an ice-cold hand.
Su Min jumped, startled. He subconsciously tried to open his eyes but stopped when he felt another hand settled over them, cold yet as gentle as silk.
“Don’t open your eyes.”
It was a familiar voice.
Even though he had only heard it once, Su Min remembered it clearly.
It was the most pleasant voice he had ever heard. Even the countless dubbings online couldn’t hold a candle to Jing Xian’s voice.
He felt the loud and quick thumping of his heart pound in his ears.
“Su Min, why aren’t you going? Have we arrived?” Lin Xiao Yan asked.
“No, I was going to turn a corner–just feeling my way around. Don’t worry, and don’t open your eyes.” Su Min hastily replied.
Icy fingertips captured his hands, taking them away from the handrails and into a world of ice and snow.
Su Min knew that the other man wanted to pull him along.
He licked his lips, wondering if he should claim back his hands or let Jing Xian guide him down the stairs.
Thinking carefully, Jing Xian had never once hurt him. In fact, every time the ghost appeared, he would turn peril into safety.
Su Min lifted his foot.
Without an inkling to this exchange, Lin Xiao Yan and Lin Yiri trailed behind him.
Hand in hand, step by step, Su Min blindly followed Jing Xian.
His senses, with the exception of his ears, were all focused on his hands. It felt...odd.
Only after he walked a certain distance did he realized that he forgot to count the steps.
Su Min shook his head, trying to shake off his unusual thoughts. He wondered how he should thank Jing Xian the next time he sees the ghost.
Should he burn some paper money? What would be a good thing to burn?
Due to all these chaotic thoughts in his mind, Su Min almost didn’t feel Jing Xian stopping.
“Fortunately, I have not let you down2.” Su Min heard the ghost say.
Without warning, he felt a touch of ice brush against his lips. When he opened his eyes, there was nothing in front of him.
The coldness faded until it completely disappeared.
The three of them were now standing on the first floor of the office building. Behind them was the staircase they didn’t know whether or not had an ending.
Lin Yiri got in front of Su Min, asking, “What are you looking at? We came out already, let’s get out of here.”
“I’m not looking at anything.” Su Min retracted his gaze.
He buried the thoughts in his heart.
Lin Xiao Yan hugged her arms. “Quickly go or else, even if we jump into the Yellow River tomorrow, we won’t be washed clean. I don’t know if the cameras caught us.”
“That’s unlikely,” Su Min said. “When ghosts appear, the surveillance will be faulty.”
–Just like in the daytime when the two rode on the elevator.
However, they really ought to leave; staying here any longer was pointless. They had to get out before the security guards discovered that someone broke the door to the office building.
Outside, the moon hung high in sky.
Su Min abruptly stopped. “Wait, I heard something fell down before. Let’s go and take a look.”
“Okay,” Lin Yiri agreed, having also heard the sound.
The office building was encircled by a lawn, and surrounding that lawn were shrubs and bushes. Besides the greenery, there was nothing to see.
Not even a big stone.
Su Min was a bit confused.
He clearly remembered hearing a noise. In the end, what fell? Was it something...or someone?
After returning back to the dorm room, Su Min glanced at the time and saw that it was already the next day.
He had morning classes, so he didn’t dawdle any further, softly and quietly climbing into bed. He thought that he would not be able to sleep, but unexpectedly, he drifted off into the land of unconsciousness the moment he closed his eyes.
Zhang Yuan’s body was found early the next morning.
The door to the office building was destroyed, and someone had caught sight of Zhang Yuan heading out by herself last night. It was assumed that she broke it.
In fact, she did break it.
Lin Yiri was on edge the entire night and went to inquire about the result of the incident the moment the sun peaked out. Upon learning that the security cameras malfunctioned, his whole body relaxed.
On his way back, he conveniently bought Su Min a generous breakfast.
When Su Min washed his face that morning, he didn’t see the water turn into crimson blood like yesterday.
Lin Yiri chattered about outside, “According to them, the police found Zhang Yuan’s corpse on the seventh floor. The scene nearly scared their pants off.”
They were also really terrified last night.
Su Min, while drinking soy milk, asked, “What about Liu Lili’s body?”
Lin Yiri thought for a moment. “They didn’t say anything about it. It seems that the corpse didn’t run back by itself at midnight.”
Otherwise, the building would’ve been overturned today.
“Did they open up the seventh floor?” Su Min asked.
“Nope.” Lin Yiri shook his head. “There was no lead, so the police left soon after.”
There must be evidence for them to conduct a search.
However, Zhang Yuan’s body was found outside the door to seventh floor. They should’ve opened it to secure the parameters, but they didn’t. Perhaps the police also knew something.
Su Min felt that it would be useless to ask them.
The aunt in charge of the dorms obviously knew of the truth yet refused to answer.
But he finally got a clue: the face of the schoolgirl that was with Liu Lili and Zhang Yuan.
He just needed to know if she was a student here.
Lin Yiri waved his hand. “Why are you blankly biting the straw?”
Su Min returned back to earth. “Do you know where the school’s archive is? Like, the place that has all the pictures and information of past students.”
Lin Yiri said, “Do you even study in this school? Just this, and you don’t know. The archives are in the underground library. Usually, no one is allowed to enter. Do you want to go there?”
Su Min nodded.
Lin Yiri nervously asked, “Do we still have to go at night?”
“What do you think?” Su Min asked in turn. “Isn’t it easier to encounter spiritual events at night? Besides, you also want to go to the archives?”
“If you’re going, of course I’m gonna go,” Lin Yiri said.
Instead of refusing him, Su Min stood up and pondered, “How do we obtain the keys to the archives?”
“It’s not easy,” Lin Yiri said. “Let’s make a plan to lure the tiger out of the mountain3. No one usually goes to the ground floor, and the manager is on the top floor. The key has to be in his drawer.”
Su Min thought that what he said made sense.
The memory he inherited from the original Su Min was very little, so, except for the general plot of the horror movie, he wasn’t clear on much else.
Su Min sipped on the soy milk. “Let’s do that.”
From morning to evening, their time was spent in class. When the sun glowed red from the signal of dust, they headed to the library.
Lin Xiao Yan, hearing of their plan, went along.
Lin Yiri’s method proved to be useful.
The manager had labeled the keys in correspondence to their rooms. Su Min flipped from key to key and quickly found the one he was looking for.
The moment the manager came back, the two people took advantage of when he wasn’t looking to sneak down into the archive room.
Because the library was underground and had a central air conditioning system, it was very cool.
“Su Min, you’ve seen the girl, but we haven’t. How do we find her?” Lin Xiao Yan asked.
She also wanted to know who the girl was.
“Schools usually collect old newspaper, so look for those. Find out what you can.” Su Min replied.
Evidently, no one had been in the archive room for a long time. The moment the door opened, a cloud dust hit them right in the face, nearly causing them to choke.
In the end, they held their nose and restrained their urge to sneeze.
The archive room was tremendous. At a glance, there were more than ten elevated shelves, each marked with their respective classifications.
On one side was a shelf dedicated to storing newspapers.
As Lin Yiri closed the door, Su Min took out his phone and turned on the flashlight. “We don’t have much time,” he said. “We’ll split up. I’ll look for the student data, you guys scan the newspaper for any major accidents.”
They would be able to know which year the accident took place from the newspaper.
“Okay.” The two people nodded in unison.
The archives had many classifications. Among them were various kinds of disciplinary punishments, teacher information, and student information.
Su Min passed a bookshelf and, to his surprise, learned that an entire class had once been punished. He didn’t know what they had done.
In additional to the punishments, there were also some cases.
Every school had at least one homicide or suicide case. Some were recorded; some were covered and hidden from the public.
Without delay, Su Min went straight to the student files.
The shelf was as tall as him.
Su Min pulled the first file, leaving behind a gap in shelf.
This file consisted of graduation photos of the students in the Chinese Language and Literature department. Each student had their own headshot, and most of them were girls. However, none of the photographs captured that girl in the office building.
Su Min closed the file and was ready to place it back. His hand just touched the bookshelf when, suddenly, his whole body stiffened.
Hidden in the crack created by the file’s absence was an eye.
The eye moved, and reflected in it was his figure.
Who knew how long it had been staring at him.