There are always such terrifying legends circulating in schools.
The rumor about a student jumping off the building actually has no factual basis. It's just something passed down by previous students, who also said that the school covered it up to protect its reputation, which is why there are no news reports about it.
As for the reasons behind the jump, there are many theories: academic pressure, romantic failures, financial ruin, campus violence...
Wan Da and the others got more and more excited as they talked, turning their dormitory building into a haunted house and ceremoniously turning off the lights with a loud "snap".
It was 8 pm, and it was so dark outside that you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, except for the occasional flicker of distant lights. There was a large building near the school that was celebrating its anniversary, and the red lights from the celebration reflected eerily into the classroom, now dark and foreboding.
A girl screamed out loud, "What are you doing, Wan Da!"
"What's wrong with you!"
"Quick, turn on the lights!"
Wan Da remained unmoved and insisted, "I'm telling a story, the atmosphere is important, the atmosphere."
As soon as the lights went out, He Chao grabbed Xie Yu's wrist and muttered, "Fuck."
The game ended and Xie Yu's phone screen went dark. He turned his head and didn't shake off He Chao's hand. Instead, he asked with interest, "Are you afraid of ghosts?"
Wan Da had no idea what happened in the back row. He was about to tell the horror story of a hair salon and called out to the two big shots, "Brother Chao and Brother Yu, come on, join us? It's absolutely terrifying, especially exciting. If you dare to sleep alone after listening, I'll give you fifty cents."
Without even giving He Chao a chance to refuse, his extremely unsociable and reclusive desk mate, who never liked to join in on anything, said, "Sure."
The classroom only had twelve people in total - eight boys and four girls.
Wan Da sat in the middle, while the rest of the group formed a circle. The girls huddled together, and those without a seat brought their own chairs and dragged them over to find a spot.
Xie Yu sat on the outermost edge, in the corner, with He Chao next to him.
Xie Yu glanced down and saw that He Chao was still holding onto his hand tightly. "Are you not planning on letting go?" he asked.
As he spoke, the terrifying story of the haunted hair salon began. Wan Da deliberately imitated a voice that sounded like the end was near and filled with the weight of time.
"Xiao Jie was a very beautiful girl. She had a head of shiny, black, and beautiful long hair. Anyone who had seen her would be deeply impressed by her hair..."
Xie Yu furrowed his brow, and He Chao's five fingers gripped his wrist so tightly that it hurt.
Wan Da's storytelling skills were actually quite ordinary, but his attitude was serious, and he didn't break character. Coupled with the great atmosphere, halfway through the story, the four girls all screamed in unison.
The girls' screams were scarier than the story itself.
Listening intently to the story, suddenly there was a sound that made people's hearts tremble.
Xie Yu felt that He Chao should go join the girls and scream with them, but He Chao demonstrated with his actions that "even bosses have their pride" and remained silent, pretending to be calm.
"...The barber turned around, revealing an extremely eerie smile on his face. The corners of his mouth slowly, slowly curled upwards. He held a pair of scissors and stood at the door of the storage room, his long bangs covering one eye. His lifeless appearance didn't look like a normal person, or even a living person."
Wan Da's voice became lower and lower, but at important moments, his tone suddenly rose: "He opened the door! The storage room was filled with rows and rows of shelves, and at a glance, they were all...human heads!"
He Chao's hand moved down a few inches and directly grabbed Xie Yu's hand.
Xie Yu tried to shake off the hand, but it wouldn't budge.
"Their black hair hung around their faces, still attached to their scalps. Their expressions conveyed the agony they felt at the moment of their deaths - twisted, fearful, and grotesque."
"Let go," Xie Yu said. "Are you going to let go?"
He Chao replied, "No."
"...Are you really scared of this?" Xie Yu asked.
"Who said I'm scared?" He Chao retorted.
"Then let go."
As Wan Da vividly described the horror of the severed heads, a face appeared on the classroom window.
Half of the face was covered by the curtain, revealing only the other half in a vague outline.
Although the features were unclear, it was clear that it was a man.
After a moment, the man spoke, "What are you guys doing?"
Wan Da was in the middle of telling the story, when he suddenly turned around and saw a face at the window, startling himself: "My god!"
The group of girls all screamed in unison, "Ah!"
"What's with all the screaming?" Head Teacher Jiang pushed open the door and walked in, feeling for the light switch to turn on the lights. "What are you all doing during evening self-study? Have you finished all your homework? Are you just here to gossip?"
The noise from the group was giving him a headache, so he took a book and slammed it on the podium. "I could hear the commotion from down the hallway. If you think you don't have enough homework, I'll give you more. I'll even give feedback to your teacher."
"No, no, no need for that, Head Teacher Jiang," Wan Da quickly interjected. "We have enough homework, really. Any more and our bodies won't be able to handle it."
Before leaving work, Head Teacher Jiang would habitually make a few rounds in each classroom. Perhaps because he was in a good mood about getting off work soon, he didn't press the matter further and simply reminded them, "Be quiet, follow the rules, and if I catch anyone..."
"Yes, yes, yes," they all replied.
After Head Teacher Jiang left, they breathed a sigh of relief and were about to drag their chairs back to their seats when a girl suddenly cried out.
"Be orderly, and quiet," Wan Da said, "Xu Qingqing, was the story I told really that scary?"
Xu Qingqing insisted that she wasn't as timid as Wan Da thought she was, and then she kept making eye contact, finally successfully directing everyone's attention to the two big shots holding hands tightly.
Wan Da and the rest of the students: "...!"
Xie Yu had his hand held for so long that he didn't realize there was a problem.
He Chao was still savoring the plot of the story. "Did she manage to escape in the end?"
"It's either death or madness," Xie Yu calmly replied. "Otherwise, how could it be called a horror story."
He Chao and Xie Yu, both bearing the title of "problematic youth," were quite eye-catching in appearance as well.
When they first entered school, the school's online forum held a vote for the most handsome guys, and these two were among the top contenders. Although their classmates were hesitant to approach them, perhaps due to the principle of "smelly when close and fragrant when far", there were always outsiders posting on the forum, asking for their contact information and exclaiming, "That xx from your school is so handsome, please give me his contact info! (*/w＼*)"
Despite the many rumors, the romantic history between these two remained a mystery.
Ever since Wan Da was assigned to Class 3, his former classmates, both those he kept in touch with and those he didn't, swarmed over to ask him questions. He thought about it and decided that he could finally give them an answer when he went back: "Don't bother, our class might have to pair up internally."
At half past eight, evening self-study ended.
Wan Da packed up his things and walked out with them. After spending these days together, he already felt like they were a big family, especially after the incident with their teacher being changed. They were comrades in arms, more or less.
"Let me tell you a piece of insider information," Wan Da walked ahead of them. "Next week is the monthly exam. I overheard in Teacher Tang's office that the teachers will be making the questions themselves, and the difficulty level will be on par with No. 4 High School. Anyway, it will be harder than the questions we usually do."
Xie Yu asked, "You're telling me this insider information?"
He Chao also found it unbelievable. He and Xie Yu had been taking care of the bottom two places in the school for years, so exams were nothing to them. "What's the value of this news?"
"Wan Da: "I'm reminding you to prepare for cheating early. This time, cheating is being strictly monitored. I heard there will be three teachers in each exam room."
Only the streetlights were still on in the school, accompanied by the faint chirping of cicadas. The scorching summer was about to pass, and the wind brought a hint of coolness.
He Chao: "Ah."
Xie Yu: "Thank you so much."
Xie Yu went back to wash up and opened the "Simulated Test Paper - Monthly Exam Edition." It included all the monthly exam papers from all the high schools in City A over the years. He glanced at last year's monthly exam paper from No. 4 High School.
He only looked at the simple questions and stopped to do the interesting and difficult ones.
Without realizing it, it was already time to turn off the lights. Xie Yu estimated that this desk lamp could probably last for another hour. He was working on some problems when suddenly his phone screen lit up.
A QQ message.
He Chao: Are you sleeping?
Xie Yu: ?
He Chao: It's a lonely night, let's chat.
Xie Yu: I'm busy, not chatting, go away.
He Chao was obviously used to this emotionless way of talking from his desk mate and didn't feel that this chat experience was poor at all. He replied: What are you busy with?
Facing a thick stack of math papers and a half-solved function problem, Xie Yu calmly typed three words: Playing games.
He Chao: What game?
These four words revealed a strong "come play with me" vibe. Xie Yu remained calm and was determined to kill this chat with He Chao: Single player game.
He Chao: ...
Xie Yu put down his phone and suddenly thought of the words and actions of this person during evening self-study. He sent another message: "Are you too scared to sleep?"
This time, He Chao didn't continue to say nonsense.
He Chao: [smiling].
He Chao: What a joke, who am I afraid of?
He Chao: [waving].
Xie Yu didn't take the story about the haunted dormitory building that Mr Know-it-all had told him seriously. He just thought it was a story, like the haunted hair salon, just listening for the sake of novelty.
When he was in his first year of high school, he also lived in the dormitory and nothing happened all year.
The knocking on the door was really just their imagination running wild.
By the time he lay down, it was close to midnight. Xie Yu lay in bed scrolling through his friends' posts and saw that Zhou Dalei had uploaded a photo of Aunt Mei pinning a young man with shifty eyes to the ground, with the caption: "Caught a thief barehanded, impressive."
Aunt Mei criticized Dalei's photography skills in the comments.
Mother Lei fiercely defended her son: "It's because of the person, not the skills! My son takes great photos!"
Xie Yu looked at it for a long time, but ultimately didn't comment, just gave it a like. As soon as he put down his phone, he heard a faint sound coming from the previously quiet hallway.
It sounded like slow, slow footsteps.
The sound grew closer.
Then it stopped in front of a dormitory door.
Xie Yu clearly heard two knocks.