With an injured foot, I limp into the so-called hideout of the vampire.
But this foot won’t stop me from my search. As captain of the Feng Vampire Hunting Task Force, it is my task to find that vampire Ma’am Cherry wants for her so-called essence. We didn’t run into much trouble along the way at first, but we didn’t expect the traps, ambushes, and pits filled with violent flocks of chickens. Assisted by two aides, we are greeted by the foul smell of sewage and something that smells like it’s been fermenting for weeks.
The front door was left ajar, so we were able to get in easily. We start searching the area next to the entrance. My other aide goes upstairs on his own as I tell him to be cautious.
Nothing much to see here. Cluttered desk, counterfeit bills, and flyers for art galleries all over town. It seems like a reception or work area of sorts. What was this building used for? My aide starts searching the clutter for clues as I check the big room nearby.
This next room seems to be a recreation area of some kind. Many vampires like the ones here run criminal organizations like ours, so it was not surprising to see mismatching furniture pieces scattered about. The TV in this room has been left on, with the channel on the local news. But there’s this eerie sort of quiet despite the announcer stating tonight’s headlines.
After my aide reports that he has found nothing, we push on towards the other end of the room and find an area with two easels. Nearby, a sign that says FORGERY WORKSHOP. So these vampires are in the local forgery business. They must have some talented artists with them. My aide then looks at one of the easels closely and discovers a small piece of paper rolled up. He hands it to me and I unroll it.
Do not look behind you.
That’s what the paper said. I look behind but see nothing. Must be another vampire ruse.
My aide then finds a staircase hidden behind a bookshelf that leads to the basement, so we descend. As we descend the staircase into the darkness, we hear someone scream from upstairs. Then the sound of breaking glass and a loud thud that seems to have hit the ground. My aide starts to look worried, but I give him one look to push on with his phone’s flashlight in hand.
I find a switch that opens the lights of the room, and everything is revealed. The room looks like a mix of living quarters, garage, and storage. It has this cozy feel, but I shake my head and focus on the task at hand. We need to find where that vampire and her friends went. My aide sees the garage door at the other end of the room, thinking that they must have escaped through there. I tell him to be cautious, but it was too late.
As soon as my aide steps into the chalk art on the ground, a sudden flash of light stuns him and makes him faint, falling to the ground. I curse and go to my unconscious aide to prop him up against a nearby wall while I continue investigating.
I walk up to the garage door and try to open it, but it seems to be locked from the other side. I look for clues in the nearby sleeping areas.
I come across a sleeping area that seems to have an Eastern flair to it. It also seems neat compared to the other areas of the building. I try to look for a key or something, but no luck.
The sleeping area on the other side seems to belong to a gamer of sorts. I also try to look for a key here but also do not find anything, except for another piece of rolled paper. I unroll it to see another message.
Do NOT look behind you.
I look behind again but see nothing but my unconscious aide, still on the ground. Wait. Didn’t I prop him up against the wall? I go back and see another door that seems to lead to another area.
Now it’s a dark corridor going two ways. Choices, choices. I limp cautiously towards the left corridor, with my gun at the ready just in case something jumps out of the darkness.
I open the heavy door at the end and find this room, which seems like a place where a traditional vampire might live. I look up the staircase and see that it leads to the ground floor, but I remain in the room to continue investigating.
At the other side of the room is an area that seems to be like an office of sorts, like a consultation room. I see another rolled piece of paper on the desk and unroll it again like the previous ones.
Do. Not. Look. Behind. You.
I look behind again but find nothing. What a silly vampire ruse! Vowing not to unroll any more pieces of paper, I enter the next room.
Now everything in this room seems sterile and clean compared to the other areas of the hideout. It looks like an examination room or clinic of sorts. Do vampires have doctors? I doubt. The Guild representative told me that vampires are mindless beasts that mimic humans and need to be put down. I see another rolled piece of paper but ignore it this time and exit the room, going back to the dark corridor. Take that, prankster!
Passing through the heavy bookcase door again, I check the door to my left to see what’s inside.
Now this looks like a crypt as I see the coffin in the room. With a wooden stake in hand, I cautiously open the coffin but thankfully find nothing. It would have been great if the Guild representative were here to assist me, but he was the first to go down during the ambush earlier. As I think about that, I feel some heavy breathing behind my neck. I cautiously turn around and see nothing. I sigh with relief and exit the creepy crypt.
This time I go to the passage leading right and come across this crypt, which looks more ornate than the previous one. It probably belongs to a vampire of high rank or something. I bring out my wooden stake to peek into the coffin but find nothing inside again, except for a small piece of rolled paper. Feeling an urge to read what’s in it, I grumble and just take the rolled paper to unroll it.
PLS. DO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU
It’s in all caps this time. And it’s even saying please! Whoever thought of this ruse must have had a lot of time on his hands.
I exit the crypt and see a large door at the end. That must be where the vampire and her friends escaped. I limp towards the door with gun in hand, but then see another door to the right before it. I enter the room to make sure that I’m not missing anything.
A hot tub? Why is there a hot tub here of all places? The vampires that dwell here have weird taste. I look around for clues but then see another rolled piece of paper on the corner of the hot tub. Again, I complain to myself as I unroll the paper just to get it over with. But before I even unroll the piece of paper, my phone rings.
It’s from one of my henchmen.
“Hey, boss! Boss! Where are you?” I recognize the voice as Da Xu, the older brother of Xiao Xu.
“In the hideout’s basement. Get your ass in here with the others and help.” I command my underling as I fiddle with the rolled piece of paper in hand.
“But boss, I have to tell you something very important. A vampire told us something that we must absolutely not ignore!”
“And what is that important message?” I raise an eyebrow.
“Do not look behind you.” Da Xu says in a very monotonous way, as if he were in a trance.
And then he hangs up.
My heart skips a beat for a moment as I feel a heavy presence behind me, as if it were following me all this time.
I look behind and see a ghostly apparition of a knight in armor with dents, arrows, and feathers all over. I almost stumble for a moment but the ghost points to the paper that I have in my hand, gesturing me to unroll it.
I unroll the piece of paper, with my hands trembling.
And then the lights in the room flicker violently as the knight lunges towards me, making me lose consciousness.
I should not have looked behind.