HD - Chapter 1.1: The Depraved Street (1)

It was by pure chance that Wen Yifan became housemates with Sang Yan, whom she had rejected during high school. 

Normally, they lived their lives separately, as if they were two strangers living under the same roof.

But the peace was disrupted one morning. 

The night before, Wen Yifan was still sleeping in her room, but she found herself waking in Sang Yan’s bed the next day.

Having been aware that she sleepwalked sometimes, Wen Yifan could only apologize and put it away as her fault. However, when the situation repeated again and again, she tried to suggest locking his door before he sleeps...

Sang Yan dismissed the idea, saying, “You’d just pick the lock”

Wen Yifan tried her best to keep her composure. “Why in the world would I be able to do that?”

“Well…” Sang Yan lifted his eyes and drawled, “is there anything you wouldn’t do to climb onto my bed?”

After an awkward pause, Wen Yifan smiled. “OK, then go ahead and try.”

Now that caught Sang Yan by surprise.

*****     *****

On a rare off day, Wen Yifan stayed up late to watch a horror movie.

The eerie background music and piercing screams built up a terrifying atmosphere, but on the whole, the movie was just a cliché horror-flick with a flat storyline. She only persevered to the end of the movie due to her OCD.

When the credits rolled, Wen Yifan sighed a sound of relief. She closed her eyes, her mind soon overwhelmed by weariness. Just as she was about to doze off, the sound of heavy knocking woke her up. 

“Thump!”

Wen Yifan opened her eyes right away.

The pale moonlight streamed into the room through the gap of the curtain blinds, bathing the room in a silvery gleam. She could hear a man’s drunken slur as he stumbled away from her door, his footsteps fading away. Then, she heard another door opening and closing, and the ruckus finally muffled down a little. 

Even so, she continued staring at the door in a daze for a few seconds more.

When everything finally silenced down, she heaved a sigh of relief before rage began bubbling within her.

She’d lost count how many times it had happened this week.

She was already fully awake by this point, and it was hard for her to fall back to sleep once again. She rolled over and closed her eyes, her mind drifting back to the movie she’d seen earlier. 

Oh.

Was it a horror film?

A second rate low-budget film that was barely entertaining.

 ……

As her consciousness drifted away, the grotesque monster from the movie suddenly came to her mind.

Three seconds later, she suddenly jolted upward and turned on the bedside lamps.

Wen Yifan spent the rest of the night tossing and turning in her bed. The creepy image of the blood-dripping ghost just wouldn’t leave her alone.

It wasn’t until the first touch of dawn before she could get some shut-eye.

The next day, Wen Yifan was woken up by her ringing phone. Her head was still drumming from the lack of sleep, her mind felt as if it was pierced by thousands of needles. Frustratedly, she stretched towards her phone and answered the call.

Her best friend Zhong Siqiao’s muffled voice came from the other end of the call, “I’ll call you back later.”

 “……”

Wen Yifan blinked her eyes, her mind still reeling from what she’d heard.

Waking her up from her sleep just to tell her she’d call her back? Did she wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

Disgruntled by the call, she blurted out, “Did you just call me on purpose…”

The phone was cut off before she could finish her sentence.

With nowhere to direct her anger to, Wen Yifan stared at the ceiling and sighed audibly. After some tossing and turning, she picked up her phone and saw that it was almost 2PM in the afternoon. 

Wen Yifan immediately got out of bed, grabbed a cardigan and went to the toilet.

While she was brushing her teeth, her phone lit up again. Using her pinky finger she slid down the phone screen and put it on speaker.

“Damn it, I ran into my highschool friend without any makeup on, and my scalp was still oily. I almost died of embarrassment!” Zhong Siqiao exclaimed.

“If only it’s that easy to die.” Bubbles filled Wen Yifan’s mouth, her speech barely coherent. “Aren’t you just playing the victim like always?”

After three seconds of silence, Zhong Siqiao decided not to bother. “Wanna hang out tonight, Ms. Reporter Wen? You’ve been working overtime every single day of this week. If you don’t get some fun soon, you’re going to work yourself to death.”

“OK. Where?”

“Why don’t we go to the bar near your office? I don’t know if you’ve been there before, but I heard from my colleague that the bartender’s super handsome…” said Zhong Siqiao. “Hey, why do I hear the sound of running water on your side? Are you doing the dishes?”

“Brushing my teeth,” answered Wen Yifan.

“You just woke up?” Zhong Siqiao asked in surprise.

“Mmm hmm,” Wen Yifan mumbled.

“It’s already two in the afternoon, even your lunch break would have ended by now.” Zhong Siqiao felt strange. “What did you do last night?”

“Watched a horror movie,” said Wen Yifan.

“The title?” queried Zhong Siqiao.

“Hell When You Wake Up,” answered Wen Yifan.

It was obvious that Zhong Siqiao had seen the movie before based on her reaction. “Is that even a horror film?”

“I went straight to bed after the movie,” Wen Yifan pretended not to hear the sarcasm in her friend’s voice. She grabbed a towel, dried her face, then continued, “then I woke up in the middle of the night, and just like in the movie, I saw a ghost hovering in front of me.”

 “……”

There was an absolute silence from the other end.

“Then I fought with the ghost for the rest of the night.” Wen Yifan said.

Zhong Siqiao was speechless. “Why are you switching to an X-rated topic suddenly?”

“And why is it considered X-rated?” Wen Yifan raised her eyebrows.

“What kind of fight do you need the whole night for?” Zhong Siqiao replied.

Wen Yifan tried not to roll her eyes.

“OK, let’s not hunt for ghosts anymore. Ms. Zhong’s gonna bring you to go man-hunting.” Zhong Siqiao said gleefully, “Hot, fresh, dashing males.”

“I’d rather hunt for ghosts.” Picking up her phone, Wen Yifan strolled out of her bathroom. “At least it’s free.”

“Who said it’s not free?” Zhong Siqiao retorted. “Man-hunting can be free too.”

“Yeah?” Wen Yifan asked.

“We can always window shop.”

 “……”

Wen Yifan resisted the urge to roll her eyes. After she hung up the call, Wen Yifan messaged her landlady about the situation last night. After some hesitation, she added that she might not renew her contract when the contract expires.

Two months ago, she moved to Nanwu city from Yihe town.

She rented the room with the help of Zhong Siqiao, and the place was wonderful. The only downside was she had to share it with two other housemates. The landlady had converted the 800 square feet apartment into three separate bedrooms with attached bathrooms, so there was no kitchen and living space. However, the price was cheap.

Wen Yifan wasn’t very picky when it came to her living quarters. Plus, the location was ideal, with plenty of food and public transport in walking distance. She even considered renting it for the long term, until the day she met the guy next door.

Written by 竹已. Translated by Uygnis.