My House of Horrors

Chapter 1081: What Is It That You're Afraid of? [2 in 1]

Chapter 1081: What Is It That You’re Afraid of? [2 in 1]

The neighbor’s emotion was being led by Chen Ge. Everyone was afraid that their secret would be discovered, so they all wanted to capture this killer who had escaped through the window as soon as possible. Chen Ge was very satisfied with this turn of events. He was about to say something else, but the middle-aged man with the hidden store of female underwear in his house suddenly chose to speak up again.

“Wait a minute, I do not disagree with the plan that we go through the houses one by one to search for the killer, but for the sake of security, I think we should go and inform the landlord about this first. And we should definitely get his opinion before we do anything too rash.” The middle-aged man had encountered Chen Ge earlier. He knew Chen Ge from the latter’s conversation and interaction with Wu You, so he had an inherent mistrust toward Chen Ge.

“No problem, we shall go and find the landlord now.” Chen Ge agreed with the man to stop him from continuing to distract from Chen Ge’s plan. Chen Ge did not wish to waste time on pointless arguments so as to prevent other accidents from happening. “We should hurry as fast as we can. The earlier we capture that ruthless murderer, the more likely we will save another innocent life.”

This incident had happened too suddenly, and Chen Ge did not give the neighbors too much time to reflect on it. He dragged Wen Qing and Qu Yin directly into the stairwell. Even though he had the crowd on his side for now, once the neighbors calmed down, his situation would not have changed; he would still be in plenty of danger. The only thing he could do was make use of this opportunity and try to turn as many of the tenants against themselves as possible. That was the only way he could ensure his own safety.

“Qu Yin, why do you think the murderer targeted your family? Has your family made any enemies recently? Why would someone wish to harm your whole family?” To direct the thoughts of the neighbors, Chen Ge voluntarily asked Qu Yin some questions. Of course, his questions were all related to the murder case. On the surface, it sounded like Chen Ge was being concerned about Qu Yin, and the questions all struck at the center of the investigation.

Of course, Qu Yin knew very well the ‘motive’ behind the ‘murderer’s intention to target his family’, but to not expose himself as an accomplice to the murderer, there was nothing he could do but to continue this play-acting with Chen Ge. After pretending to give it some serious thought, Qu Yin shook his head. “I have no idea why someone would harm my family members. We have always kept a low profile. I do not think we have offended or earned the ire of anyone before.”

“Try to dig deeper. There has to be a reason somewhere. Is there any conflict between your family and the other tenants of this building?” Chen Ge continued to push. To deflect the suspicion away from himself, he tossed all the difficult questions to Qu Yin. Technically, he was now forcing a murderer to come up with a reason why someone would murder him.

If Qu Yin could not give an answer or gave the name of a random person, that person would instantly become the prime suspect in this case. If this happened at another residential area, being the prime suspect would not be that big a deal. At most, they would be invited to the police station to aid in the investigation, but the situation here was completely different. Almost no one at this residential area was ‘clean’; everyone had a secret that they did not wish to be known by others. In other words, no one here wished for their history and past to be exposed and investigated. It did not matter what they did behind closed doors normally, but at times like this, the secret that they had been hiding would become the noose that caused their death.

“I really cannot figure out anything.” Qu Yin did not wish to be manipulated by Chen Ge. The surrounding tenants with secrets in their heart also astutely kept their mouths shut. They all knew very well the smartest choice at this moment was to zip their lips. One wrong word and they would be like moths flying voluntarily into a flame.

Xiao Sun sincerely wanted to have the killer captured, so he offered the information that he had.

“But I remember, a few nights ago, many neighbors were complaining when you argued with your father. The argument was so loud that many of us were not able to rest probably. In fact, one of the middle-aged uncles from the fifth floor purposely came down to warn you guys to keep the noise down.

“Oh, right, other than that, I believe the electrician on the eighth floor also got into a recent conflict with your father. I believe it had something to do with the electrical wiring. They even got into a fight once in the corridor. At the time, the electrician even threatened your father…

“What’s the problem? Why are you guys looking at me like that? Have I misremembered? Was I wrong?”

Xiao Sun did not know the other side of his neighbors. He merely recited what he had seen. This also proved indirectly that he was one of the few ‘normal’ people in this building. He was not afraid of being investigated.

“The clues that you have given are too important! After we inform the landlord, we will start our investigation at the rooms of those people!” Chen Ge had high praise for Xiao Sun. It did not matter that Qu Yin refused to cooperate because Xiao Sun had helped Chen Ge tear open a gap between the tenants of the residential area. The few tenants that Xiao Sun mentioned earlier would become the first batch of sacrificial lambs. Xiao Sun had done a great job, but he did not realize how dangerous the situation he had put himself in was.

There were ten floors in total at the apartment building. The landlord lived alone on the ninth floor. The tenth floor was left empty, and all the rooms were locked. The crowd reached Room 901. Qu Yin knocked several times, but there was no answer. It appeared like no one was home.

“The landlord is probably out. Let’s go to other places and check first. Perhaps we can return later.”

“Wait a minute!” Chen Ge grabbed Qu Yin by his elbow. “The tenant of his apartment has just been murdered. That is huge news, and the landlord has not even shown up to investigate. Do you think that’s normal?”

“Of course it is not normal, but I believe the landlord is not even in this building at the moment. He’s probably gone to the other buildings of the residential area. The landlords of the few buildings in this residential area meet up to have a weekly meeting. So, that is probably where the landlord is now. He is probably meeting up with the other landlords in another building.”

“A weekly meeting?” Chen Ge again gained more important information from what Qu Yin revealed.

“Yes, the landowners meet up to discuss important issues like the rent price, the environment around the residential area, and so on.”

“You have a point, but you have missed one very important detail.” Chen Ge slowed down for the point that he was about to make to sink in. “I have been to the first ground. The exit was locked, and the lock is applied from inside the building!”

“What is that able to prove? How does that contradict with what I said?”

“Only the landlord has the key to the exit, and since the lock was applied from the inside, it also means that the landlord must still be inside this building! If the landlord had left, the door would be locked from the outside!” Chen Ge’s logical argument was flawless. And the words that he said carried a very serious implication to the rest of the neighbors. They instantly noticed the hot water that they could possibly be in. “The landlord is still inside the building, but he did not show up when there was a murder inside the apartment. That leads me to the conclusion that perhaps he has been harmed as well. Perhaps the killer got to him before we could.”

Qu Gui being killed and the landlord being killed were two distinctly different scenarios because the latter had the spare keys to all the doors in the building. Now, even Qu Yin did not look so good. Events had developed far beyond his control.

“It is fine if you do not believe me. The easiest way to find out whether I am correct or not is to break down the door.” Chen Ge carried his backpack and glanced at the door. He did not want to show Doctor Skull Cracker’s hammer at that moment. “Do any of you have any tools at home? Human lives are at stake here. I know this is a serious case of trespassing, but I am sure that the landlord will be able to understand once we explain what is happening to him… provided he is still alive, that is.”

“My house is currently being renovated. There’s a whole set of tools. Wait a minute for me. I will go and grab them now.” Auntie Ding was the first to speak up. Her tone was urgent and desperate. She volunteered to go and grab the tools, but in reality, she probably wanted to go back home to deal with other things, and the former was just an excuse.

“I have tools to open lock as well. I will go back home to check. I will be back.” A few of the other tenants used the same excuse to leave as well. Chen Ge knew what they were up to, but he did not stop any of them. It was not that difficult to cover up and deal with the ‘secret’ in their own room in a short amount of time. The difficult part was to ensure that no traces were left behind.

A few minutes later, the few neighbors returned one after another. They carried various kinds of tools with them. With the cooperation of the whole group, they used almost half an hour to break down the front door of Room 901.

“This is so troublesome. If only all the rooms used a wooden door.” Chen Ge pushed Qu Yin into the room. Qu Yin was angry, but there was nothing he could do.

“The room is very neat, and there is no sign of a scuffle or any blood. Looks like we have been worried for no reason.” Qu Yin walked at the front of the group. This was probably his first time entering the landlord’s room. He appeared rather cautious; he did not dare get too close to the furniture inside the room.

“You seem to be quite afraid of the landlord. Am I right?” Chen Ge followed behind Qu Yin like a shadow. His voice drifted into Qu Yin’s ears.

“Of course not, stop talking nonsense.”

“Is that so?” Chen Ge gave Qu Yin a once-over. He noticed that the tenants had a very referential attitude toward the landlord. The anomalous attitude of Qu Yin when they were inside the landlord’s room was the best proof of that. Chen Ge did not linger on this question. Chen Ge split the neighbors up to investigate the house. They opened the many doors before everyone congregated inside the bathroom. Pulling back the shower curtain, there was no bathroom or shower like one would expect; instead, there was a small television. Chen Ge tried to switch it on. The television was functioning normally, but the screen was only filled with static.

“Why would there be a television set inside the bathroom?” Qu Yin voiced the question on his mind.

“It is probably used to broadcast some unsightly content.” Chen Ge studied the surroundings. The bathroom had no windows. After closing the bathroom door and pulling up the shower curtain, this would become a completely isolated space. Outsiders would have no idea what the landlord was doing there. Moving the television to the side, Chen Ge realized that there was a complicated trail of electrical wiring behind the device. His eyes followed the trail of wires, and he realized that all of them led upstairs. The electrical wiring of Room 901 was connected to the wiring of Room 1001. The landlord’s secret should be hidden somewhere in Room 1001.

Chen Ge did not share his discovery with other people. He saw the problem from the complicated circuit. A normal television set did not require such complicated wiring. Chen Ge suspected that the landlord had installed surveillance cameras in hidden spots around the apartment, and the landlord probably spent most of his free time inside this bathroom, looking in on other people’s lives. Chen Ge had a good guess what the landlord’s secret was, but that did not help with the most imminent question—where was the landlord?

If the landlord had seen the monster from the cursed hospital through his surveillance, then he would be prepared to handle it. So, was it the monster from the cursed hospital who killed the landlord?

If they had done it, they could have gained the apartment keys from the landlord after killing them. They would not have needed to enter a contract with Qu Yin. Thus, the real sequence of events was probably something like this. The monster from the cursed hospital tried to reach out to the landlord first, but they were unable to locate him, so they settled for the second-best choice, which was to cooperate with Qu Yin. Then, they planned to slowly gang up with the rest of the tenants.

Chen Ge was slowly smoothing out the timeline in his mind. Then, the truth came to him. Someone in the building had found out about the landlord’s secret. To ensure that their own secret was not exposed, one of them or even a group of them had gathered together to deal with the landlord. To be able to suspect such a thing, it would have to be someone who was familiar with the electrical wiring and their weird set up…

Chen Ge was instantly reminded of the electrician that Xiao Sun had mentioned earlier. The electrician lived on the eighth floor, and he was closest to the landlord’s house, which was on the ninth floor, so naturally, he was the prime suspect.

“Take a look at this!” Auntie Ding opened the closet inside the landlord’s bedroom. After she moved away the clothes, she revealed the many nails that were pinned to the inner wall of the closet. Every nail had a room number written above it. The numbers ranged from 101 to 1006.

“The key that hangs from the nail should correspond to the room number. The landlord has silently copied each of our house keys without telling us!” Auntie Ding appeared to be telling everyone about this on purpose. Her expression was one of shocked, but in Chen Ge’s eyes, it appeared too forced and inorganic. The widening of the eyes, the gaping of the jaw, these were surface acting skills. Her performance did not come from the heart at all.

After seeing the keys, Chen Ge also subconsciously reacted with appropriate shock. Chen Ge’s performance was much more natural. He used all his facial features to express the emotion of surprise. With the aid of body language, he was the embodiment of surprise. Instantly, the difference between amateur acting and professional acting was shown.

“Looks like the killer has taken all the spare room keys. This is not good news for any of us.” Chen Ge soon calmed down. He knew that Auntie Ding herself was hiding something, but he did not say anything to expose her.

“Then, what should we do now? The killer is on a real rampage now. He has not only killed my family; he is also involved in the landlord’s disappearance…” Qu Yin really did not expect things to go this way. He felt like he had been dragged by Chen Ge into a large hole, one that he would not be able to climb out of on his own. The other tenants were also starting to panic. They did not feel that threatened when Qu Gui was killed, but now that the landlord was missing, most of them were feeling anxious. A strange emotion was rippling through the crowd.

“We should go and check up with the electrician on the eighth floor first. Didn’t your father get into an argument with him before he died?” Chen Ge and Qu Yin were about to leave Room 901 when the middle-aged man with the hidden female underwear in his house stepped forward. He blocked the way to the exit, and his eyes were blazing into Chen Ge.

“How can I help you?” Chen Ge’s expression did not change. The man was unfazed. He was standing amid a group of creeps and murderers, but there was not a single trace of fear or uncertainty on his face.

“Even though the turnover rate of this building is very high, with new people moving in and old people moving out silently…” The middle-aged man strode to stand before Chen Ge. “I do not think I have seen you before. Did you just move here? If you just moved here, you should have met the landlord, and you are probably the last person to have seen the landlord alive.”

“That person would be the killer, not me.” Chen Ge pulled Wen Qing to his side. “There is a boy living in Room 401 called Xiang Nuan. You guys should have heard of him, right?”

When Chen Ge was speaking, his brain was churning. He rehearsed the spiel that he had come up with earlier in his mind.

“I do. The boy lives alone in Room 401. His father is dead, and his mother is a wily vixen. She is some man’s kept mistress. She does not live here, and the boy occasionally leaves the apartment to go meet up with his mother.” The middle-aged man’s accusation caused Wen Qing’s whole body to shake with anger.

“My big sister and I are here to look after Xiang Nuan on his mother’s behalf. The boy is sick, and there is some problem with his head. I am the psychiatrist his mother hired, and my big sister will look after his living arrangements.” Chen Ge mentioned many other details about Xiang Nuan before the middle-aged slowly moved away.

“Looks like the boy’s mother had found the boy a good father figure this time. There is no need for them to worry about money anymore.” The middle-aged man’s gaze lingered on Wen Qing for a long time.

Chen Ge stood between Wen Qing and the middle-aged man. With a smile still stuck on his face, he said, “For a while now, you have been trying to make trouble for me. What is it that you’re afraid of?”

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