Real life has finally caught up with me. I don’t even know how I spent so long on this post but I’m trying hard to find the time to translate so please bear with me. (●’◡’●)
Can I just do a quick shout out to all the translators who post consistently, you guys are amazing!!! T_T And also to my readers, (if I still have any that is haha), the patience you guys have to wait for my posts is truly awe inspiring!!! (●’◡’●) (●’◡’●) (●’◡’●)
Yay, finally, FINALLY, after 3 long years, Qi Qi and Zhang Jun talk to each other. However, not sure if it is really a good thing…
3. Only Wish This Is A Nightmare
No matter how big a mistake adults make, it’s always their fault. However, a teenager’s mistake is often half due their parents and half due to their ignorance towards life. There are many bumpy roads in life, perhaps after walking for some time, you will step on a bumpy road. Of course, a bumpy road is still a road, there are people who walk past different parts of the vast sky. However, if time can flow backwards, with a tired smile, they would rather choose to not step on that road.
For a very long time, I doubted the reality of this matter, I doubted that perhaps I had watched too many gangster films and created a fantasy. However, with the things that happened after this matter made me start realising that the effort to reorganize public order and crack down on criminals wasn’t just a vague and general piece of news. In reality, it wasn’t very far from us.
The city’s television station wanted to do a special topic on graduating and the school got a few teachers and students to accept the interview. As I often participated in speech competitions, the teachers saw me as someone who spoke well so I was chosen as an interviewee.
I was told the questions early on and the answers were also prepared early on by the teachers so it was all a performance.
The people from the station set up first beside the table tennis tables to interview Chen Yuan Zhe, I was to be interviewed in the corridors of the graduating classes so I was standing on the side of the corridor waiting for them while silently going over the script the teachers had prepared.
I saw that they were nearly done so I quickly rushed to the bathroom in case I’ll need to go to the bathroom when I get nervous.
The bathroom was next to the staircase and when I came out from the bathroom, I nearly collided without someone running up the stairs. I halted but the other person walked past me. However, after he walked a few steps forward, he immediately turned around, it was Zhang Jun.
It felt like he pretty much leaped in front of me. He handed me a black thing and said in a quiet voice, “Help me hide it.”
It was a gun! I froze for a bit, my initial reaction was to immediately turn and walk to the toilets but when I got to the entrance of the female toilets, I realised, that’s not right! It wasn’t a good place to hide things. I thought for a bit then pulled my sweater up and stuffed the gun into my pants. I pulled my pants in tighter and after making sure that the gun was held in position in my waist area, I arranged my shirt, sweater and coat into place and walked out as if I had just finished using the bathroom. I walked back to the place where our interview was going to be held.
Zhang Jun was sitting inside the classroom. When I passed his class, our eyes met, it seemed like we exchanged a lot, but it also seemed as we if didn’t express anything.
Just as I got to the corridor of our classroom, the reporter, the filmer, headmaster and a few other teachers came up.
After the reporter reminded me of a few things I should keep in note, we started filming.
“Do you thinking there is a lot of pressure from studying?”
I smiled, “There is quite a bit of pressure.”
“Is this pressure from your teachers or your parents?”
“I think there is some from both plus my expectations for myself……”
A few people wearing police uniforms came up from the stairs. When they saw us filming, they looked stunned and stopped in their steps. Our headmaster immediately went to talk with them. The reporter and filmer both curiously looked and them. I don’t know what they were talking about in low voices but the headmaster’s expression changed drastically. He said a few words to the head of the Chinese department and left with the police.
After watching a few of the police part and go to each class, I already understood why they were here.
The head of the Chinese department laughed and invited the reporter to finish the interview downstairs. Although the reporter was curious, Chinese news stations back then would never go digging up news. Their focus was to guide and publicize a healthy and stable social atmosphere, so they followed the department head downstairs.
When we came out of the middle school department, there were policemen guarding outside. Their expressions were stern but after seeing the reporter and filmer, they became very polite. Added to the fact that the headmaster had probably already explained about us, we only exchanged a few words and after checking our identities, we were free to leave. The police didn’t even look twice at me, a girl wearing glasses and dressed simply with her hair in a ponytail.
When we passed them and got ready to start the interview again did I finally relax.
I was very compliant and tried my best to express through the image of a graduating student that the adults were looking for. The reporter and the teachers were all very satisfied and the filmer praised me as being very photogenic. One of the directors proudly said, “No.1 focuses on developing all aspects of a student, we don’t just see admission rates as our only goal. The school will work hard to create new opportunities for our students and let them develop their strengths. Student Luo Qi Qi has represented our school in many speech competitions and gained lots of training through it.”
As the camera was not closed, the filmer recorded down the directors words also. The reporter said on the side, “This is also quite a good point. Later we can do back and discuss it with our leader to add this part in. It’ll add to the graduates’ school life experience.”
The director never expected himself to also be on film so he happily accompanied the reporter and filmer to the high school department, “Next up are a few third year students.”
The camera was closed and everyone was very relaxed. The reported talked with anticipation, “I head our deputy director’s son, Chen Jing, is currently studying in No.1”
The head laughed, “Yes, Student Chen Jing is very outstanding…” He started gossiping about everything related to Chen Jing as the reporter and filmer listened with gutso, it clearly seemed more interesting to them than interviewing some third year high school students.
Seeing that they weren’t paying attention to me, I pretended to be interested and walked with them. However, our teachers were also quite crafty, before we had got to the high school department, they had already discovered my scheme. One of the teachers said, “Luo Qi Qi, you……”
Before they finished speaking, I quickly added, “I was desk mates with Chen Jing in primary.”
Chen Jing was the most talented student in the history of No. 1 and added to the fact that he came from a very good family background, his charms were irresistible. There were many versions of stories regarding how smart he was. The teachers didn’t seem to be the slightest bit tired of circulating his stories and the people from the television station were all partly curious about the private life of their deputy director so everyone grew interest and immediately looked at me. There was no other mention of wanting me to go back to class.
As I walked, I shared stories about Chen Jing, of how he never needed to listen to class, how he liked to guess riddles, how he could skip grades early on, how he actually really hated our maths teacher, how his mom wanted him to skip grades but his dad didn’t agree. Of course, I also shared some half true confidential anecdotes from our time together as desk mates.
After I gossiped all the way to the third years’ building and they started preparing for the interview, the teachers momentarily forgot to rush me back to class to work hard studying so I quietly watched from a corner.
A trainee from the television station asked me, “Are you very interested in interviews?”
I flashed a dazzling smile, “My dream is to become a female journalist, it’ll be best if I can be a journalist on the front lines of battle.”
The teachers all laughed, they probably thought I was too innocent inside but on the outside, they tried not to extinguish my dream so no one urged me to go back. The trainee by my side even enthusiastically gave me a few pointers.
As we weren’t able to get a shot of the classroom back then, this time they made up for it by placing the representative in front of a class of students studying.
Xiao Bo was inside the classroom studying and didn’t even bother to take a look, seemingly not a bit interested in what was going on. This guy is working a bit too much!
Finally, he seemed to sense something and raising his head, he saw me standing behind the filmer staring at him and making funny faces. A flash of surprise shot through his eyes and after looking at me for a few seconds, he smiled and lowered his head to continue reading.
I saw that everyone was looking at the camera and no one was paying any attention to me so I continued to stare at him. He seemed to know that I was staring at him as he changed his position and put his hand on his forehead, making actions to express that I should retrain myself. I laughed and decided not to look at him any more.
There was a gun pressed to my tummy but I wasn’t the slightest bit nervous. At the start, I was a bit uncomfortable due to the icy coldness of the gun but now, the steel was already the same temperature as my body so I didn’t even have any discomfort. I seem to have the natural endowments of being a bad person.
After they finished interviewing that student, the reporters started preparing to interview another student and needed to change the scene. The trainee asked if I wanted to go along too but I shook my head, “I’ve already feasted my eyes enough today, now I have to go back and study.”
The trainee was very nice, “Study hard. I hope you’ll become an outstanding journalist quickly.”
I smiled and bid them farewell.
After they left, I immediately moved over to the window and shouted softly to Xiao Bo, “Give me your bicycle keys.”
Xiao Bo didn’t ask me for the reason, he threw the keys to me and said, “It’s parked in front of the building near the trees. It’s not at the bike shed.”
“Help me get my bag after school.”
I made a funny face at him then immediately ran down the other set of stairs and rode Xiao Bo’s bike out of the school. Only outside the school did I dare to move the gun to my coat pocket.
I rode on the bicycle like I was running for my life. I managed to ride non-stop for an hour and finally got to a piece of undeveloped land with no one around. I hid in a remote corner and taking the gun out, I looked over it in detail. The heaviness made it feel completely different to a toy.
I played with it for a while before I took out my woollen gloves and carefully wiped the gun clean of fingerprints. Although I highly doubted our city’s police had the ability to tell fingerprints, I didn’t watch television dramas and read detective novels for nothing. After it was wiped clean, I dug a whole and buried it inside.
After I made sure the area looked the same as its surroundings, I walked backwards while using my gloves to brush away my footprints. I then specially went to another area and left some footprints there. Perhaps it was unnecessary but it’s best to be careful.
I jumped on the bicycle and rode back. The sky was already dark by the time I went to find Xiao Bo. My bicycle and bag were both with him.
He looked at me and said, “Today the police flipped the middle school department upside down. I heard that they even searched the toilets. Zhang Jun and Hao Lian were taken away, apparently they’re being investigated.”
I didn’t make any sound. Seeing that I wouldn’t talk, Xiao Bo lightly said, “This year they’re cracking down on crime so no matter what you do, you have to clearly consider the consequences first.” He handed my school bag to me, “Quickly go home, your mom is going to worry.”
I smiled to him apologetically then flew back home on my bike.
I don’t know what reaction other people would have after doing something bad but I didn’t have any unhealthy thoughts. I ate normally, watched television like usual, I even continued to read Agatha Christie’s novels like usual. Then I went to bed.
Lying on the bed, I thought about Zhang Jun for a bit then slowly fell asleep.
In the middle of the night, I suddenly woke up full of sweat. In my dream, Zhang Jun was locked inside jail.
I clutched my blankets tightly with my eyes open in a daze. I didn’t dare to close my eyes because as soon as I closed my eyes, I’ll be taken back to the scene in the dream.
In the morning, I went to school like usual. Everyone had a weird look in their eyes, yesterday’s incident probably rocked everyone up.
Although we often saw the police carry out their official duties on television, when it actually happened by us, no one was used to it.
Guan He asked me, “Where were you yesterday?”
“My period came and my pants got dirty. I thought that since we didn’t have any lessons, I might as well rush home.”
Guan He sympathised with me, “Being a girl is so annoying.”
Guan He whispered, “Did you hear? Zhang Jun was taken away by the police.”
“Huh? No wonder everyone seems weird today. Why?”
“I don’t know. The teachers searched through our bags and tables. They even called out lots of people who knew Zhang Jun and Hao Lian and asked them questions individually.” Guan He was in a daze, after a very long time, she whispered to me, “Tong Yun Zhu lives close to my house. Sometimes we’d go home together. Yesterday after school, I saw Tong Yun Zhu crying. Before, I had heard……” She paused. I quietly looked at her. She finally decided to trust me, “I heard that Hao Lian takes drugs. Tong Yun Zhu tried to cut off his supply many times and he’s also agreed to quit but he’d always start again after some time.”
Tong Yun Zhu is one of the prettiest girls in our year. Added to the fact that she was Mongolian, and can sing and dance, she was in charge for her class’ cultural performance every year so she was very well known in our year. However, the only things I’ve heard about Hao Lian is that he was Tong Yun Zhu’s boyfriend and that he’s been kept a year. However, he was a pretty decent guy and didn’t cause much trouble so I don’t know what he looks like exactly. But this is really like that old phrase- a dog that bites doesn’t bark. The boys who are most infamous in school, who fight and drink and smoke aren’t actually the worst people.
“Is Zhang Jun close with Hao Lian?”
“No, Zhang Jun and Tong Yun Zhu are very close but he hasn’t had much interaction with Hao Lian.”
I let out my breath, that’s fine then.
Later, Teacher Wu asked me why I didn’t go back to self study after my interview yesterday. I told her the same excuse. Seeing that this was a special situation plus I was always disorganized and without discipline, Teacher Wu thought that me disappearing was completely normal.
I continued to go to school and go home was if nothing had happened but I paid special attention to all the gossip, yearning to hear any news related to Zhang Jun. However, the little rumours the students spread around became more and more ridiculous. They said that he was taking drugs and then they said he was dealing drugs. Although I don’t know what exactly Zhang Jun did with Little Six, I believed my intuition and Teacher Zhang’s judgement that he wasn’t someone who was easily led astray. He should be very clear to what drugs were and I don’t believe he would touch them.
As the days past by, Zhang Jun was still locked in the police station. I started becoming worried but I didn’t dare to reveal it, on the outside, I had to look the same as before. It was at this time that I discovered that actually, that year when I stood on the table tennis tables under the stares of the crowd, forcing myself to smile then was nothing.
Two weeks later, we had out mid-semester exam but Zhang Jun still wasn’t back. After the exams, it wasn’t until our results were announced that he finally came back.
In the moment I saw him in the corridor, I finally felt the knife that was stabbed into my heart get pulled out. Inside, joy and sorrow were swirling around but I was expressionless on the outside like usual and I walked past him to the classroom. Zhang Jun probably received a lot of ‘education’ inside the police station, he looked haggard and sported a moustache but he seemed not the slightest bit interested in his appearance.
Although Zhang Jun came back, he ignored me and I ignored him.
I improved by twenty places in my mid-semester exam results and was now ranked in the middle of the class. My parents’ expectations of me were always very low so they were pretty happy to see me improve. Teacher Wu however, was still disappointed, this was her first class in No.1 and when she accepted this class, I was already presumed to be the student who will bring her glory and help her have a steady footing in No.1 but now, I was letting her down.
Xiao Bo’s mid-semester exam results, no, I should call it his practice exam results were very good, he was placed 49th in his year level.
Another week passed. One day, when I was riding my bicycle home, a person rode to my side. From the corner of my eye, I saw that it was Zhang Jun so I ignored him. When we got to the roundabout, he used his bike to block me and didn’t let me turn so I could only keep riding with him.
He lead me to the side of the river then stopped riding, “Where’s the thing?”
“Thrown away.” After speaking, I pressed down on my bicycle wanting to leave but he pulled me back, “I’m not joking with you, return it to me.”
“I said I threw it away, if you have the ability then go to the rubbish dump to find it.”
“That thing has an owner. If I don’t return it, he’ll be very angry.”
I sneered, “I’m so scared! Go tell him to come find me instead!”
He stared at me. I put my chin up and stared back at him. Who was afraid of who?
He was quiet for a while then asked, “What do you want to remember where you threw it?”
I stared at him but didn’t speak.
He softened his tone, “If I don’t return it, I’ll be in trouble.”
I coldly said, “I think you’ll have trouble if you take it back. In the ‘People’s Republic of China Criminal Law’, Article 125 states that: illegal storage of firearms, ammunition and explosives will lead to more than three years in jail; if the circumstances are serious, it will lead to more than ten years imprisonment, life imprisonment or death!”
He quietly looked at me without speaking then started laughing. This was the first time I saw him laugh since the incident happened.
I felt a sense of frustration. I forcefully threw away his hand and started riding my bike to leave. He hurriedly grabbed the back of my bike and pulled me back.
He thought for a while then said, “In the two weeks that I was locked up, the things I should think about, the things that I shouldn’t think about, things in the past, things in the future, I’ve thought about them all. The taste of being inside there isn’t that great, at the time, I was really pretty scared I’d stay in there from then on.”
“You mean you regret all your past actions?”
He didn’t reply. I stared at him for a while then said, “Get on.”
He immediately went to get his own bicycle. I lead him to the place I hid the gun and dug it out.
He wanted to hold it but I grasped the gun and asked, “Is there are bullet inside?”
“Do you know how to use it?”
He nodded again.
“How do you use it? On television they keep talking about a safety bolt, where is it?
He smiled, “This is a double action trigger, there isn’t the so called safety bolt on this. If you press down hard enough and pull the trigger twice, the bullet will come out.”
I gripped the gun and got into a pose I learnt from TV then aimed the gun at him. He laughed, “This isn’t fun.”
I asked, “What do you like to eat the most?”
He looked at me in astonishment. I sternly said, “Reply to me!”
“Do you like your mom and dad?”
“Which brother in law do you like the most?”
“My second brother in law.”
My words came out faster and faster, leading him to also speed up his answers.
“Which sister do you like the most?”
“My fourth sis.”
“Who are you most thankful towards?”
“Who do you hate the most?”
“Which girlfriend do you like the most?”
“All……” He paused, “My current one.”
I pretended not to pay attention and continued, “Which classmate do you like the most?”
“They’re all the same.”
“Who do you like?”
He laughed. I angrily waved the gun, “Don’t laugh! Can’t you see I’m holding a gun?”
“Didn’t you just ask? My current girlfriend ah!”
I randomly made up a few other questions and after he answered them all, I returned the gun to him, “Wipe my fingerprints off, if you go to prison, don’t mention me at all or else even if I die, I’ll still come back to get revenge on you.” I stood up and turned to leave. Behind me, he shouted, “Luo Qi Qi.”
I looked back, he walked in front of me, gripping the gun with both hands. He pulled the latch and there was the sound of a click. He pointed the gun to my forehead and said, “I forgot to teach you this just then. Now the bullet is inside the gun and can be used.”
I snorted and said in disdain, “You don’t dare to shoot the gun!”
Just as I finished speaking, I heard him pull the trigger. My body started trembling involuntarily. His stare was ice cold but the gun pressed to my forehead was even colder. It was the first time I thought that those people calling him ‘Brother Jun’ was absolutely justified.
Many times, when something happens too quickly, a lot of people will have a moment of courage. However, sometimes, when you have the time to think the situation through in your head, you will feel completely different, courage doesn’t grow with time, it dissipates.
Right now, I had that feeling. I went from scoffing at him at the start to gradually believing that he could really pull the trigger. Like solving a geometry problem, I rapidly analysed the situation in my mind. Even if he killed me, no one will know. First, I’ve never mixed with him before, we haven’t talked once in our three years; secondly, no one knew that I hid the gun for him even less that I would be out in this uninhabited area; and lastly, as long as he tinkers with my body after he kills me, he can easily mislead the police to another direction. Plus, I believe that the investigation skills of our police can’t compare to the detectives in Agatha Christie’s novels……
“It’s my turn to ask you questions. When I ask, you have to immediately answer, you’re not allowed to think over it.” His voice broke my train of thoughts.
“What do you like eating the most?”
“Do you like your parents?”
“Do you like your little sister?”
“Which relative do you like the most?”
“Where is he?”
“Who are you most thankful towards?”
“Who do you hate the most?”
“Is Xu Xiao Bo your boyfriend?”
“Do you love Xu Xiao Bo?”
“Who is your best friend?”
He looked at me and didn’t ask any more. “Have you finished asking?”
He took the gun away and I immediately ran to my bike and rode away, wanting to flee from him as fast as possible.