Chapter 24 – Dusk Cruise (8)
The ghosts received permission and started to move close again.
At this time, only Chi Nan was left on the bed. He was still deeply asleep, his breathing even. His cheeks even had more color than when he was awake.
As a large number of ghosts and corpses approached, Chi Nan shrank back from the cold and buried his head under the guilt.
One of the most badly decomposed corpses climbed onto the bed. It seemed to have been soaked in corrosive fluids when alive. The skin was completely decayed and the bones and muscles exposed. The most corroded cheeks had completely rotted away and the muscles had melted to reveal the back teeth and cheekbones.
The corrosive liquid mixed with bloody water continued to drip from its body, ticking and ticking, leaving sticky traces wherever it passed…
Ye Chang, who had originally maintained a viewing attitude, frowned and ordered in a cold voice, “You go down. Change to another.”
After all, he didn’t want his original body to be contaminated by such a dirty thing.
The corroded ghost, “……?’
It froze helplessly in place until Ye Chang’s impatient voice rang out again. “Get down!”
The corroded ghost immediately crawled back and fell from Chi Nan’s bed. It accidentally broke itself to pieces and scattered all over the ground.
Ye Chang suddenly intervened and the ghosts were a bit confused. They looked at each other in a stunned manner and fell into a dilemma.
Should they act against this person in bed or not? They didn’t dare offend the dream maker…
Ye Chang put on the leisurely attitude of an onlooker. “You continue.’
The group of ghosts, “……?”
Facing this capricious dream maker, none of them were willing to be first. They were waiting for their companions to step forward.
Ye Chang waited for a minute before becoming impatient. “I told you to continue.”
Thus, the ghosts had to bite the bullet and move forward. From the carpet to the bed, they approached Chi Nan bit by bit. One courageous drowned ghost rudely ripped off the quilt covering Chi Nan’s face but almost simultaneously, its movements stiffened in mid-air.
The ghosts behind it didn’t know what happened but they didn’t dare to act rashly when seeing their companion who seemed to be suffering from a huge stimulus.
Ye Chang noticed the drowned ghost’s abnormality and a look of excitement flashed in his eyes. “What’s wrong?”
The drowned ghost started to tremble and the water on its body covered the bed and ground. After twitching for less than half a minute, the drowned ghost started to stiffen and dissolve without making a sound.
In an instant, it turned into a small piece of paper soaked in the wet ground.
The few ghosts behind it didn’t dare step forward and just watched.
Ye Chang observed the reaction of these ghosts and no longer sat on the sidelines. He stepped forward and stood by the bed, looking down at the sleeping Chi Nan.
Due to his tears, the two teardrop moles at the corner of Chi Nan’s eyes were soaked. He looked beautiful and melancholy in the blurred sunset.
He bent down and gently wiped the corner of Chi Nan’s eyes with his finger. He watched the tears on his finger and wondered, “Is it because of the tears?”
He put on the gloves again and got a few of Chi Nan’s tears on them. Then he reached out toward the panicked ghosts.
The ghosts instinctively hid but Ye Chang raised a finger to his lips. “Shh, don’t move.”
The ghosts didn’t dare to move. They froze in place and shivered.
Ye Chang was like a child playing a prank. He clearly knew that these ghosts were scared to death but he ruthlessly pressed a finger with Chi Nan’s tears toward the forehead of a ghost.
IN the blink of an eye, the ghost stopped shaking. It quietly changed into a piece of paper and fell to the carpet.
The corners of Ye Chang’s lips rose in an imperceptible arc. He had always been puzzled about how Chi Nan passed the audition on the first night of You Yu’s Dream and even did it perfectly. Now he seemed to know.
It turned out that this guy’s tears were such an interesting thing…
At 4 o’clock, the alarm clock rang like a reminder.
Normally, Chi Nan would’ve pressed the alarm and kept sleeping. Tonight, it wasn’t known what nerve went wrong or perhaps his long buried conscience was found but he only struggled for 20 minutes before waking up.
He checked the time. 4:20. This wasn’t too bad.
Ye Chang was sitting beside him, immersed in another exercise book. From time to time, he drew on it with his pen. He really looked like a student seriously studying for the exam the night before.
“Sorry, I woke up 20 minutes late.” Chi Nan sat up and spoke to Ye Chang who was quietly studying. “You can go to sleep.”
Ye Chang looked up from the exercise book and spoke quietly, “It doesn’t matter. If you haven’t slept long enough then continue. I’m not sleepy.”
“I want to study for a while. I will have to take the exam once I get out of the Nightmare World.” Ye Chang added, his tone very helpless.
Chi Nan made a sound and rubbed his eyes. “Did anything happen in the room while I was asleep?”
“The big wooden box from under the bed kept making strange noises.” Ye Chang continued turning a page. “It was as if someone was scratching at wood with their nails.”
Chi Nan asked, “Did you take a look?”
“No.” Ye Chang closed the exercise book. “I am still a bit afraid.”
It was an understatement when he said ‘afraid’ and there was no sincerity at all.
“Besides, it must be interesting. I wanted to wait for you to wake up before looking at it together,” he added.
Chi Nan came down from the bed and dragged out the wooden box from under the bed. He saw that the lock of the wooden box was inexplicably opened and frowned. “You really didn’t do anything to the wooden box?”
He looked up at Ye Chang.
Ye Chang looked blank as he shook his head. “No. Is it possible that this box opens automatically at a fixed time?”
He speculated in a good direction.
Chi Nan directly opened the lid of the box. Lying in the large wooden box was a seemingly ordinary booklet.
Then after opening it, he found that the booklet was full of stamps. The patterns on these stamps were the reduced versions of the works in the death painting exhibition hall. Each stamp had a corresponding number. For example, the one he was holding had 60 NM on it.
“What is this? A death stamp album?”
Chi Nan didn’t speak. He quickly flipped through the stamp album and confirmed that these patterns were what he saw in the exhibition hall. Still, it was strange to call them stamps. They didn’t have any ordinary stamp information such as inscriptions, watermarks, country name, serial number, etc.
He was silent for a moment before asking Ye Chang, “Do you know what NM means?”
Ye Chang nodded. “Nautical miles.”
“Then what do nautical miles have to do with these death paintings?” Ye Chang stared thoughtfully at the stamps.
“Each stamp is marked with a corresponding nautical miles number. Is it possible that the death of a passenger might be related to nautical miles i.e. the distance traveled?”
Death, the sea, cruise ship, special gifts from previous guests, travelers at dusk…
Chi Nan went over this information in his mind before wondering, “Can it be that the Dusk Ship uses the death of a passenger as fuel? This is a special room which means it is the soul collection place of all the guests who have died in the past?”
Ye Chang looked stunned. “Just now, there was a sound from the box. It is possible that those souls were sealed in the box and our stay made them eager to move.”
“Then what is the basis for the numbers on these stamps?” Chi Nan thought about it. The numbers in the exhibition hall were the date but these stamps were obviously different.
Ye Chang held a stack of stamps in his hands and looked at them. “The old captain stipulated that we must tell a horror story every night. Do you think these numbers are the fear value of the deceased? Each deceased has a different fear value so the nautical miles obtained are different.”
“In other words, the fear value affects the number of nautical miles. Thus, the captain is deliberately creating an atmosphere of horror…”
“Yes, horror will stimulate the travelers’ fear. Judging from the two previous deaths, the Dusk Ship has the ability to embody the traveler’s fear and devour the people who generate them.”
It wasn’t just the horror story. Many of the designs of the Dusk Ship were deliberately inducing horror.
For example, the death exhibition hall, the death traces of each room, the captain deliberately placing the body of the deceased in the banquet hall where everyone could see them…
It was the so-called thinking every day and dreaming at night. It successfully produced the seeds of fear in the sleepwalkers.
Once the plot of a horror story was deeply rooted in the hearts of people, it would spread unknowingly. The whole process almost couldn’t be controlled by reason.
Human minds weren’t like doors and windows that could be opened and closed at will. Fear was the same.
It was like watching a horror movie. It didn’t seem particularly scary at the time but the after-effects could often last two or three days. Some horror scenes could even affect a person’s life. For example, people couldn’t help but look in the bathroom mirror when going to the bathroom late at night or they couldn’t restrain themselves from looking at the bottom of the bed.
Sometimes the more scared they were, the more they couldn’t control it.
The Dusk Ship seemed to take advantage of a human’s inability to resist fear. It spread fear in people’s hearts and materialized these fears, thereby devouring the people and using their deaths as fuel to move the Dusk Ship forward.
Ah Yu of the triplet sisters, the aunts of 309 who died playing mahjong and the countless works in the death painting exhibition hall confirmed it.
This Dusk Ship wasn’t just a cruise ship but a monster floating on the sea that devoured human fear.
“Once it is dawn, we will bring out the stamp album and compared them to the death paintings in the exhibition hall one by one. Perhaps we can find the missing painting.”
“Yes, that is the only thing we can do now.”
There were still three hours until 8 o’clock. Chi Nan simply lay back on the bed to sleep. Ye Chang also put down the exercise book in his hand and closed his eyes to rest beside Chi Nan.
“Brother Nan, what are you afraid of?” Ye Chang’s voice was very soft and dream-like.
Chi Nan’s closed eyes cracked open a bit and he looked over. “I can’t say.”
He felt that most people wouldn’t believe it if he said he didn’t feel fear. Thus, he just answered in a perfunctory manner.
Ye Chang didn’t seem to expect that the answer would be like this. He was stunned for a moment before smiling. “Yes, if you say the words then it might be used by the Dusk Ship.”
“Then can I ask you a question?” Chi Nan, who had always seemed disinterested in people, suddenly asked something.
Ye Chang took a breath. He naturally thought of the pocket watch placed on the bedside table and his heart sank. Still, he was a bit excited. “Yes, ask.”
He concealed his emotional ups and downs and his voice seemed like he was just chatting.
Chi Nan glanced at his glasses. “Why do you sleep without taking off your glasses?”