Not long after we had entered the forest, Li Mazi rushed after us.
“Didn’t you just say that you didn’t want to come with us?” I asked.
Li Mazi answered embarrassedly, “I couldn’t just leave you guys alone, right?”
I forced him to give me a truthful answer, and he finally gave in.
“Not long after you departed, a woman knocked on the car window. I looked out and saw a horrible, ghostly face smiling at me. I was so scared that I immediately rushed after you guys.”
The woods were deadly silent, to the point that we didn’t even hear an owl hoot. We only heard our footsteps over the dried leaves.
I had read some news articles about this suicide forest. Every year, dozens of people came here to end their lives, and rotten bodies were often found around the forest. Of course, there were also people that came here for the thrill.
The forest seemed to have some strange power, and people often went missing here. For example, there was a group of young people that had come here to explore and went missing. In the end, the rescue team only found one girl. Her sanity was gone, and no one knew what had happened to the group.
As we walked, Yin Xinyue suddenly grabbed my arm tightly and muttered, “Brother Zhang, don’t you feel that the temperature has dropped?”
A white mist abruptly came from every direction, and we could no longer see beyond ten meters. All of a sudden, a hand patted my right shoulder. Li Mazi's voice came from behind, “Little brother, could you let me borrow a lighter?”
“Li Mazi, you quit smoking, didn’t you?”
I was about to turn my head around to look at him when Chuyi shouted, “Don’t look back!”
When I got a hold of myself, I saw Li Mazi walking next to me. He was looking at me in puzzlement. “Did I just talk to you?”
Then, that hand patted my left shoulder. This time, it was the strange voice of a woman. “Please help me. I can’t find my kid…”
I broke out in a cold sweat and had the urge to chant the sacred text of Daoism.
That voice kept pestering me. It begged and cried, “Please, help me find my kid.”
I looked at Li Mazi and Yin Xinyue; they were pale and sweating. I guessed they had also heard strange voices. This mist was some sort of evil miasma that could disturb people’s senses.
"There’s a corpse!”
Yin Xinyue cried and pointed at a big locust tree. A man wearing sports clothes was suspended from a big tree branch. It looked as though he had been dead for about a month. Both of his feet were as black as ink.
Chuyi squatted and dug up a pair of yellow sports shoes from underneath a layer of dried leaves.
He placed the pair of shoes neatly on the ground and took out a stack of yellow talismans, which he then fanned in his hand. With a puff, a blue flame danced on the yellow sheets. This scene was mesmerizing!
The yellow talismans in Chuyi’s hand burned quickly. He put them into the sports shoes and mumbled something. A swirling wind rolled and sent the ashes from the shoes to the top of the tree. I lifted my head to look at the wind until it disappeared from my sight.
“Did a man just pass by this place?” asked Chuyi.
Everything was silent for a while. Then, the seam on one of the shoes suddenly tore open. It moved several times as if it was nodding at Chuyi.
The three of us were deeply amused by this scene.
“Did he have a thick murderous aura?” Chuyi asked again.
The shoe nodded again.
“Can you take us to him?”
This time, the shoe shook as if a person was shaking his head.
“Don’t be scared. We will protect you. We will burn paper money for you,” said Chuyi.
The shoe didn’t answer as it was hesitant. Then, the pair of shoes suddenly began to move, just as if an invisible person had put them on. It began to head deep into the forest.
“How did you do that?” Li Mazi was surprised.
“I didn’t do anything. This pair of shoes is an otherworldly item,” explained Chuyi. Then, he turned around and followed the shoes.
“An otherworldly item? Modern items can be otherworldly items too?” Li Mazi looked astonished.
I understood what Chuyi meant. An otherworldly item was just the home to a departed spirit. It didn’t matter if it was a thousand years old or if it had just formed, it was still an otherworldly item.
Since the pair of shoes was a low-level item, Chuyi didn’t need to work hard to stimulate it to work for him.
“Follow the shoes!” called Chuyi. We followed that pair of sports shoes and gradually reached an area covered by a strange mist.
We didn’t know how much time had passed before the pair of sports shoes stopped by a big tree. I heard voices that belonged to a woman and a man from the other side of the tree.
“Little Mei, forgive me for being useless. I’ll definitely marry you in our next life.”
“Don’t say that. Little Xu, I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Then, I heard something fall.
Damn, someone’s committing suicide! I hurried over to see.
A young couple was hung from the tree, their bodies swinging like wind chimes. I called Li Mazi to help me get them down.
The girl wasn’t happy with our efforts. After we rescued her, she screamed and scratched us. “Who asked you to put your noses in my business?! Who?! I’m killing myself. Why does it matter to you?”
“Haha, what an ungrateful brat. I don’t understand you guys. You are still young. Why can’t you just think it through? Even if the sky falls, there will be a tall building to stop it. Why do you have to kill yourself?” asked Li Mazi.
“Who asked for your concern? You ugly uncle!” snapped the young girl. Her attire was unconventional. Moreover, one side of her hair was pretty long while the other side was shaved. She wore a leather jacket and a pair of gloves.
The boy looked lanky and wore a pair of glasses as thick as the bottom of a wine bottle. He also carried a backpack.
Yin Xinyue asked, “Little girl, are you in trouble? Could you tell me about it? Maybe I can help you.”
The girl snarled, “It has nothing to do with you, auntie!”
Then, she asked Li Mazi if he had a cigarette. When she received a negative answer, she took out some chewing gum.
I then noticed that the boy had very strong Yin energy, and although they were both committing suicides for their love, the girl didn’t have any bit of Yin energy.
I inadvertently glanced at Chuyi and saw that he was looking at me. He shook his head as if he was warning me about something.
“Are you classmates? Which school do you go to?” asked Yin Xinyue.
The boy answered, “Auntie, we go to High School No.13 in a neighborhood nearby. We love each other, but her father doesn’t allow us to be together, so we ran away. We couldn’t put up with it. That’s why we decided to come here and end our lives…”
Yin Xinyue asked, “Do you have somewhere to go?”
“No, but if we go back home now, they will beat us to death. We haven’t eaten anything for three days. Oh, that’s right. Auntie, I want to show you something,” said the boy as he searched for something in his backpack.
I suddenly noticed that the color of his facial skin and the color of his arms and body didn’t match.
“Move away from him!” I screamed and strode forward. I kicked the bag away from him.
A small rattle drum rolled out of the bag. It was made of two skulls hooked onto each other. The drum skin looked like human skin.
“The Courtier Drum!” Li Mazi and Yin Xinyue screamed in unison.
“Crap!” The boy’s face changed, his voice deeper. He took out a dagger and placed it on the girl’s throat. “Don’t come closer. I’m going to kill her!”
It turned out Cheng Xiaohu knew that he had no place to go, so he had used his transfiguration skill. He took the clothes from a poor boy and disguised as a high schooler.
He had mastered the skill of imitation, and his acting was on par with professional actors.
The girl didn’t look like she was controlled by the Courtier Drum. Perhaps Cheng Xiaohu had threatened her.
“Cheng Xiaohu, you must die for your sins. It’s time for you to receive retribution!” I said.
“Haha!” Cheng Xiaohu faced the sky and laughed. “I don’t believe in any retribution. Why haven’t those corrupted officials received retribution yet? I've become like this due to this society!”
Li Mazi said, “Like hell! When I was small, my family was so poor that I didn’t have a pair of good socks. All of them were patched up. Yet, I didn’t steal or rob anybody! You were evil from the beginning, stop blaming society for your bad behavior!”
Cheng Xiaohu sneered. “You really like to talk, don’t you? Don’t come closer. Otherwise, I’ll cut her throat!”
He retreated continuously and unexpectedly pushed the girl toward us. He picked up the Courtier Drum, then dashed into the dark forest.
I wanted to chase after him, but Chuyi pulled me back. He said calmly, “He won’t be able to run far.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter