Chapter 36: Burning Paper Money As An Offering To The Dead

It turned out that I’d guessed correctly. Ever since I’d bought the ancient jade lamp, my series of unfortunate events also started. 

Every time I crossed the street, I would hear someone calling my name. But, whenever I turned around to check, I wouldn’t see any familiar faces. Because of this, I was almost run over several times.

A few days later, a thief broke into my house, stealing my household registration booklet, ID, and even credit card. I was so mad that I cursed him nonstop.

Of course, it didn’t end there. One day, I was smoking inside the shop, and the cigarette ash ignited the window curtain. Luckily, the neighbors helped me extinguish the fire, or else I would’ve gone to hell together with this antique shop of mine. 

Later on, I drank some foreign wine, which gave me gastrointestinal perforation. 

In the end, I could only dig a hole and bury the jade lamp, covering it with quicklime in the hopes that it would absorb some of the lamp’s negative energy. 

At the same time, I tried to find a buyer. I wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to use my skills to get rid of the resentment permeating the lamp, the problem was that I knew nothing about it and had no idea where to start.

To deal with the resentment, I had to start from the item’s origin. However, in this case, I knew nothing about the lamp, and I had no idea about what it could do, either. As such, getting rid of it was the fastest and safest to deal with it.

After burying the jade lamp, things calmed down for a period of time. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. One week later, when I opened my door in the morning, I found paper ash at the entrance.

At first, I thought that it was just a mischievous kid burning paper at my door for fun. I didn’t really pay attention to it and decided to sweep it away.

But, while sweeping, I found the colorful drawing of a male doll amidst the ashes. This was paper burned as an offering to the dead!

Fuck! Burning paper as an offering to the dead in front of my shop? Isn’t this the same as cursing me and wishing me to die?!

After cleaning up the ashes, I asked the security staff down the street if they’d seen anyone burning paper in front of my shop yesterday.

The answer made my scalp go numb. 

They said that I was the one that had burned the paper.

Scared out of my wits, I handed them a cigarette each, asking, “Brothers, are you sure that was me and not someone else?” 

The security staff laughed. “Boss Zhang, we even greeted you at that time. It’s not like you’ve just opened your shop here. How could we mistake you for someone else?” 

I smiled awkwardly. “Haha, it seems that I drank too much yesterday.”

I left in low spirits. 

For several days in a row, I found traces of burned paper at my door. Maybe it was because of the wind, but the ashes had scattered.

I was flustered and decided to investigate the matter. 

There was a chance that it was related to the jade lamp!

On the day that I was preparing to take action, Yin Xinyue paid me another visit. She noticed my strange expression and asked, “Are you feeling unwell?”

I forced a smile. “There’s something wrong with that damned jade lamp.”

As soon as I mentioned this strange matter, Yin Xinyue’s interest was aroused. She urged me to elaborate. 

I knew that she’d pester me until morning if I didn’t tell her. As such, I narrated the unfortunate events I’d experienced over the past few days. 

I didn’t expect that she’d become even more excited. “It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced something as excited as this. I’m going to accompany you tonight.” 

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Beauty, it’s not like I’m going to a party. Why would you want to stay here? Be careful, or else, you might see a ghost.” 

Yin Xinyue said, delighted, “That’s why I want to accompany you! My company is working on a horror movie, and as a producer, I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough inspiration.” 

Great, another person to bother me tonight!

I was planning to spend the whole night outside to see who was burning paper before my shop. But now, as Yin Xinyue wanted to go with me, I had to rent the opposite shop. Tonight, we’d observe the situation from there. 

I wasn’t sure what was wrong with Yin Xinyue’s head, but she’d even brought over a video camera. “I want to record everything that happens tonight. Hopefully, I can add the integral version with no cuts to the movie. I’ll make sure to give you your share later.” 

I could only helplessly look at Yin Xinyue, who was enjoying herself. 

After dinner, I took over the opposite shop from the other proprietor and shut the doors and windows, leaving only a small crack. Yin Xinyue placed the camera outside, seemingly planning to let it record for the whole night. 

I didn’t stop her and sat on the sofa, looking at my phone. 

Yin Xinyue was super excited as she paced back and forth in the room. From time to time, she’d check the situation outside through the crack in the door. However, she could only endure until around 11 PM. She then got sleepy and lay on the sofa, falling asleep. 

Over the past few days, even the weather had gone crazy. There were strong winds, and the temperature had dropped sharply. I put a thick blanket over Yin Xinyue and went to check the situation outside. 

The security staff were still patrolling outside, but they were about to go home. If anything strange was going to happen, it would be now.

To avoid missing the key event, I moved a bench before the crack in the door and sat there.

The wind wasn’t giving any sign of stopping, and the different shades of leaves and trees wiggled and danced about on the street. Sometimes, one or two plastic bags would fly through the street.

The current background and atmosphere were no different from that of a Hong Kong horror movie. 

Then, I suddenly heard something. Startled, I pricked up my ears. Too bad that the wind was howling too loudly, and I couldn’t hear clearly. Still, I vaguely heard a woman sobbing.  

It’s really late at night. How come there’s a woman crying in front of my shop? 

I slightly pushed the door open, increasing the width of the crack to have a better look. And, what I saw next was a round eye gazing at me from the slit!

I shrieked and fell on my butt. When I looked again, the eye was nowhere to be seen.  

Heavens, what was that?!

My shriek woke Yin Xinyue up. She hurriedly asked, “What happened?”

I signaled her to keep quiet. Then, I gritted my teeth and kicked the door open. 

When I saw a paper doll hung on the camera outside, I heaved a sigh of relief. 

It turned out that I’d just seen the eye of the paper doll! 

Although this was mainly an antique street, there were other shops as well. On the West end, there was a shop selling paper money and dolls to burn as an offering to the dead. Sometimes, they didn’t store all the items away after closing.

Well, the strong wind probably blew one of their items here… 

I comforted Yin Xinyue, telling her that it was just a false alarm, and prepared to close the door. 

But, all of a sudden, I felt that there was something wrong. 

In the distance, a bunch of paper objects, including seven or eight paper dolls, were moving in my direction amidst the wind.

However, it didn’t feel like it was the wind blowing them over.

If it was the wind dragging them, they’d tumble along the way, but the paper dolls were moving in a formation. It seemed as if someone was controlling them and pushing them forward!

Finally, they ended up in front of my shop.

“How unlucky!” I scoffed and prepared to ignore them. But then, I heard a scream inside my shop.

It was the high-pitched shriek of a woman. The scream was so sudden that I was scared shitless and almost tripped. Yin Xinyue hurried to support me. “What’s going on?” 

I asked her, “D-Did you hear something just then?” 

Yin Xinyue shook her head. “Except for the wind, I didn’t hear anything.” 

She then looked at me in puzzlement. 

However, her expression quickly changed. Her jaw dropped as she stared and pointed behind me.

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