Translator: Red Sky
Chapter 7: Ghost Trap
Finishing the cigarette, Liu Jianjun picked up the stewed dishes and continued climbing up the stairs. This time, he decided to count the number of his footsteps. Each layer of staircase had 11 steps, 3rd floor and half, 4th floor, 4th floor and half, 5th floor! That is to say, he needed to walk just forty four steps and he would reach his home.
“1, 2, 3 …..” Liu Jianjun climbed up the stairs while silently counting the number of footsteps. And when the number of his footsteps reached 44, he stopped.
He stamped his foot to light up the induction lamp on the staircase and raised his head to look at the house number. 301! He was still on the third floor! Even the cigarette butt he had thrown was lying quietly in the corner of the stairs.
“Pick up the phone, quick, pick the phone!” Liu Jianjun realized the situation wasn’t normal. He took out his phone and dialed my number while repeatedly mumbling to himself. He wouldn’t have been afraid when facing criminals even if they were murderers. But what was this situation? Liu Jianjun started to feel afraid, this feeling was the first since he had donned on his uniform.
“F**k, pick up the phone!” The phone kept on giving the busy tone. He redialed the number and stamped his foot while urging the phone.
“Eee, eee!” When Liu Jianjun had pressed the redial button for the second time, a child’s prattling sounds could be heard coming from the lower floor. He stretched his head and looked under the staircase, but there was no one.
“Eee, eee!” When he pulled back his head, the child’s prattling sounds came again; this time, from behind him.
“Who is it!” The induction lamp in the stairs died out right this moment. Liu Jianjun took out the pistol from his waist and stamped his foot. But the lights didn’t lit up.
“Eee, eee, yaa!” Liu Jianjun who was amidst the darkness felt an ice-cold body attaching to him. Then, something dug through his nasal cavity into his body.
“Hungry!” A short moment after the stuff entered his body, Liu Jianjun felt an intense hunger bubbling up inside him. He tore open his clothes and started incessantly scratching his chest. He only had the thought of wanting to eat his own flesh; as if eating his own flesh would stop this intense feeling of hunger.
“Jing…..” Liu Jianjun tore his clothes then moved his hand towards where his heart was located. Unwittingly, while tearing his clothes, he tore the talisman he had put in his jacket. The hexagonal talisman suddenly let out a sound, then started burning by itself.
“Eeeyaa~” The surrounding temperature started to increase followed by the combustion of the talisman. A mournful cry emerged from Liu Jianjun’s mouth, following which a stream of darkness drilled out from his five facial features flowing down the wall. That’s right, it was flowing. Like some sort of black liquid, it flowed down the stairs until there was no trace of it.
“Puchi!” Once the darkness left, Liu Jianjun regained control over his body. The darkness couldn’t claim his life, but it definitely injured him. After spurting a mouthful of blood, he leaned on the wall and slowly sat down on the floor. Right now, he felt like his whole body had been hollowed out.
After a long while, he recovered his senses. Noticing the almost completely burnt talisman in front of him, he forced his extremely weakened body to dial my number. This time, there was no busy tone.
“Come to my home, quick!” Liu Jianjun hurriedly spoke after the phone connected through.
“It really got him? Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, I don’t give a damn. But you really shouldn’t have involved someone else” I heard Liu Jianjun’s weak voice in the phone and felt something like a whiff of blood assailing the nostrils. I hung up the phone and went to the attic to fetch the several prepared talismans that had been enshrined before the portrait of the Three Pristine Ones.
“Mom, I am back.” Putting the torn off clothes in a bundle in his hand, Liu Jianjun picked up the stewed dishes and opened his house door. Upon entering, he saw his mother watching soap opera on a sofa. He strongly resisted the pain in his body and called to his mother, then he went to the kitchen to prepare the meal.
“Son, you are back?” The old lady was sitting there engrossed with the tv; she didn’t notice anything different about her son.
“Yes, the case made some headway. We don’t need to do overtime today. I bought back some stewed dishes on the way as an accompaniment for dinner. “ Liu Jianjun slip past his mother and threw the torn clothes in the rubbish bin. After putting on a sleeved shirt, he began to heat the food. Some traces of blood could be seen on the shirt, this happened when he scratched himself a moment ago. The blood trace told him that everything that happened earlier was real.
“Just help yourself to something. You haven’t been home for several days, wash yourself and take an early rest. Who knows how long you will be away when you go to work tomorrow.” The old lady loved her son dearly, he was approaching 40 and only concentrated on work with no entertainment. She was worried that if this continued for a long time, her son’s body wouldn’t be able to handle it.
“Knock, knock, knock!” Liu Jianjun had carried the dishes to the table, when someone knocked on the door.
“”Everything alright?” As the door opened, I put my hands in my pockets and entered the room. Taking a light sniff, I smelled that dull blood odor coming off from Liu Jianjun.
“I was almost doomed, fortunately I had your talisman. Or else, you would have found that I ate myself by tomorrow.” Getting his wits together, Liu Jianjun started to joke with me.
“Aunt, how have you been these days?” I walked towards Liu Jianjun’s mother, then I bent over and asked.
“I am good. Have you had dinner, young lad? If not, come eat with us.” The old lady didn’t remember anything that her body had gone through, thus she didn’t have any impression of me.
“I haven’t eaten.” I supported the old lady to the dining table and pulled a chair for her. After she sat down, I replied.
“You aren’t modest, are you!?” Liu Jianjun handed a bowl of rice to me and said.
“No need for that with you.” I picked some vegetables with the chopsticks and put it on the rice.
“Don’t forget to pick me up at the store tomorrow evening.” After finishing the meal, Liu Jianjun’s mother continued watching the soap opera. I collected the plates to Liu Jianjun who was washing the dishes, and told him. Tomorrow was the seventh day of Yang Cuihua’s death; I would be able to know the truth of the matter from her mouth.
“Okay, I won’t forget.” Liu Jianjun endured the pain from the wound on his chest and replied.
“Smear it on the wound, it is much better than ordinary medicine.” I took out a small yellow package, which contained incense ash, from my pocket and put it on the table.
“Incense ash? Is it reliable? Don’t try to infect my wound.” Liu Jianjun picked up the paper package and sniffed it, then he stared at me and questioned.
“If you don’t want it then I will take it back. This is the treasure that is left behind by the incense sticks that I burn day and night to worship the Three Pristine Ones. Others pay money for it, but I might not necessarily give it to them, and now I am giving it for free, you don’t want it?” Saying that, I pretended to take back the incense ash.
“How can you take back what you have given, I was going to use it.” Liu Jianjun quickly stuffed the paper package in his pants. Before, he would have looked down on such odd talks. But after the previous matter with a ghost possessing his mother, he started to feel reverence towards gods and demons. Especially now with what happened to his body earlier, he felt that the legends of gods and demons – which has been going on around for thousands of years in China – wasn’t without reason.