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The Midnight Owl

2020-04-12 09:15:46
Chapter 6 Sort Out

At night, four people ran out of the park in one breath. Outside the park was Andry North Street. Whether the buildings on both sides or the communities were all quiet like sleeping soundly. Only the light of the street lamp was  reflecting the leaves on the ground.

"What now?" Kuang Jinxin wiped his sweat, gasping for breath. Because he wore a thick cold-proof coat and kept running for a long time at night, his face was red.

Wu Sheng looked at the time on his mobile phone and flickered his eyes up, he said: "There are still three hours left for the morning. Let’s find a place and sit down. We need to sort it out from the beginning to the end."

"There is no need to sort it out." Xu Wang has completely dragged himself back to the reality from the magical feeling of inauthenticity. Now he put his feet on the earth and stood under the high heaven. He only wished that he could clear all the ghosts and monsters with one blow. He said "Let’s call the police!"

"It is no use." It was Sun Jiang who was speaking. He felt his pocket while talking. At last, he didn't find anything. He had to looked around his teammates. "Do you have cigarettes?"

Two of them shook their heads and one answered "No".

Sun Jiang's face was sad, adding to a fret.

Xu Wang still cared about what he said before and said: "Brother Sun, what do you mean by saying that it is no use calling the police ?"

Sun Jiang couldn't help yawning, then pointed to himself and Kuang Jinxin, said: "We both called the police yesterday, but as soon as someone answered the phone, we began to have a headache. I thought my head was going to explode. I haven’t had such a terrible headache  during my whole life. Don't talk any more. I can't even hold the fucking cell phone! "

“Are you both like this? " Xu Wang felt that he was listening to the ghost story. He looked at Kuang Jinxin suspiciously and got his poor nod.

"And you?" Xu Wang asked Wu Sheng again, "Did you also have a headache?"

Wu Sheng shook his head decisively.

Xu Wang thought that he had found the breach. As soon as he wanted to continue to ask, he heard Wu Sheng naturally say, "I didn't call the police."

Xu Wang said: "why?"

Wu Sheng said: "They both rolled over on the ground in a spasm of pain. They have proved that calling the police was a dead end. Why should I repeat it?"

Xu Wang was speechless: "..."

Sun Jiang was speechless: "..."

Kuang Jinxin was speechless: "..."

If everyone had aleatory thought that "maybe it's just a nightmare, everything was gonna be  all right when we woke up" yesterday, today's second trip to snow field let them clearly understand that this was not over. If it's a long hard fight, it would be a fool for sitting around and awaiting for their doom.

But where should they “have the discussion” was a question.

"McDonald's? KTV? Bar? " Xu Wang tried to provide a suitable place for "discussion on the early morning".

Wu Sheng vetoed him once and for all and said: "Absolutely no, we need a place that is quiet  and private enough. Quietness can help us sort out thought and privacy can reduce the risk of leakage."

Xu Wang looked at him with round eyes and seemed to hear the fairy tale: "Big brother, now we are victims. Then do we have to provide confidential obligations to the murderer?!"

"It is hard to explain clearly in two words," Wu Sheng looked around, as if searching for something, and asked them casually, "Who do you live with?"

Xu Wang answered without thinking, "I live by myself."

Wu Sheng drew his eyes back and nodded in relief and said, "Let’s go to your house."

Xu Wang was speechless: "..."

He thought that this was a rip-off; this was definitely a rip-off; he had to get rid of it!

Kuang Jinxin said: "I live nearby, but I live with others..."

Sun Jiang said: "I also live nearby. But my wife and children are asleep."

Wu Sheng said: "I live in the company and it’s not far from here. But if we had the discussion till morning, we will be seen by the employees. I can't give a reasonable explanation, which will lead to unnecessary gossip and conjectures and is not conducive to maintaining my image of high snob."

Do you have any misunderstanding about your image!!!

Xu Wang said: "Come on, follow me. It's dark and the road is slippery. Watch your steps..."

Half an hour later, the team arrived at Xu Wang's house. Xu Wang rented a one-bedroom apartment in an old community. Although the community was old and it’s in a terrific location and renovated, the rental was not cheap at all. However, as for Xu Wang, who was single without the burden of family, he could afford it without too much pressure.

"Wow, brother Xu" Kuang Jinxin said and he was the first one to come in. He didn't break into the bedroom impolitely. He just stood in the living room and looked around. He was so surprised and said: "Your house is so clean."

Xu Wang was very happy at the praise. As soon as he was about to answer, Wu Sheng came in  and sighed after hearing this, saying : "Oh, my God, I have come back to room 222."

"222?" Kuang Jinxin rarely had his light bulb moment. "Is it the high school dormitory where you and brother Xu lived?"

"No," Wu Sheng seriously corrected it and said: "It's your brother Xu's own. The other three of us just borrowed his room, because we always threw clothes around, put things everywhere, forgot to take the garbage downstairs and our turns to be on duty, and we didn’t have the faith in" taking the dormitory as our home. "

Xu Wang "snapped" the slippers he just found and threw them to Wu Sheng's feet, glaring at him by the way: "Don't hold a grudge like this! Did you take notes of all my words ?"

Wu Sheng didn’t say anything, but he just felt so happy. When he put on his slippers, his face beamed with joy.

Xu Wang made no reply. He turned around and poured water in four glasses. When he came back with the water, the other three have already been seated in the sofa. He put the water on the tea table and took a chair from the bedroom.

The boiled water was in the cups and the steam was curling upward, warm and relaxing.

After two days of suffering, the four of them finally could sit down and talk.

Wu Sheng was the first one to speak. In spite of bickering, when it came to business, he was totally absorbed in it and said: "There are four things known to us now. Firstly, the selected people will enter there at 12 o'clock at night, whether to accept it voluntarily or not; secondly, the real injury we suffered there will be brought back to reality; thirdly, once we tried to call the police, we would have an appalling headache; fourthly, the places there are in one-to-one mapping with the places in reality with the same distance and coordinate system. For example, we enter there at home, and then move forward two kilometers there. When we come back to reality, we will be two kilometers away from home..."

Xu Wang immediately realized that this would  explain why he was at the crossroads downstairs when he was bounced out yesterday, and today he was in the Youth Lake Park farther away, because today they ran a long way in the sleigh.

"I see on use knowing this? I just want to know what the hell is that place? Who is playing us! " Sun Jiang interrupted Wu Sheng and raised questions he desperately wanted to be answered.

This was not just what Xu Wang, Kuang Jinxin and even Wu Sheng wanted to find out.

But "want" and "can" were two different things.

"I don't know. With the experience and clues we have accumulated at this stage, there is no way to answer these questions. But if you let it go and go with the flow, you can never figure out the answer." Wu Sheng's tone remained unchanged, and his face was calm and natural. It seemed like he was asking if you wanted to  have porridge today?

Sun Jiang leaned dejectedly into the sofa and looked up at the ceiling. He was so exhausted with his bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep for two days. 

Xu Wang knew that he couldn’t find out the answer, but if he didn’t blow it out, he would be suffocating.

In fact, everyone was the same, including Wu Sheng, who seemed to be fine now. He was not really depressed. If he was not depressed, there was no need to shoot for the efforts of death like finishing the last question with greatest difficulty in the practice exam at that time.  

Xu Wang could see that he was matching himself in thought. 

To be frank, whoever was caught in this kind of ridiculous and unexpected disaster would be furious."The four things that we know for sure but there are still four things to be determined," Wu Sheng continued to make a painstaking investigation and his clear thinking was not disturbed due to the interference of Sun Jiang. "First, whether there is the control of people's minds or not like stopping us to call the police; second, whether there is a certain protection mechanism, when the people involved in it encounter great danger. For instance, when Xu Wang was attacked by a bear, he was bounced back to the reality directly, minimizing the harm; third, when entering today, Sun Jiang and Kuang Jinxin's pencil cases were empty, and the unused "fish tornado" and "Jingle Bells" disappeared. Was it the punishment for their attempts to call the police, or are there any compelling reasons? fourth, Is there anyone else who's been involved there like us? "

"That "Hand in the paper," Kuang Jinxin said hesitantly, "Did you guys hear someone say congratulations on passing the test and handing in the paper successfully before you were bounced back?"

Xu Wang nodded instantly: "I not only hear it today, but yesterday I saw a message in the  transcript that other teams handed in their papers." When the new information popped up yesterday, Xu Wang was still confused. Today, after thinking about it, he’s already started putting the pieces together.

"Yes, Yes, I saw it, too!" Kuang Jinxin's face brightened up, but out of his instinct his smile vanished. He was an typical honest child and not used to be obtrusive, but he had very clear thought. "I remember that the team in the transcript handed in papers of 3 / 23, and their names seem to be Yue Shuai and A’nan..."

Xu Wang looked at Wu Sheng and said, "On the fourth question. It can be classified into the group known for sure. I think it can be put into the kind known for sure now. The answer is Yes."

Wu Sheng took the glass and blew it twice, took a sip and shook his head slightly,saying: "It's not enough. They may be human beings, may be not; they may be under constraint as we are, or may be voluntary; they may share the place with us and may meet each other at any time; they may also be in the parallel independent space and will never meet us." He put down the cup and sighed quietly, saying: "If you can't confirm these, it can’t be classified."

Xu Wang looked at him for a long time and admitted himself beaten, saying:"All these years, your preciseness is that I have admired for."

Wu Sheng frowned with unbelievably sincerity and said: "Only preciseness?"

Xu Wang resisted the impulse of beating him with a fist and asked the last question: "The team that handed in the paper yesterday was 3 / 23, and today we complete the mission to hand in the paper is 1 / 23. What do you think of it?"

"I feel the same way." Wu Sheng shrugged his shoulders, as if he had already accepted the reality, "It means there are 22 missions waiting for us." Sun Jiang sat up straightly and refrained from roaring, but his dismay and despair of his face clearly conveyed his moods.

The discussion lasted until 5:30 in the morning. Xu Wang also learned that after he was bounced back in advance on the first night, the remaining three people used Wu Sheng's "fish tornado" and "Jingle Bells" to fight with the bear until they got to the coordinate point. Later, because the ice waterfall did not be triggered, they had to flee down the mountain. Before they reached the foot of the mountain, they were bounced back to reality. The time was exactly 5:00 in the morning.

In this way, Xu Wang was one hour earlier than others getting back to reality and Xu Wang had already disappeared, so Wu Sheng kept looking for him all over Beijing with the sadness and bitterness in his heart the next day.

That night, Wu Sheng, who had been running for a day with Kuang Jinxin, simply left the car at the last stop, the West Fifth Ring Road of the way looking for Xu Wang. Sun Jiang left home and hid in a KTV he had never been to before. As a result, when it was at twelve o’clock, there was still a weird entrance, one in the back of the car and one on the wall of the KTV compartment. It seemed that it has no restrictions of any kind like a shadow. Two minutes later, the three of them who fought hard were dragged in it, just as Xu Wang did that night.

What happened to teammates made Xu Wang send a chill, completely dispelling the idea of "running away".

At the end of the discussion, Kuang Jinxin said, "It's weird to call the place there. Let's give it a name."

Sun Jiang felt helpless and said: "You think this is kinder party? You really want to give the damn place a name?” 

Wu Sheng and Xu Wang were cool with it. To be exact, the name was already came to their mind ——

Xu Wang said: "There is such a big word  written under the owl’s head. It must be its name, so from now on we will call it ..."

Wu Sheng said: "Owl."

Xu Wang said: " Can you can you just not rob  my answer?"

Wu Sheng said: "Let’s do it over again. There is such a big word written under the owl’s head. It must be its name, so from now on we will call it ... "

Xu Wang said: "Owl."

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