A Guest in a Ghost House - Chapter 9

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Chapter 9 The Venture
The next day I stayed home, trying to find more information about the ghost house, but there was nothing to be found, except for some unconvincing ghost stories .
In the afternoon, after a hasty dinner, I went to Kaoshan Road . I found it to be bustling with people after 7pm . Although the shopping street wasnt crowded, it still had a good flow of people .
Lit by the streetlights, the ghost house was just like a black hole, absorbing all the light that shown on it . The dilapidated house next to it, which had appeared to me as a shroud shop the day before, looked like a giant beast that would swallow anyone who came near . I looked at the wrecked door as if it was the gateway to another realm .
Opposite the ghost house were several cellphone shops . Rujia Buddha didn’t tell me which cellphone shop he worked in . It was still very early, so I didn’t get in touch with him right away . I just wandered aimlessly on Kaoshan Road, if I hadn’t been carrying a large bag of gold paper ingots, paper figurines, and candles, I would have been no different than any other shopper .
As time went by, the shops on Kaoshan Street closed one after another . I wondered if the businesses of Kaoshan Road always closed early because of the ghost house
At nine oclock, less than one third of the shops on the street were still open . There were two cellphone shops opposite the ghost house which were still open . Several salesmen in each shop were all greeting their last few customers .
I didn’t know who Rujia Buddha was or what he looked like . The salesmen of both shops were very busy and I didn’t want to interfere with their business, so I just sent a message to Rujia Buddha from my cellphone .
After I walked around the block again and came back, only one of cellphone shops was still open . At the door, a young girl, about 18 or 19 years old, in close-fitting jeans, was showing a cellphone to a couple .
I stood there confused . Had Rujia Buddha already left? I guess I couldn’t expect much from him, was human nature and no one had an obligation to shield a stranger from the wind and rain .
I stood silently under a street lamp and observed the cellphone store and the couple who’d finishing buying the cellphone and walked off deeper into Kaoshan Street, carrying a delicate bag .
Just when I thought the last cellphone shop was about to close, my phone sounded the familiar “incoming message” sound . I took out the phone and looked at it . It was a message from Rujia Buddha .
Rujia Buddha: Sorry . It’s been a really busy day . Where are you now?
I was surprised, and went back to the door of the cellphone shop . The beautiful girl was looking at her cellphone and it seemed that she had no intention of closing the shop .
“Rujia Buddha?”, I shouted from outside, uncertainly .
The girl raised her head quickly and looked at me with a sweet smile . It was then that I could see the girls face clearly for the first time . Although she wasn’t “supermodel” beautiful, she had a clean demeaner about her and when she laughed I could see two shallow dimples . She had the girl next door look, with a touch of tenderness to her .
“Are you the winning house owner?”
I had no idea what she was talking about, but then she chuckled, walked up to me, and looked me up and down . “I am Rujia Buddha, my real name is He Xiaoru, but you can just call me Xiaoru . Did you bring the photos?”
My head was spinning a bit and I was feeling a little dazed . I was trying to piece together the fact that the Rujia Buddha person I had been communicating with all this time with such interest in ghosts and monsters was such a delicate looking girl .
While I was attempting to make sense of it all, my hand subconsciously handed her the backpack with the envelopes . He Xiaoru took it quickly, put it on the counter, opened it, and looked at them one by one .
After going through all the letters, she looked at me with a little disbelief, “Are you sure there’s something in these photos?”
I nodded feebly . He Xiaoru thought for a moment, reached for a picture and put it in front of me . She had me describe the contents of the photo, and I explained them to her in detail . She just nodded .
Then it seemed that she had come up with something . She threw the photos she was holding into the air . She saw the photos fall on the ground neatly and looked at me with surprise .
I wondered if I had just imagined it, but I could have sworn I saw a hint of excitement in her slightly curved eyes .
He Xiaoru took the bag from my hand again and looked at the gold paper ingots, paper figurines and candles inside . She reached inside and took out a gold paper ingot and said to me, “Well, I believe you . I originally thought you just wanted to use these things to get close to me . ”
I was speechless . In my mind, the big and strong Rujia Buddha would be giving me a sense of security . Instead, I was staring at a small young girl . Not to mention, she also looked very unreliable .
I thought about it for a moment and I asked one last time, “Are you sure you really want to come with me to the ghost house?”
He Xiaoru looked at me with a frown and said, “Of course . Do you think Im the kind of person who doesnt keep their word?”
I scratched my head . “Well, judging by the excitement in your eyes, I’m sure you’re telling the truth . ”
He Xiaoru put down the gold paper ingot in her hand and said, “Its only 10:00 . Should we watch a horror movie first?” Before I could answer, she went to the front desk to take out her laptop .
Well, He Xiaoru’s thought patterns did seem to be different from those of ordinary people .
After watching the horror movie, He Xiaoru was finally ready to depart, a flash of excitement on her little face .
The so-called preparation was nothing more than taking out two flashlights from the front desk cabinet, as well as a slender iron rod . I wondered what she wanted to do with an iron rod .
Even though part of me felt that I couldn’t really count on her, I don’t know why the fear in my heart seemed to dissipate . That is, until we reached the gate of the ghost house .
Both He Xiaoru and I had a flashlight in hand, we turned them on to shine some light on the gate of the ghost house . The gate had long been destroyed, with half of it slanting and hanging off to the side . Seeing through the gap, we could see that the front door of the ghost house and the yard were full of weeds and vines .
It wasn’t until that moment that He Xiaoru finally began showing some timidity and I could the sound of her swallowing some saliva in the silence of the night .
“How can we get in? The gate is always locked”, He Xiaoru whispered to me .
To be honest, in such a silent and horrible place, I wished her voice would be as loud as the sound of her swallowing, it would at least show some presence .
I pointed my flashlight at the place where the lock should be and said with surprise, “There’s no lock . ”
He Xiaoru was stunned and followed the beam of my flashlight . There was no lock on the gate, it was even opening and closing slightly in the breeze .
He Xiaoru’s voice stuttered, “I⋯it . . . it’s usually locked . ”
It felt like shortly after He Xiaoru finished saying that the temperature around me dropped by several degrees . That was when I noticed the fear in her face and I began to feel bad for putting her up to this . “Should I go in alone? I’d understand . . . ”
I really did believe that He Xiaoru had no need to get involved with my situation . After all, none of this had anything to do with her . Though I still hoped that she would come in with me . After all, I was petrified as well .
Luckily, He Xiaoru just shook her head firmly saying, “I’ll go in with you . ”
To try to prove her determination to go with me, He Xiaoru immediately reached for the gate . With a creak, she pushed the gate of the ghost house open with ease as the two doors moved slowly to either side .

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