Chapter 78 – Suburban Chicken Farm (1)

After finishing the exams, the prospective college student took up a part-time tutoring job and a summer job. He left home every morning and returned in the afternoon. The only one truly idle at home was Citizen Jiang.

However, he wasn’t idle every day. In addition to engaging in daily gossip with neighbors about current events and playing Xiaoxiaole to pass the time, he had recently taken on more commissions.

The main reason for this increase was that the number of clients had slightly grown, with half of them seeking lost cats and dogs. Perhaps because he had previously successfully helped find some lost pets, the employers were highly satisfied and enthusiastically recommended him to others. As a result, a crowd of pet owners who had lost their beloved animals came crying to his door, and among them were customers hoping he could help find missing people.

He wasn’t particularly skilled at finding people; perhaps he was better at dealing with physical altercations. After intermittently accepting commissions to find lost cats and dogs for several days, he quickly decided to take a break.

In the morning, a classic soap opera was being replayed. Overcoming a series of arduous conditions like a soft pillow and a warm blanket, he finally got out of bed in the morning. After eating the breakfast left for him by the father and son, and preparing everything, he luxuriously lay down on the sofa and turned on the television.

“Knock, knock, knock.”


The moment the television turned on, there was a knocking sound outside. Without taking his eyes off the TV, Jiang Yujin reluctantly got up from the sofa, walked to a place where he could no longer see the TV screen, and turned his head with reluctance to open the door.

Standing outside was a middle-aged man wearing a straw hat, and something white floated down from the back of his hat, resembling feathers of some animal.

Before Jiang could speak, the man with the straw hat wiped his sweat, revealed a simple smile, and said, “Drove for several hours to get here, luckily you opened the door.”

“…” The enthusiastic Citizen Jiang said, “Come in.”

The man with the straw hat sat down on the sofa, obtained a cup of cold water while glancing at the soap opera. Jiang Yujin also sat down on the sofa, first glanced at the TV, then looked at the man with the straw hat and said, “The TV is on, it’s lively.”

It was an indication that he didn’t plan to turn it off. After all, the replay only happened once a day, and if missed, it wouldn’t be seen again for a while.

Fortunately, the man with the straw hat didn’t mind the TV. After taking a sip of water, he began to talk about recent events.

He was the owner of a chicken farm, living in the suburbs, with the farm located right behind his house. It all started a few weeks ago when he woke up one morning and found that a few chickens in the farm were inexplicably missing. Although there were many chickens in the farm, he kept a clear record of their numbers, and any reduction could be noticed.

Initially, he didn’t pay much attention, thinking the chickens might have escaped during feeding or when cleaning the coop. However, even with increased attention during cleaning, the strange occurrences persisted. He made sure there were no opportunities for the chickens to escape while he worked in the farm, diligently locking the doors after finishing work and conducting thorough inspections. Despite these precautions, a few days later, upon waking up, he found even more chickens missing than before.

This repeated for several weeks, prompting him to install surveillance cameras at the farm’s entrance. He checked the footage daily, but there was no sign of any abnormal activity. The next day, however, he would wake up to find more missing chickens.

He contacted the police about the matter, and they sent officers to investigate. However, they found nothing unusual and left, advising him to enhance security measures.

With no other options and coincidentally needing to buy and sell chickens that day, he inquired with local business partners about a reliable person who could help. The business partner enthusiastically recommended the detective agency, leading him to seek their assistance.

While listening to the man in the straw hat, Jiang Yujin occasionally glanced at the TV. After the man finished speaking, he also looked at the TV and casually mentioned, “I seem to have the complete DVD set of that series at home.”

Jiang Yujin accepted the commission.

The man’s car was parked downstairs, ready for departure. Heading to the true outskirts, it was indeed a journey of several hours. Sitting in the passenger seat of the small truck, hearing the continuous clucking of chickens from the back, Jiang Yujin, momentarily distracted from his entertainment, turned his head to look out the window.

The Luosa tree, which was not very clear in the city, became clearer as they approached.

“My house is quite close to that tree,” said the man in the straw hat, driving on the road. He could also see the towering tree in the distance. “Not many people live in our area, lots of open space. I don’t know why this tree is planted here.”

They didn’t know why the tree was planted there, but they knew it was an official planting. Despite being somewhat intimidated by this colossal entity beyond imagination, they felt somewhat reassured. The tree was large, with abundant leaves, and the areas near it barely received any sunlight. The authorities probably chose this location to avoid causing inconvenience to anyone.

Many people were curious about the tree and intentionally went to observe it. However, there was even someone specifically assigned to guard the tree, so they could only watch from a distance. The need for a guard seemed justified, as there were previous incidents where someone tried to poison the tree, only to be caught.

Jiang Yujin listened without saying much, nodding in agreement with the man’s remarks. “Indeed, all kinds of people exist in this world.”

“Right,” replied the man in the straw hat.

After a few hours of driving, departing in the morning and arriving in the afternoon, when the vehicle finally came to a stop, Jiang Yujin was the first to get out. After stepping out of the car, he squatted on the roadside as if contemplating life.

The man in the straw hat asked with concern, “Are you okay?”

Waving his hand dismissively, Jiang Yujin stood up and replied, “Still alive.”

The man in the straw hat needed to deliver the breeding chickens in the truck to the chicken farm, and Jiang Yujin accompanied him.

The chicken farm was of a moderate size, not something a single person could easily manage.

The man in the straw hat noticed Jiang Yujin’s gaze and explained, “My wife and I take care of this place together. She’s gone to our daughter’s house for a couple of days, so I’m handling things alone.”

Jiang Yujin nodded.

The inevitable smell of the chicken farm filled the air, occasionally accompanied by the fluttering of chicken feathers on the ground. With two white feathers adorning his head, Jiang Yujin left the chicken farm to inspect the surroundings.

The farm gate was made of corrugated iron, and the transparent windows were tightly shut. Jiang Yujin glanced slightly upward and noticed the recently installed cameras, as mentioned by the owner.

Looking along the weed-free path in front of the farm gate, he saw a small door. Behind the door was a house with a pointed roof, featuring a half-open window on top.

After finishing his tasks, the man in the straw hat followed Jiang Yujin’s gaze and said, “That’s the back door of my house. Let’s go inside.”

Jiang Yujin did want to check out the rumored DVD.

Houses in the suburbs were generally larger than those in the city, resembling small villas. They were spacious, with two floors in total.

Upon entering the house, the man in the straw hat went to check the surveillance while Jiang Yujin immediately looked toward the second floor, or rather, the higher parts of the building.

Temporarily halting the man in the straw hat, Jiang Yujin asked, “What’s on the second floor?”

The man in the straw hat said, “It’s my parents’ room. It became vacant after they left. What’s going on there?”

Jiang Yujin smiled and replied, “Nothing much, just a gut feeling.”

The two of them went upstairs together. Upon reaching the second floor, before Jiang Yujin could say anything, the man in the straw hat himself noticed something unusual. It was a strong, peculiar smell, like something had decayed. The odor wasn’t present downstairs but became thick and overpowering as they ascended.

Thinking he might have left something perishable causing the smell, the man in the straw hat thoroughly searched the entire second floor, checking every nook and cranny. However, he found nothing, and the smell continued to linger.

Standing in the hallway without much movement, Jiang Yujin raised his eyes to the ceiling and asked, “Are there more rooms upstairs?”

“There’s an attic above,” the man in the straw hat said, “but nobody has been up there. There shouldn’t be anything causing a bad smell.”

Since there were no stairs to the attic, only an access point, Jiang Yujin borrowed a ladder from the man in the straw hat and climbed up. Despite his visibly pale skin and slightly frail appearance in a wrinkled shirt, indicative of someone who spends most of their time at home, Jiang Yujin’s movements to the attic were unexpectedly smooth. The ladder was still a distance from the access point, but with a simple push, he effortlessly leaped up.

The attic was dark without any lights, but Jiang Yujin, being able to see clearly, accepted the flashlight handed by the chicken farm owner and turned it on symbolically.

Indeed, the smell was emanating from the attic. The window he had seen earlier was the attic’s window, half-open due to its special construction, allowing only a minimal amount of light to filter through.

As the light passed through, the corners were filled with chicken feathers stained red and chunks of flesh. Some had already decayed and emitted a putrid smell, with mold growing on them.

All the missing chickens were here, confirming Jiang Yujin’s earlier suspicions when entering the chicken farm.

While inspecting the room, a faint noise came from behind. Shortly after, a sharp and piercing sound erupted, and claws, stained with blood, extended from the darkness.

Jiang Yujin, on reflex, reached back to grab the extended claw but then realized something. He chose to slightly sidestep and used the flashlight in his hand to press down on whatever was behind him.

Exerting too much force, the flashlight plunged into the flesh, casting a red glow.

Pinned to the ground, the creature in the darkness continued to move its claws in a small arc.

Jiang Yujin said, “Don’t touch me.”

Having eaten without washing its paws, it seemed dirty.

This creature was a type of rodent found in the Game. It liked to move in the dark, feeding on things of similar size, and became highly aggressive when its territory was invaded. Its weapon was its sharp, poisonous claws.

The chicken farm owner below heard the commotion and asked, “Is something happening up there?”

Jiang Yujin used the flashlight in his hand to crush the sharp claws and replied, “Nothing, just found a big rat.”

Avoiding the part where the flashlight had touched the rat, Jiang Yujin jumped directly down from the attic, landing gracefully.

The chicken farm owner assumed the “big rat” was the typical kind, only realizing the truth when he saw something nearly the size of the chickens he raised. Caught off guard, he took a step back, meeting the blood-red eyes of the creature. Overwhelmed by the fact that such a thing had been in his house all along, he couldn’t help but shudder.

Unable to look directly into the creature’s strange eyes, the chicken farm owner lowered his gaze and saw the broken claws.

“Oh,” Jiang Yujin followed his gaze and said, “they were already broken when I found them.”

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