I could not help but look at the three men closely, they were mostly motionless, like puppets. They nodded their heads while the young man continued talking. They seemed to notice that I was looking at them and the long-haired man slowly turned his head to me. I instantly got chills. The long-haired man's eyes were completely free of any sign of drunkenness, instead they held a trace of a coldness so penetrating, it made me shudder.
The taxi was parked in front of the stall, and the taxi driver was walking over slowly. He sat next to the young man without saying a word, which was only making the whole thing even stranger.
I looked at Xiao Lingdang , but she did not want to go, she just speed up the pace of eating her kebabs. I could tell she was getting ready to ask for more. I knew that there was something wrong with the young man so I whispered: " Xiao Lingdang, there is something unusual going on here. Why don't we go somewhere else？"
Xiao Lingdang raised her head, but did not look at me, she looked behind me instead. I was trembling. I quickly turned around to see the boss' boy standing behind me with a stack of paper towels in his hand. He was startled by the sudedn turn of my head and the paper towels fell to the ground.
I quickly apologized, but my heart was uneasy. The boy must have heard me talking to Xiao Lingdang. The boy put the paper on the table, and ran to the boss. He whispered a few words into his ear and the boss's eyes focused on me. After a few seconds, the boss brought the kebabs over. The boss hesitated stepping in my direction, I understood that he was scared.
The boss put the kebabs on the table, smiling reluctantly: "These kebabs are free. They are on the house. Uhm… your friend hasn't arrived yet?"
From time to time, the boss's eyes would drift towards the direction of Xiao Lingdang, though he obviously wouldn't focus on Xiao Lingdang. He just looked towards the disassembled bowl and chopsticks. I didn't want to scare the boss, so I laughed and said, "I just called him. That guy is still playing games. I don't know if he will even come tonight." As I was saying this I pulled out my earphones out of my pocket to make it seem like I was using the headset for a call.
The boss released an obvious breath and gave the boy a hard look. His tone also eased up and became natural once again: "OK, good. Then you can just take your time."
The boss left and the boy kept looking at me. He was about to leave, but then saw the garbage bag full of completely untouched meat kebabs. His face turned white, and he ran to the boss quickly. He had to let him know what he had just seen.
But the boss did not pay any attention to the boy since there were three new guests approaching the stand and the boss was greeting them. The little boy was anxious, his eyes would glance at me from time to time. Finally, the boss scolded him and he reluctantly began cleaning the tables.
It seemed that the people who were coming had just finished playing some kind of game and were constantly talking about what had just happened in it. I looked at them curiously. They were three young people, two men and a woman. They were in their early 20s, their expressions natural. They looked like normal people, a stark contrast from what we had been seeing all night.
Instead of looking at the other guests, the three sat directly at the table next to the young man, it was located between the him and the women who worked there.
This skin-finding trip was one climactic event after another. I picked up a kebab. I figured since Xiao Lingdang was hereany ghosts that could be around wouldn't be able to find me. I was clearly wrong, but this whole scene was none of my business. Besides, it looked like he was all right. The ghosts did not seem to want to harm the young man, instead it looked as if they regarded him as a friend.
It wasn't outlandish for me to think this way. Since I had come into contact with the beauties in the ghost house, I kept thinking that ghosts wouldn't harm people. At least, not the majority of ghosts anyway.
As Xiao Lingdang continued eating the kebabs. I sighed and took out my bank card. The cash I had on me was definitely not enough to pay the bill. I looked up at the ATM in the distance and whispered to Xiao Lingdang. Then I went to the boss and said, "Boss, I'm going to get some money and come back right away." I pointed to the ATM a hundred meters away. The boss glanced at me, nodded with a smile, and said, "It's okay. You can also pay next time if you'd like."
I smiled and walked to the ATM. The boss was just being polite and I chose not to take it seriously.
I entered the 24-hour withdrawal hall. A security guard was sitting at a table by the door sleeping soundly. There was already someone in the hall, a woman with a nice outfit, who seemed to hear my footsteps and looked back at me. She glanced nervously at the sleeping security guard.
She wore smoky makeup and reminded me a bit of a panda. Of course, I mean that in a cute way. I stood outside and didn't go in just to give her space and let her feel comfortable. There was more than one ATM inside, but all of them were out of order except for the one she was using.
When the panda girl saw me standing at the door, she was relieved. She withdrew the money, and left the room. As she was leaving, she gave a nod to thank me for my gentlemanly demeanor. I responded with a nod of my own and a smile.
After withdrawing the money, I went back to the night market stall, said hello to the boss, and went back to my seat. I looked around aimlessely and learned that the panda girl was also at the night market stall, with two chopsticks and bowl in front of her. It seemed she was waiting for someone.
As Xiao Lingdang continued to eat kebabs, I thought for a while. I pretended to be on the phone and grabbed my headphones: "Do you still want to eat? We're almost done here."
Xiao Lingdang raised her head, dissatisfied with me and motionless. I was chilled by her stare, I was forced to say: "OK, go ahead and eat, I'll wait for you." Then I pretended to end the call.
I looked at my watch. It was best just to let Xiao Lingdang finish eating. It was only two o'clock. The ghost baby was probably still gathering its energy and resting.
There were five tables at the night market, but they were all quiet, and the table that had the most people together was the same one young man sittingin. Only the young man would drunkenly talk from time to time. The long-haired man, crew cut guy and the taxi driver were sitting quietly, without eating or drinking, but nodding occasionally. The dishes on the table were piling up the boss kept saying there was no need to make more with so much food on the table, but the crew cut guy took out a stack of money. I glanced at the thickness of the stack. It was about 2000 yuan or so. The boss was not willing to take it. The money stayed on the table, held in place by an empty plate.
The two women that worked at the stall were talking in a low voice. The dishes on the table were hardly being eaten. The beer was being drunk, and a lot of it. There was already three empty beer cases on the ground.
The panda girl was eating. Her eating movement had a big contrast with her makeup. I would have thought that the woman with the smoky makeup would be eating confidently, but the panda girl was eating with a bot of a shy demeanor, taking small bites and really savoring the taste of each bite. There wasn't a case of beer under the table, instead there was a half finished bottle of white wine.
The table with two young men and the woman was the noisiest table. They were still talking about the game, but their voice seemed to be deliberately low, so that I could only hear vague details.
The last table just had me in it, which was probably the strangest table. The man sitting in this table would occasionally talk to himself and occasionally throw uneaten kebabs into the garbage bag beneath him.
Every time the boy passed me, he glanced at the garbage bag on the ground.