It wasn’t silent at night in the mountains, there were all sorts of birds, bugs, animals, wind, and water sounds.
But none of them could make you feel as uneasy as the sound of a human.
Huo Ran and Kou Chen stared at each other for a moment, and he picked up his baton and flashlight.
He poked his head out of the tent and saw that Old Yang had did the same.
“What was that” Old Yang whispered.
“I don’t know,” Huo Ran whispered, “What about the other tents”
“They’re all silent, you thought it was Kou Xiao singing, right” Old Yang said.
“I’ll go check.” Huo Ran said.
He really didn’t want to, but he could say goodbye to sleeping if he didn’t.
“Wait for me.” Kou Chen struggled out of his sleeping bag, regretting stripping out of his clothes so early.
Huo Ran didn’t wait for him, he put his shoes out and crawled out of the tent.
He even zipped the tent back up just as he was about to poke his head out too.
Probably didn’t want the wind to get in.
“Fuck,” Kou Chen cursed quietly, frantically getting dressed, “How are you so **ing brave You’re actually going…”
“Did you watch too many horror movies” Huo Ran unzipped the tent again, “When have ghosts ever appeared in the wild It’s not like there’s any graves nearby.”
“There’s no ghosts in the wild.” Kou Chen said.
“You go check near the campsite, your sister is still hiding in the tent.” Huo Ran gave them their tasks, “I’ll go check the forest with Old Yang.”
“Okay.” Kou Chen finally got his pants on, crawling out of the tent after slipping his shoes on.
Huo Ran and Old Yang walked over to the edge of the forest, and Kou Chen looked around the campsite as he kept an eye on them.
The other people didn’t come out of their tents, and their lights were off.
Who knows if they were already asleep or if they were too busy doing whatever to hear the singing.
As he passed Kou Xiao’s tent, he picked up the hiking stick: “Jie.”
“Mhm,” Kou Xiao nodded from inside, “They went to the forest”
“Yeah,” Kou Chen moved the flap and handed the hiking stick over, “Take this…”
Kou Xiao was sitting upright in the tent, with a barbeque skewer in her hand.
“This is good, I can poke holes right through them.” Kou Xiao said.
“…Okay, you use that,” Kou Chen nodded, “I’ll go check over there, just yell if anything happens.”
“Relax, who do you think I am” Kou Xiao raised an eyebrow.
Kou Chen glanced at Huo Ran and Old Yang again.
They had already reached the forest and were peering inside with the flashlight.
Kou Chen took a peek too, but didn’t see anything that could move.
He walked over to the couples’ tents quietly, listening.
Out of the three tents, whispers came from two of them, and panting noises from the other… Kou Chen immediately walked away.
He felt like a voyeur listening to them, gross.
But he still looped around their tents, making sure there was nothing out of the ordinary.
Going back to the tent, Huo Ran and Old Yang were already back as well.
“Find anything” Kou Chen asked.
“There’s no one in the forest.” Huo Ran said.
“It’s probably a woman.” Old Yang said.
“We heard her talking, but didn’t see anything.”
“Hm” Kou Chen started, “You didn’t ask her what’s going on”
“You want to speak to a woman singing in a forest in the middle of the night” Huo Ran looked at him.
“I thought you said there were no ghosts in the wild” Kou Chen said.
“Did I say she was a ghost” Huo Ran said, “It’s obviously some sort of mental illness…”
“Oh,” Kou Chen thought about it, “Damn, a lunatic”
“Probably.” Old Yang sighed.
“Usually if there’s a lunatic in these kinds of villages, there’s no way they would take them to a hospital.
Nobody cares where they want to run off to, they’ll just die somewhere on the way.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Huo Ran taught them to scatter the unused sticks from the fire around their tents.
That way they could hear if people or animals get near.
Ktfs fzmtjcufv j ofk kbgvr lc atf mbiv klcv yfobgf tfjvlcu yjmx ab atflg afcar.
“Gb sbe atlcx atbrf ibmjir kfgf ibbxlcu obg atja iecjalm” Bbe Jtfc jrxfv.
“Geccb.” Leb Ejc ogbkcfv.
“Po atfs kfgf gfjiis ibbxlcu obg rbwfatlcu, la mjc’a yf jcsatlcu ubbv, bg firf atfs kbeiv’nf jrxfv er.”
“Mhm,” Kou Chen started to strip again, crawling into the sleeping bag.
“I’ll sleep for a bit, wake me up when you’re tired and we can take turns keeping watch.”
“Okay.” Huo Ran smiled.
Kou Chen drew the sleeping bag up tight, so only his nose and eyes were exposed.
Then, he closed his eyes.
Huo Ran stared at him.
Two seconds later, Kou Chen opened his eyes: “Damn, aren’t you grateful You’re not tired right now, that’s why I’m letting you keep watch first, so we can switch when you’re tired.
Do you not understand”
“I do understand.” Huo Ran laughed.
“Then aren’t you grateful” Kou Chen asked.
“I am grateful.” Huo Ran nodded.
“Damn,” Kou Chen looked at him, before closing his eyes again.
“This is the first time I’ve seen someone stay so calm when they’re grateful.”
Huo Ran laughed: “Actually, I just wanna ask, do you have to strip to your underwear when we’re out in the wild”
“Why not If I were at home, I’d strip off my underwear too.” Kou Chen said.
Huo Ran asked as he ate the chocolate: “Don’t strip like that, what if something happens Everyone else can just get up and run…”
“I can get up and run too.” Kou Chen said.
“We have clothes on.” Huo Ran said.
“That’s different, it’s still safer to streak in the city.”
“Hey!” Kou Chen sat up.
“Are you telling me to get up and put my clothes back on and then get back in my sleeping bag How **ing annoying is that!”
Huo Ran didn’t say anything, waving him off.
Kou Chen laid back down and closed his eyes.
It was very quiet inside the tent, and they couldn’t hear that woman’s voice outside either, no singing or talking.
Huo Ran took out his phone, no signal.
There would start to be signal a couple more kilometers out in the direction of the creek.
But that would have to wait until tomorrow afternoon.
Right now, the signal was like ghosts in the wild.
It didn’t matter if it existed or not, it did not exist.
He sent a message to his dad and Xu Zhifan when he did have signal, reporting his location and his plans.
If something really happened, they could come find him…
Don’t think about that, in all his years of camping, he’d never heard of anything happening on this trail.
Kou Chen couldn’t fall asleep.
He didn’t have a habit of sleeping at eight or nine, but he still closed his eyes and forced himself to sleep, seeing as he had to switch with Huo Ran to keep watch.
He had to rest up.
Right when he was starting to doze off, his phone rang quietly.
It was the alarm he set for himself.
It was 11 o’clock.
Time to switch with Huo Ran.
He just started to feel sleepy, and now he has to get up!
Kou Chen really regretted this arrangement.
He forced his eyes open and saw that Huo Ran was still sitting in the same spot, but he had his head down, and it looked like he was sleeping.
So unprofessional, is that how you do your job! Falling asleep when you were supposed to be keeping watch
“Is it your turn” Huo Ran suddenly spoke.
“Holy **,” Kou Chen startled, “I thought you fell asleep.”
“I was just closing my eyes.” Huo Ran opened his eyes and smiled at him.
“Okay,” Kou Chen sat up, “You can sleep, I’ll wake you at two.”
Huo Ran didn’t wait for him to get up, immediately crawling into his sleeping bag.
“…You’re not gonna take your clothes off” Kou Chen looked at him in shock.
“I sleep like this,” Huo Ran wiggled around, throwing his sweater out.
“Wake me up at one, two’s too late.”
“Okay.” Kou Chen nodded.
He didn’t put his clothes on, he just sat there blankly, wrapped in his sleeping bag.
After Huo Ran fell asleep, he felt that time passes really slowly for the first time.
But he didn’t wake Huo Ran up at one like they agreed.
Nor did he wake him up at two.
It wasn’t out of the goodness of his heart or anything.
It was because half an hour after Huo Ran fell asleep, he fell asleep too.
Before he laid down, one last sentence flashed through his mind.
If someone really came, they would hear the sticks, right
Evidently, Huo Ran didn’t wake up automatically at one o’clock, much less two.
The first thing Kou Chen heard when he was shaken awake was: “I knew this would happen.”
Kou Chen started laughing: “Ah, I forgot to set an alarm.”
“Good thing you didn’t,” Huo Ran said as he packed up his sleeping bag, “It would wake us up.”
“Nothing happened last night, right” Kou Chen sat up.
“Something did,” Huo Ran paused, “Our leftover chicken wings are gone.”
Kou Chen felt the hairs on his back stand up: “He Hua’s here”
“Fuck off,” Huo Ran choked with laughter, “Probably an animal… Or a human.
So hurry and get up, we’ll eat some instant noodles and set off.”
The couples over there were none the wiser about what happened last night.
They had packed up their stuff after breakfast, when two of the guys finally left their tents and went to pee by the forest.
Huo Ran went to remind them to keep an eye out for strangers, before coming back to check their own campsite.
He waved his hand after making sure they didn’t forget anything: “Let’s go.”
“We can leave this,” Kou Xiao took out the two leftover sausages, “We still have food, right And we can stock up on the way”
“Yup.” Huo Ran nodded.
“Then…” Kou Xiao hesitated, “If it was a human who ate our chicken wings last night…”
“Put it by the forest,” Old Yang understood what she meant, and pointed to a rock, “Over there, it’ll be easy to see.”
“Okay.” Kou Xiao went and put the sausages on the rock.
Because of last night, the journey that was supposed to be normal with some sweating and admiration of scenery, became more exciting.
Three hours after they set off, they were still talking about the locals and the singing voice as they followed a river valley.
“Honestly, if something really happens here, we can’t even call the police, right” Kou Xiao said, “There’s no signal.”
“There will be signal up ahead,” Huo Ran said.
“It’s pretty spotty, are you gonna call the police”
“What would I say Someone was singing in the middle of the night, and our three leftover chicken wings were stolen” Kou Xiao sighed.
Kou Chen poked at the ground moodily as he walked: “If we run into whatever locals again, I’ll catch one of them.
If it really was a lunatic, then the locals must be…”
They suddenly heard rocks rolling from behind them, echoing from the river valley.
Below their feet was a nearly dried up lake.
They crunched rocks beneath their feet with every step, but that sound was from behind them, and a good distance away too.
They immediately turned around.
A figure flashed behind a dirt hill.
“Fucking hell.” Kou Chen threw his bag on the ground and gave chase.
Huo Ran couldn’t stop him, so he could only throw his bag down as well.
He grabbed the baton and chased after Kou Chen: “Yang-ge, look after Jiejie!”
“Look after my ass, Old Yang, let’s go!” Kou Xiao was worried, the two of them were minors, and one was her own brother.
If something happened, she would be the one getting made into sausages.
They both threw their bags down and ran after them as well.
If that was just a distraction to lure them away and steal their bags, then all they have left would be clothes on their backs.
The hill was low, and Kou Chen reached the top in just a couple steps.
On the other side, he saw a field of withered grass, and some trees.
They were really ugly, looking like herniated lumbar discs.
A person was running through the field, dressed like an enlightened monk.
“Stop!” Kou Chen yelled, jumping off the hill and sliding down until he reached flat ground, before continuing the chase.
“Fuck.” Huo Ran didn’t want Kou Chen to keep chasing them, but he wanted to catch that person too, and get to the bottom of the situation.
Or else they’d have to live in constant anxiety for the next few days.
He wasn’t like Kou Chen, he bent down and slid down the hill.
Then he turned back and saw that Kou Xiao and Old Yang had sat down to slide.
“Kou Chen, wait for me!” Huo Ran kept running, “Don’t go by yourself!”
“Stop!” Kou Chen pretty much ignored him, he shot out like someone had ‘made him fly’.
He ran on the uneven floor like he was running a hundred meter sprint on proper tracks.
What are you playing basketball for He should introduce him to the school track team!
He could see the farm lard from very far away, but this area was a wasteland with only weeds and wilted bushes.
Because of the worry caused by the strange locals yesterday, Huo Ran glanced over, breathing out a sigh of relief when he didn’t see anyone.
“AH—” A woman’s scream sounded from in front of them.
“Kou Chen!” Huo Ran yelled.
“Come!” Kou Chen yelled back.
Huo Ran ran over with the speed of a track team captain, and saw that Kou Chen had already tackled the monk to the ground.
The monk was struggling fiercely, clawing at Kou Chen’s face and neck while kicking.
Huo Ran rushed over and held the monk’s kicking legs down.
The monk was really skinny, to the point that Huo Ran felt he would snap their legs if he used a bit more strength.
“Help! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!” The monk started screaming, “Mommy! Mommy! Killing! Killing!”
“We’re not gonna kill you!” Kou Chen yelled, “We won’t kill you! We’re good people! Good! The police! We’re the police!”
The monk paused, and Huo Ran saw that it was a woman, around forty years old.
Her face was really dirty, and she smelled.
From her frantic eyes, he could pretty much confirm that she was a lunatic.
She was probably the person that was hanging around their campsite last night.
“Mommy’s here!” Kou Xiao yelled as she ran over, “Mommy’s here!”
“Holy **!” Kou Chen turned to look at her.
“Is she looking for her mom” Kou Xiao asked.
“…Yeah.” In that moment of distraction, the monk got a slap in on his face, angering him.
He turned and yelled, “You **ing dare hit your uncle!”
The monk didn’t calm down with Kou Xiao’s fake mommy act.
She was still fighting for her life, singing between unintelligible mumbling.
Old Yang bravely tugged out the drawstring of his pants: “Tie her up first, we can’t communicate like this.”
With that, they all did the same, including Kou Xiao.
It was an unsightly scene.
But they didn’t have the time to care about that.
They held down the monk and Kou Xiao tied up her hands and feet.
As they let go, the monk finally calmed down.
She laid on the ground, staring up at the sky.