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Chapter 11 – Chaotic Setting – Part III
Old man Zhang returned with some food and two cans of Heineken.
And I sat back down in front of my screens, holding a bowl of instant noodles.
Counting the time, if Mr.Wang’s daughter wakes up somewhere around two in the afternoon, I will go with Plan A. If she wakes up around four, I will go with Plan B; and if she doesn’t wake up till nightfall, then I will have to go with Plan C.
Even if I miscalculated the amount of ether appropriate for a child, and she never wakes up again, I still have the ultimate Plan D.
Naturally, if none of the above turns out to be true and some other alternation takes place that requires my immediate intervention, I still have seven other plans in reserve I can put into motion, except those that will be more troublesome to implement; as long as the unpredictable maniac Ying Ru isn’t involved in this mess.
That is what makes prophecy so terrifying.
A true prophet is not only capable of filling one’s mind with images or scaring someone with words.
He must have the incredible power to make things come true, and the unwavering determination to see things through.
I continued to savour my noodles.
There was only one thing I needed to do now.
Half past three.
Mr. Wang dragged his small leather bag and that stupid sales sample vacuum cleaner upstairs, one step at a time. He was tired.
Bo Yan sat on top of the stall in the bathroom, holding a swiss knife in his hand pointing at his wrist.
He was only considering the possibility, hoping his thoughts would somehow earn him the compassion from the Gods, and spare him.
No matter how tired he got, he dared not to close his increasingly heavy eyelids.
Because he couldn’t begin to imagine what his “other self” would do next.
Guo Li sat on the bed smoking his cigarette, contemplating his bleak future. I had never seen him smoke before.
Diverting from the trail of the smoke, ashes fell evenly over the flawless white sheets covering the bed; tools that were meant for the dead body now lay spread all over the floor.
Before Bo Yan told him what his “conditions” were, Guo Li couldn’t do a thing.
Miss Chen sat in front of the TV, holding a wet towel wrapped with ice next to her darkened and swollen cheeks.
She needed to restore her beauty quickly before the shorter one of her boyfriends showed up in need to satisfy his lust.
Old man Zhang kicked away the two empty cans of beer, sitting in front of his old PC, sighing repeatedly.
The twisting images of the mistresses onscreen were no longer enough to satisfy his overwhelming lust.
Ying Ru still hadn’t returned.
Mr. Wang opened the door.
“Huh…” Mr. Wang mumbled, wondering why his sweet daughter wasn’t doing her homework as she should. He packed up the vacuum cleaner and tidied his shirt, then walked over to Miss Chen’s door.
*Knock knock knock*
Miss Chen cautiously opened the door a crack, making sure he wasn’t who she thought he was. Then, she opened the door.
“Is my little girl here watching the TV with you?” Mr. Wang smiled.
“She didn’t come here today. I’m sorry,” Miss Chen apologized, trying her best to conceal the injuries with the wet towel in her hand.
“Really?” Mr. Wang sounded surprised as he began heading back to his room.
Miss Chen shut the door behind her and returned to her TV.
Mr. Wang couldn’t sit still at all after returning to his room. He immediately began sorting through the market research files he collected earlier, then took a cold shower to try calming himself down.
His daughter was still missing.
I left my room, whispering and flapping my slippers as I walked down the stairway, purposely trying to let myself be heard.
As expected, Mr. Wang quickly opened his door when he noticed me passing by the hallway on the second floor.
“Mr. Landlord, did you see my daughter?” he hastily asked upon seeing it was me.
I pretended to be surprised, even though I could still taste her left over saliva on the tip of my tongue.
“Huh? How should I know?” I asked, immediately returning to my usual curious self. “Is she missing? Really? I saw her earlier this afternoon in the Drawing Room. She was eating her dinner or something. I can’t recall. Did she go to Miss Chen’s place? Or perhaps the rooftop?”
Mr. Wang seemed slightly annoyed by my barrage of questions, but he answered: “I couldn’t find her anywhere after getting back from work. She is not at Miss Chen’s place either. She probably went out with some of her classmates. It is all right.”
As he finished explaining to himself, Mr. Wang returned to his room, while I went to the fridge downstairs and grabbed myself a drink. When I passed by Mr. Wang’s room again on my way back, through the door, I could hear him having a phone conversation.
It was probably the beginning of a series of phone calls, asking other parents for his daughter’s whereabouts.
I sat cross-legged on my chair, watching Mr. Wang nervously going through the list of possible suspects. He even called the noodle shop, asking when they had seen her last.
It was half past seven in the evening when Mr. Wang finally hung up. It was time to panic.
“Miss Chen, I just want to make sure. Are you certain you haven’t seen my daughter?” Mr. Wang leaned forward against the door, trying to peer into her room.
“Nope.” Miss Chen said stubbornly.
“Can I come in and look for myself?” Mr. Wang sounded very determined.
“I’m sorry. It is not a good time.” Miss Chen was getting irritated.
If his daughter wasn’t so fond of her, he probably would’ve sounded much less gentle by now, and more forceful.
“She is missing. I can’t think of another place she would go,” Mr. Wang argued irrationally, completely ignoring the fact that Miss Chen had no motives at all to hide his daughter from him in the first place.
“She didn’t come here today.” Miss Chen responded with a few simple words and tried to shut the door, but Mr. Wang already stuck his feet out, arguing: “I just want to take a look, what does it matter? I will leave right after.”
“I’m a girl and this is my room,” Miss Chen raised her voice, sounding slightly angry. “You can’t just barge in here because you say so.”
“If she isn’t here, why won’t you let me take a look?” Mr. Wang sounded more pressing, caring only about finding his daughter at that point. “Are you hiding something?”
Miss Chen burst out in an annoyed laughter, showing her palm: “Five thousand, if she is here, I will pay you five thousand, but if she is not, then you will pay me five thousand for the cost of searching through my room.”
Mr. Wang stared at her. The fearful memories of the wild punch earlier this morning that left her unconscious was still fresh on her mind. Miss Chen swiftly averted his gaze and pushed the door to a close.
While Mr. Wang continued to argue with Miss Chen over the door, Old man Zhang was suddenly at a loss staring at the constantly shaking closet in his room.
Why was the closet shaking?
Old man Zhang had long past the age of believing in ghost stories, but he could not figure out why the closet kept shaking for no reason, as if someone was kicking it from the inside, struggling.
“F*ck…” Confusion only lasted for a few seconds before Old man Zhang returned to the real world of logic.
“Hey, you from upstairs, what the hell are you doing in my closet?” Old man Zhang grabbed the baseball bat sitting in the corner of his room and raised it over his head, shouting his lungs out.
He probably meant Bo Yan as “the one from upstairs”.
“You already f*cked me once yesterday; now get your ass out of my closet. Who are you trying to scare this time?” Despite the provocative words, Old man Zhang dared not to open the closet doors.
“What could he be thinking I wonder? Probably wondering why Bo Yan would hide in his closet? And how did Bo Yan get into his room without his keys? Was Bo Yan a professional burglar? If he really was a thief, what was he doing in the closet? And why did he purposely expose his hiding spot?” I happily commented the scene.
Checking the time, it looked like Plan C to me.
Old man Zhang did hide himself in Miss Chen’s closet before.
But facing a giant sealed box, before he could approach that confined space, he still needed a significant amount of courage he hadn’t managed to muster just yet.
“Open the door!” Mr. Wang stubbornly knocked on Miss Chen’s door.
“Pay up then! If you are so certain then pay up! I take checks too! Some small business worker like you should have used checks before right?” Miss Chen was infuriated, and throwing sarcastic remarks was the weapon of her choice. Separated by the door, she could wield it however she liked.
Especially since she suffered so much yesterday under the fists of two men.
Once again, I unconsciously began humming the tune of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine while kicking the imaginary foot pedal of the bass drum, playing the non-existent guitar, swaying my body to and fro and letting my mind wander.
“Pulling a prank has its limit all right! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! This is your last chance.”Old man Zhang warned “Bo Yan” hiding in his closet. He slowly reached for the doorknob with his left, while still holding the baseball bat over his head with his right.
The gears of the lift slowly churned.
Wearing a black raincoat and carrying a pink “Hello Kitty” plastic bag, Ying Ru pressed the “up” button.
Rain water slowly dripped down from the edge of her black rain hat, splashing over the floor.
Underneath her purposely low worn hat, barely visible, the edges of her pink lips tilted slightly to one side.
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