Proofreaders: Gwen, Hiro, Red and Xiao Yu
Happy Halloween! -from Chinese BL Translations
All the remaining students from 308 and their new dorm are a mess in the wee hours of the morning. This immediately brings our homeroom teachers and even the principals back to campus. All the high ranking staffs are cramped in Room 501 within half an hour.
Their wording is careful and cautious, and I understand why they’re so wary. Having a student die is already unusual, and then something strange happens to five of the deceased student’s roommates in their new room.
Our homeroom keeps talking to us gently. I just noticed how soothing her voice can be, as if she’s soothing five children on the brink of insanity who might just turn fully insane if she made a wrong move. But we don’t make a sound. We just sit and listen and remain silent.
A shapeless force dissuades us from even bringing up tonight’s happenings, let alone telling someone about it.
Who’d believe us?
In the end, they give up and call Chief out by himself－he is in Student Council after all. I feel somewhat relieved after they leave. I pick the pieces of paper up without a word and roll them into a ball. I grip it in my hand not knowing what to do with it.
Should I throw it away? Into the garbage can? Out the window? Maybe shred it? Or swallow it?
I smile wryly. If it appears on the table again tomorrow morning after I throw it away, I’d probably scream until I’m hoarse.
“Glooms, you got a light?” I sound weak like I’ve been starving for a week.
He quietly passes a lighter over, and I place the ball on the ground before lighting it. The flames slowly devour it. Watching the white being taken over, first by yellow and finally by black, somehow leaves me feeling reassured.
I know I’ve accepted the hypothesis that we’re in trouble with the supernatural. I’m already thinking about the impossible happening, like the black ashes before me turning back into a white piece of paper with a horrifying circle tomorrow.
When Chief finally comes back after god knows how long, he gives us a weak grin. “The principal said we could head home and take it easy for a few days if we wanted to.”
“It’s for the best I guess.” I grin and look towards Cubs curled up into a ball on his bed. “Hey Cubs, aren’t you from around here? Go home and rest for a coupla days.”
His expression softens a bit. I know he already planned to but was just too embarrassed to be the one ditching the rest of us who are from out of town. No one wants to be that person.
“Let’s all stay at my place. It’s big enough for everyone.”
“It’s alright.” I chuckle.
The ones in danger are Yuan Fei, Mu Mu and me.
“Head back in the morning, Cubs, and stay a few days. Don’t tell your family what happened today,” Chief instructs.
He nods and his curled up body finally seems to slacken a bit. I actually kind of feel sorry for him. He has long been scared out of his wits, but he hasn’t had the guts to call it quits.
“Glooms, your family’s here too, right? You head back tomorrow too, okay?” Chief continues.
Xu Ping doesn’t respond. He just lies quietly on his bed staring at the ceiling.
“Yuan Fei, I remember you’re from Jinan. Go get a train ticket home tomorrow morning. And Xiao Yu, you’re from the south right? You two go together tomorrow.
We only give a grunt for reply and remain still for the most part. Going home doesn’t really change much for me. My parents are abroad and left an empty house back home for me.
Ha, I’m afraid I would go crazy if I’m left alone in that deserted house thinking it is going to pop out behind me like the Grudge.
That’s when it hit me－I am such a wimp.
The caretaker comes and reminds us the lights are going off and to go to sleep. Everyone goes back to bed with a heavy heart and soon darkness takes over the room.
Eyes wide open, I stare at the dark ceiling, zoned out for some reason. Then after a while, I think when it’s 2 or 3 o’clock, I start feeling a little drowsy.
I guess they’re all fast asleep. I can hear Cubs’ restless mumbling in his sleep. Poor kid will probably be having nightmares for a long time.
I yawn and shut my eyes. I wonder if I will be as restless as Cubs tonight.
My blood freezes. Was that water?
But this is Room 501! Far away from the nearest washroom! How could there be water?
Not to mention sounding this close, like, like it’s right outside the door!
My heart starts racing. I think of the deserted fifth floor of the teaching block. I think of the night where that black figure appeared. That mysterious sound has always been there during all of those things. ‘Drip-drop.’
The door slowly swings open.
I almost scream. I locked the door myself before we went to bed. I’m sure I locked it and I’m also sure no one went out!
I can see a black figure lightly pushing the door open with the help of some dim lights from the hallway. It slowly enters like it did the night before but it’s only because this time I’m more than awake that I notice it isn’t walking at all. It’s simply gliding laterally into the room like it’s on a skateboard. No footsteps, no breathing, nothing.
So it’s here again.
Who will be its prey this time around?
I don’t know if it can see me staring at it but it’s undoubtedly moving past the two bunk beds by the door where Yuan Fei is sleeping and coming towards the window.
I hurriedly close my eyes and try to stifle my panicked gasps for air because it seems too loud in the silence. But it’s no use; my heart’s pumping too fast. I can still feel the blood-curling thing approaching me with my eyes shut. It’s the feeling where you know there’s a person beside you with your eyes closed and you also know that it’s not really a person and it’s looking straight at you! It’s a feeling that can make a man lose his mind.
Why did it stop by my bed? Why me? There’re so many others!
My insides knot together. Is it better that it picks the others? Is it really?
I suddenly have an urge to cry my eyes out, not because I feel completely helpless right now but because I’ve realised that I’m actually this selfish and pathetic underneath the personality that I call a feather in my cap. I’m actually hoping that it picks someone else, anyone else but me. I’m praying for all the misfortunes to fall upon someone else, anyone else but me. Even if everyone involved has to die in the end, I wish I could be the last one.
The sound comes from inches away; it’s right beside me after all.
What should I do? Take a look at it? What would I see? What kind of face would it be? Or maybe I should make a loud noise and scare it away? Or better yet, give it nice right hook while I’m close enough?
My mind is a mess. Lots of options run through my head but, really, the only thing I manage to do is keep my eyes shut, hold my breath like my life depends on it and bite down hard on my lips so I don’t scream.
Why is it still here? What does it want from me?!
This time it sounds farther away from me but that might just be me.
I’m scared out of my wits and all I can do is keep doing what I’m doing.
What can I do? Nothing. Unlike the protagonists in internet horror novels, I can’t face it, I can’t defeat it. I only want to escape as far as I can.
I’m not sure when the sounds stops but it stays quiet for a long time. If I can just open my eyes and check I can be relieved but I’m too scared. I’m scared that once I open my eyes there will be an unimaginably horrifying face. I’m scared that this is some kind of sick joke of its to trick me into thinking it has left and get me to open my eyes.
But more minutes slip by, so many that the uneasiness is too much to handle. Out of nowhere, I kick my blanket into the air with all my might. My silly logic is that if it’s still there the blanket will at least do some damage right?
I open my eyes to see the whole thing banging on the table by my bed.
“What was that?!” Chief sits up immediately and questions groggily. Glooms sits up too. Even Cubs seems to sit up after doing a turn on his bed.
“Oh, it’s nothing. My, uh, blanket fell.” I try to keep my voice in check so that they don’t hear any abnormalities.
“Geez. You gave me scare there.” Chief grumbles before falling back into sleep.
Glooms lies back down quietly as I hop off my bed. Cubs goes back to sleep yawning after helping me with my blanket. Only when I get back on my own bed do I realise I’m soaking wet with my own sweat. I wipe my forehead. My face is as wet as a swimming pool.
I bet it had left long before. I can’t help but snicker. I think I’m starting to lose it.
“Perhaps it was just a dream and not reality.” I comfort myself.
I catch a glimpse of Yuan Fei to my side while fixing my blanket. He didn’t seem to be woken up by the commotion and is still fast asleep.
What a pig.
I can’t help but feel envious.
Because I learn for a fact once I lie back down that I won’t be falling asleep again tonight.
I get out of bed in a daze the next morning with blood-shot eyes while getting terrorized by Cubs. I grab my towel and toothbrush yawning as I run straight into Yuan Fei on his way back from the washroom. His eyes are blood-shot and you can tell he didn’t have a good night’s rest from the dark rings under his eyes.
“Morning,” I greet.
We haven’t had any rough encounters since that night at the meeting room. I do wonder how that came to be. But he’s been looking bad, too, these days, blood-shot eyes and just looking miserable in general.
Maybe he’s even more scared than Cubs.
He stares straight at me and it makes me feel uncomfortable. His mouth opens, as if he wants to say something, but they close and he brushes past me with his head lowered.
I don’t bother with him either and walk straight to the washroom to wash up. When I twist the tap shut, a single droplet of water plunks into the sink.
My heart jumps to my throat but it soon settles back down. I smirk while letting the sink drain out. I grab my stuff and when I turn to leave, I hear whispering and muttering coming from behind me. I guess Room 308 has become a hot topic overnight.
There’re car horns honking outside when I get back to the dorm and Cubs rushes over to the window, hands waving.
“My family’s here to pick me up,” he squeals.
I stick my head out the window and whistle. “Sweet car! You rich bastard.”
He grins shyly and hurriedly packs his bags. He turns to us after he’s finished and demurs. “Are you guys sure you don’t wanna come over for a few days?”
“We’re sure. Just take care yourself,” I laugh.
I take a bag for him and walk him downstairs but he snatches on to my sleeve.
“Come stay with me, Sunny. Your whole family’s abroad right? I’ll keep you company.” He says with a worried expression.
Moved by his concern for me, I pinch his cheeks and tease, “Just take care of yourself. Don’t you worry about me.”
I nudge him over to his car and make some small talk with his dad. Cubs finally gets in after a few exchanges and I chuckle when he sticks his head out the windows waving even after the vehicle starts moving.
The guys have already come back from the cafeteria when I get back to our dorm. I take the meat bun from Chief’s outstretched hand without a second thought and take a big bite.
“Did you see Cubs’ ride?” I squeeze through a mouthful of food. “So sick.”
“His grandpa is the director at the General Hospital.” Chief pushes his glasses up. “Probably really wealthy.”
I do a double take. “What? The General Hospital? The one that’s nationally famous? His grandpa’s the director?”
That damn Cubs never told me about this before!
“He lives in a 4-thousand-something square feet, two-storey mansion that comes with its own garden and pool,” Chief says matter-of-factly.
I gaze in awe at Chief. I guess being in Student Council does have its perks.
I’m still dealing with my breakfast when Glooms speaks up. “Cubs’ bed…”
I look in the direction he’s pointing in and I freeze. There’s a large water stain on the wall right next to Cubs’ bunk. It looks like it’s coming from my bed if you don’t look closely, but I know for a fact my bed’s dry as a bone.
This stain, why does this stain remind me of that stain beside Kong Linglin’s bed?
“Um, is, is it leaking, next door?” I manage to get the words out.
We’re in Room 501. Room 502 is to the east. Cubs’ bed is on the west side. Which means…there’s nothing beyond that wall!
Then where is the water coming from? This is 308 all over again!
Leaking, water, drops, the black figure.
It climbed into the bunk above Kong Linglin that night. Kong Linglin died.
It stood by my bed last night and I had thought I was its next target. But I completely forgot that Cubs was sleeping in the bunk under me, so it was standing beside him too!
But that doesn’t make sense either; Cubs didn’t play the game, he couldn’t be a target! The food in my mouth suddenly tastes foul. An ominous feeling lurks in my mind. My head feels numb and my ears ring.
“You okay?” Chief pokes my shoulder.
I snap out of it and put on a smile. “Yeah, fine.”
I spit everything out of my mouth and quickly shove the rest into the garbage can by the stairwell.
What was I thinking? There’s no way Cubs is next. He neither participated that night nor yesterday night. I’m being overly sensitive. It must be broken pipe or something. Right, that’s it.
I tell myself repeatedly until I feel completely calmed down, breathing out deeply.
That’s right. Cubs is the last person to be its target. I’m just being too paranoid.
I face-palm myself, trying to resist the urge to bang my head on a something.
I turn around in time to see Yuan Fei walking in my direction with his chin on his chest. He takes a quick glance at me before looking down again and brushing past me without a word.
“Yo, where you goin’?”
Maybe it’s just me, but I think he’s been trying to avoid me.
“Train station.” He doesn’t pause and when I catch his words he’s already disappeared into the stairwell.
“Wait, I thought we’re goin’ together,” I murmur.
I take a look at the time－Who in their right minds would go to the train station at this hour? Are they even open right now? I guess his intelligence level has finally de-evolved from that of a simian to that of a primate.
I lounge around the dorm until about half past nine before heading to the train station. The lobby is already packed like sardines when I get here. There are long winding lines before every single ticketing window and loud hollering everywhere, making my head ache.
I find the train home and line up at the end of that line. Soon more people line up behind me too. Peculiar smells waft in the somewhat stuffy air. It gets more and more squishy and as I advance in the line up I bump into the people ahead and behind me from time to time. I feel like a sardine stuck in the middle of the school.
But somehow I feel safe.
I don’t hear that eerily close but indistinguishable dripping sound. I don’t feel those terrifying eyes watching me from somewhere in the darkness. I don’t sense things creeping up on me. There’s only the crowd and the racket. I fit right in here and I know it won’t be appearing here.
I feel like the heart that was up in my throat finally found some peace. I don’t have to act as if nothing is wrong, don’t have to cover up the butterflies in my stomach, don’t have to worry about death being around the corner…
Surprisingly, I feel sort of let down when it’s finally my turn. This is the first time that I feel no excitement with train tickets back home in my hand.
I wander towards the entrance slowly on purpose, looking around aimlessly, even going once around the supermarket in the station. I’ve never found such peace and comfort amid noise before.
I take a seat on a bench in the departure hall, watching the continuous crowds of people and listening to the announcer read out the train schedules in her lovely voice. Slowly exhaustion hits me.
So sleepy. I don’t have to worry about too much if I fall asleep here, right? At least not about some unknown creature. Maybe about my wallet getting stolen though.
Ah, finally some peace.
Fatigue from staying up the whole night finally pulls me into its embrace, wrapping me tight in its arms.
I’m ripped away in an instant, figuratively, by a holler and, literally, by someone. I stare bewildered at Yuan Fei standing goggle-eyed before me. His eyes are swollen; it looks like he was crying for a moment there.
“Yuan Fei? What’s wrong?”
He looks at me dumbfounded, as if it’s unfathomable to him that I can talk, but the next moment energy seems to be sapped out of him like an old rubber band.
“Nothing,” he mumbles, gently releasing his grip on me. His lips tremble again like he wants to say something but he turns and walks away without saying a word.
I bolt after him. “Yo, man! What the hell’s up with you lately? What was that just now? What happened?”
“Bullshit! What’re you tryna hide?”
“I said NOTHING!” He suddenly raises his voice, shocking not only me but the people around us.
I watch him for a second and then forcefully drag him into a washroom without waiting for his permission. Only after making sure we’re alone do I question, “Did you think something happened to me just now?”
He keeps his eyes glued to the floor and refuses to speak no matter what I say. Purely out of frustration I snatch on to his collar.
“Hey! Listen up here, bud. I’m in a very fragile mental state right now,” I bark. “I might just go on a killing spree after this so you better spit it out while I’m still here.”
He doesn’t struggle and just lets himself get shaken left and right by me like a lifeless puppet. This isn’t the Yuan Fei I know; that tall bastard might always piss me off but he would never be depressed and helpless like this.
“Yuan Fei.” My voice drops to a lower volume.
I think maybe I would look like him too if I didn’t try to act like everything’s okay.
“I’m really uneasy; I’m really scared, too. I’ve no idea what we got ourselves into. I’m getting more and more sensitive and I’m startin’ to imagine things lurking in the darkness. I’m imagining the worst case scenario for everything I see. But I can’t help it,”
My hands start shaking, bringing his shirt along.
“I’m afraid of the night, the silent night, where I can’t find comfort no matter how tightly I close my eyes. It’s like something’s watching me. Yannoe what that’s like? That creepy feeling? That makes your hair stand? You’re afraid too right? You don’t want to be its next target either right? Don’t you see, we’re on the same side here.”
He finally looks up at me and I finally catch a sense of vulnerability from his eyes. He holds on to my arms.
“I, I thought, you might be the next one, ‘cause, ‘cause I saw…”
I tense up.
“Last night, I saw…” Yuan Fei stutters and repeats himself, getting nowhere.
I heave a deep sigh, finally understanding why he had looked like he wanted to talk to me today. “’Cause you saw a black shadow by my bed?”
The hands on my arms suddenly squeezes so hard that I’m frowning from the pain but he only looks at me like a dog seeing a bone. “You can see it? You can see it!”
“Hmmph, it’s not like that’s a good thing.” I chuckle weakly.
“I actually saw it the night before Kong Linglin’s incident too. But then when I asked Glooms if he saw anything he said he didn’t and told me to keep my mouth shut so I don’t freak you guys out.” His expression seems much more relaxed now, probably since he finally found someone on ‘his side.’
“So what about just now?” I raise my brows.
“I, I saw you sitting there, eyes closed, I thought…” He looks down again with a sad expression.
Seeing this, I feel a warm feeling in my heart; I didn’t know this guy actually cared about me.
I pat him on the back and put my arm around his shoulders, mood much better than before. “Alright, King Kong. I, Xiao Yu, officially end our opposition and call it truce. From now on we’re fighting the same battle so don’t keep anything from me. Two brains are better than one, am I right?”
“Yeah.” He gives me a light grin.
He looks a lot better than before but the anxiety hasn’t left his eyes. I can tell he’s still hiding something from me but I don’t push him. Something’s are better left unsaid until proven otherwise, like that water stain and that dripping sound. I’m not sure if they’re related at all. It might just be me, and I wish it really is.
I suppose the only thing I can do for my roommates is not spreading the fear any further.
Chief is on the phone when Yuan Fei and I get back to the dorm.
He beckons me over as soon as he sees me and says into the receiver, “Sunny’s back, I’m passing the phone.” Then he smiles at me. “It’s Cubs.”
I hastily take the receiver to hear Cubs call out in his adorable voice, “Sunny!”
“Good boy.” My mood gets even better. “Got home safe?”
“Yup. Got here a while now but they’d been asking me a ton of questions so I didn’t get time to call. They all left just now. I called right when I could.”
“Oh really? D’you have lunch yet?”
“Nope. Mum’s out grocery shopping. Said she’s gonna cook up a feast for me. What about you?”
I pull out a chair and plop down on it, laughing and chatting away with him, until I hear a creepily crisp sound.
My heart misses a beat.
It’s coming from the receiver!
A chill runs up my spine and all the pores on my body shrinks instantaneously.
I can’t control my voice. Its trembling is so obvious everyone looks at me. I hang on to the receiver but it almost slips out of my grip from the sweat that has perspired.
“Sunny, what’s wrong?”
“Did you, hear something?”
I glance around nervously. The guys have noticed my nervousness and have gathered around me. My hands start shaking more violently and my teeth start chattering. Chief asks me what’s wrong but I can’t spare the time to answer him. I’m searching in my mind but nothing comes.
“Sunny?” Cubs questions again.
“Is there a leakage at your place?” I force my lips to curve up but I bet it looks worse than sobbing.
“Leakage? Don’t think so. Lemme check.” He puts down the phone.
“Wait! Don’t! Cubs! Don’t go!” I scream.
But he doesn’t respond. I wait on pins and needles. One Mississippi, two Mississippi…
Seconds tick by but he doesn’t pick the phone back up.
“Cubs? Hello? Cubs!” I shout into the receiver.
The other end remains very quiet. No footsteps. No talking-
Sound of glass shattering coming through the receiver is like thunder booming to my ears.
My blood turns cold.
It falls silent again. I can’t stand the burning in my nose anymore and tears threaten to flow out of my eyes.
“Cubs! Hurry back! To school! Cubs!” I cry into the phone like an insane person. “Talk to me! Pick up the damn phone! Cubs!”
“Xiao Yu, what’s going on?” Someone is yanking on my arm.
I don’t know who’s pulling on me but I just keep crying into the receiver, coming apart at the seams like a cracked dam that finally gave into the pressure of the waves. All of the stress and fear that has built up the past few days just come bursting out in an instant, transforming into pathetic bawling. I’m dragged away from the phone but I cling on to the receiver like my life depends on it. The phone tumbles on to the ground and I hear the dial tone.
“Cubs! Cubs! Come back!” I can’t stop crying.
“Hold’m on the bed!”
Why Cubs? He didn’t do anything. He’s such a nice kid. He never starts fights. He never does anything bad. He’s pure like a blank piece of paper. Why did it have to be him? Why innocent Cubs? There’s been a mistake!
I’m pressed down on the bed. A couple of figures hover before me but I can’t tell who’s who. I buckle like a mad cow, crying and screeching hysterically until everything goes black and the darkness swallows my consciousness.
Dairytea's comment: I totally did not expect Cubs to be the next victim! I hope you all enjoyed our week of Halloween fun here~<3 Until next time! ;)
ayszhang's comment: My translations will be going back to weekly updates. Cold Sands on the 13th and 27th; The Water Goes Drip-Drop on the 6th and 20th (perhaps Dairytea will stick a surprise in there somewhere? ;D) Happy Halloween and have a good weekend!
The Water Goes Drip-Drop - English Translation by ayszhang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.