Published at 16th of April 2016 10:45:02 PM

Chapter 14

The sky had darkened completely .

Bei Ye asked every single shop along the streets, and finally found the dark and dingy alley Chen Nian had been dragged into . In the darkness of the night, Chen Nian’s school bag, textbooks, pencils, mobile phone, skirt and red string lay strewn on the muddy floor . Bei Ye hastily picked up Chen Nian’s items, storing them in her school bag . He twined the red string around his hand, and continued to search for Chen Nian .

The icy cold wind swept up the alley, causing the leaves of the surrounding trees to rustle and their shadows to tremble . It was about to rain .

A single bolt of lightning ripped across the inky night sky, illuminating Bei Ye’s extraordinarily pale face . He walked further into the alley, the gust of wind causing a white piece of cloth to tumble to his feet . He had seen this piece of cloth before – in his toilet, hanging quietly from the clothing rack . That small piece of cloth stopped temporarily by Bei Ye’s feet before continuing its journey to the rubbish pile .

Bei Ye found Chen Nian amongst the bushes, her white, pale body curled into a tight ball . There were innumerable wounds and marks on her body, as though she was a solitary, bloodshot eyeball that had dropped into the mud .

Bei Ye knelt down beside Chen Nian . He took off his shirt, and carefully wrapped his shirt around her frail body . Chen Nian’s body gave an involuntary shudder . Her breathing was barely perceptible .

“It’s me……” He approached Chen Nian slowly, carefully sweeping the unruly fringe and hair from her face . Chen Nian stared at him blankly . One second . Two seconds . In that very moment, something Chen Nian had been dearly hanging onto broke into pieces, and she fainted into unconsciousness .

Bei Ye carefully wrapped Chen Nian up .

Carrying her in his arms, Bei Ye began the walk back to his motorcycle .

The alley was void of people . Bolts of pure white lightning streaked across the sky .

It was time . The torrential ran began to pour .

The motorcycle zoomed into the night as the wind and rain whipped around the two youths . The youths were drenched in entirety, as though they had been travelling underwater .

The icy sheets of rain continued to pour mercilessly from above . The girl in Bei Ye’s arms was akin to a corpse; her body was like a limp and lifeless rucksack that continually slid down the motorcycle as Bei Ye drove . Bei Ye was forced to stop his motorcycle again and again, each time patiently propping Chen Nian up and cuddling her with his arms . Finally, Bei Ye was left with no choice but to tie Chen Nian to his body with a rope .

He hugged her tightly whilst muttering to himself under his breath, as though he was trying to hypnotise somebody, “It’s okay . Everything’s going to be fine . Trust me, everything’s going to be fine . ”

There was no response . She was already dead .

She was the only clean and beautiful thing in his filthy and disgusting life .

And now, she was dead .

The youth pressed his face tightly against her pale, icy face, howling in his sorrow .

The rain continued to beat down ferociously, forming little streams of water that swept the rubbish into the drains . It was as though the storm was intent on clearing every single piece of dirt from the city .

The rainy season was so long .

But, despite the torrential rain and the howling wind that raged throughout the night, by the very next morning, everything resumed its normalcy . The world was still there – noisy, messy, and complicated .

In the silence of the dawn, a fake sense of calmness settled over the world at large .

Chen Nian put on her school uniform, combing her hair till her dark strands of hair fell around her like a neat curtain . Seating herself by the table, she began to eat the steamed pudding on the table .

She seemed as though she had forgotten everything that had happened to her . She acted so normally, it was abnormal .

“Must you go to school?” Bei Ye asked .

“Yes . ” Chen Nian’s calm and slow voice rang out, “There’s no way for me to, take a leave of absence . ”

“There are still some injuries on your face . ”

“I’ll say that I was bitten by a centipede, that’s why my face is swollen . ” She was still extremely quiet – so quiet that she resembled a body of stale water .

Bei Ye didn’t respond . All this while, he only let Chen Nian gaze at his side profile, stubbornly refusing to let her look into his eyes .

But Chen Nian knew .

Last night, he hugged her the entire time, his tears falling onto her eyes as his body was wracked with silent sobs . He had stopped at several intervals, but it wasn’t long before his tears would begin to flow once more .

“Let’s go . ” Chen Nian gently held his hand .

In the darkness of the night, she had also held onto his hand . Last night, when it seemed as though she was deep in sleep, Bei Ye stealthily began to get up from the bed – however, before he could even sit up, Chen Nian had already tightly grabbed his hand . She knew what he wanted to do, and she refused to allow him to leave .

On the way to school, Chen Nian once again told Bei Ye in all seriousness that he wasn’t allowed to go looking for revenge . Chen Nian told Bei Ye hthat she knew a police officer, and that she would report the incident to the police . She even told Bei Ye that he couldn’t let anything happen to him, that he had promised her previously that he would always stay by her side .

Bei Ye simply grunted once, to signify his agreement .

Subsequently, the two youths lapsed into silence, each troubled by their own respective worries .

The graduation exam was about to arrive . It was time to make that one final push . The students busied themselves with their revision and failed to notice Chen Nian’s red and swollen face . When Xiao Mi saw Chen Nian, she was extremely shocked – but with Chen Nian’s explanation, Xiao Mi’s initial shock subsided, and she chattered to Chen Nian, “I was bitten by a poisonous spider when I was young . At that time, my forehead swelled into a huge lump, and I looked exactly like the peach immortal!”

Chen Nian couldn’t focus on Xiao Mi’s chatter – she didn’t know what Bei Ye was doing right now . She knew that Bei Ye would definitely be out looking for Wei Cai . and she hoped fervently that he wouldn’t be able to find her . Before Wei Cai left yesterday, she had whispered to Chen Nian that she would come to look for her sometime soon .

Chen Nian stayed in her seat the entire day, burying her head in her books so as to prevent others from looking at her face . When Li Xiang came by her desk and began talking to Zeng Hao, she lowered her head even further, refusing to join the conversation . Thankfully, the pile of books on her desk was able to easily block her face from his line of sight .

Xiao Mi understood Chen Nian’s thoughts, and quietly sat beside Chen Nian, choosing not take the initiative to converse with other students . Once in a while, however, she would make small talk with Chen Nian .

“Oh right, Titanic 3D just came out recently!”

Chen Nian answered slowly, “It’s probably really difficult to get tickets, isn’t it?”

Just then, her mobile phone began ringing . It was Zheng Yi . Chen Nian lowered her body till she was completely blocked by her desk before picking up .

“Chen Nian . ”


“Be very careful when you’re heading to and fro from school . ” Zheng Yi instructed her in a serious tone .

“Okay . ”

Now that Zheng Yi had finished conveying his instructions to Chen Nian, his tone became more jovial, “How’s your studies coming along?”

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Chen Nian answered in her prim and proper manner, “Alright . ”

“Did you meet with any trouble that needs my help?”

“No . ” As Chen Nian answered, she shook her head out of habit .

“That’s good to hear . If there’s any trouble, don’t hesitate to give me a call . ”

“I will . ”

Chen Nian squirreled out from under her desk . Once again, the students surrounding her were discussing the topic of the raincoat man who appears in the dark of the night . Fishing out her exercise book, she continued pratising her questions . However, she couldn’t process the questions no matter how hard she tried – she suspected that Bei Ye would go ahead to look for Wei Cai despite his promise, just as she knew that Bei Ye suspected that she wouldn’t report the incident to the police despite her saying otherwise .

And her suspicions were entirely correct .

However, despite expending the entire day to look for Wei Cai, Bei Ye simply couldn’t locate her . The pain and grief in his heart magnified tenfold, and gradually morphed into a deep hatred for Wei Cai .

Ah, humans are such puzzling creatures . Many times, humans aren’t creatures who insist on seeking revenge over the smallest grievances – they just want to give the other party a minor lesson, a small punishment . They simply need an outlet to vent the unfair treatment that they suffered . Even if it’s a tiny, minute outlet, they could easily gain comfort after venting .

But if there is no opportunity for them to vent their grievances and frustrations, the pain and hurt that lay sealed within them would begin to rot, and morph into hatred and vengeance .

Midway through his search, the alarm on his mobile phone rang – it was 4:30PM . Bei Ye didn’t forget that he had to fetch Chen Nian from school .

Chen Nian was still in class . Bei Ye waited patiently on the street opposite the school compound .

The school compound was extremely quiet, as though it was a cemetery; the erect school buildings resembled the lonely, quiet tombstones . Innumerable students sat inside their classrooms, focused on their lessons .

The school field lay a distance away . Several students were having Physical Education lessons . However, as the field was some distance away, the noisy and vibrant laughter didn’t reach Bei Ye’s ears .

Bei Ye inhaled his cigarette, memories of his earlier meetings with Chen Nian flashing across his mind . That day, he was about to seek vengeance on the hooligans that had bullied him when he passed by this school compound . With an indescribable feeling his his heart, he stood outside the school gates and peered into the school compound . Coincidentally, he saw Chen Nian inside the compound, skipping with the jump rope in her hands underneath the shade of the tree . Her long ponytail whisked from side to side, as though it was a curtain that swayed from side to side .

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Bei Ye crinkled his eyes as the memories of the past flooded his mind .

Bei Ye glanced at his watch – there was still half an hour before school ended . Bei Ye clambered over the school gates, just like how he climbed over the gates in the past . Running past the school field, Bei Ye entered the silent school building .

Sprinting up the flight of stairs, images of Chen Nian studying in class flashed across his eyes . He reached Chen Nian’s classroom within minutes, and peered in .

He was stunned .

The classroom was extremely empty; only a few students were left, their heads buried in their books as they continued their revision . He glanced at the timetable on the noticeboard, only to discover that it was now Physical Education class .

Bei Ye’s heart sank . He ran to the end of the corridor and scanned the fields with his eyes . Some students were playing basketball in the basketball courts, others were running around the track, and yet others were jumping rope . But Chen Nian was nowhere to be found .

Bei Ye fished out his phone . He hastily keyed in Chen Nian’s number, but was unable to he bring himself to press the ‘Dial’ button . Rushing down the stairwell, he began to search every nook and cranny of the school compound – however, Chen Nian was still nowhere to be seen . As the end of school drew ever nearer, a cold sheen of sweat formed over Bei Ye’s body . Climbing over the school gates, he strolled back to the entrance of the school and waited opposite the school entrance .

After some time, the clear ringing of the school bell emanated from within the school compound, causing the school compound to come alive . The students streamed out of the school compound, but Chen Nian was still nowhere to be seen .

Feelings of fear began to suffocate Bei Ye . He couldn’t lose her . Not again .

The motorcycle zoomed away, the youth traversing through innumerable streets and alleys, memories of their very first meeting flashing across his eyes .

That day, he had been beaten up by neighboring hooligans . As he sprawled on the floor, they laughed at him, mocked him, and insulted him . That group of hooligans hadn’t known that he always brought a knife around with him, that at the very next second, he was about to stab the knife into their hearts, that he would force them to perish together with him .

But the very next moment, she appeared . For him, she was going to report the hooligans to the police . She even kissed him .

The wonder and novelty of life lies in the very fact that, you never know what is going to happen in the very next moment .

Just like how Bei Ye never would have expected to see Chen Nian standing before him the very moment he lifted the shutter doors, a bloodied knife in her hand as her body was bathed in the soft, golden glow of the setting sun;

Pleading, “Xiao Bei Ge[1], please save me . ”

[1] Ge – The Chinese word for ‘older brother’ . Here, Chen Nian begins to address Bei Ye as Xiao Bei Ge because she relies on him and truly begins to grow ever closer with Bei Ye after the bullying incident .