I was infuriated. I took out my phone and prepared to call the police.
However, Ru Xue snatched my phone, reprimanding me, “What are you doing! How can you not help a person in need? His father’s death is related to you in some way. Li Mazi often talks to me about karma. If your actions caused someone’s death, karma would be born. If this karma isn’t dealt with, it will keep weighing down on you. The longer you ignore it, the heavier it will become. It will come for you eventually, and when that happens, you will die.”
I shot Ru Xue an angry look. It was easy for her to talk. Also, did she think that I didn’t know what her true goals were? Simply put, she wanted to widen her horizons and observe how I dealt with otherworldly items to find some inspiration for her script.
For just a script, this woman wanted to push me into a pit of fire. She was really bold.
“Right, right. This younger sister is correct.” The young man nodded repeatedly.
“Knock it off, what younger sister? Do you think you’re older than me?” Ru Xue scoffed at him.
“All right, big sister, I’ll listen to you. Help me, please!”
“Good. Anyway, big sister is not a cold-hearted person. I won’t sit on my hands when I see someone in need. Even if I die in the process, I won’t regret it. I’m not like someone who pretends to be great and righteous but is actually crueler than anybody else…”
What’s going on? How did I suddenly become a cruel person?!
Ru Xue was extroverted and very curious. If I ignored this case, she would definitely start meddling and bring trouble to herself.
As I was counting on her to cheer Li Mazi up, I had to agree. “All right, I’ll help you. However, after everything’s done, I will take that opium pipe.”
The young man didn’t know the value of the item. He didn’t hesitate and agreed. “Okay, the opium pipe will be yours.”
I nodded. “Good, let’s go. We should go to your house and check the place.”
Li Mazi was dead drunk. He grabbed me and refused to let go, asking me to drink with him while sobbing. I was worried about him, so I asked Ru Xue to stay and take care of him.
Although Ru Xue was craving to join me and widen her horizons, she did care about Li Mazi. She hesitated for a while but still agreed to stay.
I took the young man to the car. While we were on the way, I asked him to tell me about his father’s death in detail.
He then told me the story.
The old smoker had been addicted to smoking since he was very young. He had been smoking for around sixty years. Due to his smoking habit, his body always reeked of smoke, and he even had some lung disease. His wife also left him because of his smoking habit.
The old smoker didn’t have a stable job. He usually worked as a hired thug, beating up people for money. And most of his money was used to buy tobacco leaves.
The young man said that his father didn’t use to smoke that much at first. He would smoke around a pack a day, but to save money, he started to use the old opium pipe passed down in their family.
Ever since that day, the old smoker seemed to be cursed. He couldn’t stay away from the opium pipe, and he didn’t even leave the house anymore. He could skip meals, but he couldn’t skip puffing his pipe. Not only he failed to save money, but he also spent the little savings he had on smoking.
Due to his smoking addiction, he didn’t have money for his son’s schooling, either. Moreover, being affected by his father’s lifestyle, the young man decided to drop out of school and mingled with a gang of thugs. During the day, they would collect protection fees. At night, they would immerse themselves in playing games online.
He rarely came home, returning roughly once a week.
One day, he came back and found the house close and the lights off. The young man was puzzled. His father would smoke a lot during this time of the day. Why didn’t he smoke that day?
When he entered the living room, he felt something was off. The room was filled with smoke, and the smell of something burning blew in his face.
He tried to find the source of the strange smell. Soon, he found that it was coming from his father’s bedroom.
He went to open his father’s bedroom, and in the next moment, he was frightened.
A dark, charred figure was lying on the rocking chair inside the bedroom. He guessed it was a ‘person’ because he could reluctantly distinguish the arms and legs.
Mice and snakes were crawling and gnawing on that person’s body, biting off the skin on his face and revealing the red flesh underneath. The purge fluid from the body puddled the floor.
The man still held a fuming opium pipe in his hands. The fire that had burned him must come from the sparks of the pipe.
Luckily, the flame wasn’t strong enough to burn him to ashes and only burned his skin.
The young man was devastated. After all, his father was his only family member. As he didn’t have much money, he casually buried his father and asked a Daoist priest to help his father’s soul ascend. He also buried the opium pipe with his father.
The young man was really sad and didn’t leave his house for a while. He regretted not being home; his father wouldn’t have died if he had been there.
However, at night, strange things happened.
While the young man was sleeping in the bedroom, he was awakened by the smell of smoke. Moreover, this smoke smelled fresh.
The young man felt strange. After his father was gone, the smoke smell in the house had already dispersed. So, what was happening?
Eventually, he got up from his bed and tiptoed out of the room. Sure enough, he discovered something strange.
In his father’s bedroom, a familiar opium pipe lay quietly on the rocking chair. Wisps of smoke arose and twirled from it. It almost felt as if there was a man sitting in the chair.
The young man was petrified. He had buried this pipe in his father’s grave, so how could it show up here? He suspected that his father might have come back.
Although he loved his father, he was still frightened by his ghost suddenly coming back. He hurried to burn some joss sticks and bowed in front of his father’s portrait. As the smoke from the opium pipe faded out, he exhaled in relief. He knew his father had gone.
However, after midnight, he had a strange dream. He saw his father, whose body was entirely charred. While smoking, his father told him to go to my antique shop and give me 150 renminbi, which was my commission. He also said that he put the money locked in his drawer.
After the young man woke up, he didn’t take it seriously as he thought it was just a strange dream.
However, as he was curious, he picked his father’s locked drawer. As soon as he saw the money inside, he was scared again. There was a small amount of money in the drawer. He counted and found 150 renminbi. He now knew that his father had actually returned last night. He didn’t dare to postpone his father’s request. He immediately delivered the money.
However, the situation didn’t turn better. Almost every night, the young man would be woken up by the smell of smoke. When he got up, he would see the fuming opium pipe lying on the rocking chair, just as if his father was there.
Although he had buried the opium pipe back to his father’s grave several times, it returned to the house every time.
During this period of time, his father had also shown up in his dream many times. He told his son that it was me who told him that if someone died of smoking, his ghost could keep puffing. That was why the young man said that his father’s death was related to me.
Due to the passive smoking, the young man had also become somewhat addicted. He couldn’t control himself and used the opium pipe to smoke a few times.
It was for this reason that his body quickly deteriorated. Now, he was bony and pale, which made him look more and more like his late father.
He was afraid that he would end up like him, so he tried his best to control himself despite being addicted.
He resisted until today. But now, he felt he couldn’t hold it anymore as he felt very uncomfortable whenever he skipped smoking for a while.
After concluding the story, the young man took out a cigarette, shakily lit it and puffed, his face satisfied.
I snatched the cigarette out of his mouth. “You know you’ll die and you still dare to smoke!”
His face paled, his body shivering harder. “I-I can’t control myself.”
“Put up with it!” I grunted. “You’re a man, and if you can’t even control yourself, how are you going to build a life later?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter