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Apartments for Rent – Chapter 03 – Part II

Chapter 03 – Gone Mental

Part II

Creak, Creak…

The sound came as soon as the old mottled lift began to move. I wasn’t sure if it came from the grinding gears or the stiffened steel wires.

Either way, I was somewhat surprised by it and I quickly switched the channel away from Bo Yan’s room.

The lift wasn’t used very often, hence it didn’t occur to me to purchase a TV-screen dedicated to that. Now I think about it, it wasn’t very smart of me, because what happens inside the lift can be fantastic as well.

As I watched the screen, I saw Ying Ru, who went outside not too long ago standing next to a man inside the lift. I had never seen him before, but I could tell they weren’t very close. Ying Ru stood quietly in front of the operating panel, facing the rusted metal fence, and the cleanly dressed man stood formally behind her to the left, staring at her dress without saying a word.

He was laughing on the inside, I could tell.

Moment later, the fences opened, and Ying Ru gave the man a light nod, turning and smiling. That man was very well mannered, overly so as he bowed in return, then followed her out of the lift and into her room.

I have to admit, I thought Ying Ru led a simple and easy life, but I have vastly underestimated this plain and ordinary girl.

I don’t know Ying Ru at all.

Neither observing from the outside nor spying on someone from the inside, twenty four seven, is enough to fully understand someone.

Everything you see on the outside stays on the outside. If you think everything you see is the manifestation of their inner desires, then you are simply being arrogant, and ignorant.

Ying Ru doesn’t talk much; she is the least talkative person in the whole apartment house.

Sometimes I can’t overhear a single word she says the entire day, perhaps this is the reason why I can’t figure out her state of mind. The only hint I have is those books she reads every night, Gardening, Finance, Psychology, Astronomy, Tabloids, Science and even some Supernatural stuff. She has such a wide variety of interests, making it impossible for me to figure her out.

Ying Ru went into the room and that man followed.

“What a nice room you have.” The man spoke, while eyeing the bed absentmindedly.

“Why don’t you introduce yourself, do you want coffee or water?” Ying Ru signalled the man to sit against the bed with a smile until a pair of shallow dimples appeared on her cheek.

“Coffee will be fine; haven’t I already introduced myself online? Shouldn’t we talk about you? This is your place, after all.” The man didn’t sit obediently against the bed as instructed, instead he gently wrapped his arms around Ying Ru’s shoulders, watching Ying Ru skilfully operate the coffee machine.

“I want to know more about you, I want to know everything.” Ying Ru’s soft voice seemed to carry some sort of magic: “I’m afraid that you won’t be able to say anything later.”

The white foam started to trickle down the side of the coffee machine.

“You sure are a curious one, aren’t you? To be honest, I find myself to be pretty interesting too. Haha, perhaps you already know that after our little chat online. The thing about me is that I’m not someone who would just do this kind of stuff with any girl I meet. Please don’t be offended, I’m not saying you are easy, I know everyone has their secrets, so…” The man went on and on, as though he had suddenly become a different person.

Ying Ru sat there and listened quietly, showing no real interest or impatience.

The coffee was done. Ying Ru carefully poured two cups, one for the man, another for herself.

The man took a few sips and smiled at Ying Ru: “Tastes good.”

Immediately, Ying Ru put her coffee down on the table and walked emotionlessly towards him, holding his coffee cup with her hand.

“Hmm?” The man was puzzled, but he let her take the cup away from him.

It was almost down to the second as the man’s eyes closed and his arms dropped, falling backward and fainting.

What just happened?

I couldn’t for the life of me foresee such a beast living inside Ying Ru’s body. That was what scared me the most.

Ying Ru walked towards the bathroom, pouring both cups of coffee down the drain.

She then took out a big plastic bag and several thick ropes from the drawer. After she neatly spread the plastic on the ground, she took the ropes and tied him to a chair. She didn’t do everything flawlessly, but there was no hesitation. I couldn’t help but think Ying Ru had to have done this before, or have at least played the scenario a thousand times over in her head. How could I not have seen this coming from Ying Ru?

The man was unconscious, he didn’t know a thing.

Ying Ru sat against the bed facing the man, contemplating.

And I panicked, because I didn’t know what would happen next.

“Ying Ru, Ying Ru, what have you done?” I gripped the remote control tightly in my hand, switching from view to view, hoping to get a better look at Ying Ru’s face. My hands were drenched in sweat, and my feet moved restlessly left and right.

Ying Ru finally moved.

She kneeled down in front of her bed and took out a small wooden box from beneath. I quickly moved my face closer to the screen, hoping to catch a glimpse of what is inside the box.

Next, she opened the small wooden box and took out what seemed to be a medicine bottle. She opened it, and retrieved a few white or yellow pills. Holding the man’s mouth open, she forced the pills down his throat along with some water.

“Rat poison? Sleeping pills? Or ecstasy?” My speculation ran rampant and uneasiness started to creep in.

After Ying Ru fed him those mysterious pills, she just ignored the unconscious man and started reading a light novel on her bed.

I stared at the screen while sweat dripped down my back, waiting for Ying Ru’s next move. At that very moment, I couldn’t care less what everyone else was doing.

Time slowly passed by, there was no hint of the man waking up. Could it have been poison? Should I call the cops?

I paced aimlessly back and forth, not sure what I should have done. The house is mine, and I won’t be able to rent it out ever again if someone dies in it. Not to mention watching someone die can be an insufferable experience, even when both the victim and murderer are complete strangers.

Besides, the murder is taking place right under me!

So I kept pacing around frantically inside my room, wasting the entire night away. Ying Ru on the other hand, slept like a baby on her bed.

The next afternoon, the man was swaying his head left and right like a pendulum; he was clearly not in his right mind. In fact he couldn’t even open his eyes. Ying Ru woke up. Taking out the same medicine bottle from under the bed, she removed a few more of the same kind of pills and stuffed them down the man’s throat again. She even made sure by touching the man’s throat, that he had swallowed the pill. She then changed her clothing and exited her room, locking the door behind her.

“Is she crazy, she is not planning to run?” I was confused and my mind wasn’t working properly due to the lack of sleep, but after seeing Ying Ru casually walking out of the door, I was certain that she wasn’t trying to run.

So I decided to risk it and enter Ying Ru’s room, in order to find out what she was up to.

While Bo Yan was still sound asleep, I took the keys and snuck into Ying Ru’s room. I could almost hear my own heartbeats.

I have no idea about Ying Ru anymore, will she suddenly return? How long do I have? Everything I have on her is no longer relevant, but I have to go in and see the man for myself.

I carefully closed the door behind me; even my nose was drenched in sweat.

I took a good look at the guy, his face was pale as a ghost, but he was still alive, at least the worst hadn’t happened yet. I checked his breathing; I wanted to flip his eyelids, but I suddenly realized I didn’t have any gloves on. I didn’t want to leave my fingerprint on someone who was about to turn into a corpse.

“You’re fucked.” I said to myself, rejoicing in the fact that I never drank any coffee or talked to Ying Ru in her room.

Then I kneeled down in front of her bed, searching for that little wooden box. I carefully took it out from under the bed after putting a coin next to each of the corners of the box where I first found it. I held my breath and opened it.

Gasoline, soya sauce, rat poison, sleeping pills, hydrochloric acid, polio vaccine, diphtheria vaccine, cobra venom, mast venom and some cloudy bottles filled with liquid. One of them had a dead mouse in it while the other had some squashed unknown reptilian parts soaked in some oddly coloured gelatinous substance. The one Ying Ru used last night was the one with the powerful sleeping pills.

I closed the box perplexed.

Ying Ru was mad.

I lifted my head, looking at an angle at the man who still had to endure an unknown amount of pain. Just as I was about to lament his suffering with a few words of encouragement, the sound of vague but light footsteps echoed from the stairway.

It made my stomach turn upside down; I wanted to throw up.

She is back so soon?

I violently clutched my chest, terrified that my rapid heartbeat would give away my whereabouts.

Ying Ru had never returned in such a short time before.

How could I still believe that I had any idea what she would or wouldn’t do?

Shall I kill her?

To think that I actually let that ridiculous idea cross my mind.

Still, the footsteps drew nearer.

“Knock her unconscious!” Stay calm, no matter what, I must stay calm!

I can ignore the consequences for now!

I held my breath and stood behind the door, holding my fist so tight that my whole arm shock.

Where should I hit her on the head to knock her out instantly?

In the front? Or in the back?

Or do it like in the movies, smack her at the back of her neck?

My mind was in shambles.

Suddenly the footsteps vanished in front of the door.

I narrowed my eyes as a sudden wave of dizziness washed over me.

Then came the sound of the key entering the keyhole, and the door opened a crack.

I felt my blood boiling.

Not knowing what was keeping Ying Ru from entering the door.

Does she know?

The door closed again.

Ying Ru did not enter the room.

I listened closely to any sound coming from the outside as she slowly moved towards the other end of the hallway.

Where?

Where is she going?

It sounds like she is heading upstairs!

I didn’t hesitate for a second; I quickly returned the small wooden box back to the spot I marked earlier while picking up the coins and putting them in my pocket. I immediately planted my ear against the door again, trying to catch any footsteps and readying myself for an escape.

No footsteps.

“Knock knock.”

Huh? She was knocking on my door!

I immediately opened the door and walked out as quietly as possible, shutting the door behind me while holding onto my breath.

“Knock knock.”

Ying Ru kept on knocking.

Should I go up?

Pretend everything is normal?

I quietly went down the stairway, horrified at the prospect of meeting Ying Ru face to face, especially since I wasn’t sure if she had discovered someone entering her room and wanted me to go in with her.

If that really is the case, given the way I look right now and that I will have to come from downstairs, she would definitely suspect me, the key holder! I don’t want to imagine the kind of awkwardness that would await us.

If that isn’t the case, considering the fact that she never once took the initiative to talk to me before, why is she knocking on my door now? The rent won’t be due for another week.

Run was the correct choice.

I opened the gate and left the apartment house.

What a relief.

I went to McDonalds.

And started shovelling down the chocolate sundae I bought, trying desperately to calm my turbulent thoughts.

Ying Ru was truly terrifying. If I can’t predict what she will do next, then how can I make this into a good movie?

She is just a fragile little girl, at most she can only try to drug me, but why am I so scared?

Ying Ru is definitely not crazy. She is not the type to just suddenly decide to kidnap someone.

Because of that wooden box.

Milk, Soya Sauce, those are things easily obtained, but vaccine and snake venom are not something you can buy in a convenient store, and those two disgusting bottles, are those something a normal person would want to keep?

It is deliberate, pre-planned.

Ying Ru is definitely a serial criminal. She must have committed some other crimes or kidnapped some other people in some other city.

She is probably just new in town, and that is why she has been behaving thus far. But now that she has gotten familiar with her surroundings, she is falling right back to her old habits.

How else could you explain her sudden change of behaviour? Could she have a twin sister? Did she enter her room without me knowing and pull a switcheroo on me? If so, where is the real Ying Ru? Did her crazy twin sister kill her? Or kidnap her?

I finished my chocolate sundae.

The ice cream cooled my head.

“Is this a challenge? Are you testing me?”

I murmured the same aggravating sentence over and over, hoping to regain some courage through anger.

“Very well, you crafty little actor, if you want to take over my position as the director, I will let you have a taste of your own medicine and make you dance on my whim.”

After crushing the plastic container into a pulp, I threw it at the garbage can around the corner and walked out of the McDonalds.

 

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