Good-looking children were easily bullied in private welfare homes.
It was because this type of place couldn’t stand such good-looking things.
However, one person was rarely bullied. He might always have injuries but the ones who were unlucky were those who bullied him.
Bai Liu liked to watch this somewhat cruel and lonely child fight back against the small group of bullies picking on him.
‘He’ was very withdrawn and exuded the thick smell of mushrooms and blood. The back of his hands were always covered with fresh pinpricks and sometimes blood seeped out from them, only to be wiped away by him in a disinterested manner.
‘He’ barely talked and communicated with anyone. On the contrary, no one dared to talk to this strange child whose skin color became paler and paler, as white as a vampire.
‘He’ didn’t seem to care about this. ‘He’ always went alone to places where no one wanted to go and stayed there all day long.
This was also what Bai Liu liked to do.
This person sat in the church behind the welfare home. He sat in the front row, opened a book and read it carefully page by page. Bai Liu sat not far from him, supporting his head with his hands as he curiously observed this strange boy and the book in his hand.
Suddenly, ‘he’ turned to look at Bai Liu. He held up the book in his hand and asked in a very light tone, “Do you want to read it together?”
Bai Liu glanced at the title of the book that said ‘Killing Records of the Slenderman’ and answered, “Okay.”
“Do you invite others to read with you like this?” Bai Liu sat next to ‘him’ and wondered. “I’m also curious about how you got this type of book in the welfare home. Isn’t it contraband? The dean would go crazy if she saw this and say that we have violent and bloody tendencies.”
‘He’ still had the pinpricks in his hands as ‘he’ turned the pages. ‘He’ looked at the book with his head lowered. ‘He’ didn’t look at Bai Liu but he answered Bai Liu’s questions one by one. “I asked others if they wanted to read it together but they all screamed and ran away as they read the contents of the book. I got the book from the outside and I like reading these terrible things very much.”
“Why do you like these horrible things?” Bai Liu asked with interest.
‘He’ said, “It is because I think I’m terrible too.”
‘He’ glanced sideways at Bai Liu. “Do you like it too?”
“I like it too.” Bai Liu smiled. “I like watching the plot of scary monsters slaughtering human players.”
Later, this child who read with Bai Liu found scarier books and games from outside to share with Bai Liu.
They hid in the church, under the statue of the god. Under the blessing and indifference of the god, they secretly played with the terrible contraband sneaked into the welfare home, playing various horror games and looking at all types of terrible drawings. Bai Liu had a smile on his face. He started to like this little kid a little bit.
‘He’ was different from Lu Yizhan. When Lu Yizhan and Bai Liu played games, Lu Yizhan would basically let Bai Liu win. Then when he lost, he would laugh and scratch his head while saying, ‘Bai Liu, you are really good.’
Meanwhile, this guy’s competitive spirit was completely incompatible with his indifferent appearance. No matter what type of horror game was played, this person would kill wildly. If Bai Liu was depressed and discouraged from losing, ‘he’ would occasionally come over uncomfortably and pat Bai Liu on the shoulder, saying, ‘Jiayou. You might win against me next time.’
Bai Liu would soon challenge him again. The repeated defeats made Bai Liu excited and he found it very interesting to play games with this person.
They weren’t tired of being together all day and gradually became two freaks who drifted away from the crowd.
Yet soon, the book ‘Killing Records of the Slenderman’ was discovered by a teacher during the general cleaning. The book was confiscated and reported to the dean. The dean was furious and yelled as she made the children all stand outside the home, asking them one by one who had brought this unhealthy book to the welfare home.
Everyone was silent, their heads lowered and trembling. No one dared to come forward.
In front of everyone, the dean angrily tore apart the book page by page.
Bai Liu pressed his lips together tightly. In the crowd, he tilted his head and stared straight at the ‘Killing Records of the Slenderman’ book that was being torn to pieces by the dean. It wasn’t known how many times he and that person had looked through this book.
No one acknowledged that they brought the book back. Everyone desperately denied it and pushed the blame to Bai Liu and the strange child.
The moment the dean questioned Bai Liu about it, Bai Liu also denied it was his book.
Only ‘he’ didn’t deny it.
‘He’ stood calmly in front of the dean, looking down at the fragments of the book as he asked the dean, “Are you afraid of this book?”
‘He’ looked up at the dean. “Or maybe you are afraid of me. Do you think I am a terrible monster that will make bad things happen to you?”
The dean looked at him in a panic, her eyes evading the pinpricks on his body. She didn’t dare to look at him directly or answer him.
This book shouldn’t have appeared in the welfare home. However, ‘he’ was only lifted high by the dean before being put down gently. She let him go.
‘He’ always had privileges with the dean and didn’t easily get hurt. The dean seemed unable to or didn’t dare do anything to him.
It was like ‘he’ said. The dean seemed very afraid of him.
It wasn’t just the dean. The teachers there were also afraid of him, afraid of the bloody smell on him and afraid of the irritating mushroom breath. Their fear was hard to hide and this fear gradually spread to the children of the welfare home who were good at observing.
These children didn’t understand what was happening but they also started to fear ‘him’.
The children were hostile to him, repelled him and beat him up. Once they found that ‘he’ couldn’t be beaten up, they looked at him from a distance. Their eyes were frightened like they were looking at a monster and they made up all sorts of gossip and scary stories about him.
‘He’ became a monster who would prick himself and bleed.
Even so, ‘he’ didn’t care. ‘He’ just calmly bent down and picked up the fragments of the torn book.
The crowd dispersed and it was only Bai Liu standing beside him, bending down with him to pick up the book pieces.
They wrapped up all the pieces they had picked up and took it to the church—this was their safe zone.
It was because no children or teachers were willing to go to this place. The church of the welfare home would only be opened on special days when many people who looked rich came to baptize them and do very strange rituals.
Every time, Bai Liu escaped from the rituals. He didn’t like the eyes of these rich people as they watched the children.
It was like they were greedily looking at goods.
After each ritual, ‘he’ would have more pinpricks on his body and his face would become paler. He turned from a person into a bloodless, marble statue.
Bai Liu and ‘he’ silently pieced together the shredded book on the church table. Above them, the statue was emotionlessly watching their childish game of trying to glue together the book that had no value at all.
“Say, do you think the people who come here really believe in the existence of a god?” Bai Liu suddenly asked. “Do you think God exists?”
‘He’ was still calmly bowing his head as he pieced together the pieces of paper with his fingers. He asked Bai Liu in return, “Do you believe it?”
“I don’t believe it.” Bai Liu gave a very simple answer before pointing to the pieces of the book on the table, saying casually, “If there is a God, let him turn this pile of paper into a real Slenderman for me.”
Bai Liu was a bit irritable sticking together the book but the other person was still very patient.
‘He’ raised his head. “Were you very unhappy when the book was torn up?”
“No,” Bai Liu quickly denied it.
‘He’ looked directly at Bai Liu and continued to ask, “Do you like this picture book very much? Do you like the Slenderman?”
“Not at all,” Bai Liu quickly denied it again.
‘He’ lowered his head and continued to piece together the pages. “I see.”
Bai Liu felt a rare suffocation. “What do you see?”
One month later, Bai Liu finally knew what ‘he’ figured out.
In the church, an ugly doll that looked like the Slenderman sat calmly in the first row under the statue, its back straight.
This doll looked like it had been made from discarded bedsheets and quilt covers from the welfare home. There was straw on its head and patches of different colors all over its body. As a result, this Slenderman looked poor and clumsy, like an unskilled drifter.
The Slenderman turned his head and looked at Bai Liu standing in the doorway shyly. He raised his hand and showed the tattered and torn picture book that took an unknown amount of time to piece together. ‘He’ asked in a tone that was still without fluctuations, “Do you want to see it together?”
Bai Liu calmly sat down. He only read the book for less than a minute before burying his head on the table and laughing. “…Your face is poking out of this ragdoll. It is so funny.”
“The face needs to be done with bandages,” ‘he’ explained lightly. “I can’t find so many bandages so you can make do with my face. I think my face should be as scary as the face of the Slenderman.”
“I don’t believe it. You’ve always been covering your face with your hair. In case your face is more terrible than the Slenderman—” Bai Liu took advantage of the fact that it was inconvenient to move in the costume to forcibly pull ‘his’ hair up.
The moment ‘his’ face was revealed, the two people looked at each other strangely and both fell silent.
Silver-blue eyes, so light they looked like eyes without any pupils, stared at Bai Liu. Bai Liu’s dark eyes clearly reflected this face—silver eyes, clear jawline and pale, bloodless lips.
10 seconds later, the two of them looked away from each other.
Bai Liu withdrew his hand that had touched the other person’s forehead and calmly squeezed it, his breathing slightly faster.
He lowered his head, one hand hanging under the table and constantly squeezing tightly. It was as if he was going to glue his eyeballs to the book. He flipped through pages in a second. It wasn’t known how he could see anything at such a fast speed.
“Do I look… scary?” ‘He’ asked softly.
“It’s okay,” Bai Liu reluctantly replied. “It isn’t very scary.”
“Then why is your heart beating so fast? Weren’t you scared by me?”
“No.” Bai Liu took a deep breath. He sighed before closing the book and standing up, his back to ‘him’. “I will look up to here today.”
“Wait.” ‘He’ slightly hugged Bai Liu from behind, placing the repaired book into Bai Liu’s arms while saying softly, “It is fixed. I’ll give it to you.”
Inexplicably, Bai Liu didn’t dare lift his head. He held the book tightly and left quickly.