Mandrake’s scribblings: Hey… Sorry for this late LATE chapter. To sum it up, this mandrake got hit by influenza. It felt like a rock for the past two weeks and like a cheese grater has been passed through its nose and throat. Sorry again. orz Enjoy this chapter.
Foo: *Looks like we are alone.*
Hong: *That’s good. I feel like I broke my back running.*
Police officer Foo Choo peers out from the door of an apartment with bated breath. His colleague Hong Shia, who is a middle-aged man, is resting against the wall next to him. His big belly swells and deflates as he pulls in his breaths like a fish out of water. Having determined that nothing has trailed them, Foo closes the apartment door and locks it before slumping against the wall next to Hong.
With the sense of security finally returning to them, Hong begins to sob as the tension in him finally releases. Foo glances over to his side and looks away while patting his colleague on the back. It is a contrived attempt to calm someone down after a ridiculous event.
Hong: *What the hell is going? Why did that happen?*
Hong voices his questions through gritted teeth. Foo can’t answer. Hong’s frustration is justified. The events that happened is so ridiculous that it only makes sense in the realm of the supernatural.
Foo: *Looks like ghosts exists… Ch.*
He can’t help but scoff at what he just said. Literal ghosts appearing in this day and age. Hands and limbs bursting out of the walls. The human faces emerging from behind them, all contorted and disfigured like the ghost portrayed in horror movies. The men stood no chance. Each of them were swarmed and no one could fire their gun without hitting their own. And when they grasped the situation, it was so dire that the only logical action was to run and escape.
Hong: “Please! Please! Foo!”
Hong grabs his shoulder and shakes him. The apartment is in complete darkness but Foo can make out Hong’s desperate sobbing face.
Hong: “I can’t die here! I have a family! I have a wife!”
Foo: *Hong! Be quiet!*
Hong: “I have a son! He’s still in college!”
Foo: *Shut up! Those things will hear you! Keep it down!*
He slams his hands against Hong’s mouth and locks his desperate eyes with Hong’s. This forces Hong to realize the situation and swallow his words. When Foo lets him go, he returns to his cowering position, rubbing his hands together in prayer.
Foo: *For now, we are safe in here. The ghosts do not know where we are. So making noise isn’t going to help.*
Foo quietly gets up. He squints to look around the apartment around him.
Foo: *Hong, I’m going to check to rooms. Can you watch my back?*
No response from his colleague. Foo can make out the shape of Hong repeatedly bowing and murmuring prayer.
Foo: *Alright. You keep watch here. Stay vigilant* [He will be nearby. It will be fine.]
He whips out his pistol and his flashlight before slowly sweeping the rooms. As he carefully checks the rooms, his mind begins to formulate their next course of actions.
Foo: [Those things are still out there. Hunting. If we come out of hiding, they will find us and we will be screwed. So the best option is to stay put for now. I’ll secure an escape out of the apartment just in case.]
He racks his brain for anything he can remember about ghosts, spirits and superstitions.
Foo: [Hopefully I can recognize anything supernatural when I see it. I’d better get back to Hong. We could share information about ghosts and superstitions.]
Done with checking the rooms, Foo hurries back to the main apartment room where Hong resides. He casts his flashlight at where he last saw Hong.
Hong is not there. Foo turns his flashlight around the whole room. No one. He is alone in the room.
He turns his back towards the door exit and slowly walk backwards towards it. His heart begins to pick up the pace and cold sweat starts pouring out of his skin.
Foo: *Hong! Where are you?*
“Hong is over here!”
Upon hearing the stranger’s voice, he immediately ducks down, making himself as low as possible. He turns off his flashlight and begins inching towards the door as quietly as possible. He remembers his gun but is sure that it will prove useless in this situation.
“Hong is waiting here for you! Come over here!”
The stranger’s voice calls out to him once more. Foo is not responding and keeps focusing on his slow creep towards the door.
Foo: [This… I know what this is…]
He is not going to respond to the voice. He knows what the voice is doing. He has been told about it many times since he was a child. An old superstition from the countryside.
Foo: [Never shout a name in the forest or something will call back using that name. To think that I experience this.]
“Are you there? Hong is waiting for you!”
Foo feels it behind him. He has reached the door. The stranger is still calling out to him, seemingly unaware of Foo. In spite of that, Foo does not feel that is the case.
Foo: [It’s all an act. If I turn my back, I’ll be done for.”
He takes note of the position of the doorknob and plans his flight path once he burst through the door. Then another thought resurfaces in his mind. One reminding him about his missing colleague. Guilt and regret grip his heart.
Foo: [Hong… I’m so sorry, Hong.]
Based on what has happened so far, Foo can only deduce that Hong cannot be rescued and can even be dead. How is he going to face Hong’s family? Why did he think it is a good idea to leave him there? These questions plague his mind and cuts away at hi heart. Foo holds back his emotions and crushes them in his heart. The first thing above all is to survive this encounter.
“Are you coming?!”
Foo: [I need to get out of here… For me and for Hong.]
He quickly grabs the doorknob and pulls open the door. Keeping his front facing in the direction of the stranger’s voice, he lunges backwards through the doorway. Sensing that he got out of the apartment, Foo slams his feet on the ground, twists his body and sprints to the side down the hallway.
“Hey! Where are you going?! Come back!”
The voice frantically calls out to Foo. Yet he ignores the voice and keeps running. Keeping his head focused ahead, he runs further away from the apartment in total darkness.
As Foo’s footstep echoes softer and softer, the voice spits in vexation for losing its prey.
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