Thud! Fang Rui groaned as he felt his head was knocking against something. His eyelid felt heavy, and he could not open it. He vaguely felt someone was pulling his leg.
The man had dragged Fang Rui for a while before he stopped. Soon, there were the sounds of large furniture being moved, small items falling on the floor and scratching noise from the wooden floor. It sounded as if someone was drawing something.
Fang Rui wished to open his eyes, but he felt a strange heaviness on his body. It felt like something was shackling him down. He was conscious of himself and his body, but he was unable to control any part of his limb.
Sleep paralyzed? No, that is wrong… Any person would feel alarmed and struggle when they were conscious but unable to move. The same went for Fang Rui. His mind quickly churned for a solution.
He moved his right finger and it twitches, once, twice. Fang Rui then tried to move his whole hand. He felt like he was breaking through some sort of unknown chain around his body.
It was a strange, horrifying experience. He was alive, he was breathing, but he could not move.
Fang Rui had more control of his body. He could move his arm and he opened his eyes, hoping to be fully awakened from this dream paralyze. But the first thing that greeted him was a man with unnatural black paint around his face, and a white eyes staring down at him.
Fang Ruis body jolted awake almost immediately. His leg threw a kick to the man. The man was screaming in surprise but he had evaded the kick.
”The Prophecy is true! The Prophecy is true! ” The unknown man screamed as he ran around Fang Rui, doing a cryptid dance as though he was worshiping a miracle.
Fang Rui was frightened by the display this man had shown. He scrambled away to the corner of the room. At the same time, he surveyed his surroundings.
There was only heavy furniture, a chair, a lamp oil, chalks, unfinished drawing and a single black notebook. There was not much that he could use as a weapon.
”Who are you! ”, Fang Rui half-shouted and half-questioned. He remembered he came back from work late, and fell to his bed without changing his clothes. This did not look like his apartment. It looked more like a warehouse.
The unknown man was still dancing in a frenzy. Then all the sudden he stopped, looking straightforwardly at Fang Rui. The man mouthed a disturbing smile. He stretched his own cheek, further smearing the paint on his face, then pointed at Fang Rui, asking.
”Who am I? Who are you? ”
Fang Rui wanted to retort. That is supposed to be my question! Yet, something was weighing on his heart, as though receiving a premonition. He could not answer with his own name.
”I— ”, Fang Rui quickly shook his own feelings. He was a man that believed in logic more than superstition. There was no reason why he should be hung up on this foreign feeling. But the man laughing cut him off.
The man was laughing like a madman. Before Fang Rui could reply, he had pounced on Fang Rui without warning.
Fang Rui fell on his back and knocked his head. He groaned over the pain. The madman was speaking incoherent words that he did not understand, as though chanting something. Then, the madman bit the skin of his thumb off.
Blood flowed from the teared skin. The wounded thumb was placed on Fang Ruis forehead, and stretching down to Fang Ruis nose. Fang Rui felt goosebumps crawling on his body. Which man in their right mind would tear off their skin and speak in such cryptid words?
Fang Rui kicked the madmans abdomen without hesitation. The madman was pushed back, and Fang Rui used this chance to scramble away. But before he could, the madman clutched his own stomach and pulled Fang Ruis leg with another. Fang Rui slipped and fell on the floor.
The madman kept laughing without an end. He pressed his weight on Fang Ruis leg and Fang Rui was greatly alarmed with the sudden change. Fang Rui reached out for the chalk near them, and crushed it with his fist. The madman came close to Fang Ruis face again and Fang Rui threw the chalk right at the madmans eyes.
The madman was not expecting the attack. He screamed in pain and scrambled back. The madman scratched his eyes until it was redden, while Fang Rui drew a distance between them while looking for the door.
I have to get out of here! Fang Rui did not understand the situation he was in, but finding a safer place was top priority.
However, Fang Rui did not anticipate the madman would howl in pain. He rammed all over the place, knocking the small furniture and item to the floor, including the lamp oil.
The lamp oil fell on the floor. It rolled near the furniture and fire caught on the wood. It only took a blink for the fire to spread.
Fang Rui was alarmed. He took off his vest and stepped the fire away, but there were many burnable things within the warehouse. It was not enough for a single man to extinguish it.
Much against his expectation too, the madman pounced at him again. Fang Rui did not want the man to come any closer! The dried blood on his forehead had proven something was wrong with this man, added to the fact how the man was not even concerned with the fire.
”Are you insane! ” The madman continued to grasp over Fang Ruis face and Fang Rui threw a punch at the madmans cheek.
The madmans rolled into the fire. He was holding his cheek and Fang Rui could visibly see his skin turning color. But it was as if the man could not feel the pain of being burnt alive at all. He continued to shout, ”You can escape! You can escape from Them! ”
”What are you talking about! ” Fang Rui shouted as he tried to escape from the fire while trying to put it out.
Even though the man before him did not sound sane, he was not heartless enough to leave the man dying!
But the mad man could care less about Fang Rui trying to save him. He grabbed a fallen wooden fire and swung it forward Fang Rui.
Fang Rui could not dodge on time and had his back hit. He was pushed toward the bookcase. Siren was ringing loudly inside his mind. With all the bizarre things happening, was it worth it to put out the fire and save this man, when this man looked like he was out to do something to him?
Fang Rui evaded the madmans attack and took refuge behind the bookcase. He pushed the bookcase toward the coming madman and the bookcase fell. The madman did not evade away, as though he was not afraid of anything hurting him. Unfortunately, the weight of his body could not hold against such a large piece of furniture.
The madman tried to crawl out from the bookcase. His body was wrapped with fire but he continued to laugh. Chill ran down into Fang Ruis heart.
”You can escape! You can escape from Them! ”
The pillars of the warehouses were caught in the fire and a single wood fell between them. Something snapped inside Fang Ruis mind as his body moved to help the madman out. It was still a human life! But before he could do so, more wood fell in front of him.
This can do! We will both die if this keeps going!
Fang Rui ran outside to find any water source, but there was none. There were no buildings around the warehouse Fang Rui had just been. It looked like they were at the outskirts of the city. There were wells, but it was dried up.
But Fang Rui did not stop running away. He had to call the emergency line, the police, or anything!
Soon, he was running out of breath. He could see the concrete roads ahead, a city he has never seen before.
”Help! Help! ” He shouted, but there was no one walking at this late hour. The street was illuminated by Victorian lamp posts, something he would normally see in a movie.
Where is this? It was only then did Fang Rui catch his breath. This is not the city he was from!
Headache assaulted his mind. The memories of him walking around this street flooded into him all the sudden.
This is Rosebush street… Fang Rui did not understand where these memories came from. He was certain he had never been in this place before!
Cold air blew against him. He shivered from the lack of clothing he had been wearing from the escapee. Now is not the time to worry about that!
Fang Rui searched through his memories of the nearest telephone booth. It looked desolated in the middle of the night, but the booth looked like it was being taken care of.
These memories… Nevermind, I will think about this after reporting.
Fang Rui went in and closed the door. He rummaged through his own pocket and was suddenly frozen when he found something. He pulled it out, and he saw the same notebook that was in the warehouse before.
He instinctively threw the notebook away. He did not remember picking this up at all, nor did he remember having a notebook in his pocket. Otherwise, he would feel it the moment he was awake!
The notebook hit the glass and fell on the ground. The paper flew open. There was nothing written on the paper and Fang Rui tried to calm down his beating heart.
Perhaps, it had always been there but because of all the things happening, I did not realize it at all. Even though the notebook looked awfully similar, it might be a mass-produced notebook.
Fang Rui took a deep breath, feeling that the conclusion in his mind was the most logical. He might have been too on guard because of what happened before—it was such a bizarre situation!
However, Fang Ruis heart dropped to what he saw next. What was originally an empty page of the notebook, was suddenly smeared in ink. It was as though someone was writing on it right at that very moment.
Are you not going to call the emergency line? is what is written on the page.
This time, Fang Rui could not contain his scream at all. It was drowned inside the telephone booth.
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