Her shrill tone pierced through the silence in the room, and the swirling haze dispersed instantly.
Silvery moonlight poured in from the side window, casting a soft glow upon the floor. 


Tang Tian was standing right under the moonlight, with her hand still upon the black-covered book.
Though the other figure had disappeared, the eerily cold and damp sensation lingered around her, along with a musty smell. 


Realising that the ghostly shadow was no longer there, Tang Tian relaxed her tensed-up shoulders.
She sagged against the bookshelf and slowly slid down to the floor.
With one hand gripping the front of her nightgown, she forced herself to take large, deep breaths as she struggled not to hyperventilate. 


This was not her first rodeo.
By now, she had to admit that, as she neared the final days of her life, she, Tang Tian, had seen a ghost.
Based on the earlier two encounters, the other figure was most likely her phantom fiancé, her spectral spouse-to-be, her intended partner in the ghost marriage. 


“So, all the superstitious talk about ghosts lingering after death is all true.” 


After surviving a few terrifying occurrences, she had gotten better at adapting to the situation.
As the initial fear faded away, she slowly stood up by propping a hand against the bookshelf. 


“Will I become a ghost after I die too?” she wondered aloud.
She briefly envisaged herself as a vengeful ghost with dark-green skin and elongated teeth, and shuddered inwardly.
“Never mind, I don’t have many regrets, nor unresolved hatred.
I’d rather not hang around in the human world.”


The next second, she gasped and said, “If ghosts are real, then ghost marriage is not a joke! He has come to see me twice now.
Is he really here to check me out before the marriage?”


All part of the matchmaking process, I guess. Tang Tian laughed incredulously at herself as she rubbed her arms to warm them up.
To claim that she wasn’t afraid would be a lie, but the entire situation was rather amusing, in a weird way. 


“Oh well, at least I didn’t feel that he had any malicious intent.” She gradually calmed down, knowing that he wasn’t out to harm her.
And anyhow, she was dying either way. 


She also tried to consider the situation from a more optimistic perspective.
This husband-to-be doesn’t seem so bad, personality-wise.
They should be able to get along. 


Her eyes scanned over the books on the shelves again, finally stopping on the black book, and she studied it curiously.
“If he guided me here, why stop me when I was just about to take it? If he really intended to stop me, there was no need to let me discover it in the first place.”

Without his guidance, she could have gone her whole life, what little there remained of it, without even noticing such a book amongst the plethora of books here. 


Tang Tian recalled his movements carefully.
Somehow… it was as if he was hesitating. 


She stared at the book for a few more seconds, then decisively pulled it out from the shelf.
“Curiosity killed the cat, but it can’t get any worse than this for me.” 


With the book in hand, she walked towards the tableside and started reading through the lines as quickly as possible. 


There was no book title.
It was simply a hardcover notebook.
The pages on the inside were yellowish, like craft paper, with irregular lines printed on them.
The very first page bore the name of the book’s owner. 


Chen Xu. 


It was written using a fountain pen, in a sharp yet exquisite calligraphy style.
Tang Tian had barely any knowledge of calligraphy, but she knew that the words were written really well, and as the saying goes, “one’s handwriting reflects the writer”.
Nowadays, it was rare to find someone who was willing to practice and write good calligraphy. 


Flipping through the pages, she realised that this was a diary. 


But to label it a diary seemed not entirely accurate, as it was more of a series of casually penned thoughts written at irregular intervals.
The entries dated back to 1998, and the last entry was in 2007.
Each entry was brief and to the point. 


He wrote more during his primary school days, with a detailed description of his mood, plans for school and a list of homework to do.
A few ticks indicated tasks that he had completed, while reminders had been jotted down next to incomplete ones. 


During his high school period, only important events were mentioned, and even then, concisely.
This was when the time interval between entries started growing longer and longer. 


Initially, Tang Tian just wanted to quickly scan through all the pages, since she wasn’t too fond of the idea being in the same room where a ghost had visited.
But, overwhelmed by curiosity, she became so immersed in the entries that she read every detail.


This simple notebook, recording bits and pieces of a person’s life, held stories about common things that were, somehow, rather captivating.
It portrayed Chen Xu as a young man like any other, who felt troubled over mounting school work, who would save up carefully just to buy something he desired…


He was clearly very disciplined, as most of the goals he had listed out had been completed on time, a trait Tang Tian greatly admired him for. 


As her eyes landed on one of the pages, one sentence caught her attention.


3rd May 2005

Finally got the autographed basketball that Xiao Peng1 always wanted.
He will be so pleased to get it when back for summer break!


Tang Tian glanced back at the date.
From the earlier entries, she had learnt that Chen Xu had always been a rather reserved child, and would hardly express emotions through his words.
During this entry, Chen Xu was only 14 years old, and seemed to have quite a good relationship with his younger brother.
This was one of the rare times he ever used an exclamation mark, a sign that he must have been overjoyed while writing. 


Apart from his younger brother Xiao Peng, there was also another child named “Chen Bao” who appeared occasionally in his entries. 

I saw Chen Bao today .


Chen Bao was playing with Da Huang just now, had Da Huang barking wildly with his antics.
Too funny, I was in tears. 


Chen Bao was naughty today.
Caused trouble to everyone in the front hall.
Cheeky fellow. 


His love and care towards the younger child shone through his words.
He wrote about him in a more adoring tone than his own brother, Chen Peng.


“Who is Chen Bao anyway?” Thousands of questions piled up in Tang Tian’s mind as she read on.


She then noticed a line of words that was messily written, as if he was abruptly reminded of something and had to scribble it down.


15th September 2007

Playing basketball in the evening, and found someone’s mobile phone in my bag.
After asking around, no one claimed it was theirs.
How weird. 


She didn’t pay much attention to this entry at first, until she saw that the same black mobile phone was continuously mentioned in the next few entries.


16th September 2007

Clearly recall leaving the mobile phone at the teachers office earlier today, but somehow found it in my bag again that same night.


17th September 2007

Who could be pranking me? Teachers told me that they never received the phone that I had handed in.
But I really did!


20th September

Something spooky about this phone.
I threw it in the river.


21st September

The phone returned.
Why? Why can’t I get it away from me?! What the hell is this thing?!


Tang Tian felt a wave of horror wash over.


As Xiao Peng and Chen Peng are the same person, i.e.
Chen Xu’s biological younger brother.
Xiao is a diminuitive, and used to address someone younger in an affectionate way.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like