YBCB: V4C4

Translated by: TaffyGirl13

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Chapter Four

The entire staircase was quiet.

Yu Yin noticed the yellowed paint on the surrounding walls was peeling off. He quickly caught up with the other two that had headed in before him. They actually had not been walking very quickly and were only on the second level.

“It doesn’t seem like anyone lives here.” Yu Yin looked around and, in attempt to break the somewhat stifling air, spoke up first. “The building doesn’t look as if it’s on the brink of collapse after suffering through an earthquake…”

“An incident occurred here three years ago. A family of five residing here suddenly disappeared: three children and both parents. The parents were later found in the ocean, already dead. Since the corpses had been floating there for several days, their identities were only verified after the autopsies were conducted. One child was discovered unconscious in the mountains. By then, he had some mental issues and it took a long time and good amount of effort to stabilise him when they found him. Up until now, the other two still haven’t been found, and the only one that is left hasn’t given any responses when questioned. So the case has not progressed this whole time.” Yu Xia could still remember this case. He shot Yu Yin a look and coldly stated, “The building’s residents began to move away in turn afterwards, and that’s how it ended up like this.”

“Are you in charge of this case, Uncle?” Yu Yin blurted out. He recalled that something like this really had occurred three years ago, although he couldn’t remember if his family members had been responsible for dealing with it or not. If they had, he definitely would have heard about it a lot at the table during breakfast and dinner.

As expected, Yu Xia shook his head. “It’s not mine. At that time, Ah Kai was still here, so it passed through his hands. After he left, it got transferred to another group, but they never found any clues to advance further. All the group members do now is regularly ask the lone survivor questions.” His last memory ended at the realisation that nothing was coming out of the questioning, so the case was probably still unresolved.

“Ah Kai-gē, huh…” Upon hearing this acquaintance’s name, Yu Yin only coughed sadly once and did not continue the topic.

Yu didn’t really understand why the air between the other two people next to him had suddenly become a bit heavy. He carefully pushed Yu Yin. “Oh, Ah Kai-gē’s full name is Wang Shi Kai.” Yu Yin lowered his voice, although since the staircase was so quiet, his words were still clearly audible. He secretly shot a glance at the person walking in front of him before continuing, “He was Uncle’s senior. About a year ago, he got wrapped up into chasing after some kind of drug case that later involved a shooting. By the time he was delivered to the hospital, he was already gone. Several people were captured at the time, but the person that had opened fire got away. The ones seized were just hired thugs, and nothing came out of questioning them.”

Actually, this kind of matter was impossible to avoid. There was always light where there was dark, bad guys where there were good guys. Ever since Yu Yin first understood this principle, he had seen many people die or get injured as in line with their duty. Although it was impossible to ever get used to it, he knew that such things happening were inevitable.

“It should be this room.” Yu Xia interrupted the whispers between the other two and stopped in front of door for the fourth floor residence.

The old door made of iron was tightly locked. There were several advertisements stuck on it, as well as a thick layer of dust. A single glance was enough to know that nobody had gone in or out of this place for a long time.

“It’s locked…” Yu Yin said after knocking on the iron door.

“I’ll ask the landlord for the key.” After judging the iron door as impossible to immediately break open, Yu Xia tore down one of the dust-covered “For Rent” flyers and walked to the side to dial the number written there.

“How many dynasties would we have to wait for that…”

Yu Yin turned to peer into the peephole on the iron door. The inside was black.

The peephole is black?

He was pretty sure that he was supposed to be able to faintly see the inside, so it should have been transparent…

In a two-second delayed response, Yu Yin realised that someone on the other side was looking at them through the peephole. The black color wasn’t some ornament inside, but rather another person’s eye peeking out at them from behind. He knew this because he had seen that black speck move slightly before sliding back to its original place.

“Uncle, there’s someone inside.” Without even thinking, Yu Yin hurriedly let out a shout.

Yu Xia hung up the line nobody had picked up and quickly leaned into the door, also seeing the abnormality through the peephole. “Who’s in there!” He lifted his fist to knock hard on the iron door a few times. The force caused it to shake at rumble intensely. The originally quiet floor was now echoing with noise, the change startingly abrupt.

“Shouldn’t you be saying ‘pardon the disturbance’ right now…?” Yu Yin blurted out at the person currently knocking on the door.

“This place hasn’t had someone living in it for a very long time. If there’s anyone inside, they definitely are not the actual resident. Not asking them to scram is already being lenient.” Yu Xia continued to knock. Suddenly, Yu patted both their shoulders from behind.

By unplanned chance, the two turned around to look at him at the same time.

Yu wordlessly retracted his hands and pointed his gaze at the door handle below.

Yu Yin also glanced over in that direction. The frozen, locked iron door abruptly made a tiny noise, and the door handle began to lightly spin.

The door opened.

Yu Yin and Yu Xia exchanged glances. Did this mean that their visit to look around was being welcomed?

Yu Xia didn’t ponder it too closely and simply pushed the door open.

The iron door let out a strange noise before swinging backwards to reveal a path before them.

The entire house was extremely quiet. Its appearance had been preserved as it had been when the owner had left.

Perhaps after moving out post-incident, the resident’s relatives had come to clean the place. The furniture was still there, although covered in dust cloths and plastic wrap. There was a layer of dust covering the floor, and their footprints were visible the moment they stepped in.

After surveying the surroundings, Yu Xia soon frowned.

From the moment he had opened the door, he knew that nobody was there. The undisturbed layer of dust was proof. Moreover, the house had an aged, sealed off smell. It had probably been a long time since fresh air had last flowed through here.

Yu Xia walked a few steps forwards and looked behind the iron door. As expected, nobody was there, and the lack of marks on the floor proved that nobody had walked around the house just now. Thus, he advanced further into the home.

It was a very ordinary residence. There were three rooms and two common areas, as well as a kitchen and two bathrooms. There was a small shrine table in the living room with incense that had not been lit for a long time. Even the wooden carving of the god was covered in dust.

The walls were neatly covered with wallpaper, which showed that the resident had already planned to live their life in this small home.

Since they had already entered, Yu Xia directly charged through to inspect the general layout a bit. One of the three bedrooms was the master, while the other two were children’s bedrooms. There were still toys on the floor that had never been put away. The master bedroom also did not have any clearly suspicious objects.

There were a few photos in the room. Most of them were records of three children growing up; some had been enlarged and hung on the wall.

Yu Yin stayed in the living room and circled around there instead of following his uncle. After they had opened the door, the peephole had returned to its usual transparent state. The black traces had at some point vanished.

Yu, who was following behind him, clearly had no interest in looking around. His eyes were instead locked onto the little shrine table.

“Nothing looks particularly strange…”

Yu Yin walked over to the tightly shut window, where the cactus plant had allegedly been dropped from. He unlocked the window and opened it, the stagnant air immediately tunneling outwards to be placed by fresh air flowing inwards. The breeze also blew away some of the settled dust.

The outside of the window was a typical design, with grated bars and a ledge. The metal bars were very rusty, and there were several pots on the ledge that no longer had any plants in them, leaving only mounds of dirt behind.

Since there probably hadn’t been anyone living here for many years, there were also traces of birds having lived on the ledge, with bird droppings all over the place. There was even a rotten little bone, as well as some other random junk.

A clothes hanger was still hanging on top, having mysteriously not been blown away by any typhoon winds.

Amidst the mess on the ledge, Yu Yin smelled something rotten.

It was a stench that should not have been present in this room, the nasty smell of something rotting. It was being faintly diluted by the breeze, but he knew exactly what it was.

If Yan Si was here, he definitely would be able to say what kind of smell it was without hesitation, unlike him.

“Who are you people?”

The sudden question made Yu Yin instantly turn to look at the front door. A woman who was presumably one of the building’s residents was standing outside with a grocery basket in her hands.

“Why are you guys in here?”

Yu Xia noticed the commotion outside and quickly strode out to flash his ID.

After hearing his uncle make up some excuse along the lines of “someone reported a stranger trespassing”, Yu Yin turned to look at the silent Yu, who had at some point arrived right before the shrine table and opened the small drawer beneath to flip through its contents.

“What are you doing?” Yu Yin hurriedly grabbed his hand while the two adults were speaking outside.

Yu turned to look at him.

There was something off in that violet-eyed gaze.

The typically expressionless Yu was now showing a flustered expression.

Yu Yin glanced inside the drawer. There were a few trigrams and some opened, half-used packs of incense, as well as some prayer goblets stuffed inside. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Then, he saw it.

Behind Yu was a child sticking its head out, peeking at them from behind the shrine table.

***

“If I had to say something abnormal about this place, it would be the sounds of quarreling coming from above for a period of time! There wasn’t actually anything from the fourth or fifth floors though.”

The woman carrying a grocery basket was cooperatively responding to the policeman’s questions. Although she was somewhat suspicious of the officer that looked like a high school student, the ID didn’t seem fake, so she shared everything she knew.

“Above?”

“Yes, the resident on the seventh floor. I don’t know what was going on, but for a while, you could always hear her arguing with a woman. But it’s been quiet recently, and I haven’t seen them. They probably went out for work again.” The woman with motherly traits seemed as if she would continue chatting and revealing all kinds of things even without prompt from Yu Xia. “I heard the seventh floor resident was a little model. Her boyfriend lived on the sixth floor, and for a while, I was constantly hearing a woman go up to the seventh floor to bicker. But it’s gone now; it’s probably been nearly a week or so.”

“Nothing on the sixth floor?”

“No, it was always on the seventh floor. The man on the sixth floor seemed to travel a lot for his work and would only come back once in a while.” The woman paused and looked up. “We don’t have many people living in this building anymore. For example, me and my child are…on the ninth floor. Aside from us, there are probably only two or three residents left, so whenever something happens, everyone knows about it. You can go and ask the others. I have to go back and cook, so I’ll be taking my leave now.”

“Okay, thank you for your cooperation.” Yu Xia made way for the woman to go up the staircase.

The sound of footsteps travelling upwards gradually became faded.

Yu Xia put away his notebook and turned around just in time to hear his family’s son cry out in alarm.

“Oi, hey, what’s wrong?” Yu Yin was tugging at Yu, who had suddenly become paralysed. He hurriedly hollered, “Uncle, get over here!”

Yu Xia quickly ran over to help drag the person out of the home. “What were you guys doing?”

“It has nothing to do with me, he just suddenly became like this.” Yu Yin forced the boy who had abruptly seemed off to sit down on the stairs before he crouched down to look at him. “Do you feel unwell anywhere?” As soon as he saw the little child, it had immediately fled without doing anything to them. Why did Yu show such a big reaction?

After being forced to sit down on the steps, Yu took a few deep breaths before shaking his head with difficulty to indicate he was fine.

Yu Xia stood up to re-enter the residence as well as study the nearby shrine table. He then froze, momentarily stunned, before retreating back out the door and looking around there for a while.

“Uncle, is there something wrong with this home?” Yu Yin noticed that his uncle’s behaviour was also not very normal, so he asked this question while supporting the other boy up. Yu Xia narrowed his eyes and after confirming the entire home’s layout, turned to look straight at the boy who had suddenly displayed an unnatural reaction. “Xiao Yu…is it possibly because this home’s layout is very similar to your home’s?” He didn’t bother skirting around the question, as he was used to saying things straight out.

Although he wasn’t absolutely certain, based on what he could remember, this place’s layout…even certain ornaments, definitely shared some resemblance to the Shaodi residence. That included the shrine table too, although this one was slightly smaller in size.

“Your home?” Yu Yin looked at the person currently adjusting his breathing in shock. He couldn’t help but blurt out the question since it was rare for the adults in his family to bring up this topic.

He still remembered that it was because of an incident in the Shaodi family that Xiao Yu had been brought to their home. It was a case under his uncle’s responsibility, but for some reason, neither his dad nor uncle were ever willing to reveal anything related to the case. He had not tried to actively ask them either. Hearing it brought up now seemed a bit sudden…

Yu pursed his lips together and shook his head, unwilling to continue the topic.

Seeing as he wouldn’t be able to get any answers at the moment, Yu Xia let out a sigh and tugged at his short hair. “I don’t think this home has any abnormalities. I’ll request for the documents to formally search this place again in two days. Let’s stop here for today.” He gave one final scan of the place that didn’t show any signs of recent human presence. However, the person that had seemingly been here earlier was bugging him.

“Mm, I think it would be better to bring Yu back home to rest first—”

Before he could finish his sentence, the sound of hurried footsteps suddenly rang out from the upper part of the staircase and interrupted him. A child’s giggles shattered the silence of the space. The voice didn’t seem far from them, and it was running upwards.

“Freeze!” Yu Xia was the first to react. He grabbed the staircase railing to jump over his family’s children that were blocking the way, prepared to immediately chase after that odd sound.

“Uncle! That’s not a human!” Why does he want to catch a ghost? No matter how you interpret it, that sound clearly did not belong to a human! And it just suddenly came out of nowhere! Any normal person would calmly hesitate for a moment, right? Yu, who was still not quite able to stand up, tried to push Yu Yin upwards a few times.

Yu Yin turned to look at him. “Will you be okay by yourself?”

He knew that the little guy wanted him to chase after his uncle, but Yu’s situation wasn’t very good either.

Yu nodded and pushed at him a few more times.

After confirming that there was really nothing wrong with Yu, Yu Yin rushed upwards, skipping steps at a time to catch up to the flurry of footsteps that seemed to have already run up one or two levels. Yu Yin was worried that the spiritual block that insisted on chasing after a ghost would end up in an accident.

A clamour of noise rose from the previously quiet building.

Having quickly run up several floors, the panting Yu Yin quickly discovered Yu Xia standing in front of the seventh floor residence with no flushing on his face nor any difficulty breathing. He was looking at something with furrowed brows.

As soon as Yu Yin stopped in his tracks, he also noticed something off about the air on the seventh floor.

He could smell the same faint stench as before, and it was a lot more obvious here.

“This smell is…”

“Call the police.” Yu Xia tossed his phone over as he said these simple words.

“Oh, okay.” Yu Yin caught the phone and quickly discovered its abnormal situation. Both Yu Xia’s phone and the phone in his hand made sounds as he tried to dial a number, and the number would not go through either. It was as if something was disrupting the signal.

After pressing the doorbell many times with nobody answering the door, Yu Xia began to knock heavily on the door.

The loud noise attracted the attentions of the other residents. Originally, they ran over to angrily complain about it being too loud, but perhaps because they eventually also sensed that something was wrong, they stood on the sides to watch.

Still unable to make any calls, Yu Yin requested for a younger looking man that had run down to go report to the police, as well as block off the entrance.

After hammering at the door for a very long time with still no response, Yu Xia made a split-second decision and turned to look at the other residents. “Who here lives on the eighth floor?”

A middle-aged man quietly raised his hand.

“Do you have a ledge with no iron gratings? Great, let me use it!” Yu Xia grabbed the person, ignoring their expression of shock, and dragged him up to the eighth floor. “Uncle, what are you trying to do?!” Yu Yin had a bad premonition about this. But he had only run a few steps in pursuit before he stopped in his tracks.

He heard a noise coming from the other side of the door that nobody had answered yet. It was the sound of something metallic being dragged. However, it didn’t seem like anyone else heard it, as they were all talking with each other on the stairs.

The sound was very similar to the one he had heard from the phones.

Before he could even figure out what exactly the noise was, Yu suddenly emerged from behind the crows, having arrived much latter. He looked over at Yu Yin with a puzzled expression.

The noise abruptly stopped and was replaced by a cry of alarm from the eight floor, as well as the sound of something shattering on the seventh floor.

Without even thinking, he knew his uncle had done something.

The tightly locked door let out a faint click and it opened from the inside. The instant the door was opened, an extremely strong stench came out, causing quite a few people to wrinkle their brows and try to escape it. However, the stench wasn’t quite as strong as he had expected.

The person that appeared behind the door was Yu Xia. He had some minor, bleeding scrapes on his face that seemed to be from accidentally brushing across the cement and other construction materials of the seventh floor window ledge.

“I’m going to tell Dad that you jumped from the eighth floor.” His dad had already warned them many times to not attempt such stunts. Yu Yin admonished his uncle who had clearly flipped down to the seventh floor from the eighth floor ledge.

“Cut the crap and get out of the way! Have the police arrived?” Yu Xia asked after slamming the door wide open.

The wife from the ninth floor quickly said she had already notified the police.

Just as Yu Yin was about to walk into the seventh floor residence, he was stopped by his uncle. He quickly confirmed that the stench was indeed what he had thought it was.

He looked over Yu Xia’s shoulder, towards the balcony near the back of the living room.

The layout was identical to the fourth floor, and he easily located it.

But what differed from the fourth floor was…

…the presence of a corpse.

***

“Boss, did you know that most of the people at the station have been secretly gossiping about how you’re an Nth generation disciple of the Five Sacred Mountains?”

Yan Si, who had been called spontaneously, flashed past them to examine the corpse per procedure. He said to the person watching him from the side, “Seriously, were you trying to scare the resident to death by jumping down the eighth floor to the seventh floor, or were you trying to be a bad example for kids? Next time you do something that amazing, could you first notify me? I really want to record it as a priceless memento!” It was great that they had finally discovered that aside from being able to shatter bricks with bare hands, that damned baby face even had the special skill of jumping off buildings. Yan Si found it extremely exciting no matter how much he thought about it.

He had been hired to work in the same place as a martial arts expert!

Perhaps he would even have a chance in the future to witness the “Iron Head” and the “Covering with a Gold Bell”. 1

“Was I supposed to open fire to break down the door? That would mean writing up a report.” Yu Xia shot Yan Si a glance and said in an unfriendly tone, “Besides, I didn’t jump, I just grabbed onto the enclosure to swing down.” It wasn’t like he’d been trying to kill himself; if he had jumped, he would’ve fallen straight to the first level and would’ve had to be escorted out by an ambulance.

It was afternoon. The seventh floor had been sealed off with yellow tape.

After breaking into the seventh floor from the eighth floor ledge, Yu Xia had instantly discovered the corpse there.

Based on its external appearance, the deceased had probably been dead for nearly two or three days already. Perhaps because half of it had been exposed on the outside of the balcony, the corpse was severely rotted and blistered, and was absolutely crawling with maggots and ants.

As if it had struggled before dying, the body’s lower half was inside while its upper half was out on the balcony. However, the most eye-catching part was that an antenna that originally should have been set up outside the room on the balcony. It had somehow fallen down and pierced through the entire upper half of the corpse, almost as if crucifying the body. It wasn’t hard to imagine that the victim had been unable to even attempt to avoid it, forced to breathe their last like this.

“That pretty much does count as jumping, and I think jumping off a building requires writing a report too.” So that the higher-ups can explain why you frightened the residents. As Yan Si thought this, he quickly did an initial examination of the body. The officers all around were also split up to collect evidence and take photos of the crime scene, while some others were questioning the onlooking residents.

Yu Yin, who had stayed outside instead of entering the home, could overhear the residents’ doubtful answers.

For some bizarre reason, these people who had taken the elevators and stairs day after day had not discovered any abnormalities with the seventh floor. Even the person from the eighth floor hadn’t heard anything, nor smelled the rotting stench of the corpse.

They had just continued on living their usual lives with absolutely no idea that a fatal incident had occurred here.

Yu Yin peered into the room. The female deceased had a head of long hair that had lost its luster. Perhaps or perhaps not by coincidence, it gave Yu Yin a kind of stifling feeling.

“The deceased should have been this floor’s resident, Lai Qi Lin, age twenty-three. She worked as a model, although it seems that the company managing her wasn’t that outreaching and mostly focused on exhibition announcements.” Jiu Shen quickly walked over to Yu Xia to pass over the information he had just received. “Unmarried, lived here alone. Her boyfriend from the floor below allegedly went out on a ship and has not been back recently. Her managing company said they haven’t been able to contact her for three or four days now and had just been about to send people over to look for her.”

“No need to look anymore. Tell her company that we’ll be sending someone over soon to ask them a few questions. Ask them to try keeping the ones that knew the deceased.”

“Understood.”

When Yu Xia inspected the inside of the residence, he didn’t see much that appeared suspicious. There were a few health supplements and some capsule-type weight loss pills, which Jiu Shen had just collected samples of to send to the labs. The room itself was very clean without much junk. It seemed like the owner had been pretty frugal when alive. The clothes were also neatly arranged without any abnormalities. The only messy area was the balcony, where several things set up there had been knocked to the ground. There were also quite a few glass shards and stuff that could have either fallen while she was struggling against the antennae, or when a second person had come and flipped it over.

As Yu Yin watched the usual procedures and actions be performed in the room, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was wrong.

That’s right…if her cause of death was this…then why didn’t I see that antenna back then?

When he thought back to the thing he had seen outside the building, Yu Yin coughed once, unwilling to really recall the memory. However, if it did involve an antenna, it would explain both the sound of interference and the strange metallic sound.

Yan Si quickly finished the initial examination and made way for the others to start moving the body out. He then pulled Yu Xia to one side to discuss something.

“Let’s go home first.” Yu Yin surveyed the situation. The questioning was completed, there was no way his uncle would let them go in to get entangled further, and Yu Yin noticed that the time was getting late; his dad was probably home by now. He tugged at Yu, who was standing next to him and had no apparent interest in what was inside.

Yu met his gaze and nodded.

After giving a heads-up to Yu Xia and the other officers, the two of them began to walk down the stairs.

Because the residents were all around out of curiosity, the staircase on the way down was no longer as scary as it had been earlier. The lights had all been turned on, making the surroundings extremely bright.

When they passed through the fourth floor, they noticed that the iron door had already been closed again. Perhaps the landlord had done it, or the police. The inside was pitch-dark.

Yu Yin glanced at that iron door and instinctively sensed that someone was still looking through the tiny peephole and watching all the movements outside. Having no desire to play around with such thoughts, he quickly dragged Yu ahead to the first level.

The police cars outside still had their siren lights on. Several reporters were blocking the outside, and upon seeing the two of them come down, a few attempted to rush forward and question them. However, Yu Yin masterfully shook them off and brought Yu back to his motorbike.

His reaction then was probably a subconscious one.

He raised his head and saw a woman standing on the brightly lit balcony of the seventh floor. The night wind was blowing her long hair all over the place, making it hard to see the face meeting his eyes.

The corner of the woman’s lips slowly tilted up to form a sneer.

Yu Yin lowered his head, not daring to continue looking.

“Let’s go home.”

The streetlamps were gradually lighting up one after another, extending down the path leading to some unknown place.

The wind seemed to carry the indistinct, odd sound of interference, as well as what may have been the noise from a radio and possibly a child’s playful laughter.

The long-haired woman vanished into thin air.


1. These are ancient Shaolin techniques.


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2 thoughts on “YBCB: V4C4

  1. Eek creepy as always. I cry murder instead of freak accident; it’s always murder with this story. Could somebody explain what the “antenna” is? TV antenna? Thanks for the chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, poor Yu Yin for always getting involved with such creepy cases. And yes, it’s presumably some kind of satellite antenna, either for TV or radio. Thank you for reading!

      Like

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