Uneventful and calm for the rest of the days.


Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3

         There wasn’t too much time to think in the car. The social butterfly Pan Zhi was talking, and Jiang Cheng couldn’t very well continue to reflect upon his life without engaging in the conversation every once in a while. But once he responded a few times, he would lose his train of thought.

         Oh well, might as well let it go for now. Jiang Cheng looked at the back of Gu Fei’s head. It wasn’t every day that they were going out together like this, it would affect his mood if he kept overthinking. Affecting his own mood one thing, but Gu Fei was so perceptive that he would be influenced for sure.

         When they arrived outside the park, Jiang Cheng got out his wallet to pay for the fare, but Pan Zhi reached out a hand and stopped him as he pulled his own wallet out, “I asked my mom for a bunch of money before I came, you don’t have to play host.”

         “I am your grandpa after all……” Jiang Cheng struggled to pull his hand out.

         “I know, grandpa, please let me fulfill my filial duties.” Pan Zhi continued blocking his hand.

         In the more than ten seconds that they were struggling, Gu Fei took out some bills and paid the driver, then got out of the car.

         “Fucking hell!” Pan Zhi yelped, then hastily rushed Li Yuqing off the car. “How can we let Gu Fei pay!”

         “Have mercy on the driver please, the man has to pick up his next fare.” Gu Fei said.

         Pan Zhi took out his money and force-stuffed it into Gu Fei’s pocket, then turned and ran away like the wind toward the second cab, “Here! Come on, get off!”

         “Why did you pay?” Jiang Cheng asked.

         “You two were all up in each other’s business, if I didn’t rain some bills down you’d probably be making out by now.” Gu Fei glanced at him. “It doesn’t reflect well on society……”

         “Shut up,” Jiang Cheng laughed and glanced toward the ticket window. “I’ll go see how much the entry ticket is, maybe there are deals.”

         “I have a resident’s pass,” Gu Fei pulled out a card from his pocket. “I’ll take you guys inside.”

         “How?” Jiang Cheng said. “We don’t have it.”

         “I know somebody,” Gu Fei smiled. “A small place like this, they’re not that strict. Just tell them to be quiet and follow behind me with their IDs.”

         After everyone had gotten off the cabs, Gu Fei led them toward the side gate. If it wasn’t for Gu Fei leading the way, they probably wouldn’t have even noticed a path there, nor would they see the gate at the end of the path.

         “We’re coming now, are you here?” Gu Fei spoke to someone on the phone as they walked.

         “Is his leg alright now?” Li Song asked from the back. “I remember yesterday it couldn’t even touch the ground?”

         “It’s probably almost healed,” Pan Zhi said. “Remember last semester when I had my arm in a sling, whether I’m able to move it or not was dependent on my mood of the day.”

         “……That’s, how amazing of you.” Li Song said.

         They all giggled together at that. Jiang Cheng sighed, “When we get there you can giggle, but don’t say anything.”

         “Okay.” Hu Feng replied immediately.

         They all shut their mouths, and held on for a while before bursting out in hysterical laughter again.

         Gu Fei turned and gave them a look, then peered at Jiang Cheng. Jiang Cheng came up and walked by his side, “It feels like they’re all high on something this morning.”

         “Don’t you often do that too?” Gu Fei said.

         “Bullshit,” Jiang Cheng said, then remembered all the times he giggled like an idiot with Gu Fei over the last few months, it was indeed quite often. He felt like a dumbass just thinking about it, so he sighed. “It’s probably only when I’m with you that I act like I’m on something, and you’re not much better yourself.”

         “We are young after all.” Gu Fei said.

         The side gate was very small and unremarkable. There were only two people checking tickets at the gate, a man and a woman.

         Gu Fei walked over beside the man and handed him the card in his hand. The guy looked out behind Gu Fei and counted the heads, punched a few holes on the card and glanced at each of their IDs, then let them in.

         “That guy looks a little familiar?” After they were inside, Jiang Cheng said after a brief contemplation.

         “Liu Fan’s older brother.” Gu Fei quirked a smile.

         “Huh?” Jiang Cheng was surprised. “He looks way more serious than Liu Fan.”

         “Liu Fan will be serious too in a few years,” Gu Fei said. “That’s the way these people are. Fool around for a few years before returning to the so-called correct path, then settle and make do. Date, marry, then have kids, uneventful and calm for the rest of the days.”

         “Is that so?” Jiang Cheng gave him a look. Gu Fei had spoken calmly, but as he listened, he suddenly felt a sense of melancholy.

         “At least that’s what it looks like on the surface,” Gu Fei said as he smiled. “As to whether they have any other ideas on the inside, I don’t know, but who wouldn’t have ideas? Even Wang Xu wants to move to some big city nearby and open up a meat pie restaurant.”

         And you?

         Jiang Cheng wanted very much to ask, what about you?

         Will you also go along with this ‘correct path’, and like all those people around you, live out the rest of your days?

         But he didn’t ask.

         He once again remembered Gu Fei’s question.

         The haunted house was on the furthest end of the park, and wasn’t always part of the park. In the last couple of years, the park went through an expansion and brought the nearby spaces into it. The haunted house was formerly an old factory that took up quite a bit of land.

         “This place used to be an abandoned burial mound,” Pan Zhi was reading the introduction of the haunted house. “Wherein contained only unclaimed corpses……”

         “Aiiya that sounds scary.” Li Yuqing said.

         “After the factory was built, strange things kept happening……” Pan Zhi continued to read. “The night shift workers would always hear sounds of singing coming from rooms with nobody in it……”

         “Shit,” Jiang Cheng said quietly. “They say that like it’s real.”

         “What if it really is real?” Gu Fei said. “We have a lot of unused wild land around here, and lots of abandoned burial mounds too. Many schools were actually built on top of graves.”

         “You shut your mouth.” Jiang Cheng looked at him.

         “You know that technical college next to Fourth High……” Gu Fei got halfway through the sentence, then paused and gave him a look. “You’re not scared, are you?”

         Jiang Cheng didn’t answer.

         Gu Fei was quiet for a moment, then started laughing, “I never would’ve guessed that you’d be scared of these things.”

         “I’m afraid of cockroaches even,” Jiang Cheng said. “You got a problem with that?”

         “Nope,” Gu Fei straightened up his expression and cleared his throat. “No. Honestly I’m a little scared of cockroaches myself, and spiders……”

         Jiang Cheng actually quite liked watching ghost movies, horror movies, disaster movies, sci-fi movies…… But the reason he liked watching ghost movies was because they scared him.

         It wasn’t anything else, he was only scared of ghosts. They were the things that he firmly believed do not exist, yet was also firmly afraid of.

         When he was younger, on the way home from school when he passed through the hallway, he would always fix his eyes at the end of the corridor where it turned into the stairwell. He was afraid that once he reached the corner, there would be……

         “LET ME!” Pan Zhi’s booming roar suddenly rang out from behind.

         Still fully immersed in his self-scaring childhood memory complete with goosebumps, Jiang Cheng was so startled by this noise that he almost shot all the hair on his body directly out of their follicles. He didn’t manage to hold back as he yelled out as well, “AH FUCK!”

         “What’s wrong!” Pan Zhi was shaken by his yelling, it took him a while before he continued. “I already said before I came that I’ll pay for the haunted house, this is the thing I was looking forward to the most.”  

         “Oh,” Jiang Cheng glared at him for a while, then waved his hand. “Go on then, go buy the tickets.”

         “It’s probably pretty dark inside.” Gu Fei chuckled and said quietly.

         “No shit, would it still be a haunted house if they had 200 watts lightbulbs shining?” Jiang Cheng said.

         “What I’m saying is,” Gu Fei tsked. “If you get scared, there’s nobody to see if you held on to me.”

         “……Oh,” Jiang Cheng gave him a side-eye. “Or maybe mister, I wouldn’t need to hold on to you, don’t overthink on your own.”

         “If you don’t hold on to me,” Gu Fei peered behind Jiang Cheng. “Someone else might……”

         Jiang Cheng turned around and saw Xu Meng, who was rubbing arms with Li Yuqing and hopping in place. He immediately whipped his head back and looked at Gu Fei, “I’m telling you you better watch yourself.”

         “Mmn.” Gu Fei smiled and nodded.

         Since it was the May 1st holidays, there were more people than usual lined up outside the haunted house. When they were standing outside waiting to get in, they could hear the people screaming inside. 

         “Is it that scary?” Pan Zhi turned back and said to Jiang Cheng. “The way they’re screaming.”

         “No idea,” Jiang Cheng said. “When we go in later, who knows how these two girls will be screaming.”

         “I was going to go through it by myself too,” Pan Zhi clucked his tongue. “I asked but they won’t let you do it solo.”

         Jiang Cheng was about to say something, when a group of terrified people came racing out of the building. There were guys and girls among them; the girls’ cheeks were streaked with tears, even their hair was a mess.

         “I’m never coming here again……” One of the girls said as she wiped her tears.

         “Ah,” Xu Meng stomped her feet nervously. “These people went in when we were buying the tickets. Didn’t they say the whole thing takes about 40 minutes? They came out before it’s even finished? It’s that scary?”

         “Maybe they got lost.” Jiang Cheng said.

         “We should make sure to stick together,” Xu Meng was a little worried. “Yuqing you hold on to me.”

         “Mhm,” Li Yuqing nodded solemnly. “We’ll walk in the middle, the boys can go in the front and back.”

         They continued to discuss the formation for a while, but by the time it was their turn to enter, they still didn’t reach a consensus.

         “Nevermind,” Pan Zhi waved his hand. “Let’s go!”

         As he walked in, the rest of the group who hadn’t yet made up their minds also pushed and shoved their way through the door, for fear of being left behind.

         “Shit,” Jiang Cheng said quietly as he followed them through the little door. “Why am I sensing that it’s a little sca……”

         Outside there were miles of clear blue sky, but once they were through the little door, the sun suddenly disappeared. The only thing remaining was the dark narrow hallway in front of them, that didn’t have a single window.

         Jiang Cheng suddenly froze in place, his hand quickly reached behind, “Gu Fei?”

         “Here.” Gu Fei patted his hand.

         Jiang Cheng’s mind was somewhat settled, he looked back again to confirm Gu Fei’s proximity, “Follow closely.”

         “Mhm.” The corners of Gu Fei’s mouth turned upward.

         What a charming smile, Jiang Cheng thought despairingly. Under these circumstances, even Gu Fei’s smile wasn’t able to evoke any inappropriate thoughts from him. 

         Pan Zhi and the others were right up ahead, walking forward while keeping their heads on a swivel. This hallway wasn’t actually part of the haunted house, but the passage itself already gave off a horror-filled vibe.

         Some waterlogged parts of the stripped wall had algae growing on them. Jiang Cheng suspected that these must be fake, but did not dare touch it to confirm.

         Nobody in the group dared get too close to the sides, so they all squeezed together in the middle. As they approached the pitch black doorway that was the official entrance of the haunted house, Jiang Cheng saw a few bloody handprints on the wall.

         “Oh my god, look you guys.” Li Yuqing said quietly.

         “Don’tmakemelook don’tmakemelook, I’m not looking at anything.” There was slight tremor in Xu Meng’s voice.

         Jiang Cheng reached behind with his hand again, and grabbed on tight after feeling the material of Gu Fei’s jacket. Gu Fei sighed and grabbed his hand, then leaned over and said in a very low voice, “Turns out you do have some guts after all, aren’t you afraid of reaching back and grabbing something else instead?”

         Jiang Cheng gritted his teeth as he turned back and said, “Shut up.”

         After entering the first room, they all became quiet. Their eyes had not yet grown accustomed to the dark; it was pitch black all around them, and there were no sounds.

         “Are we all…… here?” Hu Feng asked.

         “Yep.” Pan Zhi said.

         “Let’s do a count?” Hu Feng said.

         “Weirdo,” Pan Zhi said. “One.”

         “Two.” Hu Feng said. 

         “Three.” Li Song also opened his mouth.

         “Four.” “Five.” Li Yuqing and Xu Meng said at almost the same time.

         “Six seven.” Gu Fei chimed in.

         “…… Ah, I’m next to seven.” Jiang Cheng said.

         They had just started laughing, when out of nowhere a female voice sounded amidst their laughter, “Eight……”

         This slightly airy voice caused everyone to suddenly quiet down.

         “Fucking hell!” Pan Zhi, who was laughing the loudest of all of them, yelled out. “Who’s there!”

         “AHHH——” Under Xu Meng and Li Yuqing’s lead, they instantly became a cluster of screams.

         Jiang Cheng didn’t make a sound, but he had Gu Fei’s hand in a deathgrip from the fright.

         WHAT IN THE EVER-LOVING FUCK!

         There are actors in this haunted house!

         A haunted house in a shitty little town!

         And as if that’s not enough why is the actor so dedicated to their job!

         The noise they just made was much louder than the screams they heard on the outside, the people waiting outside probably thought they got taken away by the ghosts. 

         “There’s a light!” Pan Zhi yelled. “There’s a light! I see the switch on the wall I’m going to turn on the……”

         With a “whack”, the room was suddenly flooded with light. But the lights immediately started to flicker wildly.

         Jiang Cheng felt that in this moment, he had suffered twice the shock and horror. The first was that under the flickering lights, he was able to see the room they were standing in had walls that were covered in bloody texts that included “HELP ME” “SHE’S IN THERE” and “DON’T GO INSIDE”. The second was that he didn’t have a chance to release his hand that was still tightly interlocked with Gu Fei’s.

         Though under these circumstances, nobody had the mind to notice that kind of detail. The two girls already had their arms around each other, even Hu Feng was holding on to Pan Zhi’s arm.

         Even if he and Gu Fei had each other in an embrace at this moment, it wouldn’t be weird in the slightest…… but just as he was about to let go of Gu Fei’s hand, the closed door on the other side of the room suddenly opened. Before anyone had time to react, a figure dropped down from the other side of the door and hung itself from the doorframe.

         “OH FUCK!” Gu Fei, who happened to be facing that direction and who witnessed the whole thing, sprang up immediately and grabbed Jiang Cheng in his arms.

         Jiang Cheng was already in a horror state of mind, without even looking to see what was happening, he also let out a yell and put his arms around Gu Fei.

         Once again they became a screaming mass, and each held onto the person beside them.

         After at least ten seconds of eyes-shut screaming, they finally managed to slowly calm down.

         “Fucking hell,” Pan Zhi leaned against the wall with one hand, and stared at the figure hanging from the door. “It’s fake!”

         “No shit, did you really think there would be a real person hanging there.” Jiang Cheng took in two breaths. “I think we should try to calm down, we’re only in the first room and we’ve been screaming for two minutes already. The groups of three that came before us didn’t even scream so pitifully, this is too fucking embarassing.”

         The light was still flickering, but the trigger must’ve run its course, there were no more scary incidents.

         Pan Zhi pushed on the hanging fake person, and it didn’t move again. He stuck his head around and checked the vicinity, “There’s light over there, let’s go this way?”

         They slowly made their way over through the doorway.

         “And I thought you had some fucking guts?” Jiang Cheng rubbed his sore arm, where Gu Fei had held on with his death grip, and gave Gu Fei a look, saying quietly. “If I was any shorter would you have straight up climbed onto my head?”

         “Hey,” Gu Fei looked at the hanging fake person again, considered for a second, then laughed. “I didn’t say I wasn’t afraid…… Fuck me that scared me half to death.”

         After that first round of fright, everyone finally grew used to the horror atmosphere. It was an achievement that when they got to the next room and heard the sound of quiet sobbing, none of them screamed out loud.

         “Sound-controlled,” Pan Zhi pointed to the corner. “It must’ve sensed it when we walked in.”

         The room was quite large, like it used to be a small machine room. There were two large electric sanding tables in the middle of the room, with bloodstains on them, and tattered clothes covered with blood on the floor.

         “They made it pretty……” Pan Zhi leaned in close to take a look, but one of the piles of clothes on the floor suddenly shifted and revealed half of a hand. “AHHH——”

         Nobody else had approached, and so did not get as visually intense an experience as Pan Zhi did. They all took a step back in fear, but Pan Zhi got such a good fright that he plopped right down on the ground, and still persisted in yelling out the rest of his sentence, “—REALISTIC! Fuck!”

         Jiang Cheng couldn’t help but laugh.

         “Which door next?” Pan Zhi sighed.

         “Isn’t there only one?” Gu Fei looked at the two doors in front of them. “The one on the right is an emergency exit, it probably leads outside.”

         “Oh,” Pan Zhi looked and saw a little light under the door on the right, it was labeled “Exit”. “Then let’s go left.”

         Li Yuqing followed after him right away, with hands clinging on to his hem.

         “Don’t pull on me when you get nervous, you almost dragged my pants down just now.” Pan Zhi gave her a look.

         “Oh.” Li Yuqing froze for a second, then couldn’t stop laughing.

         Outside of this room was another corridor, with a wall on the right side, and a row of rooms on the left. There was no exit up ahead, they had to find the way out through one of these rooms.

         Jiang Cheng felt his high-strung nerves start to slowly calm down a little. Even though he and Gu Fei were walking at the back of the group, the most commonly dead position in any horror movie, and yet…… He glanced to the side at Gu Fei.

         He didn’t feel like someone who was going to be offed any time soon.

         “Do you think there could be something behind us?” Gu Fei asked quietly.

         “Oh shit don’t scare me.” Pan Zhi said from the front.

         “You have the six of us behind you,” Jiang Cheng said. “What’s there to be scared of?”

         “Who knows,” Pan Zhi said. “You’ve watched a whole bunch of these flicks, isn’t there always a person at the front who just walks and walks, then turn around and sees that he’s the only fucking one left.”

         “This is a man-made haunted house,” Hu Feng reminded him. “Even if there are actors, it’s not very likely that they can drag someone away.”

         “With a melee stat like Jiang Cheng’s, they wouldn’t even get halfway before turning into a real ghost.” Li Song said.

         In extremely nervous situations, it was very easy for a person’s laugh switch to act like it was stuck in the ‘on’ position. Just this one sentence was enough to trigger an inexplicable round of laughter from the whole group. They were looking around in terror, but at the same time could not stop the hysterical laughter.

         “Ah, dumbasses.” Jiang Cheng exclaimed in a sigh.

         It was more apparent now than ever, that while the whole gang was in hysterics, he did not join in. He remembered that even in the past, he rarely joined the ranks of the stupid giggles. At most he would laugh along with Pan Zhi whenever he was laughing like an idiot, to show that they were on the same side.

         It was only when he was with Gu Fei…… He turned and glanced at Gu Fei.

         Gu Fei was to his right and slightly behind. The room they just entered had crimson coloured lights that brightened and darkened at odd intervals. Though the atmosphere was eerie, when he saw Gu Fei flash his teeth at him, he still thought the dude was perfect in all 720 degrees of him. [1]

         Far too handsome!

         Much better looking than the ghost dripping with blood who had just drifted in from the door behind him……

         Oh FUCK!

         “AHHH—— fuck fuck FUCK——” As the sounds left his mouth, he thought that it would’ve been better if he was laughing along instead, his voice almost cracked in the middle of the scream.

         In his mind, it was very clear that this was a paid extra with a crooked wig. Still, it terrified him so much that his heart practically jumped out from his throat and gave itself to Gu Fei.

         Gu Fei was still making fun of him as they entered the room, but hearing his scream, also started yelling without even a glance back. As Jiang Cheng turned, grabbed Gu Fei’s hand, and doved into the cluster of people, he felt that any and all pride he had over the last almost 18 years were about to be thrown away in this place.

         Good thing the people in front of them were even more thorough in disposing of their pride. The girls simply collapsed onto the floor, while Hu Feng and Li Song darted off to the right as they screamed at two times their decibel.

         At the very front, Pan Zhi turned around and widened his eyes, but couldn’t even make out a sound as he stumbled backward. It wasn’t clear if he was trying to get away from Jiang Cheng and Gu Fei, or the ghost with the crooked wig behind them.

         From the time that the ghost entered the room until it turned and bumped into the doorframe, then running away with hands around its head, only a few seconds had passed. And yet the roomful of lively youths had already exhausted themselves from all the screaming.

         Jiang Cheng panted for a while and caught his breath, then sighed, “Ah, this really is…… a big production.”

         “Do you think there’s security cameras in here?” Pan Zhi asked.

         “Yes,” Gu Fei pointed to the top of the doorframe. “If we fall down like this a couple more times, the guards will probably come and forcefully remove us.”

         “Hold on,” Pan Zhi pointed at the two of them, and laughed after a moment of thought. “Maybe you two should just continue with your eyes closed, I really wouldn’t have guessed that the two people who seemed the bravest would be so……”

         Pan Zhi’s gaze fell on their hands, and paused for a beat, “I almost bust a liver when you guys ran at me.”

         Jiang Cheng chuckled without a word.

         The look in Pan Zhi’s eyes made him let out a breath of relief.

         He figured it out.

         Pan Zhi’s intellect was actually a relatively good match for his name. After all, their friendship was so rock solid that it probably only took a glance for him to figure everything out. [2]

         Jiang Cheng looked at Pan Zhi. Perhaps it wasn’t that he didn’t want to tell Pan Zhi about this, but rather that he didn’t know where to start.

         He stole another glance at Gu Fei.

         Gu Fei tilted his head, very discreetly turned up the corners of his mouth, and smiled at him.

         Jiang Cheng’s heart was all of a sudden fluffy soft, he wanted very much to go and give Gu Fei a big hug.

         “Let’s go,” Pan Zhi beckoned. “Follow closely, hold onto shirttails if you must, hang onto each other if you want……”

         He then turned and gave Jiang Cheng a look, and said with a smile in his voice, “And hand-holders hurry up and grab on tight.”

         “Shit.” Jiang Cheng laughed, and silently mouthed a word at him. Dumbass.

         You two. Pan Zhi mouthed the words back at him.

         Jiang Cheng reached over to grab Gu Fei’s hand and gave it a squeeze. Gu Fei squeezed his hand back, rather forcefully. Jiang Cheng immediately squeezed back, with increased strength. And again Gu Fei retaliated……

         Just before they got to the door, Jiang Cheng heard the sound of his knuckles cracking. He turned to glare at Gu Fei.

         Gu Fei quickly put his hands together, and gently cracked his own knuckles as well.

         Jiang Cheng fought the urge to laugh. With a solemn expression, he caught up with the rest of the party. He suspected that if Pan Zhi knew how dumb his grandpa acted around Gu Fei, he might just sever their friendship.


Footnotes:

[1] A common saying is 360度无死角, which is literally no dead angle from all 360 degrees, it’s used to describe someone who is so good looking that they look attractive from any and all angles.

[2] The “Zhi” [智] of Pan Zhi means intellect or intelligent

Some Stats

  • Raw character count: 6350
  • TL word count: 4411
  • TL time: 4:43:02
  • Edit: 1:28:03
  • Curse words: 15x fucks hahahahahahah, 8x shits, 3x ass

TL’s Notes

Firstly, haunted house fan art!

MILD SPOILER? MAYBE?

I want to dissect Gu Fei’s question a little for those who are confused, since even the Chinese readers were a little confused. If you think you understand then disregard!

Regarding Gu Fei’s question, it’s not that Jiang Cheng doesn’t understand what it means, it’s that he doesn’t understand why Gu Fei is asking him that question. The Chinese here is 谈恋爱 vs 谈个恋爱, you can see the similarity.

is the verb, it’s generally interpreted as “discuss” or “chat” but for this purpose it is the act of dating or being in a relationship.

恋爱 is… romance, or love, or romantic relationship, or dating.

So the difference is , which is a character that means “one unit” of something.

What Gu Fei was asking is do you want to be together for an indefinite length of time (maybe forever), no units involved here, or do you want to go through a one and done romance with me, and we’ll enjoy it however long this lasts?