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DON'T OPEN THE DOOR...!

We would like to respectfully introduce to everyone, Master - Doctor Tran Van Thanh, Head of the Department of Intensive Treatment of Schizophrenia Patients at the Central Hospital. Implementing the project "Sending rotating professional staff from higher level hospitals to support lower level hospitals", today our department is honored to welcome Dr. Thanh here to collaborate, direct and provide specialized guidance. subject. I hope that after three months of working at the District General Hospital in general and the mental health department in particular, our staff will learn valuable professional experiences, as well as doctors. Doctor Thanh will have beautiful memories of a Northwestern mountainous province, although still financially difficult but spiritually rich. Warmly welcome Dr. Thanh!...

By Ken DaklakPublished about a month ago 58 min read

Roaring applause rang out after the introduction of Mr. Sang, the hospital director. Everyone in the auditorium, without telling anyone else, all stood up when Doctor Thanh appeared.

Realizing the warm welcome as well as everyone's sincere feelings, Doctor Thanh could not hide his appreciation. He placed his left hand on his chest, bowed slightly to express his gratitude, his voice filled with emotion:

- I have traveled to many places around the world and have seen the landscapes of their countries, but this is the first time I have been to such a wonderful land! Sitting in the car, every time I walked a short distance I had to ask the driver to stop to look. Sometimes I had to admire out loud the majesty of the mountains and forests, the terraced fields, the plum blossom forests, cliffs surrounded by fog, roads lined with wildflowers on both sides...many and many more things I can't say all! Pretty! extremely beautiful!

Applause continued to resound after each sentence of Dr. Thanh, joy mixed with pride was expressed through the eyes and smiles of those sitting in the auditorium.

Doctor Thanh continued:

- My working time at our department is three months. There will be many more opportunities for me to visit and explore the beautiful landscapes of this land as well as the people here and I will talk about it more. We would like to sincerely thank the warm welcome of the board of directors, staff and employees of the hospital. And now, let me return to the main issue...

After each sentence, Thanh noticed that there was a girl sitting in the front row who kept looking at him intently. The special thing was that this girl just stared at his eyes as if probing something, in contrast to her gentle face. Good, she has quite cold eyes... That made Thanh confused, he stepped down from the podium and walked to the middle of the auditorium, avoiding the girl's eyes while creating a feeling of closeness to everyone. people around:

- As you know, mental patients are treated using psychoactive drugs, psychotherapy and many other techniques. Depending on the patient's level, there will be a separate treatment regimen. However, the duties of doctors like us also include research, examination, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental disorders - which are emotional and behavioral abnormalities. behavior, cognition and perception...Common diseases of mental illness such as: psychosis, Alzheimer's, Pick, schizophrenia, epilepsy, emotional disorders, stress, psychosis related related to addictive substances, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, organic psychosis, depression...

With one hand raised, Thanh approached that person and invited him to speak.

- Dear Doctor Thanh! Most of the patients who come to our department show signs of behavioral and cognitive disorders, and even fall into a state of paranoia. With your experience, what group of mental diseases does the doctor classify the above patient in? And if there is a separate treatment regimen, will the results be positive?

Thanh pondered for a moment then replied:

- This is a good and difficult question! We need time to examine and diagnose to come to an accurate conclusion. However, with such symptoms, I classify the patient as Schizophrenic. A condition that has been on the rise in recent decades, these patients suffer from serious brain disorders. One of the common manifestations is hallucinations in which they think that ghosts, demons or some mystical force exists and exists around them...

A person suddenly stood up and interrupted Thanh's words:

- Yes, doctor! Talking about spiritual issues, we all live and work in this mountainous region, where for a long time there have been many mysterious things that science itself cannot explain and answer satisfactorily like magic spells. , forest ghosts, voodoo... Most people think that their loved ones are crazy because they are bewitched or possessed by demons and they all go to shamans for treatment. It's hard to understand that there are also Many cases have been cured this way without needing to go to the hospital. What does the doctor think?

Thanh nodded at that question then looked around the hall, seeing everyone listening attentively, Thanh sighed and continued:

- Please allow me to speak frankly, our district is a highland district, with many different ethnic groups living in quite remote areas, with many difficult conditions, so we have little contact with civilized medicine and technology. modern. The fact that people do not believe in advanced medicine or doctors is also one of the reasons why it is difficult to treat our patients and lose their opportunity to be cured. Propaganda work to help people as well as eliminating superstition needs to receive more attention from the government, so that patients and their families can understand and cooperate with doctors for treatment. ..

Having said that, Thanh turned around and walked quickly to the podium, picked up a document and held it up for everyone to see:

- This is my scientific research project on the topic "Research and treatment of psychiatric patients using medication combined with psychological methods", I successfully defended this topic in France. While working here, I will popularize and guide you to perform treatment using this method. In the case of the previous opinion that some mental patients have been cured by shamans, it is because the disease has no signs of brain damage or is not a form of pathology, just a mental disorder. temporarily due to fear due to blind belief in evil forces. Taking advantage of that, the shamans attack the patient's psychology and reassure them with something called a spell and then accidentally make the disease heal on its own. It's just a psychological problem. As for patients with real illnesses, they cannot be cured by shamans, otherwise the illness will get worse. This case needs to be quickly taken to a specialized hospital. If detected early and given a reasonable treatment regimen, the patient will reduce the dangerous situation and avoid damage to himself as well as others. around... Many cases of patients I monitored and treated were discharged from the hospital and returned to normal activities.

The applause rang out again, whispers and laughter made the atmosphere in the auditorium bustling. Realizing that Doctor Thanh's first introductory talk had been a long time coming, after a long trip, fearing that the Doctor was tired and needed to rest, Mr. Sang - Director of the hospital stood up and raised his hand to signal for everyone to calm down. speak:

- Thanks everyone! I think today's meeting can end here, we will have many more opportunities to talk with Doctor Thanh. The doctor also needs to go back to his room to rest, right everyone?

Everyone responded, stood up, shook Thanh's hand and then left. Everyone's faces were happy and their hearts had great faith in Doctor Thanh on this business trip.

As he was busy putting the documents in his briefcase, Thanh saw Mr. Sang smilingly approaching him:

- It's so hard for the doctor!

Thanh smiled and replied:

- It's nothing! I also often go on business trips down below, but I rarely get to work in a special place like this. This land makes me very curious and want to explore!

Mr. Sang waved to a person standing outside the door and happily said:

- During your time working here, nurse Nhung will assist you in providing professional equipment as well as food and accommodation. You two get to know each other!

Thanh stopped and raised his eyes to look at that person, it was the girl who kept looking at Thanh throughout the conversation just now. At this time, Thanh had the opportunity to observe closely. The girl was tall, slim, not very pretty, but had a pretty smile and especially her eyes had something mysterious, cold and of course. , not friendly at all!

Thanh extended his hand to get acquainted:

- Hello Nhung! It's a pleasure to meet you. I hope you will help me get used to everything here. Thank you in advance!

Nhung stared at Thanh's eyes again, searching for a while, then raised her hand to respond to him, saying:

- Yes! I don't dare accept thanks, it's just work. I think you will soon get used to life here, it will probably be completely different from your city and modern science!

Mr. Sang laughed:

- That's good! You two continue to get acquainted, I have to go back to my office first. Miss Nhung takes Doctor Thanh home to put his things away and rest. We'll talk more tomorrow morning!

Thanh walked with Mr. Sang for a while. Before saying goodbye, Mr. Sang looked at Thanh and hesitated:

- Ah...Doctor Thanh! To be honest, we also really appreciate highly qualified people like doctors working and guiding our hospital to improve its qualifications... Because this place really has many difficulties, especially in terms of facilities. Material things should hope...

Thanh wondered:

- What do you mean? If you have anything, just say it directly so I can understand, don't be shy...

Mr. Sang looked at Nhung with concern. Nhung understood what he meant and quickly said:

- Director and Doctor keep talking, I'll go down first and wait at the gate.

Looking after Nhung, Mr. Sang sighed:

- Actually, a few months ago, there was a senior officer who came here to work, and was as young as the doctor. But maybe he couldn't stand the difficult life or maybe he wasn't used to this land so he left...

Thanh laughed:

- Oh, what do you think! Before returning to work, I also researched and determined in advance the difficulties I would encounter. Do not worry! The most important thing of all is the professional guidance for the doctors and nurses here as well as the treatment of patients, that's what I care about. Other things don't matter!

Hearing Thanh say that, Mr. Sang was visibly happy. He shook Thanh's hand profusely and thanked him and said:

- Then there's nothing better! We will create the best possible conditions for doctors to feel secure in their work. Ms. Nhung is a nurse in this department and also my cousin, the doctor can advise you and see her if you need anything. If there is something unsatisfactory, the doctor should see me directly!

Thanh replied to Mr. Sang as if talking to himself:

- This Ms. Nhung seems... confusing, difficult... to approach!

Mr. Sang smiled sadly and slowly explained:

- If there's anything wrong, I hope the doctor doesn't mind! I'm not hiding anything from you... A few months ago, he and Dr. Tuan had feelings for each other while working...

Thanh was surprised:

- Doctor Tuan? Is that the person who left like you just said...

Mr. Sang nodded slightly and continued:

- That's right...The two of them had feelings for each other. Me and everyone at the hospital thought they were about to get married. I don't know why, he suddenly got bored with his work here and even came into contact with the witch doctors. He didn't know how they persuaded him, but he seemed to believe in ghosts, then he left for the city. There was no more contact... From then on, Nhung felt like she had lost her soul due to that emotional shock, her mind was remembering and forgetting, she had no contact with anyone, she was alone all day, doing professional work. I can't do it anymore, and I don't dare let him do the nurse's job... What if something goes wrong that affects the patient...

He suddenly stopped for a moment and then sighed:

- After all, he is a family member, I transferred him to do administrative work, taking care of the staff's lives. Actually, he's very obedient and gentle. Before the incident with Dr. Tuan, he was a good nurse, but now...

Listening to Mr. Sang tell the story, Thanh understood and sympathized with Nhung's confusing attitude. He laughed:

- Yes...now I know, please rest assured. Even though she is pitiful, I hope she will regain her balance soon. Everything will pass...

***

With Thanh's right hand pulling a suitcase containing clothes and documents, with his left hand carrying a briefcase, he quickly walked towards Nhung as if afraid she would have to wait a long time. As soon as she saw Thanh, Nhung slowly approached:

- Doctor, let me carry some things for you!

Thanh stopped Nhung's hand and smiled:

- No problem! Who would let a weak girl carry things for them? I can carry them myself, I don't dare bother you.

Seeing that Nhung seemed dissatisfied, her hand still held out as if she wanted to hold it for her, Thanh looked at his briefcase containing documents and hesitated:

- Then you can hold this briefcase for me, okay?

At this moment, Nhung took the briefcase from Thanh's hand and said:

- Doctor comes back from a long business trip and brings so few things? There are so many things lacking here!

Thanh laughed:

- I also live very simply! I only brought a few sets of clothes, the rest were all medical documents...

Suddenly Nhung looked into Thanh's eyes again. She was about to say something but stopped. Thanh seemed to realize that, he said:

- It seems... do you have something to ask?

Nhung looked down slightly:

- No, nothing!

After saying that, she turned to other things, pointed forward and said:

- That is a row of dormitories for hospital staff.

Thanh looked after him and asked:

- Does everyone live there?

Nhung nodded slightly:

- Most people live there because the commute is far away, so everyone only goes home on weekends. The doctor will have a special room there, a room for officials on duty!

Thanh nodded:

- So you also live there?

- Yes, I do administrative work so I'm here for logistical convenience.

Just as he was about to say thank you to Nhung, Thanh suddenly saw a beautiful orange flower with purple tints growing along the road. Thanh stopped and was about to touch her hand when Nhung quickly pulled Thanh back, her voice seemed to shout:

- Don't touch it!

Thanh was bewildered:

- What's up?

Nhung coldly:

- This is a poisonous flower. Touching or smelling it will cause allergic poisoning. Let its sap stick to an infected wound and you will die!

Thanh widened his eyes in surprise but slowly took a few steps back. He quickly took his phone out of his pocket and took a few pictures. Thanh just dialed the phone and said:

- It's strange! It's true that people here wouldn't know, it's too dangerous!

Nhung's voice is full of mystery:

- You will gradually get used to it! There are many things here that are difficult to understand, even if you say them out loud, even the doctor won't believe them...

Thanh laughed:

- Believe it! I also read and heard a lot about poisonous plants in the mountains and forests, but I just don't believe it's about demons or some kind of magic spell...

Nhung looked at Thanh coldly:

- Who knows, maybe the doctor will believe it later...

The two stopped in front of a row of old four-level houses, the walls were pale yellow, and in some places the cement was peeling off, revealing rows of tarnished bricks.

Seeing Thanh standing in the middle of the yard, busy observing the surrounding scene, Nhung pointed to a small room to the right of where the two people were standing and said:

- The doctor is in this room, I've cleaned it up. Invite the doctor in to put your things away and rest!

Gently bowing his head in thanks, holding the key in his hand but still hesitant to enter the room, Thanh looked up, took a deep breath, paused and nodded, satisfied:

- The air here is so fresh! It's been a long time since I've felt this comfortable, so different from the noise and dust of the city.

Nhung did not respond to Thanh's words, she added:

- The dew here is very poisonous at night! The doctor should go to the room to rest to relieve fatigue. Dinner will start at 7 o'clock in the cafeteria. If you need anything, the doctor just call, I'm in the opposite room.

- Thank you Ms. Nhung!

Thanh slowly walked towards the well. Even though he understood about this nurse's story through Mr. Sang's story, there was still something wrong with Thanh's feelings about her...Thanh reached down with both hands to bucket the water. Having just been pulled up from the well, the cool water, like soaking in ice, made Thanh more alert and tried to get rid of worrying thoughts about that nurse...

***

That night, although he was quite tired after a long trip, Thanh still couldn't sleep. He sat up, took a file and placed it on a desk near the window. In the distance, the melodious sound of flutes calling for mates of Thai ethnic boys echoed, making Thanh bewildered.

Outside, the dense fog and drizzling rain make the space seem deserted, desolate, misty...

Thanh sighed softly thinking of the difficulties he would encounter, especially the situation of the patients here whose medical records Thanh had reviewed.

While focusing on the document page in front of him, Thanh shivered slightly because of the cold wind blowing in from the window.

"So cold!"

He muttered then turned back to take the shirt hanging on the hanger and put it on. Tay Thanh continuously marked important points in the book so that he could teach the doctors and nurses tomorrow morning.

Suddenly, a shadow passed quickly through the window, causing Thanh to stop writing. He raised his head to look, then stood up and looked out the window, but all around was a cold, gray fog.

Thinking for a moment, Thanh decided to close the window. The window is made of old pine wood, has no latch but is tied to iron bars with braided nylon ropes, the size of a small chopstick. Thanh stretched to relieve fatigue and continued his work. The lesson plan was prepared and carefully, Thanh smiled with satisfaction.

The night was so quiet that you could clearly hear the clock on the wall chime loudly

"Tick - Tick"

"Tick - Tick"

He looked behind him and saw the clock had struck 12 o'clock at night.

When he turned around, Thanh suddenly felt uneasy, as if someone was looking at him. In front is just a tightly tied wooden window. Thanh raised his hand and gently rubbed his temples to relieve tension.

Fifteen minutes had passed but that feeling of insecurity was still there. Thanh stood up and looked around his room again, even though when he came here in the afternoon he had already gotten used to it, the only furniture was the cabinet. small, a familiar iron medical bed of a doctor, a bookshelf hanging on the wall, an old desk and a few insignificant sundries...

Thanh sighed and slowly sat down on the chair. As soon as he looked up, Thanh was startled to see a glaring eye staring at him through a small hole in the window.

Thanh quickly stood up and looked straight at the window but couldn't see that eye anymore.

He said loudly:

- Who's that?

There was no response. Without thinking any further, Thanh's hand quickly undid the nylon rope to open the window... Outside it was still dark and quiet and of course there was no one in sight.

Thanh sat down on the chair and crossed his arms, looking out as if waiting for something.

"Or is it Miss Nhung?! But why are you looking for me at this hour? Her room is opposite this room..."

As if suddenly remembering, Thanh stood up and looked at Nurse Nhung's room. That row of houses was opposite but away from a large yard. All Thanh saw was still black, fog and cold wind.

"If she's awake, there should be a light in the room! She's probably asleep..."

Thinking for a moment, Thanh clicked his tongue and stuck his hands out with the window closed, not forgetting to tightly tie the nylon rope of the door to the iron bars.

Feeling tired, he took off his coat and was about to go to bed when the window suddenly shook as if someone outside was trying to open it...

Thanh turned around and shouted loudly:

- Who's that? What's going on?

There was still no answer, the wooden window kept vibrating. Thanh walked to the door and was about to open it and run out to see who it was, when suddenly a voice rang out, full of ghosts and chills down the spine. ..

"Don'tgg...Open...the Door..."

Thanh stopped, eyes wide open and looked around the room but saw no one. He said while breathing heavily:

- Who is it? Who...is that?

Still no answer, the window continued to vibrate stronger and stronger.

Thanh began to feel confused and a little worried, but still decided to walk towards the door. His hand had just been placed on the door latch and before he could lift it, that ghostly voice echoed in his mind:

"Don'tgggg...Open...the Door..."

"Don'tgggg...Open...the Door..."

As if urged by something, Thanh quickly withdrew his hand and stepped back, his heart beating faster and faster.

- Who? Who... out there? Is...anything...anything?

Everything suddenly fell silent, the window no longer vibrated, the room was left with only the "Tick-Tick" sound of the clock hanging on the wall.

Thanh stood still for a moment and listened, took a deep breath and exhaled slowly to calm down. He slowly walked step by step towards the desk, gently pulled the chair and sat down...

Seeing that everything was back to normal, Thanh quickly rearranged the documents on the table. Before he could put them in his briefcase, the window continued to vibrate gently, accompanied by terrifying sounds, like someone's hand. scratching at the door...

At this time, Thanh's forehead had a few drops of sweat because he felt a bit scared. His hand accidentally dropped the documents on the table, his eyes stared straight ahead.

The window shook stronger and stronger, accompanied by the sound of the wind roaring continuously. The sound of nails scratching on the window became louder and louder.

Then suddenly, as if someone outside tugged hard, the two doors suddenly burst open and hit the wall with a deafening sound.

Cold wind and mist rushed in with strange hissing sounds, causing the documents on the table to fly and scatter all over the room.

Thanh quickly stood up and raised his hands to cover his face. His body was covered in goosebumps and a chill ran down his spine. He just had time to feel the shadow of someone standing outside the window glaring at him, then let out a shrill, ghostly laugh that was deafening to his mind. Thanh saw the surrounding scene suddenly spinning, causing him to slowly fall to his knees...

***

The next morning, Thanh woke up dreamily to the voices of the people around him, he was still tired and exhausted...

- The doctor is awake! makes me so worried...

Mr. Sang helped him sit up and said. Thanh suddenly remembered what happened last night and quickly looked towards the window, everything was still intact as if nothing had happened, the documents were neatly folded on the table.

Thanh looked at Mr. Sang and asked:

- When did you come from? Did...did you see anything?

Mr. Sang was bewildered by Thanh's attitude and then slowly said:

- I woke up early in the morning and came here. I saw the doctor sleeping on the desk and I was so worried! Documents are scattered all over the room. Ms. Nhung has cleaned it up carefully. The doctor must have caught a cold last night...

Thanh jumped up and ran out, flipping the window over and over as if looking for something.

Mr. Sang stood behind and smiled:

- There was a strong thunderstorm last night! Open all the windows, I'll have someone fix it later. Doctor, how do you feel?

Thanh didn't hear Mr. Sang's question, he was busy recalling the strange thing that happened last night. Suddenly, Thanh panicked and looked at the window:

- Where...where is the hole? There's a hole here...

Mr. Sang approached, his hands gently patted the doors and said:

- Why are there any holes? Although this door is old, it is not broken, doctor!

Thanh also looked again and again, there was indeed no hole at all. He stood there hesitantly because he didn't understand whether what happened last night was a dream or real.

Mr. Sang patted Thanh's shoulder to comfort him and then gently pulled him into the room:

- The wind and fog are so toxic here, doctor! Not like down below. The doctor has traveled a long way and is not familiar with the weather here, so he must be daydreaming...

Thanh sat down on the chair, he looked out the window, a fresh and cool dawn, the sounds of talking mixed with the laughter of a few people in the yard made Thanh feel light, he laughed out loud:

- Strange! It's true that a special dream coincided with last night's thunderstorm...I thought something was going on!

Thanh felt a little embarrassed but didn't dare tell Mr. Sang. He said:

- I worked too late last night so I... Please let me apologize to everyone. Early this afternoon, we will officially lecture and directly examine patients. It's so annoying everyone!

Mr. Thanh waved his hand:

- That's dead! It's okay, doctor, just rest well and go to the ward tomorrow, there's no problem! The most important thing is the doctor's health.

Thanh held the document and said:

- I'm fine, it's just that I was very tired yesterday. I'm also anxious to get to work... Just announce that we'll start this afternoon.

Mr. Sang was happy:

- Great! Doctor, let's have breakfast. This porridge is very good for relieving colds. Eat it while it's hot. Ms. Nhung cooks just for you!

Thanh opened the lid of the box and saw a pungent aroma rising up, making him feel refreshed. Thanh invited Mr. Sang to eat with him and scooped up a small spoonful.

Mouth mumbling:

- I'm so sorry Ms. Nhung!

Mr. Sang introduced:

- Doctor, just eat naturally! This is mac velvet porridge, a specialty of the Northwest. There's a little bit of smoked meat, a little ginger and lemongrass, a little grilled chili and especially mac velvet fruit. Maybe down here you probably haven't enjoyed this dish yet...

Thanh nodded while eating:

- Tasty! According to oriental medicine, these are also very good medicines for health.

Mr. Sang was happy and then looked at his watch:

- Tonight we will have a meal of grilled fish, bitter bamboo shoots, smoked buffalo meat and can't help but drink a little Sau chit wine. Is that okay, doctor?!

Thanh shrugged happily:

- What's better than that!

Mr. Sang patted Thanh's shoulder and asked permission:

- Doctor, please rest well. I'll go back to the hospital for a briefing with you guys. See you later this afternoon!

Looking at Mr. Sang's figure until he disappeared, Thanh still smiled because he remembered what happened last night.

"It's okay to go all over the world, but when you come back here, your soul will be crushed!"

He muttered.

***

- This is patient Lo Van Muon, 38 years old, from Tay Khao. Hospitalized for 10 days with mental symptoms, often smashing, screaming and claiming to be the god Pu Then...

Thanh looked through the medical record, held the stethoscope in hand to examine the patient, then wrote in the medical record and instructed the nurse:

- She gave the patient Phenytoin, 3 times a day, no more than 400mg/day. Combine with other medications according to this prescription, dose for 7 days to control seizures. Then I will provide an individual treatment regimen.

The group of doctors walking next to each other competed to take notes and learn how to examine and prescribe medicine from Dr. Thanh.

- Doctor, this is patient Luong Van Nieng, 68 years old from the Muong ethnic group. This patient has symptoms of paranoia and always believes that he is being harmed by evil spells...

Thanh moved closer and was about to use the stethoscope to examine him when suddenly Mr. Nieng grabbed Thanh's hand tightly, his voice as if pleading for help:

- Save...save...me!

Thanh slowly sat down next to the patient:

- Just calm down! Our doctors will try our best to help you, but you must cooperate in order for your condition to heal quickly...Calm down, calm down...

His eyes still did not leave Thanh, even though his hands were looser after Thanh's words, he continued to examine:

- Your name is Nieng, right?

As soon as he heard Thanh's question, the man clutched his hand tightly and shook his head vigorously, his eyes sparkling as if he was about to cry:

- Nooooo! Nooooo...Help...Talisman...charm

Seeing that the patient's actions seemed to be losing his temper, the doctors and nurses next to him quickly stepped in and removed their hands for fear of hurting Dr. Thanh.

Thanh stood up and looked at this person's medical record. He pondered for a moment and then took a pen to mark some of the patient's symptoms. Thanh took a stethoscope and placed it on his chest to examine him and then checked his eyes and mouth:

- The patient has no negative signs of physical health, however the nerves are too agitated, the jaw muscles seem tense, the mouth is distorted so he cannot speak much. There may be mild brain hemorrhage leading to difficulty speaking.

Thanh took notes in the medical record and then asked the patient:

- You still heard the questions I asked, right?

The patient nodded continuously, still looking at Thanh for help.

- Good! So is your name Nieng? Muong ethnic people?

The patient jumped up and grabbed Thanh's hand, startling him. His head shook violently:

- Baaaa... Ngai... Help!!!

The doctors quickly grabbed the patient and pulled him back to the bed. Thanh thoughtfully observed the patient and then sighed:

- This patient has symptoms of schizophrenia and mild stroke. In this case, I will pay attention and later I will have a meeting with you guys to come up with a plan. This disease requires a lot of time to treat and should be placed in a special ward, absolutely avoiding agitation...

Thanh approached and patted the patient's shoulder and reassured him:

- Don't worry, I promise to have the best treatment for you. But don't think too much, there are no ghosts or spells at all! There are only doctors and nurses here, all of whom will help you recover soon.

As soon as he heard the doctor's words, patient Nien struggled and screamed, his eyes widened and he looked at Thanh, who began to have convulsions. Thanh quickly ordered the nurse to inject a dose of sedative to help the patient sleep.

Seeing that Mr. Nieng's condition was temporarily stable, Thanh returned to the meeting room with other doctors and nurses.

- In my opinion, patient Nieng's case is quite serious. Does anyone know about his living situation?

Doctor Loan raised his hand and said:

- I was the person who directly treated this patient before the doctor returned to work and also knew about Mr. Nieng's situation, he worked as a Shaman, specializing in worship and making charms. He did not get married, but did adopt a daughter. When she was 13 years old, she did not understand what happened, but after going to the forest to pick medicine, she disappeared. He said it was captured by a forest ghost. A year later, Mr. Nieng also went crazy like this. The villagers said he was betrayed by a spell, so he did that to him. We had to persuade his younger brother to agree to bring Mr. Nieng here for treatment...

Thanh listened while continuously taking notes in the medical record:

- I understand, tomorrow morning before giving medicine according to my regimen, Dr. Loan will take the patient to perform paraclinical tests such as blood count, electrocardiogram, ionogram, blood glucose, liver function. , kidneys and thyroid. In case the patient does not cooperate or refuses to do the test, give antipsychotic medication before the test.

Thanh received the cup of tea from the nurse's hand, took a small sip and said thoughtfully:

- I am also surprised that there is so much belief in charms in every patient here. Even disappearances and even deaths depend on the spiritual world without the intervention of the law...

Doctor Loan smiled sadly:

- It's really difficult! It is also a unique cultural feature of ethnic minorities. The characteristics of some ethnic groups are migration. They often live deep in the forest or at the foot of the mountains. When the harvest ends, they go elsewhere, making management difficult. The number of people who die in deep forests from wild animals, snake bites, or when they go to pick medicine and fall from the mountains is also high. They even die for a long time before their family members discover...

***

That night, after dinner with the doctors and nurses at the dormitory, Thanh slowly walked back to his room, slightly dizzy from the alcohol. Before he could open the door, Thanh suddenly remembered the window. He went over to look to see if there were any holes like last night...Thanh smiled and gently patted his forehead.

Suddenly remembering Nhung's room, Thanh turned around and walked across the large yard to her room to ask.

Thanh raised his hand to knock on the door but discovered that the door was locked. Thanh stood hesitantly for a moment then turned back. As soon as he looked back, Thanh was suddenly startled because Nhung had been standing behind him for a while, her eyes were cold. look at him...

Thanh was confused:

- You... you're back? I was about to go and inquire.

As he spoke, Thanh suddenly saw that Nhung's left hand was carrying a black bag that looked like it contained something a bit heavy. Even though it was dark, Thanh immediately recognized that bag as a medical waste bag. Seeing Thanh's attention, Nhung raised her hand to hide the bag behind her and said:

- I just went on some errands...Is there anything wrong?

Thanh was a bit surprised, his eyes still glanced at Nhung's attitude from time to time:

- Ah... Last night... did you come to... my room to look for me?

About the window and the shadow of the person last night, although Thanh did not know whether he was awake or unconscious, he still wanted to meet Nhung to confirm again.

Nhung approached her door but didn't unlock it. It seemed like she didn't want to let Thanh inside. She stood in front of the door and said:

- Are not! You must be wrong, I slept early last night. Maybe last night the wind knocked on the door so you thought someone was calling?!

Thanh nodded slightly:

- Ah... sure, I thought someone was looking for me so I asked again just to be sure. I've been so busy since this afternoon that I only met her now. I don't dare bother you anymore, I'm going back to my room!

Nhung suddenly said:

- Put your changed clothes in the wooden box in front of the room. Every day I will have someone pick them up and wash them. In the mornings when he comes into the department to examine patients, he leaves the door open so I can let someone in to clean up. If you want to visit the lives of the people around here, let me know.

Thanh felt happier after Nhung's words:

- Thank you, you're so thoughtful. I'll see how things go and then bother you later.

As he walked back to Thanh's room, he whistled, clasped the door latch inside and walked towards the window. The nylon rope that broke last night has been replaced with a sturdy iron hook. Thanh smiled and placed his hand on the window and muttered:

"Why the hell did I dream last night that there was a hole in here?!"

Thanh clicked his tongue and turned off the light. As he climbed into bed, he remembered that he had forgotten to close the window, fearing another wind gust like yesterday, so he sat up again. As soon as he reached out the window with both hands, Thanh suddenly saw that Nhung's room still had the light on. She was standing in front of the door, her head looking around. Feeling that this girl's actions were somewhat shady, Thanh followed curiously.

About ten minutes later, she turned back to the front door. Through the electric light in the room, Thanh noticed that she had changed into different clothes. The surprising thing was that the outfit Nhung was wearing was from the Tay Dam ethnic group, her hair was High bun on top of head. Seemingly sneaky, she went back into the room and picked up the black bag from before then quickly walked out the gate of the dormitory.

Thanh looked after her, but the field of view from the window wasn't wide enough to see out the gate, so he didn't know who she was with and what she was doing with that black bag.

Thinking and wondering about the incomprehensible actions of this girl named Nhung for a while, Thanh sighed and closed the window.

"I'm too curious about other people's personal matters, anyway it has nothing to do with me"

Thanh muttered and climbed into bed. Tonight's alcohol made him sleepy early. Even though it was just after 10pm, his eyelids were already heavy. Thanh put aside the thoughts lingering in his head and slept soundly...

***

It's been almost three months. Everything went very normally, Thanh's work was also quite smooth. Patients treated by Thanh have made remarkable progress. In addition, he and other doctors also went to the village to examine and mobilize people to take their family members to the hospital for treatment. Each patient treated by Thanh showed good signs of recovery...

While discussing with the doctors in the room, a group of about 7 or 8 people with smiling faces but looking hesitant entered the room.

- Dear Doctor Thanh, these are patients and their families, today the doctor ordered them to be discharged from the hospital so they want to come in to say hello and thank you!

Thanh nodded slightly in response after the nurse's words.

The sound of a woman speaking the chant was not yet clear, looking at Thanh with excitement:

- The family has some wild bamboo shoots to give to officials...!

Seeing their sincere and enthusiastic attitude, Thanh happily accepted the gift bag and instructed:

- Today our department has 4 patients discharged from the hospital. The condition can be called stable, but the family still needs to monitor further and continue taking medication as prescribed. You should try to maintain a comfortable spirit, avoid strong emotions and absolutely do not go to shamans for treatment, otherwise the illness will get worse. We also try to educate people and advise them to come to our doctors for timely treatment.

The medical team is all satisfied and happy with the progress in patient treatment at the department. Family members as well as patients have put more trust in the doctors since Thanh came to work.

Thanh opened the medical records, read each patient's name and said:

- These patients can be sent home for self-monitoring in about 7 days. Avoid overcrowding hospital beds, go home and take medicine as prescribed, which will help them feel more comfortable and recover faster. My working time here is about to end. I have also conveyed and handed over specific treatment regimens for each group of patients to Dr. Loan. I hope you will continue to apply and develop them. it's better...

Everyone was cheering and clapping when the nurse ran in and said:

- Doctor, patient Luong Van Nieng's family wants to take the patient home. We advised them but to no avail, they had already moved their things to the gate...

Thanh quickly put down his paper and pen and ran after...

Mr. Nieng was sitting in the carriage. As soon as he saw Thanh, he quickly turned around, his eyes still looking at him desperately as if he wanted to say something. Thanh called out but they didn't stop the car...

Mr. Sang sighed and went to comfort Thanh:

- If they don't agree to cooperate with us in treatment anymore, there's nothing we can do, doctor. People here are like that, if they keep them they will destroy them or commit more dangerous actions...

Thanh smiled sadly:

- Today, there was also a patient with the same condition as Mr. Nieng who was discharged from the hospital and returned home to self-treat with medication. With the same condition, one patient improved, the other did not...

Mr. Sang put his arm around Thanh's shoulder and slowly walked into the department:

- Maybe Mr. Nieng used to be a shaman, he specialized in using charms, so after going crazy, he had no faith in modern medicine, so his illness got worse. Now he doesn't even recognize his family members and brothers, constantly thinking that he is under a spell... Don't be sad, doctor, no matter how dedicated a doctor is to his profession, everyone understands.

Thanh nodded slightly to thank Mr. Sang, but in his heart he was still haunted by Mr. Nieng's eyes, which seemed to contain many things he wanted to say that could not be uttered to him...

Although Thanh has not been working here for a long time, Thanh has treated this group of patients and had many very positive results, which seems to be some consolation for him...

Thanh walked slowly along the familiar road where he had been familiar with for nearly 3 months. The mountain and forest scenery here has gradually become familiar to me. In a few days, after the business trip ends, he will return to the noisy, bustling city. Thanh sat down on a patch of weeds along the roadside, feeling a bit uneasy about having to leave here...

- Doctor Thanh! I went to the department to look for a doctor but couldn't find one...

Seeing Nhung approaching him, Thanh quickly stood up:

- What's up? I went for a walk to relieve stress...

Nhung hesitated:

- I...I want to ask the doctor something, is it okay?

This time I didn't see Nhung looking straight into my eyes like usual. Thanh nodded slightly and replied:

- If I can help, I will do it immediately. What's the matter?

Nhung was confused as if she didn't know where to start. She whispered:

- Can we talk while walking?

Thanh nodded. The two of them slowly walked towards the hill in front of them.

After walking a while, Nhung said:

- Can I ask a doctor to examine a patient? As long as the doctor doesn't ask me how they have sex and don't tell anyone that I asked the doctor to examine that boy...

Thanh was surprised:

- Why don't you tell them to bring the patient to our hospital? That will be more convenient for examination and treatment.

Nhung seemed confused:

- This case is special...

Seeing Thanh's still surprised expression, Nhung slowly explained but her eyes did not look towards Thanh:

- This boy, 27 years old, from Tay Dam, once went to pick peanut medicine in a restricted area on the mountain and was bitten by a snake god...

As soon as he heard Nhung speak, Thanh suddenly thought of the ethnic clothes that Nhung wore and secretly carried the black bag last night. Thanh was about to ask when he remembered Nhung told him not to ask about their relationship...

Thanh laughed:

- From the way you talk, it seems like you also believe in ghost stories, right?

Nhung suddenly turned to look at Thanh, her eyes widened:

- Believe it! Well... that's also the culture of... here...

Seeing her attitude, Thanh did not dare mention superstition, he asked:

- Do you know what kind of snake bites?

- God Cobra...

Thanh was shocked:

- Then take him to the emergency hospital immediately! Otherwise, it could be life-threatening...

Nhung remained calm:

- It's been 5 months...

Thanh was surprised:

- 5 months? Then...

Thanh mumbled something and continued:

- According to my inference, after being bitten by a poisonous snake, the patient will experience total body paralysis, blood clotting disorders, even brain hemorrhage... and then die.

Nhung coldly:

- That's right, many people have been bitten by the snake god and died, but that person... is still alive. Has been treated with traditional medicine and charms. It's just that he was paralyzed in the lower half of his body.

Thanh sighed:

- If this case is taken immediately to the hospital, the chance of a complete cure is very high. It's been too long...Believing in charms will only make him lose the chance to be cured...So what do you want me to do?

Nhung's voice was languid:

- After being bitten by the snake god, he became paranoid, did not recognize anyone, and was often afraid. I want the doctor to come and examine and treat him, maybe he will regain consciousness, that's good...

Thanh nodded:

- I'll go back down the road the day after tomorrow, so it's only tomorrow evening. However, I have conveyed the treatment method for this group of patients to the department. They will continue to do it for me and develop it better. I'm just worried that the patient's family won't agree to take their child to the hospital for monitoring, which will be very difficult...

Nhung reassured:

- When the doctor came here, everyone knew the language, they trusted him more. As long as the doctor comes to examine me in person, I think they will listen...Do you agree?

Thanh hesitated for a moment, then nodded. He raised his finger and muttered calculatingly:

- Okay! This evening Mr. Sang is holding a farewell party for everyone at the hospital. Tomorrow morning I will examine and re-check the patient's condition. Tomorrow afternoon I will hand over the books and see if everyone has any questions, then I will go there with you to visit that patient. Consider this the last patient I will examine before leaving.

Nhung expressed her joy:

- Thank you doctor! Tomorrow evening we will ride a horse-drawn carriage down to their village...

Thanh observed Nhung and wondered:

- Sorry...Are you from Tay Dam?

The reason why Thanh asked that was because the ethnic costume Nhung wore and carried the black bag that night made him confused, even seeing something shady...

Nhung suddenly hesitated before Thanh's question, her voice confused:

- Ah...ummm! no, no... I'm also from the lowlands, came here with my family to work... then settled down and worked...

Thanh also intended to ask about Dr. Tuan, who came here to work before him, about why Dr. Tuan panicked and left and stopped contacting her, but saw that the girl's attitude seemed confused. So I stopped, Thanh quickly said:

- Well, let's go back to the department, I'll finish some work and prepare for the afternoon farewell party with everyone...

***

That evening, the Hospital held a special party to say goodbye to Dr. Thanh right in the hospital's courtyard. In addition to the specialty dishes of the Northwest mountains and forests, Thanh also witnessed the Khen dance, bamboo dance, Xoe dance around the fire, and wine can of the medical team here.

Having never seen it with his own eyes, Thanh seemed extremely interested.

Seeing that, Mr. Sang warmly put his arm around Thanh's shoulder and introduced:

- This is a typical Xoe dance of the Northwestern people. In the past, there were up to 32 Xoe dances, but now there are only a few remaining. The doctor is watching the hat spreading dance, very beautiful and graceful, right?

Thanh sipped wine and nodded in approval:

- I must say that our doctors and nurses are talented, their dancing is so beautiful! Are they Thai people, or do they just dance for fun?

Mr. Sang smiled and pointed:

- Most of the girls in this dance group are Thai and work at the hospital!

Even though Thanh had not asked, Mr. Sang also told more about the unique characteristics of this ethnic group so that Thanh could understand...

- Pay attention! A woman with her hair tied in a high bun on the top of her head like that, also known as Tang Cau, means that she is married. That's the easiest way to recognize it, like those of us who are married often wear our wedding ring on our index finger.

While chatting happily, Thanh suddenly saw an elderly woman outside the gate, holding a stick in her hand, looking in.

Thanh asked Mr. Sang:

- Looks like someone went to the hospital?!

Mr. Sang also looked out and smiled:

- Mrs. Que! The wife of Mr. Type of shaman, this woman is very fierce. When people see it, they stay away. She always helped her husband catch animals to get fresh blood to practice some kind of charm. Just ignore her!

Thanh wondered:

- But she must know someone here to...

Mr. Sang pulled Thanh back and explained:

- I don't know anyone, or rather, no one dares to know anyone! A few months ago, the mother and her son went to the forest to look for wormwood. Her son was bitten by a poisonous snake. When we heard about it, we also asked the people nearby to advise him to take him to the hospital for treatment, but the couple did not listen and kept treating him with medicine. Homemade medicine and worship, that boy is now paralyzed. It's a sin but I don't know what else to do...

Thanh was startled when he heard Mr. Sang tell the story. It turned out that what Nhung asked Thanh this afternoon was related to this old woman.

Seeing Thanh nodding continuously, Mr. Sang asked:

- What's wrong, doctor? Maybe the doctor knows this person?

Remembering Nhung's instructions not to tell anyone, Thanh hesitated:

- Oh no! How familiar...

As he spoke, Thanh turned his head to look back but could no longer see the old woman.

Thanh hesitated and then asked:

- Do you believe in witchcraft?

Mr. Sang sighed:

- Honestly, it's very difficult to explain! As is the case with Mr. Type of making this charm, many people from everywhere come to him to ask for a spell. Recently, there have been many big business people coming back...

Thanh wondered:

- For what?

Mr. Sang mused:

- Many people believe that being harmed by wormwood makes them sick and their business is not favorable. They came to ask Mr. Kieu to explain it to them. They heard about many mysterious things, such as holding a few chicken eggs and rolling them around a person possessed by worms, and when they peeled the eggs, they were full of hair, fish hooks, razors, etc. .

Thanh rolled his eyes:

- So are those people cured?

Mr. Sang nodded:

- Of course it's okay! Then this person introduced him to the other person, so many people came to see him. Even officials came to Mr. Kieu to ask for amulets. I don't necessarily believe it, but I also avoid contact with those people... It's better to be careful!

Thanh laughed:

- Tired! I think each of them told a story and added some things to make it more thrilling and magical...

I don't know if it's because of Thanh's high level of expertise and always being enthusiastic in guiding people here that he is loved, or if it's because the nature of the people in this area is hospitable that everyone is reluctant to come to greet and give gifts. gifts and appeared sad when he learned that Thanh had to return to the countryside.

In response to that sentiment, Thanh drank a lot of alcohol. Although Can wine did not cause dizziness and when drunk, it did not cause discomfort in the body like other types of alcohol, Thanh still felt lightheaded and flying.

Thanh asked everyone to go back to the room to rest first because he felt sleepy. He staggered back to the row of dormitories, the unique scent of the mountains and forests made him have mixed emotions that were hard to describe. Returning to the door, it took a moment for my trembling hands to open the lock.

I don't know what Thanh was thinking, but he remembered going down to the village to check on patients tomorrow afternoon with Nhung. He didn't rush into the room but turned around and went to her room.

Seeing a figure huddled in front of Nhung's room, Thanh said loudly:

- Do something?

A woman in her mid-60s, with long, frosted hair, a fierce expression, was holding a bamboo stick with her wrist as if trying to pry open the door to Nhung's room. It was Mrs. Que that Thanh had just heard the story about from Mr. Sang.

Hearing Thanh's voice, the woman turned around and stared at him, stammering:

- Doctor... doctor... doctor!

Thanh moved closer:

- Yes! I'm Doctor Thanh, what are you doing here? Are you looking for Miss Nhung?

As soon as she heard Thanh's words, she quickly approached, her face fierce, her hand holding a stick as if to threaten. His mouth twitched as if he wanted to say something but it was difficult.

Thanh was surprised by the old woman's incomprehensible attitude, but through observation, although she was old, her body was still quite healthy, only her mouth seemed stiff and could not speak naturally.

Thanh gently:

- She may need my help? Actually, I already know about your son. Tomorrow afternoon, Ms. Nhung and I will come to examine him.

Mrs. Que was panicked, her eyes widened fiercely, her hand holding a stick as if she wanted to chase Thanh away:

- No...no...need. Get out... get out...

Thanh took a few steps back and calmly explained:

- Don't worry! I will find a cure for him...

Mrs. Que swung her stick at Thanh with a voice as if she wanted to scream, causing him to dodge:

- Nooooo! Noggg!

Thanh shook his head in frustration and said loudly:

- If you continue to blindly believe in charms, your child will never be cured, why do you still not understand until now...

Mrs. Que shook her head repeatedly and then gradually retreated towards the gate, Thanh stood watching and sighing until her shaky shadow had completely disappeared...

***

Thanh sadly returned to his room, locked the door, changed his clothes and went to bed. So many thoughts kept appearing in his head, making Thanh unable to sleep. He slowly sat up and walked to the desk, turned on the desk lamp, Thanh slowly opened each document page...

He was wondering in his heart, wondering if he should come see the doctor tomorrow afternoon or not for Mrs. Que's son. Her fierce attitude as well as the stories Thanh heard about her from Mr. Sang made him very unsympathetic.

"Having already agreed to Ms. Nhung's invitation, it's difficult to change. After all, in the past few months here, Nhung has enthusiastically helped and taken care of me. But if their family members don't want to cooperate and then drive them away like that..."

Thanh muttered to himself, his professional conscience made him more determined. He took a pen and marked each line of psychotropic drugs and made a treatment plan. Even though his mind was still lightheaded from the jar of wine tonight, Thanh still tried to keep his mind stable so it wouldn't affect his work.

While concentrating on taking notes, Thanh suddenly stopped when he heard a noise outside the window...

That sound got louder and louder, it was the sound of someone's fingernails scratching the window and then emitting creepy noises in the middle of the night. Thanh slowly held the table lamp and shined it towards the window. As soon as the light shined on it, Thanh suddenly shivered when he saw a hole appeared in the window...

Too surprised, Thanh dropped the lamp on the table and stood up, leaning back slightly, still looking at the hole in panic.

As if he still couldn't believe his eyes, Thanh shook his head vigorously to wake up. After rubbing his eyes, the hole was still there in the dim light of the fallen desk lamp.

The sound of scratching on the door became faster and faster, making Thanh feel cold.

"Am I awake or dreaming..."

Thanh's lips began to tremble slightly.

"It can't be a ghost! It can't be..."

- Who's that? – He shouted.

After Thanh's words, that horrible sound suddenly fell silent...Thanh mustered all his courage and quickly walked towards the window as if not giving himself time to think too much, he pushed the window latch and opened it. ..

- Who's out there?

Hearing no answer, Thanh breathed a sigh of relief at this point... It was still like any other night outside, only fog and cold wind... Seeing that his mood had calmed down, Thanh reached out for the door. to close it, suddenly a cold hand grabbed his hand and pulled it out... Too surprised and frightened, Thanh used all his strength to struggle to pull it back. He felt the other hand, dry and cold as stone with sharp nails pressing tightly into his arm...

- Let it go...Let it go!

Thanh tried to scream. When he pulled his hand in, he fell backwards to the ground. Sharp claws scratched his left arm, causing Thanh to bleed and sting...Thanh staggered to his feet and rushed towards the door, intending to open it. Finally, a chilling voice echoed in my head, just like the first night here:

"Don'tgg...open...the dooraa"

"Don'tgg...open...the dooraa"

Thanh gasped and heard each sound clearly. He raised his hand and patted his head hard to escape that ghostly voice, then flipped the door latch and rushed out...

There was still no one outside, only the sounds of insects and the sounds of wild animals hunting at night echoed from the nearby forest. Thanh hugged his bleeding arm and ran out into the yard and looked around, but he was the only one standing there...

Feeling cold from standing under the thick night dew, Thanh slowly entered the room and quickly bolted the door...

As soon as he turned around, Thanh was startled and screamed in horror when he saw a headless girl standing right in front of him, she was wearing the costume of the Tay Dam ethnic group, her neck was still oozing blood. Fresh blood flows down his body, stream by stream...

Too frightened by what he was seeing, Thanh's teeth vibrated and made a clicking sound. His mouth stuttered, he couldn't say a word, his face was pale, his mind was in utter panic, his legs wanted to run away but they kept falling down and felt heavy. Suddenly, the girl raised her hands towards Thanh as if she wanted to strangle him. Thanh fell to his knees, slowly dragging his body backwards, mouth mumbling without making a sound. His hand reached for the door behind him, found the latch, then ran back out until his head hit the ground...

***

- Last night, you guys were so enthusiastic about serving me alcohol that I made the doctor drunk. That's how special ethnic wine is, sometimes after drinking it, it doesn't seep into your body until you go home...

Thanh's face was still pensive because of what happened last night. He had never encountered such strange things, especially the same two times, so he was both wondering and worried. He has always denied stories about ghosts, but now he suddenly has some doubts about the existence of the spiritual world...

Thanh did not answer Mr. Sang but sighed:

- Where were you lying when I came in?

Thanh's question just wanted to confirm whether what happened last night was a dream or reality.

Mr. Sang widened his eyes in surprise and then laughed:

- Huh? So the doctor was really drunk so he didn't remember anything. In the morning, when I entered the room, the door and window were still open. I thought the doctor had woken up early somewhere. When I looked in, I saw him lying on the bed, muttering something, so I called him up. The weather at night in the mountains is very cold. According to folk opinion, the dew and wind here are very toxic. It's been nearly 20 years since I came here to live and work and I'm still afraid of it...

Thanh glanced slightly towards the window and muttered something. What happened this time made him half-believe and doubtful.

He was tired and his mouth was still bitter, so Thanh didn't want to eat breakfast yet.

A group of people carried many bags, boxes, fruit, wine... all the specialties of the highlands into Thanh's room.

- This is a little gift from me personally as well as my brothers and sisters in the treatment department. Ms. Nhung has packed it carefully in her bag. Tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. the car will be here to take the doctor back home. I'm sad and miss the doctor so much...

Seeing that Mr. Sang's voice was a bit nostalgic, Thanh stood up and shook hands to thank him:

- Thank you! This afternoon I visited the department again and then went to do some work in the village. I will contact you if there is anything and I will definitely come back here to work when I have the opportunity, please rest assured. Having been here for three months, there are so many beautiful memories of this land...

Mr. Sang wondered:

- Where are you going, doctor? Do you need me to come with you?

Thanh smiled sadly:

- I'm just going to visit some sick people in the village, someone will come pick me up. I'll be home early after work tonight!

Seeing Mr. Sang off at the gate of the dormitory, Thanh slowly walked back to the room, his mind still unable to escape the events that happened last night. He sat down on the bed absent-mindedly, his hands gently rubbing his temples.

Suddenly Thanh panicked when he saw that on his arm there were still 5 scratched and darkened nail marks.

Thanh stood up and ran out the door until it was bright and looked closely at the wound on his arm.

"So was last night a dream or was it true?! Why is this...?"

He quickly went back to open the suitcase to get antiseptic and cotton gauze to bandage his forearm. Although the scratch no longer felt as painful as last night, it was still haunting his thoughts, making Thanh feel anxious and confused. Bringing between reality and virtuality...

***

Thanh looked at the clock on the wall and it was 5pm. It was time for Nhung to go down to the hospital to visit the doctor. Even though he had prepared documents and a bag of medicine, he was still a little hesitant when he knew he was about to go to the hospital. treat a special family. Mr. Kieu, a shaman specializing in worship and making charms. Mrs. Que, a fierce woman, and their son, who is paralyzed and shows signs of schizophrenia...

While thinking, Thanh muttered:

"What is Nhung's relationship with this family's son? Why do you want me to keep it a secret from anyone...?"

Thanh smacked his lips and looked at the pile of things that had been carefully packed and ready for him to return to the city early tomorrow morning.

Hearing a knock outside his door, Thanh glanced at his watch again and nodded vigorously to become more determined.

"That's it for today..."

Thanh carried his bag and walked towards the door of the room. Just as he placed his hand on the door latch and was about to open it, a strange voice rang out again...

"Don't...Open...the Door..."

Thanh shivered and turned his head to look around the room... Of course there was no one there but himself.

- What's wrong with your mind?

Thanh sighed heavily, his hands continued to turn the wooden door latch...

"Don'tgg...open...the dooraa"

"Don'tgg...open...the dooraa"

That mysterious, ghostly voice rang out every time the door was about to be opened by Thanh.

"It's only after 5pm! Could it be that I'm hallucinating..."

While thinking, the knock on the door became louder, startling Thanh slightly. He calmly opened the door.

- Are you ready, doctor? The car is waiting outside the gate...

Nhung stood in front of the door, still looking coldly at Thanh, but her mouth still smiled and asked him.

Thanh nodded slightly and slowly followed Nhung...

The horse-drawn carriage drove through a large rice field and followed small winding dirt roads to bring Thanh down to the village. When people here saw Thanh, they all wondered, pointed and smiled happily, making him feel happier.

The stilt houses attracted Thanh's attention. He continuously raised his phone to take pictures when he saw a group of ethnic children playing under the stilt houses, the rising kitchen smoke from the houses mixed with the The mist makes the scene more poetic and warm...

Being busy admiring the scenery made Thanh's mood completely forget the confusing things that happened last night. He turned to ask Nhung:

- How old is Ms. Nhung this year?

Nhung was thinking about something. Hearing Thanh's question, she suddenly hesitated:

- I...I'm 22 years old. What about doctors?

Thanh smiled and replied:

- Young! That's 10 years younger than me.

Nhung suddenly appeared happy, she looked at Thanh from top to bottom and said:

- The doctor is young but very good...

Realizing that it was getting dark, Thanh wondered:

- Are you coming soon? It took more than an hour, right?

Nhung pointed forward:

- The house is at the foot of the mountain ahead, doctor!

The car stopped at the foot of the mountain, Thanh saw a small, old house in front of him. Seeing Nhung talking to the carriage driver, Thanh slowly stood and observed the surroundings.

"This stilt house seems to be located isolated in a deserted place like this, it must be the residence of a witch doctor!"

Thanh looked and muttered.

The floor of this stilt house is about 2 meters high. The roof was shaped like a turtle shell and on the roof was something like a horn used for decoration, but because it was too dark, he couldn't see clearly. The main materials of the house are wood and bamboo stems...

- Doctor, go upstairs!

Nhung pointed to the wooden stairs in front of Thanh and said. He nodded slightly in thanks then stepped back to invite Nhung to go first, but she didn't say anything but went to the other side and climbed another staircase opposite Thanh.

The feeling when entering Thanh's house is indescribably mysterious. As soon as she stepped inside, Mrs. Que saw Thanh and screamed, then held a bamboo stick and ran towards a person lying in the right corner of the floor. The dim light of the stove makes the house's scenery even more gloomy and scary.

Thanh slowly approached the place where the boy was lying...

Mrs. Que suddenly helped him sit up, one hand pointed towards Thanh and said something.

Thanh sat down next to the boy, opened her bag and took out her stethoscope to examine, when suddenly Mrs. Que picked up the stick, her face was fierce, her eyes were fierce as if she was wary...

- This is the patient I told the doctor about...

Nhung has been standing behind since when and introduced. Seeing that Mrs. Que's attitude seemed to be losing her temper, Thanh reassured her:

- Don't worry! We didn't do anything to harm him, I just came here to examine him and give him medicine... just calm down...

The young man stared at Thanh with panicked eyes. He did a quick examination and then shook his head sadly...

"Why do so many people suffer from this disease?" - he muttered.

Thanh checked the patient's eyes and mouth and asked:

- You still hear and understand what I say, right?

A fairly young man, pale skin, haggard face, absent-minded eyes looked at Thanh without blinking...

Seeing his son nod slightly, he continued asking:

- Do you remember who you are? What's your name? And how old?

He suddenly trembled, his eyes showing panic, clutching Thanh's hand tightly:

- Nooooo! Buaaaa.

Mrs. Que hugged him tightly and nodded repeatedly, pointing towards the altar room...

Thanh thought for a moment then nodded:

- Just stay calm! I got it...

Having said that, Thanh slowly stood up and walked towards the altar with incense smoke, a large bowl was covered on a plate, a few talismans painted with strange shapes were scattered around. In the middle was something round covered with a red cloth.

Feeling something mysterious, Thanh took a few steps back and walked towards the fire where Nhung sat. She poured a bowl of water and gave it to Thanh:

- Doctor, drink some water...

Thanh gave Nhung a piece of paper with the names of special medicines and said:

- She let the patient take this prescription medicine for about a week. Trying to get to the treatment department is best...

Thanh drank the entire bowl of water in one gulp because he was thirsty. It tasted bitter and a bit acrid. He looked around and suddenly saw a black bag containing medical waste crumpled up and thrown next to the fire...At this moment, Thanh suddenly remembered the bag Nhung secretly carried that night...

Suddenly feeling a bit scared, Thanh asked:

- What kind of water has that strange taste?

She smiled mysteriously:

- The water is made from leaves...

- This house... what about Mr. Kieu?

Nhung was surprised:

- How do you know?

- I've heard that Mr. Kieu is a shaman and specializes in using charms?

Nhung nodded slightly and stared at him:

- That's right...you'll know everything anyway. Wait a minute...

Then she stood up and left.

Thanh was wondering when he heard Mrs. Que's cry and the young man's scream.

He quickly ran towards them. Seeing that the young man had symptoms of convulsions, Thanh quickly opened the bag and took out some medicine. He squeezed the young man's mouth and put a few pills in even though he resisted...

- Calm down, don't growl like that!

Thanh looked at Mrs. Que and said loudly:

- Hold your mouth tightly, be careful not to bite your tongue, it's very dangerous...

Seeing that the young man refused to swallow the medicine, Thanh looked around the house looking for water. He ran back to the stove, holding the kettle and pouring water into the bowl, but it was all gone.

Seeing a large pot boiling on the stove, he reached into the lid and slowly opened it...

Suddenly Thanh screamed in horror and fell backwards when he saw a girl's head being boiled in it, her eyes still wide open...

Thanh's face was bloodless because he was so scared. He kept crawling backwards, his mouth wanted to scream but he couldn't utter a word, those sounds kept turning into "Khch Khu" in his throat along with continuous panting...

Mrs. Que shouted, looked at Thanh and then pointed towards the door:

- Run...Runyyy...goeeeeee

Thanh slowly crawled towards the door, but just as he was about to hold onto the door to stand up, he suddenly saw Nhung standing there stopping him. She looked at Thanh with ghostly eyes and laughed loudly...

- It's late... It's late

The door closed tightly in front of Thanh's desperate face. His eyes gradually blurred, his throat began to burn as if on fire. The person sinks gradually, sinks gradually, then falls into a semi-conscious state...

The scent wafting into his face made Thanh slowly open his eyes, his body stiff and unable to move. Only then did he realize that he was sitting against a pillar in the middle of the stilt house, but he couldn't move his arms or legs, his mouth was still stuttering but he didn't have the strength to speak...

A man about 70 years old, white hair, strangely dressed, was using 3 incense sticks to write something on a talisman. Mouth muttering spells in the ethnic language...

Nhung stood in front of him wearing the clothes of the Tay Dam people. Thanh glared at her, but Nhung didn't seem to notice. She took a sharp knife, picked up his left hand and cut a long line. Thanh winced in pain, blood poured out of his wrist and flowed into the large bowl that Thanh had just seen on the altar.

Mr. Kieu also came forward, took Nhung's knife and cut his own hand, he also let the blood flow into the bowl. The blood of the two men mixed together into a thick, dark red color.

Thanh's people trembled with fear, their eyes still wide open, observing the ghostly actions of the old man and the girl.

Nhung stood up and took down the round object covered with red cloth. She knelt down and respectfully raised her hands high. Mr. Kieu held 3 incense sticks with an amulet, waved his hands around, and continuously prayed in the ethnic language. Suddenly he used his hand to flip the red cloth...

Thanh was startled, his face was blank when he saw that it was a gray human skull, two deep eye sockets, but the teeth still looked very scary.

The old man knelt down completely, bowed three times and then placed the bowl of blood in front of the skull. Even more terrifying, after each of his prayers, the human skull slowly absorbed that bowl of fresh blood, its two eye sockets suddenly lit up...

Thanh wanted to run away but his limbs were completely paralyzed. He kept looking around for help but to no avail. Mrs. Que and the young man sitting at the back of the house were also trembling, everyone's faces were filled with panic...

The old man walked up to Thanh and held the human skull close to his face. Thanh closed his eyes tightly so he wouldn't have to see that terrifying scene.

He didn't know what they were doing to him... but Thanh was able to think and understand that the ghostly things he had encountered several times before were real, not a dream...

The sound of praying gets louder and louder...

Thanh felt an animal scratching its sharp claws on the wooden floor, growling.

Then suddenly there was a cat squealing that was painful to the soul,

"Meooooooooooooooooo"

It jumped past him, waking Thanh up.

He felt light, felt like he was floating in the air, everything became dreamy mixed with strange, magical spells resounding, unreal and unreal, then Thanh passed away. what else do you know...

***

- Wake up...!

Hearing a loud shout, Thanh slowly opened his eyes...At this moment, he felt like his body was carrying something very heavy, his hand lazily raised to rub his eyes.

His mouth stammered:

- Velvet! You...why last night... Didn't you come here to... cure...

Nhung smiled devilishly:

- Correct! I told you, there are many things you won't believe even if I say them...

Thanh didn't understand Nhung's words when he suddenly gasped in panic when he saw a person exactly like him standing in front of him. Thanh looked around in panic, then suddenly saw his old, wrinkled arms...

Thanh quickly ran with difficult steps around the house and stopped at a small mirror...

When he saw his face, Thanh could only scream in horror, his face and body were now that of a 70 year old man... Thanh knelt down, his mouth open because he still couldn't believe this. ...

Nhung came forward, held a bowl of water in her hand, and the other man held Thanh tightly, then poured the bowl of water into his mouth and forced him to drink...

Mac Thanh was struggling and screaming, the other two went out...

Thanh quickly crawled back to Mrs. Que and the paralyzed boy, seemingly understanding everything. Thanh looked at Mrs. Que and said with some difficulty...

- The new lady... is... Nhung?

Mrs. Que nodded repeatedly, tears welling up in her eyes, she wrapped her arms around the young man who was also sobbing, panicked and choked up sobbing...

Thanh also understood who that young man really was...

***

- Doctor! This is patient Kieu, 71 years old, from Tay Dam. The patient often screams, panics, lives in paranoia and believes that he is under a spell... Previously, he worked as a shaman, specializing in casting spells, so it is rumored that the worm came back to harm him and transform him. crazy like this.

Doctor Loan came forward and said:

- Don't worry, Dr. Thanh has a separate treatment plan for this group of diseases. We will examine and prescribe medication, you will recover soon, but it is important that you cooperate with us for it to be effective. yes...

Placing the stethoscope on Mr. Kieu's chest, Dr. Loan asked further:

- Do you remember what your name is? Yes, your name is Kieu, from the Tay Dam ethnic group?

Mr. Kieu grabbed Dr. Loan's hand tightly, his eyes seemed to beg for help, he wanted to speak but his throat was stiff and hot. With great effort, he stammered out a few words...

- Nogggg...help...help...Baaaaaaa.!!!

All the pitiful eyes of everyone around turned towards him. Mr. Kieu shed tears of despair and turned towards the window. Before his eyes appeared a majestic mountain and forest scene with mist and smoke surrounding the steep rocky cliffs and containing many mysterious and scary things...

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About the Creator

Ken Daklak

Telling stories my heart needs to tell <3 life is a journey, not a competition

If you like what you read, feel free to leave a tip,I would love some feedback

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Comments (2)

  • Hoàn Trầnabout a month ago

    It's great, I hope there will be more articles to come

  • HK Decorabout a month ago

    Very inspiring read, thanks for sharing.

 Ken DaklakWritten by Ken Daklak

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