Jing Yi was happy at how things had turned out. With that creepy darkness behind him, he rushed forward to see if Qiu Ling might actually be there and then figure out what this hut was about and if they could use it to solve whatever was keeping him here.
When he got closer and his eyes adjusted to the now seemingly bright light, he stopped abruptly though. He closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them again, taking a closer look. This hut … just how badly had he misjudged what he saw at first? This hut was nothing like he had thought it was.
Jing Yi’s brows drew further together, the longer he looked at the hut. It couldn’t be said that it was dilapidated. Actually, it was in pretty good condition. It was just that it looked somehow eerie. He couldn’t say why though. It was just a normal, wooden hut with a door, two windows, and a roof that was jutting out on one side. There was a bench below the roof as if it wanted to invite you to sit there on a rainy day and look out at everything getting wet while you didn’t have to worry about a thing.
This should have been a harmonious picture just as he had originally thought. So why did he feel so creeped out?
Jing Yi had a bad feeling about this. Everything inside him warned him not to get closer. But what was he supposed to do? He had to figure out what this was about if he wanted to help Qiu Ling. How could he do that if he ran away at the first sign of trouble? No, since he had promised he would help and had even entered this place, he would stick around and try everything he could.
He took a deep breath, straightened up, and then slowly inched closer. He listened for any sounds but there were none. Right, there were no sounds at all. Jing Yi stopped again and looked around. There was nothing besides this hut: No people, no animals, not even any plants. It was as if everything had been sacrificed so that this hut could grow right out of the ground.
He shuddered at that thought. Why was this thing in Qiu Ling’s inner self? Did he have some kind of connection to this hut? Had something happened here?
Jing Yi rubbed his arms to disperse the chill that was creeping up his body. Slowly, he stepped closer to the hut, half expecting the door to open or something to jump out at him but nothing happened. When he arrived in front of the door there was still no change around him.
He reached out to open the door but jerked his hand back as soon as he touched the handle. It was wet. He turned his hand and gulped. His skin was red and sticky. Was that … blood on his fingers? He looked up at the handle and indeed, it was coated in the same dark red liquid that clung to it tightly, showing faint traces of where his fingers had previously touched.
Jing Yi gulped again. He didn’t want to touch it again but he had no other choice if he wanted to find out what was going on. He needed to find Qiu Ling. Maybe he was even in this hut. Or maybe whatever was in there, whatever had caused these bloody traces, had to do with the reason Qiu Ling was trapped here. He had to make sure.
Jing Yi reached out and pulled his sleeve over his hand so he wouldn’t touch it directly at least. He rubbed the handle until he was sure that the blood was gone and then carefully opened the door.
His heart beat madly but still, nothing strange happened. He still couldn’t hear anything from inside as if the hut was really empty.
Pushing the door further open, Jing Yi peered inside, his eyes darting from side to side to see if there really wasn’t anyone there. In fact, there really wasn’t. And he couldn’t see anything else either that could be counted as strange. No, everything looked normal: There were two beds with a thin blanket draped over them each, a table with chairs on three sides, and some cupboards with some dishes and jars peeking out from between the doors. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was what he would expect to see in any household.
Stepping further inside, Jing Yi looked more closely and discovered some more bloody traces. There weren’t many though and all of them were small as if the person who had touched the door handle and left that bloody print there had also touched these things, rubbing some of that blood off on them.
Jing Yi went over and examined one of them to make sure of that conjecture. It looked like the mark of a hand, a small hand. He frowned and went over to a chest that was standing next to the bed. There were clothes inside. Sifting through them, most seemed like the things Qiu Ling liked to wear: Made of fine fabric in dark colors and sometimes with embroidery on it. It seemed those weren’t the clothes of just one person though. There were robes for men and for women alike and he even found some clothes for children.
Jing Yi paused with one of those little robes in his hands. Two beds, clothes for a child, and small, bloody handprints. Was this … something from Qiu Ling’s childhood? Had he been the one to leave these traces?
That thought made him shudder with fright. He really wished Qiu Ling would have been here so he could ask him. But then again … he really wouldn’t want to bring up any bad memories.