Highway 404 (3)
The action of holding the receiver lasted too long, so Chi Nan’s hand was a bit numb.
“Where are you?” Chi Nan didn’t need to confirm who the other person was at all.
The person on the other end gave a low laugh. “Brother, wait for me.”
Then the other person hung up the phone. The ‘beep beep’ tone was a bit annoying.
Chi Nan was stunned for a moment before putting down the phone.
Jiang Yu had been observing Chi Nan’s behavior and expression. She saw that he had hung up the phone and asked, “What’s going on? Are there new clues?”
Chi Nan nodded. “The other end of the phone was the Angel Welfare Institute. My character has a younger brother and my character disappeared a year ago. News about my younger brother hasn’t been found yet.”
“Brother?” Jiang Yu looked at him keenly. “How do you know his name? I remember that it wasn’t mentioned in the known clues.”
Chi Nan explained in a perfunctory manner, “It was a guess.”
Jiang Yu raised an eyebrow and didn’t speak. Chi Nan didn’t intend to continue explaining. His eyes fell on the plate of mint candies on the counter and he politely asked the female owner, “Can I take a few candies?”
The female owner seemed to prefer good-looking and polite young people. Her attitude toward Chi Nan was more polite than toward the others. She smiled and said, “Please feel free.”
“Thank you.” Chi Nan grabbed the candy and put it in his pocket. He remembered You Yu reminding him that his tears could be used to deal with the evil spirits of the Nightmare World.
It seemed that there were quite a few evil spirits in this instance, and they were quite fierce. He could try it out.
Soon, the female owner checked them in. The driver distributed the keys with their room numbers to them. “Go to sleep first. The fog will last for 10 hours.”
Everyone hesitated after taking their key. Chi Nan was the only one who walked into his room without hesitation.
He was really sleepy after spending hours in the car.
The hotel rooms had been divided up separately, and was equivalent to dispersing the group. The risk factor in a nightmare instance increased significantly when they were alone. Therefore, the people standing there hesitated. However, they were a bit helpless under the driver’s urging eyes.
Jiang Yu thought about it carefully. “Let’s go to rest first. Maybe the accommodation is part of the clues.”
The group had no choice but to take the keys and go to their rooms.
The interior of the motel was quite retro. The ceiling of the first floor was very high and was almost equivalent to two floors of an ordinary hotel. From the lobby on the first floor to the second floor, they needed to go through a long and steep spiral staircase. Jiang Yu noticed that the handrail of the stairs was engraved with dense characters. She looked carefully, but she didn’t recognize the language.
There were dozens of guest rooms in the long corridor of the second floor. The windows at both ends of the corridor were sealed and no sunlight could get in.
The corridor wasn’t like other hotels full of picture frames and vases. The walls were empty and there was only a candlestick burning alone at the end of the hall. The light was flickering and dragged out the shadows of the guests to be thin and long.
Pei Mo shuddered. “You don’t think… Aren’t the rooms on the second floor particularly horrifying?”
Lu Baizhou instinctively lowered her voice. “It is like a morgue.”
Pei Mo: “……”
The motel’s business was sluggish, but the rooms of the four people were unexpectedly split up.
Jiang Yu lived in 201, Lu Baizhou lived in 205, Pei Mo lived in 209, and Chi Nan lived in 213. They were far away from each other and it wasn’t a good thing.
Jiang Yu pushed open the door of her room and a musty, lifeless stench swept over her face. This was the smell of a room that had been uninhabited for a long time without air circulating.
The room had no windows and no ventilation. It could be very uncomfortable for someone with claustrophobia.
She quickly inspected the room and found that apart from the shortcomings of no windows and no natural light, the rooms were clean.
However, the mysterious words made her a bit concerned. They were scrawled densely over the walls and furniture of the room, as if they were spells to suppress evil spirits.
So was this motel haunted? Jiang Yu wasn’t very afraid of encountering a ghost. She even looked forward to the appearance of a ghost that could bring a useful clue of the nightmare.
Jiang Yu was lying on a padded, spring mattress bed, and her consciousness drifted within five minutes.
She found it a bit strange. She usually found it difficult to sleep due to her high vigilance. She didn’t know what was going on today but she…suddenly fell unconscious.
Jiang Yu realized that it was very dangerous to suddenly fall asleep in the nightmare instance, but her reason couldn’t suppress the sleepiness. She struggled for less than two minutes before falling asleep.
The faint fragrance of citrus lingered in her nose as if it was both near and far. The touch that fell on her body was elusive, like it was deliberately playing hide and seek with her.
Jiang Yu opened her eyes. Qu Yijun was pulling at her black hair, her gaze a bit evasive. “I have something serious to tell you.”
“Why did you come back so late?” Jiang Yu’s body lost control. It pushed forward according to the script like a video with the play button pressed, while her consciousness was sealed in the shell, like a bystander.
Her body hugged Qu Yijun, hugging, kissing, and speaking greasy love words. However, the other person never responded.
This lasted until ‘she’ touched the ring on Qu Yijun’s hand and Qi Yijun told her, “I’m engaged.”
‘Her’ body suddenly pushed Qu Yijun to the ground and the two of them started to quarrel, insult each other, and wrestle with each other. The whole process seemed like the fast forward button was pressed until she pushed Qu Yijun’s shoulder hard again. The other person slipped down the spiral staircase on the second floor and hit the floor several times with a bang. Qu Yijun’s eyes widened in pain. Her mouth was wide open, but she couldn’t make a sound. Her body convulsed violently due to the pain.
Jiang Yu, who was sealed in her mind, saw that the coat hanger that had been knocked down during the previous argument had fallen to the ground and broke. The thick iron nail was now piercing Qu Yijun’s head, creating a bloody hole on her forehead.
Blood quickly covered Qu Yijun’s face and devoured her expression distorted by pain.
‘Jiang Yu’ kept muttering ‘I’m sorry’ like crazy. After a brief hesitation, she ran back to the bedroom to take out a gun from the drawer to help Qu Yijun end her pain.
A shot pierced Qu Yijun’s heart. Finally, she stopped her extremely pained convulsions and completely quieted down.
‘Jiang Yu’ lay in the pool of blood like she was dead. From dusk to dawn, she couldn’t feel her own breathing.
Finally, before dawn, she took out a chainsaw from her toolbox and started to dismantle Qu Yijun’s body.
Qu Yijun’s arms, thighs, and head fell off one by one along with the sound of the chainsaw… It made a noise like a curse.
Jiang Yu opened her eyes in exhaustion and despair. She gasped desperately as she found she was still lying in the closed room of the motel.
She glanced at the time. Nine hours had passed. However, due to the fact that the hotel had no windows, she couldn’t be sure that the fog outside had cleared.
In order to calm her emotions, Jiang Yu went to the bathroom to splash cold water on her face. The fragments of the nightmare lingered in her mind and she couldn’t sit still. She put on her coat and went out to the corridor to smoke.
Obviously, the nightmare just now belonged to the script of the character. In the plot, Jiang Yu quarreled with Qu Yijun due to the engagement and killed the other person by mistake during the process. Finally, she dismembered the body in order to cover up evidence of the crime.
Her character was a murderer.
Jiang Yu irritably lit one cigarette after another. The corridor was quiet and only the lone candlestick was flickering.
Jiang Yu stared at her own flickering shadow and then the half-burned candle. She always felt that something was wrong…wrong! The entire second floor was airtight. How could the candlelight move without any wind?
She was bold and started to walk toward the candle.
It just seemed like the candlestick, which was less than 10 meters away, was always moving. It kept a fixed distance from her and even accelerated its pace, as if she couldn’t get close.
Was it a ghost wall? The moment when Jiang Yu stopped, a light sigh entered her ears.
Jiang Yu turned back abruptly. There was no one behind her except for her slender and twisted shadow.
“Who’s there?” The space was empty so there was an echo in the corridor.
The sigh sounded from in front of her again.
Jiang Yu turned quickly. Suddenly, a pair of hands behind her pressed against her shoulders, pushing her forward violently.
It was so sudden that Jiang Yu’s center of gravity slipped forward and she fell directly from the second floor spiral staircase!
The sharp edges of the stairs kept hitting her already bruised skin. Jiang Yu gritted her teeth from the pain and tried to grasp the railing of the stairs, but it was useless. She only fell to the ground after rolling down the long stairs, and the dizzying fall finally stopped. However, once she stood up, she found that she wasn’t in the hotel lobby, but another… corridor that was empty and gloomy, like a morgue.
Not far from her feet was another steep spiral staircase… She was repeating Qu Yijun’s death process infinitely!
Jiang Yu quickly calmed down. She endured the pain and ran in the opposite direction of the stairs, but the sighs behind her kept getting closer and closer!
She started to hit the doors of each guest room along the way, but Room 205 where Lu Baizhou lived and Room 209 where Pei Mo lived didn’t respond at all. Jiang Yu didn’t know if her presence was blocked, or if the people in the rooms pretended not to hear for self-protection. However, she had no other way now. She had to continue to call for help all the way.
It wasn’t until she knocked on the door of 213 without much hope that the doorknob clicked and the door opened.
Before Chi Nan could speak, Jiang Yu urgently said, “Can I go into your room and hide? Qu Yijun wants to kill me.”
She was concise and purposeful.
Rare panic and prayer appeared in Jiang Yu’s always calm eyes.
“Come in,” Chi Nan said while walking toward the corridor.
Jiang Yu’s expression was full of surprise. “What are you going to do?”
Chi Nan was silent. “Go and do an experiment.”
This sentence was a bit familiar. Jiang Yu remembered that Chi Nan had said the same thing during the Dusk Cruise Ship.
Chi Nan had said it at that time and it didn’t take long for him to find a very important clue.
Jiang Yu gazed at him deeply. “Okay, come back quickly and pay attention to safety.”
“Close the door if you can. Don’t peek, thank you.” Chi Nan finished his explanation, took a mint from his pocket and put it in his mouth. Then he walked toward the flickering candlelight at the end of the corridor.
His tears flowed out under the stimulation of sugar. The moment when Chi Nan raised his eyes to look at the candle, the flames suddenly stopped moving and the temperature in the corridor quickly rose.
Chi Nan stood at the top of the spiral staircase and heard the lively sound of drinking, talking, and the TV broadcast coming from the lobby downstairs.
It seemed that You Yu really didn’t lie to him.
He quickly wiped the tears from his face and knocked on the door.
“Who is it?” Jiang Yu asked vigilantly across the door.
“It’s me. It has been resolved for the time being.”
Jiang Yu opened the door and looked at Chi Nan with both confusion and relief. “… Can you exorcise ghosts?”
Chi Nan thought about it seriously. “Probably…I just learned to.”
Jiang Yu glanced at him. She knew the other person didn’t intend to explain it to her and also respected him enough not to continue asking.
After all, Chi Nan’s performance in the nightmare instance was outstanding. A bigshot like this should have his own secret weapon.
Jiang Yu nodded. “Thank you.”
Chi Nan didn’t take his rescue action to heart. He looked at the wall clock and said, “The time is almost up. We should go down and meet them.”
On the way out of the room, Jiang Yu told Chi Nan about her new discovery. “Therefore, after we encounter the ‘people waiting for the car’ on Highway 404, we will trigger the hunting of the evil spirit and killing behavior of the corresponding character.”
Chi Nan was silent for a moment. “Why do the evil spirits have to hunt down sleepwalkers?”
In the eyes of ordinary people, evil spirits and ordinary people were on opposite sides. The act of hunting and killing didn’t need to be explained. However, Chi Nan never made ‘assumptions’ like this.
Jiang Yu was dumbfounded. “It is because my character killed Qu Yijun.”
Chi Nan pondered on it for a moment. “After Qu Yijun’s death, did your character commit excessive behavior against the corpse?”
Jiang Yu nodded with surprise. “How did you know?”
“The moment the car crashed into Qu Yijun, her body quickly fell apart as if she had been dismembered beforehand.”
Jiang Yu: “……” She suddenly felt that this boy was a bit scary.
Then Jiang Yu told Chi Nan everything she saw in her dream. Chi Nan lowered his eyelashes and pondered on something while staying silent.
The two of them came to the lobby and happened to see Lu Baizhou on the phone.
Lu Baizhou glanced at Chi Nan and hurriedly hung up the phone.
Jiang Yu looked at her. “Are there any new clues?”
Lu Baizhou shook her head without even thinking about it. “No.”
Jiang Yu told her, “Miss Lu, sharing information is more conducive to finding new clues. I hope you don’t hide it.”
Lu Baizhou’s expression flashed before she nodded. “I know. I didn’t lie to you.”
At this time, the driver was already outside the door and urging them. “Hurry up and pack. It is time to head back to the road.”
Then Lu Baizhou looked at Jiang Yu and frowned. “What’s wrong with you? There was no sunlight in the rooms. Why did your wounds deteriorate so badly?”
Jiang Yu lit a cigarette again and smiled bitterly. “I’ll tell you in detail when we get in the car.”
The moment they walked out of the motel, everyone instinctively covered their eyes.
The long-term dark environment made them unable to adapt to the strong light. Jiang Yu was busy wrapping herself up in her clothes to prevent her wounds from continuing to deteriorate from the ultraviolet rays.
“Get in the car and don’t delay things. Good weather is rare.” The driver honked on his horn to urge them.
The group got into the car and the driver turned on the car radio again to play the music. As he hummed, the SUV drove again along Highway 404 to continue the so-called road trip.
The car drove away. Chi Nan turned his head to look through the rear window at the motel standing quietly by the side of the road.
Now that the fog had cleared, he could finally see clearly. The motel was a neat rectangle and looked like a large coffin across the road from a distance.
On the way, Jiang Yu told her other two teammates about her nightmare. Lu Baizhou reconfirmed it, “You really don’t know this Qu Yijun?”
Jiang Yu shrugged. “How can I know the character’s girlfriend?”
Lu Baizhou: “……”
Jiang Yu looked at her subtly. “Why do you ask?”
Lu Baizhou didn’t speak. Then Jiang Yu asked, “Just now, you called the 4040404 phone number, right? Who picked up?”
Under her repeated questioning, Lu Baizhou finally spoke, “I was transferred to the voicemail box. The other person is the Doctor He on the note.”
Jiang Yu raised an eyebrow and Lu Baizhou continued, “He is a doctor of a plastic surgery clinic.”
Hearing this, Jiang Yu and Pei Mo instinctively looked at her young and beautiful face.
“The clue on my side, this book…” Pei Mo had been holding the book tightly and nervously. “The author was killed. Based on the description of the hotel owner, whether she was maliciously joking or not…the murderer seemed to be my character.”
As he spoke, Pei Mo felt the driver looking at him coldly through the rearview mirror and was so scared that he stopped.
The silent Chi Nan suddenly spoke, “Perhaps all the people in this car are murderers.”
Jiang Yu bit the cigarette and pondered it for a moment. “Right now, the only certain one is me. Pei Mo is just guessing and Lu Baizhou’s clues aren’t clear yet. Isn’t it too early to make a judgment?”
Chi Nan lowered his eyes. “I might’ve killed my brother.”