The Ghost Catcher

The Ghost Catcher


Realistic Urban

On the fifteenth of the lunar seventh month, a night when a hundred ghosts roam and the living avoid. However, on Linjiang Road, an unassuming medical clinic had all four of its doors wide open, observing no taboos. Hanging from the eaves was a plaque gilded in gold, inscribed with four large characters: "Underworld Clinic".
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The fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar, commonly known as Ghost Festival. On this night, the ghosts roam while the living remain hidden.

Lingjiang Road is located in the eastern suburbs of Yunzhou City, parallel to the Luo River. It is an old street in the old city area. Under the occluded moonlight, the ashes of burnt paper money are swept away by the wind.

The entire old city street is pitch-black, with doors and windows tightly shut. There are hardly any pedestrians around.

Except for a house on the corner with huge red lanterns hanging in front of its open gates, seemingly without any taboos. A golden plaque hangs high on the eaves, inscribed with four large characters, "Underworld Clinic".

Dong dong!

The dull chime of the bell indicates it's already midnight. A chilly breeze blows, causing the lanterns under the plaque to sway a few times.

A young man in his early twenties is sitting on a grand chair. He wears a black Zhongshan suit, has short hair that touches his eyebrows, and his dark cheeks look a bit shabby. The young man caresses his sparse stubble, with a faint trace of worry on his face.

"Sigh! What world is this? Can’t even see a ghost on such a big festival.” I roll up my sleeves, pull out a rusty abacus, flick it twice, and let out a long sigh.

"Young master, have some noodles first!" Behind me, a grey haired old man places a bowl of green vegetable noodles in front of the young man, soothing him in a low voice.

"Feng Bo, if this continues, I'm afraid we’ll end up begging under the bridge with the blind old woman." I glance at the bowl of green vegetable noodles that lack even a drop of oil, and with a gloomy face say to Feng Bo.

Feng Bo frowns, expressing his difficulty, "Young master, don't worry. The widow Li, from the butchery across the street, has shown interest in me for a while now. It’s just that I have not yet agreed. If the clinic can't continue operating, I’ll marry her and we’ll have her help as well."

Immediately, an image of a freckly, fat-eared old woman pops into my mind, giving me the shivers.

"Never mind! Feng Bo, you have raised me since I was a child. I can't let you sell yourself like this. I heard that the luxurious nightclub is recruiting male hosts, I have a sturdy body, if things really don’t work out I could give that a try."


On reaching the topic of our woes, Feng Bo and I exchange a look, as if we see our bleak tomorrow.

"If we could catch a fierce ghost, we, the grandfather and grandson, probably wouldn't need to worry about our livelihood for the next half a year. It's a pity that nowadays, it's tougher to come across a fierce ghost, even harder than striking the lottery."

Both of them heaved a simultaneous sigh. The ghost-catching trade was not promising these days!

The Underworld Clinic had been passed down for countless years. Operating ostensibly as a clinic, what it did was to catch and exorcise ghosts. Their business was only healing the illnesses that couldn't be treated in a regular hospital, and selling meds unavailable in a hospital.

"We do not judge life or death, we just save the wronged souls from the Underworld." These two phrases represented the service motto of the Underworld Clinic.

The Underworld Clinic had always been run by humans. Due to certain restrictions, the hell messengers couldn't roam freely in the human world, yet the Underworld Clinic truly existed among humans.

Since an unknown time, both parties had struck an agreement. The Underworld Clinic represented the Underworld in dealing with affairs of the human world, while the Underworld provided the clinic with protection and support.

In this era of peace, most of the human beings died a natural death and their souls would directly enter the circle of reincarnation post-death. Thus, the evil and malicious specters in the human world were growing less and less.

As the current master of the Underworld Clinic, living in a peaceful and stable era, with serenity in the human world, even during the peak season like the Ghost Festival, the business was still lackluster. It was probably the worst business situation in its history.

Both of them heaved a simultaneous sigh. The ghost-catching trade was not promising these days!

"Cough, cough!"

Suddenly, a middle-aged man wearing a trench coat and golden-rimmed glasses appeared at the door, covering his mouth and nose with a handkerchief and coughing twice. Wrinkling his brow, he peeked inside the room.

"May I ask if this is where Master Lin Sankong resides?"

I rubbed my eyes to make sure I hadn't misread him and hastily stood up, replying: "May I know what brings you here?"

As I got up, I noticed a luxurious black Range Rover parked outside, and couldn't help but feel excited. "Looks like a big deal is coming our way!"

The middle-aged man sized me up before courteously saying, "Here's the thing, my young master has contracted a peculiar illness, and I was hoping Master Lin could come over to have a look at him.”

"A peculiar illness? How so? If it's just a common headache or cold, we are not able to treat such ailments here," the middle-aged man frowned, ignoring me and heading straight for Master Feng, greeting him respectfully, "You must be Master Lin. Truly ageless beauty and a poise that is impressive. I beg of you, please save my young master."

Master Feng's face flushed instantly, redirecting his gaze elsewhere and stuttering, "While I'm indeed aged but not obsolete, handsome even, I'm afraid that I'm not Lin. The man you seek is located over there."

Feeling quite helpless, this wasn't the first time someone had mistaken Master Feng for Lin. Just because I look younger and more charming comparatively, doesn't mean masters have to look like old fogy.

"My name is Lin Sankong, the man over there is my accountant, Master Feng."

The middle-aged man's face froze, awkwardness hovered in the air. After a moment, he tried to laugh it off, "So you are Master Lin! Truly, a young hero, extraordinary, extraordinary indeed."

I carefully examined him; a faint gloominess seemed to cling to this middle-aged man, helping me form certain assessments.

I quickly waved my hand, "Alright, enough formalities. Tell me what kind of peculiar disease your young master has contracted."

With an awkward laugh, the middle-aged man's face turned to worry, "This is what happened. My second young master turned nine this year. Yesterday, he accompanied the master to the countryside to pay respects to the ancestors. Upon returning, he was like a different person, possessing an unusually large appetite, wolfing down his food.

At first, we thought he might be starving, so we didn't pay much mind. However, he began to consume food in excessive quantities, stuffing food into his mouth even when it was full.

He wouldn't listen to anyone's attempts to stop him, wouldn't even recognize people. So we called for a doctor, who couldn't figure what was wrong either. In the end, my young master bit the doctor's hand.

Left with no other option, the master ordered us to restrain the young master. It was strange that a child not even ten years old had such incredible strength that it took seven or eight servants a great deal of effort to finally subdue him.

After being restrained, the young master stopped resisting and just sat there grinning foolishly. Although, his laughter was extraordinarily creepy, even worse than crying.

Master Lin, I beg you to save our young master."

I raised my eyebrows slightly, suspecting that this young master might have encountered something supernaturally unclean.


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